Petite Anna from By Hand of London

Anna-at-Greenway I’m sitting here with my leg on a chair and a bag of frozen peas draped around my ankle. 17 days after spraining my ankle whilst out running it’s still swollen and sometimes painful. My physio tells me that it’s heading in the right direction pretty much as she’d expect it to but chances are it’ll still be another 3 – 4 weeks before I can run.

Oh well….. there’s always sewing 🙂 And there has been plenty going on recently, but first I need to get my summer makes out of the way!

I’d forgotten how hectic the summer months get. I had thought that I’d get some sewing done over the school holidays but this year, for some reason, my girls decided that they were going to fall out, scream ‘I hate you’ (generally at each other, occasionally at me!) and go into complete meltdown on a regular basis.

I did however manage to make a dress for ME!!! That was before I realised that the start of term was looming and I needed to get myself together so that the girls both had things to wear – more on that soon.

Last year, I had wanted to make Colette’s Hawthorn but ummm’ed and ahhh’ed over it, mostly because I knew that I was going to have to do an SBA (small bust adjustment) and well, couldn’t quite bring myself to it, plus the fabric that I’d chosen to make it in is a striped seersucker and, well, I couldn’t face the pattern matching either!! Does anyone else get like this?

Anyway, fast forward to this year and I was still procrastinating. For some reason (probably a bit too much reading of Lynne’s blog Ozzy Blackbeard!!), I changed tack completely and downloaded By Hand of London’s Anna dress. Now I know you don’t need to read many sewing blogs to see them cropping up with regularity but the style really appealed to me.

I started off sewing it as is – no alterations. I was pretty confident it wouldn’t fit but I was willing to give it a go! It was obvious I needed a SBA and a few other changes too. Four muslins later, I’d done a 1″ SBA, a small back adjustment and a similar change to the front as well as raising the neckline. I only did a muslin of the bodice, mostly because by this stage I’d had enough!! Despite being 5′ 1″, I didn’t find that I need to shorten the bodice or the length ( I used the PDF  pattern) but I guess that most of the other changes I made are in line with changing something to fit a petite frame.


SBA’s, I find aren’t discussed with as much regularity as their larger sister the full bust adjustment (FBA). When looking for instructions on how to do an SBA, I’ve often found that you’ll simply see ‘just do the opposite of a FBA’. For those who have been puzzling over the exact same statement, I’ll explain. In a FBA adjustment you draw your adjustment lines on the pattern, cut and move the pattern pieces apart. If you’re doing a SBA, you draw the exact same adjustment lines, cut and this time move the pattern pieces together so that they overlap. How much you overlap them by will depend on  how much you need to reduce the cup size by. A muslin can help determine this by pinching out the excess fabric and measuring it. I did see a reference chart on Pinterest recently but I’m not sure it’s incorporates the full picture.

Fit wise, I’d still like to see a few changes – the shoulders are too wide for me and the neckline doesn’t always sit very well most probably because the shoulders are too wide. Because I hadn’t muslined the skirt and my alterations had meant that the pleats on my bodice had moved, the paneled skirt didn’t line up with the pleats as I imagine it is meant to. I’m sure most people wouldn’t spot that, but the perfectionist in me wants to line them all up.

I had chosen the v neckline on purpose, as normally I’d have gone for the slash neck but I was sewing it to go with a Myrna cardigan as part of Lauren and Andi’s OAL (Outfit Along)

The least said about that the better …. but maybe I’ll share with you one day as there are always lessons to be learned.

The fabric is a cotton lawn from Stone Fabrics and I lined it with an off-white lightweight cotton poplin on their recommendation. And they were spot on, if I had lined it with a darker colour it would have shown through on the lighter coloured flowers.

I really love this dress – despite its minor imperfections – and it has been a bit of a wardrobe staple throughout the summer. I had completely forgotten how easy dresses are to wear and the lack of wardrobe dilemmas involved!


Well that could be summer all wrapped up. I’m looking forwards to getting some autumn and winter sewing underway, finishing off my first White Tree Fabrics make and getting on with some winter knitting.

How about you? Are you mourning the passing of summer or looking forwards to those cosy knits and snuggly coats?


3 thoughts on “Petite Anna from By Hand of London

  1. Why are you a stranger to dresses? I love them, they are a a real no brainer for me in the mornings and you look fab in that one. See you at knitting then?? Jo x

  2. Your Anna is gorgeous! I love that fabric so much. Isn’t Anna such a great pattern, there’s so much hacking potential. Do you have any more planned, because it’s hard to stop at just one!

    • You’re so right, very hard to stop at one. It’s such an easy, wearable style. My original plan had been to make a crepe de chine version and that’s still up there and I think I’d like to have a go at lengthening the sleeves for a winter one, perhaps using some wool challis. Do you have plans for another? 🙂

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