cool and easy dresses to make this frocktober
Learn how to make your own frock, while raising some dosh for a good cause.
The coolest feeling in the whole world (aside from digging your spoon into a freshly opened carton of ice cream) is getting to wear something you’ve made with your very own hands. But we think it’s even better when you get to make something for a super-important cause.
Our mates at Frocktober agree. Every October they call on dressmakers, vintage-lovers and fashion fiends of all stripes to rock their favourite frocks in support of the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. The OCRF raises awareness and funds for the development of an early-detection test for ovarian cancer, which could save the lives of 8,000 Australian women over the next decade. Right now, without such a test, only 46 per cent of women survive beyond five years.
If you’re keen to get involved by wearing a homemade frock, we’ve collected a few ace dress patterns and tutorials below. All of them are beginner-friendly, which means you don’t need a fashion degree or your nanna’s supreme sewing skills to give them a crack.
And don’t forget to swing by frocktober.org.au to join the campaign, either by donating directly to the OCRF, or registering a fundraiser of your own. Maybe you could turn your weekly office Zoom meetings or Facetime catch-ups with your pals into infinitely more festive Frocktober parties? Give your workmates a chance to see you all scrubbed up again!
an easy-peasy shift dress Designed by Western Australian gal Megan Nielsen, the Eucalypt shift dress pattern only requires three large pattern pieces. It’s designed to go over your head, which means no tricky zips or buttons. It also means you can get creative with print and colour when choosing fabric (how about painting your own?). The pattern comes in Megan’s Curvy size range (14-30) as well as sizes 0-20.
ruffle goodness with minimal waste We really dig this floaty ruffle dress tutorial by Gold Coast lass DIY Daisy, whose homemade looks are always simple, comfy and colourful. The Maya Dress is comprised entirely of rectangles of fabric, so it’s a great tutorial for beginner sewists. You could easily use this tutorial to upcycle an old bedsheet, too.
tie it on Celebrate October’s spring weather with this lovely tie-up sundress, which you can make using this free tutorial from linen retailer Fabrics Store (they have heaps of free patterns and tutorials on their site). This one is easy to fit to your shoulders because you can easily tie it to your specifications, and the addition of elastic makes it a breeze to throw on.
a bit fancy If you’re throwing a festive Zoom call or a special Frocktober shindig (go you!), you can still DIY a dress that’s simple but fancy as all get out. Your pals will be sooooo impressed with you. Have a squizz at the Kenedy frock pattern by Seamwork magazine: it offers an open-back tie closure that looks really special but is so easy to sew.
a vintage look for extra credit: If you’ve got a bit more experience and you dig vintage frocks, check out this Jiffy Popover Dress tutorial by retro sewing icon Gertie. She estimates that you should be able to make this dress in a few hours, though you do have to snap up her book for the pattern.
This nifty list was created in partnership with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. They’re calling on people to frock up throughout October to raise funds for the development of an early detection test. Right now, there’s no way to diagnose ovarian cancer without invasive surgery. But you can help change that! Pop over to frocktober.org.au to learn more.