Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Three Faces of Vogue 1515

Black Handkerchief Linen, Size B

Two prints, one cotton batik, and Nicole Miller poly print, Size A, smaller

Blue Oxford Cloth, a frankenpattern, collar changes

I could say I loved this pattern but I really loved the collar. My long, skinny neck has always made me a bit partial toward face framing types of necklines. This one was really fun to work with, the sizing, not so much. I will try to run through each of these and what I did to hopefully improve each one. You are seeing these in the order in which I made them, all within a few days. Pardon the baggy white pants. They will be taken in as soon as I am done here. I knew they were big but not that big!


The two sleeveless versions are Vogue 1515, a Sandra Betzina design. Her fit is for a more mature figure and I love that she is filling that void, much needed. And while I am definitely mature, I am shorter than her fit sloper and on the petite side so there are always challenges for me with her patterns. Eventually I got it all sorted out. I discussed my corrections in a previous post here and you can really see the differences above. . For the blue top I used Simplicity 1366 by Cynthia Rowley, my favorite designer. I like her simple, feminine take on clothing, youthful yet ladylike and pretty. This is a simple,  oversized,  dropped shoulder tee shirt. I made changes to the Betzina collar and imposed them onto the Rowley shirt. So comfortable and would be great in a knit for warmer weather. 

Issues with the pattern design? I thought it had, to me anyway, a "mushroom" effect around the neckline and it would have looked better with a smoother transition from the bodice to the gathering. This is all my personal taste, mind you, so just bear with me. I am sure others feel differently and certainly does Betzina. I liked the way the original black linen stayed "puffy" on the collar. The oxford cloth refused to do that so I just ironed it. I would have preferred it to have been softer. Originally I did not care for the slightly extended shoulder line but I was using the wrong size. Once it was made into the proper size for me it was fine and probably a bit more flattering to an older arm/shoulder. I like the hi-lo hem, not my usual opinion, and like it even better with the facing on the outside. 


My first poorly fitting effort was in a really nice black handkerchief linen. I love how it glows. It has been in the stash so long I have no idea where it came from.  Here you can see the french seams that I used on the linen first version.

The next version was made with a cotton batik from Joanns and for the facings, which I turned to the outside, I used a Nicole Miller poly print they featured last year. I really like the two together. It's a bit gaudy but it's me. You know I have no fear of color. This batik made realize that this pattern design really works up best in something with a bit of body, not a softer drape. I like the way the extra body makes the shape, if finally and properly fitted, it stands nicely away from the body. 

The third version is a blue oxford cloth, again something in the resources forever. It is just kind of a limp fabric but that's OK on a 90 plus degree day like today.  This collar actually looks pretty good and quite different turned down as well and more on that in a bit. The label is serving a function. More on that, too!

I think all these fabric choices work well. I can see this with the Rowley pattern working well in a knit and I can see the original sleeveless version being quite nice and cozy in a warm boiled wool or minky for the winter. 


Many of the construction issues on the black linen version were discussed in a previous post. I pinked and stitched the facing edges and did French seams. The pinking treatment help keep the bulk from transferring through when ironing. I hate it when that happens on linen and this worked well. I am liking this vintage technique more and more lately. 

Here you can see a bit of what I mean about the mushroom effect from the seamline to the gathering. It's fine in the front but on the bodice back it looks a bit oddly puffy to my tastes, and again, that's just my taste. 

Hems and facings on the linen were just stitched in and edgestitched. 

Facings on the two print version were interfaced by stitching right side of interfacing to right side of facing and then turning, making sure I rolled the edge a bit. The interfacing, a fusible, was then pressed into place and the unit treated as one. This gave a nice finished edge to the facing which was then stitched in and turned to the public side of the garment and topstitched. 

On the blue blouse, I superimposed the bodice from Vogue 1515 matching the shoulder seams over the Rowley pattern. I then placed a piece of Saral tracing paper under the two and drew in the Vogue neckline onto the Rowley fabric. That is where I cut. 

Now to have some fun with the collar. I wanted to try a deeper collar and made it 12 and a half inches wide in the blue version. That would then be folded in half. 

