Hot off the back of the struggles with my last BHL Anna dress, I thought I’d launch into this one, to try out the adjustments I’d made last time.

Insides. I love the contrasting zip – you can’t see it at all from the outside. I managed french seams throughout this time, neck and shoulders just serged and turned again.

The fabric is a zebra print rayon from Spotlight – it comes as a black and white print, and I dyed it green using Dylon dye. I initially did it in the washing machine and it came out a pale pale mint colour, so I re-did it in a pot on the stove. The pot wasn’t really big enough so there were a few areas with less dye uptake, but with the pattern you can’t really see them. I cut around the biggest areas. The dye colour is imaginatively called ‘green’.

I cut everything on the cross grain to have the pattern going the way I wanted, and I got this out of 3m of fabric, since the fabric was quite wide. I cut the skirt 4″ shorter than the pattern, knowing it would be still too long, which it was. But when I trimmed the hem after trying on somehow it came out all wonky and one side was already a bit shorter than I wanted it – I guess I wasn’t paying much attention by that point. So I evened it out and serged it and left it at that. Luckily I had bought thread that exactly matches the colour.

I cut the bodice with adjustments made last time – an extra inch on each bodice seam tapering to nothing at the underarm. But it came out too big! I think this is because it’s a loose, drapey fabric, AND it’s on the cross grain, so it doesn’t really need as much wriggle room as my last version, in a much firmer fabric, did. I unpicked and sewed in smaller, so there’s still probably an extra 1/2″ at the side seams. I’m not sure I like it, it makes it just loose enough that it feels a bit frumpy.

However, it maybe doesn’t matter because this dress is probably doomed. Even as making it I was worried it would be too much. In theory, I reallyΒ like it. But I think it’s not ME enough to feel ok wearing something so loud. I am debating whether to give it some time and a few wearings, or whether to just take it apart now and make it into a skirt and a top. I would probably wear it a lot as a skirt and a top, separately! Trouble being, I’m in dire need of some plain black skirts and without that I’m not sure what I’d pair it with. I have a real hard time finding decent quality bottom-weight fabric, here. And maybe the dress will grow on me? Objectively I think it probably actually looks better on me than the last, teal version. But I just don’t feel as at home in it.

I was going to say that at least I made it for Jungle January. But zebras don’t live in the jungle, they live in the Savannah. So, this is my Sav-anna dress! I did try a little tiger claw action but they were so ridiculous I’ll only show you my reaction to them:




20 thoughts on “The Sav-Anna dress

  1. I think this looks great on you – you really nailed the fitting adjustments. Doesn’t look loose at all. Maybe if you let it percolate in your closet for a bit it’ll grow on you.

    1. Thank you! I suspect it might grow a bit as I wear it, and the sizing up become obvious. But the looser version does make it very comfortable. I’m going to give it a little while and see how I feel about it in a bit. No need to rush into hacking anything up!

    1. Thank you! I had a flash of inspiration πŸ˜› It was a nervewracking process but I love how the colour came out. I dyed some other rayon at the same time, still debating what that will become.

    1. I think I’m going to make myself wear it to work twice. And then I’ll think about it. I might get more wear out of it as separates, but we’ll see. No need to rush into anything! Thank you for your kind comment πŸ™‚

  2. Love this! Great idea to dye the fabric, I’m going to try that soon. This dress looks wonderful on you, don’t change anything, keep it! Also thank you for mentioning that zebras live in the Savannah – it bugs me when I see fabric prints called “Jungle Friends” or suchlike and it features lions, elephants, giraffes and zebras – they are not jungle animals, but animal of the open veld, the Savannah. I am lucky enough to live a hour drive from the Kruger Park πŸ™‚ , full of lions, zebra and giraffe, and not a jungle in sight.

    1. Oh, lucky you to live near somewhere so fantastic! I get grumpy when people talk about ‘jungle animals’ and half of them wouldn’t last a second in a jungle! And inhabit a very different, wonderful, habitat. Very silly. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  3. I love this, so I’m sorry that you don’t. That said, I am a classic, conservative dresser so I understand. I will tell you though that I had a dress once that I wore a lot, that was green with big black “crop circles” on it. It was a DVF wrap, which feels a bit too exposed to me now so I don’t wear it, but it was a cool dress. I guess we change over time. I would hang onto it, let it percolate and then maybe cut it into two pieces when you feel confident that you’ll have stuff to match them with. Lovely fitting – Anna suits you so well. I don’t think it’s too loose at all – you want it to skim the body, showing off your lovely shape as it does..

    1. Thank you! I really do like it as an object, but I just don’t feel very comfortable in it. I will have to let it sit and see if that fades, I have felt that way about clothes and then come to love them, before. But I don’t know. I feel fine wearing ‘out there’ clothes but they tend to be a very specific style, which this isn’t. Although I couldn’t describe the style, exactly. I do struggle with prints, a lot. I guess I prefer the shape of the clothes to be attention grabbing, rather than the print? Well, we’ll see. Either way, I did have fun making it and I do love the fabric and it won’t be wasted!

  4. I think it looks absolutely fabulous on you! I’m so sad you aren’t loving it. It’s all about your own comfort so hopefully you will either get energized by these wonderful comments or love making it into a top and a skirt. πŸ˜€

    1. Thank you! I certainly am having a confidence boost from the comments! πŸ˜€ I think I need to figure out which way it would get more wear, because it would be too sad for this fabric to sit unworn. I will have to do some sartorial experiments πŸ˜›

Whadya reckon?

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