The Alana dress from Sinclair patterns came to me at the right moment, when I needed a little breather and wanted a project I could enjoy, sew quickly and know the result would amaze. A knit dress with princess seams is always great for getting a good fit. Get yours HERE if you’d love to support my work without it costing you any extra. You can see a playlist of Sinclair pattern makes on my channel HERE if you need more information. Thank you so much if you use my affiliate links in this post.
Features of the Alana dress
The Alana dress is designed for knit fabrics and there are several features that you can mix and match for the look and season of the year you are sewing for. A knit dress with princess seams is my favorite feature.
You can choose between a scoop neckline and a deeper scoop neckline. The finish is done with a facing that is fixed in the shoulder princess seams. It’s a very neat & clean finish.
The fit of the Alana dress is fitted at the bust, semifitted at the waist and roomy at the hips. The skirt has a knee and above the knee-length.
There is a sleeveles cut line on the bodice as an option or you can choose a short, 3/4 or long sleeve. So this dress could work for summer and winter alike.
I’m the world’s BIGGEST POCKET DISLIKER… I’m serious. I hand pick the pockets I sew on garments, especially if they create any bulk at the hips. The pockets on the Alana dress are amazing and bulk free because they are integrated into the side front panel if you want them there. You can also sew the side panel as one piece without the pockets.
Best knit fabrics for the Alana dress
As per above, you can choose a wide variety of knit fabrics for your Alana dress. I tend to be drawn to the flowy types, but that is my personal preference.
The style of the skirt needs drape and knits with a spandex component with Rayon, Bamboo, modal are great choices, as are ITY, DBP, French terry and rib knit.
If you want the volume of the skirt to stick out and be more noticeable and dramatic, cotton spandex, Ponte and scuba could work, but I would not want this look.
I chose an athletic knit, supplex. It’s medium weight, drapes beautifully, and has the cooling wicking properties that are nice for a dress too! I purchase locally in Brazil, so I can’t link to the fabric. I decided to sew the side panels above the pockets in a contrast black supplex to highlight the design features.
Something to think about
The Alana dress has princess seams front and back, plus the pocket side panel. If your knit has lovely BIG FLOWERS or motifs, they would easily be cut up with all these seam lines. I would suggest a busy print with motifs that are medium to small size. My fabric choice is perfect and directional. I was careful to cut the pieces in the same direction.
Below you can see another supplex fabric that I wanted to use, but decided against it because the roses were too big and it was impossible to not cut them up with the princess seams.
The Alana dress includes sizes 00-30 US equivalent to XS-4XL
My favorite feature from Sinclair is the height files available: petite, regular and tall. As someone taller than the drafted height for most pattern brands, using the shorten and lengthen line is a given and a process that takes up extra time, measuring and hoping for the best. I have sewn the tall file successfully before and have not needed height adjustments. Yay!
Once you know your height, choose that file and then choose your size based on your full bust.
The bust has negative ease of ~ 1.5″ and this is needed for the bodice to look good and the neckline to lie flat against the chest. The waist is semifitted and has 3″ of positive ease. The hips are roomy and if you need one size more for the hips, you might be able to sew a straight size due to the style. There are 10-12″ of ease at the hips.
I chose a straight size 16 and this size is drafted with a C/D cup size. This is perfect for me because I have a C sewing cup size. Size 0 has a B/C cup size and size 30 has a E cup size.
When I make the Alana dress again, I will make a size 14. I was between sizes and chose to size up, not down, to be on th safe side. Size 16 is ok, but I’d prefer the dress a little more fitted at the bust and waist.
- The pattern uses 1/4″ seam allowance for the main seams and 1″ for hem allowance.
- The necklines need to be STABILIZED WITH clear elastic or knit fusible interfacing. This is important. Don’t skip this. I used fusible interfacing to stabilize mine.
- If you use a four thread serger, you can sew easily without needing to trim away seam allowance. I use a three thread serger, so I serge and sew on my sewing machine with a shallow zig zag: 0.5 width and 2.5 length.
