I like to think of myself as somewhat of an evil genius (in training). For Christmas I got my husband a long weekend away, staying at the beach in a safari tent, with me for company. And let me tell you I was declared the winner of thoughtful Christmas gifts. But what my dear other half did not realize is this was a sneaky way for me to get him to photograph three of my outfits in a scenic location that wasn’t my garage wall. BWAH HA HA! And I have to say after taking some snaps of this Anna dress at Narooma my poor old garage shots just don’t cut it…
Now I want to say my relationship with the Anna dress was special and magical and perfect all at once. But that would be a big fat lie. This pattern made me work for its love in the harshest of ways… My first attempt was the reddest of red hot messes imaginable. After my sewing sabbatical I was super keen to get back in the saddle and decided that the Anna dress was the way to go. In my haste I skipped making a toile (scandalous, I know) and just traced the pattern and hacked into this delish floral I picked up at The Fabric Store during December. Tra la la- everything is hugs and unicorns at this point…
But when I tried the finished garment on it was hideous. The bust pleats sat oddly, the bodice was too short and the waist was too large. Ick. So after two evenings of trying to fix this version I decided to start from the start again and even brought out the big guns by contacting Roisin for advice….
It took two muslins to get everything sorted and in the end the bodice needed two more inches, the pleats then needed to be lowered by an inch and lengthened by two inches and the waist was graded down a size. Oh, and I switched to a V-neck because I’m sassy like that. Rawwwwwr!
Now the fabric I used for my second version is pretty special. Last year I won a giveaway by the lovely Jorth and scored a bunch of spectacular Liberty offcuts and two metres of this Melly wool/cotton blend. I must admit that Liberty has never really been my bag, and this fabric is not something I would have chosen for myself, but I fell in love with it’s deliciousness as I created my frock. Sewing with this was a dream and I must admit to hoarding my offcuts into my scrap stash (in a scene uncomfortably reminiscent of Gollum). I’m already eyeing off some fabulous Liberty lawn that is covered in jewels! I think I’ve drunk the kool aid…
But enough fabric rambling, let’s get to the good stuff.
What I loved about this pattern:
- Kimono sleeves. I feel like I stepped straight off the set of the Mikado and into awesome town.
- The seam matching between the bodice and skirt pieces- there is something totes profesh about having those bad boys match up so well. Not that you can tell with this fabric but I know it’s there!
- The under bust pleats. It’s a nice change from having to be the queen of the darts to get a nice fit around the bust.
What I would change for next time:
- This would look smashing with a circle skirt or even my trusty ole pencil skirt. Let those kimono sleeves shine!
- Fix the neckline gape. I think I forgot to stay stitch during the construction process. It’s kinda hard to tell what was happening by hour elebenty billion…
- Maybe the full length? Perhaps? I’m not sure if I can do the thigh slit… My lady sticks like to play hard to get far from the casual viewers eyes…
Pattern: By Hand London Anna Dress from Sew Squirrel
Fabric: 2 metres of Melly by Liberty (thanks again, Jorth!)
Notions: Thread from stash, invisible zip
Overall, Anna and I are getting on much better after the floral fail of January 2014. The bodice fits well and the fabric feels rather fancy so that’s a total win. The only thing that isn’t rocking it out for me currently is the lines of the skirt. I’m far more preferential to a full or pencil skirt and am not sure this style is me. But that makes for an easy solution – time to try the sassy bodice with a full skirt. I think that will be just what the doctor ordered! Styling times ahead!