With a fun print like this an Emery dress is usually my default choice but, as it's also a really summery print, I wanted something sleeveless. I've made a sleeveless Emery before, but ultimately I fancied trying something new. I've seen many versions of the By Hand London Flora dress that I liked, particularly the tank version, so I decided to give it a go.
Or at least give the bodice a go anyway! While I love the delightfully full skirt that Flora is intended to have, this fabric just wasn't wide enough, so I reverted to type used the gathered skirt and pockets from the Emery.
I made a toile of the bodice in a size 12, adding my standard inch to the length, and the general shape was really good, but the fit from the bust down was just slightly too tight for my liking. To some extent, fit is a matter of personal preference, and my preference is definitely to have a nicely fitted bodice but still to have room to breath and enjoy the odd slice of cake. I'm sure I'm not the only one!
As I only needed a tiny bit of extra ease, I decided not to mess with the pattern pieces and instead to sew the side seams with a slightly smaller seam allowance. We're talking 1.3 cm instead of 1.5, but even that little adjustment made all the difference.
I really enjoyed sewing this dress. The instructions are nice and clear so the whole process was a breeze, and it all seemed to go pretty quickly. I know some people wouldn't enjoy the hand sewing of the lining down the zip and around the waistline, but thankfully for me I enjoy hand sewing so it's all good!
The only problem that I had was with the pockets, and that was all to do with the fabric. I originally used the outer fabric for them, but realised pretty soon after sewing them that you could see the ice creams on the pockets through the background colour on the skirt. So the pockets were promptly unpicked, and replaced with pockets cut from the same white cotton lawn as I used for the bodice lining. Problem solved!
One thing I'm particularly pleased about with this dress is the fact that I realised that if I cut things right then I'd be able to get an ice cream on each shoulder strap (the photo above is from mid-construction, so excuse the unfinished centre back seam and any stray threads). Small things like that amuse me. It's not very noticeable when I'm wearing the dress, but I know they're there.
All in all, I'm really happy with how this dress turned out! I know it won't be one of my most worn dresses, purely because I think the print requires really warm weather to be appreciated, but that doesn't mean that I like it any less. And it'll be one of my top wardrobe choices for sunny days. There are still a couple of other summery projects on my sewing list, so I'd better hurry up and get sewing so I can actually wear them! I'm not the only one still sewing for summer am I?