Completed: The Flora Dress

5 Mar

Here’s a lovely, floaty warm-weather dress, just in time for another massive cold front! Ha! 🙂

Flora dress

Haha! In all seriousness, let’s welcome the newest member of the By Hand London family – Miss Flora!

Flora dress

Flora is a lovely dress with two bodice options and pleated circle skirt with a straight or hi-lo hem (or, as I like to call it, mullet-hem). I’ve dubbed this a floaty warm-weather dress because that’s specifically what my version is made for, but I imagine this could make a pretty sweet cold-weather dress, too, sewn up in the right fabric (preferably with some kind of crazy awesome contrast lining in the skirt, so it peeks out behind your legs and ooooh!).

Flora dress

My version is the the dipped hem skirt with mock wrap bodice. Man, I love me a good wrap bodice, mock or not.

Flora dress

I did have to make a few changes to get a good fit on the pattern, but nothing that runs outside my ordinary alterations. Let’s get them all out in a pretty list. I started with the size 2/6:
– 3/8″ rounded back adjustment + 5/8″ darts at the upper back
– Lowered the shoulder seams 1″ – also lowered the vertical waist darts 1″ (I also should have lowered those horizontal bust darts too, looking at all the wrinkles on mah side boobs. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20 blah blah)
– 3/8″ tuck out of the front neckline to keep it from gaping

The rounded back adjustment is a new thing for me – I’ve noticed on a lot of my old handmades, there is a weird gaping at the upper back, right under the nape of my neck. It looks STUPID AS SHIT. Apparently I have a ~rounded upper back~ or a Dowager’s Hump, which yes, sounds even worse. I am pretty certain this is in relation to a change in posture, which means I need to start doing yoga or something. Lord.

Flora dress

You know what, though? My upper back no longer has ANY gaping, at least not in this dress! Fuck yeah!

Flora dress

The rest of the dress came together without any additional alterations – even the skirt length is as-printed on the pattern. I know some people really hate this type of hem – that was me, for a long time, and still to some extent (on the really bad ones, YOU KNOW WHICH ONES I’M TALKING ABOUT), but I reeeeally love it on this dress. Combined with the circle skirt, it kind of makes me feel like a princess, without feeling like I look over-the-top. Does that make sense?

Flora dress

It should be noted that, since the back side of the fabric show behind your legs due to the hem line, you probably want to make sure that it doesn’t look totally hiddy. My fabric isn’t super gorgeous on the wrong side, but it’s passable. It looks fine.

Flora dress

Check out that hem sweep! Woohoo!!

Flora dress

I finished the skirt seams with a simple french seam – I think that just looks prettiest on exposed seams like the backside of a mullet skirt. The hem is just a tiny rolled hem, but wouldn’t it be pretty with a strip of lace so it show on the back? Yes, yes it would. Just be forwarned that this hem is looooong and goes on into forever, so if you handsew… you’ll be handsewing into forever, too.

Flora dress

Same with my Georgia dress, I stabilized the neck edges with twill tape to keep it from gaping. I really cannot recommend this step enough when it comes to necklines that have a tendency to droop and gape open – it pulls everything slightly in, and keeps it secure. I can move around all I want and there is no gaping! Yes!

Flora dress

At this point, I kind of feel like it’s my personal life mission to eliminate the gape.

Flora dress

This cotton voile fabric is equal parts weird and amazing, isn’t it? I picked it up from Mood Fabrics with this dress specifically in mind (I also grabbed this navy linen with View A in mind, but floaty won out. And now, the more I look at it, the more that linen might want to be a skirt. Thoughts?).

The Flora was designed to be made up in most any fabric (check out the other versions on the BHL blog if you don’t believe me… as a side note, MAN I am jealous of that cleavage! Dang! Haha!), so I chose to go on the lighter side – lightweight, floaty, almost see-through, you know the drill. What’s interesting about this fabric is that it has all the qualities on voile, with an extra kick of giant embroidered dots scattered everywhere. The dots are slightly thicker than the voile (not, super duper thick like you’d think when you think embroidery… more like the equivalent of a couple extra layers of the voile in thickness), but they don’t affect the drape of this fabric. Also, they’re cotton, so they didn’t do anything crazy when I hit them with my iron. Win!

