Home Sewing Is Easy! according to this fabric. Well, sometimes. Assuming you cut the right pattern size. And consider the impact of your fabric on the design. Still, easiness aside this fabric is too cute and I simply couldn’t resist it.
This is a total Frankendress. Originally I really wanted to use the By Hand London Anna pattern; in fact I brought it specifically with this fabric in mind, thinking that its bust pleats and kimono sleeves would prevent too much cutting into the print. However, when I looked at the skirt pieces, I realised how many there were (6) and how much that would either break up the print, or drive me mad trying to match. Then I realised I didn’t need to use both, and the Frankendress was born. I used the skirt of Simplicity 2444, an old favourite which is only 3 pieces and has a cute pleat detail.
However, I didn’t think to match the bodice to skirt before I cut them out, and realised that the back of the skirt didn’t have enough fabric to match the bodice back. To fix this without having to re-cut anything, I made the pleats smaller – I compared the length of the bodice and skirt backs, then divided the difference between three to get the size of my new pleats.
Sadly this was not the end of my issues. After hearing that the By Hand dresses are quite close fitting and checking the finished measurements on the packet I decided to sew a UK 18 (for reference I am generally a UK 12-14 in ready-to-wear). I did do a quick fitting after sewing the bodice minus facings together and decided it fit well, but somehow after constructing the whole dress it was WAY too big. We’re talking 4 inches here people. Also, the shoulders needed to be taken up (this is a pretty standard alteration for me). So I ripped out the zip, which I’d planned to re-do anyways because it looked crap, and put it back in with much larger seams. I did a side lapped zip using the machine. I think it looks pretty awesome and spend a lot of time pointing it out, despite the fact that due to my enormous seam allowances the print doesn’t match. This was not enough, so I ended up taking a few inched in along the side seams too. Because I’m lazy I didn’t bother to unpick skirt from bodice to do so and just stitched though the waist seam. It looks ok so I call it a win! After all of this, as well as taking up the shoulders I am pretty happy.
After wearing it a few times I do want to make some more minor changes – taking out the facing and replacing it with bias binding and lowering the back neckline a little. No matter how much I steamed, or the topstitching I did in a fit of desperation the facing will not stay where it’s supposed to. The back neckline is a tiny but too high because I forgot to lower it after taking up the shoulders, which is normally fine but the high neckline of the Anna makes it sit at an annoying spot on the back of my neck.
This aside, I am completely in love with this dress. Now that it fits properly, the Anna bodice is insane pretty and flattering and I adore my fabric choice. I can’t wait to make a formal maxi Anna and try out the skirt pattern. Which brings me to my next problem – because I am an idiot I rarely trace patterns. Including the Anna. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, because the size smaller is, well, smaller. But the Anna bodice front has the smaller sizes printed kind of above the larger, meaning that the size 16 lines are gone forever. So I’m not really sure what to do about that… I might play with trying to grade it down a little myself, and if that doesn’t work I suspect I will just buy another as I love the pattern that much!
Until next time and Happy Holidays! (whatever kind you celebrate :))
And no, I didn’t get a new pet, that last one is my friend Ns adorable new kitten. I had to include Oreo in some shots too so he didn’t feel left out 😉