Love Sewing and Lottie Blouses

Ooh so it’s probably time to say it. If you aren’t already aware, I’m the new Editor of Love Sewing magazine. EEK! It’s a UK-based magazine based in the North of the country, available from most major supermarkets and WHSmiths, plus it sells internationally via moremags.com and is even exported for sale in Australia.

Basically this is the culmination of 10 years of professional effort and 5 years of sewing experience. I never really mentioned work on the blog before but I’m happy to change that for a good reason.

LS18 cover

I’ve been in the role three months now and it’s still amazing to be able to be able to talk about sewing on a daily basis. I’ve produced two issues in that time and I’m slowly putting my stamp on the magazine: It’s always strange taking over a title from another Editor as they’ve lined things up for either a few weeks or a few months and you need to work around what’s already in motion. I’ve had an amazing amount of support and well wishes from everyone which has warmed my heart – so thank you to everyone who gave my magazine a chance and those of you sitting out there, sending me your best. It means a lot.

There are some people who have voiced concerned I haven’t been sewing long enough to manage a sewing magazine and if you fall into that category then I’m sorry you feel that way and I might not be able to convince you otherwise. But sewing experience is only one side of running a successful magazine and I honestly believe it’s better to have an Editor in charge who is experienced with both publishing and sewing. And to offset what I don’t know in sewing, I’m very fortunate to work with experienced and talented industry experts! I’d definitely be terrified by someone who claimed to know everything.

Either way, I hope you pick up a copy and like what you see, and it makes you want to pick up another!

Onto actual sewing now. In issue 18, my second issue, the lovely Charlie of This Blog Isn’t For You wrote a hack for turning the Simple Sew Lottie blouse into a button up pussy bow and I just had to try it out! I mean she is queen of the Lottie hack!! A pic of Charlie’s version is below:

lottie

First up I made this apple print crepe de chine version using fabric from Regency Rags (who reeeeeally need to get their webshop back up and running so I don’t have to use the eBay shop anymore). It’s only a little polyester feeling and a pretty nice weight, plus it’s only £2.99 a metre.

apples crepe de chine

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Then I thought I’d try the button up but without the bow tie! Crazy I know. But look at this pretty floral crepe from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester. I think you all know about their crazy bins of fabric remnants where you pay by weight not length. This was £2.50 for a 1.2m piece. The flowers are so stunning and it’s actually navy blue not, black like it looks in the pics.

20150911_201419-1 DSCF8371

Side note. This photo was taken the day before I got poorly with a sinus infection! I felt like I looked weird somehow but couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe that’s an early germ detection system?

It was a worthwhile experiment, though I think the button up either needs to be higher or lower for this version. I’ll wear it a lot though because of the print and it looks great with a cardigan which makes me wish I’d had enough fabric to add sleeves.

So there you go, short and sweet. What do you think of my tops? Did you see the hack in the latest issue? And I’d love to know if you vote that I use a lower or higher neckline if I make the button up with no bow version again? I love hearing from you!!

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Colour blocking

Colour blocking doesn’t seem to be fading in popularity. It definitely isn’t in my house.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscose

I’ve been waiting to sew this cute little vintage pattern since I gleefully picked it up at a sewing meet-up/ swap. A May Minerva Blogger make seemed like a good opportunity!

There are three really good variations in this pattern but I was smitten with the inset variation seen in yellow.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscose

This was a pretty simple make but I think it looks really effective. I used two colours of 56 inch wide plain viscose.

The back and outer front bodice are made from the navy blue and the inset from the purple, which is actually a really pretty violet colour.

I have to say the navy feels wonderful. I know they should be exactly the same handle in slightly different colours but the navy has a slightly softer hand. It’s also lovely and cool the way viscose should be.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscoseThe inset is really easy to sew and only requires a little more focus when reaching end of the point.

As you can see these sleeves look different to the pattern. Because it’s quite loose fit in the bodice I felt a bit boxy in the kimono sleeves as well, so I removed them and added a fluttery cap sleeve. I even lined the sleeves in purple so every now and then they show a peek of colour.

almond rock minerva blogger network colour block viscose

And because the team at Minerva are so good they included the perfect colour match in gütermann thread for me to use – colour 718 matches the violet and colour 387 matches the navy. Perfect!

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Bits and Bobbins

Gosh it’s been ages since I last posted.
I get this horrible feeling when I don’t post during a week. Let’s remedy that!

I’ve been sewing like a maniac lately and have a big queue of things to show you in the next few weeks. I’ll start by sharing a few things today.

First up are a couple of work tops that are modest and smart but still a bit fun and go with jeans. It’s the “I’m so cute, don’t you want to let me standardise your product and put it in a media neutral content management system” look. Snappy eh?

almond rock new look 6148 squirrel rabbit crepe

So here we have a yoke-less new look 6148 in ex-Dorothy Perkins crepe with awesome squirrel and rabbit print. I picked this up from Goldhawk Road a couple of summers ago and as soon as I was on the train home regretted only buy 1m.

