Friday, 3 January 2014

Victory Nicole

Victory Patterns' Nicola has always been there, just hovering under my radar - woven wrap dress, cute petal sleeves, convertible to top and skirt combo, named after me (no, not me, it is a beautiful story though)
 - how could it not be on my sewing wishlist!

When Kristiann visited Melbourne in November & I realised just how delightful & talented she was, I had another look, then Yoshimi posted her version and my DH commented on how lovely it was & that it would look lovely on me too - and that I could have it for Christmas, AND then there was Kristiann's pattern anniversary sale, well… who was I to resist!

My version looks a little different from the previously blogged versions as I made a design feature that converted Nicola into Nicole.

Thinking "is there salt on the lens & is this wind going to blow the skirt open again…"
I did my research on the inter webs - I do love seeing everyone make up their versions. It's so wonderfully inspiring as well as being an excellent source of information on how we've all found the process, how different patterns work in different fabrics and what fitting adjustments we make.

I made a muslin by tracing my bodice pattern onto non-woven interfacing, sewing it together with darts & marking all my preferred changes. I was even very good with Nicola and stitched over my new pattern markings so they wouldn't vanish (pens were being a tad light).

This process gave me a new bodice that fitted and confirmed that I definitely wanted to use the soft floaty rayon rather than a stiffer light cotton for my first Nicola. I have a lovely collection of knit & woven RTW wrap dresses & I really wanted this one to not require a slip or singlet in summer. - And I opted not to line the skirt for the same fluidity/lightweight floatiness.

I was unsure about interfacing the bodice facings - even though I chose whisper weft, a very light & drapey woven iron on interfacing - the rayon has a rippled effect that is definitely not designed to be ironed out (iron steam & heat makes it even more pronounced). I wasn't confident enough to use self fabric bias strips, or maybe straight grain strips - I'd love to hear your thoughts, as at this stage, I will be using bias strips next time to keep the fluidity of the neckline.

Yes, definitely sea spray on the lens
It fitted beautifully when it was allowed to stretch into my bodice curves, but the interfacing held the facing from my body and it gaped as well as wanting to flip
out ;(

So…. I flipped the facings out (I'd already topstitched them) & remodelled the rest of the now too loose bodice to fit ;)
It doesn't gape and I like the vintage influenced blousey silhouette! It's now a Nicole rather than a Nicola - I'll make a Nicola soon ;)
Details of the flipped facing & non gapeage

Details: (Pattern Review)
Nicola Dress from Victory Patterns: Beginner. Nicola features feminine floral detailing throughout with a tulip skirt and petal sleeves. The wrap dress secures with buttons, which allows for pairing with your favorite belt. Make this dress out of a solid fabric or mix contrasting fabrics together. A second style option includes a waist length wrap blouse with a sash closure that ties into a bow

  • I really appreciated having the finished garment measurements clearly in the instructions. I was tempted to grade over 3 sizes, but made a size 6 bodice, grading out to an 8 at the waist & 8 skirt.
  • My finished bodice doesn't resemble my pattern piece anymore, but I did extend the front opening 2cm to raise the closure so I didn't have to wear a slip underneath. My closure point compared to the drafted pattern is marked above. I also left the three darts as open darts, 3cm shorter than drafted, but with my change to the closure silhouette, they're no longer in the right place, or length.
  • I extended the underneath layer of the petal skirt so that it closed at my side waist, enabling a 'modesty panel' for sitting and walking.
  • Other variations (besides the external facings) included not lining the skirt - instead it's a double turned hem from Victory pattern's tutorial 
  • The length is unchanged from the pattern, I did consider shortening it, however the extra fabric helps with sitting down without a napkin (or dachshund) on my lap.
  • and I dropped the underarm seam to the pattern notch (well, a cm or so under it…) which simplified the sleeve setting in process, and feels much more comfortable with my forward shoulders.
  • I attached the front bodice to the skirt with a technique I've used lately on my Vintage 1946 McCalls 6470 and Swing Dress, which is essentially topstitching as a seam. It helped me immensely with my solo fitting of the bodice to the skirt as I didn't have to move all the pins/basting to get right sides together & potentially misalign a dart/fold.
The obligatory straight on de-armed shot ;)
and in the interest of sewing knowledge,
the extended underskirt in a head wind


  1. Go you! This is lovely :) Your fabric is beautiful & I think it was a good call to leave the length as is- the skirt has has a pretty shape at this length

  2. Thanks Jenny ;) It's just such a pretty silhouette of a dress. I am glad I left the length as well ;)

  3. Renee //nearestthepin5 January 2014 at 00:43

    Wow, this looks lovely! Very inspiring. The fabric you've chosen is divine :)

  4. Thanks Renee ;) I've just noticed on your blog that your local fabric shop stocks rayon, so I might venture past for a look…. - I do hope it wears ok as it feels delightful on and was lovely to sew.

  5. Gorgeous! I think wrap dresses are very difficult to fit in general so your tweaking was wonderful, it fits you beautifully.

  6. Thank you so much Catja ;) I do love wrap dress, but hadn't tried a woven one before - and speaking of classic wraps, I really must get my paws on DVF 1549 one day! ;)

  7. Looks wonderful! I love what you did to change the facings, great idea. I had forgotten how they have a tendency to flip out. Even though the fit on my wasn't perfect, I do tend to wear it often. The sleeves are just too fun to resist!

  8. HI, I found your blog via your comment on my Maria Denmark dress the other day.
    First of all, love this dress on you, and love this pattern. Now I'll just have to go and check out Victory Patterns.
    Second of all, I am also the owner of a somnolent dachshund - standard black and tan male called Dash (yep, we were inspired naming him) who could sleep for Australia. On the softest thing available. Love dachshunds. Yours looks like a harlequin miniature or midi - am I right?
    I've followed your blog. Look forward to seeing more of your creations and more of your dachshund.

  9. Hi Paola, Dachshsewists of the world unite! Mac's a shaded red mini, he's getting much lighter as he ages - he definitely was all marsupial shades of brown with black tips as a puppy and has a rather distinctive white chest & neck, is that Harlequin? we just knew it was the reason we could have him! and his preferred position at all times is dreaming on a lap ... I even named him after the short and long coffee Macchiato, but that didn't wake him ;)

  10. Thanks Carrie - I agree, it is so much fun to wear! And I want to put petal sleeves on everything now! ;)

  11. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.com12 January 2014 at 02:38

    Oh this is beautiful. Really suits you. Was it hard to sew with the fabric looks so fluid? Great make.

  12. Thanks Louise. I really enjoyed sewing with the rayon as it's a drapey woven, but not slippery or stretchy. ;) ,and I'm loving wearing it - I just hope it wears well as it feels fragile compared to a stronger cotton.

  13. Lovely lovely dress. I really like how you turned the facings out. Very clever and looks good too.

  14. This is lovely. I wasn't sure about the shape but you've convinced me this would be a beautiful dress to wear. Love the work you've done so it doesn't gape.

  15. Thank you ;) I'm really enjoying it - it is delicious to wear and the bodice is wonderfully secure

  16. Thank you - I love it when a 'design feature' works!! ;)

  17. Gabrielle Corbett11 May 2014 at 05:39

    Why didn't I comment when you first posted this? Now that I've popped over from the MMM14 Flickr pool I remember it - and remember thinking how lovely it was then! It's such a pretty dress and I'm really glad to see it works with another later, This is definitely going on my "to sew" list!


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