Purple Roses

Throwing common sense to the winds again here. Disregarding cement dust, leaking water and smashed tiles to sew a little.

This time its Donna Karan V1257.

DKNot a new baby, and for some  an unloved one. Still, as I’m altering the tissue on my knee,  cutting out on the bed, and stitching in a pile of tins, cutlery and pans, I thought I might as well pile on the punishment and nurse a troublesome little pattern as well.

The front  is cut like a kimono sleeve, front bodice and sleeve in one, with the added frisson of the back sleeve joining on, but as the back half of a set in sleeve. This part of the sleeve joins to the back bodice, where a regular armhole  takes the half sleeve head. With me so far?

Several reviewers mentioned that the sleeve was circulation stopping tight. You don’t even need to get your tape measure out to see that, but I did anyway. Biceps is 10 and a half inches at the widest point.

I cut through the pattern front from underarm to neck point and added a wedge in, increasing the sleeve head by 3/8ths and the underarm by one inch, then added five eights to each side seam, altering the back so it would match up. The result in my two way stretch jersey  was a reasonably comfortable fit. I think the pattern measurement is closer to leotard tight, so maybe it would be ok if you use a stretch lycra and can take having your upper arm encased in a sausage skin fit. Or have very skinny arms of course.

Other pattern beefs? The neckline has the usual problems of gape and plunge, I stitched some elastic along the facing edge. The knot makes extra bulk, where pleats in both the bodice and skirt also join bulkily. I did some ad hoc hacking with messy hand finishing inside to get rid of the unseen bits of the pleats and the underside of the knot.  You could use a lighter jersey, but wouldn’t you want a skirt lining if you did? The pattern doesn’t have one.

Photography is still minimal I’m afraid. A selfie in the boxroom was all flash, so here it is, flat out on the bed again.


back view.



About jay

I design and draft patterns
This entry was posted in Donna Karan, Sewing Patterns. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Purple Roses

  1. FabricKate says:

    That’s lovely!


  2. Lovely fabric. It would be good to see how it looks when worn if you get an opportunity to take another picture.


  3. I’m loving the purple roses! Where does the waist sit on you? On the model it looks slightly high waisted at the front with a more natural waist at the back.


    • Pella says:

      The waist sits only marginally higher than my true waist, though others have said it comes high on them. As a guide my back nape to waist measures 16 inches.


  4. Gosh that fabric is gorgeous, wasn’t expecting the giant purple roses to appear on top of the print!


  5. mrsmole says:

    WOW, what cool fabric…all you need is some killer purple shoes! So glad you measured the bicep and could do something BEFORE cutting and stitching…how many woman skip that step and moan later! It does make you wonder who is actually testing these pattern, surely not DVF herself and that knot sounds like a big lump of trouble w/ hand sewing. The other issue with gaping and drooping neckline…after 30 years or more can’t they get that right on that pattern? It not like we women are growing thicker in that area…crazy. I love your dress and hope you get a load of compliments!


  6. Pella says:

    The knot is a loop which you push the pleats through, having opened up a coupleof slits and bound them (!). It makes for lots of layers if you follow the pattern, so I winged it.


  7. prttynpnk says:

    That fabric is dreamy!!!


  8. CherryPix says:

    ooh yes….fantastic use of that fabric!


  9. Susan says:

    Love the fabric. The finished dress looks wonderful, but tight sleeves…no.
    The sleeves look tight on the model as well. In the end it looks very striking.


  10. Jen O says:

    Thank you for taking us thru your process with this pattern. It has similar pattern features as another Karan pattern from the 80’s: Vogue 1958. Both have the same back design with a V neck pleated bodice front etc. I can see that Ms. Karan has a fondness for this method of pattern making. What I found out when I made up the V 1958 pattern was that her luxurious wool knit fabric was what ‘made’ the look, and without access to it, I was going to have to re-work that Vogue pattern if I wanted to actually wear it (especially in the sleeves since the front pattern is cut cross grain). Congrats on getting yours completed, it looks terrific!


  11. Tia Dia says:

    This is just gorgeous. Any pics of you modelling it? I love your fabric.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s