Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Sushi Dress - Butterick 5748

Here's a quick and dirty post on a dress I made at the beginning of the summer.  It's actually one of my favorites, because I absolutely adore the fabric.  It's made from a quilting cotton I bought at JoAnn's sometime last year, and the pattern was my second attempt at Butterick 5748.

On this dress, I omitted the lining, used bias binding for the neckline and arms, and scooped the neckline another 5/8".  The hem is serged and left alone (don't you love my couture techniques?), and I have continued with my use of railroad zips over invisible ones.

My sweet "no flash" photo.  Take that, Ansel Adams.

And the back, showcasing the best feature of the pattern; the lovely deep back.

Chicken Dance pose

The hem's even, I promise.  Not only did I have a run of forgetting the flash, but I was also taking photos of my dresses after wearing them all day.  Cotton tends to get a bit flat after sitting for hours.  However, I'm not a fashion blogger (or really any kind of blogger) so my goal is to get pics as fast as possible and get them posted. 

At some point I'll have to get a close up of just the fabric, because it's stunning.  I centered the bodice to get as much of one complete dragon across the front as possible.  Damn, that's pretty fabric.

Boom.  Sewing post.  I had another name for this dress, but then I started to have a hankering for sushi, and that's that.  These dresses name themselves.  Mmmmm.  Sushi.

Happy Hump Day!

Inspiration not Duplication - Cath Kidston's London Buses Dress

Greetings, sports fans! 
This week's installment of "Oooh I love that!  Here, take my money!  Wait... it's HOW much?  For COTTON?!   Yeah, fuck that." is brought to you by my avoidance of anything productive.

It's been far easier to crawl the interwebs lately rather than sit at the sewing table (my fabric stash is glaring evilly in my direction), which brought me to this darling piece by across-the-pond designer, Cath Kidston.


Oh yes, this is love.  Or at least moderate infatuation.  Cath Kidston is known for rather quirky prints (dreamy sigh) on fairly simple designs, and not inconsiderable price tags.  I am totally smitten with the double decker buses, because I shamelessly adore most things British (thank you Netflix and BBC America, for shows like Coupling, The IT Crowd and Spaced, not to mention Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, the Sharpe series, I could go on for paragraphs).  However, I neither want to shell out for international shipping nor pay 65 pounds (and try to convert that to dollars in my head) for this dress.

So, you know what comes next.... has quite a few prints with a London theme.  My favorite is this print:

I like the blue background, as well as the not-to-scale motifs (giant teacups and mini Big Ben, anyone?).  So this would be my fabric of choice - however, if I were inclined to stay as true to the feel of the original as possible, I would go with this print :

The people on the bus go up and down, up and down, up and down...

My only hesitation in this fabric choice is I am clumsy as hell and try to avoid white as much as possible.  However, I think this is adorable.  And it might be worth a dye bath test run to get a blue background.

Next, the pattern.  This is a basic skater dress, and there are a wealth of options as far as patterns.  I would stick to darts over princess seams, just to preserve as much of the motif as possible.  McCall's just released a pattern that would be perfect, M6955.  Butterick 5748 would be acceptable, but I would rather keep the neckline scooped in the front and high in the back, which is the exact opposite bodice treatment.

The flared skirt is pictured, but it also comes with a gathered option, as well as a nifty cut-out back.

 It's a very simple pattern, looks to be every bit of its "easy" rating, and would be my solid pattern of choice for this dress.  I did buy this on sale for $1.99, and would only need about 2 3/4 yards of the fabric at $9.48 per yard - that's noticeably more thrifty than the RTW option.  And that means more money in the budget for accessories!  I mean, things for the house.  Yeah.  That's what I meant...

And there you have it, yet another pleasant distraction from yours truly at the Stitchery.  Happy sewing!


