A Tropical Anna

There are a few patterns which it seems everyone who sews has sewn (think the Moneta; Cleo; Ultimate trousers) By Hand London’s Anna dress certainly falls into this category. People seem to love the bodice, but hack the skirt, and who can blame them there are a lot of seams in the original panel skirt. I made an Anna this time last year with some cheap Ikea fabric and really loved it. So when Dragonfly fabrics had a sale on I picked up a couple of metres of this polyester tropical leaf print fabric specifically with an Anna in mind.

The fabric was really slippery and a bit of a nightmare to cut out. It’s also really synthetic feeling (it’s polyester – what was I expecting?) and also seems to have loads of static.

I decided to keep with the original Anna skirt, but use my pattern pieces from my hacked Anna top, where I tried to remove the excess fabric above my chest in a sort of hollow chest adjustment. I then decided that instead of using a facing to finish the arm holes and neckline I would line it in a white poly cotton. Partly to ensure that a bra wouldn’t show through and partly to remove the static on my skin bring so irritating. I decided to only line the bodice, but in hindsight I should have lined the skirt as well, but you live and learn.

Because the pattern instructions are written without lining the bodice in mind I had to wing it a bit, and use my pre-existing knowledge about how to line a bodice. It was also going swimmingly well, until I went to sew up the side seams and realised I had not done something right. But being more of a “I want it finished” than “I want it down right” kind of sewer, I bodged it, and the inside has 4 (front and back, and lining front and back) layers all sewn together and a visible seam. After all if I hadn’t told you, you wouldn’t have known, and no one sees the inside anyway.

I overlocked all my edges of each piece before I sewed them together, which really helped with the stability of the fabric, but did mean there was a lot of head scratching about which skirt piece was which, as I hadn’t labelled them, and the pattern pieces are very similar. Another rookie error.

As you can see from the photos I used an invisible zip in the centre back. I’m well aware it doesn’t look very invisible, but it looks far more discrete in real life (obviously I cant actually see it done up and on me but I am told it does).

Despite this dress making me feel like a proper beginner, and making some silly mistakes, I do quite like it. I am just struggling to find anywhere where I can wear this dress to. The fabric makes it a bit too formal for every day or workwear, but I haven’t had much reason for an occasion dress recently.

I think I need to make another Anna quickly just to get over the demons of this sew!



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