Flora and Fauna



Flora and Fauna


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!

Hello Flora

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┬áhaving 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!

Flora Fauna

Flora Fauna

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!

Flora Sway Back Adjustment Flora Little peak of trainers!

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?

How much do I love my flora dress... This much!

How much do I love my flora dress… This much!

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



My first Moneta

I fell in love with the moneta dress by colette patterns as soon as I saw it! I love wearing jersey it is just so comfortable – so a cute little jersey dress – who wouldn’t? Especially with all those collar variations!

I made version 1 in the small size to start off with, in a cheap striped jersey fabric that I have had in my stash for over a year but I think was originally bought from fabric land in Bristol. The bodice is fully lined in the same fabric and the sleeveholes are finished using the clever technique shown in this video on colette’s site. The collar is just made using the reverse side of the fabric so it has a slight stripe on it that you can vaguely see in the photo below. I did play around with not doing it in a contrast at all but when I tried it it just looked a bit odd as if the stripes were cut up.

ImageThe instructions for the pattern are quick and easy to follow, and I have to say I love this pattern so much! I put it together on my overlocker, although the instructions also provide advice for using a regular sewing machine. I did try gathering the waist using clear elastic by basting it on my sewing machine but found that the mixture of the pull of the elastic forward and the pull of the feeddogs going back meant that the fabric didn’t move and I was just going nowhere! Once I moved back to my overlocker though it all went fine, maybe a walking foot would have helped if I was sticking to my regular sewing machine, or maybe I should have persevered and I would have got there.

It was quite a quick sew even for me and I am certainly not a speedy seamstress. I especially love the detailing on the back collar. As you can see from the photo below – I didn’t quite manage to get it symmetrical – but ah well – I think it is still wearable!


I did have a few problems with fit as when I first tried on my lined bodice it had some serious armhole bag. I emailed the people at Colette who were so nice and speedy in their reply and they suggested lining it, which unfortunately it already was, and that it was probably my fabric not having enough structure. My fabric is cheap and not very good quality so hopefully my next one won’t have this problem if I invest some better quality fabric, in the meantime I fixed the problem with some bust darts.


Inside of bodice

Outside of bodice

Outside of bodice

Unfortunately as you can see from the pictures below my fabric has not held up very well. I have only worn this dress 2 times and already it is showing serious signs of wear and tear.

holes starting to appear

holes starting to appear

colour blue rubbing

colour blue rubbing

So the verdict? Loved the style of this dress and I will definitely be making it again – but in a much better quality fabric!