The Anna Dress

I used the bodice of the Anna dress to refashion a cotton dress. Now it was time to use the Anna how it was always meant to be. A floor-length flowy dress with a daring slit. Anna1_1024x1024

Since this is a London based company the shipping rates to get the pattern were astronomical. Luckily they also have a PDF option. So I purchased the PDF, and printed out 67 sheets of paper and spent the night taping them all together. Next step was to get Swedish tracing paper. This stuff is very cool. Its transparent enough that you can see through it for fabric placement, but sturdy enough that you can sew it or drape it.  Its sort of reminds me of sew-in interfacing. Any who. Spent another night tracing the pattern and making my standard 1.5″ length adjustment to the bodice. I found the whole process a little tedious so I don’t know if this is something I will tackle again in the near future, but its always fun to try something new.

Finally it was fabric time. There was the rayon challis that I have been eyeing at Joann’s for quite some time and I thought this would be the perfect dress for it. It was a boarder print but it was 60″ wide so I bought 3 yards instead of the 5 yards that were recommend for this dress. I was originally thinking about just having the boarder around the bottom of the skirt, but fate had it that I would also need to have to boarder around the top as well. It turns out I like this look better anyway.


The rayon was very difficult to work with, It slipped so much so the lines no longer mach up 😦  On the pattern review board people seemed to think that this was OK since most RTW dresses wouldn’t match up either. Since the fabric was so lightweight I decided to do french seams. The inside of the dress feels so comfortable and soft as a result.




In fact my only complaint about this pattern is the facing. I hate them. Even with under stitching it keeps flipping to the outside, and the bulk of them is visible under such a drapy fabric.  This pattern also comes with a midi length version as well which I was thinking of doing in a Silk Noil   which I can dye. If I do, you better believe the facings will be replaced by a full bodice lining!



Another first for this dress is and Invisible zipper. I received an invisible zipper foot from my mom for Christmas and I was excited to give it a try. I don’t know what I was so afraid of. Invisible zippers are way easier then the traditional ones!


This dress is begging for some warm weather, of which I have none. Come summer time I know it will get a lot of wear.



Refashioning the bust shelf

I was really disappointed in how this dress ended up looking.  I had just over 1/2 of yard of the fabric leftover so I made the dramatic decision to make a completely new bodice using the Anna dress made by By Hand London. I am very pleased with the results. I think this will get a lot more wear.

This dress has an interesting way of shaping that involves 4 pleats that open out to the bust.



It has some delicate kimono sleeves that are super easy to make but still look nice.


With such a limited amount of fabric I was still able to cut a completely new bodice. The only thing I didn’t have enough yardage for was the facing. I used some scraps from my 1930 dress to make up the difference. Its inside, no one will know, and the colors are still the same-ish pallet.


Overall this refashion was a sucess!


McCall’s 6696 take 2

I couldn’t wait to make another shirt dress. This time I selected a geometric print. I decided that this fabric didn’t want all the gathers in the back so I drafted a pattern piece that would fit straight across instead.

I think I made the back piece a little small since you can see some pulling around the lower back but a valiant effort none the less.

One thing I really love about this pattern is how clean the insides are. Everything is enclosed accept the side seams which are easy enough to overlock. Also since it buttons all the way down its super easy to put on without messing up hair or makeup!

I didn’t make any other changes from the last version. I still had some issues with the skirt being too big but I was smart this time and took the pleats in  on the front so that the pocket position would still line up. I also moved the buttons so that one would hit right at the waistline.



There will certainly be more of these in the future, but for now I have some other patterns that want to be worked on first.

Butterick 5882

As I am sure your have noticed by now, I have an affinity for retro styled patterns.  It was only a matter of time before I tried Butterick 5882 shelf bust dress.



I have seen quite a few renditions of this dress online and in many the bust looks slightly tortured.  I spent a lot of time trying to make sure I got those pleats just right.


