Craft swap. October 21st

Anyone going to the craft swap at Fabric-ation Leeds on Sunday October 21st?

Looks like a great opportunity to swap a variety of items. The details encourage bringing whatever you like; patterns, fabric, magazines, notions, fabric paint/dye, craft kits, etc!
I’m thinking of going because I might see something awesome but also because this might lift the lid into the Leeds crafting community!!

If you’ve not heard of Fabric-ation check out their website. They’re doing awesome things in the community.

They run loads of workshops on a crazy variety of things; intro to gold plating, corset making, card making, pewter jewellery casting… as well as a range of sewing sessions including refashioning and repairing skills for clothes that just need some love.

I’m tempted just to go work in the sewing lounge on one of the open sessions. £3 to sew around like-minded people and not have to listen to the Fifa game music in the background sounds like bliss, and a bargain!

If you’re thinking Amy, you’re telling us a bit early. Well I just want you to have time to put it in your diaries.

It’s Sunday starting at 12 so you’ll be home in time for Sunday roast and Downton Abbey, and you might just get a great swap! Or make a new friend…?


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Where have you been woman?!

Is what I imagine you’ve been saying. Or if you’re too polite to think/say that then please believe me that’s what I’ve been saying to myself when I look at the last time I posted.

I have actually been a busy lady which is reassuring (I’ve not been trapped under a pile of fabric unable to reach a telephone to call for help, etc).

Today is my first day back after a week in Spain. Aaaaaaaaaah lovely beachy sunshine and reading books.

I took my Edith Head auto/biography with me that I got as a birthday present. Using her first drafts of an autobiography this book was completed and added to by Paddy Calistro.

The semi-autobiographical story of Edith Head

For those of you who don’t know, Edith Head was one of Hollywood’s most memorable and rewarded fashion designers. She started work as a fashion artist with Paramount and worked her way up to being the signature designer for the studio. She won 8 Academy Awards for Costume Design; some for work she didn’t even think was her best!

She dressed too many stars to name but formed strong friendships with many iconic actors and actresses; Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Shirley MacLaine, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Natalie Wood, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. She was one of Alfred Hitchcock’s preferred designers and although she found working with Hal Wallis difficult at times, he always asked for her on his pictures.

This book really opened my eyes to how costumes were conceived, designed, produced and fitted for the movies in the 30s through to the 60s. The effect of the war on available fabrics, the changing styles as new decades passed and the politics of handling certain actors and directors are all covered with wit and detail.

I really recommend this book! It’s got so many lovely photos and anecdotes. There’s plenty for a dressmaker as well as someone just enthusiastic about film-making during the golden years of Hollywood.

The other thing I’ve been hidden away working on is a dress.

Aaaah the dress. I blogged about it here.

I had a wedding to go to in the Dales in Yorkshire. At a place called Danby Castle that I’d never heard of even living in Yorkshire all my life!

I wanted a new special dress to wear and dug out some lovely French Crepe I had in stock.

I made my sort of cambie dress out of the pajama pattern I got for my birthday. It’s not really that much like the cambie but it’s got that vibe which I like.

Smiley happy bunting photo!

Best photo I have sorry. I’m going to post a review with better photos soon as I think this is a good pattern and with a few tweaks becomes a very wearable dress.

The wedding was fantastic. Bunting themed cake, epic vegan food (courtesy of the chef who goes on tour with Thom York and Radiohead) and lots and lots of dancing. Plus an aggressive pony who only liked men. Humpf!

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I love Bunnies

Bunnies are awesome.

I doubt you’re going to disagree with me but I’m going to say why anyway.

I used to have a bunny called Honey. Yep that’s right, Honey Bunny. And I used to push him around in a replica of a silver cross pram. Only the best for my baby! (errr, I should point out that this was decades ago when I was like 9 or 10 and not last year).

He was awesome and I thought we’d be buddies forever. But Bunnies can’t last forever and Honey died of pneumonia. I was heartbroken and couldn’t bring myself to replace him.

Now Polly is an awesome rabbit that I’ve been impressed with from afar. I say “afar” because she’s a Swedish rabbit who lives with Ida (check out her sewing blog too).

I mean wowzers, a show jumping bunny? I’ve never heard of such a thing!

Cat’s are generally a seamstress’ best friend but Polly makes a good case for a bunny being a kick ass sewing companion too.

Finally the reason for this post is that a fluffy cutie bunny actually helped me win a competition!

I entered the giveaway by Fabric Godmother to win the book DIY Couture How to make a gathered dress by the lovely Rosie Martin.

And this is how my name was picked….


Unbelievable awesomeness right?! And check out that ace bunny cushion!

Many thanks to Josie from Fabric Godmother for organising this giveaway.

