Monday, August 24, 2015

Touchdown Anna

Deadlines are my best sewing motivator.  I had 8 days till an Atlanta bar mitzvah celebration and no options I was jazzed about in my closet.  So, what's a Goodbye Valentino RTW Faster to do?  I cleared out my weeknights and hunkered down to make a dress, of course!

The sports-themed invite specified a dress code of Club Level Attire.   I had to ask my husband what "Club Level" was even referring to!  (Sports-fanatic I am NOT.)

I chose to "play it safe" with another By Hand London Anna.  This is my third Anna of the summer (see here and here) and I think I finally scored a touchdown on both fit and construction!

Yup...i finished the hem on the plane.  

The fabric is from Metro.  It boasts an overlay of decorative straight stitching that creates a nubby texture.  According to my instructor Sharon, this is a sign of higher quality.   Cheaper fabrics would just uses a chemical solution to approximate a similar textured look.

I underlined the bodice with silk organza and fully lined the dress with cotton batiste. I chose cotton batiste for its breathability. (It is August in "HOTlanta," after all.)  Cotton batiste is known for stretching, so I stay stitched immediately.

Pattern Modifications:

With the Andover Anna, I felt that the back gaped a little, causing the bodice to feel like it was slipping off my shoulders.  To address this, I added back in 1 inch along each shoulder seam piece and blended it back into the original deep V at the juncture of the bodice back and skirt back.  For a more fitted look, I took out another 1/2 inch from the bodice side seams on each side (1/4 inch on each pattern piece). Finally, I cut the front of the skirt as one piece.  (The skirt front of my original "Show(er) Me Anna" was 3 panels and the "Andover Anna" was 2.)


The pattern does not provide instructions for a full lining--only for fussy facings.   My instructor Sharon taught me this RTW lining method for the bodice, which I have used on all three Annas:

1. Sew the pleats on the fashion fabric bodice front and darts on fashion fabric bodice back.  Repeat for lining.

I had basted the pleats and darts before sewing by machine.

2.  Sew the fashion fabric bodice back to fashion fabric bodice front at the shoulder seams with right sides together.  Repeat for lining.  Attach the lining to the fashion fabric with right sides together, sewing continuously along the neckline and back V.  Clip corners.

3.  With right sides together (lining to fashion fabric), sew the sleeve hems continuously from back sleeve to front sleeve in the flat.

4. Edgestitch the neckline, back pieces, and sleeves.

Edge stitched!
5. With right sides together, match the side seams of the fashion fabric and side seams of the lining and sew up the bodice side seams continuously from fashion fabric bottom to lining bottom.

All pinned and ready to sew up the side seams.  

Area of Improvement
  • My skirt lining didn't seem to match perfectly with the bodice lining.  I had excess skirt in the lining and had to make a few small pleats in the skirt lining to remove the excess.  What happened?   At first I questioned whether it was bad cutting (i don't think so)? Or did the skirt lining pieces stretch (doubtful because I stay-stitched immediately)?  But, then I realized that I had taken more than the 5/8 inch seam allowance for the zipper enclosure--more like 1.5 inches.  I did this so that the zipper would match right at the Deep V juncture of the 2 bodice back seams.  Since I forgot to take out an equal amount of the skirt lining, the skirt lining circumference was greater than the fashion fabric skirt circumference. When I went to fell stitch the lining skirt to lining bodice, I had excess skirt lining.  
  • In spite of my additional modifications, the back pieces are still gaping a bit.  
  • The top of the invisible zipper is visible and I need to fix it before i wear the dress again! 
Invisible zipper needs some help!  

I am so glad I gave this pattern a 3rd try and FINALLY experienced a stress-free sew! I think it's time to retire the Anna to the TNT Hall of Fame, bring out the muslin bolt, and start on something new.


  1. Wow! I love the back -- very chic. I am curious about the fabric -- what is it used for normally?

    1. I have not the slightest idea what the fabric was used for originally! I think probably a more structured garment, but it also looks like it could be used for home dec. Thanks for writing!