Hot lips Annabelle dress

Do you have days when life is so ridiculous you just have to laugh? On mornings when we have photoshoots for Love Sewing I’m responsible for getting all the outfits ready, steaming them, checking for loose threads, prepping all the shoes and jewellery and so on. It’s pretty manic and Renata likes to tease me by capturing shots like this from last month.

In the afternoons we have the favourite part of my job, the reader photoshoots where I basically get to hang out with a fellow seamstress as they get pampered and help them have some fun in front of the camera. Every woman who has taken part in our shoots has left me feeling wowed by their talent, warmed by their big hearts and re-energized by their enjoyment of the day. Often there’s a small window to take pics of my makes before home time and this Thursday I took photos of this dress.

Almond rock simple sew annabelle dress fabworks

It’s the Annabelle dress from Simple Sew patterns, a beautiful take on the tea dress that I have made once before here if you want to see my size choices and adjustments. For me it’s the perfect throw on dress when you want to look smart and comfy. This version perfectly works with red or blue accessories and can be dressed up or down depending on the day.

Almond rock simple sew annabelle dress fabworks

I love this dress because of its easy fit, with flattering under bust gathers and swaying silhouette. Crepe de chine always feels very slimming and luxurious. What I didn’t expect was for someone to ask me when I was due while wearing it that very morning! “This is my pot belly lady… not a baby.”

Almond rock simple sew annabelle dress fabworks

This is especially comical to me as I’ve recently lost 1.5 stone in weight. I’m not saying it’s such a noticeable amount that everyone on the street should be high-fiving me over, but I feel pretty darn slender at the moment. Clearly I need to work on my posture if I’m sticking my tummy out that much hahah.

Almond rock simple sew annabelle dress fabworks

This dress makes me so happy because of those kissy lips! I picked up a 1.5m remnant of the kissy crepe de chine at Fabworks mill shop. I’ve also seen some in Holm Sewn’s online shop but there isn’t much left so hurry! I used a navy invisible zip at the side seam and navy thread rather than red.

Almond rock simple sew annabelle dress fabworks

The dress requires a bit of stitching in the ditch around the facings and waist which I always mess up a little. I never write down the perfect setting for my needle position. It’s pretty invisible this time so I don’t sweat it. I’m really happy with the weight of interfacing I chose though. Not going too heavy on lightweight fabrics is quite tricky when you have limited options but well worth finding something lightweight but stable.

Almond rock simple sew annabelle dress fabworks

You might also remember this fabric from Rachel Pinheiro’s epic Holly jumpsuit. And I love this version of Annabelle on the 64 Dresses blog. If you’ve been put off trying a Simple Sew pattern in the past this is one I would heartily recommend. Now I’m off to play in my sewing room today. Have a lovely weekend!!

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On your bike embroidery

I’ve spoken a lot to people about the importance of letting yourself be a beginner sometimes. I’ve written pieces on it for the magazine and reassured new sewists I’ve met that we’re all tackling new challenges in our own way and that’s great thing. To me being a beginner, keeps you fresh, keeps you humble and keeps your enthusiasm up. I’d certainly be pretty bored if I didn’t try to push out of my comfort zone.

Almond rock embroidery hoop bicycle dmc anchor threads

My embroidery skills are slowly growing and although I know I’m still learning it’s exciting to practice each stitch and get better. The first time I did a great French knot I was so stoked. I wanted to get better at satin stitch so settled on this bike design to stitch up next.

Almond rock embroidery hoop bicycle dmc anchor threads

It’s heavily inspired by Truefort who is an amazing embroiderer and wows me with their work. They have a bicycle embroidery pattern created with Martha Stewart but I didn’t really like the style of the bike or the flowers coming of both ends. I combined a few different images to sketch something myself. I used my Frixion pen to transfer the design. (I’ve heard people pronouncing it Frix-ee-on but surely it’s a pun on friction since that’s how you remove the marks?)

The problem this caused was having to come up with the design for the flowers when I don’t really know what I’m doing. I decided to put a few straight stitch blooms with leaf stitch greenery, lazy daisy and French knots. Adding the chain stitch for the chain was funny even if I didn’t stitch it that neatly.

Almond rock embroidery hoop bicycle dmc anchor threads

I mixed dmc and anchor threads plus some of the vintage threads my mum gave me from her old sewing box. I really enjoyed mixing the colours. And I have to say stitching on to cotton suits me over working with aida. The sunshine yellow cotton background makes me so happy!

