Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Brighton Anna


This is the first completed item from my FESA list!
Prompted as ever by a sewalong (although I ended up not following it as I was too keen to get her finished) and by all the gorgeous versions I have seen popping up everywhere, in particular,  Lizzy's, Roisin's and Fiona's, I wanted to make a winter Anna.  A summer version would be gorgeous but I had pretty much missed the boat on summer makes by the time I got my act together and ordered the pattern!  I went for the midi version with a slash neck - I feel like this could be a better fitting version of the Colette Peony, which I love the shape of but have never worked out my fitting kinks!
I chose a wool blend from Minerva Crafts in french navy and found it really easy to work with - it feels similar to a couple of 1960s vintage dresses I have.  although I did have to use a pressing cloth (as the slightly shiny patch over the back bodice dart will testify). To be able to wear it with tights, I decided to line it, and used a poly satin from Fabricland (previously used this fabric to line my Anise jacket).
As a few bloggers had commented that the bodice was fairly short, I lengthened by 3" as i would usually do.  The waistband sits about 1" above my natural waist but I think this is in line with the design.  My usual small FBA was needed.  I wanted the skirt to hit on the knee rather than midi length as this is more flattering for me, so I left the length as drafted.
I could actually have got this out of 2 metres of fabric, even with my length adjustments so since I bought 3 metres (Minerva only work in whole metres as part of keeping prices down) I have enough left for a skirt hopefully.
After cutting out all the gored skirt panels from lining, I realised that I could have cut the lining as one piece and saved myself all that seaming and finishing, but never mind!  I sewed the darts and pleats down just at the waist to allow for breathing room.
As I didn't plan originally to line it, I failed in avoiding hand sewing - using the Cambie lining tutorial I could have attached the zip to the fabric and lining by machine, but I had sewn up the side seams by this point so too late!  So I slip stitched the lining to the zipper tape by hand.  On a positive note, the invisible zip went in like a dream.
I also hand catch stitched the hem of the dress as I preferred the look.  I tried to finish the lining hem using the rolled hem setting on my overlocker, but the fabric was fraying so badly that the hem was pulling away from the rest of the skirt.  Normal overlocking worked fine.
I really love this dress.  I think it needs a belt, brooch or bright tights to liven it up (went with belt and tights when I wore it the day we took pics) as it's a plain colour but I can tell I will wear it loads this winter.  Can't wait til spring when I can make a few more in summer prints and light fabrics (oh and a maxi version too)!

21 comments:

  1. It looks great! The perfect cozy winter dress :)

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    1. Thanks sarah. It is definitely cosy - that day turned out fairly warm and I was so hot!

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  2. Beautiful! And that wall is great!

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    1. Thanks hon. We bloggers love a cool wall don't we?

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  3. It looks so good on you! I love the plain color, as you called it, because it can go with so much more. I am rethinking this pattern now that I've seen your dress. I didn't think I liked it all that much before, but now I'm sold!

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    1. thanks laura! glad you like it. it's a fab pattern! i think either prints or plains look great!

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  4. This looks great, and the wool fabric sounds perfect for autumn/winter. The slash neck looks so good as well!

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    1. thanks kathryn - i love the slash neck version!

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  5. Beautiful! It looks like the perfect A/W dress to me. The more Annas I see, the more I want one for myself. Ah, one day! I love the idea of a wool dress for winter but it scares me a little. I don't do dry cleaning and often when you buy fabric it doesn't come with sewing instructions. Did you wash a sample first?

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  6. Thanks nicki. you should Definitely make one! It's a wool blend so on advice from twitter I pre washed it in machine. First I cut a 10 cm square so I could measure it to make sure it didn't shrink (it didn't). I'm also realistic about the liklihood of me bothering to dry clean a dress - dry clean items don't get worn nearly as often!

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    1. Ah great, thanks for the advice.

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  7. This is a lovely winter dress. The colour is gorgeous and really suits you!

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    1. thanks helen! i am slowly moving from lots of black to lots of navy!

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  8. Jo! I love the Winter Anna! What a great idea! Isn't it marvelous how we can all take the same pattern- and then there are so many varieties!!!? ~Laurie

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    1. thanks laurie - that's the best thing about sewing! i love to see how people put their own stamp on a pattern!

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  9. I love your Anna dress! I think I'll have to go and make myself a winter Anna too. I love this pattern. Now fabric shopping! :)

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    1. thanks very much - glad to have enabled your fabric shopping!

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  10. I've been meaning to comment on this ever since I saw it. Basically YESSSS, this is fabulous! xx

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  11. I've just finished my first Anna which is the first dress I've ever sewn. I have some gorgeous dusky pink wool blend tweed and have been searching for the perfect pattern as I didn't think it would be suitable for the Anna. Having seen your winter Anna I'll look no further - it looks great! You mentioned that you would have made the lining in one piece - would you do this by tracing round the assembled skirt pieces? Thanks, Nicola

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    1. thanks nicola! anna is a great pattern for a beginner i think - the fitting is not too difficult and the instructions are clear. that wool blend sounds like it would be perfect (altho for tights-wearing reasons i think you might need to line as i did). i would probably have taped the skirt pieces together (at the seamlines rather than the edges) and cut around those. it would probably be best to cut a front piece and 2 back pieces rather than trying to do the whole skirt in one piece as i suspect your lining fabric won't be wide enough. hope that helps - send me an email on the address in the side bar if you need to chat through further! good luck!

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