The Vintage Weekend at Lotherton Hall

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and hopefully some sewing time. On the 15th I had my birthday and planned a few treats throughout the week to help me celebrate. Last weekend involved afternoon tea served on a miniature picnic bench and a little bit of fizz. Sneak peek of my new Simplicity vintage top.

On Tues I took the day off work (always a must in my book), slept in, ate pancakes, went to the spa and then had cocktails and curry with friends. It was fabulous. And this weekend I went to Lotherton Hall to the annual Vintage Weekend.

Lotherton Hall is in village called Aberford, about 15mins from my parents house. I’ve been a few times over the years as there is a beautiful house and gardens, plus a fashion exhibit and bird garden. This was the first time I’d been to the Vintage Weekend. There were 25 stalls of vintage fashion, homeware and collectables. Lots of garments from the 1920s to 1980s and some modern dresses that were vintage style if I’m honest. There were some handmade garments which I loved examining and a few pieces of fabric but they were somewhat overpriced. I wont be offended if you scroll past the photos if you’re only interested in what I picked up from the fair.

I treated myself to a few bits and pieces. A red seed bead necklace (I didn’t even haggle I wanted it so badly). A couple of spools of thread and some red shell buttons. Plus a size 16 60s day dress that I’ll salvage fabric from, an 80s CAMISOLE in forest green and a sweet swiss dot Jaeger blouse with contrast collar and cuffs.

I thought you might also be interested in the fashion exhibit. It’s based on donations from local women of significance or influence including the past owners of the house. The collection is small but immaculate and spans the decades. Here are my favourites… that’s an incredible Ossie Clark at the end.

It was a windy and cold day but I still got dressed up with a vintage vogue floral dress, 50s makeup and jewellery. And for a year without a big party or a special number I think this birthday was a success! My cheeky cat certainly looked life he enjoyed it!!

I’ll leave you with some of my sewing related birthday treats. Fabric from Jimi and Marie, plus patterns and a beautiful vintage Simplicity catalogue from my parents.

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Not a dress, Liberty silk New Look 6035 cami

Hello everyone! I’m sharing something slightly different today. I often wonder if you’re all sick of seeing my dresses. Sometimes I even wonder if I like what I’m sewing.

Do you ever get that feeling? Where you finish a garment and you’re not sure why you actually made it… like it was all just to use the fabric up and you didn’t really learn anything or love the finished make? I’m having a bit of a wardrobe crisis as I’ve got so much fabric waiting to be sewn up that doesn’t seem to fit with the clothes I want to wear lately, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. To distract myself I’m seeing what I can use from my disgustingly huge stash to help me practice for my wedding dress.

Liberty london silk satin cami new look 6035

This simple looking top was actually a really good challenge PWD – Pre-wedding dress. I wanted to ease myself back into using silk and had been hoarding this piece of Liberty silk satin for years. I used one of those amazing Liberty tokens that has the building embossed on it. Very hard to give up in all honesty.

Liberty london silk satin cami new look 6035

The print is called Alice Alina C. It’s a photographic winter garden print exposed in a dark room using photo sensitive paper so the leaves and buds have a ghostly feel. The yellow heart shapes in the print are especially gorgeous.

LIberty london silk satin cami new look 6035

The top is part of a bumper pattern pack from New Look. I originally picked this up to make the jacket (another thing that isn’t a dress to look forward to) but decided to try the top first instead. There are no darts, just neckline gathering as easing for the bust and you can add hem vents if desired.

Liberty London silk satin new look cami

I used French seams throughout, a super fine needle and cut out with my rotary cutter. I didn’t need tissue paper or gelatine or any other stabiliser which was reassuring. When making the bias I tried my best to have as few joins as possible to avoid those unsightly seam lines showing. This is super skinny 12mm bias which was then folded in half to make 6mm trim. I basted the bias in place before topstitching so I wouldn’t go totally insane.