The book take a simple idea, clearly lays out the steps and expands on different variations you can do. It’s well photographed and presented, is slim and well produced and is already sat with the rest of me sewing books!

In closing I’ll say that the hint I gave in my last post about bunny related sewing is in progress and more to follow on that. Woop!

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Sliding slippy shiny sleek silky and slick….

I’ve been head down sewing lately. I’m trying to punch out a dress before next weekend.

Best you can’t guess what I’m making it from!

Haha I’m the crazy lady who seems to only sew slippy see-through fabrics lately.

I can’t remember the last time I sewed with cotton yeesh! Next project has to be a cotton one I think or I’ll go mad.

At the minute I’m working with French Crepe in a gorgeous mix of colours — emerald, lilac, violet and black! (much better than saying green, purple and black eh?)

Just realised there’s no lilac on this picture! oops.

It’s hard work with slippy fabrics. I’ve been sewing some of the trickier curves using the tissue paper method, where you pin tissue paper to the fabric before sewing to help stabilise under the needle. But that gets messy so I’m keeping it to a minimum. The skirt should be whipped up quickly and then an elastic waist to save putting a zipper in.

I’m making my sort of cambie dress out of the pajama pattern I got for my birthday. It’s not going to be a patch on the cambie but it’s going to give me a good idea of it.

B5653 – The Cambie nightie

So I’ve made a muslin… that’s a lie, I’ve made TWO muslins as the first one was so far off the right size. I really love the colour of my muslin and it would almost be wearable if I hadn’t made the inside of the shoulder pieces white. Oh and the bit where I didn’t sew the shoulder in properly.

Darn it!

Errr don’t look at that wonky bit please. Or the iron in the background.

And now I’m well underway with my top part. Attaching the shoulder pieces before bed I think. Although it is quite late.

I’ve also been prepping for my first inkodye/Pebeo setacolor experiment.

Let’s just say it might just feature some of this….

Super cute
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Super happy times!

Wowzer! Awesome week in the Almond Rock household.

There’s so much to fit into this post but I’ll try and keep it brief.

Wooo I’m a birthday princess… don’t argue

Dinner at Salvos in Headingley was lipsmackingly delicious. I had a vegetarian calzone with spinach and aubergine and gorgonzola stuffed inside. Amazing. And then for pudding I ordered lemon cheesecake and it came with a surprise.

The waiting staff singing happy birthday to me, ahem, I went bright red. THEN the cutest little girl with a green stripe in her hair and a huge birthday badge came up and gave me a spare badge she had as we were birthday buddies and she’d been sung to only 10 mins earlier!

Super cute!

I got awesome gifts too off lovely friends and family. It always amazes me how lovely people are.

And it’s great to get sewing presents as it makes my hobby seem more official somehow!

I was given some lovely Cath Kidston things; like polka dot wine glasses (see left), heart shaped buttons, pins in a heart shaped tin, a cherry print apron and awesome pink salad tongs.

I can confirm drinking wine from a polka dot glass is extremely beneficial to your mental health.

Hahah. Would I fib about it?

Pebeo setacolor soleil fabric paint! Lot of words to essentially say, the uk version of Inkodye. I got cardinal red and buttercup yellow!

Oh man you’re going to see some projects from me using that! Watch the video I linked to and tell me it isn’t awesome! A Beautiful Mess had their hands on some recently.

A murder mystery dinner party game! It has a character called Vivienne Westfield, who is  an upcoming fashion designer.

No one else is getting their mitts on that character, it’s alllll me.

Sewing goodies!

Some lovely heart print cotton fabric and Butterick 5653 pj pattern.

Reminds me a little of the Sewaholic cambie, right? And why the heckers couldn’t this be a proper dress or a top rather than just pjs? It’s all about fabric choice.

I also got some books that’ll keep me busy for quite a while. I got John Richardson’s book — It’s Not Me, It’s You: Impossible Perfectionist Seeks Very Very Very Tidy Woman. It looks hilarious AND intelligent.

I also got two biographies: 

She dressed all the women I love – Dietrich, Lombard, the Hepburns, Kelly and Taylor.

Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light which is a colossal book that got good reviews for not idolising Hitch and showing his excellent and lesser qualities.

I also got Edith Head’s Hollywood the story of the amazing costume designer and winner of 8 Academy Awards! (This is more of an autobiography since she co wrote it. Plus it features a foreword by Bette Davis who I love).

Top this off with a bunch of yellow roses, earrings, another dinner out at an awesome vegetarian Gujerati restaurant, a day out in York AND lots of cards and warm wishes.

All in all I’m a very lucky young lady.

And I saved the best until last. My super baker mum made me a cake…. And just to brag a little, it’s delicious as well as wonderful!

 Sorry if I come off smug. I’m just really happy. Wooooo!!!!!

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