Completed: BHL Anna dress

Anna dress frontThere seem to be a lot of weddings in my life right now and when you don’t want to buy any new clothes this means some sewing is in order. For the summer weddings this year I chose the Anna dress from By Hand London. I made size 8/12 at the bust grading to size 10/14 at the waist. For the front bodice piece this gave me a bit of a headache because of the way the different sizes are printed for this pattern piece. Getting it right meant I had to move the pattern piece a couple of times while I was tracing it.

150817_dressdetail1The fabric is a Robert Kaufmann cotton chambray; I like how soft it feels against the skin. The dress is unlined and all hems are hand stitched because I prefer how this looks over a topstitched hem. A hand stitched hem is also suppler than one that is topstitched. The seams on the inside are finished with a 3-thread overlock stitch. The dress closes with an invisible zipper and hook and eye in the center back seam.

Anna dress insidesI am pretty happy with the fit at the front, although there does appear to bit of gaping at the front neckline. The shoulder seams were moved forward, a modification I make on nearly every garment.

Anna dress sideThe fit at the back is not so great. The back neckline was way too large (I think it is on everyone who makes this dress) and I used this method to remove the excess. The back waist seam was raised. I also felt the skirt was too wide at the back and it fell in some weird folds. I simply removed it by taking the skirt in at the three seams at the back but I don’t think this was entirely successful. This dress was sewn in the hottest week we’ve had this year at the end of June, start of July and I fear this made me somewhat less meticulous than I otherwise would have been. At some point I was ready to use the half-completed dress to mop up the sweat on my forehead…

150817_dressbackIt’s been years since I wore a dress with a center back zipper and I now realise that I hate them. I am not a contortionist and I really prefer to be able to dress and undress myself without pulling a muscle. From now on I’ll avoid center back zippers like the plague or move the zipper to the side seam if that is possible.

Hand stitched narrow hem. I love how it is nearly invisible.

Hand stitched narrow hem. I love how it is nearly invisible.

I thought the dress was a bit plain when I first put it on and I think I actually prefer wearing it with a belt.

Anna dress with beltI’ve already worn this dress to two weddings this summer and have another one coming up soon. Since all three have a completely different set of guests I don’t mind wearing the same dress again.

From now on I expect to be able to post more regularly because I turned in my thesis last week. There will be more time for sewing and I’ve already completed two more garments! One I really love and one utter failure. Pictures have already been taken and both will hopefully be featured soon.

Anna dress

Let’s see what happens when I stand on this random piece of concrete…

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15 comments on “Completed: BHL Anna dress

  1. tialys says:

    A very nice wedding guest dress! I’ve heard lots of good things about the Robert Kaufmann chambray fabric – I must give it a try. I’m with you on centre back zips and I always ignore the silly suggestion that you put a hook and eye at the top – as if!
    Anyway, what did happen when you stood on that random piece of concrete? ;)

    • Emmely says:

      You should give this fabric a try! One of the weddings was on one of hottest days we’ve had this year and the fabric didn’t feel sticky at all against my skin. It also presses really well.
      My boyfriend managed to take this one silly-looking picture and then I fell off…

  2. knettycraft says:

    The dress turned out very lovely. I never tried sewing such complex things like clothing (and I definitely have no longer the figure for such beautiful clothing.

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you! I think any figure can wear something beautiful as long as the fit is right. That part is the most difficult though in my experience and I’m certainly still learning to get better at it.

  3. katechiconi says:

    It’s an elegant and versatile dress, and it suits you. Think of the changes you’d make as a learning process, and make a couple more of the dresses in different colours, and perhaps this time with the zip somewhere else…

    • Emmely says:

      I considered making another one to solve the fit in the back but the truth is that I don’t have that much use for summerdresses in my current life. In the Netherlands we just don’t get enough really hot days to wear them and often when the outside temperature would justify bare legs and arms I have to work. The temperature inside my workplace is so low that I don’t want bare legs and arms because I’d have goosbumps all day. When I’m doing labwork bare legs also aren’t allowed for safety reasons.

  4. Deborah says:

    It’s so lovely to see your work again! Congrats on getting that darn thesis turned in!

    I love the dress and the whimsy of the concrete block pose. :-)

  5. Carolyn says:

    Huge congrats on turning in your thesis!!! :) As others have said, it’s great to see you posting again too. I really love this chambray, and your Anna turned out beautifully. I do think it looks better with the belt, just to give it some additional interest. I did the same thing a few years ago and wore the same dress to a bunch of weddings over the same summer… and no one noticed! :)

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you! The only one who would notice at these particular weddings would be my boyfriend since he is the only other guest attending all three.

  6. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Congratulations on getting your thesis completed!
    So glad you’ve been able to relax now, and think about doing things for yourself . . . like sewing. 😉
    Agree with you 100% on center back zips, and hand-stitched hems. A lovely dress!

    • Emmely says:

      Thank you! If anyone had told me two years ago that I would now prefer to handstitch my hems I would have declared him crazy but they just look so much better.

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