I had been wanting to make the Anna Dress, BY HAND London pattern for a while now. I've seen it made in a wide range of skirt variations, mostly on DollyClackett blog ( that girl has a serious collection of dresses ). I was particulary attracted to the simplicity of the bodice, with the kimono style sleeves, which means there are no separate pattern pieces for the sleeves, just the front and back bodice piece. The pattern offers a long and short version of a panelled A-line skirt and both slash and V-neck options on the neckline. My original plan was to make this dress in a rayon stretch fabric, with a bit longer skirt ( not quite maxi, but just slightly below the knee ). But since I decided to test the pattern first, these pics will be from my first attempt using fabric that has been in my stash for over 5 years ( some kind of sateen ). I had made a panelled skirt from it and still had about 2 yards left over, but I barely had enough to make this dress in the mid skirt version. And even though this fabric has absolutely no stretch in it, I still decided I may as well use it up for a muslin.
The bodice has some basic pleats in the front & some darts in the back. The skirt is sewn up in 6 panels. I made this dress in the 16 pattern size, but I still had to take out a few stitches on both the pleating and the darts on the bodice since it was a tad tight around the bust line. The next one I make, I will most likely lengthen the bodice by about an inch, and use a fabric with a slight stretch in it, so I think the pleats & darts will fit better as they were designed.
I also have to say that the skirt is way too short for my liking. I had enough fabric to lengthen it by 3 more inches ( which I originally did, but I accidentally cut one of the panels shorter than the other 5 & since I had no more fabric left, I had to just cut them all equally ). But this size is exactly how the pattern will look if you are cutting a size 16 and are making the Mid size skirt. For reference, I'm 5' 6.5" tall. I know it may not be too short in general, but it is for my own personal liking. I may just wear it once this summer, but then I will have to pair it up with some black leggings and just wear it as a tunic.
The backside calls for an invisible zipper, and I'll admit that I still have a few issues when I install invisible zippers. I use one of those "invisible zipper" foots which work great, but I have trouble toward the bottom & I always have to do some hand stitching. And if if you look closely at the top of the zipper....I have no idea why it won't zip all the way up. There are no stitches in the way that I can see, so I'm not sure what's happening there. Oh well, good thing my hair will cover that part up.
But overall, I really do love this pattern. I will most definitely be making a few different variations. My next one I will be pairing up the Anna bodice with a different skirt pattern, a bit longer in length, pleats, side pockets, and no panels. Oh, and definitely a softer, more comfortable fabric.