Dainty floral Mayberry Dress

Well folks, it’s the end of 2017! And I’m sure like me you had some sewing successes and failures, learnt a few new tricks and made some friends along the way.

I managed to drag myself out of my sick bed and used the age old lie that if you dress yourself up a bit you’ll start feel better to get a few photos of my recent make.

I know these pictures aren’t as nice as my studio shots, so the details aren’t as crisp and I definitely don’t have the energy to Photoshop my germy face but hopefully they show how much I like my Mayberry Dress.

This is the second Jennifer Lauren Handmade pattern I’ve tried but the first on the blog. I love a multi cup size pattern and sewed up the A cup in a straight size 12. As you can see I omitted the button front which meant cutting the left bodice and facing on the fold of my fabric. It still fits over my head easily and I really like the finished result.

My fabric is a mostly opaque cheap polyester from Barry’s in Birmingham. It’s a gorgeous floral design and the pops of mustard and fuchsia convinced me to get it. But there are a few flaws in the print I couldn’t work around; tiny white marks that look like tippex but thankfully blur into the florals.

My waist tie is actually a shoelace from a giant bundle I was given years ago with the ends shortened and knotted. I used eyelets also from my stash in a soft taupe colour.

The dress goes together really easily, has a relaxed fit and POCKETS! But you’ll want go practice setting your eyelets a few times on excess bits of fabric. It can go horribly wrong if you don’t apply pressure properly. I found it helpful to mark the channel stitching line and use an invisible zipper foot to move past the eyelets easily as I sewed. The instructions are a breeze to follow otherwise.

I have the Laneway dress in my stash to make which I won a few months ago and have my version of Felicity to share in the new year! Have you had your eyes on any of the JLH patterns? I really like that none of the patterns feel like copies of other companies and they mix vintage touches with modern style.

Continue Reading

Upcycled winter floral Sewaholic Cambie

I hate winter. I know it’s a magical time of year but I hate being cold, and needing sensible shoes, and getting dressed in the dark. I spend my mornings fumbling in my wardrobe, putting my make up on in low light and regularly throwing my hair up in a bun.

almond rock vintage cambie sewaholic

So winter florals are giving me life at the minute. Such pretty blooms on dark bases are again cropping up in the shops, magazines and fabric stores. They’re lovely to wear too.

almond rock vintage cambie sewaholic

During the summer I picked up this oversized 1960s cotton house dress. Looking at the internal finish there’s a good chance it was handmade. It was a throw over your head, size 16 shapeless tent with simple facings. I couldn’t resist the vivid coloured flowers and bought it without a clear refashioning plan.

almond rock vintage cambie sewaholic

I worked out I could squeeze a Sewaholic Cambie view B from the dress if I used the sleeve lining piece instead of the gathered sleeve. I added a green invisible zip and lined the bodice in some leftover anti static polyester from the stash.

almond rock vintage cambie sewaholic

I get so so so many comments about this fabric when I wear the dress. I think it’s the combination of orange and violet. If refashioning is this fun I’ll definitely do it again.

almond rock vintage cambie sewaholic

 

Continue Reading

Dearest Doris, Sew Over It

Happy weekend everyone! The air is crisp and bright and there are thousands of orange leaves in my part of the world today. It feels really Autumnal outside so I’m snuggled in my sewing room, working on a few new things with a big mug of earl grey and some ginger biscuits!

Almond rock doris sew over it

And of course I have a new dress to share! When I first saw the Doris dress I thought she was a beautiful pattern but confess I was worried about whether it would suit me. I have a little pot belly which I thought would be highlighted by the panelled skirt and viscose fabric.

Almond rock doris sew over it

After finally talking myself into buying the PDF pattern, I then stitched it together digitally and used the a0 printer at work. I picked a busy and cheap fabric from my stash and hoped for the best.

This is halfway between the knee and longer length view which should be below my knee but I generally find the SOI patterns run short. There’s a button closure and side zip fastening and here I made a few changes.

Almond rock doris sew over it

Firstly I just sewed my Cath Kidston buttons on through all the layers… I don’t need the buttonholes to get it on.

Secondly I moved the ties so they extend from the side seams instead of the back. This is more visually pleasing to me but required some reordering of the construction steps to get the zipper to still work. I switched to a regular zipper to allow the tie to sit free. Almond rock doris sew over it

It has excellent swishability and the silhouette the dress gives me is very nice. I think the print is busy enough to hide my tum, and as I keep losing weight that should improve the amount of hugging at the waist.

I made this dress while binge-watching Party Of Five and it feels unintentially 1990s. Very Jennifer Love Hewitt… who was actually my teenage years girl crush so that worked out nicely. Oh go on then. One more swish.

Almond rock doris sew over it

I’m not sure if I’ll make another but I’m pretty happy with this version. Have you tried Doris? Please link to your version in the comments as I’d love to be convinced into making Doris again.

