Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Made by Me Files: From Start to Finish...The Amy Butler Anna Tunic/Dress.

If you all recall, I wore this dress on Independence Day.  The process of getting it made was only a teeny bit of a headache because I chose to start the project too soon relative to the day I wanted to wear it and because it turns out that I need to be extra careful with armholes in the future.

But I am so glad I photographed this process of creating this dress since I now can refer back to what was successful in this project and what I need to improve upon for the future.

If you aren't a sewing type of gal or guy, this post may be utterly boring for you, but if you have come here by way of an actual interest in how one newbie to the sewing world created a lined dress with pockets on her own (woo!), then this may be right up your alley.  :)

Start of Project.  Alexander Henry La Paloma Fabric (can find the blue/red here), Amy Butler Anna Tunic (can be made into a dress, obviously), Measuring Tape, Pencil, and Pattern Ease Tracing Material (I am constantly buying more--LOVE this stuff).

I personally chose to trace this pattern onto the pattern ease tracing material because I suspected that I would like to make this pattern again, and the pattern ease material is thick, flexible, and long-lasting.  I initially bought the stuff so I could trace patterns from the Burda Style Magazine (look at their pattern pages, OMG), but I discovered I far preferred tracing most patterns onto ths material since it makes cutting the fabric so much easier (it is a bit "staticky sticky," so I don't have to pin as much before I cut).

Tissue pattern pieces.  See?  While nice and clear, you can see how thin and rippable it looks.  LOL.  I have definitely use tissue pattern pieces in the past, but I always rip them somewhere in the process of cutting the fabric.  If it is a cheap pattern, or I don't plan on making it again, no biggie, but with this pattern, I didn't want to chance it.

Look at how neat and clean the traced pattern looks!

Because I have two different sizes on top and bottom, I knew that I would have to grade out, somewhere (this time I chose to do it in the seam allowance, going from small to medium--however, sometimes I split the skirt portion of the pattern and grade it out that way--link sort of shows what I do).  The pattern trace material makes it easier for me to make those adjustments, so another bonus. 

Cut out pattern.

Note--Now that I know how the bodice/armholes fit me, I am going to have to re-do the yoke so that it is longer which will allow the armholes to sit a tad bit lower.

Tissue fitting to ensure that the fit will work on me.

This dummy is named "Triple D," for Dressmaker Dummy Dina.  I bought a size 10 dummy to fit my bodice, since she is nearly exactly my size from the neck to the waist.  I did have to pad her out using batting and my maternity belly bands on the bottom, though.  My hubby and brother are stunned at how much her body mirrors mine.  Ha.

Turns out that the skirt portion was fit perfectly for my form, since Triple D looks good in it.

However, Triple D warned me of something...that's right, the armhole is sitting far too high to be comfortable on me.  Since this was my first time working with Triple D, I didn't know what to look for to ensure a perfect fit on me, and since I never thought I would have to worry about anything on my upper half fitting me (the only benefit of being a pear shape, I suppose), I didn't pay any attention to how close the tissue came to the socket of Triple D.

Back View.  I was stoked that the skirt was going to fit!

This dress has a lining, which I made from muslin material (I like to use this 108'' Unbleached Muslin Natural all cotton material from fabric.com).  Since it is recommended to always make a muslin before cutting into the real fabric, I was able to kill two birds with one stone with this pattern.

The lining shows that the dress will fit, but yet again, it was showing that the armhole would be too tight.  ;-)

Convinced I had a winner, I decided it was high time to cut into the fabric.  I spent way way way too much time lining the fabric up so I could have the print on the fabric exactly in the middle of the dress front and dress back.

Once cut, I checked to ensure the print lined up perfectly and that it would fit well.  Yes to both!

Back view. Print lines up nicely here.

This pattern does not come with pockets as part of the pattern, but since I recalled how easy it was to add them to this skirt I made way back in February, I thought it wouldn't be that hard to add them to this dress.  I took a pocket pattern from a dress pattern that I own (don't recall which pattern I used) and traced it with the pattern ease material.  The pockets are a really nice feature, but unfortunately I put them in wrong the first time, so I had a lot of thread unpicking to do.  I also placed them a touch low on the dress, but nothing awful.  They still felt great, even if a bit lower than I normally would like.

And the finished product...

Okay that's it!  You all enjoy your Tuesday!  I am off to the consignment store later today, looking forward to letting the pretties go to a new home.