Monday, 2 September 2013

Anna Dress (Version 1!)

I've been doing a whole load of sewing recently so I've got plenty of completed projects to show you which I haven't got round to blogging about yet; including THREE versions of By Hand London's Anna! Here's the first and possibly my favourite:

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral By Hand London Maxi Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

This was intended as a wearable muslin so I used an extremely cheap viscose print I bought a couple of months ago from a very entertaining market stall outside Rolls n' Rems in Lewisham. During cutting I realised I absolutely loved it though so did my very best to make it work out first time and I'm really really pleased with it.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral By Hand London Maxi Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

I'm sure you've all seen many many versions of this pattern popping up around the internet, and I know I'm not the first blogger to have fallen in love with this pattern and made multiple versions! If you want proof of this pattern's versatility just check out Lizzy and Rosin who have made 7 between them! It's not surprising that the pattern has become such a rapid hit, it's a simple yet unique design that I can see looking great on all body types. The full panelled skirt makes it feel like you're wearing something really special but my favourite bit is for sure the little pleats under the bust which provide shape to the bodice. I love a fitted waist and this combined with the kimono sleeves is super flattering. If I still haven't sold you on it there's a sew-a-long hosted by the By Hand London girls themselves starting on Monday 16th September!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral By Hand London Maxi Anna Dress Sewing Pattern
Under bust pleats in the bodice

I opted for the maxi length as I absolutely love a maxi dress in the summer and have never made one but I left out the thigh high split on this occasion as I thought I'd get more wear out of it without. I've since realised I LOVE the thigh high split on everyone else's versions but am still happy I left it out on this one as it means it's still just about practical enough for work. I've been enjoying wearing it in the surprisingly warm British summer but also think it will be great to wear in autumn with boots!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral By Hand London Maxi Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

I went with the high slash neckline on this version as I love how this looks with the kimono sleeves. The neckline was the only part of the dress I had trouble with the fit of as it came up really wide and so gaped front and back; I know a few other bloggers have mentioned this too. I think I have fairly small shoulders which didn't help this situation. I'd already attached the facing, done all the clipping and under-stitching to secure this and even inserted the zip when I realised it was big here so on this version I just added in a couple of darts at the back of the neckline. I'm not completely overjoyed with the result as it doesn't line up quite right and am tempted to unpick and redo it, but fit wise it's made a huge difference.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral By Hand London Maxi Anna Dress Sewing Pattern
Insides all finished with french seams

Another great thing about this pattern is how quick it is to sew up. The simplicity of it is genius. Even on the first go and using my favourite french seams throughout it only took me 3 or 4 hours. I'd really recommend using french seams to finish this dress, especially if you're including the split and using a lightweight fabric. I just pinked the centre back seam where the zip is inserted and it's holding up great so far. I bound the edge of the facing with some white shop bought bias tape I had in my stash which I love the look of but is probably slightly too stiff compared to the floaty main fabric so I'd just pink or turn and stitch the edges in future.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral By Hand London Maxi Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

I'm most pleased with the hem. I went for about a hem of about an inch to give it a bit of weight at the bottom. It was a bit of a fiddle trying to get it to sit right as the skirt has such a flare but I took my time and am pretty proud of the result. Plus I've managed to get it the ideal length for me, result!

I love this combination of fabric and pattern. The drapey viscose worked out great for the skirt and has enough body to hold the structure of the bodice nicely.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Autumnal Floral By Hand London Maxi Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

I was so pleased with this dress that I ended up wearing this instead of the dress I was making specifically for my birthday drinks a couple of weeks ago. It had to be the best when I was seeing my lovely fellow Spoolettes! It got worn again to visit my family this weekend for belated birthday celebrations and I can see it being my press night outfit too...good job I made an effort with the finishings so it will hold up in the wash!

London Spoolettes!
With Emmie, Nicole and Sally on my Birthday!

Speaking of my birthday I was lucky enough to receive a handful of new patterns, some money for fabric shopping, the Great British Sewing Bee book and a beautiful pair of Gingher shears! I think my nearest and dearest might have picked up on this sewing addiction of mine don't you?! Thank you all (because I know you're reading!) for the lovely thoughtful gifts, for encouraging this fascination of mine and for putting such a big smile on my face all year round!

42 comments:

  1. This dress is just gorgeous on you. Why is it always the cheap fabrics that we care little about that end up being out best makes?!

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    1. Thank you! I'm not sure what it is, perhaps we do our best sewing when we are happy to take a few risks and don't over-think it?!

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  2. Love the dress looking forward to seeing the others, love this pattern.

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    1. Thank you, it is a corker of a pattern, so versatile too.

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  3. It looks fabulous on you Fiona :-) If I have a need for dresses I think this would definitely feature high on my list. It looks so flattering on so many different shapes and sizes.

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    1. Thank you so much, I would definitely highly recommend it. In fact I definitely do not have any need for any more dresses but I still can't stop making Annas!

