Anna’s Night Out…

day anna side cn tower

It’s Anna! Finally! I am extremely late to the internet party on this one!  This make has actually been waiting for its blog debut for a few months now.  I made it for two weddings that I went to this Fall but I didn’t manage to get a single photo at either event! Fail! And bringing this silk darling to work to take photos was just not happening. However, my friend Peggy was visiting this weekend for an awesome Shibori workshop with Bookhou and I dragged her poor ass outside late Friday night and early Saturday morning for these photos.  And not even a whisper of a complaint from her…  I really do have the best friends!

day anna back cn tower

(note to self…  no one is around to stare at you posing in the middle of the street if you get up early enough!)

This is actually my second version of Anna.  The first was made out of a really lovely viscose with an even lovelier bemberg lining (love the feel of bemberg against my skin but sure do HATE sewing the slippery devil!). However, Anna #1 needs a new zipper and will have to wait until Spring. In the meantime, some details for Anna #2. This version was made with a green silk crepe de chine that I picked up for a steal at G&S Dye during their August sale.  $7.50/yd!  I kid you not!  This baby is even fully lined in the same silk, as it was less expensive to do this then to get the required yardage in cotton or bemberg!

day anna front brick 2day anna front brick

I can’t think of much to tell you about the pattern that you won’t have read already. The ladies at By Hand London do know how to draft a beaut of a pattern!  Everything aligns and comes together seamlessly. Well, not literally as I assure you, there are seams! Lots of them! I did grade between sizes to accomodate my small-ish torso and large hips. Sometimes the fit on something like this can be a bit tricky for me as I have an extremely small ribcage and narrow shoulders but a fairly full bust. I tend to use my upper bust measurement for this reason and do a full bust adjustment if needed.  In this case I was in a rush (more failed wedding deadlines… sigh) and used my full bust measurement and made no adjustments. I had no real clue how to adjust the bust with the petal pleats in any case and I was putting this together before the SAL. And that’s just a long way for me to say that using the full bust measurement did the trick in this case! I did end up taking out all of the extra ease in the skirt so didn’t really need to grade to a larger size. I’m pretty sure that I also added two inches to the length of the bodice but I’d have to double check my pattern pieces to be sure!

day anna bodice

I didn’t do French seams as I was fully lining this so nothing was going to be visible.  Also, I believe I mentioned the wedding deadline? I really do need to stop procrastinating so that I can put things together without the rush…  and the mistakes (we’ll get to those!). Instead, I pinked all of the seams allowances and pressed them open. This is not a finish that I generally like but with a fabric this fine, it works quite nicely. I did attach my lining a little differently then was described in the SAL.  I sewed the front and back bodice pieces for both the shell and the lining at the shoulder seams.  I then sewed the lining to the outer bodice at the neckline, graded the seam allowance and then understitched the lining so that everything stayed put. I then sewed the bodice to the lining at both sleeves and then pinned so that I could sew the side seams of the bodice and the lining in one go.  Less hand stitching for me this way, which is an absolute win in my books!  The downside of my method is that I had to hand stitch the lining to the zipper but I didn’t mind it.

day anna zipper

Now for my big mistake.  I was attaching the zipper the night before I had to leave for Quebec for wedding #1.  No biggie, right? Except that I had no hook and eye sets for the top of the neckline!  Another fail!  So I did my best to have the zipper sit flush with the top of the neckline. Far from perfect but no one was pointing in horror at my dress so I guess it only looks shitty to me. And maybe all of you. Also, if I had not been in such a rush, I would have done a handpicked zipper here as I think it would have worked better for the fabric. Again, life goes on and the invisible zipper works fine. As for the deadline… I was doing the hem of both the lining and the dress at the wedding (well, before the wedding but while in Quebec). The upside is that there was an iron I could use. The downside was that I had no tape measure or pins! And there is quite a bit of hem on each layer. But I got it done and got to wear it so I’m gonna call that a win!

lining understitching lining zipper

Of course, the downside to this pattern is that it’s a bit of a tummy hugger (I’m not the only one who thinks so)!  And the silk was not helping matters at all! Hello, cling! Hello bumps and lumps! So as much as I love wearing this dress, thoughts of girdles and other torture contraptions ran rampant every time there was even the slightest breeze! But since I just don’t give a shit, I enjoyed the dress! And a silk lining? Divine!

