Hi, guys! I’m so excited to show you my newest dress! Yay! I was lucky enough to be a tester for By Hand London‘s newest sewing pattern, the Flora Dress. I’ve had the hardest time keeping my trap clapped- I wanted to spill the beans so badly!
Flora has two bodice options, a fitted tank with a high neckline, or this faux wrap. I generally don’t like wrap dresses (I know, I’m alone in this) and I rarely even wear a v-neck, but I thought it would be fun to try something different from my usual style. You can also choose between a pleated skirt and a pleated skirt with a dipped hem (I chose the latter).
I used a bright polyester taffeta from Mood Fabrics NYC. It was kind of a strange fabric, very tightly woven (it was really hard to get pins to pierce it!) and almost like windbreaker material, so it might be kind of an unusual choice for a party dress, but it has lots of body and I thought that would make for a fun, billowy skirt. I used a sharp needle and low tension, which worked well.
The pattern is very easy and quick to sew up. I understitched the lining very carefully along the bodice and used a lining that was very similar in color to minimize flashing the lining, which worked really well.
Here’s my perky pink lining, made with cotton shirting from Mood. You could easily add a skirt lining, but I didn’t feel like I needed it. I used French seams where I could, and where I couldn’t, I used ready-made bias binding from my stash that coordinated perfectly! If you make the version with the dipped hem, you need to make sure that your center back seam is nice and pretty since you’ll see peeks of it! Hooray for pretty seams!
I haven’t made a lined bodice with a faux wrap before, so I was glad to have it explained clearly as figuring it out on my own would have melted my brain (but that’s just me). You need to press under the lining and dress shell seam allowances at the arm holes and then slip stitch them together. I’d never done this before and try to avoid hand stitching as much as possible, but I couldn’t figure out another way to finish the seam allowances! To avoid puckers, I ran a basting stitch just inside the seam allowances around the arm hole, then clipped every 1/2″ or so around the arm hole before pressing them under. I left the basting stitch in because I was worried about fraying- hopefully that will work!
I’m a little bit unhappy with the fit, sadly. I made a silly mistake, so it’s all my fault. I made a muslin and decided I wanted the waist to be more fitted (I tend to under-fit rather than over-fit to avoid this, but I thought the dress would look nicer if the waist was more emphasized). But when I made the changes to the muslin, I must have stretched it out a bit because the final version in the fashion fabric is too tight (the polyester has absolutely no give whatsoever). There are diagonal lines pulling from the waist to the bust, which is kind of annoying. I also didn’t think about the fact that taking in the waist pretty drastically would pull the bust darts closer to the side seams, so they’re not quite right now, either. I’ll know better next time!
Fit issues notwithstanding, I’m really happy with this dress! It’s a fun party dress, and I feel like a princess when I’m twirling around in the skirt (even if I look like an idiot in reality)! I’m looking forward to making another! I know I sound like a total fangirl, but the By Hand London girls have a knack for designing patterns that I didn’t know I really wanted to wear. I just love their aesthetic!
So what do you guys think? Do you like this pattern? What’s your perfect party dress? Have you made it already, or is it something you’re still dreaming of making one day?