In my ongoing quest to conquer sewing clothes, I've been googling "womens dress patterns" online and reading a bunch of reviews. I recently settled on a pattern from BurdaStyle.com called the "Anda" dress. This pattern seems to be very popular and hundreds of people had shared photos of their finished projects online.
In addition, it seemed simple and customizable, looked similar to other dresses I own, and was under $4! I purchased some shirting fabric from Fabric Depot and set to work on the project.
First, I love the finished dress, and didn't stray far into customizing it. It's only two pattern pieces (front and back) plus bias strips for the neck and arm holes, and a fabric tube for the elastic casing. That said, I do have a couple complaints:
1) Horrible instructions. It's possible that it was a translation problem (I believe that Burda may be a German company?), but a great deal of information is missing. Luckily, it's an incredibly easy project, so if you have sewn clothing before, you'll likely be able to figure it out. And if you don't figure it out exactly, just figure that you customized it!
2) While the pattern is in PDF format, it's laid out for German A4 paper, and takes 29 sheets. After printing out all those sheets you're supposed to tape the edges together (29 sheets!) and then cut the patterns out. Again, lucky for me, I use Adobe Illustrator, so I easily changed the format to print on 9 tabloid sheets of paper, thereby lessening the amount of aligning and taping. They also provide a format for large-scale plotting, so if you have access to a plotter, or want to pay to have it printed at a print shop, there is that option.
I think the shirting fabric is a little stiffer than I wanted, and I wanted to add pockets but then forgot about that until after I stitched the side seams and finished the edges. I also think I was supposed to put the casing for the elastic on the outside, but got a little confused with the "instructions". I think it works fine on the inside though, and now I have some goals for my second dress. Below is a low-light, dressing room mirror photo illustrating the way it fits me. Not too bad, and I love the colors!
UPDATE: I made a second Anda dress with variations.