SWAP2017 Pt 6: By Hand London Anna Dress in Frida Kahlo

Last year I was working full steam on a SWAP2017 wardrobe. You can read some of the previous SWAP2017 posts here <link here>.

This is the fifth garment that I made for the SWAP2017 capsule – an endeavour which started in 2016! I did finish this in time for the April 2017 deadline but for some reason its taken its time to get to the blog.

The capsule plan was to have one statement-y dress.

My SWAP2017 “Vision Board”

There was a limit on how many patterns you could use – the max was 8 patterns for 11 garments. I used the Anna dress because it could be easily modified.

The trick was to find a fabric that I loved but that could go with all the other pieces. After much searching, I eventually landed on the Frida y Catarina fabric in a blue background on EBay. To say I fell for this fabric is an understatement. I freaking love this fabric and consequently the dress.

I have made the Anna dress three times before. I have not made it using a medium weight quilting cotton like this Alexander Henry fabric. Ruth’s Core Couture tutorial was a godsend. She shows with well-detailed instruction and rationale how to prevent neckline gaping that can be an issue with wide V necklines. You can check out the tutorial here – a must-read for anyone who has ever been exasperated with a neckline that won’t lay flat.

Stay tape in the neckline of the BHL Anna Dress

The results more than speak for themselves. I have since used that same approach on many more projects with great results.

 

When we went to the US last year for my FIL’s 70th birthday celebrations I took it along. Its one of what I like to call “The Magnificent 3” dresses. Whenever I wear any of those 3, I get a lot of compliments. I will probably write up a post about them and why I think they get so many compliments – advance spoiler – it is not about the dress per se. Anyway, I digress pictures.

BHL Anna Dress on location in Central Park, New York – hence the walking sandals 🙂
BHL Anna Dress

The fabric is a border print and I was not keen to cut into the print. I cut the bodice on the cross grain so that the Frida print was only at the hem. The skirt pieces are rectangles with darts added. The darts matched up with the bodice darts. That created the A line shape of the skirt. I contemplated adding pockets but decided that the design lines were more important. My problem is that I do actually use my pockets heavily and there are some styles that look and feel odd to me when the pocket is in use.

The hem is exactly at the selvedge edge. I wanted the maximum length I could get. It used 3 meters of fabric with very little scraps. The benefit of quilting cottons like the Alexander Henry ones is that they do wash and keep the colours well. I imagine that in time, with more washes, the fabric will get softer. The thought brings a smile to my face as I hope to be wearing this dress for decades.

Picture was taken in May this year – with my frohawk and post SticthRoom Sewcial so my eyebrows were neat 🙂
I love the vibrant orange flowers on the fabric.  BHL Anna Dress
Power pose….LIKE A BOSS!!! BHL Anna Dress
BHL Anna Dress

Last week on Saturday I went to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit in London – I believe that’s what prompted me to finally write about this dress on the blog. I am still processing my thoughts on the experience and will be writing a post about it soon.

Back to the SWAP2017 – I still have more of the garments to write about and those posts should be ready…..soonish :-).

In the meantime, I do have a video on my YouTube channel if you’d like to see this dress in motion.

Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.

Peace and love,

Hila

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Good things come in threes: A trio of Anna Dresses By Hand London Pt 3

Hello again everyone,

Phew ! Its Part 3 of my BHL Anna dress blog arc. Part 1 is here and Part 2 here.

This final dress was made in a viscose fabric I bought on Ebay earlier this year. It was one of those late night shopping things. The fabric is very light and breathable. Once I washed it – it was so completely off grain that I gave up after an hour of trying to tease it back onto grain. I just did the best I could. The next time I buy a similar fabric I will know not to wash it first. The shrinkage was very negligible as I recall. Anyhow moving on…

My little sister managed to squeeze us in for an overnight visit in between her globetrotting life. She was severely jet lagged the short time she was with us but we had a whale of a time – as always. She is my best fried as well so when she snuck a peek into my cave and mentioned how much she loved the purple maxi dress that was hanging on my door, I immediately offered the dress to her.

She tried it on and didn’t take it off for the rest of the day – I offered to take it in at the side but she was adamant she likes it the way it is.  Being so tall and willowly she looks great in just about anything.

She obligingly agreed to a quick photo shoot using my phone camera (unfortunately big camera was out of action that weekend :-(.) WIthout further adue here is number 3….

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BHL Anna Dress back view
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BHL Anna Dress – V neck and no thigh split
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There is no neck gaping on this one 🙂

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My little sister 🙂
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It was fun being behind the camera yelling “Show me fierce!”

BHL Anna Dress

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Its not often I get the chance to spend time with my sister but writing this post took me back to the lovely time I had with her. It makes me happy that she liked something I made and has added it to her wardrobe. Especially since its also something that I really enjoyed sewing up.

That concludes my Anna trio blog arc. If you read this far then I thank you and appreciate you. It has been fun for me doing a blog arc (especially because all I have to do is copy the previous post so all the categories and tags are already selected :-). I think I will do something similar in future….Speaking of the future, I have just one last summer sewing project to share with you guys then I will move on to the fall stuff I have been working on.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time – Happy Sewing all.

