“Hello Anna. I know we’ve only known each other for 48 hours but can we be BFFs?”
Hello Anna from By Hand London. Without a doubt this is my favourite dress pattern EVER. I made the first and then made two more in 24 hours. Yup, obsessed. It’s almost worthy of a tattoo – however I’m not into ink on me so I’m just going to make more dresses – hey, it still involves needles…
Anna is seriously easy to make – even with the French seams. She’s a sewing push over (I mean that in the nicest way). It’s been popping up on blogs – Handmade by Jane, the Virtual Princess & the Pea, My Oh Sew Vintage Life and Kim-ing. All the makes I’ve seen have been the midi length – I couldn’t help myself – I went all the way on my first date with Anna – maxi length!.
The front bodice features pleats instead of darts. This may be the cause of my new love affair. I love how it fits at the waist and the pleats create a soft ‘bewb’ ledge. The kimono sleeves (or ‘the sleeves you have when you are not having sleeves’) gives dainty coverage without requiring you to actually ‘set in’ sleeves (yes, major sewing win).
In short, Anna is a sexy girly dress – without being tight, short or overtly sexy. It’s subtle (OK except for when my legs are hanging out everywhere – who are you my mother?). It’s magic. I think it’s pretty much perfect *sigh* it’s love. *blush*
I was going to blog all three at once. Then I realised I had something to say about each of my Annas and it would turn into a marathon wordy post – and I would have to cut back on the pictures. We all love a pretty dress… am I right?
This is actually my favourite version of Anna. I’ll be interested to see which you prefer after my third Anna post. Anna Rose is not perfect construction-wise but I feel swoon-worthy and girly as hell. I haven’t made a maxi dress and this pattern has definitely re-ignited my love of them. I used to be a maxi-wearing tragic – loved them and basically hid my legs in them for years.
I didn’t make a muslin… I basically never do… yes, I’m wild and crazy like that. I just assume everything is drafted for me because 1) I’m an unrealistic optimist at heart & 2) I’m a fairly bog standard build (unless I ‘m sewing Colette).
It fits perfectly except it’s a little big across my shoulders. I always considered this my SUB problem (scrawny upper back). However after Taracat’s post about her Cambilex dress (go check it out – super cool pattern mash-up) – I think I have a SS problem (scrawny shoulder). In the meantime I’ve simply popped in some back neck darts which works perfectly. I’m going to figure out how to modify the back pattern piece and rotate this fullness to the back waist dart. Watch this space.
I had this rayon fabric in my stash – I got it to make a shirtdress then realised it would be too soft for a structured shirtdress. So it sat and sat and sat in my stash. I even considered giving it away and I didn’t really like it. THANK GOODNESS I DIDN’T. Note to self: there is nothing wrong with stashing – nothing.
I adore this, I love the romantic roses, the soft colours and. I was worried about wearing that creamy colour near my face so I opted for the slash neck. Since the neckline was racy, I decided to pair it with the thigh slit. I love the old-fashioned feel of the fabric with the sexy neckline and thigh slit. It’s demure but unexpectedly sexy at the same time.
I machine stitched the thigh slit and the armhole hems. I wish I hadn’t and I’m going to go back and hand stitch these parts and unpick the machine stitching. If you are working with rayon, it’s really worth hand stitching these things. It keeps the dress line soft and flowing. I should have known better the same thing happened with my Vogue 1247 top (I’m a slow learner *shrugs*).
The neckline facing does tend to roll out a little. I did top stitch it but I think the fabric is just too soft to stay in place. I’m just relying on my legs to distract people from my head area. I tried something else with Anna 3 neckline.
Here’s a tip: cut every single notch on those skirt panels!!!! The skirt has seven pieces. It’s simple to put together but the key is THE NOTCHES. Cut those babies out, it makes figuring out which panel goes where very simple. Without them, you will be CRYING. Crying and howling ‘why didn’t I listen to Lizzy??‘ (I would pay cold hard cash to hear my kids say that some days…).
If you have a directional print you will need much much more fabric. The skirt panels lie ‘this way and that way’ on the fabric. Just sayin’!
