Thursday, 25 July 2013

Finished: Anna dress

I'd originally intended the Victoria blazer to be my first introduction to By Hand London patterns. My plan was to join in their sewalong, but I'd chosen to make my version in double knit and try as I might, I just couldn't summon up the energy to sew a knit blazer in the current UK heat wave. It's a perfect early autumn project for me to get my teeth into though, so stay tuned.  Sooo, I turned my attention to the Anna dress instead.... 

Ah, the Anna dress - I bought this pattern the second it was released and it was love at first sight.  The kimono sleeves, the panelled A-line shape, the slash neck and the super flattering front bodice tucks - gorgeous! And just look at that packaging!  I'm a sucker for stylish packaging and By Hand London patterns are by far the most beautiful I've come across to date.





I went for the midi version as I'm really not a maxi dress kind of girl. But, never say never eh? That thigh high split is quite tempting and I haven't totally butchered the skirt pieces, maybe one day.... So, what do I like about this dress? Pretty much everything! My favourite detail is the tucks at the waist instead of darts - this is a detail I've seen a lot in vintage patterns. I love the way the clever placement of the tucks adds shape to the bust, so pretty.  It's also a nice change not to have to set in sleeves - hoorah for kimono sleeves! One final thing I like about this pattern is the neckline. I'll admit, I was a bit wary of the slash neck at first but I needn't have worried. Miraculously it manages to cover my bra straps without me having to pull them right down. It's cut a little lower than a boat neck so has a slight curve, which as well as being flattering doesn't sit right across your wind pipe.


For fabric I chose Brussels Washer in yarn dyed chambray, which must surely win the prize for most ridiculous fabric name of all time. One of the fabric suggestions for this pattern is rayon and this is a linen/rayon mix.


It's a lovely cool fabric, but very drapey and I did think at first that it might look a bit sack-like when sewn up. With this pattern, the fitted bodice comes to the rescue, giving the dress a loosely structured modern look I really like. The dress isn't lined or underlined, it's just me and 2.5 metres of Brussels Washer, wonderfully cool for my hols and so, so comfortable.



It is a very plain look, but that gives me the perfect excuse to tart it up with red accessories!


This dress was amazingly quick to make, it can hardly have taken me more than a couple of hours - a perfect dress for a beginner to try their hand at. I made a UK size 12 and the fit was more or less spot on. Apart from a complete and utter brain freeze when it came to inserting the invisible zip (don't ask, I had to unpick it in the end and insert a plain old centred one instead), this was an easy make and a joy to sew. The only adjustment I made was to take two inches off the length, making it just knee length on me.

If the pattern had been released a few weeks earlier, I'm in no doubt that I'd have made at least two more versions of this dress. As it is, my kids have now finished school for the summer, so sewing more or less grinds to a halt for six weeks. But...there WILL be more in the pipeline, never fear! Especially given the response I've had so far - I wore it to go supermarket shopping yesterday (I know, rock and roll!) and received not one, but TWO compliments from complete strangers!!! One woman's actual words were: "I really admire the cut of your dress"!!! I've never been so flattered and delighted in all my life! In summary, I absolutely LOVE this dress, it fits like a glove straight from the packet, it's insanely easy to sew and I feel fabulous in it. What more could you ask for?!


Happy Thursday everybody! x


PS. Don't forget my Polished Button giveaway which runs until Sunday 28th July. 


69 comments:

  1. So cute. I have been waiting to see some of these made up!
    Looks great with all of that red :-)

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  2. I often hover on your blog but don't comment. But today I had to say how fabulous your dress is! I am not surprised you received flattering comments about it and I am sure you will receive many more.
    Clare

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    1. Aw thank you Clare and thank you for commenting, that means a lot. x

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  3. OoOoo I've been waiting to see these pop up on the blogosphere! I love your version. Do you think you'll try out the maxi length, too?

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    1. If I'm totally honest, probably not, I feel like I'm too short for starters! Maybe I'll change my mind once I see a few maxi versions appearing! x

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  4. SO GORGEOUS. I get paid on Wednesday and this is the first thing I am going to buy - my tongue has been hanging out waiting to get hold of it. It suits you so well, Jane, and you look adorable as always! xxx

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    1. Thanks darling! Go on, buy it, buy it! x

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  5. this is so lovely!!! It looks great on you, and I love all the design details (which I couldn't work out from the pattern cover art). Definitely adding this to the (looooong) list. Have a great summer with your boys! x

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  6. Jane, that is a lovely dress, I might have to look into that one. and the Chambray is gorgeous for it.

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  7. It is a lovely dress, I've never heard of this pattern company before. Oh dear, I think I might be tempted to add to the pattern stash.

