Friday, 19 September 2014

Victory Anouk

I sort of "discovered" Victory patterns in May, while trapped in a hotel room for a month planning sewing projects.  Of course I had known about the company before, but I didn't like the designs on the pattern envelopes at all.  It took Kim to show me how lovely they can be in reality (here, and here).  Once I directed my attention to the details in many of these patterns, they become more interesting.

And Anouk was the most interesting.  I wanted to do it right away!  I ordered all the fabric from Mood, guessing for decent color matches.  If I had purchased a PDF pattern things might have gone differently, but as it was I went for paper patterns and due to my own itinerant summer plans, didn't receive the patterns until July.

Main fabric is a heavy cotton sateen in brick by Theory.
Striped centerpiece is Marc Jacobs silk-cotton, and is very transparent.  The stripes are gold stuff, and are impossible to match.  I actually cut them out one side at a time to try to match the center front and finally gave up.
The yoke is a loose woven raw silk.

I need to hand sew down the lining under the arms, it didn't catch on either side!

nurse photobomb! 

There are not very many versions of this dress online so I've added lots of photos.

My goal with this was to create a synthesis of interesting textures while maintaining the warmth of the brick colour.  I don't look good with such intense colours next to my face so I needed something paler up there.  Of course I had no idea how this would all turn out.

I cut a size 4 based on my measurements (34.5/27/37).
I sewed it completely out of order because I had broken my sewing machine, and my borrowed one had nylon thread in the only bobbin.  So I sewed all the cream coloured parts first using the clear nylon thread (a bit weird to have your thread be invisible!)  That meant I sewed the center piece and the yoke.  I think this pattern is considered intermediate because it requires many small detailed steps prior to the final hurrah of putting the dress together.  My out-of-order construction meant I could at least try on the yoke, which seemed to fit.

The most challenging point is sewing the center piece into the dress front, and gathering appropriately.  I had trouble turning the corners, keeping the waist straps at exactly the same level, and not having small occult holes show up where things weren't lined up just right.  I took this step slowly.  Another thing that confused me was the underside of the center piece.  I initially had planned to use the raw silk for that, but it was too thick and rough, so I used my skirt fabric instead.  When I cut it out I was really confused to see the back side is almost 1 cm wider than the front on each side.  It means that when you fold it over to sew it down, you have a lot of room (a good thing) but was initially really strange looking.  Sewing in the ditch is made easier since you have so much extra fabric on the back of that piece to fold over, and the finish on the inside is clean.  I figured after I sewed in the ditch that all the little holes and ragged bits were at least sewn closed and too small for most people to see.  When I added the yoke, since it's white and the body fabric is red, I didn't stitch in the ditch, but stitched right over the edge of the yoke itself.  It's basically invisible in the dense fabric.

Also, turning those belt straps right side out is a bitch.  I made my nurses at work do one of them : ) 

I started out using hem tape on my side seams, but for some reason it didn't go well-kept sliding off as I sewed, and wasn't staying in place very well.  Maybe it works better on lighter weight fabric?  So I zig-zagged one side to finish it.  I can do a study to see which technique lasts better...

I hemmed as always, by eyeing it.  My hem is about 2 inches and almost certainly irregular.  Because I was running out of thread, I hemmed first and then used hem tape on the loose edge.  (I admit that I should have just bought more bobbins.)

The yoke front: fit perfectly.  I know others have had issues with this.  But you are right if you noticed no buttons.  The borrowed sewing machine didn't seem to have a functional buttonholer, and I noticed that the band for the yoke is quite long anyway.  I sewed 2 little snaps on the far side to keep it straight during wear and just pinned it to wear to work, but I will eventually add two small cream buttons. 

I like this but I usually don't do a shoulder widening on tank dresses, and here I think I should have, or that I should have done a size larger on the yoke.  I don't like how the straps go in at the shoulders.  Otherwise, I'm pleased with the fit.  I think this would be most flattering on a busty person with narrow shoulders.  My coworkers thought I was being nitpicky and really liked the dress on, though.  Also - pockets!  There is no reason to not place pockets in this dress, although the pattern doesn't have them.  If I wear it a lot I will likely add them into the side seams.


  1. Very nice! I love how well those colours all work together, and it looks great on you. :-) Nice to see this one made up - it's in my sewing queue as well, such an interesting pattern, so it was good to read about your experience with it!

  2. Thanks so much! It really was fun to make and there's a great thrill in seeing so many fabrics come together. I'm interested enough to consider a tunic version with a floaty main fabric at some point.

  3. your projects look so professional. someday I'll be the photobombing nurse!