By Hand London Orsola dress

The Orsola dress has been on my radar ever since it was introduced. I love the sleek lines and the simple elegance of this dress. I wasn’t sure how it would fit on me, but I wanted to try it anyway. For this version I used the Dashwood Studios Copenhagen Blue Leaf fabric I got in my december box from Sew Hayley Jane.

It is a nice pattern to sew. All pieces line up and there’s a lining and the tulip hem to sink your teeth in. I understitched the facings and the lining. I took my time finishing everything the prettiest way I could.

I’m not completely happy with it as is. For my next version there will be a couple of changes. I will take out some of the curve of the skirt. It has too much room at the hips now. I will lengthen the skirt to hit me at the knee. I will also use a more drapey fabric for my next version. I need to stand a certain way to make sure the back doesn’t gape and I think this is mostly because of the fabric and it’s lack of drape. It doesn’t move with my body the way it needs to for this dress. But I will definitely make this again as I loved making it and still love the dress.

If you are planning to make this I would definitely recommend making a toile!


By Hand London Anna dresses

This is one of those patterns I have been wanting to make for years. I try to buy patterns thoughtfully and so I keep a running wishlist of patterns. Every year around Black Friday I go through my list and decide on what I really want to make in the year to come. This year I mostly bought By Hand London patterns and Deer & Doe patterns. I wasn’t sure about the Anna dress. It’s not really my silhouette, but I kept seeing beautiful versions and so I took the plunge. BHL says to make this dress in fabric with some body to it and that you need 3.5 m of fabric for it. The fabrics I had in mind were very drapey and I had 2.5 m of both of them. Turns out you can cut this dress easily out of 2.5 m non-directional printed fabric if you place the skirtpieces like sardines on your fabric.

First my golden dress for the schoolgala. I always like to overdress for this so kids have something to gossip about. It’s a very light and stretchy fabric from Textielstad and I had to sew carefully, avoiding pull on the fabric.

It’s everything I wanted and hoped it would be and I now have a party dress for the ages.

Next I wanted to evoke those velvet maxidresses from the nineties:

I got this fabric at Textielstad too. This one is for daily use and I’m wearing it with my kneelength boots and a long black cardigan. It’s really warm and comfortable. The skirt on the Anna maxi is really long even on a tall person like me. As I’m not planning on wearing this with heels I took up the hem an extra inch so it doesn’t sweep the ground and this seems to work really well for going up and down the stairs, getting in and out of cars etc. This was my first time working with velvet. It’s quite slippery to work with, but with slow sewing and lots of pins it didn’t pose any problem. I’ve been wearing this dress all the time. Since making it two weeks ago I’ve worn it five times!

There were some fitting issues with both versions. Not all the pattern pieces lined up and I struggled with the facing peeping out despite my understitching and attaching it at the shoulder seams. With the velvet one I omitted the facing and just turned the fabric under which worked so much better for this fabric. It will be interesting to see how the fit is for the stiffer cotton I got lined up for this next.

I think I will try the skirt with a different bodice for my next version. I absolutely adore the gored skirt.