buttoned up: vogue 9182

A few weeks ago I set a lofty goal to make quite a few new pieces for summer. With it hovering around 100 degrees here almost daily now, I’m in desperate need of clothes to help me survive the heat. So, long gone are the projects with full linings and zippers and sleeves. In their place are all the things I not only love to make but will also get a lot of use out of this season (hello, linen and floaty dresses and swishy blouses and wide leg pants!). The two dresses in today’s post are certainly on that list.

I have a standing date with my pattern stash every couple of weeks, where I look for inspiration or pull a pattern that has been patiently waiting for its turn to be whipped into something pretty. I can’t remember when I bought Vogue 9182, but I think I’ve had it for quite some time and I stood out to me during a recent dig through the stash. I’d been hesitant to use it because it exposes a little more skin than I’m used to and for a long, long time I was averse to anything sleeveless. Well, I’ve finally kicked the “I can’t wear sleeveless things” silliness, and to get a little more skin coverage I simply raised the back pattern so it covers my back completely.

The red gingham is from Fabric.com, and the creamy white linen is from Textile Fabrics in Nashville. It’s a Ralph Lauren linen suiting, so it’s quite substantial and weighty. I have enough of it left to make an embroidered jacket later this summer. Excited about that.

I initially wanted to make the red gingham version to take to Nashville last month, but time got the best of me before I could finish it. As soon as I got home, I not only finished it but turned around and made a second version because I liked it so much. (And I got the perfect fabric for it in Nashville, so the stars aligned.) Maybe it’s the buttons or maybe the full skirt (maybe both?), but this dress is just dreamy to me. I love it.

I only made a few adjustments to the pattern for the red gingham dress: a swayback adjustment and I raised the back pattern pieces for full back coverage. I also combined the back and side back pieces so that the back bodice piece could be one single piece. Because I was short on time I skipped making a muslin which, as you well know, is not something I normally ever skip. I knew, based on the finished garment measurements, that the dress would fit nicely and any small adjustments could be made later. I was happy with the fit of the red gingham dress, but for the white linen version I raised the side seams for more coverage under the arms and shaped the front princess seams for a more flattering fit.

This is what the back pattern pieces look like after the adjustments were made. And, again, I would usually trace my tissue pattern pieces on paper and make adjustments from there (to avoid messing with the tissue), but time was not on my side.

And here’s how the back looks on me. I have the coverage I need, and it’s nice and smooth because of the swayback adjustment. You can also see the difference raising the side seams under the arms made to the white dress. I raised the side seams by 1 1/2″, and I think the additional coverage is a little more flattering.

And the front pieces:

The skirt for this pattern is a full circle, and I went with the longer length in view B, which is 31 1/2″ from the waist. Both skirts needed to be leveled (more info on that here).

Matching the pattern on the gingham dress was a task that made me go a little cross-eyed, but I’m happy with the end result. I told myself I wouldn’t be using any gingham or stripes or plaid for a while after this, but what did I do but turn around and start working on a madras plaid shirtdress. I’m a glutton for punishment, I guess.

I keep referring to this as “white” linen, but it’s really more of a creamy vanilla or eggshell white. I like that because it will transition to fall nicely, especially once I make the matching jacket to go with it. I love linen so very much, and this fabric was a dream to work with. I’ll have to get video of this dress in motion eventually, because the way it moves it just stunning. And tons of fun to wear.

I included a waist stay on both dresses, which snaps together underneath the button extension. It does its job beautifully, because there’s no pulling around the waist where the dress is buttoned. That can happen sometimes with shirtdresses or any kind of dress that buttons closed even if it’s the right size, but the waist stay eliminates that.

Anytime there’s a facing in a garment that isn’t attached to a lining, I like to not only serge it but turn it under and edgestitch it too. It hides the serged seam nicely, and makes the garment look a little more professional and high end.


If you’re looking for a summer dress but your version of a sundress is more like mine (I need a wee bit more coverage), I recommend this pattern. I really love making buttonholes and sewing buttons. It’s a refreshing change of pace sometimes, even though my machine really does all the work for the buttonholes.

I think both of these dresses will serve me well this summer and beyond. The white linen dress is a little more dressy, so it might become my summertime date night dress. And you know I love gingham, so the red number will be worn a lot. Sometimes I know when it’s time to walk away from a particular print or color for a while, but I think my heart is set on one or two more gingham things. Probably a blouse and a skirt. Then I’m done, I promise. Almost for sure.

Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll be back next week with more summer projects and a new “how to” post. Lots of fun things coming up!


  1. Lisa G | 3rd Jul 17

    I love both of these dresses, and appreciate the information on the waist stay! I think this is the first time I have heard of that, but it’s brilliant! I am so glad I found your blog! I am fascinated by your tags – do you print one for each garment you make? And is the size 8 an RTW 8 or a big-3 pattern 8? Also, I need to look into linen. I had a linen jacket once that I adored, but it was always wrinkled and it annoyed me. I finally gave it to charity. Is that not a problem with your gorgeous dress? I am subscribing to your blog and look forward to being inspired and learning a lot!! 🙂

  2. Judith Dee | 25th Jun 17

    In awe! Just so fabulous!

  3. Sew2all | 24th Jun 17

    Emily, I’ve always struggled with how far from the edge the buttonholes should be. Is there a standard for this in the ready-made dress industry? It’s so frustrating to make a beautiful garment and then flub up the buttonholes. Your buttonholes and the spacing between buttonholes and from the front edge look perfect.

