08 Aug 2013 • • by Heather Lou

Crushing on Anna


I'm in love. So, so, so in love. With Elisalex and Charlotte from By Hand London, of course. That love affair has been going hard across the ocean all year. But when my Anna dress showed up and I started seeing her in various iterations around the web, I realized I had to make room in my heart for another London girl.

Anna.... Is this my favourite pattern of all time? It very well might be.

I've been craving a maxi all summer. They are just so damned comfortable and flattering. And there is something so sexily subversive about covering up when most people are letting it all hang out in the heat.

The fabric is a beyond beautiful greyscale digital print, an abstract brocade polyester I've been hanging onto for 2 years, waiting for the right dress to showcase the pattern. Since Anna is so leggy and long, it seemed like it would be a good match with it's vertical panels. I had 3 yards and just managed to squeeze this out. I didn't have the yardage to mess too much with pattern matching but I'm happy with the end result. Super light and drapey with a crepe texture, it moves with the air and walking down the street I feel like a cloud.

It's alllll about that thigh high slit. The cut is flattering but modest and with a flash of thigh while the wind blows your skirt around, you can't help but feel a little vampy.

I've been wearing it endlessly the last few weeks. The fabric is surprisingly un-sheer, which is good - I'm not sure how well it would work lined (it could certainly be done but you would not be able to line it full length. You would definitely see where the lining ends if your fabric is sheer). And oh boy does it sew up fast.... especially when you forgo french seams in lieu of speedy serged ones (will I ever be the sort of sewist who really agonises over the guts? I was so desperate to wear this I couldn't be bothered). I made a straight US size 10 and like all By Hand patterns so far, it fit purrrrfectly.

Love the kimono sleeves, love the bust pleats, love the design lines, love love love everything everything everything. I want to make a hundred. Unfortunately I'm out of appropriately drapey fabrics but rest assured, New York will be supplying me with more Anna fuel for the fire. There is a reason people like Roisin have been making multiples. It's that good. It's also one of the most complimented dresses I've ever worn. The older lady on my office floor who I always meet in the bathroom almost had a heart attack when I told her it was homemade.

Obviously I'm a fan of By Hand London. I've made everything they've released so far. As I've started sewing a lot more from indie companies this year, I've grown to love how each one has its own unique style and point of view. Collette is sweetly vintage; Sewaholic nails wardrobe necessities with a laid back, West Coast attitude; Meghan Neilson seduces with her feminine romanticism. For me, By  Hand is the definition of British cool. A little street, a little sweet, a little edgy - I cannot wait to see what they come up with next.

And guess what? I have a copy of Anna for one of you. The girls at By Hand sent me an extra pattern and it could be yours to vamp in as well. Leave a comment by next Monday and I will choose a winner at random. Extra points to the best youtube clip that includes the words Anna....

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