Sew Social NZ arranged the first ever Frocktails Wellington at the end of June. I had to have a new dress! OK, so I cheated slightly, I was invited to a conference dinner back at the beginning of May with a theme of “Dress to Impress”, so I had to make something new for that! It was conveniently the perfect outfit for Frocktails 🙂 I ended up wearing it with my Muse Tahi shrug I made ages ago. It’s my go to cover up for occasions and looks great with this dress.
We’ve not long moved house and I really needed something relatively simple to make up, which wouldn’t tax my poor brain too much, or take up too much sewing time when Mr N was expecting me to unpack boxes! I found the fabric first, then decided on the pattern (as you do!) By Hand London Flora was the perfect choice. A pattern I’ve had for a while (it’s a printed version), but never made up! The fabric came from Whanganui where I had gone conveniently for work. 🙂
I did make up a quick muslin of the bodice. I often do this for patterns I’ve never made up. Skirts can fit, but bodices often require a bit more work. As usual, I needed to lower the darts and also lengthen the bodice. I also made some other changes, I lowered the front neckline and lengthened the straps. I also raised the armscye, since this sat very low. The skirt was also going to be too short if I’d have kept it the length of the pattern.
The pattern asks for 60″ (150cm) wide fabric only. That’s not going to happen with silk taffeta, which meant I had to put a centre seam down the front of the skirt. To be honest, I don’t think it looks bad with that seam.
I lined the bodice with this purple lining from stash. This taffeta is an orange shot with purple, so it’s a perfect match 🙂 I wasn’t going to ruin the seam finishes with my overlocker, so I used this purple hug snug to give a Hong Kong finish to the seams. The hem is not deep, and I also used the hug snug to hem the skirt too, which I did by hand. Yes, I hemmed this skirt by hand, it took forever, but gives a beautiful finish. I love the way the hug snug shows when I’m wearing it.
I inserted an invisible zip, even though I hate them. It’s not perfect, but OK. I also added a hook and eye at the top of the zip to make sure the back of the neck had a proper closure.
Fabric: Orange silk taffeta shot with purple from Philp-Wright’s in Whanganui. Purple lining from stash.
Notions: Thread, invisible zip, purple hug snug, oh and the By Hand London and Me label which came with the pattern. Yes, in the days they sold print patterns these labels came with them.
Pattern: By Hand London Flora dress, variation 2 with a square neck and high-low hemmed skirt, size 17. The 17 doesn’t exist, but I made up between a 16 and 18.
Changes made: Lots! Lowered the front neckline by 1.25″, lengthened the straps by 1″, raised the armscye by 5/8″, moved the front darts 1″ to the centre and lowered by 1.5″, lengthened the bodice by 1″, graded the skirt from the 16 to a size 10 at the bottom to account for the narrow width fabric, lengthened the front skirt by 3″ and lengthened the back skirt by 2″. Phew! I think that’s it! I could have cut a smaller size in the waist after all that, but I think I’ve done enough!
Another one/recommendations: I really love this pattern. I don’t know why I’ve left it so long to make up. It’s not a difficult pattern to make, the changes were the most difficult part! It’s simple and the instructions are very clear anyway.
The skirt is a great shape and works really well with this fabric. I’m very tempted to make up another. I have some sateen in stash which is going to work like a dream for this pattern. There’s definitely another Flora dress in my future. I don’t have many things with a square neck and I’m actually really liking how it looks.
This skirt is perfect for twirling 🙂 And to end a photo from the Frocktails evening.