When Tilly brought out her latest dress pattern – the Francoise – at the end of last year I knew immediately that I wanted to make one. My little sister actually bought me the pattern for my birthday back in December but it’s not until this Spring time that I’ve actually found the right fabric with which to make it! If you’ve not seen the pattern, the Francoise is a sixties-style dress with 3/4 sleeves and – my new favourite thing – a collar. It’s just darling!
The pattern recommends that you use a medium weight cotton or twill to make the dress, so I chose this fabulous navy floral print twill from Minerva Crafts. It feels a bit like upholstery fabric but I don’t half love it. It’s such a great floral pattern for this dress too! (The contrasting collar is made using bit of denim blue chambray that I had leftover from another project, by the way). The reason for using slightly heavier fabric than your normal lawns and polycottons is because you need the fabric to hold its shape: the flared-out skirt will hang differently if you use ‘drapey’ fabric rather than ‘stiff’ fabric.
As with all of Tilly’s patterns, the Francoise dress is a delight to sew together. It’s definitely a step-up from the Coco in terms of technical ability, but the instructions are lovely and clear so I’m sure anyone at any level could easily give it a go. For my first attempt at the dress, I’m rather surprised by how well it turned out! My ‘can’t be bothered with making a toile first’ approach catches me out sometimes but not today 😉
The finished dress fits me rather well too – as with the Cocos that I’ve made. I think Tilly has got it nailed when it comes to designing patterns for the more petite amongst us! If you’re taller than 5ft6 then I’d probably recommend lengthening the skirt a bit as I imagine it’d be fairly short otherwise (I’m 5ft3 and the length is perfect). I think my finished Francoise will be great for British Spring though, what do you reckon? Bonus points for those amongst you who have spotted my cat slippers in the photos above! Also – have you made a Francoise yet?