31 Mar 2014 • • by Heather Lou

By Hand London Flora - As a Skirt!

By Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Core Patterns

When the By Hand London ladies asked me to test the Flora, my first impulse was to make the perfect little black dress. Mood generously supplied a fabric allowance, and I spent a few hours on their website trying to track down something light but with a little bit of body so the pleated circle skirt would have maximum volume. After a lot of deliberating, I ordered a few yards of this luscious black wool faille suiting. Wool faille? I never knew it existed either! I always associate the lustrous ribbing of faille with silk, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to play with a new fabric.

I intended to make the wrap version of Flora and dutifully made a muslin bodice since wrap bodices are tricky on me. I always have a lot of gaping in the front due to  a combination of high rounded shoulders and a hollow chest (well, hollow above the un-hollows). I tried a number of adjustments on the muslin and dutifully added twill tape along the diagonal seams, which is a great trick for helping with wrap dress gaping;  just cut the tape 1/4" shorter than your seam and ease it in. However, when I sewed my final bodice together, it really didn't look great. This fabric is quite stiff and and unforgiving, and the amount I had pinched out and redistributed to the darts created some unfortunate volume under my armpits. This isn't a drafting issue but rather a "my body is a unique and frustrating wonderland" issue. I think I may spend some time tweaking a muslin over the spring since it really is a lovely design and my un-hollows deserve wrap dresses.

I had always thought the Flora would be great hacked into a party skirt, and decided I'd probably get more wear out of it as a separate anyway. So that's just what I did.

By Hand London Flora Skirt by Closet Core PatternsBy Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Core PatternsBy Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Core PatternsUsing the scraps of fabric I had left, I made a simple waistband (using a By Hand London post for reference, natch) and eased the skirt into it. I inserted an invisible zipper, and used my indispensable rolled hem foot for a lovely, flawless hem.

Honestly? It's perfection. The body of the fabric creates a lovely silhouette, and the sheen of the faille gives it a fanciness I am missing in other skirts in my wardrobe.

By Hand London flora skirt Closet Core PatternsBy Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Core Patterns

I highly encourage folks to hack their own Flora skirt. It gives the circle skirt a little jolt of magic.

I'm sure you've heard by now that the By Hand ladies are venturing into custom digital fabric. We had a long distance Skype gab a few weeks ago and talked business, boys and blogging for hours. I seriously adore these women; smart, hilarious, generous and invested in this community in a very inspiring way. Their plans are so exciting; while I love the concept of Spoonflower, the sheer volume of print options is overwhelming. I think the curatorial eye of BHL means we'll get a service that is fresh and unique, and it also means we can support a business that we know and love. Take a look at their Kickstarter video if you haven't already; I make a brief cameo along with the lovely Marcy & Roisin.

They have 13 days to go and are almost halfway to their goal. I contributed money and encourage people to do the same if they can (even $5 helps!) Supporting businesses that support us means we get the kind of products we can believe in!

You can check out their campaign here.

Finally, I've got new specs! I'm a glasses devotee and love having a few pairs to play with. I recently purchased a new pair from Warby Parker on a whim and started having buyer's remorse almost immediately (I tried them on in person when I was in NY but realized they were maybe a little too cat-eye vintage for me to rock every day). Thankfully, I was contacted by Firmoo, an online eyeglass store about reviewing their products. You can upload a picture to their site to "virtually" try on glasses. I'm totally thrilled with what I chose and have been wearing them pretty much every day.

Flora skirt By Hand London-11

Their glasses are really affordable and the quality is good. If anyone is interested in checking them out, I have a $30 voucher code for 5 people to use; it expires April 28th ( CLOSETCASEFILESBLOGS4). They also give free glasses to the first 100 people who inquire here, but the selection is more limited.

Going to go curl up with Friday Night Lights (Coach Taylor *sigggghhhh*) and ignore the slushy snow outside. Hang in there kiddos. The sun will arrive eventually.

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