First make of 2014: Another BHL Anna

Normally, it’s very rare that I make more than one version of a pattern but near the end of 2013 it seemed to have become a bit of a recurring theme! I made two Ensis and two La Sylphides (1 and 2).

So why not another Anna?

But if I am properly honest, my dress is not technically the first make of 2014.


This is:

Harriet’s favourite toy (Fishy) was looking a little sad (and, since we are being honest, disgusting) so I made her a new one: Introducing Bunny! A smaller version of The Giving Bunny.

Awww! Bunny love! Yay #curiousharriet

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Made from polar fleece with a (wonky) hand stitched face, it was love at first bite – the cat nip stuffing might have had something to do with it too 😉

But back to my new Anna – you might recognise this fabric from my walk-away dress.

I loved it so much when I found it that I bought extra.

Cutting the walkaway dress left me with a pile of skinny off cuts that I held onto just in case. Turns out they were perfect for the back bodice and all the skirt pieces on my Anna. I only needed a full width of fabric to cut the front bodice, yeah!

Can I get away with a third item in this fabric?

These photos were taken at Otari-Wilton’s Bush. I met Kat (and Drake) and Nikki for a fun group photo session before heading back to Nikki’s house where Kat and I dived head first into her stash – it was super fun!

I adore this place, I feel so good just walking through here, and not just because it was the scene for one of the happiest days of my life.  Otari-Wilton’s Bush is 100% native NZ, right on your doorstep and simply gorgeous.

I’m getting distracted again, back to the dress: This Anna went together exactly as per my first. I was a teensy bit worried about the thicker cotton sateen but it wasn’t a problem at all, I like that the skirt feels more structured and sits out a bit more than my lighter weight version. Two different dresses and I love them both

My only other change was to lower the top of my zipper and put in a hook & eye, just to try something a bit different.

It didn’t all go smoothly though. I thought I was being super careful when cutting out the front bodice but…

Can you spot anything wrong with this picture?

Perhaps this will help:

Oh yeah, boob-shells!

Yes, that’s right, and the dress was 99% finished – I threw a small tanty and pulled out my unpicker:

#unpicking ugh! #unsewing #sadface #makesmegrumpy

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My overlocker unpicker makes unpicking particularly satisfying, mean looking isn’t it?

The offending bodice unpicked, lucky I had plenty of fabric left over to re-cut it.

I had to be careful attaching the new bodice, since I had overlocked most of my seam allowances off – I just followed the old stitching holes to line everything up.

Unpicked skirt on top, new bodice underneath – and yes, I am sewing over my pins, ha! 😉

The new bodice is much better, not a boob-shell in sight!

Getting photos taken with your friends is super awesome, as Nikki said, I was smiling in all my photos and it was really hard to whittle these down!

I particularly enjoyed Drakes photo bombs!

Here’s some more out-takes because out-takes are fun!


Pattern – By Hand London Anna Dress, variation 3, straight size 12

Fabric – Cotton Sateen from Spotlight, Kaiwharawhara

Other notions – Invisible zipper, a smidge of fusible interfacing, hook & eye

Big thanks to Kat for taking so many awesome photos xx


42 thoughts on “First make of 2014: Another BHL Anna

  1. I honestly didn’t notice the boob shells until you pointed it out! But I am not the most observant lady in the world, I need to make an Anna now – I have all the fabric I’ve bought in recent weeks from Arthur Toye 😉

  2. Another fantastic Anna! And I have great respect for the fact that you ripped out not just regular stitches, but *overlock* stitches to fix the bodice – I would’ve been tempted to leave it in and then probably never wear it. So great job on being patient and making sure the finished product is something you will love to wear!!

  3. I kind of liked the boob shells, but I get why you’d be less inclined to wear it! This version however is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know where you find the time to make so much stuff! And it’s all so gorgeous!

    And your photos are adorable, you guys must have had so much fun. Now tell me, what on earth did you do to Nikki’s stash?

  4. Yep this is gorgeous and I can see why you bought extra fabric too :). Lovely lovely dress Mel, particularly with the altered print placement centre front!!

    I had forgotten about Otari and now that I’ve seen the weather forecast and gorgeous pics here I’m going to take the kids there tomorrow for an adventure. Yay!

  5. lol Great job re-doing the bodice. I am currently procraqstinating over the pattern for making a cotton steen dress with birds on it and exactly like you I am thinking about how I will avoid bird boobs! I also don’t want a dress with too many pieces because the fabric is busy enough as it is. Love your labels! Great job! Fun photo shoot!

  6. Can anyone ever have too many Anna dresses? I think not. Especially in awesome fabric like yours! I actually loved the boob shells -I’m a huge Ariel fan *hums Under the Sea and still knows the whole song by heart*, I don’t know how often I saw that movie-, but probably best that you replaced the bodice. The background for the pictures is really beautiful, I love seeing photos of bloggers in a bit of scenery, not just their sewing space.

  7. Love that fabric… and how good are you?! Taking the whole bodice front out to make a new one! Impressive! And well worth it- it is a fabulous BHL Anna dress!

  8. Oh I totally recognized the fabric from your walk-about dress in the first photo! The colours really suit you and it looks great as an Anna dress. Hmm an overlocker unpicker you say… where can I purchase one?!

  9. Tee hee, boob shells. 😉 (Bet that’ll get some interesting search result stats for you! 😉

    I totally adore this fabric. Go on,make something else in it, you totally should!

  10. Really pretty dress! Glad you were able to fix the shells, that would have been distracting! I’m super intrigued by the overlocker unpicker. I’ve never heard of one but it makes so much sense

  11. Oh the boob shells, I’d forgotten those 🙂 I love this version, it’s completely different to the other, but I think this one’s the nicest? Nope, not sure, I love them both, possibly because one is a fine cotton and the other is sateen, they make very different dresses. Combined photo shoots are definitely the best. As for my stash, I don’t think it’s recovered 🙂

    • I am having trouble picking which is my favourite as well – normally when I make two of the same dress I will always like one more but with these too…nope, love them both, I guess that’s a good thing? 🙂

  12. Wow – close call on the boob shells. Yet another sewing mishap to look out for! Would have made for an interesting dress to wear on a date though! Again, another perfect Anna dress.

  13. Nice ‘save’! Where did you get that fierce looking overlocker unpicker?? I made toile of the V-neck bodice…sigh…needs a lot of fiddling…but I will persist…as you say, those panel pieces are great for using up stash!

  14. The dress looks fantastic. Your photos makes me so homesick! I grew up in Chartwell, and our house abutted one of the top borders of Otari bush. There’s an entrance to the park on our culdesac and I spent a whole tonne of my childhood stomping up and down the tracks and picnic-ing in the clearings. Arizona feels very very far away from Wellington now!

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