All the arrows skirt

Hello everyone!! Today is a good day. I’m feeling good as my lovely photographer friend Renata and I powered through a chunk of my epic list of unblogged garments after work last week. That means more regular blog posts! Looking forward to when I can share makes properly again is getting me giddy. I do my best not to disappear into my work but it does use a lot of time and energy so it’s great to carve out some time for this.

Let’s start with a quick post on this skirt. Self drafted and lined, it came together very easily. The front and back pieces are rectangles made from the full width 45″ fabric gathered to fit a 32″ waistband. This makes it hang straight but gives enough hip room for my curvy 42″ butt. Normally I prefer a gathered a-line cut skirt but this was an afternoon make and my hips push the silhouette into an almost a-line naturally.

Almond rock fabworks self drafted skirt sewing sewing bee gbsb

Now I don’t really think skirts are that flattering on me which is why I rarely make them. I feel like my bodice looks oddly short but weirdly doesn’t in a dress. I even chose a narrow waistband width to help with this! Oh well, I’m not going to grow any taller am I?

I installed an invisible zipper in the back and added a lining to avoid the skirt clinging to tights. The lining is sewn into the waist but free around the zip area with the seam allowance pressed away to make an opening. The centre back lining seam starts just below the zipper allowing the two layers to move independently. Meaning great swish. (Also how damn cute is this top?? I love the back and must make something just like this).

Almond rock fabworks self drafted skirt sewing sewing bee gbsb

The cotton I used is a gorgeous navy shirting with embroidered arrows in neon pink. I picked it up at Fabworks a while back and got the skirt easily out of 1.5m. Although they don’t have this fabric anymore the shop is chocca with great shirting fabric. Let’s be honest it’s full of great fabric, full stop.

So there you are. Told you it would be an easy reintroduction to my blogging. Don’t want to rush these things. I’ll leave you with an outtake from the shoot showing my normal state on set. Professional model I’ll never be…

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Plum fun crepe skirt

When it’s feeling especially chilly I like to think of Dubai. This was the last step of our honeymoon as Dubai is a great transfer point for the Seychelles. While we were there it was a staggering 41°. Almost too hot to breathe. We were there for two nights and on the second night went out for an amazing birthday meal in Nobu at the Palm hotel where we were staying.

We literally waited until 6pm for it to cool down (it didn’t) then dashed outside to take a couple of pics in the gorgeous courtyard (aka sweaty photos) then ran back inside. It had to be done because the colours and shapes of the building exterior are stunning. I wore my plum skirt with a black vest and cardigan to keep things modest but whipped the cardi off for my photo so not to pass out!

This is another way I wear the skirt, with a polka dot jersey top I made using M6886. More on that another day. The skirt is made of purple Rio crepe from Sew Over It. Its a really vivid shade that always gets noticed. The weight and handle are perfect for a skirt like this. It does wrinkle a little but steams easily.

The skirt is the Simple Sew Sophia skirt made during my first week at Love Sewing to test the pattern. I’ve made the Sophia top from the pattern previously too here. The skirt comes together really quickly, works well in a lot of fabric and the length is easy to adjust.

Now you might wonder why it’s never made an appearance before now… well I only started wearing it this May as part of my challenge to wear unloved clothes during Me Made May! I never thought I was a midi or maxi skirt person. I’m still not sure but I’m warming up to it.

I think it looks better with the vest personally. Though it may be happy honeymoon memories influencing my perspective. Here we are taking a terrible selfie hahah.

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McCall’s 7547 dungarees

Happy heatwave everyone! This glorious arrival of the sun has boosted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. Work is unbelievably manic, the wedding admin is piling up and I haven’t been sleeping well at all. What’s keeping me going is that bolt of vitamin D, a daily zma tablet and some therapeutic sewing when I can… plus oreo cookies. Something else that’s pretty cool is we’ve set up a craft club at the office, where every Wednesday we take our various crafts into the boardroom and chat and work away creatively as a group. Each magazine produced by the company is run by a crafter so we all look for opportunities to work on projects and share our knowledge with other people. I’ve played with macrame, failed at crochet and knitted most of a snuggly blanket. I generally do embroidery on my lunchtime and then help with other people’s dressmaking queries but with the big boardroom table doubling as a cutting table I was able to prep most of this project in a week of lunches.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

Now the one thing I never thought I’d make is dungarees. I got pretty tempted last year by a skinny jeans version in H&M but when I tried them on in the shops they gave me ginormous love handles due to the cut of the waist and I got scared again. Then we decided to run M7547 as one of the free patterns on Love Sewing 53 I thought I better suck it up and give them a go. I was convinced by the fact that I am forever in love with my high-waisted jeans and this pattern features a high-waist style. I’m only 5ft 4 and I think the high waist makes me look waaay taller than that. I could hear you thinking – Wow Amy looks as tall as Rachel Pinheiro – but it’s all a trick of the eye!

