The First Homemade Frock

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to make my own dresses, but until now I have always struggled to make that wish a reality. So many times I have gotten as far as cutting out the pieces or part way through sewing them together, and then given up. I really dislike following patterns and on top of trying to use a pattern, in the past I’ve always picked ones that were far too complicated and time consuming, resulting in me getting overwhelmed, confused and frustrated by the whole process…

But today I actually completed a little frock! And it was really, really easy! And I love the end result! The difference was, this time I didn’t try to use a fancy pattern. Instead of fussing about with complicated instructions and lots of pieces, I thought about my favourite simple dresses and followed my instincts to make something similar. I used the shift dress in this book as a guide, then improvised the rest. I added an elastic waistband, a cute bow and patch pockets, and I didn’t worry about putting in a zip, as the elastic waistband makes it loose and stretchy enough to slip on without one. The dress is made out of a vintage sheet, and the pockets and bow are made of scrap fabric from an old dress that I thrifted for 50c. The whole thing cost about $6 to make!

I’m so very pleased with the way my first dress turned out. I think it would be lovely for a spring picnic and it’s got me looking forward to warmer weather. It’s also got me planning a whole collection of little homemade frocks! I’ve already started work on another one made of adorable kitten print fabric. Reuben wasn’t home today to take pictures, but hopefully over the weekend we’ll get a chance to take some shots of me wearing my lovely new dress. And if I get a wiggle on, maybe wearing the kitten dress too!

Have you made anything lovely lately? I’d love to hear all about it!

Katie x

Tags: , , , , , ,


About Katie

Katie is a tea drinking, jewellery making, op-shopping daydreamer. Katie likes vintage dresses, Pictionary, doilies and colourful tights.


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive blog updates, straight to your inbox.

59 Responses to “The First Homemade Frock”

  1. Smallgood August 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    It’s wonderful. I love the design and the fact that it’s homemade makes it even more lovable.

  2. Pocky August 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    That’s absolutely adorable, Katie!

    I’m like you. I want to make me a fun new wardrobe, but I tend to try too many new techniques at once & get frustrated when I have to ask my Momma Bear (who has been sewing since she was a wee one) to help me out. I’ve got a few ‘learn to sew’ books with some easy patterns, so maybe once my craft room is organized I will find some time to sit down & make a few things. After seeing your cute frock, I can’t wait to make some outfits of my own!

    Can’t wait to see the others!

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 12:34 am #

      After all my disasterous attempts to sew complicated things, this simple little dress came together so easily! I think you’ve just got to get back to basics to begin with and slowly build your skill set. Which sounds ridiculously obvious but takes patience (which I lack!) We’re both obviously a little overambitious!

  3. sian August 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    it’s really beautiful and i love the bow! you’ve inspired me to try – i am pretty scared of patterns….x

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 12:35 am #

      I am too Sian! But if I can do it, so can you. I promise! 🙂

  4. Monsterscircus August 3, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Wow it’s really nice and lovely fabric you have used! So beautiful! Have a great weekend and Thanks for sharing it 🙂

  5. Amanda A August 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Oh my god….I love it!!!!! I wish I could sew! I would make a 100 of these dresses! It’s beautiful! Nice work, lady!!

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 12:41 am #

      Amanda, you could totally sew this dress! Truly, it was easy peasy lemon squeazy! And yes, I do foresee myself making quite a few of them 😉

  6. Tabetha August 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    How adorable!! I’m in the process of making a few skirts for myself & my daughter– so much fun!

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 12:44 am #

      Oh, that sounds lovely! <3

  7. kelly christine August 4, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    looks great!

  8. Felicia August 4, 2012 at 12:38 am #

    Darling dress! 🙂 Great job!

  9. Bekuh August 4, 2012 at 12:39 am #

    I’m so proud of you! I’m in the process of making my first frock too and it’s going slowly. Your wonderful little dress may just inspire me to work harder. Love it.

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 12:46 am #

      Thank you so much Bekuh! I’m super, duper proud too. This little frock came together surprisingly quickly but all my previous attempts were very slow going so I know exactly how you feel. Keep going though! I can’t wait to see your finished dress! x

  10. Becky Bedbug August 4, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    This is so pretty! Congratulations on making your first dress!


