Monday, 7 March 2011

Pattern Review - Anna Maria Horner Evening Empire Dress

I want to show you my Evening Empire Dress which I made from an Anna Maria Horner pattern.
Look at that blue sky! It is Spring! Everybody get your patchwork dresses on!
OK, first the serious pattern review bit (because, look, you might want to make it or someone might google and be looking for tips. We don’t know): I thought this pattern was easy to follow, fit true to size, and is a good shape. I don’t think empire line anything is terribly easy to get away with, but, this is actually a good bodice pattern because it is shaped and nips in slightly under the bust, so, if you are thinking, can I try an empire line dress or will it make me look like a doughnut, the answer is, this is quite a good one and worth trying. The instructions for putting the bodice together are good, it is straightforward and the pieces fit together properly. Although my picture makes the bodice look a bit lumpy, you will just have to believe me that it isn’t. It is because my dummy is firm and unyielding. I sadly am not, neither physically nor emotionally. It would also be very, very easy to adapt into a tunic length or a different patchwork design or something, so, excellent value for money!
Also you could use this pattern to make an actual quilt. Even better value for money!
I had a bit of trouble following the instructions about how to put the zip in – in the end I just gave up and put the zip in, well, the way I normally put zips in. This may have been me (I was tired, I cannot follow instructions) or it may have been the pattern. I also would have encased the bodice/ skirt seam in the lining of the bodice and whipstitched – if I ever make another this is what I will do.

The biggest problem with this dress, though, I think, is; I used quilting weight fabric, and there is a lot of volume. A lot of volume. I didn’t line it, because, well, I hadn’t got any spare lining fabric and besides, I didn’t feel like it: I am quite pleased that I didn’t, though, because two layers of fabric would have made it enormous. I would have looked worse than a doughnut, I would have looked perfectly spherical, like a big patchwork sprout. So, if you are using quilting fabric, for God’s sake don’t then line it with quilting fabric, use either thin lining fabric or just go wild and leave it unlined. I ended up having to shorten this dress by taking the bottom row of triangles off so it ended above my knee, because, although I made the shorter length in the pattern, it hit at a quite unattractive point on my calf and I felt I looked like Michelle Duggar. Which was an interesting look, but not absolutely the one I was going for. It is a good pattern though, and I would certainly make more Anna Maria Horner patterns (in fact I am making a Socialite Dress at the moment!).
Bonus pic of listing for shop. Because I took photos today! Because it was so sunny!
Anyway, in order to better convey to you subtle issues like, how to avoid looking like Michelle Duggar in an empire line, I have bought a tripod! Yes! And when it arrives I am going to experiment with taking photos of myself wearing things. Because at the moment I have to use Partner to take photos if I want photos of myself and, readers, I will be honest, he is not very good. He is always rushing off somewhere, he becomes mesmerised by the screen on the camera and we have to have a discussion about what a digital camera is - every time -, and then he turns into David Bailey and tries to impose his own aesthetic sense. And I don’t want to disparage Partner’s aesthetic sense, but he is very, very colourblind, and from things he sometimes says I do occasionally suspect him of thinking dogs are green. And I am quite colour focused. So, I think this extra stress is one of the reasons I always look constipated and tortured in any photographs of me. It is a shame because it is actually the sole thing that has stopped me from being a supermodel, which would otherwise have been a given. I mean, have you seen my cheekbones? I still have to fend them all off, you know, when they ring me. ‘No, Stella, sweetcheeks’ I have to say, sadly. ‘I know I’m the only one who can really bring your pseudo-seventies take on denim to life. But I’m still having that looking-constipated-in-photos thing going on. Yes, still! I know! Can’t you ring Lily? I know it’s not the same. Ciao, hun. Got to go. Karl’s on the other line. You get back to your leather substitutes’.

I hate to disappoint people. It just kills me to hear Stella cry. But what can you do?


Marushka C. said...

Brilliant, just brilliant ... Clothes, narrative, the whole of it. Thanks for making me laugh, again.