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Laura’s Hannah Dress

In January Laura received the Luxury box and used her Atelier Brunette dobby viscose to make a beautiful By Hand London Hannah Dress.

Can a girl ever have too many wrap dresses in her wardrobe? The answer is of course, never!

This will be my third iteration of a wrap dress that I make for SewHayleyJane, and I’m not about to stop. They’re flattering for my curvy figure and easy to wear. I am also still on the hunt for the perfect fitting one for woven fabrics and this was my ideal opportunity.

So, I decided to welcome the By Hand London Hannah Dress into my life. On its release, this quickly became one of those cult patterns in the sewing community. I mean, we went WILD for it! There are so many beautiful versions of this as I perused the hashtag on Instagram, and the best thing: it looked amazing on all body types. It had been on my radar to make for a while, and now was the perfect time to pair with this absolutely stunning Atelier Brunette viscose dobby.

The dress comes in two size ranges for a dressmaker’s B and D cup (not your bra size as I have been often confused!). By Hand London are well known for their bodice fitting and advocate the importance of choosing your size based on your high bust measurement, which is often neglected and is usually the cause of ill-fitting garments. I measured about 2.5 inches between my high bust and full bust which would put me between a dressmaker’s B and C. I decided to go with the B cup range.

As we all know, wrap dresses can be notoriously difficult to fit, and I haven’t had the best track record. Coming off the success of my trousers in December, the angle on my shoulder persuaded me to make a toile and thank goodness that I did! 

The first iteration (made up in a straight size with no alterations) was really gapey around the neckline (a completely indecent amount of bra was displayed!) and it also felt quite tight across the bust.

As I was between 2 cup sizes anyway, I decided to do a 1” FBA (½” on each side). I also nipped about an inch or so out of the neckline using the technique on the By Hand London blog post.

Toile #2 saw a much better fit but given that I was putting all this effort in, I figured that it could be that little bit better. I nipped about another inch where required out of the neckline and lengthened the bodice by ¾” as I found it rode up a bit high.

Toile #3… Nailed it. By this point, the pattern piece was more scraps and Sellotape and beyond recognition of what the original was. I was ready to go with the confidence that the “real” one was going to look amazing!

In keeping with the romantic, ethereal, poetic dream; those beautiful billowy sleeves were a must. But after cutting out the bodice and skirt pieces, I didn’t have quite enough to fit them on. Now, you will have to forgive me, as I committed a dressmaker’s cardinal sin and cut them off grain. But hear me out! I figured that as the fabric was plain and the sleeves were so loose that it wouldn’t matter. Thankfully it paid off.

Out of the 3.5 meters, I only had a small amount of scraps left. I didn’t have quite enough to make the pockets. But to be honest, I was planning on leaving them off anyway. I know, is that another cardinal sin?? But as the fabric was so light, the pockets would have been pretty useless as putting anything in them would drag and distort the dress.

As it was becoming such a special garment, I went all out and made the bias binding for the neckline out of some scrumptious Liberty print lawn. I was a little worried that it would show through to the right side but thankfully I just about got away with it and it gives such a beautiful finish.

I just love everything about this dress. It feels very princess-y, and I am here for it. I am so glad that I took that extra time to properly fit it as now I have the perfect pattern that I will most certainly be making again, and again, and again!