Sunday, 27 October 2013

Completed: The Anna Dress

Let's start the post with a fail! I originally intended this linen to be this vintage pattern. It's very similar to Sewaholic's Cambie dress, so I thought I'd be so cool and make a Cambie lookalike, on the cheap with a vintage pattern. It was one size above my bust, so I thought, great, it'll fit in the waist and hips, and I'll just nip it in a little elsewhere.


Turns out excess ease in patterns was alive and well in the 70s??

HATE this thing! lol!
Ugh, I could NOT be bothered with it. I was really annoyed at putting lots of work in on doing a full length muslin like a chump. And it was so wrong in so many places. I wouldn't know where to start...So it got tossed aside for months. Then I realised I should just take the easy way and use a modern pattern. lol. Well, I hoped it'd be easier. The linen gained a new purpose in life.
I totally jumped on the bandwagon for the immensely popular Anna Dress by indie pattern company By Hand London!


I made a few modifications to the construction- I interfaced the facing with a lightweight fusible. I also thought it odd that the pattern didn't advise understitching the facing. I didn't want my facing rolling out so I added understitching. Better safe than sorry!
Then when I saw sewing legends Tasia and Gail had both done this on theirs too, I felt vindicated, and proud of my sewish instincts, lol!

I was really intimidated by the invisible zip (I've only done one before and it was a bit of a nightmare!). When I finally got the guts up, it wasn't that bad after all, even though it took me a while! However I must say I don't think the pattern booklet's instructions were very well written or illustrated for a newbie like me. I turned to the internet- I had several tutorials bookmarked (eep! information overload!). I ended up liking this one the best (nice clear pictures), though I gleaned tips off the others too! I just used a regular foot though I'd really like to get an invisible zip foot. I'm sure it would be lots easier!
One thing I'd improve on next time is to place the top of the zip higher. The hook and eye does a pretty good job though. The zip though, is very invisible, and I'm pleased with myself for that!

Here you can see my zip (OR CAN YOU??). You can also see I have some excess fabric in the back... still not fitting quite right.
The fitting on this did my head in a bit a lot. I made two toiles but my fitting skills still need work. Always learning... I don't want to go into the issues on this post (maybe I'll put a fitting post up), but I totally had body image issues when I saw how horribly it fitted me. I started comparing it to how everyone else seemed to get such great fit straight out of the envelope! Gah, I felt like a deformed freak! I'm mostly over it now. But I'm still jealous of those envelope-perfect people!!
As usual, the waist tilted to the back really badly, among other issues... I don't want to talk about it. lol.

Also, I totally should have sized down. 
I didn't notice how loose it was at the waist during my fitting, or maybe this linen has a lot more give (it feels quite loosely woven), but while sewing the final garment, I took it in by over an inch (and it's still got plenty of room!). Okay, that's just weird considering I picked based off my waist measurement, and the pattern says it is designed with 1/2" ease at the waist. Looks like maybe vanity sizing is alive and well with indie pattern companies? I think this is another lesson for me- when fitting a muslin, it's easy to ignore the ease at the waist, but when you add the skirt to the real garment, it really makes the difference.


I usually go down a size in the shoulders and grade out for the waist, but I didn't this time because my brain was broken and I couldn't figure out how to grade between sizes- the length for different sizes was added in different places on the front and back, and I couldn't be bothered thinking about it, lol! So I stuck with one size all over the bodice. I decided to take a smaller seam allowances for the facing or the shoulders and neck would be too big. And the armholes are extra breezy, haha! Definitely should have sized down eh?
I'm sure I'll make it fit better if I make it again, and I hope to. The sleeves are so pretty, and I love a high neckline.
Actually, it's similar to this vintage pattern I made. Both have kimono sleeves and a high neckline. I likes what I likes!

The back neckline gapes a little, so I'd definitely add some darts in there. I did try to ease the neckline in slightly to curve it into the neck, but evidently it was not enough!

The good thing about this linen is that it gives it a really casual, laid back feel. There's no way to escape the wrinkling, so you gotta embrace it! It makes it easier for me to give the imperfections in this project a pass. Like how I attempted to level my hem using my dress form (bad idea), and it looks low in the back. Oh well, next time I'll do better and my poor husband might have to help. lol! Another lesson learned.

Omg this hem... so uneven, BLECK.
For the hem, at first I thought I'd try learning how to use my blind hem foot, but then I was all "wait a minute, is this By Machine London, or By Hand London??". lol! I can't resist a nice invisible hem...even though it's crooked- again, BLECK! Oh actually, I mean, I totally made one of those fashionable "mullet hems". Yep, totally on purpose. Ahem.

Getting these photos was a nightmare, the wind was really strong (I feel like I always say this! Oh for a sheltered place to live!). Half the photos were of me struggling to stay decent.

Subtly trying to hold the dress down.
Grr. Wind!!
Stuff this wind, get me out of here!!!

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