• Dresses

    Spotty McCall’s 7085

    Hello my loveliest ones!! I am hating humanity after a hellish time on public transport and the motorway but you’re all exempt. You wouldn’t leave giant cases in the aisles and blare music without speakers would you?? I hope not. And you wouldn’t try and drive me off the road in your a supermarket delivery van right???

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I’ve been doing a little less sewing than normal lately but wanted to experiment with the latest pattern from Love Sewing magazine. This pattern is included with issue 73 on sale October 3rd. That’s tomorrow! As you know I don’t often have time to make the magazine patterns but I just loved this neckline!

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    Isn’t Lis’s version below so gorgeous? I knew I couldnt pull off the shift style so I wanted to see if I could hack the dress to a more retro silhouette. To do this I used the waistline mark on the front and back bodice pieces. I marked lines across the pattern pieces 1.5cm below the waistline point. This was the cutting line.

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I then worked out the finished waist measurement and measurements for the front and back and adjusted slightly so my skirt pattern would match at the side seams. The skirt here is actually my wedding dress skirt pattern! It makes it very swishy.

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I made view D of the pattern with its lovely sweetheart neckline and no sleeves. This stretch spot cotton sateen is amazing quality and gives the dress a lot of structure. It took 3m to get all the pieces of this dress on the fabric even at 60″ wide. It’s a pretty huge skirt!!

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I finished the hem with red bias tape; my preferred method for a circle skirt. There’s an invisible zipper in the back. And of course I added pockets. SO MUCH FUN!!

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

  • Embroidery

    Hawaiian cats embroidery

    There’s a title I would never have expected to type when I first started stitching! Today I’m sharing my favourite embroidery piece of all time!!

    Almond rock embroidery cat lady floss boss dmc threads kittens

    What do you get when you mix an obsession with furry felines and an insatiable urge to stitch… The Cat Lady Embroidery book!! 380 ways to stitch a cat.

    Almond rock embroidery cat lady floss boss dmc threads kittens

    I fell in love with this book when it crossed my desk at work. It’s a joyous creation filled with different breeds, silly characters, alphabets and borders. From the realistic to the surreal, there is something for everyone.

    Almond rock embroidery cat lady floss boss dmc threads kittens

    I started with the hilarious Hawaiian trio! Featuring one cheeky ukulele player and two swishy hula ladies its delightful to look at and I’ve hung it in the hall to make us smile every day.

    Almond rock embroidery cat lady floss boss dmc threads kittens

    Made almost exclusively of satin stitch my favourite details are the little strings on the ukulele, winky eyes and grass skirt details. There’s a few french knots thrown in and a little bit of long and short stitch. I’m especially proud of the quality of my stitches on the little grey cat.

    Almond rock embroidery cat lady floss boss dmc threads kittens

    Since finishing this design I’ve also made the baker and the sailor characters!! (That seagull was mega cute to stitch.) More on them later.

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Strawberry stripes McCall’s 7322

    Theres something magical about pink and red together. It shouldn’t work but it totally does. And there’s something magical about this jersey. It’s another fabric that we got for a work project (out next week) and I ended up buying my own, obsessed with it!! Its such good quality, it had to be done. I wore the top to the office on a particularly bloated and tired day and someone told me I looked great. That made me like the magical top even more. Funny how easy swayed I am!

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    The jersey is thick enough to sit smoothly on the body but light enough to still feel like a t-shirt, it’s also holding colour perfectly after a few washes and showing no signs of wear. It’s from Bloomsbury Square linked here and is nearly sold out. There’s a similar fabric here at Cornish Haberdashery and also here at Bobbins and Buttons! I’m pretty chuffed with my stripe matching and overlocking/top-stitching. As you can see below I always try and land my twin needle stitches just on the edge of the folded under seam allowance so it looks like a cover-stitched finish… until the day I can afford one. I also added to heat transfer patches to the chest I got from China because the colours match perfectly!

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    Back to the top! This is my fourth version of M7322 but first blogged. Sorry about that. But all four are striped and all matched at the side seams, sleeve seams and magically on some of the armhole. You can achieve armhole matching too if you use this pattern and an evenly stripe fabric. The armhole and sleeve are the perfect gradient/curve to ease the stripes together. Intrigued? Read on

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    On many patterns the sleeve head is aggressively shaped, curving at an incline that doesn’t match the gentle curve of the armhole. Does that make sense? But not this one.

