I love the idea of pattern hacks – so many possibilities! I have had some brilliant ideas for pattern hacks and mash-ups in the past, but unfortunately not many of them have made it past the conceptual stage. Life tends to get in the way!
My creation for IPM’s ‘Hack It’ week is therefore a fairly straightforward one; By Hand London’s Anna bodice with a gathered skirt. I’ve made the Anna dress a few times before and really liked the fit, but the ‘mummy tummy’ I have gained after 2 kids (I’m sure the frequent consumption of cake and lack of exercise have nothing to do with it!) is causing the straight skirt not to sit so well over my mid-section lately. Solution? A full(ish) skirt!
I had been wanting to experiment with fabric painting for a while, so the idea was formed to make a dirndl skirt with a border print. I used some mystery fabric from my stash – I’m fairly sure it came from an Op Shop (Charity store, for you non-Aussies!). I thought it might be a cotton poly blend but when I ironed a test scrap on high heat it tolerated it, so I think it’s mostly cotton. It has a nice drape but a solid feel about it. I cut the bodice then used the leftover fabric to cut one long strip, so I didn’t have to worry about side seams. I sewed up the hem and then used that as a guide to place a stencil and paint my border print onto the fabric.
I did the painting in two sessions; first I did all the motifs facing one direction, then let them dry while I washed the stencil, then turned the stencil over and filled in all the reversed motifs.
Then I assembled the bodice as usual before attaching the skirt. I did narrow hems on the neckline and sleeves and used a decorative stitch. I don’t like exposed seams so I bound the waist seam in some spotty bias binding.
I used a centred zip (with my usual method of sewing the CB seam closed, sewing the zip in and then opening the seam) instead of an invisible zip. In hindsight I should have stabilised the fabric before putting the zip in as it’s a bit wavy, but I only thought of it afterwards and to be honest it doesn’t bother me enough for me to take it out and do it again.
The end result is a comfortable, floaty dress. In all honesty it’s a bit looser through the bodice than I was expecting; I think it’s because my last (and most worn) version of the Anna dress was made in a quilting cotton with underlining so it is relatively bulky. No matter, it’s going to make a lovely cool summer dress!
I wore it to town (‘town’ being a 4.5 hour round trip!) the other day with a belt to pull the waist in a bit, boots, stockings (that need to be retired, by the looks of these photos!), a bolero, and a necklace that was given to me a few days earlier by a friend. In summer I will likely just wear it on its own with black sandals.
The pattern: By Hand London Anna Dress
The Fabric: Op Shop Cotton
The Hack: swapped panelled skirt for gathered skirt
Bonus features: Painted border print, decorative stitch on neckline and sleeves
Notions: Thread, zip, bias tape
Would I recommend this pattern? Yes
Will I make this ‘hack’ again? Possibly, although I’ll probably make an Anna bodice with a circle skirt next.
And some outtakes. We got home from our day trip with just enough light left to snap a few photos, even though it was freezing and Little Miss was being very clingy!
Seriously, between the kids and the cats it’s no wonder I’ve never got any time for sewing!