Monday, February 17, 2020

Ogee Oscar - Vintage Vogue 1678

I recently participated in a Instagram vintage sew along #joyvivsewvintage.  The patterns had to be from 1995 or earlier.  Well geez, that was not a problem, Back in the 90's   I  was working in corporate America, where the work wear was still dressy. I sewed many of my work suits and dresses.  But I also had two young children, so a lot of pattern and fabric purchases never got used and went straight to the stash.

 I dug out this  1995 Vogue designer pattern from Oscar De La Renta.

Vogue 1678
I have long wanted to sew it,  mostly because of the challenge of the shaped inserts, the ogee or parenthesis shaped inserts to be more specific, especially the ones on view B yellow dress. About the same time, I was making this dress, DH was watching a woodworking show that described the serpentine, extended curve as an Ogee curve.  I googled Ogee on a favorite online fabric site and pages of decorator fabrics came up.  The ancient tile in our bathroom  has a similar pattern and when I googled “ogee tile”, a picture of it popped up on the screen.  Who knew?

Vogue 1678 

I gave a lot of thought on how I would seam the pieces to get the perfect curves. I used a technique based on one I had used for applique quilting many years ago, when  I made several Baltimore Album quilts.  A high level description of the technique would be to turn under the seam allowance of the curved edge using a template, Hand applique/tack the curved edge to the background fabric, turn to wrong side of garment and machine stitching on the seamline. Remove applique/tacking stitch.

If you have access to old Threads Magazines, these article  describe similar techniques.

Easy Applique for complex shapes    Beatriz M. Grayson        60 AUG/SEP 1995 69
Add Style with Graphic Fabric Insertions   Pamela Ptak        113 JUN/JUL 2004 48

For my template I used freezer paper.

1. Copy the pattern piece for the  curved shape including seam allowance onto freezer paper.
2. Iron waxy side of freezer paper to wrong side of fabric.

3. Stitch a scant 5/8 inch from cut edge through the paper and fabric. This line of stitching acts both as stay stitching and the seam allowance  turn under line.
4.  Remove the freezer paper in the seam allowance. This should be easy to do as the stitching perforates the paper.
5. Clip seam allowance of fabric  on curves and press back over the edge of the freezer paper along stitched line.
Wrong side of dress front with seam allowance pressed over freezer paper template

6.  Lay piece on top of adjoining fabric piece, along seam allowance line . Hand stitch the two pieces together along seam line just catching a tiny bit of the turned edge. I use a fell stitch.


 7. Flip top piece over so right sides are together, exposing seam allowances.  Remove remaining freezer paper. Sew along seam line just a smidge to outside of the stitching that marked the turn line, on the garment side of the line.
Sewing seam to outside of blue turn line stitching. Orange stitches that cross blue thread are the fell stitches 

8. Remove basting stitches

The fabric I used is actually older than the pattern. Both the black and white tweed , and the purple wool crepe were purchased in the early 80's at a place called Surplus City in central PA, where I lived at the time.   You are probably starting to guess at the age and size of my stash. Yes, it is scary.

I used a size 14 above waist and 16 below.   I took some length out of the bodice above the bust, probably the space intended for the shoulder pad.  I redrafted the sleeve head to fit the resulting armhole better.   I add an insert at the neckline to add interest and fill in the neckline. It was actually easy to create the shape. I laid view A  front pattern over view  B front pattern and the resulting difference between the two  necklines made a great Ogee shaped insert. Same for the back pieces for the two views.

View A of this dress  comes down the runway in this YouTube video   OSCAR DE LA RENTA Fall 1994/1995 New York at  6:21 min. It is mini length, which make it look a lot less matronly than it does on the pattern envelope. And the hat it is worn with is outrageous. It was interesting seeing all the super models of the time Naomi, Helena, Yasmin when they were so, so young.

Vogue 1687

Vogue 1678 side view - weird shape
Vogue 1687 back


  1. Very pretty dress! I appreciate your careful workmanship.

  2. This is beautiful! Love that the pattern is from 1995 and is still current today. Also welcome to Instagram!!!

  3. Fabulous dress and without the 90's shoulder pads a timeless style. Thanks for the tips on how to apply the cut outs you really did get an amazingly crisp finish. The old Vogues are so much more interesting than those of today.

  4. this pattern is fantastic and it looks great on you. Perfect choice of fabrics, particularly the wool crepe which is a dream to sew and ideal for those inset portions.

  5. Wow, this is incredible! You look amazing. Thanks for sharing the technique details!

  6. Beautifully done! I have fabric and patterns in my stash just as old.

  7. Beautifully done and the fit looks perfect.

  8. Very pretty & flattering, and beautiful craftsmanship!

  9. It's lovely. Thanks for blogging about it.

  10. How fun to make up a designer pattern from your stash. I too have a stash of designer patterns that I have never made...dreams and hopes. Glad you got to fulfill yours. Looks great on you too.

  11. Such a gorgeous dress. Your techniques are flawless, and you look fab!