Anna the 1st

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Happy Valentines my lovelies!  If you’re into this particular day, I hope you’re having a wonderful one and if you’re not, I hope you can side step the mushy stuff and maintain your sanity!  Husband has a card and some After Eights, and I’ll cook something nice later but that’s the limit in this household!  As I’m writing this on Thursday evening I have no idea if he’s remembered or not (I suspect not… But that’s him and it doesn’t bother me).

As the sun was shining yesterday and I was working at home, I used my lunch break to finally, finally, photograph the first By Hand London Anna dress I made.  This is by no means a recent make of mine – more like last summer shortly after it was released!  It’s a really happy, summery dress – mainly because of the fabric (mermaids, fish, whales!).

Anna 1

I did my usual FBA and sway back adjustment on this as well as Sonja at Gingermakes back neckline gape fix.  I used french seams where I could and  I catch stitched the sleeves for a lovely, flexible finish.  I also used a few tricks I’ve picked up to finish the facings and the facing to zipper.  This dress taught me that I needed a little more length in the bodice as the waist was a smudge too high and the pleats were also well into the bewb area rather than under them.  Something I didn’t catch when I actually toiled the bodice of this!

To finish the facings I sewed the facing to the interfacing, right sides together, pinked the seams and then flipped the interfacing over so that the glue side was against the wrong side of the fabric.  I then pressed.  This makes a really beautiful finished edge on the facing and takes a very short period of time to do.

Anna 2

The other finishing technique I used was where the facing meets the invisible zip at the back.  I use the Fashion Incubator method, which always gives me a really nice finish – In fact I use her insertion method too where you sew up the seam below the zip BEFORE you insert it.  Generally a fantastic resource for all sorts of things – beware you will loose hours but gain tons of knowledge!

I like this dress – although it is a little sheer!  Care is needed with underwear colours and situations where you’ll be back lit.  And strong gusts of wind as this skirt will catch a breeze as easily as a circle skirt!

So, there we are.  My 1st Anna dress.  A short and sweet post as this dress is already so well documented on the inter webs!

PS If you fancy winning a rather lovely brolly or a pattern of your choice, let me know in the comments of this post.  I’ll pull a winner out of the hat on Monday!

Secret Santa Anna Tron

Well, Hi there.  What do you mean it’s nearly the end of January!  Your lying.  Oh…  It really is.  Where has this month gone?!  Suffice to say it’s been a bit busy round these parts, but I’ve finally managed a little sewing and have one of my favourite dresses to date to show you!

Anna Tron

This is the By Hand London Anna dress and is the second version I’ve made (I just haven’t photographed the first one yet, OK?!).  The fabric was a gift from my Secret Santa as I took part again last year with the swap organised by the lovely Kat who blogs at Krafty Kat.

The fabric is a stretch cotton twill with this fabulous black and purple geometric print.  I went with the bateau neckline for this make as I didn’t want to break up the print.  The dress came together beautifully and I swapped out the facings to use the hot pink bias that accompanied the fabric.  My only irritation with the dress is my fault!  I’m shrinking (which is a good thing) and despite taking the side seams in on this over and over it’s still to big through the torso.  I’m going to follow Roisin at Dolly Clackett and hope that a turn through the washing machine will shrink it’s proportions suitably.  Or take even more out of the side seams!

Anna Tron Fit

I hope the photos above illustrate what I mean.  I’ve got a lot of fabric pulled behind my back or at my waist.  I’m not sure now the washing machine will fix this – I may need to be more daring in my side seam reductions!

So, along with the fabric, came the rather gorgeous pink bias binding which I used to finish the neckline, arms and hem.  I think it’s this inclusion of a really bright colour along with the geometric pattern of the fabric that made me name this dress ‘Tron’ as I’m not usually one for naming my makes!

Details Anna Tron

See, I love that insane pop of colour!  It matches my hangers too and I’m pretty happy with that pattern matching up the back where the invisible zip is.  So, not only did I get enough fabric to make a dress and finish it with a pop of colour, I also received a number of lovely sew in labels and a little handmade felt fox!  I love foxes so Secret Santa was spot on the money there, too.

Secret Santa

Just wonderful!  One of those labels will be going in Tron Anna.

And for those of you who haven’t come across Tron or Tron Legacy (I’m sorry, I like them both!) here’s a poster for the original film showing the illuminated patterns on the costumes that this dress makes me think of:

Link to Source
Link to Source


Sorry, more By Hand London dressing going on here…

Let me introduce to you Annalex; Elisalex’s bodice and Anna’s maxi skirt.  More Mrs Robinson on the leg front though than Angelina!  I made this a long long long time ago (August!) but By Hand have just released this ‘love child’ post so I thought I really ought to start attending to this here blog again now I’ve sat those exams!!


You got a sneek peak of this dress in my post about my Victoria Blazer.  There’s not a lot really to say about this dress!  The bodice is lined and the skirt french seamed.  It did take a bit of adjustment to get the skirt panels to continue the lines from the bodice, but nothing overly complicated.  I just made some skirt panels wider and some narrower as necessary!

I originally had a completely different plan for this dress.  I wanted to use a tropical print for the centre panels of the skirt and bodice and then a plain black for the sides to give a really neat colour block effect but I couldn’t find the print I’d imagined in my head anywhere.  I’m still on the look out though as that dress has to be made!

So I used this cotton sateen that came from my Goldhawk Road jaunt.  I love polkadots but if they’re too regimented it annoys me for some reason!  I much prefer a more random dottiness (which describes me quite well…).  So when I saw this fabric in a window display I needed 3m of it!  Needed I tell you!  At £5 a meter and 60″ wide that was no hardship either.  As long as you don’t have a directional print it’s perfectly possible to get a maxi from a reasonable amount of fabric.

My only miff with the fabric was that when I got it home it had a grubby mark at intervals along the selvedge where the roll had been propped on the shop floor.  I could not get this out so had to work round it.  If I’d known it was there I would have negotiated a better price on the fabric.  Ah well, live and learn.

Elisalanna Detail

So the bodice is lined (using some nautical vintage cotton) as per the Elisalex instructions and the skirt is french seamed as per Anna’s.  I hemmed the slit by hand as well as the hem and used a hand picked regular zip rather than an invisible one.

There’s not a lot more to say really!  The mash-up of two gorgeous BHL dresses is a success in my eyes and those girls can do no wrong.  Georgia is in the que and Charlotte has also been added so I now have the full collection…  I really must photograph Anna; the post is written but, photographs…

By Hand London Collection


Oh, and it was my birthday over the weekend!  The Charlotte skirt was a gift from me to me (to be made up in a small hounds tooth), I also received a new food processor as I blew up the last one (it was 15 years old!!), the Batman Trilogy (Christian Bale versions),  a new cycle helmet, a Crud Catcher rear mudguard and a bike trailer for Boy as he’s not up to long distance rides yet.  Also the Rock of Ages sound track as well as Despicable Me 2 (if the postman ever brings it – it’s allegedly out for delivery as I type…)

I was also treated to a pedicure so I have pretty toes at the moment and as I’m rubbish at coming up with a gift list I now have money to spend on Amazon and some cash to spend on whatever I like!  Any suggestions?!