Monday, 2 June 2014

Flora Goes Aquatic

When I saw the new By Hand London release, Flora, I really wanted to make the crossover version. I'm a bit big in the bust, so I made a muslin for the bodice. It didn't fit. I made adjustments. It still didn't fit. More adjustments - still wouldn't fit.

I gave up and made the other version.

Here it is - the aquatic Flora:

The square neckline was much less taxing, and surprisingly flattering on. If I made it again, I would probably do a small full bust adjustment - the waist is a little high at the front - but other that that I'm pretty pleased with the dress and how it fits.

And I especially love how it shows off the fabric. I used a cotton from the Ikea range of Trendig fabrics, which comes pre-cut in 5m chunks. I think it's 100% cotton, but there seems to be some natural stretch on the weft of the fabric. It's also narrower than recommended for the Flora dress - due to the wide skirt, 60"/150cm widths are ideal; this fabric is only 45"/112cm wide. I got round this by adding a seam to the center front. I also had to practice my pattern matching skillz, which you can see in full effect in these twirling photos:

Construction was pretty straight forward - I used french seams throughout, and lined the bodice with the same fabric as the outer. I hand picked the zip into the center back seam, and added this little detail:

- a little ribbon knotted into the zip pull so I can pull it up and down easier! Handy if there isn't a husband or boyfriend around to help you (that's what they're for, isn't it?)

As usual, despite the dress being relatively easy to make I went a bit over the top on the inside, and turned a quick project into a longer project. 

First, the hem - I decided to make a 2" hem to add weight, but because the hem is curved it won't lie flat. I ran a gathering stitch 3/8" from the edge, then gathered it up until it was flat against the body of the skirt:

Then I finished it with bias tape:

Next the skirt lining - the pattern doesn't call for it, but I always add one without fail. To keep the skirt 'puffed out' I added a gathered frill:

And that's everything! 

Welcome to my new home!...Actually, it's the Geffrye Museum of the Home, in Shoreditch, Set in a series of 18th century almshouses, you get to walk through a series of room settings from the 17th century to the modern day. It has a beautiful garden, a great shop and cafe, and it's FREE!!! Everyone should visit.

See you soon!


  1. WOW!!! What a great dress! I really love the fabric! I'll never forget the eyeball fabric you used from IKEA; unfortunately, they don't carry the all of the same items in the US and I couldn't copycat you!!! Nice work!

  2. Sew Little Time2 June 2014 at 11:30

    love it! great fabric!

  3. pootleandmake.wordpress.com2 June 2014 at 13:30

    Wow lovely dress. Gorgeous fabric too, I love the circle pattern and fish motifs. The Geffrye Museum is on my to see list.

  4. Gorgeous, darling! You really suit those colours too. I love Ikea fabric. Shame they dont post out otherwise I'd use it all the time!

  5. I never thought of putting a ruffle on the lining like that! I'm having issues with the wrap as well, I gave up and made a skirt. I'll have to give the tank bodice a go, it looks great

  6. ozzyblackbeard2 June 2014 at 21:07

    What a gorgeous dress, and so twirly! And I love the fabric too. Lynne

  7. Elaine O'Connor2 June 2014 at 21:17

    Hmmm I might be nicking that frilled lining idea! This fabric is beautiful and works perfectly with the pattern! I made the tank bodice right off so I haven't experimented with the wrap yet.

  8. Christy Soberanis2 June 2014 at 22:57

    I absolutely adore everything about your dress. Love, love, love it!!!

  9. Yay! You finished your Flora and it looks great. Such a bummer Geffrye was closed the day we hung out. The garden is so pretty, and I bet the inside is just as lovely. Do you think you'll attempt the crossover again?

  10. I'll definitely try it again - it will not defeat me!

  11. Can't wait to see what it looks like when you kick Flora's bum!

  12. I love all your extra details like the frill on the lining! Plus your pattern matching is insane! It looks like the 'fish' are swimming around your skirt as you spin!

  13. That fabric is fantastic! I love this dress on you. It might actually be my favorite version that I've seen!

  14. Oooh clever work with the zip pull! Lovely dress m'dear


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