Completed: A Francoise trio

If the Ogden Cami was my pattern of the summer (six camis to date) then the Tilly and the Buttons Francoise Dress is a hot contender for my pattern of the autumn.

Anyone know what the collective noun is for a group of dresses? I think it might be bundle. I have made a bundle of Francoise.

In the last month I have made three variations of this dress and I’m probably not done yet.


For those who don’t know the pattern, Francoise is a 1960s inspired A-line shift dress with fabulous French darts and raglan sleeves.

I have quite an hourglass figure and really wasn’t expecting this dress to work on me but the shape is so flattering on my curves.

This is the first one:


I made this out of a textured ponte di roma from Sherwood Fabrics. The fabric has a bit of stretch but maybe not as much stretch as you would expect for a ponte and it is still quite sturdy. My measurements have me more-or-less at a size 5 for this dress – which is around a UK size 14- so I just went ahead and cut it without doing a toile first.

The only change I made to the pattern was to lengthen the skirt by two inches.  I’m 41 years-old, my days of bum skimming minis are long gone!

I had every intention of inserting a zip into the back of this dress, as per the pattern instructions, but when it looked as though it would be stretchy enough to just pull straight over my head, I skipped the zip and just sewed up that centre back seam.

I am so happy with the finished result. It fits me so perfectly and I didn’t really need to do anything to achieve that fit.


Version two is made from a woven fabric and is sleeveless. This one is made from a Liberty drill that I got from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester for, get this, £5/m.  Liberty for a fiver!

I cut a size 5 again and added an invisible zip to the centre back seam for this one.  I was expecting it to feel a bit snug compared to the ponte version but it is still quite roomy. And again, with those darts, it gives such a flattering shape.


Francoise dress.jpg

My final, for now at least, version of this dress is made from a super cosy ponte from Sew Over It. For this one I knew that I would not be adding a zip and did not need a centre back seam. So I cut the back piece on the fold, taking out the 1.5cm seam allowance.

This one feels a bit looser than the other two versions and I could have probably sized down. This is down to the fabric having a bit more stretch to it. But to be honest, a cosy and roomy dress that is also really really flattering…. that is no bad thing.

If I didn’t hate the term so much, I would describe it as an autumn ‘wardrobe staple’. But, ewww, no.

Technical Details:

Pattern: Francoise Dress by Tilly & the Buttons

My measurements: bust 37″, waist 30″, hip 39″

Size cut: 5


Version 1 – 2m of textured ponte from Sherwood Fabrics

Version 2 – 1.5m Liberty drill from Abakhan Fabrics

Version 3 – 2m ponte from Sew Over It

Adjustments made: Lengthened skirt by 5cm in all versions. Took out centre back zip in version 1 and 2. Took out centre back seam in version 3.

Future adjustments: Size down if making with knit fabric.

Make again: Probably, I’m a big fan of this style.





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