After my first By Hand London Anna dress, I was eager to make another and to use up some fabulous Amy Butler fabric that I got at a swap earlier in the year (thanks to Carys for grabbing it for me!). I also thought this would make a good first entry for the Sewcialists’ Green December!
I only had 2m of this fabric, so I wasn’t able to make the Anna quite as designed. I therefore narrowed the facings rather a lot, and made a gathered skirt rather than the intended panelled skirt. This also had the added benefit of not needing to worry about pattern matching along the skirt seam lines. For the gathered skirt, I cut two rectangles of fabric – one on the fold for the front skirt, and then two separate for the back. I used the whole width of the fabric and the length was about 65cm.
My overlocker was threaded up with red at the time, and initially I couldn’t be bothered to change it, so I used the turned-and-stitched seam finish for nearly all of my seams, except the gathered skirt waist seam which in the end I overlocked with white thread as I needed white for my next project anyway. I must say in general I much, much prefer to use my overlocker because it’s neat, tidy, professional-looking and EASY!
I really loved the finished dress and I’ve worn it loads. It really feels like a ‘me’ dress. I love the green colour, it’s a good contrast to my red hair and brings out the green in my eyes. Plus, it’s really comfy, so yay! I haven’t got many photos because as soon as I made it, it didn’t hang around on Delilah, I started wearing it straight away! In fact its first outing was to a Gin Parlour in Manchester, with two of my best friends from home. One of them was in this picture, but I didn’t think she would appreciate me posting her on the internet
PS. I mentioned that my co-blogger Julia had bought this pattern and I’ve seen a photo of one of her versions and seen the other one in real life…and let me tell you they are both BEAUTIFUL!
A while back, I had a bit of a sewing disaster. I made Simplicity 1610 in some pink flamingo jersey, and you know how the ‘Big 4’ always seem to come up big? Well this turned out MASSIVE! It was possibly the most unflattering thing I have ever sewn for myself. I can hardly believe I am about to post this photo for you to see – but hopefully you can at least sympathise with me about how awful this dress looks – and laugh at my totally unimpressed face!
To make matters worse, I accidentally cut the front bodice with the print UPSIDE DOWN. What a dick.
I took it in at the centre back, but it didn’t line up as nicely as before, and then I got seriously pissed off with it, and I felt a little bit destructive…so, I decided to chop the maxi skirt off – yes, waste all that fabric – to make it into a top instead. And this is what I ended up with.
And despite the fact that the flamingos are upside down on my boobs, and despite the fact that it doesn’t quite match up nicely at the back, I do kind of like it now.
Here’s what I did with the bit of maxi dress skirt I chopped off: I made it into a very simple skirt for Little Tweedie – just did a fold-over waistband with some elastic inside, serged the bottom edge, and hey presto, a new skirt!
It isn’t very often that I produce such an epic sewing fail, and perhaps I should have thrown this away and never spoken of it again. I actually can’t think of anything I have ever sewn that has turned out as shoddy! Even when I’ve made things that don’t fit, such as my Burda Ruby Shorts and my Burda 7798 top, they are at least made nicely!
I’ll admit that I’m not used to sewing crappy things, and this whole project makes me feel stupid. But even the first things I ever made were better than this and I suppose it doesn’t mean I’m crap at sewing just because I buggered this one dress up…does it?!
Earlier this summer, whilst at a friend’s BBQ, Little Tweedie’s handmade dress was getting a lot of admiration, and as a result, a friend of the hosts asked me if I might consider making three flower girl dresses for her wedding next year. We talked through what she might like, and I decided to make a sample dress that I could later give to another little girl of my acquaintance on her third birthday
At the next social gathering, I presented to her the above beautiful white satin dress with red satin sash. Not only did she like it, but the mothers of two of the flower girls also liked it, and so it was decided that I would indeed make the dresses for her wedding.
The dress is made with white crepe-backed satin and is fully lined with anti-static polyester lining. The sash is a wide red satin ribbon. The hem is bias-bound and hand-stitched. I made a dust cover too to keep the dress clean and safe!
