A little while I was lucky enough to snag some lovely fabric through Freecycle an I thought I’d share with you my first make from this haul.
As soon as I saw this 100% Cotton lawn I knew I wanted to make an Anna Dress from By Hand London, which was one of the Indie patterns I purchased recently. The lawn was very sheer and very narrow so, despite having 3.1 metres, I only had enough fabric to make the midi version, which is fine by me as I tend to wear maxi skirts rather than dresses as I find them more versatile and wearable. The sheerness meant that I needed to consider lining in some way. I decided to fully line the bodice, rather than using the facings supplied, but I didn’t have enough lawn for this so had to sit patiently and wait for a metre of red cotton poplin to arrive from the lovely people at Minerva Crafts. After seeking advice on Twitter, I decided I didn’t want to underline the skirt because I may lose some of the lawn’s floatiness, so I decided to make another half slip in a coordinating colour (navy as I have no red jersey or other fabric in my stash) using the tutorial I discovered on Gertie’s blog. What do you think? Can you see my knickers?
The fitting for this dress was a breeze. I traced the size 18 for the upper part of the bodice and graded to a 20 at the waist. After making a quick toile (out of the weirdest, kitchen paper-like fabric) I pinched out about an inch at the underarm seam which removed some of the bagginess I was experiencing at the upper bust.
Now construction is a slightly different issue. I used the Anna sewalong on the By Hand London site for a guide on how best to fully line the bodice. This tutorial has you sew the lining and outer shell together at the neckline before the side seams are stitched, therefore before skirt is attached. This meant it was then a bit tricky when attaching the bodice to the skirt as there was a lot of excess fabric floating around that I didn’t want to get in the way. I then hand stitched the lining down at the waist seam. If I were to make another lined Anna in the future I think I’d use the technique from the Emery construction for neatly hiding the invisible zip in the lining.
Now, A few of the difficulties I encountered were due to my lack of ability to think things through before blindly starting stitching and also not marking pattern pieces or tracing notches correctly. I’ll After I did my first couple of seams I thought “I should have used a French seam”. Being far too lazy to unpick and start again I just ploughed on with plain seams and overlocked seam allowances. However, I forgot that I’d been sewing with a jersey previously and so the differential feed setting on my overlocker was not set correctly and slightly gathered the seam allowance, making the pieces not sit flatly. I also neglected to mark the skirt panel pieces as to which bit went where and must have missed a couple of the notches when I traced as I had 6 practically identical triangles to fit together. I think I got them in the right places.
This was my second ever invisible zip, with the first one going in with no problems whatsoever. I ended up unpicking this one three times as it just wasn’t going well. The centre back now also looks a bit puckered, I think because the centre back skirt section is on the bias. In future I think I’ll use a strip of fusible interfacing along the centre back for reinforcement and stability.
I wasn’t sure about the shape of the skirt on me, I usually have a more defined waistline and I don’t think I own a single A line skirt/dress. But it’s growing on me and I have worn this dress all weekend, in the lovely hot weather we’re having here in the UK at the moment.
I have so many ideas for variations of this- I love the bodice, kimono sleeves and tucks. So I’m sure you’ll be seeing some more of these pop up soon enough. Have any of you made an Anna Dress? What are your thoughts on it?