DKNY VOGUE PATTERN + AN ALABAMA CHANIN DIY DRESS

VOGUE-GRID-WEB

Vogue designer patterns, which are available to all at reasonable prices, are excellent examples of resources contributing to and encouraging the DIY opportunities in modern fashion. The existence and availability of such resources help us to continue our ongoing conversation on Design, Craft, and Fashion and how they intersect.

As part of our ongoing series adapting open-source designer patterns using Alabama Chanin techniques, we selected a dress from DKNY—Donna Karan New York—the mainline label for the Donna Karan brand. I’ve written before about the connection I have with Donna Karan as a designer and we’ve previously featured another of her Vogue patterns as part of this DIY series.

This modern shift dress pattern is flattering on all body types, simple enough for beginners, and can be easily accessorized and embellished. We made both a Basic version, as well as an embellished version, featuring the Check pattern, our Stencil of the Year.

VOGUE-BLANK-02W

To make your own basic DKNY à la Alabama Chanin dress:

SUPPLIES

DKNY Vogue Pattern V1349
1.5 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey for top layer
1.5 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey for backing layer (in same color as top layer or in contrasting color – as desired)
Button Craft thread
Basic sewing supplies: scissors, pins, needles, ruler, rotary cutter

Alabama Stitch Book, Alabama Studio Style, or Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: All three of these books contain the basic sewing and embroidery techniques we used to make our version of this dress.

Note: We omitted the lining, zipper, stay tape, and hook and eye closures. The shape of the pattern makes it an easy pull-on garment when paired with our stretchable cotton jersey, while the double-layer cotton-jersey eliminates the need for a lining.

Follow the (very concise) Vogue instructions exactly as written for everything but the neckline finishing and seam allowances. We reduced the 5/8” seam allowances on every pattern piece to 1/4” by removing 3/8” from every seam. Reduce necklines, armholes, and hem by 5/8”.

Hand-sew all seams with a straight stitch, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance, using a double strand of thread on our Alabama Chanin medium-weight cotton jersey.  We felled our seams for the dress above, but that is a matter of taste and desired style. If you choose to do a floating seam, we suggest reducing the seam allowance or trimming around all seams after completion to reduce bulk.

For the neckline and armholes, we applied our standard Alabama Chanin rib-binding with a Cretan stitch, but any stretchable embroidery stitch (such as cross-stitch or herringbone stitch) will work as well.  Leave hem raw.

DESIGN CHOICES

Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight organic cotton jersey
Fabric color – Black
Button Craft thread – Black #2
Knots – Inside
Seams – Inside felled
Binding stitch – Cretan stitch

VOGUE-CHECK-02W

We embellished our second garment with a reverse appliqué technique placed only on the center front panel. To make your own DKNY à la Alabama Chanin reverse appliqué dress with placement embroidery:

SUPPLIES

DKNY Vogue Pattern V1349
2 yards of 60”-wide 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey (for side front, side back, and shoulder yoke)
1 yard of 60”-wide 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey (for front and back panels, in contrasting color, as desired)
Check stencil
Textile paint
Basic sewing supplies: scissors, pins, needles, ruler, rotary cutter

We worked our version with the side front, side back, and shoulder yoke from Navy fabric, and the front and back from Black fabric, and placing embellishment only on the front panel piece.

Cut out your pattern pieces in the desired size from your fabric. Stencil your cut top layer of the front panel with the Check stencil and textile paint. Pin together the top and bottom layers of each front pattern piece, right sides of both layers facing up.  Using a double strand of Button Craft thread and a straight stitch, begin stitching the Check pattern using our reverse applique technique from Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. We cut away the X and square shapes, as seen in the detail photo below.

VOGUE-CHECK-04W

After you have worked your front panel, sew the dress by following the instructions above.

DESIGN CHOICES

Fabric weight – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Fabric colors – Navy and Black
Button Craft thread – Navy #13 and Black #2
Stencil – Check
Technique – Reverse appliqué
Textile paint – Slate
Knots – Inside
Seams – Inside felled
Binding stitch – Cretan stitch

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29 thoughts on “DKNY VOGUE PATTERN + AN ALABAMA CHANIN DIY DRESS

  1. ann

    Love it! would love to see this on a person though – any chance you could coerce someone there to throw this baby on and take a snap?

    Reply
  2. Vickie

    I will definitely be making this dress – it looks so versatile and flattering. I just happen to have a stash of black cotton knit, so all I need to pick up is the pattern. Would you recommend doing reverse applique on the whole dress or just keeping to one area as you did?

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Hi Vickie,
      You won’t run into any issues at all if you would like to reverse applique the entire dress. The only factor here simply depends on how much work you would like to put into your dress. We wanted to create this as a nice option that falls between a basic and fully embroidered garment.

      Reply
  3. Mary J

    Excited to try this out! I bought a good selection of AC beautiful organic cotton fabrics when y’all were having a sale, and I can put it to good use with this pattern. Thanks! :)

    Reply
  4. Susann

    Like I could love and admire and generally have a grand feeling just seeing your name anymore than I already do, this is a moment of stillness so my body can catch up to my heart.
    In short, thank you, Natalie Chanin aka WonderWoman.

