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!

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On your bike New Look 6002

Hello everyone. It’s Sunday and I’m finally sitting down after a week at Centre Parcs where 4 our of 6 family members had stomach bugs and after a busy but brilliant trip to the Dressmaker’s Ball in Leicester. I thought writing a blog post might be nice and soothing!

Almond rock new look 6002 bicycle chambray scallops empress mills

You’ve seen a version of this dress before in very unlike me colours… I made a gorgeous purple and orange shell print version shown below. I don’t wear it as often as I should because I can never find my nude underwear… wow life is tough right?

Almond rock new look 6002 bicycle chambray scallops empress mills

A quick reminder 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.

Almond rock new look 6002 bicycle chambray scallops empress mills

There’s a slight problem with these photos in that I’ve put on a bit of weight since I made the dress. So its tighter than it should be. I made a size 8 around the upper body and a 12 at the waist like last time. But I should have gone up to a 14 I think as it cuts in a little tighter than I hoped. A reminder for you, my measurements are currently 36A, 31, 42. I think I was a 30″ waist when I made the first dress.

Almond rock new look 6002 bicycle chambray scallops empress mills

The dress is so lovely to construct. I of course ditched the pencil skirt for a gathered style and this time added pockets. 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.

Almond rock new look 6002 bicycle chambray scallops empress mills

This soft and rich coloured blue chambray has tiny bicycles in it! It’s from Empress Mills currently priced £8.55. They have a few different chambray prints plus I’m in love with the jerseys they have. The bicycles are nice to wear given I’m married to a cycling fanatic who smiles when I wear it and the warm blue colour pairs perfectly with winter tights and cardigans or sandals and sunglasses!

Almond rock new look 6002 bicycle chambray scallops empress mills

The zipper that I installed perfectly, and matches across both waistband seams is mocking me here by stretching under my weight gain. Super annoying when I worked so hard to install it. I mean I’m still wearing it don’t get me wrong, I just hate how its pulling at the moment.

Almond rock new look 6002 bicycle chambray scallops empress mills

But hello, its mega cute and I’m sure I can lose an inch on my waist. If not I’ll unpick and let out the side seams. I’m not letting this pretty dress sit in my closet unworn. Maybe it’s also time for me to try another view of the pattern? It couldn’t hurt right?

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Simple Sew Poppy top

I’m writing this on Sunday, currently freaking out about my half made ballgown for The Dressmaker’s Ball. I have the pattern ready finally but as I came to cut out my fabric I realised I don’t have enough underlining fabric! How silly of me. So I had to get more yesterday and sew before next week (as I’m away from then until the ball). GULP. I’m going to make it work and Tim Gunn would be proud of me, I’m sure.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

My brain is utterly frazzled by work at the minute as we have been running so many special issues and there are garments flying around everywhere and I don’t have a free weekend until late April. The glamorous world of publishing.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

I really want to sit quietly and write a blog post so have forced myself to do it! This is thePoppy top from Simple Sew patterns. I got the printed version free from the cupboard at work but it was also a digital download from issue 48 of Love Sewing.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

With gently fluted sleeves and neckline pleats instead of darts it’s a pretty nice top that could be made for everyday wear or a special night out.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

I made the size 8 and let out the hips out to a 10 but it isn’t close fitting so didn’t need too much extra room. I should have made the 10 at the upper body I think as its a tiny bit tight.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

It’s a super quick make though and the pleats are fun to make. There’s a decent size facing underneath which supports the neckline pleats well. And a cute keyhole back letting you pick a pretty button from your huge stash to use… or is that just me?

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

The fabric was from the 1st Sewing Weekender goodie bag! It’s aStoff & Stil viscose with little bird/boomerang shapes. Everyone got the same 1.5m piece so it’s been cool to see their makes over the years. I generally prefer brighter colours so I don’t wear this often unless it’s with a bright cardigan. Although it wasn’t my style I couldn’t seem to part with it. Glad I finally used it eh? I call the next photo “My fabric stash is THIIIIS big”.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

Now it’s time to count down the days until I see my girl Marie and hang out with loads of lovely ladies at the ball!!

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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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McCall’s 6891 chambray shirtdress

Hello all! I’ve recovered from my extremely busy December and am back with a finished make for myself.

This dress was a rather spontaneous make as I was lucky enough to try on a finished version we had in the office! This meant I quickly worked out the couple of tiny adjustments I’d need to make it fit me. I could then cut out with confidence and whizzed this up in a day. In fact I made the yellow version you’re seeing on the new pattern envelope! We’re now making the designs in UK fabric and reprinting the envelopes. Squeal!!

The pattern is M6891 which is on the front of Love Sewing 63 on sale from tomorrow! It’s double stuffed so you get sizes 8-24 in one envelope and the issue includes tips on collars and cuffs if you haven’t made them before. I love a notched collar and The McCall Pattern Co instructions direct you to make theirs differently to other brands like Simplicity or indie designs.

As normal you position the collar between the facings and shirt neckline, instead of sewing over the seam allowance they ask you to push it out of the way and stop at the seam point marked by a dot, then sew on the other side in the same way. Here’s a diagram to explain a bit more:

This reduces bulk as it means you can grade the seams and trim a bit more freely as the seam allowance isn’t trapped… But this technique seems more beneficial on thicker fabrics like coats really. Unless I’ve missed another reason for this technique.

It’s not a surprise I like this pattern, as retro style shirtdresses are a big proportion of my wardrobe. They’re both smart and casual – perfect! I made view C and love the full skirt. The darts give a nice shape and of course the notched collar has a lovely vintage feel. It needs a reverse button/hole at the waist point for extra security but I can add that any time.

Now of course the Ultimate Shirtdress which is my favourite shirtdress pattern but in truth I’ve never got on with the sleeves. On the McCall’s design the sleeves fit great so maybe I need to try and merge the armscye and sleeve of this pattern with the Sew Over It pattern in the future.

I made the size 10. The bust fits my 36a-cup really nicely so no SBA here. I just adjusted the waist at the side seams to fit my 32″ tummy and the wide flare of the skirt is very roomy on my hips.

You might be wondering about the fabric… well to that I say, “Sewing friends are awesome”. They are especially great at birthday time because they think like a sewist when getting you a present and remember what things you say you like! This gorgeous Robert Kaufman spotty chambray was a gift from the darling Marie! Creative mind behind blog www.astitchingodyssey.com, Marie is such a lovely soul so I highly recommend you follow her inspiring blog/social media accounts and if you run into her at an event you’re guaranteed to leave smiling.

If you clicked into my shirtdress tag you’ll see I now have two spotty Robert Kaufman chambray dresses. Well I actually have a third UFO of Vogue 1102 cut out in the black colourway but I messed up some of the pintucks and have been putting off fixing it for months. Maybe 2019 is the year you’ll see that dress appear.

I’m currently trying to plan some sewing for the coming year. There are some lovely fabrics that have been in my stash for way too long. I’d really like to fix that and not be afraid of making the wrong thing anymore. I have my dressmakers ballgown to make too. Will I see you there?

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