    First…. Use a stripe layout, matching the underarm points of the front and back bodice and sleeves with the same part of the stripe. Sew your bodices together and your sleeve seams, matching your stripes. You’ll ned to pin every stripe together if you want a flawless match. Now everything should start to come together ready to make the sleeves…

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    Turn both your sleeves and bodice WS out and mark the seam allowance at the armhole in air-erasable or water-soluble marker. You should be able to match the first few visible stripes on the front bodice above the sleeve seam as you see above.

    In all your stripe matching here is a quick note, you’re not aligning the stripes RST, just matching points at the seam line if that makes sense. The stripes won’t always match in the seam allowance area. The goal is to cross perfectly at the seam line. Pin both horizontally and vertically then quickly tack stitch this area of the armhole by hand if you want guaranteed success.

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern saltaire

    Here’s a peek of the top out on a day trip to Salt’s Mill in Saltaire. This amazing historic town was custom built by the mill owner so his workers had somewhere to live. The area is now grade listed and the mill is the home to a David Hockney gallery and amazing cafe plus lots more. As well as the mill we like walking by the canal, stopping at the barge that sells ice cream and visiting the park! It’s a great day out. Ahhh how much I already miss summer!! Watch this space for a cheeky kitten top…

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

  • Dresses

    The maxium cake dress

    Please don’t think of me as terrible birthday brat but I wanted to share details of day 3 from my long weekend of celebrations. I still have one more day to go before I head back to reality and another press day on Tuesday.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    My family weren’t free to catch up until the Saturday after my birthday so we made plans to have afternoon tea at Weetwood Hall near Adel. This 17th century manor house is popular for weddings and parties and there was a wedding going on as we arrived! We sat in the indoor terrace. All the beauty of a garden area but safe from the elements!

    We dined on gorgeous sandwiches (I had the veggie selection of aubergine and hummus, avocado and salsa, and cream cheese and cucumber plus a huge onion bhaji). Then there was a dessert tray of scones, treacle tart, brownies, lemon posset, candyfloss and choc ganache lollipops!! Fizz, wine and Earl Grey tea finished the table off nicely and we chatted away the afternoon.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    Sometimes you need a baggy dress. When you have this much food to eat its practically mandatory!! I haven’t been fitting into my clothes very well lately so a baggy dress fits well into my life right now. I’ve been inspired by DIY Daisy’s floaty dresses which are quite straight up and down while still feeling figure flattering.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    I drafted a basic bodice with grown on sleeves and removed the darts from the front and back. Then I adjusted the front to a wrap extending into the waistline (rather than the side seam) using a v neckline as a guide. It sits high on the shoulder then drops in a steep v, crossing just under the bust. The skirt is just a gathered rectangle.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    The excess fabric was used to make bias tape to finish the armholes and neckline. It was an awkward assembly in that I had to bind the front up to the shoulder and leave the ends unsewn first. That meant I could construct the bodice and join to the waist then install the zip. Then finally I could bind the top of the zipper and remaining bit of neckline. Of course I used my blind hem foot to edgestitch the binding. I got impatient before adding a hook and eye at the top… a job for later.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    I decided to topstitch the wrap in place as I can’t be arsed worrying about flashing people. I don’t have a lot of boob to flash but no need to take the risk. The waistline is slightly raised to help the body feel and the rayon means the dress is delightful floaty!! My favourite part of the dress is this stunning print.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    Susan Driscoll designs the most gorgeous prints and I was overjoyed when she released her rayon collection ‘Soiree‘ with Dashwood Studio. I actually bought three of the designs! This print is called Fragment and it reminds me of geology and gemstones. It’s all my favourite colours in one design. It looks a little navy in my pics but is on a black base. I got this dress out of 1.5m of 45″-wide fabric by the skin of my teeth!

