A Flounce of Frocks

I’m having a bit of a run on frocks at the moment – when that sun decides to come out and stay out for longer than two days, I’ll be ready.

If ‘flounce’ isn’t the collective noun for frocks it should be.

Anyway, the navy and white swallow dress I showed you that I made for Mlle. Tialys the Younger is languishing in her wardrobe and will presumably make an appearance when she is ready and not before.

I needed something to take to my sewing class the other day – I am an erstwhile visitor needing help with certain ‘tricksy’ bits in projects rather than the whole thing – so I picked up a dress I made about four years ago which looks at me reproachfully now and again whenever I inadvertently uncover it from wherever I happen to have stuffed it away last time I had a guilt trip about it.  If I remember correctly, I’d put the invisible zip in the back but the front of the dress wasn’t laying right against my shoulders, neck or chest, a common problem for me as I really should make a smaller size and do an FBA (full bust adjustment) instead of making the correct bust size and then having to alter everything else.  I thought it would be a case of the tutor pinning me in properly and then me re-inserting the zip which is plenty for a two hour session once I’ve had a chat and a nosey at what everyone else is doing.  Of course, being the perfectionist she is, it wasn’t that straightforward and I ended up hearing I needed to take out the sleeves and re-do one of the back princess seams before I could even think of putting the zip back in.

Anyway, back at home, I did all the alterations she suggested, put the zip in and it still gapes a bit at the neckline so I’ll have to take it back and do some more fiddling with it under expert supervision.  I don’t think I’ll ever actually wear it because the fabric isn’t great – it wouldn’t be something I’d use now – and to be honest, I’ve fiddled about with it so much I’m sick of the sight of it.

Here’s a quick look – the neckline doesn’t look too bad in this photo as I’m leaning against the table with my shoulders up and back but that’s not normal is it?

Here’s the line drawing of the pattern in case you thought I’d gone a bit weird with the neckline anyway.

 A friend of mine moved house recently and, as she was downsizing, asked me if I knew anybody who would want her mother’s 1950s Singer sewing machine in full working order.  Well, of course I did?

It arrived in its original carry case which, together with the machine, weighs so much I don’t think I’ll be walking around with it any time soon.

I haven’t used her yet but she will be pressed into service when I do the top stitching on the jeans I’m making.

The same friend also gave me some fabric which included a 3m length of this lovely Dutch African Wax fabric.  I have fancied some of this type of fabric before but it’s often too bright for me or the pattern is too large so this was perfect.

It has enough structure to make a fitted dress and I had just the pattern ready to go –

Image result for easy vogue princess seam dressPerfect for me as you can choose between cup sizes which meant I wouldn’t have to do my own alterations – or not many.

I was worried about the pattern matching though as there are side seams, a back zip, princess seams and a pointy uppy waistline seam so it was an ideal candidate for taking to the sewing teacher.

In the event, she suggested cutting the front bodice on the fold which did away with the problem there and then and we matched the back bodice almost perfectly.

It then became apparent that, although there was 3m of fabric, it’s not very wide at 110cm and I couldn’t get the panels of the full skirt to fit on to the fabric I had available.  We made the panels a bit narrower which, to be honest, I didn’t mind as it is a very full skirt but exact pattern matching more or less went out of the window as I had to get those pieces on any way I could.  The folds in the skirt hide a multitude of sins so I don’t think it turned out too bad in the end.

This is the one of the very few dresses I’ve made where I’m happy to show the inside – so I’m going to.

I lined the bodice, though not the skirt as it is a fabric beast and I didn’t think it was necessary (aka I’m too lazy)

I hemmed it using bias binding to make it neater and give it a bit more weight.

The only alteration I made was to bring the back V up by 2cm so as to be certain not to have any bra strap on show

This might actually be the best dress I’ve ever made.

The sun even came out

Very difficult to avoid photo bombing by dogs at my house.

Despite the weather hotting up I am determined to finish a crochet blanket I started – it’s nearly finished so it’s long enough to cover my knees and overheat me even when I’m wearing shorts so I need to get on with it before Summer really sets in – as I hope it will.

