Saturday, September 28, 2013

Miss Anna Seizes Her Liberty


Happy Saturday, kittens! Most of my day has been spent watching college football on the couch in my pajamas, but the morning was certainly eventful. Sam and I attended one of our favorite weekend events, the Waco Downtown Farmers Market, where all manner of lovely things can be found: crepes, organic farm-raised meat, fresh tamales, frou frou coffee drinks, and Parisian macarons. It's a very international-meets-country start to the weekend and part of what I love about my new locale. When I find myself longing for the big city during the week, I think about the crepes awaiting me and my blues quickly disappear. 


So, what does one wear on such a perfect morning? A new dress, of course! Earlier this week, I put the finishing touches on another By Hand London Anna Dress. Or, a Franken-Anna, anyway. While I adore the bodice on my original Anna, I wasn't super crazy about the cut of the skirt. It's nice to have one out-of-the-ordinary dress for my closet, but I didn't want five more versions. Enter the dirndl! 

Instead of the gored original skirt, I paired the bodice of this Anna with a gathered rectangle skirt. The result is a lovely, flowy delight of a dress. Kimono sleeves! Pleated bodice! Gathered skirt! It's all that is good and right in the sewing world. 

Naturally, I didn't think of it myself. I knew it would work, because the lovely Roisin has already made a few of these. Her blog is an excellent source of sewing inspiration, as you can tell by my frequent linkage lately. 


For fabric, I used 3 meters of Liberty Tana Lawn that I bought off Ebay UK last year. It's a gray-and-brown floral on a black background, which makes it an ideal dress for fall. The name of the pattern is an utter mystery to me, despite ten minutes of solid Google searching, but it's gorgeous. Would we expect something else from Liberty? I can't wait to dress this lovely up with tights and boots!




In my mind, I flirted briefly with doing a full lining for this dress, instead of the prescribed facings. Once you try on a single-layer Liberty dress, however, it's hard to add a non-Liberty layer between your skin and it. So, I gave in. When it gets chilly, I'll throw on a slip with the dress and a cardigan. Since it's unlined, the dress is finished with black lawn facings and overlocked seams throughout.

While I do love this pattern, I have a few issues with By Hand London's instructions. They're wonderfully clear for beginners, but they skip some important construction steps as a result. After rethinking the way I did my first Anna dress, which was mostly by the book, I added a few steps to my process. My neckline was stay-stitched first thing, which kept the edges from warping as I worked, and the facings were added after the zipper instead of before. Additionally, I under-stitched the neckline seam to the facings, so that they turned more easily. In the end, the inside is much cleaner this time around.

 Invisible zipper!

 Facings! Wrinkled, because I wore this all day. Let's pretend I didn't tell you that, okay?



 Isn't it marvelous? To sum up: Liberty and Anna are a wonderful match, indeed.

The details...

Things I Loved: 
  • The fabric! Liberty is always a good idea. 
  • The neckline. A deep-V is such a fun shape to wear--comfortable, flirty, and perfect for my favorite antique cameo pendant. 
Things I Changed:
  • Under-stitched the facings.
  • Added facings after the zipper, so that the finish was prettier. 
  • Stay-stitched the neckline. 
  • Added in-seam pockets, because...pockets. 
Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Widen the skirt. Liberty is pretty narrow, so if you don't want more than two pieces to the skirt, it's not the fullest dirndl. My next versions will be with wider fabric anyway, so I'll cut the skirt a few inches wider. 
Tricky Steps & Suggestions:
  • There is an invisible zipper, which can be tricky, if you're not used to them. There are quite a few great tutorials around the web, however, Sunni's being my personal favorite and the one that sold me on them. 
Notions & Fabric: 
  • 3 meters Liberty of London Tana Lawn - $45
  • 22-inch black invisible zipper
Construction Time:
  • Five blissful hours.


21 comments:

  1. so lovely! i have a anna in progress, but i didn't realise my fabric was a bit sheer, and the facing shows through, very unpretty! so i'll have to snip that off and replace with a bias facing... eh. i agree with the instructions beeing somewhat lacking. they are a pleasure to read and follow, and there are some very neat tips in there, but i could't for my life find anything about interfacing the facings? anyways, enough ramblings, your anna is wonderful, great work!!

