Dark Rose Anna – the difficult little sister.

P1210980I’m sorry but I loved my last Anna so much that I had to cut another one out straight away.  Those By Hand London patterns are seriously addictive. My first attempt was a dream to sew and came together really quickly. However, Anna number two was not quite as cooperative.

It was my fault entirely. I have had this rose print batik in my stash for ages. It originally came from  Fabric Inspirations.  I can’t find it on their website any more although I must admit I didn’t spend too much time looking because I am on another fabric buying ban and it was too tempting.

IMG_2387Oh look, I didn’t notice those cat hairs before. They show up even though the rest of the picture is out of focus. Bloody cats, they’re lucky I love them. Am I the only person whose animals would rather sleep on a sewing project covered in pins than virtually anywhere else?

Anyway I had this idea that it would be perfect for Anna, completely ignoring the fact that it is quite a stiff cotton, very different to the last fabric I used with not much drape.  And there, I think, lies the problem.  It is amazing how changing the fabric you use can completely bugger up the fit.  With this one I have read somewhere that it should soften up with a few washes, but despite pre-washing it did not behave the way it needed to.  While the only adjustment with my last Anna was to take an inch or so out of the centre back, with this version when I put it on the V neck stuck out, away from my body like a pelican’s bill.

Not a good look.  I think on my previous dress the fabric was that bit softer and drapier so it clung to my body while this, well it just stuck out weirdly. I tried to fix it with a couple of darts at the top of the neckline, which helped a bit but not enough. At this point I had a tantrum, put it in my UFO’s drawer and did some housework.  And I can promise you that things have got desperate when I choose housework over sewing.

I obviously disturbed the Gods by doing something as heinous as wasting valuable sewing time, however, because for the last couple of days my oldest daughter has been ill. Nothing serious, but not very pleasant.  Once I had resigned myself to the fact that I was stuck in the house all day clearing up child vomit, and torn myself away from watching kids TV with her (I had no idea how addictive kids TV is these days. If you fancy killing a few hours and have no shame about watching things aimed at pre-teens, which I clearly don’t, then I can recommend The Sarah Jane Adventures, Young Dracula, Wolfblood….) I decided I had to tackle the dress again.

This time I was not messing about. I pinched about two inches out of the V at the front, which has also raised the neckline but that’s not such a bad thing, basted it to check, it looked okay so I hacked it off and stitched it up. Job done. Of course this means that it looks a right mess on the inside. The facings are all over the place and I just kind of hacked and stitched until they lay flat then top stitched the neckline to keep everything in place. Not very professional but it did the job.  And when I tried her on I fell back in love.  This dress makes me feel like I have grown six inches and lost half a stone:

P1210975I think that now I have wrestled the fabric into submission the fit is pretty good. There are still a few wrinkles that I would rather not have, but without them I probably wouldn’t be able to breathe. One of the things I love about my other Anna is how it looks elegant while still being comfortable. This one is too, and once again I managed without a zip.  I love how it looks in this print, and while the cotton is stiffer than my last Anna it is still quite swooshy. Which is good, because more than anything this dress makes me want to do Flamenco dancing:

P1210984P1210994P1210993P1210992P1210983No, I cannot Flamenco dance. Can you tell?
No, I have never been to Spain. Although I do like Tapas.
Yes, I have perfected the art of making my boobs swing in completely different directions to the rest of my body. I need to get me some titty tassles.
Yes, I have obviously been stuck in the house too long.
Yes, I have successfully appeased the Sewing Gods, and my daughter is feeling much better.
And yes, I have already picked out the fabric for my next Anna. What can I say, I have an addictive personality…

46 thoughts on “Dark Rose Anna – the difficult little sister.

