Sewing Projects


I rarely make patterns more than once (unless it’s one I’ve drafted & tested a billion times, natch). I’m a bit of a magpie and I love a new pretty, shiny thing. There are so many exciting designs out there, it can be challenging to return to something you’ve already made, even if you know it just works.

BHL Ikat Anna by Closet Case Files-5BHL Ikat Anna by Closet Case Files-9BHL Ikat Anna by Closet Case Files-3

This pattern works, like a Missy Elliott jam. One of my favourite makes last year was a black and white print Anna, and I wore her TO DEATH. Most of Montreal is now well acquainted with my left thigh; it was always the most perfect thing to wear on a hot day, on a date, to work, to bed, etc. It seemed right to make another pretty printed number to hang alongside her. When I saw this cobalt ikat silk noil, it was a no brainer.

This love story does have its share of heartbreak; I picked up this silk at the closing sale of the Fabricville in downtown Montreal. Fabricville is the big sewing chain in Quebec, and while they have far too much polyester in stock to make it my go-to destination for fabric, this location was my favourite place to stop on my way home from work to pick up notions and sewing ephemera. There are no other locations near me, and I have to get a lot more creative when I have last minute sewing needs these days. This marks the 4th sewing store closure in my city in the past 2 years; more reasons to shop in person when we can. There may be more of us sewing these days, but a lot of it is done online, and the analog shops are having a hell of a time holding on. RIP downtown Fabricville. You are missed.

BHL Ikat Anna by Closet Case Files-7 BHL Ikat Anna by Closet Case Files-2BHL Ikat Anna by Closet Case Files-6

My second Anna was made much like the first, although I wanted to fix my back gaping issue. I pinched out the access on the first Anna, and noticed some front gaping as a result. I used Ginger’s tutorial to take out about an inch of excess in the front and back. Took about 10 minutes to transfer the changes to my pattern pieces and now this beauty fits perfectly.

If you’ve never sewn with silk noil before, I HIGHLY recommend it. It has a lovely soft, nubby texture and it drapes and sews beautifully. It has none of the sheen or polish of a traditional silk, but its cottony hand makes it the perfect choice for lightweight summer sewing. Because the weave isn’t super dense, I try to wash it infrequently and on the delicate cycle.

I whipped this up a few days before a friend’s wedding, and paired it with my new most favourite shoes (gold Hasbeens, *long drawn out sigh*) and a crazy beaded chevron necklace I picked up on one of my rare trips to a retail store. And because I’ve re-embraced colour, I matched my eyelashes to the dress with some bananas blue mascara I bought on a whim.

BHL Ikat Anna by Closet Case Files-8

Blame Anna. She brings out the magpie in me.

Photos by Guillaume Gilbert

  • Sophie

    Whooooa Nelly! Breathtaking. Spectacular. Could not love this more and that fabric is so perfect for an Anna. Your first one was one of my favourites and now this! Why I haven’t made up this pattern yet, I do NOT know.

  • Suzanna Forsythe

    Gorgeous – another stunning Anna. And I really love how you have put it together, with that fantastic necklace, fabulous golden Hasbeens and even the electric blue mascara!

  • charlotte

    you are the definition of hawtness 😉

  • mokosha

    looking hot! love the fabric! and the way you styled it!

  • Andrea Belshaw

    Couldn’t agree more with the comments so far. Blue is my favourite colour and the fabric you chose suits the Anna perfectly. Its another pattern to add to my must try list. Thanks for the inspiration. Ive just started blogging myself (thegreatsewingmrsb . Havent quite got the hang of adding links etc but im gojng to try and pop this on to mine if you dont mind. Keep sewing!

  • Amanda Adams

    This is summer smashing! What a fab silk – and bummer about the store closure. Our local epic fabric store is (rumour has it) hanging on by a thread. There is nothing like feeling something yourself rather than buying it online (but I am old fashioned) 🙂

    • My heart breaks for all the retailers trying to stay alive. I probably do half online, half IRL just to help them out.

  • lisa g

    love this! the fabric is beautiful. i don’t think i’ve ever felt silk noil… now i’m intrigued!

  • YOWZA. i need another anna stat. i squealed like a schoolgirl when your beautiful face popped up. and i have to go pick my jaw up over your Hot Damn accessorizing. including technicolor lashes.