Another alteration I made was that many people expressed concern over the bias cut straps stretching. So I cut mine in 3 pieces instead of one. The bit that goes around the bust is bias cut and if you look closely above you can see the seam right at the neckline where I switched over to  fabric cut on the grain.

The sizing on this dress was a little funny. Every pattern I have sewn up until now I cut a straight size.  I muslined a 14 and thought it way to big so ended up cutting a 12. The end results fits OK but the bust is too small for me to fit a bra on underneath, but the waist is to big. If anything I think my shape sort of boyish so the fact that it needs a bigger bust and smaller waist blows my mind.

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The bodice lining has boning ( don’t think you can tell). I imagine this would be very useful in keeping the dress from bunching up throughout the day.


I think the finished dress is OK on the dressform but I don’t like the neckline on myself. I was thinking having all this stuff at the bust would help my  small chest look bigger but if anything it does the opposite. Also I feel the bust detail looks to narrow on me.


Its a shame because I really like the fabric and its discontinued now. Perhaps with a cardigan or something I might feel more confidant.

McCall’s 6696

McCall’s 6696 has made its rounds on the blog circuit. Just looking at the envelope it never caught my eye but I have seen enough reviews of the pattern to know it was worth a shot.


I of course selected the full skirt version and a  cotton print.  This pattern had a lot of things that I had never done. A yolk , standup collar, and button plackets. It’s like a ligitiamate mans shirt made for a womens body.  I didn’t do so well on the sleeves. It has some tucks and gathers. I looks fine on this dress (very girly) but I want to figure this out before I try and make a shirt for Tony.



The  back has gathers that give it the impression of a tucked in blouse.


I am particularly proud of the collar. Though its a little off center next time around (and there will be a next time) i’ll make sure to mark the center to fix that.


Since Tony got me a serger I decided to try a blind hem.


I lengthened the bodice my  now standard 1.5″ which moved the waistband so that buttons didn’t line up. My fix was to add a little snap to help keep the waist from pulling.DSC_0078

When I was buying the fabric I saw these buttons but they didn’t have enough so I ended up getting white buttons instead. The more I though about it I wanted the orange so I went to a different store and they had just enough. I’m glad I stuck with the orange buttons I think they work really well with the fabric.

The pattern had you slip stitch the button plackets, collar, yolk and waistband by hand….no thank you. I used top stitching instead on the waist, collar, and plackets and this method for the yolk (  The only hand sewing I ended up doing was the little snap and the insides look great.



I did have some trouble attaching the skirt, It was way too big, I don’t know if I transferred the pleats wrong or what. I made the pleats in the back a little bigger to try and get things to sure up, as a result the side seam with the pocket sits further back and now its hard to get into the pocket 😦

Dispite the issues I adore the finished product. I really feel like im learning and growing.

If at first you don’t succeed

So many people love Butterick 5748 I decided to try it again. This time I cut a 14 and made a muslin. See I can learn from my mistakes. In the muslin I added and 1″ to the torso length and after trying it on I decided 1.5″ would be better.


I think the fit is much better this time around. The extra length really provides a much more flattering fit on top. Something I noticed in the first dress was that the arm scythes sit too high. I though this would be remedied by the smaller size and it its better but not perfect. I might disassemble and make them a tad smaller if I find it too much of a bother when wearing.


Other then the length in the bodice I did couple of other alterations. I omitted the seam in the back of the skirt and just cut it as 1 piece on the fold. Since it has a side zipper I couldn’t understand it. I did not do the notch in the front of the bodice this time but kept the back notch and bow detail. I also omitted the skirt lining ( and kept the bodice lining) to make it a little more light and summery. Instead of hand sewing in the lining this time i pinned it and stitched in the ditch. It was a lot faster but i’m not in love with how it looks on the inside.


I am starting to see why everyone loves this patter. This is a very quick sew. I cut it on Saturday and sewed the whole thing on Sunday before lunch. Then let it hang for 24 to let the bias stretch before tackling the hem.  I might even make a third.


Notice anything about the hem?  Tony got me a Serger! Its a christmas present. This was the fastest hem of my life.