The Dressmaker’s Ball Simplicity 1606

A bit later than planned I wanted to share some pics from The Dressmaker’s Ball!

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

In case you missed it this was the event that took place on May 14th at Leicester’s City Rooms. Organised by the fab team at Crafty Sew and Sew we were treated to an evening of dinner and dancing. It was fab!! Here’s me and Sarah, one half of the organising team.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

 We had a complimentary drink in arrival, access to a glittery photo booth, buffet dinner and live music from Gabby Young. I had the honour of being part of the judging panel for the optional competition. I was joined by ElisalexMarieElle and Becky on the panel. It was incredibly hard picking winners from all the amazing garments on display. I loved how everyone dressed to the nines for the night.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

I wore a version of Simplicity 1606, an amazing fit pattern I picked up last year. Its a great little versatile pattern and I’ve already made a hundred from it since the ball.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

My fabric was a medium-weight polyester satin in a sort of crystallized print from Abakhan Moyston. 3m came to about £20 but with a 15% off voucher this dress pretty much came to £17!

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Of couse I added pockets. I used a concealed zip and boning from my stash. Plus grosgrain ribbon I had as a waist stay.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

The fit was near perfect I think but I should have added more boning to stop the bodice sagging I think. The waist stay keeps it in place but it’s not as rigid as it could be.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

I actually hid my waist stay inside the garment, having it emerge through buttonholes added to the lining before construction. To finish I hand sewed hot pink braid to the circle skirt to keep the drama and added a petticoat for extra floofiness.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

It was such a lovely night and I got to chat to so many sewists! Gabby entertained us with her gorgeous vocals and Marie was an excellent hostess! (I even got to meet Charlotte and the bunnies).

I’ll leave you with a few more pics of the evening to enjoy. Maybe I’ll see you there if it’s repeated next year? Thanks so much to Freya and Sarah for xreati g this wonderful event.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

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Happy hula girls Flora dress By Hand London

Hopefully the name of this post has you intrigued! I have a a fun new dress to share in the most awesome print fabric you’ll see today!!

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I am super excited to pair up with Spoonflower for their British Blog Hop. I’m in fab company as well:

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Blog Tour Schedule
Saturday, May 27 | Kate | The Fold Line

Monday, May 29 | Sarah | A Million Dresses

Tuesday, May 30 | Manu | Sew Manju

Wednesday, May 31 | Amy | Almond Rock
Thursday, June 1 | Rachel | House of Pinheiro

Friday, June 2 | Marie | A Stitching Odyssey

Monday, June 5 | Zoe | Sozoblog

Tuesday, June 6 | Kerry| Kestrelmakes

Wow I’ve actually shopped, ate cake, danced and gossiped with everyone on this list. And their blogs are really inspiring and diverse in aesthetic. It’s the best possible virtual party!

So have you ever tried Spoonflower? First set up in the US, they’ve expanded into Europe about a year and a half ago. Having operations in Berlin is a real benefit for all of us here in the UK because with a much closer factory than the US you get a faster turn-around on orders, and you know exactly what you’re paying because it’s all nicely there in GBP at the checkout with VAT included! That last point is pretty important to me as I’m TERRIBLE at maths.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

This was a really fun chance for me to get a print from one of my favourite designers…Taisya Kordiukova aka Tasiania. I know, I know, I could have designed something unique but having loved Tasiania’s mid-century modern inspired scenes of life for a long time I couldn’t resist choosing this hula girls design.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Brief disclaimer: Please excuse the pictures. They were taken on the HOTTEST day the studio had so far this year so I’m a little pink in the face heehee.

