• Dresses

    Hibiscus Simplity 8594

    Hello everyone! There was a little gap in my blogging there wasn’t there. I started feeling pretty meh about some of my previous makes and decided not to photograph them. I haven’t thrown them out or anything but I’m not sure they’re worth blogging as they’re not the most interesting or photogenic. I know these are weird problems to have!

    almond rock Simplicity 8594 simplicitybyme s8594 hibiscus hawaiian halter dress

    Instead I’m sharing the last of my honeymoon wardrobe posts from Mahé, in the Seychelles. This time featuring this super fun “halter dress”. I use that term lightly as the dress appears to be held up by a neckline strap but these extend into regular shoulder straps at the back. It’s rather ingenious.

    almond rock Simplicity 8594 simplicitybyme s8594 hibiscus hawaiian halter dress

    I’ve been daydreaming of a pattern like this for about 4 years now ever since a young-ish editor went to her second Love Sewing interview with a portfolio of potential projects for the magazine including a very similar dress based on a vintage Etsy dress I’d see for sale. It wasn’t right for the magazine but it never left my mind. This dress is possibly nicer as the straps are more curved around the neck and I love the flared skirt. I was especially grateful when the team at Simplicity offered to send me a couple of patterns from the new Spring season last year. I chose S8594 and also S8599 (an off the shoulder lace dress pattern). Two different but equally feminine designs that hopefully you agree suit my style.

    The dress is fitted with princess seams and finished with a lining. The centre back zipper is a thing of beauty when you get the straps and everything to line up nicely. I might suggest adding hanging loops to the side seams to reduce the strain on the shoulder straps when it’s hanging in your wardrobe.

    I used a linen/cotton mix broadcloth from B&M Fabrics in Leeds. I picked it up at Sew Up North a couple of years ago and it’s perfect for this dress. Medium weight, a bit drapier than cotton poplin and with interesting texture on the surface, plus the print is perfect for a tropical holiday!

    Image result for gal meets glam halter dress

    I’ve also made a version for The Dressmaker’s Ball  you can see here and still have more planned as it’s so flattering!! Maybe another tropical version using this orange and purple palm leaf cotton. And a version adapted with thin straps to match the Gal Meets Glam dress above too!

    Want more inspiration?? I love this Liberty version from Liesl of Jorth, and I love the colour blocking of this sleeved version I saw on Pattern Review. Last but not least, ohhhh Mimi’s version is so good (and she made the neckline sit a little lower)!

  • Dresses

    Seeing stars Vintage Shirtdress

    Hope you’re all having a good week? I’ve been spending lots of time in my sewing room, getting ready for my first wedding anniversary (as we’re making a weekend of it), and planning for our trip to Paris in September! I’m also looking forward to the Craft New House summer party with it’s Italian Riviera theme. You can see my outfit progress over on Instagram if you’re interested.

    Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

    Life has this stupid habit of getting in the way of essential sewing doesn’t it. Only joking, life is equally as important if a little less fun than sewing. I know I’m pretty lucky to get so much sewing time so it embarrasses me when I takes me months to finish a make. This dress was started in January.

    Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern joanie

    Inspired by a Joanie dress in a similar print I set about making my own version using the Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress pattern. Obviously I’ve used that pattern A LOT and I’ve made TOO MANY SHIRTDRESSES for some people! But safe to say it always makes me feel good. It’s not a brilliant match to the Joanie dress but close enough that I could dive straight in.

    Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

    This stunning Georgette fabric is from So Sew English who are actually in the US. They offered me two fabrics to review and this one screamed out at me. They’re keen for more international sewist to give them a chance and I have to say the fabrics don’t disappoint! It has a lovely crinkle effect on it and is slightly stretchy.

    They also have a UK co-op that all have their orders sent to our person, Casey, in the UK. She then distributes and ships to everyone within the UK. It’s significantly cheaper for us to send large boxes with our carrier then to ship domestically within the UK than it is to ship directly to each individual. The UK co-op is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sosewenglishfabricsukedition/

    Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

    I’m fairly confident with piping and enjoyed adding the pop of white to the collar and placket. Originally I was going to add sleeves with piped hems to my shirtdress but once again fell out of love with the drafting of the included sleeve shape. It is just so tall in the cap and makes a weird hill on the top of your shoulder when you move your arm. And I ran out of fabric to try cutting new ones. Instead I piped the armholes. I just wish I’d had enough fabric for a sash belt too.

    Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

    I added a couple of cm to the side seams as due to some increased cake consumption I’m now a 31.5″ waist, but working on getting that back down a bit so I keep fitting into all my me-mades. And I added 2″ to the hem to have more knee coverage. I really prefer hiding my knees these days. The back shot above makes me look super bootylicious!

    Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

    For the facings I used leftover organza from my wedding dress as I thought black interfacing would make those areas too opaque. I’m pretty happy with the result. The buttons are from my stash and the piping was from ebay so it was a pretty cost efficient dress.

    Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

    I hope you liked a peek at my bazillionth shirtdress. Maybe it inspired you to give piping a go! All I keep thinking with these pictures is to get a haircut asap. I stripped another layer of hair dye off before these pics and my ends are super dry and sad looking. You can see more of my #grombre progress here though which is great even if it’s only a peek. You have to catch me in person for the full effect! I’ll leave you with a few of my faves from the So Sew English site!

     

  • Dresses

    Elisalex V9000 superhack dress

    Hello everyone! I’m keeping up my run of weekly blog posts and it feels so good! Today I’m sharing a dress that I cooked up by mashing a few things together. It’s the perfect 50s style swishy midi dress that makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. I could easily swish around on a Greek island too if needed. Anyone offering a mini break?

    almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

    So are you curious about my superhack? I started with the Elisalex dress bodice which I’ve made twice before but skipped the sleeves this time. I’m wearing the size 10 with a little bit of excess taken out of the shoulders. Then used Vogue 9000 which I’ve made here, and merged the skirt panels into a front and back rather than seven piece skirt. I’m wearing the size 14 waist and hip. I then adjusted the side seams and centre back edges slightly to make sure they’d match up and chopped an inch off the length.

    almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

    I’m so happy with the result as it’s modest with the neckline and length, but a little cheeky with the dipped back, AND the skirt has fantastic swish! Seriously good swish. Which is mostly down to the fabric I chose but important to say that being flared rather than circle, there’s limited chance of the skirt blowing up and flashing everyone on a windy day. Result! My invisible zipper went in like a dream (I love my invisible zipper foot to death – if you don’t have one, go get one) and the waist matches nicely! I handsewed the lining to the inside for a change as I normally stitch in the ditch but had some telly to watch while I did it.

    almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

    I really like wearing dark colours in hot weather as I am always cold and this is a guaranteed way to warm up, but also I think black looks great with a tan. This is of course one of Lisa Comfort’s gorgeous fabric prints. I was very tempted by the first collection which features pastel colours and soft florals. I love Elderflower and the pink colourway would have been perfect for me but I resisted as I hate hate hate ironing and need to limit the amount of cotton dresses I make before I go insane over the wrinkles.

    almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

    When the crepe collection was released I snapped up the Wild Flower print in black. At 150cm-wide it’s perfectly designed to fit a flared skirt like this without needing to cut on the cross grain but at midi length the pieces are fabric hungry. However the princess seam bodice of the Elisalex dress is a great space saver on a fabric layout. I lined the bodice in black habotai to help as well. In the end I got this dress out of just 1.5m of fabric! SO EFFICIENT!

    almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

    The poly crepe barely wrinkles, floats like a dream and is totally opaque. Big points for my lifestyle! I’m only slightly bummed that there is a permanent crease in the centre front of the skirt from where the fabric was folded in half before being put on the bolt. I don’t know if this is just my piece, or just the bolt. It could be how the fabric was pressed during transit after printing. I don’t know… but every time I look down I try not to look at the crease line. BUT to end on a more positive note, I can totally recommend the fabric quality, the Elisalex pattern for how well drafted it is and Vogue 9000 as the perfect half shirtdress (eyes peeled for my newest version of this dress in one of the prettiest viscose prints I’ve ever found).

    almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

    *Just to let you know this post contains affiliate links but products I link are from trusted sellers like The McCall Pattern Co selling through Amazon or Minerva Crafts. There’s no obligation to buy through the link of course. I don’t advertise on my blog so this is a little way to fund the running of the site!

  • Dresses

    Pretty little pattern hack Butterick 6318 and Butterick 6453

    Sometimes an idea for a dress sticks with you.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    I have a wonderful and annoying job where I constantly search for fabric for the magazine. Mostly the thrill of featuring the prettiest fabric in the magazine is enough but a lot of the time I become obsessed with getting some for myself. Like the cover garment for issue 43…

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    This Art Gallery Fabric rayon is absolute gorgeous and was designed by Maureen Cracknell. I’ve bought a couple of her other prints and I’m a big fan in general. The design is called Floral Universe in turquoise from the collection Soulful. You can still buy it here.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    While I loved the wrap ties with the gathered skirt of B6318 I had a feeling the kimono sleeves and high neckline on the bodice would drown me. Then I remembered this dress I’d saved on Instagram! The perfect compromise. So in steps B6453!

