Hello there.  Today I’m going to show you a dress that I made back in July using products kindly sent to me by White Tree Fabrics.  I chose this pretty printed cotton, which at first I thought was a border print, but in fact it’s more of a wide, repeating strip of floral detail on an ivory background.  The print reminds me of a Cath Kidston design, actually, with its colourful, vintage style.

By Hand London Anna dress
By Hand London Anna dress

I wanted to use the By Hand London Anna pattern because it’s ideal for showing off fabrics with interesting borders or large designs.  I spent hours cutting out the fabric, choosing exactly where I wanted my floral stripes to be, and matching up the lines across all of the skirt panels, the sides, the centre back, etc.  I’m pretty pleased with how it has turned out across the bodice – I definitely wanted flowers along the neck and shoulders and then again at the waist.

Back view
Back view

I’m not sure about the skirt, though.  Although I deliberately spaced it so that there would be alternating strips of flowers and plain, I wonder if it might have looked better to have flowers at the very top of the skirt – giving a very wide band of flowers around the waist.  I think the reason I wonder about this is because I feel the dress is just that bit too figure-hugging after a summer of picnics, and having a strip of plain cream fabric across my tummy feels weirdly revealing.

Oh hai belly
Oh hai belly

For greater opacity on this pale background print, I chose to fully line the dress.  I have never fully lined an Anna dress before, but it was pretty straightforward.  I followed the instructions from the By Hand London blog when they did an Anna dress sewalong.  Basically it involved cutting the whole dress again in lining fabric, minus the facings, and hand sewing the kimono sleeves together.  The invisible slip-stitching was time consuming and annoying, but that’s because I’m massively impatient when it comes to hand sewing.  It took me about as long to do the hand sewing as it did to make the rest of the dress!

(Maybe not quite) 'invisible' slip stitching
(Maybe not quite) ‘invisible’ slip stitching

The lining fabric is anti-static formaldehyde-free lining made of nylon.  Lisa from White Tree Fabrics told me that lots of nets and linings used to have this chemical in them but it’s now really frowned upon, and any decent fabric won’t have this chemical in it nowadays.  I was really impressed with it.  I had seen it before in some RTW clothing and I never knew what it was until now.  It perhaps wasn’t quite as opaque as I was wanting for this specific project, but it worked well enough and it feels gorgeously soft.  I’d definitely use it again for lining other dresses.  It comes in a range of colours, too.

Anti-static formaldehyde-free lining
Anti-static formaldehyde-free lining

I was also sent matching thread for my project and a transparent concealed zip.  I tried one of these ‘transparent’ zips when I made my red lace dress, and wasn’t so impressed with it because it’s more white than transparent, but for this project that wasn’t a problem.  I like how the zipper pull is silver too – it’s a nice little detail.

Transparent concealed zip
Transparent concealed zip

Overall I am pleased with the dress.  I think once I’ve gotten rid of the half stone I put on over summer it will look even better!  I’m going to have to put it aside until next spring now though: winter is coming :-(

Sunshine!
Sunshine!