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  8. This is gorgeous! It looks fab on you, the shaping is lovely. Also, I'm loving your cherry brooch. :) I've been holding out on wanting this pattern, but it's going into the pattern queue right now.

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    1. Thank you! I love that cherry brooch too! x

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  9. It's a gorgeous dress. I feel the same way about the Bebe dress by Serendipity, but this sounds even more straight forward. I might have to try it out.

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  10. This is sooo pretty and has totally prompted me to buy the pattern. I love the Elisalex dress but wasn't too sure about this one until I saw your version^

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  11. You look fabulous in this dress. It is such a pretty style and how can you not love something that gives you an excuse to wear red accessories!
    Thanks for talking about the Brussels Washer. I was looking at some of it online, I'm looking for a summer pant fabric, and was wondering what in the world it was and how it would work up!

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    1. It's a lovely fabric, a bit unusual. It is very drapey though so I'm not sure how suitable it would be for trousers. Unless you're planning a loose, flowing pair of course! X

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  12. Love! So flattering. I'm curious to try out this pattern now!

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  13. This is ever so lovely Jane! I was cutting my Anna pattern pieces out just last night and even thought to myself how nice and easy it would be to sew up. So thanks for confirming that! Compliments for strangers really are the best...it makes sewing your own clothes even more worth it! Anyway, you look a million dollars in your Anna dress!

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    1. Thanks Marie! Yes, it's a breeze to sew, can't wait to see yours! x

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  14. Such a pretty dress. It's a very flattering shape. I admire the cut of your dress, too! :)

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  15. It's great in every detail and looks wonderful with the red accessories. I've never heard of By Hand London so thank you for the introduction, I'm off to potter around their site now! Bethx

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  16. I also admire the cut of your dress! Very nice to see this pattern sewn up "for real", I'm putting it on my birthday wishlist now!

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  17. Wow, I really love this! I was a little underwhelmed when the pattern came out, but yours is making me reconsider!

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  18. Jane, this is gorgeous...wow! what a fit! Love it. So you think this would be good for a beginner/advanced beginner? Recently borrowed a dress from a friend for a job interview and it was a similar style...initially said no as thought with my big hips and bum it'd look awful but I was mistaken...I felt fab! To make one would be wonderful. Kate x

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    1. Oh absolutely, I'm sure you could make one! I think the panels on the skirt section are very flattering and hide a multitude of sins! Go for it, give me a shout if you get stuck (I'm sure you won't though as the instructions are crystal clear). Good luck! x

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  19. Absolutely gorgeous (and I love the accessorizing as well)!!

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  20. So it WAS you that I was standing next to at the bus stop this morning! I wanted to say hello but thought it might be a bit stalkerish (unlike this, obvs ;-) ). Your dress is just lovely, even better in real life! I love the tucks - they may actually help to give me a bust... I think I might have to invest! Love your red bag to :-)

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    1. Oh my god! Was it at Ealing Broadway? Have you got a little girl? I remember you smiling at me and I've been racking my brains trying to think how I know you!! Aw, you should have said hello! Thanks for your lovely comment anyway.
      If you live in Ealing we should get together for a coffee sometime? x

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    2. Yes, that was us! Sorry about the smiling - i'm the type that says hello to someone famous because I think I know them from somewhere... I spent our journey to Kingston browsing your blog looking for the dress as I was sure it was handmade :-) was so disappointed when I couldn't find it! Would love to meet up for a coffee - hooray for the summer holidays!

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    3. Ha ha! I posted about it as soon as I got home, I'd just been to the dentist when you saw me and was too nervous to concentrate on anything before that! Drop me an email re coffee. xx

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  21. I love your dress! Ive been waiting to see someone making it :) I just ordered this pattern and the Victoria blazer, so ai guess we think alike! Im planning on making the blazer first, lets see..

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  22. Think this is my fave version of Anna so far. It's really nice to see all the details as I couldn't quite make them out from the drawings on the cover. You look fab!

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  23. How lovely to see this made up in the midi length and to hear your review of it. I love it!! I've also bought this pattern as it was love at first sight too!! And the thigh split does something for my inner vamp too!! Looks gorgeous and I'm sure you'll have a long summer's use of it:-)

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    1. Can't wait to see you and your inner vamp sporting the thigh high split version! x

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  24. Beautiful beautiful beautiful! I want this dress!

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  25. Looks absolutely stunning!

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  26. This dress has completely passed me by, so lovely.

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  27. I love this on you, it's fabulous! I'm not surprised you got compliments. I'm dying to get this pattern, I'm just counting down to pay day.

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  28. Aw, lovely, Jane! Love it accessorised with red.

