Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Call me Anna, Social Anna

Why Hello Mac, welcome to your photoshoot
Call me Anna, By Hand London, Anna
Anna really is a social lass isn't she. She's been spotted all around the world, varying her look each time and always looking fabulous. She's really, really good looking and quite generous too - not bad for a lass who only entered the scene in 2013.

My love for the Anna's I've seen locally is well documented - I still have a huge girly crush on Jenny's from Frocktails and SewBusyLizzy's three, then there's the lovely pair by Helen Funkbunny, and I can't wait to meet Kat's when she makes her debut.
This will be a finished garment heavy post as Anna was modelling for some off camera flash photography while she waited for the paid model to wake up.

To recap, Anna is from By Hand London and is a 1940's inspired dress with open bodice darts, kimono sleeves and a seven gore skirt. I resisted buying Anna despite loving the 40's (and 70's) vibe and spent the intervening months wrestling with McCalls 6470 and Simplicity 1692 ….

Hmm, why did I dally with those other lasses?
I may have mentioned that I spent Boxing Day morning at the Clegs Sale with some Melbourne Sewists…. I've never been involved with the doorbuster sales queue and chaos before and it was quite entertaining…. In my lovely selection of remnants (including my first three pieces of Liberty), was this textured cotton. I had 2m of it and Helen immediately declared that it had the soul of an Anna. The wonderful Kat loaned me her pattern and I would say "the rest is history"
…. not quite….

I traced Anna off onto my interfacing, stitched her up and tried her on - no. Once I arrived at Social Sewing on Saturday, I accepted that Anna and I would need to talk and negotiated an additional inch through the CB.

Social Sewing is simply the best for having a range of voices and views able to look at my muslin and suggest where my negotiations with Anna should go next.

yes, there's bit of stripping off and being pinned in public that goes on (well, yes, it's all very G rated). - And sometimes your clothes get appropriated and lead to the next pattern obsession - here ;)
(only fair as Helen was my chief pinner and enabler)

By lunchtime, we were happy with how my bodice was sitting, so I cut into my lovely Japanese inspired black, white & red cotton and basted up the bodice. A few more tweaks with the softer fabric and her top was sorted.

All stitching lines were then transferred back to my interfacing pattern pieces and just for curiosity, I tried to work out what size I was actually making…
Despite all the fussing, it ended up being a fairly straight 8/12 bodice with a 14/18 waist
 & I'm one with minimal back neck gapeage from the pattern - so no darts needed there
(I may have taken 3cm at the neck edge of the CB seam zip. Back piece was size 14/18 overall)
 My lowered neckline isn't on this piece yet.
I had 2.1 metres of my 142cm wide fabric, managed to cut all skirt pieces facing in the same direction and still have a piece of around 20x142cm left & very few remnants. When sewing a new pattern, I don't cut my entire dress out all at one, I tend to sew & fit the bodice & then cut the skirt once I know what waist size & rough skirt length I'm going to use.

My sewing machine was dropped in for a service with the wonderful MJC Sewing Machine & Overlocker Repairs on the way home from social sewing - Thanks SO much Leith for your post introducing them, they performed magic on my smashed overlocker (small children = sewing table accidents)…... I can happily report that both machines are purring now and total time away was only a few days for each with a combined $ of $180, phew!

So, Anna's 7 gore skirt was cut out & french seamed on a wonderful Bernina 730. It did mean using a regular zipper foot for the invisible zip, but that worked fine.

I did lower the slash neckline a touch as I found it too high for comfort (this is usual for me) and might have cursed at frenched skirt seams not lining up with bodice darts ;) The print is perfectly busy (and has a black background), so it's not really noticeable in reality.

I followed By Hand London's instructions for the zip & facing & then cursed (again) as I know smoother ways of doing it ;( I did use interfacing before beginning the invisible zip & it went in well with the regular foot. I'm also happy at the partial (bodice) pattern matching, so that's a win.

Overall, I'm very fond of Anna.
I'm still learning more about my body and pattern tweaking with every pattern and can see this Anna helping with my plans for Sew For Victory in Northern Hemisphere Spring 2014!
I know you were really just waiting to see Mac again ;)

and as a postscript:
I, MaciNic of the Somnolent Dachshund pledge to sew 5 vintage patterns from my stash by my 2 year blog-iversary in May 2015. 
From A Stitching Odyssey: Vintage Pattern Sewing Pledge
and for my own personal bonus points, I'll aim for one from the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's & 70's… by May 2015. By the end of this year, I will have completed 3 and made plans for the remainder.


  1. The fit looks spot on. Yay to a bit of social sewing.. hopefully we will get something set up in Canberra . Super cute photos as well :)

  2. What a lovely Anna. I've been holding out on buying the Anna, just to make sure I REALLY liked it, not just because there are so many pretty versions around the web, but I think this version has convinced me.
    As ever, love the dachshund. (My dachshund is snoozing on my right foot as I write this).

  3. You've made Anna work for you. That's so good. It would have been fun going to Clegs for their sale. Thankfully you survived it with a gorgeous piece and Liberty prints. Yay.

  4. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.com4 February 2014 at 14:37

    A great Anna, well done. Very jealous of your sewing social- sounds amazing.

  5. Lovely! Totally your style and colours as well as great fit.

    "Helen Funkbunny's pair" sounds a bit rude though. hahahaha.

  6. indeed!! Allow me to edit that! ;) Thanks for facilitating the great fit!

  7. Looks like you're having a lot of fun with your new photo set-up!

    All your fitting trials and tribulations really paid off- it fits perfectly & it turned out beautifully in that fabric :)

  8. great anna - i love the print (and the pledge!)

  9. It's really lovely on you! That print is just beautiful.
    Just to let you know, I've nominated you for a Liebster award. You can see the details on my last blog post :)

  10. Gorgeous fabric, the colours, the print, I want some!! And, the fit of this Anna is really great on you!

  11. Thank You!! It's a really comfortable cotton & I've had so much wear out of it already!! ;)

  12. Thanks Danielle - I've been thinking about my responses & will get a post up & pass it on soon - I feel quite flattered ;)

  13. Thanks Joanne - it's a great mass pledge to join!! Although I am thinking that perhaps I should have opted for all 70's ;)

  14. Thanks Jenny ;) It's a really comfy dress and I've had a few non-solicitated compliments, so that's a big win! - We'll have to have a play with the cameras & lighting in winter ;)

  15. It's really a lovely day that I do wish I could get to more often - it's great for the soul & there is more chatting than sewing some days! ;)

  16. Thanks Maria - Boxing Day was an experience - definitely enhanced by the wonderful company!!

  17. Mac passes his best dozing wishes onto Dash & agrees that seeing different versions is SO important in deciding which patterns will work here ;)

  18. Thanks Kristy, Go for it! I'd love to peek into a Canberra social sewing, I can imagine that it would get wondrously inspiring and lively! ;)

  19. Very nice Anna! The fabric is really lovely and the fit of the dress looks really good!

  20. Thanks Chuleenan! Tweaking the fit is everything isn't it - I've really enjoyed reading your fitting journeys and love your fabric choices as well! ;)


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