Sneaky peek of the very beginning which I forgot to show you at the time







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  1. #1 by M. L. Kappa on June 25, 2018 - 08:18

    Ooh, my mother had a singer machine JUST like it! Only black. Can’t remember who we gave it to… BTW, dresses looking reproachfully at me is the reason why I gave up sewing (the crooked seam, the offset sleeve😬). But your dresses are lovely, and yes, shoulders back improves the posture, so a good thing altogether 🌹

    • #2 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 10:23

      We saw the same model in black – with beautiful décals on it – at a recent vide grenier (flea market) and if my friend hadn’t already given me the beige one, I’d have bought it but even I can have too many sewing machines.

  2. #4 by nanacathy2 on June 25, 2018 - 08:33

    You look so French and chic in the last frock, and I thought you were just having a flounce in the other! Full of admiration for dress making skills.

    • #5 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 10:27

      Moi? Chic? Tu es trop gentille.

  3. #6 by Shirley on June 25, 2018 - 08:41

    What a lovely dress, well done you.

    • #7 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 10:28

      Thanks so much Shirley.

  4. #8 by craftycreeky on June 25, 2018 - 10:04

    A Flounce of Frocks, I love it! I made the Vogue pattern last year too, it’s a lovely pattern, I think I cut the front on a fold too. It looks great in the wax print, I’ve got a length too, you might just have given me an idea of what to make with it! Yours looks fab 🙂

    • #9 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 10:31

      The wax print has quite a bit of structure in it so works well with that pattern. Is your fabric bright and bold or is it a relatively smaller print like mine?

  5. #10 by thecontentedcrafter on June 25, 2018 - 10:17

    I love that final frock in your flounce – the colours and the style look just lovely on you! I don’t wear frocks any more, but you make me wonder if I should consider taking it up again!

    • #11 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 10:39

      To be honest, I don’t have that much opportunity to wear dresses in my current day to day life but they are the item of clothing I most enjoy making so I keep doing it. I am famous for turning up for girly lunches in a dress, no matter what – I’ll use any excuse! It’s easier when the weather is lovely – a frock never looks out of place in the sunshine. You should have at least one or two in your wardrobe – would you make or buy?

      • #12 by thecontentedcrafter on June 25, 2018 - 11:11

        I don’t sew much any more so it would probably be bought even though I have never seen anything I like in a shop. Which makes me think that therefore I would have to sew it as I often see pretty fabrics in the store……….. Can you tell I’m just thinking out loud here? Once I used to make everything I wore, including dresses – and all my kids clothes too. I guess if I did it once I can do it again 🙂

      • #13 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 13:02

        I’m sure you could and what better excuse to buy pretty fabric?

      • #14 by thecontentedcrafter on June 25, 2018 - 22:03

        Oh heck! Ideas in head!! Not good…….

      • #15 by thecontentedcrafter on June 25, 2018 - 11:13

        I forgot to say I also like that you make what you like even if you don’t get that many opportunities to wear frocks. We should make things we like – just because 🙂

      • #16 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 13:03


  6. #17 by katechiconi on June 25, 2018 - 12:14

    Oooh, madame, très chic, presque snob! That wax print is perfect, firm enough to give the dress structure without being stuff. It suits you beautifully, and is a very versatile frock; pretty with a straw hat and sandals, and sophisticated with heels and a bit of jewellery. Noice work, that woman! The other dress? My diagnosis is that you’re over it, and the colour is not as flattering as others you’ve made. Persist only if you want to learn how to fix the problem, not because you want to wear it.

    • #18 by tialys on June 25, 2018 - 13:08

      I think your diagnosis is correct Dr. Kate and I am over it. The pattern is a nice one though and I think I could ‘make it work’ in a better fabric, one with a bit more oomph in the handle – this one will make good scraps. Next time I’ll make the smaller size to start with.
      Talking of diagnoses – how’s your cold?

      • #19 by katechiconi on June 25, 2018 - 15:04

        Nose v sore but thankfully less leaky, but the cough has gone from bad to appalling, and I’m now on Ventolin and my lungs are making cat-noises. Happy days…

      • #20 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 13:02

        Poor you – at least you feel vindicated about pulling out of jury service.

