• Loungewear

    The Cat’s Pyjamas – Carolyn McCall’s hybrid lounge set

    So before I get started with my blog post, I have an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! On April 25th 7:30pm (BST) I’ll be co-hosting the Pyjama Pictionary Party with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. This is a YouTube live stream on my channel where we’ll chat handmade pyjamas, you can ask us anything you’ve always wanted to know and then we’ll quiz your sewing knowledge with a themed game of Pictionary! PLUS we’ve gathered 9 amazing raffle prizes which we’ll draw at the end of the night.


    I love a classic pyjama. They make me think if Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Claudette Colbert… I could go on. They’re best slightly oversized with contrast piping, and occasionally a monogrammed pocket. Now despite loving pyjamas, I’ve blogged only a couple of the pairs I’ve made! You can see my McCall’s 6659 here and why not check out my YouTube video on adding piping to the Closet Case Carolyn top here.

    This set was dreamed up while I was sick last Easter. I mean, really really unwell. Like crying in pain unwell. So… I’m lying on the sofa and Jimi brings me a present from my dearest Sewing Wife Marie. 3m of crazy cat fabric to make me feel better and some sweets! She’s the cutest right?? As Marie had bought herself some of the fabric too we both agreed to make PJs for some #sewtwinning fun. I chose to make the Closet Case Carolyn top and the McCall’s 6659 trousers but turn them into shorts. I used sparkly silver piping to pick out the silver in the print. And found the cutest metallic painted shell buttons on eBay to coordinate!

    This might seem crazy but for the Carolyn top I started with a size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Remember I have a surprising waist to hip ratio and I don’t believe in feeling snug while in loungewear! I’m currently 36:33:45. My McCall’s shorts are size 14. I made my own cuffs for the sleeves and short hems to maximise piping and tried my best with pattern placement… This pattern is hungry on a 45″ wide fabric. Marie nailed the pockets on her pyjamas of course. I’m jealous obviously. Everything is finished inside with zesty overlocked seams for a secret dash of sunshine.

    Now I’m rather shy about my thighs but this next cropped shot is acceptable as you’ll want to see the bottoms on.

    Now comes the dreaded back shot! The things I do for you guys eh?

    It’s a funny fabric weight; somewhere between a loose cotton weave and a single gauze so it has a pretty crinkled texture and lovely soft hand. Marie thinks it might be seersucker. It’s totally opaque either way. Perfect for pyjamas! Marie got it from Leicester Market so I imagine it was fair price as well. It’s important with textured fabric like this that you embrace the wrinkles. Press the entire thing super flat when it’s not going to last is a waste of your time and will likely throw off your fit and finish.

    I’ll leave you with a few more pictures, and don’t forget to join the Pictionary Pyjama Party on Saturday 25th!

  • Loungewear

    Pj party M6659

    Hey hey everyone. I’m writing this post on the way home from London. It was a gorgeous sunny weekend with good food and lovely people.

    almondrock gretchen gertie hirsch raystitch charlotte newland

    Here’s a silly pic taken by Karen where I’m trying to keep my bun out of Roisin’s face UNSUCCESSFULLY!

    Tasha was visiting London so I headed down to hang out with her and Marie, Jane, Charlotte, Emmie, Karen and Roisin for a day of fabric shopping and gossiping. Mel joined us for a bit as well, very sweetly carrying Tasha’s bags of treats. Both Tasha and Mel have lovely accents so I really enjoyed listening to them talk and they did a great job of defeating their jetlag. Amazingly I briefly met Gretchen Gertie Hirsch while she was teaching at Raystitch!! She’s utterly gorgeous in real life as if that’s a surprise.

    almondrock joel and son fabrics elie saab

    I spent some time mulling over fabric choices for my wedding dress. This Elie Saab style embroidered mesh stole my heart. Ultimately I came home empty handed and still pretty confused about what style I want. But something that I did decide after seeing Emmie, Gretchen and Tasha’s stunning vintage curls is that I reallllly want to get my hair sorted so am looking for a free weekend to book myself in for a new do.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    So what about the pjs? I wanted to finally share a picture of the finished set being worn not just laid out flat.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    The pattern is McCall’s 6659 which I made once before here. Again this is views C and G. The fabric was a gift from Katy Jones during my first week at Practical. She sits two desks down as editor of Quilt Now but excitingly this is a print from her fabric line with Art Gallery Fabrics!! It’s Sunday clippings on a voile base.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    I like how the bird peeks out of the pocket heehee. And the vintage turquoise buttons make me smile. The sleeves would look better a bit shorter or longer I think. I didn’t made any adjustments to the top but I altered the trousers to have a deeper curve in the seat.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    Better confess that I topstitched the front closed and now I throw the top on over my head. Never going to wake up with the buttons undone and everything hanging out that way! Everything is overlocked inside and the crotch seam is double stitched for security. Everything staying where it should.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

     Definitely need to make another set or two! They’re great to sleep in and I feel put together when I wake up. I can retire my slobby worn out tshirts now!

    Have you made pjs recently? Share your links!!

  • Loungewear

    Snuggly Sweatshirt

    Winter is coming!!

    And I’m not happy about it. But at least I’ve got a snuggly sweatshirt to keep warm with.

    almond rock captial chic white russian minerva sweatshirt

    This is the White Russian by Capital Chic Patterns. As soon as I saw this pattern my eyes popped out. I knew I’d be making it when the weather turned.

    almond rock captial chic white russian minerva sweatshirt

    I used this amazing flecked sweatshirt fabric from Minerva Crafts — seen previously by Rach here and Katie here. It’s sold out in black but also comes in burgundy. Yummy.

