Monday, 22 September 2014

The tribute-to-everyone Anna dress

Sew Dolly Clackett, Oonapalooza, Tribute August - this summer there have been ample opportunities to show my appreciation for, and inspiration by, the myriad wonderful seamstresses of the interweb.

But of course, I missed them all. A situation all the more ridiculous for having at the ready a garment made in the spring which was totally appropriate for every. single. one. And while I'm not exactly a group activity kinda girl (quite the opposite, generally), I was more than a little bit sorry that life got in the way of joining the fun.

However. It's never too late, and this way I get to write my own rules! So, with no further ado, let me show you this rather lovely dress. It's one of my favourite makes (so far) this year, and a simultaneous homage in particular to Dolly Clackett, Oonaballoona and Ada Spragg. But most especially, I'm dedicating it to all the rest of us sewing bloggers who sew things and then spend the next x years thinking "god I should really just take pictures and blog that already." Plus all those who feel like "ooh I'd like to do that", and do, and just never tell anyone about it. Sewcialists far and wide, online and off - this is a tribute to all of you :-)

So OK, I said I'd show you the dress but actually I have to start with the fabric. Crazy bright geomteric metallic wax print. WAX PRINT!  And the very first thought I had when I saw it was...

... oh my gosh I can TOTALLY see Sophie rocking that. Instantaneously, I knew that whatever she would do with it would be the sort of inventively stylish stuff I could never dream up - and that it would be brilliant. What I also knew straight away was that leaving the fabric there, just because I am not her, would be a terrible sin. I just had to do MY thing with it.

My thing in this case being a mish mash of Roisin's thing - she, the undisputed queen of the Anna dress - and Marcy's thing - the thing of exuberantly pretty wild prints and maxi dresses.  It took literally about five seconds in the fabric shop between seeing the fabric and this plan coming together. Meant. To. Be.

And look how lovely! This time I followed the pattern exactly, adjusting only for fit which is PERFECT and therefore SO COMFY. Astonishing what a difference that makes.  Wax fabric being what it is, this cotton has been beautiful to wear all summer - medium weight and 'solid' enough but always cool - and the length and breadth of the skirt just feels breezy and elegant all at once. Though of course to show you just how breezy it is I chose to do this, which kind of negates the elegance factor:

Maybe I should have taken the picture from ground level, Oona-style, to make it more flattering. I didn't, obvs, but what I did do was my own unwitting Dolly Clacket photoshoot. I didn't even realise until I uploaded the pictures. I mean, look at this one - I always wondered what she meant by photos of her back looking stupid - but actually, now I think I get it.

And this one I love, because - well, I don't know how to put this without it sounding a bit wrong, but -  "OMG I'm doing the Roisin pose!! AND I EVEN HAVE DERP FACE."

THE BEST KIND OF DERP FACE. Seriously, I don't know it reads but that's so meant as a compliment.

Oh yeah I forgot to mention. I got twelve yards of the stuff.  No yardage cuts of wax print, just take that length or leave it. At 25 euros, I took.

More derp! I despair of ever looking ok in family pictures.

It was only 110 cm wide but me, my mum and my sister all got dresses out of it - no mean feat considering two of them are fabric-hungry Annas.  My sister has the version with the higher neckline and mid-calf skirt - this pattern worked out really well for her, as she lives in a country where it's generally best to keep her chest/shoulders/knees covered, but she still wants to look nice, of course, and not wilt in the 45° heat. And it fit her pretty much straight up, we just pinched a bit out of the back neckline.  My mum's dress is a New Look pattern, I think - one of the Big 4 anyway.  We each made our own dress ourself. Yay for sewing! But seriously mine has the best zip. Sibling rivalry? What sibling rivalry? :-).  Don't worry, we only wore them all at once just for that picture (even that was too much for much for my other sister, who does not have a matching dress and was doing eye-rolls at us).

So, there we go. This dress has been brilliant this summer - whenever it's warm enough it's by far the easiest thing to be instantly fully, stylishly and comfortably dressed in.

Totally late to all the parties, but a party in itself amirite? YES I AM.

Would you buy twelve yards of distinctively printed fabric and make matching clothes with your close relatives?


  1. So lovely on you. Your contrasting anna is still my fave EVER though and might one day convince me to try it. Love the maxi length!

  2. Amazing! I love the family shot! I've made matching outfits for me and my boyfriend already, so with my relatives: I'd make those in a heartbeat (well, the decision to make them at least, actually sewing them up probably takes another 3 years...)
    The fabric is divine and looks lovely on you!

  3. Woah, that fabric is GORGEOUS! I found 22 yards of a stripey fabric at the thrift store once and still have loads left... Sadly no one in my family sews. And I'm not going to do it for them!

  4. Amazing! My sister would be rolling her eyes too if there were matching dresses in my family! :)

  5. Oh man, I am such a fan of matching family outfits! I think I actually gasped when I reached the photo of the three of you! So far, I've only made matching dresses for my sis and I but I'd love to expand on that idea. Beautiful job on your dress.


    and i am super freaking jealous of that anna, what a great post! as long as you make it to the party you're going to, you're never late.

  7. Oh yes a party in itself! That Anna looks brilliant on you. Can't say I would make my mum and sister matching dresses (but only because I'm too selfish). Love it!

  8. LOVE this Jo. All three of you look amazing and that fabric is such a find! You made the perfect thing with it

  9. Beautiful dress! Love the fabric :) I have the same thing with all the parties/deadlines, I miss them all the time..

  10. i love the matching family outfits - the only time I ever made a matching item was the first thing I ever made, when I was 8 - a skirt and my best friend at the time got to make one the same - I suspect we were driving my mother crazy, so she set us down by the sewing machine and kept us busy for a couple of hours :)


Please don't be anonymous or unpleasant!