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Hi! Great questions. Yes, there’s a formula for buttonholes – the length, the placement, the spacing, all of it. I’m actually doing a “how to” post for this on Wednesday, but here’s the low down: the length of the buttonhole is the equal to the size of the button plus 1/8″. So, the buttons on these dresses are 7/8″, so my buttonholes are 1″. The buttonhole starts 1/8″ on the extension side of center front and finishes on the body of the garment. Placement and spacing depend on the garment itself, but I just followed where they were on the pattern. Sometimes I’ll adjust the placement of the buttons/buttonholes, but this time I left them alone. I hope that helps. More info on Wednesday. Have fun sewing, and thank you for the comment!

  4. Marian | 24th Jun 17

    I love everything you make Emily but this is a definite “me” dress. I’ve just ordered the pattern. How do you do the waist stay?

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Hi, Marian! I’m so glad you ordered the pattern! I think you’ll really love it. Great question about the waist stay. I use grosgrain ribbon along the waistline seam, and I just tack it down by hand every few inches. Because grosgrain doesn’t stretch it makes for a wonderful stay because it really keeps everything in place. I’ve been getting lots of questions about this, so I’ll dedicate a post to it soon. Have fun making your dress, and thank you for the comment. Have a great weekend!

  5. marcy harriell | oonaballoona | 23rd Jun 17

    Ohmigoodgoddygoodness these are SPECTACULAR. This is the dress I’ve been craving for the past week (and methinks I can replicate it with another Vogue pattern :). You look divine!

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Marcy! Thank you so much! You made my day. And I say go for it! I have a feeling your dress will be magical. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂 <3

  6. Elizabeth | 23rd Jun 17

    I am loving everything you are making in the white linen! I need to get this pattern. Also do you use 100% cotton grosgrain and if so where do you get it?

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Hi, Elizabeth! Thank you! I’m not using 100% cotton grosgrain, no. It’s just the polyester stuff you can get at JoAnn. I like it because it won’t stretch at all and it comes in cute colors and prints so you can put a little personality on the inside of a garment. Go for the pattern, girl! You’ll love it!

  7. Lynda | 23rd Jun 17

    I live them both. I have the pattern and I purchased a yellow rayon with large white rose design. I have white rose buttons for it. It is next up on my list

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Ooooh, sounds lovely! Let me know how it turns out!

  8. Gena Harakal | 23rd Jun 17

    Emily, I love the gingham dress. I especially love how you matched the pattern. I’m such a stickler for matching on RTW and especially my own stitching. I’m quite impressed with your work. Your buttons and buttonhole are beautiful.

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Gena, thank you so much! I’m a stickler for pattern matching too. If it’s slightly off it looks cheap or like a mistake. My favorite professor in college was always talking about things that could “look like a mistake” and that has stuck with me. We put so much time into making our clothes, so we might as well go the extra mile and make them well. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it very much. Have a wonderful weekend!

      • Gena Harakal | 24th Jun 17

        I was at a sewing and quilt Expo and took a class with Cynthia Guffey. She’s an excellent seamstress and very talented. She said, “if we sew for enjoyment, why rush it? Take the time to make it right.” Words to live by.

        • Emily | 24th Jun 17

          I agree completely. Make it right, or don’t make it at all!

  9. Rimma | 23rd Jun 17

    As always, gorgeous dresses!!! Your construction is so neat and professional, a pleasure to look at! And I really need to learn how to attach waist stays, I did find that my shirtdresses pull at the waist! Could you please briefly describe how you attached them? And what did you use – is that twill tape? Also do you think once the dress is sewn up, it’s too late to attach one? Thank you!!

  10. Diane G | 23rd Jun 17

    Your posts are always a feast for the eyes Emily. What gorgeous dresses! I’m in awe of the fab pattern matching on the gingham.

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Diane, you sweetheart! What a lovely thing to say! I’m so happy to hear it. I’m always trying to push myself and improve photography and composition. The pattern matching on the gingham dress made me go a little cross-eyed, but it was worth it. I might hem the red gingham dress a tad shorter eventually, but otherwise I’m very happy. Excited to get started on the matching jacket for the white dress too. I have an idea for black embroidery on it, so fingers crossed it matches the vision in my head. Ha! Thanks again, and have a wonderful weekend!

  11. Riana | 23rd Jun 17

    Emily, just saw your gingham dress on facebook and had to look at your blog. You are a TRUE inspiration! Thanks for that. I am pumped and wrote down some of the pattern numbers (like the blue polka dots – and yes, I feel bad for the polka dots too – just call me little Dot!) Thanks for sharing your awesome creations with us.

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Riana, thank you so much! I appreciate your taking the time to not only visit the blog but to comment as well. Makes my day! I’m glad you got some inspiration for future projects. And welcome to the polka dot lovers club! 🙂 <3 Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. Sew2all | 23rd Jun 17

    Love the longer length, looks especially feminine. Do you use any sort of twill tape or narrow interfacing around the neck and armhole edges?

    • Emily | 24th Jun 17

      Thank you! I love the longer length too. It’s so classic and ladylike. Plus, I really like knowing I won’t have to worry about anything hanging out that shouldn’t be hanging out! And no, no twill tape or interfacing around the neck or armholes. I will do that on occasion, especially when the fabric is less stable, but I just staystitched those edges of these dresses.

  13. Kathy Bruckman | 23rd Jun 17

    Do you always match the checks when sewing with things like gingham?

    • Emily | 23rd Jun 17

      Hi Kathy, great question. It depends on the project. For this dress, I didn’t initially match the pattern, but I didn’t like how it looked. Another option would be to cut the side bodice pieces on the bias, for an intentional play on the direction of the fabric. I did want as much matching as possible on this dress. If it’s slightly off, it looks like a mistake. I try to avoid that at all costs, even if it is a pain to match it all! 🙂

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