DIARY OF A NOVICE SEWIST: The Dream Frock
It’s been a year since I started writing here. My first entry was for the Curated By You collection and I was so nervous – I had just started sewing, had about 0 followers on IG, living in a small European country where sewing isn’t cool and hip,… and then this big company asked ME to write about making my own clothes. That truly was a big deal for me.
And the reason for all of it was THIS dress:
A midweight bleached linen version of Lydia Naomis DreamFrock (was MilkmaidDress). Sewing it, I learned how to sew in a zipper, I reduced the cups about 80% and to be honest, it’s one of my favorite makes ever. For me it’s la dolce vita as a dress. But today I don’t really want to talk about my dress.
Today I want to talk about the thread being a kind of safe space for me. I am a single mum working three jobs to pay rent, kindergarten and to be able to have vacations outside of Austria – which is extremely important to me as travelling is not only one of my jobs but also a passion of mine and a feeling I want to share with my son. To make it short – life is not always fun and jokes at the moment and I barely have any time for myself. And then there is the thread – where I can do, sew, knit and write whatever I want. For you – but also for me.
I put a lot me into my texts – a lot of love and energy – trying to show you my mistakes, new ideas and easy patterns. And I know I am THE WORST when it comes to replying to your comments, but believe me, I read them all. Thank you for your loving, supporting and up-lifting words. Thank you so so so much!
But not all comments are always nice. I also get comments about my body and my makes that hurt me. I know I’m not for everybody and neither are my makes. I will never be able to make everyone happy. And that doesn’t have anything to do with not being able to take critique – it’s the how things are said, not what things are said (except for comments about bodies – those are nobody elses business.). So please – if you don’t have anything nice to say, maybe consider not saying anything at all. And yes – maybe I’m just extremely sensitive, but I just want this place here to stay a happy place – for writers, creators and readers… and yes, me.
That said – thank you for reading until the end, I promise it will be a lot lighter and less uncomfortable next time, but I wanted to talk about something that’s important to me. I will now keep on dreaming about my Lydia Naomi BubbleFrock that I’m planning to sew for my friends’ wedding while continuing to knit on my next Purl Pal project.
Have a wonderful time and keep on supporting each other!
PS: Who else is dreaming of pizza in Venice? Because I am.
That is a gorgeous dress and you did a great job on it and it looks FANTASTIC on you. Imagine how much energy someone expends to write negative comments. Thats a very sad person with nothing else better to do.
Sophie- Beautiful dress.! Amen to safe space. I’m a plus sized gal and rarely post pictures because trolls are the worst,. Keep sewing, and telling us all about it— I’ll keep reading and being inspired.
Sorry to hear that the internet trolls have been making unnecessary personal comments. At nearly 65, I have learned one thing about bodies – “they are subject to change”. I have been severely underweight, heavier than my health would like, no curves, a lot of curves. Luckily I have never been too concerned about my looks, or anyone else’s. My life lesson is that character, kindness and being respectful towards others is all that really matters. Thank you for sharing your sewing journey. My wish for you and your readers is: “May you have joy and contentment all the rest of your days.”
Hello Sophie, Congratulations on your sewing proficiency and your courageous stance in stating boundaries that civilized people should be following without needing to be reminded! I love reading your blogs, especially when you discuss how you modified some patterns when necessary. You are absolutely right about the fitting process–there is absolutely no perfect pattern that will flatter every body type and not require adaptation somewhere. Sharing your ‘hacks’ is helpful to every serious sewist; people who make hurtful comments are not interested in offering comments on techniques. They are looking for short-term gratification by making themselves sound superior—in THEIR estimation. They definitely don’t appear that way to the other readers. Keep being your authentic self—your designs suit you perfectly and are stylish. I also am grateful that you discuss the type of linen that you use because it helps me decide what weight to try. For example, your ‘Dream Frock’ (gorgeous!) is definitely not the least bit ‘see-through’. How did you prewash and dry the linen for that? It appeared than midweght linen I have washed in lukewarm and line dried. Knowing your prewsh methods for the garments you create would be helpful to number of your readers! I look forward to your future creations in sewing and knitting.1
Lovely dress, but I have questions. What weight linen did you use? It doesn’t look see through which has been my fear of using white for clothing. Did you have to line the dress or was the linen heavy enough without a lining? I like checking out the patterns you have used for your clothing pieces that show up in these Thread articles. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered one of them as they normally don’t come large enough for me, but I do like to look at patterns and get ideas. I also appreciated your knitting articles.
Thanks for sharing your journey
Happy Anniversary! I don’t always get to read the articles but when I do I find them very interesting!
Thank you for your time and hard work!
Personal comments are not acceptable at any level. You produce a huge amount of work and I guess, as you put yourself out there, you’re going to have to take the good with the bad. Do what makes you happy. Get a thick skin! Love that white dress.
tess Haesicke c/o Phelan
Oh Sophie, I understand you completely. My mother, a German immigrant and labor camp survivor, came to this country (USA) with next to nothing. She encouraged me to learn to sew, knit, crochet, embroider and so much more and like you, I am self taught.
