A double dose of Flora

You might notice I’ve posted a pic of this dress before – the first day of Me Made May in fact.


We were having a great time in the Spanish sunshine, and this bright and breezy By Hand London Flora felt like the perfect accompaniment.

I made this just before we headed off and didn’t have too much trouble with the actual pattern (although with this style, fitting the top can be a challenge during the make as you’re balancing strap length, with pinned sides, with ‘will the back be broad enough?’!). The only slight issue I have is a little gape at the top of the back and otherwise it was a pleasure to put this together.

However, the fabric for the skirt was a different matter. As you can see from the pic, the alignment is slopey on the print which is clearly not quite what I would have chosen. This is because this fabric, although very beautiful, is both stretchy AND slippy and thus virtually impossible to keep quite where you want it.

I thought about unpicking and doing with a shorter skirt but in the end, decided I could live with it.

Pink chiffon and multicoloured By Hand London flora dress


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Pink chiffon and multicoloured By Hand London flora dress

Despite my slippy difficulties, I loved working with this pattern and I was really excited about making another. On a day off last week, I moseyed over to the Barras here in Glasgow where there’s a store called Fabric Bazaar. They’ve recently been sprucing up so I was keen to see what was going on inside. There were a few bits and pieces I liked but I’ve had my mind on creating a new little black dress for a while, and there in the shop was some beautiful black duchess satin. I also had a party to prepare for and *just* enough time to make it. It was all coming together.

cutting table 2

I decided to lower the back just a touch to see how that looked – so I folded the pattern over  at the top.

Lace straps black satin dress Flora By Hand London pattern

I had this gorgeous lace trim from Gold Thimble, the fabric shop which is just down the road from me. As well as being super friendly, they have a great selection of trims and I’ve got a bundle of these lace ones. I had thought about using velvet ribbon for the straps instead, but I felt it might look a little Christmassy – the lace makes this a little easier to get away with in summer (ok, black satin isn’t the most summery of fabrics, but the teenage goth in me is still delighted to wear it in the sunshine – with plenty of suntan lotion of course). Doing tied straps also made things much easier for me – no shifting to make sure they were the right length.

By Hand London Flora in black satin label

 In the end, I was actually hemming the skirt as our first guests arrived (living on the edge!). And the next day I unpicked and re-sewed that rushed hem to make it better. But I’m loving this dress.

By Hand London Flora in black satin lace straps

On both dresses, I made the front darts far deeper to help with the shaping.

I think there are a lot of lovely little elements in Flora, but my favourite is the way the pleats sit in the back.

By Hand London Flora in black satin Mondrian wall

And, obvs, the twirliness!

By Hand London Flora in black satin twirling circle skirt

If it’s not obvious, I’m quite the fan of Flora. I see more of her in my future (perhaps from a more traditional summer fabric?). Anything which brings the twirls.


14 responses to “A double dose of Flora

  1. Yay! You finished it on time! I love it! So pretty, and the satin makes the pleats nice and structural. I really want to make this dress once I’m back to pre-preggers body!

  2. These are both so lovely! That first skirt fabric sounds a nightmare to work with but the dress looks fab, I love the pink bodice! I’ve not got the flora but I have the Anna dress and the fabric, just need to find time to get cutting & sewing!

    • Thanks. I’ve not got Anna, I’m not sure it’s quite my style although I have seen some really gorgeous ones out there! Hope you enjoy making it 🙂

  3. Lovely dresses! You’ve been busy 🙂 Interesting what you say about Fabric bazaar, haven’t been for ages and never normally find it much good for fabric so will have to revisit.
    I took advantage of the Gold Thimble sale to buy some viscose but it’s more tricky to work with than I’m used to, eek!

    • The outside they’ve made a big effort to make nicer- I’m not sure it’s quite reflected on the inside yet! That satin was a good buy and there were a couple of other nice bits and pieces, there were also a lot of odd bits! It’s still worth a root around if you’re in that area.
      My favs in Gold Thimble are the brightly coloured chiffons (like the pink part of this dress) – so many pretty colours 🙂 hope you get a handle of your viscose!

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