Happy hula girls Flora dress By Hand London

Hopefully the name of this post has you intrigued! I have a a fun new dress to share in the most awesome print fabric you’ll see today!!

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I am super excited to pair up with Spoonflower for their British Blog Hop. I’m in fab company as well:

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Blog Tour Schedule
Saturday, May 27 | Kate | The Fold Line

Monday, May 29 | Sarah | A Million Dresses

Tuesday, May 30 | Manu | Sew Manju

Wednesday, May 31 | Amy | Almond Rock
Thursday, June 1 | Rachel | House of Pinheiro

Friday, June 2 | Marie | A Stitching Odyssey

Monday, June 5 | Zoe | Sozoblog

Tuesday, June 6 | Kerry| Kestrelmakes

Wow I’ve actually shopped, ate cake, danced and gossiped with everyone on this list. And their blogs are really inspiring and diverse in aesthetic. It’s the best possible virtual party!

So have you ever tried Spoonflower? First set up in the US, they’ve expanded into Europe about a year and a half ago. Having operations in Berlin is a real benefit for all of us here in the UK because with a much closer factory than the US you get a faster turn-around on orders, and you know exactly what you’re paying because it’s all nicely there in GBP at the checkout with VAT included! That last point is pretty important to me as I’m TERRIBLE at maths.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

This was a really fun chance for me to get a print from one of my favourite designers…Taisya Kordiukova aka Tasiania. I know, I know, I could have designed something unique but having loved Tasiania’s mid-century modern inspired scenes of life for a long time I couldn’t resist choosing this hula girls design.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Brief disclaimer: Please excuse the pictures. They were taken on the HOTTEST day the studio had so far this year so I’m a little pink in the face heehee.

My dress is the Flora from By Hand London. It’s view 2 but with a gathered skirt so my hula ladies wouldn’t be placed sideways on the circle skirt. On all my versions of this dress I have adjusted the bodice to be single darted. This was done through a Small Bust Adjustment where I rotated the fullness into the waist. I don’t need a lot of room and one dart covers it! Finally as an act of insanity I made the tiniest rouleaux straps I could manage. They were excruciating to turn through. I didn’t have any cord or string thin enough to sew into the top when I tried the same with an overlocker chain it got caught in the side seam. In the end it was my loop turner that had to take on the task.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Construction was a breeze. The fabric washed really well with no colour fading and it kept it’s gorgeous sheen. I have actually washed the dress three times after an unfortunate curry incident this weekend and it’s holding up amazingly well (the curry stain is almost out too). There’s a nice stretch recovery and the fabric is thick enough not to show the darts and seam allowance through which I was worried about. I lined the bodice in mint sateen suiting from Minerva Crafts, and the skirt in peach anti-static lining. Then I added a nice deep single-fold hem and a lapped zipper. It looks a little misaligned in this photo for some reason.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I already owned a swatch pack and colour printing guide which I highly recommend before buying as the descriptions are not enough to know what the handle of your fabric will be. From the fabric pack my recommendations for dressmaking are definitely the Kona cotton, crepe de chine and sateen ultra. My cotton sateen was £25.30 a yard which is 53″ wide, plenty for a nice full skirted dress WITH POCKETS. Top tip, it would be a lot easier if you picked a multi-directional print rather than a one-way design as I did.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Ooh pockets I love you.

In my book £25 per metre is worth it for the Spoonflower sateen if you’re getting a custom printed design. Although this fabric was provided free in exchange for a review, it’s a high quality fabric that I would definitely order again. No one is saying you need to be a technical whizzkid to make your own prints; Spoonflower have an awesome book that guides you through the whole process in fact and there’s a lot of info on the blog. If you’re still unsure, check out the epic print gallery for a pre-made design.

I hope you liked my dress and continue to follow the blog hop as it continues! Keep an eye on the hashtag #Spoonflowerbritishbloghop on IG and Twitter for more inspiration and if you have any questions about the quality, print or order process please let me know.

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A Marimekko-inspired Elisalex

Hi everyone! Fingers crossed you’ve had a chilled week with a good splash of sewing time. After the horrific incident in town on Monday night our office was quite a heavy place Tuesday. Thankfully no one I work with was personally affected but it’s hit us all hard. To lift my spirits I made a dress, ordered some new fabric and a horse shape handbag plus I watched A LOT of Parks and Recreation. It was a fabulous dose of medicine. I also found out I won a prize in the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge – I’m totally amazed and grateful so I’ll share more on that soon.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I wanted to talk about finally joining the Elisalex dress bandwagon. When Elisalex the real life lady sent me the updated pattern files for the By Hand London dress I was intrigued. I even tried the new 44″ printer at work to test the copy shop version. 

