‘Around the World’ Anna Dress

Another Anna! This is a fast pattern. No lining, easy seams to sew, and in a stable fabric like cotton it’s a dream to sew!

around the world anna dress

I’ve nicknamed this dress the ‘Around the World’ Anna because her parts are from literally around the world. The pattern is By Hand London, from the UK. The fabric is from South Africa, and I’m here in Canada!

around the world anna dress

Let’s talk about the fabric. This is a South African cotton print, from one of our Sewaholic Patterns retailers, Stitch. Emily asked if I would like to try out their fabrics and I said, as long as you don’t mind if I don’t get to sewing it right away. That was in July, and for me this is reasonably fast to have it turned into a garment already! After making the first Anna I was excited to make a second and thought this fabric would be perfect. It reminded me a little of Karen’s version here.

Here’s a link to the print I used: Blue, Turquoise and White Shweshwe

cotton prints from south africa

It’s a 100% cotton print, and Stitch stocks a wide range of different prints and designs. I picked this blue swirl and a green triangle print.

This fabric feels like stiff paper at first. I was wondering what on earth I could make! After washing though, it comes out soft. It’s no longer stiff and rigid. And when you hold it up to the light you can see through it a little. Don’t let the stiffness of the original fabric deter you!

I love the stamp on the wrong side – I didn’t notice it until I unfolded the fabric to pre-wash it!

stamp on fabric back

I didn’t notice right away that the print is directional, that is, the swirls all face the same direction. And this fabric is quite narrow. So I wasn’t sure if I could fit all of the Anna pieces on the fabric with the same direction. I decided it would be OK if the skirt panels alternated, up and down for each panel. I’d laid out the pieces that way, and cut out the bodice first. Once I had it arranged on my dress form to admire while I cut the rest, I decided that I absolutely had to have all of the swirls facing the right way.

So, I had to cut the facings on the cross grain instead of the lengthwise grain. I had to seam the front facing down the middle as well.

around the world anna dress

And – not only does the print all go in the same direction, but it matches across the skirt and bodice! Totally accidental but it looks great. It looks almost like vertical stripes from afar, and there’s two nice vertical stripes running down the centre front. They are not exactly in the centre, but that’s the way the fabric was printed and it’s close enough.

around the world anna dress

Mods this time:

  • I did not interface the facings this time. I figured this fabric was stiff enough on its own.
  • I angled the hem ends so it wasn’t so full when pressed up, and smoothed out the lower edge of the hem so it was less pointed.
  • I took in little darts at the back neckline as the back neck was gaping a little on my last version, do I have rounded shoulders? (oh no! must sit up straighter!) and pinched out the same amount from the back facing.

around the world anna dress

around the world anna dress

  • I slipstiched the sleeve hems and catchstitched the skirt hem by hand. I didn’t have a matching blue thread and I thought the stitch lines would interfere with the print.
  • I serged my seams to finish them this time.
  • I did the same with the facing, sewing it on last and cleanly finishing the edges (like the Cambie Dress method here)

around the world anna dress

Thoughts? I love this pattern, I’ve got it down to a couple of hours of cutting and sewing time. My little tweaks – sewing the facing on last, angling the hem ends – make it more professionally finished. I just love the clean invisible zipper corners that are created with this method. I would recommend doing the facings my way but then again I might be a little biased. Slipstitching down the ends is perfectly fine too.

around the world anna dress

This is not my last Anna dress, there will be more! Especially since it’s so quick to make.

It’s very flattering to smaller busts, and I’d imagine it would look just as good on bustier figures too.

around the world anna dressP1060465

I like the finished garment a lot, it’s a good weight for fall. It crosses over the seasons well, which is something I often forget to think about when getting excited about summer sewing!

around the world anna dress

I really enjoyed working with this fabric. It has a nice weight to it, without feeling crispy or stiff. It’s very easy to sew, lining up seams is effortless. I hardly used any pins to sew the skirt seams. It has a distinct smell when you press it, likely from the printing process, but I liked it.  Then again, I like the smell of muslin when it’s ironed, too. I would definitely use this fabric again (well I will, I have it in green triangles too) but if the shipping to Canada is reasonable I would buy more. I like wearing cotton and sewing with cotton. I think the stamp on the inside is super cool and I’ll enjoy seeing it when I get dressed, even though no one else will!

around the world anna dress

It is hard to tell the scale of the prints from the website, but then again I often have a hard time imagining scale from photos online so that could be just me. I found both prints pleasantly smaller than I expected, and easier to wear.

around the world anna dress

Also, when you see the prices online be sure to do the currency conversion! At first I was like whoa.. $69.99 per metre! But that’s in South African Rands and closer to $7/metre.

