Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vogue 2920 Donna Karan draped top red silk brocade

10/23/06 3:40 AM
Last Updated:10/23/06 3:49 AM
Pattern Size:Regular
Project Photo:photo
Pattern Photo:

Pattern Information provided by Ann Smith

Pattern Rating:Recommended, but with modifications

I fell in love with this Donna Karan design when I saw Meryl Streep wearing it in "The Devil Wears Prada". Vogue came out with the pattern right away and I snapped it up. I didn't think I would really make it but that it would join my vast pattern collection. One evening I happened to take the instructions with me for some bed time reading and was amazed at the structure of this garment. The photo on the pattern envelope is so dark that the details can't be seen very well. The line drawing is better of course but who knew that there is self-fringe used. Also the big floppy flower is part of the collar that wraps around and not just added on. The collar is not attached to the top of the sleeves. The sleeves and upper back have elastic inserted at the top. Anyway, I became intrigued and decided to plunge into this project, as I sometimes do, out of curiosity and pure love of sewing. I did not really think this would be a real garment I could wear.

Pattern Description: Vogue's description: Close-fitting jacket has pleated front with front band, princess seams, fronts are draped around shoulders and back forming a flower at right shoulder, two-piece sleeves, self-fabric fringe and topstitching trim. There are also pants included with flared leg, side front slanted pockets, button tab, yoke with front welt pocket, invisible zipper and back tabs with button trim.

Pattern Sizing: The sizing is AX (4-6-8), C (10-12-14) or F (16-19-20). I chose size C so that I could combine size 10 at the shoulders and 14 at the sides.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? More or less.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions are amazing. This is a very complex garment which must have been designed by draping. I can't imagine any other way it could have been conceived. Somehow Vogue managed to translate the construction into a 11 piece pattern with 73 steps to construct! Yes, 73 steps (and that's with no lining). All accurate with good drawings to illustrate. The only error I found was not in the instructions but on the envelope back where it describes the fabrics to use. It says Moderate Stretch Knits only: Stretch wool crepe, stretch wool flannel and stretch men's suiting. Obviously those fabrics are not knits so that is misprint.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the design and the uniqueness of it plus the challenge/puzzle of working on it. I disliked the amount of time it took considering I may never wear it. I disliked that it was not possible to tell how well it would fit until about step 60. It was very confusing at times to tell what was what since the huge amount of fabric draping around the shoulders and extending out about 3 feet for the flower is not attached to the back until almost the end. Very hard to try on in any meaningful way.

It is a bit uncomfortable to wear as the sleeves fall down the arm (they are not attached to anything) making it hard to lift your arm. I found that if I pin the top of the sleeve front to my bra that it stays up better. I see in the photo that it is falling down causing bunching at the front of the arm and a too-low underarm. Also the draping is rather unstable and needs a lot of fussing to have it be just right. I see a place on the front that isn't quite right. So if I wear it it will be to some occasion that I just need to stand around and not do anything. Hmmm, I think I may have an event near Christmas that is like that.

Fabric Used: Red/black stretch brocade from my stash.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: The main change I did was at the end when it was almost done and I could finally try it on. I didn't like how it looked on me across the front. The right draped across almost horizontally and was widening. I changed the placement of the hooks and eyes so that the right side lapped much lower with a stronger diagonal line. This made the right bottom edge drop much lower so I took 2 inches off the corner to bring it back closer to the original look.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Of course I won't sew it again but I would recommend it to those of you who like the style and want a challenge. Making the fringe was time consuming and could be eliminated if desired. The most challenging part was at step 72 and 73 just when I thought I was almost done. Step 72 states "roll flower, adjusting gathers as desired. Using a heavy duty thread, sew gathered edges together as you roll." That sounds so innocent. This took hours to achieve. I think this is the only time I've had to put a project on my dressform to figure out what to do. Even then I almost decided to whack that flower off because it looked so ridiculous. Then step 73 says "tack folds of drape in place at intervals." This means all those drapes across the back, shoulders, front, need little hand stitches to stay in place. Hours.

Conclusion In spite of the difficulties I enjoyed working on this. It involved very different construction techniques than usual, some quite couture.

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