Adventures with Faux Suede

Red Suede Dress
This is Vogue 1317 – Chado Ralph Rucci.  When I was getting ready to cut this pattern out, I came to the realization that even though I’ve collected almost every Rucci pattern that VP has released, I’ve never made one.  That was really surprising, downright shocking considering how much I admire his designs and skill.  If you ever run across his documentary “Ralph Rucci:  A Designer and His House” on Sundance channel, it’s a must see!  He’s a serious haute couturier!

Red Suede DressHere is the runway version from Chado Ralph Rucci Fall 2011.

Red Suede Dress

Description: Dress has low neckline slit, close-fitting bodice cut-in-one with sleeves (slit), side back bodice extending into underarm gusset, lined midriff, single-layer tie ends (wrongside shows), skirt with side front/side back seams, side front pockets/vents, invisible back zipper, stitched hems, and self-bias binding. Top stitching and edge stitching.

Now the fabric suggestions are faux suede and a lightweight double knit.  Things that make you go “hmmmm…”  As long as I’ve been sewing, that should’ve given me pause.  Those two fabrics move, drape, wear and behave completely differently.  Either a garment made in the woven fabric is going to be too tight (not enough wearing ease) or the knit garment is going to be too loose (too much ease for a knit garment).  I’m always perplexed when such opposite fabric suggestions are offered.  But oh well, I decided to go with the fabric similar to the runway version of the dress, because it’s all I could envision when I pictured the outcome of this pattern.  I’ll learn one day…

I checked the flat pattern/finished measurements as I always do and cut my normal size for VP patterns.  I’m going to tell you right now, this pattern did not offer ANY altering lines.  So if you need to add or subtract, you’re on your own with this one.  Most patterns are almost always at least an inch too short in the waist for me, so I added an inch to the bodice.  I should’ve done an FBA.  Even though the neck slit isn’t gaping, it would’ve probably laid closer together.  And I added 3 inches to the skirt because this dress was pretty short.  As you see, it still stops above the knee.  How I made this alteration was to find a good place in the middle of each pattern piece and cut there to add my additional length.  I choose to do it this way instead of going to the bottom as not add additional width.

Red Suede Dress

Do you ever find yourself making nonsensical mistakes while sewing?  I do all of the time, just like I did on this pattern.  When I added length to the bodice, I didn’t really take into account that this would affect my zipper… and maybe I should go a little longer.  So my zipper ended up being a little too short.  And remember that thing I just said about the way different fabrics react?  Yeah… the dress ended up being too tight.  But with all of the work of top stitching and edge stitching I had invested, no way was this going to be a wadder.  I added 1″ panels to each side of the center back and repeated the same type of stitching and made it work.

Red Suede Dress

Here is a close up of the arm slit and the gorgeous faux suede from Mood Fabrics.  The color is “cinnabar”, but it fits right in with the Fall/Winter 2012-13 oxblood trend.  This fabric feels so luxurious.  It feels and behaves like a real suede.  I found that while sewing this, I needed to use a Teflon foot (or a walking foot would work too).

Red Suede Dress

All and all, I really like this dress. I don’t think I’ll sew this pattern again, but if I did here are things I’d do different:  use a double knit; eliminate the tie ends so that I could do a belt if I like; and eliminate the useless pockets.

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Comments


  • MB@YarnUiphoneApp
    January 22, 2013

    I’ve some suede in my fabric collection, and I”m always intimidated by the thought of sewing it, and Lordy, making a irreversible mistake. If you stitch somewhere and rip out the stitching, the holes will always will remain. But I figure I should just do a lot of planning, make a muslin before I sew with the real deal to minimize mistakes maybe.

    • Erica B
      January 22, 2013

      Unless the muslin is the same as the real fabric, I haven’t found them all that useful. I can recall an occasion where I did make the muslin first and the real fabric shrank beneath the steam of the iron. Still too small. *womp, womp*

  • Kate
    January 22, 2013

    I’m almost done making this pattern and SO MUCH have had the same experience as you! I was so frustrated when it was just a smidge too tight to do the zip, and almost added in the panels as you did. I made it in a stretch poplin so there is a little give, but not the most attractive fit.

    • Erica B
      January 22, 2013

      Yes, you live and learn and sew another day!

  • Stephanie
    January 22, 2013

    I made it out of a double knit. I did eliminate the tie, I added length, and I eliminated the vents in the front. I wish I had eliminated the useless pockets. I like the dress, but it is not my favorite Rucci dress on me. I feel like I did increase my sewing skills with the odd angles, etc. Your dress is pretty in that fabric.

    • Erica B
      January 22, 2013

      I’ve had the sleeveless shirtdress for years. I think I’ll make that one for spring/summer. Thanks Stephanie!

  • Amanda S.
    January 22, 2013

    Sorry about the troubles you’ve had. I can totally relate! Thanks for the tips on what you’d do if you had to make it over again. I’ve always thought this design awesome, now I know better how to go about it!

  • Erica B
    January 22, 2013

    Thanks Amanda!

  • Ginger
    January 22, 2013

    This looks fabulous! That color is so vibrant and perfect! You really can’t tell that you had any issues with the fit– the panels look like an intentional design detail!

  • Erica B
    January 22, 2013

    Thanks Ginger. I tried to make the “mishap” into a “meant to”!

  • Sarah Gunn
    January 22, 2013

    You definitely made it work, Erica! What a great color and style on you!

  • Erica B
    January 22, 2013

    Thanks Sarah!

  • Lori
    January 22, 2013

    That is very stunning, Erica.

    • Erica B
      January 22, 2013

      Thanks Lori!

  • Lauren
    January 23, 2013

    It looks great! I think the panels you added actually look like a design detail. And that color is really amazing on you, by the way! So glad you were able to work this out, it’s stunning!

    • Erica B
      January 23, 2013

      Thanks Lauren!

  • Julia (SnarkyVegan)
    January 23, 2013

    Lovely LOVELY dress! Perfect shape, love the a-line skirt. The color is awesome! I love reds though so I’m kind partial. But this is a great red. A classic red. I know you think you should have done and FBA but the subtle curve at the neck split is kinda sexy. It adds to the curvyness of the dress IMHO. The skirt portion alone would make great skirts!

    • Erica B
      January 23, 2013

      Thanks Julia!

  • Lana
    January 23, 2013

    Stunning!

    • Erica B
      January 23, 2013

      Thanks Lana!

  • Melinda G
    January 23, 2013

    Wow, what a great color on you! I think the slightly curved ‘v’ neckline is sexier on you than the slit neckline is on the model. Congratulations on coming up with a way to save the dress after all that work! This dress is a eye-popper for sure!

    • Erica B
      January 24, 2013

      Thanks Melinda!

  • Amy
    January 25, 2013

    I’ve yet to try my hand at a designer pattern like this one or even work with suede, real or faux. I must admit I’m a bit intimidated by your completed project, but it’s incredibly reassuring to read that you were able to make it work. You’d never know you had such troubles. Now I’ll just have to keep up my sewing so that I will one day have the experience to conquer a garment like this one!

  • Erica B
    January 25, 2013

    Thanks Amy!