  11. AmyS August 4, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    I have a constant test of wills with my sewing machine and I think it is because of the same issue you were having – I pick things that are too complicated. I love the look of dresses from the 50s with the full skirts and oxford shirt tops – works well with my figure… perhaps I just need to find some remnants and throw caution to the wind one day. I worry so much that I will “waste” it or “ruin” it but maybe if I change my mindset to be more in line with learning, I won’t be so fearful at my machine.

    Your dress is absolutely precious and you’ve inspired me to give it all another go – thank you!

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      Oh, I completely understand the fear of cutting into fabric and wasting it. I had to summon all my strength to cut into that precious vintage sheet! I just had to remind myself that I collect those sheets to use them, not to sit in a cupboard. And if you want to make an omelette you’ve got to break some eggs! 😉

  12. eliza August 4, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    that’s fantastic! i also aspire to sewing, but i’m very intimidated by my sewing machine :/

    your frock is lovely, and i can’t wait to see you frolicking in it!

  13. Louise @ Elsie May and Bertha August 4, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    That’s a lovely dress, I keep meaning to make one out of a lovely sheet myself, but haven’t got round to it yet! I must try harder 🙂

  14. Becky @ Apples of Gold August 4, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    LOVE it! That vintage flower print and pink/white pattern goes so well together! I would love to own one of these. It’s probably super comfy, huh? I definitely haven’t made anything lately, but I sure do appreciate admiring what others make! =)

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

      Yes, it is really, really comfy! Which is a big plus! 🙂

  15. Amy August 4, 2012 at 6:08 am #

    It’s so beautiful! I love the pockets! Congrats Katie! I need to work on some skirts that have been neglected. This is inspiration!

  16. Sarah August 4, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    This looks great! I am a lot like you in that I love the idea of making things but often get overwhelmed when I try and give up all frustrated, especially when it comes to sewing.


  17. Luke August 4, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Hey Katie, even as a bloke I think that is outstanding – well done! 🙂

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      Oh goodness, thank you Luke! What a compliment! 🙂

  18. Lyndall August 4, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    I love it! The pink stripey fabric details are so pretty.

    I used to do a lot of sewing but I don’t really enjoy it, I get too impatient and grumpy! It’s handy knowing how to use a sewing machine to do little things like mending though 🙂

  19. Chantille Fleur August 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    That’s so lovely, you should be very proud of yourself! You’re so clever 🙂 I like the idea of sewing, but am really terrible and impatient with it lol!
    Congrats on your first frock <3
    Sarah xx

  20. Teresa August 4, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    So cute! Congrats on making your first dress!
    I tend to shy away from making dresses because I always think they’re too complicated but I really should give one a proper go. I made a wrap dress a little while ago which ended up being quite easy.

    BTW How great are pinking shears. I think I love using a little too much! 😉

    • Katie
      Katie August 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      Oh my goodness, I LOVE pinking shears! We actually have an overlocker that we bought half price about a year ago but I never, ever use it because I love pinking shears so much (also because it’s so crazy complicated!) That’s really silly isn’t it?! x

      • Sway August 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

        I’m the same!! My gran gave me her awesome overlocker, but it scares the bejeezus out of me 🙁 I adore the dress – you’re one talented lady, Ms Katie!
        Sway xxx

        • Katie
          Katie August 7, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

          I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. Overlockers are SCARY! But I do intend to face my fear and give it a go… Soon… 😉

  21. JessB August 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Too divine Katie! That contrasting fabric for the pockets and bows really makes it extra gorgeous.

    I love having clothes I can look forward to wearing! I recently advised a friend to buy some clothes she was coveting so she could have some lovely things to wear after she has her baby in a couple of months. Waiting for the change of weather seems so ordinary compared to waiting to have a baby!

  22. Sanaa August 4, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    That dress is adorable! I really adore the print and the pink pockets 🙂

    I sew dresses as well! I’ve only made about three so far, but once you get into the groove they don’t take too much time at all! You have caught the sewing bug my friend, and I don’t think there is much fo a cure 😛

  23. Claire August 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    I’d LOVE to see an outfit post with this miss katie!

  24. robbie August 5, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    ohhhhhhhhhhh, katie!!!!! it’s perfect! you did a great job <3

  25. cb August 5, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    you did such a fantastic job!! the fabric is amazing and i just LOVE the shape of it! i want to make this dress! i hope that you do a little tutorial or something, that would be awesome! goodness knows i have a ton of fabric. i haven’t sewn anything this year but i really want to just haven’t found the time. hopefully soon, i will!

