Two for joy Annabelle dress

Hello everyone! I was unbelievably excited to see the Dior exhibition at The V&A museum this weekend. I took my Aunt and cousin and just knew I’d tear up when I saw everything… I’m oddly emotional about the idea of all that design and talent gathered together. See a few personal highlights on my Instagram account.

almondrock annabelle dress lindbop teadress vintage style retro sewing

Tea dresses are the ultimate wardrobe staple for me so it’s no surprise I reach for the same few patterns when I want to show off a great fabric. Feminine, timeless and modest they suit my workwear wardrobe as much as my out of office outfits. I love going out for lunch and on day trips in vintage style clothes as much as I like vintage glam evening wear! During the work day I don’t get to pile on the vintage make up or hair but I like to wear retro inspired clothes to the office as they make me feel turned out and confident. There’s no actual dress code in my office so sometimes wearing a shirtwaist dress or a circle skirt while everyone is wearing jeans makes me a point of difference but it doesn’t put me off. I honestly enjoy getting dressed every morning… I hope you do too?

almondrock annabelle dress lindbop teadress vintage style retro sewing

So as you will have guessed, I’ve made this pattern before (three times now but only twice blogged). This is the Simple Sew Annabelle dress which I’ve always made in drapey crepe fabric. This time I thought I’d try something a little more structured! I treated myself to this “cotton spandex mix” from Lindy Bop who have just started selling fabric. They have a small collection of prints on two bases; scuba and “crepe de chine”. The latter arrived and was stretchy and relatively well structured so I think it’s a creative interpretation of what crepe de chine fabric is. It still gathers like a dream and has a lovely shine to it so please don’t think it’s not a quality fabric. I chose the magpie print and the bookcase print (as an editor I had to).

almondrock annabelle dress lindbop teadress vintage style retro sewing

The blue is so vibrant and each of the magpies are depicted chasing different jewels and treats like rings, charm bracelets and gems. I live in a new build house from the early 2000s which was a long empty plot of land originally. When the builders turned over all the soil ready to build on, magpies came in the droves to find shiny bits that were unearthed and even now the houses are built they can’t help return to the spot. On a daily basis I see between 5-10 magpies around my street so I am constantly singing THIS nursery rhyme. And I ALWAYS say hello to a lonely magpie to make sure he’s not on his own.

almondrock annabelle dress lindbop teadress vintage style retro sewing

You buy the material in either 1m or 3m lengths so have a think what you’d prefer and maybe partner up with someone to share if you The fabric is printed on a white base so when you stretch it you can slightly see white beneath. It’s also surprisingly closely woven so I recommend a very sharp fine needle to avoid snagging. You may want to line the fabric in case it sticks to tights but it’s totally opaque so makes a really lovely garment. I’m really pleased with the dress and the fabric and I’m looking forward to making my bookcase print dress! I think it would look fun as a Simplicity 1419 or a Selkie Patterns London dress don’t you?

almondrock annabelle dress lindbop teadress vintage style retro sewing

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Eve Sew Over It dress

Time for something unusual today… a “pretty fail”. I don’t tend to share garments I’m not happy with on the blog as I probably won’t wear them and the problems aren’t something that others can usually learn from (like bad colour choice or low quality fabric, etc). This time I love the fabric used for this dress so much I’m going to fix it at the weekend to make it more wearable!

Almond rock Eve dress Sew Over It Mandors Glasgow

This is the Eve dress by Sew Over It. I bought this pattern from Village Haberdashery something like a year and a bit ago as I loved the elegant versions popping up on the internet. I then paused as wrap styles never really suit me due to my extreme difference in proportions. I’m still currently a 36A cup size and 31″ waist with a 44″ hip. I need a really flared wrap skirt to flatter my lower half and need to ensure a close fit at the bust given I don’t have much to fill the top. I made view A which features fluted sleeves and a longer hem length. My fabric is suitable drapey and opaque (always a winning combination in my book) and I love the bold teal colour.

Almond rock Eve dress Sew Over It Mandors Glasgow

This is a twill fabric from Mandors of Glasgow priced £5.99 and comes in a couple of colours but I couldn’t resist the teal. They sent me the fabric for free in exchange for a review of their service and I was pleased to see my parcel nicely wrapped in tissue paper and sparkly ribbon, and washing/care instructions were included for the fabric. The range and prices on offer were surprising when I started browsing as I’d always assumed Mandors were a small business but with plenty of lovely dressmaking fabric and unique patterns on offer I’d be tempted back again for sure. And as I look at fabric shops for a living I have high standards.

Almond rock Eve dress Sew Over It Mandors Glasgow

While I adore how swishy the sleeves are I think the combination of longer length and big sleeves are drowning my 5ft4 frame. I have very narrow shoulders and feel like they’re getting lost. The print on the fabric being ditsy does suit me I think as it’s not too overpowering and the bold block of colour makes it an eye-catching dress.

