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!


10 thoughts on “Whoa Anna!!! Not bad for a wearable muslin.

  1. SewJillian

    Wow, what a muslin! I seriously am yet to see a version of this dress that doesn't look great on the maker/wearer, and yours is no exception. So very beautiful and feminine. I was doubtful about a small bust in those bust pleats (for myself!), but your comments make me think perhaps those fears are unfounded. I still don't think I'd have anywhere to wear this, but maybe the short version instead. It's gorgeous Debbie!


  2. Debbie Iles

    Thank you! I saw a great version the other day in spots I think (French blogger…can't remember her name right now) that was short with a gathered skirt instead which looked great.


  3. Debbie Iles

    Thank you! It really is such a great design, especially the bodice. I'm looking forward to getting a little wear out of this dress in Spring and then figuring out how I can use that fantastic bodice in lots of other ways. I could see you in a short jumpsuit hack with this bodice ;-).


  4. barbara

    What a lovely Anna, perfect for spring in Kansas. Looks like you're back in full sewing mode, hope all is going well. I've made several short Annas, really want to try a long one next, especially after seeing yours and making my Gabriola.



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