I haven’t started working on the dresses yet as the bride had not fully decided on her colour scheme, and she has recently got a new job and is moving to London, and is therefore putting her wedding on hold for the moment. Still, it’s very exciting to be contributing to someone’s special day, whenever it may be!
Howdy! Apologies if you are sick to death of looking at By Hand London Anna dresses; I know they have been popping up all over the blogosphere since the pattern was released. Personally, I don’t think I will ever tire of looking at other people’s creations and I have been swooning over all of your fantastic versions of this dress! Luckily for me, for my birthday this year my co-blogger Julia bought me the pattern (and bought one for herself too) and we have joined the throngs of sewists who have fallen in love with Anna. I mean seriously, how EASY and QUICK is she to put together?! No interfacing, no stay-stitching, a one-piece bodice front with pleats instead of darts…and a generous fit over even the more ample-bosomed among us. I didn’t have to make any alterations to this to get my perfect fit. I just couldn’t be happier with the pattern.
Today I want to show you my first By Hand London Anna dress, made in November. This being my first attempt, naturally it began life as a toile, so I used some cherry print fabric I got at a fabric swap which wasn’t enough to make a whole dress with. When I finished the bodice, it fit nicely and I really liked it, and so I dug out some co-ordinating plain fabric for the skirt in my stash (which I had originally bought for a Colette Pastille dress, but I never got round to making that one). I had never envisaged making a dress like this, with a contrast bodice, and I wasn’t really sure if it was going to work, but I decided to just sew it up anyway. My back-up plan was that if it didn’t look quite right, I would make a bodice from the plain fabric and have a plain Anna dress instead – after all, the cherry print was only meant to be a toile.
When the dress was finished, I still wasn’t 100% sure about the contrast bodice, so I posted photos on Twitter and Facebook asking for opinions, and left the finished dress on Delilah in my sewing room until I had decided what to do with it.
A few days later, we had friends over for dinner and my friend Athina mentioned that she had seen the photo on Facebook but that she wasn’t sure if she liked it, but when I showed it to her in real life she really liked it and asked to try it on! Miraculously, it fit her and she decided she wanted it! I was already formulating a plan for a second Anna dress so I was more than happy to give this one to a friend who will wear it and love it
I will show you my second Anna in due course! TTFN x
I was itching to do some sewing: it felt like it had been ages since I’d picked up some thread snips and a seam ripper. Even then, I ummed and ahhed about what to make until I came across this pattern.
As with a lot of the patterns I have in my (rather overly) substantial collection, I’ve had this one for a long time. In fact, it’s the same with the cotton – a very soft cotton with rather faded looking flowers on it. I loved the pattern when I bought it, and I love it even more now, especially after having done the FBA on it (the pictures of it before the FBA are indecent so I wouldn’t deign to show you them). I made up view c (the middle one on the picture above) and added around 2 inches to the bust, which may have been a smidgen too much, but the dress is particularly comfy with the extra room up top and it’s definitely better with a tiny bit of extra room than squishing myself into a dress that’s too small. In fact, like the cover of the pattern itself, I may even wear something with sleeves under this dress in the winter, allowing me to channel my inner Angela Chase.
The fabric is so incredibly soft and cosy. It’s printed on a base of taupe (which you can see when you turn the fabric over) which gives it this nice vintage quality. I bought it at the Sewing for Pleasure show a few years ago now, and had originally intended it for pyjamas or something similar that I could cosy up in in winter time. However, when I was looking for something in my stash to use I thought this would be perfect – the vintage style of both elements coming together nicely.
And here’s the finished article, in front of Lincoln Cathedral on a very, very blustery day!
Check out who wanted in the photos with me…
This dress has had lots of wear so far, and I can see it getting more and more during the winter. Since the top is lined as well, it makes it lovely and warm to wear. I love it!
My daughter got invited to a ‘Pirates and Princesses’ party in early September, and we decided that she should dress up as a pirate rather than as a princess, because pirates are way cooler, and I didn’t want to go along with the gender stereotyping that she must go as a princess because she is a girl.
