• 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.

  • Other stuff

    Makebox Beatrix Bunny

    Hello campers! Today I’m sharing an adorable new creation. I’ve partnered with Makebox to try out three of their crafty kit boxes to show how easy and fun they are! If you like what you see, scroll to the end for some amazing discounts codes!

    This month its the perfect Easter bunny kit. There are slightly different versions and I got Beatrice; with her rosy floral pinafore and pink bloomers, she looks modern and heirloom at the same time.

    What I love is that you can hand sew or machine stitch this gorgeous bunny so you can have a quick make or take your time with a relaxing slower stitch.

    I chose to machine stitch because I’ve been away from my machine for a bit while renovating and I really missed it. The bunny took two days to make this way because I couldn’t put her down. It’s really satisfying to whip up something so adorable!


    The finished doll is approximately 36cm from head to toe. And is robust enough to play with or sit neatly as a decorative item. Mine is about to be parcelled up and posted to my niece. Let’s hope she likes the gift!!

    I’m really pleased with the kit. The fabrics are high quality and you’re provided with pins, needles and excess supplies, in case you make a mistake or want to embellish the design a little. Plus the recycled stuffing and vintage fabrics add a reassuring sustainable twist on the craft box concept.

    Now I can share the love!! Get your own box with these helpful codes that are better than you’ll find anywhere else:

    INSTASUB11 for 35% off of the first subscription box in a new subscription.
    SHOPINSTA11 for 15% off in the online shop on one-time purchases.

    What was inside my box:

    • Vintage printed linen for the ears and pinafore
    • Plain linen for the bloomers
    • Cotton for the body
    • Recycled Toy Stuffing made from plastic bottles
    • Elastic
    • Embroidery threads
    • Needle and Pins
    • Printed pattern pieces
    • Photo step by step instruction book
    • Bunny Postcard
  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Spotty vintage New Look 6976

    Hello kittens! Hope you’re all hanging in there. Lots of DIY has been happening over here these last few weeks but not so much sewing. Now thankfully that’s changing and I have three sewing projects to start! Plus a few makes like this which I haven’t had chance to share. Let’s take a look at the first one.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    Here is my version of 1990s New Look pattern 6976. Okay, fair warning… it’s time to call the 90s “vintage”… because the definition is over 30 years is vintage, even though the 90s feel like a blink ago. Plus if you ask me this top has the perfect mix or 90s style and 60s flair. Trends always come back around.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    Here’s the twist; this is actually my toile! I made view C and cut a size 10 bodice, grading out to a 16 at the waist and hip. It turned out too boxy so I slimmed the sides back down and realised I needed to increase the length. I had some left over fabric so added a hem band for this version and increased the length on my pattern pieces ready for when I make my next one. Finally I decided the increase the shoulder strap width because they weren’t quite sleeves and not really straps. Thankfully I had even more scraps to cut new sleeves/straps out.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    When I compared the before and after pictures I was pretty happy! Can you tell from my face? Oh and if you notice the short hair, it’s because I made this top in May 2020, a flipping lifetime ago when lockdown was still fairly tolerable and a vaccine was just a daydream. The blue peachskin is perfectly opaque and drapes beautifully. Plus it’s a flirty style that actually had interesting construction.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    The ruching at the shoulders and back are formed by bias tape facing channels that contain stretched elastic. The front has the same bias tape channels but two thin pieces of rouleau are secured at the outer ends and fed through to the centre point where they’re tied tightly to create ruching and finish in a bow. A cute little fabric facing creates the centre front keyhole.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    The elastic isn’t really holding it in place, but is more for show/creating the ruching. I’m pleased with how the toile turned out but it still rides up a little under the arms so will sort that on the next version also. The back is very wide and a possibly a bit unflattering. Of course you can’t see your own back (unless you’re super bendy), but I’d like to implement a solution to fix the awkward shape.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    This pretty blue peachskin was leftovers from a Love Sewing garment from Dec 2019 and you know what… the fabric is still available! I love it when that happens. Buy yourself some from My Sewing Box. It took some fun pattern jenga to get the pieces cut out but it meant no scraps were wasted. For a stress-free sewing experience with peachskin, you just need a fresh sharp needle and remember to turn your iron down.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    Now I’m ready for Spring weather, whenever it returns!

  • Home

    Coral sideboard makeover

    Hello everyone! Not many posts lately as I’ve been busy working on the new house. I thought you wouldn’t mind if I shared a few projects on the blog.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    I had been admiring mango wood carved sideboards and I really wanted something in a bright colour to make a statement, but couldn’t find the money to treat myself to one (see a few faves 1, 2, 3).

