The Poet's Corner dress (viscose BHL Anna)

I love my Lady Luck dress, and just adore the shape and the lines of it every time I put it on, so I have long planned making another By Hand London Anna dress.

The Poet's Corner dress (By Hand London's Anna pattern). Not sure why I look so creepy here!
I fell in love with this print - I just love the colour combination and the floral motif - when I saw it on B & M in Leeds kirkgate market when I was visiting my dad. I've never sewn with viscose before. The floaty, soft qualities attracted me to it.

I made this back in July, and it was especially great for the VERY hot and muggy weather we were having at that point. In this floaty viscose I love how Anna's kimono sleeves drape. However I'm not too keen on the skirt portion. I love the original panelled skirt, but it definitely works better for me in a heavier fabric. Perhaps in this fabric I should have opted for a fuller skirt? For this casual day dress I wanted a shorter length, so I lopped 4 inches off the bottom. That may have been a bit excessive in retrospect, but again, I direct your attention to the very hot and muggy weather.

My pale legs are evidence of how long it's been since I had a sunshine holiday!
This fabric must have stretched out a bit while I sewed it, as the waistline has ended up a bit wiggly. OOPS! Also the seam lines on bodice and skirt didn't match up for some unknown reason. With this busy pattern you can't really tell though so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Wiggly waist!

I don't have a rotary cutter (yet) and found it a bit difficult to cut without the viscose stretching and slipping, and whether it was that or bias stretch, I ended up with quite a big levelling job to do on the hem, which contributed to it being even shorter still! I just overlocked the hem and pressed it up half an inch before machine sewing it down (I didn't want to use up too much length on hemming).

Teensy little hem

I used some light interfacing along the seam lines at centre back for when I sewed the zip in, which really helped.
I wish I'd have done sewn some kind of stabiliser in at the waist seam too. Next time, next time.

So all in all, this dress is much nicer than my old shop bought ones, although to be honest, initially I was a bit underwhelmed by it. HOWEVER, I have really enjoyed wearing it, have got loads of compliments on it and I do keep reaching for it time after time. So let's call this one a success! I've loads of this lovely fabric left so I'm currently planning a top and perhaps a wrap skirt. It's all a viscose learning curve! Any tips?


  1. This is lovely, the fabric is just gorgeous. Re working with slippery fabrics, I have used the "soaking fabric in gelatin" technique with great success. Although some folks find it gunks up their machine, I didn't have that problem. I first read about it on Sew Busy Lizzy's blog, here's the link

    who got it from The Sewing Space here:

    Good luck!

    1. Hi Lynne, and a big thank you! What an great tip. It's great to know you've used it with success too. I must try it! I'm planning a silk nightie and dressing gown so this is well timed! I'll let you know how I get on xx

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  3. What a perfect dress for muggy weather - when everyone else was sweltering in their nasty polyester RTW, you would have looked enviably cool and unconcerned! I like the point you make about our own makes being nicer than our RTW ones - I think we can be so hyper-critical of any tiny flaws (that no-one else notices!) that we forget that. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Haha you're so right, I was glad not to be wearing nasty polyester! So glad you agree about the way we view our own makes - I think it's so important to celebrate what we've made, and realise that even the slightly 'meh' pieces probably outshine most of our RTW ones! I often imagine I've tried the newest make on in a shop changing room, then I ask myself: "would I buy it?". Most often it's a big YES!