Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Slinky Silk Anna Dress

Finally I got some photos of my third version of By Hand London's Anna Dress. I originally made this dress with the idea of wearing it to my birthday drinks a couple of months ago, and although I got it finished just in time it was a little rushed and I ended up wearing my first Anna because I love it so much!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

For this version I wanted to go down a different route to the other two, which were both more casual day dresses in a viscose print and polyester crepe. This time I wanted to try out one of the other fabric suggestions on the pattern and go glamorous! I suppose this could count as my first foray into evening wear, although this dress is so simple to sew up I don't feel like it can! I used a silk crepe de chine which I got for a bargain price from Fabric Land on Goldhawk Road. I was really having a hard time choosing the fabric (should I go classic black, or emerald green?) but then this beauty made my mind up for me. The colour changes slightly in different lights, from a heathery grey to a deep navy, plus it didn't have too much of a sheen which I like.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

Speaking of Goldhawk Road did you all hear the awful news that the shopkeepers there have lost their petition against the demolition of the row of shops they want to knock down to 'redevelop the area'? I'm really disappointed as I don't think the council realise how much of an impact that's going to have on a wide range of people, not least the shop owners themselves. It's not like it's a derelict area, it's thriving in fact, those shops are always packed. For me personally, working in the costume industry, it's going to have a big implication on budgets as EVERYONE goes to Shepherd's Bush for affordable good quality fabrics. Apparently shop owners will be offered retail space in the new development at 'affordable' rates, but how quickly are those rates going to increase either pricing the shop keepers out of the area or forcing them to increase the price of their fabrics, which let's face is not good news for any of us! Plus where are these shops going to go in the meantime while the area is being redeveloped? All just to put a shiny new commercialised face on an area which doesn't need changing to match it to the local Westfield.

Anyway, back to the dress! Construction wise it went pretty smoothly as let's face it I've had plenty of practice with this pattern plus I chose the same slash neckline as I have with my other Anna's, I just love the style. The only thing I did differently was...

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern
No, that's not a wind machine, just the beginnings of the storm!

Yes I went for it and included the split! When the pattern was first released I never could have imagined making myself one with the thigh high split but as usual the power of you fellow bloggers convinced me otherwise! I saw some beautiful versions with the slit which were not at all over the top or showing off too much flesh, for example Lizzie's beautiful Anna Rose and Karen's test version. After seeing these and seeing a fair bit of sunshine over July and August I was convinced that maybe I could pull it off, even with the temperamental UK weather!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

The fabric pressed really nicely and was surprisingly easy to get a neat and tidy finish with despite being silk. I think crepe de chine has that little bit more texture to it which means your pieces hold together in place nicely as they go through your machine, well better than a satin would anyway! Look at those lovely bust pleats!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

I french seamed all the seams with the exception of the waist, which I wanted to keep nice and flat and the centre back zip seam. Both of these I pinked, along with the edge of the facing, again to reduce bulk. The pinking actually worked really beautifully on this fabric and is holding up well.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

I'm really really pleased with my invisible zip and how all the seams match up. I again used Karen's tutorial for inserting a concealed hook and eye and managed to get a nice crisp corner at the top there once I'd slip stitched down the edge of the facing.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

As I was really trying to get this finished before my birthday and around a crazy week of work I think my construction was a little bit too slapdash for what this type of dress really deserves and so there's a couple of things I'm not entirely happy with. For one I simply turned and machine stitched the slit and the hem because there's so much of it! I do now wish I'd taken the time to blind stitch but I've got it nice and flat and even so I don't mind that much.

Also some of those long skirt seams are a little bit puckered which is disappointing. I wish I'd done a bit more research into how to work with silk and perhaps tried the cutting and sewing using a sandwich of tissue paper and fabric trick but lesson learnt and perhaps next time! I'm really pleased with how the bodice came out at least so I think the problem was perhaps more to do with the fact that I was getting impatient with french seaming all those long LONG seams between the many panels of the skirt. Patience next time!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Silk Crepe de Chine By Hand London Anna Dress Sewing Pattern

Having said that when I put it on to take the photos I liked it a whole lot more than I remembered and now I can't wait to have an occasion to wear it, perhaps if the Spoolettes' Christmas Cocktails plan comes off this could be a winner?! If I lived a MUCH more glamorous life I'd love to make this same version entirely in gold sequinned fabric...though I think maybe I'd need to be Beyonce to pull that one off...

34 comments:

  1. i want to see sequins! ! and you look smokin hot!

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    1. Hehe! Thanks Emmie! I am tempted...though aren't sequins awful to sew with?!

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  2. This is classic. You look stunning.

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    1. O thanks so much Brenna! I hope it is something that will remain classically stylish!

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  3. Absolutely stunning! And another vote here for a sequinned version, you'd look amazing. Gutted to hear about Goldhawk Road, it makes me so angry when developers are allowed to come in and destroy the character of a place. And as you said, it's not like it's a struggling area, those shops are always full.

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    1. It's such a shame for so many people isn't it? All to make developers more cash! Thank you!

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  4. This dress is awesome!! It looks fantastic on you. Even though I live in the US, it's still sad to hear about Goldhawk Road. I'd like to take a visit and shop before it's replaced.

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    1. Do it! I'm not sure when the 'development' is meant to start so you still have time! Thank you for your lovely comments.

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  5. Nice leg bombing, :) hehe the dress looks fantastic, great colour choice.

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    1. Haha! Thanks! It's a little bit of Angelina Jolie for you! Thank you

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  6. An Awesome Anna - Love this colour on you!

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm so pleased I didn't go with black, this shade is less harsh I think

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    1. Thanks Jo! Looking forward to seeing you at bowling!

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  8. This is so gorgeous! You look so chic! Happy birthday, lady!

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    1. Thanks Sonja! Chic is a brilliant compliment so I'll take that thank you!

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  9. Wow, it looks lovely. Very grown up!

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    1. Thanks Rachael, that's exactly how I feel in it! Though not too grown up if you get what I mean?!

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  10. Ooh la la! This dress looks amazing on everyone that tries it, and this version is no exception. :-)

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    1. Thank you! It's a cracker of a pattern!

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    1. Thanks Vicki Kate! I need to go out to some glamorous parties now don't I or it will never get worn!

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  12. SO GORGEOUS! Go for the sequins - I always believe if you make something not knowing when you'll wear it, the occasion will magically come along.

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    1. I LIKE your thinking! Who knows what glamorous turns my life may take if I make a sequin dress!

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    1. Thank you! The crepe de chine makes it feel so pretty too!

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  14. Wow - I love this on you it looks STUNNING! Seriously stunning, you should absolutely make it again in another fabric- and hey why not have a beautiful sequin dress hanging in your closet?
    Thanks for giving me a good little bout of sewing inspiration! :)
    Ps- such sad news about Goldhawk :(

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    1. Thanks Amy! You're all tempting me too much to do the sequin version...need to do some serious research on that first though I think!
      Loving your new coat by the way!

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  15. It's uber gorgeous :) Crepe de chine is such a forgiving silk to work with, and looks wonderful on! I've not yet seen a version of this dress I haven't liked - even with a big split it looks really classy. Happy Birthday!

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    1. Thanks! I really enjoyed working with the crepe de chine yes, I think I might try some lovely drapey tops in it!

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  16. God, you are gorgeous! It's the first time I've been convinced by the maxi version of the Anna dress. Bravo!

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    1. Thank you so much! It's such a massive compliment to hear that I have changed someone's view of a pattern! It's all about putting your own individual spin on it I think!

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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!