Almond rock embroidery hoop bicycle dmc anchor threads

I used quite a large hoop so not to crowd the bike and already have it hung on my wall before I’ve even covered the back! I asked on Instagram about adding some words above the bike but got a strong no response.

Almond rock embroidery hoop bicycle dmc anchor threads

Any tips for what I should include on my embroidery posts? Do you want thread colour codes? Greater stitch details? Progress photos? Up next I have this Love design by Brynn & Co but haven’t got round to starting yet. Watch this space!

Almond rock embroidery hoop bicycle dmc anchor threads

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Scuba dooba doo Lena M6886 hack

Hi Everyone!
Hope you’re having a great week. Lots of happy vibes over in my sewing room at the moment as I’m making progress with my bridesmaid dresses, I finished my bicycle embroidery and also a lovely reader of the blog sent me some beautiful vintage sewing patterns.

Turns out she wasn’t going to use them so I’m happy to give them a loving home. I’m not sure when I’ll ever make the slippers but I honestly love all the instructions and illustrations in each pattern. It’s so irresistible to see how things were done in the past

Almond rock vintage sewing patterns

As you might know I’m woefully behind on photographing makes and have around 35 to share on the blog that haven’t been shot yet. I’m happy to report that I snuck into the studio last week and managed to take some pictures.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

When I saw THIS SCUBA on the Minerva Crafts website I audibly gasped. I am of course addicted to florals but the colours in this print had been smitten. Although I don’t currently participate in the Minerva Blogger Network, Vicki was kind enough to still send me some of the fabric to make a skater dress.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

I used my new favourite tshirt pattern M6886 which I stole from issue 44 of Love Sewing and added a waist seam. The neckline is the perfect amount of scoop without being too revealing I then added the skirt from the Simple Sew Lena Wrap dress. I love the flare on the skirt and decided to keep the hem band even though it’s not as obvious in this fabric. But as you can see I left off the waistband.

I actually constructed this entirely on my overlocker (the old one not the new one) which meant it was finished in around an hour. The only machine work was the hems which I overlocked, turned under and topstitched, including the neckline.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

With the base fabric being white and the print being a little sparse it is a little see through in places if you’re wearing white lingerie, so I either wear nude or a slip to add opacity.

I’m so excited to pull this dress out of my wardrobe to wear with my chartreuse cardigan and red shoes. And you can’t beat the effect you can achieve when you make a full skirt out of scuba, it has a lovely sway when you walk. I end up swishing up and down the street

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

If you’re scared of trying scuba here are some tips. It cuts easily but if you don’t fancy the hand workout with your scissors, try a smaller rotary cutter for any intricate cutting sections.

Remember to prewash scuba as you should with any other fabric and wash it like normal but avoid hot heats and overwashing as you’ll get a bobbly garment and damage the stretch content.

With that in mind be sure to iron scuba on a low setting, this fabric will mark or even melt if iron too hot.

Last but not least use a stretch or ballpoint needle to prevent snagging and slipping.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

It’s painfully obvious that my blog productivity and especially my time to read blogs has taken a nose dive but I’m pleased I’m clinging on and still posting. I imagine you’re all struggling too and I’m really grateful if you’ve clicked through and kept reading this long! So high fives all round?

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Think Pink Butterick 5926

Happy weekend! I’m currently in my sewing room whipping up a quick coat. Aka no tailoring, minimal hand stitching, maybe even no buttons… but welt pockets might make an appearance. Let’s wait and see.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

In other news I wanted to push my sewing with a garment that’s pretty different for me. I reviewed the Butterick 5926 jersey blazer pattern that comes free with Love Sewing 49 (out Thurs 25th Jan in the UK). You can also read my thoughts inside the issue but here are the essentials.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

Every time I reach for my jeans I agonise what to pair them with. I feel like I’m constantly chasing the ideal outfit that makes me look effortlessly put together; modest and tasteful but comfortable and easy. Generally I opt for a bright blouse and cardigan but it felt like time for a change.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I don’t think I’ve worn a blazer for at least 10 years as I’m petite with slightly squeaky voice and always live in fear of resembling a schoolgirl. The thought of a casual knit blazer was appealing but I wanted to make sure it felt feminine. This pattern calls for stable knits like Ponte Roma but didn’t mention scuba, which seemed like a great fit in my mind. This gorgeous geometric pink was £4 per metre at The Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate and I used 1.5m to make this jacket.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I chose to make view B, the hip-length version with shorter bracelet length sleeves that I rolled up for a relaxed feel and omitted the button fastenings. The blazer comes together really easily but you’re asked to reinforce a lot of areas of the collar and facings with stay stitching before clipping close to but not through the stitching line (always a tense part of the process for me). Shortening your stitch length can help here and a universal needle helped me avoid any skipped stitches.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

The recommended hem finish, with stitching that finish along the front edges wasn’t to my taste so I decided to top-stitch everywhere, varying the distance from the edge as I worked my way around. With this approach I had to be careful that the collar still rolled neatly to the outside where the front facing turns out and used a few pins to get the turn point just right.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

I also used my trusty blind hem machine foot with an adjusted needle position to attach the pockets which were very bulky to sew in place. I should be on commission for the amount of times I mention that foot! It was also the last outing for my singer overlocker before it committed suicide by firing the blade into the moving parts! Not pretty.

