Friday, 7 March 2014

Pattern Testing: Flora dress - By Hand London


Yes, before you ask that is a mini bottle of JD with a 'Drink Me' label attached that I'm sporting with my gorgeous Flora Dress - the latest pattern from By Hand London. It's just how you get to roll if you're lucky enough to be a pattern tester for the girls! If you ever get the chance to do it, I recommend it for the awesome care package alone!


Anyhow, back to The Dress! I Love It! I don't know what it is about By Hand London patterns that make me reach for floral fabric (Elisalex, Victoria and Anna) - I've seen and adored plenty of edgy variations of their patterns, but for me they tend to conjure up a more whimsical and girly aesthetic. But maybe that's just the aesthetic I usually lean towards anyway!


I bought this fabric at the same time as my Elisalex one and it's a medium-weight upholstery fabric. It works beautifully with the lines of the Flora pattern, holding the box pleats really well and resulting in a nicely structured bodice. I was a bit underwhelmed with it at the time, but I'm now smitten with the grey-blue background and in love with the bold and colourful floral print. I'm also a sucker for the chintz quality of the fabric, even though that does fade in the wash. Do you like how I placed the trio of flowers on the bodice front to look like a necklace? I'm stupidly proud of that!


I chose to make my Flora Dress in View B - with the 'more demure tank bodice' and dipped hem circle skirt. I'm not exaggerating when I say that despite Flora's impressive appearance, she comes together really quickly and easily. I cut mine out on a Friday evening and it took me less than half a day to sew her up on the Saturday. There are just four pattern pieces for View B, the design is deceptively simple and the instructions are clear. But if you don't feel confident in tackling Flora alone, the By Hand London girls have announced a sewalong that starts on 2 April!



I want to take a quick minute to show off my invisible zip here. After bemoaning zip insertions and the troubles I usually encounter, this one went it hassle-free and looks pretty good. The reason? I finally realised I was using the wrong foot all along...I was using my Janome invisible zip foot on my Brother machine. Stupid, stupid idiot! So I might have kissed and made up with invisible zips...for now!


What I also love about Flora, is that just like her sisters, she makes sure you end up with a neat finish on the inside, but with minimum effort! If you're considering making a dipped hem version, you may want to think about lining your skirt as the wrong side of the back will be visible. I didn't feel this was necessary for me, but it's just something for you to think about.



I shortened the bodice by my usual 1.5cm and shaved off about 7cm from the longest part of the skirt, but otherwise made a straight size US 10 / UK 14 because I didn't have time for a muslin. I must admit that I will probably unpick and grade it down a bit for a closer fit. I didn't tamper with the length of the front skirt and it hits above my chubby knees on my 5ft 3" frame...so be warned leggy friends! You also need 150cm wide fabric to make this baby, otherwise your skirt pieces won't fit on. Finally, I totally need to sort out some slight side-boob gaping...any good tutorials on what causes this and how to fix it please?

If anyone needs me in the meantime, I'll be twirling away in my living room!

111 comments:

  1. Hahahaha, I JUST replied to your comment on my post saying that I hoped to see yours, so I'm going to assume that I made this happen with my mind. Love love love this on you! It really suits you! I'm glad it's grown on you as it looks amazing!

    Re: the side boob gaping, for your next version, I would probably alter the pattern by making a little dart to take out the excess, then rotating that dart into your bust dart. Does that make sense? Here's a post if you haven't tried that before: http://rustybobbin.com/blog/?p=355

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    1. You've got mad mind skillz lady! Thank you so much for the side boob tip and link, you're ace ;o)

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  2. So pretty Marie! I love your version and the fabric is incredible. I have a wedding to go to in May, so might steal this WHOLE idea...and your identity. ;) xx

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    1. Hehe, knock yourself out Clare...but only if we can swap identities ;o)

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  3. This is so gorgeous! I squealed when I saw your IG pic and all these photos are making me swoon! I love!
    Re the gaping; you may want to go down a size on the bodice and do a FBA? It looks a smidge big across your upper chest? But it's hardly noticeable and as you did it without a test run I think it's a massive success!
    I can't wait to get my hands on this pattern!

