Let’s go to the prom – BHL Flora


Hi All

Today I am finally posting about the project that has been keeping me busy for the last month!

My daughter has just finished her GCSEs and it was her school prom last week. As I have said previously, I am away from home during the week until we can move house and the last thing I needed was a stressful project, but she asked me to make her a prom dress. promfloraback3

I showed her the By Hand London Flora dress I made a few years ago and we agreed on that pattern, but she wanted the wrap bodice rather than the square neck version I had made.

The wrap bodice proved a bit of a challenge – I made a quick muslin of the bodice out of cotton and found it quite baggy along the wrap edges and there was excess fabric under the bust. I moved the waist darts slightly closer to the centre and I took a wedge of about an inch out of the wrap edge, tapering to nothing at the side seam. This worked really well in the cotton fabric and it felt as if we were good to go!promflorabodice

The fabric for the dress is cupro – which I hadn’t used before – it looks a lot like silk, but it is viscose based and is washable. I hoped that it would be easier to sew with than silk (which I also haven’t used before). I bought the cupro fabric on Goldhawk Road – I think in UK Textiles. It doesn’t fray and was happy to be pressed with a medium hot iron, it was as shifty as I assume silk is, creases the minute you look at it (as you can see in the pictures after a short wear) and the bias edges stretched like crazy…

My fabric was slightly narrower than the full 150cm needed for the circle skirt, so I had to narrow the side of the skirt to fit onto the fabric. I lengthened the front skirt so it fell slightly below knee length and lengthened the back skirt even further so that it was almost ankle length for a dramatic swirly high/low skirt.promfloraside2

After cutting out the pieces I started pinning the darts and then realised I had forgotten to stabilise the wrap edges. I went back and sewed twill tape along the edge of the outer bodice and stay stitched the bodice lining edge. When I came to sew it together though I realised that I had already stretched out the wrap edge – just handling the fabric enough to make the darts had caused it to grow by a couple of centimetres! I ended up cutting another bodice and lining and stabilising the edges before I even unpinned the pattern pieces.

The cupro fabric has quite a lot of give and the bodice has still ended up a little looser than I would have liked. I needed to secure the wrap with a stitch to stop it from gaping and I can see that pulling a bit in the pictures.promflorafront1

I also changed the front pleats making them into the same box pleats as at the back. The original pleats at the front were pulling the side seams forward slightly and changing the pleats seemed to release that tension.

There were so many moments when I thought this dress wasn’t going to work out, but in the end I finished and my daughter was happy and we didn’t have to go shopping!  Of course I can see all the faults in the dress but she had a great time at prom and that is the only thing that matters.  promfloraside3

I think it may be time for something nice and easy next though – perhaps a tshirt or two?


14 Comments Add yours

  1. missfiona says:

    Its so cool your daughter wanted a Mum made prom dress. She looks beautiful in it. It sounds like it was a real mare to make, hats off to you for making the time to do it and making it look fab. I’m dreading having to make one next year for my daughter’s prom. I’m hoping she decides to wear one of my vintage cocktail dresses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thankyou! It was ridiculously stressful at times but she was so pleased in the end and had a lovely time – vintage cocktail dresses sound absolutely gorgeous though – I would totally wear that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nanacathy2 says:

    She looks very pretty in a wonderful frock. You should be so proud


    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thank you! I am very proud of her!


  3. Lynsey says:

    Stunning dress, your daughter looks amazing. I had trouble with the bodice of Flora and gave up in the end but seeing this makes me want to try again

    Liked by 1 person

    1. notsewsimple says:

      It was looking ok in the cotton muslin I made but I struggled with the soft cupro. The square bodice was much easier to fit!


  4. Janet says:

    You’re so brave taking on this challenge. The finished dress has a wonderful ethereal quality to it in cupro that I haven’t seen in other versions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thankyou – the lightweight fabric made it really hard to sew but had the right floatiness for the long skirt


  5. Thimberlina says:

    Aw, she looks stunning, you must be so proud – of her and the frock! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s a beautiful dress pattern – I love the hemline – and a beautiful fabric. Your daughter looks lovely in it. Nice work Mom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thankyou! I’m just really pleased she liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahh what a gorgeous girly! I’m dying to do some selfless sewing – Perhaps not something so formal but nonetheless! A lovely make!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. notsewsimple says:

      Thankyou – it was a bit of a nightmare to make – very shifty fabric – but she was happy so that is what counts!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s