The “I was wrong” Anna Dress

So I am pretty sure I am the last person in the world to make the ubiquitous By Hand London Anna dress. Ever since it came out I was quite convinced that it would look hideous on me. The neck is too high to be flattering, the shoulders are wide and would make me look boxy and the darts were bound to really enhance my “lady lumps”*.

So all that aside, the pattern still played on my mind and I kept seeing them over and over and over again in the blogosphere. I finally relented and borrowed the pattern. After all no need to buy a pattern that was clearly going to look awful, I just need to get it out of my system.

Anna Dress
Well, colour me surprised with a big red crayon! I actually really like it and think it is quite flattering. Ok, I do look well endowed, but in the words of the lovely (and honest) Reana Louise “I hate to break it to you Liz, you do have big b00bs*”

Anna Dress

I cut the size 14 in the front, graduating to a 12 in the shoulders (cheats FBA), and 12 for the back, only shortening the bodice. Of course you will have notice the skirt is altered from the pattern. It is a dirndl, but gathered only at the sides, I saw this style on a vintage pattern recently and thought I would try it for something different. It feels a little like those really cool wide dresses from the 1700s! (oh how I would love an excuse to make one of these!)

pannier dress Source

I have very little to say about the construction of this dress except to say it went together extremely quickly and easily. This is a fast, satisfying make and a good wardrobe addition. As demonstrated by Roisin, this pattern works well with a plethora of different skirts.


Anna Dress

I made this up in a Repro Depot cotton from the local Spotlight store. This fabric range has cute patterns that supposedly are vintage reproductions. I just liked the cute flowers and with the red and yellow accents and thought the print would work well for winter & summer, plus it was on sale at 40% off so who would pass that up?!

For next time (and I know there will be a next time) I’ll decrease the width of the neckline as it is a bit of a bra strap flasher, and I will decrease the width of the shoulders.  I’d also love to try it with a different skirt, perhaps a circle, half circle or even my beloved Belladone skirt.

Anna Dress

So there you go, I was wrong, chalk that one up hubby dearest, doesn’t happen often 😉

Do you ever step out of your box and try a new pattern that all logic tells you won’t work? Or do you stick with TNTs?

* for fear of coming up on weird internet searches

44 thoughts on “The “I was wrong” Anna Dress

  1. Hooray for being wrong. Hooray for thinking it might not work but giving it a go anyway! I love that sort of sewing, I often think that’s what motivates me to endlessly sew… new shapes, new colours, new combinations. You just never know!

    1. I am in a real experimenting mood lately – super tempted by some of the Tina Givens patterns, they look so different and appeal to the slouchy, funky side of me – I love that linen layered look, kinda crumpled, kinda artsy 🙂

  2. This is so gorgeous on you! It’s really amazing to me how flattering this style is on so many people. You look great! As for me, I’m afraid that ALL I do is try new styles- I would probably get much more sewing done if I wasn’t always tinkering with some new pattern!

  3. Don’t worry, you aren’t the last! I’m working on my first one right now (well, I finished up the muslin over the weekend, but i don’t think that counts). I love the skirt you added, i am struggling with pairing the bodice with something flattering (and there is no way I am using the skirt it came with, way too narrow through the hips).

    1. Oh yay! Glad I am not super late to the party!! This is my wearable muslin. I’m not the biggest fan of muslins so try to make them wearable where possible.
      I totally agree on the skirt, there is no way that would suit my hips and tummy!!

  4. Hahahaha I love that my words have made an appearance! I’d like to add I think they’re lovely, and that YOU are so lovely and brave to have made this dress even though you didn’t think it was you! I definitely want to rock out of my comfort zone because if there’s a possibility of results like this, I’m in.

    1. Teehee. For some reason they have stuck in my head 😀
      I’m feeling like experimenting right now, like trying out some of my different personalities, you know the work/office side of me, the pretty dress side, the cool hipster, the hippy. Just having fun with clothes – why not? It’s all part of the creative process huh?

  5. I would have sworn that you had made Anna before! This is gorgeous, and it suits you so well. I LOVE how the skirt is gathered just at the sides, that is brilliant, and I will be stealing this idea. Here’s to lots more Anna’s with different skirts, because this bodice goes with everything!

  6. This looks fabulous on you! I think the Anna works well for those of us with some boobage 🙂 Also love what you did with the skirt. You are inspiring me to make another version!

  7. Liz! It’s beeeautiful. In the best possible way, you were so very wrong about this dress haha! I think it looks very flattering for your lady bumps but what this does me is that now I am last person in the world to make an Anna…

  8. No you aren’t the last. I too keep looking at it and thinking do I or don’t I? It is such a lovely dress… But I go the opposite way.. I am of the itty bitty titty committee and wonder would my chest get lost. Should that be more lost?

    Anyway.. It looks great on you and I think I should give it a go as well…

  9. Looks great! I might just give it a go! ( I am a full figured gal). Please try Tina Givens! They are calling my name too. Mixing it up and not always playing by the rules is a Good thing. 🙂

  10. you’re not the last person in the universe to make this dress… i still haven’t bought it either! it does seem to be universally flattering, i really love it on you!

  11. This looks awesome on you! And your wrong again because I still haven’t sewn Anna. And I bought the pattern at frocktails last year!!! Woops! Maybe I’ll whip it up for Brisbane frocktails.

  12. Your Anna looks amazing on you, and now I am one of the few without an Anna!
    I’ve must bought and currently making the new colette dress pattern (Dahlia) which is similar in the bust, but raglan sleeves. Probably won’t get round to making an Anna, but still love looking at everyone else’s for inspiration.
    PS Like your idea about grading different parts of the pattern.

    1. Thanks, the Anna is a nice easy dress to wear, but the Dahlia is very pretty too. I love the waist band, very flattering. I would think it would be easy to hack the sleeves of the Dahlia so they are similar to the Anna.

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