Flora dress

One more shot of the upper back, bc I’m so proud of myself 🙂 Just a note – in most of these pictures, I’m wearing a strapless bra with my dress. You can see my black bra strap in this picture; that’s cos this came from the set I snapped and sent to BHL after I tested the pattern (just… be thankful I retook them, that’s all I have to say about that!). Anyway, my point is, the straps of the dress are not bra-friendly without a little bit of tweaking. You’ll either need to make bra strap carriers to hold the straps in, or go strapless.

Flora dress

I underlined my bodice in a lightweight cotton batiste, so the inside feels soft and breatheable and delicious. Also, no slippery lining fabric, yay!

Flora dress

Flora dress

And, of course, there’s a hot pink zip in there because why not?

Flora dress

Can’t wait for it to warm up out here so I can wear this bad boy out and about. I’m SO dying to get out of the house and just spend a day lounging around the park on a blanket, eating snoballs. God. Summer, won’t ya hurry up already??

74 Responses to “Completed: The Flora Dress”

  1. Susie Homemaker, MD March 5, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    What a nice dress! I will have to check out this pattern. Great tips about the round back alteration. I have also been in denial about this one, lol. 🙂

  2. ekabby111 March 5, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Or, just be like me! Decide you hate strapless bras and will just wear a cardigan all the damn time! (Be-tea-dubs, I saw you on my favorite website with which to kill time on my way to church this morning. You so famous.)

  3. Lori B. March 5, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    That’s gorgeous! Amazing fit and I just love the print. Great work!

  4. natalie March 5, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    Wow, what a gorgeous dress. LOVE the fabric. great fit, no gaping anywhere. Just about to make my first BHL dress. I have a crazy owl themed fabric lined up. 🙂

  5. sewlittletime March 5, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    i love this – i have snapped up the pattern already! good to see on yours that it’s not as low cut as on the pattern model – was a bit worried it might not be daytime appropriate (or at least not daytime at work appropriate!)

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:44 am #

      Well, my boobs are also waaaay smaller than the model’s, ha. Definitely make a muslin first to see how the bodice fits you!

  6. Lady Stitcher March 5, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    Thanks for your thoroughly detailed review! I’d been looking forward to this after the teasing sneak peeks of Flora by BHL recently and love your version, it’s really gorgeous. (Also: ‘Dowager’s Hump’ – what an amazing and slightly terrifying phrase!)

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      I KNOW! Doesn’t it just sound awful?

  7. Kimmie March 5, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Dammit!!! I’ve always hated mullet hems bc they remind me of Stephanie Seymour’s wedding dress in the November Rain video.. bUT damned if I don’t love it here!!! It works and looks cute and admitting that kills me

  8. ShanniLoves March 5, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Yep pretty much over this shitty ass winter we’ve had!
    I’m so in love with that fabric… Great dress!

  9. smonakey March 5, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    Love that combo of print & dress!

  10. Elle March 5, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    There are certainly worse life goals than eliminating gape. It’s like a noble pursuit! Like a quest! LIKE KNIGHTS. You can be Sir Lauren and ride a horse.

    Also this dress is pretty sweet. BHL designs the coolest stuff.

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:46 am #

      I would TOTALLY be Sir Lauren and ride a horse. Who has a horse they want to loan me???

  11. symondezyn March 5, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Damn, that is some cool fabric! It’s nice from afar but up close it has the coolest texture! 🙂

    I’ve been battling with neck gape too, and have tried so many alterations to combat it – much as I hate the term “Dowager’s hump” (come ON!!! Why would they call it that???) I may have to try this too – you certainly got amazing results from it!

    And for the record, your posture looks just fine and there’s no sign of any hump anywhere, so it’s a mystery to me why they call it that!!

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:48 am #

      I can’t remember where I read how they came up with the name, but it’s something to do with a stately old lady (a Dowager). However, combining that word with “hump” just makes it sound horrifying!

      And yeah, I know my posture is slipping, but it’s still pretty straight most of the time! I think it’s less of a visible hump and more a slightly curved back? Can we call it a sexy curved back? Is that a thing? hahaha

      • symondezyn March 6, 2014 at 11:07 am #

        I vote we MAKE it a thing!!!! If I’m gonna have to do a bunch of extra work making fitting adjustments for my weird body issues, I’d like them to at least have flattering names LOL

        • March 7, 2014 at 5:29 am #

          Bah My neck gape is caused by a muscular upper back – mainly the trapezius muscles, that is my storuy and I’m sticking to it…..old lady hunchback indeed..grrrrr 😀

  12. Katy March 5, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    It’s gorgeous. I love this pattern, i’m ordering mine now! Gorgeous version!