I like this colour of blue. And I may even prefer this slightly-heavier fabric for the Anna to my first version, it’s got lovely structure. That flared skirt stands out on its own practically, without being stiff or uncomfortable.

around the world anna dress

I feel like I should do something different with the second piece of fabric, the green one, but it sure would make a great Anna dress!

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48 Responses to ‘Around the World’ Anna Dress

  1. Roisin October 11, 2013 at 6:36 am #

    Tasia, this is beautiful! I love the Anna pattern and it is kind of addictive because it sews up so quickly – even with all of the seams it’s so easy to put together. I’m starting to lose count now of how many iterations I’ve made of it! I love this colour on you and can see this looking great well into winter with boots and a cuddly cardigan. Good to see you making time to sew for yourself, as well :)

  2. Frances October 11, 2013 at 6:37 am #

    I love shweshwe too! My entire sewing room’s accessories are made out of it – SM cover, pin cushion etc. And as a South African with lots of experience wearing shweshwe – the more you wear/wash it, the softer it gets. It’s rather a staple fabric round here – you see so many people wearing it. So glad it has made its way around the world to Canada! :-)

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      Oh nice! That is wonderful to hear that it gets softer the more you wear and wash it. It’s very cool that it’s made its way literally across the globe!

  3. SewSleepy October 11, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    really love the fabric – glad you clarified the price though. I’ve seen so many Anna’s on different blogs and I’ve loved them all. May have to make one soon

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      Thanks! Yeah I had to say something, I was like.. what? so expensive! Currency conversion is important, I even forget for Australian and NZ sites, it’s dollars but not the same dollars.

  4. Charlotte Hintzen October 11, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Tasia! So honoured that you’ve made up an Anna Dress – and so happy that you enjoyed making it! Needless to say, this dress is absolutely wonderful. x

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Thank you! It’s a lovely pattern and I enjoyed making it very much – fast and easy with a nice result!

  5. oonaballoona October 11, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    that fabric is gorgeous, and you look absolutely delicious in it!!

  6. Emmie October 11, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    I would love some South African fabric, might have to have a look! I love the colour, and the green! although probably because the triangles look like triquetras to me, and I used to be obsessed with them – I even have a tattoo of a celtic one!

  7. Samantha October 11, 2013 at 7:36 am #

    Looks amazing!! Great job, Tasia!

  8. mokosha October 11, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    love the fabric, love the dress too.. and you look fabulous in it!

  9. Reyna Lay October 11, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    This looks great on you! I am not a fan of that cap sleeve on myself because I don’t like showing off my arms that much (extra baby weight right now and it all went there) but it looks wonderful on you. Great fabric too! btw: your zippper and finishes look so nice!


    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Thanks! Cap sleeves are tricky, sometimes I think they are flattering on soft arms, more so than sleeveless, and other times I think they put the focus on the arms. I like the silhouette of cap sleeves to balance out the hips and these ones are nice and loose, no straining over the upper arm.

  10. Vicki October 11, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Hi Tasia – what a great idea to use shwe shwe for the Anna; I wouldn’t have thought that the weight would work, but it does very well. I’ve been a shwe shwe addict for a few years now, since I started working in S.A. and Botswana, and I have a lot of shwe shwe projects on my blog (In fact, my last make used shwe shwe from Gaborone: http://anothersewingscientist.blogspot.ca/2013/09/fall-for-cotton.html).
    People have been asking me for a few years where they can buy it, but I wasn’t aware of anyone doing international orders until I read about Stitch on Novita’s blog earlier this year. Now I know where to point people!

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:53 am #

      Thank you! It was Karen’s dress that convinced me it would work, and it turned out rather nicely! Your skirt is lovely, the prints are so original aren’t they? It’s timeless. Gorgeous with a white blouse and heels.

  11. Ms. SpoolTeacher October 11, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    The vertical stripping was the first thing noticed, then how nice it looks on you and the value of the stripe to your figure. What luck that the patterns lined up top to bottom. And what a gorgeous blue. Well done and very well described.

  12. Sam October 11, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    That colour is gorgeous on you. The fabric is lovely, from a distance it almost looks like lace.

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      It does! I like it even more in the photos, it’s nice to see it from a distance. When you sew it’s all close-up and I forget to step back and see the big picture.

  13. Miriana October 11, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    I loved your first Anna (though I didn’t get to say it – sorry) and I love this one! The pattern is lovely on you and I also like how you look in darker, small prints. Very flattering! I bought some fabrics when I was in South Africa last year (some by the same brand as yours), but have yet to use them. It’s great to see one made up in a dress. I think these fabrics are covered in wax, which is why they’re stiff before washing.

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      Ah that makes sense! The hand of the fabric completely changed after washing, it’s very nice but still quite substantial. And resists wrinkles pretty well, too!

