Francoise’s Unicorn

tillyfrancoisesdress7Ok, I normally don’t give my outfit names but this technicolor number was crying for a nickname. I made Tilly’s francoise’s dress back in november but never got around blogging. On my last count there are 9 un-blogged finished items waiting for me to photograph and write and I blame Instagram. Sewn. Snap. Blogged. 


Francoise* is a MINI shift dress. Yes mini, so leggy ladies put your hems down. I sewn a straight size 3 and added a hem band because I was on tunic territory. The reason I didn’t automatically added length is because on A line shapes skirts & dresses suit me better when short. Body proportion +garment shape is such a trial and error process and once we find a ‘formula’ we can wear all shapes and styles, even the ones we think we couldn’t.


I love french darts and often advice full busted students to seek it on their pattern choices. Shape the body without being overly fitted. This dress fit me ok, in hindsight I should have dropped the bust dart about 1 cm. “If you don’t want to nit-pick on finished items, muslin it sista! “I should put that on a T-shirt.


The collar is not original from the pattern. I used the same of this tunic.  As for the fabric, left over from my off the runaway Troubadour dress. 


As I didn’t have enough I cut my sleeves and created a colour block effect. I solution I have grown to love. Such an easy way to create different outfits from one pattern.  Economic use of fabric too.


Since finishing this dress I have hardly sewn cute dresses and let alone super colourful ones. As I mentioned previously I’m trying to move my wardrobe to a more co-ordinated and minimalist approach and sewing more tailored and monochromatic color schemes. It doesn’t mean I stopped loving color and print but just meant i’m trying a whole new look on key pieces.  Not going to be translated immediately on my backlog but hopefully next year I can look back and see a concise and more thoughtful wardrobe approach.

Ps: I’m taking part of Me Made May but my pledge is a little different this year. You can keep up with my outfits on my social media channels if you want to.


Have you found yourself conflicted on fabric choices between super fun vs grown up/tone down?

*Pattern was courtesy of my friend Tilly.

  • Thanks for the advice on making the skirt longer! I just bought the pattern and am going to make the francoise dress too, but I am pretty tall so I will need to lengthen the skirt a little too!

  • your sleeves are soooooooo much fun!

    i get conflicted on fabric, once or twice a week when i realize i have to look “business casual” for a part and have zero for that.

  • So very cute. You look lovely.

  • So very pretty, this is a great color on you.

  • misscrayolacreepy

    LOVE those colors on you!

  • I love the color blocking!

  • Great colors! For me, crazy colors and prints are great for things like summer dresses. But for separates, which I wear more often, I am trying to be more thoughtful with my makes so I don’t have pieces in my wardrobe that don’t go with anything! Over the winter I was very attracted to black and white prints as well as my usual greys, and I found that it’s very easy to mix and match those pieces together. So I’m trying to think of ways to introduce more color, but colors that play well together so I have a flexible wardrobe!

  • “If I don’t want to nit-pick on finished items, muslim it sista! I should put that on a T-shirt.”
    That would be very funny, but if you ever do, be sure to write “muslin” instead 🙂

    Love the band on the bottom of the dress. One of my favourite ways to lift a long daggy opshop skirt is to cut it short and add a contrast bottom band. Looks cute on a woollen kilt if you use wide satin ribbon.

  • I haven’t worked out a colour palate for me yet, so thought I’d spend the year working it out… and then I might tone it down to match more items in my wardrobe (yet to be sewn though!) so we’ll see. I just love that print! Those big yellow flowers are gorgeous!

  • Lisa

    Your dress looks amazing and I’m completely in love with that collar! So adorable and inspiring! I want to pin it twice it looks so cute!

    One other quick comment from a very large chested sewer (36FF / G): I actually avoid french darts because you have to make them so deep that it distorts the overall shape of the fabric and you get these weird bits completely off grain. I have tried again and again to make them work because I think they are beautiful, but they don’t work when you have to add a large FBA to a pattern. I prefer to distribute portions of a very big dart into the other pivot points like the armpit, shoulder or down the front.

    • Houseofpinheiro

      Hi Lisa , thanks for your point on too large bust issues with the darts. I haven’t enc this before but as with so many rules in sewing, there Isn’t only truth, isn’t it. Love xx

  • Such a lovely variation on this pattern, love the colours on you too.