Vogue Patterns 1331: that’s a wrap, Donna 


The Pattern: 
Vogue 1331, MISSES’ DRESS, TUNIC, TOP, SHORTS & PANTS, copyright 1994 Butterick Company Inc. 
This is a Vogue American Designer pattern, by Donna Karan New York. 
There’ a fun post over here on Pattern Vault, exploring goth and its influences on fashion and commercial patterns. This pattern here is not specifically cited in the Pattern Vault post, but there’s another Donna Karan for Vogue from 1993, with similar dark colors, long necklaces, and witchy vibe. Looks like the same collection and influences. Anyway, it’s a neat read. 

Interesting to me that this is a Vogue Pattern, published by Butterick. Both Vogue and Butterick are now owned by McCall’s, so I wonder if Vogue was first bought by Butterick, and then both were bought by McCall’s? Like a fish being swallowed by a bigger fish being swallowed by a bigger fish? 

How I got it:
My husband picked this one up when he worked at a fabric store in the 90’s. 
It’s been in my pattern box now for sixteen years, and it’s been interesting to see how time has made kinder my view toward all of the early 90’s patterns of his. What was Hideous to my circa 2000 eyes has become ok to my 2016 eyes. The patterns haven’t changed at all, only thing that’s changed has been my urge to shout AS IF at them. 

The Fabric: 
This pattern calls for Moderate Stretch Knits Only. I didn’t do that. I used some stretch silk charmeuse in red, and some non-stretch silk charmeuse in purple. Not so 90’s goth anymore, sorry Donna. 


I made View B, the wrap dress, but short and with short sleeves. 
This is a great wrap dress. It’s pretty simple really, unlike the delightfully bizarre split-front riding-costume weirdness of the View C top. 
However, the pattern is listed as Easy/Facile, despite being both 1)cut on bias and 2)requiring stretch knit. In my opinion you can pick one or the other and be easy. Just bias? Fine. Just knit? Fine. Bias plus stretch? No. 
Which makes me wonder what the actual criteria for Easy/Facile is. This dress has no zipper or button holes, so by that rubric sure, easy. But knit on bias, come on guys, that’s not easy. 
One thing that is I love about this pattern is that the grain follows the neckline. This is my favorite method for wrap dresses, because it makes it look like I just picked up a piece of fabric and wrapped it around my body. Maybe immediately after sailing ashore on a half shell, or in some sort of wood-nymph situation. When wrap dresses are done the other way, where the grain runs perpendicular to the floor, the dress looks clunky to me and looses that magically wrapped feeling, and if there’s a print involved it fights the neckline. 
So I like this pattern. 
Although it really does not need to be moderate stretch knit . The bias does the stretching for us here. 

Time: 12 hours

I used a folded strip of the purple to finish the inside neck edge, instead of top stitch over Stay Tape ™ the pattern recommended. 
You can see in this view above, not a lot of underlap on the skirt there. Something for me to change next time. 


Sew It or Throw It:

Totally a Sew It. 
While I was working on this dress, Vogue Patterns announced that it will no longer be producing Donna Karan patterns, so this turned out to be kind of a timely project. 
Maybe someday I’ll try out the other patterns in this envelope, those high waisted shorts are looking particularly hilarious to me. They need a little more time still, before they look ok to my eyes. 

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16 thoughts on “Vogue Patterns 1331: that’s a wrap, Donna 

  1. I need to ask: will you make it properly Goth next time? ;-) This version, while not Goth, is great. How you put those two colors together and made them play nice just blows my mind.

    I’m a bit confused about the knits and bias cutting required by the pattern. Knits aren’t stretchiest on the bias but widthwise, right? So what would cutting on the bias do for the neckline? I’m probably not getting something significant about the construction. Well, luckily I wasn’t the one making this dress or I’d be losing it over that “Easy/Facile” label.

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  2. The thing with the bias is: in this case, since the neckline is diagonal and the body is cut on the diagonal, the neckline lays along the straight grain of the fabric, therefor it has no stretch, which is nice. The neckline can’t stretch out or ripple, but meanwhile all that nice stretchy bias eases over the bust and waist and hips. If the garment were cut on the straight, this diagonal neckline would end up on the bias, where it would need more reinforcement to keep stable, and the body would not be as magical and graceful in my opinion.
    Does that makes no sense? You’ll see it in real life and get it I’m totally sure.
    It’s a no for me on the properly goth: the look is so high maintenance!

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    1. Oh and more grain talk: bias stretches on the diagonal, which is going across the dress here. Knit, as you point out, stretches on the cross, which is going diagonal on this dress. My stretch charmeuse stretches on the bias (because it’s woven not knit) and the cross (because that’s where the stretch is), so it works, but is overkill. I think the whole thing would be simpler and more straight forward in a woven non-stretch.
      Maybe I’ll make a wrap sweater using this pattern someday, and see what really happens with the bias knit.

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  3. love it, and great point about the neckline on grain – I have yet to make a wrap dress but this has me seriously distracted. I adore the colour mix. Its looks fabulous and a million miles from the pattern cover! stunning on you too

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    1. Thanks! I really like seeing how far a garment can come from the pattern’s original intent. And this time all I changed was the color! And the length and the fabric weight. And fabric type. Ok a lot after all. Ha!

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  4. This one has grown on me too, and I’m pretty sure it’s also Fall ’93.. Love the colours! And thanks for the shout out.
    You’re right, Butterick bought Vogue Patterns in the early ’60s, and later McCall’s bought Vogue-Butterick. If you’re interested, Joy Emery’s book gives lots of details on all the mergers and acquisitions.

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  5. So lovely and very interesting discussion on grain esp re neckline. Sounds like it’d work in just a plain woven too. Kinda wish you had found a giant crucifix tho and slung it, messenger bag style, across your lovely frock…

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  6. This was the period I loved her patterns most. Calvin Klein was also doing a looser shape during those years but his were more formal and shown in tan and cream shades. I was into more of a new age/lite goth thing so one didn’t have to be a white makeup, black lipstick goth to wear this. The look was more monastic and spiritual. I wish I had bought more of them at the time since I was working at a fabric store then. I would have never thought to make it in this fabric, so congrats to you, it looks great!

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    1. Thank you, monastic is a good word. I had been trying to think of whether there is a feminine version of the word, (nunastic?) and then got distracted, but you’re totally right, the look is quiet and pared-down with a sense of the historical but not retro.
      My husband bought some Issey Miyake and some Scassi from this same time, those patterns are also starting to appeal, after years of repulsing…

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