By Hand London Anna


One thing that I did get to make over the last few weeks is the BHL Anna dress. While I’ve been sorting the shop out, there’s been little time for any actual sewing. Before Christmas I had no space to sew as my sewing room became a stock room for all the arriving shop fabrics. Then afterwards came all the decorating etc that comes with setting up a shop and workshop which meant that whilst I had space, I had no time!

I first saw the Anna in person at the amazing Dressmakers Ball in Leicester and decided that it looked like a nice easy sew that would flatter my shape. From reading reviews and listening to other people who’ve made it (thanks @echarli), the main complaint was that it’s really long. Having now made it, I’d agree! I’m 178cm and it was floor length on me in 1 inch heels. I’m actually going to take it up an inch for when I wear it again in a couple of weeks for a friends wedding as I don’t wear heels most of the time and it was difficult to stop it catching on the floor as I walked.

I made my Anna in some Merchant and Mills Navy Tencel Twill which gave it the perfect drape without being too light and floaty. I took it on its first outing to the Olivier Awards in London as my friend Helen was a public panelist so it saw the red carpet and didn’t even look out of place at the after party! Because I had to catch a train, it went rolled up in my tote bag but was horribly creased when I got to London 4 hours later. Thankfully, the tencel was amazing at losing its creases! I hung it on a coat hanger in the bathroom and by the time I was out of the shower, the bulk of the creases had dropped out.

By Hand London Anna Dress

I found Anna to be a nice easy sew with the only real challenges being the invisible zip insertion as its very long and has to match across the bodice seam and at the top. I opted to skip sewing a hook and eye on the dress above the zip as I didn’t feel it actually needed it.

By Hand London Anna Dress

It’s worth labelling your skirt panels as you cut them out as they are all slightly different shapes, making them easy to mix up. Fit-wise I found the sizing to be pretty accurate, although I’m going to take my side seams in a little at the waist as I have too much room there and prefer a more fitted look. I wore my Anna with a belt to achieve the same look, mainly as I finished sewing it at midnight the day before I had to wear it and had no time left to make adjustments.

One thing worth noting is that I usually do an FBA on garments but was told that Anna has quite a bit of room around the chest. I opted not to do one and my 34FF chest fitted into the top well. If I’d sized down and done an FBA, I might’ve had a little less extra space in the waist area. All in all, I love my Anna dress and with a few minor adjustments, I’m sure she’ll get a fair bit of wear this summer.