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    There’s not much to say about the B6453 dress as I’ve made it before. I added the wraps into the side seams during construction like the B6318 instructions direct. The fabric is pretty opaque but I underlined the bodice for stability and lined the bodice for a clean finish. The skirt is unlined and I overlocked the insides. I use a metal loop turn to turn through straps which I know some people hate but it always works for me.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    So in hindsight the waist ties could have been a smidge longer as this back shot below shows. Meh, you live and learn I say. It’s hard to see but there’s a lapped zipper as it’s my favourite and it is what the pattern recommends. Plus I used rings and sliders on my straps, again following the pattern which let’s you get a custom length. The sew-along and Facebook support group for this pattern is wonderful if you are nervous.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    The colours of my fabric are heavenly and the scale of the print is so fun and the feel of that rayon… oh hubba hubba, it’s so dreamy!! AGF rayons are amazing quality. I wote this dress on honeymoon and felt amazing. I wanted to dance around like a vintage movie star to make the skirt swish as often as possible. It was hard staying still for these photos.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    Now I’m excited to take it on more sunny adventures and swish around new countries!

    *Just to let you know this post contains affiliate links but products I link are from trusted sellers like The McCall Pattern Co selling through Amazon or Minerva Crafts. There’s no obligation to buy through the link of course. I don’t advertise on my blog so this is a little way to fund the running of the site!

  • Dresses

    Make lemonade New Look 6587

    I’m a romantic at heart… I daydream about wearing glorious vintage clothes in stunning architectural spots around Europe… I’m Audrey in Roman Holiday, or Grace in To Catch A Thief… In reality I don’t have the patience to get up at dawn to find a location then get in position or wait in the perfect spot for everyone to leave the frame. People in tracksuits tend to ruin the retro illusion. But I make do.

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    During my trip to Barcelona in May I knew I wanted to at least get blog photos of this dress. I’d hoped for more since I was in a stunning European city BUT I have a very unhappy photographer/travel companion who doesnt like getting in the way/being watched taking photos/the pressure to get the perfect shot. I think Rach and Noelle have a genius solution being dedicated photographers for each other. Any volunteers?

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    Seeing catwalk dresses and knowing you can make a version that suits your life and budget is so enjoyable! I had the above Dolce and Gabbana lemon and floral beaded poplin dress (£2578) saved on my pinterest board for a long time as well as the below stunning organza silk lemon print dress which is a D&G variation on the first style (£3798).

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    For my version I used a stretch cotton with zesty lemons on a smaller scale and teal leaves. This fabric is from Fabricland a year ago when lemon fabric mania was at its peak!! Flash forward a year and there’s new lemon designs out there so go shopping with glee everyone.

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    As a modest lady who gets cold easily I wanted a dress with sleeves and have been quietly obsessing over button front dresses for a while. I got New Look 6587 in a pattern shop about 5 years ago and took it out every year thinking “Is this too 90s? If it is why do I love it so much?”. Safe to say I made it more vintage.

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    I made view E without the trim. The skirt is barely gathered which I find quite flattering and works well in this style of fabric. I also added an inch to the length for midi coverage. Everything is faced in nude bias binding which is a neat finish. I chose vintage teal and white buttons I picked up in the Bonds of Farsley sale and to make up for having only 7 buttons I added reverse buttons on the inside in the gaps.

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    My belt was made using a vintage belt kit gifted a few years ago by a fellow sewist. While I’ve made a belt before I’ve never had access to real belting material. My kit was nearly identical to the one shown in this tutorial. I love the finished effect and made sure to perfectly position two holes – one for before dinner and one for after!

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    This dress turned out so much better than I hoped. The style, colours and fit make me so happy and stylish. (Quick announcement: I’m also in love with my lemon earrings!) Barcelona beach was a fun backdrop for the photos… even if I had to sacrifice my beautiful ideas of retro images. I might wear it to the Italian Riviera themed party at New Craft House this sunmer!

    Almond rock new look 6587 Dolce and Gabbana lemon dress nl6587 #simplicitybyme

    Feeling happy 50s or 90s vibes for this pattern? Take a look at these ace versions: I’m green with envy over this dress, and I’m gagging over this beauty and last but not least visit pattern review to see this, plus more cute versions!