  26. Bill August 5, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    Never thought Id see the day.Katie making a dress!Well done Poss

  27. Jenni August 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Oh I wish I had the determination and drive as you have to follow through and finish something! This dress is beautiful- what a wonderful project.

  28. Melissa August 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Wow!!! You are clever – it’s a very sweet dress and you have finished it off so nicely. It’s also really inspiring to know that you’ve hung in there, found the right pattern and seen it through – that’s a great little journey to go on in these times of ‘instant wow’. In the process you’re reclaiming a skill that your mother or grandmother would have had. 🙂

    • Katie
      Katie August 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

      Oh Melissa, it is HARD to overcome the need/desire for instant gratification! I’m actually terribly impatient (even now I wish I had about 10 of these little dresses made already!) but I’m working on it!

  29. Mindy Harris August 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    first dress, katie?! wow, you rocked it. i wish i new how to sew. cute cute blog, btw!
    new to your blog and now follow thru GFC. if you have time to look at my blog and follow, too, it would make my day! found your blog thru amy morby’s blog. 🙂

  30. Ruby August 6, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Well done Katie! I have “Make an Item of Clothing” on my 101 in 1001 list which will be a first for me. Hope mine turns out as good as yours did. 🙂

  31. maria August 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm #


  32. Shirley August 7, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    I love your dress Katie, not only is it stunning, but also totally original and you will get such pleasure wearing it … and lots of compliments too!! I’m the same with sewing, cannot follow a pattern and end up with cut out or half sewn bits of fabric, but if left to my own devices I can normally make something I’m proud of. Looking forward to seeing your kitten print dress soon.

  33. jessa August 7, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    Katie! I’m so impressed!! It seems sewing machines like to EAT fabric whenever I come near!! You’re super talented 🙂



  34. katie August 7, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    You will absolutely shine in this because you made it…so adorable!

  35. Kirsorgoeusty August 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    You are brave! It is absolutely gorgeous dress and to make that without a pattern is impressive. I need to make a dress to wear to a friend’s wedding in September but I have been putting it off because the patterns look so complicated. Not sure I have the confidence to wing it to be honest.

    • Katie
      Katie August 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

      I think it’s probably best to just find something nice and simple to begin with. I find complicated patterns totally overwhelming and scary! And you can always jazz up a simple dress with cute details like I did with the pockets and bow. Good luck! 🙂

  36. Rebecca August 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Its really cute! congrats on completing it!

  37. Kelly August 12, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    i always cut off things i own already that work, i too HATE patterns. anything involving measurements, numbers or rulers just doesnt work with my brain. haha.

  38. Raynor August 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Katie, that dress is ah-mah-zing! So gorgeous.

    I’ve been saying I’m going to sew more for weeks, but I think this is the kick I need to board that train. Thanks, lady! ^_^

  39. amy August 20, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Super Duper dress, Katie! Super cute. Would you recommend this book to use? I’ve been trying to find a basic dress pattern too, I made a dress a while back from scratch, but it turned out like a hideous sack and should never be worn outside of the house!

  40. hannah August 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    such a cute dress! i love the pattern and little bow.
    i’m hopeless at sewing, but would love to make my own dresses also.
    post a tute? c:

  41. Sasha November 15, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Seriously ADORABLE dress! You’re very talented! I’d love to learn how to sew. 🙂

    – Sasha

  42. Belinda February 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    I love this dress, congratulations of completing it and doing such a beautiful job!

    You have inspired me to well…learn to sew better! I think I may take a while to actually learn to make a dress! I’ll stick to mending vintage dresses to start with!



  1. 10 Good Things Right Now | House of Humble - September 23, 2012

    […] my first handmade dress and a brooch by The Story Book […]

  2. A Little Striped Dress | House of Humble - October 22, 2012

    […] the pink floral frock I made (and a couple of others I have made since) it’s loosely based on a pattern from this […]

  3. Crafty Dabblings | House of Humble - March 21, 2013

    […] a thrifted muumuu style dress, to turn it into a little frock with an elastic waistband like this one and this one, but decided it wasn’t nearly as cute in real life as I had imagined it might […]

  4. Thrifty Finds | House of Humble - May 19, 2013

    […] And last but not least, two more vintage sheets for my ever growing collection. The orange one matches the blue sheet from my last thrifty finds post! One day I hope to turn all my lovely old sheets into beautiful quilts… (and some more dresses!) […]

Leave a Reply