Friday, July 1, 2011

Anthropologie Knock-Off: Artist's Rendering Dress

Now that Me-Made June is over, I can document some of the other projects I've been working on. It's been lovely having my summer days free of students and grading papers -- I can sew all day if I want to! Of course, I don't actually end up sewing for eight hours a day since I waste time making Wikipedia trails, re-reading books I've read a million times before, and hanging out with Walnut.

Which brings me to possibly my greatest accomplishment of all time (not really): an honest-to-goodness Anthropologie imitation! This is my version of the Artist's Rendering Dress by Odile. I actually didn't even know about this dress' existence because my Anthro catalogs stopped arriving for some reason, but my friend Shayna kindly gave me an end-of-the-school-year present: a page torn out from her latest catalog AND the material to make the dress! She found this vintage bedsheet at a thrift store before she ever saw the dress; I think this makes her a genius who mysteriously channels Anthropologie designs.

After reading about Gertie's Black Eyelet Dress, I had McCall's 5845 sheath dress bookmarked as a possible pattern to try. It seemed like a good enough approximation of the Anthro dress, so I picked it up at my local Yardage Town in their $1.99 pattern bin. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, since in the past I've only ever done full skirts that didn't need to be fitted over the bottom portion. I am irrationally afraid of pouring my time and effort into a sheath dress/pencil skirt only to have it burst when I try to sit down. But hey, I've done circle skirts and dirndls, I've got to conquer the fitted bottom sometime, right? 

The pattern was relatively straightforward, even it the 28 darts were a little tedious to mark and then sew and then press. When it came time to attach the skirt portion, I agonized for about a day over whether I should just scrap the bottom and put in a full gathered skirt (it's a queen-sized sheet, so there was plenty of fabric left) instead. Finally, I decided that I needed to give the pattern a fair trial, and I am so glad I did! There are still some weirdo wrinkles here and there (I attribute it to not having a butt to fill out the dress), but overall I'm happy with it.

My attempt to look like a disinterested model.
My favorite thing about this dress is how well I matched the fabric pattern on the side seams -- check out how that sky continues from the front to the back! I remember reading somewhere that one of the hallmarks of couture designs is that the stripes/plaids/whatevers actually line up. Unfortunately, the back is a little off, so I'm not quite there yet...

Shayna suggested that I could wear this as a reversible dress.
I'm also quite proud of the neat job I did on the inside. I used another thrifted white, poly/cotton blend bedsheet for the lining (I'm all about using thrifted materials whenever I can), and even cut it so that I could reuse the original hem (because I hate hemming).

I almost got stuck in the dress inside-out.

I didn't really make any changes to the pattern other than raising the back (so that I could wear a normal bra with this dress) and putting the darts inside rather than outside (You know, like a normal person. I think darts outside is a silly design feature. But I think an exposed zipper is cool. Does that make me a hypocrite?). I do like how the neckline looks with my collarbones (is that a weird body part to like?), and the cut of the armholes doesn't make me look like a linebacker! It's always a good day when one doesn't look like a linebacker.

It also occurs to me that this sheath is very Mad Men, if Betty Draper were to walk around in old pictorial bedsheets.
Pattern review here.

And because I didn't forget, here's Me-Made June, Day 30. I don't have much to say about it other than I love this skirt; it reminds me of Scarlett O'Hara (green flowers! swishy!); and it is possibly my favorite self-drafted piece of clothing.


  1. This is so beautiful! You did such an amazing job with this. Fitted skirts are one of my biggest sewing fears, but I'm going to do it, I will, I WILL. Eventually. For now, this goes on my inspiration board!

  2. i LOVVVVVVVVVVVVVE this!!! you inspire me, cindy chan!! =)

  3. That is a great knock-off maybe even better than the original, love it.

  4. This is an amazing dress, Cindy! Given the choice, I would purchase your dress over the Anthro dress! You never cease to amaze me; you're so very talented!

  5. What a beautiful dress, I prefer your dress to the Anthro one too

  6. I really have to try this pattern! I love the fabric you have used and the fit is perfect! I know what you mean about dresses with a lot of darts. Just marking them is the worst!

  7. delurking to ask you how you got rid of the wrinkles above the butt in the Joan/Ms Frizzle version of this dress? I have that problem too & would love to know how to fix it without making the entire skirt too tight.


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