08 May 2014

The tale of two Flora's

Day after day my Feedly was swamped with various versions of the new By Hand London girls Flora dress. The fabric patterns, the fit, the happiness it brought to everybody's face lured me. I couldn't resist and purchased my own copy (After much waffling only because those patterns are NOT cheap, especially to ship to Canada - yikes).

I received and within an hour had my size 14 traced out and ready for making. I grabbed a purple gabardine I had in my stash and got cracking. cut cut sew sew. Instructions were simple to follow. Lining went together perfectly. Inserted my first invisible zipper with my new invisible zipper foot for my machine (what a joy! I'm no longer scared of zippers!) from start the finish it took me under 5 hours. With the majority of time spent sewing the 12 total darts (too Many darts!!!).

I tried it on all excited. Wait, I'll back up. I measured the pattern and everything seemed fine in flat measurements and I don't toil so just got on with it. now, back to me trying it on all excited - zipped it up, ran to my full length mirror, slipping on hard wood underfoot, and stare at my new creation. But wait, why doesn't it look as nice sad everybody else's? This bodice is gaping. So is the back bodice around the neck. So are the under arms. What the!

So, turns out, this pattern isn't perfect for me. And my shoulders are too narrow for the standard pattern drafting. So the dress fits bad across the top. To solve this I ironed interfacing across the front neckline to stiffen the material and provide more support, but because of how wide the bodice is across my cheat, putting my arms down pushes the bodice inwards causing it to gape. sad. I should simply cut the bodice narrower, but that's so much work, and I still think this is wearable.....so I made a second flora!

let me break down my alterations I made to the pattern for my second flora!
- took a 1/2 inch wedge out of the bodice front and back in the middle of the neckline to reduce gaping issue
- cut out the arm hole and moved the entire piece 1 inch towards the centre (this narrows the front bodice while maintaining the bust and waist proportions)
- removed a 1/4 inch wedge from under the armpit to reduce gaping under the arms
- moved the front bust darts towards the centre front by 1/4 inch
- widened the front bust dart base by 1/8 inch tapering it the fit the original dart about half way up. (To reduce the fabric pooling just under my bust and at my waist) (alternatively I could have adjusted the bodice side shaping , but dart adjustments are easier for me)
- reduced the shoulder piece length by 1 inch

Phew. That sounds like a lot of alterations, and in fact my pattern pieces are looking really mangled (especially with the blue painters tape!) but hey - this flora turned out near perfect! And just LOOK at this print!! It SCREAMS spring! It's the first pattern that I made alterations to, on my second round, to produce a better fit. And you know what? It was totally worth my time!

and next time I'll stay stitch the bodice waist as it stretched and is a little loose. I might take in the sides another 1/4" each and sew the waist seam another 1/4" just across the stomach to reduce the slight drooping that's occurring. Little things.

Beautiful invisible zipper (Especially considering it is my FIRST invisible zipper with my zipper foot!). Front knife pleats and back pleats. So beautiful

This flora is my demand to the Canadian weather gods to give me spring!!

Pattern: By Hand London Flora dress - Variation 2: Tank
Size: 14
Fabric: purple gabardine & floral polyester

  • front dart placement and width
  • narrow shoulder adjustment
  • hollow upper chest adjustment
  • rounded upper back adjustment
  • gaping under arm adjustment
  • shortened shoulder strap


  1. i think the gods should honor your demand with a smile. how could they not in that stunner?

    1. I think they heard my floral filled pleas - The temperature is EXPECTED to be 18C. wooot!

  2. That fabric... so juicy. Love it!

    1. Thank you! There are 4 other colour schemes for this fabric and I'm EXTREMELY tempted to buy them all!!