Monday, November 11, 2013

The Amare Dress

Oh, that lovely bias rolled surplice neckline.
Designed by Nicoletta Ercole for Diane Lane, Under the Tuscan Sun

PERFECT for zooming about on a Vespa, holding tight to a hunky Italian postman.
No scooter?  A red Roadster makes for an excellent accessory for any Heroine.
The Heroine, the Plot and the Dress: You're in love again. He's dreaming of you in white under a cerulean sky. You two have horrific timing. Right. Time to align the Arrows of Cupid. Our Heroine has chosen a dress in a soft creamy white with a fluid tea length half-circle skirt and simple fitted cut-on-the-bias surplice bodice with just a hint of kimono sleeve. Knowing accessorizing is key, she has paired this dress with a cinching black suede belt. Perfect for a seaside rendezvous. Even if it doesn't pan out the way one hoped. No tears for our girl, though. In the end, with this dress, love will find our Heroine.

All sizes in one .pdf pattern, 26 pages.  Sizes Small thru XLarge

Extra Large

Includes all seam allowances of 5/8" 
Does not include layout but pieces are marked "Place on Fold", etc.Yardage and construction instructions follow below.  
Professionally graded by Pattern Works International, LLC

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Pattern Notes & Skill Level: Surplice bias cut bodice, tea length half-circle skirt with left-side invisible zipper. Advanced beginner and above.

Suggested Fabrics: Anything swingy and swishy, preferably 60" wide. Consider opting for a wrinkle-resistant fabric. This is a lot of dress to iron.

Yardage Needed: 3 5/8 yrds, 60" W

Notions: 1 12-14" invisible zipper, 1 3/8ths button, fusible bias tape and/or fusible yardage to reinforce zipper. Pellon Brand 865F Bi-Strech Lite stretch fusible is an excellent choice and just the right weight for this project. Sullivan's Fabric Stiffener or a good starch. Washable Wonder Tape. 1yd grosgrain or Petersham ribbon. Optional: Machine embroidery thread.

Assembly Instructions
1. Print and assemble pattern.
2. Layout all pieces, transfer all markings. The bodice front is cut on folded bias (thus creating a self-facing), so you will need to allow for cutting piece #1 twice.
3. Give the four bodice/neck corners a little square of fusible or organza to reinforce the corner at the dot.

4. Mark bodice buttonhole on inside left-side bodice facing only and button placement on inside right-side facing only and give both a square of stabilizer on the inside of the facing to reinforce the stress points.

Top Tip: After cutting and before construction, prep your slippery fabric - apply some spray starch or Sullivan's Fabric Stabilizer to any areas that may be challenging such as the sleeve hem edges, zipper area and skirt hem, to aid in any machine basting and hem stitching. Ditto for the back darts. Your fabric really will run through your machine a lot easier.  Spray on, let air or iron dry; re-apply as much needed.

5. Make darts in bodice back and press towards side seams.

Top Tip: Try one-thread darts. One-thread darts make for a lovely, unpuckered finish, especially darts with a longer slender dart point on slippery fabric, such as used on this pattern. The video below may help you. The Tutorialist can be a bit of a fumble fingers but you'll get the idea.

6. Open up the bias front bodice/facing and stitch a 5/8ths basting line on the inside bodice shoulder seam only and press to the inside.

7. Keeping the front open, on the inside bias bodice seam allowance (#1), stitch a 5/8ths basting line along the long straight edge and press to the wrong side towards center front along basting line. If using, apply Washable Wonder Tape to just inside the basting stitch line but do not remove the backing yet.

8. While keeping the bias bodice piece open, stitch bodice front (#1) to side bodice (#2), matching notches and press seam towards center front, clipping if necessary.

Top Tip: Clip your seam in an alternating sequence to eliminate any clip show-through on light colored fabrics. This little trick really does work - try it!

9. Keeping the bodice front open and the neckline curve free, stitch a French seam on the bodice front to bodice back (#3) at shoulders only from corner dot to sleeve edge and press towards the front. Clip just to corner stay stitching.

10. Open up the bodice back neckline extensions and sew together. It makes a shallow V shape. Trim seam to 1/4" and press open.


