I ummed and ahhed before buying this pattern (the Anna dress by independent pattern designers By Hand London).  It's essentially an A-line dress, which often leave me a bit meh.  Rightly or wrongly, I always think they're a bit dull, frumpy but ironically this is a silhouette I should wear regularly. I'm a bit of a pear so A-lineish skirts and close fitting tops are more flattering on me*.

And Anna takes away the frump.  It's her details.  The bodice pleats, the grown-on cap sleeves, the six or maybe eight panels that make up the skirt and the gorgeous boat neckline. 

I've made her once before in a black poly-cotton broderie anglaise. I made the floor length version with a thigh high split for a friend's wedding and loved the style, but I hate wearing polyester and it's now too big so it hasn't really been worn since. 

But, I could pretty much wear this version every day. I love navy. I adore this fabric.  Although I have absolutely no idea what it is.  I really need to find a way to learn more about types of fabric as I can tell you cotton, silk, poly, knit, wool but after that I'm kind of at a loss. At a guess it's some kind of very stable cotton knit with an interesting, prominent weave and a bit of stretch, which I completely fell in love with on one of my first trips to Mood Fabrics and had to buy despite having no plan for it.  It's heavy and holds it's shape nicely but that also means the neck facing is bulky and there's a whole bunch of irritating fabric on the waistline seam that I need to do something with to make it lie flat.  And looking at these photographs the bulky hem needs sorting out as well.  In fact the whole thing could do with a good press, but it's the kind of fabric that shows all the seam lines if you go at it too hard with the old steam.

Unpretty, bulky, needs sorting out waistline seam, but you can see the gorgeous texture of the fabric.

It was pretty straightforward to make and I'm super chuffed with my first attempt at an exposed zip, which I thought would work better on this heavy fabric than the invisible zip recommended.  I was very pleased with myself about combining this fabric with that pattern and the zip.  Ridiculously so!

So I think there will be more A-lineish shapes in my future. 

My alterations:

  • Added 1 inch to the bodice length
  • Graded up between sizes from bust to waist
  • Swapped invisible zip for an exposed one using this tutorial

Worn with:

  • Suede boots from Aldo
  • A favourite necklace from Cog & Pearl in Brooklyn.

*So it seems that by sewing your own clothes and writing about it, you end up sharing:
a) more photos of yourself pulling ridiculous poses than you feel entirely comfortable about and
b) body details that are potentially TMI. 

In for a penny ...

See you soon x