What's the Deal with 'Party Frocks'?

On this year's batch of year-end round-up posts, I noticed an interesting trend: the resolution to sew less "icing" - less pretty things that look good on a hanger - and more every-day, wearable clothes. Lucky Lucille was perhaps the most famous to declare this, although I saw it on blog after blog this January. Then the Colette blog, along with others, started writing about building a handmade wardrobe, and it struck a chord.

I thought the overall sentiment was perhaps best summed up by Tilly in this recent quote:
"As more people are seeking to dress handmade on a regular basis, stitchers are becoming less keen on sewing party frocks and more interested in making wearable clothes that suit their everyday lifestyle."
Having gone through a similar transition myself, I have to say that she hit the nail on the head! When you first begin to sew, you choose projects for the most impact: selecting the best pattern, the most beautiful lace, the most gorgeous print. In my bio, I point out that I sewed party dress after party dress in the years following the purchase of my first sewing machine.

But then one day you wake up and realize you have a closet full of party dresses and nothing to wear. And you realize that sewing is no longer just another creative outlet, but something you want to do to clothe yourself, something you do in protest to buying fast-fashion or ill-fitting garments, something that has become a way of life.

image via Pinterest


  1. I agree 100% with your post. I would make some nice garments and then never wear them, or many wear them once. Now I am all about sewing for my daily wardrobe and really loving to wear what I make. Happy sewing.

  2. I love wearing my nice garments on a daily basis, but that's me. I think I'm often overdressed...
    I understand what you are saying though. Sometimes one need a dress on which a kid can spill paint, without me ending up heart broken over it...

  3. Last year I made an effort to sew wearable garments. Blouses and bottoms are really nice to have but I find that I personally don't get as excited to make these garments. I've started sewing more dresses this year (I have 5 weddings to go to this summer!) and I had forgotten just how fun and inspiring it is to make a pretty dress!! I just get all giddy and excited picking out the fabric and pattern - something I don't often feel for a blouse haha. Sure, they don't often get worn, but sometimes it's just what I need to remember this hobby is suppose to be fun!

  4. This is an interesting thought. It makes me want to analyse all of the garments that I have sewn. I wear party dresses all of the time, but I have been looking for a simple singlet pattern lately, so perhaps I am going down the 'basics' path too.

  5. As much as I would love to wear party dresses all the time, I fully agree and I've noticed a huge shift in what I make/ want to make. I've also noticed that I want to add detail to the things I do make rather than just going straight with what the pattern says. It's been nice to see the change from over dressed to real life clothes!


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