Sunday, 23 February 2014

By Hand London Anna dress

Well this is my first dress and my first blog post! I've been considering sewing clothes for some time but have always thought it looked too complicated - until I saw the Anna dress pattern.  I went ahead and bought the pattern based on the fact; I liked the design, its a beginner pattern, and I'd seen some finished Anna's on the net.  I've got to say that I found it straightforward to make (!) and not really scary at all (which is a bit scary in itself to a pessimist like me).  However my first attempt was ok but the fit was crap. I did wear it to work and my colleagues seemed impressed but I think it was more of wow 'you made a dress' rather than wow 'that looks great on you'! Anyway after so more research I altered the pattern and made my second Anna.  Here it is;

 It seems to be a bit on the snug side since christmas but I think the fit is good.  Motivated by this modest success I went onto my third Anna and this time I mixed two patterns together! It was out of necessity really as I didn't have enough fabric.  I put the Anna top with a basic pencil skirt pattern which I found in one of my many sewing books, Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp (a good book BTW).  I made a muslin of the skirt and went right ahead and made this dress;
You can tell by my expression (not) that I love this dress! The fabric a matt stretch satin by John Kaldor.  I found a remnant in a fabric shop in Leeds for £6.  It's a fantastic fabric to sew and very comfortable to wear, especially if you're having a big meal! I can even get the dress on without using the zip.  Shame I didn't work that out before inserting the zip though! I've worn this dress to two parties and it makes me feel great.  I've since gone on the make a fourth Anna, this time with sleeves following the By Hand London Anna sewalong.  I used a terrible fabric though which was a pain in the arse to sew with. I like the sleeves but probably prefer the sleeveless version.  I'd say its worth the time making sure the fit is good.  It did take me a while to work out how to alter the pattern but now I know I can use it again and again and (hopefully)get a good result!
The pattern has given me the confidence to think 'yeah I can make clothes that I actually like and actually fit me' and I'm well on my way to making my handmade wardrobe.

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