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Anza Dress: My First Dress For Summer 2017

Come check out what I have for you today....

Look, it's a new dress!

The weather has finally turned toward spring, and I know that means the humid, oppressive summer heat is not far behind. It's time to give my attention to planning a summer wardrobe, and Itch-To-Stitch's newest pattern: Anza Jumpsuit & Dress is at the top of my list!

Pattern Details

As always, this Itch-To-Stitch Pattern offers its standard thoughtful options: sizes 00-20 (that's a 49 inch bust, Ladies), A, B, C, D & DD cup sizes, layers capable PDF and large format PDF printing files plus detailed step-by-step, illustrated instructions to walk you through construction.

In addition, this pattern has a number of design elements that are fun to sew:
-Lined, pleated breast pockets with button flaps
-Faced, v-neck, button-down bodice
-Cut on kimono style sleeves with rolled cuffs
-Cinched waist with both elastic and drawstring options
-Side pockets and a shirttail hem on the skirt

This is an unlined, relaxed fit dress. The trick that is used for the elastic and drawstring waist band is so clever, but so simple, you'll wonder why you hadn't thought of it yourself!

But wait! This pattern isn't just a also has a jumpsuit view! The Anza Jumpsuit has all the same details and design features of the Anza Dress, just in pant form. The bottom of the jumpsuit is finished with an elastic cuff so that you can show off your great heels and summer sandals. I chose to test the dress view of Anza, so my blog post below will be all about that version. I highly, highly recommend checking out the release post HERE, and linking to the reviews of testers who made the jumpsuit. They are fantastic!

The Fabric

The pattern recommends you use a light to medium weight woven with lots of drape. A rayon twill or poly crepe is great. If you select something with more body, such as a light weight linen, you will have a lovely dress, but the bodice blousing will not lay as close to the body. Testers used a wide variety of fabrics from rayon challis to 4oz denim. Each version is lovely and unique! See for yourself  HERE in the launch post if you didn't already grab the link above. 

Naturally, I chose something a little too light, and as it turns out, a little too delicate.

Several years ago, I purchased a yard of this cotton/silk blend gauze. I totally wasted it on a summer top that was ill fitting and poorly constructed. *shrug* I was still green at garment sewing. Nonetheless, I was so sad that it was gone. Imagine my delight when I found a 3 yard piece of it on a fabric stash resale site last year! I quickly sent Heather B my dollars and received my second chance fabric.

I thought for a long time that it wanted to become a wrap dress this spring, but as soon as I saw the photos for Anza Dress, I changed my mind. I'm glad I did too! The Anza is easy to wear, not fussy and most importantly for me, especially with a light billowy skirt, wind friendly.

The Construction

I did make a muslin first, to ensure I made the best use of my second chance fabric, but my fit adjustments were minimal. One of the benefits of sewing so many Itch-To-Stitch patterns is that I've gotten really comfortable selecting my starting point size and being able to anticipate what sort of adjustments I need to fit my personal shape. For the Anza Dress, I started with a 10C and only had to make 3 adjustments:

Muslin with only 3 inches skirt length removed.

1. Forward Head Adjustment. The shoulder seam sat too far back on my body causing the whole bodice to slide backwards. This wasn't surprising as I often need a forward shoulder adjustment. However, as this is a cut-on sleeve, warping the shoulder angle to jut forward looked weird. Instead, I added 5/8 inch to the back through the entire seam, and reduced the front by the same amount. I moved the cuff notch forward 5/8 so that it would still line up with the shoulder seam. My bodice now sits and stays just where it should be.

Before moving the shoulder seam
 2. Reduced Bodice by 1/2 inch. I really like this style of relaxed, cinch waist dress, but have struggled to find one that doesn't make me feel puffy and fat, or like my bodice is all boobs. I purposely took out a half inch from the bodice to reduce the blousing in front, but still left enough in the back for ease of movement. I honestly could have left it in and still have a great fit. This was just an aesthetic choice for me. That's the beauty of sewing your own clothes, isn't it? Some testers increased the bodice to create more blousing. It's an individual choice to create your own unique dress. Just make sure you don't take out all the ease, or you'll be tugging your waist back into place every time you reach over the table for your cocktail.

3. Reduced Skirt by 4 inches. Kind of a no brainer... I'm 5 ft tall. The trick was finding the right length so that I don't look dowdy and stumpy, but am also modest when sitting. This dress feels really short when I wear it. Partly, I think, because the fabric is so light that I feel like I don't actually have a skirt on at all. But clearly, the pictures show that the length is pretty proportionate. I don't look frumpy and I don't look sleezy. 

While Anza Dress is not difficult to sew, it does have design elements, such as the pockets, that take a little time. Trust me, the end result is worth the attention to detail! I won't walk you through sewing all the bits, the pattern does a far better job of it than I could. Instead, for those of you who enjoy detailed sewing shots, I'll throw a few up them up here:

Pocket construction details
Attaching the cuff  at the under arm/side seam.

