Simple Sew Poppy top

I’m writing this on Sunday, currently freaking out about my half made ballgown for The Dressmaker’s Ball. I have the pattern ready finally but as I came to cut out my fabric I realised I don’t have enough underlining fabric! How silly of me. So I had to get more yesterday and sew before next week (as I’m away from then until the ball). GULP. I’m going to make it work and Tim Gunn would be proud of me, I’m sure.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

My brain is utterly frazzled by work at the minute as we have been running so many special issues and there are garments flying around everywhere and I don’t have a free weekend until late April. The glamorous world of publishing.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

I really want to sit quietly and write a blog post so have forced myself to do it! This is thePoppy top from Simple Sew patterns. I got the printed version free from the cupboard at work but it was also a digital download from issue 48 of Love Sewing.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

With gently fluted sleeves and neckline pleats instead of darts it’s a pretty nice top that could be made for everyday wear or a special night out.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

I made the size 8 and let out the hips out to a 10 but it isn’t close fitting so didn’t need too much extra room. I should have made the 10 at the upper body I think as its a tiny bit tight.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

It’s a super quick make though and the pleats are fun to make. There’s a decent size facing underneath which supports the neckline pleats well. And a cute keyhole back letting you pick a pretty button from your huge stash to use… or is that just me?

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

The fabric was from the 1st Sewing Weekender goodie bag! It’s aStoff & Stil viscose with little bird/boomerang shapes. Everyone got the same 1.5m piece so it’s been cool to see their makes over the years. I generally prefer brighter colours so I don’t wear this often unless it’s with a bright cardigan. Although it wasn’t my style I couldn’t seem to part with it. Glad I finally used it eh? I call the next photo “My fabric stash is THIIIIS big”.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

Now it’s time to count down the days until I see my girl Marie and hang out with loads of lovely ladies at the ball!!

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All the arrows skirt

Hello everyone!! Today is a good day. I’m feeling good as my lovely photographer friend Renata and I powered through a chunk of my epic list of unblogged garments after work last week. That means more regular blog posts! Looking forward to when I can share makes properly again is getting me giddy. I do my best not to disappear into my work but it does use a lot of time and energy so it’s great to carve out some time for this.

Let’s start with a quick post on this skirt. Self drafted and lined, it came together very easily. The front and back pieces are rectangles made from the full width 45″ fabric gathered to fit a 32″ waistband. This makes it hang straight but gives enough hip room for my curvy 42″ butt. Normally I prefer a gathered a-line cut skirt but this was an afternoon make and my hips push the silhouette into an almost a-line naturally.

Almond rock fabworks self drafted skirt sewing sewing bee gbsb

Now I don’t really think skirts are that flattering on me which is why I rarely make them. I feel like my bodice looks oddly short but weirdly doesn’t in a dress. I even chose a narrow waistband width to help with this! Oh well, I’m not going to grow any taller am I?

I installed an invisible zipper in the back and added a lining to avoid the skirt clinging to tights. The lining is sewn into the waist but free around the zip area with the seam allowance pressed away to make an opening. The centre back lining seam starts just below the zipper allowing the two layers to move independently. Meaning great swish. (Also how damn cute is this top?? I love the back and must make something just like this).

Almond rock fabworks self drafted skirt sewing sewing bee gbsb

The cotton I used is a gorgeous navy shirting with embroidered arrows in neon pink. I picked it up at Fabworks a while back and got the skirt easily out of 1.5m. Although they don’t have this fabric anymore the shop is chocca with great shirting fabric. Let’s be honest it’s full of great fabric, full stop.

So there you are. Told you it would be an easy reintroduction to my blogging. Don’t want to rush these things. I’ll leave you with an outtake from the shoot showing my normal state on set. Professional model I’ll never be…

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McCall’s 6891 chambray shirtdress

Hello all! I’ve recovered from my extremely busy December and am back with a finished make for myself.

This dress was a rather spontaneous make as I was lucky enough to try on a finished version we had in the office! This meant I quickly worked out the couple of tiny adjustments I’d need to make it fit me. I could then cut out with confidence and whizzed this up in a day. In fact I made the yellow version you’re seeing on the new pattern envelope! We’re now making the designs in UK fabric and reprinting the envelopes. Squeal!!

