I'm Here for the Garden Party - By Hand London Flora Dress

4.02.2014

*I got an engraved note in the mail the other day.... "We cordially invite you to our fence garden party on the first of April. Please RSVP if you're bringing cookies."  Let it never be said that "All the patterns" Heather would turn down a cookie party.  I made sure to bake up a fresh batch of cookies and got myself all dolled up in my new party dress, Flora.  Well I must have gotten there early because there was no garden party or cookies, just the fence.  At least the fence and I are old buddies. After catching up we decided to take a few pictures to commemorate the event.
The age old story of a girl and her fence
Where the hell are those cookies?
Right about this time I started suspecting some foul play about the cookie party.  Wait a minute, isn't it April fools?  Hey where is my plate of cookies?!  I ran back to the house to find frog face down in what was left of the pile. To say I was displeased would be putting it mildly.  After a thorough scolding I put him to work paying off his cookie debts sewing hems.  I'm currently monitoring him drinking a glass of wine and smoking cigarettes Betty Draper style. Still working on my Nordic bitch stare.

Speaking of Betty, I'm pretty sure she would kill for this dress.  OK fine, she's made some snotty comment about being a size 6, but secretly she'd want it. And who wouldn't, it's full of girly awesomeness.
I know some of you saying, "Wait a minute, that dress is supposed to be a blue and white floral. Not a black and teal flora. What the what what?" Well ladies, that lovey pique turned out to be about 4" too narrow and a yard too short.  Guess I should have checked the yardage requirements before writing up my ridiculous dress list post.  The circle skirt needs the entire 60" of fabric to get the full sweep and it eats up yardage like crazy.  Luckily for everyone I have lots of wide flora prints in the stash.......lots.

But let's get into an actual pattern review. Remember those?

Pattern
By Hand London's Flora Dress  I sewed a size 10 with the faux wrap bodice and the skirt with the straight hemline.

Fabrics used
Ascher Studio dress weight cotton.  I really like the vintagy large scale prints Ascher Studio makes and have several of their fabrics in my stash.  This one I bought at my semi-local store, Steve's Sewing.
The lining is black siri which I picked up from Gertie's store last summer.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. Usual 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment.
2. For my low set bust I dropped side seam dart 1 1/2" and shortened waist dart by 1".
3. Took in the side seams under the arm only about 1/4".  The pattern flares out in that area so it was very simple to cut off the excess making the side seam straight.

Note - I always have to fix gaping in wrap bodices and was prepared to make that alteration to this pattern. Imagine my surprised when trying on the Flora muslin and finding no gaping what so ever. I did cover this alteration in a previous post, so if you need it then click here to see it done in the Gertie wrap dress pattern.

Confessions/Advice
1. The waist darts might be a little too far over towards the side seams.  This wasn't that noticeable in the faux wrap bodice, so I did not change their location.

2. On the faux wrap bodice the zipper is not supposed to be encased in the lining.  The overlap of the two pieces keeps you from turning the SA under in the waist area. Because of this you're supposed to finish the CB layers together and sew the zipper on top of the lining.  Well that exposed zipper irked me, so I did some unauthorized sewing to get around it.  The lining and self layers were sewn together up to 1 1/2" of the CB where I stopped and back stitched.  Then I folded the lining back and continued attaching the skirt to the bodice with only the self layers.  This isn't good sewing practice, so I wouldn't recommend it.  But I got to encase my zipper tape and be happy.

3. Those of us with low set bust fullness will find that there is plenty of coverage in the wrap bodice. At least that's my theory for why the pattern mock up shows so much cleavage and mine has none.  I actually prefer the non revealing neckline because keeping my boobs inside wrap bodices is usually a problem. Much like water, they always seek the lowest point.

Husband Comment
"You're all dolled up in a summer dress.  It's pretty but aren't you cold?  Well I guess you'll be ready for summer."

Bonus son comment - "You think you like ballet? Spin, SPIN!" *Giggles as I spin and skirt twirls out* "AGAIN!!!!!"  I had to run away because he made me spin until I almost fell down and had some "regurgitation issues."

My Final Thoughts
This is the first By Hand London pattern that I was crazy about from the start.  The others were more of a slow burn/be swayed by other people's FO's deal.  I think a full skirt without any gathering is really what sold me.  Full Skirt + Wrap bodice = Girly prettiness which summer Heather enjoys.  I'd make another in a heartbeat.  Now if I can only wrangle an invitation to a real garden party. The fence is my plus 1.
P.S. - It's the day to announce the Spring Clean Swap pattern bundle winner.  Grace Cunningham, you will be getting the bundle of patterns and thank you for taking them off my hands.  I'll be emailing you for an address in a bit.  For everyone else, I still have plans to do a thorough weeding out of the pattern stash. Those will go up in the Stash diet group and I'll give everyone a heads up when that happens.  Thanks everyone!


*Crazy made up story. Except the part where frog concocting a intricate plan to get more cookies. He would totally do that.

44 comments:

  1. beautiful! i love this fabric so much! i need to sort out my bodice muslin for flora. it's a touch wrinkly at the moment (although this could be as i failed to notice that the back bodice wasn't cut on the fold, so need to take out the SAs!). it is kind of gapey at the moment tho so i'll be checking out your tutorial!

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  2. www.tresbienensemble.comApril 2, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    The dress and fabric are beautiful! I haven't even opened my copy of Flora yet. But, like you, this is the first BHL pattern I really liked as soon as I saw it. I'm excited to give it a try. I do have a question about the bodice. Is it loose fitting between the lower bust and waist?

