Vogue Cocktail Hour dress V9241

V9241 cocktail dress

cocktail hour eve appeal

The first time I’d heard of the Eve Appeal was when I took part in last year’s Vintage Sewalong campaign. They are the ONLY UK  national charity that raises awareness and funding research into the five gynaecological cancers so it wasn’t too much of an ask for me to join in the Cocktail Hour once again, and help McCalls promote a range of Vogue patterns that raise good money for such a great cause.

Last year I made Retro Butterick 5813 for the Big Vintage Sewalong 2016. This year I chose Vogue 9241, a fabulous design by Kathryn Brenne.


A little bit Helena Bonham Carter, A little bit Anne Robinson, perhaps… but totally full of character and no doubt a talking point at a cocktail party. Sadly the only cocktail party I’ve ever been invited to was the one at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally and I was typically too busy with work to attend. Though I prefer to think that I have been to loads and they were so good, I’ve clean forgotten all about them!

But if I do ever get another invite (nudge, nudge) I would be proud to wear this dress. It would rock a room of standard LBDs and not leave without comment.

I chose this design because of that awesome collar, of course, and because it reminded me of my birthday dress – the skirt section at least – and I considered using silk dupion, the same. But not only do I not like doing things twice, I find the suction of creativity too much to bear if I copy what’s on the packet. ie a red silk dress. I felt like black would have hidden too  much of the detail so I went a bit off piste and used a pinstripe suiting fabric instead, lol!


I wanted those pinstripes to emphasise the godets and that collar. Actual stripes would have been a bit too cray-cray (mmmm…. maybe next time though?!) I really wasn’t 100% sure it would turn out as special in what is effectively a boring cheap suiting fabric!

But it did. And I am so happy. Which is lucky really because I hadn’t left any time to change it up!
This dress really isn’t as complicated as it looks. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a doddle but really just more time-consuming than anything. It needs a fair bit of yardage too so watch out if you’ve got any big ideas on fancy pants fabric. It could end up costing an arm and both legs!
One thing which I must point out is that there is an error on the layout and pattern pieces. The instructions say to cut 2 of front which threw me a bit because there was no reference to use it anywhere. The layout plan indicated the same. I wondered if it could be a facing/lining of sorts but a quick Tweet message to McCalls confirmed it was an error and that they had contacted the US office to amend.
This pattern has a massive amount of ease. It’s so helpful to have body measurements and corresponding size table on the packet but better still to clock the ease on the pattern pieces themselves. Not all pattern companies do this so kudos to Vogue. With that info at hand, I realised I could afford to drop a whole dress size. I’d suspected I might have to do this because the pattern image itself looks a little bit roomy. I like things more snug, like a hug!
The collar is sewn front to facing, then the wire is sewn to the seam allowance of the outer curved edge before turning out. The wire is sewn in using a wide-ish zigzag stitch making sure to keep the needle either side of the wire. Requires a fair bit of concentration. Frightened the bloody life out of me when I took my eye off the ball and the needle clonked on the wire!
This is the second time in a month that I’ve had the need for animation wire, the first being for the wings of Amelia Fangs outfit. I ordered some more off Amazon. Affiliate link here:

I ordered all three weights as I really wasn’t sure what constituted ‘medium weight’. Initially I tried the lightest one but it was a bit flimsy so I opted for the 2mm diameter.
I’ve been having a lot of fun positioning the collar in all sorts of ways. But there would be more fun I’m sure if my fabric was sturdier or interfaced to give it a bit more structure. I could go totally could go totally Maleficent! This pinstripe stuff is very soft with quite a bit of drape which still works well, mind.
V9241_cocktail_dress collar
The skirt is all about the godets. How do you even say that? Godettes or godays? A little care is needed to insert the points accurately into the open seams of the bodice but if you’ve ever made quilt blocks with inset seams you will be walking it!
I noted the length was kinda granny for me. So I lobbed 4 inches off before I cut it out. And it reaches just shy of knee length now. But by nature of how the godets are tied up inside, I can just as easily lower the hem a couple of inches or so if I must be more demure!
I pretty much followed the instructions to the T but I could have done with taking some of the excess out of the back bodice length – that’s always an issue for me. But skirt seciton moves around and drapes so unusually, I don’t think it’s a biggie! And I hand stitched the bias facings of the armholes, rather than topstitch as instructed. Call me old fashioned!
So I am the last entry on the Vogue Patterns Bloggers Calendar 2017. I initially thought that was the best position to be in but the mash-up of anxiety and inspiration was building with each gorgeous post that popped up, every month.  In case you didn’t catch them all, click here to the amazing contributions from all the fabulous sewing bloggers. I just love how everyone has put an individual spin on their own cocktail dresses.
I do hope that some or one of these at least will inspire you to buy a pattern from the Cocktail Hour selection and rustle one up for yourself. Or maybe even buy one for a gift for a sewing friend. All helps towards the amazing work done by the Eve Appeal.
Thanks to The Foldline for including me in the line up, to Dan for the fabulous photos and also to Aska and Tom at the Thatched House in Hammersmith for allowing us to shoot them in their lovely pub.