I did purchase this fabric:

OMG squee

With a mind to this Eva Franco dress:

Sold out on Modcloth, worn in New Girl and much coveted by the bloggersphere

Stay tuned!  I may get this done by my 50th birthday.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Inspiration not Duplication - Modcloth Guest of Honor Dress in Balloon

It's no secret I love Modcloth.  And even though I stopped emptying my wallet buying RTW from them faster than you can say "charge it!", I still crawl the pages when I need a creative kick in the ass.  Or to buy accessories.  Accessories.......drool....
So today as I was window shopping the site, I found this dress from Effie's Heart.  Ok, let's get real.  This dress is adorable.  Super adorable.  I want.  I need.  I check the price and hit the brakes.  As lovely as this dress is, I am not excited in the slightest at the $95 price tag. 

So using this as inspiration, this is how I would make my version of the dress.

Inspiration piece from Effie's Heart

First things first -- this dress is a knit.  I love to wear knit, but I don't sew with knit because my sanity is precarious enough as it is.  So my personal take would be to use this quilting cotton, available on

I have this in the pink color and it's freaking fabulous

What I like so much about the Guest of Honor dress is the wide straps and slightly squared off neckline.  I also like the flared skirt, but that's easy enough to swap out with another pattern, so here's the pattern I would use to tackle the bodice.

Personally, I would use view C (the one with the notch), because it has the squared shape I'm after.  The other views are more of a sweetheart neckline, but if you like the attached straps, that's easy enough to change (or leave, whatever trips your trigger).  I've made up view C and cut the CF on the fold to eliminate the seam, and it's worked just fine.  So for the bodice, I would take view C, cut it on the fold to remove the CF seam and remove the notch, squaring up the neckline even more.  I would also leave off the cap sleeves (seen on the model in the hot pink dress).  The original dress has a yoke and separate straps, but I try to use as few seams as possible.  I prefer a cleaner line, especially when the goal is to showcase the fabric, and I am far too lazy to do a shit ton of pattern matching.

If I wanted to up the cost and keep the flared skirt of the Modcloth dress, I'd make the 5 gore skirt from Butterick 5882 (the cotton isn't wide enough for a 2 piece full or half circle skirt) otherwise I'd just use the gathered skirt here.  After all, it's an inspiration piece, not a copy :)  And to be perfectly honest, I'd be inclined to use the highly fabric conservative skirt from 1418, cause I <3 it.  I would also keep the cost down by not making the sash.  I'm short waisted and I don't like them anyway. 

Projected cost:
Pattern $0 (I own it but if you buy it it will run anywhere from 99 cents to $14 depending on if you can wait for a Joann's sale), fabric $23.70 (2 1/2 yards @ $9.48/yard), notions $0 - $4 (thread, bias tape, zipper if the stash is lacking) for a total of well under $30 for a new dress.  Compared to $95 to purchase a similar dress via retail, this is well worth making up at home.  Even if you up the yardage and add the cost of lining (I typically use remnants for my lining), you're still coming in well under half the cost. 

Now go forth and be inspired!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Pattern test - culottes! Friend, or foe? And a bonus sewing machine review.

I've been desperately in love with everyone's Tania Culottes projects.  As I highly enjoy to ride my bike (but don't enjoy flashing passersby), I've been searching for a clothing solution other than a dress and leggings wacked off to be knee length as appropriate cycling wear.  Sadly, the Tania pattern is only available as a downloadble file, and I am a moron when it comes to piecing tiled patterns.  Instant gratification or bust, kids!  I'd done some preliminary research into mod'ing a circle skirt pattern, when I came across a new addition to the McCall line, M6965.

It's about time!
Culottes!  Oh joy, oh rapture!  And three different lengths!  I bought two copies of the pattern, since they were on sale for 99 cents, pulled out some drapey suiting I've had for years and years, shoved my current dress project to the side (again), and spent three hours on Saturday working away.

It's hard to tell, but there's silver thread in there.

Pattern layout, on the new (adjustable height) table
I cut a size 12, because that's what I normally made in bottoms.  Unbeknownst to me, even though my weight is similar to when I last made a non-dress project, they came out HUGE in the waist/hip.  Of course, I tried them on completely assembled and finished, because I was entirely confident about the sizing.  Nope.  Whatever, these are for cycling - so I threw 4 darts in the waistband (2 front, 2 back) and called it good.  Room in the hips will just make it easier to pedal, right?  Right.

