Saturday, 14 September 2013

Anna Dress (Version 2!)

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

Well I think it's about time we talked about my second By Hand London Anna Dress don't you? One day I'll catch up with all the items I've still got to blog about! These pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago, as you may notice rom the glorious sunshine! I was hoping for a sunny September so I could get some more wear out of this lovely fresh print but it already feels like it's been gloomy and wet for about a month so I think Autumn has well and truly arrived.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

This time I made the midi length with about 6 inches removed, just taken off the hem. This is quite a lot to take off but By Hand London patterns do tend to be drafted for the taller ladies, and at 5ft 3" I'm definitely not that, so I normally take off quite a wedge. Also I personally prefer my skirts just above the knee so I took off a bit more than usual. This alteration meant I managed to squeeze this out of just 1.5m which is worth bearing in mind if you're short like me as the pattern asks for 2.6m! As much as I love the glamour of the maxi Anna I absolutely love this length as it is practical for everyday wear but the interesting construction makes you feel like you've got something a bit special on too.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing PatternBy Hand London Anna Dress sewing pattern cherry blossom floral summer crepe chainstitcher

The fabric is a digitally printed polyester crepe from Sew Over It in Clapham, who a lovely variety of prints in different weights. I've actually been holding onto it for a few months as I picked it up on a whim at the start of summer when I was thinking about making playsuits, it was one of those prints that instantly caught my eye and I couldn't resist! It's very lightweight and drapey but not particularly sheer, even in direct sunlight. I was really pleased to discover that even though it's polyester I stayed quite cool in it, even running around on hot days. I think the fit of the dress and those kimono sleeves help.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

I did have some difficulty with the fabric shifting around while cutting, it was hard to make sure it was completely on grain even with lots of pins. I got there in the end but I think next time I'm working with a fabric this fine I'll give the 'cutting between sheets of paper/tissue paper' trick a go. I've seen it talked about quite a lot recently (Jen from Grainline wrote a good post on it) and think with a slippery silk it would be particularly useful. The fabric shifting about also caused a few problems while sewing and I ended up with a few puckered skirt seems. I redid some parts and pressed it as much as I could but there's still a couple of points that are bugging me a bit. Writing that has just reminded me that the polyester content gave me a few issues when pressing as it couldn't take anything more than the lowest heat setting (learnt that the hard way!) but it really needed a bit more to get some of the seams to lie flat.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

After having some issues with the neckline gaping on my first Anna I decided to cut out some of that excess this time rather than adding in darts. I'd unfortunately already cut this version before I noticed the issue with my first so I couldn't do a proper alteration to the pattern. I'd seen a couple of other bloggers had taken some out of the centre back to reduce the neckline width so I decided I could still do this. I measured 1" in from the centre back at the neckline on each piece and drew a line down to nothing at about 5" down. It's probably not the best way to go about it as it messes with the grain along the centre back but I'm pretty happy with the result. If you want to do a proper alteration Sonja from Ginger Makes wrote a great post on how simple it is. Along with simply clipping and under-stitching the neckline this seems to have solved not only the gaping issue but the problem I had getting the slash neck to lie flat.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern
Neckline construction
Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern
Matching of skirt seams and bodice pleats
I'm really really pleased with seam and dart matching all over, it's much better than my first Anna. I'm also really happy with the invisible-ness of my invisible zip and I even included an enclosed hook and eye at the top of the zip using Karen from Did You Make That's tutorial. I love this technique!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern
Concealed hook and eye and pinked facings

On my first Anna I used bias binding to finish my facing's but felt it was a little bulky with the drape of the fabric and style of the pattern. This fabric has a similar drape but hardly frays at all so I simply pinked the edges of the facing this time, along with the centre back zip seam.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

Again I used french seams throughout and I just love how neat it looks inside, plus it's nice knowing that this will hold up in the wash!

So my second Anna is probably not as much of a hit as my first but still gets a big thumbs up from me! My third version is the most glamourous of the lot but I need the rain to stop so I can get some decent pictures for you this weekend! I love how versatile this pattern is and think it can be a completely different dress when using fabrics of different weights and drapes. I've got a luscious bit of emerald green wool crepe I got at a remnant sale which I might just be able to squeeze the midi version out of for winter...

Diary of a Chainstitcher Cherry Blossom Crepe By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

28 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, Fiona, and I am seriously digging the idea of a wintry wool crepe one too!

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    1. Thanks Roisin! I think that piece of fabric is definitely earmarked for an Anna now!

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  2. This fabric pattern is so beautiful and goes wonderfully with the dress! You're all so spoilt for choice in London! Love from a sulky stitcher in Edinburgh!

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    1. Aw! I'm sure you've got a better selection of woollens up there though! You'll have to plan a big shopping trip down to London for a meet up! Thank you!

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  3. I would have grabbed that print too! It's gorgeous as is this Anna. I know what you mean about lopping alarming amounts off the length but them I'm a similar height at 5'4"!

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    1. They have it in their online shop if you want it! :) Thank you!

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  4. This is gorgeous and your fabric choice is lovely. You look a million bucks.

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    1. Aw Thanks! What a lovely compliment!

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  5. Very nice dress. I hope you'll get some more sunny days to enjoy it a little bit longer. :-)

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    1. Thank you Sabine! I have a feeling the sunshine has vanished for a while...

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  6. Oh how pretty! Good to know you can squeeze a midi version out of 1.5m of fabric if you're short too!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I've found the fabric estimates on the By Hand London patterns to be a little on the large side on a few of their patterns, you can just about squeeze a plain version of the Victoria skirt out of 1m too!

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  7. This is gorgeous! The fabric is so pretty. I am so seeing the vision with an emerald green wool crepe version!

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    1. Thank you Lynne! With the weather as it is I might need to get cracking on the wool crepe version soon!

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  8. This is realllly pretty! I love these colors on you! Beautiful dress!

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    1. Thanks Sonja! It feels like a dress for spring in those colours and print doesn't it?

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  9. It's lovely Fiona. And I love the fabric - great colours!

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    1. Thank you! It is great fabric, feels beautiful for a poly

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  10. Another beauty. I always love to see the inside of your garments, you finish them so well. I really like the fabric, reminds me of cherry blossoms. Thanks for the very useful info regarding yardage. So good to know we littlies can save money on fabric :o)

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    1. I love finishing the insides nicely! I find it so satsifying!
      I quite often find with By Hand London patterns I need less than they suggest, because I'm small but also because I think their estimates are quite generous

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  11. I love this - it was this version of yours when you posted it on twitter that inspired the version I made. I agree with you on the bust pleats - I couldn't figure out how to do them to start with, but once I did, I loved them! The fabric you've used is absolutely gorgeous!

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    1. O it's lovely to know that my sewing inspires other people! It's often other people's makes that inspire mine.
      I want to use those bust pleats in everything!

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  12. Catching up on all my blog reading now I'm on maternity leave and I just have to say how much I love this Anna! Your fabric is gorgeous and this dress is such a great shape, fitted in all the right places. Looking forward to seeing this mystery third version you mention!

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    1. Thanks so much Kathryn! I'm in love with the style of this dress and this fabric was just perfect for it. The third version is coming I promise, just waiting for the rain to disappear so I can get pictures!
      How exciting that your maternity leave has arrived! Hope you are doing well

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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!