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.
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.
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
- Five blissful hours.