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

The dress did not disappoint. The bodice is really nicely drafted with the proportions and seam placement bang on and everything goes together perfectly… as you would expect from a By Hand London pattern!

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I used a cotton poplin from John Lewis that was picked up on a trip to Birmingham with Roisin, Marie, Kat, Sabs and Helen. Chewie was a big fan as you can see. I had to wrestle it from under her butt several times. I used navy lining, yellow bias tape at the hem and did some ropey invisible zipper sewing if I say so myself. I’m going to have another pass to try and get closer to the teeth. My invisible zipper foot failed me somehow. I pressed the teeth open, moved my needle closer, everything like normal! Hmmmm.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

To reduce the bell shape of the skirt I graded out to an A-line below the hip. I like the curve at the waist and the shape the pleats make. The bodice princess seams fit me nicely and only required minimal tweaking from the size 10 toile.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

Notice these pics are PP? “Pre-Perm” heehee. I love pairing the dress with these navy wedges and a mustard cardigan. The print reminds me of the Finnish design house Marimekko, which makes me super happy. And I got to wear it when Elisalex visited the studio a couple of weeks ago. She came to review the culottes you get with issue 40 and have a giggle with us. How freaking gorgeous does she look here??

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

My plans to conquer more princess seam dresses are off to a flying start! Stay tuned for my gown from The Dressmaker’s Ball very soon…

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Scallops and more scallops New Look 6002

Happy long weekend everyone.

I’m sharing a dress I posted on Instagram  a while ago but didn’t let you peek at the finished  garment.

It’s an old New Look pattern I got from sewingpatterns.com to print at home. It’s an absolute pain in the butt to sort as you need special software and a licence code and there’s a limit on the number of prints allowed. And the other day my licence code didn’t work, so I bought a McCall’s pattern I can’t print. Humpf!

Anyways it’s a mix and match pattern  with gorgeous bodice, waistband and sleeves options, and boring skirts… so I obviously put a gathered skirt on there instead haha. This is bodice B featuring a scalloped neckline paired with the plain waist.

When Cloud 9 Fabrics released the Elizabeth Olwen collection I couldn’t resist buying some. I was torn about which print from Morning Song to get but loved how the purple and orange in the Breezy Floral voile was strong but girly. I picked up stash points by buying from Village Haberdashery too.

I underlined every piece for opacity with white polyester lining. Using a hem facing  and the scallop stitch on my SMD4000 I was able to add a scalloped hem to the skirt as well. The stitch creates perfectly even scallops that you then clip and turn through, then I handstitched the facing to the underlining. Since it was giving me sweet vintage vibes I thought a lapped zipper would be nice.

The reason  I love New Look patterns is that they fit my body almost perfectly  out the envelope! All I had to do was grade out the side seams towards the waist. I made a size 8 around the upper body and a 12 at the waist. The only tricky part is clipping and notching the scallops properly so they turn through neatly. You need to be super accurate at getting close to but not clipping through the stitching line.

So I think I’ll make another version with the neckline from view C. Maybe in a plain fabric… shock horror. Have you made this pattern?

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Euphemia Gertrude Thomas V9127

Happy weekend everyone. I’m laid in bed feeling sorry for myself as I write this. I have a cold with a painful cough and am distracting myself with blog reading and Web surfing! So I thought I’d write a post about the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge hosted by Tanya of blog Mrs Hughes than ran this past month.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This is a vintage sewing challenge where family history can inspire your wardrobe. You take a photo of your grandma (or your granddad, great-grandma, mum, auntie, someone else’s grandma – you get the idea!) and re-create an outfit or piece that they are wearing using vintage or reproduction patterns. It isn’t a competition but a way to challenge yourself with a special project!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My Grandma, was called Euphemia Gertrude Thomas (nee Nutt). She lived with my Grandad in a little village called North Ferriby in Hull. This picture is from one of my Grandparents regular trips to the coast – we think Scarborough. They always liked to dress up for a trip to the coast and walk the promenade. I love this photo so much. Look how committed to each other they look. Perfectly in sync.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

To recreate the dress I used Vogue 9127 and rose print polycotton from Birmingham Rag Market. I used poppers instead of buttons at the front and kept the dress a little shorter. I added red shoes (my Grandma wore red shoes on her first date with my Grandad) and curled my hair for a similar look without chopping it all off. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the coast in time for a photo.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

 I ran out of material for the sleeves as this dress is fabric hungry and couldn’t source more which was disappointing. I also wish I’d made a front fastening belt like my grandma is wearing but I’m generally pretty happy with the result!

