Art Gallery Knit Anna

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I’ve been in a sewing slump since getting back from a family vacation last week – so I threw caution to the wind and cut into my precious (expensive) Art Gallery Knit!

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On a whim, I cut out an Anna bodice with a free-hand u-shaped neckline. I used the Anna pieces that I’d FBA’d for my Sewing Dare dress, forgetting that I’d altered the pattern to make that dress extra blousy! Needless to say, the bodice turned out big and saggy and sad. I’d already turned and stitched the sleeves and neckline, so I just took a giant tuck horizontally just in front of the shoulder seam, taking out 1.5″ on length from the front! Yikes. It’s pretty messy inside!

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The skirt is, of course, a Tiramisu 1/2 circle skirt. It’s a handy pattern because it has a line marked on it for creating a chevron with stripes. I usually prefer the more modern feel of something like a Comino Cap or Mission Maxi skirt (halfway between a-line and a straight skirt), but I thought the kimono sleeves would be best balanced by a fuller skirt. Now if someone would just invite me to a garden party or church tea, I’d be set!

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Now, if you remember my haul video, I wasn’t thrilled with this fabric when it arrived. I’d been expecting something beefier… but I have to report that it did sew up vey nicely. It was easy to iron, didn’t curl badly and was perfect for doing the bust pleats. This dress would have been a lot harder to sew in my favourite rayon jersey, so 1 point to Team Cotton. (That said, I chose this bodice and skirt on purpose to work well with the fabric – with rayon I would have done something more figure-hugging!)

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In other news – I got my hair cut at the start of vacation! It’s my first asymmetrical cut. I do like it, but I spent the first week trimming it and thinning out the short side to give it more shape. (My hairdresser knows I like my hair to be whispy with little bits curling out at the front, but somehow it’s never whispy enough. I get so thrown off by how they style it at the salon that I’m never quite sure if the haircut is right or not before I leave… clearly I need to be more assertive or find a new stylist!) Next time I think I’ll leave the long side longer, and get the short side shorter. Viva la asymmetrical hair!

Did you notice that I finally took pictures in a new location??? Yay me! I love the way Heather finds nice locations around town, so I decided to go check out a park downtown by the river. I was feeling a little chicken though – that I’d get odd looks or that the camera would get stolen/knocked over while I was far away with the remote – so I asked Jamie to come along with me. Here he is, loitering in the background! 

I still used the tripod and timer though, because that way I can take as many pictures as I want without feeling like an idiot. In the end, the park was empty except for about 100 Canada geese, so I didn’t need my bodyguard! There are a bunch of good locations there (river, stone walls, modern glass-and-steel theatre, bridge, railroad, and trees) so I’ll be sure to take more pictures there this summer!

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I’ve got just under 1m of this print left… not sure if I should sew it up right away, or let it marinate in the stash a bit! 

Now, I’ve already mentioned that I had to take out length in the bodice and cut my own neckline… but I made a lot of other changes too. 

  • narrowed back 1″
  • rounded back neckline
  • removed 1/2″ wedge from front neckline in an attempt to stop it gaping
  • added gentle angle to the shoulder seam, so it bends downward from the shoulder point.. otherwise the sleeves would be to wing-like in this fabric!
  • made some alterations to sew in a knit, like narrowing the back bodice at the waist and adding seam allowances to turn and stitch the sleeves

Now, it’s entirely possible that I messed up the FBA last time and that’s why I had the extra bodice length… and I did sew a woven pattern in a knit (albeit a stable one)… but the last time I had to make this many changes to a pattern was sewing Colette, and I’ve since given up on making them work for my body.

Have you made  BHL Anna? Did you find it easy to fit, or a lot of work? I think it’s always so flattering on other people, and it’s clearly a pattern with staying power… but after sewing it up 3 times, I have to say the fitting business is too much work for me. The bust darts are pretty, but they are literally the only part of the bodice I ended up sewing as-is! 


50 thoughts on “Art Gallery Knit Anna

  1. This is gorgeous! The fabric looks great on you, the dress is cheerful and fun, and your photos came out beautifully. BTW, this is exactly why I never take self-timed shots out in public – I’m terrified my camera will get stolen! How do you get your camera to focus on you with a self-timed shot? I have to use a stand-in (usually my ironing board), and it doesn’t always work out well.

