Preparation

 
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I am so excited you’ve chosen to make the Ana pattern! In this post, we will discuss preparing to make your garment, from fabrics to tools. Let’s get started! 

When choosing a fabric, it’s best to aim for something with a good, soft drape. My favorite materials to use for this garment are rayon crepe, rayon challis, and silk habotai. They are the ideal weight for this garment to be worn as a cover-up or layer for warm weather. I originally created this to wear over my yoga gear while running to class in the summer. However, I have made this garment from a variety of knits, linen, and flannel (which is such a fun make to be worn in colder temperatures, like in the fall). For this sewalong, I am using a beautiful rayon crepe fabric. 

To begin, print out the pattern instructions, or open up the document on your computer (which is what I usually do to save paper and ink). Next, make sure to read through the first few pages, so you understand where the pattern is going and what the intentions are for this project.

If you haven’t already, wash your fabric according to the instructions. Then make sure to iron your fabric before cutting. This pattern is based on a lot of straight lines and ironing will help you to get as straight of lines as possible, which can be tricky with slippery fabrics like rayon crepe or silk. 

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Before beginning a project, I like to thread my sewing machine and serger and gather up all the tools I think I might need. The tools I recommend for this pattern are all fundamental and ones that I used most often in sewing.

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From left to right in the photo below: 

  • glass head pins 

  • measuring tape or straight edge ruler

  • sewing gauge (my favorite sewing tool)

  • disappearing marking pen or chalk ( I purchase these on Amazon, make sure to test on a swatch of fabric before using as sometimes these can leave a slight mark even though they disappear with ironing) 

  • Seam ripper (because, you know, I’m not perfect)

  • small/embroidery scissors (I like to keep a pair on the ironing board and a pair at my sewing machine)

  • fabric scissors (I recently purchased these scissors and love them)

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And that’s it! Now you’re all ready to begin your project! 

 

Cutting Your Pattern Pieces

 
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This pattern is simple, only 3 pieces, but I wanted to share a few tips for cutting out your pattern pieces. Using slippery fabrics like rayon crepe or silk habotai can make a project more frustrating than fun, but I’ve found there are a few things that help to make the process a little easier, especially when it comes to cutting out your pattern pieces. 

The first tip is to always iron your fabric. Sometimes I can be lazy and skip ironing, and then end up trying to work with a mess of material that isn’t straight, and trust me, it’s never worth it. Just iron your fabric from the beginning and everything will be easier. 

Second, make sure you are working on a flat surface that is large enough to hold the fabric you’re cutting. In my early sewing days, I used a cardboard fold-up cutting board but stopped using it when I started sewing with slippery fabrics. With the fold-up board I couldn’t ever get the material to lay right, one area was always being pulled or dragged, and this made it difficult to get nice straight edges. I’ve also had problems with plastic boards curving so I stay clear of them as well. Nowadays, I cut all my fabric on the wood floor and even use the slats in the wood boards to help guide me when cutting a straight line;  I often line up the edge of my fabric with a wood slat because I know it’s a perfectly straight line. Cutting on the floor is also nice because there is plenty of space for my fabric, none of it is hanging off a table or being pulled in any direction, it’s just resting in its entirety over one surface.

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Third, sometimes I use weights to keep the edges of the fabric in place. Especially in this case where you're cutting a shape from measurements, pattern weights can come in handy. 

Fourth, when using a straight edge ruler to mark the fabric, make sure you are pressing down firmly on the ruler where you are running your pen. Too many times have I tried to mark my fabric without pressing down on the ruler and as I dragged the pen along to make my mark and it slid the fabric right out from under the ruler, leaving me with a crooked line.

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For this pattern specifically, I have a few tricks for cutting the pieces quickly and easily. My cutting workflow goes as follows. I measure, mark, and cut out the back pattern piece first, then lay that piece on top of my remaining fabric and cut a second one exactly the same as the first. This is nice because I don’t have to measure twice, which can get annoying. If you are using a fabric with a visible pattern, this may not work for you, and it would be best to mark, measure, and cut just as you did with the first piece. After I have the two identical pieces, I put one aside and take the other to the ironing board, fold it in half and iron the fold. I then cut off the folded edge to the measurement specified in the pattern. And there you have it, the pattern is all cut and ready to go! Told you it was easy :)

 

Sewing Your Ana

 

Now that you’ve got your pattern pieces cut out we can move on to the fun part, sewing! 

First, we are going to hem the inner edges of both front pieces. I like to use a serger, but if you don’t have one, a zigzag stitch will work just fine.

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When doing hems, I always use the with of my serged edge as a guide for folding the fabric and creating a hem. 

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When stitching the hem in place, I move my needle all the way to the left, then use the left inner edge of my sewing machine foot as a guide. This allows me to get a stitch line nice and close to the edge.

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Next we will attach the two front pieces to the back. With right sides together, pin the two front pieces to back piece at shoulder seams, and sew together creating the shoulder/back seam.

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Tip: With slippery fabrics, I like to run my pins through twice, as this helps prevent the pins from slipping out when I move what I’m working on from the ironing board to the sewing machine.

Tip: when sewing over the inner edge of the front pieces, I like to do a reverse stitch for a little extra support in this area.

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Next, finish shoulder seam edge with a serger/zigzag stitch. 

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Turn garment right sides out and iron the shoulder seam flat, folding the seam allowance under and toward the back.

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Then, topstitch at the back neckline to keep the folded edge in place. 

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Next, finish off all remaining edges with serging/zigzag stitch, and then hem. 

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Lastly, create the armholes by topstitching front to back at outer edge.

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And that’s it, you now have your Ana! 

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Hacking the Ana

 
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Hacking the Ana pattern into a duster is one of my favorite things to do with this pattern. Adding some length is an easy alteration and transforms this basic garment into something dramatic and even more romantic. After experimenting with the longer length for some time, I’ve found that sewing the side seams closed from the armhole down to the hem helps the garment hold its shape and wear well. Here’s how I like to do this hack!

For cutting the new pattern pieces, add 15 inches (38 cm) to the length of both front and back pieces.

Complete steps 1-3 from the pattern. Picking up at step 4, serge/zigzag both side edges only. With this longer length, we will save the front and back hemline for last.

Pin front to back at side seams with right sides facing inward toward each other.

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Just like in the pattern instructions, make sure to mark where the bottom of the armhole will be. Stitch together the front and back at side seams with 5/8” (16 mm) seam, sewing up from the bottom of the hemline and ending at the bottom of the armhole and backstitching there.

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Iron open the seams you just stitched continuing all the way around the armhole, folding it 5/8” (16 mm) over from the edge in this area.

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Then fold the extra seam allowance in and under toward the seam line, pin, and iron in place. Do this on both sides of the seam from the hemline up to the bottom of the armhole. When you get to the armhole where the side seam stitching ends, continue folding the fabric edge under to make a standard hem around the armhole. Repeat this on the other side.

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Starting at the hemline, topstitch along the edge all the way up the side seam to the armhole, and back down the side seam to the hem. Repeat this on the opposite side.

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Next, serge or zigzag along the hemline, then hem just like in step 1 of the pattern instructions.

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And that’s it! Now you have a beautiful duster.

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