Vogue 1159 is out-of-print, but still available at the BMV website (and possibly elsewhere).
I bought it years ago in a fit of inspiration, but was overwhelmed and intimidated by the reviews. Mismatched notches! One giant confusing pattern piece! Not enough stretch in the fabric! No adjustments possible! Sewing the whole thing backwards! Can't comprehend finished product until the final step!
All of these things are true, of course. The weight of pattern reviews is rarely wrong. Just google "Vogue 1159 review", and you'll see what I mean.
HOWEVER. I have decided to ignore my inner voice saying "You're barely more than beginner level! You really really need a full bust adjustment!" My fabric and thread for this project cost about NZ$15. Given that the current Donna Karan Vogue pattern retails for about £1000, I feel that this is a very reasonable price. Worst case scenario, an unwearable dress.
I went into this knowing that the pattern was a PITA for almost all that attempted it. I certainly wasn't game to try an FBA on the incomprehensible pattern piece. Given the high stretch of my fabric (poly spandex crepe knit), I just graded out from a 14 at what I think was the top to a 16 at the hips - i.e. my usual Vogue sizes.
The instructions were confusing. I'm not that easily confused, and I'm a thorough (re)reader. There are only three pattern pieces - one is clearly the upper back, one is clearly the lining, and the other piece was called "front and back". I'm sure this made the confusion worse, because saying things like "sew the notched edge to the front and back" sounds quite different to "sew the notched edge to the main pattern piece". The first sounds like you'll be sewing it twice!
|Note the bit of lining peeping through the middle. Also the low armhole.|
There is a LOT of hand-basting and many tailor's tacks. Do them though, it makes it easier to put together (except for the mismatched notches). The only change I made to the instructions was that I didn't sew the top sashes together until after I'd finished the dress and tried it on. This gave me the opportunity to redistribute the gathers over my (larger) bustline, and then I just tacked them in place.
|Where the three seams joined at the back is a bit off. I should have pulled this down properly over my butt, too.|
I've now got a bit more sewing confidence, as this was my first Vogue designer pattern. I like the end result, and now I've got a stylish dress for any occasion.