I have had this crush on the Anna dress for a while.
I just liked the way the front pleats cinch in the waist and open up to make room for the lady lumps, without the chance of Madonna channelling pointy darts.
And the sleeves extend a little over the shoulders making them look broader – it creates a better balanced silhouette on a pear shaped lady like me. Did I just call myself a lady?! Giggle, Snort.
This is a pretty easy make. Which is why I managed to churn out two of them just this last weekend, with boring interruptions like grocery shopping, and doing the laundry. I’m afraid aside from meal preparations (‘cos a girl’s gotta eat), all other chores were ignored.
I had a quick glance at the instructions to gauge what order of construction they are suggesting, and found, that it was perfectly logical. I liked hemming the sleeves before sewing the side seems. It’s also mostly straight lines, so nothing complicated.
I was hoping for more tips on good garment construction, like stay-stitching at least the V-neckline, so it doesn’t stretch while you are handling the front bodice piece, and under-stitching the necklines rather that top-stitching for a sleeker finish, eliminating the need to perfectly match the thread. I also secured the facings to the shoulders by ‘stitching in the ditch’ of the shoulder seam. A word on interfacing would have been good too.
The fit is acceptable for me without amendments, aside from taking in the back bodice a little during the zipper installation.
I think the necklines gape a little, which is a problem I have regularly, but it doesn’t bother me enough to make amendments in this case.
Other than that, I’m elated to have been able to use the same size from top to bottom. The skirt flares just enough to allow for my larger hips and backside.
By the way, before you look at the fabric requirements in the instructions and your heart sinks, because you have the perfect fabric in your stash but not quite enough, I would suggest to lay it out and test if it might fit.
I had only 2 m of the cotton sateen (150 cm/60 in wide) for the short version (instructions suggest 2.5 m) and luckily that was enough for a size 16, and I have about 1 m left of my 4 m of Tencel for the long version (instructions suggest 3.5 m). Although, I was cutting the odd skirt piece upside down to have less waste. The print is random enough to do so.
I must also add, that the skirt for the long version seems be intended for gazelles, or to be worn with platform pumps with the highest heel you can find.
Before I cut out the skirt pieces, I measured the length roughly and decided to take off 12 cm. Once the dress was finished and I got to the hemming, I shortened it by another 5 cm to get to about ankle length that I can wear with flats, and hopefully not get my skirt caught in an escalator. It didn’t happen to me, but I have been able to witness a fabric hungry escalator on one occasion. Luckily someone quickly hit the emergency stop button, so the poor girl didn’t get hurt, but her dress is now a little more avant-garde than she might like.
On the short dress, I actually preferred to keep it as long as possible, and used a narrow hem, the same as is used for the sleeve hem.
I made the short version in a stretch cotton sateen with a black and white city skyscraper print, which I bought at Tessuti Fabrics a few of years ago.
This will also be my outfit for my brother’s birthday party (in two weeks), which has a black and white theme.
But I think this will come in handy for any occasion where smart casual attire is appropriate. I haven’t had a chance yet to wear it out, but I can feel this becoming a classic go-to dress for me.
The long version is a wonderfully lightweight floral Tencel from Spotlight, which I purchased less than a year ago, specifically with a the Anna dress in mind.
This is going to be the perfect dress for our super hot South Australian summer days.
On a more formal garment I may have gone for a slightly less scandalous version of the split than suggested in the pattern, but this is meant to be casual. I want to be able to throw it on quickly any day I discover that my legs are sporting a Don Johnson look, and I have no time or energy to rectify this. For those among us, that are too you to remember Don Johnson, I’m referring to stubbly regrowth – google Miami Vice. 😉
Phew, so I just scraped in for this (my first IPM) challenge!
Thank you, The Monthly Stitch for motivating me and finally getting me across the line with the Anna dress(es), that I have been meaning to make for so long.
Until next time…