Tag Archives: By Hand London

OAL2017: Pintucks & Gathers

16 Jun

What up y’all, welcome back. Let’s get into this!

Short week here – we are basically assembling the skirt and attaching it to the bodice. I don’t think any of this warrants a full-fledged tutorial, but as always – I have some tips!

The first step is sewing the pintucks to the bottom of the skirt. You may have transferred those markings when you cut your fabric and marked your pattern pieces – if you didn’t (guilty!), it’s easy to draw those in now. I just measured the distance from the bottom to the lowest pintuck, and then the distance between pintucks, and used those to draw my lines on with a ruler and a chalk pen.

OAL2017- Marking pintucks

Since I wanted to see my lines from both sides of the fabric – and also because chalk tends to rub off – I thread-traced those same markings with a needle and thread. I just made giant basting stitches and went across the width of each piece. This makes is easier to see the pintucks when you are sewing them.

OAL2017 - Finished pintucks

To sew the pintucks, simply bring the two lines together and sew along the markings. Remove your markings (whether they are basting threads or just drawn on with chalk or a tailor’s pencil) and give the pintucks a good press to encourage a sharp crease.

Now you’ll want to sew your skirt pieces together at the side seams (you can also do this before you sew the pintucks, but I found that the skirt pieces are HUGE before they are gathered and that’s just too much for me haha). Finish your seams however you desire – I used French seams for mine (here is a link to the post last week about sewing French seams). Don’t worry about the center back seam just yet.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

There are several ways to gather the skirt before attaching it to the bodice – you can baste with a hand sewing needle as the instructions suggest, or sew 2 lines of basting stitches on your machine – but this is my preferred method as I think it’s the fastest and you don’t risk snapping your basting threads. Get a long piece of cotton crochet thread or very thick thread (such as buttonhole twist) – or even unflavored dental floss. Whatever it is, it needs to be a bit longer than the entire width of your un-gathered skirt. Take it to the machine and lay it over your seam allowance where you are gathering, then use a zigzag stitch to attach it to the fabric. Your zigzag should just straddle the string – not actually pierce it – so you may need to adjust the width of your zigzag if it’s too tight. Leave long string tails on either end.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Here is what the string looks like after it’s been zigzagged. You are basically making a zigzag tunnel that the string feeds through.

OAL2017 - Sewing gathers

Now pull your string tails, which will cause the fabric to gather. Keep gathering until the skirt fits the circumference of the bodice (this is a super gathered skirt, so be patient!), match the side seams and center back/center front, then adjust the gathers so they are even all the way around the skirt. Sew into place with a straight stitch, remove your gathering string, and finish the seam allowance. Real talk: I serged this one. I am not even going to try French seaming that mess lol

OAL2017 - Gathers

My gathers!

OAL2017 - Dress

And now it looks like a dress!

All that’s left now is inserting the zipper and sewing the hem ๐Ÿ™‚ FYI – I am going on vacation next week (to BELIZE), so the blog will be quiet! I will not have access to my computer at this time, but will be back in business after I get home on the 27th. If you have burning questions, ask them now – or wait a few days ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Friday, everyone!

OAL2017: Assembling the Bodice

9 Jun

Hey everyone, and welcome back to the second week of the 2017 OAL! This post today is all about assembling the bodice of the dress – stabilizing the neckline, sewing French seams, and attaching the facing.

A few things before we jump in:

  • The pattern I using is the Kim Dress from By Hand London, but these method should apply to most any pattern that you are sewing!
  • If you missed the first post, you can find it here.
  • If you don’t give a shit about sewalongs and hate me right now (it’s cool, I don’t give a shit about anyone else’s sewalongs either haha), I promise it will be over soon! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It is impossible to please everyone, but lord knows I try!

Your fabric should be cut, your markings all clipped and transferred to your pieces, and you should be ready to sew!

OAL2017: Stabilizing Neckline

OAL2017: Stabilizing Neckline

Before you drag your pieces over to the sewing machine, it’s a good idea to stabilize your neckline first. This will prevent it from stretching and distorting over time – which can happen both during the sewing, and over normal wear. They are multiple ways to stabilize a neckline – such a staystitching or using silk organza (here are 3 methods, all with their own tutorial!) – but for the purposes of this particular garment (considering how lightweight the fabric is, and also the overall casual-ness of the dress), I chose to use a lightweight fusible stay tape. This “extremely fine fusible knit stay tape” is the exact one I used – I bought it at my local Bernina dealer years ago, and it is especially helpful to stabilize shoulder seams on knits! Since it’s knit, it curves very easily, which makes it perfect for this pattern.

