An Anna Dress for Me

I first saw the Anna dress by By Hand London on Sew Busy Lizzy’s blog. She’s made at least five versions of the Cambie dress, so I know we have similar taste in dresses. When she mentioned that she had a new favourite dress pattern, I had to take a look!

The pattern in the web store doesn’t have line drawings and personally, I’m a line drawing fan. I want to see the lines of the dress more than I want to see the sewn sample. So I went digging, and checked out other versions of the dress sewn up. After seeing Karen’s so cute version here and this pretty floral version by Emmie and Kim’s perfect-for-black tights dress here  and Jane’s dress that proved this pattern looks great in solid fabrics too I was convinced I should make one too. Besides, trying patterns from different pattern companies is market research, right?

anna dress

Oh, I like this dress. This is a very nice looking design.

anna dress

My fabric is from Fabricana in Richmond, another piece that came home with me when I meant to pick up something else. It’s a cotton print, not as light as voile but not as thick as a sateen, with a soft hand feel.

anna dress

I made size 6, without making a muslin. I measure closer to the 4 but checked the finished measurements and there isn’t a lot of ease. I’m hard on my dresses, lifting things, cycling, and generally moving around a lot, so I went with a size up for a little more room. And it fits!

anna dress

This dress looks better on the body than on a dress form. It needs shoulders to fill out the neckline.

There is plenty of room for curvy hips in this style, even without cutting a larger size on bottom. Wonderful for us pear-shapes!

anna dress

(looks a little wrinkly through the back in this photo but I think it’s how I am standing…)

Love the cut-on cap sleeves! They balance out wide hips. I  don’t even think about my hips in these photos because the first thing that stands out is the neckline.

anna dress


  • Interfaced the facing.
  • Did turned-and-stitched seam finishes for the purely lazy reason of not wanting to set up the serger and rethread it.
  • Decided I didn’t want to press the waistline seam open. Instead pressed it upwards, towards the bodice, and sewed rayon seam binding along the seam to strengthen it. (Finally, a use for this odd colour of green!) I sewed three lines of stitching, the third in the middle is mostly decorative but it looks neat, I think!

anna dress waistline

  • Sewed the facing on last, following the steps to sew the lining to the Cambie Dress here. This method gives the top corners of the zipper opening a nice, square appearance and bonus, no hand sewing!

anna dress

For next version:

  • I’d taper the edges of the hem at the bottom of each seam. If you’ve made some of my patterns, you might have seen angles at the hemline. This makes it easier to turn the hem up without extra fullness to ease in. I ended up smoothing out the lower edge so it was more even, like Francesca noted, the hem on the short version does end up a little pointy.
  • It gapes a little at the top of the zipper. I think if I took it in about half an inch it would fit the top of the neckline better.
  • I’d make the same modification to the facing, sewing it on last.

All in all, a very nice pattern, great fit straight out of the envelope, and a versatile design. There will be more Anna dresses in my life, I’m sure of it!

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43 Responses to An Anna Dress for Me

  1. char September 27, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Stupid question maybe, but when you stitch your rayon seam binding, does the stitching show on the outside of the waist of the dress?

    • Suzie September 27, 2013 at 6:52 am #

      Hopefully it’s not too silly a question…because I was wondering that too! :)

    • Angela September 27, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Well Char, I don’t know the answer but I had EXACTLY the same question while I was reading. Maybe the fabric is busy enough that it doesn’t really show, but I’d like to know the official answer also.

      • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 7:06 am #

        Hi! Good question, I’ve just sewn the binding to the seam allowances not through to the right side. So no, it doesn’t show!

        • Jeri Sullivan September 27, 2013 at 10:14 am #

          I was wondering this too. I made the Anna in some clearance shiny charmeuse as a wearable muslin but the waistline is a bit wobbly. I definitely think I will try the binding method for some extra stablization

  2. Kristin September 27, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    Love it! Cambie was my first dress and I’m working on an Anna as my second right now. I had the same question as Char!

  3. Sewing Princess September 27, 2013 at 6:26 am #

    Cool! I would love to see you in the floor-length version! Did you have to change anything to the bust darts?

    • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 9:49 am #

      I didn’t change a thing, I find that in a bra with more padding, they sit a little high because the padding fills out the lower part of the bust, if that makes sense? The padding adds a roundedness under the bust. So in that case they end up a little high. In a less padded bra, they’re good! After these photos I ended up tightening my bra straps to lift things back up. (Too much info? I hope not!) I do find that with a bit of wearing, horizontal creases form between the darts but that may be this fabric. It’s quite wrinkly!
      The floor-length version is wonderfully dramatic! It’s pouring rain as I type this so all I can think of is that beautiful dress getting wet on the ground. It’s more of a summer thing for our weather, long dresses and skirts. I do like it so I may make it one day!

  4. Jenny September 27, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    I love this dress on you! It looks great ~ such a flattering fit. Thank you for being so descriptive about your changes – this will help me when I finally get around to making mine.

  5. Suzie September 27, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    Love this dress – all the versions are so beautiful and flattering…I am very tempted!

  6. AnaJan September 27, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    It looks great on you, I really like the fabric choice. Well done!

  7. Emmie September 27, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    its beautiful! and im honoured you liked mine!! I think I will have to do the back neck adjustment too next time

    • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      You had the same thing too? That makes me feel better that it’s not just me and my shoulders!

      • Emmie September 29, 2013 at 11:40 am #

        I thought it was the way I was standing but almost everyone has had it!

