Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Sea of Silk


DSCN7240Look – photographic evidence that sometimes, just sometimes, the sun does shine in all its glory here.

More blue and I really mean true, royal, luscious, rich, deep, drown-in, indulgent blue crepe de chine. Thank you very much to those of you who commented out loud (or silently) that this is a good colour for me.

A bit (mind you, quite a bit) of silk crepe de chine was left over from the Donna Karan slip and of course, just absolutely and categorically,  had to be put to use.

Apparently, the dress I’m wearing today is the most popular pattern from Vogue this summer and here’s me, who thinks I’m above following fashion trends, but still apparently fell unconsciously into the trap….mind you, every version I’ve seen of this dress looks so unique that it would be difficult to say that they’re all from the same pattern.



Vogue 9253 – sort of a caftan dress but better: kimono cut on sleeves, high waist with ties, pleats rather than darts at front but darts at back, very deep V neckline, centre back zip, huge in-seam side pockets, any length you desire. My pattern description, not Vogue’s. 


Let’s start with what I didn’t do: centre zip was eliminated – more on this later; only one pocket added; deep V neckline not so deep.

What I did do: trimmed the neck edge with some cotton jersey instead of a narrow hem; raised V neck with some hand stitches; shortened the waist ties made in same cotton jersey; pocket opening/closure instead of zip; length of finished dress was determined by amount of available fabric and not the pattern skirt length.

There was no way on earth that I was going to put a zip into this ethereal silk but the waistline is somewhat fitted and really did need to be opened for dressing and undressing situations. Problem……..

Problem solved: the two pocket pieces were sewn top to top, trimmed down and sewn in the side seams as usual but all the way up to underarm.


The side seam and pockets were then sewn, creating a very large ‘pleat’; the pocket is the pocket and the above bit becomes a gusset.


A very useful hook and eye were then sewn to the waist seam to close the pleat, a bit of smoothing of the pocket to the inside and now I can get in and out of my dress without a zip. And if I hadn’t shown you this, you’d never know it was there.

I started one of those Instagram thingies. I’m not very good at it and am always forgetting to take photos along the way and any I have taken I haven’t added #.  Anyway, if you’d like to follow a very erratic and learner then here’s the name – ruthforrester.corecouture


If you’ve made this dress or are about to make it, McCalls are running a V9253 competition mccallpatterncompany Announcing the #v9253 contest! Featuring the hot dress pattern of the season. You could win $100 worth of fabric from @stylishfabric & $100 worth of new patterns! The competition is WORLDWIDE!


I probably won’t be entering the contest as most entries are made in fabulous prints or stripes but we all want new patterns and fabric, right?




36 thoughts on “Sea of Silk

  1. You’ve beaten me to it! And what a gorgeous inspiration your dress is too. I’ve got a wedding in September and that pattern is next up on my sewing table. The blue is lovely with your colouring and it really suits you. Can I ask about sizing? Was it your normal Vogue? Only need to worry about the bust and waist areas.

    • You know what Karen, I was just thinking that I would wear this to wedding – except I have no invitations…….sad….
      This is a Vogue size 12. I have lost a little weight recently and previously I cut a 14. While I say a ‘fitted’ waist, it’s not tight so there’s plenty of room for wearing. I’m guessing that the kimono sleeve design should accommodate bigger busts than mine too.
      Thank you.

  2. This looks amazing Ruth. Defiantly enter the comp. your is the best. I think a plain colour gives such drama rather than looking like a beach cover (most of them). As I said before – great hair.

    • At least in a solid colour the little details like the pleats and darts are more noticeable. Thanks for the support Kate.
      And yes, I love my hair too – easy to style and (hopefully) flattering .

  3. You’re right, the colour is fabulous on you. Beautiful dress. Hope you do enter the competition, I’m sure you’d do well.

  4. You are a bloody goddess in that dress Ruth

  5. Just lovely! I wouldn’t have realized you were using the same vogue pattern with the changes you made! Well done!

  6. Just little tweaks Sue but it makes this much more wearable in town and city and not just for beach/resort.
    Thanks so much.

  7. The blue is celestial and looks so good on you. Just a glorious garment. I hope you have many occasions to wear it. I’ve been eyeing the pattern and I’ll definitely get a copy since seeing your beautiful version. I agree with Kate. Enter the contest and win!

  8. The sun and you are both in all your glory. Fantastic dress – certainly competition worthy! I love the modifications.

    • Just makes this dress a little more wearable in the street Ellie. Thank you and I hope the sun shines brighter for the next few weeks, otherwise this one will be packed away until next year….

  9. that is absolutely gorgeous – love the color on you and a great fit. the fabric is dreamy, great choice. you look fantastic.

    • Gosh, thanks so much Beth, especially coming from you!
      I cannot compare to your impeccable techniques and fit but truly appreciate your comment.

  10. Gorgeous–in love with the sleeves and the color!

  11. Great dress, fabulous colour, nifty pocket trick. Get entered girl!

  12. VERY clever plan with the side/pocket/secret opening thing! ‘*bookmarked!’*

  13. Really stunning – a beautiful version of the pattern. Like you, I too am getting to grips with Instagram. I have started to follow you there and look forward to seeing your posts.

    Janice ( aka Seonaid 2 on IG)

    • Gosh Janice, I am such a beginner with this Instagram stuff and slightly embarrassed because I used to be at the cutting edge of computer technology way back in the 1980s . I’ll leave it to the next generation…… and stick to sewing.

  14. I really hadn’t realised this was the same dress pattern I’d been eyeing off for the Princess, you’ve made it extremely wearable. And precisely because there are so many patterned versions, yours stands out from the throng! Fantastic on you Ruth, good luck x

  15. Dreamy blue glory!

  16. Beautiful! I love solid saturated colours and it’s a great style. What a clever idea with the pocket too!

  17. Wow. The plain colour makes it more dramatic. Fabulous colour. I liked the pattern but thought the low neckline made it out of the question and raising it would be tricky. It’s really worked with just the hand stitching, no distortion at all. Are you thinking of going to the GBSB event? X

    • Thanks Mags – I’m not planning to be in England in Sept for GSSB. so probably won’t be there. Might be a wee bit of green cheese too – LOL!
      Com’on, you real and truly know that any pattern can be adapted/changed/altered to suit – so go for it and book that holiday to Capri…..

  18. The dress is stunning and the pocket trick fabulous! I say enter.

    • Apparently Susanne, when you put a # in front of a title it is automatically included in every Instagram post ever – honestly…I’m having a wee bit of an issue with such exposure.
      Thanks so much.

  19. You look absolutely glorious in this dress! Definitely a winner!!

  20. Oh my goodness, you have to enter this dress because it’s fabulous! And I love the pocket/gusset idea, that’s genius.

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