  13. sallie March 5, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Love this! Another winner from BHL – and your fabric choice is extra pretty and is also making me anxious for summer, and margaritas, and long walks on the beach…. sigh… Also, I’m in club Dowager’s Hump as well, and yes, it is an AWFUL NAME!!!

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Ooooh, I wish we had a beach I could walk on! I’m just gonna have to settle for Centennial Park, I reckon 😉

  14. Leslie March 5, 2014 at 10:32 am #

    I love the fabric – I’ve been eyeballing it on Mood’s website for a while, wondering what it would look like on a garment!

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Ha! Well there ya go – mystery solved 🙂

  15. Jenny March 5, 2014 at 10:37 am #

    ORDERED! Can’t wait.

    Am also in the Dowager’s Hump brigade, but I reckon ever since the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey it’s now a totes cool thing to be.

  16. Colleen March 5, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    I can’t even believe there’s a new pattern! Just 5 minutes ago, I was tooling around their website thinking about making the Georgia for my girl, and there it is! And, now, instantaneously: YOU MADE IT! This beautiful world is moving too quickly for me today.

    As a firm believer in all your makes, this one is also really great!

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:50 am #

      Hahaha so awesome! My timing is sooo good 😛

  17. Nakisha March 5, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Cute and it looks fun to wear!

  18. barbara March 5, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    Love the dress and the fabric. will definitely be giving this by hand London a go, even if summer is over here.

  19. alice March 5, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    You do not have a hump of any kind. You look as though you have beautiful posture. Maybe your back is just narrow? Although, to be fair, I know nothing about fitting.

    That’s a lovely dress anyway. I didn’t know there was a new pattern. I’ll hop over and take a look.

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:51 am #

      I think it’s a combination of a curved upped back (so not really a hump, although that’ what the fitting books call it!) and yeah, I also have a pretty narrow back (I wear a 28 bra band). It’s been a little difficult to figure exactly what the issue is, since fitting your back takes a lot more effort than fitting a bodice. But I’m getting there, slowly 🙂

  20. Michelle March 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Oh, this makes me wish it was spring. It has been a really long, really rough winter. I just ordered this to use a my pattern for a bridesmaid dress I have to start making for a wedding this summer. I’ll probably make a few versions, though. It’s pretty versatile.

  21. atatphares March 5, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    OH! I love seeing this made up in a fun fabric. Was debating whether I liked the pattern based on the sketches and models on By Hand London’s page…but I think your version has me sold! Great job

  22. yosami March 5, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Beautiful dress, I love your fabric! And thanks for the rounded back adjustment deets, I’m such a bad sloucher I defo need this bou don’t look like you have a rounded back at all! I did a lace finish on a pink dress with a mullet hem that I blogged recently – I hope it wasn’t one of your blacklisted mullet-hem dress patterns!

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      Oh, no, you’re fine! The ones I hate are the straight-tube skirts with a big curve cut out of the front… like a lazy mullet, ha!

  23. Joanne March 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Omg this dress is AMAZING. The fabric and the mullet hem… To die for. Great job on the no-gaping.
    As for the linen, my vote would go to Deer and Doe’s fantastic new skirt pattern.

  24. Rachel March 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    Super cute and quite elegant with the longer length. You’ve done a great job of matching fabric with style – they are perfect for each other and for you! Rachel ☺

  25. autumn March 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    seriously – the hem on this dress rocks and rolls!!! i’m not normally a wrap bodice type, but i think i will do this one, fo’ sho’!

    • Santa March 5, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      Fabulous dress! I should make some more dresses for spring/summer, but I always struggle to find cool fabrics. This is so perfect!

  26. Pam Jones March 5, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

    So while the pattern draft of the dress is stunning, your choice of fabric is to die for and that is what makes the dress for me. Well done!

  27. Pam Jones March 5, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Oh, and I just looked at the blog. They would sell way more patterns if they would highlight yours. Nothing they showcased came anywhere close to selling me on this pattern.

  28. Hannah March 5, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    The dress came out great! The “round back” adjustment is actually accounted for by default in the standard Bunka sloper, which was created by collecting empirical data from university applicants. In other words, making the adjustment is normal, you can see the comparison of dress forms here:

    • LLADYBIRD March 6, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      REALLY interesting! Thank you so much for linking this!

