• Other stuff

    Gathering Supplies

    Over the last couple of months I’ve slowly been gathering supplies for a new jacket.

    Since making my Anise I sort of laughably said I’d never make another coat or jacket. Well that didn’t last long.

    I started in October by whittling my pattern choices down to three favourites. Burda Pattern 7115, Burda Download 9 2014 #120, and a Vintage McCall’s 8420.


    You can see I was interested in a notched collar and a pea coat shape. I did want something a bit longer than a jacket but not quite a coat.

    I came pretty close to drafting something myself but then I settled on the Burda and will adjust as needed (pattern on offer here).

    While shopping at Samuel Taylors in Leeds I saw a beautiful pale aqua wool coating but couldn’t shake the idea of a darker teal colour.

    And at SewBrum Barry’s came to the rescue with a lovely textured green coating half way between teal and emerald. And I already had coordinating thread in my stash yippee!


    During a fortunate spot of eBay surfing last month I found a seller offering this gorgeous high heel print silk satin and snapped it up for the lining.

    It’s a soft grey colour with some shoes in outline only and others coloured in pink, green, yellow.

    Now I need fusible underlining and interfacing, and coordinating buttons.

    Sadly with all the Christmas sewing I’ve got on my plate I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make a toile but I hope it’ll be soon. I’d like to get back to selfish sewing haha.

  • Other stuff

    Blog hop, skip, and jump

    What’s a blog hop when it’s at home!?
    It’s like a massive conga line of bloggy fun, that’s what!

    Trace it back to the start if you dare. I have been nominated by Louise of Sew Sensational to keep the party going. Louise is a fellow Minerva blogger and a total sweetheart. And I’m not biased just because she’s from Leeds.

    The premise is simple. Answer a few fun questions then shake your hips and name two more conga buddies to take over from you.

    Deep breath and here we go!

    almond rock blog hop

    Why do I write?
    Well that’s an intense question so I’ll give you an intense answer…

    I need this blog to prove to myself and to some degree the world that I have dedication and commitment to sewing, that my sewing skills and the quality of my projects are improving, and to create visible proof that I’m doing something I’m proud to share with others. Plus blogging is pretty fun right?

    almond rock blog hop

    What am I working on?
    So many sewing, blogging and personal goals are bouncing around in my head these days.
    I always have sewing projects queued up. My list could take up several years. But this year I definitely want to complete an advanced vintage pattern to as high standard as I can manage. I’ve been plugging away with this a little every night, hoping that patience can yield amazing results. You should see the final dress in mid-Sept.
    Also, I coded my site after teaching myself css and really want to improve on it with a better gallery and improved header art. I don’t even care if most readers never click through to my browser because they’re happily followng me in a reader, I’m redesigning for me!
    Finally when we move into our new home later this month I want to make sure I enjoy being in our new space as much as possible. I want to decorate and have friends round. We’ll be enjoying lazy sunny mornings, epic cooking sessions and post-work swims at the nearby pool. Life isn’t just for sewing and blogging!

    almond rock blog hop

    How does your blog differ from others of its genre?
    This is a bit tricky as the premise of many sewing blogs is the same.

    I think there are two things that I’m proud of myself for doing. Firstly I choose sewing patterns that aren’t that popular. Either they have ugly pattern art or have been out of print for years or have somehow missed the attention they deserve.. But I don’t care because I can see they are hidden gems.

    I suppose it doesn’t make me unique but I generally try and keep my blog happy. There’s so much in life to get down about, I like this little corner of the Internet to feel good about what I’m doing. It’s bright and colourful and has subtle (and not so subtle) attempts at humour and I hope people enjoy reading it.

    almond rock blog hop

    How does your writing process work?
    My commute is two hours long; that’s usually the perfect time for me write, edit and schedule blog posts. Except for when the signal cuts out and you can’t save your changes — WHY SO MANY TUNNELS!

    I like to post at least once a week, but that might be on any day I choose. Usually I’m sharing a finished garment.

