The “Aspirational Chanel” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: about 3 1/2 yards lightweight cotton jersey from Mood, $28
Pattern: Vintage Vogue 8728
Year: 1946/2011
Notions: fusible webbing tape for the shoulder seams (I think I should have used twill tape instead), tear away/water soluble stabilizer for the front neckline, both from stash
First worn: 11/17
Wear again: Yes, with a belt.  Or on a scorching hot summer day when a loose lightweight dress is perfect.
Time to complete: about 6 or 7 hours
Total cost: about $28

I love this theme!  I think I suggested it way back when– sorry, Tempest!– with tuxedo pants or a graphic color blocked dress in mind.  Those ideas asked too much of me this week, so I turned to this jersey fabric I bought recently.  I admit, it’s navy blue and white.  What can I say, it was what I had, and it has the high contrast that I love about using black and white together.  It was planned for a Tiramisu, but poor Steph has had some issues with the production of her first pattern for Cake, and I haven’t received it yet.  I don’t mind, since I’m not in a rush to make a summer dress, but I had to look for another pattern to use.  V8728, which I picked up after seeing Adey’s knit version last year, was a contender.  Barbara’s recent dress and the assurance from both Adey and Barbara that the pattern is easy cinched my decision.

The pattern was indeed lovely, and I ended up with a wearable muslin.  I went down a size since that seemed to work well for those who made it in a knit, but I really should have gone down another size overall and then some in the bodice.  I had to put shoulder darts in the back so it wouldn’t fall off.  Unfortunately, the fit seemed fine until I put it all together, which means I’d have to take it entirely apart and start over.  I’d rather just make a new dress.  Later I found that a belt helps a lot.

I also wish I had cut either the back and lower bodice (but not the yoke) or the skirt with lengthwise stripes.  I made a few sketches with the stripes going different ways, but when it came to cutting I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.  I just went with what was easiest.  And not very well.  My cutting layout was less than brilliant, to put it charitably.

Nevermind.  I’m glad to gain more experience with knits.  Also, I finally tried lapped seams, which I’ve always ignored in the few vintage patterns I’ve seen them in.  Yes, there’s a lot of basting to remove, but they’re not difficult and I like the look a lot.  Bring on the lapped seams.  Plus I received the greatest compliment when I wore the dress out– with a belt– Saturday night.  My friend said I looked just like Coco Chanel!  Granted, the bar was dim, the music good, and the mood happy.  Still, I’ll take it.

taking off the final layer

We took pictures in Prospect Park, where they’ve been removing tree limbs by the truckload the past couple weeks.  I have to make seasonally appropriate garments the rest of the year!



Lee is a highly educated stay at home mom with a lot of projects. She lives in New York City.


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  1. I went out and bought this pattern after Barbara raved about it, now I’m going to FOR SURE make it after your version! Wearable muslins are good, gives us motivaton to make another : ) I’m sorry to see the destruction Sandy has wrought on your part of the world, so glad you’re here and posting.

  2. Great dress Lee, Coco Chanel!! Yeah I’d go with that too, a wonderful compliment. I think you and knits are a winning combination and Yay for learning a new technique. Great job and your photos look fab.

  3. Isn’t that just the greatest pattern? I think I’ll make it again before the end of the year. But…I also found it a little on the large side. I love your stripped knit version, it’s super cute. I also thought a belt added a nice touch.

  4. I wasn’t sold on this pattern when I first saw the line illustrations, but I bought it after seeing Adey’s and Barbara’s versions as well. Now your version has put that pattern up my sewing queue. I like the stripes all going horizontally!
    Hope you neighbourhood is getting cleaned up quickly before the snowfall….

  5. I’ve heard such good things about this pattern, but have never thought of making it in knit. What an intriguing idea! Thank you for the inspiration!

  6. Thank you! The photos are getting better, aren’t they? A little more stage direction from me and ambition on my husband’s part. Still more challenging than sewing.

    On second thought, I AM going to fix this dress. I have just enough fabric to recut the back and the lower bodice. Now I just have to decide which way to make the stripes. The best part about using a knit is no zipper to fuss over. I’ve never been able to pass the Mena test in a woven dress.