Peace and love,

Hila

Good things come in threes: A trio of Anna Dresses By Hand London Pt 2

Hello again,

As promised I am back with the second of three By Hand London Anna dresses that I made over the summer. I posted my first one here <link here>.

I bought the fabric from Leeds Market about a year ago- so it was a stasher (term I use for long term stash residents) for a long while. I am certain that it was happy to get out. I had brought it out to make a Burdastyle dress but seeing it again with the Anna dress pattern out – it suddenly became an Anna. I had just enough to make this dress. Lucky for me the print inst directional so I could lay skirt panels next to each other. The fabric also has some stretch to it on the cross grain which allows for a nice comfortable fit.  Like the first Anna dress I finished the split and hem by hand. It was a pleasure to hand sew those finishing details.

The V neckline is possibly my favourite feature of this dress. However all did not go well in sewing it.  Despite trying my best to stay the neckline using some stay tape – there is some gaping on one side. What’s annoying is I cant figure out where I went wrong because the other side sits perfectly flat…if anyone has any ideas please let me know. I tried loads of steam and clapper action to get it flat but I may have made it worse. Still – its a lovely dress and I will wear it regardless :-).

I love the blue of this dress so much. I even wore it to a wedding with my Morris blazer. My mother in law is not one to be easily impressed but for the first time she was bowled over when I told her I had made it (she was kindly babysitting for us so we could go to the wedding). That was a cherry on top for me. She doesn’t hand out compliments willy nilly :-). Pictures!

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BHL Anna Dress
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BHL Anna Dress
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BHL Anna Dress
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BHL Anna Dress – that pesky gapey neckline
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BHL Anna Dress
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BHL Anna Dress
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BHL Anna Dress Waistline detail
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BHL Anna Dress Back view
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BHL Anna Dress
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Such a lovely neckline shape – one of my fave features of this dress
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BHL Anna Dress
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BHL Anna Dress
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See how one side is fine and flat while the other has a wobble
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Close up of the wobble
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BHL Anna Dress with my mustard Morris blazer
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BHL Anna + Morris Blazer
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Yep! I like this dress 🙂

And here is a clip of it in motion…

As always thanks for stopping by! I will b e back this time tomorrow with final one that my little sister adopted 🙂

Peace and love,

Hila

 

Good things come in threes: A trio of Anna Dresses By Hand London Pt 1

Hello again,

One of my winnings from Indie Pattern Month 2016 was an Anna Dress pattern from BHL. This is a pattern I have coveted for some time. So when I got it I went a little bit gaga and sewed up 3 dresses in a row!

My little sister came to visit around the time I had finished them and she fell in love with one of them. She tried it on and I gave it to her. She looks amazing in hers – she is tall, willowy and graceful ( I am the shortest one in my family – a sore point with me!).

Anyway I love these Anna’s so much. I cant add anything construction wise that isn’t already out there. There is an excellent sewalong on the BHL website which is what I used, I didn’t read the instructions that came with it.

Its a fabric hog though. Printing it and taping it up was not that much fun if I had to be honest.

I did a muslin of the bodice after tracing the size 8/10 which fit my measurement. The fit was good. What I didn’t muslin was the skirt and it turned out to be at least 6″ too long – its only later that I realised i think its drafted for wearing with very high heels. I shortened the skirt and went on to cut out the second one in the V neck and the 3rd one in the V neck. I really like the V neck. I had to hand sew the slits for a neat finish. The seams were finished using an overlocker. The hem was hand sewn as well. A good chance to practice some of the new sewing skills I am learning from the Claire Schaeffer book.

Ok pictures and pictures….very picture heavy this post. I was going to do pictures for all three Anna dresses in one post but I was late with processing the pictures so I am presenting them as a 3 part blog arc over the next 2 – 3 days. This is the first one which has a lovely story behind the fabric. When I went to the Yorkshire Spoolettes meetup back in February , I had the pleasure of meeting Karen who blogs over at thesewingmiserabilist. She was wearing this wonderful dress made out of a beautiful crepe fabric – I fell for the fabric and she helped me find it at Fabw0rks. I bought it later but spent an age dithering over what to make with it. The fabric is so beautiful – the pictures dont do it justice – the rich deep purple almost aubergine background for the fiery orchids like print. It has some stretch on the crossgrain. I love the fabric and feel fabulous in it :-). In the end it was Anna!  Enjoy!

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BHL Anna Dress
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We only had sun for a few minutes during the shoot and the oranges in the fabric really come out
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BHL Anna Dress
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Anna dress Bac View – I love how it billows as I walk
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Invisible zip LIKE A BOSS!
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Love the thigh high split
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There are always kids around the photo shoot – I have become adept at posing quickly
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Anna dress – its a fabric hog. It requires at least 4 meters.
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The kimono sleeve
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Anna Dress
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BHL Anna dress Side View
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I also love the neckline – its very well drafted.
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Close up of the neckline.

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I even wore to London over the summer…

Thanks for stopping by and until next time Happy Sewing!

Hila

XoX