Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Alabama Chanin Short Fitted Tank Dress with Random Ruffles

I am slowly and steadily stitching away at my Anna's Garden fitted tank dress that I airbrushed months ago. It has four panels that need to be extensively stitched. I work on it every now and then, but then I get impatient; I want it done now! More specifically, I want more Alabama Chanin pieces in my wardrobe. To that end, I step away from it to and work on a faster project
This time it is the Short Fitted Tank Dress from the book Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design. I decided to make it using random ruffles for embellishment on the front. I chose to add a neck ruffle and a strip of contrast to the neckline. I found that pinning the random ruffles onto the dress front easier, than ruffling it as I went along. I got a few more pin pricks that way, but it went a lot faster.

I felt the neckline was too low for my liking so I added the gathered  ruffle to give more coverage. It did the trick in the front, but I think it made the back too heavy and it doesn't lay as flat as I like. I folded the ruffle in half before stitching it in place. Next time I will use a single layer for the ruffle. Not a wearing deal-breaker, but good to know for next time.

Here are is the finished garment as well a review of the pattern.

Be careful in marking the center front and side seams on this one! I am pretty certain I didn’t do this and sewed them wrong. Look! I think the side seams should be center and the center seams on the side! Grrr! I am glad at least that I made this mistake on this dress rather than another, with more embellishments. Lesson learned. I plan to resolve this issue by paying attention next time and wearing this one with a bolero I plan to make. Regardless, I like the dress and will wear it happily!

The problem seems obvious now!

Pattern Description:
Four panel tank dress from Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design

Pattern Sizing:

S,M,L,XL I made a medium and sewed it with a 1/2 inch allowance.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

This dress is a combination of multiple elements from the book brought together in one piece. It looks like I intended.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The books give very clear instructions and inspirations for creating multiple garments.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?     

I love everything about the patterns in this book. I do not like the depth of the neckline on the dress however. This dress is muslin to test increasing the modesty level with the added ruffle.
Fabric Used:

Jersey Cotton in Tan and Brown

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I made the fitted tank dress in the short length. I added four strips of brown random ruffles on either side of the center seam. I added a brown gathered ruffle to the front and back neckline. On top of the ruffle I added a 1.5 inch strip of tan jersey that I secured with a herringbone stitch. I bound the armholes with strips of jersey using a parallel stitch.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  

Yes and Yes!

Conclusion: Great books and start to an awesome addiction. 

Happy Sewing!


  1. Hey! I enjoy reading your posts! I totally understand the impatience with longer projects and just needing "more AC clothes now!) I am currently working on a fitted babydoll dress with dot appliqu├ęs and a few appliqued flowers. I have to sew on 200 more dots!!! so anyway, yesterday I decided I needed another swing skirt-only embellished with patch pockets, so it is underway now as well!

    one question: I do not recall AC recommending to add a 5/8" seam allowance. I think the pattern includes a 1/4" seam allowance. Am I missing something????

    one feedback: I agree that the ruffle around the neck does wonders for raising the neckline just a touch. I have don't a pleated ruffle instead of a gathered one which did seem to "stand up" well because it was so structured. It took a while to get the pleats measured and folded and all, but I think it was worth it! But I think the gathered one looks better on this dress since it goes with your random ruffle stripes!

    p.s. I have been so worried that I would mix up the center and side seams too! Very easy mistake to make!!! It still looks great! Good job!

    1. Thanks Laura for your kind words. Your AC projects sound fantastic; I would love to see them.

      I agree that the pleats would probably stand up better and give it more structure. I thought, like you observed that the gathers worked with the ruffles.

      About the seam allowance, I think I got idea from the first book, but I could be completely wrong and don't have the book on hand as I type this! It may be as you say. The way I explain it is the sizing that seems to work best for my figure. I have lost weight since tracing and cutting my patterns and didn't want to re-cut them. :P I may have imagined the allowances... I hope it hasn't screwed up anyone's sizing.

  2. this is such a great project. you did wonderful and i don't really get what, if anything, was off. :) love your posts!

    1. Thanks Tiff! It is not a deal breaker problem, but the sides by the bust should fit closer, rather than poke out off to the sides. I am working on another top and when I post it, you will see the clear difference.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I think your dress is wonderful! I don't see the side/center problem. It looks great and looks great on you. It's refreshing to see a dress to the knee. Love it!