LIberty london silk satin cami new look 6035

Aren’t the little yellow leaves adorable? The colour is quite dark for me but feels very luxurious. Focussing so intently on not warping the seams, keeping the fabric on grain and not slipping around as I topstitched the bias was a really nice exercise in calm careful sewing. I’m using duchesse satin as one layer of my wedding dress so I’m definitely going to sew some more slippery silks before it’s time to start just to keep my skills in check. I think I’ll also make another top in polyester or crepe to tuck into skirts. And really, it would make a great pj top too. It’s an all round staple throw on item!

LIberty london silk satin cami new look 6035

If you have any tips that might help me with my current wardrobe predicament please let me know. Part of the issue is knowing that when I start my wedding dress and potentially the bridesmaid dresses I won’t have much time to sew other things so it puts more pressure on each garment I do choose to make. To-do lists never seem to work but I did start look at each piece of fabric I have, to work out what garment it may become one day. This was an exercise to justify it staying in my stash… I got through one box. EEEK HELP ME!!

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Busy bee embroidery 

Hello ladies and perhaps a few gents. I’m away at Alison Smith’s sewing school learning the secrets of bridal couture. It’s an amazing three day workshop where you make a crazy sample that incorporates lots of techniques that you might use in bridal but probably not in one dress! More to come on that.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen I’ve been trying out some embroidery lately. It started with a boost to put more embroidery in Love Sewing and then the etsy team offered me a kit to try as a thank you for supporting the site. They sent the rainbow sampler from Oh Sew Bootiful which was a fun intro to the basics.

I then jumped on the pre-sale for the Flowers and Bees kit when I saw it. This wasn’t long after the Manchester attack and the thought of embroidering bees, the symbol of the city brought me some comfort.

Both kits feature very clear step by steps with photos and vector style illustrations, a stitch guide (which doubles as a template if you trace it), a pre-printed piece of cotton, spongy wadding, more than enough floss wound on a card, a practice piece of cloth plus two gold eye needles. Phew! Well worth the money I say.

Almond rock embroidery oh sew bootiful

I worked sporadically and threaded each of the needles up with a different colour so I could choose as my mood suited what to stitch. Only a couple of areas dictate the order you work in, e.g. where a stem stitch is then covered by a flower petal on top. I targeted easy stitches first like French knots and split stitch to gently get going. Towards the end it was then mostly satin stitch so I used five pre-threaded needles to keep up momentum.

Almond rock embroidery oh sew bootiful

Stitching during my lunch hour was very calming but not always possible. A good session in the garden during the hot spell saw a lot more get done and then a week in centre parks with my in laws saw me complete the rest.

Almond rock embroidery oh sew bootiful

As I moved around the hoop my technique massively improved and I went back and did two daisies again for a better finish. The bees are absolutely wonderful with the shade of eggy yoke yellow singing out at you. The centre of the poppies were quite hard to keep defined and I will say there’s A LOT of lazy daisy stitch to do. With lazy daisies and French knots you really need both hands so a table to work on is a must for a neat finish.

Almond rock embroidery oh sew bootiful

I’ve hung this hoop in my sewing room and it always catches my eye as I pass it. I’d really recommend this pattern. And honestly think the kit is worth the money for the quality and quantity of supplies included. I had to source my own felt for the backing but that was easy and now I’m itching to start another project.

Almond rock embroidery oh sew bootiful

Mindbogglingly a photo of my rainbow hoop shared on social media won me a of pattern of my choice from Oh Sew Bootiful’s online shop. Steph the owner picks four winners a month so get sharing your pics if you make one of her designs!! I chose the Hearts and Flowers template so watch this space for that one.

Almond rock embroidery oh sew bootiful

Have you ever tried embroidery? There are LOADS of fantastic free patterns on offer at DMC if you sign up to their newsletter. I’m going to try some of the florals and succulents soon. Maybe also this tiger!! What do you think?

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Living in Liberty Simplicity 1419

Hello campers!

almond rock liberty tana lawn wiltshire simplicity 1419 lisette

Hope your week has been fab. I’ve had a fairly busy one with extra photoshoots at work being scheduled in for the summer, the cat deciding to bring me a live mouse home that managed to escape and live inside a random shoe for a night, and a dramatic near-win at the Odd Bar pub quiz (half a point off winning!) so I’m looking forward to a date with my sewing machine this weekend.

