The One with the Frocktails Dress

WOW! I really have been slack with this blog haven’t I? Sorry everyone, I honestly feel like I went to sleep in June and woke up and it was September!

A fair bit has happened in the last few months and I know it would make logical sense for my return to blogging to be a post with the results of the competition that was the focus of the last post – #madelikemaisel – but when do I ever do life in the ‘right’ order?

I will tell you the competition was a HUGE success and I’m so glad I did it. I promise I will write about it, my make and the wonderful winners but for today I wanted to tell you about my most recent make (I say recent but it was in August – yikes!) – my dress for Asheville Frocktails!

Asheville Frocktails I hear you ask? Why yes, it was in August, on a rooftop, over looking the mountains and I played side-kick to the lovely Amanda who put it on.

Here’s a look at the great venue!

To cut a long story short about a year or so ago I got an instagram message from Amanda saying she’d found me on the #ashevillesews hashtag, that she was relatively new to town, and was hoping to meet fellow sewists with a view to eventually putting on a Frocktails. I loved the idea but thought it would be important for us to have an established sewing community to help spread the word and make the event a success. With that in mind I started a local garment sewist group called “Oh Sew Asheville”. It’s been growing steadily over the last year which is fantastic. Here we are making the most of the amazing event Amanda hosted.

When you’re part of an event like that you want to make something killer! Or maybe that’s just me? At first I had no idea what I wanted to make except that it be something that would stand out but that I would get to wear again.

I looked at various patterns that were around but I was also at the beginning of a  phase of wanting to use items in my stash already. Months ago, one of my favourite instagramers, Alice of shared a sneak peak of a pattern she was testing for Alice and Co Patterns. It was one of those where I knew INSTANTLY it was a pattern I’d want to make so imagine my delight when it turned out to be a free download in honour of the Mary Quant exhibition in London.

So many variations!

I’d had the pattern for a while and I’d also managed to score a whole bolt of some kind of bright green polyester fabric that I knew would be the perfect pattern for a 60’s minidress for $8! One day it occurred to me it would be a great make for a summer party. So I decided to go for it. To continue on the “use what you have” theme I decided to make the collar and pocket flaps from a white pillow case I had in my stash. I also had some great vintage yellow buttons which contrasted so well with green and then imagine my delight when I realised the massively cool neon green zip with transparent zip tape I had bought in Tokyo was the EXACT green of my fabric – talk about meant to be! I realised at the end my entire dress cost under $10. Bargain!

Another of my favourite instagrammers is @winmichele. She’s studying pattern drafting etc. at college and she often shares her journey and she always has the best tips! As I was deciding on this pattern she was discussing the benefits of flat pattern measuring, something I’ve never really tried on my fitting journey but decided to give it a go on this project. So, for the first time in forever I decided not to do a muslin. I mean, I had a whole bolt of the fabric so if it turned out to have a tonne of issues, I could at least recut some pieces if need be, but strictly speaking it wasn’t a muslin – bad sewist!

The flat pattern measuring worked out pretty well I’m pleased to say. I did my usual “petit” changes, i.e shortening the bodice between shoulder and chest, narrowing my shoulders and of course shortening the length for my 5ft 2″ self. All in all the first fit was pretty good! I had to scoop out the armholes as they sat weird…I’m starting to realise I have a narrow chest…more on that in another post. I also had to change my darts as they weren’t pointing to my apex and as this was to be worn at a party full of sewists I wanted it to be right.

I did all those changes, attached collar, facings etc. and thought I was super happy with it. All I had left was the hem and attaching the little belt band at the back. When I went to do that however, I realised I had a bunch of fabric pooling at my lower back. I’m still not sure if its because I need a sway back adjustment or something else but as always the lovely and talented @msjennmakes saved the day. I’d tried pinning out two vertical darts on my own but they didn’t seem to work too well, as you can see here:

Jenn came over with a plan to help me pin them seeing as it was in the back and hard to do alone. She started saying how it would be so much better if she could just do a horizontal tuck as the upper back looked great but how it would look crappy. Imagine how happy we were when we realised we could tuck it out right where the belt would sit! Talk about serendipity.

From there it was simply picking the best part – SHOES!! I absolutely adore shoes and have a pretty impressive collection. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?) I didn’t have anything that worked for this dress. I knew I needed something that would pop and I managed to find some beautiful vintage style yellow and white round toed heels.

Look at them!

Before I knew it the event was upon us. We ended up having 60 people from 4 different states! So much more than we ever could’ve dreamed. It was so lovely to see so many sewists together, enjoying being able to nerd out over seam finishes and fabrics, and it not seeming weird to touch other people’s clothes, you know, things only other sewists will understand.

Here’s some of my fave pics from the evening, including one of my house mate from Gainesville, Cassandra, who only recently learnt to sew and made her first ever dress for the event, she did such an amazing job!

Cassandra’s first dress!

I even got to mean the legendary Brooks Ann Camper and my fellow book worm Kait! 

After Frocktails I realised I didn’t get any pictures of me by myself in the dress so Joe and I went to the local Arboretum and he took some for me. Here’s a handful for you, complete with mini beehive hairstyle in true 60’s fashion! I will say, even though this dress is made from polyester it’s actually super comfortable and I can’t wait to wear it again!


A couple of portraits so you can see the collar and that Japanese zip I love so much!


Well there you have it folks. I have to admit, since Frocktails I’ve massively lost my sewjo, I’ve still been struggling with fit (which I’m working through and hopefully will have made some headway next time you hear from me) and I seem to have a bit of project paralysis too as I have lots of fabric and patterns paired up ready to go but seem unable to choose – talk about 1st world problems right?

Thanks for reading and hopefully this marks the return of the blogging bug for me!

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