Perks of the job – The Annabelle Dress

I don’t often post about work on here but this time I couldn’t NOT.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

Meet Annabelle, the free pattern gift that comes with the latest issue of Love Sewing magazine. Named after a dear friend’s new baby girl. A perk of the job is when we bandy names around for patterns and you can throw in personal favourites.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

This dress is soooo awesome. There’s a great neckline yoke that connects to raglan sleeves and a gathered bodice. The gathered skirt balances it off perfectly and a side seam zip keeps everything neat. Look at me doing my envelope impression.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

Simple Sew sizing is generally a funny fit for me, mostly around the bust. Here I cut a size 10 but graded out to a size 12 waist. I used the size 8 gather marks and I removed 1.5cm of bodice length. It fits almost perfectly though I think I will add 0.5cm of length back in and should have gone up a smidgen more at the waist.

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

My fabric is a fantastic quality moss crepe from textile centre’s ebay shop. I love how the print is a bit like guitar plectrums. I think that it was £3.99 a metre or something like that?

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

The range of colours in the print really helps when picking shoes and cardigans hahah (my standard train of thought). I hoarded this fabric for 2 years for an BHL Anna dress but I’m so pleased I used it here. Here’s a flat snap with the flash on and colours adjusted to see the style lines a little more clearly!

I have another version planned for my Les Fleurs periwinkle rayon from Cotton + Steel (picked up at Miss Matatabi). Plus this graphic silk print from M. Rosenberg & Son at the Knitting and Stitching show that I’ve also been hoarding since seeing Karen in a similar-ish print at the Minerva blogger day and daydreaming about owning a dress of similar awesomeness. Ok ok it’s not similar at all but when I bought it away from any phone signal to quickly check, it gave me good vibes so I had to buy it. Gosh that meetup was a while ago – 2014!

almond rock simple sew annabelle crepe dress

almond rock simple sew annabelle dress

Oh and here’s me when I went to interview the costume team behind Strictly Come Dancing. Best day ever let me tell you. Well I do tell you, in the same issue as Annabelle you get to hear me waffle on for four pages about the design process, construction methods, fitting techniques, backstage goss.

strictly interview love sewing mag almond rock

There are some ace versions of Annabelle popping up on the internet (Elle of Sew Positivity was quick off the mark making TWO versions – sateen and Christmas themed) so I hope you’ll give this dress a try.

almond rock 70s dress refashion

I’ll leave you with one last pic of me just to make sure you’re well and truly sick of my face hehe. This is a quick snap from the night of the office party. Denise is my Head Art Editor for Love Sewing and we got ready together while having a cheeky glass of prosecco or three. I wore my vintage 70s long sleeved maxi dress refashion with huge Kurt Geiger platforms (huge for me). It’s the dress I got in 2005 to wear to my University Grad Ball. I removed the sleeves and added the gathered midi skirt for the James Milner charity ball in 2013. I can honestly say every time I wear it I have a right good knees up!

Tag me in your Christmas dress pictures I want to see them all!! And if you’re making Annabelle I want to see those two so hook me up with links.

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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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Vintage French Joan-ish

Hello hello! Is everyone surviving the week? Are you taking part in Amanda’s awesome #bpsewvember on Instagram?  Go on and tag yourself on my IG feed if we’re not a already friends as I’d love to see all your snaps.

I have a fun dress to share today as it’s a Sew Over It pattern love child! I merged the Joan Dress and the Vintage Shirtdress with excellent results.

almond rock sew over it joan shirt dress

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

So in case it’s not obvious, this is the Joan bodice and sleeves without the collar. The team kindly sent me Joan when it was first released as they knew it was right up my alley. I did a really rough toile as I know SOI sizing is consistent across the patterns but in reality I should have possibly done a tiny sba. The sleeve caps are a tiny bit off as well but these are micro points when I skipped all my normal fitting steps.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

In case you’re not sick of them, see my shirt dress versions here. The skirt was made by cutting the front on the fold following the centre front line. Then the back was cut in two with 1.5cm centre back seam allowance added. The side seams, darts and skirt pleats lined up almost perfectly! I just basted them together by hand so they wouldn’t slip during sewing.

And how lush is this fabric? It’s Atelier Brunette modal which is sort of like a viscose in that it’s also a cellulose fabric but is produced in slightly different conditions. It’s thicker than normal viscose but not twill like. It’s slightly spongy and as easily creased it gets, it irons smooth with ease. This print is called Facet and I bought it last March during a sale at M is for Make. Look out for the Black Friday sale everyone!! Ps. I love love love my new Clarks shoes. The’re called Hotel Vibe. Yummy.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

The bodice is lined with navy polyester from my stash and I used a concealed zip. Life is short and when you have a concealed zipper foot they’re the speediest option.

I wanted to repeat my love for this great blog post on clean lining a sleeved bodice. The technique is amazing… but I really want to make an easier to follow version as it’s really hard to see in these step by step images. To be really clear, this technique creates a clean finish on the inside of your lined bodice around the armholes. All you see is the sleeve seam allowance! Here’s a little vid to show the finish – please ignore the telly playing in the background. Although if you can name the show I’ll be mega impressed.

