Pattern Club Review

Francoise dress

Blog / 6 February 2015

Is anyone else feeling a general 'post Sewing Bee starting' excitement this morning? I most certainly am! Whoo!

This week Lucy is going to give you the low-down on her gorgeous Francoise Dress in her Pattern Club Review.....

Pattern vitals

  • Francoise Dress
  • from Tilly and the Buttons
  • Price: £12.50
  • Size range offered: Bust 76cm (30') - 112cm (44')
  • Style - A 60’s inspired fitted mini dress. This dress would be a great addition to a work wardrobe as it can be styled smartly. Equally, it is a great every day dress.

What type of figure or body shape is it suitable for?
Any body type can wear this dress as the darts allow for a lot of shaping. With the natural flare of the skirt it is suited to pear shapes also. The option of a sleeved version is great for those who like to cover their arms up - the shape is slim yet feels roomy.

What type of fabrics are suitable?
Medium weight cotton, sateen or light twill, preferably with a bit of stretch; double crepe; linen; double knit. For sleeveless version use gabardine, quilting weight cotton or light wool.

What fabric did you choose and why?

I chose our Royal blue chambray dots fabric as I’ve had my eye on it for a while and thought the colour and pattern would lend itself to this simple dress. It is 100% cotton and really soft to the touch. It’s easy to work with and comes in at just under 60” so you don’t need as much fabric as if buying a 45” width.

How easy was it to trace the pattern?
Really easy. Pattern pieces are on thick white paper with really clear pattern markings and labelling.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very easy, they come in a neat little book with simple step by step instructions, colour photographs and handy tips. You can also head to for extra technique tutorials.

Did the difficulty level on the pattern match what you think it should be?
The difficulty level is for a beginner and I think this is accurate as the instructions are very clear, each coming with a colour photograph and simple, concise instructions. There are also handy tips dotted through out for the less experienced sewer.

Were the illustrations/pictures easy to interpret?

Extremely easy as there was a photo accompanying every step.

What challenges or difficulties did you find when putting it together?

None, but beginner sewers might want to practice finishing darts before attempting the curved waist dart and back darts. They may also want to make a collarless version if a complete beginner.

Does the difficulty level on the pattern represent how difficult it was to make up?
Yes it was a very simple and easy pattern to make up. It is also good for beginners who want a new challenge i.e. attaching a collar with facings. I would recommend this pattern if you have already tackled a dressmaking project even if it is just a simple one.

What tips would you recommend to make construction easier?
Mark out with chalk or stitching the entire curved dart, this will make construction foolproof.

How did you find the fit? Was it true to size?
The fit is great and the measurements were very true to size.

What adjustments did you make?
I slimmed down the skirt to make it less flared and took in a few inches at the back before inserting the zip. I tied a little ribbon under the collar too for a bit of extra detail.

Is there anything you would change if making it again?
I would add either contrasting collar or sleeves just as a variation.

What advice would you give to customers when choosing a size?
I find Tilly’s patterns have always been very true to size on myself. With this dress in particular I would suggest leading with the bust measurement as there is already ample room in the pattern for the hips with the skirt of the dress being slightly flared.

Are you happy with the finished garment?
Yes, very, it’s a really comfortable dress to wear

How long did it take to make?
About 3 hours

How much fabric did you use? Did this match up with what was recommended on the pattern?
1.8 metres was recommended and that is what I used.

Any other things to note....
The sizes go from 1- 8 which is a really good feature as it forces you to measure yourself whilst not comparing you to an off the peg size. It also does come up quite short so if you prefer a more knee length look then consider getting some extra fabric and adding on some length at the cut out stage.

Thanks Lucy! I loved her one so much in that fabric that I made a burgandy version. I made the sleeveless option, so to keep me warm while it's still freeeeezing outside, I wore a long sleeved vest underneath!

And completely by accident we ended up wearing it to the shop on the same day last week!

I've seen some awesome versions of this dress out there, have any of you guys made this dress yet?