I fused my stay tape to the curved edges of both the front and back neckline, ending just before the tips of the strap ties. Since the seam allowances are 5/8″ and my stay tape is 1/2″, I made sure it was 1/4″ from the edge so I would be sure to catch it in my stitching. Since I am using stay tape, I did not staystitch these areas.

Now you’ll want to sew your front and back princess seams. Because my rayon is nice and lightweight, I using French seams, which I love because they conceal the raw edges beautifully. Pretty sure I don’t need to throw out another French seam tutorial into the WWW, but I was really having fun with this white piece of posterboard backdrop SO HERE YOU GET IT ANYWAY:

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

I start by placing the pieces WRONG SIDES TOGETHER and sewing with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Lay the piece flat and trim the seam allowances down quite aggressively – to about 1/8″. You want them to be smaller than the second seam you sew, so they don’t peek out.

I should mention – this is assuming you are using a pattern with a 5/8″ seam allowance. If your seam allowance is larger or smaller, you’l want to adjust your math accordingly.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Press the seam allowances open as best you can. They are tiny, so this won’t be the easiest thing – I’ve found I get the best luck if I use my fingernail to pry them open, and then the tip of the iron the whole way down. If you found you have cut them *too* small and simply cannot press them open, it’s acceptable to iron to one side.

At this point, your bodice is going to look at sorts of wrong. Just trust me here.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Now flip your pieces so the right sides are facing, effectively sandwiching the seam you just created. I like to take this to the iron and press right around the seamline I just sewed, so everything lies flat. Then sew along the edge at a 1/4″ seam allowance.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Press your seam allowances to one side, according to your pattern instructions. In the case of this pattern, we are pressing them toward the side seams.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Repeat for the remaining princess seams. Your front and back pieces should look like this.

OAL2017: Sewing French Seams

Finally, sew your front and back pieces together at the side seams. Again, I used French seams for this.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Now to attach the facing! Start by fusing interfacing to the front and back facing pieces that you created. I used a very lightweight interfacing, and opted to cut it so that the interfacing does not extend all the way into the ties (I want those to stay soft and floppy!). To prevent a hard ridge from showing where the interfacing ends, I cut that with pinking shears.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Attach the front and back facings at the side seams, and press the seam allowances open (don’t worry about using French seams for this, unless you wanna be super extra or some shit). You will also want to finish the lower edge of your facing – I serged mine, to prevent it from fraying and also from showing bulk from the outside. You can also using pinking shears here, or bind the seam allowance.

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Attach the facing to the bodice, all the way around the neckline and strap edges. Trim the seam allowances down, and then understitch to help turn the facing to the inside. You won’t be able to understitch all the way if you are doing tie straps – just go as far as you can.

Turn the facing to the inside of the bodice, and give it a good press. You’re done!

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

OAL2017: Attaching the Facing

Ok, that’s all for this week! As always, let me know if you have any questions! ๐Ÿ™‚

OAL 2017: Getting Started!

1 Jun

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2017 Outfit Along! My apologies that this post is a bit late – I moved house yesterday, and only just got my internet turned on in the new place. Taking a short break from unpacking to get this OAL rolling! Let’s do this!

The official pattern for this year is the Kim Dress from By Hand London. There are a few options for this pattern – choose between a straight or sweetheart neckline, and a gathered skirt with pintucks at the hem or a sleek tulip skirt. I will be making the sweetheart neckline with the gathered skirt, but obviously feel free to make whatever your heart is calling for – whether it’s another variation of this pattern, or a different pattern completely! We want you to love and wear what you make, so don’t waste your time on something that doesn’t check those boxes for ya ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I mentioned in my announcement post, I will not be running a full, in-depth sewalong for this pattern. I will be popping in every week with updates on my progress, as well as tips and tricks (with tutorials!) that you can apply to any pattern you are sewing – not necessarily specifically this one. However, if you are feeling that you need that extra help – there is a great sewalong on the By Hand London blog for this pattern, so please feel free to utilize that! You got this!!

For the first post, I’m gonna keep this one reasonably short and sweet!! This week is all about preparation!

If you still haven’t chosen your fabric, you will probably want to do that first ๐Ÿ˜‰ This particular pattern works well with a smorgasbord of fabrics – from crisp cotton lawn to slinky silk, the sky is really the limit here! The main thing you want to keep in mind when deciding on fabric is how you want the finished garment to hang when you are wearing it. Do you want a more structured garment or one with a softย drape? Choosing a fabric with the correct amount of body and drape is key for this. That cotton lawn will result in a more structured bodice and full skirt that wants to stand out on it’s own, verus the slinky silk will give you a soft, floaty bodice with a skirt that drapes beautifully around your body. For more in-depth information about this, see this post from a previous OAL that goes over the differences in drape and body in fabric.

