Hi there! It’s been a long time since my first post on The Monthly Stitch, but I’m back now with an entry for the Indie Pattern Month Dresses week contest!
The By Hand London Flora dress has been on my to-sew list since I first started sewing – that’s almost a whole year ago! So when I heard of Indie Pattern Month and the dresses category, I knew I HAD to make the Flora. This is by far one of my most involved garments to date and is definitely my current favourite – it’s got weird and wonderful Alice in Wonderland-ish paisley flowers, who can resist that?? To match the whimsical nature of the print, I decided that the futuristic Gardens by the Bay in Singapore would be the best place to photograph it, amidst the strange and exotic plants of the Cloud Forest dome. But enough of the chattering from me, keep on reading to find out all the juicy sewing-related details!
Disclaimer: I’m sorry this post is so image-heavy, there were too many pretty flowers to resist! (If you’d like to see more of my makes, you can visit my blog here)
(Yes, those are lego and real live pitcher plants (read: carnivorous monsters) mixed together in an exhibit! There were venus flytraps too – not pretty.)
By Hand London’s Flora Dress (Tank bodice with hi-lo circle skirt)
I found the pattern instructions very easy to follow, and coupled with the sew-along, this pattern is completely manageable for a beginner sewist! The only pain was finishing the hem of the voluminous circle skirt – I used my rolled hem foot and even then it took ages (not to mention it got a little tricky at the side seams and centre back seams). Other than that, the construction went very quickly, even having to make slight fit adjustments to fix neckline gaping issues.
I also loved the gentle shaping given by the knife pleats in the front and the box pleats in the back – I didn’t realise it at first, but a friend asked if the “wavy” effect of the skirt hem was intentional, and it dawned on me that it was due to the shaping from the pleats! (Rather an unimpressive revelation to have, but there it is)
– Small Bust Adjustment – I found BHL’s tutorial in their sew-along really helpful!
– Shortened the centre back of the skirt by 3 1/4″ and smoothed out the curve gradient. I still found the skirt a bit too long in the back and the curve gradient a tad too severe for casual wear, I would probably shorten the skirt a further 2″ the next time or try out the other skirt option.
– Removed 2″ total from the back neckline where there was gaping. On my next make of this pattern I’ll be sure to remove a total of 1″ from the front neckline as well.
Fabric & Notions
Purple paisley lightweight cotton (only slightly heavier than voile), bought from Hong Kong for a mere S$5 (US$3.70) a metre! #winning
White voile for the bodice and a 22″ cream invisible zipper
I had actually bought a similar liberty-esque purple paisley print from Goldhawk Road (and was told that it was a William Morris – I still don’t know if the shopkeeper was telling the truth as the selvedge doesn’t mention it) with the intention to use that for a Flora instead. But lo and behold when I saw this alternative in a dingy Hong Kong roadside fabric store, I decided I liked vibrancy of this print a little more and snapped up 3m of this right away.
I got such a humongous kick out of finally making up this dress – thank you Indie Pattern Month for the huge shove up my behind I needed to do it! Am really looking forward to showing a few more of my entries this coming month and fingers crossed I’ll have time to finish them all! Wish me luck!