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In this Style Blues Podcast episode, I caught up with Anita Morris from Anita by Design. She is a lovely lady with a beautiful sewing style. During our chat, we talked about how she has inspired her audience with grace and wisdom.
Style Blues Podcast: Meet Anita by Design
Anita Morris is a DIY fashion blogger as well as the creator of Anita by Design. She uses her brand to both inspire and teach women of all ages how to sew their own clothing.
She believes that when a woman discovers and embraces her own personal style, it boosts confidence and opens the door for amazing creativity with her wardrobe and all areas of life. Anita has a passion to equip women with the necessary tools to make their own garments while empowering them to create fashion that complements their own unique
On Anita’s blog, you will find plenty of DIY inspiration to get you motivated to
start your own journey as a sewist, refresh your skills, or even to take your sewing passion to the next level. The Anita by Design YouTube channel hosts a beginner’s sewing course. In this class, Anita teaches the basics of sewing with helpful step-by-step instructions. You will also find sew-along videos that walk you through the steps of creating garments with commercial patterns.
She is a woman of faith and mother of two adult sons who resides in Southern California. In addition to sewing, she enjoys reading, tea parties, lunch dates with friends, and Sisterhood, where women come together to encourage and walk alongside each other.
I first discovered Anita by Design shortly after her husband became ill. Anita has been through a tragic loss in her family. Since then I have followed her journey on social media and am always touched by the wisdom and grace she has to share. She is a very talented seamstress as well as a brand representative for Babylock Sewing Machines. Today I was able to catch up with Anita and learn more about her sewing journey and how she has dealt with her loss.
1. How did you learn to sew?
2. Why and when did you start blogging?
3. How has your personal loss and trials affected your sewing business?
4. Do you find sewing therapeutic?
5. What is next for you in your business?
6. Where can our listeners find you on social media?
If you enjoyed this interview, here are a few others you will also love!
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My latest project is a beautiful coral ruffle neck dress which will add just the right pop of color to your wardrobe! This dress was made using a simple pattern which makes this fun DIY dress a perfect weekend project.
This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!
Coral Ruffle Neck Dress
Did you know that coral is the Pantone color of the year? Because of this, coral is trending in the market place! I haven’t worn coral in a long time. However, it seems like just the right choice for a punch of summer color!
This beautiful coral Ponte de Roma fabric came from Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, Illinois. Recently, I came across a lovely hand dyed silk scarf from Italy at the thrift store. The scarf is what inspired me to make a feminine summer dress. Both my shell necklace and bracelet in this photo are from our cruise to the Caribbean. The hot colors of the tropics are most certainly inspiring to me! I have found that I enjoy planning my makes with the accessories I will wear when I first bring home the fabric. I do this by taking an inspirational photo to provide a definite plan as well as a vision for the finished piece! (You can follow me on Instagram to see what my latest inspiration is!)
- 3 yards 58″ coral Ponte de Roma knit fabric
- pins and scissors
- matching coral colored thread
- The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn & Julie Starr (Includes the Ruffle Neck Dress Tunic Sewing Pattern.)
- serger or a regular sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch
Note: You can use either a narrow zig-zag stitch about 1.0 wide on your sewing machine or use a 3 thread overlock stitch on your serger.
1. First, lay out the knit fabric and on the cutting table. Then lay out both the front and back of the Tunic Bible dress pattern. Be sure the fabric is pre-shrunk before you begin. Trace around the pattern using pins to secure in place.
2. Cut the tunic out using the v-neckline marked on the front pattern piece. The back tunic piece is the same for all of the tunic designs included in the book. Mark and then sew bust darts. I left the other darts out of my dress, however, you may use the front and back waist darts if needed.
3. Shorten the sleeve pattern by 2″. There are several sleeve lengths to choose from but this is the one that I liked the best. Cut the sleeves out of the fabric.
4. Cut 6 pieces of fabric 4″ wide x 20″ long to make the ruffles. You could also choose to make them longer and have more gathers but this seemed like a good amount for my dress.
5. Fold two of the fabric rectangles in half with the wrong sides together. Baste along raw edges, then baste again 1/4″ away from the first row of stitching. Pull up the threads to gather the pieces to fit the front neckline. Pieces will overlap slightly at the bottom of the center front neck. Baste in place while adjusting gathers as needed. Stitch while pivoting at bottom corners to make a square shape to the bottom of the v neck.
6. Finish the back neck edge. The pattern uses a facing with interfacing. You can either use the back neck facing or finish it with a 1 1/2″ wide piece of bias binding. I prefer the binding method. Fold the bias binding in half lengthwise with the wrong sides together. Line up raw edges with the raw edge of the neck. Stitch in place. Press.
7. Sew two pieces of the rectangle fabric together on the short edge. Press, then fold in half lengthwise and baste using a 5.0 length stitch along the raw edge. Sew another row of stitching 1/4″ away from the first, then pull up threads to gather. Pin ruffle to lower sleeve edge, adjusting gathers as needed. Stitch in place.
8. Stitch the shoulder seams together, matching both the front and back neck edges as shown in the photo below. Press.
9. Using the open construction method, pin sleeve in place as in the above photo. Start by matching the notch at the top of the sleeve to the shoulder seam, then pin both the front and back. Ease in any extra fullness as you pin along the remaining sleeve edge between the notches. Sew the sleeve in place with sleeve down towards the feed dog of the sewing machine. The motion of the feed helps to ease in the sleeve as you sew. Sew sleeve in place, removing pins as you work. Sew side seams together, beginning at bottom sleeve ruffle edge, then stitch all the way to the dress hem.
10. Press up the fabric for dress hem, 1 1/4″ wide around the hem of the dress. Finish the raw edge of the fabric with either a serger or zig-zag stitch. Hem by hand with a catch stitch or use a blind hem foot and stitch by machine. For my dress, I chose the blind hem.
Simply give your dress a good pressing and it is ready to wear!
5 Reasons Why You Need a Ruffle Neck Tunic Dress
1. Simple Pattern = Great Style. This is the third dress I have made from the same basic step by step pattern in The Tunic Bible. I love them all! One great pattern can save you so much trouble finding styles that you like as well as pieces that look good on you. Simply change both the fabric and color with a different neckline and sleeve and you have a new dress! No one needs to know your secret…that they are actually all from the same pattern!
2. This style uses very little fabric. I love trendy long maxi dresses as much as the next person, but with the cost of fabric these days it pays to be thrifty! The fabric for this dress was only about $7.00 a yard, so the entire project cost $21.00. Not a bad price for a beautiful dress!
3. Easy and quick to make! Not including the cutting time, I whipped this dress up in only a couple of hours. Who else loves to make things and then be able to wear them the next day?
4. This dress is great for any occasion. We have a couple of weddings this summer. I can see myself wearing this dress to a wedding as well as to the grocery store. You can’t go wrong with a simple elegant style like this.
5. Washable and loveable! One of the things that I look for in fabric is washability. For me, it’s a must that things can be machine washed and not dry cleaned. Even though I pre-shrink all my fabric, I choose to wash all my handmade things on gentle and then line dry to preserve the structure of the garment. Handmade items take a lot of time as well as energy to make. Taking good care of them is important to ensure that they will last as long as possible.
More complicated styles can get either mangled or completely stretched out of shape in the washing machine. I love that this style is both simple and the fabric is completely washable. It turned out great when I washed it and dried it on the clothesline. A quick touch up with a warm iron is all that is need to keep this dress looking good. It’s a win-win!
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