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Hello Sailor

Hello hello!

I’m so happy to be posting again. I have a few things waiting to be photographed so expect those posts soon. And I’m happy to report I’ve started sewing again following my move (more on that another day)!

So if you haven’t guessed by the name of this post I have something nautical for you today.

joel and son simplicity 1880 almond rock

Let me present my nautical knot shirtdress, courtesy of the wonder that is Joel and Son Fabrics.

The lovely folk at J&S heard me lamenting on twitter how I’d love to buy some of this linen but I was still on my self-imposed spending ban (we were about to cross the finish line for completing on our new house). They came to my rescue offering me the chance to review their site and this gorgeous print!

This fabric is an amazing tomato red colour with bright yellow and blue knots on it. It makes me happy just looking at it! And if you haven’t ever ordered from J&S you can expect your fabric folded in tissue, sealed with a quality assurance sticker and wrapped in one of their signature bags. I even got a cute mini tape measure in my parcel! Now that’s good customer service.

joel and sons simplicity 1880 almond rock

It’s a linen but happily doesn’t crease too much because it has some viscose in the mix. Think I lie? This dress was pulled out of the suitcase it moved in and WAS NOT IRONED before I took these pics. Brilliant right? And at 140cm wide I only needed 1.5m to make this dress.

joel and son simplicity 1880 almond rock

I’m a bit of a renegade though. You might have noticed “dry clean” is the suggested handling for the fabric. That doesn’t work for me. I took the risk and washed it on a handwash setting. And… HUZZAH! It only lost a teeny amount of the colour and there was no degradation to the linen weave.

So what shirtdress is this? It’s Simplicity 1880, previously made by me here and the popular pattern from this sewalong.

joel and son simplicity 1880 almond rock

As per the last time I amended the skirt to have a button front, plus I lined the skirt with a poly-crepe (so I wouldn’t get the dreaded tights-sticking issue). I also included a back neck facing and used french seams wherever possible.

joel and son simplicity 1880 almond rock

I really recommend this pattern for when you don’t want darts to ruin print placement. It was perfect for these knots. I even managed with some clever placement, to get a 99% red collar when looking from the front; I thought that would give a nice clean look. I also fought the temptation to use gold anchor buttons and went for these red shiny vintage lovelies that I had in my stash.

joel and son simplicity 1880 almond rock

Now my challenge is staying away from the awesome printed silks on the J&S site, like this panda awesome-ness. Or their cottons for that matter, like this pretty little number. I dare you not to find something to lust over on this website!!

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Spring florals (Part 1)

Hullo everyone! I’ve just gotten back from a few days away and am really happy to have a new dress to share with you, which I finished just before I left.

I’m going a bit nutty for super big floral dresses right now. Be warned for my next few posts.
I’ve just finished my second and will soon be starting a third.
Here is my first though.

almond rock simplicity 1880

These beautiful blooms are from Textile Express… I posted a pic on instagram of my fabric sample and it inspired Vicki Kate to purchase some too.

almond rock simplicity 1880

It’s one of their lovely cotton lawns from Japan. You remember my aeroplane fabric from this shop right? Very high quality prints with lovely drape. Check out the rest of their cotton lawn, I dare you.

So back to me larking about in the park.

*DANGER: Lots of pointy elbows coming up!*

almond rock simplicity 1880

This is Simplicity 1880 which the lovely folk at Simplicity sent to me for review quite some time ago. I made a shirt version but now have finally made the shirtdress!

almond rock simplicity 1880

The pattern calls for buttons only on the bodice but after making this up I kept getting distracted by the lack of button continuation. Am I the only one?

So I hacked my skirt up the front, added a placket and more lovely pearly buttons. Heehee I love breaking the rules and ignoring instructions!

almond rock simplicity 1880

I do love the notch collar; it’s so classic. And I worked hard to make the print look pretty on the collar, see the hydrangea peeping through? That’s my favourite bit.

almond rock simplicity 1880

Other pattern alterations included adding a skirt lining and omitting the waist pleats for gathers (both without any major issues). I’m very tempted to make a matching belt to cinch the dress it in a little further. I also made bias-binding for the armholes and used the back facing from the wrap dress variation as Sunni suggests here in her 1880 sewalong.

