• Events and day trips,  Tops, blouses and shirts

    Sew Indie Month Pattern Bundle!

    Today’s post is a two-part deal. The first bit gives me chance to tell you about the awesome Sewing Indie Month pattern bundle that is currently available to buy and the second bit is where I share what I’ve made from the bundle!sew independent logo almond rock

    So first things first! Sewing Indie Month (SIM) is a month-long celebration of indie sewing patterns full of fun blog posts, informative tutorials and great competitions. This September head over to SewIndependent.com. It’s being hosted by the charming Mari from Seamster patterns who took over the site when Donna decided to step down.

    SIM is accompanied by a sewalong contest with fantastic prizes. This sale gives you time to make muslins (vital in my mind) before the contest begins while also supporting small women-owned businesses and raising money for charity. BOOM – double win.

    There are so many great patterns in this bundle, lookie lookie:

    And the brilliant pay what you want system is in place for the bundle too! The more you pay, the more rewards you’ll receive.

    sew independent bundle almond rock(psssst… And the 10 people who spend the most will get printed copy shop versions of the patterns mailed to them as a free bonus.)

    Brilliant stuff!

     The sale isn’t over until  Wednesday August 12th. So head on over here for your chance to buy!

    Plus 20% of bundle proceeds will be donated to the International Folk Art Alliance, which provides education and exhibition opportunities to folk artists from around the world. Just a few examples of what the International Folk Art Alliance has been able to accomplish by helping artists create stable, year-round livelihoods includes helping shelter women from domestic violence in Ecuador, building a school for children in Pakistan, empowering women in repressive cultures around the world, and feeding villages in Niger.

    So what did I make? I chose the Saltbox top!

    saltbox top colour blocking almond rock

     The asymmetrical inset just looks so cool. And the opportunities for colour blocking got me giddy.

    I used left over navy and purple viscose scraps – this is a GREAT scrap busting project – and decided the vivid purple would look great on the main bulk of the top.

    saltbox top colour blocking almond rock

    I’m really pleased with my points a the top of the inset. Especially on the front! It was a little confusing at first how to assemble the pieces but I just followed the instructions to the letter and suddenly it looked right heehee.

    saltbox top colour blocking almond rock

    The sleeves fit the best I’ve ever set in. This is a major thing for me. I apparently have chunky backs of my upper arms – yes that is a thing. So so happy with this little make.

    I also have a True Bias Sutton blouse on my sewing table and a cut out Melissa shirtdress waiting for a chance to sew. Since I’m so slow at sewing you’ll be better off taking a look at all the other bloggers who have made clothes from the bundle:

  • Events and day trips

    Textile Printing at Leeds Art College

    Hello everyone!
    I thought it was about time for a full round up of my Textile Printing course. This is going to be picture heavy I’m afraid and I’ve not even included all the pictures!

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Weeks 1 and 2 we worked with disperse printing using heat set dyes on man made fabrics. Using paper soaked in dye and a giant heatpress, I played with geometric shapes on coloured polyester and crepe.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    almond rock textile printing leeds art collegealmond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Week 3 we made paper stencils using scalpels and when taped to mesh screens we could pull binder ink through onto any fabric we liked. Mine was an utter disaster due to poor squeegee technique and rubbish stencil.

    Week 4 was about free form painting direct onto a screen using Procion reactive dyes. I printed a splatter print onto cotton lawn and silk.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Weeks 5 and 6 we prepped for future sessions by coating screens in light sensitive emulsion and thanks to a huge light box we exposed imagery onto the mesh. We drew the images in thick black pen to act as positives and when the screen was exposed the black areas washed away creating a negative that would allow ink to pass through in just those areas. I chose pineapples!!

