Vintage Sewing

Frock Lobster, ooh aaahh!

August 9, 2007
Before I show you la frock, I would like to send a special, personal, heartfelt thanks to the genius creator of the twin, collaborative splendour that is a) the blind hem stitch and b) the blind hem foot. Never again will I hand-sew a hem. Circle skirts, you no longer intimidate me. Bring on the metres and metres of hemline because I SHALL CONQUER THEE!

Anyway. I bring you the Frock Lobster.

This is the Butterick 1960 reissue, Retro #6582. Some of the gals on Pattern Review slammed it so I was a little wary, but she came together a treat. I got some terrific advice from you Sew Retro folks about how to adjust darts when you lengthen the bodice… which I ignored, accidentally, because I went ahead and sewed them before I had read your comments. More fool me. But somehow, it worked. Next time I’ll do it properly though and I thank you all – what a great community this is.

A couple of comments. One of the Pattern Review complaints was that there was a whole lot of fussing to create a drapey crossover neckline that didn’t justify the not-very-drapey results. I decided to structure it with three carefully placed pleats at the shoulder instead of the rather haphazard gather in the instructions. See below – I think you’ll agree it worked rather nicely.

Secondly, isn’t attempting the impossibly unnatural pose of the models in the pattern illustration half the fun of photographing the finished item? The classic stance – pelvis thrust forward, shoulders rolled in a coy fashion, arms all angular and hips twisted – cracks me up. This particular illustration has a vixen propped up on what seems to be an invisible bar, waiting for her martini. I couldn’t do that one without falling over.

I want to recruit an army of femmes in killer wasp-waisted frocks like this one to hit some really trendy part of town en masse where The Cool People are decked out in shapeless smocks. We’ll show ’em how silly they look. Yes, in a dress covered with lobsters, making THEM look silly. Hmmmm.

  1. Cute! Great job on the drape – I think the pleats were the right answer. You really don’t notice the lobsters until you look closely at the dress, either.

  2. Awesome job on the dress! It looks fantastic. I have this pattern in my pile just waiting for me to find the perfect fabric. I will have to go searching for it sooner. And thanks for the tip on the darts.

  3. Excellent plan, I shall join you. I’ll be the one in a red w/white polka dot wiggle dress. Do you think we can start a trend? I hope so…

    Gorgeous lobsters!

  4. Your dress turned out swell. 🙂 I have this pattern as well, along with several other vintage and reissue/new wiggle dress patterns. I’m in a full skirts phase right now, but I’ve got a gang of wiggle & pencil skirts planned for fall. 🙂


  5. Love Love Love this. Name the date and place and I’ll join your army! Love the lobsters too. My husband is from Maine, so we are into the Moose and Lobster themes.

  6. Oh, that dress is FABULOUS!!

    I’ve used that pattern a few times, and I think pleats definitely work better than gathers, unless you’re using a very drapey fabric.

    Love the lobsters, too!

  7. Yah! im so glad you got her safe and sound. May she give you many years of happiness 🙂

    much love

  8. ooh, lovely one livebird! And a very good fit too. I’ve got this one in the stash for some future event, but for now I have a spotty frock to construct. To the sewmobile!

  9. I agree! It’s a great pattern. Love your idea about making the shoulder gathers pleats instead – I will do that next time because mine were a bit haphazard but not too bad. I’m definitely going to try some of those more slimline fitted versions next time.

    Oh and well done on the blind hemming! I have been shown how to do it before but I don’t have the correct foot for my sewing machine so I did it all by hand meh! And THAT after shortening the dress… twice… wasn’t much fun.

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