Monday, 11 April 2016

OCMPP part two: Anna

I have wanted to make an Anna dress since I discovered the existence of Anna dresses. I discovered the existence of Anna dresses approximately seven minutes after By Hand London stopped selling paper patterns, and since I didn't have a printer I just watched hundreds of beautiful versions float past me with ever-mounting envy. I even spent a very frustrating morning looking at every single online shop that delivered to the UK to see if they still had any Anna patterns in stock, and I found every single one of the BHL patterns except Anna. That was an annoying day.

In February I acquired a printer, and one of the first things I did after getting it home was buy myself a copy of this pattern. I was VERY EXCITED. And also a bit worried that this would be the thing I always worry about: the amazing pattern that looks amazing on everyone except me. But it would be fine, I counselled myself. I could do this. This was going to be a happy dress for Happy Jen.

I dare you to rain while I'm wearing this dress. I dare you. 

When purchasing my extremely inappropriate for March in England fabric, I bought the 2.5m the pattern claimed to require for the midi version. By messing around with the layout I only used about half that, which was fortuitous, as it turned out.

For some reason I decided I was going to cut a straight UK 16 and not bother doing any alterations to it. This was a very, very stupid idea, as I discovered when I tried on the bodice. It was the most hilarious not-fit I've had in my entire (admittedly short) history of dressmaking. My boobs got seriously squashed, the back wouldn't close, and trying to pull it shut made the neckline jump straight into my throat (somewhat painfully, I might add). I grumbled, swore a bit, left the dress on a table for the best part of a week, then came back and unpicked the stupid bodice.

Thanking Past Jen for her excellent fabric-saving skills, I added a 2.5in FBA to the front bodice piece and recut it. The 2.5 was an educated guess rather than a diligently calculated measurement, but Bodice 2.0 was much better. The proper amount of boob space without distorting the waist. I was very pleased.

The other thing I learned from Bodice 1.0 was that I really did not want that neckline facing. It was bulky and annoying and straight-up refused to stay inside the dress. So I took advantage of the fact that I'd had to unpick everything, threw the facing away and replaced it with bias binding (I had a package of bright orange binding sitting on my desk from a previous aborted project). I also used bias binding on the hem, because why not.

(I haven't stitched the zip tape down yet. It's not a priority, it's April. Where the hell am I going dressed like this?)

I love the fit on the bust and waist, the shape of the skirt. and the overall silhouette of this dress. I do not love the weird hump of fabric I get at my collarbone whenever I raise my arms. Is that something that can be eliminated through fitting adjustments? I could just make the V-neck version in future (and I will try that), but I prefer the boat neck shape for this pattern. More research required.

I will definitely be making more of these. I've already made a maxi version (coming your way very soon), I'd like to try a jersey version, and I suspect I will be making an Anna for at least one of the summer weddings in my calendar. Yes, I know I don't need a different dress for each wedding. What's your point?

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