I hope you like it! Who else has made this one? Add a link in the comments in case I’ve not stalked yours before now.

Well I think that’s quite enough of my razor sharp elbows for now. Toodle pip!

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What could make this Sunday better? I know, a Giveaway!

Hello Everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Mine has been full of good food and drink, library books and some sewing.

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A Raspberry beret for the lady, two red stripe for the gent.101d5588e1b611e2ad6922000a1fa410_7

New Look 6886 bodice awaiting skirt attachment.fae64852dd1c11e2a73b22000aa80571_71

The velvet photograph cover of Daniel Vosovic’s lovely book8b66ef2ce0c311e28e2c22000a1fb747_7

Final touches to my Sassy Librarian Blouse.

There is also some good news to share. Last week the lovely people at Simplicity got in touch.

They actually offered to send me a couple of their patterns which I was over the moon at.

I generally find that New Look patterns fit me straight out of the envelope and Simplicity patterns only ever require a few tweaks.
… Vogue, McCalls and Butterick are *ahem* another story.

I picked two favourites out of a short list of many and I literally ripped open my parcel in glee when the patterns arrived!

1880
I’ve mentioned to a few people lately that I’m interested in making a shirtdress. This seems like the natural progression of my desire to conquer blouses. I chose the very popular Project Runway 1880. Ami’s version really made me believe this was the pattern for me so I requested this as my first choice.

1755
For my second choice I went with the Leanne Marshall 1755 party dress. Oh yes I’m making the lace version.

I want this to be my Birthday party dress. I have a lovely maroon lace with maple leaf pattern and I’m eager to try a pattern where the instructions actually help you create a lace overlay, rather than trying to wing it alone.

But wait! The good news doesn’t stop here.

1800

Simplicity also gave me two of their amazing fit patterns to give away — 1800 (sizes 10-18) and 1652 (sizes 6 – 14).

Two dresses with princess seamed bodices and a variety of skirts, sleeves and special features to bring together and create your perfect garment.

I’m actually kind of jealous one of you will get to try the cool cut out back of 1652.

And hang on, there’s a little bit more!

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I’m also throwing in a lovely Sylko bobbin head button badge!

When I saw these lovely badges I just had to get one and I picked out a second just for you my lovely readers.

One reader will win both amazing fit patterns and the badge.

All you have to do to win this lot is to leave a comment saying what your favourite Simplicity or New Look pattern is.

I also think it’d be worth your while following Simplicity on twitter – @SewSimplicity – to gather inspiration, hear about other giveaways to enter, and laugh with them about some of the crazy pattern envelope imagery the company cooks up.

The competition is open for a week, until Sunday July 7th at Midnight BST.

Good luck!

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Toot Toot! I’m blowing my little party horn!

I bloody love the sewing community!! I’ve been nominated for another Liebster award and a Super Sweet Blogger Award.

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Jo from Sew Little Time is an awesome kickass sewist. Her blog is great fun to read, she’s a good twitter friend and, as I learned at the blogger meet up, an excellent dinner partner.

Check out her Mad Men dress, Anise and all her lovely knitting for starters!

Jo has thrown down the gauntlet with questions for her nominees. There wasn’t any of that last time around so I’m happy to play along.

1. What is your favourite film of all time and why?
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I don’t see any shame in admitting this. I totally heart First Knight. I wish I could say a cool film but it’d be a fib. I can’t really say why but I love Richard Gere as an American Lancelot and Sean Connery as a Scottish King Arthur! Awesome fun. Maybe it’s the mystery of Camelot. Who knows. Have you seen it? Have I gone up or down in your estimation?

2. What kind of holidays do you like – beach? city break? raving in Ibiza?  Do tell!

I love the sun. It’s not about baking myself that much, more about being totally warmed through, getting vitamin D and feeling really healthy (doesn’t everyone feel more healthy in bright warm sunlight). My favourite place to visit is Melbourne. Let me sit in the sun with a good book at St Kilda and I’d be a very happy lady.

