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Flora Dress Sewalong #9: Assembling the skirt pieces, plus how to make a Flora Skirt!

It's hard to believe we're nearing the end of our Flora Dress Sewalong already! Silly as it may sound, we really enjoy each and every sewalong more than the one before, and this is no exception - especially seeing as we got prizes this time yo!! We've already had some beeee-utiful entries - but keep 'em coming! To be in with a chance of winning a brand spanking new Janome 8002DX, email us at help@byhandlondon.com with a snap or two of your Flora Dress, or post on your social media using the hashtags #florasewalong and/or #floracomp. But now, back to business.

Today we will be:

  • Assembling pleats
  • Joining side seams
  • Making a Flora Skirt (BONUS)

*To be taken to all the posts in the Flora Dress Sewalong, please click here*

Step 1 - Pleats

We have two different types of pleat on the Flora: knife pleats on the front piece, and box pleats on the back piece (those of you who have already made up our Elisalex Dress will know all about box pleats!).

Start by laying out your skirt front and skirt back pieces - which you totally stay stitched at the waistline, riiiight?! - right sides facing you. We're going to start with the knife pleats on the skirt front.

You should have two notches along the waistline either side of the centre front (CF). Take the notch closest to the CF and move it over to meet the second notch closest to the side seam. Pin your knife pleat into place, making sure that the two notches meet perfectly and your waistline is still flush. Repeat for the other knife pleat.

Baste the knife pleats into place 3/8" or 10mm from the raw edge.

And now for the box pleats on the skirt back pieces: you should have three notches along the waistline of each skirt back piece. Bring the outer notches in to meet the central notch. Pin and baste.

Step 2 - Side seams

To finish assembling your skirt by joining the side seams, lay out your skirt front, and place the skirt back pieces on top, right sides together. Pin down the side seams, matching waistline and notches.

Stitch the side seams, press the seams open and finish.

For those of you making the Flora Dress, either variation, we're done for today - you can go home! Or, if you've decided to fully line your dress, simply repeat the last two steps for your skirt lining pieces. In the next post we'll be joining the skirt to the bodice and inserting the zipper. However, if you've been thinking how absolutely and ridiculously good the Flora would look as a stand-alone skirt - keep on reading...

Step 3 - Flora Skirt

To make a skirt from a dress pattern such as the Flora, or indeed anything with a waistline seam - this technique will also work for the Elisalex and Anna dresses - really all we have to do is insert a zipper and add a waistband. It's that damn simple.

Once you've got your skirt pieces assembled as shown above - pleats and side seams; open back seam - the next thing to do is cut a waistband. Double check the finished waist measurement on the back of your pattern folder - this is the measurement we need in order to cut a waistband.

Lay out your fabric and mark out a rectangle that is your finished waist measurement plus two lots of seam allowance long (the length needs to be marked out along the crossgrain ie. perpendicular to the grainline and slevedges) and double the width you want your waistband to be plus two lots of seam allowance.

*Bear in mind - this will result in a waistband that meets perfectly at centre back, with your zipper continuing from the skirt and up to the top of the waistband. If you'd prefer a waistband that overlaps at centre back, fastening with a botton/hook & eye, please see this post*


The navy dotted Swiss voile I'm using for my Flora Skirt is ultra fine and lightweight, so I've cut two waistbands to layer together. If your fabric is heavier, one should be enough, or you could always use some lightweight interfacing to give it a bit more substance.

Fold your waistband in half lengthways, right sides together, and pin the raw, open length of the waistband to the right side of the skirt's waistline and machine stitch into place. Finish the excess seam allowance and press.


Inserting the invisible zipper comes next - check out our definitive tutorial here - your zipper should go all the way to the top of the waistband.


And finally - the hem! Being the flouncy and flippy circle skirt that Flora is, we're dealing with a curved hemline, which can be a little tricky. But, no fear! We have a tutorial for that too - choose your favourite way to hem a curve here.


So there you have it - the Flora Skirt. And we're not the only ones to have seen Flora's potential as a separate - have you seen Heather-Lou's Flora Skirt teamed up oh-so-deliciously with her brand spanking new pattern, the Nettie Bodysuit??! This marks the beginning of a beautiful Indie Pattern Love Affair methinks... 

  • Elisalex de Castro Peake
  • dressFlora DressFlora Dress SewalongSewalongsewingskirtSS14tutorial

Comments on this post ( 10 )

  • Mar 04, 2016

    That’s great, thanks!

    — Emma Lawson

  • Mar 02, 2016

    Hi Emma, yes it is indeed a flocked voile, but I’m afraid it was so long ago that I can’t remember for the life of me where we got it… I saw some dotted cotton in A1 Textiles on Goldhawk Road recently, and I know that The Village Haberdashery had some white dotted voile recently (search ‘dobby’ on their website), which you could always dye… Hope this helps!

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Mar 02, 2016

    Hi, Is there any chance you could tell me where you got the fabric for the skirt from, it looks like flocked cotton which I’ve been looking for, all I can find is flocked tulle, thank you.

    — Emma Lawson

  • Apr 07, 2015

    Hi Cecile,

    Lining the Flora skirt is as simple as cutting and assembling another skirt from your lining fabric and joining it to the bodice lining at the waist. When you get to inserting the zipper, leave the lining free and then close the back seam of the lining up to the point where the zipper begins on the main fabric, then hand sew the open centre back of the lining to the zipper tape to secure.

    Hope this helps!

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Apr 07, 2015

    Hi,

    I’m planning to use a very sheer fabric for my Flora dress. No problem for the bodice, but do you have any advice to line the skirt?

    Thanks,

    Cecile

    — Cécile

  • Jul 07, 2014

    Hi Elisalex!

    I finally finished my flora with the border print skirt: http://awaywesew.tumblr.com/post/90982128349/i-used-the-long-holiday-weekend-to-get-dressed-up

    — Carly

  • Jun 18, 2014

    Hi Kelli, if you check out this post – http://byhandlondon.com/blogs/sew-alongs/13736909-flora-dress-sewalong-6-cutting-marking-stabilising-your-fabric – we’ve included a little diagram to help with cutting the skirt on narrower fabrics. I hope it helps you out, I know how annoying it can be when you find the perfect fabric but the pattern won’t fit! x

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • Jun 17, 2014

    Any plans to show a version that will fit 44" wide fabric? Most quilting cottons don’t come in the wider widths, and that is what I primarily sew. I LOVE this tank bodice – I’ve just been hacking the dress with different skirt patterns to accomodate narrower fabric.

    — Kelli

  • May 20, 2014

    Hi Carly, I’m afraid that you’ll have a massive problem trying to make a Flora skirt, or indeed any circle skirt with a border print without chopping some of the design off and drastically butchering the border design! Border print fabrics are much better suited to skirts that are cut straight, like gathered skirts or pleated skirts – which you could totally stick onto the Flora bodice instead! We have tutorials for both gathered – http://byhandlondon.com/blogs/by-hand-london/11628445-diy-gathered-skirt – and pleated skirts – http://byhandlondon.com/blogs/by-hand-london/11628517-diy-pleated-skirt

    Hope this helps!

    — Elisalex - By Hand London

  • May 19, 2014

    I have fabric with a border print that I want to use to make the Flora dress. Any suggestions for how to best position the straight border print with the curved hem?

    — Carly

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