Cocktail Hour – Vogue 1484 and a GIVEAWAY!

Club Tropicana drinks are free; fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone …

I haven’t managed to get Wham out of my head since finishing this dress! After the success of last year’s Big Vintage Sewalong, I was delighted to be asked to take part in the Cocktail Hour blog series, once again raising money for the Eve Appeal. The Eve Appeal is a charity raising awareness of, and funding research into, the five gynaecological cancers, and every Cocktail Hour pattern purchased this year sees a donation going directly to the Appeal. Making a cocktail dress (and a cocktail!) for a good cause? No need to ask twice.

Out of the 20 patterns to choose from, one jumped out at me from the get-go: Zandra Rhodes’ Vogue 1484. It just looks so fun! It’s quite funny really that of all the patterns on offer it’s the closest in design to the vintage pattern I selected for last year’s sewalong; I clearly have a narrower taste spectrum than I usually imagine. I adore the organza yoke with its cute little pointed collar and unusual armhole and sleeve bindings, and that pointed skirt hem.

The dress requires up to four different fabrics – two for the contrasting body panels, another for the collar and sleeve bindings and finally an organza for the bodice yoke and sleeves. I spent weeks scratching my head over fabric choices, initially considering satins, dupions and brocades. But none of these offered complementary prints and plains. I was at my wit’s end when John Lewis of all places came to the rescue with this sensational John Kaldor printed cotton. Brocade-brain that I have, I hadn’t even considered cotton. But as soon as I saw this, and the rows of plain cottons close by, I knew I had my fabrics. I was especially pleased as obviously Zandra Rhodes is ALL about the bright colours!

I have a bit of a thing for underlining at the moment, and so to give the soft cottons some body I underlined all the dress panels with a plain white cotton. This is obviously a hot weather outfit, so to keep things cool and breathable the dress is lined in cotton voile. London has turned on the sunshine these past few days so I’m currently feeling pretty smug: I have made something I can wear RIGHT NOW. At least until normal UK weather service resumes.

The organza is a nude poly from the Tooting Craft Superstore. I have to admit I was momentarily surprised that the instruction booklet provides no advice on stitching and stabilising the organza, particularly around the zip – I guess I’ve been spoilt by all the hand-holding offered by the indies! Anyway I tried to strengthen the zip area with slender strips from the organza selvage.

I also found the sizing rather off on this pattern. I’ve put on a bit of weight lately so was careful to grade and cut the sizes that the finished measurements indicated I should fit, namely a size 12 at the bust graded down to a 10 elsewhere. (The sizing chart itself put me in the 12–14 range.) I toiled and hey ho, whaddya know: one pretty capacious muslin.  So I decided to go with a straight size 10 overall and take in the seams where needed. I shortened the dress along the shorten lines but the yoke was still far too long (or deep?) – I took probably an inch off the base of the yoke just to ensure the main bodice sits high enough to cover a bra(!). This inevitably shrunk the armholes but (and I don’t have small arms) without any problematic consequences; I simply had to ease a little additional fullness in the sleeve heads. The size 10 now fits nicely but is far from snug; I could/should probably have graded down to a size 8 or even 6 at the waist, where there’s still plenty of ease.

I know I’ve written about this before but I find it intriguing how I see myself drawn to muted tonal outfits on other women, and then keep returning to wild brights when choosing for myself. Why is it that we generally associate neutral colours with maturity and sophistication? Am I just not ‘growing up’? (My intense feelings about small animals, celebrity crushes, inability to look at my bank balance without a buddy present, and basically entire inner monologue would suggest YES.) Will I ever switch out hot pink for ‘champagne’ and ‘camel’? Will I EVER say no to a cocktail?

Vogue 1484 Thumblenina upper body

Um, no.

Anyway… If you would like to win a copy of Vogue 1484 all you need to do is leave a comment below! I’ll close the competition at midday on Friday 2nd June, and announce the randomly picked winner then. It’s a fantastic design that I think will make a fantastic winter dress too… And don’t forget that we’re only halfway through this fabulous vodka-fuelled sewalong, so keep your eyes peeled for #sipandsew posts and the following bloggers:

10. Jen Sanders, Gingerella
9th June

11. Charlotte Powell, English Girl at Home
23rd June

12. Elisalex de Castro Peake, By Hand London
7th July

13. Kerry Patterson, Kestrel Makes
21st July

14. Gabby Young, Gabberdashery
4th August

15. Abigail Norton, Sew Abigail
18th August

16. Karen Ball,Did You Make That?
1st September

17. Rachel Wain, Rach Against The Sewing Machine
15th September

18. Elle Harris, Sew Positivity
29th September

19. Rachel Pinheiro, House of Pinheiro
6th October

20. Amy Thomas, Almond Rock
13th October

21. Jane Marland, Handmade Jane
20th October

22. Jennifer Walker, Ginger Thread Girl
27th October

23. Marie Koupparis, A Stitching Odyssey
3rd November

24. Elena Rosa Brown, Randomly Happy
10th November

25. Laura Clarke, Sew for Victory
17th November

26. Janene Spencer, Ooobop
24th November

And on a final note, the cocktail really does taste yummy. I had two, just to help with the, ahem, ‘modelling… By the end my cheeks were starting to match my collar! x
cocktail hour - eve appeal



11 thoughts on “Cocktail Hour – Vogue 1484 and a GIVEAWAY!

  1. I’m completely with you on the admiring neutrals and then buying wild patterns thing. Having just finished a beautiful mood board full of navy and camel I’ve just started sewing myself a shirt covered in bright pink flamingos. And I love it 🙂


  2. I love your finished dress and I am always drawn to bright colours. I was sitting in a management meeting at work last week wearing my pineapple shirt when they introduced a new manager……she was very grown up looking and wearing head to toe black!! I kept wondering what she must have thought of my odd dress sense! Now the sun has come out my clothes are getting even brighter!


  3. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.


    1. Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment – you have actually won the pattern! Yay! Anyway please email me your postal address to nina.chang at 🙂 x


  4. You look great! I love the pink and the green, also the organza – so pretty. As you say the sleeve is an interesting design. I didn’t notice the pointed hemline at first until I read the blog ~ I’m feeling inspired to go and sew!


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