BHL Anna Maxi

Here’s a dress I’m not entirely sure about. I mean, it looks fine, well better than it ought, despite an epic last minute alteration. It’s just not my usual style or palette. I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘maxi type’ but I was curious to make the Anna dress as By Hand London intended it to be.


I have had success with this pattern previously. After a few alterations I ended up with a really well fitting bodice for my Nautical Anna dress. I chose to add a gathered skirt from the Christine Haynes Emery dress, rather than adding the gored skirt, and was very happy with it.

I’ve seen some gorgeous maxi versions of this dress, so I thought I’d make it in viscose and see if it might work as an evening gown in something fancy like satin backed crepe or silk. I mean, everyone needs a floor-length evening gown in the wardrobe for a rainy day, right?


I added the same alterations to the bodice: a 0.5″ FBA and lengthened the bodice by 1″. I had a lingering suspicion that the bodice had been too long on my Nautical Anna, but it still looked fine. My suspicion of a case of over-alteration was confirmed when the maxi skirt added to this dress. The waistline was way too low, so the extra 1″ was wholly unnecessary. It’s funny, isn’t it, how when you learn to fit there’s a real risk of over-doing it! This fitting issue came to light rather late in the day after the skirt had been stitched and overlocked to bodice. There’s also a big difference in fit on this diaphanous viscose number compared to the cotton poplin of the last one. I had to execute emergency procedures and removed the extra 1″. I moved waist seam by 1″ without undoing the stitching. A total hack in the literal sense of the word; this involved moving the waist seam up by 1″ and easing the skirt to fit. I am disappointed that at this stage I’m still bungling my mistakes, but the miracle of print and the generosity of viscose means that you can’t actually tell!


There is a residual fit issue: the waist seam lower at back than front on both dresses. Can you see? Any ideas? Hopefully my Christmas stocking will contain ‘Fit for Real People’, so I should get to the bottom of it. No pun intended! This photo also helpfully shows how I moved the zip to the right side. It’s quite possibly the neatest, most invisible zip I’ve ever inserted.
Here’s the ubiquitous leg split shot! This dress had lain half-competed for a while as my seasonally-inappropriate urge for a sweatshirt got in the way! I received a metaphorical kick up the backside to finish my Anna courtesy of Amanda at Bimble and Pimble, the blogging genius behind #Sewvember where people are prompted to post a sewing photo a day. I’ve been merrily snapping away on Instagram (@SewSouthLondon). The prompt for Day 16 was unfinished makes (UFO). It’s amazing how airing your neglected projects and have others urge you to complete them works like a charm.    

So here she is: Anna in her full length glory. It’s a bit cooler and wetter in Malaysia at the moment, but still around 30 degrees most days. As I write this I’m amazed to hear that my UK friends might be waking up to snow today! It’s a bit early for Christmas!

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28 thoughts on “BHL Anna Maxi

  1. Of course every girl needs a floor length dress in her wardrobe just in case 😉 I really like this dress on you. The colours look good I think. I hope this Anna see the light of the day 😊

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  2. It think the long A-line shape and the gorgeous colourful print look great on you. It looks like it has just the right amount of ease, which is the key to summer dressing. Comfort + glamour!

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  3. I felt exactly the same (hesitant) when I made my first maxi but I have to say, I do love swishing around in it. Don’t just keep this for an evening do – it’s so colourful I think you should wear it during the day. What do you think of the leg split? I didn’t include it in my Anna but maybe I will with the next one. Anyway, I think it looks lovely – well done on finishing it.

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    • Thanks Missus! You are my go-to BHL girl! I quite like the split. I had expected the skirt to be more narrow, and so didn’t think about not having a split as I thought it would be necessary. I can see it would be perhaps more elegant without it.

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  4. Looks really lovely, made me chuckle when you mentioned you needed to execute emergency procedures! I agree with Clarinda, would make a fab dress for day or night.
    I’m wondering if you need to do some sort of sway back adj to even up the waist seam at the back. On the wren after I added 4 cm to the length all the way round I then took 5cm off the CB with a sway back adj. just a thought! I don’t think anyone would notice the difference though 😀

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    • That’s really good advice on the sway back. I also wondered if I need to do something for ‘forward shoulders’!! I think I am going to become the sewing equivalent of a hypochondriac when I get my hands on this fitting book!!

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      • Lol… I can’t see any shoulder problems, if there are any then the print hides them well. I’ve found and easy way to remedy my need for a SBA, I tilt my hips forward, suck my tummy in and stand tall! But actually doing a SBA is easier ..haha 😀 Need to think of a name for the sewing hypochondriac! 😂

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  5. The dress looks gorgeous, such a brilliant fabric choice. I gave away my Anna because I just couldn’t be bothered with adjustments but I’m regretting it now looking at yours!!
    and every girl needs a long dress she can swan around in 😉

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      • I think I was just frustrated with bodice adjustments! I need to perfect the small bust and big shoulder adjustment! I’m sticking with loose fitting patterns for now but I need to start again! I want to perfect my Flora first, I don’t want to give up so easily on her. She’s my perfect dress pattern 🙂

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  6. Really gorgeous dress! Love the colors on you. I agree with using a sway back adjustment, I think it will totally solve the problem! Now get both those alterations on the pattern, because I just know you’ll make another one!

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  7. This dress looks stunning! Well done on completing it. I do know what you mean by over-fitting clothes. I’m not very good at diagnosing fit issues so when I correct them they still don’t look right. I’ve heard of the book you’re (hopefully) getting for Christmas. I may have to put it on my Christmas list too!

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  8. Pingback: Top 5 of 2015: The Hits | Sew South London

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