19 Replies to “Vogue Cocktail Hour dress V9241”

  1. Oh this dress is so fabulous!!! I simply adore the pin stripe for it, it is a very swag look. I now want to make one for Constance, but the pattern hasn’t been released here yet. I shall pounce upon it when it does though.
    My bernina has a foot with a hole in the bar running front to back, through which you can fee fishing line or wire or cord so it zig zags perfectly. I use this a lot. I don’t think it would fit 2mm wire, but the piping foot which is crap for piping would. It has a channel in the bottom. Might be worth seeing if there’s a clever foot for your machine that can do something like that? I tell ya lady, once you get the bug for putting stiff things onto the edge, it’s a bit addictive heheh.
    Enjoy your glorious dress. If I hold a cocktail party will you pop down and wear it please?

    1. Thanks so much Mrs C. You would totally rock this dress. Let me know if you’d like me to send you one. Thanks for the heads up about those feet too. I have many feet but never the right one it seems! But yes indeed if I am going to have further adventures with the bendy stuff then I need one of those.
      And damned straight. I couldn’t think of a better invite!! x

      1. Excellent. I also want to add that I think your length is perfect and agree that yours should be on the patter, it’s so definitive! It’s a mike dropper! When I make my FOMO version (and honestly if it takes too long to get here i may take you up on that offer!) then we shall have a party! I think though at yours not mine – selfishly I’d rather be there than here hehe.

  2. Oh my goodness Janene! I think your version should be the pattern cover version – it’s incredible. I love how your version is so versatile too using the pin-stripe – you could definitely be lady about town in this darting from meeting to meeting. You’re fabulous! Big love xx

  3. So classy, love it, love the Pinstripe, it´s a style that works in so many different occasions. And you, the setting the photographer´s art are just so perfect. Well done once again Ms oooBop xx

  4. Great dress and fantastic shoes ;o) I think there should be more parties in the world so we could sew more dramatic dresses! Maybe I was really born to be a princess ;o) I really hope they will reduce ease in their patterns one day…if it weren’t for those finished measurements on the pattern pieces I would end up with unwearable garments all the time!

  5. You’ve done it , once again, Janine!!! You’ve managed to rock my socks off with your design and fabric choice. I would’ve never thought to use suiting pinstripe, but it’s a fantastic look. It really does show off the fun pattern design. I wish we lived closer because we are hosting a New Year’s Eve party this season and you would definitely be invited to show off your amazing dress. Happy Holidays!

  6. I love this so much! I’ve seen the pattern on the Vogue website many a time and admired it. I adore the use of pinstriped fabric…genius choice. The collar is such a great feature I love the drama of it and the Maleficant reference made me smile.

  7. Once again you take something that I wouldn’t have looked at twice, and make it into something amazing. Your version is so much better than the cover picture!

  8. I absolutely love this dress that you have so beautifully sewn and fitted. This pattern is on my wishlist should I ever need a cocktail party dress, so I loved seeing your version of this beautiful pattern. You look gorgeous in it Janelle and I really hope you enjoyed wearing it and receiving all the lovely compliments.

  9. Wowsers!! This is absolutely amazing!! I love your choice of fabric (much better than the pattern envelope), and I’d no idea that wire is used to give the collar structure.

  10. This is so incredible Janene! Your choice of pinstripes for it was inspired! It makes it so much more contemporary, so much more Westwood and so very you!

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