Continue Reading

Sip and sew Vogue 1434

It’s Friday!! Lets raise a glass of something delicious to celebrate.almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Vogue Patterns Cocktail Hour? I mentioned a while ago here! This is the latest charity sewalong from The McCall Pattern Company in partnership with The Eve Appeal. almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

A portion of the sales from 20 selected patterns go to this kick-ass charity who are raising awareness and funding research into the FIVE female cancers. Yes there are five…. It’s like the seven dwarfs, you can never think of them all in one go.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

My garment for this year’s blogger tour is a designer Vogue pattern by Isaac Mizrahi who I love from his appearances on Project Runway. The envelope styling is a little bit bridesmaid-like but I could see gorgeous potential and Pattern Review showed me some stunning versions.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

It’s a classic little dress and probably doesn’t surprise you that I chose it. There are lovely knife pleats at the waist that come with a separate guide pattern piece so you can mark more easily (very handy), the dress is fully lined which is a nice touch and there’s an interesting shape to the upper bodice where it’s sort of cutaway at the shoulders in an athletic style. I tried my best not to decapitate any people in my bodice seam placement.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

I cut the longer length skirt of view B with a size 12 bodice. My only adjustments after the toile were to reposition the princess seams inwards a little and do a hollow chest adjustment above the bust. I skipped the tie for the waist as you can see. And I added my favourite… a lapped zipper! It’s a great little dress which I’ll definitely make again.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

My fabric is a beautiful sateen featuring illustrated ladies and gents at an event (possibly a day at the races if you take in the hats). The sateen was crisp enough for the pleats and soft enough to shape around the body. I’d looked into brocade but was worried about bulk at the waist. This lovely print was bought in March from Ditto Fabrics and I think it was called “gathering”. Sadly it’s now out of stock and to be honest I never saw this sateen on sale anywhere else….

TIME FOR A MASSIVE BUT… there is the same print available on a crepe base with either a blue or oyster coloured background. I’m very tempted by the blue I have to say.

PLUS this if you live in Germany I’m told this shop has a couple of metres left in the cotton/elastane on blue. The size of a lady is about 5cm. And two remnants of about 2m from the Crêpe. Size of the print seems to be smaller than this and MacCulloch’s version though.

I’m very proud to support the campaign as someone who has lost several family members to cancer. Cancer in any form needs a good old fashioned kick in the pants so let’s raise some money for Eve Appeal and look fab doing it!

And why not put on a fancy frock and come to our cocktail party??

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE

Continue Reading

DIY drafted dress

Today I have a slightly different post for you all. I hope you read to the end and enjoy what you see.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

A few years back I was in a luxurious position where I finished work at 4pm every day and could indulge myself in my evenings. One of the things I tried was a course called “‘Develop’ Pattern Drafting” at Leeds Art College. This was just after I tried the print making course and was fully enamoured with the LAC’s facilities.

Over the 10 weeks I made two blocks and about 6 patterns. I then promptly shoved them on a shelf and forgot about them… until a few months ago. I saw an email saying that LAC would sadly have to stop its evening education programmes and it inspired me to dig out my designs.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

The pleated tuck effect of my pattern is created 90% by dart manipulation and 10% creative construction. I should caveat this by saying that my construction method may not be the most logical way to make this dress. But who cares, because this was my experimentation time and it’s not like I’m forcing you to copy me. Plus there’s a guarrantee I won’t remember the process entirely accurately but let’s cross our fingers shall we?

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

First things first I drafted a V neck bodice with waist-only darts and slim straps and importantly NO SEAM ALLOWANCE. I traced off two copies of this bodice. On the first copy I altered to swoop of the neckline so it fell under the bust (about 1″ below the bust point), leaving a shorter side seam no dart. This became the left side as worn.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

For the right side as worn, I repeated the above neckline swoop but made the width of the front stop about 1.5cm into my dart area so it would be caught inside the closed dart. I then slashed three lines that angled from the new shorter side seam, connecting to the bust point. By slashing up the dart to the bust point I could pivot the paper so it opened up gaps between each slash, creating my pleats. This was really fiddly, I’m not going to lie. Keeping the neckline edge on the correct curve so it met the centre front evenly and only opening the pleats below that point took some practice.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

Then I added seam allowance all over! As I knew I would finish everything with bias tape facings and an overlocker I use small seam allowance. On my toile I had some slight pulling due to the positioning of my neckline curve so redrafted slightly to fit better under the bust.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

To construct the dress I had to sew the shoulder seams, bind the neckline edges stopping short of the back zipper area, construct the pleats, sew the pleats into the left dart and sew the remaining right dart, tack the lower edges, sew the side seams, add the circle skirt, install the zip, finish the neckline binding, bind the armholes and bind the hem. Plus overlock the waist and side seams at strategic moments. You might notice I also changed the colour of my topstitching from the in progress shot above!

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

I wore this dress to a friend’s wedding and felt very glam all day. The fabric used is a silky poly sateen from Minerva Crafts. It’s very drapey with no stretch, so don’t imagine cotton sateen which is more crisp. It was £16.99 so quite a splurge on my part when I didn’t have any specific plans but I couldn’t resist. It’s a hand-painted digital print, with splatters of paint and brush marks visible in the design. The colours are so gorgeous and there are places where it reminds me of a milky way or galaxy. My only regret is not buying half a metre more. I let fear of how much I was spending get the better of me and ended up with a pattern placement I’m not 100% happy with. Although it still looks great, it gave me a lot of headaches trying to place the print in an attractive way to show off the pleats.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

While pattern drafting at home is rather involved unless you have lots of space and a good head for maths, dart manipulation at home is lots of fun. I highly recommend taking a basic bodice pattern you know fits you and play around with pivoting the darts. You’ll just need some basic supplies like tracing paper, or dot and cross paper with a tracing wheel and carbon (don’t use the hemline carbon it’s crap). William Gee have some great prices on drafting papers even if you just want them for tracing off your patterns. Perhaps you’re ready to try pattern drafting? Well a pattern master will be your best friend for 90 degree angles, quick measurements and soft curves. And I must confess I live by the bible of Winnie Aldrich but some people seem to hate her method. On the course we followed Hilary Campell but I couldn’t retrain my brain to Hilary’s ways. Maybe it’s just what you encounter first?

I hope you found this post interesting. It was a bit more in-depth than many of my other posts but perhaps it’s inspired you to have a go at pattern drafting if you’ve never tried it, or dust off the old pattern master if you’ve left it alone for too long.

Continue Reading