By Hand London Anna Dress - I'm in love!

Surprise, surprise, I've made another dress!

And I love it.

It's the Anna dress from By Hand London.   It features double pleats at the bust, kimono sleeves, and a panelled A line skirt.  You have the option of slash or V necklines and either midi or maxi length. 

I went for slash neckline and midi length.

This is pretty much the perfect style dress as far as I'm concerned.  It's fitted enough to give me some shape, but loose enough to be comfortable. 

As soon as I saw various different versions appearing around the sewing blogosphere I knew I had to make one myself.   Check out Karen's and Jane's .

I made this over a couple of evenings this week. I could have finished it more quickly but I had a real nightmare with a couple of parts - the reasons for this are purely of my own making, nothing to do with the pattern. 

The fabric is I think 100% polyester, a grey and black lace print, which I picked up at a little fabric shop near my dentist a couple of weeks ago.  I bought 2 metres thinking I'd probably make a dress of some sort, but that was as far as the planning went.

To be honest, although it's pretty, it was a bit of a nightmare to sew.  The zip went in twice and still isn't that great, because the fabric kept shifting all over the place.  Then the hem, oh my goodness, I think the hem took me as long as the rest of the dress did in total!  I ended up with a rolled hem, but I'm certainly not showing you any close up pictures of it. 

So, as I love the pattern so much I thought I'd do you a proper little review.  Here goes:

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

An effortless Summer dress featuring double pleats at the bust, kimono sleeves and a panelled a-line skirt. Variations include both slash and v-neck options, plus midi and maxi skirt possibilities and a dramatic thigh high split. Super quick and simple to make, cut it short for the perfect festival dress, or make it worthy of the red carpet with a maxi skirt and thigh high split.

Pattern Sizing:

UK 6 – 20.  I made a straight size 14 and it fits perfectly.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, except you can't see the bust pleats very well because my fabric is patterned.  A plain, or smaller patterned fabric would show them off better. 

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, very.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I loved everything.  Although I’m short I love a good maxi dress, and I liked the option of different necklines as well as different lengths.  Of course there is also that split!

The only thing I would probably change for another time is the neck facing.  I really, really don't like facings, so I'd either use a bias tape to finish the neck or possibly fully line the bodice.

Fabric Used:

I think it is 100% polyester.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

None.  I cut a straight size 14 and it fits exactly as I would like it to.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Definitely.  I want one in all the colours!  I would definitely recommend it to others. 


I love the shape and fit of this dress.  I’m definitely making it again.  
I can see myself wearing this one pretty much year round.  For summer it's a bit too synthetic to wear on really hot days.  I can also picture it with a chunky cardi, opaque tights and boots in the winter.  Yum!
I have fabric for another one already.  My next one will be a maxi, although I'm not sure about the split.  I think I'll probably go with the v neck, as my fabric is rather loud and I'm not sure it would look that good right next to my face.  Here it is:
I'm hoping it will be a kind of similar look to this Alice & Olivia dress I found on Pinterest recently.   In which case, the slash neckline would be better. 


  1. It looks wonderful on you Sam, the fabric print is great and hopefully makes up for the tricky sewing experience. How sensible of you to go to a dentist near a fabric shop - almost makes it a pleasurable experience!

    1. Thank you Jacq. I'm not sure anything makes the dentist a pleasurable experience, but a fabric shop nearby helps a bit!

  2. Oh, that's really pretty! I wasn't sold on this pattern when it first came out, but your version and so many others I've seen have me itching to make this dress! My US source for BHL patterns doesn't have it yet - I may have to break down and order it from the UK!

    1. Thanks Gail. I actually fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it. Hope you're able to get a copy soon.

  3. This is really pretty. Looks great on you.. What a wonderful thing to have a fabric source close to your dentist.. Now ....any one having to go to the dentist, NEEDS to
    to be rewarded at the fabric shop.ha.

    1. Thank you. Yes, a visit to the dentist definitely needs to be rewarded at the fabric shop.

  4. Oh, I so agree with you-this is the perfect style of casual dress. Looks great on you.

  5. It is a lovely dress Sam - it's casual, but it looks dressy at the same time. Will look great with tights. Good luck with the next one :)

    1. Thanks Sarah Liz. I think you could make this look really dressy in the right fabric, especially the maxi length.

  6. It's lovely Sam and looks very practically pretty- therefore an ideal dress in my world! I've made the maxi - just- am test driving it today. I too went for the v neck but do prefer the slash's clever you finding that inspirational dress that reflects your next fabric choice!!

    1. Thanks Winnie. Can't wait to see your maxi Anna, I'm sure its fab! I actually found the inspiration dress first and then scoured the internet for some suitable fabric. Not identical by any means but I think I should end up with a similar look.


Thank you so much for your comment, every one is read and appreciated. It means a lot to me that you take the time to read and comment on my posts.