Orange Blossom Special – Vogue 8648

Over the weekend my husband and I bumped into a couple of friends. I happened to be wearing Vogue 8648, and the male half of the couple told me how nice I looked in my shift. Before I could politely thank him, my husband took over the conversation.

That is no shift. Sarah is wearing a couture dress that she made. The dress has 21 pieces that are lined and underlined. She did a lot of the work by hand and it took her a very long time to make it.”

Had I recently accused him of not paying attention to me or something?

As soon as we were alone I told my husband his comments embarrassed me. This man was just trying to pay me a compliment and didn’t need to be corrected or receive detailed information about the construction of my dress.

 “I’m not going to let someone call your nice dress a shift,” he replied.

Conversation over.

That man may never pay another woman a compliment again.

I decided to make Vogue 8648 again using this Oscar de la Renta fabric which I ordered from Mood Fabrics in March.

Upon receiving the fabric, I thought the huge scale of the print would overwhelm 5’2” me, but I eventually overcame my fear and began sewing…….. q u i e t l y.

This time I decided to omit the silk organza underlining. I’m not sure what Oscar de la Renta used this fabric for, but it is fairly heavy and I thought would work well for a structured dress. 
Isn’t that like the dress you just made?” my loyal husband asked.
     I explained that this dress was semi-couture and much easier this time around. As I began to describe my construction changes I realized he was far more interested in the golf tournament on television – a complete relief I might add.

There is a distinct difference in the first dress with underlining and my latest “semi-couture” dress. In addition to the softer hand found in the couture dress, I realized many techniques are not applicable once the underlining is omitted.

I seem to learn something from each project and this time I learned there is always a trade-off. I saved time  in exchange for permanent tracing marks on my fashion fabric, “unattached” seam allowances and a visible hem since I could not attach the seams or hem to underlining. On a positive note I’m finally realizing lots of pattern pieces = more control for a better fit.


Call it a shift, call it a jumper, call it whatever strikes your fancy and I’ll take it as a compliment, but after watching this large floral print bloom into a cute garment, I’m calling this dress The Orange Blossom Special  :)

Until soon!

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85 Responses to Orange Blossom Special – Vogue 8648

  1. poppykettle says:

    I LOVE that fabric, and you look fabulous in those happy colours! haha – men and the right kind of compliment are a difficult combination :)

  2. Irene says:

    Lovely! Absolutely lovely! A whole different look just by using another fabric.
    As for the learning – I don’t think it ever stops. Every new style, every new fabric is an opportunity to learn something.

  3. prttynpnk says:

    Got to love the supportive husbands, mine would have jumped right in too, embarrassing or not. Your dress is definitely worth of praise!

  4. Karen says:

    It’s so stunning! It looks gorgeous on you!
    These husbands are something else! Mine loves to announce that I’ve made what I am wearing – much to my chagrin! That’s when I send him the “dropped head – pointed eye” look, usually too late to do any good. BUT – your husband has every reason to want to brag about your talents!!

  5. Lakaribane says:

    I love it! I’ve only recently started accepting orange, coral etc as a color I should wear (long story, mostly flower girl trauma). It looks wonderful on you too. And I think I understand what you mean about trade-offs. Objectively, if you plan to sew your own wardrobe, couture isn’t possible for every single garment, it would take too much time (unless you go into hermitage for a year of sewing or something). Il faut faire la part des choses as the French say.

  6. JoanneM says:

    Stunning. Don’t ever go back to RTW. You will always love having your “own” dresses!

    • Thank you, Joanne! This year of sewing has been quite the experience. I know I cannot make e v e r y t h i n g forever, but I will be extremely picky about any future RTW purchases.

  7. Denny says:

    Gorgeous dresses and I LOVE your husbands comments and support. Recently my husband embarrassed me by telling a friend “she’s a qualified seamstress you know”. I’m by no means qualified in that sense but probably a ‘well advanced home sewer”. When I corrected him some time later he commented that in his eyes & others I was certainly fully qualified. I think I grew a few centimetres taller and felt such love and recognition for my hidden talent. I guess he’s extremely proud of me, as is your husband!

  8. Javie says:

    Love your version of the dress! I have this pattern too but haven’t made it up because I was unsure of the look. Yours looks better then the envelope pic! Also my husband makes similar embarrassing remarks such as “everything she makes is couture” (actually I have only made 1 couture dress via S. Khaljie directions).

    • Thank you for this nice comment, Javie! I doubt I would have made the pattern had it not come with the course and now I see all kinds of possibilities for it.
      Loving your Vegas pics….. those cakes are beautiful!

