Anna Dress

Things have been busy here and I haven’t had the time or sunlight to photograph my latest make, so I thought I’d share a dress that I made late last year. I love this dress! It is, of course, the wildly popular Anna dress from By Hand London. There have been so many amazing versions of this pattern, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was inspired by many of them, including Sallieoh’s hand dyed beauty and Fiona’s slinky black number.

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I decided to make this dress immediately before departing on an overseas trip. Maybe I’m alone in this, but whenever I have an exciting holiday coming up, something in my brain goes into overdrive thinking of all the new clothes I’ll need before I go. I lie awake at night fretting that I don’t have anything nearly hip or stylish enough to be seen wearing at my destination! In this case the holiday was to be in San Francisco, so I whipped up this dress, among other things.

Like many other people who have made this pattern, I would agree that it is very flattering. The gently flared skirt mirrors the bust pleats in such a complementary way, and as a huge fan of boat necks, I love the high neckline. The kimono sleeves are a cinch to construct and drape in a lovely way over the shoulders. This pattern really does have curves in all the right places. For the fabric I used an absolutely beautiful Liberty print called Kayoko, purchased once again from Shaukat.

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In terms of pattern modifications, I made almost none. The pattern is drafted with minimal ease around the waist, but I prefer a couple of extra cm to allow for eating/breathing etc. To remedy this I just reduced the seam allowance at the CB to 1cm in the general waist area. This was just enough for me and the fit is comfortable. Very scientific, I know! Additionally, I did have some gaping at the back neck, so I took out a wedge on either side of the zipper, just at the top. No fancy pattern manipulation here!

I used French seams throughout, including the waist seam where the bodice meets the skirt, and because anything made from Liberty deserves extra love and attention, I bound the facing and armholes with another Liberty print, Picardie. I am extra proud of this part, nobody but me will ever see it but it looks so pretty! I also stabilized the zipper area with some fusible interfacing cut into long strips.

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When I like a pattern I often make it more than once, especially if I’m really happy with the fit. I’ve made two subsequent Annas since this one – a maxi length version in black silk twill, and another knee length version in a navy quilting cotton that I picked up at B&J Fabrics in New York. It’s a real testament to the pattern that this dress works so well in so many fabrics.

Hopefully I’ll be back soon with a report on the dress that I made last week, another Leini from Named!

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