Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekend Project #1: Amy Butler's Lotus Tunic Thingee

So, I have a lot of opinions about this pattern, most of which I'll go into shortly, but first I would like to say YAY I MADE MY FIRST DRESS WOO!

Even though this is technically from the "Tunic" pattern rather than the "Dress" pattern, but whatever because that brings me to Opinion #1:

How the F am I supposed to know the difference between The Tunic and The Dress when this looks long enough to be a dress and there aren't any pictures of The Dress on the package to which I could compare The Tunic photo and then conclude onceandforall which is which and which I want.

I'd like to see photos of every possible combination of the pattern. So, for those taking note, I would like a photo of each of the following:

Sleeveless Cami (check)
Cami with Sleeves
Sleeveless Tunic
Tunic with Sleeves (check)
Sleeveless Dress
Dress with Sleeves
+ all of the above shown with The Mystery Belt and corresponding Surprise Belt Loops

Don't get cheap on me pattern making people - photos, take a lot of damn photos and show me every possible combo of your F'n pattern so that I can decide which one will win my undivided attentions. And also show The Mystery Belt which is so named due to the fact that my first interaction with it was when I was cutting out the pattern pieces and there was a WHOOPIE DOO belt and belt loops to cut out SURPRISE and WHAT IS THIS because I didn't see it featured in any of the package photos.

My thought is only this: It can't be easy making a modular pattern, so get the most bang for your buck and photograph all of the combinations of patterns over which you so mightily slaved. Also it makes it easy for me to keep the lid on my crazy when I realize there are inexplicable extra pieces to cut out and sew.

Speaking of bucks...

Opinion #2: Spending $70 on fabric to make this tunic is really unacceptable.

Yes, there is other fabric in the store and yes I can buy something other than organic cotton muslin for the liner BUT is there a good reason why Amy Butler fabric has to be $16.99/yard? I'm not sure.

I was able to justify buying fabric to make this tunic rather than spending $70 on a beautiful and already made item of clothing because:

A. This garment is unique and can't be found at Santana Row.
B. It provided nearly a full day's worth of sewing entertainment.
C. You don't get bragging rights about SEWING YOUR FIRST DRESS WOO when you buy it at Banana and your coworker has the same one OOPS.

Opinion #3

If you're going to go to the trouble of making a hundred combinations for this pattern (which I appreciate really despite my ranting to the contrary) please also print some nice options for placing The Mystery Belt and Surprise Belt Loops so that I don't have to suffer the indignity of myself wearing a belt at natural waist height after a long day of sew slaving, k?

As you can see, the belt and corresponding loops are right at natural waist height.


No one likes this.

It only looks good on, like, 1% of the population. And plus, A-line looks better on 100% of the population and having the option to place the belt at A-Line or Empire waist height would be just oh so much better.

And then you might see me modeling The Mystery Belt and Surprise Belt Loops instead of, you know, not modeling them and instead covering the loops with my hands until I can make it back to the machine to either remove them or move them up to a more flattering spot. Kinda sucks since the belt is cute and I want to wear it, but just not like that right in the middle so I'll look like a fatty right here on the Internets.

Opinion #4: NO HAND SEWING

I will say this again, for at least the third official time on this blog, for the love of all that's holy, FIND A WAY TO MACHINE SEW THE DAMN ZIPPER ALREADY.

I can't tell you what a heartbreaking annoyance it is to be *soclose* to done and then have to stop, dig out a hand sewing needle and tediously sew the fucking liner to the zipper because there's no way to hide the seam otherwise.

I contend that there *must* be a way. And it's clearly getting to the point where I'm going to have to figure out what way that is because every time I have to hand sew in a zipper or whatever, it makes me want to jam the needle in my eye and go running to the liquor cabinet.

Now you know why I sew at the dining room table. It is because of its vicinity to our liquor cabinet. So, yes, now you know what kind of boozing seamstress I really am so there.

And just so I don't make a big ironical ass of myself, I will show you a lot of photos of my FO Lotus Tunic dress with Cap Sleeves:

If I manage to get back to the machine with this beast I hope to either adjust the belt loops or destroy them in a ritualistic way, reverse the hem lining (which I OF COURSE hemmed wrong side up and made extra noticeable with the contrast stitching that I thought was *so cute*) and take in the waist so that it fits me a little snugger.

