Pattern 18: Anna Maria Horner's "The Socialite Dress"

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Like so many other patterns I've chosen for this blog, the "Socialite Dress" pictured on the pattern cover didn't look like something I'd ever want to make for myself. 
I do like some things about this dress like the fact that it has pockets (which is so convenient!), and it is sleeveless which is perfect for these hot summer days.  It has a V-neck that isn't too plunging so I wouldn't need to wear a tank top underneath it to hide any potential cleavage revealing issues if I wanted to wear this to school.  Despite these great points about the pattern, let's focus on the main reason why I (and most everybody else who comes into my store) hasn't bought this pattern?  This obviously thin girl is wearing a dress that makes her appear to have extremely wide hips!  It is very unflattering on her, and if this cute model can't pull off looking good in this dress, there is no way I could! 
When you flip the pattern over, you see a better version which is why I decided to give this dress a try.
When the dress is cinched with a belt, it looks much better! 
I chose this fabric from Michael Miller to make my dress. 
The "Socialite Dress" has gathers around the front and back yoke, pockets, and you have to attach bias to the armholes.  There is no zipper installation required which makes this pattern easier than most dresses.  The only difficult part of sewing this dress was attaching the front neck facing and back neck facing to the front and back yoke pieces.  It was quite cumberson to get the facing folded to the inside of the dress neatly, and I found it difficult to catch the facing in the seam as I topstitched the front yoke. 
Anna Maria Horner's patterns are easy to follow, and she gives very specific instructions on how to complete most steps.  For example, she clearly explains how to gather, so well in fact that you wouldn't need any previous experience gathering to know exactly what to do.  The only complaint I do have about her patterns is that she doesn't tell you when you should finish the seams or edges.  For example, I used my serger to finish the edges of my pockets before attaching them because I know how obnoxious and difficult it is to serge them after attaching them.  The pattern, however, gave no indication this should be done.  When sewing the front piece to the back piece, I serged the seams to finish them but again, the pattern did not tell you to do this.  I've been sewing all summer and now do things by habit whether the pattern tells me to or not, but if I hadn't been, I would have sewed things together before finishing edges and would have had trouble making a professionally finished garment.   Besides that, this is a great pattern I would recommend for the advanced beginner (just because of the gathers and neck and back facings you may find difficult).
I finished the dress last night, and took it to the store this morning to take pictures on the mannequin since it was raining. 

My husband didn't think the dress looked as good on the mannequin so he convinced me to put the dress on for pictures during a brief moment when the rain stopped.  A wet building and parking lot doesn't make the best back drop for a picture, but at least you can get a better idea of how the dress looks on a human!

I am very pleased with how the dress turned out, and I know that I will love using these pockets! 

School starts for teachers in 1 week and I have 2 patterns left to sew.  I just bought some fabric this morning to work on my next project, a Jennifer Paganelli pattern I can't wait to start on.  Can I get 2 patterns done this week?  Check back to see if I can meet my goal!


  1. Very nice, Laura. Keep up the good work.


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