Gratuitous crotch shot

They were incredibly easy to put together, although I managed to spectacularly flub the zipper insertion.  Cause I got skills.

FAIL action shot
For some unknown reason (no, not vodka), I didn't leave enough at the top of the waistband to clear the zipper after the facing was attached.  In non-Kelli speak, that meant the zipper was now too long to fold the facing over.  Dumb. So I had to trim more off of the top of the zip, then handsew stops into the zipper tape (because the metal stops were cut off).  And the whole zipper insertion is kind of wonky - I was really in a rush to get these made.

Close enough for government work, as they say
I think these will look better in a more fluid fabric, but even though they make me look a, I still really like these.  The biggest problem with culottes is the optical illusion created by all that extra fabric at the hip/thigh region.  Your eye is drawn to the width of the fabric, which makes it look like that's the width of your thighs.  However, I don't really care.  They're comfy as all getout and you can project a movie on the back - bonus!  I'd like to make the shorter version for tennis as well.  I also think with a better fit and finish, they will be adorable for fall with tights.

Bam!  Baby got back. For days.
And now for something completely different:

I sewed these entirely on my new toy, a Janome 4030P (the P is for "pink" - this was a special model for breast cancer awareness).  Which I love.  LOVE.  I want to run away to the coast with it and buy it presents.  I pet it and sing it lullabies at night.  It reminds me - in all the best ways - of my workhorse Kenmore that I started sewing with umpteen years ago.

That machine would have sewn through aluminum siding if I wanted; I toted that sweet baby with me from college dorm rooms, apartments, and couch surfing, up until the metal housing that worked the needle up and down finally cracked after almost 15 years of abu...I mean heavy use.

Janome, I <3 you
Now, Janome made machines for Kenmore (which have gone the way of the dodo), which may account for the instant amorous deja vu.  I've sewn on Vikings for about 11 years now, and while they are superior machines to many, I've found that I long to return to the simpler functionality of a machine like the mid-range Janome. I don't quilt, so 300 decorative stitches go entirely unused, and while automatic EVERYTHING is an amazing feature, I have missed being able to make slight adjustments and really get to know my machine.  Vikings are also notorious divas, and will only produce the best stitch quality if you give it expensive thread and take it out on the town so it feels pretty.  I had these culottes two-thirds of the way sewn on the Janome before I noticed I had it threaded wrong.  Yup, I am so used to being able to wind a bobbin with the needles threaded (one Viking feature I will miss) that I had the thread wound on the wrong tension post.  And you know what?  Not. One. Missed. Stitch.  This machine purred along happily; I only noticed the threading because I stopped to actually pay attention to the threading path.  That's my kind of machine.

Threading guide.  Apparently, only a suggestion.
So this is the correct path.  I still had wound around the shiny metal tension knob you see at the top.  Did I mention my amazing skills?  Spongebob Cthulhu was mightily amused.

Plus, it's pink and I think it's adorable.  Now, if pink isn't your thing, it is offered as the DC4030, no pink faceplate.  Although I think it's discontinued.  But that's what the internet is for. cute

Look at those sexy, accessible inner workings.  Take that, Viking!

See that lever with "2, 1, 0"?  That's to adjust the pressure foot pressure.  Aw, yeah.  Momma like.  Momma also likes the ability to open that up and actually clean the inside.  No Viking I've used or could remotely afford has that.

So that's it for now.  I have my linen maxi dress halfway done - things at the Stitchery have been in a state of mild upheaval recently and I haven't been able to sit down and work.  Hopefully that will be remedied soon and I will have a lovely new dress post soon - I'm having machine withdrawals!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Just Whistle Dress

Things have just been non-stop hectic around these parts.  I, for one, am delighted that we've actually gotten some rain and cooler weather today.  I guess that means I'm becoming a true Pacific Northwesterner!

