Tag: By Hand London Anna dress

A Red Etro Silk Anna Dress from By Hand London

Firstly a reminder about the Collegien giveaway.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be posting the Collegien giveaway on Friday, just two more sleeps! So don’t forget to check back for all the details this weekend!

My Second By Hand London Anna Dress

This dress seemed to take forever to finish for no other reason than because I dithered over unnecessary details!

By Hand London Anna Dress
By Hand London Anna Dress

The pattern is perfectly straightforward, it was also the second time that I’ve made this dress and I was following By Hand London‘s Anna dress sew-along so there was no excuse for this not being a super quick make.

So what took you so long, I hear you cry?!


Well I’m blaming my fabric choice! I used a silk twill by Italian designer Etro, bought from Anita Pavani and a nude-coloured viscose from my stash, to line it.

The silk twill feels fantastic and is so lush to wear and was relatively well-behaved and easy to sew but the viscose was much more slippery and challenging. It wasn’t the material though that caused so much strife, it was the design on it.


The red Etro silk twill has this interesting stripe pattern but with stripes you always have the challenge of matching the stripes up at the seams. So for this dress, to avoid not being able to precisely match up the stripes where they meet at the vertical seams of the skirt’s seven panels, I decided to cut the back four skirt pattern pieces in one direction of the fabric and the front three in the other direction. I then arranged the skirt pieces alternately to deliberately mis-match the stripes so it would be obvious that they weren’t supposed to match up.

The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels
The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels

I also thought that horizontal stripes across the top of the dress would be beneficial because they would give the illusion of broadening my smaller upper frame but I thought it would be better to break up the stripes on the skirt of the dress to avoid this widening effect on my lower body.

Also a quick mooch around Etro‘s website confirmed that Etro mixes and matches their prints as well, in fact, it’s their signature look, so I was confident that design-wise, I was on the right track.

Etro dress courtesy of Net-a-porter.com
Etro dress courtesy of Net-a-porter.com

When I began assembling the skirt though, I started to second guess myself and was certain I’d butchered a perfectly good stripe pattern and ruined the look of the dress.

Disgruntled and frustrated, I set the dress aside while I considered my options, which were limited! I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the skirt out again and Anita Pavani had sold out so it wasn’t possible to buy more.


What to do, what to do? I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure! Finally I decided to persevere with plan A and now that it’s finished, I couldn’t be happier! I’m so glad I stuck with it! What do you think? Did I mess it up?

Back view of Anna dress
Back view of Anna dress

Lessons I learnt from this experience

– Listen to your gut and don’t second guess yourself! When a decision is made based on sound reasoning, stick with it!

– Always baste seams first and try to avoid unpicking stitches in silk too much because it will eventually stretch the fabric.

– Use sharp pins and as fine needles as you can find when working with silk. Also sharp scissors for cutting out or a rotary cutter are essential.

– Check the garment’s finished measurements on the pattern info before choosing your dress size!

I was reminded when I made this dress again, just how nipped in it is at the waist. My winter body definitely isn’t as comfortable in this as summer me was!

Fitted bodice
Fitted bodice

When you’re making dresses, you’re often advised to choose your pattern size based on your bust measurement and usually this works well for me. There is usually enough ease in the bodice and I don’t have to alter anything but for this dress the bodice has very little ease and so I would recommend checking the finished garment measurements on the pattern information before selecting your size.

Construction details

I used French seams throughout, with an invisible zipper in the back and a hook and eye and finished with a rolled hem using my sewing machine’s narrow hem foot. P1280128Have you made anything that you made unnecessarily difficult for yourself? Do you like experimenting with patterns?  I would love to hear about your pattern hits or misses.



Anna dress sew-a-long and YoSaMi news.

A quick update of what’s going on here at YoSaMi.

First up, preparations are underway to join in with the Anna dress sew-along hosted by, By Hand London.

Here’s my little helper today, assisting with hand washing some silk twill fabric by Italian designer Etro that I snaffled up from the Anita Pavani Stoffe webshop, as soon as the new autumn designer collection hit the virtual shelves. It’s a lovely deep red colour and I really love it.