      • #21 by katechiconi on June 26, 2018 - 13:17

        Totally. I reckon the court case would have ground to a halt while I had noisy coughing fits all over the place 😦

  7. #22 by Lynda on June 25, 2018 - 13:16

    I don’t wear dresses any more, but you’ve managed to make me think about it very hard. So nicely done and you look great! Snicker… you have reminded me of the dress I made in the late 1960s. (Remember bonded knits?) I’d managed to insert the zipper turned wrong side out and was so frustrated with the zipper insertion process that I left it that way. It was awful to zip up and whenever I wore it I always had to get a girl friend to zip me after Phys Ed. 😯

    • #23 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 13:08

      I shudder to think of some of my efforts I showed to the World when I was starting out sewing. I remember a sort of hippy style maxi skirt I’d made in the 70s sometime – I can actually visualise myself wearing it on the London Underground with my friends and, at the time, was very proud of but, when I envisage it now, I wonder what I was thinking 😮

      • #24 by Lynda on June 27, 2018 - 20:33

        Yes. We had no fashion filters back then huh? Picture this: Dirndl skirt in rose pink brocade with a white blouse that had lace around the v necked collar and sleeves. I came into the auditorium for Sr. Prom (his not mine) and my best friend shouts out: “WHAT are you wearing?” and proceeded to laugh her backside off. I was very offended, but tried to ignore it… I shudder now.

      • #25 by tialys on June 28, 2018 - 10:34

        Sounds lovely 😉 Being a Senior Prom – I expect you must have photos to remind you or have they been destroyed lost?

      • #26 by Lynda on June 28, 2018 - 13:49

        I think there is one, but I couldn’t tell you what box it is in…

  8. #27 by poshbirdy on June 25, 2018 - 14:11

    Love the pattern of the dress and the fabric. Suits you brilliantly and looks EVER so well made

    • #28 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 13:02

      Thank you – it’s a rare thing when I feel confident enough to show the workings beneath.

  9. #29 by kathyreeves on June 25, 2018 - 17:19

    I love that Vogue, such a great dress, and your version is stupendous! I would definitely keep taking volume out of the skirt, we don’t need the poof anymore, that’s’ for the wasp waisted youngsters.😆 I guess if you love that first pattern, work on it, but I’ve never had much luck making those types of necklines work with ANY bust, they always gape somewhere! I thinking I may just throw out my old dresses and make myself one lovely one for each season…I guess I will have to reconsider what I wear when teaching piano lessons, I should wear my skirts!

    • #30 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 13:01

      Thanks Kathy – no I think I may as well cut that dress up for scraps – I started it so long ago that I’ve fallen out of love with the fabric and, although I think I could make the neck work given time, I’d rather start again and make the smaller size in better fabric than keep on messing with this one. The Vogue dress skirt, though only altered due to necessity, is a much less ‘flouncy’ affair than the original which I prefer. I also left the side seam pockets out as I know I’d be plunging my hands in there at every opportunity and spoiling the line.

  10. #31 by Born To Organize on June 25, 2018 - 18:28

    I’m glad you hauled at that dress one last time, gave it a go, and then let it go. There is so much relief in that, don’t you think? Your Vogue dress is lovely in fit, pattern and style. It suits you beautifully. I wear dresses (frocks) all summer long unless I’m working in the garden. They’re so comfortable and generally flattering. You have such a lovely shape, Lynn. You’re doing this aging thing well. I need to tear a page from your book as I’m feeling quite portly and not too happy about it. You look amazing. xo

    • #32 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 12:57

      I’m blushing but you are a crazy woman if you think you’re not ageing well – you always look gorgeous.

      • #33 by Born To Organize on June 27, 2018 - 17:24

        Now I’m blushing. I’m also wondering what I meant to say when I used the word “hauling”. I can’t fathom what I meant to say.

  11. #34 by Trisha on June 26, 2018 - 09:21

    The wax print dress is lovely and really suits yo., Think I have that pattern, must dig it out. I never used to wear many dresses until recently and now I cant stop sewing and wearing them!

    • #35 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 12:56

      It’s a really nice pattern and I might make it again this summer as I have some fabric that would work I think. Would you decrease the width of the skirt panels as I have done (although only because I had to originally) or do you want the full swirl?

      • #36 by Trisha on June 26, 2018 - 23:36

        I think I would go for the full swirl!

      • #37 by tialys on June 27, 2018 - 09:22

        So you should if that’s what you feel like doing and I probably would have done the same if I’d had wider fabric.