French seam it – especially with the thigh slit. In a soft fabric the skirt blows around and you don’t want people lookin’ at your sloppy seam finishes – no amount of leg will make up for fraying fabric or overlocked seams – it’s just not pretty.. Just sayin’
The gorgeous girls from By Hand London sent me this pattern – thank you! Clearly I more than like this pattern – and not just because it was gifted to me – it is truly awesome. I am OFFICIALLY BESOTTED. It’s not another pretty dress. It’s a beautiful versatile dress – my second and third are completely different again.
Enough. GO BUY THIS PATTERN.
And if you already have it – GO SEW IT. NOW.
And if you are still not convinced – I’ll be back tomorrow with Anna 2…
Pattern: Anna from By Hand London (Aussies can get it from Sew Squirrel)
Fabric: Rayon from Spotlight.
And a shout-out to the adorable Roisin of Dolly Clackett. She’s made an amazing dress from some fabric I gifted her. I’m so proud of her – I think we should make her a honorory Australian. Plus it’s a mash-up of Elisalex! Her blog post cheered me up immensely this week 🙂 it’s amazing how kindness to others can light up your own life. MWAH. I am blessed to have so many amazing people in my life.
Someone on Pattern Review wanted to see the line drawings – here they are!
This is so beautiful! I’ve never found a maxi style that I love, but yours looks great 🙂
The fabric is so perfect for the style, too. You’re onto a winner!
I think this works as a maxi because it doesn’t have a definite visual waist, it comes in at the waist but flares out over the bust and hips. It’s design genius.
super sexy! can’t believe you used to hide your lovely legs in maxi dresses all the time??!!!
i love a floral, so this is a win for me. 🙂
by the way, i always do a narrow shoulder adjustment and find this tutorial works really well for me: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7370831@N07/sets/72157624051652362/with/4603007229/
it’s ann from the great british sewing bee’s tute. i use the “option 10” photo, as i don’t have a narrow back, per se, just narrow shoulders.
We must be sisters separated at birth – thanks for the link!!!
Yes, I’ve never been comfortable in figure revealing clothes, I’ve never felt like a ‘sexy girl’. Too short, thin etc but sewing is helping me see a different way of looking at myself – it’s a good thing.
i know exactly what you mean. i am a tomboy b/c skirts & dresses make me feel uncomfortable. also, i sit like a man. heh. i hope that link helps. 🙂
My mum told me once I walk like a man. I don’t really ‘walk’ I tend to ‘stride’ – big fast steps. I might be short but I move fast!
LOL! we are so kindred: i have had exactly the same comments about my walk. ha!
That’s hilarious! I also drink single malt whiskey straight which people tell is a little ‘too tough’ for a girl!
awww Lizzy, I fucking love you. And this dress! I’m actually on a countdown til I can buy this pattern on payday. It’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous. As are you – DAT LEG, swoon!
I fucking love you too xox. I’m cruising the fabric aisles for your next fabric…
It’s an awesome pattern… and a quick sew! What more could a girl want?!
Absolutely gorgeous, as per usual! Look forwards to tomorrow =]
thank you! I feel like a tease putting them out over three days!
Bee-oot-i-ful Lizzy! God it looks gorgeous as a maxi dress, how can a pattern possibly keep on giving like this?! Can’t wait to see your other two versions, if I’d had time I’d have made three as well! You look ace. x
Oh it’s a fabulous pattern isn’t it! I adore your version, the colour is perfection and I’m tempted to do a similar one!
This is stunning! I love maxi dress but being such a shortie I have always shied away from them. Looking forward to seeing your other versions.
I’m only 5 foot 4 – I think the secret is to go for a block colour (or a large print) and I think the thigh slit lengthens the leg too (oh and don’t stand next to tall people).
Wow!!! This dress is stunning.I absolutely love the fabric and your photo shoot is amazing. I think you have just convinced a lot of people to go and buy this pattern…including me.
Thank you so much – my husband has been very patient in taking photos of three dresses all day!
I can’t express how much I love this dress and pattern. So simple yet so striking. It’s truly fabulous.
Looks lovely! Those BHL girls have come up with some lovely designs. Yours looks perfect with your background. Fab!
