Through the Arch Window

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouTop: Sportsgirl

Skirt: Jacqui E

Shoes: Chie Mihara

Pardon the shiny face and the flat hair! It bucketed down rain for most of today and I’m just feeling a bit waterlogged. Still, at least my awesome graphic print skirt still has a bit of fouff.

I spotted this one in the window at Jacqui E just before Christmas while I was doing some present-buying. They’ve been flying under my radar for a year or so because I don’t have that much need for corporate-wear, and everything else on their racks was just so same-samey that I stopped visiting the shops. More fool me, because it looks like there’s still a few gems to be found.

Frocks and Frou FrouThe skirt is fully lined with lovely deep functional pockets. The outer fabric is a cotton sateen, which really showcases the bold black and white print (that, full disclosure, kind of reminded me of the Play School windows). The pleated skirt was sewn flat for several inches below the waistband which made the pockets pull open in a not-terribly-nice way over my hips, but once I got the skirt home I just unpicked the pleats open and the result’s much more successful.

The wide black waistband means that I haven’t figured out any other way to wear it other than with a black top, so any recommendations would be great!

I can’t find this skirt on the website any more, so if you love it as much as I did your best bet might be to try some of the clearance stores.

All Buttoned Up

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Hawthorn Dress: DIY (Colette Patterns)

Shoes: Comfortview

So here’s the thing about boobs. They make buttoned-up things a pain in the ass. So shirt dresses are a big old “no”. If they fit the bust they’re boxy in the shoulders. Fit the shoulders? Good luck getting those buttons done up. Add short-waisted to the mix and it just becomes a recipe for wardrobe disaster.

Towards the end of last year I dropped by Stitch 56 to meet Sarai Mitnick, the founder of my favourite pattern company Colette, during her visit to Australia. I accidentally (not really) forgot to take any of my much-loved patterns along to be signed, so “had” to buy a new one, and the Hawthorn shirt dress pattern caught my eye immediately.

It’s a little more advanced than my usual sewing projects, but the comprehensive instruction booklet that comes with all Colette patterns coached me through step-by-step and I was totally delighted to see it coming together.

I had to tweak the pattern a little as I was sewing – shortening the waist and bringing the sides in a little – but it was easy to do in the fitting process. I think if (when!) I make the pattern again with the sleeves I’ll have to do a proper, legit, Full Bust Adjustment.

The dress has a lovely semi-circle skirt that provides fullness without extra bulk. The bodice is darted at the waist for a streamlined look, and the small, high collar gives that classic shirt dress look without the extra volume around the bust.

Frocks and Frou FrouBecause I was a bit nervous about the pattern I started with a budget-friendly textured slub cotton that looks almost identical to the linen dress pictured in the marketing for the original pattern.

I deliberated over the buttons for more time than I care to admit, but in the end decided to indulge my penchant for whimsy and go with pretty little white hearts.

Frocks and Frou FrouThe result was better than I could have hoped for: A beautifully fitting shirt dress that has a classic 1950’s elegance, but is comfortable and breezy to wear on hot summer days.