3. I spend a lot of time commuting – if you had a spare hour on the train, what would you do?

I do the same! I have an hour each way to waste on the way to my office. I read blogs, work on Almond Rock posts and play on my social media accounts. I really want to get back into reading books on the train so I need a bigger handbag me thinks!

4. What is the best sewing book you have read?
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I think my current favourite is the Merchant and Mills sewing book. Its very cleverly written to be gender neutral, charming and inspiring. I learnt some great new tips and really responded to the design and layout used.

5. Knits or wovens?

Wovens all the way baby! It’s one of my New Year ReSewlutions to get better at knits… but hey crikey we’re nearly half way through the year already! I should probably mobilise on that.

6. What is your favourite blog?

Oh no you don’t. I’m not picking a favourite!! I love so many. There are blogs with amazing layouts, great clever features, beautiful clothes, diys and crafts, and most of all hilarious happy people who I enjoy reading about and chatting to.

7. What other crafts do you do and which is your favourite?

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Honestly I’m afraid I don’t really do much else. I dabble with jewellery making but not enough to say it’s a secondary craft. I read a lot, watch epic movie marathons and wax lyrical about James Bond. I also like to think I’m a pretty decent baker and cake decorator. I’ve learned from the best though so is that really a craft or more of a handed down family secret?

8. What is your karaoke song?

For a big old extrovert I’m not really a fan of karaoke. I do have one ace up my sleeve. Think Nelly….

9. Sweet or savoury?

Sweeeeeeeet. I’d love to live off dessert without consequences… and bread! Give me a banoffee pie and I’ll call you my best friend!

10. What is your favourite accessory?

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At the minute it’s my red leather satchel. I can’t stop using it! I got on my way home from the epic London meetup so it always reminds me of sewing adventures.

11. If I gave you £50 ($78 US, $82 Aus) to spend on fabric, patterns or craft supplies, what would you make from it?  Links please!
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Eeeeek I’d want a spending spree! But to be more restrained… I’m currently cooking up a plan for a shirtdress so I’d buy 2 metres of pale pink carline rose tana lawn (£44) and Simplicity 1880 (£8). Then I’m out of budget. Oh.
If I got the pale pink cabbage rose cath kidston print fabric (£25) instead of Liberty I could also squeeze in an order of a belladone from Deer and Doe perhaps?

Phew that was harder than I thought. I wonder if you all feel like you’ve seen into my soul now…

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Next up the Super Sweet Blogger Award which was given to me by lovely Lara of Dreaming of Avonlea. Thanks very much Lara. I had the pleasure of her company in Birmingham this weekend. She is fun and talented and dreams of dresses!
I mean after hearing that you’ve GOT TO check out her blog!

She’d like me to answer 5 Super Sweet questions.
And to nominate a baker’s dozen (13) of other deserving bloggers.

Questions!

Q: Cookies or Cake?

A: Cake I think… just edges it out.

Q: Chocolate or Vanilla?

A: CHOCOLATE are you crazy?!

Q:  Favorite sweet treat?

A: Banoffee pie all the way. Or as close as you can get to it!

Q: When do you crave sweets the most?

A: As soon as I go on a diet. But mostly after dinner time.

Q: Sweet nickname?

A: Nothing to report here. It’s very hard to abbreviate a three letter name into something cuter!

I’m very grateful to the sewing community but for these awards I’d like to nominate my favourite food bloggers for a bit of redirection! Maybe you’ll discover someone you like too?

  1. Stasty
  2. Little Red House
  3. Spoon Fork Bacon
  4. Ari’s menu
  5. Family Style Food
  6. Lolly’s Sweet and Savoury Treats
  7. Mandy’s Recipe Box
  8. Just My Delicious
  9. Angel Loves Cooking
  10. Sweet C’s Designs
  11. Domestic Rebel
  12. Bakerette
  13. Delicious Shots
  14. Cocktail Remedy (bonus one for all the cocktail lovers out there)
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