Today marks my first project completed with fabric from our Japan trip. Ladies and gents I give you the Tokugawa Anna.
The fabric is a navy and cream wave pattern, used by the Tokugawa shogunate (1603-1868). We first saw the pattern as wallpaper in a preserved former government building in Takayama. I loved the simple clean lines and the nod to sea waves, and so was pretty excited to find it in fabric form the next afternoon.
The blogland concensus is that By Hand London’s Anna Dress pattern is a dream to sew, and I can only agree. It comes together really easily. The issues I had were all of my own making… Firstly, I decided not to do a FBA as my measurements were pretty close to the pattern and this is a less formfitting shape than, say, the princess seams of the Elisalex. However, when I held the bodice pattern pieces up against myself, I felt they were probably going to be too short (I am that attractive shape that is long of body, short of leg) so I added a hefty 6cm, following the instructions on the Anna sewalong. As I wasn’t making a muslin (I know, scandale) I tacked the bodice together first so I could check the fit. It was mostly great but I did need to lower the tip of the bust gathers by about 1cm. So now I am now curious as to whether, had I done a proper FBA, this fiddling (longer bodice, lower gathers) would have been necessary? I am almost tempted to retrace the bodice and see… almost.
When it came to the skirt, I had originally wanted to do a full-length number and bought 3.5m of the fabric with this in mind. However, what I had not considered is that to fit the skirt pieces on the fabric, you have to tessellate them top-to-tail, a no-go if you have a directional print (as I did). Upon realising this, I changed tack and folded the pattern pieces up to knee-length. Now, I don’t know what went wrong here, I thought I had carefully measured, but when I came to sew them all together the hem looked like this, at pretty much every seam:
W.T.F?? Note to self: Next time check the pattern for how/where to shorten the skirt, do not just assume you can measure and all will be fine. In the end it was ok, the hem just took a lot measuring/checking than it should have done.
The last change I made was to put an exposed metal zip in the back, instead of an invisible one, following Keightly’s excellent instructions. My reasons for this were threefold: Firstly to disguise the fact that the pattern doesn’t reeeeally match across the back (oops), secondly because I love an exposed metal zip on a girly dress and thirdly because I am still waiting for my invisible zip foot to arrive and I was just toooooo impatient to finish this lovely dress.