Anna Dress in Rifle Paper Co. Rayon

Six weddings in five months. That’s been the happy, if daunting, theme of my year. Who doesn’t like a good wedding? The vows, the tears, the dress, the champagne, the Hall and Oates, the elderly couple who can kick your ass on the dance floor. I love weddings in all their sappy glory. And thank god, because half my friends are getting married this year or the next.👰🏼






And let’s be real—being a wedding guest is pretty easy. The hardest part for me is figuring out what in the hell to wear or, better yet, what to sew. I bought this Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Co. rayon challis completely on impulse. I figured I’d make a shirt for me or as a gift for someone, but then I remembered Anna. A few months ago, I sewed a wearable muslin of this dress in its maxi variation. Thigh high slit and all. It’s the most glamorous thing I’ve ever made, but I still haven’t worn it out of the house.

I was toying around with a knee-length version of Anna but was feeling pretty meh about it. Even after finding a few really adorable versions, I wasn’t sold on the style. At some point, my crazed sewing alter ego took over (as it tends to do the week before a fancy event). I succumbed, said f*ck it, and decided to eke a knee-length Anna out of a meager but beautiful 2 yards of fabric. That meant taking a shot in the dark when it came to fabric placement. I didn’t notice any flowers where they shouldn’t be. (And you don’t either. Right? Right…?!)

The Details

My last Anna is very fitted, so I used a slightly smaller seam allowance for the side seams this time (probably closer to 3/8″). I also used a quick and dirty tip from the BHL tutorial to reduce a bit of back gaping by sewing the invisible zip slightly away from the edge of the fabric toward the top on either side, and then tapering to the correct seam allowance a few inches down.

I decided to understitch the facing to prevent it from flipping up, but for some reason the seam line wanted to roll outward (see the back close-up). Initially, I hand-tacked the facing to the shoulder seam allowance, but that didn’t seem to be enough to keep that sucker flat. I ended up hand-sewing a portion of the facing to the front bodice with some tiny tiny tiny invisible stitches. Not a perfect solution, but it worked. Have you ever had that problem with a facing before? I’m curious.

And now for some gratuitous wedding photos:

The bride (Sarah) and groom (Alex) cutting their beautiful cake at their amazing wedding
Groupon reunion
my mang
I think my feet were almost bleeding at this point. But I love those heels.

This wedding was badass. The newlyweds walked out of their ceremony to the theme from Star Wars. And then there were Manhattans. And amazing soup. And dancing to Robyn. And a lot of love. ❤️

16 thoughts on “Anna Dress in Rifle Paper Co. Rayon

  1. Lovely job! The dress fits you beautifully and I love that fabric.
    I read somewhere – and I’m really scratching my head to even fully remember, maybe I saw it on the GB Sewing Bee? – that facing rolls out if it’s too big… i.e. The facing can’t be bigger even by a fraction that what it sits under otherwise it will always try to roll out. I’m not 100% sure of myself but I do remember thinking Aha! at the time. Maybe someone else can confirm or deny? (I think it was Sewing Bee)


  2. Beautiful!! And no anatomical flowers at all! Also, when I happened upon the Rifle Paper C&S stuff unexpectedly in a store I actually said “OH JESUS CHRIST” outloud to nobody because I was MOVED. It’s sooo preettty.


  3. Ah, I love this! I have the same fabric in the Navy colourway, and I’ve been seriously tossing up between a knee length Anna or another Southport dress…but I think you’ve just helped me decide!


  4. I know you made this a while ago but do you remember if you cut the pattern pieces on the fold (through two layers of fabric) or traced round the pattern pieces and just cut through a single layer of fabric? I’ve read that this is best with rayon challis so the fabric doesn’t slip although the Cotton + Steel fabric seems a bit firmer and less slippery than your typical rayon challis.
    Thanks a million.


    • Oh great question! I can’t say that I remember, but I’m going to go ahead and assume that I cut the pattern pieces on the fold—I don’t think I would have had the foresight to cut through a singer layer back then haha.


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