I was raped at 15, shortly after my mothers passing from breast cancer, had my daughter at 16 and was in college at 17. My entire life has been criticized, analyzed, and marginalized. As a single mom, I made nearly every stitch of clothing Cara wore on her body and she loved it! She loved participating in deciding what she wanted her clothes to look like and was proud wearing them.
It sucks, of course, that people feel the need to look outside of themselves to call out what they perceive as imperfections and inadequacies but at the end of the day, it is not about us but rather it is about them. They are terrible unhappy with themselves and that comes through in their transference. Let it roll, smile and offer them your best wishes. We are the celebrated ones. oxox
I love to sew. Whenever I see Sophie Frank has written a blog on this site, it thrills me because your remarks are always thoughtful and full of joy for what you are doing. There will always be naysayers – ignore them. Listen only to constructive criticism. You are a beautiful, smart, fantastic woman, and that only gets better with time. Blessings.
You have an artist’s spirit. Some people won’t loke or approve of your work, your body, your lifestyle, your whatever. It hurts, even when we know it isn’t true. Don’t give those people space in your brain! Throw them out! Your creations are lovely, even more impressive considering the length of time you’ve been sewing.
Fashion rules from the Renaissance begone! A creative fusion of medieval & modern, mindful of style and comfort. Similarly, a chemise, peasant-style: short, puffed, and ruffled sleeves beautifully gathered and adjoined to a meticulously tailored bodice with a superb custom fit and 21st century convenience of having a `built-in’ corset – fastened by the insertion of a “clasp locker” ( [pre]-zipper) in the back. Diversely, sweet and sensual, a plunging back/neckline, generous slit in the skirt, your linen dress is a jewel – one that you wear well. Enjoy 🙂
Sophie-i now have my Nico dress/top pattern almost cut out and am so excited to sew a linen top that i have dyed with purple cabbage all because of you!! Creativity is all about doing what you love. I love the back and front of that dress-it’s all creative gorgeousness!
What an absolutely beautiful dress you made. Your fit is perfect and you look lovely in it . Don’t let anything stop you!
You keep going! Thank you for your courage and generosity.
It blows my mind that anyone can look at what you have done, and find something negative to say. I have sewn since I was a child (now retired) and I would be very proud of this make. You are brilliant, the dress is gorgeous, with a fit that normally only rich people can afford. Delete anything that offends you instantly, and know that the good comments are the truth you/we need. Well done.
Your look screams Artist, and I love a kindred spirit.. Naturally, I find your take on creative sewing of interest in The Thread. Your sewing skills are impressive, as is your wonderful sense of style. I’ve known a few single moms over the years and they all have super powers. It looks likes you have many.
How did the company find out about your sewing skills and ask you to write for them? Im assuming the company is the Fabrics Store. What is the number of this linen midweight bleached linen?
Looks to me like you did a fantastic job of fitting the dress to your body. As someone who always had that same body type (and the rude comments that went with it) and who now that she is a certain age has an entirely different one (if someone finds my waist, would you please return it? Thanks!) on a 6 ft/1.83m frame, I know how challenging it can be to make the “norm” shaped pattern fit the not so “norm” shaped body. Patterns are just a jumping off point for the majority of us of any size or shape. Kudos for a job well done!
To those making them, hurtful personal comments, even under the guise of trying to be “helpful,” are rude and never acceptable in polite society, whether in person or in writing. Even more so if the person is a stranger. Shame on you.
Hi Sophie…I have to disagree with the person who commented that the back of your dress is not ‘cohesive’ with the front. I think it is spectacular from start to finish! You are such a courageous and amazing young woman to have accomplished all of these ‘firsts’ in one year! So many of us love you and the sharing of your journey so keep up the good work and when something negative floats your way…delete, delete, DELETE.
What a pretty, white dress! You did a grand job making it, the fit is perfection, especially considering that that is your first zipper encounter. Well done! Did you use a dress form? I’ve recently gotten one and it makes fitting so much easier.
Mean people are everywhere but there are good people out here, too! I’ve learned that usually mean people feel deficient and that causes jealousy which results in striking out against those that have what they lack. Pass over those comments, don’t reread. I have a quote I keep in my back pocket ? Something like: Everyone Else’s Opinion of Me Is None Of My Business.
Sophie, I enjoy reading your blog and am so intrigued by the unique details your creations/works convey. Kudos to you. I am fascinated by techniques sewers use in projects even if it would not be something I would wear for myself. I commend your accomplishments and look forward to viewing and reading more about your journey.