My dress is the Flora from By Hand London. It’s view 2 but with a gathered skirt so my hula ladies wouldn’t be placed sideways on the circle skirt. On all my versions of this dress I have adjusted the bodice to be single darted. This was done through a Small Bust Adjustment where I rotated the fullness into the waist. I don’t need a lot of room and one dart covers it! Finally as an act of insanity I made the tiniest rouleaux straps I could manage. They were excruciating to turn through. I didn’t have any cord or string thin enough to sew into the top when I tried the same with an overlocker chain it got caught in the side seam. In the end it was my loop turner that had to take on the task.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Construction was a breeze. The fabric washed really well with no colour fading and it kept it’s gorgeous sheen. I have actually washed the dress three times after an unfortunate curry incident this weekend and it’s holding up amazingly well (the curry stain is almost out too). There’s a nice stretch recovery and the fabric is thick enough not to show the darts and seam allowance through which I was worried about. I lined the bodice in mint sateen suiting from Minerva Crafts, and the skirt in peach anti-static lining. Then I added a nice deep single-fold hem and a lapped zipper. It looks a little misaligned in this photo for some reason.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I already owned a swatch pack and colour printing guide which I highly recommend before buying as the descriptions are not enough to know what the handle of your fabric will be. From the fabric pack my recommendations for dressmaking are definitely the Kona cotton, crepe de chine and sateen ultra. My cotton sateen was £25.30 a yard which is 53″ wide, plenty for a nice full skirted dress WITH POCKETS. Top tip, it would be a lot easier if you picked a multi-directional print rather than a one-way design as I did.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Ooh pockets I love you.

In my book £25 per metre is worth it for the Spoonflower sateen if you’re getting a custom printed design. Although this fabric was provided free in exchange for a review, it’s a high quality fabric that I would definitely order again. No one is saying you need to be a technical whizzkid to make your own prints; Spoonflower have an awesome book that guides you through the whole process in fact and there’s a lot of info on the blog. If you’re still unsure, check out the epic print gallery for a pre-made design.

I hope you liked my dress and continue to follow the blog hop as it continues! Keep an eye on the hashtag #Spoonflowerbritishbloghop on IG and Twitter for more inspiration and if you have any questions about the quality, print or order process please let me know.

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A Marimekko-inspired Elisalex

Hi everyone! Fingers crossed you’ve had a chilled week with a good splash of sewing time. After the horrific incident in town on Monday night our office was quite a heavy place Tuesday. Thankfully no one I work with was personally affected but it’s hit us all hard. To lift my spirits I made a dress, ordered some new fabric and a horse shape handbag plus I watched A LOT of Parks and Recreation. It was a fabulous dose of medicine. I also found out I won a prize in the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge – I’m totally amazed and grateful so I’ll share more on that soon.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I wanted to talk about finally joining the Elisalex dress bandwagon. When Elisalex the real life lady sent me the updated pattern files for the By Hand London dress I was intrigued. I even tried the new 44″ printer at work to test the copy shop version. 

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

The dress did not disappoint. The bodice is really nicely drafted with the proportions and seam placement bang on and everything goes together perfectly… as you would expect from a By Hand London pattern!

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I used a cotton poplin from John Lewis that was picked up on a trip to Birmingham with Roisin, Marie, Kat, Sabs and Helen. Chewie was a big fan as you can see. I had to wrestle it from under her butt several times. I used navy lining, yellow bias tape at the hem and did some ropey invisible zipper sewing if I say so myself. I’m going to have another pass to try and get closer to the teeth. My invisible zipper foot failed me somehow. I pressed the teeth open, moved my needle closer, everything like normal! Hmmmm.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

To reduce the bell shape of the skirt I graded out to an A-line below the hip. I like the curve at the waist and the shape the pleats make. The bodice princess seams fit me nicely and only required minimal tweaking from the size 10 toile.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

Notice these pics are PP? “Pre-Perm” heehee. I love pairing the dress with these navy wedges and a mustard cardigan. The print reminds me of the Finnish design house Marimekko, which makes me super happy. And I got to wear it when Elisalex visited the studio a couple of weeks ago. She came to review the culottes you get with issue 40 and have a giggle with us. How freaking gorgeous does she look here??

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

My plans to conquer more princess seam dresses are off to a flying start! Stay tuned for my gown from The Dressmaker’s Ball very soon…

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Scallops and more scallops New Look 6002

Happy long weekend everyone.

I’m sharing a dress I posted on Instagram  a while ago but didn’t let you peek at the finished  garment.

It’s an old New Look pattern I got from sewingpatterns.com to print at home. It’s an absolute pain in the butt to sort as you need special software and a licence code and there’s a limit on the number of prints allowed. And the other day my licence code didn’t work, so I bought a McCall’s pattern I can’t print. Humpf!

