Starry Anna vs The Prince of Darkness

I really was going to wait until I got paid before buying anything sewing related. However that plan went completely tits up when I started seeing  By Hand London Anna dresses popping up all over the place. First Kim-ing’s, here and here.  Then Jane’s, Karen’s, Emmie’s, Alice’s,  Kathryn’s ….all gorgeous, all pushing me closer to pressing that order button.

It was Lizzy’s trio, Anna Rose, Anna Blue and especially Jungle Anna that finally broke my resolve and had me reaching for my credit card and by Tuesday afternoon I was holding the pattern in my grubby little hand.

I made the maxi length version with the thigh split and the V neck.  This was such a quick make despite there being a lot of pieces- seven just for the skirt! I started cutting it out at ten o’clock on Wednesday morning. By two it was all done except for the hemming. No issues, cock ups or problems. In fact the main hindrance to my progress was this:

IMG_2243Little G did not want me to sew.

I was helped massively by Karen’s post on constructing the Anna dress. Loads of useful tips about what kind of fabric and how much, as well as advice about the length and the width of the back. If I hadn’t read her post I wouldn’t have picked this fabric, a midnight blue cotton with tiny white stars that has been in my stash for ever, because I only had three metres. As it happened it was just enough, despite being less than 60 inches wide. I think it helped that I cut the skirt pieces at least a foot shorter than the pattern as I am only 5 foot 2.  I didn’t bother with any hand stitching, even on the thigh split, as this was meant to be wearable muslin and I wanted to wear it that evening so needed it quickly. Instead I folded the edge, stitched it then folded it again and top?/edge? stitched it:

PicMonkey CollageIt could have been neater but the stitching hardly shows in real life.

As far as fitting goes, as well as taking loads off the length I took the back in by about an inch and a half the way that Karen describes in her post. And that was it. To my delight I found after basting in my zip that I could actually get the dress on and off over my head without using it, so I took out the zip and sewed up the back.

I finished hemming the dress just in time to go out last night. I met Mr T down the pub. His first comment: Nice dress. You look like a wizard.

We grabbed some beers and walked along the beach to Tankerton Slopes to watch the open air screening of Dracula as part of the Whitstable Oyster Festival, starring Whitstable resident Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. I am seriously considering changing my name to Van Helsing, how cool would that be at work? I did manage to persuade the husband to take photos on the way there.

IMG_2260He is still not as good as my daughter but she’s on holiday with her grandparents so I had to make do.

IMG_2263The neck is only gaping because my bag is pulling it, it is fine in real life.


IMG_2268Showing a bit of leg. I did lower the split so i wasn’t showing too much – I was very aware that I didn’t want to be flashing fanjo,  but as soon as I sat down on the grass to watch the film the stitches ripped to where it should have been originally, so Anna clearly thought I needed to flash more thigh.


IMG_2282Waiting for the film to start.

IMG_2278IMG_2285I love Hammer Horror. It was great sitting outside by the sea watching a classic film as the sun went down with a few drinks and good company.  Once again I really  appreciated the fact that I live here.   Afterwards we decided to have a couple in the pub before walking back along the beach. Which is where it all started to go a bit wrong.

IMG_2290A bit of a dance…..

IMG_2294 - CopyYes, these are out of focus, but by this point in the evening so was I.


IMG_2301Scarey vampire moves…

IMG_2297Well no one can accuse me of not road testing my makes properly….

There are so many things I love about this dress. It is quick to make.  It is comfortable but doesn’t look it.  It makes me look like a wizard, meaning I can make all sorts of inappropriate comments about wizard’s sleeves.  It copes with sitting on grass, beer spillages, dancing, climbing, minor falls, vampire antics, menacing seagulls and blood stains hardly show.  As I said before this is a wearable muslin. I have the perfect fabric for my next one. Only problem, it’s silk (cue terrifying  vampire like scream….)

49 thoughts on “Starry Anna vs The Prince of Darkness

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! It’s a great pattern, and I do like my dresses to be able to stand up to whatever life throws at them 🙂 You will love this pattern, it’s a dream to sew and makes you feel like a film star, even when climbing walls and falling over…

      1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

        Ooh, I’ve seen that and almost talked myself into getting some, it seems less scary but still luxurious. I bet it would make a gorgeous Anna. Mine is silk crepe, but it was a gift so even more pressure not to cock it up.

  1. Lynne

    That would be a great name for an album! I haven’t seen a Hammer Horror film for years. I loved them, and I think Christopher Lee died in the same place in two different films. Loving your Anna, I got the pattern this week too.

