Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Peek Inside: Absolutely A-Line

The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety.
~ W. Somerset Maugham

Recently I used one of my birthday gift cards to buy some sewing books.  (Yay!)  One of them was "Absolutely A-Line" by Wendi Gratz.  The book comes with instructions and the pattern for the basic A-Line dress, and then directions for making over 2 dozen variations.  

Some of the variations are relatively trivial and don't really justify (in my mind) being treated as official variations - but some are quite clever and I found the pictures and ideas inspiring.  

But that's just what I think - maybe you would like to see for yourself!  ;)

So, here are some pictures from the book...  

The book cover shows one of the variations - adding a ruffle along the bottom:  

Adding embellishments is treated as another variation:  

I thought this next idea, of making a dress from a man's large shirt, was clever and nicely timed (with today's emphasis on recycling and reusing):  

Here's how an a-line dress looks with a drawstring waist:  

Another variation in the book is to finish the edges with colorful and exposed bias trims (instead of standard facings):  

Of course, the dress pattern can be broken into a top pattern:  

...and a skirt pattern:  

There were several variations that cut up the pattern and then had you piece it back together with different fabrics - one had vertical stripes, one had horizontal stripes and this one, which has a contrasting yoke: 

I must admit that I'm somewhat of a sucker for pleats:  

But I've never really gotten into the bubble skirt look:  

Okay, this one is my favorite and, I think, the most dramatically altered pattern - a wrap-around dress:  

Other variations from the book include a reversible version and an open-backed pinafore.  

See what I mean?  Cute dresses and a good source of ideas - but many of the variations are things most people (who sew) could probably do without instructions.

Speaking of which, I haven't tried any of these dresses yet, so I can't really address the quality of the instructions yet.  But I am really excited about making some of these dresses for all of the little girls in my life!  :)