The intense (for these parts) heat and humidity have pretty much sapped my motivation for sewing.  I have a couple of completed projects, and my Anna maxi dress cut out, but I just couldn't bring myself to sit indoors with fabric piled on my lap. And with the One Week, One Pattern challenge looming, I need some chill and rain to get me behind the machine again!  I also got my new toy - a Janome DC4030 - that I'm desperate to test drive.  My Viking is a great machine, but it's really aimed at quilters, which means it's large and has about 100 stitches I will never use.  I'm going to try out a smaller machine and see how I like it; this will also give me an extra machine to take to classes and have mini sewing bees.  Well, after the drum kit vacates the corner of my sewing room that is...

I've been busy, if not overly social, the last week.  Which I'm totally OK with.  I've gone biking (I REALLY need a good skort/culotte pattern for riding), been to the gym (my tennis game needs some serious work), and a bit of brewery time with friends (trivia at The Pig!), and it's been lovely.  But with the pledge to eat at home at least three nights a week going strong, the heavy duty bar time has dropped - no regrets there, I've already lost 3 pounds!

The Seattle Cider Summit is coming up in a few weeks, and our intrepid band of heavy drinkers is gearing up for a hop across the Sound and day spend sampling the areas finest cideries.  Should be a blast - if I can remember to buy my ticket... 
Then shortly on its heels in the Pumpkin Beer Festival, mmmm, pumpkin spicy deliciousness.  Night Owl from Elysian Brewery is truly heavenly.
I've also discovered a magnificent offering from Smirnoff.  They have a low-cal line of vodkas, and I found a mango-passionfruit that is DELICIOUS.  At roughly 50 calories per shot, it's a pretty dangerous concoction!

On a non-alcohol related front, I did manage to finish Anna #3.  A few months ago, I ordered a gorgeous Michael Miller print from - Eiffel Towers in a black and white color combination.  Mostly prompted by the impending OWOP deadline, I decided last week to make it up in an Anna variation, instead of my umpteenth 2444 variant.

This is such a simple and well-drafted pattern that I don't have any real construction notes, other than replacing the facing with bias binding (my standard deviation).  I also used one of my favorite skirts, the Simplicity 1418 flared skirt with two big pleats front and back. Aside from the 5 gored Butterick skirt, this is my firm go-to, as it's fairly conservative on usage but looks impressive.  It's also incredibly easy to put together, which is a huge plus!

Again, the seams are pinked and the hem is serged.  I left the hem alone because I think I want to go back and finish it with a bias bound end as an ornamental treatment.  Jury's still out, though.

I wore this to the office yesterday, still unsure of what to name my newest creation.  Then I heard the news of Lauren Bacall's passing - she, along with Audrey Hepburn, has been one of my style icons most of my life.  Classy but ballsy, gloriously feminine with an edge, she was a true example of a woman of strength and elegance.  The lines of Anna's bodice have always evoked an air of the 1940's to me, and suddenly it could be no other name the Just Whistle Dress.

You know how to whistle, don't you?
You just put your lips together, and blow.

Yeah, totally not giving up my day job to model.

Now go watch a Bogey and Bacall film, people!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Bride of Frankendress; Frankendress II, the Frankendressening; or... The Monster Mash Dress

Well it's another gorgeous Friday here in the Pac NW.  As a matter of fact, it's been SO beautiful for the last month that I think we're all getting twitchy for some rain and gloom!  But I'm enjoying the sunshine while it lasts; fall will be here soon enough and hibernation season lasts a hell of a lot longer than summer.  Note to self, start stockpiling tights....

I just ordered a new table for the Stitchery off of Amazon.  It's awesome, it's a portable folding table with legs that adjust up to 48" - at $40ish, that's the cheapest cutting table I could ever get my hands on!  And if the drums find a new corner to call home, I'll have it set up all the time, and my little studio will be complete (here's where I rub my hands together in anticipatory glee).

I also hit up one of my local Jo Ann's Fabrics on Thursday.  They are having an amazing pattern sale - $1.99 Butterick and 5 for $5 Simplicity.  I've been wanting to pick up a couple of different styles to round out my dress wardrobe (and get a backup for Simplicity 2444), so that's what I did.

