Monday, 27 January 2014

Finished Project & Pattern Review: By Hand London 'Anna'.

Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress

This dress is by far, the BEST thing I've handmade in my life! 

I am so pleased with the final result. All the hours of measuring, marking, photographing, crying, tweeting, swearing, googling, sewing (times 400) paid off in the end. I am smitten with this dress. Absolutely in love with it.

The fabric is cotton voile, I bought with the intention of making a a dress or maxi gathered skirt. I asked for 2m but the lady accidentally snipped at 1m so she gave me a little extra fabric, I ended up with 2.3m.

The fabric is 114cm (45") wide. After cutting off 9" on the skirt panels I managed to fit all the pieces on the 2.3m length.

The floral print is so busy, I don't think there is any obvious direction on the fabric, so two of the skirt panels were laid upside-down. 

Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
Overlocked the arm holes, turned them up twice, machine stitched.
Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
Interfaced facings with whisperweft.
Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
All edges overlocked.

The seams were finished on the overlocker, I used white thread for the whole dress - except for the arm holes, I don't know... I felt obligated to use the pink thread. Shrugs.

I was going to handpick the zipper, but went with an invisible one to practice. OMG I have lost my touch. I used to be so good at sewing on invisible zippers, now I suck. It took me over 1 hour to get the zipper on. 

The dress took me 7 hours to sew, I didn't stop for meals. I had a deadline to have the dress finished Saturday night to wear on Sunday to a birthday party. 

I started to get pretty fatigued at the four hour mark and sewed the facing on the wrong way. Luckily I realised my mistake before trimming and understitching. I went and drank a protein shake then carried on.

Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
Pretty pink zipper and a pretty good dart!
Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
My beautiful facings match, yay!

I used the machine to stitch the facing down (instead of hand blind stitching). I flipped the facing over so right side of bodice and facing were together, and stitched down along the zipper teeth.

Because I made so many adjustments to the bodice, I drafted/drew my own facings rather than making adjustments to the facings in the pattern, seemed easier at the time.

Pattern Review: By Hand London, Anna

Size: 2/6 bust, 6/10 waist, 6/10 hips
Fabric2.3m cotton voile
Notions: Gutermann thread (800, 733), 22" invisible zipper, 0.5m whisperweft interfacing, 
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: Hahahahahahhahaahha!! Where do I begin?!?!?!
  • shoulder seam adjustment - shoulder seam was sitting too far back, redistributed 3cm from front shoulder seam to back shoulder seam (more details here)
  • side seam adjustment - side seam was swinging forwards, redistributed 3cm from back bodice to front bodice (more details here)
  • hollow chest adjustment - took 4cm wedges out of front bodice at the neckline (more details here)
  • swayback adjustment - 2.5cm swayback adjustment (more details here)
  • erect back adjustment - took 3cm wedge out of CBL (more details here)
  • added 2cm back into CBL to raise back neckline higher 
  • lengthened front bodice by 2cm
  • short person adjustment, took 9" off the skirt length :P
What I learnt: I learnt so much about my body. I learnt that I have an erect posture and that the front half of my torso is bigger than my back half - big rib cage, hollow back!! 

What I love about the pattern:
  • The instruction booklet is incredible, so detailed and also funny to read. Boobies, hehehe
  • The way BHL marked the darts using pins and chalk - genius! I hate doing tailors tacks
  • Finally, a pattern that doesn't add too much ease and has a size that fits my small bust

What I didn't love about the pattern: Can't say there is anything I do not like about the pattern except maybe BHL should have added some more markings on the skirt panels to make it easier to differentiate which side is which, for example how the BIG4 mark the centre back seam with the 3 notches, that's usually handy, but other than that the pattern is perfect.
Cost: Fabric $20,  Zip $5, Interfacing $5
Hours: 1 hr cutting, 7 hours sewing.
Completed on: 25th January 2014.
First worn: 26th January 2014, friend's 30th birthday party.

Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
Pleat seams matched up with skirt panel seams, yay!
Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
Side seam is straight, yay!
Finished project By Hand London Anna Dress
Waist seam matched when zipped up, yay!
Darts at the back didn't match up with skirt panel seams, no biggie.

The wrinkles that were on the back of my muslin didn't appear on the dress, so I won't worry about. On the next version I make with the rayon (for my friend's wedding) I will lower the front pleats about 1.5cm so the pleats open up just under my boobs - on this dress the pleats finish just above the underwire of my bra, I'd like them to finish on or below the underwire. I'll also follow Ginger Makes tutorial and take a small wedge out of the back neckline. And maybe relocate the back dart so they line up with the skirt seams.

I got my boyfriend to quickly snap these photos on my iphone on the way to my friend's birthday party. He did a pretty good job. I think I'm going to ask him to take all my photos from now on. It took him about 2 minutes to take all these photos, much quicker than if I took them myself. 

Finished project By Hand London Anna DressFinished project By Hand London Anna DressFinished project By Hand London Anna Dress

It was such a beautiful day yesterday, sunny with light winds, perfect conditions for a maxi dress. 
I was suppose to go to the 30th birthday first then to a housewarming/Australia Day party afterwards, but little me didn't have too much to eat and was mixing drinks - cider, white wine, champagne and vodka jelly shots so at about 7pm my vision started to blur and BF had to carry me into the house, where I passed out till about 10pm so I didn't make it to the other party.

Party finished up at about 3am but because it was a long weekend taxis were no where to be found so we crashed on my friend's couch. I gotta say this dress is very comfortable to sleep in and the cotton voile doesn't wrinkle much. 10/10 for comfort.

