A Love Story

Yes, yet another Anna! This was actually the first Anna I made after my muslin, but it needed so much tidying up after I’d finished it, I never got around to blogging about it. This ‘Anna’ is the slash-neck midi version which is, I think, my favourite Anna variation. While the V-neck looks great, dealing with the neckline’s desperate attempts to roll up on itself is not my idea of fun. Having said all that, my tropical maxi dress is very, very comfortable and I have worn it a lot. I think I will definitely be making one more version of Anna maxi, but this time with the slash-neck.20131007-123448.jpg

Anyway, why haven’t you seen this dress before? Well sit yourself down, and I will tell you a story about a girl who fell in love with some beautiful African wax fabric…

  Once upon a time there was a girl who decided to go fabric shopping in a gigantic shop in the gigantic city of Tokyo. Now this shop was jam-packed with fabrics of every colour and texture from all the four corners of the world, and was a very difficult place to leave once you had passed through its doors. The girl knew this and had promised herself that she would dash in, grab some plain muslin, and dash out again. However, when it came to dashing out, her eye fell on some bright red and white fabric of a kind she had never seen before. This fabric lived in a corner of the shop with other fabrics of this type and they were all very bright and beautiful with magical swirly patterns, the like of which she had never seen before. All the fabric in this corner was very stiff and shiny on one side and had a curious dusty smell from the many miles they had travelled to arrive in this shop. The girl’s eyes, however, were instantly drawn to one particular roll marked “Cote d’Ivorie”. Now this truly was love at first sight, but the fabric was a flighty customer and had cast its spell on many other shoppers that day so only two metres remained. Before the remainder could disappear, the girl bought all that she could and took it home to her flat in Tokyo where she gazed at it and draped it over the furniture, but couldn’t think what to do with it. The fabric was so very unusual, you see, that she had never seen its like before and did not want to waste an inch.

20131007-123457.jpg  And so time passed and the fabric continued to live on unused, but certainly not unloved. The girl moved to Singapore and the fabric went with her, but still, she could not think what to do with it, until one day, a pattern by By Hand London was published, and suddenly the girl knew what the fabric had been destined for! An Anna dress! The only problem was that the pattern had a definite top and bottom and it wasn’t certain that the dress could be made with such a small amount of directional fabric. The girl thought and thought until one day she hit upon the combination that would allow her to cut all the pieces needed to make the pattern and fabric one. Unfortunately, that day was a Friday (which was the day the girl sewed on) and she had planned to go out that evening and so to construct the dress of her dreams, she worked as fast and furiously as she could until, lo and behold, the dress was finished! The girl was now running very late, and so she pulled the dress on quickly and dashed out the door and on to a bus. As she sat down, she was feeling very pleased with herself until she noticed an old lady eyeing her dress critically. Glancing down she realised that in her hurry, the dress had no hem! However, this girl was pretty lackadaisical anyway, and so she decided this was no reason for panic.  The girl and the dress agreed that they liked the raw edge and hoped that the old lady would appreciate their edginess. Quickly off the bus and on to the train, the girl and the fabric ran, noticing that lots of people were also wearing red and white which seemed like the strangest of coincidences.

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Close up of faux darts

  Now the fabric, although it was very beautiful, was also very headstrong and so had given the girl rather a lot of trouble while being sewn together. One side was soft and pliable, but the other was stiff and shiny and coated with wax and so did not like being cut and sewn into shape. The girl had frequently had to call her new best friend, the iron, to come and help her steam this side into place. Unfortunately, all this steaming and pressing meant the parts of the fabric were no longer as tough and strong as they had once been, and so, to the girls horror, she realised that the fabric had started to fray in a number of places where the bodice and skirt met. By now, it was too late to turn back and so the girl dashed to the nearest 7 Eleven in an attempt to buy a needle and thread or some safety pins to save the dress, but alas, this was the business district and so there was none! As the girl rushed from shop to shop in her futile search, she noticed that there were even more red-and-white people here in the centre of Singapore until it dawned on her that today was National Day and that her dress was the same colours as Singapore’s flag! And so, the girl, who had luckily packed a spare blue dress in her bag, decided that today was most definitely not the best day to wear her new dress, promptly put the beautiful frayed fabric into her bag and went to eat satay by the sea in a bright blue dress instead!

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Can you see my repairs?

