The Ancient Mariner dress (Anna mark II)

I've named this dress after the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, purely because I saw a wonderful graphically illustrated version once, all blues and greys, which this fabric reminds me of so much. Every time I look at it I see the sea. 

I bought this fabric on my last jaunt Up North, and wanted to try the V-neck Anna. So here it is!

The Ancient Mariner dress (By Hand London's Anna bodice with McCalls 7316 A-line skirt) 

After my first Anna (the Lady Luck dress), I had a bit of neck gape to sort out. So, on the pattern for the higher neckline version, I took out a wedge in the centre neckline, and then drew the V-neck over that new pattern piece. I think it worked out ok!  I took two smaller wedges out of the bodice back neckline either side of the centre back in the same way, and I'm happy to report that this worked too! 

I'm a bit giddy

I foolishly went for my first ever attempt at pattern matching on the bodice centre back zip seam. Foolish because I then didn't have enough fabric for the skirt. Stupid Ree! I have a small flat, and even laying the fabric out to cut on the floor is a challenge in terms of space. So I often cut out a piece at a time, rather than umming and ahhing about a layout. Must do more umming and ahhing in the future. 

The foolish (and not altogether successful) first attempt at pattern matching. Aaaand a not very invisible zip.

Anyway, I had planned a pleated skirt for this version, with two box pleats in the front and two in the back, matching the darts in the bodice. But I didn't even have enough fabric for that! So I ended up being able to JUST squeeze an A-line skirt (from the already much used McCalls 7316) from the remaining fabric. I had no choice but to have an above-the-knee skirt. Desperate times!

I overlocked the seams because my new toy was flirting with me. She's a joy. I attached the facing and then did my first ever bit of understitching, which was fine except for my ham fisted way with the point of the V. I really want to try another V-neck just to get that point better next time. I sewed the facing to the invisible zip with my regular zipper foot. On the Lady Luck dress I hand stitched this bit but I much prefer the speed and neatness of the machine sewing I did on this dress. 

After the dress was all sewn together, it emerged that it was in fact a bit big all over. I have no clue why, since I measured carefully and used the same bodice pattern as the Lady Luck dress. I liked the dress, and LOVED the fabric, but it being too big made me feel a bit frumpy in it. I knew I'd wear it, but probably not feel all that great in it. So I took a deep breath and tried a Roisin inspired trick of boil washing it to try and shrink it a bit.

Bad mirror picture pre-shrinkage. 'Tis quite big.

It only flipping worked! The Ancient Mariner dress is now a lovely fit, and a bit more of a mini. I love it. I was irrationally terrified it would come out of the machine doll-sized and I would cry. But hooray! Not doll-sized, Ree-sized!

Ha! This face definitely needs a cartoon thought-bubble next to it. Caption suggestions?

Speaking of the very inspiring Roisin (see her amazing blog here), this is my first entry into the Sew Dolly Clackett competition. There will be more! Keep up with the wonderful dresses being entered here.

One more daft picture. Ta da! 

Over and out!


  1. This looks great!! I love the red shoes too :-)

    1. Thank you! I'm pretty chuffed with how the dress turned out. Also am a fan of a statement shoe!

  2. Oh, what perfect fabric! Very impressive problem solving too ;) Must remember that boiling trick!

    1. Thank you! The boil wash trick is a winner. I never would have been brave enough to try it had I not seen Roisin's shrinking of her Northland Row dress on her blog though. So glad I took the risk!