  14. Fiona M October 11, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    A lovely dress and that shade of blue suits you very well. I have this pattern, and some suitable fabric, it’s on my list to make.

  15. Simona October 11, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Waw! Your Anna is so nice. Looks good on you are well!
    I am still working on mine :)

  16. Danielle DiDomenico October 11, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Really pretty~

  17. Jeri Sullivan October 11, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Love this version even better than your last one which was beautiful. I made a wearable muslin in a slinky fabric but definitely like the stiffer cotton versions I have been seeing around!

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Thanks! I like the look of the slinkier versions but know that I prefer a more sturdy-feeling dress. It feels more ‘safe’ to wear you know? Like it will stay put all day and not slip and slide.

  18. Bonnie October 11, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    Is this Anna Pattern available in Canada?

  19. Jo October 11, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    That really is a lovely shade of blue. I’m currently sewing a purple linen version of anna. I have to take neck darts as well. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a curve there; in fact it’s normal I’d say! I did start having body image issues but you gotta ignore that garbage. This looks lovely. Your shoes are super cute too! :) I imagine it would go great with one of your gorgeous hand-knits!

  20. Diane @ Vintage Zest October 11, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    This truly is an around the world dress! It’s such a cute name, that I wish I had the knack for naming my garments. :)

  21. Ada October 11, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    This is a gorgeous dress! I especially love the colour. This is unrelated to the dress but, where did you get your shoes? They look pleasantly vintage. (I’m a local, so if it’s somewhere in Vancouver, please tell me the actual store!)

  22. StitchBrawl October 11, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Your dress looks fabulous on you! The color and the silhouette really suit you.

  23. Kelly October 11, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    This is a lovely dress! Anna is a good shape for you, and the fabric is gorgeous. This pattern seems so versatile!

  24. jen b October 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Yes, beautiful to he sure. It gves you a real hourglass figure, you would never know there was a pear lurking in there! Qwick question: did you pinch the neckline darts in the final dress (thy arent noticable), or is the pattern before you made it up? Thanks!!

    • Tasia October 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

      I sewed the darts in the back panel before attaching it, that way I could fold them out of the facing, otherwise the whole area would be a little bulky. You can barely see them in the print but look for where the swirls disappear! The photo on the mannequin, up close, shows the dart line.

  25. Amy October 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Gorgeous. I really must make an Anna…

  26. Meigan October 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    What a beautiful dress. I have seen so many versions of the Anna dress, and I had wondered how it would look on a pear shaped person (like me). From your beautiful versions, I can certainly say that it is very flattering.

    Lovely job, and I love the fabric.

  27. Jennifer Shaw October 11, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this post- your dress is so lovely. Such a gorgeous print and the color complements your coloring. It just sings on you! As a pear/hourglass person, I would love to find this pattern. It would be such a fantastic work dress. Thank you again for posting such a pretty, pretty!

  28. lisa g October 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    lovely dress! it’s so nice to see a pattern work with so many different types of fabric.

  29. Elisabeth October 11, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Gorgeous dress! I love the fabric you’ve used, and it looks great on you.

  30. Jeff October 12, 2013 at 8:08 am #

    I love everything about this dress! The shape and cap sleeves are very flattering on you. You must have taken quite a bit of time working with the fabric to allow the gorgeous swirls to create visual statements. Up close, the swirly fabric patterns are just super pretty and from further back, I can see the vertical stripe effect would be slimming. The fit is amazing as well. I took a peek at the Anna dress pattern from the link you provided (on the By Hand London site) – if they had your dress as a model on that site instead of the version they do have…would increase sales of the pattern 100% :)

  31. Harriet Whittle October 12, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Beautiful Tasia! I love to see your finished versions of patterns I have my eye on. Would love to see you make an evening version – infact I’d love to see any of your patterns made as a special occasion dress – party season coming up!!

  32. Bella October 12, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Tasia, gorgeous as ever. Your work, the pattern, you & especially the fabric. I didn’t know about Da Gama/3 Cats but was very interested to find out about them…traditional African cotton prints are difficult for my husband & I to resist! (http://bellaindustries.blogspot.com/search/label/western-shirt)

  33. Annabellouise October 13, 2013 at 2:09 am #

    Lovely fabric and beautiful dress. Specially nice on you. It’s just the right shape for you.

  34. Lori W October 13, 2013 at 6:55 am #

    Love your dress! Looks beautiful. I love reading your posts, Tasia.

  35. Lisa October 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    I love this dress! The fabric you chose suits it so well and the shape is beautiful on you. This is definitely on the list of dresses to make next – especially now that we’re sadly getting into fall weather.

  36. Julie October 13, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Cute Dress and very stunning on you! Fabulous!!

  37. Christine October 16, 2013 at 11:57 am #



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