Ambivalent about Anna

Thanks for all the lovely comments about my dotty Hawthorn dress 🙂 As soon as I tried on my first shirt muslin I knew I loved the pattern; I didn’t get that feeling with this Anna dress. (The picture below could be interpreted as a look of uncertainty, but actually I was eating a mint. Yup, that’s how comfortable I am about photos of myself on this blog now, I’ll even take photos while I’m eating!)

anna 2

I’m not sure whether I dislike the pattern on my body, or whether it just didn’t live up to the hype and adulation of millions of other bloggers (I’m looking at you Dolly Clackett!). This is why I refuse to get into popular shows or books until many years after the hype has eased off; If I watch something expecting to love it and I only really like it, the expectation and pressure to enjoy something takes away from my actual enjoyment. I think that is what happened with Anna. I expected so much from this little pattern, maybe more than a pattern can deliver, so when I tried it on during making I was underwhelmed and left it in my to-do pile for a quite a few weeks.

anna 4

I made this version in a cheap light-weight cotton (it had some slight flaws every 50cm or so, but I love the print so I got loads) with a plan to be a wearable muslin before using some fancy fabric for a winter dress. I did a Full Bust Adjustment (you have seen this already in my tutorials here and here) and followed the sew-along instructions to add sleeves to the bodice. The sleeves were initially 3/4 length but they were too snug to move, so I just hemmed them at the point where they fit.anna 1I much prefer the dress when worn with a cardigan, as I think it is the kimono sleeves that are the part I’m not so keen on. I’m not small round the chest, so the extra fabric from the kimono sleeves adds a bit more than I feel confident with. Maybe a summer Anna with no sleeves might feel better. The neckline here was a rush job, as I wasn’t feeling the love for this dress and just wanted it finished. As lots of people found, I was able to pull this over my head without undoing the zipper.anna 3There are some good things about this dress, but the hype was too much for it to live up to. My cousin saw these pictures and liked the dress, so I think I am being a bit picky, but after years of sewing I guess I am at the stage where I don’t put up with less than almost perfect. I am currently at my parents for Christmas, with ALL the cousins (for the first time in four or five years!) which is super exciting, but I have a couple more garments to show you when I have some quiet time.



8 thoughts on “Ambivalent about Anna

  1. Actually, I prefer this style of dress on you, it looks rather flattering!! I too had to do a FBA on my Anna dress bodice, and used the ‘Fit for Real People’ method of adding a FBA and narrow shoulder adjustment to kimono style bodice and it came out very well and was happy with the result. However, I did find that I needed to shift the bust pleats and as a consequence, also needed to change the width of the centre front skirt panel to match the bust pleats, so it balanced nicely. I did mention this to By Hand London team on their Facebook page, well before the sew a long started, but they chose not do that and did the example you highlighted. I too was disappointed that they did not mention, a more appropriate method for us full busted ladies. Having said that, BH London probably didn’t want to put off sewers who are less experienced in pattern alteration, by making the alteration less complex to understand..

  2. Ha ha! Loving your “I don’t care if I’m eating a mint” attitude!
    I think it may be the kimono sleeves that are giving you the unfamiliar silhouette. It does look great with the cardi, the waist definition certainly suits you.

  3. The print is gorgeous! I think the dress looks great if you take away the sleeves, I’ve never been sure about three quarter length kimono sleeves on anyone to be honest, never really understood the whole batwing thing. It looks really great on you with the cardigan!

  4. I think this is very pretty and you look super cute – but you know I think that you’re adorable, and that I shamelessly love Anna! I think that Fiona is right though and that you might feel more comfortable in the shorter sleeves as you might have less fabric pooling under your arm/at the top of your bust?

  5. I always want to love kimono sleeves, but I end up altering them so much to get any shape thats flattering, they aren’t worth it for me. Lop those sleevies and see how you feel. I am a post-trend gal myself- I get you!

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