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

These McCall’s dungarees are super quick to make because there’s no fly front zipper which are great to make but not as speedy as a good old lapped side zipper. You do need to do a bit of topstitching but if you do this in the same colour thread you don’t have to swap over your machine and can stay on track. The directions don’t include how to finish your seams so thinking ahead and jumping onto your overlocker is necessary which does take you out of the flow. As is normal for me, I pinned everything I possibly could then did a mass sewing session, then repeated this until they were done.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

I made a straight size 12 of the skinny jean version but could do with a smidge more length in the upper body and a smidge less width and length in the legs. The shoulder straps are very short if you ask me and it would be best to extend them a good inch then cut off any excess once you’ve tried the assembled dungarees on. I omitted the pockets due to lack of denim too.

almond rock m7547 dungarees abakhan mccalls

My brace kit was from Minerva Crafts (salvaged from a disastrous dungaree dress that never got blogged) and I have a thousand jeans buttons in my sewing room so found some that matched. This dark indigo denim was actually from the Abakhan remnant’s bin and has a slight flaw which I placed at the ankle level on the back so it was even less noticeable. It has great stretch recovery and has held it’s colour during several washes but it could be a bit less stretchy and it attracts fluff LIKE CRAZY! So infuriating. You can’t see the fluff in the main photos but check out the close up back shot; It’s there mocking me.

almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

Kerry said I had a Rosie the Riveter vibe going on which is mega fun! We played it up on set haha. Her floral sateen version is amazing, go check out the review (I think she’s posting it today or tomorrow!). I used a frilly sleeved version of New Look 6808 to balance out my top and wore my red loafers. The lack of pockets sort of makes my crotch area look HUGE which is endlessly cringeworthy in photos but you forget when you’re wearing them… until I try and put my phone in the back pocket! Ho ho I made you look at my crotch, you filthy scoundrel!!

almond rock dungarees m7547 mccalls abakhan

I’m definitely going to use this pattern to make a pair of skinny jeans as I really enjoyed making my last pair of jeans but got fatigue by the end and these felt much quicker. I also have a copy of the new Megan Nielsen Ash jeans which look great so will also make those later this year. First though I need to find some great quality denim! Katie is a wonderful source of inspiration in this respect but please send me details of high quality stretch denim suitable for jeans!! I saw some lovely stuff on Fabric Godmother and Guthrie & Ghani but would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with suggestions in the comments!

almond rock ash jeans megan nielsen

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Easy pleated skirt

Hello everyone and Happy Friday! Tonight is my work Christmas party so I’m all giddy and ready to celebrate the year!

almond rock pleated skirt elephant in my handbag alice wonderland teapots

Today I have a tutorial to share for a quick pleated skirt. All it takes is a bit of maths and some basic sewing skills to get a lovely printed skirt.

I partnered with Elephant In My Handbag for this tutorial. They let me pick this awesome Alice in Wonderland inspired teapot print cotton by Blend Fabrics.its great quality and the colours are fantastic! Did you spot the little mouse?

Materials:

Fusible interfacing
12” invisible Zipper

Size Finished Waist Measurement Front width, cut on fold Back width, cut two Waistband width Waistband back width
10 29” 51cm 52.5cm 20cm 21.5cm
12 31” 52cm 53.5cm 21cm 22.5cm
14 33” 53cm 54.5cm 22cm 23.5cm
16 35” 54cm 55.5cm 23cm 24.5cm
18 37” 55cm 56.5cm 24cm 25.5cm


Cutting:

Use the above chart and your desired skirt length to work out your fabric requirements. You’ll need 2 x  the length plus another 50cm for the waistbands.

Cut 1 front skirt on the fold that is your chosen length x the width measurement in the chart above.

Cut 2 back skirts that are your chosen length x the width measurement in the chart above.

Cut two waistband fronts on the fold, which are 6cm in length x the width measurement in the chart above.

Cut 2 waistband backs which are 6cm in length x the width measurement in the chart above.

How to make:

1. Find the centre front of your fabric for the skirt front. Then measure 6cm in and make a mark at the upper edge for size 10. (Increase this by 1cm for each higher size e.g. 12cm for size 18).

2. Next mark 15cm away from the mark you just made, along the upper edge.

3. Next mark 6cm away from that mark for size 10. (Increase this by 1cm for each higher size e.g. 12cm for size 18).

4. And finally mark 15cm away from the mark you just made.

5. Repeat for the skirt backs (find the centre back of your fabric by folding under the 1.5cm seam allowance.

6. Fold the pleats together following the marks that you have made. (See the diagram for help). An easy way create neat pleats is to bring two notches together and pin, crease the fold, then open out the pleat so the crease of the fold sits on top of the pin. Sew across the top of your pleats 1cm in from the raw edge (within the seam allowance) to keep them in place and press a short way down the length of the pleat. Repeat for the back skirt pieces.