I totally agree. Their designs are lovely. They don’t try to be tricky they just focus on great design and drafting. Fabulous stuff
Wow, I can’t wait to see dresses 2 and 3, if Anna Rose is anything to go by. What a beautiful dress, it looks wonderful on you, and you’ve got gorgeous legs (which I’m sure your mum thinks too). I’ve never worn maxi dresses but this one is so beautiful I’m sorely tempted.
I love maxi dresses, they really transform how you feel. I’m not very tall but I think how the dress doesn’t have an obvious waist is very clever, it flares over your hips and bust – I’d say – GO FOR IT!
Very you and VERY flattering. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your rave review and looking at the gorgeous pictures 🙂
thank you – my husband took some fabulous pictures today – it was hard to pick the best ones!!
I absolutely LOVE this! In fact I love it so much that I have just ordered the pattern, even though I was going to wait until I get paid. What the hell, the kids can eat beans on toast until payday but I need this pattern.
What a wonderful dress. I am off to check out the pattern!
Yes! It’s a great pattern!
What a winner, Lizzy! This style suits you so well and I look forward to seeing the next two, but I doubt I can like any dress more than this one 🙂
Thank you – this one is my favourite, I feel like a million dollars – hard to beat that!
Hey there Sexy Lady!!! Wowsers, what a knockout dress!! The drape, the way it flows and billows in the breeze, the thigh split….it’s gorgeous! And I’ve just gone and bought a pattern!! Yeh! I saw Handmade Jane’s the other day and was equally blown away by the simplicity and impact of this dress. For a beginner it looks like a good start, though I’ll probably start with the mid length version. Thank you for sharing and your tips….and can’t wait to see no.s’ 2 & 3!! Kate x
Oh I’m so glad you have purchased the pattern. If you are a newbie stitcher it’s a good one! Just sewing in the zip might be a bit tricky but there are loads of good online tutorials for that – including the one on Colette Patterns’ blog!
Thank you Lizzy, I’ve had a browse though Coletterie and there’s some great tutorials there to help with newbies I agree!! X
I wanted to second Lizzy’s recommendation on the Colette zipper tutorial. I put in my first ever invisible zip (on BHL’s Charlotte skirt) using it and it’s excellent.
Thank you!! I’ll make sure Iook at this! :))
Sure we can be friends… Dam you’re talking about the pattern… Awesome dress Lizzy. You definitely did the pattern and the fabric proud. Can’t wait to see version 2 and 3. I’ve been sewing kids shorts today. Totally off track, but none-the-less fun!
LOL we can definitely be friends too! I’m hoping to meet you in September – I’m coming down for Frocktails!
That is awesome news! See you in Sept! A x
Definitely. Look forward to it BFF
I really wasn’t convinced on this pattern (well, liked it, but not enough to buy) but oh my gosh, you have sold me! That is just gorgeous, it looks amazing! I can’t wait to see your next two versions.
Thank you! Once I got the waist pleats thing I was sold, it’s a simple design feature that makes the world of difference.
I love your Anna! That’s a very informative review (and very entertaining!) I’m so glad you mentioned the possibility of seams showing on the split version; I will make sure I French-seam it.
Thanks for mentioning my Anna, and for your comment on my blog.
I think I must now go and make the full-length version that I wanted in the first place!
Oh I love all your makes!
I was rather giddy with Anna love when I wrote that review 🙂 oh the joy of happy sewing projects!
Oh this is gorgeous! Beautiful pattern, beautiful fabric, beautiful match and beautiful model. Mmmmm!
You got that fabric at Spotlight? Why didn’t I find it too??? How could I have missed it? *very very sad*
Ooohhhh weeeeeee!! Lovely! Just come back from my hols and so good to see you’ve been busy! Lovely dress and another to add to my must have list! x
Make sure you put must have in all caps like this…
ANNA DRESS – MUST HAVE….
Oh wow! This dress is sooo beautiful!! I can see why you love it so much! I can’t wait to see your other versions, as this one is simply stunning! You look so lovely:) P.S., I appreciate your statement, “there is nothing wrong with stashing – nothing.” haha, I tell myself this often (trying not to get *too* carried away with my fabric purchases), it’s nice to hear it from someone else!;)
Think of it more like a fabric library…
That’s a real winner, Lizzy! Gorgeous fabric and gorgeous on you!
