Oh yay! I started writing this post (I like using Evernote for my writing) feeling a bit lost but then I found this draft I’d started last week, while I was sewing this, how organised! Oh hooray, so now I can fill in the gush and happiness now I have such lovely photos of this Anna Dress!
For the last week I’ve been thinking about what makes By Hand London’s Anna Dress pattern so popular… for a group of sewing friends (all online and friends through instagram - love it! Here's Pip's post that covers the girls party idea) threw each other a birthday party of the virtual kind and as a celebration lots of sewing people made new Anna dresses and swished around a lot over the weekend! Well, that’s how I’d like to imagine it, a lot of swishing of frocks around the world and online! It’s kind of funny to think of it all, and certainly a lovely thing that passions like sewing can make a large group of people feel so happy by wearing all different versions of the same dress!
So I made this dress for the International Anna Party and was very happy wearing it this weekend in the very hot weather on Saturday! I’ve sewn several Anna bodices before (after the first dress, I have tried different skirts… the panel skirt on the original panel doesn’t interest me that much) and a few different sizes, but this time I decided to do a proper Full Bust Adjustment (my first Anna Dress was an FBA but I cannot remember how I did it… the pattern pieces don’t match though and it wasn’t really my size in the end) because I wanted to have a floatier bodice than a rigid form fitting one. My last one was the V Neck and it is fine, but I tend to have to stand extremely straight all the time, and that’s what made me think I need a different fit. And this fabric TOTALLY needed something floaty, it’s heavens knows what kind of cotton (the selvedges are written in Chinese and it looks to me like a digital print), but what a print and colour scheme right!? So different for me!
Anyways, I also wanted to try the higher neckline because all my other versions have been the v neck! For the FBA I followed this one mostly and then this one helped as well! Thank you ladies! To begin with I also double checked my measuring with Tasia’s Pendrell Size Choosing Blog Post, because I found she talked on highbust and if you need a FBA... Tasia recommends if you're over 2.5 inches in difference you need to do a FBA. So I took lots of notes and because of my lovely new roll of tracing paper and my rulers, I took my time with it.
But, even though I had lovely space and time to trace, then draw then cut then spread then all the rest of the FBA stuff, I don’t think the bodice is the best fit… while the dress is totally fine to wear and flip around in… I’m not 100 per cent on the bodice bust and under bust area… I didn’t shorten it either, and it does need some shortening… But I didn’t move the darts over enough to the sides, they’re kinda closer to the middle. AND there is still excess fabric in the vertical at the neckline, so even though I cut on the fold and didn’t move around any of that part of the pattern… I made the FBA 1.5 inches from my high bust measurements using the 6/10 size.
So not sure! Maybe I’ll start again… I don’t know how I thought 1.5 inches would be right for the adjustments, in the first FBA tutorial I used, it was really clear but by about half way through I misunderstood about 'measure the difference'… it was harder to fit with the paper pattern piece so maybe that's where I went out. Anyways, I’ll give it another go! The back bodice sits ok with my shoulders up, but if I flop around a bit it’s really loose as well. But it is floaty, so that’s what I had wanted with this really light fabric!
But the circle skirt was lovely and YAY to having enough fabric for that! I used the app on the By Hand London website and cut it a bit wrong but oh well… I evened out the lopsided bit and I think it’s ok.
My main Anna/Circle Skirt combination inspiration was Lynne's... I will always admire Lynne/OzzyBlackbeard’s shape because we’re very similar in size! I also liked Anita's bodice with the high neck! The green is also a beautiful colour! You can see below the fabric under bust stretching, I let out some of the dart seam but I just think they're in the wrong place to begin with. Next time!
So why is the pattern so popular? I don’t always sew up popular patterns; I’m not rolling in spare sewing cash and I am not the perfect shape for a whole bunch of the new - last few years new - patterns. I do like the independent pattern makers, and glad they’re around, but they’re not all my style either. Personally, the Anna Bodice is very lovely and a quick sew… and that you can do any skirt you fancy really. It reminds me a bit of some vintage patterns (a 1940s one in particular) that I used to sew. But I don’t know… what do you think makes it popular? And if you’re not sewing it up, what stops you sewing this one? I definitely like it, but I really wanna make it fit better and now that I’ve sewn so many, it really should fit better… right? Is that just me or the pattern? I think me!
I’ve already made a knit fabric Anna too, in my research for this one I found this Dixie DIY one so I’ll hopefully get that to you soon on the blog!Notes:
Pattern: By Hand London's Anna
Fabric: A light cotton, that could be rayon but I don't know how to find out. I irons well, creases only a little and floats around lovelily. 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: Listened to Tom Ballard's Podcast 'Like I'm a Size Year Old' with my friend Clementine, so I thought a lot about my old self in Australia!
Will I Wear It? Yes, it's lovely for Shanghai summer!
***Oh and I'm a Top 9 Finalist now for this dress! YAY! Thank you Ute, Pips and Elle!***