By Hand London Anna Dress

By Hand London // Baby Pink Anna Dress

Slowly working my way through these long overdue makes, here comes another from a while back. I made this Anna dress back in February — I remember because I was up late finishing it before travelling to New York the next morning — using some baby pink cotton I purchased in Hawaii and a BHL pattern I won.

I’m actually blogging this before I really should because it wasn’t my first Anna; I made a full length, fully-lined version back in December 2014 for my work Christmas work do. But donning that on a Saturday afternoon to take photos… well, I just wasn’t feeling it. Instead, you get my baby pink midi version.

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Pssst. That photo shows my awesome watch tan! Can you see it?! Tell me you can! It’s only taken 10+ years but is proof that I, a ginger, can tan. A little. Moving on…

This next one probably isn’t the most flattering photo actually, now that I look at it. What’s that face I’m pulling…?!

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Showing off the shape of the panelled, A-line skirt.

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The v-neckline of the Anna dress is my absolute favourite and those kimono sleeves are fab.

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Fully lined? Oh yes. Weird left leg to illustrate lining? Oh yes!

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The double pleats under the bust are a lovely feature too.

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Not the best invisible zipper I’ve put in; I always do one side better than the other and so the right side has some puckering. Also, do try to ignore my over-the-shoulder boulder holder; the fit is a little tooooight.

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Yet more of that v-neck, kimono sleeves and double under-bust pleats.

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Here, you can see more of the fabric puckering around the zipper sadly.

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By Hand London — Anna Dress  |  £9.00 PDF Pattern

Now, I’ve listed the PDF pattern in the link above because BHL have now stopped selling their printed patterns, although some of their stockists may very possibly have some printed versions left.

This pattern came as a result of winning a Pattern Review Celebrate Indie competition, with my geometric By Hand London Georgia Dress. The prize was three BHL printed patterns so I chose the Anna Dress, Victoria Blazer and Holly Jumpsuit, which I wrote about back in October 2014 (when I didn’t separate general blogging from completed pattern posts as it’s towards the bottom of the Colette Iris shorts). So whilst this still isn’t a sponsored post, I didn’t pay for the pattern.

How flippin’ beautiful is their packaging?!

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Fabric

This fabric is some cotton I picked up from Hawaii Fabric Mart (Hawaii) for around £3/metre. I’m not entirely sure on the composition as it’s very stiff, the creases really don’t press out, and the selvedge said not to be used for sleepwear (flammable maybe?!) but the stiffness works quite well with the A-line shape of the panelled skirt.

The dress was lined with some anti-static dress lining from Fabricland, Bristol at £1.15/metre.

Sizing and cutting

Anna has a few variation options: v-neck or slash neck for the bodice; and a midi or maxi skirt, the latter having the option of a thigh-high split. Having already made the v-neck maxi Anna, I wanted a midi length version for a less formal look. Initially, I cut the midi length in a US 6/UK 10 out of a drapey fabric as a toile (because my first Anna, the maxi, was to be made in a drapey fabric). Finally, I made some adjustments to the pattern pieces.

Fitting and alterations

Adjustments:

  • Back bodice: for the centre back seam, cut out 3.4cm (~1 and 3/8″) at the top, grading to 2.3cm (~7/8″) at the bottom.
  • Skirt centre back: took 2.3cm (~7/8″) out of the centre back seam.

I suppose this means I could’ve cut a smaller size but I wanted to keep the larger size kimono sleeves. I made no adjustments to the finished garment; all adjustments were made to the pattern pieces prior to cutting.

Pattern instructions

I find all BHL pattern instructions to be very good; plenty of detail and the sewalong posts are a great resource, especially for adding a lining. Instructions on sewing and trimming the v-neck are particularly good to achieve a sharp point.

Finishing

For the main fabric, I overlocked all of the seams. The hem was double turned and finished with a visible topstitch which is virtually invisible with this fabric.

The lining was made exactly the same as the exterior; even making the skirt lining in panels (which probably wasn’t necessary) and with French seams. I attached the lining and fabric at the kimono sleeves using a visible stitch which again, is virtually invisible on the outside with this fabric. I noticed later that I’d sewn the bodice lining inside out so the double under-bust pleats are facing outwards i.e. touching my body, but it doesn’t make a difference.

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Verdict

I am thoroughly in love with the Anna dress! Wearing it again, and blogging it, has made me want to make more. In hindsight, I probably should’ve sewn the non-stretchy lining with smaller seams to give myself a bit more ease; it wouldn’t be comfortable after a big meal! The fabric is a little frustrating with its refusal to press. at. all. And if I’m totally honest, I’m not sure the fit is the best. For example, I probably could’ve pinched some out of the v-neckline, as it’s a bit gapey in this fabric, which I didn’t notice with my first Anna, made in a drapey fabric. But in general, I really like the final product and have received a few compliments on it.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased all items mentioned myself, with the exception of the By Hand London Anna Dress printed pattern, which I won in a competition as described above. All views expressed are my own.

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5 thoughts on “By Hand London // Baby Pink Anna Dress

  1. Ooo! Your Anna is lovely! Isn’t it such a great pattern? I wouldn’t worry too much about the puckering at the zip, it’s really not that bad. Maybe the main fabric needed stablised at the zip seam with a strip of lightweight interfacing. It looks like quite a light weight fabric.

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    • Thanks Lynne! It really is a beaut of a pattern. I’d like to try making the slash neck version as I don’t have one yet and it would make appropriate office-wear. Yes, a little reinforcement with some interfacing is a good idea; I do it on occasion but should make it the rule rather than the exception really. Thanks for your comment!

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  2. I love this dress! What a flattering design! I might be tempted to invest in this one because I can never find dresses small enough for my waist but a reasonable size for my bust. Is it suitable for advanced beginners? Not that the ability level has ever stopped me before but I don’t want to do a bodged job! I love the fabric you have chosen too…it is lovely 🙂 x

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    • Hi Hannah, thanks so much! I agree with you; the design of the Anna dress is very flattering and it is a pattern I would certainly recommend. It is probably the most loved By Hand London pattern so there are so many lovely examples across the internet. I would say it is suitable for advanced beginners certainly; it’s mostly just straight lines and I certainly don’t think you would do a botched job! 😀 If you decide to make the V neck, handle this area very gently to avoid stretching it as it is cut on the bias (I made the mistake not to with a test version). Do let me know how you get on if you decide to go for it!

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