By Hand London Anna Dress Number 2

I apologise for the highly unoriginal post title- what can I say? I never started this blog for my writing skills.   The autumn makes are slowly being churned out and I would like to introduce you to the newest member of my handmade family, By Hand London’s Anna dress.

This is my second Anna, the first being the red cotton lawn version I made in the summer.   I had originally attempted to alter the pattern to have a cowl neck at the front.   I used this tutorial from Craftsy to hack the pattern and used a soft red floral twill I had in my stash, acquired through hand-me-downs from someone.   I think it may have been a liberty print as I’m sure I spotted some dunagrees made by So Zo… for her beautiful daughter, Dolores, in the same fabric and she labelled it as Liberty.   Although, having now checked the post again, the floral pattern on mine is very similar but not the same- must be a Liberty rip-off.   Anyway, I sewed up a muslin of my altered bodice, cutting the front bodice piece on the bias to help with the drape.   This was not a success, there just wasn’t enough drape at the front for the cowl to be successful.   I was too desperate for a new dress to faff around hacking the pattern again to get a better drape so opted to just go for the slash neck pattern.

I used this 70’s-esque soft wool (I think) twill which was another charity shop bargain.   I can’t remember how much I got it for and I removed the tags and threw them away when I pre-washed but I know it was probably in the region of £5 and I got at least 6 metres of it.   This Anna took about 2.5 metres and I still have about 3.5 metres left!   I’m thinking of using it to make a button-down shirt for nice snuggly winters.   I did my best on pattern matching and was pretty chuffed with the results, although the waist seam doesn’t quite match up.   The matching was never going to be perfect because of the diagonal seamlines on the gores but all in all it’s not bad at all.

I love the colours in this pattern.   From a distance it just looks black and orange but as you get closer you see the green and purple thrown in there too.   Loverly!


I hate neckline facings as they never seem to want to stay tucked in for me so I opted to use bias binding facing on the neckline.   I’ve fallen in love with this technique recently.   If you’ve never tried it yourself here’s a link to a tutorial.   I used some vintage satin bias binding I had in my stash to do this.

Otherwise, construction was very straightforward and I made no changes from the pattern- I used my overlocker to finish all the seams.   Unlike the last time I made the Anna, I made sure that I hadn’t missed any notches and I kept the pattern pieces pinned to the fabric until the moment I needed them.   Last time I got completely muddled which triangle was for what. Keeping the paper pattern attached meant that I knew immediately which piece I needed and the skirt came together easily.

This was a very quick make.   Tobi left for work at 2pm on the Saturday and I was just cutting out the last skirt pieces.   I finished the hem on Sunday morning while the kids had their breakfast.   Almost instant gratification.


Although I made a muslin for my last Anna, I have noticed that when I wear a slip with it the slip sits approximately an inch lower than the waistline of the bodice. Therefore for this version I lengthened the bodice by and inch so it will sit on my natural waistline. As usual, I graded the pattern from a 16 at the top of the bodice to an 18 at the waist and used size 18 skirt panels. I used my previously altered pattern in which I took some of the excess out at the underarm seams too.

This is definitely my best fitting dress so far and now that the waist is lower the shape of the skirt feels much more natural to me.

Project costs

Pattern: By Hand London list the Anna dress at £14.   I’ve so far used it twice, bringing the cost to £7 per dress.   As per my recent Emery, this cost will go down if I continue to use this pattern

Fabric: £2.50 approximately

Zip: £3.20 from Hobby craft

Notions: from my stash

Total cost £12.75 approximately

I really like this dress and, as it fits well, it feels really flattering.   The fabric is just thick enough to keep me warm on the coler mornings.   All in all, a success.


How’s everyone else’s Autumn/Winter sewing going?


Autumn Sewing Plans

The mornings are most certainly getting chillier and my summer wardrobe is increasingly leaving my cold and shivering whilst waiting in the playground in the morning for my daughter to go into school.   My thoughts are therefore turning to Autumn/Winter sewing, as I know a lot of others are.   I thought I’d share some of the plans I’ve schemed up.   Whether I actually achieve all of these remains to be seen but, here goes…

Border Weave Emery

I’ve tweeted a couple of pics of this work in progress, so this is one that I should definitely be able to achieve before the New Year, fingers crossed.   I love the Emery dress by Christine Haynes and this will be my third version (and the first not made out of a duvet!!).   I’m using a gorgeous pink and purple woven fabric with border stripes woven into it.   There is a subtle pattern woven into the fabric and the warp and weft threads are different colours so when you move the dress appears to change colour.   The fabric was also a complete bargain as I managed to pick up about 5 metres from a charity shop for £6.   I’ve cut the fabric so the stripes go along the bottom of the skirt pattern and around the bottom of the ¾ length sleeves.   I’ve also had to substitute the invisible zip the pattern calls for with an exposed scalloped, flower patterned zip that came in the bundle I won from Sew Mag a few months ago.

