Thursday, July 4, 2013

Paisley Border Alabama Chanin Tank Dress with Matching Long Sleeve Bolero

 The other day I was going through my closet looking for something to wear to a silent auction. I don't usually have "Nothing to Wear" days. I have "Oh, I forgot I made that!" days. It happened again! I rediscovered one of the first garments I made once I got hooked on Alabama Chanin hand- sewing. I did not review it or the matching bolero jacket I made to go with it, so here we are.

It is a short length tank dress with a applique border along the lower half of the skirt. For this single layer dress, I used tan jersey fabric as the base and a plum colored jersey fabric for the top layer. It is hand stitched with natural colored button and craft thread.  I did not have an airbrush at the time, and used a spray bottle to apply white paint with the paisley stencil. I used this stencil because I liked it, but also because the large scale stencil could be sewn up quickly.

I can admit now, that my workmanship was not the greatest. I was eager to get it done and did not take as much care as I could have. My stitches were wider than they should be on the applique. The herringbone stitches on the binding on the bolero are stretched too far apart. Those "flaws" did not stop me from wearing this outfit! I hand stitched it, I am going to wear it!

This dress is the large size that I made before losing some weight so it is not fitted to my body/ B.I.R.A dress form as the small/medium I would cut now, should be. I like the extra ease in this dress now that I am smaller. I could see myself making this in the large again if only the lower portion is embellished, but not the complete dress. The single layer of jersey is thinner, so having it not cling works for me. The double layer of a full dress feels better with a closer fit.

On this dress, I did not adjust the low neckline as I didn't get Laura's tip on raising the straps until recently. This low neckline made it necessary for me to cover up with the bolero. I made it with a single layer of jersey cotton and appliqued the wrists. I secured the binding with a herringbone stitch. The bolero is a size large and I think it is too big now. The straps from the dress keep it in place, but I think the smaller size in it would be more flattering when worn.


Pattern Description:
Hand-stitched four panel tank dress with long-sleeve bolero from Alabama Chanin Studio Sewing and Design


Pattern Sizing:

S,M,L,XL I made a size large in this dress.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

This specific dress design is a not featured in the book, but the elements I used are. This is the Short Tank dress that I embellished with the paisley stencil that can be made from the book. The bolero is the long sleeve version that I appliqued the wrists with the paisley stencil.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The books give very clear instructions and inspirations for creating multiple garments. The garment construction is not difficult, but it is time-consuming. (Does time-consuming have a negative implication? It is engrossing, time-dependent, addicting, and repetitive.) The garments in the book require a great deal of work and the results appear complex because of the details, but broken down into smaller parts, easy.  
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?     

I love everything about the patterns in this book. The paisley stencil is large so it stitches up faster than some others in the book. With this stencil, you feel like you are making progress especially if you are working with a running stitch. 

I don't like the depth of the neckline in the front and back. They are too low for my style. By raising the shoulder straps by about 2 inches on each side, I get the modesty I require. (I did not shorten the straps on this dress.)  
Fabric Used:

Jersey Cotton in Tan and Plum.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I made the tank dress in the short length with not alterations to the pattern.

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

Yes and yes. I plan to make another with an all-over paisley design in hunter green.

Conclusion: Great books and start to an awesome addiction. 

Information regarding my custom dress form and PDF giveaway can be found here

Happy Sewing!

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