And my firm favourite, new look 6808 in red and cream polyester. I’m not falling into the trap of calling it tribal, ohhhhhh no. This fabric was one of my bargain Birmingham Rag Market purchases that I recently shared on Instagram.

almond rock new look 6808 tribal polyester

I thought I try the 6808 sleeves on the 6148 as well and wahey they fit all right! Maybe even a bit better than they fit the pattern they came with!?

Moving along… a few weeks ago my friends had the fright of their lives. Their baby who hadn’t quite finished cooking, arrived 8 weeks early weighing in at a teeny 2 lbs. After some love and attention she’s been beefed up enough to be at home with her family.

As a baby gift I made the Dylan Onsie pattern (babygrow to all us Brits) from Spit Up and Stilettos – it was free for some time but appears to now be priced. I also snaffled the Drew leggings pattern while they were free and they also seem pretty cool too for an easy baby gift.

almond rock dylan onesie babygrow spit up and stilettos metallic gold hot pink jersey

The pattern includes “preemie” size for teeny babies just like Baby Amber. I used some garish but fun hot pink and metallic gold jersey from Birmingham rag market with some jersey bias tape and a bit of velcro from Samuel Taylors, and whipped it up on my overlocker. It’s definitely opinion dividing but I knew if anyone would get a kick out of this, it would be Tom and Helen, and I love that Amber is disco-ready.

Finally I made a little tool and pencil case ready for my pattern drafting class! What a geek, I know. This is the “Develop” Pattern Drafting and Garment Design evening course that I’m doing through Leeds Art College just like my Textile printing course.

The notes advise bringing basic sewing supplies, plus basic pencil kit so I had to make the pouch quite big. It’s about A5 sized.

almond rock vintage sewing pattern tshirt transfer paper zipper pouch

I printed a black and white image from a vintage sewing pattern onto tshirt transfer paper. I used some cotton canvas for the pouch and an invisible zipper. Here’s a good tutorial for pouches with regular zips. Easy for anyone to do, whether they’re a newbie or an old pro.

Isn’t she working that dress? She’s giving me Liz Taylor vibes.

Now that I’ve broken the silence, look forward to a few more posts from me soon!

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Studio 54 Pussy Bow Blouse

almond rock metallic pussy bow blouse

Well hello!

Just a quick post today.

I’ve got a foxy metallic pussy bow blouse to share.

almond rock metallic pussy bow blouse

I used a metallic chiffon  from Jack’s Fabrics. It’s actually gold metallic on top of black chiffon.

It was £2 a metre so a mega bargain. I used a metre and a half for the blouse in total as I thought I better cut it all the same direction, in case the sheen was stronger one way.

almond rock metallic pussy bow blouse
And if it wasn’t obvious, I got my hair cut. And I don’t like it.

I mean it’s fine and non-offensive but it isn’t remotely like the photo I took the guy. It’s all just a bit too ragamuffin.

But my hair grows super quick so it’ll be back to normal fairly shortly.

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What noise do swans make?

Happy Sunday everyone!

almond rock sew over it pussy bow blouse swans

Here’s a post about two things.

First up – This Sew Over It Pussy Bow Blouse!

I used a fab swan print polyester from Regency Rags.

almond rock sew over it pussy bow blouse swansYou can probably see I’ve made a few adjustments.

I got rid of the centre front seam. That made it a little hard to attach the necktie so I added a little keyhole. Plus I tried adding some bust darts because my muslin turned out a little too floaty but they’re a touch high because I didn’t test them out before cracking into the swans.

almond rock sew over it pussy bow blouse swans

But seriously I love it! It’s cute (albeit sheer) and it makes me feel a bit like Rose Byrne in Damages (which I’ve been binge watching). Plus it sort of reminds me of my Godson who has been learning animal noises and is obsessed with ducks. You say “All the ducks go…” and he screams “QUACK”. Mega cutes.

almond rock sew over it pussy bow blouse swans

I’ve just finished another version in disco gold chiffon for going out in. I’ll see if I can get a photo without the metallics sunbeaming everywhere.

Second up! I’ve got something fun to share.

I’ve started an evening course in textile printing at Leeds Art College. I’m like totally an art student heehee!!

almond rock discharge printing leeds art college

It’s a 10 week course covering:

  • Heat transfer printing (disperse printing)
  • Discharge printing (with basic dyeing)
  • Screen printing with paper stencils
  • Screen printing with photo emulsion stencils
  • Devore
  • Hand painted prints
  • PLUS I GET TO USE THE DIGITAL PRINTERS WOOOOOO!!!

Ahem… So weeks one and two were about heat set discharge printing where we used dyes and a 200 degree heat press to print on synthetic fabrics. We also got to play with resists, putting objects in the way between the dyes and fabric.

It works really well with geometric shapes. And I’ve got enough printed fabric to make two tops.

almond rock discharge printing leeds art college almond rock discharge printing leeds art college almond rock discharge printing safety pins leeds art college

Next week we’re using paper stencils and screenprinting onto A2 pieces of cotton.

So I’ll update you again with my progress soon!

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