Frocktober week 2: By Hand London’s Anna with a collar

This dress combines three of my favourite things in sewing: polka dots, sateen, and collars.

As soon as I saw The Fabric Warehouse’s post about their new sateens in stock, I was scheming. The next day I took my scooter (a piece of crap that Mr. Guy did up for my birthday; it now works most of the time) across town, trying not to get swept into parked cars in the strong Wellington wind. I narrowly avoided buying other fabrics (like a black sateen with cherries on it – that can wait until next time), hopped back on my bike and did the same windy trip back home – pulling out on a lady right at the end of a trip and giving her a nasty shock. I’M SO SORRY LADY!

It went straight in the washing machine (as with most fabrics I buy these days) – then, not having the courage to put it in the dryer, had to wait until the next day.

Once I got going, the dress got made… remarkably fast. In fact, from starting cutting at 6pm, it was completely finished (except for the actual hem) by 10.30.

Obviously, it went together very smoothly. I added a collar (why WOULDN’T YOU) which I have had cut out for yonks, for some reason. I just raised the neckline of the bodice to match the collar I already had. This, unfortunately, made the neckline CRAZY high, coming half-way up my neck when I’m sitting, haha. In the future I will change the neckline of the dress as I don’t really feel that comfortable with high-cut boat necks, especially as the front is the same, if not a bit higher, than the back neckline.

I haven’t included information about adding a collar, as there are already dozens of tutorials for drafting a peter-pan collar out there. Mine actually gets sewn in to the shoulder seams so it doesn’t extend all the way around – this is because it was originally cut out for a different pattern (Burda 7494) which I made once, but the skirt was cr-AAAAZY on ones bottom. Like Julia Bobbin, I found the skirt to sit like a tent. Like her, I also planned to just extend the box pleats down to princess seams but.. erm… never got around to doing it. And speaking of the cats mother*, I must admit that I am in total awe of Julia Bobbin. Not only gorgeous, and a very talented seamstress, she just seems like the kind of person I’d be trying to be friends with. But probably failing because she’s so cool.

* My mother-in-law uses the phrase “she is the cats mother”, which is in response to people using pronouns instead of people’s names. It is very school-teachery and I LOVE IT.

I also lengthened the skirt (from the original version 3 cutline) by 3″, and I much prefer this length. It hits juuust below the knee which is much more work appropriate.

Speaking of work appropriate – does anyone else wear crazy stuff to work? I was walking into the hospital on Thursday in this dress and my red Watson jacket, noticing that everyone else was only wearing brown and grey – I stuck out. Most of the time I love this, but sometimes feel like it’s a bad thing and I should just… blend in. Sometimes I love wearing scrubs and a scrub hat for just that reason (although I do have my own, personal scrub hat with pansy’s on it rather than using disposables).



The seams are finished with my overlocker; the whole thing has a rather professional finish, in my opinion. Like my last three versions, I did the facing last to tidy up the top of the zip. Using my pinking shears to trim the neckline seam right back means the neckline sits properly, unlike my last ones where the facing tends to roll out – why have I forgotten all these tips I had previously learned??

Because of the sateen having some stretch, it has a fair amount of ease, which I am enjoying.ย  So far I’ve worn it with a belt, as usual! I never got around to removing some of the width from the skirt pieces, or moving the darts on the pattern so they line up. Should do that now but… well, I’ve put the pattern away and moved on to something else.


Pattern: By Hand London’s Anna dress, stash.

Fabric: Polka dot sateen from The Fabric Warehouse, 2.5m at $18/m = $45. I only used about 1.7m so will be able to make a skirt too, woot.

Notions: white invisible zip, black thread, from my stash

Total: $45 if you count all the fabric, ~$30 for the fabric I used.


15 thoughts on “Frocktober week 2: By Hand London’s Anna with a collar

  1. Pingback: The Great Spotted Anna: Frocktober week 2 | The Monthly Stitch

  2. I guess I wear crazy things to work too – I have a pair of beautiful bright red suede heels that everyone says they are my Dorothy shoes (as in Wizard of Oz)! I wear heels even though I’m nearly 6ft tall, I wear bright blue/ purple/ patterned dresses even though I’m a size 14-16, and I wouldn’t have it any other way ๐Ÿ™‚ loving your work, Soph!

    • Haha I bet you are so imposing on ward rounds Heather!! Even I have towered over bosses/registrars, and I’m still 1-2″ shorter than you. It might, to be honest, be all the skinny girls wearing fancy demure clothes that makes me think twice, but I’m never going to look like that even if I do tone it down, so why bother?

  3. I love seeing people in so-called crazy outfits! Who wants to blend in anyway? Be one of the masses when you can be just you? Love the dress, it’s nice that the collar doesn’t go all the way around!

  4. Gorgeous! I absolutely love those polka dots paired with a collar. I just finished a polka dot Anna last night and am now so wishing I’d thought to add a collar. It’s just lovely!

  5. It looks so lovely – I love polka dots too and the collar is such a beautiful finishing touch. Bright and zany all the way. When I used to wear heels, they would put me over 6″ tall & I loved it. . .

  6. OMG this is soo cute!!

    I love the polka dots and the dress.

    I’m not a big fan of high collars either but it looks really adorable!!!!

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  8. This is lovely andi think the collar is very cute. And I wear weird stuff to work all the time. I used to wear weirder stuff but MrsC suggested I tone it down a bit for my corporate career success. Bugger. Still, I regularly wear bright colours and prints and coloured tights. Do it, rock it! And this dress is really quite sweet and demure, not weird at all.

  9. Pingback: Anna Dress Sewalong - some of yours! - By Hand London By Hand London

  10. Pingback: First of many pencil skirts | Pins and Noodles

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