After watching a few episodes of ‘Swashbuckle’ and looking at pictures of pirate costumes online, I formulated a design for her costume: stripy trousers with zig-zag hem, white shirt with frilly cuffs, and a red felt waistcoat with black lacing. This party was to be held at an indoor soft play centre, so I knew it would be pointless to make a hat, a bandana, an eye patch or a cutlass – all of these things would fall off, get lost or get in the way.
I feel like I really cheated to make this costume, because I used the pyjama pattern I’ve used a few times before for both the shirt and trousers! The only modification I made to the trousers was to chop them shorter in a zig-zag line. I didn’t bother to hem them!
The shirt was the part of the costume that took the longest, but it was SO worth it. I modified the cuffs to make the frill start higher up the arm and to make it longer, and I added on some Broderie Anglaise trim that I found amongst my Gran’s sewing stuff. Pirates love a bit of frilliness, after all!
The waistcoat was basically self drafted, and done with a distinct lack of precision. But it’s only a costume, after all! I chose red felted wool because I wouldn’t have to finish the raw edges, and after a hurried, failed attempts to hammer in some eyelets, I just punched holes in for the lacing!
As an afterthought I added a skull and crossbones applique patch, which I think was the finishing touch.
Little Tweedie was in fact the ONLY girl to come dressed as a pirate. So in my eyes that makes her the coolest! I’m looking forward to the day when my 8 month old son can wear this costume, too. And before you ask, no, I am not going to make him a princess costume…
YO. Here’s my final Red October make – a super cosy and warm wintery New Look 6000 dress!
Once again, we’re in the territory of third attempts here. My first New Look 6000 was made back in December 2011 as a contribution to Scruffy Badger’s NL6000 Fest! It’s a beaut, but boy does that fabric wrinkle! You only so much as have to look at it, and it crinkles and creases like crazy! I would basically only wear this dress so long as I could stand up straight all day. Someone else would have to put my shoes on for me, and I wouldn’t be able to go pee or even walk up a single step. So…. not that practical!
Enter Version 2.0: the black double knit New Look 6000. I have worn this to death! The shape is flattering, sophisticated and smart, and a departure from my usual style (as Captain Hammer would say: “Not my usual, but nice”). It’s been washed and worn so many times it is crazy bobbly, which is a shame. I wore it all through my last pregnancy, but it has held its pre-pregnancy shape. I literally NEED this dress, so I decided it was high time I made another one.
And here it is: the red double knit New Look 6000. I remember Handmade Jane making this dress in the same red and looking super foxy in it, and I am so happy to now have my own version! The double knit is from Calico Laine and they have a good range of colours.
I had to make substantial alterations to this dress when I first made it, but sewing it this time was pretty straightforward because I’d already done all the hard fitting work and transferred the alterations to my traced pattern. Part-way through I tried on the semi-finished dress to check the fit was still good, and I was pleased to find I didn’t need to change anything else.
I added the collar to this version because I wanted to make the dress more interesting to look at. The collar didn’t turn out exactly the way the pattern prescribes, perhaps because I was working with a thick knit fabric rather than a woven. But not to worry – I like how it turned out. It’s a bit more open, relaxed and floppy than it should be, but the thick, warm cosiness of the double knit means I can get away with it. It kind of feels like I’m wearing a scarf!
I omitted the back zipper due to the stretch within the fabric, but kept the centre back seam for the vent at the bottom of the centre back. However, when it came time to sew the vent, I felt lazy and didn’t bother with it!
I sewed only one button to each cuff this time, overlapping the two edges and sewing through the sleeve itself. This means the cuff still look stylish but it’s that little bit flatter and therefore it’s easier to get your coat on over the sleeves. It also means the cuff doesn’t accidentally roll down. I had these two buttons left over from my first Colette Parfait dress, and they work reasonably well with this dress for now.
I catch-stitched the inner facing down, and actually I may go back and unpick some of that stitching because it does show on the outside due to the nature of the fabric. I may wait until I’ve given it a wash first, though, just to see if it settles.
I’m really in love with my third version of this dress. It is just so soft and warm and cosy but it looks really smart and makes me feel very well ‘put-together’ and quite grown up!