This month’s #MinervaMake was a chance for me to be a little more extravagant than usual because we’ve been invited to a wedding. You know, one of those occasions where it’s even more important than usual to not turn up in the same frock as someone else?

Having really enjoyed working with the Cotton Sateen Fabric I used for my trousers, I decided to have a trawl through this substrate on the site and came across this gloriously Vivid Fabric print. How could I resist?

I decided to pair it with the By Hand London Flora dress, a style I’ve always loved but haven’t made for a couple of years. Consequently, size wise, I had to start from scratch.

For the top, I blended between a 10 and a 12 when tracing the pattern pieces, with a straight 12 on the skirt. I actually made a toile (!) in a similar weight fabric and decided to pinch a little out of the top at both the front and the back, which I rotated into the waist darts.

The fabric behaved beautifully both when cutting and sewing. It has a little stretch, which is great for fitting, and is comparatively weighty; perfect to combine with the full skirt. I considered using horsehair braid around the hem but decided that it had sufficient body already and didn’t need it.

I recently saw a tip I thought I’d try out here for fitting more easily; I usually do the fitting around the centre back zip, which can leave me with a less than straight zip as I take a diagonal line, so I ignored the instructions and sewed the straps together, then attached the skirt to the bodice, then fitted the zip, followed by the lining and only then attempted the side seams, meaning any further fitting tweaks would be lost under my arms instead of down the back seam. I have to say, although it made handling the part finished dress around under the needle a little weightier, I really like this method and will definitely do it again.

I decided on impulse to go with a high-low hem but kept the front skirt at the lower hem length instead of the longer one, which makes it quite subtle (and is also friendlier to my knees, which are not my favourite feature!)

The dropped back hem means that the inside of the fabric is visible when wearing, and the back of this print is very obviously paler than the front, so I decided to fully line the dress. And hey, why be subtle? I chose this vivid red Cotton Lawn Fabric which is extremely light weight. It’s perfect to my mind for a summer frock, as it gives the required contrast and smooth lines without adding any weight and I’m unlikely to wear this with tights so am not worried about whether it would stick or not.

Oh, and I added pockets. Because, well, why not?

Thanks for the supplies, Minerva, I feel amazing in this frock and no one else was wearing the same thing!

Becca x