A Home Among the Gum Trees

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouTop: DIY from Marilla Walker pattern

Skirt: Modcloth

Belt: Modcloth

Shoes: Edward Meller

A few weeks ago I was at the Victoria Markets picking up my fruit and veg for the week, and decided to take a bit of a meander through the rest of the market. When I first moved to Melbourne I was excited about having the Queen Vic Markets on my doorstep – thinking it would be rather like the Paddington Markets in Sydney which I insisted on visiting on every family visit. I was a bit disappointed to discover that rather than being a high-end craft and fashion market the Vic Markets were full of a lot of mass-produced tat, and the quality stores that offered something a bit different were few and far between. Occasionally I still pay it a visit, and occasionally I’m surprised by something… like this A+++ gumleaf print fabric!

The stall had a wonderful range of Australian-themed cotton fabrics, some using Australian flora as a design feature. I quizzed the stallholder, and managed to establish that the art used for the gumleaf fabric was from anĀ  artist named Natalie Ryan, who studied botanical painting at the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne.

The gumleaf fabric is a lovely 100% cotton fabric with a slightly silky handfeel. It has better drape than most quilting cottons, so it suited the boxy shape of Marilla Walker’s Maya top quite well.

Frocks and Frou FrouThe stall holder admitted that she wasn’t there very often (and seemed quite affronted when I asked if she sold online) but with a bit of research I managed to track down a seller on Etsy. They also do a large number of fabrics printed with Indigenous Australian art, and they credit the artist (which makes me hopeful that the company producing the fabrics isn’t exploitative, though I haven’t been able to find out any information about their practices in my research online).

The top – with its olive greens, russety reds, and creamy beige, will go with a slew of items in my wardrobe, but today I’m wearing it with my orange ‘Breathtaking Tigerlilies’ skirt from Modcloth. These skirts are such great, versatile pieces that after vacillating about it for a year I finally bit the bullet and bought a few more in different colours. If I get even half as much wear out of them as I have from this one, then they’re definitely value for money.

Modcloth offers free international shipping on orders over $150 – which is a pretty good excuse to go a little bit overboard – so I added the Boldly Buckled Belt (among one or two other things) to help me get over the line. It’s one of the few belts on Modcloth that come in “extended” sizes, and it’s a great, comfy accessory to add to dresses and skirts.

Frocks and Frou FrouBelt: Modcloth

Remix: Sunspots dress-to-skirt

Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou Frou Frocks and Frou FrouTop: Princess Highway

Skirt: Remixed from 17 Sundays dress

Shoes: Seychelles

You may remember this dress, which I bought from 17 Sundays back at the start of the year. I wasn’t particularly happy with the fit of the bodice – it was short-waisted and baggy with armholes cut too deep, and it didn’t suit my figure at all. Belted and worn with a cardigan it was okay, but it was definitely one of those one-hit-wonder style outfits, which meant it spent most of its time languishing in my wardrobe.

Last week I finally mustered up the energy to remix it from a dress into a skirt, using the same process I did all those years ago when I altered a too-small Gorman dress I’d splurged on (you can find the tutorial here).

Frocks and Frou FrouIt was a fairly easy remix – the bodice had enough fabric in it for me to cut two waistband strips, which I interfaced for stability as the fabric itself is a soft and stretchy jersey. Because the skirt already fit well around the waist I was able to salvage the pleats by basting them in place before I removed the bodice to Frankenstein it into a waistband.

Frocks and Frou FrouI’m really happy with the result, and I’m getting a lot more use out of the dress as a mix-and-match separate that I can wear with a variety of different tops including this pretty rose-pink sweater from Princess Highway.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 11.00.45 PMMEANWHILE!

I’m hilariously excited about Melbourne Fashion Week Plus, which is taking place 22-28 August. There’s a slew of events taking place, including four – count them, FOUR – runway shows, and a variety of panels on everything from feminism, to the state of the plus-size industry.

The organisers are keen to ensure that it’s an event that promotes everything about plus size culture: design, discourse and body positivity.

The runway shows include several new designers that are new to me, as well as some of my long-time favourites, and I’ll definitely be attending all four, so hopefully I can bring you news of some brilliant new local and international names to add to your lust-lists – If you’re in Melbourne I’d thoroughly recommend you check the event out yourself (and if you need another excuse to visit Melbourne and would like to make a weekend of it A+ Markets have scheduled their next market for the 28th, too)

You can find tickets for MFWPlus here.