adult's clothing · sewing

By Hand London Anna dress

Since I mentioned in my last post that I sewed two garments for Freya’s birthday, I thought that I’d better not leave you in suspense for too long waiting for the second.  So may I present the By Hand London Anna dress!

By Hand London Anna dress

Now, I did have every intention of sewing this pattern for myself. After all, I have seen it look great on a variety of sizes and shapes. It’s even made it to the Pattern Review best patterns of 2013 list! But for some reason, every time I pulled it out I put it away again. Clearly, it wanted to be made for Freya rather than for me.

By Hand London Anna dress

The fabric has been in my stash for a long, long time, waiting for the perfect project. It is a John Kaldor stretch cotton sateen, and the colours are just right for Freya. I had just enough to make the dress – clearly it was serendipitous! I chose the V-neck version in the shorter length.

By Hand London Anna dress

Freya’s measurements corresponded almost perfectly with the measurements listed for size 10, and the finished dress made according to those measurements fits her very well. All seamlines, darts and tucks aligned exactly as they should. I made the back neckline smaller by cutting off a wedge of fabric from both centre back pieces, around an inch wide at the neck edge and narrowing to nothing near the bottom of the bodice. I did that before inserting the zipper, after remembering that I had read almost universal reviews saying that the back neckline gaped. If I make this again I will adjust the neckline more like this tutorial before cutting into the fabric, rather than my more ad hoc approach. I also understitched the facings to keep them in place, and caught them to the shoulder seamlines with a few stitches to secure them there as well.  There is one thing that I am not completely satisfied with, and it was all my own fault.

By Hand London Anna dress

No, that invisible zipper isn’t actually invisible, is it!  Unfortunately for some reason I used my regular zipper foot when I inserted it, rather than my invisible zipper foot.  I have no idea how that happened.  It’s not too bad, but now that I realise what I did wrong I wish that I had re-inserted it before giving it to Freya.   I still might, if I can steal it back from her.  However, the insertion is fantastic at the neckline, where the facing is.  I used the wonderful instructions from You Sew Girl!’s A-line Skirt pattern, which always give a terrific result when you have an invisible zipper and a facing.  Much better than just turning the facing to the inside and slip stitching it in place.

2014-01-23 15.37.54

By Hand London do have a sewalong for this dress.  I didn’t refer to it at all, but you might find it helpful if you want to give this dress a try (if you are one of the few who hasn’t made it already).

By Hand London Anna dress

Something that came to mind while making this – and that I just saw echoed in the curious kiwi’s most recent blog post – was that if you want to maximise fitting opportunities, you would be better off constructing the dress front and dress back separately and leaving the side seams until last. That is something that I would definitely need to do if making this dress for myself, as I would need to make quite a few adjustments for my proportionately  substantive mid-section.  As it is a multi-sized pattern there is plenty of opportunity for grading across sizes.  Very handy.  Not that I needed to do any grading for Freya!

By Hand London Anna dress

So, will I make this dress again for me? The jury is still out on that one. But for Freya? Absolutely.


11 thoughts on “By Hand London Anna dress

  1. The dress looks amazing in that beautiful fabric! Anna is on my to do pattern pile as well, but like you I keep finding other things to sew instead. Thanks for such a brilliant posting with all the tutorials links for the neck too …. I may well be pulling Anna out for another look today.

  2. Very lucky Freya! That fabric looks beautiful on her and suits the dress so well. I have an Anna pattern in my hot little hands and can’t wait to have a go at it (probably in a few months time when summer hits the northern hemisphere!).

  3. Yes Freya is very lucky having you to make her two lovely garments. But how lucky is she to have measurements that almost conform to the body measurements of a single pattern size? That’s almost unheard of!

  4. I can only echo the comments about what lovely fabric, lovely dress and lucky cousin! And to add, quite truthfully, that this is the first version of the Anna dress that has me even remotely tempted to try it. I can see that it’s clever and that others carry it well but it’s not for me. And it’s probably just the lovely fabric talking now, since those colours truly sing to me. Thanks for a nice bit of sewing porn on a public holiday. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s