Anna Dress 1

Ah, hello there. Yes I know – it’s been a long time since I’ve been here. In fact since my blog was hacked in February with all the headache of getting it clean and back up online I’ve not had any inclination to even look at my little blog. But today I took a little peak, and you know what…. I felt excited to share something again.

Some of you who follow me on Instagram will have seen some sneaky pics of this one as I shared my completed toile of the Anna dress quite a while back. Something about that post seemed to capture peoples imagination and I got loads more interest than notmal! Maybe it was the white cotton that gave it a slightly bridal look (!)….. or maybe as a blank canvas, it caught peoples imagination of what it could be. Any which way it will be interesting to see if the finished garment generates as much interest.

In all honesty though – I don’t care! I had a fab day wearing it at my brothers wedding and I loved flouncing around in it. Plus my husband told me it’s his favourite of all the things I have made. Yay!

The dress is of course the By Hand London ‘Anna Dress’, which has been made and blogged so many times that I’m not hoping to add much to what is already a very comprehensively reviewed pattern. I’ve long had my eye on this dress and so it was a top choice when I started thinking of my brother’s wedding. But regardless of what pattern I landed on I knew that first I wanted to find my fabric. I so often struggle to find fabric that exactly matches the picture in my head (that doesn’t totally blow my minuscule budget!) so I really wanted to fall in love with a fabric and then find a pattern to match.

Since getting into sewing over 2 years ago I’ve really wanted to visit the famous Goldhawk Road in London and sample it’s delights. I decided to treat my mum to a London trip for her birthday (you see what I did there…!) and we had the best day wandering around the V&A, eating yummy food and of course pouring over fabrics in numerous shops on Goldhawk Road. After much fabric stroking and deliberation I found and bought four metres of this glorious fabric in Classic Textiles for £26! I mean honestly – what a bargain! It’s a stretch cotton with a lovely texture and weight. It would be the perfect companion to the Anna Dress and I already knew I wanted to swap the skirt for a 50s style circle skirt complete with petticoat. There are few times in my life where I can get away with something like this and a big family wedding was definitely one of them!

A quick run down of the details…

Size: UK 14 /US 10

Alterations: The toile showed excess fabric round my lower back. To correct this I enlarged each back dart by 2cm which worked a treat. I then measured the finished bodice along the seam allowance and used this tutorial to draft a half circle skirt. Job done. Oh and I added pockets – of course.

Additions: I quickly decided that in the interests of time (and sanity…) I would buy a petticoat rather than attempt to make one. I go this one from eBay – cheap and cheerful and did exactly what I needed. Additionally I decided to sew horsehair braid to the hem of the skirt. This is a great way to hem a circle skirt but also added some body for the times I wouldn’t wear the petticoat. I finished the hem by hand and I love the crisp finish it has.

An almost pointless photo showing see-through horsehair braid and a white hand stitched hem…

I kept the dress unlined as per the pattern. I wanted the gentle folds and pleats in the bodice to drape and not be too stiff. Although I was sooooo careful when stitching the neckline I did stretch it out slightly on the left side. Such a bummer and I am such a perfectionist! A pep talk from mother and husband soon got me thinking rationally again. No biggie. It all came together so quickly, the fabric was a delight to work with and pressed beautifully. I nailed my invisible zip. First attempt (insert smug face), which was good as I was pushed for time in the lead up to the big day.

The day itself was beautiful. A real celebration and such a joy to see my brother and his new wife embarking on this new adventure together. I absolutely loved wearing my dress. the style is so feminine and flattering that I strutted around all day super proud of myself. It was such a simple make, but I was really pleased at getting the fit spot on – and of course nothing beats being able to respond to a compliment with – ‘thanks…I made it!’

I’ll leave with some pics of the day!

The happy couple 🙂 (Photo credit: Rebekah Grace Photography)

The obligatory family photo. My youngest was in protest mode at this point. No more cheese…. (Photo credit: Vanessa Ford)


Photo credit: Rebekah Grace Photography

This one makes me laugh… I really meant what I was singing clearly! (Photo credit: Rebekah Grace Photography)

You can’t see it here very clearly but I also made my daughter’s dress from a gorgeous floral scuba. (Photo credit: Vanessa Ford)



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