There’s nothing quite like a summer sundress. They’re easy to wear and help me feel put together. (we all need that right now, right?!) But as I’m writing this post, summer is winding down rapidly. The weather has cooled off considerably, the leaves are starting to change colors, but this dress is one of my favorite hacks I’ve done this summer, so I decided to share anyways.
About a month ago, I was scrolling on Instagram and came across this beautiful maxi dress with tie sleeves. After I found out the dress was around $500, I decided that instead of buying it, I was going to make one with fabric I already had on hand. All I had to do was figure out what pattern I was going to use for this dress.
By Hand London Flora Dress
After looking at the dress, I realized that the bodice looked a lot like the Flora Dress. This pattern has been on my purchase list for a while, and this dress hack provided the perfect excuse to buy it.
Before I begin to talk about how I hacked this pattern, let’s go over the different pattern options.
Two bodice options:
- The high square neckline
- Faux wrap dress
Two skirt options:
- Voluminous pleated skirt with a straight hem
- Or a high-low/dipped skirt hem
My Flora Dress Hacks
Lowered the Neckline
Going into this project, I knew that I only needed the basic shape of the bodice and the straps. But as it was drafted, the neckline was too high for the look I wanted to achieve.
- Bodice Pattern Adjustment: I lowered the neckline and back bodice by 3 inches.
- Strap Adjustment: I also added length to the straps to since I created a greater distance between the front and back bodice when I lowered the neckline.
Made a Quick Muslin: This dress is my first Flora dress, so I needed to test out my adjustments before cutting into my main fabric. I tested my adjustments with scrap fabric that I ended up using for the bodice lining.
Added Long Faux Tie Straps
I loved the look of the long tie straps that were on the Burrows dress, but I didn’t want long straps on my dress. Instead, I decided to make them separate!
I wanted to be able to tie them into bows on my straps, around my waist, or in my hair. This hack was simple but made a versatile piece for my outfit. To make it, I used the strap pattern piece to determine the width of the straps and made them long enough to tie a bow around my waist.
Gathered, Layered Skirt
The skirt on the maxi dress I was looking to create looked nothing like the Flora Dress pattern. The Burrows Dress by Love Shack Fancy had a loose-fitting tiered look. To achieve this look, I knew I had to shelf-draft the skirt pattern. The hack is quite simple, but it just requires a little bit of math.
How to Calculate the Width of Each Tier
- First Tier: waistline measurement x 1.5
- Second Tier: waistline measurement x 2
- Third Tier: waistline measurement x 2.5
- Fourth Tier: waistline measurement x 3 (I didn’t have enough fabric for this)
How to Determine the Height of the Tier
After you have calculated the measurements for the tier width, you’ll need to determine the height. Since my initial goal was to make this dress into a maxi skirt, I measured my waist down to my ankles and divided that measurement into four, giving me “11-inch” tall panels.
How to Sew Your Tiers Together
- Step 1: With the right sides together, sew both back pieces of the skirt to the bodice on either side and finish the edges how you’d like.
- Step 2: Take the top tier and sew three baste stitches to only the top of the fabric. Next, gather the fabric to match the width of the waist. Pin and sew together.
- Step 3: Next, take your second-tier fabric and add two to three baste stitches to the top of the fabric. Gather and attach your fabric to the first tier.
- Step 4: Repeat these steps for any additional tiers you’d like to add to your dress.
I ended up with a three-tiered midi dress because I ran out of fabric. I thought about ordering more fabric but ended up loving the length, so I left it as is.
This was my first Flora dress, but I know it won’t be my last! I love how the dress bodice fits, and I am already thinking about the different skirts I can add to make the dresses look unique.
And even though this is a summer dress, I’m planning on adding it to my fall capsule wardrobe. Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see all the different ways I style this dress!