    Reply
  5. Margaret Dukeman

    Quick question…do you do the stitching and then the cutting out of the shapes or the other way around?? I just love the effect!!

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Margaret,

      Yes, with reverse appliqué the top and backing layers are stitched together; next, part of the top layer is cut away to reveal the backing fabric underneath.

      Reply
  6. Liz Sheridan

    I am in shock, was browsing vogue patterns with an Alabama Chanin collaboration in mind and looked at this pattern specifically but didn’t have the confidence that it was suitable, that was yesterday! Surprised and delighted to see it on here today, had to purchase it online as it was 10euro more expensive at my local haberdashery which is disappointing as I prefer to shop local but too much of a difference to justify that. Thanks for another great idea

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Jane,
      The basic dress is double layer; this tends to replace the need for a lining. Feel free to sew this garment as a single layer, but for more fitted garments, we normally like to sew these as double layer.

      Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Elizabeth,
      Feel free to use the 5/8 seam allowance. We reduced this to cut down on bulk in the seams and to follow our standard sewing guidelines (once you are use to sewing 1/4 inch seam allowances, it’s difficult to switch back over sometimes). You may also go back and trim your excess seam allowances to cut down on bulk if you wish to not alter the pattern.

      Reply
  7. Donecia

    Hello.
    Can somebody please show me the proper way to fold the AC basic poncho!! I have been trying to make it for months and the book is just not clear.

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Donecia –

      With your grain facing towards the table, you will take the bottom right corner and match it up to the top left corner. The top right corner will then lay to the right of this original bottom right corner – running along the top length of this poncho. You will then sew 1/4 of an inch from the top length of the poncho, attaching the right width side of your poncho to the top length.

      We hope this helps and realize this can seem complicated at times…be on the lookout for a tutorial video about ponchos soon.

      Reply
  8. Kim Shepherd

    Beautiful dress. Do you make up the outer layer and the inside layer as two separate garments then join them together when binding the armholes and neckline, or do you stitch the seams together through all layers, treating the outer and inner layer of jersey as one fabric? Thanks for these lovely tutorials, which I’ve only recently discovered!

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Kim,
      You will treat the inner and outer layer of jersey as one fabric – if you do any embellishment, make sure to do this before construction. Enjoy!

      Reply
  9. Sandy

    Do you have any recommendations for….gasp…..machine stitching vogue patterns in the AC style? now that you have launched A Chanin? I would like to try to make a long gore dress….but hand stitching the whole thing seems very daunting…even tho i love and understand the “slow” movement….
    thanks!

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Sandy,
      You may sew this garment on a machine – as you would with any jersey knit – just make sure to follow our 1/4 inch seam allowance or alter the pattern for a larger seam allowance that will best accommodate your sewing machine. Make sure to apply a stretch stitch in areas such as the arm and neck openings. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  10. Vickie Taton

    Hi again,

    Thank you for the prompt reply on the appliqué question. I’ve got the pattern and have cut it out and I just have a couple of additional questions.
    You took 5/8″ off the outside edge and neckline edge of the shoulder yoke, correct? And then 5/8″ off the side back and side front at the armhole, and 5/8″ at the neckline of the front and back sections. All to allow for the AC style of binding with strips of fabric cut on the diagonal (as in your books). I’ve made some of YOUR patterns, but this is the first time I’m trying to adapt a standard pattern to the Alabama Chanin style (which, if you can’t already tell, I just love) so I’m a little nervous. Plus, I have some beautiful blue organic cotton I bought from you to make this and I don’t want to mess it up! Thanks again.
    Vickie

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Vickie,
      Glad to hear you are making progress with your dress. We did not take any away from the neckline, arm opening, or shoulder yoke and it worked very well for us. Since jersey stretches, it tends to allow for your arm and neck openings to be flexible and a bit more roomy than when you sew with woven fabric. Feel free to hold up your pattern to make sure these openings will be sufficient, and if you like a more roomy neck/arm opening, you may trim away this excess 5/8 of an inch. Also keep in mind, our bindings for the neck and arm are cut across grain. Happy sewing!

      Reply
  11. Lynn

    Would it be possible to make a reversible dress? I found two knit fabrics in prints to do the two layers with, and it would be fun to have it reverse. Thanks, Lynn

    Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Hi Lynn,

      It is possible, but keep in mind you will have one set of seams inside felled and the other set would be outside felled. There would also be an issue with neck/armhole binding (you will have to deal with the back of your stretch stitch on one side of your garment. Zigzag, zigzag chain, or a whip stitch are three options you may want to play with…) Another option would be to clean finish your neck and arm holes, but this would call for more advanced sewing techniques.

      Reply
    1. Alabama Post author

      Hey Phoebe,
      A double knit would work fine – just be aware that the edges may not roll at all when using a double knit fabric.

      Reply

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