    Buying ribbed fabric by the length is so much easier; it’s not as thick as packaged ribbing but I like it that way.

    almond rock captial chic white russian minerva sweatshirt

    You’ll notice I shortened the height of the cuffs, neckband and hems. I prefer them being thinner and less obvious. I did this by eyeballing what looked better to me.

    I used half a metre of the ribbing and it was just enough to cut the bands to the size 12 pattern pieces. If you wanted to cut a bigger pattern size you’ll need more of this but it’s pretty bargainous.

    almond rock captial chic white russian minerva sweatshirt

    I sewed this up using the overlock stitch on my sewing machine as my overlocker is poorly. It uses one needle and stitches a clever little seam about 5mm wide made up of two stitch types on top of each other. It’s quite a slow stitch basically. But even with that, this took only three hours to make!

    almond rock captial chic white russian minerva sweatshirt

    So there you have it. Snuggly and quick to sew, what more could you ask for!?

  • Loungewear

    Vintage Swimsuit

    Have you heard of Funki Fabrics? Today I’m showing you the results of trying out their Flexcite stretch fabric. I am proud to see a Northern specicalist fabric company doing so well, and the Manchester-based team design and print here in the UK! That’s rather impressive if you ask me.

    almond rock funki fabrics ohhh lulu abigail swimsuit

    So what did I make? I could have chosen to make dancewear or sportswear but I decided to make myself a swimsuit. Swimsuits can be so boring and unflattering; but what if I made one that I actually enjoyed putting on!

    almond rock funki fabrics ohhh lulu abigail swimsuit

    This is the Abigail Swimsuit pattern by Ohhh Lulu Sews. It’s a retro style suit with halter ties and bikini back clasp. The cherry print fabric seemed like the perfect match to the suit the vintage inspired swimsuit I had in mind.

    almond rock funki fabrics ohhh lulu abigail swimsuit

    I ordered sample prints with cherries, kisses and the galaxy and have I to say the quality is really excellent. You’ll be pleased to know that the stretch recovery is very good in both directions. Out of curiosity, I washed the samples three times and they didn’t appear to lose any dye and the sheen of the fabric stayed nice and glossy.

    almond rock funki fabrics ohhh lulu abigail swimsuit

    The depth of colour in the galaxy print was wonderful and the cherries I eventually plumped for look photo realistic! All prints appear to be applied to a white base. This does mean that if you pick a print with a dark background and your fabric gets overstretched, it does appear a little faded, due to the white ever so slightly peeking through.

    Nothing you can’t solve with a bit of gentle handling!

    almond rock funki fabrics ohhh lulu abigail swimsuit

    Elastic is used around the cups, legs and back to achieve a snug fit. I ordered a Prym bikini clasp from Minerva Crafts.

    I used my overlocker for the seams, a simple zig zag stitch to baste and a twin needle for all my top-stitching. That’s the beauty of stretch fabric, you can make the construction as simple or as complicated as you like.

    almond rock funki fabrics ohhh lulu abigail swimsuit

    I wonder if Mr AR will whisk me away on an impromptu holiday so I can wear my new swimsuit on the beach. Optimistic I’m sure.

    At least I’ll feel fantastic next time I go to the pool at the gym!

  • Loungewear

    Lounging In Style

    What’s all this? Pyjamas!? Yes I’m trying something a little different to break me out of my sewing funk.

    Pyjamas1 almondrock

    I’ve joined the Minerva Blogger Network and I’m really excited to share what I’ve sewn.

    For my first project I wanted to indulge myself with a little bit of luxury. My eyes lit up when I saw this beautiful bird-print satin on Minerva’s website. I decided fancy-pants satin pyjamas had to happen and I really hope you’re inspired to make these too.

    I chose the McCalls 6659 sleepwear pattern as it’s designed for silks and satins, plus it has the classic pyjama-style I was keen on. Ignoring the samples the model is wearing (which hurt my eyeballs) I could see brilliant possibilities in the line drawings.


    There are different sleeve lengths and hem styles to choose from for the shirt, as well as an optional patch pocket and instructions for adding piping. For the bottoms you can pick between shorts, a standard wider leg or a slim leg version.  McCalls suggest the slim leg variation could double as pyjama-style trousers – in case you’re eager to get in on that trend.

    Pyjamas2 almondrock

    My finished pyjamas are a hybrid of view C and D for the shirt and view G for the bottoms. I was very tempted to make the dressing gown but resisted in the end – maybe another day.

    The piping came from my stash as I wanted to pick out some of the details of the shirt and the cuffs of the bottoms.

    For the basic construction I used French seams over 99% of the top and bottoms – I only serged the crotch seam and the armholes, and that’s because I was being too lazy to French seam them as well!  I used a very fine needle with polyester thread and a small stitch length.

    Pyjamas3 almondrock

    Finally I added a little bow instead of the tie front as I think it’s a little sweeter.

    My kit is available to buy here! And if you hadn’t noticed, the pattern is also available on the Minverva website separately here.

    I know Satin can be a little intimidating but I’ve put together some further information about how to work with the fabric. A lot of the points apply to silk and other slippery fabrics, so please take a look!


    If the idea of working with Satin still scares you, I’d suggest picking up a copy of this pattern and some lovely lightweight cotton lawn like this or if you’re feeling daring some of this, which will work just as well but give you a bit more control.