Frocktails Simplicity 4742 review

Addendum, this is Simplicity 2281, not 4742 as previously published – all the apologies folks.

Frocktails is a cocktail party where sewists don their best garb. For the event I finished Simplicity 4742 which had languished for about 9 months in the UFO pile. The event is hosted by Caroline of Usefulbox, we had a great night and met people IRL! Here is my dress complete with a machine embroidered waistband.

Simplicity 4742 front

At this night of sewing stupendousness I won a random draw, the prize was 3 patterns from Sew House Seven. Chuffed I have to say, the patterns look great and I’m looking forward to sewing them up. Since you ask, they were  The Burnside Bibs, The Teahouse Dress, and the famous Toaster Sweaters all in hard copy too; no sticking and glueing required! I’ve made and worn the The Teahouse Dress quite a bit, which surprised me, because it’s not my usual style  – more on that in another post.

Simplicity 4742

Simplicity 4742 is a Cynthia Rowley designed dress (sorry, OOP) I started last year. Too many decisions to make after my first 2 attempts at the waistband embellishment which just looked quilty to me. It’s made in a Spotlight Tencel bandana print, which at first appealed, but then gave me the irrits when I realised the squares made me look errr, square? Thank goodness for the eureka moment which lead to the bias placement, but what a headache working between all those lines.


The waistband caused me no end of grief because I was desperate to use machine embroidery but finding a suitable design is always tricky. There were a few wrong turns.

Simplicity 4742 trial waistband

But then I found Sun Blooms by Amanda Greene. A bigger bolder statement. So beautiful in her original imagined form but I needed monotone for this project and dull threads. There was a lot of faffing in order to size and orientate the thing correctly. It reminds me of 1970s pottery for some reason. Did the artist pinch this off my Mum’s casserole dish or what? It would be tempting to use this again in colours closer to the artist’s original concept.

OESD Sun Blooms by Amanda Greene

The white linen was a terrible match for the bandana print white and I’d already tried a few different colours, so I popped it into some strong tea (or was it a latté?) to take the crispness off it. Whites are the most tedious of colours to match aren’t they?

Oh and the 50 something tassels hand made by moi with the assistance of three (or was it four) seasons of Grace and Frankie. My hands were begging for mercy, but totally worth it, don’t you reckon? And because enough is never enough, navy ricrac. Given time I really enjoy embellishment, but it’s like icing a cake – you just want to eat it right?

The ‘sleeves’ have and continue to give me trouble. They are a bit poofy because I lined them? The fabric is a bit stiffer than Ms Rowley envisioned and they fall down despite numerous relocations/loosenings/tightenings. I may just bite the bullet and make wide straps – do let me know if your suggestions – you guys are the best at solving my bra strap issues! I toyed with moving the zip to the left side so that more embroidery could adorn the back waistband but honestly, I’d lost interest by that stage! This was worn with blush pony skin heels for the event – just a bit dressier than the Mary Tyler Moore clogs.

It’s cold and windy today, finally we’re getting some autumnal weather, not a moment too soon cos’ in 3 weeks, it’s winter. Hopefully this labour of love will work for a Christmas party come next December.



Add yours →

  1. The tassels were definitely worth it!! Very fun.

    I had great plans to embroider things this winter but time and organization didn’t permit. This is great insporation.

    Congrats on the pattern wins!

    • The tassels are made from a rather slippery polyester yarn. Something of a challenge to keep the knots tied. We’ll have to see how it goes in the wash 😉 Errrrm, machine embroidery quite a bit quicker than by hand Steph! And I don’t have a job!

  2. That dress is amazing! There is not another one like it in the entire world and so flattering and unique to you.

  3. This is specatularly gorgeous. Those tassels!

  4. I love what you’ve done with this pattern! Your version is way better! The sleeves almost have the same shape as your hem line. I like them. You did a great job with the belt too. Love your design!

  5. ellegeemakes 13/05/2018 — 9:48 am

    I absolutely love this dress – -and the tassels are to die for. Very inspiring make!

  6. The tassels, ricrac, the exposed shoulders: this is is bang on trend. It reminds me of a dress one of my colleagues wears ( which I’m tempted to copy but for the labour of love it would entail. One of the first things I made as a blogger was a Cynthia Rowley dress and I got a lot of wear out of it.
    Enjoy your cooling off period! We are desperate to see summer stay.

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