11. With the bias bodice opened up, baste 5/8ths on inside back neckline seam of the extension, and press under 5/8ths from dot to dot, clipping where necessary, including the stay stitched inside corners.

12. With the bias bodice still opened up, sew the outside back neckline seam to bodice back neck, trim, clip and press up into neckline. Now bring the entire inside bodice shoulder/neckline over, enclosing the neckline seam, the short shoulder extension and the side-front seam. Slipstitch or stitch-in-the-ditch the back neck and shoulder extension. Pin-baste the folded over inside bodice just 1/8th to 1/16ths over the seam line that runs from the shoulder to the waist seam allowance to hide it. Check the fit and buttonhole placement. Make adjustments if needed.

13. Remove pin-basting and make buttonhole on left front bodice but do not cut open. Trim away excess stabilizer. The buttonhole goes on the left and button on the right as you will push the button through the buttonhole instead of pulling it through. This way there won't be any button show-through on the outside of the finished garment.

Top Tip: Try using machine embroidery thread for a smoother stitch when making such a small buttonhole. It works a treat.

14. Replace front facing along side front seam. If using Wonder Tape, remove the backing now and press down along side front seam. Turn bodice to right side and top stitch the side front seam from the shoulder to the waist, catching the inside facing at the same time. Your bodice neckline interior now has lovely finish to it, with no raw edges.

15. Press and bring bodice right front over left front, matching notches. Baste fronts together just inside waist seam line.

16. Sew skirt front to bodice front and skirt back to bodice back at waistline. Depending on your fabric, you may need to give the skirt waist seam allowance a few clips within the seam allowance to flatten out its curve to meet the straight edge of the bodice waist seam allowance. Grade seam, clip and press waistline seam up.

17. On left side seam give the zipper opening a strip of lightweight interfacing or fusible tape. Stop and have a cookie

18. Insert an invisible zipper on left side of dress. Reinforce side seam at underarm between two dots using a smaller stitch at this is a stress point.

19. Finish sewing both side seams, from the hemline up. Sewing from the hemline up supports the skirt pieces and aids in keeping the bias portions of the skirt from stretching during construction, thus reducing the possibility of wavy side seams on the skirt. Reinforce right side seam at underarm between two dots using a smaller stitch at this is a stress point. Clip bodice side seam curves.

20. To hem sleeves, (use more Sullivan's or starch if needed) run a basting stitch at 1/4" around sleeve opening and again at 5/8". Clip to the 1/4" basting, turn under along 1/4" basting line and press. Turn under again along 5/8ths basting, clipping to dot at underarm. Washable Wonder Tape works, well, wonders on this step. Machine hem sleeve, bar tacking or backtacking a few times straight across at the underarm to reinforce the stress point.

21.  Double-check button/buttonhole placement. Sew on button and open buttonhole.

22. To hem the dress, try dress on and mark hem length.  Run a machine basting at this marking around the entire hemline. Then two more times at 1/2" intervals down from the hem basting.  Let dress hang on a dress form or hanger 24 hours for the bias in the skirt to "drop and stop." Recheck hem and re-mark if/as needed.

Finishing Touches: Let's keep things in place and add a waist-stay. A waist-stay will help keep the dress at your waist, support the weight of the full skirt and reduce stress on the zipper. The Tutorialist used a bit of ivory grosgrain ribbon. This also makes for a lovely interior finish.

Place the stay on the upward facing waist seam allowance, keeping about 1" free on either side of the non-zipper seam and about 1½" free on either side of the zipper. Stitch the ribbon to the waist seam and press up. Add hook and eye. Here's a visual of things in progress:

Complete the Look:  When it comes to love and accessorizing, our Heroine has a tendency think a bit in Black and White. She has paired her creamy Amare dress with a 2" wide black suede belt with self-covered buckle, black strappy sandals, and a slouchy black leather satchel. Her jewelry is a simple small-gauge chain choker and small hoop earrings. And just in case, she's grabbed her little black Trench as one never knows when will be left out in the cold, as it were. . .

Give your love life the embellishment it deserves and make yourself an Amare dress. You never know when Love will come knocking and take you out for a Chianti.

Savage Coco Patterns©

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