- The pattern pieces have abundant notches to help you put the pieces together
- I lengthened the front facing piece by 8″ for it to reach my waist and provide a little tummy support.
- The first step involves sewing the shoulder seams from the center front and center back. The same is done with the facings. I used a straight stitch and pressed the seams open to reduce bulk. They are placed right sides together and sewn with 1/4″ SA.
- If your fabric is very light, you can top stitch 1/4″ away from the edge after flipping the facing inside…. OR, you can under stitch the same way you would with a woven facing. I decided to under stitch and never regret this step. The facing will stay inside and the neckline looks clean on the outside.
- Once the facing is ready, you can baste it along the front princess seams to keep them from moving. You can now use the center front and center back as one piece and the facing is all done.
- The pocket construction is clever and deceptively easy. If you want to sew them, the side front piece has a cut line. You use the top piece and leave the bottom piece aside. You will use the extra bottom lateral piece that has the pocket bag integrated.
- The bottom side piece has a line, and this is where the piece will be folded. This section will be the pocket entrance. You need to fuse 1″ strip of NON STRETCH interfacing here to prevent the pocket entrance from stretching out.
- Take your top front side piece. Mine is black. Place it on the table with right sides up. Place your bottom side front piece right sides with the top side front piece, with the angle of the piece directed outwards. Both sides, mirror images. Aligh the two pieces at the bottom edge with the notches in the center.
- The bottom edge is sewn with 1/4″ and this is the bottom of the pocket bag. Once that is done, flip the bottom side front down and fold on the reference line. This is the stabilized portion.
- Above you can see how the front side piece is now complete. Baste the edges so that the piece acts as one and then you can continue assembling the dress.
- Lots of long seams, nothing complex at all 🙂
Pin to your sewing tutorials board on Pinterest:
How to sew the Alana dress. Tutorial on my channel
In my video, you will see all these aspects on the Alana dress:
- Review of the pattern, discussion on fabrics and sizing
- Pattern pieces
- Adaptation of the length of the front facing for tummy support
- Stabilizing the neckline with knit interfacing
- Sewing the neckline with a knit facing
- Sewing the side panel pockets
- General sewing construction
This type of knit dress is easy to sew and if you are new to sewing, this video will help you sew your own Alana dress.
Let’s see the Alana dress sewn up
I’m not big on styling and the Alana dress is so impactful that just my best heels complete the look. The knee length here is longer than what I usually sew for myself. I had enough fabric, so why not… this length is more formal and I like that.
I chose the deeper scoop neckline and love this option. I did not have to change the pattern to have this depth that I always prefer. The finish with the facing is superb and looks so neat.
I love having the contrast of the black on the top side panel. This lets you see the beautiful design lines and the pockets.
Will I sew the Alana dress again? YES. Probably 10 more! there’s something to be said about how certain styles can make you feel. I feel pretty special and this is a good thing. This means that I will reach for the Alana dress and wear it a lot. I want to make it sleeveless and combine two solid colors.
What do I like the most?
- The shoulder princess seams are easier to sew and fit than the ones that originate on the armscye.
- I love that the facings are fixed firm with the princess seams and that they only involve the center front and back. There’s no need to do messy top stitching that’s wide on the neckline.
- The design of the pocket, the ease of sewing and how the entrance is stabilized is unique and genius.
- The height files and cup sizes are GOLD
Get your Alana dress pattern HERE if you’d love to support my work without it costing you any extra. You can see a playlist of Sinclair pattern makes on my channel below if you need more information. Thank you so much if you use my affiliate links in this post.
Makes in motion: lookbook
See how my dress looks on in motion below 🙂 I’m so happy!
DISCLAIMER: The links to Sinclair patterns are affiliate links. I purchased the pattern and fabric for this project. I produce sewing content independently from pattern brands and share my unique way of sewing with you. I don’t necessarily follow instructions rigidly. My opinions are honest, especially around fit and sewing techniques.
I have affiliate links in this post to the pattern company and the pattern. If you click on these links, at no cost to you, I receive a small commission that helps finance my sewing, blog and Youtube channel.
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Categories: Pattern Reviews, Sewing techniques
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