  1. Katy

    Well this is a pretty epic dress!! I love it!! I’m definitely going to have to give this Anna dress a go 🙂 Sorry you had so many difficulties with the V but it looks perfect now! And I disagree, I think your flamenco skills are pretty special 🙂

  2. babygreens

    It’s gorgeous! Well done for not giving up. I think that fabric would make a great Elisalex too.
    Your writing has lifted me from my mid-school holiday doldrums and I shall wash the fabric earmarked for my first Anna.

  3. Jane

    I think I prefer this to your wizard’s dress and that was pretty spectacular! Only you can see the inside of your dress, so don’t even think about it. You look amazing and a total Flamenco Fox!

  4. grtescp

    I love how happy the dress clearly makes you… who needs to know how to flamenco when you can have this much fun anyway… and the dress looks wonderful from the outside, how many people will see the inside 😉

      1. Scruffybadger

        I see crazy loon too, clearly a kindred spirit, which is why I’m addicted to seeing what you make next. How come so many of my recent makes are as a result of your recent makes, hmm?! I’ve just noticed this strange trend. Please do not make a cocktail dress next, nor an 80s Diana dress, it might be pushing the theory too far 😉

      2. The Amazing Taracat Post author

        We loons need to stick together 🙂 Possibly my vampire mind control, but I guess as kindred spirits we are drawn to the same stuff. I am so tempted to make an 80’s Diana dress just to see your take on it, but I don’t think I could stomach it.

  5. Diane Hudson

    Hi there – I’ve awarded you the ‘Super Sweet Award’ – hope this is ok – you can find out all about it in the 6 August post on my blog. Just bought a Cambie pattern inspired by your versions!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Aww, thank you so much! I’m a bit behind on my blog reading, it’s the school holidays so pesky kids hanging around wanting my attention all the time, but I’ll head over now and have a look.

  6. sylkotwist

    Your post has come at a good time because my Anna (yet to be blogged) is being butchered and pinched here there and everywhere too – I thought it was just me! Love yours and your attitude is brilliant!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you! I’ve just seen yours -absolutely gorgeous and well worth all the butchery, and I love that fabric. I think my next one will be the shorter length, it looks fabulous on you and I think we must be a similar kind of shape.

  7. sewexhausted

    A half a stone?! I am going have to make one of those… or 2… or 3. I actually JUST received my pattern yesterday and will be digging through my stash in the hopes I can find some perfect fabric. 🙂 Love the difficult sister. She was well worth the effort you had to put forth to tame her! And as someone above said- only YOU see the inside! ~Laurie

  8. Helen

    Love your dress, your writing style and sense of humour, and quite agree with all those who said the’yd have to get the pattern!!! Look forward to your next post!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Thank you so much! I do my best and aim to please 🙂 Although I am always amazed when people here actually get my sense of humour. One of the many things I love about blogging…

  9. KimP

    I have been seeing all the Anna dress versions by the British sewing bloggers, and y’all are causing me serious pattern envy. I’m trying to resist, but I may have to order (what will be for me) this expensive pattern!

  10. Pingback: My Anna that Broke the Rules… | Sew Exhausted

  11. Roisin Muldoon

    This is the first v-necked Anna I’ve seen that makes me think I need to cut that neckline. I have 3 metres of a beautiful floral cotton lawn that might have to be another maxi Anna. This is super-duper one million percent adorable on you, Jo. I call this another triumph!

    1. The Amazing Taracat Post author

      Cheers, you are such a sweetie! I’ve just been ogling your latest – I cut out a midi length version last night, I can’t believe I am on to my third Anna. Anyway I’m pretty sure the neckline is not meant to look like this, I took a big chunk out of the front to stop it gaping and that made it higher and more of a pointy V, if that makes sense? I like it though. And floral cotton lawn sounds gorgeous.

  12. sullivan1970Jeri

    This is an awesome version. I cut out the pattern and bought material this past weekend and plan to try my hand with this pattern in the next few days. Hope mine is as half as good as yours!

  13. nettie

    Everything about this post is PERFECT!!! I SO needed that laugh!! You’re the best. Your Anna is the best! And I will faux flamenco dance with you any day!


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