Floralotte…Or My By Hand London Charlotte skirt with Flora bodice Failure

Hello!! Is anyone else feeling that promise of Spring and more daylight joy? I have had a couple of health problems but I have sewed up a storm I want to share with you guys 🙂 but before that I needed to post this make. The first failed project I'm showcasing on this blog.

Floralotte. Oh, Floralotte. I felt all sewing blogger when I planned this dress. An indie pattern, check. A hacking challenge, check. And last but not least a gorgeous Japanese fabric, check. I was ready to take my sewing blogger level.

However, I've never made anything i love so much and hate so much at the same time! Her in all her glory!


Now down to why I hate her! Number One. Fitting issues. The pattern I used the By Hand London Flora is marked at easy and it was, putting together the bodice was like a dream!! The pattern makes inserting a lining a piece of cake and the finishing looks like someone advanced and skilled made it….but the fitting. If you know how to adapt a bodice to your size, it's all good, but I don't know and relied totally on the sew along. I have broad shoulder and small bust and a normal waist. This added up to a small bust adjustment (my bust was sooo baggy), which I just couldn't understand how to do! I honestly found the BHL sew along useless for showing how to do the adjustment. At risk of sounds dumb, there was not enough pictures to show the beginning, middle and end for the adjustment. Plus,I couldn't work out how to do the adjustment with making the waist too small.

When I made my toile, I tried to pinch out the extra fabric. I pinched until my self esteem couldn't take it anymore and ended up making the bust dart twice as big . Also the dart didn't point to my nipple so I just tried to angle it down to the right place. By the end it was a butchered, big, sad looking dart..and the bodice is still too loose.


Number Two. I made the skirt too short and too tight. It covers my bum and that's it. The dress squeezes at my thighs and is loose on my waist. The MAIN problem with all my high street bought clothes and why I turned to sewing for a better fit!! The Charottle skirt pattern has been so good to me. I made a big mistake for this project, I wanted the skirt shorter at the last minute, so I thought…let me just sew the waist up higher, it didn't even occur to me how it would change the whole fit of the skirt until I was finished and tried it on. Thinking of all my labour time for a unwearable dress *sad song plays in head*

Last Problem. Pattern matching. You can see the back matching problem but this side problem drives me crazy!


Especially because the otherside is perfect!!!


When I started reading sewing blogs I never thought of the pile of unwearable, sadness I would have to accept as a beginner rite of passage.

If anyone has any tips or suggestions of what I can do with the fabric I would love to hear them and would be so grateful! I really do love the fabric and don't want to waste it on a spoilt project.

Sorry for such a grim post!! Should be posting my next, more successful, make soon 🙂

Bye for now 🙂

Megan valero

About Megan

eco sustainable natural fabric and exclusive print for the fashion and dressmaking industry wholesale supplier.

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12 thoughts on “Floralotte…Or My By Hand London Charlotte skirt with Flora bodice Failure

  1. megsewing says:

    I can’t believe you had enough determination for four toiles!! I’m definitely gonna take your advice and move the dart down…when I can finally face that pattern again. I think the knowledge you need of bodice blocks makes this an advanced pattern!
    Thanks so much for your advice 🙂

  2. Grace says:

    I feel your pain! I also had a nightmare getting the flora bodice to fit me (i have a small bust), and am not experienced at adjusting busts. 4 toiles= totally demoralizing.
    Eventually, with the help of an experienced seamstress, we figured it out.
    For me the fix was moving the horizontal dart down by 3cm and lengthening it by 3cm. I also moved the vertical dart towards the centre fold by 2cm.
    It was worth it in the end, a really useful bodice once it fits 🙂

  3. megsewing says:

    Thanks for the tip 🙂 I think a tote bag would be amazing! I need one and I live that fabric so much it would be nice to use for something I can use most days.

  4. gema says:

    It is upsetting to spend so much time on something, for it not to turn out right…but thankfully you’ve got lots of helpful comments here 🙂 Another little comment, if you still haven’t done anything with this dress…it would make a fab tote bag! (not that I’m saying it doesn’t or wouldn’t make a great dress…) x

  5. megsewing says:

    I think so too. I just needed to throw it in a corner for awhile because I spent so much time trying to make it perfect! haha

  6. It’s always frustrating when things don’t turn out properly – I’ve had it happen so many times! I think this one is definitely salvageable though, the fit doesn’t look too far off! Maybe you could add a band of another fabric to the bottom to lengthen the skirt. Because of the pattern of the fabric, I think it would blend in fine.

  7. OMGosh! Your words sum up my reason for sewing exactly! ‘…squeezes at my thighs and is loose on my waist. The MAIN problem with all my high street bought clothes and why I turned to sewing for a better fit!’ I’m not alone…

  8. megsewing says:

    I never thought of that!! I’m a full on fangirl of BHL and am sorta shy but next time I’m going to email BHL directly. I already think I’m going to have another go at the Flora and make the Flora top hack. Thanks for the tip, I honestly had never thought of just asking haha

  9. corrineappleby says:

    Sorry to hear you were frustrated with your project – you’re right that it happens to everyone and you learn more when things don’t go quite the way you plan! I had a problem with fitting the BHL Kim dress because my bust, waist and hips fall into completely different categories and the sew along didn’t help. I sent a message to BHL asking for help and they got back to me! That’s the great thing about independent pattern companies – they can do that! I now have a great fitting toile. Worth bearing in mind if you get stuck again!

  10. emadethis says:

    You’re right about the shoulders! Actually, I’m smaller in my shoulders and I just trace off one size and swing out to the next size at the bottom of the armscye. It works and I’ve never had to alter a neckline or shoulder doing it this way. You’re on the right path, you just gotta keep trucking. Fitting is a long process, but once you understand it, you’re golden.

    Once you find a pattern (or hopefully a company) that fits you well, save it, and compare everything you do to that. It’ll save you lots of headaches and time.

  11. megsewing says:

    THANK YOU!!! I’m definitely going to try the Fit for Real people way. I’m also going to also try taking in the side seams like you suggest. I’ve been reading that the hardest adjustments are for your shoulders, so if the shoulders are good (which they were) then changing the side seams is the best way forward.
    The bust darts were crazy, I’m thinking of doing another fitted bodice with a simplicity pattern so I can compare bust darts and sizes and see if another company can give me a better fit or less work on adjustment.
    The bust for this pattern was so big, don’t think I can handle that pattern again for a while.
    Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 I didn’t know sewing can be so emotionally draining!!

  12. emadethis says:

    Don’t give up! This one has potential. The fabric is beautiful and it’s a really cute look overall. From the looks of the technical drawing, the bust dart looks crazy high, so I don’t think it’s you, and I don’t wonder that it caused you problems. If you want to lower it, you can draw a box around it on your pattern, cut out the whole box and move it to a more reasonable height, filling in with tissue/trueing up the side seam. This is one alteration that I really really like in Fit for Real People.

    I’m so acquainted with your woes over taking in the waist but leaving enough ease for hips. I’ve come to the conclusion that’s it’s really tough to do without princess seams. Can you identify your smallest part and reshape the side seams entirely to come into that point?

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