The indie pattern dresses competition inspired me to get to and finally make that stretch version of By Hand London’s Anna I’d been thinking about for a while.
This is my third Anna to construct but the first one that’s made it out of the house more than once (on my body that is – one of the others left in a bag several times for sewing advice). The first I made as a wearable muslin but in my wisdom I chose a green and white check cotton and she just screamed “schoolgirl” every time I tried her on. The second was the victim of last minute, exhausted, frazzled sewing using silk chiffon for the first time. She’s waiting for her skirt to be unpicked.
But this one has already been worn twice in the week since being made – once to work even!
I used a watermelon ponte stretch fabric from Spotlight that was originally destined to be a Drape Drape dress (guess I’ll have to find something else for that). I’m loving sewing with ponte now that I’ve finally discovered a few places to find it. The stretch is so forgiving but because it’s thicker than many jerseys I feel like it makes the dresses look better quality. I’m not sure exactly how much I used – perhaps 2.5m with some tight pattern laying out. I’ve also used an invisible zip cannibalised from the unwearable school dress version.
The instructions are very easy to follow (and having sewn this twice before now, I feel like I really know what I’m doing). I used an overlocker on the skirt panels and side seams, not because the fabric needed it to stop unravelling but because I’m trying to make my insides look neater. I sewed facings as per the instructions but think I’ll do a full bodice lining for any future Annas. The facings flop about a bit (even with interfacing) and I prefer a full lining.
The zip had to be inserted twice but this was my problem not the instructions (well, I didn’t actually read them) because it took an awfully long time to work out how to move the needle position on my new sewing machine. The first time round the invisible zipper was extremely visible. (But huzzah! the waist seams match up … nearly.)
I’ve traced the pattern out and neglected to write the size on my pieces (well, they’re ME sized) but I think it’s mostly the 12/16 with some grading to about one size up at the waist. I really like the pleats in the bodice; they add a different style to the more typical darts.
Looking in the mirror, the dress seems to fit well at the front, but that photo up the top does have some odd pull lines going across. Any ideas what’s going on there? The back gapes because I didn’t take a chunk out at the zipper like I normally have to since when I fit the dress on Bessie, my mannequin, there didn’t appear to be any gaping going on. Guess I’ll just have to insert the zipper for a third time…
My next aim for Anna is to add a print into the mix. But I am really loving this stretchy version. Any thoughts on where to find printed ponte?