Thursday, 30 June 2016

Frivolous Frills

Hello! I have tons of clothes, and really have no need to make any more except for the reason that I feel like it and enjoy it. It keeps me out of trouble! I usually see something in a film, or something pops up on Instagram that takes my fancy, or I buy some random fabric and then have to think of something to make with it. My imagination will be sparked, out come the patterns, and away we go.

It was a combination of these events that resulted in the latest dress. First, I've been really taken with all the off the shoulder styles that are around at the moment; I particularly liked the tutorial that By Hand London put together showing you how to draft your own. 

Next, I've always wanted to make this pattern from my collection:

Simplicty 4669 from 1954 (image from Vintage Patterns Wiki)

I had an idea that since the straps on this bodice seem to sit on the edge of the shoulder, this would somehow work well with a ruffle or frill.

And finally, I had a big piece of this polka dot fabric in my stash:

I think I got it from Ikea many moons ago; I don't remember how much it cost, but it can't have been much!

I decided to make view 1, with the body in plain black, and with the neckline frill and some extra hem frills in the polka dot. I bought some cheap-as-chips black twill from Walthamstow market and started working on the bodice.

But as I was working on the bodice, I went off the idea of a full skirt. I often feel a bit swamped in a full skirt; I think pencil or just slightly flared suit me. 

Out came what is starting to become my old stand by, Butterick 8571:

I've used this skirt here, here, and here - I find it just works for me. But I wanted to tie it in with the frill. At first I was going to add another polka dot frill at the hem - but no, just too much. I decided to draft some pockets with flaps at the hip to tie it all together:

Everybody loves pockets, right?

Close up of the left hand pocket, with the hand picked zip

Excuse the rubbish bathroom selfie, but the dress is actually quite nice in this plain version - maybe a future project?:

But now the frill! The obvious course to take would be to cut a rectangle that was the required depth (plus hems), and was the measurement of the neckline and shoulders times 1 1/2. That method is fine, but I find that can make for a rather boxy frill. Instead I cut the frill as a circular piece, then gathered it to drape across the neckline and around the shoulders:

Completed frill

This way the frill has a flare at the hem without too much bulk at the top. It seemed I was pretty much making it up as it went along with this dress, so I decided to do something similar at the hem:

This time the inner measurement of the frill was the exact measurement of the hem, without any gathering.

So here it is all together:

Here are some details:

I gathered the frill with a long machine stitch, then tried it on with the dress to adjust the size. The off the shoulder section had a piece of elastic applied with a 3-step zig-zag to keep it in place:

Elastic applied with 3-step zig-zag 
The rest of the gathering was stitched directly to the neckline:

I didn't line the bodice - I get really hot! - but I did line the skirt in this rose pink polyester, as well as the hem frill:

Despite having no need for this dress in my wardrobe, I did find a reason to wear it at a friends birthday party. Of course, I forgot to take any photos of it in action!

That's it for now - see you soon!


  1. Very nice! The frill was not frivolous at all--makes the dress zing!

  2. Oh my goodness, this is fabulous! The way you did the gathering is genius, and I love the shape of the skirt.

  3. I've always loved that Butterick pattern of yours, the dress looks fab with the slimmer skirt. You look absolutely gorgeous! x

  4. Your dress is stunning! I love how you used the polkadot fabric on the pockets.


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