Pattern Review – The Anna Dress from By Hand London
Ok, so now I totally and completely get the love-fest that is swirling all ’round By Hand London‘s Anna Dress. And what a warm and cosy one it is too! Take a bow ladies – this pattern is such a beauty in every possible pattern-y way. The packaging, illustrations, instructions and finished garment all combine to result in a very feminine, satisfying and surprisingly quick sew.
Whilst I didn’t practice what I’m about to preach here, do yourself a favour and make a bodice muslin. This time, Just-Bloody-Sew-It-Would-You Devil of my right shoulder won out over You-Really-Should-Make-a-Muslin Angel of my left shoulder, but in my lazy/time-poor defence I will say that I did do some research in the
lead-up. And there is seriously no shortage of excellent Anna reviews and inspiration out there on the interweb. No, seriously…
It seems that more than a few reviewers of this pattern had addressed a gaping issue across the back neckline. Being small of back, I knew that I had to follow suit and made the necessary adjustment using this most excellent tutorial from Ginger Makes. I slashed mine in the same spot and took out a smidge over an inch from each side. With this style of bodice, it’s really important to get the fit right especially when using a softer, drapier fabric like the double silk georgette I used.
Speaking of fabric, honestly I don’t know that I’ve ever had so much choosing angst as I did when trying to select something in which to make my Anna. And you’d think that by virtue of working in a fabric shop I’d be spoilt for choice, of which I most certainly am. But I really think that because there are simply sooooo many beautiful versions of this dress out there, I just kept changing my mind with every next gorgeous one I read up on. In the end, there were four that conspired and inspired my fabric choice – Oonaballoona’s (silk, sheer *sigh*), Amy’s (that fabric, that hem length), Sallie’s (if I could buy that right off her back, I totally would) and Yosami’s (perfection in stripe-y mismatch).
My fabric is Gabby’s Choice and it may look familiar if you spied this blog post back in January. It’s a fantastically random, patterned double silk georgette with just the right amount of drape and weight for Anna. I didn’t think too carefully about my print placement beyond the front bodice. All I wanted was more black around the neckline and the rest of the positioning was pot luck-y which turned out to be a very fun part of the sewing process. Being a double georgette, it’s sheer without being too sheer but I’ll still most definitely be wearing it with a slip. As I mentioned above, Amy’s vintage version inspired my hem length (I added an extra 18cm to the shorter version length and gave it a wider, blind hem) and I decided to go sans split. Oh and if you fear le French seam, this pattern will most definitely help you overcome that.
Do it if you can and especially if sewing with sheers or silks – the finish is unbeatable and incredibly satisfying. The only other variations I made were to fuse the facing with a very lightweight silk fusing and I also used a fusing tape along the invisible zipper seam. I high-fived myself after getting that zip in perfectly and give every credit to the fusing tape for being able to do so.
And so in blogging my first Anna, I can assure you that like just about everyone that’s made her, this version will most definitely not be my last. Pattern winner? Hell yes.