The Big Pink Dress: Anna take two

Anna Dress Front cropped

Some patterns just seem to offer so many possibilities. I’ve had the Anna dress pattern from By Hand London for quite a while and first made one in December 2016 for the Little Red Dress Project.

There have been some fabulous wax print versions created by a number of other stitchers, including Roisin Muldoon and Vicki from SewVee.

The shape of the bodice, with pleats rather than darts at the front and two narrow back darts, means that patterned fabric can be shown off beautifully with minimal disruption. I decided to make some further adjustments to limit the need for pattern matching as my chosen print is on a very large scale and I didn’t have the full bolt, having used 2m of it to make a gym ball bag for a client. The wax print came from B&M Fabrics; Sue had brought it back from London by train just days before, so I had the pick of the new prints!


Wax print is wonderful to work with. It scarcely frays, cuts and presses well, and is generally a very compliant fabric. The colours are mind-blowing! It was through the Great British Sewing Bee that I really came to love it, although I have lived in several towns with significant West African communities and have always loved the bright dresses that are worn with such style and flair, often with matching wraps for carrying babies and/or dramatic headwear.

It took me a few weeks to come to a firm decision on which pattern to use, but the idea of making a second and very different Anna dress just wouldn’t go away. Yesterday morning I found (with some trouble!) the pattern and started cutting out. It was a good distraction from the football match on TV, but I wandered through every so often to see what was happening.

The main changes I made to the pattern are as follows:

The skirt is formed from 2 panels instead of 6 and is shortened by about 10cm/ 4″. To do this, I folded back 15mm/ 5/8″ along one of the long edges of the skirt side back, overlapping it with the matching edge of the skirt centre back, and did the same with the skirt side front and centre front.

A sizeable section is taken out at the centre back, by folding from the centre back corner on the upper edge, parallel with the grain line, all the way down to the lower edge, and marked this as the fold line. Both skirt pieces could then be cut on folded fabric.

Altered Anna skirt patternHaving cut out the skirt panels, it was easier to work out pattern placement for the bodice on the remaining fabric. I didn’t quite get it right as some panels appear to be upside down, but at a distance no-one is likely to notice! The back bodice and facing are cut on the fold rather than as two pieces, so 15mm/ 5/8″ needed to be folded back to allow for this. No changes were made to the front bodice or facing.


I constructed the dress front and back, then sewed the shoulder seams, joined and attached the facings to the dress, then inserted an invisible zip in the right hand side seam. The side seams followed, then the hems (1/4″/ 6mm double turned tiny hems).

The dress is a little snug across my ribs, even having let it out a little at the sides. I should have been prepared for this but had blamed it on the French seams in my earlier version. I’ll make sure I remember next time! It has a flattering effect and will keep my appetite in check, so it’s not a disaster. I’m really looking forward to wearing this during the summer and potentially for evenings throughout the year, with warm layers as needed.


Anna Dress Side

4 thoughts on “The Big Pink Dress: Anna take two

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