A few months ago, the ladies at By Hand London had a pattern sale and I picked up Kim, Elisalex, and Flora dress patterns. I was dying to try Flora and an upcoming wedding provided the perfect opportunity. I learned a lot along the way, including using my XL-2600i as an overcast machine. I put my “G” overcasting foot on it and paired it with a cone of Gutermann Toldi Lock thread. Now, I understand why some sewists have a serger in addition to a sewing machine. It saved so much time by being able to finish my seams on a separate machine instead of switching the feet and thread on one machine.
I’m also not the best when it comes to sewing my seam lines correctly, so I FINALLY followed the tip of using a stack of post-it notes as a seam guide. Why didn’t I do this before?! I was able to sew faster since the post-its kept my fabric on track.
I hand-picked my zipper again and I’m getting better at it. I used an all purpose zipper instead of an invisible one. While I like how it feels stronger than an invisible zipper, I don’t like that the zipper pull doesn’t glide smoothly over the teeth. I might have to try some other brands. I also, should have interfaced the seam allowances but it was very late/early in the morning and I was tired.
Pattern Description: Flora Dress. Fundamentally feminine and universally flattering with her cinched waist and voluminous pleated straight or dipped hem circle skirt, Flora is the definitive party dress. Choose from two entirely different bodice variations: a classic sleeveless faux-wrap style or the more demure tank bodice, with her high square neckline and simple shoulder straps.
Pattern Sizing: Multi-sized sewing pattern from UK 6 / US 2 up to UK 20 / US 16. I sewed a straight 14 with adjustments.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow? They probably are but I followed along with By Hand London’s Flora Sewalong
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the faux wrap bodice and dipped hem. Also, the packaging is lovely. I’m glad I was able to get this pattern, and the other two, before BHL went completely PDF.
Fabric Used: A 53W cotton voile from Fabric Mart Fabrics for the shell and a poly/cotton blend from Jo-ann Fabric for the lining.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Well, the sewalong suggested using my waist measurement (size 14) for the bodice size but that didn’t work very well. I used my lining to test the fit and ended up with armhole gapping in the front and back. That’s the second time I’ve gone against my instincts of using my high bust measurement. In the end I made the bust darts bigger and brought the back shoulder up half an inch. My adjustments didn’t get rid of all of the gapping but it was better. Next time I’ll just go with my high bust measurement (size 12) and do an FBA in the front and tight back adjustment for my broad upper back.
The pattern calls for 60″ wide fabric but I really, really loved this voile so I cut my skirt pieces on a cross wise fold. Since, my hearts are directional I had to cut each skirt piece separately, including the front skirt that should have been on the fold. I was in a groove cutting before I realized that I hadn’t added a seam allowance for the front skirt pieces. Oops. I sewed the pieces together with a 3/8″ seam allowance and took 3/8″ out of both front knife pleats to make up the difference.
I fully lined the skirt since my voile was sheer. I lined to my knees and left the inside of the dipped hem unlined.
I added lace hem tape the hem to add something pretty for the dipped hem AND I made a waist stay. That was my first time ever making a waist stay and I really like it. I made it out of grosgrain ribbon and a swimwear hook. I followed Gorgeous Fabric’s tutorial and Handmade Jane’s suggestion of second notch for post-meal fitting.
It’s also a given that pretty much any dress or skirt I make will have pockets. Ha. And I put a few tacks in the front where my the bodice crossed because my bra was peeking out.
Would you sew it again? YES! I want to a better job with the faux wrap and try the other bodice and straight skirt.
Would you recommend it to others? Yes, definitely.