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!