I changed the stitching line for the gathering elastic to 2 5/8ths from the cut edge of the folded collar. I had figured out a much easier way to put this collar in than the way spec'd in the pattern, much closer to the edge.  I marked that  2/ 5/8ths line all around and you can see it in the yellow. 

*fold the collar in half. 
*Match cut edges.
*Mark at 2 5/8ths.
*Right below the mark stitch a line. I used a triple zigzag stitch just for fun. 
*Stitch another about 3/8ths inch above the previous stitching.

Now it gets a bit gnarly. I cut two tiney slits either side of the back collar seam on the inside of the collar and then ran through 1/8th inch elastic. I tried on the top and figured out where I wanted the elastic to be tied off. I knotted it with a tight square knot and snipped the excess off. Then I sealed the slits with Fray Bloc. This later got covered  with my label which you can see in one of the above pictures. So now, instead of having a collar sewn and then turned to the inside and sewn again and then having to stretch them out and topstitch, yikes..... I have both side of the collar being attached at the same time. I stitched them on the machine and finished them off with the serger. far, far easier method. So basically, fold  you collar in half and use both edges to sew the collar onto the bodice and call it a day! 

I did a lot of topstitching on these tops that was not specified in the patterns but I think gave it a bit more finesse. On the blue the hems were topstitched in as well but not edgestitched. 

In Conclusion:

I had a ball facing the challenges this design presented and I think I did a pretty good job of overcoming them. I highly recommend this pattern. I would recommend placing the gathering line closer to the bodice seam and ditch stitching from the shoulder to the gathering  and at the collar center back to eliminate the mushroom effect. I would also try this in fabrics with a bit of body for the sleeveless versions for a better fit/hang. If you decide on trying the frankenpattern, I would suggest a knit for a really nice sweater version. All in all, this was fun and I have some great wearable results. I hope you agree and thanks for bearing with me through this long detailed post. I hope you enjoyed.........Bunny


  1. You always inspire! Your finished product here is a study in versatility. My skills have rusted a bit and I keep considering jumping into garment sewing again. I have been quilting almost exclusively for years because age and weight changes make fitting a chore. Your determination is admirable and I hope to catch-the-bug- via computer :) Thanks for the technique shares as well.

    1. Oh, I do hope you rejoin the fold. Your skills will come back. Quilting is fun and I did a lot when my kids were young. But I had more ideas than speed and found that frustrating in the end. Besides, my true love has always been garment sewing. There is much out there to help you along your fitting journey. Don't let age and weight stop you. You might want to check out some of the classes on Craftsy, or is it now called Blueprint? Susy Furrer gets particularly rave reviews. Good luck and I hope you rejoin the clan. Glad you enjoyed the techniques.

  2. Lovely garments, all three. It must be the pose and/or camera angle, as the black linen looks smaller than the multi-color. Maybe it’s the old saying about black being slimming? At any rate, I love the brilliant colors on V1.2, as I’m like a crow and all things bright I flock to. The topstitching on V1.0 is especially beautiful, and I love the deep hems. V1.3 is my least favorite in terms of design, but I’m betting it’s VERY comfortable. By the way, I love detailed posts, so thank you. Oh, and I like the pants, too. That’s exactly how I prefer mine to fit. 😀. Can’t wait to see what you make next.

    1. Thanks, Nurse Bennett. The black version has those large pleats under the arms to help make it fit so maybe that's contributing to the illusion. Thanks for your comments.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your process to create this lovely and unique series of tops! I've been on a run with linen lately - my new crush :) and making up a few light weight jumpers. I came across an old Kwik Sew pattern from the '80's I believe that is just lovely. I've found Sandra's top patterns a serious challenge to fit (her pants patterns are best!) I haven't tried any of Cynthia's designs but I've often admired them.

  4. OMG the print one!!! Swooooon!
    Three unique and lovely tops - winning!

  5. Even those these lovely tops would be exactly the wrong look for me (short thick neck), this kind of post is EXACTLY why I adore your blog and your writing. Full of nuggets of sewing gold. Pinking the linen to avoid ironing show through=love. I will pin this and review it again and again. I
    am so glad you are back!

  6. The batik version is just gorgeous! Thank you for the facing photos and technique! You look so happy standing out there in nature and so healthy too. Your inspirations has really ramped up after your move and absence. Maybe it is because you have such a good sewing room full of potential!


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