Annalex, (or Sewing Porn)

Guys, prepare yourselves for some serious drama in these pictures. It’s also going to be picture heavy because, hey, which of these amazing shots was I going to not include??

For pattern hacking week I chose to use By Hand London patterns and put the Elisalex bodice onto the Anna maxi skirt. I’d been meaning to make an Anna maxi for a while but never got around to it. What a waste.

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The By Hand London patterns are great for hacking as it’s usually pretty easy to combine the top of one garment with the bottom of another. I tend to look at them as bodice patterns and skirt patterns rather than as whole dresses.

I was drawn to the thigh split on the Anna skirt, but I didn’t particularly fancy the bodice. The Elisalex bodice was much more what I was looking for. The sleeveless option would be cool for summer, yet the low back seemed to up the glam factor suitably.

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I cut a size 10 and needed to do a full bust adjustment on the bodice. It is a princess seamed bodice, which I’ve struggled to do successful FBA’s on before, but I had plenty of fabric, so wasn’t afraid to redo the bodice to adjust the fit if needed. As it turned out, the fit was just perfect on it, so this wasn’t necessary. If you need a similar adjustment, the Elisalex sewalong has a helpful post on it.

I normally lengthen everything I make but I held up the skirt pattern piece against me and decided it wouldn’t be necessary this time. It really wasn’t. The finished dress is a good length with heels, but probably a bit too long really with flat sandals and I turned up a fairly generous amount for the hem.

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See? Perfect length with my heels. Blurry skirt thanks to slow shutter speed + wind. I love the drama of the moonlight reflecting on the water in these photos though.

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To combine the Elisalex bodice with the skirt pieces I needed to make sure the seams would match, as I was swapping a bodice with darts for a princess seam bodice. To do this I placed the bodice pattern piece next to the corresponding skirt piece where the seam would join them. I measured the difference between the two pieces and added or removed that amount from top to bottom of the skirt panels so that the skirt would maintain the correct level of fullness.

The fabric is a nice soft, drapey viscose that I picked up at the Rag Market in Birmingham and has been lurking in my stash ever since. I’m not that knowledgable when it comes to fabrics and tend to choose them by the feel. I usually end up using viscose for wovens and scuba/ponte or thinner ordinary jersey for knits.

Having made the Anna a few times before in the shorter version, here and here, the skirt was quick to put together and I only needed the instructions for the side split part, which I’d not done before.

The bodice is fully lined, using the same fabric as the outer. The pattern instructions are well written and easy to follow and I didn’t have any problems putting this together. It’s a really well designed shape too, as the back is low enough to be a feature but just high enough to cover the back of the bra. Mine is literally sitting about a centimetre below the top of the garment!

The most time consuming part of this dress was the amount of hand sewing that it required. The bodice lining is slipstitched to the zipper on the inside, as well as at the waist. The thigh split is also hand sewn all the way around, which for a hand sewing phobic like me is quite a lot of hand sewing. I do think it’s worth it though, as the finish is so smart.

I really love the finished garment, and aside from taking it on holiday with me (where I took these photos), I’ve also worn it to a christening. It’d also be a great dress for summer weddings and concerts in the park. Anything where you want to stay cool but look glam really. I don’t think there’s room for all that many thigh split maxi dresses in my wardrobe, but I would definitely like to make another for more formal occasions in a luxury fabric like a silk.

Now I’m going to shut up and let the dress do the talking:

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One more thing, and then I’m really going – why can’t I seem to get photos for my posts without being photobombed? Normally it’s my furbaby, but even here (at I’m not even going to tell you what time in the morning – how did you think I got St Mark’s Square that empty?) I have to have some random child standing in my shot. He was literally there for about ten minutes and I didn’t know the Italian for ‘Can you please get out of the way?’

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<me again: I know my legs look gross here but I just want to reassure you – it’s because they’re in shadow, not because they’re really dirty>

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29 thoughts on “Annalex, (or Sewing Porn)

  1. Pingback: Wedding, Friends and Venice | rookerface's blog

  2. Pingback: And the Hack It! contest winners are…. | The Monthly Stitch

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