Flora – my new bestie!

Flora dress By Hand London

I can’t tell you how delighted I was to be asked by the By Hand London girls, to pattern-test for them, back in January. All honoured and everything I was!

The package arrived with goodies galore and a link to my fabric of choice from Ray Stitch. How could I resist this gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn?!
Liberty Tana Lawn

But hang on a minute. The dress in the pictures doesn’t look at all like this fabric!

Well, you see, I kinda messed up a bit. I was clever enough to make a muslin before I cut into this buttery lawn, but I stupidly pre-empted adjustments that so didn’t need to be made. Three more muslins later with differing versions of the same adjustment, I was fast running out of time. What was I thinking? I rushed through the final version before I’d properly corrected MY mistakes. And I emphasise MY mistakes because By Hand London’s Flora pattern is spot on and when I came to make the one you see in the pictures, I made no adjustments whatsoever save a bit of an increase to the waist. Doh! Me and my meddling!!

Thankfully I still have just enough of the lawn to replace the front bodice and I certainly will do that and post it as soon as I can. I just love this dress soooo much!

Flora dress by hand london

So what is this fabric that isn’t Tana Lawn, then? Well my friends, I should have called this dress the Four Quid Flora because that’s exactly what it is! £1.99/m special dress fabric from Dave the Drapers in Shepherds Bush Market! I had a spare zip and some leftover lining so literally this dress cost me just £4. I can’t vouch for any natural threads going on but do you know what? I really don’t care. It has a sheeeeen! So shiny. It shimmers in the sunshine! And it has body. Enough to hold that beautiful structured shape yet just enough drape to create soft pleats and barely any creases.

flora by hand london dress

The dropped hem is clearly the most striking feature about the skirt section. And so I had to take care to finish it all good and proper. It’s not often your insides are on display to the general public! And hey, another Brucey bonus about this fabric is that the polka dots reproduce beautifully in reverse on the wrong side. Or perhaps it was the right side. Who knows? Dave certainly didn’t!

flora dress by hand london

I must just give a quick shout out to Turners flower shop on Hammersmith Broadway, for kindly letting us shoot outside their pretty shop.

And also add that Mr O was risking life and limb to take these photos. I might have been on the pavement but he was practically lying in the middle of the road. Not ordinarily quiet round this neck of the woods! His dedication knows no bounds!

flora dress

I wholly recommend the Flora dress to anyone. Beginner or advanced. Such little input for such incredible output! And so quick to make… so long as you don’t pre-empt unnecessary adjustments like I did! And boy is it flattering. A lovely vintage style neckline and a full structured skirt. Who could ask for anything more? The first place we stopped at, two ladies commented on how they loved my dress. Ego trip or what?!

flora dress on Hammersmith Bridge

It has been such gorgeous weather in old London Town this week. I’m so loving the brighter mornings and I even got to come home from work in daylight this evening. I feel more energised and ever more ready to get on with some more sewing. I feel a few more Floras coming on for sure.

These last couple of pics were taken on Hammersmith Bridge. My favourite bridge of all the bridges in London. And just so perfect to stroll across at sunset.

flora dress on hammersmith Bridge

Now who remembers the Flora ads? I certainly do! Definitely worth a giggle!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmS3t5R3O6M]
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_piSsGckJw8]

46 Replies to “Flora – my new bestie!”

  1. Beautiful as inspirational as per usual, Janene! I love the hem and how the other side of the fabric shows beautifully in those perfect little waves. Belt is fab too. Very well done as per usual 😀

    1. Thank you so much Kat. The hemline is fab isn’t it?! On my list to learn how to draft! Can’t claim credit for the belt. It belongs to my youngest daughter… with a hole added right at the end! 🙂

  2. Another great dress – you clever thing – and who thought the weather in London would be good enough to wear a sleeveless number in March? I see you’re heading toward the wine shop to celebrate 🙂
    Love that first ad especially but I’m depressed because I remember it.

    1. Thank you Tialys. Those girls sure have some great designs up their sleeve! The weather is indeed crazy. It was hailing yesterday. Who knows what it’ll be today?!

  3. Its gorgeous! I love the reverse of the fabric peeking through at the hem. Its such a special dress – I can’t wait to make mine once I’m free of all my assignments, I hope its half as good!

  4. ohhh that fabric is brilliant – LOVE the visible reverse side! Yours is my favourite Flora so far 🙂 And if I ever make my own, I’m going to go looking for fabric with this kind of drape exactly, it’s gorgeous. Well done Dave!

  5. Gorgeous and fab choice of fabric. Looks amazing! You are such a talented sewer.
    Dave The Drapers was my favourite of the the shops when I went on my little adventure to Goldhawk Rd/Shepherd’s Bush Market, although I did get told off for moving fabric and getting in the way!! Thanks for your great advice.

    1. Thank you Alyson. You are very sweet. It’s ‘lucky’ I’m so busy at work otherwise my bedroom would look like an extension of Dave the Drapers!

  6. It looks stunning! I bought Flora from the girls on Saturday I can’t wait to sew it up! I think I need to go fabric shopping first though. Your version is so fab, maybe I should go and see Dave at Shepard’s Bush! xx

    1. Thank you lovely. You’ll whip it up in no time. I’m not so sure there is a real Dave but Danielle is the boss lady. It will be obvious who she is when you get there 😉 x

  7. This is gorgeous. The fabric really shows off all the lovely style lines of the pattern. Love the picture of the back with all those lovely pleats. And all for £4! Stunning piccies too.

    1. Haha. It was gorgeous, Gail. Wasn’t shivering at all! Though yesterday I was… in the hail! 4 seasons in one day. That’s what we are all about!! 🙂

  8. What a beautiful dress – and pattern. Shades of Balenciaga going on with that dropped hemline, so what is not to love? The red belt looks fabulous, I might add! Well, I usually sew from vintage patterns, but I just might have to get this one. I see a gorgeous cocktail dress in my future. Looking forward to seeing more Floras on YOU!

  9. LOVE the dress and I’m excited to see your future versions!The photo showing the back of the skirt is really great at showing the movement of the cut. My copy of the pattern arrived yesterday. I’ll be cracking it open this weekend!

  10. Using a reversible fabric is inspired for this make. Great dress, great fit. Also, when I first saw the photos I thought, ‘Ooh, Oobop is in Florence or somewhere like that.’ I nearly dropped off my seat to read those photos were taken in London. I do love your photos so much.

  11. Phew glad to hear it’s not the end of the line for the Liberty fabric. I think I might love the version you’re showing more though! (Sorry Liberty). I feel like its’ not enough to say “great photos”. I will say this though, I’m super impressed with your site. It looks super 🙂

  12. This is fabulous! I am so in love with this pattern it’s ridiculous. I have put a self implemented ban on myself to not make any this month, but your dress is tempting me over.

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