The pattern is M6891 which is on the front of Love Sewing 63 on sale from tomorrow! It’s double stuffed so you get sizes 8-24 in one envelope and the issue includes tips on collars and cuffs if you haven’t made them before. I love a notched collar and The McCall Pattern Co instructions direct you to make theirs differently to other brands like Simplicity or indie designs.

As normal you position the collar between the facings and shirt neckline, instead of sewing over the seam allowance they ask you to push it out of the way and stop at the seam point marked by a dot, then sew on the other side in the same way. Here’s a diagram to explain a bit more:

This reduces bulk as it means you can grade the seams and trim a bit more freely as the seam allowance isn’t trapped… But this technique seems more beneficial on thicker fabrics like coats really. Unless I’ve missed another reason for this technique.

It’s not a surprise I like this pattern, as retro style shirtdresses are a big proportion of my wardrobe. They’re both smart and casual – perfect! I made view C and love the full skirt. The darts give a nice shape and of course the notched collar has a lovely vintage feel. It needs a reverse button/hole at the waist point for extra security but I can add that any time.

Now of course the Ultimate Shirtdress which is my favourite shirtdress pattern but in truth I’ve never got on with the sleeves. On the McCall’s design the sleeves fit great so maybe I need to try and merge the armscye and sleeve of this pattern with the Sew Over It pattern in the future.

I made the size 10. The bust fits my 36a-cup really nicely so no SBA here. I just adjusted the waist at the side seams to fit my 32″ tummy and the wide flare of the skirt is very roomy on my hips.

You might be wondering about the fabric… well to that I say, “Sewing friends are awesome”. They are especially great at birthday time because they think like a sewist when getting you a present and remember what things you say you like! This gorgeous Robert Kaufman spotty chambray was a gift from the darling Marie! Creative mind behind blog www.astitchingodyssey.com, Marie is such a lovely soul so I highly recommend you follow her inspiring blog/social media accounts and if you run into her at an event you’re guaranteed to leave smiling.

If you clicked into my shirtdress tag you’ll see I now have two spotty Robert Kaufman chambray dresses. Well I actually have a third UFO of Vogue 1102 cut out in the black colourway but I messed up some of the pintucks and have been putting off fixing it for months. Maybe 2019 is the year you’ll see that dress appear.

I’m currently trying to plan some sewing for the coming year. There are some lovely fabrics that have been in my stash for way too long. I’d really like to fix that and not be afraid of making the wrong thing anymore. I have my dressmakers ballgown to make too. Will I see you there?

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My best friend’s wedding

almond rock couture handmade lace wedding dress vintage winter wedding

Not just the title of a movie, this Christmas break I also went to the wedding of my best friend and her lovely partner. It was a slightly unusual day in that we started with a 10am ceremony, then went for pie and a pint at a local pub, dashed off to the woods for a game of laser quest and then went to a swanky hotel for the wedding breakfast and evening do.

almond rock couture handmade lace wedding dress vintage winter wedding

Yes you heard me right, we did all of this on the 28th of December! It was busy, brisk and lots of fun. And I had the joy of seeing months of work come to life in a different way from my wedding. I not only worked on Becky’s dress, but made my bridesmaid dress and made ties and pocket squares!

almond rock couture handmade lace wedding dress vintage winter wedding

First things first, Becky wore an off the shoulder fishtail lace gown. It had an illusion back, fitted silhouette and reasonable size train. It was made half way between Oxford and Leeds as Charly and I joined forces to get the dress made in time. Charly as you may remember is an accomplished bridal seamstress so she took the lead, drafting the pattern, fitting the toile and ordering the supplies.

