This was a first for me, not just the pattern – I have a lot of those being such a newbie to sewing – but I actually deliberately sewed this dress for a specific occasion – my partner’s sister’s wedding. I’ve never sewn anything for a particular occasion before except for someone else for their birthday or christmas, although I have to admit those homemade presents are usually inevitably late.
The fabric is another first, it is Liberty Cotton Tana Lawn – I have never spent so much on fabric, but I have also never worked with something I considered so beautiful! I bought it from Shaukat in London, I went there specifically to buy something special to make this dress out of, thinking I would go for something blue. I surprised myself by falling for this as I’ve never really worn green, I think it was the little pink tortoises that decided it for me. The pure volume of choice available in Shaukat I have to admit was a little overwhelming, luckily I had a non-sewing friend with me who expressed no signs of boredom as I struggled to take it all in!
Once I got home it took me ages to cut into the fabric, even though I had already traced out the By Hand London’s Flora having fallen in love with the flirty skirt and the wrap top of version 1. I am guessing this is not an uncommon fear with any fabric, particularly expensive fabric – but I was terrified of wasting or ruining it. As it turns out I am in love with this dress, not only did I just about manage to get it finished in time for the wedding but I then also wore it to my partner’s graduation – I think it has become my go to occasion dress – smart but pretty!
I lined the bodice in the same fabric but did not bother to line the skirt as the fabric looks great on both sides – to the extent that I had trouble working out which was the right side during construction! I went for the dipped skirt – a style I have never been that into in RTW but love in this design. The By Hand London gang did themselves proud with the instructions as always – they were a pleasure to follow. I french seamed the skirt, except for the centre back seam which the invisible zip is put into – I have no idea how you french seam that – is it possible? Anyway, I couldn’t work out how so I pinked the seam allowance on the back seam. The hem was done by serging and then folding under twice so that I could follow the serging line but it wouldn’t be visible in the dipped skirt, I have never worked on a circular skirt before but man they take a long time to hem – totally worth it though!
Although I absolutely love this dress and can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it, it is not without it’s fit issues. As you can see from the above two pictures the fitting on the bodice is not great. This is fine when I first put it on, however, after any time sitting in the car or sitting anywhere for that matter, the blousyness I seem to have achieved in it starts to turn into creases which don’t look great. I am not sure if this is due to poor cutting out on my part? I was so careful with this pattern but I still did not end up with pattern pieces that exactly matched up – I’m hoping that as I become a more experienced seamstress this will happen less I also think that maybe I need to size down? I was between sizes and sized up for safety, and maybe a sway back adjustment is needed?
Despite all of the qualms about this dress listed above I still love it! I think it is the best garment I have made so far in terms of difficulty, fabric and resulting item. The flora dress is a winner as far as I am concerned and I may fiddle with the fit if I ever become a prolific enough seamstress to make more than one of any pattern!
Enough babbling, I’m off to drink cider and eat pork scratchings.
Thanks so much for reading xxxALT