Anna anna bo’banna banana fana fo fanna. What can I say about your loveliness that the sewing community hasn’t said already fifty times over? I am a little late on the Anna train, but am so happy to finally be aboard. I can’t honestly see myself making another dress pattern for a while.
The bodice shape is so flattering, it has my favourite kind of neckline, the skirt has just the right amount of flare, (though I could customize that in many ways if I so desired), it has a vintage feel but plays well with modern fabrics…I could go on for days.
The first Anna I saw that made me seriously contemplate owning this pattern was this stunning maxi version by Zoe. I ordered the pattern on a whim (nabbing a hard copy before they were all gone, whew), without a purpose or fabric yet in mind. So it sat on my pattern rack for months.
The rest of the story kind of plays out like a mediocre romance novel. The fabric destined for this dress was actually waiting quietly in the background all along. I acquired this rayon voile from my time at Télio 3 years ago and had it earmarked for a Deer and Doe Reglisse. I kept procrastinating and kept them in an extended engagement because something in that match never felt quite right to follow through. Then one day the proverbial eyes met and I knew that this fabric was destined to be with Anna.
I wanted to be very careful with this special fabric to make sure I didn’t ruin it somehow, so I made a bodice muslin to test the fit of my standard 3 cm waist lengthening as well as making sure the shoulders had good fit. And it was perfect, first try! Woo hoo.
So eager to get a dress happening, I jumped right into real fabric cutting. At midnight.
A note to readers (though you are probably logical enough to know this) do not cut into your nice I-can’t-get-any-more-of-this fabric when you are exhausted, yet anxious and rushed.
First, after cutting out a few pieces I noticed I had cut out the BACK bodice on the fold and had the front piece in two (luckily I had enough to re-cut, but I was hoping to make something else out of that…boo) THEN after the kerfuffle I wasn’t paying attention to the shifting grain on the bottom layer of the fabric, leaving me with a totally skewed bodice. UGH.
Add to that, I pretty much forgot about pattern matching altogether. Though it is one of the most important thing when working with a print, I almost always forget about the concept of pattern matching until I am sewing side seams together. I think I mentally wrote this one off as a ‘busy’ pattern that you wouldn’t notice, even though it is most definitely a stripe. Ah, I will figure it out one day. I promise.
I was secretly hoping that all this wouldn’t be too noticeable so I marched on. I had sewn her up about 3/4 of the way and the errors were glaring. I got quite mad at this dress (and myself) for a few days. To the point where, I couldn’t even look at her.
After cooling down a bit, I started to wonder if I had a ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ effect going for me with the print placement. I posted on Instagram to test the waters and the response was quite positive! I gained some confidence in that and finished up.
AND THEN I PUT IT ON. OMG. The fabric is so so soft, light and floaty, yet totally opaque. The fit is perfect. The crazy pattern is actually quite intriguing. It also feels so good in the summer’s heat. This is now the coolest dress I own. In more ways than one.
Shifty fabric aside, I feel like this is one of the best constructed dresses I have done to date. The darts and pleats actually match the skirt panels, the facing lays flat, the waist seams line up (thank goodness for this tutorial!) and the invisible zipper is, well, invisible for once. I am looking forward to applying all this to future Annas.
I also added some basic inseam pockets, because, who doesn’t love pockets?
It was such a pleasure to participate in the Anna Party this last weekend and it was such a blast. So many amazing seamstresses and an endless array of Anna ideas and inspirations. It was so exciting to check in every few hours to see what was new! I love this online community so much.
Plus, many people thought my crazy mis-aligned stripes were an intentional design choice. So from now on if anyone asks…