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Tiny Dancer Flora Dress from By Hand London

March 9, 2014

Hey guys! It’s been too long since we talked, but I finally have a new dress to show you, not to mention a whole new haircut.

Flora 1

Recognise this little number? Yes, it’s the new By Hand London pattern, Flora, and once again the ladies have totally smashed it. I predict this will be the sewing sensation of 2014.

I have to admit I was  a bit hesitant about making this one. I loved the design but I wasn’t sure about the high-lo hem. My opinions on my knees are similar to those of Coco Chanel – I prefer them covered by either fabric or black tights.

flora side

But actually, I love the drafting of the skirt. It’s got really deep pleats so it feels very floaty to wear, and spins out around you when you move.

My fabric was very kindly provided by Raystitch, and it’s an amazing Liberty print called Tiny Dancer. Check it out:

fabric close-up

It’s covered with lines of dancing men and women in unitards, giving it the full Martha Graham. HOW AMAZING IS THAT. Raystitch do have a beautiful range of more traditional floral Liberty prints too, but I couldn’t resist this one.

I did try recreating some of the poses for you, but the results really weren’t good. I couldn’t bring myself to put them on the internet for future employers to discover. Ask me in the pub sometime and I’ll show you.

flora 4

Seemingly I did manage the old ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ though

I had to make a couple of fit alterations – lengthening the bodice two inches, as usual, and also sewing a larger back pattern than front. The fabric was a tiny bit too narrow for the full back skirt, so I just shaved a bit off the side.

The pattern asks you to clip into the seam allowance and then stitch the armholes closed by hand. That was way too much hand-sewing for me, so I just finished the armholes with bias binding. I got away with it as the fabric is so light.

flora back

I didn’t do full-on pattern matching but I did try and make sure the lines of dancing people matched on each side of the zip. It looks as though they are jeté-ing their way around my torso, which is awesome.

The back isn’t really ill-fitting by the way, I’m just standing weirdly.

I really love this wrap-effect bodice. I interfaced and stay-stitched the edges so they wouldn’t stretch out of shape, and I also understitched the lining.

flora 3

Basically, this is the perfect summer dress and for once I’ve made it in time for the right season!

Huge thanks to By Hand London for providing the pattern and Raystitch for providing the beautiful fabric.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. Dia permalink
    January 27, 2015 2:18 AM

    How did you lengthen your bodice?

  2. April 5, 2014 7:50 AM

    Thanks for linking to my blog!

  3. March 31, 2014 7:59 PM

    Love this on you and the fabric is just perfect. Bit beyond my skills at the moment, but maybe one for the future…

  4. March 20, 2014 8:02 AM

    Fantastic choice of fabric for this dress – I think the flowing skirt looks dancer-esque.

  5. March 13, 2014 2:45 PM

    That is a nice dress! Hope the weather gets better and better so we can all wear dresses again!

  6. March 12, 2014 8:38 PM

    Oh, that fabric is so cute, I can’t stand it! And, love your bob!

  7. March 11, 2014 4:01 PM

    beautiful dress doll. You’ve got dancer’s poise too :) Nice hair as well.

  8. March 11, 2014 8:15 AM

    Great stuff. I love this fabric. It looks great as a flora! Like you say, perfect timing for spring/summer kicking in wooop!!

  9. beebeesvintagedress permalink
    March 10, 2014 4:28 PM

    Beautiful! I love Flora in such a breezy fabric. Its really flattering on you, good job!

  10. March 10, 2014 2:00 PM

    I’ve seen lots of versions of Flora on various blogs. I so want this pattern. That fabric is awesome and your dress looks great.

  11. March 10, 2014 12:04 PM

    it’s lovely. i am holding you responsible for elton being stuck in my head now!

  12. March 10, 2014 8:38 AM

    Absolutely gorgeous. I have that fabric too but it’s burning a hole in my stash box as it was so expensive I’m afraid to use it! Love what you’ve done with yours.

  13. March 10, 2014 8:13 AM

    Gorgeous dress, nice and airy for Spring, and the fabric is amazing!

  14. March 10, 2014 4:30 AM

    The fabric is GREAT….love it, and it really suits the dress. I’m liking the high-low hem.

  15. March 10, 2014 1:43 AM

    Very nice! I like what you did with this and the fabric is sublime. I saw this pattern and was a bit concerned about the depth of the v to the bodice (the other option wouldn’t permit bra straps, even though it’s a more modest bodice). As I’m small but full in the bust I don’t like to feel exposed! Any thoughts on the cross-over bodice? Thanks! PS Cute haircut!

    • March 10, 2014 5:42 PM

      The front neckline is quite scooped, and I did actually straighten it out a little bit which increased the coverage. There are two darts so if you need to do a FBA it would be very straightforward. You could also tack together the two wrap pieces – I will probably do this, I’ve had to do the same on a vintage wrap dress I owned and it worked out well. Hope that helps!

    • March 11, 2014 3:04 AM

      Thanks for the reply! All good ideas. I was actually looking at the pattern again and now am thinking about the other bodice, but I’ll probably end up trying both and will keep your tips in mind. :) I have a couple of vintage DVF wrap dresses and I’ve tacked both of them at the cross-over.

  16. March 10, 2014 12:00 AM

    I’m not usually convinced about high-low hems, but all of these versions of Flora I’m seeing popping up are persuading me that they could be a good idea! I love your fabric – it’s a great print!

  17. March 9, 2014 11:22 PM

    Dancers! What an amazing print! This dress is adorable and looks great on you! The hair is way cute, too!

  18. March 9, 2014 10:55 PM

    Your dress looks lovely! And perfect in that print. I hope you have lots of nice summery weather soon.

  19. March 9, 2014 10:25 PM

    That fabric is amazing! Such a perfect summer dress – nice of the weather to bring summer forward a few months for you today as well!

  20. March 9, 2014 10:13 PM

    Love it! For some reason I couldn’t shake the image of this pattern being for a ‘dressy dress’ but yours is so wearable I need to start another fabric hunt immediately! O and you’re definitely going to be requested to pull those Martha Graham poses at the next Spoolettes meet up!

  21. March 9, 2014 9:19 PM

    Such a great print! Loving all the Floras popping up, can’t wait to try it myself.

  22. March 9, 2014 8:50 PM

    This is gorgeous Kathryn! It’s such a lovely shape and that fabric is so fun. I also have reservations about the hi-lo hem but seeing all these versions of Flora I’m changing my mind as they’re all brilliant!

    • March 9, 2014 9:21 PM

      I wasn’t sure about it but it does look lovely (if I say so myself). I forgot to say that I did actually lengthen the front a bit…

  23. March 9, 2014 8:20 PM

    This is so pretty on you, perfect fabric and will be lovely for summer.

  24. March 9, 2014 8:18 PM

    Great dress and fabric choice! I’m coveting a piece of that print myself, just can’t decide which pattern is worthy of it! Thanks for the Chanel link. I’m so happy I share the same knee-views as the great woman herself, at least when it comes to showing my bad knees – yours look fine!

    • March 9, 2014 9:20 PM

      I reckon it would make any pattern look good, Kirsty of Top Notch made a lovely drop-waist dress from the other colourway.

    • March 9, 2014 10:33 PM

      Ok so you and Kirsty have inspired me, I’m cutting into it! Thanks!

  25. March 9, 2014 8:01 PM

    I love that Liberty print! I’m glad you went for it; I think having tiny people jeté-ing all over your torso is a GREAT thing, personally. And I think your hair looks GREAT and your knees look fine. So a win all around!

    • March 9, 2014 9:19 PM

      Thank you so much! I do love this fabric, it’s the best!


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