Monday, February 3, 2014

Miss Anna Looks Nice Today

Sewing mojo, that fickle beast, has abandoned me in recent weeks. I'm blaming its departure on two things: knits and snow. Not only did I spend four days working on an absolute disaster of a dress, but it's been too damned cold to wear anything not made of wool. Conveniently, I refuse to sew any more cold weather pieces, since I do still live in Texas. It's going to be unbearably hot soon, I just know it! 

What's a girl to do, when she wants spring dresses in the middle of winter? Sew one anyhow. 

When inspiration flies out the window, returning to a beloved pattern always helps. If you can pair it up with luxe fabric, so much the better! Personally, I was rescued by By Hand London and Nani Iro. 

This is my fifth version of the Anna Dress and, hands down, my favorite so far. Though I loved my previous versions, some fitting issues bothered me. The pleats went a bit too high, negating the bust definition, and the waist wasn't quite snug enough for my tastes. So, I retraced the pattern. To address my quibbles, I shortened the pleats by an inch and widened them to take more width out of the waist. 

Voila! A perfectly fitted bodice! The changes were small, but really helped the pleats "open up" under my bust, as the design intended. 

The fabric for this dress is, as mentioned, Nani Iro. I am absolutely in love with this line of Naomi Ito's double gauze prints. They feel amazing against the skin, as soft as your favorite pajamas, and come in the most beautiful, romantic prints. Before making this dress, there were four lengths of double gauze in my stash, which I ogled but didn't dare cut into.They were far too pretty to risk ruining!

When looking through my Giant Fabric Closet last week, however, these fluorescent polka dots demanded use. This particular length was purchased from Harts Fabric, using a credit won from the lovely Melissa's blog, Scavenger Hunt, and made me ridiculously happy. Up close, the teal double gauze looks as if someone came along with highlighter ink and dropped it all across the fabric. It's whimsical, cheery, and just thing for a sewist in the doldrums.

Once again, I paired the Anna bodice with a gathered skirt. With a fabric this drapey, it would be a shame not to add some swish to the dress! So, this skirt is as full as the narrow fabric would allow and filled with the swish factor. It's a perfect spring dress - flirty, colorful, and comfy.

All of the inner seams were serged, because the fabric frays apart like crazy, and the hem is narrowly turned under by machine. As for the zipper, I used a hand-picked zip, that you cannot see in any of these pictures. We're still figuring out the lenses for my camera and the back shots were, invariably, a bit too blurry to use. Trust me: it's there, it zips. Hoorah!

Incidentally, we had one seventy-degree day between cold snaps, just in time to photograph this project! Even our crazy weather wants me to wear swishy dresses. Spring really is just around the corner, no matter what that insipid groundhog says. On that friends, are you aware of our odd US tradition of using golf course vermin to predict the weather? This can't be a worldwide thing. Tell me there's not a kiwi in New Zealand determining the length of summer!

The details...

Things I Loved:
  • The fabric! I always love the fabric I use, as that's the reason I sew in the first place, but this Nani Iro double gauze is just heavenly. I swoon, I sigh. 
Things I Changed:
  • Lowered & widened the pleats.
  • Added a gathered skirt. 
  • Added a hand-picked zipper, as per usual.

Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Nothing! The fit is pretty spot-on, now. (Excuse the pun.)

Notions & Fabric:
  • 3 yards of Nani Iro double gauze in "Pocho Teal", no longer for sale at Harts, but available from lots of sellers on Etsy

Construction Time:
  • Four hours, mostly because I inserted a zipper by hand. 

Murals have been popping up on the sides of buildings across town, but this newest one is my favorite, even with its missing comma. You look nice today, Blogland!

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