I did eventually fix the holes in the dress with some tiny handstitches which I disguised as darts in the skirt (cunning, huh?), but I don’t think this dress will last very long as the fabric is just too fragile to survive life with me! I’ve never worked with wax fabric before so it could be that there’s something I’ve not done to protect it, although I suspect that the fabric has simply degraded with time and bad storage. My short-sleeved Tova top is also made from wax fabric and does not seem to have the same problems and I wear it very frequently, so I’m really not sure why this has happened. If anyone has any tips, I’d be very glad to hear them!  I will certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for more wax fabric because the stiffness of the fabric is perfect for the neckline and kimono sleeves of this dress! Apologies to anyone who doesn’t like the story style of this post – I just wanted to try something different because I felt I’d reviewed this pattern thoroughly in my previous two posts. I will be returning to a more conventional review style in my next blog post so don’t leave!

Do you carry spare clothes in your bag the first time you wear something homemade?  Have you had any fabric disasters you’ve not noticed until you’ve left the house?

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25 responses to “A Love Story

  1. I loved the story! I also have lots of fabrics I store for the special occasion when I find the PERFECT pattern for it. It’s a pity the fabric is fraying so much because the dress is great. You look so pretty!

    • Aww! Thank you! I’m so glad the story didn’t put you off! I’m also glad to hear that I’m not the only person who buys fabric they’re not sure what to do with! I have quite a stack now that I just like to look at… One day I will find more of this fabric and make lots of dresses from it! ;-)

    • Grrr! It’s so annoying when it eats comments! If only WordPress and Blogger were friends… I might move to Disqus as it doesn’t seem to crash as much! Thank you so much for commenting again (I’m sorry it lost your comment :-( )and for liking my story! I’m very glad you loved it! :-)

  2. wow good on you carrying an extra dress! I loved this post, and I love how you ended up using the fabric after so much time! The dress is just beautiful.

    • Thank you! I’m just so relieved I managed to squeeze the dress out of the fabric! Ha ha! The extra dress is more necessity as I just don’t trust my seams! I’m happy to say that this is the first time I’ve needed it though!

  3. These colours just look stunning on you! What a pity the fabric is so frail. Maybe underlining might help? But that would mean to deconstruct the dress… Hmmm nevermind.
    I loved the story. I just loooove stories in general.

    • Ooh! Good idea! Underlining may work, but I think I’d die in the heat… Maybe if I still have it when I return to Europe! Thank you! Nearly all my fabric is either red or blue, so that’s lucky! ;-)
      Me too! Stories are the best! I definitely have a weakness for fairy tales… So glad you enjoyed this one! :-)

  4. Beautiful! I love it when a fabric realises its destiny – and even better if it is after a long wait. But gutted to hear that now it has met and fallen in love with Anna it is on some path of self-destruction!

    • Thank you! I know! It is truly a tragic love story to rival Romeo & Juliet! I think the Anna may be the ultimate stash-busting pattern!
      How are you liking your new sewing machine? It looks very swish! :-)

  5. I know this store and I know the fabric. Last month I bought three cuts of wax cotton there. It was so interesting to learn about its non-love with hot iron and pressing…
    Hmmm never actually had to carry a spare garment in my bag. The only “disaster” I had was when wearing an unhemmed knit dress. The knit did not unravel but the side seams, which I did not secure (because I planned to make a hem for God’s sake!) started ripping apart. It was fine though, because nobody noticed.

    • You are so lucky! I miss that store waaaay too much! It sounds like your stocking up though which is definitely a good plan!

      Lucky you! It’s so lucky no-one noticed! I think the extra dress is more of a paranoia thing because I just don’t quite trust myself… I’ve started doing a lot more french seams now which seem to be much more robust- phew!

  6. What an interesting story! And a well traveled (and beautiful) fabric it seems. (: I haven’t thought of bringing spare clothes the first time I wear my handmade garments, but that is a very good idea!

    • Thanks, Kessa! It really is one of my favourite pieces of fabric so hopefully it’ll last a little longer… I’m sure your clothes are much better made than mine, but it’s always reassuring to have something just in case…! ;-)

    • Thank you! You’re very kind! I wish I could track down more fabric like this so I could have an entire wardrobe of bright highly patterned clothes! ;-)

  7. Pingback: More Sewing! | lazylinchen·

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