Vogue 2805 hack
Long ago, before Pinterest and mood boards were a thing, a friend and I used to choose a theme for a new season’s wardrobe with a few simple words. No pinning, no colour boards, no swatching, no Fashionary doodling – just a phrase to encapsulate a mood, to loosely shop and dress around. We had some good themes over the years: Slightly Sexy ’70s Librarian; French Geisha; Workplace Appropriate Studio 54 (yes I did wear glitter to work); and my favourite: Marrakesh Sailor. We caught up for lunch a while ago and had all sorts of laughs trying to remember WTF we were thinking with that last one. And WTF we wore.
I’d forgotten all about these themes, until recently I started seeing frills and ruffles creeping onto my social media feeds, and all I could think of was: Sister Wife. And now I’m obsessed. With neck frills, shirt ruffles, subtle pastel prints and Chloe Sevingny’s awesomely nutty Nicky in the early seasons of Big Love, when she was fresh off the compound and all sweetly buttoned up in puffy blouses and prairie skirts. People – I have a theme!!
So for months I’ve been searching for the perfect summer frill shirt pattern, preferably similar to this amazing Miu Miu blouse that got the whole ruffle thing going for me and I suspect the rest of the world (this 2015 profile on Miuccia Prada explores how very influential her designs are – she basically owns us all.)
But despite my hunting, I couldn’t find a pattern that fit the bill. So I did what any resourceful amateur sewist with zero drafting skills would do, and raided my vintage pattern stash for a match. The closest I could find was the Oscar de la Renta Vogue American Designer pattern, Vogue 2805. It’s so delightfully, completely the opposite of a sister wife shirt I had to laugh, but I went for it anyway: I decided I could turn a height-of-the-80s, frothy, lacy, power-puff Joan Collins-inspired blouse into an austere, humble, Chloe Sevigny-inspired blouse. Perhaps.
Or perhaps not, as it turns out. Because although the basic ideas are the same, and the ruffle hits across the shoulders at just the right place, I totally underestimated the VOLUME drafted into Joan Collins’ sleeves and body. I also didn’t think through the difference that sewing with a fabric more substantial than lace would make to the shape and drape of this thing. And by the time the alarm bells started ringing I had already cut into my chosen cloth – a very light, pinkish-red cotton with a tiny fringed selvedge that I bought in Tokyo last year.
So I went into kamikaze sewing mode: hacking, chopping, slicing, ripping, seaming and re-seaming, reshaping and reducing, reducing, reducing. And in the midst of my de-volumising frenzy, I came across a number of Instagram posts featuring gorgeous French girls wearing this freshly released pattern by Aime Comme Marie, and also found this one coming out soon by Republique du Chiffon. Both frustratingly perfect patterns for my theme….next time. But too late to save my precious pink cotton.
Because I love the fabric so much, I persevered with the make. And while it’s technically totally dodgy, I kind of like it anyway – just for the frill. Yes, the sleeves are weird (they’re raglan and the ruffle is attached, so I couldn’t hack them off altogether as planned). And the neckline is gapey and there’s still too much volume in the body for my liking. But wearing that ruffle is so much fun. As for whether I’m nailing the whole Sister Wife feel, the jury’s out. When we took these photos Klarissa’s daughter mentioned I looked ‘old fashioned’ (win!), but mine say I look like a grown-up cowgirl. Now there’s a theme for next season….