70’s print Anna

Anna Dress

Again using fabric I’ve picked up in my charity shop trawls.   It’s a medium weight wool twill and drapes beautifully and is so soft.   Think I’m going to go for the slash neck knee length version and I’m contemplating swapping the skirt pieces out for the pleated skirt pieces from the Garden Party dress I hacked earlier in the year.

Navy Palazzo Pants

I only own one pair of work suitable trousers and I’ve wanted a pair of vintage style high waisted, wide leg trousers for ages.   Following on from the success of the Burdastyle culottes I made in August (yet to be blogged) I decided to make the trouser length palazzo pants in a fabric I was gifted by a work colleague.   I’ve already got the pattern cut for this but got distracted with other prettiness and sewing for money!

Lilac floral Gertie bow blouse- Key hole variation

Again another one I already have cut out and did start construction but then unpicked what I had.  This isn’t necessarily Autumn appropriate but I planned it to go with the palazzo pants I had in mind.   Again, charity shop fabric.

Plaid Colette Meringue with pleather facing

I picked up a gorgeous piece of neon orange and blue plaid wool again in a charity shop (are you seeing a theme?   I’m really practising what I preached in my Sewing on a Budget post) for about £1.   I’m pretty sure there’s enough there for a Meringue skirt and I plan to put the facings on the outside, like I did with my first Meringue and use leather or faux leather for the facing fabric.   However, I won a copy of the Champagne skirt from Capital Chic Patterns through Winnie’s blog, Scruffy Badger Time, this week and this is the fabric combination that won so I may well try out the Champagne skirt instead of the Meringue.

Coral peachskin bow blouse

To go with the Meringue skirt I’ve had thoughts of using this pattern that my mother-in-law picked up from a vintage fair for me and make the dress but rather than as a dress, as pictured, shorten it into a blouse.   I have this coral coloured peachskin type fabric in my stash (another charity shop find) to make it out of (see above pic)

Mauve Gabrielle Blazer

I have a distinct lack of Autumn appropriate outerwear in my wardrobe and I would love to dip my toe in the waters of tailoring so I’m looking to make a blazer  out of a mauve 100% Worsted Wool suiting fabric that I picked up from…. you guessed it, another charity shop.   I think I got about two metres for the complete bargain price of £1.   I’m thinking of a pattern something like the Cropped Blazer from Salme Sewing patterns.

The colour has come out really blue in this picture but it’s a heathery mauve colour.

Button down shirts

I don’t have any button down shirts in my wardrobe at all, and I feel this is something that needs rectifying as they are so classic.   There are loads of gorgeous patterns around, I particularly love the recently release Bruyere shirt by Deer and Doe and it looks like a great Autumn staple with leggings and boots.   Or I could stick to the classic shape and go with the Archer from Grainline Studios.   I’m thinking of using the fabric below to begin with but I may also make a version out of the wool twill I’m going to use for the Anna dress as I have a million metres of it (that may be a slight exaggeration).

Last, but by no means least, I want to make the 40’s style blouse from Gertie’s new book, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.   Yet another charity shop bargain (am I getting predictable yet?), I picked up the below fabric recently and I think it may be a genuine vintage print.   It feels like cotton and I got about 1.5 metres for only 50p.

Soooooo, not many plans then. Ha ha.   I may well have bitten off more than I can chew with all of these ideas and I have no idea how much I’ll actually be able to achieve as my sewing time is so limited.   But I will do my utmost to at least make some of them and share with you all.

How about you guys?   Have you achieved any Autumn/Winter makes yet?   What are your plans, I’d love to know.



Edit: I have changed some of the links in this post as I have been made aware of potential copyright infringement.   Not cool guys.   Use the sewing community for inspiration, support, hints and tips but ripping off someone elses work is all kinds of wrong.