I think I’m one of the last people to have made this dress from By Hand London. It was the subject of the Anna Party a couple of years back (the equivalent to the Moneta Party from earlier this year) which I missed so I never got round to it!
I’ve seen so many lovely versions of this dress and I was all excited about making a really spectacular version of the Anna dress. But then realised I would literally have nowhere to wear it! So when my friend was talking to me about what to wear to a fancy evening out and asked if I’d make her something, I found myself agreeing! FYI, I’m so not the person to make other people clothes. This was a very rare one off thing!!
(The event was part of a dental conference in Edinburgh. If you know anything about dental conferences you’ll know that they are generally a bit boring and stuffy. But they do like to take the opportunity to get dressed up and have a ball! 😂)
So I decided to make my friend the Anna dress for this month’s #sewmystyle project!
Deciding on a fabric was a little tricky and really easy at the same time. I knew I wanted something AMAZING but what would work? I spent ages pondering what would be best. In the end a spur of the moment choice whilst at the Sew Brum meet up a few weeks ago saw me buying 3 metres of a matt gold sequin fabric from the Birmingham Rag Market!
I’ve never worked with sequins before but I knew that if I made it work this would make an awesome Anna dress. I also picked out a flesh coloured lining fabric whilst I was there.
The Anna dress is simple in construction. It has two waist pleats on each side of the front bodice and a single dart on the back. Built it kimono (capped) sleeves mean no extra sleeve piece. The skirt is made of 7 panels with a thigh high split on the left front.
That probably sounds a little complicated in a list like that but it really is simple. It’s almost all straight lines with no weird easing, crazy curves or anything. As sewing goes, I’d say it’s as straight forward is it comes.
Which is good because as I said earlier I’ve never seen with sequins before! I sent out a Instagram call for help and got lots of tips back – cutting in a single layer, wearing eye protection, keep lots of spare needles of hand etc. I also checked out the By Hand London blog post on sewing with sequins as well Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani’s vlog.
All in all I felt as prepared as I could do going into this!
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the sequins were to work with. It creates a huge mess though and I’m literally going to be finding sequins everywhere for years to come. But I managed to get away with just one broken needle and no eye injuries (though there were definitely sequins flying close to my face!). I basically treated it as normal fabric but I did put it through my machine a bit slower than I normally would and I avoided the overlocker entirely!
For the lining I made a mini version of the dress, stopping at the height of the thigh split. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about the lining being on show as she walked. I sewed this into the neckline in place of the facing and tacked a few seams between the dress and lining together to keep it in place.
The down side to making stuff for others? I don’t get the same typical blog photos as I would’ve done otherwise! Unsurprisingly other people can’t be expected to take blog photos like I do! (Which usually involves hours in front of a tripod trying to find my good angle!! 😂)
So here are a few from the night out instead!
I love how this dress turned out. She looked like an Oscar all gold and glamorous!
Now I just need to find an excuse to make myself an Anna dress too!