Ha! I have a great summer frock for you today! AND some fun nighttime photos! Sewing in Shanghai in Summer is getting *very* hot! Wearing clothes, sewing clothes, all exhausting! I have lots of projects on my wishlist, but I also have lots of water, swimming plans and cocktails on there too. Fingers crossed the humidity here in Shanghai doesn't melt us all away!
OK, so firstly, the photos are very rough, but cute... Husbie and I took them very quickly after Pizza Friday (just made that up) and we did try to get some daytime photos on another day, but our darling boy wasn't interested, and then we bumped into friends and we drank and laughed the day away while the children ran around in the afternoon shade. A lovely afternoon, but yes, that's why we have some fun and spontaneous photos for you... but it's kinda funny to show you a totally random Shanghai street! That white shop bag! Felix showing off his many facial expressions!
Onto the dress. Yes, this is my THIRD By Hand London, and that maybe shows you how little variety I have in my pattern stash, I also didn't realise I was sewing up so many BHL so last week I bought a couple of pre-birthday present patterns so you'll see some different shapes soon. PROMISE! But hey, this Anna is STRETCHY *and* a MAXI (breaking my petite rule - did I ever have a rule? Not sure/Can't remember/Who Cares)... so voila! Here are some photos for you to study, take note and let's discuss after:
When I was sewing the Colour Pop Anna Dress, I started wanting a stretch fabric project and googled up Anna Stretch Fabric (original) and found Dixie DIY's version, I think she made as a pattern test (I have no idea, I was having a baby & on maternity leave for 2012-2013 so missed a lot of 'sewing blog news') for the BHL... and thought, GREAT I'll use my newly traced pattern pieces! The fabric comes from the Dongmen Lu Fabric Market (details at the bottom of this post) and has great stretch, drape but a slightly rough feel instead of that sheen/smooth feel a knit has. I've never sewn with it before, and it wasn't too bad, however my overlocker wasn't the greatest at cutting it, so I had to go slowly or the offcuts would get sucked into the serged pieces and MESS AND CHAOS would be inside the seams. Yuck.
For the skirt piece, I traced the three BHL Anna skirt pieces together and used the same for front and back, but making the back slightly wider around the hips. The stripes weren't too hard to match up, but I took a long time with pinning and for cutting I did cut on the fold so to match the stripes either side. I spent the most time looking at where to place the racer stripes (with the yellow in it) ... above the bust, below, just below, whatever... so I jumped in and I'm not sure this is the best stripe placement, I like the shape it has from front to back at the waist though:
I folded over the neckline, ironed fusible tape to hold it and topstitched it slowly, and it is ok (it's lifted a little in the photo above, after I wore it)... I folded the sleeves like the pattern suggests too and they went ok as well. Everything went fine until the side seams, where the overlocker serged a bit unevenly, so the stripes aren't fully matched up... I will baste properly next time... my hasty mistake. THEN, the overlocker did that thing where it kind of 'gathers' slightly instead of serging... does anyone know this or experienced it? It may have been the fabric, but I un-gathered it ok and ironed flat, but not sure if it's a me problem or a machine problem or a fabric problem.
Anyways, after lots of shirring testing (I had sewn a little dress earlier this year at Sewing School but not at home) I ran around the middle twice... but because I didn't secure the ends properly, it unravelled/unstitched a bit, and you can see that on the waistline:
But I'd run out of shirring elastic in my bobbin and I just wanted to wear the dress by that stage. I have a Brother sewing machine, so the shirring option involves taking the whole bobbin case out, turning the tension screw by hand, and threading it up by hand to make sure it's secure under that little tiny leg thing. Anyways, I'd already changed it all back to hem, and then it unravelled! Gah! I'll be aware of it next time, as I will probably make this again, I like the shape and it's cool to wear! I usually don't like elastic around my waist but maybe I'm changing! So because of this shape, I've bought the Closet Case Files jumpsuit AND the Tilly & the Buttons newest dress... so we'll see if they go as well for my measurements.
So, the Anna dress can be stretchy! AND I'm actually liking this higher neckline for me! Oh, I totally used the same size 6/10 as I did for the normal woven Anna from the other week... but instead of French Seaming I did the normal 5/8 seams... I know with shirring it can bring the whole dress in too tight, somewhere online I saw the ratio for fabric to waist size... so I thought keeping the normal woven size would be good for bringing the elastic waistband in... the fabric is so drapey and light, I don't think it looks too big across the shoulders/back.
Lastly, I think this is my Sundress for Heather's Sewalong as well... even though I drank all the rose wine instead of photograph this in the sunny afternoon... the Sewalong runs til August, so I might get another one in before then too!
Pattern: By Hand London's Anna
Fabric: A light drapey stretch. Purchased from 168 Dongmen Lu, near Zhongshan Dong Er Lu, 东门路168号，近中山东二路
Size: BHL 6/10 with 1.5inches FBA
While Sewing: I contemplated buying some new patterns, especially some to beat the heat of Shanghai.
Will I Wear It? Yes, I like it a lot, and it'll probably fall apart, but job well done in the short term.
Hope you're having a great week! xoxo