Thank you – it feels pretty great I’ve gotta admit!
Gorgeous dress, I’m sure your mum won’t mind you showing legs like those. I would like to make this myself, ( without the thigh slit as befit’s someone of my age).
I think the maxi is fabulous with or without the thigh split!
This dress is gorgeous (I want one just like it)!! I’m hoping to finish up the Victoria Blazer this weekend (that may be wishful thinking) and Anna is coming up in the queue. The rose fabric is a perfect choice. I can’t wait to see your other two versions!
Oh my, I want this dress now! And the beach to go with it. I don’t think the By Hand girls have given this dress enough justice on their promo: I hadn’t given it a second glance till I saw it on you!
Well done; I’m not surprised you’re on a bit of a high!
Oh thank you so much, I think this is the best maxi pattern I’ve seen.
Sew it up – not sure when you put it on that you are going to get the beach to materialize though!
OH MY! I love this dress, and I love this dress on you. And I love the print. I think this is the intersection of style, pattern, and fabric made in heaven. Lizzy, you look smashing!
Nawwwwww – thanks ! x I’m pretty thrilled with it. It’s my favourite make yet!
What a beautiful dress! I’m really looking forward to seeing the next two installments 😀
I might have to get this pattern … maybe it’ll help me get over Laurel?
Yes definitely, I’m sure Laurel will forgive you for a flirtation with Anna 😉
gorgeous! the dress looks amazing on you–can’t wait to see the other versions as well!
You should make this – would really suit you!
Holy smoke!! Your dress is GORGEOUS!! I’m holding out on buying this pattern because there are so many other things I want to make, but it is on the shopping list. I love maxi dresses; being small, I think they make me feel taller (have I just lost the plot?!), so I’ve loved seeing your maxi version. I shall look forward to seeing your other two (and hope they’re maxis!). Also, I am very jealous of you being able to go onto the beach in only a light dress in the middle of winter. If anybody tried that where I live, they’d freeze to death. 😉
I’m only 5 foot 4 and maxis often make me feel taller too. In the right fabric then can really visually lengthen you. This is my favourite style of maxi I’ve ever had, love those pleats, slit & kimono sleeves!
Lizzy, the way you shot this and the fabric you used make this SO damn dreamy!! Very very glad you liked the pattern so much. Thank you for the wonderful write up! Cannot wait to see the other two creations. x PS I totally have the same SUB problem as you, am forever altering stuff to stop it from dropping off my shoulders.
It’s funny I spent quite a while looking for fabric and it turned out to be waiting in my stash all along.
I just adore this pattern – congratulations – this baby is perfection.
I like the idea of a maxi-dress…sometimes, but then I think about how I’m only 5’2″ and I’m not very good at wearing dresses, and I have a little boy to chase after, and so on…so I never do it. This dress however, is making me rethink all that. Your version looks fantastic, love, love, LOVE the thigh slit, something about them just makes you feel incredibly sexy without being crazy revealing. Can’t wait to see the next two!
I’m just 5’4″ so not much taller but people often think I’m taller because I’m good at choosing things that visually lengthen me.
I should have posted the shots of me running down the beach with my kids – the dress coped beautifully!
Oh. My. God.
You’ve left me speechless. Anna Rose is beautiful.
Can’t ask for more than that!
You look beautiful and I agree with pretty much everything you say about this dress and its modesty v sexiness. Re the upper back: I had exactly the same issue. All I did was grade 1.5 inches out of each bodice upper back at the zip, grading it out to the normal 15mm seam allowance at the waist. (Sorry, mixing measuring systems!) Can’t wait to see your other versions.
This is useful to know! Thank you as I have a generally narrow upper back….
I have this pattern and am even more determined to get sewing sooooon, but actually seeing yours, and Karen’s, feel it has now got to be even sooner! It’s adorable.
Yes – this needs to be Scruffy Badgered!
Oh I just saw yours and you look amazing!!! Best dress ever right?
It’s definitely worth fiddling with the back to get the fit right. The dress just magically transforms us all into complete babes when we put it on!
