I am so excited about this plan and can not wait for this evening together! I have been planning it in my head for weeks, and have brought some others of you in for thinking through details in the last few days, but today I am ready to share the news with all of you!
Virtual Frocktail is happening!
Saturday, May 30th
4- 5:30 PM Pacific Time
So, first of all, what even is Frocktails?
Traditionally, Frocktails events are parties that take place in a few large cities around the world, where sewists who live nearby come together for one night, wearing handmade outfits they love, enjoy some cocktails and tasty treats, dance, chat with sewing friends all about the beautiful handmades you are wearing with people who really appreciate what went into them, and very often win some raffle prizes from sponsors. They usually require a ticket purchase to cover the costs and are obvious only available to those who live close enough to travel to the location without much hardship.
How will Virtual Frocktails be different?
There will be two main differences between the virtual Frocktails event I am planning and the usual Frocktails events. First of all, this event will be open to anyone around the world who wants to attend, because we will all be attending from home on our computers or devices. I realize that time zones will make this difficult or not super pleasant for some people, and I am sorry about that, I wish I had a way to make a time that works for everyone, but I had to choose something that worked for myself, my family and the majority of you in this community with me.
The other difference is that there will be no ticket to purchase. Part of the reason that there is no ticket to purchase is that I do not have to pay for a location, drinks or snacks (for you) in order to throw this event. The other reason that there is no ticket to purchase is that I am turning this event into a fundraiser for a few organizations doing great work that I am very passionate about supporting. The current pandemic has made me spend even more time than usual thinking about the state of the world, of those most vulnerable in our society, the work I personally am doing and how I can do more to help build the world I wish to live in. There is so much that breaks my heart, so much I wish I could fix. I want to close this business and run for office. I want to drive down to the border, charge the gates of detention centers and free everyone trapped within. I want to put my body in the path of pipelines being built, oil tankers and whaling vessels across all the oceans, confront racist cops, and demand better pay and working condition for our fieldworkers keeping food on our tables but, almost entirely living with not enough food and no safe living space for their own families. I want more equitable education funding and universal healthcare. I want to somehow, somehow, somehow, talk some sense into the immoral billionaires getting richer and richer while so many go hungry and homeless and without the most basic of needs being met. I want to fix all of the hurts with my own two hands.
But I know that there are others already doing amazing work in all these areas, those who know what the needs are and who already have connections and plans in place to work towards our goals, but that they need our support to keep doing that work. And I know that without upending our lives, while home taking care of ourselves, our children, our pets, our loved ones, while doing things that bring joy and peace to our hearts and creating beauty in the world, we can all come together to help.
There will be prizes, and everyone who attends will have an equal chance to win one of them, but in order to get the Zoom link to join us, you must send me proof of a donation, in any amount to one of the organizations working to create a better world that I have selected. I know that this is financially, a very hard time for a lot of people right now. For that reason, I am not setting any limits or minimums on the amount of the donation. You do not even need to let me know how much you donated. Just a screenshot of the thank you screen or email, with the amount crossed out if you would like, works for me. I know, that small amounts, given by a lot of people add up, and these organizations can do so much good even with just a few dollars.
But what will we do?
My vision for our party is this: everyone wears something that brings them joy and makes them feel like their truest and best selves. We all join the call and chat for a few minutes to give everyone time to get there. I share a “red carpet” outfit video with you all that I have created in advance so we can see the movement of the outfits of those who want to share (details about getting involved in this further on in the post). Cheering, clapping, whistling, cat calling are all highly encouraged. We have some small breakout rooms where you can chat in smaller groups to get to know new sewing friends better. A whole group dance party. Announcement of raffle prize winners. Again, cheering highly encouraged. Eating treats and enjoying tasty beverages on our own, but together. A feeling of community and friendship and love and support of one another. It will run from 4pm pacific time to about 5:30. I realize this isn’t necessarily prime dance party hours, but really, I support dance parties any time of day or night and think you should, too. Even if I stil have to be wearing this boot and using these crutches, I will be dancing.
Yes! Prizes! We have such a generous community and so many people were eager to donate to this event! There may still be additions to this list, but so far the prizes I have lined up include:
✂️ A Sewing Blind Date Package from my shop. If you are not familiar, I offer these a few times a year in my shop. They are specifically planned and chosen for you, taking into account past purchases from my shop and a bit of light stalking of your social media to get a sense of your personal style and what patterns you already own. It will include a printed pattern, fabric and all the notions needed to sew the pattern, including of course, matching thread.
✂️ A set of zipper pouches sewn with love by my friend Amber
✂️ Katie Kortman’s ebook “Wear Happy Color: A Guide To A Colorful Wardrobe”
✂️ A shop credit to A Happy Stitch. She sells espadrille sewing kits!
✂️ A shop credit to Caramiya Maui’s shop! I just purchased some of her incredible art in the form of stickers and greeting cards, but she sells so many beautiful things that she creates inspired by the incredible place she lives.
✂️ A free PDF pattern from Halfmoon Atelier. Meghann is also generously making two donations herself in honor of this fundraiser.
✂️ A free PDF pattern from Muna and Broad!
✂️ A $35 credit to Sophie Hines shop to use towards patterns or kits (and she has been teasing online classes as well!)
✂️ A few three pattern bundles from 100 Acts Of Sewing!
✂️ Plus! Everyone who attends will receive discount codes to use towards patterns from both Muna and Broad and Halfmoon Atelier
✂️ Maybe something from you? Are you a sewing or other creative small business? Are you an artist of any sort who would like to share your work with others as a form of supporting this effort? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to talk details with you and add you to this list.
I am so grateful for al the generosity and support I have gotten from these friends. We honestly have such an amazing community here!
Is there a dress code?
