Saturday, 15 February 2014


Here it is- the promised Anna remake (not 100 times better, but definitely a vast improvement) in the eye-achingly bright yellow and red horse print African fabric from Simply Fabrics by Brixton market. Very appropriate for the Year of the Horse, if a little late for Chinese New Year itself.

This is the second time I've worn it actually, I wore it the day after completion but it got completely soaked on the cycle in to work that day, and then again on my way to a different office. My handmade dresses seem destined to have this happen the first time I wear them out- we got caught in a squall the time I debuted my first Anna too (on the way back from the fabric shop with supplies for this version). 

Here I am by the garden door. It's very cold and blustery at the moment here so I was loath to take my woolly cardigan off (and it didn't stay off for long). 

From the back. I still haven't got the hang of invisible zip insertion but this one is at least neatly inserted, if still completely on show. I think the back is a bit too big as well- you can see that it's baggy around the waist- maybe because of the way I put the zip in. Still, I didn't pre-wash the fabric so maybe it will shrink down a little in the wash to fit more snugly (I also really need a haircut). 

 Side view with my cap sleeve rucked up from the cardigan. This happens a lot- maybe my armholes are a bit big too?

Here's an indoor one as I couldn't face going outside again after reviewing the shots and realising about the sleeve. 

My second attempt at the Anna definitely feels more like a 'real dress' and doesn't have hardly any problems compared to the last one- just the slight bigness and the non-invisibility of the zip really. It took much less time to come together too. Progress!

 I think the fact that the fabric is much more crisp helped a lot, it was really easy to cut and stayed put when sewing, whereas my first Anna was made of really slippery stuff (which has now gone a bit bobbly, bah). I also got new shears (Fiskars, as recommended by the By Hand London ladies) and they were a joy to cut with so my pieces were neat and had all the notches visibly cut in. I also really made sure this time that my darts and pleats were correctly marked and placed, and took the time to tack them instead of just pinning. I finally got my bonce around the idea of ease too, and decided to construct the dress following The Curious Kiwi's method, which I think has meant this dress is better balanced between the bodice and skirt centre panel than my last one. 

This one is cap sleeved, with a V-neck and a slightly shorter skirt. I used the same measurements and FBA as last time. I didn't bother to match the pattern, that's a skill for another day. In my keenness to get stuck in I forgot to do French seams, but I don't mind that much, I still managed to incorporate a new skill into this one. As I had to fold up a fair bit of fabric to get it the length I wanted I decided to hand-stitch the hem using catch-stitch. This is the first time I've done it, but I saw it on one of Angus's gran's handmade dresses that I now own and decided that this would be a good time to try it for myself. It took a fair while but I'm pleased with the results- the hem is nice and flat and the stitching is virtually invisible from the outside. 

Here's the best shot I could manage of the inside of the hem.  

 Here's a cheeky outtake of me getting my cardi back on, with a bit of smug defiance for my poor long-suffering cameraman who is more of a perfectionist than I am. 

For my next project I think I will tackle another By Hand London pattern from my xmas gift stash, the Charlotte skirt. I reckon I'll also need to make a nice basic tee to wear it with, but I'm still ruminating on what pattern exactly to match it with.

Until next time,

NorseOtter xxx 

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