How I rescued my By Hand London Anna Dress

I love the By Hand London Anna Dress. It’s not just because I hope some of the effortless London cool will rub off on me from the creators of this pattern, but look at all the incredible versions that have been popping up all over the sewing blogosphere (yes, I just wrote “effortless London cool” and “blogosphere” in the same sentence.) But anyway…here are some beautiful dresses:

Diary of a Chainstitcher’s simple long dark sexy version.

Closet Case Files Ikat Anna. I love this dress, I love Montreal. I was born in Montreal. I love Montreal.

Dolly Clackett’s African wax print.

I could go on…

soooo…I bought some grey linen from Ohlssons on Sveavägan in Stockholm. It was on sale and looked sort of “Out of Africa,” and I thought it was perfect for my Anna. I’ve never sewn with linen. I knew that it gets wrinkley but I didn’t think it would fray as much as it did. It was also tricky to cut out, partly due to my inexperience I guess. I ended up with some wonky, wavy pattern pieces which subsequently started to fall apart at the edges. But I persevered. I ended up with this:

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(Sorry for the low quality selfie.) I guess the dress was not a total miss. It resembles an Anna dress. It has a zipper that does up. But this photo was taken about a nanosecond after I ironed it and it already looks slept in. Plus, I’m vain. No matter how I stood, it… errr..highlighted the convex curve of my abdomen. I blame the fabric. Not beer. The fabric.

So the dress stayed in my closet and I was pretty sure I would never wear it. I chalked it up to a learning experience. 

Then I remembered Morgan from Crab and Bee’s shibori romper. I loved how her shibori turned out and I figured that the dye job would hide my many beginner’s mistakes. 

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I used Dylon machine dye in Marine Blue. (I was also shibori-ing an old duvet cover which I accordian folded and clamped between two old CD covers.) For the dress, I pinched the fabric and tied elastic bands tightly around the pinched bits (unfortunately I didn’t take a photo.)

I did not follow the directions on the Dylon box. I wanted a deeper indigo blue so I reduced the water by half. This meant I had to do a lot of stirring to make sure I didn’t have any unintended resists. It took about 40 minutes and I was thrilled with the results.

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Yup it still looks wrinkled, but in a cool way I think. The colour is just how I imagined it. And the shibori covers a multitude of sins. I’ve already worn the dress several times and it is comfy and cool and elegant in a boho kind of way.

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The clever pattern does wonders for the boobies too.

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I love the design that the elastic bands made. Reminds me of alien brains or electric spiders. You know. That sort of thing.

So it all turned out. I learned a lot and I ended up with a wearable garment. 


3 thoughts on “How I rescued my By Hand London Anna Dress

  1. Wow, I love this transformation! So good, and the dyed Anna is a new favourite of mine.
    Looking forward to hearing how your sewing adventures continue. I am jealous of your chance to live in Sweden though, I love the idea of doing that one day!


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