To see my previous version of this dress see this post.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My grandma was also an avid dressmaker and probably made her dress from the photo. The sad thing is I only found this out at her funeral. For most of my life she had severe alzheimers and she was here until her early 90s. It was so bad she couldn’t talk to anyone coherently or make sense of the world so I didn’t really know about her wonderful skills when I started sewing. I knew she had a sewing box but assumed it was for mending and small projects. However I did inherit her hand crank machine that my Dad discovered in the loft. Plus a pair of pinking shears with her name tag on them which my mum had been using but Grandma used to take to a social sewing session at her Church. These two items are a great way to feel she’s helping me sew and like I know something real about her. Decades apart we’ve followed the same actions; cutting fabric, stitching darts, sewing on buttons and even pinking seams with the same shears.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

For years I’ve wanted to make a replica of this dress for The Vintage Pledge but could never find the perfect sewing pattern or fabric. I think I came close in the end though. My poor friends (including Marie, founder of the pledge) got dragged around so many fabric shops to find this material. They were really supportive in finding the right rose design so thank you ladies!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This was a really great challenge to help feel connected with my Grandma so thank you Tanya so much for giving me the push I needed. On my next free weekend I might try and head out to Scarborough for a photo on the promenade just like this one. Wish me luck!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

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Swishable Vogue 8997

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

Hello hello! Super happy to be typing up this blog post today. I had a really lovely week with two days at the Sewing For Pleasure show in Birmingham for work and a fab weekend with my two best friends, cake and some much needed shopping. Other exciting news? I photographed three new dresses so have plenty to share over the next few weeks. One of them is a gorgeous little black dress because this month The McCall Pattern Co have launched their new campaign – The Vogue Patterns Cocktail Hour!

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

You may remember the Vintage Sewalong from last year, which I took part in. Well this year is bigger and better with 26 bloggers making versions of the 20 Vogue patterns from the Cocktail Hour collection.

It’s such a good way to raise money for a fabulous charity. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity raising awareness and funding research in the five gynaecological cancers! And a donation from every pattern sold goes to help them continue their great work.

There’s a wonderful introductory post on the Sewdirect blog to help you pick your pattern and we’ve created a special bonus magazine to go with issue 38 of Love Sewing to share our tips and tricks for creating a polished evening look.

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

As is becoming a bit of a tradition for me, I wanted to make a dress for my Welcome in the supplement so I chose Vogue 8997! See Lizzy’s beautiful version here and for some instagram fun follow @glamagrrl

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

This fully lined princess seamed dress is a little bit vintage, has some clever design lines with its 8 panels and shaped waist seam and is a great pattern for achieving a beautiful fit. There are separate cup sizes and different length and sleeve options. I made view B in size 10 around the upper body with A-cup bust and graded to a size 12 at the waist.I resisted the urge to shorten the style and it turned out about right for me.

SWISH PIC!

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

To check everything over I essentially made a toile out of lining basted together with an easy to unpick stitch length (snap included). This meant if I’d nailed the sizing, I was well on my way to having a constructed garment but could still make necessary changes. My key change was moving the bust princess seam over by 1.5cm towards the centre at the bust point as I’m very small chested.

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

My fabric is a great quality crepe de chine from John Kaldor called “Olivia” that I picked up at Barry’s in Birmingham last year. The floral print is quite large (see the scale below) but I loved the shades of mink and fuchsia in there. The lining is a nude pink polyester that I keep a roll of at home. It’s perfect for blending in with almost any fabric so I recommend buying in bulk to keep in your stash.

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

The crepe didn’t fray too badly but the lining did so I still overlocked the exposed internal seams. I also used my overlocker to add a baby rolled hem on the crepe which was a fun new trick to try. It’s very subtle on a print like this. Here’s the video tutorial I used for my Singer machine.

almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

Other little details were to add an invisible zip so obviously altered the steps a little to include this style closure. But the rest was super straightforward!

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

Join the 2017 sewalong by making a version yourself and sharing your make online using the hashtag #sipandsew (remembering to copy in @McCallpatternUK on Twitter or @McCallpatternUK on Instagram). You can also attend different activities throughout the year including in-store events, workshops and special cocktail parties.

BONUS GOOFY PIC!!

Almond rock vogue 8997 cocktail hour

So will you be taking part in the Cocktail Hour sewalong? Follow the amazing blogger tour for more inspiration, starting with Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time!

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