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

This is a versatile pattern that looks great in a big, bold prints as well as plain colours and feels as comfy as a cardigan. I really think notched collars are very flattering as they frame your face but more importantly they’re pretty fun to sew! Like I say the issue is out Thursday and actually comes with a second pattern, McCall’s 7357 and both are double stuffed with all the sizes inside e.g. 6-22. Winner winner quorn chicken dinner!!

Almondrock blazer jacket scuba Butterick 5926

For some other gorgeous takes on this pattern see Manju’s bold floral blazer, Allie’s comfortable cool version and cmtsews chartreuse wonder

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Cheap as chips Sewaholic Pendrell

Hello everyone. It’s a new year, hooray! It’s also the year I get married. Double hooray!! Project Wedding Dress is about to commence. I have £370 in my budget, I’ve ordered most of my fabrics, notions and extra bits and pieces. It’s time to get serious! First up is sewing my corselette. I’m winging it using a number of online tutorials and books on the subject. Wish me luck please. And let’s see if I can come in on budget! If you have any good links to bridal or occasion sewing, corselette or corset sewing or generally couture techniques please link them. I’ve got a good collection of books and found a few blog posts but am very eager to hear more. It isn’t possible to overwhelm me people.

PLEASE INNUNDATE ME. I’m going to collate everything I’ve found into a super online document so no future DIY bride will struggle to find resources.

Ahem, in other news I have a fun top to share. I hope you like it.

almond rock sewaholic pendrell polyester crepe birmingham rag market

So I’m in love. There I said it. I’m in love with this top. It makes me feel so wonderful everytime I wear it. The colours are just so epic. They’re the perfect shade and saturation to stand out from across the room. That’s obviously helped by the scale of the print and yes, those frilly little ruffles. It goes perfectly with my ochre cardigan and blue jeans.

almond rock sewaholic pendrell polyester crepe birmingham rag market

This is the Sewaholic Pendrell top which I can’t remember buying but must have because I have the PDF. (There’s a lot of PDFs like that on my computer). It’s got princess seams which mean a great fit and the option to add different styles of frills (or you can leave them off if you prefer). It’s easy to overlock the entire inside for a neat finish and it’s a SUPER QUICK sew.

I made view B with ruffles set into the princess seams and regular cap sleeves. You gather everything up to match the notches and then set the frill into the seams and encase the sleeve with bias tape. The length was a little crazy on me and even after chopping off 5cm I still might lose a little more. At 5ft5 I like to be able to see some hint of hips when I wear a top to establish my proportions. You can see my “human butternut squash” body type here in full glory. Why did Triny and Suzannah never include that one in their tv show!? I used bias tape made from excess fabric to finish the edges and it throws on over my head without a keyhole loop. A tiny needle made sure there were no pulls in my fabric.

almond rock sewaholic pendrell polyester crepe birmingham rag market

This polyester fabric was astoundingly cheap; If I remember rightly it was £1 per metre. I bought it on a shopping trip to Birmingham from one of the stalls outside the rag market and I’m happy to report Marie and Roisin bought some too. You can see more of Marie’s gorgeous kimono here.

There’s only one problem with this top and it’s my own fault. The ruffle on my left shoulder has one wonky area of gathering that makes the ruffle stand up. And no amount of pressing will keep it down! On the above picture it’s even peeking out from behind my hair for cripes sake. With the raw edges overlocked inside, I haven’t had the motivation since I made this to unpick and adjust the way the gather falls and don’t know if I ever will. It’s a problem, but one I’m happy to live with.

Now it’s time I shut up and do the I LOVE MY TOP DANCE! (Yep I’m that big of a nerd and it’s been captured on photo.) Bye for now.

 

Looking for more inspiration? See Fiona’s gorgeous sleeveless version here. And Shannon made a version in jersey! Here’s Sil’s version with step by step pics incase you’re curious how the ruffle comes together.

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