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