Wednesday 4 June 2014

BHL Anna, dressed to the nines!

Oh lala! Here's a picture heavy post starring a By Hand London Anna dress. 

Where shall I begin? Last year I wanted to make this dress for a ballet gala. The pattern got lost in the mail, was sent again, but arrived too late to use it for the occasion. I moved on to other patterns and once in a while I looked at the Anna dress but lost a bit of my enthusiasm. It looked so...I don't know. Everytime I put it back to the end of the sewing queue. Fast forward to Sewing Indie Month. Laura Mae of Lilacs and Lace hosts a Dressed to the Nines competition for Indie patterns. In one of her posts she mentioned being underwhelmed by the Anna dress until she put it on and it came to life. I had the pattern, I already bought the fabric, only one way to find out if I would like it. Cut it! And cut it fast so I could finish it in time to link it for Sewing Indie Month.

I wanted to create a bla(n)ck canvas. A dress that could easily be changed into another outfit by simply adding a cropped jacket or silk scarf. So black it was. I lined the top because I prefer a lining over facings. I used fusible tape to stabilize the neckline and shoulders. 

This picture shows the typical pleats, instead of darts. And of course I could not resist making the split.  I made no changes (wow, couldn't believe my luck!) except for cutting off nearly 6 inches at the hem. And yes, yes, yes, I like my dress! 

To finish the outfit I teamed it with a self drafted silk jacket. Very cropped, because it was a very small piece of silk that had been in my stash for over twenty years. I lined it with matching satin and used the leftover pieces to make some flowers.

I put the flowers on safety pins so they can be removed.

The pictures aren't the best, sorry. The deadline for the link party is today and at 4 pm I could finally start the hemming. By hand. An hour later a thunderstorm passed, it was dark inside and soaking wet outside. No time to lose (and as you can see: no time to press the hem either), as soon as the rain stopped I found a dry spot for the tripod and modeled the dress under a tree to keep the silk as dry as possible. 

This is where I spotted the next thunderstorm. Time to grab my dress and run!

Sewing Indie Month was just the little push I needed to finally make this pattern, and I'm glad I did!
The pattern is still on my sewing table, my next dress will be another Anna. I just have to decide whether I'll make the shorter version or a relaxed summer version of the maxi dress. Or both. To be continued!

Whatever the weather, happy sewing!