The two Butterick I picked are retro reprints - I chose B5880 for the skirt pattern but I actually am getting psyched about trying the bodice.  B6582 is one I've been stalking for a few years, but was always sold out.  I want to try a version of view C (with the full skirt) in a plaid suiting fabric I've had forever.

I haven't spent much time at my machine this week.  I did finish one dress and have another about halfway finished, but I've been fighting back a summer flu, visiting a bit, and football season is upon once again (can I get an amen?), so other pleasant distractions have been taking my time.  Which is fine - I'm a bit on the introverted side, and if given my druthers I'll hole up for weeks on end, happily stitching away.  So it's good to get out, even if I'm drug kicking and screaming once in a while.

And without further ado, it's dress time!  I first saw the fabric online at, but it sold out almost instantly.  Much to my joy, as I was wandering through Pacific Fabrics, I found a bolt with a few yards left.  Score!  I should have bought all of it, but I kept to 2 1/2 yards - at $12.99/yard, that's a hefty purchase for me.  Usually I stick to Jo Ann's, and only on sale.  But this fabric was a MUST.

Sooooo awesome...

I wanted to give the Frankendress pattern another go, so that's the one I used (Simplicity 2444 for the front, 1803 for the back).  As I had a lot less fabric, I grabbed a 1/4 circle skirt pattern and went to work.

The end result of just the right pattern placement

Construction was pretty much the same; I removed the excess from the arm on the back piece by laying 2444 over the cut 1803 and trimming, bias tape binding for the arms and neckline, standard zip, and the hem is serged, then folded once and topstitched.  Pinked the seams for finishing, and I think I want to try binding the waist seam on another day (or 100).

Karloff's face, front and center

The Creature's innards

close up of the bias tape finish
When it was finished and I zipped it up in elation, I discovered one big fuck up.  I used the wrong skirt.

Yep, I was hurrying and the one I grabbed was for a slightly flared A-LINE.  Fuuuuuuuck!  Now, I should have known something was wrong, because I have a hunk of fabric left over that is big enough to the half of the front of a man's shirt (which is what it's currently earmarked to be).  But no, off I went, in a helluva hurry to get this done and COMPLETELY FINISHED THE DRESS before I found out.  It wasn't bad, but not at all the shape I wanted.  So I pulled out my scrap pieces to see if I could piece together another section and maybe pull off a slightly gathered skirt.

Nope.  Not enough.  Engage pout. Briefly consider giving the dress away.  Pout some more.  And then some more.  Heavily consider the need for cider.  After all, this is traumatic.

Ugh, enough of that.  Man up, Nancy!

Solution #2 - godets.

Waiting for Godets

I had enough fabric to make 4 godets (gores, gussets, etc.).  However, because the skirt is a 2 piece, flared a-line, I would have needed to make splits in the existing skirt pieces for insertion points (too risky in a completed garment).  I didn't want to do that, so I just cut 2 fairly narrow triangles for the side seams.  I ripped the seams open - stopping just short of the waist seam - pinned them in place, and stitched 'em in.  Super fun, considering the existing seams were already pinked.  Sigh.

After it was all assembled, I tried it back on, and was much happier with the result. And here is the finished product - The Monster Mash Dress.

Monster Mash dress + the clunkiest shoes I own

Extreme godet closeup

My flushed-from-a-summer-flu-yet-very-pleased face

**The back is a touch more snug that I like, as I took out the extra 1/4" I used in the first Frankendress, which I now know I need to leave in.  I still adore this dress, though.

That's all for now - hopefully by my next post I'll have had a chance to test my newest purchase, the Janome 4030!  Mhuahahahahahaha!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Frankendress

Sigh. Ever had a weekend that was so relaxing yet productive that you wished there was at least one more day?  That is this weekend.