Now on to Anna’s night out.  I had such plans for this post! I was going to take Anna on a fabulous walking tour of downtown Toronto. A girls night out, so to speak. Then I stepped outside in my silk lovely and sexy heels and reality hit. It’s winter! And I was cold! So this ended up being a walking tour of my front “yard”.

ocadout and about 1

On the upside, Anna finally got to meet Lauriel! These two were literally made for each other but because of failed deadlines, this is the first time they have been worn together. I had doubts about pairing bright pink with bright green but I kind of love the combo! Methinks these two will be seeing each other again!

cn tower

(I love the CN tower over the holidays… dressed as a candy cane!)

walking 1

I was also much happier sitting than standing in these heels. Sigh. I do love them but my arthritic knees were yelling ABSOLUTELY NOT!

sitting outside 1

And it was a wee chilly.

drunk 1

(scary attempt at smiling whilst shivering!)


(And I’m done but Peggy is not so sure…)

morning after

(the morning after?  Walk of shame?)

This was us testing out my camera in low light but Anna looks good even when draped over Victoria and my PJ tee!

I have to admit that I probably won’t make another Anna.  I’ll enjoy the ones I have but time to move onto something new.  Though I have seen a couple of midi-length Anna’s (for example, this one) or this colour-blocked version that I’m kind of digging so maybe I’ll reconsider this pattern come Spring. In the meantime, I’m off to enjoy the Christmas Market at the Distillery!  Hot cider, here I come!



Linking up with: Feathers Flight // The Train to Crazy


Victoria in all her 80’s glory…

I’m back!  And so quickly that I don’t have to apologize!  Project Sewn prompted the quick post as they are hosting an Era challenge.  I’m not sure that we can call the 80’s an Era but I can’t put this Blazer on without feeling like some cross between Don Johnson of the Miami Vice fame and Duran Duran.  So I’m linking it up in all of its 80’s glory!  With no further ado…  the By Hand London Victoria Blazer!


My instagram and twitter friends know that this one has been done for awhile now but it’s been sitting in my closet with the bottom hem gaping open as I contemplated the boxy shape.  To keep it as is or to add some shaping…  in the end, Jen of Grainline Studio decided this for me when she posted a sample picture of her upcoming Morris Blazer (cannot wait for this pattern!). That one will be a more flattering shape so I decided to leave Victoria as she was intended… boxy (!) but not completely shapeless.  And honestly, I love her for it!

back pockets

I made this using the Robert Kaufman yarn-dyed Essex linen in denim blue.  It’s a linen cotton blend but is surprisingly scratchy when worn.  Anyway, I lined the body with some fun polyester that feels so lovely and smooth that I wish I had gone ahead and lined the sleeves.  Alas, too late for that now!  To keep it from being too boring, I used some dark blue linen from my stash to make the contrast collar and cuffs.  This linen has considerably less body than the Essex linen so I underlined the collar with the same fabric.  Seems to have done the trick!

holding out sideThe pattern has you leave the lining and the body of the jacket detached at the armholes and the lining isn’t understitched at all.  The result of this for me was a lining that was out of control and easily popped out to the front.  Since I didn’t pick the most neutral lining, I decided to tame it as best I could.  To do this I edge stitched around the collar to tack the lining down a bit better.  I also attached it to the jacket at the armholes using some commercial bias tape.  I find the lining is still readily visible (loose blazer and all that) but is at least staying where it belongs!


This Blazer bring out all manner of cheesiness…

looking at you

It also looks a hell of a lot less ridiculous on my tall German friends!

AnneWhen this pattern was first released, I had zero intention of making it.  As I have said before, boxy is not the look for me!  But in keeping with Amy’s tradition, I’m going to highlight a few awesome versions of Victoria that changed my mind.  Rachel of The House of Pinheiro in her rocking MC Hammer jacket, Zosews cool khaki and watermelon version, and this seriously badass leather version by Kim.

Anyone else hesitant to try this boxy Blazer?

Happy sewing!