Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Anna tunic by Amy Butler

There is another summer top around here - an Amy Butler Anna tunic for me, rustled up yesterday evening, when I should have been sewing for other people.  Yes, I really do need more summer tops.  Honestly.

I've made Amy Butler patterns before, and I like them.  They are involved but straightforward, and the way she constructs things makes sense to me.  I am starting to think that with sewing patterns, an ability to think like the person who is writing the pattern, is important.  The Oliver + S Ice Cream dress pattern just seemed unintuitive to me - the way the pieces are not cut on the fold, the stitching along seam lines, the extreme avoidance of hemming.  And I have problems with Butterick too - the order of the different steps in their patterns always seems illogical to me.  Whereas Heather Ross patterns, Amy Butler patterns, and most Simplicity patterns just make sense to me, and they always come together quickly.  But other people are different.  Most reviews of the Oliver + S patterns can't praise them highly enough, and many people have struggled with the patterns in Weekend Sewing.  So I guess, like so many things, it comes down to personal taste.  If you find a pattern you like, and you find straightforward, chances are that you will enjoy other patterns in the same range.

I didn't check my measurements terribly carefully before I started this - just dived straight in and cut out the pattern pieces in my usual dress size.  Now it is made, I am in two minds about the fit.  I like the length, I like the fit over my hips, and I love the whole 1960s style, but it feels a bit too small around the bust.  G maintains that it fits me pretty well and has suggested that I am just not used to wearing such a fitted style of top.  He could be right.

The yoke does come up pretty high though, and I think this may be because the top is just a little too tight around the bust.  Next time I'll go up a size and see what happens.  Or maybe I will redraw the yoke pieces to be shallower.  In the photo below I am leaning my head forward so that you can see the buttons, but you can also see that the back yoke does come up terribly high.

It doesn't feel tight, and is very comfortable to wear. I love it for being nicely funky and different (especially is this outrageous William Morris print from Rowan, which I bought from John Lewis to make house trousers for G but didn't get enough of).  The dress is fully lined, which I probably would not bother doing if I used quilting weight cotton again - I wonder if without the lining, the fit would be a little looser?

The pattern comes in four different lengths.  I made this using the second longest, which is the mini-dress length.  There is no way that this would ever work as a mini-dress on me - it would be thoroughly indecent.  But I am a tall 5'10", so I often have this problem with dresses.  I wanted to wear it as a tunic over jeans, and it has ended up the perfect length for that, so I'm happy.

And because it feel more like February than May outside at the moment, it has been worn today with a green, lambswool cardigan which tones down the enthusiastic pinkness of the yoke.

On balance it is a hit, but there are modifications to be made next time.


  1. I think that the William Morris print is just beautiful! And while I liked the top immediately, it is fantastic with just that shade of green cardie! Well done, I'm nearly inspired to try clothing, but small sewing is still much less scary!

  2. I made one and had similar fit issues to yours. But I am a big AB pattern fan too.

    That William Morris print is quite a find!

  3. Yep that print is amazing!

  4. The print is fabulous and looks super with the green cardi!

    And perfect timing, as I was thinking of trying this pattern, too, and guessing I might have similar fit issues (tall with broad back).

    K x

  5. I think your thoughts about fit are bang on, but it looks FAB with your green cardie. That fabric combination is glorious.

  6. I love it with the green cardigan (I often find with my own things that it's only possible to decide how nice something is when put with something else that I already own as then it becomes a part of an outfit, rather than a handmade item to be scrutinised).

    Yes, it's interesting what you say about instructions - I think you're right. I always feel confident with Amy's that she knows what she's doing. Not so simplicity for me though - last time I just used the pattern pieces and then constructed it without the instructions - the inside finish tends to be to the bare minimum with them and once I've started following their instructions I find it very difficult to think for myself and include the steps that will give a good finish the only way around it is to ignore them altogether!

    5ft 10! You lucky thing. x

  7. I've made this top too, I found that it came up slightly to high under my arms but otherwise was ok. I wouldn't bother with the lining if I made it again either. Love the material you have used.

  8. I just finished this pattern last night and had the same problem with the yoke coming up too high. I have not clue how to fix it.

  9. I have just made the Anna Tunic and found too that it comes up very high under the arms. Also agree that the lining isn't really necessary, seems to add bulk. Will try it again with a lot of modifications and hope for something a bit more wearable!


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