Repair shop – Vogue V8555

This isn’t so much a repair as a gutting and dissection.

v8555It all started because I needed a nice dress. And by nice dress, I mean something a little more special than the sort of thing I’ll wear to work.  Thumbing through my closet, my stashed summer clothes, and the pile of ‘to be fixed’ I stumbled on it. Vogue V8555 version B.

I made this about five years ago to celebrate G.’s book being published (or actually we knew it was going to get published, we were celebrating the end of the writing). It was perhaps the 5th or 6th project I made as an adult and at the time it was a massive achievement – I was scared silly of doing the neckline.

I made it out of this gorgeous fabric I got on eBay. It is light weight and very soft. I’ve always loved the colors and the print. And so despite it not fitting since, lets be honest when I made it (and its only gotten smaller) – I never could bear to part with it.


So I needed to revamp it just a little (ok quite a bit). I tried it on the other night and while I can actually do the zipper up and the bust and upper back fit fine (perhaps I am even less well endowed than I was 5 years ago – or was that the padded bra era?). The main problem is everything below the boobs. A few years ago, in an effort to give myself a bit more breathing room I removed the dress’s skirt lining so that’s one less thing to worry about now I guess. Essentially I need to make more room in the side seams and back, problem is I did a pretty messy job with all the seams.

The first thing I did was rip out the very badly sewn in zipper (paving the way for a new invisible zip). This dress predates my introduction to invisible zippers. Once that was out, I decided I may as well just take out the back seam too. The process of taking out the zipper and seam revealed how terrible my accuracy was in sewing 5 years ago. It was beginning to dawn on me that this was going to be  a little more challenging than I initially thought.

Then I’ve quickly unpicked the hand stitching on the bottom of the midriff lining. After this was done, it was easy to see what lay next: I need to detach the skirt from the bodice and midriff.  Yikes the job keeps getting busier as I discover just how mess a job I originally did.

IMG_9896Once the skirt was off I realised what a terrible job I did on the skirt darts, which resulted in me loosing quite a lot of fabric. At this point it dawned on me that this is more of a dissection. The photo here is to help you all feel superior in your dart making. I hummed and hawed about whether I wanted to undo and redo all 8 darts. I slept on it and decided I had to. As you can see my darts were made with two rows of stitching – twice the unpicking!

Once these were out and the new darts were in I had another ‘fitting’ to see if the extra fabric I gained by properly putting in the darts was what I needed to make the dress fit. Close but no cigar.

My next move then was to carefully unpick the  midriff and midriff lining. I want to gradually  give extra room at the side seams from the top of the midriff – easier said than done without undo the seam joining the top of the midriff. Its not pretty but I’ve done it and redone the side seams of the skirt.

After that things went a bit quicker. Skirt attached to top. Lining of midriff hand sewn down. And the zipper put in!

Breath held – I went and tried it on and …. it fits! Pheww.

IMG_9897Its not perfect, there is a little to much that is skew-iffy with the original cut etc but it fits and it looks pretty good if you don’t look to closely. Because the fabric is so light weight if you look closley you can see the tiny need holesfrom the old seams.

I’ll post so proper photos of it later. Excellent E is coming over this afternoon to do my nails and makeup so I’ll do a real glamor shoot.





5 thoughts on “Repair shop – Vogue V8555

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  1. Really glad you managed to rescue this, the fabric is lovely! And while your earlier skills weren’t quite cutting it, isn’t it great to look back and see how far we’ve come? I’m frequently doing this myself too…


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