Trousers and skirts

  • Trousers and skirts

    Simplicity hack-along 8929

    Have you joined the Simplicity Hack-along? This great initiative raises money for charity while letting your creativity shine! With every pattern bought in the UK you’ll be helping support a wonderful cause as Simplicity will be donating a portion of the sales to their chosen charity. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity funding research and raising awareness into the five gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.

    To inspire you to take part in the challenge I’m joining lots of other bloggers to show you how you can hack a pattern with amazing results. Read on to see my make and learn more about how you can win great prizes by entering the competition!!

    Almondrock Jade crepe Simplicity 8929 hackalong skirt, charity blog for eve appeal

    I love vintage styles and as you know I mostly stick to 50s and 60s designs. BUT something about the 70s tiered skirt trend has been calling out to me!! I decided to turn Simplicity 8929 into a flowy gathered skirt in a bold colour.

    I’m not the greatest at maths but I worked out if I raised the frill to hip height and then added an even larger rectangle for the final tier I’d get a pretty good amount of swish. The basic pattern is pretty rectangular so I cut the size extra large but graded to the medium at the waist to accommodate my pear shaped figure.

    I used the extra tissue that you get inside every hacking pattern to sketch out the extra piece as it’s printed with helpful guidelines! The second tier ended up measuring 120 x 39cm (one piece per front and back, seamed at the side) and the lower tier was 152 x 35cm (again one per front and back, seamed at the side). The bottom layer is the full width of my fabric.

    The fabric really helps create a dramatic effect and although I had to use 3m to make this skirt, the price could not be beaten. It’s a bold polyester in the colour Jade from Minerva Crafts which you can get here. The rich colour is even lovelier in person!! The drape and weight is perfect for gathering and swishing. Plus its totally opaque so I didn’t need a lining.

    Want to join the fun?? Use any of the nine patterns in the curated list from the Simplicity Pattern Hacking range and join the WORLD-WIDE SIMPLICITY PATTERN HACK-ALONG!

    Choose your pattern(s), decide which category is right for your finished garment and then share your hack on social media using the category hashtag:




    You can email your entries (don’t forget to include pattern number and category) to There’s the chance to WIN Sewing or Coverstitch Machines from Janome and Goody Bags from Simplicity and their sister brands. Find more info on the rules and the pattern list on the SewDirect website.

  • Trousers and skirts

    Ahoy there Sophia skirt

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

    March is finally over and I’ve survived, pretty much in tact! I’ve barely been at home with a day at a Birmingham trade show, two days at a Birmingham consumer show, a week at Woburn Centre Parcs with Jimi’s very poorly family, the Dressmaker’s ball in Leicester (more on that later) and then two days at a trade show in Cologne!

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical dressmaker's ball

    Plus there was a three week turnaround on a bumper issue and Sewing Bee needing lots of my time. I made it through and took a celebratory day off to relax, see friends and sew… so obviously I then got sick.

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

    But now its April and all is well with the world (not politically of course). The weather is perking up and I’ve had time to write a blog post.

    This is the Sophia skirt from Simple Sew patterns hacked to just below knee length. I really love this pattern because the two front pleats are placed in a really flattering place to keep the centre front flat but they still add fullness to the skirt.

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

    Normally ankle length, you can easily crop the length to whatever you fancy. Just shorten the hem staying true to the grain line. Easy peasy. I also used a very stiff cotton duck (like a canvas basically) from Cath Kidston after working with it on the magazine. This is often how my money disappears, buying things I’ve seen in the office. Every time I wear it Jimi and I race to be first to say “boats boats boats” which is a quote from HIMYM. (If you know, you know.)

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical love sewing magazine

    While it is a simple skirt, it does give the chance to play with extra details. I wanted to see if I could make a neat lapped zipper in such a thick fabric so swapped out the suggested concealed zipper. It went well thankfully. I didn’t have enough to exactly pattern match on the back but it’s really close so I’m happy. I didn’t have enough fabric for pockets either… less happy about that.

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

    I’ve previously made this skirt in crepe for a lovely swishy version. It’s so versatile! I’d recommend picking a size based on your waist and then grade the hips as needed. The skirt pattern doesn’t include lining but it’s easy to cut the skirt pieces from lining fabric, assemble and place WST with your skirt before attaching the waistband. Just remember to leave an opening around the zipper so the lining hangs free.

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

    I’m wearing my skirt with a ponte cropped version of M6886, my go to Jersey top pattern for skirts. This red version is the perfect shade and fabric weight so I regularly break it out for skirts. The pattern does come with a simple top to wear with the skirt. It’s very quick and doesn’t take much fabric! I made one here. Word of warning though it doesn’t have any darts so fuller chested ladies might want to add some for a better fit.

    Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical So pleased I was able to lie in bed full of germs and get this post done! One upside to feeling gross I guess?? Silver linings. Now I think I’m going to listen to podcasts and cuddle the cat. Until next time everyone!

  • Trousers and skirts

    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…

  • Trousers and skirts

    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.

  • Trousers and skirts

    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