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    Do you think you can identify rayon? It’s known in the UK as viscose and is a natural fabric made of plant pulp. BUT sometimes shops just call drapey polyester ‘viscose’ which blurs the lines and sometimes it’s mixed with polyester… the same way any other fabric base can be mixed with polyester of course.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    You can get rayon challis, rayon linen, and rayon jersey plus much more. 100% rayon challis is prone to shrinking, goes hard and rumpled when washed then goes back to being silky and smooth when dry. It doesn’t melt under heat or make static when you wear it. Its breathable and luxurious to wear and it’s my favourite fabric type! You need a sharp needle and sharp pins as its prone to snagging and you need a large space to work on so the fabric doesn’t slide as you work or cut out.

    almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

    I hope you enjoyed this post and the details of my self drafted dress. I’m building up courage to cut into the Secret Garden print above and figure out what style to sew. If you are keen to try pattern drafting I recommend the Aldrich book series. I also attended a great evening course at Leeds Art School which taught me other methods of drafting if you don’t get on with Winnie Aldrich.

    Finally thanks do much to everyone who commented on my tile dress on the blog and on Instagram. I definitely appreciate it!! Cheers to you all!

  • Dresses

    Out on the tiles dress Vogue mashup

    Hello happy people! I’m in a great mood because this post is going out on my birthday!! I never work on my birthday and always try to do something fun. As it’s a Thursday this year I also took the Friday off so it’s double the fun! Today I had a trip to the spa with a back and head massage and a foot massage. Then I ate my favourite skillet pancakes for lunch in the sun of Mill Kitchen’s outdoor seating. I’ve come back super chilled! And there’s time for a bit of sewing before we head out to dinner!

    In other news I finished my dress for the New Craft House Riviera party and had a wonderful time on the night. There were so many familiar faces to catch up with plus some ladies I follow on Instagram but had never spoken to. There was Aperol spritzes and the biscuit fairy Claire was making sure we had regular snacks. I managed to get in a couple of photos with my darling Marie but in my usual style failed at getting a proper outfit shot. I AM THE WORST when I get chatting and forget all about photos.

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    So this week I managed to get a few photos at the studio with the lovely Renata this week so I’m not leaving it for ages to share my finished dress. I love the overall look and paired my lemon earrings and blue belt with the dress to pick up the colours in the fabric.

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    This embroidered mesh was pretty damn difficult to work with. The ‘squares’ are actually slight rectangles and they’re a huge 6″ tall which I didn’t think was actually that flattering when cut on the grain as it chops your body up in weird directions. It has no stretch and of course needed lining. Here’s the fabric if you’re tempted.

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    With all this in mind I decided to cut everything out on the bias! This left me with much less fabric to work with. I used Vogue 9000‘s hacked skirt from this dress and shortened it another 2″. I then cut both the front and back on the fold.

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    For the bodice I could only manage to cut the front on the fold and used my old Vogue 1102 (made so many times with too many tweaks to count) as I could hide the waist darts inside a tile without it looking too obvious. The back bodice had to be cut with a centre back seam but think it looks okay.

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    This all meant I needed a side zipper and to figure out the opacity. The bodice is underlined and then the two layers treated as one for construction and the raw edges finished with nude bias tape. The skirts were assembled separately and joined along the waist seam and zipper position. Below the zipper the skirts hang free and both layers were finished with an overlocked rolled hem. To finish I hand picked a side lapped zipper to make sure nothing would catch in the teeth and the stitching would be as invisible as possible.

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    If you didnt know this fabric was used in Dolce and Gabbana’s Majolica collection. This dress above sold for £4,800…. yep that’s insane. Anywhoo my dress is surprisingly swishy and I feel great in it. It took a lot of brainstorming to figure out the perfect silhouette, pattern placement and order of construction. It was quite nice having a meaty project to work on as I’ve been sewing a lot of quicker things lately but on the flip side there was also a lot on my plate so life suddenly felt very busy. It’s such a happy dress so I’m really pleased I powered through and think it will be nice for future events and holidays.

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    I know I’m a little bit of a diva when it comes to birthdays but I really just take the chance to see as many people as possible, eat and drink well, find joy in everything and feel grateful for another year! My husband and his family know me so well, I got flowers, gin, my favourite most relaxing White Company candle and a voucher for fabric! And on Saturday my family are taking me for fizz and afternoon tea! Life is grand!!

    Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

    Oh and surprisingly I won one of the party raffle prizes for a Selkie Patterns pdf of my choice. I’m going to wait to see their exciting new launch and then decide which to get as an extra birthday present!! Thanks for reading. Maybe I’m writing to myself but I still love blogging, sharing my makes and documenting the process.