Anna Blue – a By Hand London dress. My Second Anna

OK here we have the midi version of Anna – not spectacular in the way Anna Rose is – but a lovely dress (for those of you scared by maxis!)

Anna Blue - a By Hand London dress. The midi version with the high neckline

Anna Blue – a By Hand London dress. The midi version with the high neckline

This is a lovely dress – it’s the sort of dress you could wear any old day. In a plain fabric you could wear it to work (now there’s a thought… *restrains herself from starting the car and going to the fabric store asap* focus Lizzy – keep typing…).

This is a printed linen/rayon blend from Lincraft (available online!). I love linen and the very nature of this fabric meant that it was the easiest Anna to sew, I knocked it together in a few hours – and it’s still neatly finished! The darts and seams meet perfectly, the facing sits inside neatly, it’s a classic linen dream. And being a print, the creases don’t show too badly – and I think the rayon blend means it does crease that badly anyway. Linen is really lovely stuff, if you haven’t tried sewing with it – you really should (Note to self: stop being so bossy).

Anna Blue a By Hand London Dress

Anna Blue – at the rock pools

I overlocked the seams as the linen was a little bulky for French seams and the overlocked seams press flat beautifully in linen. I turned up the hem with bias binding. I handstitched the armhole and skirt hems. All in all, a lovely make. I’m sure I will wear this quite a bit in summer.

I think I want to try that slash neckline in linen… how many Annas can I make before it becomes ridiculous? You are right – it’s just not possible to make too many.

The linen sits very differently to the rayon of Anna Rose. the kimono sleeves don’t drape, they jut out more in a more structural way – which totally transforms the dress and many (non-stitchers) might struggle to accept this is from the same dress pattern. The neckline is high… I’m wondering whether to lower it ever so slightly. Not too much as I think it’s a nice design feature. In a plain colour it would look great with a chunky statement necklace…

The pleats also behave differently in linen, again a much more structural design element, than the soft pleats of rayon Anna Rose.

Anna Blue bodice details

Anna Blue – in linen. The waist pleats are really lovely in linen.

Yes, it’s not the stellar show-stopping dress that Anna Rose is – but it’s not nice to compare sisters like that. It’s a bit like saying “She’s pretty but you know, don’t worry, you are much smarter“. For either sister, it’s a slap in the face. It’s just different dresses for different days.

Anna Blue dress

Anna Blue – a beautiful summer dress.

Really love this little dress. If Colette Peony appeals to you but the fitting issues have either put you off or beaten you – this is a great option. Fitted waist, flared skirt, boat neckline.

Anna Blue - side view

Anna Blue – side view

I squeezed this dress out of less than 2m, I think it was about 1.8m or so. I do make the smallest size so I might be able to fit more across the width of the fabric.

Hmmmm, I think I need to remeasure the hem. Looks a little droopy at the back.

I added neck darts to the back pieces, about 2 inches in from the zipper and 3 inches deep. I also added these to the facing pieces.

ENOUGH… go buy this pattern.

Or if you have it. GO SEW IT.

And if you are still not convinced I’ll be back tomorrow with Anna 3… and she’s completely different again (some of you are very hard to impress! LOL)

Pattern: By Hand London Anna Dress. (Aussies can get it from Sew Squirrel)
Fabric: Linen from Lincraft (also from my stash!) you can buy this one online!

Also see: Anna Rose dress – my first Anna

Anna Blue by the seaside

Anna Blue by the seaside

Anna Rose – a dress from By Hand London. My first Anna…

“Hello Anna. I know we’ve only known each other for 48 hours but can we be BFFs?”

Anna 'roses' dress from By Hand London

My Anna ‘Rose’ dress from By Hand London. My new BFF.

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!.

Anna By Hand London

I call this dress my Anna Rose. She’s my pretty girly Anna.

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).

Anna Rose - a girly girly dress

Anna Rose – a girly girly dress

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*

Anna Rose - whoops there are my legs!! No so ladylike.

Anna Rose – whoops there are my legs!! No so ladylike – don’t tell Mum.

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?

Can you believe this is winter

Can you believe this is winter – today was glorious, even the water was lovely! Yes, I do live in paradise (some days)

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.

Anne Rose

Anna Rose – the back

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.

Anna Roses Dress

A little bit of peek-a-boo – note the facing has rolled out slightly… I just figure I’ll distract people with my legs. LOL.

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’

Anna Rose - I know, there is a stupid amount of images in this post. Sorry - can't help myself *blush*

Anna Rose – I know, there is a stupid amount of images in this post. Sorry – can’t help myself *blush*

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.


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.

Anna Rose - sand dunes

Anna Rose – when Anna the maxi becomes Anna the mini – running down a sand dune!

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!