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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.