  8. Melanie September 27, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Mmmmm…. you may have just convinced me to try this pattern. So far, I have not been swayed.

  9. Carley September 27, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    What a pretty dress! It looks lovely on you Tasia! I’m with you on the line drawings. I always want to see them too so you can really see the details that you don’t see in the sewn garment.

    • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 9:50 am #

      Exactly! Also in many patterns, the sample garment isn’t my favourite colour or print, but the line drawings help me to imagine what it would look like in any fabric.

  10. Camilla September 27, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    This is sooo cute and beautifully made. I like how you’ve finished your zipper. Love the fabric too and it looks so pretty on you. The more I see of this dress, the more I want to make this.

  11. Marie September 27, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    This looks lovely on you Tasia! I made a Liberty rayon version and decided to strengthen the waistline with some petersham ribbon.

    • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 10:02 am #

      Your Anna is so pretty! That fabric is really nice, I like the drapier, clingier effect, it’s a little sexier than my cotton where it holds the A-line shape. I would definitely want to strengthen the waistline if using rayon, even to help support the skirt so it doesn’t sag and drop.

  12. Constance (Santa Lucia Patterns) September 27, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Your Anna is so pretty. I’m really tempted to sew it up in a very soft wool-mix.
    Happy Sewing,

    • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      That sounds really nice for winter. Already I am going to have to pack this dress away for the cold weather pretty soon!

  13. Alison September 27, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Beautiful! The more makes I see of this pattern, the more I want to sew it myself. Yours is no exception.

    • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      Thanks! That’s how I felt too.. the more versions I saw, the more I wanted to try one of my own.

  14. Jo September 27, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    It’s wonderful Tasia. I’m working on making one at the moment but I’m stuck in the toile(muslin) stage. I’m really jealous of how it fit you straight out of the envelope. Mine isn’t so hot! Oh dear. Haha.
    Hopefully I can get it working for me and then use your great construction tips. Thanks a bunch! :)

    • Tasia September 27, 2013 at 11:54 am #

      I think if I’d made a muslin, I would have been tempted to start adjusting the fit, but in this print and by choosing a size up, it hangs on the body nicely. There are probably little tweaks I could have made before, like adjusting the back neck, but for a quick and satisfying project, I just wanted to get to the sewing!
      I also considered the longevity of this dress – it’s cotton, it’s wrinkly, it’s lightweight, it’s probably not going to last forever. If I was using really gorgeous fabric then I’d want to tweak it to perfection.

  15. Jane September 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    The shape of the Anna dress is so flattering on you Tasia, you look wonderful in it! I’m sure you’ll make it again and again. Thanks for the mention too! x

  16. Sewbusylizzy September 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

    Wow what a lovely surprise to wake up to!
    You look great!
    You know I finish just about every zip your way and I can’t believe that technique isn’t just part of every invisible zip insertion instruction. The seam binding and strengthening is a great idea as there is quite a bit of fabric in that flared skirt and the bodice needs to be stable to sit nicely.
    I’ve come to the conclusion that Cambie & Anna are my BFFs as I wear them equally. Both lovely flattering patterns. Every Sewaholic I’ve tried fits so well it’s impossible not to love them all.
    Which makes me think I really must finish that black eyelet Cambie that’s been on my work table, half finished for months….

  17. Claire September 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Very beautiful dress! You look really great in it, specially this color.
    I received the pattern 2 weeks ago, I have a great fabric for a summer version, but ahum, I think it will wait for next year. I need to find lovely coupon so I could wear it this fall. You inspired me!

  18. Sophie-Lee September 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    I also did the facing last, so the top of the zipper was clean; and will be removing some fabric off the upper back – maybe it’s made for slightly wider shoulders than us pears.
    I traced my pattern out giving myself more ease in the hips but didn’t end up needing it, even though I have a huge discrepancy between hip and waist measurement. So it would have fit right out of the envelope, too ^_^

  19. Cari September 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Cute dress. I just finished my first Anna, and have plans for a second. I think your waist binding method will be useful for my second version; thanks for sharing.

  20. kristonlion September 28, 2013 at 2:27 am #

    this is g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s! and your hair looks amazing too!

  21. Carolyn September 28, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    Tasia, this dress looks fantastic on you!! Congrats on a beautiful garment! Great idea about adding a little angle to the hem to reduce the excess fabric.

  22. Kelly September 28, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    I love this dress! Every make looks great, and yours is no exception. It’s so flattering!

  23. Kim September 29, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    sooo pretty! love that colour on you! Now I feel like I need to make many more. I have a glamorous version planned for the party season now! :D

    thanks for the link also! Also I love how clean your dresses look on the inside! so gorgeous!

  24. Elena Knits September 30, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    This dress looks lovely in you. I think I need to make one for next Spring :)

  25. Gracie September 30, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    It looks gorgeous! The fit looks great, and the fabric is lovely. I have been eyeing up the Anna dress, but I’m not sure if it would suit my fuller figure…it is nice to see a dress with sleeves though!

  26. Jennifer @ Workroom Social September 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm #

    Tasia, your Anna dress is so pretty! I made the maxi length and should have strengthened my waistline like you did. The skirt is so heavy on the seam. I think everyone has had the same gapping problem with the zipper. I do love your version!

  27. Amy October 3, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    What a lovely dress! I really like the fabric choice especially. It’s nice to see you can run your own sewing-related business and still find sewing itself enjoyable!


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