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    1. I’ve always struggled with getting the focus right too – I’d focus on a spot, then run around and take a series of pics slightly behind, on, and in front of where I thought I’d focused, in hopes some of them would work! Heather (Knitnbee) suggested switching to portrait setting instead, and that has magically made all the difference! Hope it works for you too!

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  2. Anna has been in my pattern stash for a long time now, but I still haven’t gotten around to testing it out. Seems a lot of people have fitting trouble with it, and I strongly suspect I’ll belong in that group. It is a lovely pattern though, and I love this version!

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    1. It IS such a nice pattern – I so often see a dress someone has posted and think “oh that’s so pretty!” and only then realise it’s an Anna! Too bad it often needs a bit of fit work to get there though.

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  3. Very pretty, Gillian! I love the chevrons, especially effective in the full skirt. Take lots of walks in the park…the weather is purrrfect 😻

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    1. Thanks, Mom! The weather IS really gorgeous right now! Looking forward to sitting on the deck with you next week!🙂 (Did Dad tell you I invited myself to lunch with you on Tuesday while I’m in town getting car work done? Pretty please?)

      I’ve edited your comment now, but oddly, your original comment ended with your full name and phone number! Not sure how that happened… but I didn’t want to leave it there!

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    1. Thank you! I’m oddly shy about getting haircuts during the school year – I HATE when every kids asks if I’ve had a haircut! No idea why… but it means summer is the time to experiment!😉

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  4. So so pretty! I’m glad you gave the great print in the slightly disappointing weight a chance! Your dress turned out really well despite all the unwanted fitting work. I especially like your stripe placement, and the slightly fuller (than your usual) skirt is very nice on you too! I bet that leftover fabric would make a great top at some point.

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    1. Thanks Brooke! I figured a classic pretty dress would get the most bang for my buck – not the time to go too crazy!😉

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  5. 100 Canada geese? You absolutely needed a bodyguard then!😉 Seriously though, when there are eggs around they can get mean in a hurry!

    Cute dress! I never worry about what the inside looks like, but then I suppose I’m old and married so no worries about “walks of shame” or “clandestine meetings in dark places”.😉 I also like your hair, and YES!!! to not ever being sure if you like it or not when you leave the salon. I thought maybe that was just me! Of course, I’m a big ‘ol chicken when it comes down to it, so I never have the guts to cut my hair in any of the funky cuts. and my hubby (who loves my hair long!) would probably be irritated at me if I did…

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    1. Yeah, I started walking towards the geese because they were surrounding the pretty stone wall where I’d intended to take pictures, but quickly decided that was a mistake!😛 Dirty, angry birds, those geese!
      I”m so glad to hear you feel the same at the salon! It’s so annoying… I guess I need to be firmer about only a tiny bit of product and definitely no strange flat iron curls, because I can never tell what is really happening on my head! ;P

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  6. This is just gorgeous! The dress, your haircut, the setting… bravo! I made an Anna this week, too, to be posted soon. Are you going to rock yours for the #internationalannaparty on Instragram?

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    1. When is this Anna party? I was starting to think I was imagining it, because I saw mentions and then nothing! I’ve got my bramaking course tomorrow and Saturday, so I can’t wear dresses those days (Gotta be able to put on a bra to show the teacher easily), but I’ll definitely wear an Anna at some point!😉

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      1. It’s Friday/Saturday- all you have to do is Instagram a picture of your Anna (I’m sure you could use one of these lovely blog pics) and use the hashtag: simply post a picture of your handmade ‘By Hand London Anna dress’ on your Instagram feed between Friday July 17th 18.00 BST and Saturday July 18th 23.59 BST 2015 using the hashtag #InternationalAnnaParty

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  7. I had no trouble making the Anna dress fit in knit (negative ease plus stretch gives a lot of leeway), but as expected, I’m having a harder time of it in wovens.