We had a major cutting out session as a group to get the satin, tulle and lining layers all ready and then constructed the majority of the dress ready to get the lace attached. Charly designed the pattern for the lace placement and over several long sewing sessions we hand appliqued lace into place. Charly added the motifs to the bodice and created the illusion while it was on the mannequin and I made 7 skirt panels that would be added to the skirt later so I could keep the work at home with me.

almond rock couture handmade lace wedding dress vintage winter wedding

After a slight mishap breaking with her ankle, Charly wasn’t able to finish the dress so she came home to live me for the last few weeks. I added an elastic waist stay, sewed a bra into the dress, attached the lining and hemmed the layers. Because of the beading, none of the lace could be machine sewed so I did have a slight claw hand by the end of things but it’s an absolutely gorgeous dress, so Charly and I were really proud on the day.

almond rock couture handmade lace wedding dress vintage winter wedding

Our bridesmaids dresses were made from different patterns but designed to have a similar feel. I used Threadcount 1610 which you saw on the blog recently and added a three quarter circle skirt using the pattern from my wedding dress! The wine duchess satin was lovely to work with and though I had to cut everything out on the crosswise grain it didn’t reduce the shine that much which I was very pleased with. Becky asked us to channel our inner 50s housewife with pearls and vintage stoles (made by Charly) which I happily embraced.

almond rock couture handmade lace wedding dress vintage winter wedding

Ties and pocket squares I’ve made before for Mark and Nickki’s wedding but I forgot how much I HATE POCKET SQUARES. They should be called “little squares of evil”. Never again I say, do you hear me universe?! Luckily I only had to make two pocket squares, plus two grown up ties and two tween-age ties. I adapted my tie pattern to make them roughly 13″ long when tied then made a neckband that finishes with velcro for ease. I mean I learnt how to knot a tie at 12 but only because it was part of my uniform; most young ones don’t learn until much later. Ties are very therapeutic to hand sew closed. You machine sew the short facing pieces to the ends, trim and turn through then press over the edges and hand sew close to the fold. It’s definitely a personal choice on whether to interline the whole tie for more bulk. Last time I did but with the trend for skinny ties these days I decided not to this time.

I’ll leave you with some photos from laser quest. It was certainly different running around the woods in a boiler suit then having to race back to the hotel and get re-ready for a wedding! It all turned out perfectly though.

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Secret cats Threadcount 1610

I’ve been chained to my sewing room table for days but instead of sewing for myself I’m still chugging away on my best friend’s wedding dress. It’s nearly ready but the hours of hand sewing are still etched in my memory. Only a few weeks to go!

Almond rock Threadcount 1610 sewing pattern review abakhan

In the mean time I’m happy to share this cheeky dress. Originally sewn in 2016 I made this dress rather big so during last year’s Sewing Weekender I took it in all over. It’s taken me a year to blog it but it’s so much fun to wear.

Almond rock Threadcount 1610 sewing pattern review abakhan

The dress is a Threadcount pattern that appeared on Sewing Made Simple magazine a couple of year’s back with sweetheart neckline, gathered skirt and optional cap sleeves. The dress comes together a little oddly with grown on facings at the sides of the neckline and a facing piece attached to the centre neckline. It looks neat inside but was a funny way to put things together. It was a head scratcher for how to overlock neatly so I just finish each edge individually.

Almond rock Threadcount 1610 sewing pattern review abakhan

I made the XS but there is a lot of ease so I had to grade down by guess work to fit a 36A” bust. I took in a bit at the sides, a lot at the princess seams and some at the centre back. Remember I’m a 32″ waist so for me to be reducing an XS it’s definitely got some ease involved. The pattern has gathering only at the centre front of the skirt but I think that would make the wearer look portly adding bulk at a commonly rounded area on most ladies! As you can see I spread the gathers evenly.

Almond rock Threadcount 1610 sewing pattern review abakhan

My fabric is the real star of the piece. At first glance this pretty blue stretch denim looks like a simple abstract floral print but as you look closer you see charming cat faces!! Secret cats hiding amongst the flowers!! It’s the perfect mix of shades of blue too. Eeek.

Almond rock Threadcount 1610 sewing pattern review abakhan

This medium-weight denim was nestled in a bargain bin at Abakhan and there was a large piece I split with my boss who is a fellow cat lady. This meant it was priced by it’s weight and a total bargain. For an unlined dress is just passable but I had to reduce a lot of bulk from the waist seam to help ease the zipper area.

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