KYLIE AND THE MACHINE | Melbourne Frocktails Franken-dress in gorgeous Tencel Twill
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Melbourne Frocktails Franken-dress in gorgeous Tencel Twill

Melbourne Frocktails Franken-dress in gorgeous Tencel Twill

Deadlines are magic. Let’s just establish that up front. Nothing beats a good deadline. Between the growth of my business over the last year and all the usual craziness of life with three young children, I find that I really have to set aside time to sew or it just doesn’t happen. So nothing beats having a clear timeframe to really get my creative juices flowing and my sewing machine whirring. 

The deadline, in this case, was Melbourne Frocktails. A week out and I may not have had an outfit, but I did have a plan! It was all built around the acessories: gold Funkis clogs, gold Glitterarti earrings, electric blue Ida Clutch with gold tassle. I’d bought the shoes and earrings about a month earlier and decided almost immediately that I needed navy fabric. Something special, like a silk. I didn’t know what the dress would actually looklike. But I knew I wanted gold and navy. That’s what I saw when I closed my eyes. 

Gold Sophia Funkis Clogs and Gold Large Jellyfish Earrings from Glitterarti

Two weeks out—I was trying to not get right down to the deadline!—I’d actually gone and scoured The Fabric Store, looking for the colours and kinds of materials I was after. But after a thorough search, I just hadn’t been able to find that ‘perfect fabric’, so with time running out, I resorted to online shopping. Back when purchasing the Stardust Black double gauze for my Wiksten Kimono on www.maaidesign.com.au a few months ago, I’d seen this tencel twill that had caught my eye even at the time, before I had any idea what I’d want to use it for. I hadn’t bought it then, but it was in the back of my mind as things got down to the wire for Melbourne Frocktails. The perfect fabric. Especially since I knew it would sew up easier than the silk I’d initially imagined.

I added it to my cart, ordered 2.2 metres, and waited. Which brings us back to where we started: one week until Frocktails!

Excited to receive the fabric quickly from MaaiDesign Online Shop (and in a biodegradable bag)

Luckily, once I had the fabric, the dress came together amazingly quickly. If you’ve never sewn with it before, tencel twill is thick (in a good way) and feels almost like sand-washed silk. It also drapes beautifully. During the week I’d spent checking The Fabric Store and then turning to MaaiDesign, the one thing I’d decided I wanted the dress to have was an A-line skirt with a fitted waist. I’d made the Anna Dress from By Hand London a few years ago and loved the way the skirt felt, but for Frocktails I knew I wanted something more strappy for the top. So I ended up using the skirt as my inspiration and then drafting a bodice with princess seams to match. These days I’m embracing all the positive aspects of having a smaller bust, which means adding ruffles to basically everything! I went with wide straps to balance everything out, and then (using a pattern from Victory Pattern’s Boundless Style book) I added the flounce at the bottom, which felt like the perfect finishing touch, mirroring the ruffle at the top and adding the perfect dash of character to a dress that I was already (thankfully) really happy with. 

Pinning the top ruffle, I pinned and re-pinned this a few times to make sure it was all even… the circle flounce ruffle style means that the raw edges are slightly stretchy because parts are on the bias, so you have to be careful not to stretch the fabric.
This photo shows the lining and outer of the bodice, both in Tencel Twill, with the ruffle and wide straps sewn neatly between the two bodices. This step is Understitching. A step we can often overlook but in my opinion it is so very important for the garment to sit nicely.
At this point I was pretty excited by my idea coming together!
I added a bit of extra fabric at the CB Seam for some wiggle room for perfecting the fit… always a good idea when last minute sewing for an event… Can always take the bodice in, but if it was too small, well that would have been a lot more work to fix. I pinned the straps to the inside of the bodice at even lengths, but after finishing the dress I wore it around for a while to make sure the straps were the perfect length… so they didn’t fall and annoy me on the night. I found out that my shoulders are not even, one strap needed to be shorter than the other. This reveals how a custom fitted garment will be far better than store bought!
Finishing the inside the night before leaving for Melbourne!!! You can see how Ive attached the straps at the back… Yes I did end up sewing through both layers of the bodice but the ruffle covers these stitches completely from the outside.
My test scrap fabric with the rolled hem feature on my Bernina L460 Overlocker… very nice!! Quick, and a gorgeous finish for the bottom flounce of the dress!

I’d actually planned on adding pockets as well, but wound up using so much of the 2.2 metres (practically every last scrap!) that I had to forego the pockets. In hindsight, I think it worked out for the best anyway, since the lines are so clean without them. Does it count as zero waste when you literally run out of fabric?

This is 2.2m of the Tencel Twill, folded selvedges together… the brown pattern pieces needed to be cut twice each, they are the fully lined bodice, and the double thick flounce ruffles from the top of the bodice. Not enough fabric left for pockets!

Finished! Just in the nick of time.

I call it my Franken-Dress. I started off with the spark of an idea, took what I wanted from a few different patterns, and then used that spark along with everything I’ve learned through years and years of sewing to make something that was exactly what I was after. I’d definitely recommend sewing with tencel twill; it’s easy to work with, feels cool and luxurious on your skin, and it looks like silk!

From the night… I just LOVE how it looked and felt! So Swishy! A few Frocktailers asked me if it was silk!
That flounce at the bottom gave the skirt extra volume and added something quite special. The rolled hem was the perfect finish for the flounce.
The top ruffle really gave me a bit of interest in the bust area.. I felt very beautiful on the night. The straps stayed put and the Tencel Twill fabric was a dream to wear. Breathable, comfortable and luxurious at the same time.
Blogless Anna and I with our Ida Clutches!

THE GIVEAWAY! It has taken me so long to post this entry, so much so, that MaaiDesign now have a much wider range of colours in this gorgeous Tencel Twill!

Maaike and I have decided to team up for an awesome giveaway! You can win a Leather Ida Clutch Kit from me in your choice of colour (Value $70) and Maaike from MaaiDesign is giving away 2.5m of Tencel Twill in your choice of colour (Value $70). Together, the Tencel Twill Fabric and Leather Kit will allow one lucky winner to recreate a similar look to my Melbourne Frocktails outfit!

Total Prize Value $140 AUD

Visit @kylieandthemachine and @maaidesign on Instagram for full details of the giveaway.

Kylie and Maaike enjoying a moment at Melbourne Frocktails
Photo Credit: @vini_bici_foto
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