While I appreciate fitting into a smaller category measurement-wize (wuv you, Size Small), I always have to make for the larger size to accommodate the, ahem, bust. This leaves me with tops, dresses and Tunics that need waist cinching so that I don't go frolicking a la potato sack. It is OK though. I'm willing to cinch shit in as long as the bust agrees to stay where it is and no go making for my knees and what have you.

Either way...



  1. I love your review, and the dress looks fabulous.

  2. It looks amazing! Way to go Finny. I've been wanting to try that pattern, perhaps I'll get around to it someday!

  3. Holy Crap! You picked a lined dress for a first project??? And you're complaining about hand sewing??? Now, nothin' personal, but you might need a shrink or something! Breathe deeply. Take a break. Hand sewing a widdle bitty zipper is a breeze compared to lining a dress. Besides, hand sewing can be nice and relaxing...just sit back with your favorite drink and enjoy the ride. VERY impressed with your first project -- you rock! (Oh, and p.s. is this the kinder gentler you? Only using the F??? LOL!)

  4. Oh you did a great job! I LOVE YOUR REVIEW! LOL

  5. YEAH!! Hats off to you, my friend! I cannot seem to get past the a-line skirt stage in garment sewing; I have some sort of mental block, which is morphing into a full-blown phobia. Not only did you make your first dress, but it's so pretty!

    As for not enough pattern pics and not wanting to shell out the big bucks for the fabric? Word. I have a problem parting with more than $5/yd, but I'm also pretty snobby when it comes to fabric so it's not working out all that well for me.

    But back to you: Really well done!

  6. A.MAZ.ING.

    Great job - I don't know if I could've done it without a lot of wine, er whine, I mean help...

  7. Christie - Wait till you see it with proper tailoring and belt loops in a normal spot!! If, that is, I am brave enough to go back in the water...

    Katie - Do it! If this numbskull can manage it, I KNOW you can do it. GO GO GO!

    Thimble - The lining was actually fine since it was basically just a replica of the dress (obv.), so by the time I got there I had * so been there before* and it was pretty easy. Sewing in the fucking zipper by hand, however, was NOT. HATE HAND SEWING SO MUCH.

    Also, there's your F bomb :)

    Adrienne - Just making sure everyone knows exactly what I think of handsewing (SUCKS ASS)

    Meg - Oh, I'm a big fan of A-Line skirts. I have two of the Barcelona skirts so far with plans for more. It's TOO easy!

    As for the patterns, if I'm paying $70 for fabric GIVE ME SOME DAMN PHOTOS.

    Domestic Chicky - You KNOW I had a hundred drinks after this was finished. And then ate my body weight in Thai food.


    Great dress, Jessica!

  9. WOO HOO! That dress/cami/tunic is so freaking adorable. I don't even care that you spent $70 on fabric (really? ouch) because it is so, so cute. Love it!
    And please, I couldn't agree with you more. I want more photos of the projects available.
    My first Anna Tunic is still in pieces but the good news is Mama Donk is on her way for a visit this weekend and she's got some homework to do once she gets here -- ifyouknowwhatimean.

  10. I'm with you (and Meg) on the fabric thing. To me, the fabric makes the project because a cute pattern sewn in shitty fabric is a shitty project. But, I won't even spent $70 on something I don't have to sew myself.

    Can't wait to see pics if you get that belt at a more reasonable height. (Right under the boobs would be great. Is that Empire? I don't know these things 'cause I haven't had the guts to sew actual clothes yet.)

    But really, Finny, this is adorable! (if you hadn't mentioned the price, I'd be shopping for fabric for it right now.)

  11. Congratulations. It looks amazing! It is on my very long crafty to do list - I wonder if I will ever get to it :)

  12. ... and lest we forget the origins of your nickname you've included a photo of your fashionably cuffed jeans.
    Your dress/tunic is inspirational and so is your account of the experience.

  13. ok, love your dress. loved reading your post just as much. I have the same problem with the bust area, so I had to fix the bottom of mine too...yes size small. i agree with you on the hand sewing, I just ripped through it with my machine. i don't have time for hand sewing. I don't even care.
    anyway, yours looks beautiful, you look like a model. I love the fabric you used. I did think it was too tight on the arm though. I didn't do the gathering.
    I wanted to tell you about the burlap...the green is like a mossy green color. I love it. It does stink a bit, although it airs out after a few days. The lady at the store told me to wash the fabric in one of those dryell bags with fabric softner too. Just a little tid bit.
    Sorry about such a long comment...