I can't wait to make this dress up in the rayon. I'm a little petrified at the thought of french seaming all those skirt panels, but I'll break up the sewing sessions over a few days, no more marathon sewing for me.

The last two weeks have been a great learning experience for me, how can one body have so many fitting issues lol. I'm curious to know if there is anyone out there who doesn't need to make any adjustments? Who is this person with no sway-back and super long legs??

I have found so much information on the internet to help with fitting, which I will share below. Hopefully this will help others like me who up until last week only cared about whether or not my waist fit and dismissed everything else.

My next project will be the rayon Anna and also the Georgia dress sewalong. I hope I will be able to keep up! Wish there was more hours in the day.

Thank you for reading! And if you're in Australia, I hope you had an awesome long weekend.


42 comments:

  1. Very pretty dress. https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

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  2. How fantastic do you look? I'm so impressed by your persistence (and your sewing marathon, eep, couldn't handle!). This is beautiful. And yes there are people that have the envelope body and I hate them for it! Haha! I'm just joking :) I'm glad you learned a lot about fit. You're very inspiring :)

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    1. Hahaha those lucky envelope ppl, grrr!!!!! I ove this dress so much, the color of the fabric matches my blog theme hehe.

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  3. Absolutely gorgeous :-)

    Its such a pain to fit a dress, but so worth it :-)

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    1. I'm hooked on adjustments now that I have seen the result. Now I will fuss over everything RTW item i own hahah

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  4. Oh my, what a beautiful job, all that care and attention shows - you look beautiful in this dress!

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    1. Thanks Jules!! I feel like a princess in this dress, love it!!! I want moarrrrr!

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  5. Beautiful! All that fitting work really paid off - it looks perfect and if it was comfy to sleep in that shows it fits well! Look forward to seeing your next version!

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    1. Thanks Jo! I'm so happy it turned out well, I was really nervous that the skirt wouldn't match up with the bodice because of all my adjustments, so relieved when everything matched up!! It has been great venting to you and the other girls on Twitter!!

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  6. It's beautiful - a lovely match with the fabric, and definitely worth all the fitting angst :). Hope version number 2 is smooth sailing for you!

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    1. Thanks Gabrielle, I hope the rayon is kind to me!! It will be my first make using rayon.

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  7. O it was worth all that effort fitting! It looks so great on you! I love the fabric you chose. I've done french seams on both my maxi length Anna's, it is really time consuming but kind of enjoyable once you get into it!

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    1. I love your Annas, they have been my inspiration, I was visiting your Anna posts every few days to stay motivated to keep going with the fitting :)

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  8. So glad all that hard work payed off, you look fantastic. I'm ordering the Anna dress pattern in the next few days

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    1. Thanks Kaitlyn! This dress is fantastic, I could live in it!! I wanna make more of it in cotton for everyday wear as well. Can't wait to see you Anna!

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  9. This is breathtaking. love the fit. Guess it was worth all the trouble!!

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  10. gorgeous and OH. that fabric!!! love that it's been tested overnight on le couch :)

    i'm off to read up on your research.

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    1. Hehehe, a pyjama Anna coming soon perhaps!!

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  11. This is so, so, so, so beautiful! It's an absolutely perfect dress! I'm super impressed by all your hard work-- it really paid off! I don't think anybody has an alteration-free body, but I do sometimes, um, let things slide and say "good enough" when I should probably do a little more work. Your work really shows as this fits perfectly!

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    1. Thanks Sonia. Yesssss I have been the Queen of letting things slide!! Even during the muslin process, if something didn't look right I'd tell myself that it's cos of my pinning or rough cutting, basically any excuse to convince myself the finished dress will good okay. Never the case though!

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  12. gorgeous! I recognise this fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics?

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    1. Yep it's from Darn Cheap! I love that shop. Almost all of my fabrics are purchased from there.

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  13. Mate you gun! Good work:) the floral fabric takes me back to making mine and my yelling at it haha..
    you will look knockout in Georgia ;)

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    1. I'm excited for Georgia!! I don't wear any body con style dresses, but I do wear fitted skirts for work, so hoping the Georgia will look alright on me!!

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  14. Such a lovely dress! Glad you enjoyed our mention of 'boobies' in the instructions :) Can't wait to see your Georgia! x

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    1. I'm very excited for Georgia, going through my fabric stash to find the perfect cotton sateen.... I have heaps!

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  15. That dress is truly wonderful, dear Lady! It's a great honor for you and your sewing skills! Congratulations, I take off my hat off to you!

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    1. Thank you Rosy, it was a great learning experience and I am now hooked on getting perfect fit!

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  16. Hi! This dress looks absolutely fantastic! I know that you worked so hard on the fitting and it really paid off! I am very impressed and as I mentioned earlier, your step-by-step methods, even though I have different fitting issues from you, have really helped me to consider that many sewing projects I think were impossible for me, just might be possible! Thank you so much for all your postings of this beautiful dress! It looks so good on you too! Kathy from Arizona

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    1. Hi Kathy! It's been a very interesting journey, I have learnt so much about sewing, fitting and my body. The sewing community are so great. I wouldn't know where to begin if it wasn't for them! I'm glad you have found my posts helpful :)

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  17. fantastic job! Excellent review.I had the pattern since before Christmas. Thanks for your detail review I have more confidence on starting this pattern.

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    1. This dress will be a breeze for you to make (if you don't have many adjustments to make). You made the Georgia and that's much harder :)

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  18. It turned out amazingly!!!! All that hard work fitting (easily the hardest part about sewing) paid off in spades. Absolutely loving this dress - woo to the maxi dress!

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    1. Fitting is sooo hard, but sooo satisfying once you get it right :) I love maxis!!

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