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Esther’s Anna Dress Hack

In December Esther received the Mini box and used her 1m of brushed cotton tartan to make a By Hand London Anna bodice with a plain black circle skirt made from a medium weight knit.

It was my first time getting the Mini box and I was a tad nervous about how I would make the fabric work. I was also excited thinking about putting on my creative hat and making something unique. I have not really made anything out of one metre of fabric so I knew this would be a challenge but I was eager to see what I would come up with.

When I received the box, I was very excited because I fell in love with the fabric instantly. My initial thought was to make a top. I figured I could make a top with the one metre of fabric. I also considered that if I didn’t have enough fabric for sleeves then I could use some plain organza fabric and create a top with balloon sleeves. I was considering making the Montrose top by Cashmerette.

When I went to cut my fabric though, I had another thought – a mixed fabric dress. I really liked the idea so I abandoned my top idea and went with that.

With my new idea came new questions. I had already decided that the bodice of my dress would be in the red check fabric but I wasn’t sure what pattern I’d use. I also wasn’t sure what fabric I’d use to make the skirt piece. My fabric was enough for a bodice but I knew I wouldn’t have enough for sleeves and I like my dresses to have sleeves.

When deciding what to make, I considered two patterns – the Sew Over It Betty dress and the Anna dress from By Hand London. I went with Anna because it’s a tried and tested pattern. It’s a safe place for me.

Even though I’ve made a good number of Anna dresses, choosing a skirt was still a process. I didn’t consider using the skirt piece of the Anna dress, I think I was afraid that if my skirt seams didn’t match the bodices, it would be very obvious in the different fabrics.

So, I decided to go with my old favourite – a circle skirt. Choosing the fabric that would be used for the skirt was another point I thought about very well. I considered using a red floral print for some print mixing but I chickened out. I decided to make things simple and just pick a fabric colour that won’t take away from the red check. The fabric for my skirt is actually a black medium weight knit. It was my first time mixing knits with wovens but I absolutely enjoyed the process.

I was able to construct my skirt on the overlocker then I joined the bodice to the skirt using a triple straight stitch and I finished the edges using a 4 thread overlock. I have left the skirt unhemmed because the jersey doesn’t require a hem.

I loved the process of making this dress and the result pleasantly surprised me.