Fully lined sleeved bodice. This technique is pure magic 💙

A video posted by Amy (@almondrock_sews) on

So I guess all that’s left to do is force you to look at a terrible dark night time picture of me in the dress heading out for dinner and that’s blatantly because I curled my hair and got dolled up and want to use the picture as many times as possible haha. I’m still on the hunt for a hairdresser who will perm my hair in big rolls like this. The specialist I went to blew me off and told me no one would give me the hair style I’m after. But since then the hair and make up team at work have told me that answer is horse poo and I should try someone else for a second opinion. Fingers crossed on that note. Also it’s scary seeing how going swimming once since the below photo was taken has drained all the hair dye out of my hair. Doh. I’m off to work on my Colette Anise jacket! Bye for now

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

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Vintage market staple

Hello everyone. Quick post today!

Firstly, thanks for all your comments on my last post. Since writing that piece my wedding day has been shunted into 2018 which is sad because I was getting excited to start my dress but I imagine I’ll now start sometime in the new year. Head to the end of the post for details on what I’m going to sew instead!

But let me just show you this dress which I finished about a year ago. Since getting photos has been near impossible I’ve settled for some quick phone snaps with bonus cat photobombing.

The fabric was bought from Village Haberdashery and is a Riley Blake print from the Vintage Market collection. I love the different colours in this print as it’s perfect for pairing different cardigans and shoes with the dress.

I probably don’t need to say it but I used the Simplicity 2444 bodice and the Emery skirt, including the pockets. The dress is fully lined with navy habotai, uses a concealed zip and hemmed with 1 inch red bias binding which let me give the appearance of a deeper hem.

I wear this dress ALL THE TIME! It’s pretty close to perfect in terms of fit, print, comfort and length. It’s the ultimate dress for most occasions and I really want to find this print in Jersey to make the ultimate winter dress! It looks a little longer in the body in these pictures weirdly but wearing it, the waist sits perfectly.

In other news I bought some gorgeous plain red viscose from Minerva Crafts to make a Christmassy version of B6380 the stunning new Gertie offering for Butterick. I intend to wear it with tights and a slip for warmth. Perhaps I’ll pull out my glittery ballet flats!

Also I managed to find the reverse colourways of this large scale floral sateen fabric for a graphic monochromatic print clash party dress (say that 10 times fast). Although I’m not 100% sure of the pattern I think it will be good with a dramatic silhouette like the By Hand London Elisalex bodice with a really deep scoop back or Burda 7232 which appeared in Sewing Bee Series 4 and has an angular bodice, paired with a circle or pleated skirt. It might need a thin black belt to disguise the waist seam.

I’m excited to sew two very different new dresses and still have the plans for my new coat. I shouldn’t be moping about not sewing my wedding dress for very long – I’ll be too busy! Bye for now!!

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My wedding dress – inspiration

So as I alluded to in past posts I intend to sew myself a wedding dress! Some of you may think “she’s mad!?” And some might be giving me a double thumbs up. And basically I’m in the middle, thinking “bwahahah this is so surreal”.
I wanted to share the process on the blog so I always had it to look back on but was relieved to hear that many of you wanted to read about it too.

So I’m going to throw my hands up and confess I’m a terrible decision maker when it comes to big dressmaking projects. It often takes me a long time to settle on fabric and pattern pairings, often changing my mind right up to the last minute. This is amplified when I’m emotionally invested. Not very good for a project where you need a clear plan and a strict time frame!

We’re currently struggling to find a venue for next summer. Apparently we’ve missed the boat for a lot of places which majorly sucks. There is a slim chance we’ll get Sept but it’s touch and go. This means my wedding may be 2018 and I’ll have double the amount of time to pick a dress design! 

UPDATE:

I clearly jinxed myself and today we’ve lost our chance at getting married in 2017. Sadly now I doubt I’ll do anything towards my wedding dress until this time next year… sorry about that. I won’t delete this post though as it might still be nice reading!

First up let’s get something out of the way… I’m having a short dress. Below knee or tea length. And a big bad ass petticoat floofy skirt. Bodice is still tbc… I have to mull that over. So in the mean time I’ve been examining fabrics. Here are my thoughts:

SEQUINS

I’ve seen some beautiful sequin dresses. Light frothy cleverly pieced frocks and embellished designs. Recently I’ve been obsessing over the Jenny Packham Jolene dress which features sequinned (and beaded) star appliques on it. The completely wrong silhouette for me but wow at all the bling. Searching for star shaped appliques stole a day of my life.

LACE

I favour dense lace designs (Nottingham, guipure etc), but at the same time I love 3d constructions and beading. Where lace steps into embroidery really gets me excited. Blooms built up with subtle textiles and colours like this dress makes me stop and stare. I also ordered a swatch of some beautiful beaded lace from Bridal Fabrics but I need to go see it in person. I also need to level up my lace handling skills if I go down this route.

TULLE

There’s always something that pulls me back to tulle dresses. Probably because I know of several suppliers of stunning coloured or polka dot tulle. There’s so much drama you can achieve with tulle and mesh at the same time as looking light as a feather. It takes a lot of effort to look that light though but with stunning results. I want to test this vintage Butterick tulle pattern with tippet style shawl (thanks go to bridesmaid, talented seamstress and wedding dress designer extraordinaire Charlotte for explaining tippets to me).

Next steps

I have a few appointments to try on dresses to help me pin down the design. That seems crucial to me but not being able to take photos will surely prove problematic. I am working out a rough time line in my head for the construction but think starting the bridesmaid dress toiles may give me a little breathing room for my own decisions!

If you know any short wedding dress companies or vintage dress sources please do drop them in the comments so I can continue pinning my heart out. Thanks for reading and please cross your fingers for me on getting a date!!

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