Friday, March 07, 2014

She's really into all the police lingo. Whenever I go over there, she's always eyeballing a mug shot, grilling a dirtbag or frisking a biscuit.

Hellooooo strangers! I've been a bit missing in action this week, having spent most of it in London for work. And then I had the sheer, unmitigated joy of working in Slough today. I know you're all jealous of my super stylish lifestyle, what? It's been an exhausting week, but I managed to fit some fun in there too. I did some shoe window-shopping with Liz of Busy Lizzie in Brizzy on Tuesday night, before we joined some other Spoolettes for dinner and cocktails in Soho. On Wednesday night, Nic and I had dinner with my friend Disha at Wahaca on the South Bank before having a drink at the Tamesis Dock at Vauxhall. The sun was shining, my hotel was nice and it really feels like spring is on its way. So it's mainly been a good week, and I have a long weekend to look forward to as well. Hurrah!

As I've been away from home all week, I haven't been able to sew this week and I've been too tired to even knit. You get some weeks like that, I suppose. Still, I have a project from February to show to you. You might have heard that By Hand London released their newest pattern this week - the rather gorgeous Flora dress. I got an email from Victoria at the end of January with the line drawing attached, asking me would I like to be a pattern tester. I was on the train at the time and I may have done a little jive of excitement in my seat as I replied FUCK YES WHERE DO I SIGN. Let me tell you - pattern testing for the girls was such a joy. Not only did I get the excitement of seeing the pattern early, but it arrived in the cutest care package containing the printed pattern, a mini bottle of vodka, some sweets and a By Hand London tote bag. Woot! Add to this a £50 gift voucher from The Village Haberdashery to buy supplies and I was one very excited lady. It'll be no surprise to you that I fell in love immediately with the romantic shape of the Flora dress but I was also intrigued by the high-low hem skirt option. It's not something I'd ever go for in RTW, but then I never would have thought I'd wear a dress with a thigh-high split and, you know, that happened. So I went for it.

I didn't have a lot of time to sew Flora so I didn't make a toile and I cut straight into my fabric. Eeep! I did measure myself very carefully though, and decided to wing it with a size UK8/US4 as this was closest to my measurements. I made the bodice lining first and when that fit, I cut into my fabric. One of the fabric requirements for Flora is a 60 inch wide fabric as the circle skirt pieces are so wide. Ever the maverick, I went for a 45 inch wide fabric and cut the skirt on the cross-wise. I chose an Art Gallery fabric by Tule that is now out of stock, and Annie sent me 4 metres so I would have enough. The dress came together really quickly and easily, and I couldn't be happier with it. Here's my Folklore Flora:

Folklore Flora - By Hand London Flora dress made in Meadow Vale fabric by Tule for Art Gallery, and worn with Irregular Choice 'Edna' shoes

Do I look cold in these photos? Boys oh, I was cold. These photos were taken at the start of February! The things we do for blogs, eh?!

The Flora dress comes with a couple of different options. You can go for a high-necked version with tab straps like this one, or a super-cute faux wrap top. You can attach this dipped hem circle skirt or a pleated circle skirt with a straight hem. As I said above, I decided to give the dipped-hem a version because I've never worn such a thing. I'm cautiously happy with it, even though it does mean my knees are on display! Here's how it looks from the side...

Yes I know I look as goofy as fuck, but it was cold. Still, doesn't the skirt look fun from the side?

As the skirt has a dipped hem, you can see the inside of it from the front. The girls suggest lining the skirt, and I think this would be amazing in a really pretty silk cotton or similar. As you can see, I didn't this time around because the wrong side of my fabric looks fine, but I was really careful to hem the skirt neatly and evenly!

And here's the back view! The pattern calls for a concealed zip, which I think is appropriate for this style of bodice. I did briefly consider subbing in a lapped zip but it just didn't seem right to do that! In any case, the instructions for inserting the concealed zip are so good that it was nae bother. I loooooove the way this dress looks from behind, I think it's very elegant. And, considering it's a mullet hem, really it's more party up front, business from behind - the front skirt pieces are pretty short. That's something for you leggier ladies to consider. I'm not even 5 foot 2 and the skirt is above my knees. You might want to add some length.

So, yes, it's unsurprising news that I love Flora. I had been pretty much decided to make myself a Georgia dress as a wedding dress, but I think Flora might be edging her out - as spring approaches, I am feeling more and more into the idea of wearing something pretty and flouncy rather than something slinky and sexy. Maybe I'll make both and have a wardrobe change part-way through the day like it's the Oscars or some shit. I mean, the wedding ceremony itself is only going to last 10 minutes but that's no reason for me to be not ridiculous about it, is it?

Let's just hope the weather is better for the wedding though, right?

Considering that I didn't make a muslin for this dress, I'm pretty happy with the fit. You can see some very slight wrinkling under the bust, which I could fix if I were feeling fussy. I'm not fussy, though. The next time I make this bodice, I'll take maybe an inch of width out of the neckline both front and back, because as it is they're not lying quite flat. But, see above. I'm not fussy.

I'm seeing a lot of Flora love in the sewing community this week and I'm not surprised - given Lauren, Sonja and Marie's amazing versions! They set the bar super high so I was feeling a bit anxious about blogging mine - but what's also cool is how inspired I am to get sewing another Flora dress soon, maybe in a dreamy floral this time.

This photo adds nothing to this post by this stage, but fuck it. Here it is anyway.

And on that thought, I'm going to say goodbye. I've had an exhausting week and I have a blanket to sink into and a DVD to watch. Tomorrow I'm off for a spot of fabric shopping with some sewing sweeties, so I'll catch up with you all next week. Happy Friday, everyone!