By Hand London Anna/Christine Haynes Emery Dress Hack in African Wax Print FTW
Heeelllloooooo!!! I’m so excited to be here. I’ve been considering starting a blog for years and what better way to begin this new endeavor than with a super colorful dress!
Using blogs as a resource for learning my sewing craft has been invaluable to me. I really hope this can be a space to offer the same kind of support to others. I’d be lying if I said that this wasn’t a challenging task! Daaannngggg, creating a blog is hard! As I’m sure you’ll understand, I am not a very technical minded person (unlike my parter–opposites attract, right??) So I’m really excited to finally put words down on the page and share pretty pictures of my handmade’s with you.
I anticipate this blog will allow me to really slow down and reflect on my makes. This feels absolutely in line with my attempt at being mindful and slightly minimal about future projects and additions to my wardrobe. I guess we will see…
Now on to the dress…
So this dress, ahhhhh! It feels so good to wear a good old, properly fitted to my body, dress with an invisible zipper and all! I owe the decision to sew up this dress to Instagram. I love me and Instagram challenge, and this here is my entry for #sewwaxlyrical. The challenge was created by the lovely and super inspiring @sewvee who may or may not have an unhealthy obsession with African Wax print fabrics (and I can see why!)
My pattern choice, however, is connected to a HUGE future project that’ll be coming your way in the future. Eeekkk, keep a look out! I really like to dress in a way that is practical. I want my closet to work well as a whole, ya know? Ideally, I would like my handmade pieces to work as team to guarantee wear and to make all the precious time I put into my wardrobe worth while. This dress isn’t in line with that at all. HA!
Although my handmade wardrobe mostly consists of solid separates, I feel completely at home in this bright printed fabric. I’m still trying to figure myself out.
The bodice is the enormously popular Anna Dress pattern with the v-neck option. Obviously, By Hand London is the way to go for an elegant dress option. I opted to fully line the bodice rather than using a facing for a more luxurious feel. And oh, is it ever luxurious in this Ambiance Rayon Bemberg of which I sourced at none other that the most accessible fabric store in the states, the “usually kinda boring” Joann Fabrics! They may be stepping up their game!
To do this easy modification, I just cut out the bodice pieces in the lining fabric, sewed the darts and tucks as instructed. I used a tutorial on Megan Nielsen’s blog for attaching the lining to the main dress. Her tutorial allows you to attach the neckline and armscyes followed by side seams all at once which worked perfectly for the Anna. I machine sewed the lining to the zipper, and then hand stitched the lining to the waist seam. Simple enough, although working with a rayon lining can be a bit finicky. I’m sure a silky lawn or voile could have been a great and simpler alternative.
To be honest, it started off a little larger that I had anticipated (shame on me for not making a muslin!) and I ended up taking it in right along the zipper. I also unpicked an area at the top of the sleeve to bring them in a bit closer to the shoulder. This fabric having little drape wanted to stick out at the shoulder at an angle that wasn’t exactly to my taste. It was an easy fix and I am so happy I took the time.
The skirt pattern is taken from the Emery Dress by Christine Haynes which is currently unavailable on her website but you can find it on Indiesew here. I followed the instructions for adding the pockets, etc. but wanted something with a little more drama. Instead of simply lengthening the skirt pieces I opted for a tiered skirt and basically cut large rectangles that after sewn together equal approximately three times the circumference of the the skirt hem. That is A LOT of gathering but well worth it I think. I love me a maxi dress and is, in fact, a thing that my closet is lacking.
The fabric is an Etsy find. They’re called FabricMegaShop and they carry many beautiful options in their store. Here is a link to their shop. African Wax comes in 6 yard cuts so of course I went that route! It is actually very affordable and the colors are so bold on both the right and wrong side of the fabric. It was so fun to work with! After this dress I still have a plenty left over for a pretty zipper pouch or tote bag.
I’ve been eyeing this fabric type for some time and was so happy that Vicky of @sewvee gave me the push that I needed to really dive in. Somehow the fun print makes this dress totally wearable for any occasion. It’s the sort of dress that can be dressed up or down with the right jewelry or shoes. I hope! Whatchy’all think?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read along and please subscribe to the email list if you wanna be alerted of new blog posts. TTYL <3