OAL2017 - my fabric

Here is the fabric I am using this year – a soft rayon print from Mood Fabrics with a nice drape to it. I love wearing rayon in the summer – it breathes really well in the heat, and a dark color/pattern means that sweat is less likely to show. Rayon traditionally can be a little tricky – both to work with and care for – but I ultimately think it is worth the additional effort. This particular rayon is pretty stable and easy to work with, compared to other rayons I’ve used in the past, so I will not be doing any sort of pre-treatment to aid with sewing. That being said, if you are sewing one of the aforementioned slinky rayons – or a silk, or slippery poly, anything that wants to float off the table when you try to cut it – you may want to consider pre-treating your fabric to be a bit more stable before you cut it. You have a few options for this – for something quick and easy with no mess, spray stabilizer works very well. Just spray it on your fabric, allow to dry, and then treat it as usual. Once you are finished sewing the garment, it easily washes out so your fabric goes back to it’s glorious, drapey self. For a cheaper option, I’ve been very happy with the results I’ve gotten from using gelatine. This method is more time-consuming, but also WAY cheaper. You basically boil the gelatine in water, soak your fabric, and then spread it flat (or hang) until it’s dry (Threads has a full tutorial on their website). Again, this washes out easily once you are finished. The major downside is finding space to dry it flat – if you live in a small space, that can be tricky – but it’s a fraction of the cost of using spray stabilizer and works just as well one it has dried. I have used both of these methods with great success, it just depends on your time and budget!

Make sure you pre-wash your fabric before you do anything – you want to make sure you get all the shrinkage out before your pattern pieces are cut. I wash and dry all my fabric the same way I plan on treating it once it’s been turned into a garment. For delicate fabrics like rayon, you don’t necessarily want to throw it in the dryer every time you launder it – over time, this will break down the fibers. But I do think it’s a good idea to use the dryer for the very first pre-wash, as it will shrink up the fabric sufficiently and then if the garment does accidentally end up in the dryer, it won’t shrink more!

As a side note, there are plenty of “dry clean” only fabrics that actually can be washed in a machine. Fibers such as silk and rayon are totally machine washable – you just want to ensure that you are washed them before they are cut, again, so that you get all the shrinkage out. I wash all my silks and rayons on cold water, use the dryer for pre-washing (and hang to dry once they are finished) and have not ruined anything yet. Keep in mind that this will take a bit of the shine and stiffness out of your fabric, but I think it’s worth it to not be a slave to the dry cleaner! When in doubt, test with a swatch to make sure you are ok with how the fabric looks after it’s been laundered.

I am making a few changes to my pattern that are a bit different from how it’s drafted:
– I converted the straps to tie at the top (instead of being a continuous loop)
– Rather than line my bodice, I drafted all-in-one facings to clean finish all the top edges

For the tie-top straps, I used this tutorial from By Hand London. It’s super simple – you just trace your pattern piece, and then extend the top strap by 6″-7″, rounding out the end to a nice shape.

To draft the all-in-one-facing, here is what I did:
OAL2017 - drafting a facing

First, I marked my seam allowances on all the bodice pattern pieces. Since these bodice pieces have princess seams on both the front and back, we want to eliminate those so that the facing pieces are one continuous piece.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

Once the seam allowances are marked, I overlapped the pieces as they would be sewn together (center back to side back, and center front to side front). Then I laid my pattern pieces on a sheet of blank paper (mine is just kraft paper from a roll, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and traced around the neckline, arm holes, and straps. I drew down the side about 3.5″ and center about 4″, which will be the depth of the facing.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

I used a curved ruler to connect the center back/front with the side seam, just to give it a gentle curve. Then I transferred all my notches and grainlines, and marked the pattern pieces.

OAL2017 - drafting a facing

It’s a good idea to lay your drafted piece under your pattern pieces, just to make sure everything fits and matches up. Which this one does! Yay!

That’s all for this week! You’ll want to cut and mark your pattern pieces, and be ready to sew next week! Let me know if you have any questions about anything covered in this post or, you know, life in general ๐Ÿ™‚

Announcing the 2017 OAL!

15 May

Hi friends! It’s about mid-May, which can only mean one thing…

The Outfit-Along is back for another year! Our 4th consecutive year, to be exact ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve announced this annual challenge several times already (well, 3 to be exact haha), so it may not need introducing – but just in case you’re new here, I’ve got details!