  12. #38 by nikkibnb on June 26, 2018 - 10:03

    Ooh you’ve been busy. Lovely new dress, looks really good on you!

    How are the jeans going?

    • #39 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 12:55

      Sorry, I’ve practically written a blog post on your blog about the jeans progress. If I ever actually manage to get them on and the photos aren’t overly revealing of my lady lumps, I will do my own post. Looking forward to seeing yours.

  13. #40 by KerryCan on June 26, 2018 - 13:06

    I want to live where women wear “frocks” instead of boring old dresses, like we wear here is the US. “Frock” says sunshine and a breeze and a glass of bubbly to me! I’m amazed at the blue dress and the matching of the patterns and all. And the “pointy uppy waistline seam” which, I take it, is a technical term?

    • #41 by tialys on June 26, 2018 - 13:16

      Frock is a very old fashioned word but it’s one I think we should cling to as it conjures up a completely different image to ‘dress’ as you say.
      Yes, ‘pointy uppy waistline seam’ is a technical term and is in all good sewing books.

  14. #42 by claire93 on June 26, 2018 - 15:31

    oh Lynn! Your new wax frock looks a treat on you, it really does. A lovely colour, wonderful pattern matching and a perfect, very flattering fit – well done to you and the teacher sewing lady!
    The other one looks very drab and old-fashioned in comparison – can’t decide if it’s the fabric or the sleeves and neckline, but at least it was a learning curve for you.
    I reckon you now need a lovely wide-brimmed hat so you can flounce around in your Vogue frock, looking very summery in the garden and at all those tea parties you can hardly fail to be invited to!

    • #43 by tialys on June 27, 2018 - 20:07

      To be fair to the spotty dress and pattern – it’s not at all a good photo and possibly makes it look worse than it is. Having said that, the fabric is wrong and it just doesn’t fit me well – it needs to be smaller all over. As for being old fashioned, it’s supposed to be a 1940s or 1950s vintage retro style although if I wore such a thing round here they’d just think I’d raked through my Mum’s teenage wardrobe 😉 When I was in the U.K., in Christchurch, Mlle. T. the Elder and I went into a gorgeous retro shop which was run by a woman of a certain age wearing a beautiful 50s style dress. I tried one on and it did look nice but I said it was a bit of a waste to buy it to walk the dogs and she said there’s no reason you can’t walk the dog in a dress. Which is all very well if you live in a city and have a small pooch on a lead but I had to laugh at the thought of me with my dogs up a mini mountain, trompsing through overgrown foliage in walking boots and a lovely dress. At least I hardly ever see anybody up there.

  15. #44 by magpiesue on June 26, 2018 - 21:41

    I like a square neckline on my dresses or tops. I think that first frock would be prettier in another print if you feel like having another go. Meanwhile, your African print dress turned out beautifully, congratulations!

    • #45 by tialys on June 27, 2018 - 09:28

      I do too – I think something with a bit more structure would be much better for a start. I might add it to the bottom of my (growing) dressmaking queue.

  16. #46 by mariannasew2pro on June 27, 2018 - 00:24

    Excellent matching on the back seam, and a great job overall. Enjoy wearing it!
    I don’t know how you could possibly find that sewing machine heavy though. Kate WInslett has no problem carrying similar, and I’m pretty sure she’s in heels: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/The_Dressmaker_film_poster.jpg

    • #47 by tialys on June 27, 2018 - 09:08

      She did manage it didn’t she – I expect it was the wonders of CGI. That, or it was empty. I enjoyed that film, did you see it?

  17. #48 by thecraftersapprentice on June 28, 2018 - 19:20

    You are a talented seamstress! I love the lilac spot fabric, don’t give up on it!

    • #49 by tialys on June 29, 2018 - 11:32

      Well, I have my moments but I have ‘peaked’ a bit late I think. You might be alone with the lilac spot dress – it’s gone back into hibernation for the moment while I wrangle with a pair of jeans.

  18. #50 by Kim on June 30, 2018 - 20:45

    I am adopting ‘s flounce of rock’s herewith!
    The wax cloth dress is magnificent and should be worn at every opportunity. The other is nice, but not magnificent. Treat it as a learning experience?

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