Dresses are so exciting to sew, aren’t they? Is it because it means making an entire outfit? Is it the oodles of fabric you have swishing around you when you’re done? Perhaps it’s all the pretty prints that somehow seem ill-fitted for separates, but work perfectly for a dress? It’s a combination of all of these things for me, and despite the fact that I don’t wear dresses more than once a week, if that, I still love to sew them.
This week I want to show you a wearable muslin I made of the By Hand London Flora dress. The reason I made a full muslin is because I made this dress as my maid of honour dress for my sister’s wedding! I didn’t want to take any chances on it, so I started early and made this test version. It has been sitting waiting for a hem for almost an entire year! I finally finished it up last month and I am loving it!
I opted to make the muslin out of a poly as well because I was working with poly-satin for the final dress. I wanted to work through any fit issues in a similar fabric. This pansy poly is from Blackbird Fabrics and it is soooo silky and soft. After a quick bodice muslin in plain cotton, I did a 1” full bust adjustment to make more room for the girls. After that, the bodice fits much better, and it had the close-fitted silhouette I was looking for.
I didn’t have to make any adjustments to the skirt as it is a basically a ½ circle skirt with large pleats in the front and back. There are two hem options for the flora, one of which is a high-low. I almost went for it, but in the end opted for the straight hem.
I decided to fully line this version of the Flora, because I planned to line the final version as well. The bodice of the dress is designed to be lined, and there are instructions for lining the skirt as well on the BHL blog. I used a plain black rayon challis for the lining, to give it a nice soft feel on the inside. I also used the remaining rayon to make bias binding for the skirt hem. The rayon makes this dress so comfortable and I forget all about the poly when I’m wearing it.
The only thing I would do differently looking back on this project is stabilize the neckline with interfacing, because the fabric is not sitting straight. It tends to dip down in the center and go up closer to the straps. I had this issue with my finished version too, but didn’t recognize it as an issue until looking at the pictures.
I really like the style of the Flora, it is comfortable and flattering without being revealing. It is also easy to wear with a normal bra, which I love. You really can’t go wrong with a fit and flare, can you? Has anyone made the other view of the Flora? I am curious about that cross-over bodice!
This looks great, Helen! It fits you so well. I’m impressed!
The fit is perfect! I like the higher neckline too. And the swishy skirt.
I try not to buy poly, but two weeks ago I broke that rule (can’t resist a mermaid print) only to agonize about how wrong it would feel on the skin, but I did not think of using rayon lining, so thank you for that idea! The Flora is a pattern that I’m a little conflicted about, because the skirt drapes so beautifully but the crossover top looks off on every version I’ve seen so far. I hope they’ll fix it and reissue the Flora like they did with the Elizalex. Also, your version is so pretty and the only thing I would do for a new iteration would be to drop the dart about an inch, as it looks too high on the side-pic (the dress looks perfect in all the others, so that might just be the angle).
Haha, nope, not the angle, it is a bit high, I noticed that too. Surprisingly the fit still looks great, but that is something Ive noted for next time. I am wary of the crossover bodice, too. I might try sticking different bodices on this skirt, though, it is a nice design.
Very beautiful! You did a great job!
Thank you so much!
Love your version! I made the wrapover and hi-lo hem version for a friend’s wedding this spring – I love it so much! I’m just making this version too for a party at the weekend 🙂
Thank you! I really want to try the crossover version now, too!
You look gorgeous in it Helen; great idea to line in rayon xx
What a happy summer dress! Rayon lining is such a smart idea in summer!
Thanks! I love it, I need to order several meters or challis for lining now 🙂
Lovely dress and it looks flattering on you Helen, nothing bits a swishy summery dress!
I agree! It’s so much fun to wear 🙂
Burda patterns often recommends pressing on a reinforced bias fusible interfacing strip around neck and armhole edges. The product does not seem to be available in the U.S. but Paco Peralta published this neat and less expensive version on his blog. I made my strips with newspaper torn in strips and the bias fusible interfacing cut 1/2″ wide. Perfect for your neckline. http://uniquedesignerpatterns.blogspot.com.es/2013/06/cinta-al-bies-termofijable-iron-on-bias.html
Thank you!! This sounds like a great solution for next time, I’ll have to give it a go!
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