Friday, 27 December 2013

Lily Anna

Proof that I have been sewing...

I joined the By Hand Anna bandwagon. I made this dress in November actually, it's fabric I've had in the stash for about two years. I bought it from the Fabric Warehouse (I think) not long after we arrived here in NZ. It's a really fine, soft cotton lawn. Beautifully soft and floaty, but thin. It needed a lining.

I was determined to make an Anna, but which one? Quickly decided on the maxi dress with thigh split and the V-neck. Problem, how am I going to line the skirt section? I managed to find a plain black cotton lawn to line it with and decided to do a half skirt length lining.

I made up a muslin of the bodice. I was quite pleased with the fit of that, except the darts needed shifting over, they didn't sit quite right. I also lengthened the bodice by about half/three quarters of an inch. Not a great deal, but it certainly makes it sit better. I didn't try the zip in the muslin - which may have been my downfall later with the real version.

I had nearly 4m of the main shell fabric and making the maxi dress I've used most of it, mainly making sure I had all pieces the right way up, but also those skirt pieces are quite wide time you get to the bottom of the full length pieces.

For the neck, to give more stability, I cut the facing pieces too. So the neck has facing as well as the lining.

I've seen lots of comments about the gape on the back of the neck, how to check this problem. My muslin fitted well, but this bodice fitted completely differently - a lesson in making the muslin from similar fabric. The front was perfect, the new dart position works a treat, the length of the bodice is so much better too. The back however was enormous. Quite strange for me, I'm aware I have rounded shoulders and am very fond of slouching, so a back bodice with LOADS of ease was odd to say the least. I got Mr N to help and just pin the back pieces together. There was about an inch plus seam allowance! Help! Were the side seams still OK? Mm, yes, very odd, must have been decidedly lackadaisical over the cutting.

Anyways, I pinned the zip in with an inch most of the way, but I think it's an inch and a quarter at the top of the zip, ha ha, got rid of some of the gape :-) I also reduced the seam once I got to the skirt, so I didn't lose any of the back on the skirt. Yep, I've fiddled it again, story of my life methinks, cheating with my fixes :-)

So started to sew in an invisible zip, in this beautiful fabric and ARGH!! It just didn't like it. I was nearly in tears. I remember messaging my WSBN friends in a panic, what to do, I'd broken two needles (I'm not made of 70/10 needles). It was also chewing up my beautiful dress. Wah!

The answer came with a resounding, handpick it. Help! I have never handpicked a zip in my life, what do I do, how do I do it? Thank you my trusty blogging friends around the world. I mainly used Tasia's tutorial, but checked out some other sites too. It worked a treat and I was surprised how quickly and easily it went in. Check this out - my first handpicked zip...

The waist is not perfect, but I'm really pleased how it's turned out. The lining is attached to the shell fabric down the split and is machine hemmed. I think the lining comes to just above the knee. The main dress is hemmed by hand. The seams I've pinked. I decided that since the dress is lined, I could get away with pinking and not using French seams.

Anyhoo, I think that's all the construction type stuff.

Mm, methinks I need to get a bit of tan on that there thigh...

The details...
Fabric:  Black cotton lawn for both the shell and lining, I'm pretty certain both came from Fabric Warehouse.
 Notions:   Thread and an invisible zip.
Pattern:  By Hand of London Anna dress, variations 1 and 2
First worn:  To the WSBN Christmas picnic at the Botanic Gardens in Wellington
Worn with (in this pic):  Jandal type slingbacks and if you can spot it, some jewellery which has lilies on it :-)
Changes made:  Lengthened the bodice by 3/4 inch and shifted the darts more to the centre.
Another one?  I've a feeling another one of these will happen sooner rather than later, I'm already scheming which fabric from my stash may work and make Variation 3.

Thanks to the lovely Kat for wielding my big nerdy camera. And the outtake...

Hey, you, bombing my photos? (The Girl from the Naki and Off-grid Chic)


  1. Haha love the outtake! :) love the detailed post and your final outcome is divine! :)

    1. Thanks Jo, the dress has had a lot of wear already, I love it

  2. I. Love. It!! The neckline is great on you and the slash is pretty saucy! I feel your pain with the fabric not playing along when you were inserting your zipper It is SO stressful! but now you have an amazing beautiful dress!

    1. Thanks, I certainly need to make sure I've got a suntan with that slash! At least my handpicked zipper worked!

  3. It is such a beautiful dress - ha ha - the photo bomb made the blog :D

    1. Disgraceful, bombing my photos like that :-D

  4. it look great, and thanks for sharing link to that zip tut :)

    1. Thanks Kura, I'm really pleased with the dress.

  5. I love this dress. Your hand picked zipper looks perfect - I love a good hand picked zip :-) The perfect summer dress - I can feel how light and cool it is to wear.

  6. The dress is beautiful, and it looks a million bucks on you. Well done on persevering and getting the zip in, it looks great! And that photo bomb is awesome.

  7. Hey look at me finally catching up on my blog commenting :)

    Your long Anna is so flowy and pretty, beautiful work and I envy your patience for hand picked zippers, seriously!

    Love the Angelina leg shot ;)