Don’t be shady, be a Zadie

Hello everyone!! It’s been a lovely sunny day here but a little brisk. I hope you’re all warm and cosy in your sewing rooms.

I’ve just finished my first week of driving to work. Trains to Stockport aren’t the most efficient or cheap so by driving I’m now saving lots of money (that I can spend on fabric) and lots of time (that I can use for sewing).

Today I wanted to share pics of my finished Zadie dress by Tilly and The Buttons. The team were sweet enough to send me a copy at the start of the year when we featured it in the mag.

Look at the lovely diamond seaming and deep pockets!! The cap sleeve option was my immediate preference. Just by the way the seam lines match up with the bodice.

There isn’t waist seam all around so you don’t get a really snug fit but I tapered the side seams a little to help. Other than that I made no adjustments to the size 4.

I bought two matching weights of ponte from Jack’s Fabrics in Leeds market. There was a gorgeous turquoise but it was much thinner than the rest of the ponte which seemed like a recipe for disaster.

Given the unusual construction I had to read the instructions but naturally they were pretty flawless. The only thing I had to work out for myself is how to overlock the insides. That was a mixed success.

The neckband is my best yet. Tilly suggests the best stitch length and width for a subtle zigzag that still makes a secure seam. I used teal ribbon to stabilise my seams too.

Not much else to say other than I might go back for the turquoise and make a solid version with long sleeves! Are you going to try Zadie? Let me know in the comments!!

BONUS PICTURES

I was asked to share some inside pics to show my overlooking. It’s a little ropey as my thread tension was a little off working with the multiple layers.

Back of armhole first. Overlock the sleeve hem. Overlock the underarm. Sew the sleeve then overlock each side of the raglan. Press SA down and hem underarm. Topstitch catching the SA at the intersection to secure.

Front of armhole. Same as back but a little smidgen of contrast colour SA shows… not from the outside of course.

Waist seam point. I overlocked the two layers together stopping close to the v (above and below) but couldn’t get right on top due to changing layers.

Pocket was easy peasy to overlock. Same as the side seams!

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Threadcount blouse

Hello everyone!

I’ve been on a great run of therapeutic sewing lately! Getting my head down, pushing out the world and focusing on the task at hand. I had a super productive Christmas break and made a whopping four garments in three days. Three dresses and a blouse. I sewed them all at the same time if that makes sense. Like my own production line. Getting my head down and drowning out the world by sewing is a real stress-buster for me. It’s like I tap into the part of me that’s a freaky zen robot eagle and just focus on executing each step neatly and efficiently.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

This pattern came free with Sew Now magazine. Love Sewing’s little sister. There are a few mix and match variations but I chose the button placket with the short sleeves and I opted the length of view B without the dip hem (I just levelled everything off). Happily I lay my block on top of the pattern pieces and they matched the size 8 I only had to move the bust a smidgen and grade out the side seams to a size 14 from the waist to hip.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

I laugh when I look at this fabric because I would never had bought it normally. The team at Remnant Kings talked me into it after I attended an event at the Glasgow store. It feels lovely (like a looser than normal lawn weave but not like gauze or anything) and the print is sweet… it’s just that shade of blue that I would have sworn doesn’t suit me. Maybe it doesn’t but who cares. Find it here.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

The pearl buttons are pure plastic so I’m waiting for the washing machine to scuff them up. Amazingly after a day of wearing the top there aren’t many creases! Magic. I only wish I had enough fabric for the longer sleeves.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

I French seamed the whole garment including the armholes and I used the burrito method for the yoke – pic below of rolled up front sandwiched between the inner and outer yoke ready to sew over the shoulder seam.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

My trusty topstitching foot made easy work of the placket. I had a bit of trouble with the buttonholes because my fabric was a bit damp still after pressing. Once I let everything dry properly and finished unpicking for the third time I was able to stop worrying about them. But then like an idiot I sewed the buttons on in slightly the wrong place so the placket doesn’t sit neatly closed!! Gah!

Obligatory back shot time…

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

Nice little pleats right?

I’m so happy with this make I already started another, but this time I hacked the front to have a full placket. I added hot pink stitching so need to get hot pink buttons now right? Next job on my list.

Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

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Little red dress

Happy New Year gorgeous people!!

Hope you’re all surviving the first week of the year if you’re working and soaking up the extra drops of relaxation if you’re not.

I wanted to quickly share my festive dress. This is Butterick 5748 which I made earlier this year with the included circle skirt. This time I wanted to try adding a gathered skirt to make it a little less fabric hungry. So I of course the gathered Emery dress skirt – I’m addicted to it. Now I have two versions I love!

The fabric is a gorgeous red sateen partially from Remnant Kings and partially from B&M fabrics in Leeds market. ​I LOVE the colour. Red makes me so happy and confident. When I was a little girl I wore red shoes almost every day. And now I’m an adult they’re still in high rotation. I just bought these red satin converse hahah! Plus I have a LOT of red handmade dresses.

This was a great chance to perfect my lapped zipper technique. I follow the approach in the Reader’s Digest Sewing Book which is pure gold. Here are my top tips.

  • Use a slightly larger seam allowance on the zip opening say by 3-5mm.
  • Follow the woven guide lines on your zipper tape or mark a clear guide to follow.
  • Clip away the bulk from the seam allowance at the waist, on either side of the zipper tape to have the zip sit as flat as possible.
  • If using thicker fabric, I recommend leaving the lining hanging down before securing with a stitch in the ditch like I have here. It again reduces bulk at the waist.
  • Fold back the lining seam allowance before finishing the neckline seam to get a neat finish on the inside at top of the zipper.

Hopefully this wasn’t too long for a quick post! Back soon with a blouse I managed to take pics of this weekend.

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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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