Friday, 12 May 2017

BHL Anna dress & top hack

I had my eye on the ByHandLondon Anna dress pattern for a very long time  and then was very lucky to receive it along with the Sarah Shirt and Elisalex dress as part of my Refashioners prize win last year. Truth be told, the only reason Ive not made it before now is, firstly I never buy 4 metres of fabric - I always buy without a plan and usually buy one or two metres.  And, well its a pdf.  Thats a lot of pieces to stick together for that long skirt!!  Anyway, I got a wonderful gift of some hand printed Indonesian Batik - 4 metres to be precise!!  and I found a good printers near my office to print it out.  So yes, Anna could finally happen.

I knew I would love this pattern, the slightly wide sleeves, fitted bodice and A-line skirt are my perfect shape and I wasn't disappointed at all.  Straight up there to the top of my favourites pile!!

Its also a straightforward make.  I played around with it to get the fit of the top right, but once I had that good, it was very straightforward.

I specifically made this Anna dress for a trip to Athens and it really is an ideal summer dress- especially for one who gets so easily red!  It covers perfectly whilst being very cool.

I loved the shape of the bodice so much, I wanted to create a top out of it.  The bodice is quite short, so it needed some hacking to evolve into a top.  I had a few attempts and got it right on my second.  I basically just overlaid my Anna pattern on my usual top block and extended it downwards to merge with the block.  I then for the front, I drew a line extending the middle of the darts, then continued down the darts, tapering in towards the bottom.  

This is the back overlaid with my block - as you can see, its perfectly easy to extend and even the dart is almost perfecty aligned!

I did the same for the front and here you can see how i extended down the darts.  The thicker markings just before it tapers in is where the bodice goes to. By doing it like this I found the darts create a nice curve on the body (well on mine at least!)

And I ve made two so far- one in jersey, which I made a lot smaller due to the stretch and one in Tana Lawn- which is made to the usual size.  On the tops I also added turn backs on the sleeve for added emphasis, which I really like - just an extra strip of fabric sewn on & turned back to finish them off.


  1. Your Anna Dress is spectacular, and fits you like a glove. The two blouses look great, but I REALLY wish you would post a photo of you wearing them. The closeup doesn't show enough to get a good idea of how the blouse looks.

  2. Wow what gorgeous makes! Your dress is lovely, perfect for summer & oh so glamorous too. I'm so pleased you've posted this top hack too as I've always fancied making this as a top. Ive had this pattern for ages but hope to make it up this summer.

  3. howdy, your websites are really good. I appreciate your work.