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  29. It's great. So nice to see it in a lighter colour fabric and to inspect the details that you can't see on the By Hand London website.

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  30. Ooh Jane I too would have told you I like the cut of your dress/gib :) It looks fantastic and those bust gathers are really flattering. Loving that you're getting the cherries in there too.

    xxx

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  31. Gorgeous dress Jane - it's a winner! You have inspired me to order a pattern as I love dresses, empire line, A-line skirts and kimono sleeves - what a luxury to find them ALL in one pattern! Flattering to the bust and tummy (I am all about the silhouette!) I love the colour fabric you have chosen, it looks perfect with red accessories. I am going to try making a black version for work.

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    1. Hoorah! So glad my version inspired you to buy the pattern. A black version will be tres chic for work! X

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  32. Oh good golly, Miss Molly! That's a stonkingly fine dress!
    You made that dress out of that pattern? You did?
    I didn't realise it was that shape when I saw the line drawings.
    Your fabric choice really shows off its "fine lines", in fact "I admire the cut of your dress"! (Makes me think of an old seafarer admiring "the cut of your gib"! LOL)
    Seriously tempted...

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    1. Aw thank you! I'll now have an image of an old seafarer throwing me an admiring glance every time I see this dress! x

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  33. Oh, so pretty and, as usual, SO JANE! I don't know how you do it. I love the tucks at the waist and the kimino sleeves.

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  34. I love this on you, it's fabulous! I don't know how you do it. But Looks absolutely stunning!

    DIN 1434 | DIN 1435 | DIN 1436

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  35. Lovely dress and you have styled it beautifully with the red accessories.

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  36. Wow, so lovely!! The fabric really does this justice too, I had hovered and decided against buying Anna a few weeks ago but after seeing yours I have put my order in (and for Victoria too.. In for a penny in for a pound!!) love the midi length and the bodice pleats. I love my Elisalex so I have high high hopes now!!

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    1. Oh, so pleased I inspired you to go for and buy the Anna pattern, you won't regret it I'm sure! And the Victoria blazer looks like a fine pattern too, can't wait to make mine. x

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  37. Jane, this post has had me beaming from ear to ear! Very very happy to hear that you had such good time making up the dress and that you're so happy with the fit - it looks great on ya! (and yes, lovely fabric, ridiculous name).

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    1. I'm delighted this made you beam from ear to ear Charlotte! Congrats again on producing such a fab pattern. x

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  38. This dress was made for you. It looks fab. I' m inspired to try it myself. The gathers look really even.

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  39. Oh I love this - when I read this post - I went and made THREE Annas!

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    1. You go girl! All three are beautiful too (Anna Rose is my fave though!) there will be three in my wardrobe before too long, just you wait! x

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  40. This is so lovely, and it really is a great make for you, Jane! Very flattering! I really like the chambray colored rayon!

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  41. One of the things I love about reading sewing blogs is seeing how many people interpret the same pattern. When I first saw this pattern it didn't really grab me at all, I just could see myself in it. Then I saw your version and was blown away by how lovely it was. It is now most definitely on my "to buy" list! Enjoy those compliments, you are sure to get many more.

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    1. Thank you so much! I love seeing all the different versions too. x

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  42. I wasn't 100% sure on this frock but this version is FABULOUS! Love it, Jane!

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  43. It does look beautiful on you - fit is fab!

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  44. That dress is to die for! You did a wonderful job and I love the fabric. I usually use organic cotton where I can and love www.organiccottonplus.com, but I'll be sure to check out Brussels washer, and yes it's a crazy name!

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  45. I got some navy Brussels washer to make a shirt for a colleague who was leaving but I didn't use it so as soon as I saw this dress, I knew it was for me. I LOVE IT. So much so that I ordered it directly from By Hand London instead of waiting around for the U.S. suppliers to order it. I wish it would come tomorrow but I'm afraid I'm looking at another week at least. I also have some Essex Linen (another weird name from Robert Kaufman) which is actually linen/cotton. It's about the color of your dress and I wonder if the linen/cotton will drape as well as the rayon/linen does. Perhaps I'll use that as a muslim????

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  46. Oh, DOH. The reason I'm writing in the first place is to tell you how beautiful your dress is and it's the reason I even ordered the pattern. It wasn't just me seeing the dress but me seeing YOUR DRESS. How rude of me.

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  47. That's a beautiful Anna! I love that the plain fabric lets you see all the cool construction details.

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  48. I agree with some of the reviewers that I find this dress is much cuter in a plain color to really see all the construction details. I love your version - I think I need to make me one of these!

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  49. I LOVE your dress!! An it suits you, you look great!!

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