Friday night was an early start in downtown Bremerton at the monthly First Friday art walk.  We stopped by several businesses, including one of my favs, the Rockit Roost.  They were having a big fundraising event to kickstart their pub project -- Chuck and Hannah are super and I love their dedication to this town.  I bought a couple of raffle tickets and the most amazing bottle of beer; it seriously tastes like tangerine soda. But the drinking of said libation wasn't until later...

Then it was off to Melissa's birthday party. She had several local bands playing and it was a blast, even though I was wiped out from my week. I hung until after 1 (cause I'm such a rockstar).  All in all it was SO much fun.  I, as the only sober one, was in charge of cake cutting.  I hope it was satisfactory!

Saturday late morning was a lovely bike ride, then shopping.  Dinner was chicken satay on the patio with my delicious beer and the Cure on the internet radio. Then we walked to the Hi Fi for a drink - cider for me of course, met up with some friends and retired to the casa for visiting (and lots of cider drinking).  A perfect day.

And now, dress stuff.

For far too long, the main issue that kept me from really jumping into apparel sewing was my lack of pattern-drafting skills.  Online instructions did me no good (visual, hands-on learner), local classes on drafting were only offered as part of fashion design degrees, etc.  Then I stumbled across a few blogs of some incredibly talented and creative home sewers, who laughed in the face of packaged patterns and boldly blazed paths into the land of mash-ups and alterations.

"Awesome.  I can totally do THAT" I said to myself.  And I was off and running and haven't looked back since.  However, there is a bit of difference in mixing bodice and skirt options and my latest creation...

One of my favorite RTW dresses is this Emily and Fin dress that I bought from Modcloth.  Ah, Modcloth...the reason I give my dresses cutesy names...and the big reason I started sewing for myself.  Gorgeous, but pricey.  Still my favorite place to shop for accessories, but I just can't fully indulge my love of novelty print dresses at RTW prices. But I digress.

This dress ticks every box for me:  fitted bodice, full skirt, scooped back, boat neckline, interesting fabric.  Love at first sight.  I bought it for my 41st birthday, and it was even prettier in person. As I am not going to drop $80+ every time they release an amazing new frock, I wondered if I could make a dress that was inspired by this design (Emily and Fin, you complete me).  I didn't have anything stock like this, but after digging through my pattern stash, I found I had several pieces that would work.

To the laboratory!

First things first, the RTW dress bodice.  It's fabulous; beautifully rounded back, flattering neckline, and fitted at the waist with four sets of darts.  For the front, that's a no-brainer, because that's Simplicity 2444 straight up. 

The back of the bodice took a bit more thought, because I wanted to use existing patterns in my stash.  I had several scooped back options, but I decided to go with Simplicity 1803 to stay in the same pattern line (both are Project Runway).  A quick layout and I confirmed the shoulders would match. The back shoulders were a bit wider set, but that didn't concern me over much.

Done and done.

Now the skirt.  This was an experiment, and my inspiration dress had a stunning skirt that's got about a million tiny knife pleats.  Hell no. Knife pleats can get on the bus to Fuckoffsville with facings.  Enter Butterick 5882 - the 5 gore 1/2 circle skirt. All the fullness, a fraction of the work.

*cue the lighting*

This project went together in just 3 days, from layout to cutting to sewing.  It would have been faster, but I was a terrible mood that week and kept making stupid mistakes that I will not go into here (but it involves a lot of re-sewing).  I did have to trim a bit off the armscye on the back piece, because it was a higher one that 2444, and if I matched the underarm, not only did the waist not line up but everything else would have skewed.  I did this by taking the pattern piece for the back of 2444 and laying it over the dress piece, then just cut the excess off.  Pinked seams, serged hem, bias faced armscye and neckline, 1/4" waist seam, and...

It's alive!  ALIIIIIIIVE!!!!!!

The unexpectedly cool thing is that, because the shoulders on 1803 are wider and slightly off-set, they pull the front of 2444 (which I have already trimmed to the size 4 line because I don't like super high necklines) into the same moderate boat neck of the E&F dress.  But other than the skirts being slightly different, I am thrilled with this project.  The fabric is light, but has enough of a stiff hand to flare on its own, and the colors will transition nicely into fall and winter. 

