Disclosure: I have used my own fabric and supplies to make this dress. However, I was given the Violette Field Threads, Annabelle Dress pattern for free as part of the Bundle Up blog tour. My opinions are always my own, and please forgive me if I gush a bit – this is honestly the most gorgeous dress I have ever sewn. (Thanks!)

When I got an email asking if I’d like to be a part of this blog tour, I didn’t  sign up to make the Annabelle Dress right away. In fact, I tried to stay away from it. It looked tricky, and time consuming… and I really wasn’t sure I liked the sweetheart neckline. My oldest however knew it was love at first sight. Try as I might to convince her otherwise, this was going to be made, and I knew it. So I gave in and I’m so glad I did!

If you haven’t heard of the Bundle Up Sale, it’s put together by Pattern Revolution and each sale contains a new group of patterns in a different category – boys, women, etc. This Bundle Up Sale contains 11 patterns for girls – which of course I am interested in. Buy as little as 6 patterns and pay 1/2 price for each of them, or buy them all for even less! A great way to stock up a wardrobes worth of patterns for your kids! The sale started January 23rd and will end on February 2nd. If you want to buy any of the patterns alone, you can get them on the 16th of February from their respective designers.

I loved the experience of working with this Violette Field Threads pattern. I had not used their patterns before, and the instructions were very clear and thorough. I love working with good photos, and there are lots of them in these instructions. This dress is not as tricky as it looks! In fact, once you have cut the fabric out everything goes really quickly, considering the piecing required. I was surprised to finish putting the skirt together in only about 3 hours. The rest of the dress is very simple and the elastic back is great – no closures necessary!

I used gorgeous blue and teal chambray for the bulk of the dress, plus a fat quarter of white embroidered quilting cotton for the middle chevron. I haven’t worked with chambray before and now I can’t wait to buy some more! The drape is amazing and it is really nice to sew with. The weight is perfect for this dress and allows it to flow really well. It’s also going to be perfect for summer, since it breathes well and seems really comfortable and soft. I think my daughter will wear it every chance she gets, and probably to church this Sunday, even though it is supposed to be -20 C!

The suggested sizing on this pattern was good as well. My slim 7 year old usually fits into a size 4 or 5 bodice with a size 6 length. When compared to the measurements on this pattern, that was what they suggested and it worked out perfectly. I made a size 5 bodice and a 6 length, then took about 1″ off of the bottom before hemming. I like that the elastic back allows for easier sizing and the dress can be worn longer as well. The length in the hem allows you to make the dress go “right down to the floor”, as my daughter specifically requested!

There are only two helpful hints I would add about this pattern:

  1. This dress has lots of seams in the skirt portion, and the pattern explains how each seam allowance needs to be finished properly so they do not fray. I found my serger to be amazingly helpful in this process and it would have taken much longer to finish each one by grading and zig-zagging the edges.
  2. The fabric requirements are spot-on – you really need quite a bit of fabric to sew up a maxi dress! Since I am trying to work my way through my fabric stash, I wanted to use something I already owned. I think I tried about 10 combinations at least before I found one that had enough yardage. (and that my daughter and I could agree on!)

I’ve got at least one more of these to make for my youngest since I’ve promised her one as well. I can’t wait, it’s going to be so cute! I think this might be the pattern I use for their Easter dresses for this year and if I start now I won’t be rushing to finish them at the last minute as per the usual – wouldn’t that be nice!

Here is a list of the tour stops if you still need some inspiration. I’ve been following the tour along, and each blogger’s description really helped me to decide which 6 patterns I would purchase. (And they are now on my list for KCW next week!)
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