The Anna Dress, from By Hand London was one of those patterns that I thought I would make eventually, but hadn’t had the right fabric/pattern inspiration yet. What comes first for you? For me, I usually have a bunch of patterns floating around in my head that I am waiting for inspiration to make…I see a certain fabric and bam! Inspiration strikes. Or sometimes I see something in RTW on Pinterest or whatever, and I see immediately a pattern that will work, and then go on a mad fabric search. It can be hard when I have something very specific in mind. Usually I move on to something else until I can find a good match. I very rarely start with the fabric first- but that is what happened here. I was contacted by a company called Organic Cotton Plus, asking if I would like to try some of their fabric. I had a look at their website and there was so much to choose from I said yes (free fabric- are you kidding? Of course I said yes!) I immediately gravitated towards the organic cotton sateen- there were lots of great prints and solids but I was drawn to these pretty flowers. It is super soft and drapey, and I decided it had to be an Anna Dress. I sat down to order the pattern and discovered it was sold out. Everywhere. After much Googling and scouring the interwebs I put out a plea on Instagram and heard back from Grey’s Fabric that she had a few copies in stock, yay! I made a quick muslin of the bodice because I haven’t sewn a By Hand London pattern before, and to my shock it fit perfect. I didn’t change a thing for this version! I didn’t even have the problem with the back gaping, as a lot of others have…I guess they made this one just for me 😉This dress uses A LOT of fabric, I had two yards of this 110″ wide fabric and it was plenty, but not enough to try any real pattern matching. I think that would have been a headache I wouldn’t be willing to endure even if I had more fabric, honestly.
So, I don’t sew a whole lot of dresses, and haven’t sewn an invisible zipper in a looooong time. I looked up some tutorials and ended up following the one at Lladybird for the most part. It wasn’t too bad actually! I hand basted the part where the waistline meets up and it all matched up pretty easily.I went with a not-quite thigh high split…it’s sort of hard to see when standing still but looks cool when I am walking, I think. I wasn’t going to- but ended up hand stitching the split and the sleeve hems…and machine stitched the bottom hem because I was very much over the hand stitching by then. 😉 I sewed the hem with a little 1/4″ beige ribbon, and think it looks really clean and pretty.I cut 7″ off the hem, and then quickly realized that was probably a bit too much. Yikes. It was saved for the most part by the little 1/4″ hem, but next time I will probably add another inch or two back to the length. I think on a long dress like this you definitely need someone to help with figuring out the length for the hem! Here’s the hand finished split and the ribbon hem. I finished all of the seams by serging the edges and pressing flat.The inside of the bodice- nothing fancy here, just serged the edges but I think it actually looks pretty clean.
I am very happy with this project! The fabric is dreamy, if you are looking for nice quality organic fabric there is much goodness to be found over at Organic Cotton Plus. I would definitely order from them in the future. And, after this experience with By Hand London I will most definitely be sewing up more of their patterns! I have the Flora dress pattern and the Victoria Blazer– I especially want to make that one!