This is my first/second Anna dress from By Hand London and I think I may be even more in love with it than the second/first. The second/first was silk, and lined, and hemmed by hand and took forever and I feel so elegant in it. And this second/first Anna fabric came from the super sale table, is an unknown fiber, and looks like a grandmother’s pashmina scarf. But I can actually wear it on a daily basis, and I know I’m going to! I wore it for the first time last weekend for a trip to Guernville, CA. We took part in a lovely gathering of folks to celebrate our friend’s 40th birthday, staying in a set of cabins “downtown”. It was a block from Johnson’s beach, where we took these photos, a couple blocks from a cute town center, and a quick drive to the redwoods where we went on a leisurely hike. I got compliments on my dress from just about every adult in our group (and a couple of the kids!) and found that it carried from lounging to hiking to birthday celebration with aplomb.
What’s up with the first/second second/first thing? I bought the fabric for both dresses at the same time. I cut this dress and basted it together to make sure that it fit before I cut into my silk. Then I made the silk dress. And then I finally got around to finishing this dress. So, I think of this as my first Anna dress but I finished it second. So I haven’t been able to declare either dress conclusively first. Yeah, that’s the way my head works. Sorry everyone.
This mystery fabric is the perfect weight for the warm Northern California fall, but I think it will also layer nicely to get me through winter. I’m looking forward to putting it over tights and pairing it with a cardigan. It has the same weight as a pashmina scarf and a very similar weave. I was a little worried that it would fray or strain at the seams, so I serged all the inside seams and then topstitched each one down for strength. I followed the pattern exactly for this dress, including using the invisible center back zipper (unlike the second/first dress where I moved the zipper to the underarm). I know that some people have had problems with the back neckline gapping but it fits me (and my strong shoulders) beautifully as is.
I was a little worried about wearing this dress without a belt, as dresses can emphasize my pear shape in some unflattering ways. But I think it works. I’m clearly a pear, but I think the front slit breaks up the line of the dress enough that it’s quite flattering. So, two Annas done and it seems I’ll have to make more. I’ve got to try the V-neck next, right? Although I’m loving the maxi so much I might not try the shorter version. Time will tell…