Fen and Flannel

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouDress: DIY from Fancy Tiger Crafts pattern

Tights: Woolen Goods

Shoes: Gorman

Flannel’s nice, huh? Flannel PJs, flannel sheets. There’s just something about it that suggests warmth, comfort, lazy winter days. It’s definitely an indoor fabric, or at least that’s what I thought until I saw this brushed cotton from Japanese fabric designer Nani Iro.

It has the lovely soft hand-feel and warmth of a regular flannel, but the composition is 100% cotton and the elegant floral print ensures the dress looks more like a watercolour painting than a nightie.

It’s the second Fen dress that I’ve made using my new(ish) Fancy Tiger Crafts dress pattern. The first, made from a hemp-cotton linen, has been one of my favourites for months.

In deference to the chiller weather this flannel Fen dress has sleeves which (to be honest) I’m a little on the fence with. The pattern is already so boxy that the extra volume around the arms just seems to nudge it into OTT territory.

More successful was the piping that I added to the pockets:

Frocks and frou frouI haven’t used piping before, but it turns out it’s hilariously easy and adds just the right amount of definition to the low scooped pockets. I like it. I want to add piping to alllllll my pockets now.

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.