I’m 70 years old, been married 50 years, live in a small midwest town and have never really wanted to travel. You might wonder why I’m telling you all of this since it doesn’t seem like we have very much in common. I however feel like we are friends, I look forward to your next post to see your beautiful creations and what new thing you have learned in your sewing. I don’t ever remember a time when I haven’t sewed so it a very big part of my life. Sewing with linen is a totally new for me as I’ve mostly been a quilter in the past. The sizes and clarity of directions from Fabric.-Store patterns have expanded my sewing. Don’t let others get you down, there are lots of other people like me who really enjoy seeing and hearing what you are doing. P.S. This is another first for me as I have never posted anything before! Enjoy life!
Love your description of the dress as a version of la dolce vida. It must be such fun to wear. As written in the comment above, many of us who usually don’t comment enjoy what we read. However, it’s always interesting for me to view other’s creativity. Thanks for you posts!
Hi Sophie! I’m so sorry that you’ve had to tolerate any rude comments–I’m constantly amazed (I don’t know why :-/) that people will go out of their way to turn something as uplifting as sewing/fabric/creativity into something tense and unpleasant. I’m glad you have your creative outlets, as it certainly sounds like you have your hands full; I know I relied on my creative “happy place” when my boys were young. You’re very talented, and I always enjoy reading your posts. Don’t let the unhappy people who try to tear you down break you! And now I have to go look up “Lydia Naomi”, because I think I may need some patterns. Take care, Tracy
Really, I can’t believe how/why anyone would make negative comments! It’s about process, creativity and individuality. It horrifies me to read that she has had to deal with negative comments. Why are people so cruel and feel so entitled to be rude?
There are trolls everywhere on the internet. I used to believe the trolls were primarily male, but I’ve since become aware that many are women. Very sad and disappointing.
Anytime I see a woman daring to be different and do her own thing, she becomes a role model for me, as you have become. I love seeing photos of you, your clothes, your child, where you live. I get inspiration from you. It never occurred to me that you might have received hurtful comments, and I applaud you for using this forum to call out that behavior. We each can be the change we want to see in the world. I want to see a world full of people who support and nurture one another. We all know it’s important not to stay silent when we see someone else being heckled, but rarely do we ourselves think, “Hey, that applies to not remaining silent when it’s happening to me.” You are modeling something we could all do more often: stand up and bring ugly behavior into the light of day to say, “That is not okay.”
Hello , I am glad that this subject is being brought up . I feel that I have some information that may help all of us understand what is going on inside of “Simplicating Languaging. ” At this point , we are almost 100 years in , and so many people speak using a thought process they are not even aware of . This thought process is simplication . It was a mathematical term ( Math is the root of all language ) created in the 1930’s which is when the subject being discussed is reduced so as to be better able to fit it into a category . Imagine a box of apples , where the apples have their peels cut back to make the apples square , and thus packed into the box . Sure , more apples will fit , but they also will ALL soon rot . The reason why life is so energized is because it is very complex . Complexity is necessary for survival . Nowhere does nature simplicate . Simplify , sometimes , simplicate , never . Simplication creates Cognitive Dissonance , Cognitive Dissonance IS biological torture , our beautiful brain loves balance harmony and wisdom , when we present it with words that have no purpose other than controlling something that should not be controlled , it gets confused . Inclusion , Harmony , and Mutuality need to replace ideas like discrimination , individuation , and judgement . I am not sure if this is appropriate for the sewing site , I won’t get my feelings hurt if it is not published , but I do feel that I need to always make the effort to share the information that I have had to figure out .
Judgmental comments about a person’s body are always out of line.Yes, as Cilla says, they are boorish. We’re all different and there is no absolute norm. Fitting a slender shape can be just as problematical and worthy as is dealing with plus sizes. Surely we can talk about sewing alterations, techniques and fitting without being insulting?
One of the things I appreciate about the Fabrics-Store is how inclusive their designs are. They use models of several shapes and sizes so we can imagine how linen clothing will look on our real life bodies. Now, if they’d just include some models of “a certain age”, that would be welcome too.
Gayle Gray Doyle
Sorry Sophie, but after many years on this earth I’ve got to tell you there are and always will be people who build themselves up by putting others down. That said, back to sewing! I think you are a very talented lady, and I also look forward to your posts. Happy Trails!
Hello! Your dress is really pretty from the front…lots of design interest. The back of the dress, while pleasing to the eye and beautifully executed, seems noncohesive to the front of the dress. That being said, going or coming it’s a pretty dress. I enjoyed reading your article as well.
I am stunned and saddened to hear that anyone would leave a comment that is anything but helpful. Readers should be sharing their thoughts on your sewing choices and techniques. Nothing else. Suggestions should be made in a supportive way. Personally, I look forward to your well written posts. Thank you for sharing your work.
Keep on creating and commenting, Sophie! You are courageous. I’m sorry that some people’s responses are boorish and cruel. Remember that there are many of us out there like me who don’t usually comment at all, who support and admire you! Keep the faith! Cilla
You look absolutely stunning in that dress. I have loved everyone of your posts and your creations. I find you extraordinarily talented and also brave in sharing details of your life. Keep going; we are cheering you on.