By Hand London Anna Peplum

I’m obsessed with By Hand London. Their patterns are so pretty and easy to sew. One of the things I love about them are the hacking and separates potential. With their dresses you can mix and match bodices and skirts as well as play with different necklines. I recently made my first Anna dress and it really is so elegant, and simple to sew. I’ve read on blogs everywhere how it’s a “dream to sew up” and they aren’t kidding. There’s also a pattern hack to add pockets to an Anna skirt…that is on my list of next projects…because let’s face it, who doesn’t love pockets?!

A couple weekends ago, I decided to try making an Anna top. Since the bodice is quite short, and I’m not quite a crop top wearer, I thought I’d add a peplum for the extra length. I used the instructions on Autumn’s blog to figure out the peplum portion.

I used this gorgeous black and white polka dot fabric from Minerva Crafts. It’s kind of stretchy but also thick like scuba. I mistakenly overestimated the stretchiness of this because I took out the back seam allowance since I didn’t think I’d need a zip. Then, I sewed the peplum on, but tore some stitches in the waist seam trying to pull it over my head. I ended up unpicking the peplum, taking out the darts in the back and then sewed the peplum back to to give me the space I needed. *Phew! I would have been gutted if I’d wasted this gorgeous fabric and all that effort!

I haven’t decided whether I want to sew a hem or leave it as is. The material ended up fraying quite a lot so I zig-zagged the raw edge. Since the fabric is quite thick, I’m worried that sewing in a hem will make the edge look to bulky. I wore it to my company summer party unhemmed, and you honestly couldn’t tell. It didn’t fray more either, so I think I’ll leave it as is for now!

I think next time I make it, I may put an invisible zip in the side hem and see if that helps. I do miss the back darts as they shape the back nicely. Thankfully, it’s not that noticeable in this version.

The front bodice with the darts sewn. With the v-neck  and the darts, you can already see it taking a really nice shape
The front bodice with the darts sewn. With the v-neck and the darts, you can already see it taking a really nice shape
Finished product, with the peplum! I haven't decided if I want to hem the peplum yet.
Finished product, with the peplum!
I wore it to my company summer party with some black jeggings. It worked out well!
I wore it to my company summer party with some black jeggings. It worked out well!

My first Anna!

By Hand London. Every blogger that I follow has made at LEAST one of these amazing Anna dresses. Here are just a few of the amazing Anna’s that inspired me to make my own: Fiona’s amazing polyester crepe Anna, Sew Busy Lizzy’s rose Anna, Sallieoh’s silk maxi Anna, Heather Lou’s gorgeous version and Tasia’s cotton print version. There are so many others, but these are some of my favourites. For those sewing the Anna for the first time, there’s a great sewalong to help you if you’re stuck.

First of all, I knew I’d have to do a SBA (Small Bust Adjustment). The sewalong gives really good instructions, and the bodice fit me like a glove. I was pretty happy considering it’s the first time I’d made a dress, let alone made an adjustment to the pattern piece. I used a light and flowy navy cotton lawn with small blue flowers. Upon closer inspection, they look like shamrocks, but blue! I decided to make the midi version because I figured I’d get more used out of it. I don’t tend to be a big dress wearer, but with all the pretty dress patterns and fabrics I’m seeing, I might end up becoming one!

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Really loving the cowl necks

I’ve done quite a bit of sewing in the past couple months but I haven’t gotten around to blogging about it. I’ll be playing catch up over the next few weeks.

I never used to be into cowl necked things, but I find them flattering, and comfortable to wear! The fact that they’re made from jersey adds to their comfort because they nice and stretchy 🙂

A while back I made a red long-sleeve cowl neck top from Sew Over It. It’s made of a lovely and thick ponte roma jersey that I picked up on Goldhawk Road. I’ve worn it loads of times since making it…just never got around to blogging about it. I don’t have an overlocker but used twin needles, which works remarkably well. There’s a really great tutorial on A Stitching Odyssey’s blog that I found really useful. The pattern is so easy to follow and to sew. It’s 4 pattern pieces, 2 cut on the fold and 2 sleeves. With the weather getting warmer, I doubt I’ll be wearing it much now but as soon as it gets cooler I’m sure I’ll be getting a lot of use out of it. I’ll probably also make more in a variety of colours 🙂 Ahhh…the joys of sewing.

View from the front. As you can see, I've made the sleeves nice and long, which suit me just fine :)
View from the front. As you can see, I’ve made the sleeves nice and long, which suit me just fine 🙂
It looks a bit orange here, but I think it's just the light
It looks a bit orange here, but I think it’s just the light

A couple weekends ago, I got around to making another version out of this lovely blue scuba fabric. Since the weather is warming up, I thought making a short-sleeved version would be in order. Another successful cowl neck top! I can guarantee I’ll be making more of these in the future.

Oops, this picture came out a bit blurry!
Oops, this picture came out a bit blurry!
Close up of the front
Close up of the front
View from the side. I really love how easy the scuba is to sew!
View from the side. I really love how easy the scuba is to sew!