    • symondezyn March 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      That is so enlightening!! Many of us have similar fitting issues in our sewing, so this is quite helpful in understanding why 🙂

  29. Teresa March 6, 2014 at 1:50 am #

    Gorgeous! BHL should use your version on their website, it’s waaay better than the ones they have on there

  30. bimbleandpimble March 6, 2014 at 3:53 am #

    Wrap tops are the freaking bees’ knees for ladies with a bust- way to go Flora. This is fab on you- the hi lo is rather sassy!

  31. Bec March 6, 2014 at 4:04 am #

    I had already decided I wouldn’t be buying this pattern because I didn’t like it when I saw the sketches and By Hand London’s photos but I love, love, love your version. I even like the mullet hem. (Great word btw). Who knew?!

  32. maddie March 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    Please oh please make winter go away! I hate it and won’t have it anymore! Hopefully, when I see you next week, it will be a little warmer.

    I just saw Sonja’s version and I love yours just as much. Love the bit about the rounded back alteration. Love me some good pattern making chatter.

  33. Neeno - Sew Me Love March 6, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    Dammit!! I was planning on following your tip and adding the cotton tape to the neckline of my new Georgia, but I forgot :(:( DEVO!!!!!
    This fabric looks so yummmmmmmmm, love the texture.
    Thinks for linking to the bra strap carrier.


  34. Elena Knits March 7, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Really lovely dress. For your back issue (or hump) I recommend Pilates. I’ve been practicing it for years and it corrects many back posture problems, bringing the shoulders backwards where they should be. It’s a bit pricy but totally worth it.

    • LLADYBIRD March 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

      You’re right! I used to do Pilates but I fell of the wagon (in the essence of time, not money – I had a dvd hahahah). I should pick that up again!

  35. lholy March 7, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Nice dress! I like the skirt length on you better, on the original pattern pictures it’s too short for my taste. Your article makes me consider buying this pattern…

    • LLADYBIRD March 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

      Well, I am pretty short, and this the pattern as-is. If you’re taller than 5’3″, you’ll want to lengthen to get it the same as mine 🙂

  36. Joan March 7, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Another great dress!! Love that fabric!! Such a pretty dress. I have NEVER considered buying a pattern for $20+, let alone something international, but OMG!! That dress makes me want to save my pennies and work on my sewing skills to make one.

    Just need to work on the cleavage to fill it! ;0)

  37. Louise (@enthusiastlou) March 7, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

    Yoinks! I’m not a fan of le wrap dress at all buuuuut… Maybs you just converted me? Love it! Plus the excellent fitting is so impressive! No gape-age!

  38. dixiediy March 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

    cute, great print! very summery and colorful! i’m liking all the different varieties of fabrics people are using with this pattern.

    I have a friend who dubbed that rounded back adjustment “computer neck” which actually covers rounded upper back and forward shoulders, basically from too much typing posture. kind of difficult to avoid these days, tho!

    • LLADYBIRD March 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

      Ohhh, I like that description better! That’s probably what it is for me – 6 years at an office, plus many more at a sewing desk, will do that!

  39. Lisa March 8, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    Lovely dress. The colours look great with your hair.

  40. aem2 March 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    I just saw Sonja’s version, which I love, and now yours? Once again, I want to steal this out of your closet. Good thing Nashville is so far away. The fabric is amazing.

    • aem2 March 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

      A thought just occurred to me: you can get plastic doo-hickeys for your bra straps that temporarily turn them into racer-backs, which might solve the visibility issue if the bra strap carriers don’t work/appeal. You can also make them out of bra strap material and hooks. They work nicely.

  41. angela March 9, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Really loving this dress, the print and color you chose are just adorable on you! I love how versatile the silhouette is, depending on the type of fabric you choose!

  42. Birgit March 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

    This is to say a couple of things…
    1. You are hilarious!
    2. This is the first time that I see a high-low hemline and that I like it. So much!
    3. Hair-colour please come back!

    • LLADYBIRD March 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

      WELL my hair is an entirely different color now – it’s blue! Haha! Pictures to come soon 🙂

  43. Nikki T. March 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Super late to the party but I’m making my first Flora (um, out of superman comic print fabric b/c . . muslins should be fun?) and I was wondering how much, if any, you took off the hem. The model is wearing it very short, but yours looks more like a really wearable for a normal person length to me.

    • LLADYBIRD March 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

      I didn’t take any length off the hem at all! I’m also 5’2″, so there’s that 🙂

  44. missjoiedevivre April 6, 2014 at 12:23 am #

    I’ve always been a fan of a well-done high-low hem, and this is an example of it done very very well. It looks fabulous on you!


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