Back in Black, Anna Hack

I didn’t mean to hack.  My focus was on designing a pencil skirt but after some experimenting, I made myself a rather likeable muslin from some utility cotton leftovers and it seemed a shame to throw it away. 

So I Frankensteined it. 

To an Anna bodice. 

The whole thing is, like Dr Frankenstein’s  creation, rather crudely stitched.  Check out that  ugly waist seam, sooo mismatched at the back!  (Click on right image to enlarge for full gore.)  See the holes where the original pencil skirt darts had to be unpicked and repositioned to match the bodice pleats? 

Luckily, one dye-job later into my all-time favourite colour and all is forgiven, particularly with the addition of a waist-concealing cinch belt.  A very useful hack, though a size bigger would have been more wearable still and could have been lined.  

BTW, check out the giant pencils of the Battersea Power Station!  This weekend is London Open House and if you’re curious to see the interior of this enormous brick structure, tomorrow is your last chance before the building undergoes lengthy, long 0verdue regeneration.  You’ll have to get there hours before opening time though, and join a queue of hundreds of architecture students, photography enthusiasts, Pink Floyd fans, phallic symbol admirers, not to mention the usual scourge of tweeters and bloggers!

Anna, Au Revoir

Remember the UK summer of 2013?  Empty sewing rooms gathering dust?  The silence of the sewing blogs?  Everyone finally wearing their summer dresses in the sunshine.  (*sigh*) Days of heaven…  It’s less than two weeks since these pictures were taken, yet  Anna is already tucked well inside my wardrobe, her long hem gathered at the bottom in a sad, forgotten pool. 

I only got to wear it twice.  The first was in the company of my children and oh, how they cramped my style: lifting up the hem like it was a tent flap and laughing mockingly as they attempted to dive in.  To be fair, I think they were traumatised.  Mummy – who by rights should have been in the kitchen, shedding hairs over her fleece whilst frying them things – was instead wearing a dress like off strictly, her meaty thigh exposed for everyone to see (yes, this maxi dress comes with an obligatory thigh split).  I imagine this is how scandalised Cher’s poor children must have felt when their ma released the If I Could Turn Back Time video… 

Tips for Anna Maxi:

1 Unless you’re a rower, the back will probably be too big for you.  Make a muslin, at least for the bodice.

2 Don’t use a solid.  Or if you do, make sure it has drape to break up all that volume in the skirt.

3 If you insist on a solid, and cotton and you opt for a slash neck with no thigh, you will look like a nun.   

4 The V-neck looks great for showing off jewellery or collarbones but it must be controlled.  Ruth has some sensible advice hereMy tip: stay-stitch before you cut. 

5 For anyone under  a certain height, Karen recommends lopping off a good 9 inches from the skirt pattern to save fabric.  I’m a 1.62m shortie and I lopped 25cm.  To that I’d like to add that when you make the skirt shorter, to keep things in proportion you’ve got to somewhat raise the split.  Unless your best feature is your knee. 

5 There’s a typical indie-pattern typo in the picture on Page 14.  Page 15 shows the correct order which is alphabetical.

6 For anyone under a certain age and UK educated, beware that By Hand London provide most of their measurements in Inches – possibly because they are targeting this at a larger US market.  Get parents to provide you with an imperial measurements tutorial and counselling. 

And talking of children in need of counselling, that reminds me: 

Location: Upnor Castle

Thanks to Jo D 🙂