I’m planning on making another midi-version of the Anna dress because I think that’ll get most wear. I’ve already got the pattern cut out but I think that I’ll reduce the seam allowances to only one centimetre this time just to give a bit more ease to the bodice of the dress – it’s a bit too snug for my liking! I’ll also make it a bit more autumn appropriate by adding three quarter length sleeves which are now a viable option thanks to the By Hand London sleeve drafting tutorial which has been included in the sew-along resources. I’m looking forward to trying this out.

I’m a bit late with my preparations because I’ve just returned from a family trip around Europe. We literally travelled far and wide and high and low and I did lots of research into European resources for the home sewer and textile designers.

Here’s just a taste of where we got to:

P1240490 P1250306 P1250639 P1260624_2 P1260030_2

From mountain peaks to world famous cities and relics of ancient cities, to lakeside towns to turquoise seas, we literally saw it all.

I also stopped by Munich Fabric Start, the international fashion industry fabric trade fair and caught up on the coming fashion fabric trends and talked with some interesting companies at the forefront of the European fashion industry..


I visited a leading Italian textile design studio and interviewed the owner.


I visited various fabric factory outlets and bought copious amounts of fabric and took a suitcase full of my recent makes so that I could photograph them. I’m hoping that the pretty backgrounds will distract you from my poor modeling!

I’ve collected some great resources and I’m looking forward to sharing it all here with you as soon as I’ve caught my breath!

Have a great week,


My first By Hand London Anna dress!

I say my first because this will definitely not be the last!  I love the Anna dress pattern! I feel like it was made just for me! The slash neck, the nipped in waist and gentle A-line skirt, all details that I love.

Unfortunately there are not many patterns that really flatter me. I have a natural ability to make most things hang unattractively like sacks. Clothes that look absolutely gorgeous on other sewers tend to look atrocious on me. So what a joy to find something that, dare-I-say-it, may actually suit me and fit me too!

So without further ado, I present to you my first and hopefully not my last Anna dress.

By Hand London Anna dress

Like others have said before me, I have so many more versions of this dress already planned. I’ll be joining the online sew along from By Hand London this month to make a silk version. I have a lovely silk twill from Italian designer Etro that I’ve just bought from the new autumn collection of Anita Pavani online (www.naturstoff.de) that is destined to become my next Anna.

back view of dress

For this dress, I used a black cotton eyelet batist fabric (also from Anita Pavani online) lined with a fine white cotton batist. I don’t tend to wear black and I’m probably the only woman not to have a little black dress in my wardrobe so I thought that that ‘LBD’ gap ought to be filled. I liked this eyelet batist as soon as I saw it and thought that if I underlined it with white it would lift if out of total blackness.

Anna dress - black cotton batist

To do the lining, I simply omitted the neck facings and cut all of the dress pieces out of the main black fabric and the white lining fabric and sewed them up as two seperate dresses and then sewed them together at the neck edge and then turned the while lining dress to the inside. From then on I treated the two dresses as one and hemmed both together.

hemming detail

I made my dress in size six with no alterations other that adding the lining. It’s really easy to make and sews up relatively quickly even though I did French seams on all seams.

French seams

This was the first By Hand London pattern that I’ve tried and I’m impressed by this new pattern company. The packaging of the pattern is so attractively done and I thought that the inclusion of the ‘By Hand London and Me’ made-by tag, that has been proudly sewn into the back of my dress, gives the final product a satisfyingly professional finish.


I also loved the credit card sized fabric suggestions card. What a practical and thoughtful addition that is! You can slip that into your purse when you’re out shopping for fabric and away you go! No effort required and no need for scribbling on scrap bits of paper that get lost in your bag in amongst the nappies, the wetwipes, half-eaten apples and doggy bags. Not with By Hand London, you’re all efficient and organised with a card, explaining exactly what you need. I guess that’s what happens when you have women running a company! All details attended to!


I’m really happy with my Anna dress and think it’s such a versatile and universally flattering pattern that everyone should make at least one of them!


Am I the last person to make this dress? Are you joining me for the Sew-Along? I hope to see you there.

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