7. Join the skirt front and back at the side seams with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance and overlock or finish the raw edges.

8. Interface one waistband front and a pair of waistband backs. Join at the side seams with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance, then repeat for the second set of waistbands.

9. With right sides together, align the non-interfaced waistband to the upper edge of the skirt, matching the side seams. Sew in place with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance.

10. Next sew the two waistbands together at the raw upper edge with a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance then press the seam open. Press up the lower edge of the interfaced waistband by 1.3cm.

11. Open the zipper and with right sides together align the top stopper just below the top of the waistband seam line on one side. Using your zipper foot (or my recommendation, an invisible zipper foot) sew in place. Close the zip and mark on the tape the seamline for the bottom of the waistband. Use this marking to line up the second half of the zipper tape and sew in place.

12. Fold the waistband over right sides together, sandwiching the zip in between. Using your zipper foot, sew alongside the zip through the three layers, ensuring the catch the folded up lower edge of the waistband.

13. Press up a 5cm hem at the bottom of your skirt. Sew in place and press to finish.

Here’s a shot of the pleats close up. I love how neat the waistband is at this size and balances well with my almost midi length skirt. I made the 10 and used a long length on purpose.

So many delicious looking cakes on this fabric too!

almond rock pleated skirt elephant in my handbag alice wonderland teapots

Here’s the back, you can see how the centre back falls evenly between the pleats. I used a white zip but if you’re scared you might not achieve a fully invisible installation, choose a zip that coordinates well with your fabric and will “sink in”.

almond rock pleated skirt elephant in my handbag alice wonderland teapots

Expect to see me in plenty more pleated skirts this winter!

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Freehand Fashion Blog Tour and Review

Hello hello!

almond rock chinelo bally freehand fashion

I hope you’ve been following the blog tour for Chinelo Bally’s new book Freehand Fashion. I’m the penultimate stop on the tour and hopefully I can say something about the book that helps add a little more insight into the composition and styling of the projects and approach. Plus you can have a nosey at my finished garment.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

Based on a traditional Nigerian technique, Chinelo’s book takes you through her innovative freehand cutting technique. Like many other pattern books it’s based around a series of standard blocks (bodice, dress, skirt, sleeve, and flare) that you draft using your measurements. But the difference is unique variations on the blocks and the way you plot the integral marks on your fabric. You cleverly take into account seam allowances (something normally omitted in pattern drafting). The bodice block actually covers the whole torso and hips (different again from many techniques). This lets you create 15 central patterns with a few variations to boot!

chinelo bally freehand fashion

I decided to try out the flared skirt block aka the double circle skirt project. This is a very approachable project (which fitted with my limited free time) but I also wanted to see how Chinelo would spell out this standard block.

Firstly it’s true of all the projects in this book but I really like the way the pages are laid out. Everything is clear and consistent and gorgeously crisp looking. The flared skirt is nicely broken up into how to achieve various amounts of flare but I fancied a full on circle. Chinelo advises using a regular less full skirt as the lining which was interesting. I chose a pink twill with a pink polka dot lining to compliment my uber polka dot set up! And I hemmed the skirt using bias tape since it takes so long to hem a full circle. Phew.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

It’s a pretty fun skirt and that’s probably because it’s a pretty fun book. I confess I’ve had a copy for a little while – the perks of doing book reviews in Love Sewing. And I love some of the dresses like the hot lace number. Woah momma. And the peplum flippy hem dress is all kinds of cute. There’s plenty here to find a few garments you like and plenty to learn from re-imagining the way you approach sewing patterns. I’ll throw it out there and then won’t mention it again. If you subscribe to Love Sewing during November, you’ll get a free gift copy of the book. Something to think about – maybe even suggest to your relatives as a good Christmas present? heehe.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

chinelo bally freehand fashion

So I hope I lived up to the challenge and gave you a good spin on the book with my review? I’d like to encourage you to try and pick up a copy of the book and take a look for yourself. I think the key thing to remember is that if you’re the kind of person who gets a bit nervous cutting straight into fabric without a toile, this book isn’t suggesting you do that. It just means you can cut out some of the time consuming steps of tracing and cutting tissue sheets. But if you’re still feeling a little concerned, you can try this circle skirt for an excellent easy win.

Right – toodlepip! I’m off to party in my new foxy skirt! You should check out Rachel’s blog tomorrow for the last point on the tour.

chinelo bally freehand fashion

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