Iโ€™m teaming up with knit designer extraordinaire, Andi Satterlund, to host a combination knit-along and sew-along. The idea behind the Outfit Along (OAL) is to make a complete outfit by sewing a garment and knitting a garment. This is a great opportunity to fill your wardrobe with more beautiful handmade pieces, and weโ€™ll have two official patterns that will have additional blog support, should you need it.

The official sewing pattern will be the By Hand London Kim Dress, and the official knitting pattern will be Andiโ€™s newest cardigan, Anaheim. I will be blogging about the official sewing pattern and Andi be blogging about the knitting pattern, so we can all sew and knit along together. If you donโ€™t love the official patterns, you can still join in! The Outfit Along is about making an outfit youโ€™ll actuallyย wear, so to participate, all you need to do is to sew a garment and knit a garment to make an outfit. Youโ€™re more than welcome to pick projects that fit your own style and skills โ€“ after all, youโ€™ll be the one wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚ Make a pullover and shorts, make a dress and cardigan โ€“ doesnโ€™t matter what the combination is, as long as it makes an outfit ๐Ÿ™‚

You can read all the relevant details over at Untangling Knots โ€“ as well as a FAQ for common questions โ€“ but in a nutshell:

โ€“ We will be kicking off the OAL on June 1, 2017.
โ€“ The deadline for completion is July 31, 2017, which gives you two months to finish both garments.
โ€“ There IS incentive for finishing your garments within the deadline โ€“ PRIZES!!! This year, we are welcoming back sponsor Indie Stitches, who is donating 3 prize packages consisting of 2 patterns (winner’s choice), plus free shipping. Winners will also receive 2 patterns of their choice from the Untangling Knots Ravelry store.
โ€“ To be eligible for said prizes, you must finish BOTH garments by July 31, 2017 and post them in the OAL Finished Outfit thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. Prize winners will be randomly selected from those who finish both their knit and sewn garments and post pictures in the appropriate thread by the deadline.

The official knitting pattern, Anaheim, is a sweet cross-over front cardigan that buttons at each side and features and all-over lace pattern. The pattern is knit in one piece, top down, with DK weight yarn and includes sizes XS – 3X (bonus – you can easily move the placement of the buttons to adjust the fit at the waist, should you prefer it tighter or looser). If you’ve never knit a garment before, this pattern is a great one to start with – the sweater is simple (and small!) enough to easily finish during the allotted time, and I can personally vouch that Andi’s instructions are clear and easy to follow (one of her patterns was actually my first knitted garment, too!). Plus, top-down in one piece? YAY NO SEAMING, Y’ALL!

BTW, Anaheim will be 20% off until the OAL begins on June 1st when you you checkout on Ravelry using the coupon code OAL2017 – so yes, get you that discount!

The official sewing pattern, Kim, is one I’ve personally never sewn before (YET) but I think will be a great addition to my summer wardrobe! The pattern features a princess seamed, sleeveless bodice, two neckline options (straight and sweetheart), plus two skirt options (tulip and gathered).

For this year’s OAL, I will not be doing a series of super in-depth tutorials of making the dress from start to finish (I feel like there are PLENTY of these on the internet – including one for the Kim dress!), but I will post tutorials for the changes that I am making to my version of the pattern.

Again, if Kim ain’t your thing – you don’t have to commit! The OAL is about what YOU want to wear, and you can absolutely choose a different pattern! ๐Ÿ™‚

As always, you can spread the word by using the hashtag #OAL2017 or use this fancy badge. And donโ€™t forget to join the OAL2017 discussion thread in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry, for all your OAL chatting needs. Questions? Be sure to read the FAQ on Andiโ€™s official announcement post in case itโ€™s already been covered, but if notโ€ฆ ask away! ๐Ÿ™‚

YAY I’m so excited! Who is joining in this year? ๐Ÿ˜€

Completed: A Jumpsuit, of sorts

3 Sep

A couple of months ago, I was asked by the ladies at By Hand London if I’d like to test their new Holly Jumpsuit. I’m always a sucker for these gorgeous patterns, but then they went and threw in an offer of testing-fabric from Grey’s Fabric to really seal the deal. Consider me sold, name signed in blood and all (forreal, though, I’ll do anything for love free fabric).

Holly/Tania Mash-up

I finished with good time, sent my testing notes in, and took some photos (I could pretend my hair grew like that overnight, but in reality, these photos are just that old. Haha!). And then I waited. And waited. Right before the pattern was to be released, there was a design snafu that meant the pattern had to be reworked, which set things back by… well, a lot. Fortunately, the kinks have been worked out and the pattern is now officially for sale! Which means I can finally show you mine! Yay!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

You may have noticed by now that my jumpsuit* looks nothing like the pattern – and you would be right. That’s because at this point, no part of my jumpsuit is actually part of the pattern! Whoops!