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  3. Classy Lady!! Fantastic shape on this dress, and that fabric is making me sneer at the snow outside my window. I'm ready for garden parties and cookies..

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  4. Oooh I like. Very sophisticated. Sewmanju.wordpress.com

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  5. A Stitching OdysseyApril 2, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Very, very lovely Heather! Betty could only dream of a dress this beautiful ;o)

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  6. You look adorable! I love this on you!!!

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  7. Sara and Bitty ChickletApril 2, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    This is lovely! I'm the opposite as Flora is one pattern that didn't appeal to me at all but your version here has changed my mind!

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  8. I really love this dress! The colors are great and the full skirt is perfect! Betty Draper would be jealous for sure!

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  9. That is such a pretty dress. Classy chic and fun all at the same time!

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  10. Oh I love it soooooo! And I laughed so hard, esp the part about boobs being like water, I know that story too well!!! Fabulous!

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  11. It's gorgeous! You look fabulous. Froggie is so naughty!!

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  12. This has to be the prettiest Flora I've seen. I love the fabric!

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  13. Good thing the story was made up, you never joke about cookies. Serves Froggie right havinng to work off his guilt in made-up land.

    Great dress! Perfect fabric and pattern match.

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  14. Excellent fabric choice! Love the way this dress looks on you! :-) This pattern had caught my eye before, but it will be making it's way into my stash now.

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  15. this is absolutely beautiful on you! i'm pretty stingy when it comes to patterns requiring massive yardage, but this one is worth it. may have to fork out for this dress for summer...

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  16. I wish I had a Froggie to do my hems for me. I also wish I had (and could make) cookies. But most of all, I wish I had this dress. It's stunning!!

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  17. These are a few of my favourite things: Fence party! Cookies! Frog! and Heather in a pretty dress!

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  18. Perhaps the fence and the frog were in cookie cahoots? Fences cannot be trusted for much more than keeping out the neighbours.

    I do love this dress...but sadly it's not for me as the neither of the bodice styles will suit my rather "full bust". I love a circle skirt though - and a good ballerina twirl!

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  19. Beautiful dress Heather! As for Betty - tell her size 6 is a shoe size! ;-)

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  20. By far my ALL TIME favourite dress of yours on you. It's killer. Such a flattering figure it cuts! Froggy may have got the cookies... but the fence got you ;)
    ps did you get a haircut? Loving the style in these piccies!

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  21. You know what? I'm secretly pleased that plan A fabric didn't work out. I love this fabric as this dress. I love light and frothy simmer but I also really really love summer storms, all dark and moody but they really clear the air. I guess that's what this dress reminds me of with the dark but vibrant colour combination and the summery shape.
    I'll shut up now, and you and the fence are welcome here for a party (summer or not) anytime!

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  22. Beautiful dress. The twirly skirt looks so fun.

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  23. I absolutely love this! The color combination is so flattering on you and the shape is fabulous! I was thinking of giving this one a pass, but now I want one just like it (although I won't look nearly as good). Silly frog - I'm planning on trying out a new peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe this weekend and I'll save you some :).

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  24. Thanks Jo, now go sort out the Flora muslin cause I want to see it on you. Chop, Chop. ;)

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  25. Thank you Michelle. Personally I didn't find the Flora bodice to be lose under the bust. The wrap gives you a little ease but the waist dart keeps everything fitted.

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  26. Thanks Angela. Dear snow, please leave Angela alone so we can have cookie party. Nom, Nom!

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  27. Thank you Manju. Flora is kind of a classic design when you use the straight hem. :)

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  28. Thanks so much. For some reason I just thought of all those crazy dresses Betty had from that "Fashion Designer." LOL

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  29. Thanks Ginger. Let's put our Floras on and go crash a party. ;)

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  30. Thank you Lorene! I love your pattern selections for this fabric, either would look great.

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  31. Thank you Sara. :) I guess I should apologies for making you buy another pattern. Hee hee.

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  32. Thanks Krisitn. I'd better not answer the door if Betty comes looking for a "cup of sugar".

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  33. Thanks Lori, you've describe the ultimate dress trifecta. If only all my garments could be so lucky.

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  34. LOL! Glad I'm not the only one with boobs that want to live on the floor. We need some antigrav bras or something. :)

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  35. Thanks Laura. Froggie gets away with all kinds of naughtiness because you can't stay mad looking at his cute face. ;)

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  36. Thanks so much Marrie. The last minute fabric substitution worked out really well.

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  37. Thanks Helena. LOL, never joke about cookies should be my personal motto.

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  38. Thanks so much. I'm happy to encourage more pattern buying in others. Hope you love your flora just as much as i do mine.

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  39. Thank Lisa. The Ascher studio prints are pretty reasonable, about 12 dollars a yard and always run 60". Maybe you can find something that doesn't blow your budget and have a swishy summer dress.

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  40. Darn frog and his nefarious April Fools prank. You and the fence look great though!!

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  41. That is so freakin cute! I just found your blog today, and I have to say I love all your makes :)

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  42. Frog says he would have shared the cookies with you if you'd visited.

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  43. Thanks so much and welcome to the blog. I've got plenty more dresses and craziness planned. ;)

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  44. I have been away from my computer for just a wee bit and look what I miss! OMGosh I love this dress!! But of course I would.... it's retro and bold floral and twirly and..and... and..... just so dang perfect! Make me one and we could be twins for reals and I would be a good girl and pose pretty for the pics...unlike Des and his hoodie!! lol!

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