    • I’m basically channeling you whenever I pull out the technicolor.

  • you look totally smashing!! anna really is a beauty of a pattern, and totally deserves being sewn up several times…

  • Heather, you look amazing! xoxo

  • BAM! This is a really beautiful dress, my friend, and you look smashing in it. I should make another Anna maxi – the good people of Leamington need to see my pasty thigh! Also, nice work on the gold hasbeens. I bought some gold clogs in Paris that are very similary and they look great with everything. I’m, wearing them right now! I want to get some silver ones as well.

    • I have Hasbeens taste on a dollar store budget. I want to buy a hundred pairs but I’ll have to settle for wearing these every damn day instead.

  • this is beautiful! I love the drape of the fabric, it’s perfect for the long flowy skirt.

  • sallieforrer

    Matching dress and eyelashes?! Silk noil??!!!!! Clogs?!?!?!?!? IKAT??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You know the way to this girl’s heart!! Loved your first Anna to death, and I’m so glad this one could join the ranks. She’s perfection!! Montreal needs to see more of Heather’s left thigh!!! The fit and drape is gorgeous, as are you!

  • Gorgeous!!! I love this on you!!! Oddly enough, I was just thinking about making another Anna dress this morning while I was in the shower (normal, right?).

  • I loved your black and white Anna and I love this one just as much. I am sorry fabric stores near you are closing down. I find it difficult to purchase fabric online, sometimes the shipping is crazy and then I really have to know my fabrics, which I am working on.

    • I buy a lot online, but I try to get all my notions and basics locally….

  • Nettie

    BABE TOWN!!! Call the fire department!

    You look awesome, babe! I have got to get my hands on some silk noil!

    • haha thanks babe. SIlk noil is my new silk crepe.

  • Hélène

    Your blue Anna is simply gorgeous! And these pictures are stunning. Montréal looks like New Orleans! J’étais bien triste aussi que le dernier magasin de tissu du centre-ville de Montréal ferme ses portes…

  • Karin –

    I think this Anna is perfect for you. You look gorgeous!

  • MarrieB

    Absolutely stunning!

  • Beautiful! This fabric is so great! The anna is my most made pattern (3 times) and I still love it! 🙂

  • erin

    Gorgeous Anna! It looks so versatile & no doubt you’ll get tons of wear out of it. I’m currently on the hunt for the perfect fabric so I can have my own leg baring version.

    • Drapey and breathable and you’ll be all set!

  • So gorgeous! I love that fabric!

    • Thanks Chantal! I wish I bought an extra 10 yard….

  • Those matching eyelashes are making me very happy right now. Also, what a perfect pairing of pattern + fabric. Look’n good girl, especially up against that forest green Ford.

  • blacklabel

    So there goes anything I was about to post this week because yours will just blow it out the water 10x over….Simple & amazing combinations of loveliness. (I want me some Hasbeens too 🙁 )

    • Oh dude, come on! I’m sure your makes are gorgeous and the world NEEDS to see them!

  • So seriously gorgeous… just beautiful. Love it!

  • So lovely. I’ve only made 2 and 2 half Annas, and clearly I need to make the maxi version. I’m just waiting for the right fabric.

    I’m sorry to hear about the Fabricville closing; I prefer shopping locally when I can, but I worry that online shopping is going to make that more and more difficult in future.

    • It’s scary when they start closing in big cities like Montreal…. there should be enough people sewing here for them to thrive!

  • Kelly

    Oh yes, she is a beauty!! Your first Anna was an inspiration for me and I love this one just as much! I finally made one and am plotting another…such a great pattern.

    • Your Anna was one of my favourite recent makes! You’ll see tomorrow….

  • Beautiful!!

  • Gorgeous. As expected.

  • bernieandi

    Oh my! I was going to say this dress is gorgeous but your dress is just on a whole other level that defies description! LOVE it!

  • how did i missed that! OMG thats so beautiful, etherial and inspiring.

  • Gorgeous dress! This is going on my list of things I want to sew! And I love the bold jewelry style in a lot of your posts! I recently found your blog and I’ve been enjoying reading and exploring it!

    • Thanks Deanna. I definitely have art teacher taste in jewelry, haha.