Comments 23

My Leopardy Francoise Dress

Last month Tilly released her latest pattern – the Francoise Dress.   I bought it the first day it was on sale and couldn’t wait to get started. I really couldn’t decide which fabric to use so got to work on making a muslin.  Then Tilly announced a competition!! So here’s my entry!  If you need some inspiration for your Francoise there’s loads over at Tilly’s pinterest board.

I was a bit stumped at first deciding which dart lines to follow I was blending different sizes from the wait and hips.


The cat helped!  I really don’t know how other cat-less sewers out there manage.  They always like to get involved!


I made the muslin, complete with sleeves, using an old cotton sheet with no stretch.  I wanted to know how it would be with a not very forgiving fabric.  The only adjustment I decided to make was to alter the position of the darts.

(photos of my muslin are floating about in the cloud somewhere and unfortunately I can’t locate them at the minute!)

I ummed and arred for a few days wondering what fabric to use.  Initially I was going to make the made part of the dress with a navy corduroy and ponte knit orange/blue arms.  Sounds hideous I know but I think it would have worked.  But then I remembered this stretch cotton sateen which I’ve had a while.  It’s been waiting for something special, but has been shrinking (last year I made some mini totes and zipper pouches for Christmas pressies).

tilly buttons franchise dress

I opted for the sleeveless and collarless version with black contrasting yokes.  I laid it out on the floor (like in Tilly’s picture) so I didn’t get my pieces mixed up.

The dress was a dream to sew.  Think that was due to great instructions and good quality fabric. I used a normal zip but really struggled to zip and unzip it as my arms couldn’t reach, and when I added the facing to the neck the top of the zip stuck out making it look like i needed to loose at least an inch on the centre back seam.  Oh no!!

I’ve no idea how it happened but I found I could take the dress off without unzipping it. So I removed the zip and re-stitched the centre back seam, taking in an inch at the top.  I could still get it on and off ok, and the gaping back neck was fixed!

I wore the finished dress last friday to my works christmas do.  No pix from there I’m afraid – it was too dark for iPhone pix.  Today I used the self time and managed to take some, then also braved the wild English weather for a couple of shots in the garden!


tilly francoise



This entry was posted in: Dresses
Tagged with: ,


I sew and play golf. I blog about my sewing as I don't think you'd want to read about my golf. It's bad enough watching it on telly! Contact me via email - Thimbers.blog@gmail.com


  1. Ooh, it’s making me play “These boots are made for walking” on my internal music player! But you can’t beat Nancy Sinatra as a style icon, so it’s not a bad thing! I’m loving this leopard print version. Good luck with the competition

    • Thanks Amanda! Yea, I got a few. It’s funny, friends just assume now I’ve made whatever im wearing but it’s still nice to get the ’no! You didn’t make that!’s. 😀

  2. As I said already, it’s wild and the most positive way, it’s such a cute cut and the leopard makes it a completely different garment! Really cool! The fit is amazing and well done for eliminating the zipper, I would be so much happier if I didn’t have to deal with them at all. Best of luck with the competition. xx

    • Thankyou!
      When I made my muslin I wouldn’t have gotten away without a zip, but it was a woven and had sleeves. The leopard print was a soft stretch cotton , so I think I’ll try and find something similar for my next one. It was just a fluke I found out i didn’t need a zip!😀

  3. I’m not much of a leopard print person myself, but this is really flattering! Love the contrasting shoulders. Great job! Leopard print in my mind is for the very young, or the very old, and of course I don’t consider myself either of those, so I stay away from it, then dresses like this come along and make me re-consider it!

    • I’d never really thought about who could wear this, I just loved it and bought it. Originally it was for a Mac style coat, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut into it until the Françoise came along! I’m 43, so I guess I’d fall into the young category!! Haha! I wish!! 😀✂️😀

  4. Fiona M says

    Well I think it’s fab! And leopard print transcends all age barriers, surely?

    • Sure does, I don’t think I’d be able to pull off a leopard print hot pants tho! Thinking about it, I don’t think I’d pull them off in any fabric!
      Thanks for stopping by! ✂️😀✂️

    • Thanks Emmely, I’ve got a little bit of fabric left, I need some slippers like the ones you made to match!
      I intended to make everyone a pair for Christmas but the last 4 weeks have been crazy and I’ve not had time. They’re still near the top of my to-do list tho ✂️😀✂️

    • Thanks Del,
      I’m hoping 2015 is the year of the fitting for me! I’ve only made what I’d call a proper muslin once before but i bought a fitting Craftsy class on Black Friday in the sale and I’m going to try and improve things I make. I think flattering my curves will be easier than dieting!
      Happy Christmas to you too! 😀✂️😀

      • Thank you and you might be right. I initially didn’t think it would be fitted enough for my shape, but you and many others seem to be proving me otherwise with your lovely versions 🙂 I’m also tempted to go back and have a go at a Coco dress for similar reasons 🙂

  5. Thanks Linda, it is comfy with have a tiny bit of stretch, but I think the next one will be a couple of inches longer – this looks a bit short when I sit down! The cat doesn’t mind tho! 😀✂️😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s