Flora – A Dress for a Wedding


No, no! This is not a dress for my own wedding. LOL

This summer I’ve been invited to a wedding in Germany. At first, I was not sure, if I wanted to make a new dress or just wear one of the dresses I already had. But then I saw this lovely fabric, Peacock digital print silky fabric from my local Abakhan store, which I had to have. I was only there to get some fabric to make a gift. I think the Flora dress from By Hand London, which has been sitting patiently in my pattern stash, was just perfect for his fabric.

The pattern has a centre back seam into which the zipper is inserted for closure. However, I felt that it will look old with the print and I did not fancy spending forever and a day to try to match the centre back seam. I was so proud of myself when I figured out that I can adjust the back piece and keep the waist the same as before without too much fuss. Who would have thought it was that simple! What was added by placing the back on the fold and having a straight line down to the waist, used to remove by making the back dart wider. Also, I removed the centre back seam allowance as well. Yes, that simple!

As I made the Anna dress ( here, here and here) from By Hand London before, I knew that a size 12 will fit my frame but I’ll need to do a FBA (full bust adjustment) for the front bodice.

IMG_2280

The fabric for my dress is a bit see-through so, I’ve ended up making a full lining for my dress. For the lining, I opted for a grey Portuguese cotton lawn from MinervaCrafts. I chose this fabric for the lining because I wanted the lining to match the drape of the main fabric. Initially, I cut the lining pieces and then used them as patterns pieces for the main fabric which for obvious reasons I cut in one layer. This is not something I do very often, but the main fabric is quite slippery and I wanted to pattern match a little the pieces so I don’t end up with weird placements in the wrong places. Also, the pattern on the fabric is directional, and one can easily make a mistake a cut one piece going the wrong way.

I had a small panic moment when I was about to cut the skirt pieces as they just about fit on the fabric. Phew! It was close. This also meant that I could not place the fabric so the pattern on the fabric matches over the side seams (like I did with the bodice where I used the same peacock over the closed side seam).

As the fabric was very slippery, while constructing the dress, I also used basting to keep the darts and pleats in place before sewing the seams closed.

I got a bit carried away to finish it and hemmed the dress before letting hang for a day. Big mistake, as the lining and the main fabric looked crazy. Spent about 4 hours sewing by had the darn hem on the main fabric only to have to unpick the whole thing.

I think with this one I’ve learnt my lesson to let the skirts/dresses hang before hemming them and not rush into it. I still cut corners and used the lining to even the main dress’ hem using a heat erasable pen.

To make it a bit easier for me to do the hem and even, I have basted the hem depth to know how much to turn it in. I also used some catching stitches all the way around to force the lining to hang the same as the main skirt.

Using a technique I learnt from Kenneth D King my zip is invisible in the side seam. It takes a bit longer to do as there are some extra steps and involves some hand basting, but it is well worth it. I get perfect results every time.

For the facing of the straps, I thought it would be better to make them using the lining fabric just so it matches the lining inside. I thought it will make it a bit more professional with such a detail as well.

All in all, I am really pleased with my new dress. And this time, I actually wore it for the event I made it ( in the past I changed my outfit, last minute). I had so much fun wearing this dress. I was able to show a little but of my legs but not too much. And now, for the moment you all waited for, a few pictures of the dress in action on the day.

The high and low hem is so nice. I’ve already decided that I will make at least one more dress and a skirt using this pattern, I just have to decide what fabrics to use. Doh… picking fabrics will be hard for me. But I am sure I’ll find the perfect combinations.

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