So I love this dress. I will love it forever. And I think you will to.
But before we start talking about the love, I need to tell you that I screwed it up as I was making it, and so the photos and the dress aren't quite what it should be. I'm going to fix it but I haven't got around to it yet. In the meantime, as I am wearing it all the time regardless, I wanted to share it with you. Me Made May has just begun so I thought some of you in the Northern Hemisphere might be revving up your sewing machines and be looking for inspiration.
I'll tell you more about my howling error in a minute.
So when Tessuti first released the Annie dress/top pattern I wasn't that interested. I had this idea that because Annie was a long dress* and because it had a yoke - which I don't often wear - that it wasn't for me. I thought it would make me look short and like I was wearing a tent. But because of the super clever drafting team at Tessuti it does neither.
You can find many other splendid versions on Instagram here. There are many pretty versions.
The way I found out that it would work for me was by total accident. I popped into Tessuti over the summer and had had a nice chat to the lovely Collette who was wearing one. They had a rack of samples of their patterns and on on a whim I tried the Annie on. And it fitted beautifully. Like it was made for me.
I purchased the pattern and the linen on the spot. A rare thing for me these days but when you know, you know.
Tessuti patterns often do detail in the drafting, beautifully. Where another pattern company might make a line straight because it was simpler, they take the care to curve where they need to curve, even if that curve is very subtle.
With the Annie Dress it is the subtle line of the yoke, the line of the side panels and the line of the top of the skirt mean that this long gathered skirt actually has shape. The lines of the dress follow the lines of my body and is really flattering, as opposed to swallowing me whole. And then the curve of the straps has it sitting beautifully on the shoulders.
There is an issue though! The issue is that if you don't get the strap length right - as everyone has different shoulders, then you could end up as I did, with straps that are too long. You might do this by accident as you might not know to check. I did it through stupidity.
As I was in Tessuti trying on the sample, Collette was fiddling with the straps. She said in a clear and cheerful voice "You would need to make the straps about an inch shorter". Just like that, she said it, plain and simple.
However, when it actually came to making Annie I thought I knew better. The straps looked super short and so I ignored her knowledge and her advice, and lo and behold the straps are way too long. And the dress shows the side of my bra**, hangs a bit funny, and I need to fix it. It will look much better as it has weirdly odd draping going on in the side panel. You can kind of see the odd draping above and how the side yoke is way too low in the photo below.
It is not easy to fix the length of the straps once you have finished Annie, as the beautiful finishing means that they are fully enclosed. I will be doing some professional hacking to fix it in the next week or so, and I'll post some photos when I'm done.
But as you haven't started yet, how could you get around it, and get the strap length right?
I suggest you try the top on when you first sew the straps on to the yoke. Assess the straps while remembering that the skirt pulls the yoke down and think about whether you will need to make them shorter. A simple step that I should have taken.
Annie's insides are as beautiful as her outsides, especially if you were to take the time to handstitch the inner yoke. I didn't but you could. She also has pockets and is magnificent to wear. She is swishy! People keep asking about her.
While she is clearly a summer frock I plan on wearing her all winter under sweaters or with long-sleeved merino tops underneath. I'm as surprised by this as you are. Not my normal style and yet feels just like me.
You can find the Annie pattern here .
*She can also be a top.
**Newly purchased strapless bra for this dress. Strapless bras have come a long way in my 20 years without one. This one has some silicon stuff that actually means it stays up for a couple of hours without hitching. It also needs to put on with some thought and not thrown on for a quick photo..... so please excuse the weird side boob.