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    While our screens set we also dyed silk, satin, velvet and cotton in big pans using tiny amounts of dye and lots of hot water. Excitingly I also got to use the digital printers while our fabrics soaked! I printed 1.5m of paper crane print cotton drill and 1.5m of painterly triangle print silk.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Week 7 was the start of my pineapples adventures! We pulled binder ink through our screens onto any fabrics we wanted. I chose to print fluorescent pink ink on white cotton and crepe de chine and black ink on brown polyester.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Week 8 we tried discharge screenprinting where a smelly seaweed-based paste bleaches the colour from dyed fabric. As well as devore printing which removes cellulose fibres leaving the man made fabric base behind – e.g removing the nap from velvet to create a relief. I used my pineapple screen again to discharge print on my dyed cotton and silk. And freestyled a brush painted devore print on my dyed satin and velvet.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college
    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Weeks 9 and 10 I decided to expose a new screen with hummingbirds and printed onto some colourful viscose. I printed teal ink on pink and pink ink on purple. Plus I had time for a sneaky little bit more disperse printing.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    It was such a wonderful course, I’m actually a little sad I can’t repeat it next term but I’ve already signed up to a pattern drafting course.

    Here are the details for Textile Printing: The course I did was a short evening course run by Leeds Art College, over 10 weeks for 2.5hrs. The tutor is Kirstie Williams who also runs independent print courses.

    The course costs £185 with all materials provided but you bring extra if you want to print something specific.

    I ended up with enough fabric for 3 dresses, 4 tops, and plenty of A2 pieces for tote bags or small garments – silk pineapple knickers perhaps?!

    The new term starts in a couple of weeks so I suggest you sign yourself up asap if you’re interested!

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

  • Events and day trips

    Never Mind The Pollocks

    Hello everyone. I’m back to share some progress from my textile printing evening class!

    For Week Four we used Procien dyes to hand paint screens and used a substance called manutex to push the colour onto the fabric.

    Now being a terrible freehand artist this scared me. I started obsessing over what was the simplest geometric shape I could draw without it looking wobbly and crap. Then I realised I could splatter my dye like Jackson Pollock! So I investigated a couple of techniques – dribbling and spraying the dyes.

    almond rock procion dyes textile printing

    My tutor advised spraying by flicking the bristles of a brush or toothbrush would be best because the dye has to completely dry before being able to print and thick dribbles might slow things down. I was able to apply three colours (it took 25 mins to dry in between each).

    You get to print twice with this method. The first print comes out very vibrant and the second ghostly. We were advised to try cotton first, then silk.

    My cotton lawn turned out better than I could have hoped when I first lifted the screen.

    almond rock procion dyes textile printing

    But it did fade after steam setting. Still pretty but not as intense colours.almond rock procion dyes textile printingalmond rock procion dyes textile printing

    The raw silk turned out pale and delicate.

    almond rock procion dyes textile printing

    almond rock procion dyes textile printing

    I’ve got extra of the cotton lawn and silk unprinted so I think I can make two tops with splattered fronts or use the prints as accents. I’m still working it out as I know I won’t have time until the end of the course to sew anything up.

    Both prints sort of remind me of Jawbreaker gobstobbers… which I like.

    almond rock procion dyes textile printing

     “Here comes the science”

    Procien is the principal brand name for what are actually reactive dyes. They take their name from their ability to form strong covalent bonds with cellulose fibres, resulting in excellent washing and light fastness properties. This process can be used on all types of cottons and viscose rayon but also work quite nicely on raw silk. So basically natural, smooth close-woven fabrics.

    Dye is applied by hand-painting directly onto the screen. Manutex is an Alginate based thickener made from seaweed that can be used to thicken Procion dyes for screenprinting OR as we used them, as a “pulling” agent to push the dyes through the screen.

    PHEW! So a lot of info in this blog post and I don’t know whether you’re all finding it interesting. I hope you are enjoying reading my updates as much as I’m enjoying the classes.

    I’ll be back soon with finished sewing, I promise. I just need to upload my photos!

  • Events and day trips

    Sew Brum – See you there?

    Birmingham… aka sewing heaven.

    almond rock sew brum birmingham guthrie ghani

    Now I wouldn’t say I live particularly close to Birmingham. But it really is a great place for a meet up.

    And that’s what is happening on October 4th. Charlotte of English Girl At Home is our host for a big fun filled day of shopping and chatting. Plus there’s a chance to win prizes ooooh!

