Monday, 9 September 2013

By Hand London Anna dress

This will be my last post for a few weeks as I am going on a desperately needed holiday.  Well, "holiday" for some high-angle rescue training, but so so much nicer than sitting in an office.  Not to mention I will have a few hours stopover to spend in Los Angeles in the garment district!  And the training is in Utah which means it will be hot summer!  I am soooo excited (as I sit here next to the fire in my merino baselayers) just thinking about wearing shorts. 

I only traced the skirt and the bodice front, since I expected to do the longer version as well as the V-neck.  I had high hopes for this dress!!  Unfortunately I should have traced the whole thing...

I cut this dress opposite the grain because I wanted the pattern to be vertical on my dress.  That was my little bit of creativity here and I am pleased with the result.  I also used french seams for the first time!  How exciting to have such a nice clean finish : )  I'm already imagining that a lined Anna would be awesome since then it wouldn't have any flappy facings...unfortunately I'm still scared of linings, especially linings that I have to figure out myself, so that seems like a distant prospect.

It took about two and a half evenings of sewing to complete this dress once I had cut it out.  Fast!  With the french seams it also means there was not a lot of finishing that needed to be done which is always great.  Since I recently went back and finished the seams on my first few Lisette dresses, I've started to realise how much nicer it is to do all that right away and not when things have started to fray and wrinkle...and since handmade garments so far do seem to be more fragile than their store-bought cousins, it seems smart to do everything I can to make them last.

Like every project there came a total disillusion moment when I was totally sure the bodice wouldn't fit.  The pleats mean that there is a very very generous amount of space for the bust and that initially looked like way too much for me.  Yet again I had a massive discrepancy when it became time to put in the zip!  One side of the skirt was about 2 cm wider than the other...but they do match quite well on the front and sides so I guess my french seams were slightly less than 5/8" overall and led to some extra.  I ended just cutting this off to match the other side of the skirt back.  Less hesitation with it than on the Lonsdale dress (I dithered for days on that one!)  and overall this felt like a super stress free construction.   I only did one french seam backwards...oops.  I usually don't lap the fabric over the zipper, but keep it to the sides so the zipper is visible - my zipper techniques are pretty neanderthal, I think.  I was so high on how well this dress went that I lapped my zipper properly.  The result of that extra half inch?  I think I should have cut a size 8/12.  My boyfriend likes it but I can't take a breath.  Total letdown!  Of course I didn't trace enough of my pattern pieces to still be able to cut out the 8 so I'll reflect while I'm on holiday and see whether I'm ready for another try.  BHL do say their fits don't have much ease, and I would agree with that.

 Just barely warm enough to be barefoot for a photo shoot...but not a minute longer!

This is a super pattern for the wide-shoulder problem because the sleeves fit my shoulders so nicely.  However, like most people I had gapping on the back along the zipper.  I see Ginger has come up with a nice way to fix this, here.

Overall my Anna experience has been mixed.  Maybe I should have sized up, but the flappy facings also really irritate me.  I would want to use a slinkier fabric so the facings would stay in place, or line it, if I made this bodice again.  But I do love the bodice! 

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