The Anna Affair

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

I stumbled across this fabric 2-3 years ago at an old stone and mortar mill beside the Barwon River. A beautiful old bluestone building full of vintage fabrics, antique quilts and the lovely Jen. Sadly the physical space is not longer, after being bought out by foreign investors. Luckily Jen still runs A Piece of Cloth online and has set up a wonderful home studio which I’ve had the honour of visiting.

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

The bodice is hand block printed cotton from the 1930’s and the skirt is a sheer Edwardian from 1900’s, both in immaculate condition. When I purchased them, I had no idea what form they would take, my only thought at the time was that I couldn’t leave them behind.

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

They sat nestled together in my stash for a considerable period, coming out occasionally for a special viewing and then returned to fold.

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

One day in December 2013 I was feeling overwhelmed and sad, so I reached for my favourite fabrics again and on this occasion I decided that in order to shift my mood I needed to create something special. So many times I’d tried to match each piece with other pieces but they never seemed to coordinate with anything other than each other.

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

I was able to piece the Anna bodice with a few inches of scraps to spare. Stitched and hung on the wall with the Edwardian fabric pinned as the skirt, I stood and admired the potential outcome.

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

I tried to use as much hand work as possible in order to preserve the delicate fabric and to honour its age and history.

The skirt is simply three gently gathered rectangles leaving no waste. All seams were french seamed, with satin bias on the neckline and waist seam. And my first hand picked zip! I followed Tasia’s tutorial here. I remember it was 47 degrees in the middle of a 6 day heat wave when the zip was picked, no air-conditioning but much satisfaction when it was completed.

Vintage Anna Dress - Russian Tea Leaf Reading

Vintage Anna Dress – Russian Tea Leaf Reading

This dress is a firm favourite, not only for its age and beauty but also because creation its enabled me to channel my sorrow on a miserable day and make something that is both pleasing to my eye and suitable for frolicking in the forest. Vintage Anna Dress

It’s also a reminder to me that whilst I can’t control how I’m perceived by people, I can create pieces that are unique to me and make me happy to be who I am. I like for my clothing to have meaning and memory.

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

I also feel like a faerie when I wear this dress. All I need is some gossamer wings…

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Curtsey.

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Pips xxx

Photos by Tash and Bruce. Fabric purchased from A Piece of Cloth. Shoes from Camper. Tights from Wolford. Flower pins from Gardens of Whimsey.

(Note that the photos in the forest are from a year ago when photos were taken for a project that has yet to come to fruition and my hair was wild and auburn. Additional photos taken at a family lunch two weeks ago.)

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12 thoughts on “The Anna Affair

    • Thank you Clarinda! Ethereal was one of the qualities we were looking to capture on the day. I’m so happy it came through. xx

  1. Everything about this post is so beautiful! You, the dress, its story and the locations where the photos were taken. A fairytale! It is so obvious that these fabrics belong together and that they had to become this dress. I am so glad you found them and made this happen! I am curious about the project you mentioned. Hugs! Xx

    • It’s all about friendship and dresses the past few weeks Ute. I’m so lucky to have access to a wonderful wardrobe! I sincerely love it when clothes have a story to tell, it gives extra depth and meaning and makes me so happy! Big hugs. xxx

  2. I love this post! There is something so precious about fabric that has a story of it’s own. I like that you kept these two together. They’re friends, these fabrics. So beautiful, Pips. The dress, but more especially, YOU!

    • Thanks Rach, they are indeed best friends and I’m so glad I kept them together. I don’t wear it often due to the delicate nature of the fabric, but when I do I feel very special. xx

    • Awww. thank you. I sometimes wonder how I hold down a day job with all the faery magic in me. Luckily I get to explore the wilderness on occasion in all my mystical glory! xx

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