  9. Dixie says:

    I love this print on you! The colors look great with your personal coloring, and I don’t think the print is too large at all. It’s a very nice semi-couture dress!

  10. Heather says:

    I love this print and color on you! Gorgeous! And your husband is awfully sweet too.

  11. Cissie Wellons says:

    Gorgeous! I’m having a love affair with colors this summer too! The orange is perfect for you. My husband also embarrasses me by telling everyone that I make all my clothes — makes me sound a bit like a drone, or Olivia Walton, or Ma Kettle. But I think they’re proud of us!
    Question — are you using all of the pattern pieces on the waistband?


    • Hi Cissie! I believe after buying “safe” RTW for so long in neutrals and the like, I have gone off the deep end with colors and patterns :)
      Regarding the waistband, I combined the center front midriff pieces to avoid a seam in the middle of the dress. Susan did this in the class and I think it improves the dress’ appearance.
      Many thanks for writing!

  12. Brenda says:

    Love your entertaining commentary for another beautiful dress! Looks fabulous!

  13. sue says:

    Love this dress – the pattern and colour work beautifully in it!

  14. Art Attack says:

    Hahaha…great story! I love the dress!

  15. Cheryl says:

    This is one of my favorites you’ve done so far! LOVE the print and the fabulous orange. You look marvelous :)

  16. Valerie says:

    I like this dress even better than the Strictly Couture one and I think your husband is sweet for bragging, even if you wished he hadn’t…

  17. Carolyn says:

    Stunning! And I love your use of the fabric!

  18. MareeAlison says:

    Bless him. No wonder men just can’t understand us. Your dress is stunning.

  19. CherryPix says:

    You + that fabric + talented sewing = a gorgeous result. It’s lovely that your dear husband is more than aware of your efforts! And isn’t it great the golf is on….keeps them amused for hours! he he…

    • Hi Cherry! Thank you for this nice comment – I’m very pleased with this one. My dear husband fooled me with that one as I had no idea how much he was taking in as I sewed :)

  20. Pauline Droy says:

    great story, great looking dress – I have signed up for the class but still waiting for my pattern to arrive lol may have to purchase it locally. My husband to be would also probably say something similar…..

    • Thank you, Pauline! It took a while for my pattern to arrive but you can use another pattern if you would rather. I knew it would be helpful for me to exactly follow along rather than transfer Susan’s lessons to another pattern. Good luck!

  21. Meg@mood says:

    I’m so glad you gave that fabric a go. It looks perfect on you, not overwhelming at all. Really nice work, Sarah!

  22. Carolyn says:

    Your dress is stunning. What a great husband to be so proud of your work. I enjoy all of your creations.

  23. sewbusylizzy says:

    I love this post so much I showed my husband – sounds like an exchange in our marriage. You have to adore a man that boasts about your skills – and you should have given that man your blog card!!

    • Hi Lizzy! I hope your husband wasn’t mortified that a story about HIM might appear in YOUR blog!!! I’ll be back home next week and plan to mail the pattern then. Thanks for writing :)

  24. Maggie Edger says:

    This is one of my favorites. I love orange. Oh, to be young and sort of thin again and wear those styles. The dress looks super on you. It sounds like Billy has really gotten into this project of yours. A. Maggie

    • Hi Maggie! Billy just happened to be around as I was working on the dress so he couldn’t help but take it in :) Thanks for writing – sewing has been lots of fun this year !!

  25. Lori says:

    Another gorgeous dress and such nice comments from your husband.

  26. Janine Whisler says:

    What a gorgeous creation. You’re just lucky that “a golf tournament on TV” happened to be the U.S. Open, which in guy speak is a pretty big deal, otherwise your husband might have another dress to brag on (and on). I love how now that you have made a real couture garment you can compare the construction techniques and decide which works for you. This “simple” outcome is finished, lovely and a keeper!

    • Thank you, Janine! Yes, the golf tournament certainly kept my husband’s attention turned away from me :) Susan Khajle’s class has been enlightening, but the more I sew, the more impressed I am with the precision of high qualtiy RTW !

  27. oonaballoona says:

    i’m calling it I WANT THAT.

    this print and color is stunning on you!!! and i adore your husband’s corrections. a sewist’s bodyguard.

    • Many thanks, Oona! I gave the dress a test run today and it’s definitely a keeper :) You can’t help but love a guy that protects his wife from incorrect compliments, huh!! :)

  28. moonthirty says:

    LOVE your orange blossom dress! And that is a hilarious story about your husband… :)

  29. Ruth says:

    Beautiful dress! I’ve learnt to not tell or ask opinions from DH – they don’t always match my own! Nevertheless, I’m downright impressed he noticed.

