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Brisbane Frocktails .... it all worked out in the end!

I was convinced I'd be wearing black to Frocktails last Saturday night. A black net fabric with flowers   actually on it (hard to describe). It needed a lining, it was going to be a raglan style with the sleeves not lined. Very specific isn't it? The problem was, I just wasn't feeling it. I couldn't pick a lining colour, I went through a rayon in a fuchsia colour, a off white raw silk, I couldn't find the purple lining I have (somewhere) and on it went for nearly two weeks. I draped it over me with the linings and looked in the mirror, I did it all but I just couldn't summon the enthusiasm (not even close) to start. I changed my idea of the pattern and decided on a Burda pattern but still couldn't start. Come Friday afternoon, with my deadline looming, I decided to clean the house up (that's a plus really) and then with half an hour before my son was getting home, decided to use a Vogue Designer pattern and a fabric I bought in Singapore in 2009 and placed it on the fabric and cut it out. I tried to talk myself into starting it at least that evening when my son went to bed but decided against it... that was really asking for trouble.

This is the fabric I used in the end. It is a "washable silk" - this was on the selvage - and has it all - burn out, sequins, embroidery and a lovey drape and hand. It's a little transparent so it had to be lined too. The lining I used was from a handful I bought a few months ago at an op shop - I think all three I bought were $3 and would you believe it was silk too. I was really thrilled and although it was a grey green it was close enough. 

Last year I was going to use this McCall's pattern with this fabric to wear to the High Tea, but it just wouldn't fit on my length of fabric, even without the godet.

This is the pattern I ended up using. Can you believe that I got this dress out of 2 metres of 120cm wide fabric! I was thrilled. I think it was the drafting of the pattern and the layout. I want to mention that we were meeting at 6pm and I started sewing this at 11 am. Of course I had to first dye my son's cloak for halloween, mop the floor and at 1 pm I had to drive my son to my sister's place which takes all up about 2 hours! No pressure. I had to be on the bus (so glamorous) at 5.10pm. Although at 1pm I had the skirt made and the top partly done, I still had to shower, do my hair and make up and finish it.

Anyway this is what the dress looked like on the night so you know it got finished. Here I am with Jenny in the purple Vogue 8805 and Marjorie wearing her Burda dress.   Don't we look terrifically stylish.

The skirt is in 2 pieces with no side seams, just a centre back seam. The top front, back and straps are cut on the bias, with the skirt pieces on the straight grain. It is also supposed to have a waistband,  a zip at the waist on the skirt part with the top being closed with snaps.  I didn't do any of these as I had no time. I also measured the waistband around my waist and it wouldn't have been long enough anyway. 

Here I missed getting a small end of the skirt attached to the top! I didn't notice this until I took it off but wasn't noticeable due to the blousing of the top, thank goodness. At least no one mentioned it.

This is the lining peaking out. The pattern doesn't call for lining and I wasn't including the fastenings so I had to think through how to put it all together. I didn't rush because I knew that would be asking for more trouble. I was going to sew the skirt and skirt lining separately and do a rolled hem on the overlocker as it was conveniently threaded with green still. However, this has some sequins and the embroidery and I know when I need something done in a hurry, the overlocker objects and will stuff it up. I couldn't take the risk if I wanted to wear it that night so I sewed them together and flipped it so it was fully enclosed. I think that's why it is peaking out a bit as I cut a few millimetres off the hem part of the skirt lining for some turn of seam allowance and it slipped around a bit, plus at the waist it's not perfect and so the skirt sits wrongly (I will fix this up) making the lining show.

This is the lining (above) and the waist treatment (below). The top is fully enclosed in the lining and so I wanted to enclose the seams in the waist area but it was so tricky as I decided to use elastic at the waist not only for comfort but also for the gathering as I didn't have time to do it the normal time consuming way. It was tricky also because the front of the skirt has a few pleats and then gathering through the back but I just made three pleats (instead of the five) and then had to try and fit the skirt to the top. Then I needed to hand stitch the linings together but only did about a quarter properly and then just roughly for the rest as I ran out of time, but also because I suspected I would need to open it up again to tidy it up a bit. That was a good plan I think as I noticed after the back seams don't meet.

Very rough, temporary job on joining the linings at the waist!

The top was a dream to sew. The cowl is lovely and comes to a point which keeps it in place very nicely. It calls for the cowl edges to be folded once, then the strap ends placed in there and then folded and sewn in place. I just did this using the fabric and lining as one and it worked out perfectly.

This is the strap folded into the cowl edge. Lining the dress was a blessing in the long run because I dreaded sewing in the facing for the armhole... so glad that was avoided.

 Turn of cloth on my skirt hem... worked mostly, just needs to be tidied up.

Of course there was a disaster. I had a time plan to follow and I was only about 10 minutes over so I was pretty happy. I got everything done, put my cute, cute,  perfect colour matched shoes on. These shoes incidentally are also from Singapore. They were bought the same trip in 2009 and they haven't seen a lot of work but they are so comfortable. See the white under my foot - this is padded and the heel is a lovely height so they are great for a night out. I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my back and walked about 10 metres towards the bus stop and the moulded bottom of the shoe (which is also green) separated from the top!!! I had to rush back, grabbed the first shoes I could and raced to the bus stop. Of course I had forgotten to swap my $5 huge plastic watch with my nice watch too and then waited for about 15 minutes for the bus. 

In the end it was a terrific night, details of which will follow in the next post because this is long enough. 


  1. Very pretty - love the fabric!

  2. Oh my goodness, talk about procrastination and leaving it until the last minute - even down to cleaning the house!!! But what a fantastic result - perfect dress for you, fresh, pretty, and exotic - it really suits you. And Cinderella went to the ball, sans nice shoes and watch, and enjoyed herself - that's a great ending to the story :)

  3. P.S. I hope I did not offend you by my comment about procrastination - I do the same when my sewjo is down.

    1. Thanks you so much for the lovely comments, Sarah Liz. I'm not offended at all. If you look in my "About me" I say I'm a procrastinator! However, normally it's not THAT bad but I was convinced I'd go in a black dress and couldn't get past that until nearly too late.

  4. You sure know how to sew to a deadline - I remember you also whipped up something fabulous for last year's frocktails on the day?! I'll bet that black flowery net will be great when you can find the purple lining (I'm biased, that's my favourite colour!)

    1. Yeah! It wasn't quite to this degree but that was a bit more straightforward. Your dress was fantabulous!!! I just want to say that I stalk your instagram too, but I'm not on it so can't comment... but I'm watching :)

  5. This dress is gorgeous! Love this pattern.

  6. What a fabulous pattern - I absolutely love how it turned out for you! Great drape detail in the skirt - fabulous fabric choice too :)

    1. Thanks. I will be happier when I fix it up so it can be my special Christmas dress.

  7. The fabric the fabric!

    And the pattern and yourself in the dress do justice to it. And oh I don't know, I rather like the big pink watch with the rest of the outfit :-)


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