Frocktails Canberra 2015: at the venue du jour, Hotel Hotel, Canberra, 28 supergood women in best self-made outfits enthusiastically celebrated common ground: sewing! Or rather, sewing and like-mindedness. This isnt just about the clothes, I've never known such a kind of random social group to count so many PhD's in their ranks. Really, really smart women, funny, handy, clever, kind, generous, smiley and laugh-y.
The booze was hit and on this night, gauging the hand (texture, weight and fall) of anyone's dress/pants/coat/skirt/scarf/top/gown/purse was not only acceptable, it was actively encouraged and the relative merits of alternative or prospective pattern designs discussed at length. Which is a pretty spot on summary of the night, except for the food, (which was excellent) and the atmosphere (which was that best mix of laid back excitement) and the weather, which was cold. But winter crisp and crystal clear.
Driving from Sydney to Canberra is a really pretty drive, with a stop at Lark Hill Winery on the way; they also have GIANT CHICKENS there. They do.
For frocktailers, sewing is beyond a casual interest, it's about making haute fashion garments that properly fit the maker, made with care, consideration and creative flair. I think it wouldn't be going too far to say this could be described, in many cases, as a passionate hobby. Brought together through social media (blogosphere/Instagram...well ok probably mostly Instagram), we're a diverse and democratic (anyone can sew) group and we made the jump from online to real life (scary!) based on an activity that is fun, challenging and at it's heart, truly creative.
The most photographed stairs in Australia, at Hotel Hotel.
Ok so my Frocktails dress. I love my dress. I really do. Its a great dress. Its an elongated Sewaholic Belcarra, continuing my fine tradition of 'every top is a dress just shorter' approach to shift/sack dresses. I did think I had the shaping quite nicely through the body but maybe not, judging by photos. Not my photos, obvs, they only show me looking as I want to be seen, not as I am, but as shown in other people's photographs. Hate that.
I studied DVF's which is all about the column of graphic print plus bare skin (sexy older skin) but since I wasn't planning on generating publicity (OR AM I??) I didn't go there with the shoulder action so much because it would've really annoyed me to constantly monitor the slippage & hoiking it up or down, One is a lady.
As it is, I wore a black cardigan all night anyway, which I thought lent me a slightly boho look but again, other people's photographs are not so sympathetic to my black cardigan rule. (The "wear it always" rule)
Now, there were two ways to go, pattern wise, in making this 70's style (so hot right now) loose sheath dress; simple or simple-made-harder. Simple-made-harder involved raglan sleeve pattern matching and altering the cut and fit substantially so naturally that option won out. The dress is probably more like Maria Denmark's FREE Kimono T (the simple option) than Sewaholic's Belcarra but the Belcarra had a bit of shaping through the body due to the raglan cut so I went with that. NOT MY BEST DECISION.
I had the fabric, oh yes, I had the fabric,
I had enough for a floor length gown of SPLENDOUR, just the eventuality a well kept stash is designed to accommodate...
I also had the CHEAP FABRIC, from Spotlight, so I felt financially virtuous in deploying it AND smugishness in having to hand such an on point solution...
Unfortunately, the cheapness should've alerted me to a geometric pattern printed OFF GRAIN that would be HARD to match. DAMMIT. HOWEVER, in maintaining the liberal use of CAPITALS, it was worth it, I ended up with a very wearable gown that I can shorten to midi length for a dressy lunch function coming up soon and best of all, it looks great with a BLACK CARDIGAN. I know, too good.
The print being off grain was a long run pain in the arse and I had to settle for just making it match down the side seams and steam pressing the fick out if it. It worked! Finished hem with black bias tape to keep it as long as.
Now Jillian will no doubt recognise the backdrop fabric and I want to assure you Jillian, I trod will CARE upon it! Tippy toes! Its so nice and I love it! I love it so much and rest easy, your reciprocal goods are on their way to you! I do love a barter, trading a generous length of super fabric for an artwork. *Hint: anyone else out there want to do business, hit me up here, see my Art Shop here.
I cant seem to fit a full length selfie at home so here's one from @_busylizzie but I must say, not too many snaps have surfaced from the night, we were all having too fine a time, obvs
When I started this website, I had no intention of airing my hobby online, I'm a professional artist & I maintain a professional attitude in my conduct AT ALL TIMES. Except when I'm being a DICKHEAD which admittedly is a lot of the time. But, the art world is never going to be as social, partly because we're mostly all sociopaths and partly because we're not up for inviting comparison to other artists. Sewists have no problem with praising the better job you've done with the same fabric and/or some total dud call of pattern selection on their behalf. Its less weighty for sure, but at baseline it's the difference between I hate you all/you all hate me and I love all (most) of you/you all (mostly) love me. It was a nicer world that Saturday night in Canberra.