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    So instead I made my own version for under £140! Plus I have glue, paint and primer to spare. I’ve placed it in our recently painted dining room and temporarily decorated it with pretty blooms and a couple of complimentary pictures. Keep reading to learn how my sideboard came together!

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    Since I wasn’t flush with cash, my solution was to scour Facebook Marketplace for something suitable, where I found an IKEA Hemnes sideboard that had been half-heartedly upcycled from white to black, yellow and teal. It was £50 instead of £229… an excellent start!

    For the colour I chose the shade Coral Flair by Dulux but had it mixed as Valspar V700 satin wood at B&Q. It’s that perfect bold orangey pink that feels quite elegant. I only needed 500ml but had to buy 1L for £25.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    Now the fun part, working out the carved effect! I ordered a 3mm sheet of decorative mdf normally used for radiator covers. It was 1200mm x 620mm and cost £38.90. From that one piece I could cut two panels for the front of my cupboard.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    Using a piece of greaseproof paper I made a template for the inner rectangle for each door then folded in half in find the centre length. Mapping out the best pattern placement took a couple of goes but the fold line ensured the design was centralised in the door.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    When ready, I drew round my templates and cut everything out with a jigsaw. This wasn’t the best tool for the job but it was all I had. The nature of the design meant I needed a couple of floating triangles. I cleaned up any wonky cuts with a small hacksaw to get the fit just right.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    I sanded back the unit using a small mouse sander, then primed the unit with wood primer (£11). Then everything had two coats of coral paint. I did the same number of coats on the mdf. It was a pain in the butt getting into all the grooves of the mdf so I’m pleased I didn’t buy a more intricate design.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    The mdf was stuck in place with Everbuild Instant Nails (£4.75), but it created lots of gluey bits like those you see in this close up photo. In hindsight I maybe should have mounted the mdf before all the painting as the glue was annoyingly messy. I touched up the paint with a little brush to cover the blobs all up.

    Almond rock diy carved wood sideboard coral flair painted valspar dulux

    To finish off I added 5 gold handles (£6.99 for 6pcs). I know I could have gone for a more flashy style but I wanted the carving to be the star. And I lined the drawers with more of the gold and white contact paper from my drinks cabinet upcycle. The perfect coral sideboard… and it’s one of a kind too! Happy days.

  • Loungewear

    Christmas pyjamas and Festive Wishes

    Hello all! Tonight I’m typing from bed. It’s been an exhausting few days. Today was supposed to be completion and moving day for our new home but on Friday afternoon the plug was pulled because our buyer was suspected of money laundering. You can’t make these things up. Fast forward to today when it turned out to be a big misunderstanding but all the cancelled plans couldn’t be reinstated.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    So instead I put on my new homemade Christmas pjs and jumped around on the bed! I usually wear a pair of Cath Kidston festive pyjamas this time of year but they’ve been worn to death. So let me introduce my “adventure Santa” set! (It looks like I’m about to hit the ceiling but I had good clearance haha.)

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Made up of my classic duo, the Closet Core Carolyn top pattern and McCall’s 6659 (now M8056) bottoms pattern which I’ve made multiple times. There’s not much I can say other than I SQUEEZED these out of 2m. My foolproof method when I need to do this is piece the front facings together. As long as any seams avoid buttonholes they are unnoticeable.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    My fabric is this charming vintage style Santa print from The Fabric Guys. It’s a brushed cotton that isn’t super soft but is well printed and warm to wear. Santa shows off how he skies, sledges, builds snowmen and let’s Rudolph in on the fun too. And as a reminder, I wear top size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Bottoms are size 14.

    Sometimes you achieve pattern matching perfection like the pair of flannel Hanukkah pjs I made for a friend using the exact same sewing patterns and other fabric from the same website. My friend has similar proportions to me but is taller with a smaller bottom so only minor adjustments were needed. And she LOVED the pyjamas hahah!!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in Hanukkah dogs brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    With only 2m of santa fabric I couldn’t achieve anything like this matching but I don’t mind as sometimes making the project you want it more important. The dog pjs took 4m of fabric in comparison, as you generally need 1.5m more for pattern matching and I couldn’t buy in half metres online. So I saved £13.98 on my Santa set by skipping this.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Now I’m ready for Christmas and for a new moving date. I’m hoping we can at least exchange so everything is legally binding and give my family some peace of mind for the holidays. Things are already stressful enough here with changing covid rules, loved ones being furloughed and it seems the best present I can give is avoiding people. And let’s not mention Brexit! I hope you find a way to celebrate the festive season and recharge your batteries. That’s my plan. Time for more jumping on the bed!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys