What A Gem

Today I’m here to share a Minerva Blogger Network make!


I had a short break from the Network while I worked on some other projects and will probably keep the collaborating a bit more sporadic this year so I can keep sewing from my stash!

For the dress I chose a gorgeous quilting cotton in mid-blue with coloured gems. I can’t help by smile at all the pretty colours in this dress; those gems are my idea of the perfect colour palette.

The dress is the brain child of pinterest. I wanted a button up back dress with cool triangle closures. Basically it’s business in the front, party in the back!


I was really tempted to show a little skin between each button but it would have immediately lowered wearability for me as I couldn’t go bra less and would have hated straps peeking through.

I used the Simplicity 2444 bodice as a start and altered the back piece to create the overlapping triangles. I added the lovely gathered A line skirt of the Deer and Doe Sureau dress.


Sorting out the number and size of triangles I wanted took a few drafts. It also gave me some ideas for other variations, for example this could easily be recreated with a scalloped closure.

I transferred my seam markings using a tracing wheel and carbon, and reduced my stitch length to land neatly on the end of each outward point. In the valley between each triangle I made sure to sew one horizontal stitch to round off the inward point, this helps when turning out, as then the angle isn’t too harsh.


Clipping and notching is also really important for getting the triangle points neat. My trusty prym point turner helped make easy work of this. Once you’ve used a proper point turner it’s hard to go back to a pencil or a chopstick!

It might not be obvious but things were a little different construction wise!
I sewed the bodice with bodice lining in its entirety. I then sewed the skirt and installed my invisible zipper. I then attached my skirt with the bodice lining folded open, aligning the edge of each side of the skirt back with the bodice back seams. I then attached the skirt lining, handsewing along the zipper tape. And finally then folded down my bodice lining and hand stitched it in place.


The dress used almost all of the 2 metres I had (but since I self lined the bodice that’s not too surprising). I used navy antistatic lining on the skirt, five 2cm wide orange buttons and a 9inch blue zip to coordinate. Finally I used 1 inch stiff navy polycotton bias binding on the skirt; this helpa hold the bell shape and gives the illusion of a good size hem which I like.


I’m really pleased that my coral ballet flats go with the dress as sometimes they’re a little too electric to wear. I need a coral cardigan now, don’t I!


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Safe As Houses


Fun times over here! I’m super happy* with my new dress and ready to share.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

Basically this is a dress you’ve seen a billion times before from me. I’ve paired the Simplicity 2444 bodice with the skirt from the Sureau (a dress that I still can’t get to fit nicely).

This cracking cotton duck fabric is from Cath Kidston. All out of stock now I’m afraid! The dress is also fully lined with navy silk habotai. I put in a centred zip for a change too. Plus I hemmed using a stiff bias tape to make the skirt flare at the bottom and keep the bell shape.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

It’s my new favourite dress because it fits wonderfully, the silk lining feels lush and the print makes me smile. Isn’t that everything you want from sewing your own clothes?

Because this is such a TNT for me, I felt safe to splurge on the fabrics.

And I finished the dress last week but the CONSTANT rain refused to let me wear it until the day of these photos! We had sunshine all day, and even though it was still 6°C it feels great to take photos outdoors again.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

The fabric was sort of a present from my Auntie Lynda, Uncle Paul and Cousin Poppy. I received a Cath Kidston gift card for my Birthday and I used it on some pretty bedding and 1.5 metres of this fabric.

I have to thank Char for letting me feel her dress out of the same fabric at the SewBrum meet up. I wanted to see what the fabric weight was like before I ordered it online, as it wasn’t in stock at my local CK. It’s about the same weight as my Little French Dress so I knew it would sew up great as a S444.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

It was such a quick make seeing as how many times I’ve made this dress before. I nearly finished it within a day. Bonus part — because the fabric is so wide, I only needed a metre of fabric so I have spare!

I’m also very excited that Poppy is learning to sew! She’s had an amazing chance to design and sew a dress with the help of two tutors and has just received her first machine to use at home. I’m both terrified and excited for her! It makes her seem even more grown up!

I’m trying to think of good patterns she can work on at home. Please send me suggestions for trendy (but straightforward) tween patterns!! Or are there patterns for American Girl dolls?

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

*Apparently I scrunch my face up when it’s a bit cold. I promise I’m seriously happy!

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The Great British Sewing Bee Lace Challenge

Hello Sewing Bee fans!

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

In advance of tonight’s episode White Tree Fabrics gave me 2 metres of the lovely teal/aqua coloured leaf lace seen in the show and in the accompanying book, used on this gorgeous pencil skirt.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

The lace has such a pretty scalloped selvedge I wanted to showcase that. So I thought if I made a strapless dress I could include a scalloped neckline and hem.

I used my tried and true Butterick 5351 as a starting point. This is a non-stretch lace and I found a teal rayon to use as a lining. I underlined the lace using tiny hand stitches and then changed the order of the construction to line the bodice and sew-in fabric covered boning. I decided not to line the skirt and just underline it; the skirt pieces are just two gathered rectangles.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

I don’t personally think this is the type of lace to worry about pattern matching. The leaf design is quite free flowing so seam lines don’t interrupt the print too badly. I bet I’d get marked down on the sewing bee though.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challenge

Before I started I washed the lace on the cool handwash setting of my washing machine, and because it’s a cotton lace there was a little shrinking but no colour fading. There’s not a massively clear difference between the right and wrong sides either. It was a really nice lace to work with.

almond rock great british sewing bee lace challengeSo there you have it! A sweet new blue dress paired with a black patent belt and shoes.

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I’ve never seen an animal that looks like that!

Ahoy there! Happy Jungle January

almond rock jungle january jersey dress


I’m not sure this qualifies for Jungle January because I’ve seriously never seen an animal that looks like that.

almond rock jungle january jersey dress

I got this jersey fabric from the Regency Rags ebay store, but it did have a tag of “animal print” on it.

I love RR. I’ve bought loads from them since Sarah got me onto them so expect to see their name a bit more going forward. They have so much lush viscose and crepe plus great printed jersey!

The dress is another dixie diy ballet dress (yes sorry I’ll stop soon) with a circle skirt added (cos circle skirts are dah bomb and aint too bad to hem in knit).

almond rock jungle january jersey dress

Add a couple of midi-sleeves and easy peasy it’s a new dress!

If you can name the animal that this looks like you’ll impress me massively.

I wore the dress to my Dad’s 60th birthday party. This was actually the party two of three because my Dad is like a party king. When I get to 60 I might follow his lead and have a month of parties too.

almond rock jungle january jersey dressI went over on Friday to help set up but my parents had already done a lot of work. I helped make enough sandwiches to feed an army.

Mum made an epic spread: four types of sandwiches, choux filled with salmon and mackerel mousse, prawns on toast, Victoria sponges with strawberry cream, chocolate ganache cakes, chocolate chip brownies, fruit cake with cheese, crisps, lemon syllabub, plus I brought fruit scones and a family friend made a carrot cake.

almond rock jungle january jersey dress

almond rock jungle january jersey dress

almond rock jungle january jersey dress

Add to that 12 bottles of bubbly and about 50 house guests and we were in business!

I’ve got to show you the Birthday cake as well. I might have mentioned my Mum makes cakes for a living.

Here are my dad’s four favourite things in one photo: 1) Golf, 2) Fishing, 3) Hull Tigers football club and 4) CAKE.

almond rock jungle january jersey dress

It really was a brilliant day. My Dad was so sweet to wear the shirt I made him to the party. And I got to catch up with lots of people!

My Dad’s actual birthday is this week so hopefully he’ll like the present I got him. No handmade shirt this time.

I’ll be back soon with my finished Sew Over It pussy bow blouse!

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Palm Trees in 0 Degrees

Hello! It’s blog post time!almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

I picked up the Bronte Top as part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6. I hope they’re bringing back the parcels soon because it’s such a good idea!

That shoulder detail got me excited as soon as I saw it. It’s comfy and satisfying to wear like a baby’s onesie but full of possibility for playing with the design.

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

I’d been wondering if I turned it into a dress whether I should use an A line or gathered skirt and seeing Sally’s gorgeous version clinched it!

This fun fabric is more of my cheap and dirty £1 cotton jersey from Birmingham rag market and the black contrast jersey is from Leeds market. I bought 1.5 metres of the palm trees and that was plenty. The trees sprawl in both directions. It’s like Miami Barbie meets Valley of The Dolls. And I love it.

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

Do you remember when you first saw a palm tree up close? I can. It was the first time I visited California as a teenager and they lined the streets. It was wonderful! So now palm trees make me think of America, rather than tropical islands. But as I’ve never been to a tropical island I think I need to go study some to make a considered comparison heehee.

I sewed this up on a miserable Sunday night when it was bitter outside. I made a quick muslin and then cracked on. It only took a few hours!

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

I mostly used my overlocker and then used a twin needle for topstitching. I only had one catastrophe where the overlocker ate my waist seam (there were tears) but I raised the waistline a little to cover this up.

As you can see I left off the buttons. I actually left of the topstitching around the bands too! I did a sample and it just looked rubbish, and the bands don’t flip out anyway.

almond rock bronte top dress palm trees jennifer lauren vintage

So I’m sat here watching it snow again and praying it isn’t going to settle. Me and snow are not BFFs. We’re not even friends. Sunshine stole my heart a long time ago.

Oh and if you can’t tell, I’ve dyed my hair two shades darker and I’m waiting for my mum to comment on this post about it. She won’t be happy!!

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