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Frocks and Frou FrouFrocks and Frou FrouTop: DIY

Skirt: Sussan

Shoes: Chie Mihara

So, a week or so ago the BF and I were lying in bed (not doing anything, so you can just get that out of your mind) when *CRACK* the whole thing collapsed out from under us. A knot in the wood had caused a weakness in one of the beams and the whole thing was irretrievable. So the bed was broken (boo!) which meant getting a new one (yay!) but the one that we liked didn’t come with the big cushions for the headboard (boo!) so I had to go to Spotlight to try and find something similar (yay!).

Which is a very roundabout way of telling you that I found some awesome fabric that reminds me of the clouds in a dawn sky, and I thought I’d buy it and using my well-fitting Finki top as a template make another boxy t-shirt.

It is, figuratively speaking, a copy-paste job (hence the blog title) so you don’t need a pattern, you just need a top that fits well, and doesn’t have any tricky seaming. The Finki tee is a perfect examples because it doesn’t even have separate sleeves. Front and back are both just one piece of fabric.

So – to start you need to lay your t-shirt out on your fabric: If you’re using a fabric with a directional print don’t forget you’ll need to cut your yardage in half and lay it reverse-side up behind the first piece, or you’ll end up with half your top upside down:Frocks and Frou Frou 1 Pin your tee to the fabric, then cut around it, adding a cm or two for seams.

Frocks and Frou Frou 2

For the lower neckline at the front you should be able to make the shape out with your fingers. Trace the shape with a fabric pencil, or just with pins.

On just one piece cut out the front neckline – don’t forget to add your seam allowance!

Frocks and Frou Frou 3If, hypothetically, you had bought more than one pieces of fabric to make into t-shirts, so would be the time to use the two pieces of your new tee-shirt as a template. Hypothetically. Ahem. So. If you’ve got an overlocker everything just got a whole heap easier for you than the rest of us. But then, if you have an overlocker you probably are a much more experienced sewer than I am, so you’re not even reading this part anyway because this tutorial is way below your skill set.

You want to finish the neckline of your top first. Just fold the curve down, pin it, and sew it. I use a double-needle because I think it gives a cleaner line on knit fabrics, but you could just finish the edge with a zigzag, then turn the edge over and finish the line with a straight stitch. Do both pieces, front and back:

frocks and frou frou 4 Right sides together pin the two pieces at the shoulder, then down both sides. Swap your double needle back for a single and sew the two pieces together where you’ve pinned.

Frocks and Frou FrouNow all you’ve got left to do is finish the armholes and the hem. I did this with a double needle again. Because: Neat.

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Less Is Myrtle

Frocks and Frou Frou - Myrtle DressFrocks and Frou Frou - Myrtle DressFrocks and Frou Frou - Myrtle Dress Frocks and Frou Frou - Myrtle Dress

 Dress: DIY from Colette “Myrtle” pattern

Belt: Dangerfield

Shoes: Comfortview

I’m not a natural sewer; I’m too impatient and haphazard, and I don’t really possess the skills to do things like full-bust alterations. I’m definitely not a measure-twice-cut-once kind of gal (more like a who-the-hell-measures-these-days kind). Despite my success with the Macaron dress pattern years previously I got a little burned with the last Colette dress that I attempted to make: the Peony had to be dramatically (and amateurishly) tweaked to be wearable, and even then I wasn’t that happy with the results.

Colette launched the Myrtle dress pattern in July this year with some gorgeous shots of a curvy young woman in a draped white dress. With its cowl-neck, blouson bodice and elasticised waist it looked like a dress with a forgiving fit for beginning sewers, so I thought I’d buy some cheap jersey from Spotlight and give the pattern a whirl.

Colette’s patterns are great for newbie dressmakers. The patterns come packaged with a booklet with very clear and concise illustrated instructions. The Colette website/blog provides heaps of basic tutorials, and there’s even a step-by-step sew along that culminates in a great gallery of dresses made by the participants.

I picked a cheapie printed cotton jersey from Spotlight in a lovely burnt orange. The dress seems to take an inordinate amount of fabric (that cowl neck bodice is self-faced, so there’s a bit of extra fabric in that) so I ended up spending a little bit more than I’d anticipated, but the result’s a killer.

The elasticised waist is easy and comfortable, and the fact I’m short-waisted wasn’t an issue due to the blousy effect of the bodice. The draped neckline flatters my figure by showing off collar bones without flashing my cleavage up and down the street. And (hurrah!) the dress even has pockets.

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It took me a couple of hours from fabric to frock, and that includes time acquainting myself with my new sewing machine, and unpicking and resewing the bodice to he skirt three times (I keeps sewing it on inside out. Don’t ask me how… it was late.)

I was so delighted with the finished result that the first thing I did was go out and buy MORE jersey fabric so I could make a second version, slightly longer than the first.

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This second Myrtle was made of a much softer knit fabric, so the drape on the neckline is deeper and more pronounced. The longer hemline gives it an elegance that makes it perfect for a special event, so I played up the glam factor with a sparkly brooch pinned at the waistband and my best bling from Totally Jewel.

Frocks and Frou Frou

Necklace & Earrings from Totally Jewel

All up – fabric, elastic and thread – the dress cost me about $14 which is a steal in anyone’s book, and now that I’m confident with the pattern I’m already planning to make a third Myrtlw with a special (i.e. spendy) fabric that I’ve ordered from Spoonflower.