When good patterns meet bad fabric – my first Anna

We’ve all seen evidence of it, haven’t we? – the “Anna” love that is going around the internet at the moment.

I was not immune – as soon as I received a post from By Hand London that they had released a new pattern, that baby was in my shopping basket before you could say “but you already have about a hundred dress patterns” (I know, but I don’t have this dress pattern – and this dress pattern may well CHANGE MY LIFE!)

Oh Anna – you look so sweet and pretty, but you have a naughty side that just makes us all want to hang around with you. You know that when you’re with Anna life is just going to be that little bit more exciting. She might make you do something a little bit mischievous, but her cheeky wink will always get you out of bother. Yeah, she can be a bit vampish at times, but she is basically a nice girl, well brought up – she just wants to have some fun.

Which is why it was such a shame when Anna fell in with a bad crowd. Some cheap, nasty loose weave… something…which definitely grew up on the wrong side of town.

Orange fabric1 Orange fabric 2

I really don’t know what this fabric is. It is kind of linen-y, but very loosely woven, making it a wee bit sheer. I was seduced by its tangerine hue and its low price tag (I think it was £1.50 / m, but it might have been £1.00) and I picked up a load of it on my annual birthday fabric spree. It also smells weird when ironed – kind of sweet and chemical at the same time, so lord knows what it’s dyed with.

So – we all know that Anna goes together easily – Sew Busy Lizzie has been churning them out on a near daily basis – here, here and here (I KNOW – which do you love most?) and Karen of Did You Make That produced this stunner in a few hours.

Now I am not going to contradict these wondrous ladies of the blog; Anna is a great pattern with beautifully written instructions which, despite a lot of long seams – which you can double if you’re going french on them – goes together quickly and easily.

UNLESS, you use some crappy, shifty sackcloth that you can’t even mark up with the relevant notches to make sure your sewing it together in the right order… I honestly am not sure that I lined those skirt panels up correctly, as every time I tried to chalk on my fabric it would just make a hole (and any notches snipped in the seam allowance just disappeared in the frayed edges)

Anna Dress 7 Anna Dress 5 Anna Dress 1

So, as it turns out, it is not an unmitigated disaster. I cut a straight size 16, but excessive frayage of the fabric horror means I’ll have sewn it up a little smaller than that.

I decided to go with the shorter length, as I felt that the long version might just be a bit too much tangerine, and nobody wants to look like an orange blimp in the street.

Anna Dress 6 Anna Dress 2 Anna Dress 8

I wouldn’t have wanted dear, sweet Anna to end up with someone as unruly as this fabric – it never finished school and it does not mix well with all the other fabrics, but overall I think she has been good for it. It seems a little more settled and not as prone to unravelling at the smallest thing. I don’t think they will be together for long – some seams last for ever and some seams dissolve when summer is over. But I know Anna will find some fabric to which she is more suited before too long.

Anyway – enough anthropomorphism for one post. What about me? Does this fit? Well, it would if I had not taken extra off the seams.

But is it fitting for somebody who has to tick the 40 – 50 box on surveys to wear a tangerine summer dress which is slightly transparent?

(I think the answer here is get a slip!)

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7 Responses to When good patterns meet bad fabric – my first Anna

  1. sewbusylizzy says:

    Well I can’t see if it’s transparent but it looks great to me! I agree, a tangerine maxi might be a little overwhelming – although with a chunky wooden necklace & perhaps a casual fitted vest (I love denim ones) it could absolutely work!

    • rachsews says:

      Thank you – and now you say that I can absolutely see it in a maxi version – I’ll have to see how much of the mystery fabric I have left! Am just working on my 2nd Anna now: I have gone for the longer length this time and am just putting off having to deal with the hem! Any handy hints on how to measure hem length on a maxi?

      • sewbusylizzy says:

        I found the Anna skirt was looooong! Having made Charlotte & Elisalex I first held a front pattern piece up and decided where I would crop the pieces. About 13 inches below the midi line.
        I found my pieces didn’t stretch out too much and I just had to neaten the edges a little.
        Otherwise I ask my husband nicely to help 🙂 but the best idea I’ve heard is someone using a friend and a builders laser level!

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  3. nishi says:

    I like this dress and I LOVE the tangerine! I might be a little biased on the colour as my wardrobe is super of heavily patterned, bright clothes, but I really do think no colour has an age limit! Sewbusylizzy is definitely the queen of styling – a chunky wooden necklace would look awesome with this! I can’t wait to see more of your Annas!

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