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!
(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!
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!
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.
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!
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”.
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!
(I love the CN tower over the holidays… dressed as a candy cane!)
I was also much happier sitting than standing in these heels. Sigh. I do love them but my arthritic knees were yelling ABSOLUTELY NOT!
And it was a wee chilly.
(scary attempt at smiling whilst shivering!)
(And I’m done but Peggy is not so sure…)
(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!