Shiny Party Anna!

Anna dress ponteI am sneaking in this final post of 2014 at pretty much the last minute! I had planned to write about this dress much more quickly, but Christmas preparation, Christmas itself and then being sick meant that it just hasn’t happened. This dress would probably have made it onto my Top 5 Hits list – despite being unlikely to get regular wear – simply because it combines being shiny with being very comfortable – it is a Christmas miracle in ponte!

It was harder than I expected to photograph this dress effectively – not helped by having to do it indoors in dodgy lighting, but I hope you get an idea of how it looks – shiny in some lights but matte in others.
Anna dress ponte
The fabric is from Clothspot once again (sadly but not surprisingly all gone) – they tweeted a link to a range of fabrics perfect for party dresses a few weeks before Christmas and I got a sample of this metallic bronzed ponte and went ahead and ordered enough for a dress. It really is a gorgeous fabric – I have no idea how the metallic shine happens while the fabric stays beautifully soft – it looks like a painted on finish but it doesn’t feel like that at all. I washed it as usual before cutting out without affecting the finish and I was able to press it without any problems.

Then I had to decide what I wanted to make. I originally thought of making a more fitted dress, but after my struggles with the Nascha skirt, I wanted to be more realistic about what styles would work for me – this fabric would make an awesome wiggle dress but I know that I wouldn’t fit into it so well. Eventually I decided to go back to the By Hand London Anna dress. I have had hits and misses with this pattern and I have been planning to revisit it for a while. I cut a size 14, having learned previously to size up rather than down in BHL patterns – though the knit is forgiving enough that it might not have mattered.

Anna dress ponteAs I was using a knit fabric I was able to eliminate the centre back seam and zip and I didn’t bother finishing the seams on the skirt panels. I also omitted the neck facing and simply turned under the neckline and stitched it in place with a twin needle. These changes meant that the dress was super quick to put together and for the first time ever I managed to get all the seams lined up between the bodice and skirt.

I didn’t have any suitable fabric (or much time) to make a muslin of this and I can see on the finished dress that I should have made a forward shoulder adjustment (or something similar?). The shoulder seam sits too far back and this pulls the front neckline up higher than the back neckline. I can live with it here, but it is interesting that I only identified this as an adjustment that I need to make when I made my Bruyere shirt recently and now I can see it more clearly in other styles (I am currently working on another shirt where this has been an issue for me)

Anna dress ponteI have worn this dress a couple of times over the party season and I got a number of compliments, including ones from people with no idea that I made it – mainly because the fabric is quite unusual and is shiny without being too bling. I am completely delighted by it and it is exactly what I had in mind. It is easy to wear and completely comfortable but looks totally dressed up!

I have some reflections on 2014 sewing and plans for 2015 to come soon (if you find that sort of thing as interesting as I do) so I hope everyone has a lovely new year and hope to see you again in 2015!

 

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Carolyn says:

    Great idea for a party dress! I’m glad you’re getting so much wear out of it. I’ve never made a forward shoulder adjustment but suspect I would benefit from one as well. I’ll be curious to see how it works for you. Happy New Year!

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thankyou! I am not normally a party dress person but it has been nice to dress up a bit this year!
      I am definitely thinking more about fit though I am not convinced I have all the answers yet by any means – I can see more clearly where I need to think about adjutsments – my worry is that one adjustment will lead to others – if I correct the shoulder I suspect that will lead to other changes!

      Louise

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  2. I really love that fabric, it’s a perfect understated bit of sparkle. Great to know that the Anna translates so well with knits, think I’ll have to give that a go. Wishing you a wonderful 2015! X

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      I love the fabric – it was hard to get a good photo – flash makes it look slightly odd (almost wet look!) and without flash it just looks black. Using a knit actually made this pattern very easy – no seam finishes, zip or facing!

      Louise

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  3. Oh I love Clothspot so much, and I was disappointed to miss out on this Ponte – they have the BEST fabric.
    I made the Anna dress and I had similar issues. I usually do a forward thrust shoulder adjustment, and I did so, but I still had issues with the front being too high on my muslin – it felt like it was strangling me. After some experimentation I took a 2cm chunk out in a straight line all the way across the front bodice above the underarm but below the neckline. This solved the problem without adjusting the fit anywhere else. The fit on your bust and back look good, so I would be reluctant to mess around with the side seams. I think this might work for you on this dress as the whole shoulder is sitting too far back – a forward thrust shoulder adjustment only moves the arm side of the shoulder forward, so it is going diagonally across your shoulder rather than straight.
    As a fellow forward-thrust-shoulder-adjuster it looks to me as if you might need that adjustment anyway, but from my experience with this dress I would suggest that is only part of the problem here – I think there are balance issues with the drafting. Both I and Neeno (http://www.sewmelove.com/2014/01/wip-by-hand-london-anna-muslintoile-i.html) had an issue with the side seam not hanging straight – I can’t see your side seams in this photo, but it might be worth having a look at that as a possible fitting issue too – it had never been an issue for me before (or since) so I didn’t look for it, but when I did it was glaringly obvious.
    Also, big congrats on matching the bodice and skirt seams – that is some good sewing (I failed there).
    Ellie

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    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thankyou! I love the fabric at Clothspot too – the pictures are really helpful in giving you a good idea of how the fabric will work and they are super quick at sending out samples!
      I am still getting to grips with fit – it has only recently become clear to me that I need a forward shouldder adjustment, though having realised it I can now see it is obvious in things I made last year – it seems there is always something new to learn!

      Louise

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