In sewing news I ordered the first bit of fabric for my wedding dress, plus samples for the coordinating fabrics and in a couple of weeks I head off on Alison Smith’s bridal couture 3-day workshop. It’s super exciting!!

Today I’m sharing a juicy dress today made with Liberty tana lawn.

almond rock liberty tana lawn wiltshire simplicity 1419 lisette

This is Simplicity 1419 by Lisette before they joined up with Butterick. And I know I got this pattern from someone as a gift but it was soooo long ago I really can’t remember exactly who! Was it you Roisin? Or perhaps a swap table? Damn my memory. If you gave me this pattern please know I’m so so happy with this dress (can you tell from my face here).

almond rock liberty tana lawn wiltshire simplicity 1419 lisette

This Liberty lawn print is Wiltshire but you can’t find this colourway anywhere so it may be either a ‘seconds’ print, copy or super rare. Emma is the only other person I know who’s also used it. I bought mine from Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge as a leaving present to myself when I moved jobs to Love Sewing.

almond rock liberty tana lawn wiltshire simplicity 1419 lisette

 

I hacked the heck out of the neckline if you couldn’t tell. I made the collar as instructed then ripped it off, lowered the neckline, made red bias binding and a little bow and put everything back together. It did look lovely before I changed it but the collar was a touch too high to swallow comfortably and ended up a little too stiff for my liking. The bow is much sweeter although it has a tendancy to get skewed in the wash – and in these photos it seems too hahah.

almond rock liberty tana lawn wiltshire simplicity 1419 lisette

The sleeves fit beautifully and I think the skirt is the perfect length (I tried the pleats but they made me a bit hippy so switched to gathers all around. You surely won’t ask me why I added pockets because that’s just silly. My invisible zip is invible too hurrah!

almond rock liberty tana lawn wiltshire simplicity 1419 lisette

With such a good fit I think I’ll try making this dress again without the keyhole as it’s so hard to find well fitting sleeves! That way I can line the whole thing too and make it more tights friendly (very important to me for an all year round dress).

almond rock liberty tana lawn wiltshire simplicity 1419 lisette

 

Also I should let you know that this is my last post with big curls for a while. After a bit of heartache I realised my hair is not compatible with a perm. I need to be able to dye my roots every 4-6 weeks and it seems the hair dye freaked my perm out into a frizzy unhappy mess. Even after some hairdresser recommended moisturising treatments the curls aren’t coming back like they were. Given that it was a free perm in exchange for being a hair model I’m not out of pocket, just disappointed. I can still curl my hair and get an excellent hold but I can’t just wash it and let it dry curly any longer. It was a fabulous few weeks though and I am still a firm lover of curly hairdos.

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Alpine ski lodge Simplicity 1606 hack

Happy heatwave everyone!

Almond rock simplicity 1606 sew over it

So I’m not going to inundate you with pictures of Simplicity 1606… this is my toile version of the ball gown with a fun twist. The pattern is essentially a great little princess seam sundress waiting to happen. So I simply added sundress straps and a gathered skirt to get the look!

Almond rock simplicity 1606 sew over it

The double straps were inspired by the Centaurée by Deer and Doe patterns. The gathered skirt is of course the Emery skirt which you know my feelings on.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 sew over it

Like my ball gown I added boning and an invisible zipper. The boning isn’t necessary at all when you’ve got straps but I like how it stops the bodice from creasing which is a likely occurrence in cotton.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 sew over it

This dress took 1.2m of 60 inch wide fabric which is incredible stash busting as it meant I could use this Alpine print poplin. I’d been searching in vain for a coordinating plain navy until I tried laying out this dress on a hunch. A perfect fit thanks to the princess seam bodice pieces!

Almond rock simplicity 1606 sew over it

This print features skiers, wood lodges and fir trees. It was a cheeky impulse buy from Sew Over It while I was getting the vintage shirtdress pattern a few years back. Note to Future Amy: never buy less than 2m of poplin.

Almond rock simplicity 1606 sew over it

These shoes are the bomb and Next have just listed some similar platforms in red too… my bank balance won’t forgive me hahaha.

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