    My drafts folder contains a series of article-style posts that I know I can call on when I don’t have a garment to share but mostly I’m just winging it.

    Phew. So there you have it! My answers. Thanks so much to Louise for nominating me.

    My nominations!

    almond rock blog hop

    Now it’s my turn to nominate some lovely blogs to continue hopping.

    First up is the lovely Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. I’m so pleased sewing has introduced me to this lovely lady, she really is a good friend now and although I’m still a little in awe of her sometimes, she doesn’t seem to mind. She crafts beautiful clothes and always talks absolute sense.

    My second nominee is Helen of Mancunian Vintage. I love Helen’s approach to wearing vintage clothing and she even sews a bit too. She’s always a great source of Northern inspiration. But hold on! She’s about to move down South! How ever will I cope!? Well I’m sure she’ll do great things down there as she did in Manchester.

    Check out these fabulous ladies and the next posts in the hop on August 18th!

  • Other stuff

    Minerva Crafts Meet Up – Dress Reveal

    Hello hello!

    It’s time for the full reveal of my Minerva meet up dress. Let’s quickly recap, I had chosen a beautiful cotton sateen and had to make a lovely party dress for an evening of fun and frolics. Here it is!

    almond rock mccalls 6833

    Everyone was dressed to the nines which was great. I loved my dress; I can attest to how fun it was to dance in.

    This is McCalls 6833 (the strappy version with a gorgeous pleated skirt). Because I used red crepe-like satin as my lining the dress felt especially nice to wear. It didn’t take much convincing to get me back into the dress for additional photos!

    almond rock mccalls 6833

    almond rock mccalls 6833

    And how about some photos of the day? Words fail me to convey how busy, bubbly and fun this day was. I hope the photos show this!

    almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up almond rock minerva meet up

    See more photos here!

    Thank you Vicki and all the Minerva Crafts team for such a brilliant day! I hope you had as much fun as I did!

  • Other stuff

    Raise your glasses! *clink clink*

    Oooh happy news in Sewing Land!

    A new pattern company for us to drool over and patterns which can race to the top of our sewing queues.

    almond rock capital chic patterns

    Capital Chic is a new, independent sewing pattern company based in London and offering work wear, cocktail wear and day-to-night looks. The designs have a wonderful modern, fashionable feel, with clean lines and excellent attention to detail.

    The patterns currently come in sizes UK 10-18 and are designed for the intermediate to advanced sewer. The Summer 2014 collection comprises six patterns (each with multiple options) which if you haven’t guessed are available right now as print-at-home PDF files.

    And lookie! All the patterns are named after cocktails… mmmm delicious.

    Here’s a little taste of what you can expect:

    Martini almond rock capital chic patterns

    Martini is a cocktail dress with a twist. A crop-top shape with an above-the-waist skirt, the silhouette creates the illusion of a narrow waistline. It comes either as separates OR as a lined dress that looks like separates. Genius.

    White Russian almond rock capital chic patterns

    White Russian is a cute sweatshirt; use pre-quilted jersey or sweatshirt fabrics for quilting your own design. The pattern comes with templates for lion and fox quilting and appliqué designs.

    Bellini almond rock capital chic patterns

    Bellini is a loose-fitting, cap sleeved blouse with either a cutaway collar or (my favourite) a scalloped collar. The collar provides a blank canvas for embellishment (sequins, beads or sew-on gems), or contrasting fabric like leather/pleather for an edge.

    manhattan almond rock capital chic patterns

    Manhattan is a more than just a pencil skirt thanks to the curved side panel. View A has a sexy, jagged hemline and exposed zip, or View B for a chance to showcase special fabrics in the curved side panel.

    Click through to see the final two patterns in the collection Champagne and Cosmopolitan, and make sure to visit all the patterns to see line drawings for the garments, oodles more photos of the variations for each garment… you won’t be disappointed.

    So have you spotted someone familiar in these photos?