Holly/Tania Mash-up

However, it is still technically a jumpsuit (right? The two-separate-holes-for-each-leg dictate that… right?), so there’s that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

There’s a method to this madness, I promise. As a pattern tester, I always make my first version (usually a muslin), exactly as drafted and written by the pattern. After I have taken my (usually very unflattering)photos and made my fitting adjustments, I will transfer those adjustments to the pattern and make it up in my fashion fabric (if not a second muslin entirely). I started out with the shorts and Variation 2 bodice, which was surprisingly a pretty good fit straight out of the envelope. The butt of the shorts was a little tight (it is my understanding that this ended up being a grading error that has since been amended), and I needed to shorten the straps – but overall, things were looking good. It wasn’t until I had made this up in my beautiful rayon challis – i.e., the good stuff – that I realized the entire ensemble just made me look like a giant toddler. Especially when combined with this fabric – while beautiful, it’s pretty juvenile looking. Eep!

After some chatting with the BHL ladies, we ultimately decided that it would be a shame to sew something I’d never wear (and I know I occasionally wear some out-there ensembles, but again, looking like a giant toddler is NOT one of them) , so I was given the green light to swap out the bottoms for another pattern. Specifically, I chose the Tania Culottes because FUCK YES I DID.

After that, things went haywire in the design department and my tested version of the bodice ended up getting scrapped and redesigned. Which means my tested Holly jumpsuit is now basically anything BUT Holly! Oh well! I tried!

Holly/Tania Mash-up
Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, let’s talk about the construction of this jumpsuit. To combine the bodice with the Tania culottes, I added a 2″ wide straight waistband (interfaced on one layer, and faced with self-fabric on the inside) that connects the bodice to the skirt. Ideally, I would have shortened the bodice and raised the rise of the culottes, as I think the waistband sits a little low, but that’s life. The Tanias are sewn as normal, just without a waistband.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

All edges were finished with my serger and I used my rolled hem foot to make the prettiest little baby hem.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

The end result is a sweet little flouncy tank dress that has an amazing twirl factor – and thanks to the culottes, is less likely to fly up and flash any innocent bystanders.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

As I previously mentioned, my beautiful rayon challis came courtesy of Grey’s Fabric, specifically to be used to test this pattern. I just love the smooth silhouette and fluid drape that comes with rayon challis – not to mention, it’s ridiculously comfortable to wear in the heat. Rayon loves to wrinkle like crazy and this fabric is no exception, but at least the busy print and voluminous skirt hide most of that.

Holly/Tania Mash-up

Anyway, despite my design changes+unexpected pattern snafu changing things to the point that my tested pattern ended up being something completely different, I am happy with said end result – not to mention, it’s absolutely something I would wear (and have worn! Lots!). Again – if you plan on buying this pattern, please keep in mind that absolutely nothing about my version matches what is included in the final pattern – although it would be pretty easy to Frankenpattern this one with a couple indies.

What do you think of the Holly Jumpsuit? Are you Team Jumpsuit – craving dangly earrings, sparkly eyeshadow, and a Studio 54 vibe (I mean, ugh, that new Variation 2 bodice is KILLER, ain’t it?)? Or do you feel like an overgrown toddler who would prefer to stick with dresses and two pieces, thank you very much?

* I think the leg-shorts mean this thing is actually a romper or a playsuit, not a jumpsuit. However, the thought of saying that I’m wearing a playsuit makes me feel, again, like an overgrown toddler, so fuck that. I’m calling it a jumpsuit, as that sounds a lot more grown-up. My blog, my sewing, my rules ๐Ÿ˜›

In other news-
1. The new class schedule is up at The Fabric Studio! Lots of fun classes coming up – including an Open Sewing Lab hosted by yours truly! Those of y’all in Nashville can come hang out in the studio to sew and drink tea with other crafty peeps ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be on hand to answer questions and assist as needed. This is a great alternative to a structured class since you can work on whatever you want, come whenever is convenient for you, and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a private lesson ๐Ÿ™‚ Check out the classes page to sign up (my class is at the bottom). I am REALLY excited for this; I love sewing with company! Yay!

2. Don’t forget that the Casual Sweet Clothes giveaway ends on Friday! If you haven’t already entered, here’s your hint ๐Ÿ™‚

Completed: The Flora Dress

5 Mar

Here’s a lovely, floaty warm-weather dress, just in time for another massive cold front! Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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??