Well I completely lost my heart the second I saw the Anna dress from By Hand London.
I first caught sight of this delight when Karen at Did you make that? showed her fab version of this dress. (Love this blog!!!)
I knew immediately that I must make this dress. I had been looking for a summer make that would be easy-wear for those sticky days in London, that could be considered both smart and casual. This pattern easily fulfils that brief and is also GORGEOUS. Not to mention easy to make, yippee.
Anyone considering buying this pattern? Just do it. Now. Right now.
So here it is..... My first ever dress. ( Drum Rollllllllllllllllllllllll)
This dress was so easy to put together, even for a novice like me. Okay I admit, I have been gleaning info from blogs, sewing books and stuff remembered from watching my Mum sew when I was young, but still a pain-free and FUN experience.
The instructions were clear and there were no fiddly moments. I also liked that it suggested the french seams, and the hidden zip. I gladly added the suggested french seams to the skirt, even with the seven panels it didn't take that long. However I confess to putting the zip in the bog-standard way.... I was just itching to finish the dress. As this is an informal version, I don't mind seeing the stitching too much, but I can see if it were a more formal version, that going the extra mile for the invisible look would be worth it.
I made a muslin of the bodice, and I'm pleased I did. I have very broad shoulders and a fairly long body. When I made up the muslin from an old bed sheet, I noticed that I wanted a little more length for the bodice to reach my waist safely, and also that I'd prefer a little more room for my arms so that reaching up high was comfortable.
I tried a couple of experiments with the muslin. (some more useful than others.... lets just say adding inches at above boob level definitely doesn't work!)
I settled on adding 3/8" to the shoulder seams on all the pattern pieces, not forgetting the facings; also adding an inch to the bodice bottom. I also lowered the finishing point of the bodice darts, ( the infamous straight 'Boobies' darts on the front) so they finished 1/2" lower than drawn.
I love it! Really comfortable and practical for sweaty days in town.
I am already looking for a suitable fabric to make another one for the autumn.... I'm thinking a charcoal blue linen mix or something?