Almond rock Eve dress Sew Over It Mandors Glasgow

I made a size 8 around the upper bodice, grading to a size 10 waist and then a size 14 hip. Given the wrap style there is a lot of room for adjustment here but I think the bodice is quite loose and prone to moving so I either safety pin it shut or wear a pretty slip underneath. It billows a little at the back too so is quite airy to wear on a hot day (not that they seem to be coming back soon!) The length feels very romantic and looks nice with heels or flat shoes. It just comes back to those darn sleeves.

Almond rock Eve dress Sew Over It Mandors Glasgow

I tried tucking the sleeves in for a photo (don’t laugh please) and instantly felt unburdened so I’m going to unpick the sleeves and bias face the armholes. I just don’t think I’ll wear it again if I don’t do this, even though I love how vintage 40s the silhouette is.

Almond rock Eve dress Sew Over It Mandors Glasgow

Isn’t it funny how your brain can picture some garments so clearly in the planning stages to help you match the right fabric to the right pattern and sometimes it can lead you down an odd path…

Time to look at some gorgeous versions of the dress like this “nightie” version by Emilie with some clever observations, Cheryl’s stunning rose print and not forgetting this “too big and too small” dress by Daphne inspired by Boden.

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Honeymoon Simplicity 1606

WARNING: This post contains a lot of pointed elbows hahah.

What do you do when you need to make your fifth toile for your wedding dress toile but are sick of wasting muslin? Make an actual dress!

Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

I had a precious 1.5m of this Rifle Paper Co for Cotton + Steel cotton fabric. The print is Bon Voyage from the Les Fleurs collection and has adorable holiday themed items all over with metallic details! I got mine from Miss Matatabi when it was first released along with a the rayon I used for my Anna dress.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

Though I bought it before I was even proposed to I never got round to using it. It seemed perfect for my honeymoon to the Seychelles when I looked through my stash later! Tropical flowers, palm trees and cute accessories? Yes please.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

I added a gathered Emery skirt (by Christine Haynes) and spaghetti straps. Plus I had enough to self line the bodice and sneak some pockets in there! Theres one of my best ever lapped zippers on the back bodice but turns out even new husbands don’t have the patience to take back shots on honeymoon. These pics were taken on the deck of our hotel in Mahé. After dinner were only 15 steps from the beach.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

It turned out awesomely cute and the fit was near perfect so it really did help with my wedding dress progress!I love the sweetheart of this pattern and as long as you clip and notch precisely the curves turn out like a dream. When you have a multi-directional print that is scattered like this, you can really get a great layout for a princess seam dress.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

Final thoughts are… If you can get hold of this fabric still I’d totally recommend it, especially the black version as the metallic shows up better. The print saturation and metallic have held up very well to repeated washing and it’s a good quality cotton. To see my other versions of this dress check out the blog tag Simplicity 1606.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

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Liberty Lilac Simplicity 2444

You know how you can look back and laugh at how stupid you were. In my last post I was revelling in feeling better after a bout of stomach flu and little did I know I wasn’t better at all… It’s now day 12 and I’m still struggling to perform normal life activities. Thank goodness I finally got to the doctors and should be well enough to go back to work after Easter.

Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

The perfect time for a blog post! This dress has been living in my wardrobe for a while now. I made it for a lovely wedding in a gorgeous barn for two special people. It was up high on a hill in Cumbria surrounded by sheep and rolling hills and was very very windy. It felt extra lovely as we were newlyweds just back from honeymoon and revelling in the beauty of the Seychelles.

Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

I wanted something quite long in skirt length but a breezy shape and quick to make. I’ve made Simplicity 2444 several times and always swap out the skirt. This time I cut a big gathered rectangle so I’m not calling that “drafting a pattern piece” and let out the bodice a little. Of course I added pockets as weddings need tissues.

Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

The fabric is the real star here. It’s a Liberty of London tana lawn called Archive Lilac on the prettiest green teal base that they call turquoise. (It also comes in 3 other colours.) I really want to wear more strong colours so bought this print to achieve this. I’d originally planned a low cut bombshell wrap bodice but it barely showed off the print so went for more coverage.

Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

It’s super swishy, fully lined, and finished with deep hems and an invisible zipper. It was speedy and uneventful to sew which in some ways I’m a little sad about but it’s still a joy to wear. I wore it to the Sewing for Pleasure show and got lovely comments. Plus I wore it to the Sew Over 50 photoshoot and the ladies liked the print too.

Almond rock simplicity 2444 liberty of London tana lawn lilac turquoise

After spending a half an hour taking things out of my wardrobe that don’t suit my life anymore, I’m really pleased this is on the rails. So while it wasn’t challenging to sew or filled with interesting details, I know I’ll keep wearing it. Well, when I finally get out of my pyjamas again I will!!

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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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