Anyways it’s a mix and match pattern  with gorgeous bodice, waistband and sleeves options, and boring skirts… so I obviously put a gathered skirt on there instead haha. This is bodice B featuring a scalloped neckline paired with the plain waist.

When Cloud 9 Fabrics released the Elizabeth Olwen collection I couldn’t resist buying some. I was torn about which print from Morning Song to get but loved how the purple and orange in the Breezy Floral voile was strong but girly. I picked up stash points by buying from Village Haberdashery too.

I underlined every piece for opacity with white polyester lining. Using a hem facing  and the scallop stitch on my SMD4000 I was able to add a scalloped hem to the skirt as well. The stitch creates perfectly even scallops that you then clip and turn through, then I handstitched the facing to the underlining. Since it was giving me sweet vintage vibes I thought a lapped zipper would be nice.

The reason  I love New Look patterns is that they fit my body almost perfectly  out the envelope! All I had to do was grade out the side seams towards the waist. I made a size 8 around the upper body and a 12 at the waist. The only tricky part is clipping and notching the scallops properly so they turn through neatly. You need to be super accurate at getting close to but not clipping through the stitching line.

So I think I’ll make another version with the neckline from view C. Maybe in a plain fabric… shock horror. Have you made this pattern?

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Euphemia Gertrude Thomas V9127

Happy weekend everyone. I’m laid in bed feeling sorry for myself as I write this. I have a cold with a painful cough and am distracting myself with blog reading and Web surfing! So I thought I’d write a post about the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge hosted by Tanya of blog Mrs Hughes than ran this past month.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This is a vintage sewing challenge where family history can inspire your wardrobe. You take a photo of your grandma (or your granddad, great-grandma, mum, auntie, someone else’s grandma – you get the idea!) and re-create an outfit or piece that they are wearing using vintage or reproduction patterns. It isn’t a competition but a way to challenge yourself with a special project!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My Grandma, was called Euphemia Gertrude Thomas (nee Nutt). She lived with my Grandad in a little village called North Ferriby in Hull. This picture is from one of my Grandparents regular trips to the coast – we think Scarborough. They always liked to dress up for a trip to the coast and walk the promenade. I love this photo so much. Look how committed to each other they look. Perfectly in sync.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

To recreate the dress I used Vogue 9127 and rose print polycotton from Birmingham Rag Market. I used poppers instead of buttons at the front and kept the dress a little shorter. I added red shoes (my Grandma wore red shoes on her first date with my Grandad) and curled my hair for a similar look without chopping it all off. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the coast in time for a photo.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

 I ran out of material for the sleeves as this dress is fabric hungry and couldn’t source more which was disappointing. I also wish I’d made a front fastening belt like my grandma is wearing but I’m generally pretty happy with the result!

To see my previous version of this dress see this post.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

My grandma was also an avid dressmaker and probably made her dress from the photo. The sad thing is I only found this out at her funeral. For most of my life she had severe alzheimers and she was here until her early 90s. It was so bad she couldn’t talk to anyone coherently or make sense of the world so I didn’t really know about her wonderful skills when I started sewing. I knew she had a sewing box but assumed it was for mending and small projects. However I did inherit her hand crank machine that my Dad discovered in the loft. Plus a pair of pinking shears with her name tag on them which my mum had been using but Grandma used to take to a social sewing session at her Church. These two items are a great way to feel she’s helping me sew and like I know something real about her. Decades apart we’ve followed the same actions; cutting fabric, stitching darts, sewing on buttons and even pinking seams with the same shears.

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

For years I’ve wanted to make a replica of this dress for The Vintage Pledge but could never find the perfect sewing pattern or fabric. I think I came close in the end though. My poor friends (including Marie, founder of the pledge) got dragged around so many fabric shops to find this material. They were really supportive in finding the right rose design so thank you ladies!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

This was a really great challenge to help feel connected with my Grandma so thank you Tanya so much for giving me the push I needed. On my next free weekend I might try and head out to Scarborough for a photo on the promenade just like this one. Wish me luck!

Almond rock v9127 #dresslikeyourgrandma #vintage pledge

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