My midsummer Flora

Flora5First of all, if you love the movie Before Sunset , watch this.

Flora became my midsummer dress this year. I was a bit daunted by the task of making her, as it would be my first fitted bodice ever. Being of quite a tall, broad and small chested (and quite happily so) build, I was dreading the alterations I had to make. Never having had to make a proper toile previously, I thought it was going to be pretty boring. I was quite fun though, not having to care so much about the fine details. I still made the error of thinking that after having made one, I could proceed to make the alterations I needed to the pattern and start on the dress. Ha! I ended up having to pretty much take the whole bodice apart and make more alterations.

So, what alterations did I make? A rather significant SBA, I lengthened the bodice by about 1.5″, and the skirt by about 4-5″. I was convinced I was going to have to make allowances for a broad back, but I actually had to make it narrower across the shoulder blades. For someone who’s always been asked ‘are you a swimmer’, and whether I play tennis, that came as a bit of a surprise. I also decided to combine the faux wrap bodice version with the dipped hem skirt, which I absolutely love.

I never managed to figure out how to prevent the neckline from gaping, but after some useful advise from Oh She Dabbles, I cheated with some elastic..


The fabric was a Walthamstow find. It’s a lovely thin cotton which feels a bit like silk. Unfortunately it wrinkles like a bastard, but you can’t have it all. For the lining I chose an unbleached cotton fabric from IKEA. A pretty crap choice, as it’t not very comfortable. It also pokes through quite a bit, making me wish it was dark blue instead.


I wish I had taken some photo’s of the dress at midsummer, but I was having way too much fun to bother…


The silhouette of the Flora dress is beautiful, and I think it works quite well on me. I wouldn’t say it makes me look petite or anything, it just makes me feel less of a giant and bit more feminine. I have never worn as many dresses as since I started sewing. Nice change.

Project summary:

  • Pattern: By Hand London’s Flora dress £14
  • Main fabric: £5/m from ‘The guys outside Sainsbury’s’ at Walthamstow market £15
  • Lining fabric: £2/m unbleached cotton from IKEA £2
  • Bias binding for the hem: £3
  • Thread: £3

Total: £37

Time: Lost count..


16 thoughts on “My midsummer Flora

  1. Wow this looks beautiful Ingrid. Such a lovely choice of print and I really like the dipped hem-line on you.
    I haven’t really looked into the cross-over bodice (I am planning to make mine with the high neckline) because I too am of the small-chested variety gut it looks delightful on you and has made me re-consider my bodice choice.
    A perfect summery dress!

    • Cheers! :) I’d been planning to make it for ages – there are just too many good patterns in the world. Really keen to try the Anna now!

  2. Oh gosh, you sound like me – except I was most definitely a swimmer!

    I do love that print with the Flora design lines. And I’m not sure if you’ve already tried this or if this pattern is suitable for it, but I find that understitching the lining works beautifully to prevent them from peeking out. I hope you enjoy floating around in your lovely gown!

    • FYI nothing against swimmers here :) Thanks for the understitching tip – something I obviously should have done. Amazing how much you learn from each sewing project, especially when you’re a beginner. Lovely blog btw!

  3. Great dress Ingrid! It is very flattering, I think you got the length spot on for this type of hem. I too am of the small chested variety and had always thought that wrap over styles wouldn’t suit me, but you have made me reconsider that!

  4. This turned out beautifully and I’m so glad the elastic cheat worked! I have made the square neckline version, which fit almost perfectly out of the package (though I need to shorten the bodice, as usual…opposite issue as you!). Glad you had fun at Midsummer!


  5. Oh, this is so, so lovely. The style is perfect for you, and that print is amazing. Now that you know what alterations to make, you should sew up a few more stat! Maybe one fancy one and one all-the-time one?

    • Haha, love your enthusiasm! Thanks :) I did buy some fabric today that would look lovely as a Flora.. How’s your sewing going? So jealous of your pretty socks.

  6. Gorgeous dress, love your fabric choice. My problem is the opposite of yours, too much chest which is both the reason why I want to make my own clothes and the reason why I’m terrified of trying. Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful sewing

  7. Pingback: Fuchsia Flora | Oh, She Dabbles
  8. Pingback: Pixel Tap shorts | We The Sewing

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