Layered pant Chanel style

So a little while back, I made an amazing Anna dress. And it really was a fantastic dress. It was my second Anna (my first was a wearable muslin), so the fit was great, the style indisputably pretty, and the fabric, beyond amazing. I’d even drafted a full lining attached to the facing, handstitched some of it’s innards, and took more care than usual in it’s construction. I ended up wearing it three times, to date nights and the like. I got compliments from strangers who noticed the pretty style, or the stunning fabric, or the way the modern graphics of the print were slightly at odds with the feminine style of dress, but at the same time so perfectly matched. But each time I wore it, I always felt like I was wearing someone else’s dress.

I had inklings of this when I was making the dress in the first place. I remember observing, as I was cutting the large portions of fabric required for the gathered skirt, that I could relax because they would be large, undamaged panels that I could cut off and re-use later. My head was telling me that the fabric deserved an Anna, but my heart was telling me to do something a little more uncharted, something a little more me.

Well, it’s the best of both worlds for this most special of special crepe de chines from Colette of Tessuti Fabrics. It lived a wonderful, yet short life as an Anna. And now I’ve had the double pleasure of remaking it into something a little more exciting (twice in fact, if you saw my first remake of layered trackie dacks on Instagram).

So this story needs an intermission now, with a few inspiration shots from the Chanel 2014/15 Cruise collection *swoon*. Let’s call this the triple P collection. It had me Panting, Pinning (Pinterest), and Planning knock offs. There was layering and blending of beautiful fabrics and prints that quite simply left me breathless. Skirts layering pants, culottes layering pants, beautifully shaped 3/4 length sleeves, and all in gorgeous colours and shapes. Here is a taste of my inspiration. Be still my beating heart…

Chanel | Cruise/Resort 2015 Collection via Karl Lagerfeld | Modeled by Magda Laguinge | May 13, 2014; Dubai | Style.com
I love that every look in this collection is a skirt over pants!  my favorite silhouette lately.
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 56 - CHANEL
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 50 - CHANEL


 The dress I made is a simple, slip-over-the-head affair. It is self-drafted, mainly because I had a very limited length of fabric to work with and no patterns on hand to match what I wanted. It is unlined, un-faced, and beautifully light to wear. I didn’t have enough fabric to make a facing or create bias binding so I fused bias stay tape to the neck and armscye edges and then turned them back as narrow hems. It worked beautifully. I also wasn’t sure whether to add the waist elastic or not, but I’m glad that I did in the end. This is now a beautiful summer frock that I can see myself wearing a LOT.

 

 

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Mr Lagerfield, I was also now desperately in need of a pair of matching fancy pant trackie dacks to layer with the dress. So that I did. Once again I used Vogue 8909 (you’ve seen my other versions here and here). But this time I eliminated the yoke, faux fly, and pockets to create a more simple, streamlined pant that could be worn better for layering.


I love the way pants look layered with a simple dress and I also love both items as separates. I’m wondering if I can pass them off as a bit of matchy matchy for Ada Spragg’s Two Piece Set-acular. But before I finish up on this style, I borrowed that kimono for one last go at some print mixing a la Chanel.


A dress for Indie Month: Cracked Glass Anna

I was waiting for the right opportunity to sew another Anna, so when I saw the criteria for the first week in Indie Month, it was a no brainer. A dress, you say? Just a dress?! Well, hello! I was already raring to go on this one, with the perfect fabric and a tested pattern lined up on my table. I was just waiting for the right incentive (or a tough pill) to go and get cutting.


Some of you may have seen my gorgeous Cracked Glass silk on Instagram already. I fell in love with this fabric the minute I saw it. It’s a beautiful crepe de chine from Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney and I really do need to send out a big thank you to the lovely Colette for sending this amazing treasure my way. I am one exceptionally lucky and ever so thankful gal!

I’m sure you will all recognise this dress as an infamous BHL Anna. But you can probably also see that I’ve made a few changes to it. Given the quality of the fabric I was using, I felt this dress deserved a lining. I fully lined both the bodice and the skirt in China silk from Mood. To do this, I kept the facing pieces and simply lined them up to trace over the remaining bodice pieces that would attach to it.


Other changes I made were:

  • dropped the front neckline by 2cm
  • dropped the armscye. I wanted a looser, drapier look around the armscye. I’d also drafted cuffs to attach to them but I chickened out on this at the end. I was seriously TERRIFIED of ruining this dress! I still have the cuff pieces and can still attach them if I change my mind.
  • lengthened the bodice by 1cm
  • ditched the skirt and drafted a simple gathered skirt instead. Of course, I added big in seam pockets too because every skirt needs pockets!

And that is it. I love the longer, tea length in dresses and skirts right now. And I love the pretty, whimsical feel of this dress. It is magnificent to wear and it meets the strict princess criteria set by my three girls. Hubby is going to have to take me out on a date now so I can wear it!

 
 
 
 

Whoa Anna!!! Not bad for a wearable muslin.

After waiting what seems like an eternity, I have finally found an excuse to sew my first Anna from By Hand London. I purchased this pattern months ago, about the same time that I discovered we would be moving to Kansas. Exciting as this was, it meant that my sewing focus also changed from summer clothes to winter gear and my poor old Anna was put on the back burner.

I very nearly didn’t make this Anna either, since the sheer quantity of fabric required (a mere 4.5m!) basically eliminated nearly all of my stash. That is…except for one very pretty roll of slightly flawed floral chambray. I purchased this amazing $10 roll in a Tessuti sale several months back, envisioning pretty little girl dresses and pants. The only flaw in the fabric is what appears to be a little sun damage on the edges. I tried to cut around this as much as possible, but in the end, I had to use these bits. I also had to cut one panel of the skirt on the crosswise grain. I read somewhere once that RTW clothes sometimes have their pattern pieces placed on all sorts of angles in order to get the best commercial value out of the fabric. Whether it’s true or not, I like to remind myself of this whenever I need to do the same.

 

This little Anna is actually only a wearable muslin, but what a fabulous muslin it turned out to be. I LOVE the bodice shape with the bust pleats. I think it is quite flattering to a small busted lady like myself, but at the same time, I can see how this same bodice would also fit someone who is better endowed.


Overall, I’m very happy with the way the dress fits. It clearly needs a good press (as usual photos were a bit rushed). Unlike others who have stitched up this Anna before me, I didn’t have a problem with back gape. But this is most likely because I have a rather broad back. I purposefully didn’t make the broad-back-adjustment that I would usually make to all my close fitted tops. It fits me across the back nicely, so I can see why more petite ladies would need to take a little wedge out to improve the fit for them.
 

 

I made this dress in a size 10/UK 12 with no major adjustments. I did grade the hips down a size to have the skirt match my measurements better. I could have graded it down even further but I don’t mind a more relaxed fit for the everyday. And because it was only intended as a muslin, I also took a few shortcuts by topstitching seams instead of blind/hand stitching, which accounts for the ugly ripples along the front slit. By the time I got to the hem, I’d stopped reading the instructions, I am not sure what size hem they recommend. Mine was turned up about 1.5″. I’m 178cm tall and wearing heels, so you can see that the length of this dress is very generous.

I am really happy with how my Anna turned out and I can totally understand the hype surrounding this pattern. It is just such a cleverly simple and flattering design that really would suit so many different body types. I am beyond pleased with the result and will definitely be sewing this one again!