All Dressed Up in Anna with Nowhere to Go… Yet.

Purely. Gratuitous. Sewing. That’s what I did when I had the apartment to myself for a couple days over holiday break, and it felt amazing. Did I need to make this By Hand London Anna dress? Not quite.

by hand london anna dress

Sure, I’m considering using this pattern to sew a bridesmaid dress for a wedding in the fall, but that’s more than 10 months away. I did, however, really want a break from sewing Christmas gifts and practical clothes, and Anna turned out to be just what I needed to get my sewjo back. (Sorry not sorry for using that frankenword.)

by hand london anna dress

Construction was simple but time-consuming, since I opted to hand sew a lot of the finishes. Here’s how I finished the guts:

  • Blind slipstitched the armholes and leg slit
  • Catch stitched the hem
  • Pinked the facing and waist seam
  • French seamed the skirt panels and shoulder seams
by hand london anna dress finishing techniques
blind slipstitch on the leg slit
by hand london anna dress finishing techniques
catch-stitched hem and french seam on a skirt panel
by hand london anna dress finishing techniques
three-for-one: pinked! frenched! slipstitched!

Frenching the seams and hand-sewing the hems took quite a bit of patience, but I’m really pleased with the outcome. Plus it was nice to have something to do with my hands while binge-watching Making a Murderer.

anna dress bodice

As for fit, the bodice is pretty snug. I’m not sure if I lost some inches with lackadaisical french seaming, or if I could stand to go up a size. I cut a straight size 10 (I’m a 36 bust with broad shoulders), and I’ll probably go with that size when I sew this up for a for-real bridesmaid dress. Edit: I should note that this material has a bit of stretch, which definitely helps. I think it’s a poly charmeuse?… I honestly can’t remember, I picked it up for $5/yard from Vogue fabrics in Evanston.

by hand london anna dress back

I’ll generously call this a wearable muslin, although I’m not sure where I’ll wear it. I finished Anna in time to bring her to the Wisconsin Dells for New Year’s Eve, but my rational side won out and I left her at home. She might have been JUST SLIGHTLY out-of-place at the steak house we went to for NYE dinner.

It pains me to say it, since the floor length makes this dress pretty glam, but I might shorten her to wear in the spring and summer. I’m sure I’ll make up for the drama with the bridesmaid dress in the fall.

Have any of you made a bridesmaid or wedding dress? Tell me your secrets!