International Anna Party!

Hello lovelies!

Todays post is a slight departure from normal. However I’ve got some very exciting news to share! If you already follow me on Instagram, you will well be aware of the upcoming party, but for those who are not, I’d like to share this with you today.

International Anna Party

International Anna Party

I’ve spoken previously about the wonderful friendships I have made over the past year, in particular my dearest Elle and Ute. My friendship with these amazing women has not only resulted in late night/early morning conversations, sewing support and the general joys that come with friendships. It has also meant that two very special dresses (here and here) have come to be, and that more than usual they are original and steeped in friendship loveliness. I can not wear them without being cheerfully reminded of how they came to be and who they they have intricate ties to.

International Friends! Pips - Ute - Elle

International Friends! Pips – Ute – Elle

So. The three of us wanted to celebrate our friendship, and as it just so happens, Ms Elle is celebrating a birthday shortly. But how were we to celebrate across continents and timezones, and have dresses and tea and festivities? After much discussion, emailing and some wizard planning on Elle’s part, we decided upon the International Anna Party. To celebrate Elle’s birthday and the beautiful sewing community that I am so blessed to be a part of,  you are formally invited to join us for the #internationalannaparty

The festivities are being held on Instagram, so if you don’t have an account yet but have been thinking of joining, now might be the time! I’ve only seen kindness and fabulous sewing in this little corner of the internet. Plus, there are gifts to be given as part of our celebrations.

Pop over to Elle’s blog lauralovespugs@blogspot.co.uk for some of the finest terms and conditions you will ever  have the pleasure of reading.

If you’ve been thinking of making your own Anna, now is the time. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have made 16 Anna dresses (14 reside and have conversations with each other in my wardrobe, two have made the long journey to Berlin) and on a cost per use basis of the pattern, I think I’m coming up trumps!I can’t deny that there may be more Anna’s in my future, queue concern, however as I have not yet required an intervention thus far, I think I’m ok. Although I do need to invest in some new hangers…Annaparty2 annaparty1

Here is a little Anna inspiration for you, if your wondering how you can work the pattern.

Berlin Anna Dress

Berlin Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna Dress

Vintage Anna

Vintage Anna

Too Tight Anna (Berlin Now)

Too Tight Anna (Berlin Now)

Gothic Anna

Gothic Anna

Gothic Anna with Split

Gothic Anna with Split

Vintage Anna at the Beach

Vintage Anna at the Beach

Look forward to seeing you all at the party.

Curtsey

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The English Dress: Marbella

I feel so blessed to have made such gorgeous friends of late.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

I met Elle around a year ago during the 2014 round of Me Made May through Instagram and since then we have become firm friends. In the way of international friendship triangles she is also linked to my dear friend Ute, who gifted Elle a present for Secret Valentine 2015 (I gifted Ute). Ute also sent me the fabric for my Berlin dress. The three of us are now officially sewing sisters, our knowledge shared and our friendship growing, with parcels being sent to and fro across the great divide.

The English Dress: Marbella - The Berlin Dress: Anna

The English Dress: Marbella – The Berlin Dress: Anna

One day, the three of us will meet up at a little cafe over earl grey tea and cake (followed by gin and blueberries) and talk about the wonders of sewing, and friendship and worldly events. Until then there are ways and means of keeping in touch and maintaining our friendship. Keep an eye our for our Anna Party coming up in July hosted by all three of us to celebrate Elle’s birthday. All the Anna’s are coming out to play!

The English Dress - Marbella - The Parcel

The English Dress – Marbella – The Parcel

Elle was kind enough to send me this beautiful fabric, along with yummy pig/pug faces, a heirloom piece of lace and my beloved headscarf which I can not wear enough.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella, Beautiful Pockets

The English Dress - Marbella - Bodice Detail

The English Dress – Marbella – Bodice Detail

It’s a stunning piece of fabric with saturated colours that reflect my colour palate. No filter required. Deep burgundy, pinks and greens printed on a beautiful linenish cotton fabric, it needed to be sewn into something special. I would normally reach for the Anna at this stage however I am trying to extend my dress collection. And I’m so glad that I did.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

I choose the Marbella dress from Itch to Stitch. I’ve been looking at this pattern for some time, I love the design lines, the boatneck and the tulip skirt. And excellent pockets. It’s also a great silhouette to let the fabric shine.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

There is the option to partially or fully line the dress, I choose the latter and made the extravagant decision to line in sand-washed silk after petting some at a local fabric store. The colour was a perfect match and I think that once silk has been used for lining, poly just can’t be entertained as an alternative. Usually I line my dresses with cotton which has proven to be comfortable and easy to wash. With the wisdom of the seamstress who sold me the silk, I hand-washed it in wool mix before cutting. This technically means I can hand wash the entire dress when I need to. So I can pass on the dry cleaning this time.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

In terms of construction notes, some other seamstresses noted that some of the width needed to be taken out of the back of the dress. I reduced each of the back darts (both bodice and skirt) by 2cm at the waist and also took an extra 1cm out of each side of the centre back seam. I also graded out the skirt width from the hip to hem to the next size up as I find tulip skirts need a little more space at the hem line to accommodate my long stride. The fit was then perfect.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

The PDF was a dream to put together. It also has a couple of rather innovative and interesting features that all the PDF’s should embrace. You can turn off “layers” on the pdf for sizing which allows you to print just the one size (or multiples if you want to grade between). So when tracing it reduces the risk of marking the wrong lines.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

You can also select your cup size for the bodice (between A – D) so the need for a SBA or FBA for many may be avoided. I used the B cup and it fit perfectly across the bust.

I would recommend making a toile before cutting into your precious fabric. I was able to make my adjustments by fitting on myself and sticking myself with pins and transfer them to my traced pattern, which resulted in a beautifully fitted dress.

The English Dress - Marbella

The English Dress – Marbella

The fabric was beautiful to sew, with just a little bit of fraying. Using a gentle hand and a good press, it came together beautifully with the silk.

I first wore this to see the Doug Anthony All Stars. I laughed so much that I got a stitch in my shoulder. I didn’t even know that was possible! Paul, Tim and Flacco were as politically incorrect, foul mouthed and poignant as ever. Feminist poetry remains a strength and age, disability and broken bones has not taken the edge off their sharp tongues. This is my favourite. It’s also not representative of their normal material.

Marbella Dress off to see DAAS

Marbella Dress off to see DAAS

I also managed to eek a Sorbetto top out of the remnants, again lined in silk. Such happiness!

Sorbetto Top

Sorbetto Top

Do you get to share your love of fabric across the oceans?

Curtsey,

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Photos by Bruce. Fabric gifted from Elle. Tights from Wolford. Shoes from Camper, boots by Duckfeet. Hair flower from Gardens of Whimsey.