Good thing you held on to that fabric… it is part of what made this dress look so fantastic! And I like all the pictures- the dress deserved to be the spotlight, and now I am chomping at the bit to see #2 and #3. I am very interested in those bodice pleats. The create such a neat look… and I LOVE maxis… Still can’t believe you are walking barefoot on the beach in 22 degree weather! I am the biggest weather wimp! I like it “sunny and 75.” 🙂 See you tomorrow! (with dress #2!) ~Laurie
Thanks Laurie! If there had been a breeze it would have been too cold but the sun was warm, everyone was in tshirts and bare feet not just me 🙂
Beautiful! Love the pleats instead of darts. Very flattering!
Thanks LJ xx
Soooo beautiful. You, the fabric, the dress, you in it, the photos. Totally swoonworthy. I wasn’t sold instantly on the Anna but you and Karen have done the best sales pitch ever! x
Excellent, I would be hopeless at selling cars – but dresses I excel at!
wow wow wow! this is gorgeous! Now I do want the long version! I finished another short version. I had enough fabric but as you said with directional print I would have needed a LOT more.
I have the same back issue and also did a neck dart in my first version.
The second and third I tried to make the shoulder part a bit tighter but not sure how well it worked. Look forward to your solutions! 🙂
A maxi Anna is a must! With your height you will look amazing!!
Well you are well-smitten! This is lovely and so airy. Sometimes maxi dresses can seem so heavy and overwhelming- this is just right!
Thanks Anne! Anna 3 was inspired by you – watch this space!
THank you sooo much, Lizzy for the line drawings! Mystery solved!!!
No worries! They don’t do the dress justice though. My second Anna has some shots which show the pleats better.
The Anna dresses that have popped up recently have just been knock out. Can’t wait to see your others!
It’s an amazing pattern, it’s just that little bit different and completely amazing!
Absolutely gorgeous. The dress and you. That fabric is simply stunning, and the dress is sexy without being trashy or vulgar. Perfect.
Thank you so much – I was blessed with perfect weather yesterday when w photographed it. It’s kismet all round!
Oh wow! This dress is beautiful and suits you. Sexy without being in yer face. Love it. Makes me wanna give dressmaking another whirl.
This is a great one to try, so very simple to put together and very flattering.
Beautiful dress! I am so looking forward to making this one eventually.
Make it sooner rather than later – it’s a dream sewing project, looks great & easy to make!
I’d love to! My main restriction is that in about 6 weeks I’ll be going from maternity wear to nursing wear, and it’s not very practical for either 🙂 Hoping to make one by next spring or summer (northern hemisphere spring, that is!).
Yes, it’s nice to have a lovely sewing project to look forward to!
Oh Girl, You make me want to make this right now, even if I am a short legs :))
Beautiful dress and gorgeous photoshoot! Congrats!
Thank you – I’m not tall either by the way just 5’4″!
Oh my Lizzy! I knew when I saw the fabric on Twitter I would love this, but I didn’t know quite how much! This is such a romantic and feminine dress, perfect for long beach walks ;o) I love it so much and can’t wait to see your next two Annas!
I’ve had this fabric for ages and so nearly gave it away so many times. So glad I kept it – just goes to show there is a perfect match out there for every fabric. I need more Annas like this – it’s so wearable!
Gorgeous dress and you are even giving me hope for a maxi dress this summer. Thank you for posting the line drawings.
Every summer deserves a maxi!
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So so gorgeous! I’ve almost finished my first one, I love it already and have plans for at least two more like you! I’ve gone maxi but didn’t go for the thigh high split, yours looks great though so am tempted for another one. Is your split the length marked on the pattern? I think I could cope with yor length!
Yes, I did put the slit top where it is marked on the pattern. I think it’s fairly modest and I wasn’t too concerned when the breeze blew my skirt about. Everything was covered! I’m just writing up the post for my third Anna. I did put the slit slightly higher on that one.
This is smashing, Lizzy! Check you and your sassy skirt split out!
Yep, there is a whole lotta sass going on – wait til you see Number 3!!
Wow, this is absolutely stunning. I love this neckline and the pleats and also love the maxi-length with slit. Although I can see how it wouldn’t be as practical for certain events. But everything about this dress fits so well, the fabric really makes it sing!