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  8. This version of Anna looks awesome! I still haven´t sew mine, I don´t know if this pattern will look good with a huge belly… This fabric is really amazing, I love flowers and stripes as well

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  9. Great pictures, great dress, great haircut! Booo on all the fitting-work, but it really does look lovely. I especially like the stripes being horizontal on the bodice, and then chevroned on the skirt. It looks balanced both side to side, and top to bottom – so great job designing the dress! (I view all the decisions like matching fabric to pattern, choosing colors, making adjustments and choices on fullness of skirts and stuff as designing. Even if a company has designed the pattern, the job isn’t done!😉 )

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  10. Such a pretty dress! love that fabric! I’m also loving your hair- I absolutely love asymmetrical looks but I would never be brave enough to try it on myself. It looks great on you!

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  11. Your “new” hair is fabulous. That style really suits you.Glorious dress. I am really glad that that fabric turned into a win as the print on it is lovely. I like the stripe orientation on your top/skirt and the shapes of them are a nice combination. That park looks very pretty and a great background for your photos. How lucky that you had some help.Taking them alone, which I do, can be pretty hot or miss unless you have a remote shutter release. Xx

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  12. This dress looks so pretty on you. My local fabric shop has this fabric and I’m tempted by it every time I go in… which is often!

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  13. Oh, I LOVE the idea of making an Anna in knit! I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do that yet either. I have the pattern and muslined it over a year ago, but that was before I understood fitting and I had all kinds of issues so I just threw it to the side. I still have my muslin, but it doesn’t fit anymore as I’ve lost some weight, so the thought of retracing and making all the fitting adjustments is pretty annoying. Maybe someday, though!

    And I love your haircut, by the way! I got an asymmetrical cut last time, and I also felt like it wasn’t asymmetrical enough! I worried it looked like the stylist just messed up a little and cut my hair slightly crooked! And ugh, I almost always hate how they style my hair. Mine will always tell me, “You need to go out on a date with your husband tonight!” and I just laugh but inside I’m like, “Nope, I need to go home and take a shower immediately to wash this style out.”

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  14. What a pretty dress! It’s really, really cute! I never know if my haircut is good at the salon, either, and I’m really terrible about trying new places all the time. I’m also a chronic self-hair-cutter, which… rarely has good results! The stylists are always like, “wow, who cut your hair??? it’s so uneven!” and I NEVER confess!😮

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  15. That fabric is so very Gillian to me. And the pattern alterations you made must have worked because the dress turned out beautifully! I really like the look of Anna but think the high neck and cut-on shoulders probably wouldn’t work with my shoulder scene.

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  16. Love love the new haircut! so pretty. Your dress is great, I love that you freehanded the neckline. That is something I would do…. but probably wouldn’t work out as well as yours did.

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  17. Gillian!! I love this dress so much – and your new ‘do is fantastic! I can’t gush over all these photos enough! Kudos to you for getting out there and shooting some location shots – they look great!

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  18. What a cute dress! I’m glad the fabric lived up to expectations in the end. Love the photos! The backgrounds are really pretty. I’m very glad that German hair stylists mostly give the option of foregoing the styling (and do the blow-drying yourself) after cutting. It’s cheaper and I know what my cut looks like afterwards!😉

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  19. This is really cute! I also love the Tiramisu skirt as a ready-made half circle skirt pattern, I use it all the time. As far as the Anna top, I know you love the Kirsten Kimono top, you could trace the lower bodice with darts of the Anna onto the top half of the Kirsten for basically the same look with less wonky shoulder fitting! I have hacked the Kirsten six ways from sunday and it’s always worked out, great pattern.

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  20. Woo hooo! What a lovely park to go hang around in. I love that Jay is lurking in the background too. That photo made me smile.

    I really like how this dress looks on you and the fabric just screams “GILLIAN!” Wouldn’t have known that you had to tweak the heck out of it. Glad it all worked out and you didn’t have to put your expensive jersey in the scrap pile/

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  21. Wow, I really love this! The style really suits you and one of the first things I noticed was the chevron skirt, brilliant! I really want a knit Anna now! The Anna is one of the few patterns I have made more than once, and have actually spent time fitting it. I really enjoy sewing and wearing it.

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