A very ambitious V9186

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Just when I was beginning to feel a bit deflated sewing-wise (see last post) the perfect project to pick me up landed in a nice parcel on the doorstep. When Lucy from Sew Essential got in touch last month to see if I'd like to make something using their supplies, I was on a shirt-making high post-Ralph Pink Sahara Shirt, so this heavily influenced my pattern and fabric choice. I'm feeling very much back in the game thanks to the Vogue 9186 (and Lucy!):

The finished V9186  
I sometimes struggle to see past the cover versions with the big 4 pattern companies, and although I'm not 100% on the two options here, the details of the dress intrigued me. The mandarin collar I already know I love (see again, my Sahara Shirt edit), but it's the cool silhouette that the elasticized waist provides that really sold it. I've also never felt confident enough to brave plackets, button holes and general shirty techniques in the past, so I feel like picking this pattern is a HUGE marker of just how far my sewing's come in the last few years.
Vogue 9186
The pattern lists cotton and linen among its suggested fabrics, but I erred against this and went for a beautiful John Kaldor Prestige mid-weight crepe, in gun metal grey. Drape is pretty key to most of my makes, and particularly with this dress, I wanted to achieve the cool shape but with more movement than a cotton could give. It really was the perfect choice to compliment both the pattern, and flatter my shape with an easy, flowing fit.

Drowning in fabric!
I opted for view B (with long sleeves), but stalled a bit when it came to cutting the fabric. There are some totally crazy pattern pieces, both in size and shape, and nearly all pieces require cutting out on a single layer of fabric, rather than on the fold. This is fine when you have a large sewing space or cutting table, but the pieces barely fitted across the living room floor! I waited till I had the flat to myself, and took the plunge. Beware there are lots of tailor tacks and markings to transfer too, so it's pretty time consuming - I thought I'd never see the carpet again!


It was a fairly meaty project right from the start - slashing the front pattern piece and sewing a covered button placket is the first bit of the make - and the sewing took me a whole weekend (when I say whole I mean WHOLE)! I hadn't made a regular button placket till last month, never mind a covered one, but I really enjoyed the precision required to make it come together. And from the outset, I'd been expecting the elasticized casing to be really difficult, but it was actually one of the easiest bits!

End of day 1 progress
To say I had initially been intimidated by the number of steps from start to finish, I managed to follow the instructions with ease and at a decent pace. I'd completed everything apart from the sleeves and hem at the end of day 1. Making the sleeves the next day took agessssss. Whilst some of my top stitching isn't as neat as it could be, it was a fun challenge and I'd still rate them as a decent first attempt - I'm hopeful for future sleeves!

First sleeve placket!
Finished sleeve detail, featuring AMAZING buttons from Textile Garden
My only niggle with the pattern is that the sleeves seemed way too big for the armhole, and were really difficult to ease in. In hindsight, I don't think there should have been much ease at all as they bubble up from the drop-shouldered seam, where they should lied flat. I guess it sort of looks intentional when you take into account the rest of the dress, so lets just say its a design feature...

Side detail
At that point I had to take a break - does anyone else start to dislike projects for no rational reason other than you're tired from spending so much time on them? I came back to it with fresh eyes, quite literally when it came to adding the buttons (ho ho, sorry terrible pun). The amazing eye buttons are from Textile Garden - thanks Marilla Walker for the recommendation! - and I think they're perfect for the quirky feel of the dress. I skipped the decorative button at the collar and just opted for a snap fastening instead. Finally, I finished the dress with a narrow hem on the advice of the pattern, and I really thought I'd struggle with the curved edge, but it turned out great. More narrow hemming in future!

Back view
The asymmetric side of the dress has turned out a little longer on me than how it looks on the pattern (I'm 5ft 6") but I'm really happy with it. It also has a pocket on the shorter side, which feels a bit pointless so I'd probably skip it in future. Otherwise I'd change very little if I made it again, apart from putting a bit more work into setting the sleeve in smoothly.


In short, I LOVE the finished dress! The fabric was easy to work with and I'd definitely use it again for any project that requires a good drape - luckily there are plenty of colours to choose from! The pattern requires a lot of attention to detail (there's a fair bit of topstitching), so it's maybe not for the impatient or those looking for a quick win, but it's a great sew for slowing down and investing time in practicing some more challenging techniques. I can totally see how people get hooked on shirt making now! For some other cool versions see Alex's and Eli's.

Thanks Sara for taking pictures (it was pretty windy if you couldn't already tell)!
Thank you to Sew Essential for spurring me on and picking me up out of my sewing lull with some fab supplies. I have 3 more shirt/shirt dresses in the queue, so no stopping me now! Check out the Sew Essential blog for inspiration, tips and tricks, and the website for all of your sewing needs. 

Stay in touch!

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16 comments

  1. OH...this is a fun make! I like the quirkiness of the pattern, although I'd have to make the hemline more symmetrical {I recently discovered that asymmetry at the hemline feels odd for me; but I still love the look on others!} I'd also keep the pocket, LOL!

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    1. Thank you Sue! It's my first asymmetric hem and I actually really like it :) Definitely feels a bit strange to wear and walk in though, like 'hey where's the rest of my dress?!' haha! x

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  2. It looks amazing. I love anything asymmetric and the fabric and colour are great. Well done.

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    1. Thank you! Really pleased with how it turned out, and loving the colour (I naturally gravitate towards black, so it's nice to try something a bit different)!
      x

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  3. Very Chic Shauni. Love the monochromatic way you styled it too. Great dress!!

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    1. Thanks Roxanne! I love it with the boots, though it's a bit trickier to find a coat/jacket to work with because of the asymmetric hem. I guess there's always the option of making one to match... :)

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  4. looks brilliant and the crepe drapes perfectly!

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    1. Thank you! Really happy I picked a crepe - definitely suits me more than a cotton :)

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  5. I prefer yours to the model's on the pattern. I like how yours doesn't cinch in at the waist. Was this intentional or just how it worked out? Yours is a lot looser, I prefer it like that and I love how yours drapes.

    I'm really hoping that when I make one it looks like yours rather than the pattern cover. So I think I'll use the exact same fabric as you.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment! The elastic casing only goes half way around the waist so it's meant to hang quite loose, though I think the line drawing gives the impression that it will be a bit more cinched. I'm really happy with it as it is luckily! And using crepe was so good for getting a decent drape - I would definitely recommend it as the perfect fabric :) Would love to see yours when you've made it! xx

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  6. I think you've done a great job on this and I probably wouldn't have considered this pattern but now I am tempted!

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    1. Thanks Manju! I think I had to look past the cover versions a little to consider it myself, but so glad I did. Would definitely recommend! x

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  7. This looks spectacular! I'm tempted to give it a go myself.

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    1. Thank you Sam! I'd definitely recommend the pattern - so glad I gave it a try :) x

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  8. So avante garde! Great fabric choice for it!

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    1. Thank you! I love the fabric - it works perfectly for the pattern and is so nice to wear :) x

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