The Aurora Australis dress

I dream of seeing either of the auroras and although sometimes the Southern Lights can be seen from here in Wellington, they are difficult to view with the naked eye and so I will make do with this dress.

The pattern is Vogue 1499, an Anne Klein design. It’s described as a cap sleeve dress with a full pleated skirt, with some pieces cut on the cross-wise grain. I decided with this fabric I couldn’t cut it on the cross-wise and so those pieces I cut on the grain. The side pieces are still on the bias to show the design.

The fabric is a cotton from Made Marion Craft here in Wellington. It was a wee bit narrow for the front skirt pieces, but I managed to piece the skirt corners so it’s not really visible. Check out this, I am the master of pattern matching!

I had to make some changes to the bodice. I thought they would be easy to deal with but actually caused a fair amount of frustration! There is a small bust dart on the seam down the side fronts. This dart I needed to lower. Then it was too big around the waist and had to take it in at the waist. I’d already graded in at the waist, but it still needed taking in, it also needed lengthening. Then obviously this meant the skirt pleats needed a bit of adjustment.

The skirt doesn’t have pockets, so I used my in seam pocket pattern piece which I use for such occasions! I now has pockets!

I umm-ed and ahh-ed whether to line the dress. I rarely bother when it’s a beautiful cotton like this, but I had this fine cotton voile (bought sometime in the dim and distant past) in my stash, it’s perfect for lining this. I still need a slip in the winter, cotton clings to tights! The pattern instructions state to line the sleeves, then attach them to the shell of the bodice. The bodice lining then has to be slip stitched at the armhole. I think if the sleeves are left unlined and attached to the shell/lining, then it would be possible to stitch the whole thing and turn it the right way. It was too late for me to try this. Fortunately I don’t mind hand sewing…

The pattern also asks for an invisible zipper. I didn’t have one in stash, so I’ve inserted a lapped zip and added a hook and eye at the top.

The deets
Fabric:  Shell – cotton from Made Marion Craft, Dec 2016; Lining – cotton voile from stash 🙂
Notions:  Thread, dress zip and hook and eye, and tape for the neckline.
Pattern:  Vogue 1499, an Anne Klein design, size 18 for bust, graded to 14/16 at the waist
Changes made:  Lowered the darts, took in the waist more, added pockets, used a lapped zip and lengthened the skirt by about an inch. I also added tape to the neckline since it gaped somewhat (not really a change, but…)

Another one/recommendations:  It’s actually a really nice pattern. I love this dress and it’s going to get a lot of wear. The fabric means that it doesn’t look out of place in the winter with tights and boots. It’s actually a relatively quick make, it’s just because I made changes with the bodice that my make took more time. I would definitely recommend adding pockets, why would you not? They certainly don’t take a lot to put in and this pattern can take them. I need to add a waist stay now, that . Those side panels are not quite on the bias, but enough to mean they stretch and make that waistline bigger. Mine has already stretched after a couple of wears.

Sandra took these photos at Waiterere Beach, about an hour and a half north of Wellington, just this last weekend. It’s winter, but the sun was shining and it was beautiful out, but that sea was cold!! Brr!

As an aside, the cardigan is another Liola Patterns Molly Cardigan. Black cardigans are so useful and I love my brown version, so decided to make another using some merino which was in my stash. I made this black version exactly like the brown one here, so cutting a size XL and shortening the sleeves by about an inch and a half. I certainly love this cardigan and the shape. I wonder if I should make some more? 😉






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