    The exciting bit is that, as well as taking in the fabric shops in Birmingham city centre, we will be popping to Moseley Village (by bus), home of Guthrie and Ghani.

    I think their fabric selection is stunning so I’m rather excited about that part of proceedings.

    almond rock sew brum birmingham guthrie ghani

    Provisional Itinerary

    More details will be released nearer the date of the event but the provisional plans are as follows.

    10:00: Meet at Birmingham New Street Station (FYI the coach station is about a 10 minute walk from New St, and the megabus drop off is just 2 minutes walk from New St.)

    10:30 – 12:30: Birmingham’s fabric stores! (Barry’s Fabric; Fancy Silk Store; Bull Ring Markets). The Bull Ring markets and fabric stores are located close together so attendees can decide where they would prefer to spend their morning. I love Barry’s so I’ll definitely be going there! And the market has always been good to me.

    12:30 – 13:30: Reconvene and travel to Moseley Village (Guthrie & Ghani) by bus. (The journey between the city centre and Moseley only takes 15 by bus. Buses are every 5-10 minutes).

    13:30 – 16:00: Guthrie & Ghani. Attendees will have plenty of time to spend in the shop which sells sewing and knitting supplies (patterns, fabric, wool & notions). The studio above the shop will be available to attendees from 14:30 onwards where we will be able to natter, compare purchases, and hold a pattern & fabric swap. Tea/coffee and cake will be available in the studio with all donations for refreshments going to Parkinson’s UK.

    There will also be a fabulous raffle of sewing-related goodies, again with all money raised being donated to Parkinson’s UK which I think we can all agree is a lovely idea. I’ve had a peek at the prizes and oh boy they’re good!

    You might have noticed: A group lunch isn’t currently planned, but Charlotte is happy to provide some recommendations of good places to eat in Birmingham and Moseley.

    almond rock sew brum birmingham guthrie ghani

    Sign up here to let Charlotte know you’re going to attend. And I’ll see you there!

  • Dresses,  Events and day trips

    Daisy Chains and Ribbon Ties

    Ooh this is so exciting! I’m able to show you the finished dress from the John Lewis sewing bee that I talked about in my last post.

    So let’s recap, on the day I picked a beautiful fabric called “Daisy Chain” which has yellow, white and blue daisies and white tulips in garlands.

    almond rock john lewis daisy chain

    And this AKO for Vogue pattern which has cuckoo cover art but very nice line drawings. I don’t understand why this woman looks so angry!? Maybe she doesn’t like that loopy hair do? I like her shoes though, mega cute.

    almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

    Anyway! The weirdness about this dress is that it has a lined bodice but also has pattern pieces for interfacing facings. Now I would never bother to interface along the neckline of my lining only. I’d either use a facing or a lining. Not both!

    Lisa, Freia, Charlie and I all sort of shook our heads over this. I made an executive decision to turn the interfacing pieces into proper facings and not line my bodice.

    So here it is!

    almond rock john lewis daisy chain

    Can you believe I had coordinating yellow sandals?

    Not sure where the sunshine has gone!

    2014-06-05 19.00a

    Come on then, let’s have a look at the back!

    almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

    I used a lovely butter coloured zip with a cute pull tab, and turquoise satin ribbon bow. Not seen is my satin butter yellow bias that I used to hem this epic circle skirt! By the way I took quite a bit off the length of the skirt as I’m only 5ft 5 and it was entering midi-dress territory.

    I switched out the fabric bow for a few reasons: 1) the original bow was hemmed (not fully lined for some odd reason), 2) it was humongous, 3) this ribbon perfectly matched the turquoise in the flowers!

    On a separate note, it’s very odd to see a photo of your exposed back. I love how it dips though.

    almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

    I think for modesty’s sake I’ll generally be wearing this beauty with a cardigan. But it’ll be great fun when I slip it off and give everyone a surprise with the bow.

    almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

    almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

    I’m so thankful for the chance to make this pretty little number. I don’t want to take it off!!