• Loungewear

    Christmas pyjamas and Festive Wishes

    Hello all! Tonight I’m typing from bed. It’s been an exhausting few days. Today was supposed to be completion and moving day for our new home but on Friday afternoon the plug was pulled because our buyer was suspected of money laundering. You can’t make these things up. Fast forward to today when it turned out to be a big misunderstanding but all the cancelled plans couldn’t be reinstated.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    So instead I put on my new homemade Christmas pjs and jumped around on the bed! I usually wear a pair of Cath Kidston festive pyjamas this time of year but they’ve been worn to death. So let me introduce my “adventure Santa” set! (It looks like I’m about to hit the ceiling but I had good clearance haha.)

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Made up of my classic duo, the Closet Core Carolyn top pattern and McCall’s 6659 (now M8056) bottoms pattern which I’ve made multiple times. There’s not much I can say other than I SQUEEZED these out of 2m. My foolproof method when I need to do this is piece the front facings together. As long as any seams avoid buttonholes they are unnoticeable.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    My fabric is this charming vintage style Santa print from The Fabric Guys. It’s a brushed cotton that isn’t super soft but is well printed and warm to wear. Santa shows off how he skies, sledges, builds snowmen and let’s Rudolph in on the fun too. And as a reminder, I wear top size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Bottoms are size 14.

    Sometimes you achieve pattern matching perfection like the pair of flannel Hanukkah pjs I made for a friend using the exact same sewing patterns and other fabric from the same website. My friend has similar proportions to me but is taller with a smaller bottom so only minor adjustments were needed. And she LOVED the pyjamas hahah!!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in Hanukkah dogs brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    With only 2m of santa fabric I couldn’t achieve anything like this matching but I don’t mind as sometimes making the project you want it more important. The dog pjs took 4m of fabric in comparison, as you generally need 1.5m more for pattern matching and I couldn’t buy in half metres online. So I saved £13.98 on my Santa set by skipping this.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Now I’m ready for Christmas and for a new moving date. I’m hoping we can at least exchange so everything is legally binding and give my family some peace of mind for the holidays. Things are already stressful enough here with changing covid rules, loved ones being furloughed and it seems the best present I can give is avoiding people. And let’s not mention Brexit! I hope you find a way to celebrate the festive season and recharge your batteries. That’s my plan. Time for more jumping on the bed!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

  • 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.

    CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLE!

    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 (aka M8056) 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 (M8056) 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

    Pyjama party McCall’s 6659 (M8056)

    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 (now renamed M5086) 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!