Saturday, 28 December 2013

My Blue Anna Party Dress

I needed wanted to make a party dress to wear to my work Christmas Party this year. Luckily, this coincided with the Cocktail Outfit Contest on Pattern Review and I had just stumbled upon this gorgeous blue flocked taffeta at my local Bargain Box fabrics. Recently, I had completed my Floral Anna Maxi, and I wanted to try this pattern in a completely different fabric, so everything just kind of fell into place.




I decided to go the extra mile and stretch my sewing skills while making this dress. I opted to include the front split, although I chose quite a conservative length to be more age appropriate. (I kinda wish I made it a little bit higher now, because it is hardly even noticeable unless I stick my leg right out).



The bodice is completely lined which eliminated those annoying facings and I used french seams on the skirt panels.(This is the first time I have sewn french seams). I hand stitched the hems on the front split and I also hand stitched the seam allowances down on the centre back seam (because this seam had to be pressed open due to the invisible zip). I also hand stitched the hem on the skirt and the bodice lining at the sleeve edges and the waist line.



Here are some closer details:




Front tucks match skirt seams
Invisible zip with hook and eye at the top.
And now for the gory details:


Bodice lining
I attached the bodice lining to the neck line and invisible zip as shown in this tutorial from Sewaholic. This makes a nice neat finish. I also under stitched the bodice lining at the neckline to stop it rolling out.


Inside back bodice and skirt.
Inside side front showing seam with split.
Hand stitched hem on front split.
Hand stitching seam allowance down on centre back seam.
I made a few more changes to the By Hand London Anna Dress pattern from my floral version. I used the same bodice with the alterations I had already made, then changed the neckline from the V neck, to the slash neckline. I lowered the neckline by 4cm at the centre front, curving it back to the original line at the shoulder seams. I also took out a wedge of 2cm across the back just above the waistline, tapering to nothing at the side seams. (My floral Anna was a bit too long at the back).

This is how I did my french seams on the skirt panels:


Sew seam, fabric wrong sides together. Use width of presser foot as a guide.
Trim off half of seam allowance. Press seam allowance to one side. Open out fabric and fold back over seam allowance and press.
Sew seam again (using width of presser foot as a guide), this time with right sides of fabric together and seam allowance encased in seam.
I found this method worked out perfectly with 1.5cm or 5/8th an inch seam allowance. Although my presser foot is slightly less than half the seam allowance width, this allows for turn of cloth.



I have already worn my "Cocktail Outfit" to my work Christmas Party and it was a hit. I received some lovely compliments, and had a fabulous time. Hope you are all having a happy festive season, and are managing to squeeze some sewing in too.

Happy Sewing

24 comments:

  1. A stunning dress and thanks for all of the how to details. Great post.

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    1. Thanks for you kind comments BeaJay. I try to be helpful because I always appreciate these details in other bloggers' posts.

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  2. OMG!!! That is just absolutely gorgeous ~ just love that fabric, and it is a perfect fit on you ... J

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    1. Thank you Judith. I bought this fabric on a complete impulse as soon as I laid eyes on it. In fact, I had to go back and get another metre the following week because I didn't have enough, and I was stressing that there would be none left.

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  3. Your dress is lovely and so is your blog! I can't believe I haven't seen it before. You have made some lovely outfits and I really like the photo of you and your sisters at the wedding - great colours together.

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    1. Thanks so much Summer Flies. I am fairly new to this blogging thing, but I am really enjoying it so far.

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  4. So gorgeous! The dress ... and you in it! (Love your necklace too!)

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    1. Thanks Debbie. I thought it needed a statement necklace, and Rockman's were having a half price sale on all their costume jewellery.

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  5. Stunning! The color is just wonderful on you and the necklace really jazzes it up! I've finally bought this pattern and can't wait to make one and join the fun!

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    1. Thanks Carrie. I thought the necklace was well suited and this blue seems to be my colour. Looking forward to seeing your version of Anna.

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    1. Thank you Beverly for your lovely comment.

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  7. Very classy cocktail dress and love the colour!

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  8. Beautiful! Outstanding craftsmanship.

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    1. Thank you Cennetta. I did try to go the extra mile with this dress, but my poor fingers were so sore after all the hand sewing. I think I need a thimble.

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  9. very glad to see your version. I just ordered the pattern the other day, and am more looking forward to it now. your dress is very well made!

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    1. Thank you Cozy Cotton. Looking forward to seeing your version.

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  10. How beautiful you look and what a stunning colour! You should be so proud. Not a wonder you have received so many comments. Congratulations. Cheers, Karen

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    1. Thanks for your very kind comments, Karen.

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  11. You've made such different dresses from this pattern, both look lovely, no wonder you attracted compliments. The blue is gorgeous on you.

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comments kbenco. That's one of the great things about this pattern...it's so versatile. Many different versions can be created using different fabrics, lengths and necklines. There are even instructions on how to add sleeves in the sew along.

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  12. What a gorgeous party dress!!!! And Thank You for your detailed post - I do love reading them ;) Very nice work!

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    1. Thanks so much MaciNic. I just checked out your blog and what a coincidence...I am right in the middle of making my own Moss Mini and have just realised the waistband is too short. Your post reassured me that it was not something I had done wrong. Thanks for that. Now to find a solution...

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