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  4. Ahhh this is lovely Fiona, you're the cutest. I love that this was a muslin but turned out to be something you really love. It was destiny! Oh and I know the fabric stall you're talking about. It's a crazy mountain of fabric but there are some right gems in there.

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    1. Thank you Clare! Totally agree about the stall, I couldn't believe my luck after a disappointing Rolls n Rems trip! I loved the lady running the stall, she was like 'just dig in duck!'

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  5. This looks so great on you! I'm so bummed I didn't french the seams on my first make, definitely for the next one. This colour really suits you too.

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    1. Thanks Amy, a few people have said that to me about the colour so I think I must have struck lucky as I never wear it! Yours was gorgeous french seams or not, fit you beautifully!

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  6. lovely. the colour is great on you and def one you can wear into autumn!

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    1. Thanks Jo, it's got a lovely warm autumnal feel to the fabric don't you think?

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  7. happy belated!

    i just never get tired of seeing beautiful annas. yours has made me want to make one without a thigh high split!

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    1. Thanks Marcy! I never get tired of seeing Anna's when they look as incredible as yours which I've just spotted in my blog roll! Genius idea with the sheer layer, this pattern is perfect for it!

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  8. You look beautiful wearing your Anna! The fabric is so pretty, it's perfect for the dress :)

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    1. Thank you so much, I struck lucky with this choice I think! Buying it was one of those moments when I didn't know what I would use it for but I just knew I wanted that fabric!

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  9. The print of the fabric is really nice and the overall dress is really beautiful. I'm also really looking forward to seeing the others.

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    1. Thank you Sabine, nice to see a new commenter on the blog!

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  10. Oh, those pleats are delicious! This is a really pretty Anna- looking forward to seeing the others you've got lined up!

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    1. Thank you! I think every single Anna I've seen so far has been pretty, there are so many gorgeous pleats out there to be admired!

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  11. Holy smoke! Your dress is fabulous! Another Anna for the inspiration pile. I have the pattern, but am very impatiently waiting for the sewalong to start because I want to see how to do the FBA. I'll be looking forward to seeing your other two versions now!

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    1. I think, in my opinion, holy smoke is possibly the best reaction I've ever had to one of my makes! Feeling pretty chuffed with that thank you! I decided to wing it without the FBA which was fine on this version but one of my others came out on the verge of needing it, no idea why!

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  12. I'm absolutely in LOVE with that fabric and you looked gorgeous in your Anna. Happy Birthday!

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    1. Thanks Sally! On both counts! I'll keep my eyes peeled when I'm next diving into the mountainous fabric stall for some more if you like!!

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  13. This is so beautiful! It looks gorgeous on you! Happy (belated) birthday!!!!!

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    1. Thanks Sonja! It's so comfortable too!

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  14. Aww yes we've missed you! Lovely version of Anna, very chic. I wasn't really sold on the pattern when it first came out but after seeing everyone's different interpretations I know i *must* get it. Just as soon as I finish my backlog!

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    1. Thank you Nicki! I wasn't completely blown away either, quite often it's seeing someone else's version that makes me fall in love with a pattern - particularly patterns from the big four!

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  15. Lovely Anna dress. Wow, this dress is really making it's rounds, seems everybody has made it! And, Happy Belated Birthday! Sounds like you got some GREAT stuff!

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    1. Thank you Catja! I'm not surprised this pattern has become so popular! It's so flattering and satisfying to sew!

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  16. Nice to see you back! Although disappointed that bloglovin' never showed me this post, boo! That dress is gorgeous, can't wait to see the others! I agree with you on the pleats, I love them, once I had figured out how to do them! Hope you had a great birthday!

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    1. Bloglovin' seems to miss some posts on mine too and then they appear a few days later! How strange! Should get the other Anna's up on the blog in the next few days!

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  17. This is absolutely gorgeous! It will be perfect for Autumn with boots, in fact I think i need to make myself an Autumn Anna now.

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    1. Thank you! The thought of wearing this with boots is the only thing making me happy about Autumn's sudden arrival!

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  18. That fits you beautifully, and the fabric is gorgeous, it's the perfect colour for autumn. I got the Anna pattern for my birthday too, so I hope mine turns out as well as yours have!

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    1. I'm sure it will, it's so straight forward! I'm absolutely loving it, but it's not so suited to the rain so I hope it stops soon!

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  19. I love all your Annas!!!!!

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    1. Thank you! So do I! There will be more!

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  20. Oh wow what a fantastic dress!!! I've had the Anna dress on my wish list for a while, might be time to finally get it :)

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    1. Definitely get to it!!! It's such a great pattern and really speedy to sew! Thank you!

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  21. This is gorgeous, I love the Fabric! I may just have to attempt this dress now after seeing this one :)

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    1. Thank you! I love the fabric too, especially considering it was an impulse buy, basically because it was so cheap!

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!