Rolling the hems

Basting the hem before machine stitching

Edge stitching the side seams
Closing the elastic casing
Front waistband with itty-bitty button holes for the drawstring

 Wait, Did You Say Buttonholes?

Yes, yes I did. I always learn new things when I test patterns. On this one, I FINALLY MADE REAL BUTTONHOLES! Those who have followed my sewing adventures here and in the Facebook Group Sew Alongs & Sewing Contests  know that button holes have been my nemesis forever. (see here for just one example...) In an effort to help me out, fellow SAL FB groupie, Kelly H. sent me a vintage Singer Buttonholer last November. She promised me it would change my buttonhole life. Uncertain and unable to handle more disappointment, it sat in the very same box it arrived for 5 months. 

Cover your feed dogs, or it doesn't work...
 Finally, with no option other than buttonholes for the Anza Dress...I reluctantly pulled it out and figured out how it attached. (Exactly like a walking foot, if you don't already know).

My new old singer buttonholer
The learning curve was pretty much non-existent. Once the fabric is placed under the pressure foot, the hardest part was NOT TOUCHING IT as the foot did it's thing. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried tears of joy with my first successful buttonhole. It's been crazy hard not to share my joyful creations with my friends in the SAL group, but you know, testing secrecy and all that. 

Anza Dress sports 8 buttonholes: One on each breast pocket flap, four marching up the center front, and 2 tiny ones on the waistband for your drawstring. 
Check them out! They are evenly spaced and lined up just right!!

Disaster Of Mishandling Fabric

I hinted above that my fabric may have been a bit delicate for this project. I didn't realize it needed soft handling until it was too late. My elastic went in very well, and so I cheerfully plugged along pulling and tugging my drawstring through, anxious to finish. Then I my horror...I'd torn my dress. Some places I'd torn the skirt itself. In others, I'd torn the waistband casing or both.

I know many of you reading have suffered sewing disasters of your own and have felt the same the gut-wrenching sickness I felt. It was tough, but I put it down for the night and tried not to panic. In the morning, after I removed the part of the drawstring that had been threaded, I set about fusing some fine, nude colored stay tape behind the skirt tears. 

On the right side of the fabric, I stitched down through the tears and stay tape to help secure everything in place. Lastly, I coated all the loose fibers and rips with fray check. Fortunately, the print on my fabric does a good job of hiding my Frankenstein stitching. I don't know how well my patching will last through wearing and washing. I probably would have been better served to fuse a more permanent sheer stabilizer on with stitch witchery hem tape. But, I had neither on hand an a test photo deadline to meet.

Finished Photos

Is Anza Jumpsuit & Dress For you?

I'd be willing to bet at least one view is! I'm a Fashion 'Fraidy Cat, so I chose to test the dress over the jumpsuit.. But, after going through the test process and watching so many differently sized women be successful with the jumpsuit.... I'm pretty close to giving one a shot. Of course, that's after I get the seven versions of Anza Dress out of my brain! I gotta tell you, my creative juices are really flowing after this test and right now all I can think about is making a bunch of summer day dresses from this pattern. I already have 2 more dresses cut and a 3rd that will be cut as soon as I sew up the ones waiting on my table.

 You're still here? Head over to the Itch-To-Stitch shop and grab a copy of Anza Jumpsuit & Dress discounted through April 30, 2017 for $10. 

While you are there, take advantage of  the Buy More Save More discount* and pair the Anza with a copy of Lisbon Cardigan or Salamanca Cropped Jacket for those air conditioned places, or maybe snap up La Paz and make a summer outfit for the office.

Click these links if you want to check out my versions of Lisbon, SalamancaSalamaca sleeve update or La Paz.

*Buy More Save More in the Itch-To-Stitch Pattern Shop
Spend $20 or more, get 15% off your entire cart
Spend $30 or more, get 20% off your entire cart
Discount applied automatically
Talk about what you are sewing at Itch-To-Stitch Designs on Facebook


  1. This fabric is so beautiful! Love this make on you! Glad to know I'm going to have to adjust my shoulder as you did on this one, but as you said, once you get accustomed sewing Kennis' patterns you know what size to pick and which adjustments to make to get the pattern to fit how you want it to.

    1. Forward shoulder: the curse of being slumped over a computer all day! Definitely share making your Anza in the ITS group so I can follow your sewing!

  2. Love, love, love this! I'm sorry your dress ripped, Crystal! That would have been IT for me -- nice to see you push through! I hope I get around to making one of these -- that sewing to-do list just keeps growing, and growing!

    1. You're not kidding, Mac! I have so many things on my list. I keep telling myself I'll get to each one, but the tide of new patterns keeps pulling at me! The wonderful thing about pattern testing, is that I can't give up. It forces me to work through fit, fabric or construction hurdles. And I always learn something. ...Like don't use single layer gauze for high tension seams.... ;)


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