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.

Smock ‘n Roll

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouCardigan: Princess Highway

Dress: DIY from Fancy Tiger Crafts pattern

Tights: Sonsee Woman

Shoes: Miz Mooz

I was trying to expand my sewing repertoire beyond Colette patterns (on account of the sheer number of Myrtles and Monetas now in my wardrobe!) when I stumbled across Fancy Tiger Crafts. Ostensibly a craft supply shop in Colorado, they also do a few patterns of their own design, including the oh-so-chic Fen Dress which looks like it’s wandered straight off the racks at Melbourne-based hipster-favourite, Obus.

This fabulous smock frock has deep scooped pockets, a boxy fit, and ‘choose-your-own’ features like sleeves, hemlines, and necklines so that you can mix and match your own perfect creation from the one pattern. I’ve made three now, and they’ve all been made of different fabrics with different elements, and I’ve loved every one of them.

This version has a dipped hem and a v-neckline, plus I lengthened the bodice by an inch to give it a slightly dropped-waist effect. For the fabric I splurged on a totally, totally divine cotton-hemp blend ‘denim’, that looks and feels like well-loved linen with none of the wrinkle-factor. I’ve been reading a lot lately about ethical production in the fashion industry (I’ve just started reading this great book on the topic called Wardrobe Crisis – do check it out if you’re interested in fashion and consumerism) and I was reassured to see that the company who supplies the fabric traces the provenance – and worker standards – right down to the raw materials. At $25 a yard It’s probably one of the more expensive fabrics I’ve bought, but the quality speaks for itself and it was definitely worth the investment.

The fabric’s lovely in summer, but Melbourne seems to have finally caught up to the fact that it’s autumn, and the mercury is dropping fast. Teamed with tights (Sonsee, naturally) and a cardigan, the style of the dress is clean enough to layer beautifully.

I kept my jewellery simple, adding my New Favourite Necklace: a ‘spinner’ pendant that lends itself to being endlessly fiddled with during the day (the rough-cut faceted crystal rotates with the flick of a finger).

Frocks and Frou FrouNecklace: Foxtail Boutique

I’ve had my eye on the necklace for the better part of a year now, and I’m so glad I finally snapped it up, because now I want to wear it all the time.