• Dresses

    Wild goose chase B6676

    Happy Weekend everyone! It’s sunny here in Yorkshire and my mood is instantly boosted like a terrible British cliche. BUT I DON’T CARE… I’ve missed sunshine too much. Now onto sewing. I finally photographed three makes this week now my awful ear issues are finally gone.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    This is Butterick 6676 which has three styles of dress, but the envelope only shows two. There are two styles of skirt plus different waist finishes to choose from. I went rogue and made view B without any side tabs. So a clean simple dress to really let the fabric shine. See all the line art at sewdirect.com.

    My copy of the pattern is from Love Sewing 104 which has all sizes in one envelope (6-22) plus it has a second pattern for £9.99. And you can get 20% off your first order through craftstash – BARGAIN. Plus you’ll get to read my monthly column if you pick up the issue which I hope you like!

    My fabric is the absolute star of the show. It’s a Lady McElroy called Wild Goose Chase and is a beautiful cotton lawn. I received this as payment for a previous collaboration with Lady McElroy. I LOVED the name as much as the colour and print of the fabric by the way. God I love puns and witty names and this tickled me. There are other colourways available too by the way. I decided a simple silhouette would be best and wanted to make sure the insides of the dress were lovely too.

     

    I made a petite bodice adjustment using the lengthen shorten line. Then cut a 6 in the upper bodice grading out to a 14 in the waist and a 16 in the hips. I have extremely narrow shoulders FYI. Because I bought the Love Sewing magazine that had this pattern with all sizes in one envelope I could get up to a size 16. The standard pattern lower size pack stops at 14.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 with keyhole back wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    I started by deciding to omit the centre back zipper and seam on B6676. I cut the pieces on the fold and moved the zipper to the side seam. This meant I needed to create some method of getting the dress over my head. I loved the centre front keyhole/slit of view B but decided to add it as a keyhole to the back neckline and add a button loop so redrafted the back facing pattern piece to have the keyhole extension.

    The pattern isn’t lined but as cotton lawn is prone to wrinkling I wanted to add a lining to minimise this. I realised I’d have to create a underlining/lining hybrid. The skirt was easy. Then I created a lining version of the bodice and placed it WST with the bodice and basted around the neckline and armholes. Then I installed the neckline facing and armhole binding on top. But at the waist and zipper opening I then treated this as a true lining, enclosing the zipper tape and waist seam, then slip-stitching in place.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    Because I had some fabric left over I made the belt. I’ve made belts before and it’s quite a fun process. My favourites are when I’ve found vintage belt kits which have the proper belting material and the special glue to cover the buckle in coordinating fabric. This time I had to make do with a buckle from my stash but it’s pretty cute. It ended up a little longer than I planned so I need to make a belt loop for the belt (as opposed to ones sewn on the dress).

    I use the stiffest interfacing I can find and make a four fold strip – meaning the seam allowances are as wide as the belt for the thickest most stable finish. I have a big tin of eyelets in lots of colours and different metals, and chose silver to match the buckle. You make a small cut and then use pliers to install an eyelet in under 5 seconds. For the other end you create a buttonhole around 3-3″ from the end and feed the buckle prong into it, then fold back the fabric on itself and sew together to secure.

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

    It’s a really sweet dress and I enjoy a bit of hand sewing every now and then. Think this one was finished while watching Cheer season 2 on Netflix. I’m going to wear it out soon as I feel great in it. It’s got that lovely, floaty style of A-line skirt that skims over your stomach area and a busy fabric that stops you noticing a full tummy. The bust fits great and I’m going to wear it with cardigans with it until summer comes around!

    almond rock makes Butterick b6676 wild goose chase Lady McElroy cotton dress in royal blue

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Threadcount blouse

    Hello everyone!

    I’ve been on a great run of therapeutic sewing lately! Getting my head down, pushing out the world and focusing on the task at hand. I had a super productive Christmas break and made a whopping four garments in three days. Three dresses and a blouse. I sewed them all at the same time if that makes sense. Like my own production line. Getting my head down and drowning out the world by sewing is a real stress-buster for me. It’s like I tap into the part of me that’s a freaky zen robot eagle and just focus on executing each step neatly and efficiently.

    Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

    This pattern came free with Sew Now magazine. Love Sewing’s little sister. There are a few mix and match variations but I chose the button placket with the short sleeves and I opted the length of view B without the dip hem (I just levelled everything off). Happily I lay my block on top of the pattern pieces and they matched the size 8 I only had to move the bust a smidgen and grade out the side seams to a size 14 from the waist to hip.

    Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

    I laugh when I look at this fabric because I would never had bought it normally. The team at Remnant Kings talked me into it after I attended an event at the Glasgow store. It feels lovely (like a looser than normal lawn weave but not like gauze or anything) and the print is sweet… it’s just that shade of blue that I would have sworn doesn’t suit me. Maybe it doesn’t but who cares. Find it here.

    Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

    The pearl buttons are pure plastic so I’m waiting for the washing machine to scuff them up. Amazingly after a day of wearing the top there aren’t many creases! Magic. I only wish I had enough fabric for the longer sleeves.

    Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

    I French seamed the whole garment including the armholes and I used the burrito method for the yoke – pic below of rolled up front sandwiched between the inner and outer yoke ready to sew over the shoulder seam.

    Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

    My trusty topstitching foot made easy work of the placket. I had a bit of trouble with the buttonholes because my fabric was a bit damp still after pressing. Once I let everything dry properly and finished unpicking for the third time I was able to stop worrying about them. But then like an idiot I sewed the buttons on in slightly the wrong place so the placket doesn’t sit neatly closed!! Gah!

    Obligatory back shot time…

    Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

    Nice little pleats right?

    I’m so happy with this make I already started another, but this time I hacked the front to have a full placket. I added hot pink stitching so need to get hot pink buttons now right? Next job on my list.

    Almond rock Threadcount blouse Remnant Kings

  • Events and day trips

    Textile Printing at Leeds Art College

    Hello everyone!
    I thought it was about time for a full round up of my Textile Printing course. This is going to be picture heavy I’m afraid and I’ve not even included all the pictures!

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Weeks 1 and 2 we worked with disperse printing using heat set dyes on man made fabrics. Using paper soaked in dye and a giant heatpress, I played with geometric shapes on coloured polyester and crepe.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    almond rock textile printing leeds art collegealmond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Week 3 we made paper stencils using scalpels and when taped to mesh screens we could pull binder ink through onto any fabric we liked. Mine was an utter disaster due to poor squeegee technique and rubbish stencil.

    Week 4 was about free form painting direct onto a screen using Procion reactive dyes. I printed a splatter print onto cotton lawn and silk.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Weeks 5 and 6 we prepped for future sessions by coating screens in light sensitive emulsion and thanks to a huge light box we exposed imagery onto the mesh. We drew the images in thick black pen to act as positives and when the screen was exposed the black areas washed away creating a negative that would allow ink to pass through in just those areas. I chose pineapples!!

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    While our screens set we also dyed silk, satin, velvet and cotton in big pans using tiny amounts of dye and lots of hot water. Excitingly I also got to use the digital printers while our fabrics soaked! I printed 1.5m of paper crane print cotton drill and 1.5m of painterly triangle print silk.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Week 7 was the start of my pineapples adventures! We pulled binder ink through our screens onto any fabrics we wanted. I chose to print fluorescent pink ink on white cotton and crepe de chine and black ink on brown polyester.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Week 8 we tried discharge screenprinting where a smelly seaweed-based paste bleaches the colour from dyed fabric. As well as devore printing which removes cellulose fibres leaving the man made fabric base behind – e.g removing the nap from velvet to create a relief. I used my pineapple screen again to discharge print on my dyed cotton and silk. And freestyled a brush painted devore print on my dyed satin and velvet.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college
    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    Weeks 9 and 10 I decided to expose a new screen with hummingbirds and printed onto some colourful viscose. I printed teal ink on pink and pink ink on purple. Plus I had time for a sneaky little bit more disperse printing.

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

    It was such a wonderful course, I’m actually a little sad I can’t repeat it next term but I’ve already signed up to a pattern drafting course.

    Here are the details for Textile Printing: The course I did was a short evening course run by Leeds Art College, over 10 weeks for 2.5hrs. The tutor is Kirstie Williams who also runs independent print courses.

    The course costs £185 with all materials provided but you bring extra if you want to print something specific.

    I ended up with enough fabric for 3 dresses, 4 tops, and plenty of A2 pieces for tote bags or small garments – silk pineapple knickers perhaps?!

    The new term starts in a couple of weeks so I suggest you sign yourself up asap if you’re interested!

    almond rock textile printing leeds art college

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Pink Parrots and Ugly Pelicans

    Holy Moly! What a weekend!