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers! You’re right, great album name. We need to find someone to make it- know any musicians? I hadn’t heard that Christopher Lee fact. I did however know that he witnessed the last ever guillotine execution. And he is the world’s tallest leading actor. And starred in the Wicker Man for free. Geek, moi?

  2. grtescp

    lol – so good to see you putting your dress through all the tests, and pleased to hear it stood up to them so well, it certainly looks very elegant.

  3. Scruffy badger

    Cool review and love the roadtesting pics!!! They totally show what a night it was. And great dress, I’m making one too ( I had the pattern but foolishly tried to be disciplined and prioritise other makes. Like you, it was too much for me to see all those gorgeous Anna’s out there and not make one myself). I do love the stars and think everyone should have a wizard’s dress, cos that’s when you can have a magic time, right? Ps interested that you didn’t need a zip….I’m just at zip insertion stage….hmmmm!!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! I agree, everyone should definitely have a wizard’s dress 🙂 I did try to put off buying the patten, and still have other things i should have finished but unlike you i have no will power. Can’t wait to see yours though, I bet it’s amazing.

  4. craftsanctuary

    AAAAH not silk!!! I’m sure it will be well worth the effort 🙂

    You DO look like a wizard! Not the Merlin kind, though, more of the gorgeous movie star Harry Potter kind!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! I’ve decided to hold off cutting the silk until I’m a bit more confident, so I’m making another in cotton first. At this rate I’ll have a whole wardrobe of Anna’s.

  5. Helen

    I *so* have to make this! Like you, I’ve been holding off, but like you I am getting more and more tempted by the other versions I’ve seen! Same with Hawthorn, but I know I’ll have loads of fit issues with that! Maybe a midi or even mini Anna in my new wax print?!?

    And I laughed out loud at your mention of “fanjo” and “wizard sleeves” (although I did first have to ask my husband why that would be rude!) 🙂 🙂

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Oh, a mini Anna in the wax print sounds absolutely gorgeous. I can totally see you in the maxi too, although i’m not sure the wax print would be drapey enough for the maxi. And sorry for lowering the tone 😉

  6. nicoleneedles

    Copes with beer spillages and blood stains – what more do you need from a dress?!? Another great post that had me laughing out loud, and another beautiful dress!

  7. Cherie

    Just when I told my self that I wasn’t going to buy any more patterns… that looks so great! What a great job! (even though I am resenting you just a little for letting me know about something I am going to have to buy)

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! And sorry. I always like to think of the price per make. I’m already on my second Anna, so that halves the cost of the pattern. And i can guarantee you will want to use this pattern more than once so it’s really a bargain. Convinced you yet? 😉

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thanks! I’ve just made another in cotton, I figured I should make sure I’m really familiar with the pattern before I cut my silk. I’ll look out for yours in case you have any tips.

  8. Gjeometry

    Great dress, so many people have made this dress!! I still think I prefer the Elisalex from pics, anyway, as I have not tried either. Trying to decide which pattern to buy between the two. Which would you recommend, if you could only pick one?

    Also, you are always having so much fun in your pics, I want to come over and go to festivals and see outdoor movies too!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Hi! You’re welcome to come over and join us for festivals any time 🙂 Although it’s really only this week that it gets like this. But then it’s the regatta next week…Tough choice between those two patterns. I can totally see you in a maxi length Anna, you’d look gorgeous. But then Elisalex is so versatile, the bodice and the skirt work really well with other patterns. So far I’ve used Elisalex four times and Anna two, but I’ve only had it since Tuesday. I love them both. Sorry, that’s not much help is it …

      1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

        I know several people who rarely use another bodice now after making Elisalex, and the skirt is pretty unique and perfect for accentuating curves. I say get both and save on postage 😉

  9. Cation Designs

    Bwahahahaha boys make the best random comments — wizard indeed! After seeing all of these amazing Annas, I’m sorely tempted to break the stashbusting not-buying-new-patterns pledge!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      I have no problem being compared to a wizard, wizards are cool 🙂 But he is extremely random. I wasn’t going to get this pattern but I gave in after seeing all the other gorgeous ones out there. Zero will power here, unfortunately. I think you’d look great though…

  10. Pingback: Dark Rose Anna – the difficult little sister. | The Amazing Adventures of Taracat

  11. Rehanon

    Just seen this lovely and the post made me laugh up a storm. You look amazing and I’m loving the photos. I’m with you on a dress for all eventualities. You never know what life is going to throw at you. You could be on a dancefloor one minute and climbing a tree the next we need clothes that deliver. You look gorgeous in it as well 🙂


  12. Pingback: Desert Island Sewing: The Amazing Taracat

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