I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I am trying not to buy new fabric this year unless we need it for upcoming patterns. We have a mammoth stash closet that is literally overflowing so I’m trying to make a dent it when I can, finding use for a lot of those pieces I’ve hung on to for years with no clear plan. Such was the case with the lovely cotton floral eyelet I used to make this Flora Dress from By Hand London. I got it at a sewing meetup in Montreal and it’s been collecting dust for years, waiting for the right project.
Turns out the right project was one I’ve made before! I tested Flora many moons ago, and fell in love with it again this summer after seeing the pretty versions my friends were making in London (Elisalex has been hacking it into pure magic, and Hannah made a lovely blue linen one I couldn’t help but try on). It’s a classic two dart bodice with a square, high neckline and bra covering straps, perfect for a more fitted summer dress. Due to yardage restraints, I couldn’t make the flared skirt, so subbed in a simple gathered one. I had only the tiniest of scraps left over, so I felt quite chuffed to know I had gotten the most out of this narrow yardage.
Since I had made Flora before, I had a size reference (this is why blogging all your makes is the best – you can always go back into the archives to see what size you made!) That dress is a bit too small on me now (although has somehow escaped my many closet purges) so I sized up to a 12 for this version. I then used my custom Beatrice form to finetune the fit, adjusting the armscye and shifting the darts as needed. I cannot tell you how much I love that form; it makes the constant mirror fitting I used to do seem like a bad dream.
The bodice was fitting perfectly but I think I ended up stretching out the waist seam when I attached the gathered skirt despite my staystitching since I had a helluva time getting the lining to match up on the inside. As a result, the waist is a bit wider than intended, but it is very comfortable so maybe it was for the best.
I left the skirt unlined and added a very lightweight cotton voile lining to the bodice, so it’s a light, breezy dress perfect for hot summer days when I feel like getting a bit dressed up. Even if I do feel a little not myself wearing it; I’ve shied away from more overtly feminine looks in the last few years and it felt a bit weird to get back into a fit and flare dress after so much time in loose linen. I really feel a personality shift when I wear this; more ladylike, better behaved, less likely to swear like a trucker. Clothing has power! I couldn’t help but laugh when our studio neighbour Paul jokingly asked if I was headed to my first communion when he saw me in this. Something about white eyelet just seems to scream “innocent flower”.
So yes, more white frosting for me. I’m not sure if this will end up entering the pantheon of beloved, overworn dresses but it was fun to make and nice to have as an option when I feel like posing as a fine, upstanding young lady in the prime of her youth.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a first communion/wedding to get to.