While the word “Frocktails” is a combination of the words Frock, meaning dress and Cocktail, there is absolutely no requirement to wear a dress (or drink a cocktail for that matter). I want everyone who comes to wear something they love. Something they feel confident and comfortable in. Something that helps them feel like their best and happiest and truest selves. This could be a dress, it could be separates, it could be a jumpsuit, it could be a suit suit, it could be pajamas or a tux or a ballgown. Honestly, it doesn’t even have to be handmade by you. My general intention, and I think something we all really love, is showing our handmade creations off to others who know what work went into them. Who will appreciate the details and the creativity. Who will ooh and aah over the beautiful materials. But maybe you are new to apparel sewing and don’t have anything you feel comfortable in yet. Maybe your body has changed sizes and you haven’t had the time or funds to sew something new. Maybe you have realized what you currently have in your wardrobe doesn’t fit with who you want to be. It’s ok! Just come! We want YOU there, and whatever you have on your body is entirely up to you. You will be welcomed and appreciated and showered with love exactly as you choose to join us.
Food and Drink
I so wish I could plan tasty drinks and cook delicious food filled with love for you all. When I have hosted workshops and retreats in the past, good food has always been a major part of the plans. It is my way of showering you with love and gratitude and helps bring us all together. I obviously can not do that with all of you now and for this virtual event, but in the lead up to it, I will share some recipes and inspiration with all of you for some tasty drinks (alcoholic and not) and yummy snacks you could make yourself to enjoy at the event. Just for fun, obviously. No pressure to make what I am suggesting!
The Red Carpet Video
One problem with Zoom is that we will mostly only see each other’s faces and shoulders. We can all take turns backing up from the camera to show and tell all about our outfit, especially in the breakout rooms, but it is definitely not the same experience we would get to have showing off our handmades in person. In order to get some better views of these creations, to see how they move and just to add in some extra fun, one of the geniuses who has been attending my weekly Saturday morning Zoom Community Sewing parties came up with the idea of putting together a video in advance, which I can then screenshare to all in attendance. I would love videos from you, from all of you, who would like to send one in, each about 30 seconds or less, showing yourself doing a little twirl, walking, dancing, wiggling back and forth, even standing and waving. You can talk or not. You can have music playing or not. These can be taken with the selfie camera on your phone, propped up on a book. They can have your messy house in the background. You do not need to do your hair or make up. You DO NOT need to edit them. Just do something quick and fun and send it my way, with a description of the patterns and fabrics involved, by May 27th at the latest, and I will edit them all into a fun little video for us all to watch.
So, what are these organizations we are supporting?
There are so many amazing organizations doing so much amazing work in the world that it was really hard for me to narrow it down to a reasonable and manageable amount for our purposes here. In the end I settled on these five. They cover a wide range of issues, are well run by those most effected by the issue and they do a good job of putting the majority of their funding towards the work, not towards CEO salaries. I am including a brief description of their work and links to their website so you can check them all out and make your donations.
✂️ Center For Farmworker Families - Their mission is to promote awareness about the difficult life circumstances of farmworker families while proactively inspiring improvement in binational family life both in the United States and in Mexico. They are also providing direct relief to farmworker families suffering financially and medically with Covid 19. Local farmworker families have the highest rates of Covid19 in my area due to unsafe working and living conditions and a lack of access to medical care. Many of them have also not been eligible for government stimulus program despite paying taxes. When I was teaching, a majority of my students’ families worked in the fields, so this is a demographic in our society and an issue that is very important to me.
✂️ Navajo Nation Covid Relief - The Navajo Nation has been hit with enormous levels of covid19 infection and death within their community. Due to the racist policies of the US government, many living on reservations were already living in poverty, without even access to running water, and this virus has had devastating effects. They need PPE and so much more to be able to keep fighting the effects of this virus.
✂️ Black Lives Matters - It is continually being proven again and again that Black lives do not matter in our country and we need to continue fighting and supporting the work of those who are fighting to break down the systemic and personal racism alive and well in our nation.
✂️ Feeding America - 1 in 9 people in our nation, one of the wealthiest nations in the world, struggles with food insecurity. 1 in 5 children. Feeding America is a national organizations that works with local food banks to feed those in need in their community; a number that is ever growing. A $1 dollar donated can provide four meals.
✂️ Sierra Club - the most enduring and influential Grassroots environmental organization in the United States. They are fighting for clean air and clean water, for the preservation of wild spaces, against global warming and for the removal of our current president from office because he and his “associates” are doing such tremendous, lasting damage to our Earth.
So details... How Can I Come? How will winners be chosen?
This part is pretty easy! Choose at least one of those organizations above. Donate any amount that works for your personal circumstances at this time. Take a screenshot of the thank you screen or thank you email and send it to me, or just forward me the email, to email@example.com . Feel free to use your phone’s editing tool to cover up the amount you donated. I would love to know the total we raise together, or an approximate, but don’t want anyone to feel any sort of hesitation surrounding what is doable for you at this time (or ever). We can’t all give a lot, but I do believe we can all give a little, even just a dollar, and that every dollar makes a difference.
Everyone who emails me proof of a contribution will be emailed a Zoom link and the password to join us!
And everyone who joins us is eligible to win one of the prizes! Winners will be randomly selected in advance, but I will announce the winners live at the event. If any of these prizes will not work for you, because you already have it, because the designer does not draft for your size or for any other reason, please let me know when you email me your proof of contribution. You do not even need to tell me why, just which prize. By selecting the winners in advance, I will be able to cross check winners with this information and make sure that every prize will be valued and appreciated by the winner!
Then you just choose what you are going to wear, plan your snacks, and click that link at 4pm pacific time on Saturday, May 30th and join in on the fun! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, would like to facilitate a breakout room, or have a prize to add to our list! I can not wait to see your smiling face!