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    1. Thanks for the tip Vicki, maybe it's tip I explore the humble FBA...

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  4. Gorgeous dress and lovely fabric. Well done x

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  5. Sooo pretty! Very elegant, but I can totally see it with casual summer sandals, too. The skirt holds that fantastic shape wonderfully with the fabric you chose. Love it!

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    1. Thanks so much Tasha, would love to wear it more casually as well!

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  6. It's so lovely! Florals look great on you :) you've really done the pattern justice. And I was going to say exactly what ginger said about the bust gaping :)

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    1. Thanks so much, I really am a sucker for florals ;o)

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  7. I love your version of this dress! :)

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  8. I adore this dress! I love the twirl factor.

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  9. I'm super excited to see you chose the square neckline! I've been curious to see how it looks sewn-up! The fabric is really gorgeous! I love the colors!

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  10. Ooh that's a juicy number! Love it, Marie!!

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  11. Gorgeous! This is beautiful.

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  12. It is so lovely! I love your fabric placement on the bodice - totally genius to make it look like a floral necklace :) The grey blue background makes the colors of the flowers pop - a perfect choice! So well done, and your hair looks amazing, too!

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    1. Thank you so Meg, you're too kind!!!

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  13. Gorgeous. I love this pale blue on you! Awesome pattern placement!

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  14. This is a beautiful dress and pattern!

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  15. Absolutely gorgeous! I'm in love with the fabric, just as good as the fabric for your Elisalex!

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    1. Aaaw, thank you! Got both fabrics from the same shop ;o)

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  16. oooh, i really like the tank style on you, might just have to try it. and the fabric is so pretty, love florals!

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    1. Thanks lady...I now want to try the wrap bodice!

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  17. Is a beautiful beautiful dress whit a line that looks great on you!

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  18. Omg I love it! Absolutely gorgeous, and you've chosen the view I prefer, so lovely :)

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  19. Such a lovely, lovely dress! The colour of your fabric is that shade of dove blue grey that is perfectly vintage. And that necklineis so sweet. You look great in this!

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    1. Oooh 'perfectly vintage'...thank you!!!

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  20. So gorgeous! The perfect fabric choice.

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  21. So so pretty on you! That fabric really suits!

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  23. Totally gorgeous Marie! I was a pattern tester too for the dress and made the same version, great minds think alike! Hopefully I'll be sharing mine next week :)

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  24. You know, I've been watching all these Flora dresses the past few days and not being that enamoured, but yours is lovely.I am a sucker for large blousy florals though. I still don't think it's for me...unless I suddenly gain toned arms. I just don't do sleeveless.

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    1. Thank you! Shame you have arm issues, totally unfounded of course! Could you make one and wear it with a shrug/cardi?

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  25. Everything is so pretty: you, the fabric and the pattern! And I thought I didn't like dipped hem!

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  26. This looks absolutely gorgeous on you - love the twirling action shot! And yes you should be proud of that 'necklace' feature - well done you!

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    1. Thank you, twirling was fun!

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  27. This is bloody gorgeous! You look fab in these colours.

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  28. What stunning fabric. It's such an amazing colour and I would also be very proud of the floral placement! I would add in an extra dart to fix that side gaping (although if you hadn't pointed it out i would never have noticed it). Sometimes I find that I have the same problem when patters only have a waist dart, but darting out (is that a thing?!) the fabric and then moving it to a bust dart tends to work x

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    1. Thank you, this is great advice!

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  29. Hullo sailor! This looks totes smashing on you and fabulous twirling material as well :D Epic work!

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  30. This dress is fantastic. That fabric is a dream and suits the pattern perfectly

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  31. This is gorgeous Marie :) I love the colour of the fabric, and your pattern placement round the neck looks great.