No flash back view

I will definitely make this again.  The only changes will be to open up the armscye a bit more and remove the extra 1/4" I added to the CB seam (because 2444 is much more fitted in the front, I thought it may be too tight with the back from 1803 as-is).  But even as it stands, this monster's got swagger.


One more pose, just because I like this one
Well, that should do it for this entry.  It is positively glorious outside today, and I have coffee to drink while the breeze blows summer air through the house. I have my next Anna ready to start (September is too close and I have a challenge to meet), and another Frankendress in the planning stages.

Mountains.  Your moment of zen.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Whooooo Dat! Dress

Happy Friday, all!  Can you believe it's August already?  It's another unexpectedly gorgeous day here on the Sound - although our days are getting shorter and the nights necessitate sweaters - all signs that Fall is on the way...

Today's less than energetic post is brought to you courtesy of The Longest Week Ever.  Seriously, the greatest cure for insomnia is training in new division at work - I'm learning loads of new information and it's exhausting.  Interesting, necessary, pretty cool, but exhausting.  Last night I had to force myself to stay up until the wee hour of 9:30 (thank you, online fabric browsing) then I crashed out hard for the night.  There's still a bit of residual tiredness hanging on today, but there's a birthday party tonight and cycling in Seattle rest for the wicked!

Enough of that, on to the dress.  Months and months ago, I came across a stupidly adorable fabric while cruising the quilter's section of my local JoAnn's (boo on you, boring apparel fabric).  As they were having yet another 30% off sale, I snagged it to add to my fabric hoard.  Every few weeks I would pull it out, mull over a pattern, then put it back.

Sweet little owls and music notes - behold the cute

Enter the Anna Dress.  Let's take a moment to sigh wistfully over her splendor, shall we?....

This is only the second time I've used this pattern, and I absolutely adore the bodice.  My first test was the boat-neck style, so for this I wanted to try the V-neck (I've committed to using the Anna dress for the OWOP challenge, so I am pushing myself to try and style it differently on each go).  Because of the horizontal pattern of the fabric, I didn't want to use a 1/4 circle or gored skirt, and I've made several gathered skirts lately, so I went with the 4 pleated flared skirt from the Almost Fail project - Simplicity 1418.  The pleats in the skirt actually match up with the front pleats  and back darts in Anna with surprisingly little fuss, and the shape of the skirt holds up to horizontal stripes without any odd distortion.

Bam!  Success.

As this is such a simple pattern to put together, I didn't need the instructions at all for this one.  The kimono  sleeves are rolled a 1/4", pressed, then rolled a 1/4" again, pressed and topstitched.  The neckline is finished with bias tape that is clipped, turned, then topstitched in place (fuck you, facings).  For the V portion of the neckline, the bias binding overlaps slightly, then I clipped straight into the V to accomodate stretching.  This also helps it stay where it belongs instead of creeping to the outside like facing ALWAYS DOES.

I swear, I'm smiling right AFTER the timer goes off...

The seams are pinked, the hem is serged, then turned and topstitched.  All in all, super simple and straight-forward.  After my pattern test, I did take about 1/3" from the center back, which tightened up the excess pretty much perfectly (yay, sway back). I also used a 1/4" seam for the waist, just for personal preference only - I like my waist to sit a teeny bit lower, and lowering the shoulder seams isn't the appropriate solution since everything else is bang on.

And let's pause for a moment to appreciate the shoes.

Miss L Fire purchased from Amazon

What do you think, Spongebob Cthulhu?

Spongebob Cthulhu says "they're rad"

He approves.  Damn straight, they're fabulous.

What I love so very much about Anna is that, even though it is easy to put together, she gives you such a sophisticated shape.  It's similar in fit to my beloved 2444, but the kimono sleeves and neckline variations make it a completely different look.  Next up is the maxi dress variant with a gorgeous linen blend that has been in my hoard for years!

Offset pattern again--sorrynotsorry