I've made several of these little dresses, that can double as night gowns, or party frocks. Again, using my favorite fabric, bamboo cotton jersey.
The name originates from one of my favorite songs from the mid seventies, which is dating me, right?! One of the lines in the lyrics is 'Tries to smile while you're wearing a frown...' and voila, the name of the project is born.
The idea of this dress comes from one of my previous projects, the seamless dolman top. I love the idea of the least amount of seams possible, so it morphed into the Frown.
The bodice is cut in one piece, with no shoulder seams. This is a benefit for if you want to add a lace collar, either purchased in two pieces, or made from a lace doily, cut up.
Don't use your grandmas precious handcrafted crocheted or tatted treasures for this. There are lots of options at the thrift store, for example. Remaking a damaged piece can add so much value to your Frown, without devaluing an heirloom.
I found two vintage lace collars on Etsy, my go-to for unique and interesting ways to spice up the commonplace.
I'll sew those on by hand, or using a small zigzag stitch on the sewing machine using pale coloured thread to hide the stitching in the lace.
I used a straight stitch for the neckline for the first few projects using the technique of bias binding.
Until I discovered that a medium zigzag stitch works better as it adds a bit of stretch, minimizing the risk of breaking threads, and at the same time, securely fastening the folded bias tape onto the neckline.
Don't worry if you don't like the look of zigzag stitch - it's completely hidden once the bias is folded over and top stitched.
I found this gorgeous doily on Etsy, but couldn't imagine how I could use it. Then the cogs started turning! The pattern is called Pineapple, but it resembles peacock feathers. That, plus the gorgeous blue of the bamboo jersey knit, is where the name comes from.
I made the doily into the yoke of the dress, attaching it right to the bodice. The neckline finally came together, after a few false starts. I ended up binding the neck cut from the bodice and the doily, to give it a nicely finished edge.
Other ways to add to your frown is to use gathering for flounces and to join the bodice and skirt together.
I discovered that I could use my Janome My Lock serger to gather the fabric, and it's so much easier than doing the two rows of gathering / basting stitches on my regular sewing machine.
If you've got a serger, find some instructions on Youtube for your particular make and model (generally it involves changing the stitch length and the differential feed setting) and start gathering!
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