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  32. Gorgeous Marie!!! Love your fabric choice and the new Flora is rather a beaut! You've done her justice.

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    1. Thanks Winnie, you're too kind!

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  33. Gorgeous fabric, my fav flora yet :)

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  34. Your dress is gorgeous - the fabric is a fabulous color for you - it really flatters your English Rose complexion. Great work, I'm sure you will have lots of fun in this frock!

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    1. Never been called an English Rose before...thank you!

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  35. This is my favourite Flora so far and believe me there has been some stiff competition! Beautiful, beautiful fabric too, you look gorgeous Marie! x

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  36. So very lovely! I'm not so sure about a hi/lo hem, but you sure tempt me with this pattern!

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  37. You are auch a cutie. This is a great looking dress. You can now reward yourself with a swig of jd! Cheers!!

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    1. Thanks Amy, you're a cutie too!

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  38. I love your version. The placement of the florals as a necklace is also really cute!

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  39. What a beautiful dress! The fabric is gorgeous!!! The idea of using upholstery fabric definitely works, might use this idea :)

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    1. Thank you, definitely try it out!

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  40. This is my favorite version of the Flora so far! The fit on the bodice is wonderful. Bravo! You've done a wonderful job!

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  41. I really like the fabric you chose for your version. Great job on getting the floral piece to look like a necklace on the front!

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  42. This is just gorgeous! I love the dipped hem and the floral fabric. Kudos on the necklace style placement. Very clever thinking!

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  43. Love the dress and the Alice reference. The fabric is fabric is gorgeous, and I'm not usually one for florals. I need to add this to my long list of sewing patterns to try out though this one might do some queue jumping ,D

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    1. Thanks, it's definitely worth bumping this up the queue!

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  44. I love it!

    Will you be selling any of this fabric in your Etsy shop?

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    1. Thank you! And yep, I already have some listed here https://www.etsy.com/shop/AStitchingOdyssey

      ;o)

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  45. What a fun print! I do love the square neck version, looks great on you!

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  46. What a beautiful unity of fabric & pattern :)

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  47. Gorgeous dress, that fabric is so pretty. You look fab in it.

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  48. Love the fabric and this is a beautiful dress! I think you need a FBA, and then you will have the perfect fit.

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    1. Thanks Kim, may well have to get brave on the FBA front!

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  49. A beautiful fabric and gorgeous dress - plus fabulous flower matching across the waist seam - and it just suits you so well!

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  50. The back pleats are amazing, great color!

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  51. I don't know about this pattern as I've not tried it yet! However, with Elisalex I had to grade the bodice from a size 6 at the shoulders to a 10 bust to a 12 waist, sounds odd but it fits. I buy a 10 rtw normally xx

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    1. Thanks for this, very helpful!

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  52. I know I'm late to the party but this is just lovely! Beautiful, Marie!

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    1. It's never too late for a compliment...hehe! Thanks!

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  53. Stunning! This has sold me on the Flora dress. Wish I had your lovely curves though :)

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    1. Thank you very much! I'm sure you'll look absolutely beautiful in yours ;o)

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  54. I've been meaning to tell you how gorgeous you and your new buddy Flora are. You always pick the best fabric.

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    1. Thank you so much Mela, you're a sweetheart!

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  55. What lovely fabric and a lovely dress too. I usually use Burda and Patrones but this makes me think trying a vintage pattern would be nice.

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  56. It looks lovely. I may have missed it but have you said where the fabric is from please and what it's called. Perfect for my next Anna dress I hope! thank you

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    1. Hey Shandy, thanks for your comment! The fabric is vintage, but I do have 2m left for sale in my Etsy shop. It's reserved for someone else at the moment, but if they don't confirm that they wanted (it's been about a week), then it'll be up for grabs again for keep a look out: https://www.etsy.com/listing/185373384/reserved-for-lunahunt-2m-vintage-floral?ref=shop_home_active_1

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