    Bellini almond rock capital chic patterns

    Capital Chic is designed by Sally, who you should all know from her fabulous refashion blog Charity Shop Chic. Did you know she’s a self-taught pattern maker and sewer? And if you haven’t guessed her influences include the catwalk, the red carpet and London street style.

    I love that Sally has focused her creativity on pattern drafting for the rest of us! It’s really nice to see extra touches like French seams, zip guards and boning included in the patterns and instructions. Plus I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a cocktail (or two) with her in the past. Congratulations Sally!

    I can’t wait to sew up the Bellini blouse and share it with you all. So tell me which is your favourite?

  • Other stuff

    Mollie Makes Blogging – A Review

    We interrupt your football watching for some Mollie Makes news!

    Mollie Makes Blogging is pitched as the magazine to help create the blog you’ve always dreamed of. It’s a 180-page special edition priced at £9.99 and available in most major stores – WH Smith (where I found my copy), Tesco, Asda, etc or coming soon as a e-zine for tablets.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    Would you like to hear a bit more about what you will get for your money before you go out and buy this hefty tome?

    I’ve always found the design and style of Mollie Makes impressive; it’s an inspirational and beautiful magazine that speaks to my aesthetic. But I rarely buy a copy as I’ve never truly felt I would leave with something tangible from reading (this is what stops me buying most magazines if I’m honest, but perhaps I’m just a book girl at heart).

    I have to say, I do love the website (probably as it’s so accessible and just as stylish), and now I am also a fan of this special edition.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    This one-off ‘zine (don’t you die a little bit inside when you use that abbreviation?) still has a little bit of the fluffy filler material all magazines are guilty of. But it also has a lot of clever, well-pitched and valuable material in here to.

    Content is divided up into easy to use sections –

    • “Inspiration” – Themes, Typography and Logos, Favourite Blogs, etc.
    • “Advice” – Tips from A Beautiful Mess, Photo editing, Building Links, etc.
    • “Know-How” – Hosting, Customising, Analytics, Plug-ins, Glossary, etc.

    Plus a large variety of “Meet the Blogger” interviews (Brittany Watson JepsonElsie Larson, Pip Lincolne, Will Taylor and many more) and a number of intense guides in the “Blogging Must-Reads” section (cheat sheets to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest).

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    It’s nice to read about the people who run some of the most successful lifestyle blogs – their schedules, most popular posts, and what they do outside of the blog to earn money, as well as learn a bit more about their personality and back stories. I also really enjoyed the piece on Blogtacular and think I might attend next year!

    There are a small number of pages dedicated to inspiration for starting a blog, but much more focused on improving your content, post strategy, presentation and marketing. I especially enjoyed the tips on social media marketing and focus on widgets and apps I wasn’t aware of such as buffer and linkwithin.

    For instance, Pinterest; I could be using this so much more as a blogger and not just as a pinner to interact with other users, promote my sewing projects and drive traffic to my blog. Similarly I’m letting my lifestyle dictate my posting schedule; I share content on Instagram or Twitter when I grab five minutes right before bed or on a Wed lunchtime when I frantically finish a post, aka times where my posts can be easily overlooked.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    There’s no shame in admitting you want your blog to be successful and there for no shame in buying a magazine to help you on your way. And if a few small tweaks helps increase your stats that’s surely worth the cost of the mag, right?

    This magazine won’t help you learn much about building a community, teach you about using seo effectively (seriously, I don’t understand how this isn’t featured more) or help you learn css to code your own web design (which I don’t blame it for not tackling). Don’t buy if you’re after any of those things.

    Now I’m not currently focused on making my blog profitable but I’ll keep this mag on my shelf in case that day comes as there are helpful articles about affiliate advertisement, sponsored posts and tips for diversifying enough to make a career out of your blog.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    Plus I noticed an ad for a special Mollie Makes Photography which, after reading this well produced special, I will probably go out and get.

    Now I just need to see if I talk myself into buying the Blog Love 2.0 course. Or talk someone into buying it for me as a Birthday present.