Vogue 1501: the dream of the 90’s is alive in Bellville Sassoon

the pattern: 

Vogue 1501, a Vogue Designer Original from Bellville Sassoon, copyright 1994 Butterick Company Inc. 


A long long time ago, before I met my husband, I had a job in a bookstore. The bookstore stocked a bunch of foreign-language fashion magazines, which no one ever bought, so at the end of every month the bookstore’s magazine order-er would rip the covers off L’Officiale and French Marie Claire and whatever else, and send the front cover back to the publisher. I think there was a refund involved, but whatevs, the important part is that the rest of the magazine would go into the recycling basket, aka, directly into my bookbag and from there onto the walls of my dorm room. 

Similarly, a long time before my husband met me, he had a job in a small town fabric store, where no one ever bought the Vogue Designer Original Patterns, so they would go on deep discount (looks like this one cost him $2.50) and he would buy them. 

Those pages torn out of my Italian Vogues are long gone, but he held onto his patterns, and now they are aaaaaaaall miiiiiiiine. 

I asked him if he had a project in mind when he bought Vogue 1501, or a girl in mind? He said no. 

the fabric:

Same fabric as this dress, which I made from a pattern published in 1995. Guess I’m really feeling the 90’s with this little brown floral. 


it’s not ombréd, it’s just a sunflare
ain’t no strap like a twisted strap
ok Big Helper, you can be in the picture. Especially since you’re wearing pants that I made.

the dress and construction and stuff:

This shape looks so 90’s to me —neckline, strappy shoulder straps, gored construction that flares into a full but short skirt— that I felt a little costumey the first few times I wore it. But then on like Wear #3 I walked past some girl wearing a crop-top with high-waisted baggy jeans gathered into a paper-bag-waist effect, and I didn’t feel so out-there 90’s anymore. 

The pattern wants you to add lace, which I didn’t, and line the dress, which I didn’t, and put a zipper in the back, which I didn’t. 

Interestingly, the pattern also wants you to French seam all the seams, which I think is odd for a lined garment. I mean, if it’s lined, it’s clean finished already. French seams plus a lining with French seams seems like overkill. Bulky bulky overkill. Right? I mean, I’m no Bellville Sassoon, but…

For some reason I had it in my head that you can’t do a French seam on a curve. Just plain can’t. I had some idea that French seams on a curve are like against-the-laws-of-physics impossible. 

So I went into that process with a “let’s just see about this,” attitude, and it totally worked out fine and gave me the sassy sassafras to French seam the armsceyes on this shirt, and makes me feel like I might come out of this whole Sew It Or Throw It experience as a better stitcher and therefor a more well-informed pattern-maker. 

So that’s pretty good.

Sew It or Throw It:

Sew it. 

Maybe in a knit. 

Or maybe line it next time, which would make a crisper neckline than this version has, and give the whole thing more weight. Keep that short skirt a little more grounded and less flying around in the breeze. 

Probably never going to go for the jacket though. As of this moment, that jacket is too unforgivably 90’s. Just 90’s in the worst way. Who knows what kind of crazy get-up I might see some girl wearing tomorrow though. Fashions change, minds change. 


4 thoughts on “Vogue 1501: the dream of the 90’s is alive in Bellville Sassoon

  1. I spent my Saturday night watching an Old Skool 90’s music countdown on pay TV, and I definitely think the jacket would have been worn by a girl going to a Bel Biv Devo concert…. But the slip dress is very cute. I love French seams especially on pockets.


  2. I have just done the French seams on curves experiment too (I had believed the rule for years too). Turns out it is an old wives tale and so long as you keep the seams narrow they work just fine in an armhole. Nice dress – I prefer them lined myself – much less work than those French seams.


    1. Yes, part way through I started wondering if the rule wasn’t that you *can’t* do French seams, but that you just plain *shouldn’t*. Great for armsceyes though, luckily there are (usually) only two of those. I’m glad we’ve stopped listening to those old wives.


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