• Dresses

    Liberty Lilac Simplicity 2444

    You know how you can look back and laugh at how stupid you were. In my last post I was revelling in feeling better after a bout of stomach flu and little did I know I wasn’t better at all… It’s now day 12 and I’m still struggling to perform normal life activities. Thank goodness I finally got to the doctors and should be well enough to go back to work after Easter.

    Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

    The perfect time for a blog post! This dress has been living in my wardrobe for a while now. I made it for a lovely wedding in a gorgeous barn for two special people. It was up high on a hill in Cumbria surrounded by sheep and rolling hills and was very very windy. It felt extra lovely as we were newlyweds just back from honeymoon and revelling in the beauty of the Seychelles.

    Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

    I wanted something quite long in skirt length but a breezy shape and quick to make. I’ve made Simplicity 2444 several times and always swap out the skirt. This time I cut a big gathered rectangle so I’m not calling that “drafting a pattern piece” and let out the bodice a little. Of course I added pockets as weddings need tissues.

    Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

    The fabric is the real star here. It’s a Liberty of London tana lawn called Archive Lilac on the prettiest green teal base that they call turquoise. (It also comes in 3 other colours.) I really want to wear more strong colours so bought this print to achieve this. I’d originally planned a low cut bombshell wrap bodice but it barely showed off the print so went for more coverage.

    Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

    It’s super swishy, fully lined, and finished with deep hems and an invisible zipper. It was speedy and uneventful to sew which in some ways I’m a little sad about but it’s still a joy to wear. I wore it to the Sewing for Pleasure show and got lovely comments. Plus I wore it to the Sew Over 50 photoshoot and the ladies liked the print too.

    Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

    After spending a half an hour taking things out of my wardrobe that don’t suit my life anymore, I’m really pleased this is on the rails. So while it wasn’t challenging to sew or filled with interesting details, I know I’ll keep wearing it. Well, when I finally get out of my pyjamas again I will!!

  • Dresses

    Watercolour Papercut Patterns Adrift

    Hello everyone. This pretty spring dress is crying out to be worn! I can’t wait to take it for a stroll through Ilkley. It’s colourful and floaty and just perfect for the start of fresher weather.

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscoseI partnered with Abakhan for this make. They let me choose something from their new Spring/Summer collection of fabrics and I chose this stunner which has now sold out but there’s plenty more in the collection to enjoy. It was sent out the fabric for free to see what I’d make with it. 

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscose
    I chose the Adrift pattern which has a lovely frilled skirt. There’s a draw string waist dress or darted skirt option. You can also add frilly sleeves to the bodice but they were a bit too frilly for my liking so I adjusted to use cap sleeves. The bust darts are mostly for show. I made a size S dress bodice by laying my Mayberry dress size 12 pattern pieces on top to get a similar fit since that is also a cinched pattern with waist ties. I also used the Mayberry dress sleeves since it’s such a similar bodice and adjusted the armholes to match. Then I graded out to an XXL at the hip.

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscoseThe fabric has so many lovely colours in it. The reason I love viscose is that lovely drape and cool smooth feel to the fabric. It’s important to pre-wash viscose as it does shrink and use a nice sharp needle to avoid pulls. I overlocked all the edges as viscose frays a lot too. almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscoseLengthening the skirt was a real challenge. There were no clues on the pattern or the Papercut website for how to approach this. I ended adding about 3″ to the upper area of the skirt where the ruffle is relatively straight on the front, so I could then extend the frill pieces at the top rather than the middle. It was successful in the end but it may not be the right want to do it. I’m 5ft4 ish and if I had to add 3″ I wonder how indecent the length is on a taller woman!

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscose
    The finished dress is pretty cute and I’m sure will get lots of wear this year when life starts to return to normal. One of my friends already commented that she wants to see the fabric in real life which is lovely. And I could imagine wearing it around the Mediterranean one day too. If you pick up anything from the collection, let me know! I’d love to see what you make. You should definitely check out Rosey Sews’ gorgeous skirt in the same fabric.

  • Dresses

    Vintage market staple

    Hello everyone. Quick post today!

    Firstly, thanks for all your comments on my last post. Since writing that piece my wedding day has been shunted into 2018 which is sad because I was getting excited to start my dress but I imagine I’ll now start sometime in the new year. Head to the end of the post for details on what I’m going to sew instead!

    But let me just show you this dress which I finished about a year ago. Since getting photos has been near impossible I’ve settled for some quick phone snaps with bonus cat photobombing.

    The fabric was bought from Village Haberdashery and is a Riley Blake print from the Vintage Market collection. I love the different colours in this print as it’s perfect for pairing different cardigans and shoes with the dress.

    I probably don’t need to say it but I used the Simplicity 2444 bodice and the Emery skirt, including the pockets. The dress is fully lined with navy habotai, uses a concealed zip and hemmed with 1 inch red bias binding which let me give the appearance of a deeper hem.

    I wear this dress ALL THE TIME! It’s pretty close to perfect in terms of fit, print, comfort and length. It’s the ultimate dress for most occasions and I really want to find this print in Jersey to make the ultimate winter dress! It looks a little longer in the body in these pictures weirdly but wearing it, the waist sits perfectly.

    In other news I bought some gorgeous plain red viscose from Minerva Crafts to make a Christmassy version of B6380 the stunning new Gertie offering for Butterick. I intend to wear it with tights and a slip for warmth. Perhaps I’ll pull out my glittery ballet flats!