  30. Gail says:

    I’m impressed that your husband notices the design. Looks great in the orange floral. I’ve started the couture course but am using a different winter pattern this time around.

  31. That print doesn’t overwhelm you AT ALL! It’s beautiful on you! Great job!

  32. Bernice says:

    This is lovely. Looks like the perfect Spring dress.

  33. gingermakes says:

    This is so beautiful! You look lovely! Great job, lady!

  34. Lisa P says:

    I love your Orange Blossom dress it’s so pretty. Having a perfectly fitted Couture muslin certainly has it’s benefits.

  35. frammajoy says:

    I also took this course but never got my “free” pattern. My friend took the course and made the dress using red linen. Very nice!
    I wonder though if there were two of you so you could wear both dresses side-by-side, would anyone be able to choose the couture version without turning it inside out??? It seemed like SO MUCH WORK to me even though I would really love to play with the large “carbon paper”.
    Both dresses are awesome!
    Hugs, Joy

    • Thank you so much for writing, Joy! I think the only way to tell is to touch and feel the dress since both are lined! The dress was a lot of work, but my linen dress wears so incredibly well. The wrinkle factor is gone too. I believe one reason this dress was so much work was because there were so many pieces, AND I was busy learning new techniques every step of the way…….. you can play with large carbon paper without going the couture route, you know. I’ve done it twice and had a ball :) :) !!

  36. Sophia says:

    This is a great print (that definitely doesn’t overwhelm you) and a beautifully fitted dress. I hope you have lots of fun wearing it. The story about your husband is sweet.. he sounds proud of you :)

  37. Sewer says:

    It’s beautiful. I’m taking the Craftsy class and (still) waiting for the pattern to arrive.

  38. Tanya says:

    I really admire how you get your clothes to fit so well as they look absolutely fabulous on you!! Also I saw your stone-coloured version of this couture dress on and wondered what books or websites did you use to ensure you got a perfect fit at the tissue or toile (muslin) stage? Thanks

    • Hi Tanya. Thank you so much for this nice comment! Both dresses were made from Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress online class which I bought on Craftsy. She was immensely helpful! Good luck:)

  39. Carola says:

    Love the printed linen even more than the plain linen 8648 dress. I, too, have registered for the Couture Dress course and am waiting for my pattern to arrive although I must admit that I wasn’t too taken by ANY of the patterns Susan had recommended and it was making me feel down UNTIL I SAW YOUR PRINTED DRESS! I am finally excited and know what I want to make so I really must dash off to my local fabric in search of the perfect print (in linen)! Thanks for giving me the inspiration i needed! :-)

    • Thank you for writing, Carola! I love this pattern so much now, that I want to make a third dress! I might make a winter dress, but I also ordered two of the additional patterns Susan recommended. Have fun and I look forward to seeing your dress :)

      • Carola says:

        I keep coming back to your picture as it inspires me to continue even though my couture dress has driven insane with its tediousness. I am ready to line it and have cut the lining out but it seems to have distorted in shape even before I’ve stitched it up. Feel free to have a look at my blog of frustrations. Maybe you can inspire me to continue as at the moment I am wanting to give up.

        I have a quick question though: do you have a split up the back of your skirt or did you sew it closed? I currently have a split that is gaping (as Susan said it would) but because I have pattern matched, I don’t know that I can follow her suggestion on how to make it stay closed (hope that makes sense).

        BTW, glad you’re back and I love your new RTW fasting page. I’ll join it as soon as I’ve finished my dress which technically shouldn’t take too long. **sigh** LOL

  40. Sharon says:

    I just saw your verion of this lovely dress and so glad I did as I have had my eye on a largish floral print and was trying to work out what to make, thank you and now I need to get moving on the craftsy course I signed up for months ago :)

  41. Tracy says:

    I purchased this fabric too but I have no used it yet. I just wanted to show you what Oscar made from it:

    I like your rendition better.

  42. Pingback: Hits – Misses – Reflections – Inspirations – Goals | Goodbye Valentino

  43. Lisa Slovin says:

    I have lost myself in your website and your sewing!!! I was a quilter and started sewing a few skirts because I literally could not find anything cute and appropriate for a 50 something that could handle the Arizona sun. After I saw your wonderful dress in orange and white I got busy and made my own. It came out fabulous and after 3 muslins managed to find the perfect fit. I am hooked. Thanks for the inspiration…

    • Dear Lisa,
      Thank you so much for your nice comment. I’m delighted to know your Vogue dress was a success! Recently I listened to an interview with Kenneth King and he stated he makes at least two muslins before cutting the fashion fabric. It sounds like the third one was a charm! Congratulations and try to stay cool in that hot Arizona sun! :)

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