Where’s Spot

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouTop: DIY from Aster pattern & Spoonflower fabric

Skirt: Modcloth

Shoes: Rockport

For a few years now I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect dotty top. A couple of years ago I had one made by Loni at Love To Love You on Etsy, and it was wonderful, but recently I’ve been thinking that I quite fancied the idea of having one made with smaller dots.

I spotted this fabric on Spoonflower and thought that it fit the bill, but I didn’t pay much attention to the measurements (rookie mistake) and when the fabric came the dots were much bigger than I’d anticipated. Still, I’d bought Colette’s Aster shirt pattern especially, so I thought I’d give the project a whirl.

The fabric that I chose was the basic cotton, and I’ll be honest – I don’t love it; it feels a bit cheap and crunchy, but the colours are spot on and it washes really well. It’s possible that the fabric will soften over time, but at the moment it’s probably a bit more crisp than I ideally wanted.

Colette’s Aster pattern was also just ooookay. It definitely wasn’t really a beginner-friendly pattern, which surprised me a little, as Colette’s instruction booklets are usually so well written that anyone can follow the steps without too much trouble. The shirt is collarless, but has a lovely yoke at the back.

Frocks and Frou FrouThe instructions for the front placket were kind of inscrutable, and even after I’d finished I wasn’t confident I’d done it correctly. The sleeves were far too long, so I’ve rolled the cuffs, and I also put more buttons in than necessary so that the shirt stood a chance at staying fastened over the Rack of Doom.

Frocks and Frou FrouI found the fit a bit problematic, but the wonderful Laura recently dropped by to teach me how to do a full-bust adjustment, so I’m definitely planning to give it another go down the track (perhaps with a less starchy fabric).

The good thing about this top is that those wonderful watercolour dots will go with everything. Black yellow, red, green, grey, mustard… I’m wearing it with (another) Breathtaking Tiger Lilies skirt from Modcloth.

If you get in quickly, Modcloth has a 25% off Family & Friends sale on right now, with the code F13m64G, and don’t forget, you can get free International shipping for orders over $150.

Herringboned

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouFrocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouDress: DIY from Colette Hawthorn pattern

Belt: Princess Highway

Shoes: Hush Puppies

I had so much success with my first Colette Patterns Hawthorn Dress that I decided to give the pattern a second go with sleeves for the cooler months.

The Hawthorn was the first time I’d sewn a collar, and with the clear instructions provided it went off (more or less) without a hitch, so I was looking forward to having a whirl at making my own shirt cuffs. In the interest of warmth I picked a wool blend fabric in a charcoal grey herringbone – it was a much heavier fabric than the cotton I made the first dress in… and that was my first mistake. (It also frayed like the devil, and was a total pain-in-the-ass to sew with.)

So, the heavier fabric meant that the collar didn’t sit as neatly as my previous attempt, and no amount of pressing could get it to lie flat. Between the collar, the facing, the interfacing, and the main body of the dress there’s a lot of layers of fabric, so in retrospect it wasn’t entirely surprising I was getting collar pop. It might soften over time, but in the meanwhile I’ve just been coaxing the collar flat by pinning it with a brooch!

Frocks and Frou FrouThe heaviness of the fabric also meant that I ran into trouble making the cuffs, which – just so you know – are a total nuisance to sew. If I ever say I’m going to sew something with cuffs again slap me, ok?

As usual for Colette Patterns, the arms were hilariously too baggy, and I had to tweak both sleeves and cuffs dramatically before I was satisfied. Well, satisfied-ish.

Frocks and Frou FrouThey’re a bit wobbly and warped, but they’ll do, and they look better shoved halfway up to my elbows (though it does result in billowing sleeves).

The fabric was a nightmare, fraying if I even looked at it sideways, which meant I lost patience with perfecting the fit long before it, well, fit. So it’s a bit boxier and lumpier, and the waist isn’t quite straight (which is fine, I need to belt it anyway) but it’s comfortable and warm, and while it might not be the first winter dress I reach for in the morning it’s definitely wearable in public.