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    1. Thanks, Joelle! And I'm so sorry to hear about your Anna woes. That exact same thing has happened to me with thin voiles and facings...it's such a pain to realize it, only after already sewing them on. I can't wait to see your Anna, though, bias faced and all.

      Also, it's a relief to not be the only one a bit perplexed by BHL's instructions. They're so conversational and fun to read, but some important steps definitely seem glossed over. Interfacing and under-stitching facings seem like Sewing 101 things that every patter should include!

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  2. I absolutely adore that dress! Well done.

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  3. I love your Anna! This might be the one to make me get the pattern...

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    1. Thanks, Susan! It's totally worth the buy. The bodice alone makes it a keeper pattern for me.

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    2. It's just lovely in the liberty and the neckline looks great on you! I just finished my first Anna: http://www.funkbunnysgarden.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/finished-anna-dress.html

      I agree with you about the instructions. I under stitched my facing too , although didn't interface (perhaps I should have). I think it's good to point these things out.

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    3. Oh, yours is lovely, Funkbunny! That fabric is gorgeous. Honestly, I didn't interface my facings either, because I loathe the feel of interfacing right against my skin, but the under-stitching worked well enough on its own.

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  4. This bodice with a gathered skirt is blissful! And a full Liberty dress? A lady can dream! You look smashing!

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    1. Thanks, Amanda! Doesn't the bodice pair so well with a fuller skirt? I am totally in love with this pattern hack. There may be five more iterations of this, before I'm finished...

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  5. That fabric! My goodness girl, you have absolutely killed it with this dress. I love it all! From the gathered skirt change (excellent call), to the pleated bodice, and of course that amazing fabric. Ahh excellent work girl, you seriously killed it.

    I'm really jealous about your Farmers Market endeavors by the way. My city has one too but it doesn't sound to be nearly as good as yours, we're definitely lacking in the macaron/ crepes/coffee drinks/anything remotely worth going area. ha but I'm glad to hear you had fun (and had a nice new dress to wear too!)

    Oh and last thing and then I swear I'll end this monster of a comment of mine. I just wanted to say that I'm so glad you commented on my blog because it led me to yours and my goodness girl, you are just all sorts of inspiration! I love everything you make and look forward to following you along from now on.

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    1. Thanks a million, Haylee, both for loving the dress and following the blog! I completely adore your blog, as well. I *may* have a certain awesome floral silk twill sitting in my cart at Mood, thanks to your inspiration ;)

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  6. My Anna pattern popped through the letterbox last week and now you've put it top of my sewing list! Looks fab and love what you did with the neck … I'm pretty bust heavy so a straight across neck on me can end up with me looking like a human cube. Hope you don't mind it I nick your V neck inspiration!

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    1. T, I wish I could take credit for the V-neck! It's the bodice version for the maxi skirt view...which I just chucked a shorter skirt on. It's funny, because I normally don't mind higher necklines, even with my bustline, but I immediately ruled the slash neck out for this dress. V-necks are just too cute--and rare in sewing patterns--to pass up! Good luck on your Anna! I can't wait to see the result.

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  7. This is a real beauty of a dress & the tana lawn is an amazing fabric to wear! Inspiring creation! :o)

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    1. Thank you, Clare! Tana lawn is, hands down, my favorite apparel fabric. It's so, so sumptuous to wear, especially for a cotton.

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  8. That's a beautiful dress! I love the gathered skirt. My Anna is awaiting remedial work on the facings and then needs hemming before I can wear it. I really want to make another one too, but ought to make my Elisalex dress next.

    Lovely blog too!

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    1. Thank you, Kate! I actually just finished my third Anna, because I don't have any willpower, when it comes to trying new patterns. I tend to find one, love it, and make five of them. It's so fun to try new patterns, but I'm forever seduced by things I already love. The Elisalex looks like such a fantastic pattern, though! I can't wait to see both it and your Anna.

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  9. Oh, this is gorgeous! I love the changes you made to both the technique and the design, awesome results. And holy frijoles batman, $45 of 3 meters of Liberty?? Total steal.

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