    I’m aching all over but I am busy typing up a summary of the awesome Minerva Crafts meet up event, ready for you later this week.

    Now for something quite different.

    almond rock berthe republique du chiffon parrots

    This is the Berthe shirt from Republique du Chiffon. It’s my third version of the shirt but my first blogged one.

    Here are three favourites from other bloggers: Blousette Coquette, Nette, and last but not least Jolies Bobines

    almond rock berthe republique du chiffon un ete couture

    This pattern is from the book Un été couture and is a boxy sleeveless collared shirt with hi-low hem. I’ve almost nailed the fit now. Just those pesky armholes are still a little tight. I’ve left off the hi-low hem in all my versions.

    I used an awesome cotton lawn from Ebay (sold out now but Marie found another colourway in her local fabric shop). I’m not sure if you’ll recognise the print? It’s used on Modcloth’s Tropic the Charts Dress. It’s probably a bit pale for me, but it made me smile!

    almond rock berthe republique du chiffon parrots

    The body of the shirt does look a bit better in viscose (which my first two versions were made in) but I love how good my collar turned out thanks to the cotton.

    almond rock berthe republique du chiffon parrots

    The Prym point turner I got from John Lewis was an amazing help to getting a crisp point and a nice round corner on my stand. It’s amazing how you can make do with a chopstick for years and suddenly a bit of carefully shaped plastic can make your sewing so much nicer and stress free!!

    almond rock berthe republique du chiffon parrots modcloth

    So why the ugly pelicans. This fabric has awesome birds BUT in the midst of them there is one ugly as sin pelican.

    almond rock berthe republique du chiffon parrots

    He makes my skin crawl and makes me think of this Shoebill video clip from Attenborough’s Africa. *SHUDDER!*

    Anyway… Along with my beautifully neat collar, this shirt has some of my best topstitching work. It also has hot pink bias binding around the armholes and hem, plus hot pink buttons which both match the lovely pink parrots.

    almond rock berthe republique du chiffon parrots

    All this makes me very happy.

    PS. I’m fairly certain this will be the first and last time you’ll see me in braids hahaha.

  • Dresses

    Meet Melanie

    I’m not a graceful elegant French woman. And pending some kind of life-transplant, I don’t think I ever will be. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wear chic French patterns and frolic around pretending I am. Anyone else feel like this some times?

    P1060166

    Meet Melanie; She’s one of the patterns designed by Géraldine of Republique Du Chiffon, from her book Un été couture (A summer wardrobe), the French pattern book I got for Christmas. Oh yes the irony of buying and making a summer wardrobe during this horrible weather, but hey it’s on the turn isn’t it? This is really a spring frock!

    I chose this dress for my March Minerva Blogger Network make. I was optimistically hoping for better weather. Don’t get me started on how wrong I was but I did end up with a sweet little dress. The fabric is a lovely glossy rust coloured cotton lawn.

    P1060213

    Melanie is a zip fronted dress with split cap sleeves and waist pleats. She’s cute, rather short but lots of fun to sew. She has a nifty zip facing that keeps everything looking neat and the split sleeves are fully lined which looks nice and tidy.

    P1060216

    I really wish this dress suited me a little more. I think the colour is excellent but I don’t think the silhouette is the most flattering. A little too “up and down” for me if that makes sense?

    P1060189_2

    I do love the zip and the finish you get on the inside. Those skirt pleats are very cute and there’s definitely cool factor in the split sleeves.

    Maybe I just need to introduce Melanie to some warmer weather and we’ll get along better. What do you think? Would you wear a zip front dress?

    There’s no denying how ace Julie’s version looks and Magali’s version in another atelier brunette fabric. I also like Mel in a solid colour like this.

    Don’t be put off by this pattern book being in French. Everything is understandable using poor high school French mixed with Google translate. Plus the diagrams are pretty good. They double up across the book you see. You look at a pattern and think “hmmpf why am I only getting three diagrams?” but the diagrams to other steps are included in other similar patterns from the book: Very clever and space-saving.

    P1060163

    Right. Back to sewing! My other half is on a three-day golf weekend and that means pure indulgent “Amy time”, full of my favourite things — Sewing, silly telly, curry, salmon with pickled beetroot and possibly some gin*.

    Have a lovely weekend everyone!!

    *Not necessarily in this order.