Sunday, 20 April 2014

FO: Polka dot Anna

By Hand London Anna Dress packaging 2
photo from BHL

I have been eyeing up the Anna dress from the By Hand London ladies for sometime, and finally gave in when I visited Backstitch on their opening weekend.

I wasn't sure what fabric I would use, but I had been looking at a lot of polka dot things recently and in the interest of trying to use up some stash fabric, decide to go for a navy polka dot cotton that I have had for some time. In fact, I bought it as part of a kit in 2011, as it was the only way to get hold an out of print pattern that I wanted. It is not really the best fabric for this dress as it has no give at all and as a consequence the front skirt seams and bust darts are fractionally out. But it will do and I am very pleased with the result.

I made the 'midi' version with the boat neck. It was a pretty easy sew, which I did in small increments. The instructions were easy to follow and I also looked at the online sew-a-long posts the BHL ladies have done.  I did a couple of extra steps, the first was to understitch the neck facings. I have had trouble with facings not staying put in the past and I know a few other people have had problems with the facings on the Anna. To further secure the facings, for step two, I very carefully stitched in the ditch of the shoulder seams - no flapping facings for me!
spot the stitch in the ditch

The most interesting thing about this pattern for me is the way the bust is dealt with - instead of darts there are two sets of pleats that 'open[ing] up almost flower-like to accommodate your boobies!’ (straight from the instructions!). It is an interesting way to create shape in the bust area and very flattering too.  I had to shorten the pleats by nearly 1.5cm so that they had the desired effect.

Several people have had problems with the back neckline gaping, so I was prepared for a slight problem here - I basted the zip, tried it on, then ended up having a marginally (3mm) wider seam allowance at the top of the zip on each side. I could probably have made the seam allowance even wider by about 2 mm but it seems ok at the moment.  If you have a big problem with gaping, GingerMakes has  done a tutorial on how she took out the excess in the back of her dress.

The skirt has seven panels that all look very similar, so it is advisable to label them all so you get them sewn together in the right order. I tend to do this anyway, it just something I have always done. I usually pin little labels to the right side of the fabric of each piece which also helps to make sure I don't sew a piece the wrong way out!

Here is a little shot of the insides - very neat if I say so myself

I was hoping to wear this at Easter lunch, but even though it was surpisingly mild today, it definately wasn't warm enough to wear a summer dress! The photos here are, sadly, mostly out of focus, but I wanted to get this up pretty swiftly. And no need to ajust your screens, my legs really are that white.

I wanted to get this up in time for the 'Sew Dolly Clackett' competiton held by Sarah of Rhinestones & Telephones. Roisin of 'It can't be from Dolly Clackett, she gave me an Easter egg!' is getting married soon and the lovely sewing world have planned (with Nic, her partner) to send her off into wedded bliss with a homage to her amazing collection of handmade dresses. I greatly admire many of the dresses that Roisin has made, and one of her favourite dresses has been the BHL Anna - so I hope mine is the perfect contribution!


Sunday, 13 April 2014

WIP: BHL Anna dress

After a hectic day watching the London Marathon, cheering on my sister-in-law and Husband's cousin, keeping track of our family group and getting gently sunburnt, I have a quick post to show what I have been working on recently.
I finally took the plunge and bought the Anna dress when I visited Backstitch the other week. I took a while to get started and then ground to a halt when the weather turned cooler again. I'm hoping it will stay warm enough to try it on so I can check the tweak I did to the back neck and the hem length. Then I will crack on and get it finished in time for the Sewing Dolly Clacket deadline.