I think this is my favourite, it’s gracious, pretty & a little sexy. I’d wear it most places… though probably not to work!
That’s what I was thinking, maybe not work appropriate. But, just thought of something. You could wear it with lightweight cigarette style trousers underneath. It would almost look like a long jacket then.
Then I could just have a wardrobe of Annas! And if I make it in knit it might work as a nightgown!
Ummm ya. That wouldn’t be weird at all. 🙂 …..Lol.
Oh I’m never weird – just slightly crazy!
Oh, we’d make a good pair then (checks and balances) as I’m weird often. But rarely crazy.
Yin & yang.
oh and the third Anna has just been released. She’s prowling the blogosphere… you are either going to love or loathe her. She’s no shrinking violet.
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Oh my gosh I love them all! Can’t wait till I can buy it onlineeeeeee.. gahhh!
You are going to love it! I’m worried I can’t stop sewing it!!
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This is so pretty!! I was not into this pattern at all when I first saw it, but after seeing several versions and now your THREE (all great but this one is my fav) it is definitely going on my list! Beautiful.
It’s pure gold this pattern, I loooovvve sewing it – clearly!!
Oooo… Sexy Anna dress!
She’s sweetly sexy!
All your Anna’ s are just fabulous! I can’t decide which I like the best! They are all so lovely!
I can’t either, they all make me feel different when I wear them.
it’s so beautiful Lizzy! I’m totally planning the long one with the split too.
Yes! You will look fabulous!
You’ve convinced me. I must have this pattern. So gorgeous.
I love this one, I feel so feminine….
Entirely lovely and very flattering on you! Maxi dresses aren’t really for me (I’m too much of a tomboy) but I’m really loving the way this floats about. Fabulous pictures at the beach never hurt, either!
LOL I am very eclectic with my wardrobe choices, I range from very girly to grungy to jeans & tshirts. Clothes are fun – I love choosing something based on my mood. Never let yourself be confined – embrace the maxi girl!
Funny you say that… I was just thinking on the weekend about trying just such a thing when summer rolls around. But I’m thinking a pleated maxi skirt in chiffon… mmmm.
Oh that would be completely scrumptious!
I can definitely see how much this dress would make you want to swoon around the beach. It’s a great fit and looks stunning. It’s now on my list!
It’s such a rewarding make, simple yet striking, can’t ask for more than that 😉
Love it! The thigh slits are so awesome…perfect for showing off on breezy beachy days! The rayon looks so cozy, too!
The rayon is beautiful to wear – although this one is quite delicate and doesn’t withstand being traumatised by a seam ripper.
This is FABULOUS! I love love love love LOVE it! Looks so super gorgeous on you!!!!!
I do love Anna Rose, she’s such a pretty girly dress. 🙂
Well damn! I have my pattern and I was planning on a mini version, but your gorgeous floaty maxi version is making me all twitchy with jealousy now. I don’t even know if a thigh-high maxi dress will fit with my lifestyle BUT I’M WILLING TO TRY.
Girl you just slap on some attitude and you totally can – the thigh slit turns it into the ‘mini when you are wearing a maxi’ I’d totally wear these anywhere – except work of course – might raise too many eyebrows!
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When I first saw the Anna dress it was love at first sight and it was the black maxi version I fell in love with. It’s just as you say – a stunning combination of demure & sexy; right up my alley 🙂 Your version is gorgeous – I’m jealous you get to strut around in three versions of this dress while I hop back and forth, anxiously awaiting my copy of the pattern ^_^
I’m hopping back & forth wanting more fabric for more Annas. I’m obsessed!!
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Such a romantic dress!
Thank you, I do adore this one.
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Everything’s beautiful! The dress, the scenery and the photography. Thanks for posting the line drawings, I was planning to buy this pattern but wasn’t sure about the difference between the variations. I’ll be ordering the pattern tonight
Thank you, it’s such a joy to make this dress. It’s a great pattern – enjoy
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Your Anna dress is so beautiful! I need to try this pattern!!!!
And after seeing all your Saltsprings I’m making one of those!. Watch this space…
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Beautiful fotos !
Lovely dress !
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So elegant and sexy!
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Looks lovely, love the fabric too.
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