Frocktober – What is a “Frock” anyway?

So, I had my plan all set out with October’s challenge  “Dress” it up in Frocktober.  Then, I took a look at Wikipedia for the definition of a Frock.  This is what I found:

  • Frock has been used since Middle English as the name for an article of clothing for men and women (see also clothing terminology). It is sometimes synonymously used for skirt. In British English and in Commonwealth countries the word is used for a girl’s or woman’s dress. In Australia it is frequently used this way, with the phrase “to frock up” meaning to wear a formal dress or gown for a special occasion.

“To Frock up”, mmm, I have just the right thing for this month’s challenge in my sewing stash (not to mention it has been sitting in my stash since mid-1990’s when I moved, then moved again, and again, and yes, one last time, before I landed in my current home in Houston).   That sounds like a lot of moving around, but two of those moves were to temporary housing while I searched for permanent abodes.

The material I had chosen for this dress (way back when) is a bit of a flimsy material, and slippery, which makes it difficult to work with.

Then came a saving post over the blogesphere – how to stiffen your material in order to work with it during the construction phase.  Gelatine water!  Who would have thought that something so simple would be such a great thing!  Only one problem… My material is a very dark green, AND I didn’t even think about “color fastness” as I placed my material into a gelatine water bath.  Correction – a HOT gelatine water bath!  Oh my, the water started turning a dark green almost immediately!  I freaked – to say the least.  But since I had already started the process, I figured I might as well finish it.  I made sure all the material was saturated then immediately took it out of the water, rung it out in a towel wrap, and hung it up to dry.

Luckily, the material didn’t lose much of its color; AND the gelatin bath did exactly what it was supposed to do! 🙂

On the plus side, I used the water with the dye from the dress to dye some old white pillowcases I have for another project.  I left them in the water over night, and they turned out a nice light shade of blue/green.  🙂


Now on to that dress!  The pattern I used was “It’s So Easy” Simplicity pattern 9874.  Not so fast, Simplicity – this dress wasn’t quite that “Easy”.

DSCN4244.1The body of the dress wasn’t difficult at all (unless I count the alternations needed to fit me properly).  Those sleeves on the otherhand, took me the majority of the time to make this thing!  They include some elastic in the “hem” of the lining, which helps hold the sleeves in place; along with some boning along the upper seam so they stick out nice and stiff.  I really like the effect, but it was a bit of a pain…

So now, I have my holiday dress!DSCN4241.1.jpg

13 thoughts on “Frocktober – What is a “Frock” anyway?

    • Thank you. Yes the gelatin bath works great. Stabilized the material and gives it some stiffness. After sewing garment, just wash it out. Also the bath is more diluted than straight up gelatin recipe


  1. I am glad the gelatin trick worked and you were able to get double use and get a fabulous shade of green for your pillowcases. The dress looks lovely with the red heels.


  2. You made me laugh! I’ve never heard of gelatine water, I’ll have to google that, but I did enjoy your story. I hope that we get a month that allows you to use your dyed pillowcases and show us the results.

    The dress is gorgeous, you look swell!


  3. wonderful ! after all your trials and tribulations your dress turned out perfect !
    I have never heard of the gelatin technique , so it is good to know this worked , thank you for passing on this tip.
    this has got to be my favourite shade of green and it looks gorgeous with those red shoes.


  4. What a beautiful holiday dress ! I find that major pattern companies say easy but perhaps not so much. You did a great job on this ‘frock’. I did not know what a frock was either but I didn’t envision something as elegant as your dress.


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