  14. Wow, that looks great! I have to agree with you on every single point you made. More photos!

  15. Nice work Jessie. Quite a professional look for a first time dress! I hope to see you in it when the temperature warms up. The colors look refreshing.

  16. I love that fabric and bought a whole slew of it to make curtains. $75 curtains that make me very happy. Your dress looks fabulous. Congrats!

  17. Love it! I bought this pattern a while ago but it's since gathered dust. Seeing this makes me inspired to make it again. Thanks.

  18. I just found your blog looking for completed examples of this tunic/dress. Yours looks great! You've convinced me to go ahead and try it. Thanks for the tips on the belt loops. Love your blog too! I appreciate anyone who curses as much as I do.

  19. Kudos on the review. I also found your site looking for examples 'cause there are NO PICTURES!!!!! Damn them. Your review really helps, tho, and I will definitely machine my zipper, regardless. God only know what that will look like, but well, whatever. First up is the Anna Cami. Wish me luck. I am definitely bookmarking YOU! :0)

  20. Congrats on the dress - I hated it from the start so its nice to see someone who made it AND made it look good on them. I'm with you about handsewing the zipper - absolutely no need for it and the cost of the fabric is money grubbing at its worst. Again Congrats!

  21. Your review cracked me up!! I totally agree, there should be NO reason for hand sewing ANYTHING. I thought I was the only one who ran to the liquor cabinet if I had to hand sew. Love your blog, I've added you to my blogroll!

  22. A-F-ingmen. Pics, handsewing, you got it.

    I am making this dress now, and am leaving out the belt. I figured there might be an issue with it.

    I FYI, get on to an online fabric coop. Can be a pain in the ass waiting a couple of months for your shit, but at least it is 6.50 a yard for Amy Butler fabrics, and cheaper for others.
    (it is a yahoo group, ABfabriccoop)

    Happy sewing/drinking.

  23. I am about to purchase this pattern and stumbled upon your review. Thank you! This is one of the most honest reviews of a pattern I have ever read...damn funny, too! I think I'm still going to get it, as its uber cheap through a co-op I'm in, but still. Now I know some of the downsides of this pattern as opposed to reading the same old "blah blah blah great pattern blah blah love Amy Butler for life".

  24. Hi. So I've made this dress 3 times, and never really bothered to complain about it, but I agree with most of your rant here.

    In all three of my go-aheads I

    1. Did not line the dress. I used the facing from the cami pattern in two occasions, and bias-tape to cover the raw edge once.

    2. Did not make the belt. I have the same bust-issues, so I made the medium, and after the dress was done, I resewed the front darts to make it more flattering

    3. Made the "dress" pattern, but loped like, 7 inches off the bottom of the skirt

    4. Made the dress out of fabric I had lying around: once from an Urban Outfitters tapestry/bedspread/tablecloth I got for $10 and have used for many many more things since.

    Okay, now I will stop being a stranger writing about this a year after you're clearly done with it.

  25. omg, I want to comment but I am laughing so hard! Great review and fantastic dress!

  26. Oh my goodness you made me DIE laughing with your review!!! Seriously thanks so much for the hilarious review!! I'd say it's helpful too because I was wondering if this pattern would be easy or not! It looks super cute, you're awesome!

  27. Ah, man.....I am still doubled-over laughing (sympathetically, mind you) with you about your first lined hand-sewn zipper dress!! WOO WOO!! Totally f*g AWESOME!!! My sewing machine also sits on the dining room table, very, very close to the liquor cabinet, only thing is: I've got two brand new friggin machines, love Amy Butler patterns and material (except for $, as you mentioned), and I haven't sewn shit in 2 years! Yup-NOTHING! Scared? Too tired after work? Too fat and I think making the pattern fit is something I'll never be able to do!!!

    Anyway, hey Finny! You look absolutely gorgeous in your new tunic! Brava!!

  28. o...m...g. i know you made and wrote this a zillion years ago, but i just read it when i came to my computer to find out if anyone else in the world wanted to kill themselves after making a Lotus something. i just finished the Cami and after doing the liner/facing TWICE and having it end up the same bunched up obviously not correct way - i thought i'd see if anyone else had that problem, or if it was just me. i decided to just finish and top stitch the front seam down and then just iron the hell out of the front bodice pieces and then sew a big button or bow or some darn thing over them to hide the weirdness. but...just wanted to let you know in my vile ready to kill somebody mood, this was exactly what i needed. thank you. oh, and i agree, i want to see every damn version you are offering me, too. would probably also help people be happier about paying as much as we do for patterns these days.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.