By Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Case Files
Sewing Projects


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 Case FilesBy Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Case FilesBy Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Case FilesUsing 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 Case FilesBy Hand London Flora skirt by Closet Case Files

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.

  • Kelly

    Rats, now I am day dreaming about Coach Taylor…I love Flora as a skirt, your whole outfit is great. I pledged some money and I hope the BHL ladies can meet their goal!

    • If I could give them a million, I totally would.

  • Oh man, I have so many weird fantasies about Coach Taylor… SERIOUS HUNK. What were we talking about? Oh yes, your skirt! It’s absolutely gorgeous and oh so fabulous! I have a skirt version cut out and heaped in my to-sew pile right now, but in a really casual cotton. The wool faille is so fancy and looks amazing! You look like a mega babe!

    • They aren’t weird. He is the dreamiest of the dreamy. Something about an authoritarian presence with a heart of gold…. the dream of a real man. Can’t wait to see yours!

  • This is genius – i love it.

  • Closed eyes, head first, can’t lose! Wonderful skirt!

    • you’re really making me regret not naming this post Clear eyes, Full skirt, Can’t lose!

  • Camilla

    Your Flora skirt looks so glamourous. What a beautiful sillouette.

  • mari

    The skirt looks amazing! Mari

  • Amanda Adams

    Holy monkey hats – this skirt is fabulous and that fabric makes the drape amazing. Wowser!

  • You just can’t go past a fabulous black skirt – Love this! You are a brave woman to be sporting just a tee shirt in that weather! (mind you I’m a wimp – Aussie winters never get that cold)

    • I’d last about 10 seconds and then say OKAY GET THE PICTURE GET THE PICTURE!!!!! It was only like 0 degree which is practically balmy these days…

  • oh, coach. how i miss you.

    um, seriously, i’ve thought up all these BHL hybrids and hacks, and it never once occurred to me that the flora could be a skirt. GENIUS. (and i love that your fit issues are a wonderland. i’m going to call mine an amusement park from this day forward.)

    • Improvisation is the mother of invention. Also. Coach just gets better with rewatching. Seriously learning so much about how to make a relationship work from Tammy and Coach.

  • I wouldn’t have pictured this pattern with a fabric that has so much body, but as a skirt this is wonderful!! You look so elegant 🙂

    • Thanks Kelly! I think the body of the fabric is what killed my body dreams. It’s not drapey so there is no forgiveness if the pattern doesn’t fit like it was made for your body….

  • Ooooh, this skirt is luuurvly!

  • A Stitching Odyssey

    This is perfect Heather…almost as if the pattern was only ever destined to be a skirt! You’ve given me inspiration to give this a go myself to be honest, even if I do love my version of the dress. And your specs? Super cool!

  • Dayl

    Skirt is SUPER cute! and great layered with the stripes and dots! Also, thanks for the link to the free glasses code! I have a fun red and grey pair enroute to me now!


    • AWESOME! I’m super duper happy with mine! Screw paying retail for glasses ever again! (The retail mark-up on designer frames is around 1000%!)

  • juliead

    this is really spectacular. while i really like the flora dress on others, i don’t think i would make it as a dress for myself. totally on board with the skirt though! also, great lipstick!

  • impied

    Awesome, totally bought some prescription sunglasses from that website using the code! Thanks for sharing 🙂 Also I love your skirt.

  • Love the look! Glasses, skirt, and those tights!

  • Your flora skirt is glorious! I NEED one! In black!!

  • Bec Stitches

    Gorgeous skirt but I am in love with the jacket. Where did you get that? :O

    • A clothing swap! It’s fake leather from H&M but it was second hand so I feel okay about it.

  • sallieforrer

    Damn girl! You look so badass in your black & white getup! I love how much volume that skirt has – the wool faille is such a delicious pairing! And the Flora really does seem like it just wants to be a skirt (not that the bodice options aren’t delicious too – but that skirt might just be where it’s at!) And your jacket is making me ITCH to get working on my black leather moto jacket. Why oh WHY is there not enough hours in the day and days in the week and weeks in the … you know… to get all the sewing I NEED to get done?!?! I want to just go lock myself in my sewing room after seeing this and replicate the entire look! You’re such an inspiring sewing temptress!

  • Laura

    Oh wow – love the skirt!

    Also, thanks for the link to the glasses shop! I’ve just bought a pair of glasses last week (in Australia) for $400 – and that was with the super cheap frame. I just went through the whole process of choosing a Firmoo pair and it only came to $84, even with all the extras. It’s killing me.

    • Sweet! Glasses markup is like a billion percent. I”ll never go “designer” again!

  • Maris Olsen

    You rocked that styling, lady! Love.the.skirt. And your ‘tude. 😉

    • Hahaha thanks Maris. That ‘tude was totally cold related.

  • Letitia Elizabeth

    Beautiful outfit! Love the skirt.

  • Sownbrooklyn

    Gorgeous! Fantastic outfit!!

  • Za

    What you did with this dress/skirt is fantastic! I’d have the same problem as you with the dress, but like this you look stunning!

  • kz.

    hi! I found this totally late, but somehow seeing this gorgeous, gorgeous skirt made the whole Flora pattern snap into place for me – THIS is what this pattern wants to be, for me! I’m now daydreaming of making it in a mannish charcoal-pinstripe wool, perhaps, to contrast with the femme flounce. Question, though – do you have any way of estimating how much fabric you wound up using for just the skirt? thanks so much!

    • Hmmmm…. maybe 2 yards? or 2 and a half? I can’t quite remember.

      • kz.

        sounds good – I’ll just make sure to overbuy a bit to hedge my bets. thanks! & I love your blog & your style!

  • mspkt2002

    This skirt is really hot! I love your blog, I am totally inspired by your me-made closet. When I am creatively “stuck” that is where I go to.

    • Oh man! What an awesome compliment. Happy to help get you inspired 😉