Saturday, 18 October 2014

A "Spektakular" Dress - By Hand London Flora

Back in April, my boyfriend and I went to Amsterdam for our Easter holiday. We both really love the Netherlands, and my boyfriend actually speaks dutch (he has family in the Netherlands and studied at Utrecht University for a semester), so it was an easy choice for us.

Holy Wednesday was my birthday, and my boyfriend had very cleverly planned for us to spend the day in s'Hertogenbosch at the Stoffen Spektakel, a big in-door fabric market. He even brought his big, empty hiking backpack and offered to carry around any and all fabric I bought during the day! Yes, please!

Me at the big sign outside Brabanthallen in s'Hertogenbosch.

As all my other gifts from my family were euros to spend on fabric, I went a little crazy! My boyfriend also bought fabric and buttons for himself, so it was quite a heavy hiking backpack on the way home!

I have already sewn up quite a lot of the fabric we bought, but today I want to show you what I made with my favorite fabric from the trip - this beautiful floral cotton poplin:

I made a Flora dress! This was my first ever make from a By Hand London pattern, and I really, really love it! I made it back in July to wear to my grandmothers birthday, but it also works with tights, boots and a cardigan for autumn and winter!

I made a muslin in a straight size 10/14 based of my measurements, and the fit was really good! I did make some small adjustments for an even better fit:

- Lowered the horizontal bust darts 1,5 cm
- Lowered and moved the vertical bust dart 2 cm down and 2 cm in towards center front, angled to original position at waist.
- Took the sides in on the bodice, 4 cm in total.
- Angled the straps a bit outwards to account for sloping shoulders
- Added a tiny wedge (0,5 cm) to the front and back bodice armhole where they meet the straps.

The waistline on the muslin tilted to the back, indicating the need for a full bust adjustment (that's a new one!) or a rather dramatic sway back adjustment, but taking in the side seams fixed it really nicely. There is still a little to much ease around and under the bust, so I might take the bust dart in for next time!

I choose the tank bodice for my first run, and I love the retro feel of it! The skirt is swirl-tastic, and I love the sober but feminine neckline of the bodice!

I used the straight front and dipped back hemlines. I am kinda tall (174 cm or 5' 8½'') and a little conservative with my skirt length, so this was a perfect compromise! The front hits just above my knees while the dipped back hem adds some elegance and fun!

Speaking (writing?) of the hem, I really loved the length on me before hemming it and didn't want it shorter, so I bound the edge instead of making a regular turn-and-stitch hem. I was back "home" when I made it, so I raided looked through my grandmothers stash and found this navy satin bias tape.
It adds a little bit of weight and stability to the hem, accentuating the beautiful folds from the pleats and volume in the skirt.

Nicely finished back bodice and shoulder strap. 

I sewed the dress as described in the instructions, and it gives a really neat finish on the inside. The lining is the same cream-colored viscose blend remnant as I used on my Cambie dress. It really is the ideal lining fabric - silky, opaque and easy to handle. I am practically rationing it by now :P

I turned and stitched the skirt seam finishes because there was black thread on the overlocker to try something new and because they are on show with the dipped hem.

I bought 3 m of this fabric, but only used about 1,8 m for this dress. The fabric was not quite wide enough for the skirt pieces, so I had to sew little side gores to them at the bottom.

This was a really satisfying sew, and the dress has quickly become a favorite in my closet, perfect for all kinds of parties and special occasions. I have already made a second Flora, but it still hangs unhemmed - I prefer to hang any part-circle skirts and dresses while wet a couple of times and then at least a week more dry to let the hem drop completely before hemming.

What is your favorite party dress?

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