    Also I managed to find the reverse colourways of this large scale floral sateen fabric for a graphic monochromatic print clash party dress (say that 10 times fast). Although I’m not 100% sure of the pattern I think it will be good with a dramatic silhouette like the By Hand London Elisalex bodice with a really deep scoop back or Burda 7232 which appeared in Sewing Bee Series 4 and has an angular bodice, paired with a circle or pleated skirt. It might need a thin black belt to disguise the waist seam.

    I’m excited to sew two very different new dresses and still have the plans for my new coat. I shouldn’t be moping about not sewing my wedding dress for very long – I’ll be too busy! Bye for now!!

  • Dresses

    Happy sunshine dress

    Hello everyone! I promise this isn’t going be a huge ramble about the weather, even though I’m a total British cliché and actually enjoy talking about what’s happening out there. If I’ve ever talked to you about the weather, don’t think it’s just small talk… it honestly isn’t!

    almond rock simplicity 2444 floral summer dress

    So this is a dress I made last Summer! It was great for those sticky days when I needed to feel put together but stay as cool as possible. We’re not having so many of those right now. I have this really vivid memory of being out in Leeds with my mum and the sun was shining down on us and just loved wearing this dress. I also wore it to meet the gorgeous teeny newborn baby of my two good friends so the happy memories keep rolling.

    almond rock simplicity 2444 floral summer dress

    The cotton is a pretty print I found at B&M fabrics in the market but I’ve seen it online at Sew Over It called Cristabel and at Goldhawk Road. It’s a lightweight poplin with a touch of spandex. B&M had it on a blue base too.

    almond rock simplicity 2444 floral summer dress

    The dress is a Simplicity 2444 bodice with bigger armholes and thinner “straps” or should we still just call them shoulder seams? I used the Emery skirt from Christine Haynes because it’s so awesome; the perfect length and flared with the perfect A line. I added the pockets from the Emery too. I’m super happy with the fit of this dress now.

    almond rock simplicity 2444 floral summer dress

    The dress isn’t lined, just sewn up with the included facings which made it super quick to sew. The print means it isn’t that sheer but I definitely need a slip to wear the dress with tights. I installed a lapped zipper in the back because I am still on the quest to perfect these. This one is almost right, but the zipper pull shows a little.

    almond rock simplicity 2444 floral summer dress

    Oh and I rediscovered this necklace the other day too and really want to buy another big colourful piece like it. I systematically forget to wear jewellery every day. I really want to change that; although perhaps that means picking out jewellery the night before and laying it out for myself. That’s weird right? I have some lovely antique pieces from my family that I really regret not wearing more. Am I the only forgetful “accessoriser” out there?

  • Dresses


    I have a dress to share, and a story. Hopefully it’s something you’re interested in reading. First up this is my new dress. It’s an Emery Dress by Christine Haynes mashed with Project Runway for Simplicity 2444.


    I used the bodice darts and neckline from 2444 but the armholes and sleeves from the Emery. It’s the Emery skirt too. I mentioned this on Instagram and Twitter but I used a clever but fiddly tutorial to fully line the bodice, even though it has sleeves. I made it extra hard for myself by lining the bodice in the same fabric as the shell so it was hard to work out what to sew and when.

    The fabric is a Robert Kaufman limited edition print called “Patriots” – a design to commemorate the centennial of the Naval Airforce. I bought it at Abakhan a few months back and felt emotionally drawn to it. I knew I had to sew it up before November.


    This time of year always makes me a little sad. You see every Remembrance Day I think of my Grandparents and I feel regret that I didn’t know them better. I never asked them the questions that I should have before it was too late. I know that’s a familiar tale but it doesn’t make me regret it any less.


    So today I’d like to share something about my Grandad, on my Father’s side. Alfred Edward Thomas, “Ted” to his friends was in the Navy during the Second World War. Here’s what I know.


    Volunteering in June 1942, aged 19, he joined the HMS Collingwood as a Leading Seaman – that was the equivalent of a Corporal from what I can tell. Between June 1942 and Feb 1945 he served on the Collingwood (for training), Osprey, and the Drake IV Tanatside. In May 1943 during his time on Tanatside he was promoted to Able Seaman meaning a seaman with at least two years’ experience at sea. From Feb 1945 to June 1946 he served on the HMS Pembroke IV, Fabius (sp?), St Angelo (Caduus), Peacock, and Blenheim. He also spent several months on various out-stations of HMS Victory, most likely for more training.

    Image (3)

    He was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, Atlantic Star (service in France and Germany), Africa Star (service in North Africa 1942-43), The Defense Medal and The War Medal. There’s a significance to the order of the medals which I won’t delve into too much but I want to say the 1939-1945 Star is awarded to those with more than 180 days continuous service – that’s something to imagine. And the Atlantic Star was awarded to those who participated in the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous battle of the Second World war.


    To think of anyone serving in a war is almost inconceivable, it becomes a mental amalgamation of film or television scenes and patchy school history lessons. To think of someone you know – someone who has taken you on day trips and played board games with you – being at war is even harder to rationalise.

    But it’s good to try and remember, to think of the effort and sacrifice. So I know what I’ll be thinking of at 11am on the 11th of November.