Dear readers, I have a confession – Until recently I didn’t own an Anna dress. It might be the most blogged about, pattern hacked dress out there, but it passed me by and my wardrobe has only just seen its first Anna dress.
I was inspired to make an Anna after I read Sheona’s blog post about her first Anna dress, so when I saw a paper pattern of the By Hand London dress I snapped it up quick. I had it in my mind that it would be a pattern that would need reams and reams of fabric (I don’t know why I thought this, it only needs 2.5m), so I was holding out until I found a cheap fabric for my first Anna. I found this fabric in Ikea for £3/m and as it only needs 2.5m for variation 3, it cost me £7.50 – what a bargain. I love it when you find a great fabric in Ikea – and as a bonus you get to play at being a haberdasher by cutting it yourself!
I chose this fabric partly because I thought it would allow me to practice my pattern matching skills.On closer inspection the pattern can’t be pattern matched, the “leaf” pattern gets elongated across the width, so out the window went pattern matching (which may be a blessing in disguise as the Anna skirt has lots of panels, and that would have been so time consuming to match all those seams!). I am however please with my pattern placement, particularly on the centre front top. The narrowest “leaves” are centred and I think draw the eye to the waist, and it gives a nice optical illusion that my waist is tiny.
The same happens again on the skirt front, but a bit too low down, although I couldn’t be too choosy with the amount of fabric I had. The back of the dress on the other hand is a bit wayward with the pattern, but I only spotted this as I was taking blog photos, and if I can’t see it, it won’t bother me in the slightest.
I REALLY like the Anna pattern. I know I wont be the first, or last, to say this but the dress bodice is so so well drafted, making it in a UK size 16 it fits perfectly. The only adjustment I have made is to shorten the skirt by about 3 inches. I also like the kimono sleeve detail, which means no fiddly sleeve insertions. An added bonus with the pattern is that the sleeves are hemmed in a super easy way. You sew up the bodice, but only join front and back bodice pieces at the shoulder seams. You then fold and press your sleeves over to form a hem and sew this before joining the bodice together at the side seams. This gives a super quick and easy finish. When I originally looked at the pattern piece I couldn’t work out why they were such an odd shape, but it all made perfect sense once I had read the instructions.
The dress skirt has a lot of panels (7 in total), but I really like this, and its nice to make a dress that doesn’t have a fitted skirt, but also doesn’t rely on gathering. This dress meant I could spend lots of time overlocking all my seams. I love overlocking everything at the mo, and this dress certainly meant I could use my overlocker to my hearts content.
I am sure that this will be the first on many Anna dresses, and I’m really looking forward to trying a bit of pattern hacking, and adding a full circle skirt to a future Anna.