the hardest dress yet…

This week I worked mostly on one dress.  Yes, one dress. This is not your simple weekend sewing dress, designed to be sewn and get on with it, nope.  This is an Amy Butler design, specifically the Anna Tunic.  And it was a challenge…not that the words were in another language, but at times, it certainly felt like it was~but maybe that’s just me. And really, I do think it’s just me.

anna tunic by amy butler

To start off, I think I selected a dress that just does not work for my body type.  This dress, to me, seems like a modern version of the 1950’s housewife dress (in a very nice way).  It has a high neckline, which is a major issue for someone with a body shape like mine…but there are many people out there who can pull this off.  I just don’t think I’m one of them.

Next, this dress has a lining.  Now in Tucson, we do NOT need dresses with linings, so I thought I’d leave this part out… BUT, turns out, to make the arms holes work properly, you need a lining to turn them.  Okay…so, I thought I’d make a short lining that hits about waist-length and ended up sewing it to the inside seam of the dress so it doesn’t bunch up.  This actually worked out fine.  Another pattern deviation I made was to add pockets, because dresses NEED pockets.  Where else do you put your chapstick???  Luckily, I used my pocket template from the simple book above (that Heather is a genius). The pleats were suppose to be on the bottom of the bodice; mine decided the top was a better location.  But not nicely lined up, more like bunched together.

There were just so many more steps with multiple steps within the step.  Talk about confusing.  And then add trying to do some new to me sewing techniques (the instructions came with its own glossary – I didn’t know what half of the sewing stitches were). Seriously.  (Can you tell I haven’t made an Amy Butler pattern before???) All I can say is I finally finished it…and don’t ask me how.

Actually, I still have to sew some buttons on the back neck closure, but I don’t have any nice buttons.  Bias tape, I have a ton, but no buttons.  Go figure.  I actually think I’m going to sew some little hook and eye closures instead of buttons.  I didn’t make the button tape closure devices – well, I did but I didn’t like the look of them, so I tossed them. So, I think hook and eye closures it is! This dress took three full days (of nap times) to sew. That’s about 12 hours to make this one dress! And at the end, it didn’t hang exactly right on me, so I had to take it in on the sides a bit – and I will have to wear the fabric belt with the dress to highlight the waist area.

But honestly, I think the dress is going to become a gift to someone tall and willowy, like Antje’s Jess.  It would look great on her. BUT the best part of this dress – is finally using my favorite fabric by Keri Beyer.  Love this pattern and the colors!  This makes the pain of making this dress feel less when I look at that lovely pattern – and know that I finished a very challenging pattern (for me).  I even have some of the fabric left…

I tell you, sewing some of my own clothes (well, dresses) makes me appreciate clothing made by other people more.  NO wonder well-made items cost so much! I watched Pride and Prejudiced (I love my Matthew Macfadyen, also known as Tom from MI5) while Jon was away this week, and really, as much as I love the story, all I could think about was how much time it must have taken to make those lovely costumes…

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3 thoughts on “the hardest dress yet…

  1. Costume making is a whole other topic! I made renaissance costumes for Daniele and I a few years ago and it took me two months! I went all out with both costumes. I learned so many new things.

    I think the dress looks very nice.

  2. Pingback: other weekend sewing here « Desert Homespun

  3. A-M

    WOW! Looks very pretty and I think it works with your body type!! Love the fabric and don’t get how you have the time for all these projects!

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