Happy hula girls Flora dress By Hand London

Hopefully the name of this post has you intrigued! I have a a fun new dress to share in the most awesome print fabric you’ll see today!!

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I am super excited to pair up with Spoonflower for their British Blog Hop. I’m in fab company as well:

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Blog Tour Schedule
Saturday, May 27 | Kate | The Fold Line

Monday, May 29 | Sarah | A Million Dresses

Tuesday, May 30 | Manu | Sew Manju

Wednesday, May 31 | Amy | Almond Rock
Thursday, June 1 | Rachel | House of Pinheiro

Friday, June 2 | Marie | A Stitching Odyssey

Monday, June 5 | Zoe | Sozoblog

Tuesday, June 6 | Kerry| Kestrelmakes

Wow I’ve actually shopped, ate cake, danced and gossiped with everyone on this list. And their blogs are really inspiring and diverse in aesthetic. It’s the best possible virtual party!

So have you ever tried Spoonflower? First set up in the US, they’ve expanded into Europe about a year and a half ago. Having operations in Berlin is a real benefit for all of us here in the UK because with a much closer factory than the US you get a faster turn-around on orders, and you know exactly what you’re paying because it’s all nicely there in GBP at the checkout with VAT included! That last point is pretty important to me as I’m TERRIBLE at maths.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

This was a really fun chance for me to get a print from one of my favourite designers…Taisya Kordiukova aka Tasiania. I know, I know, I could have designed something unique but having loved Tasiania’s mid-century modern inspired scenes of life for a long time I couldn’t resist choosing this hula girls design.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Brief disclaimer: Please excuse the pictures. They were taken on the HOTTEST day the studio had so far this year so I’m a little pink in the face heehee.

My dress is the Flora from By Hand London. It’s view 2 but with a gathered skirt so my hula ladies wouldn’t be placed sideways on the circle skirt. On all my versions of this dress I have adjusted the bodice to be single darted. This was done through a Small Bust Adjustment where I rotated the fullness into the waist. I don’t need a lot of room and one dart covers it! Finally as an act of insanity I made the tiniest rouleaux straps I could manage. They were excruciating to turn through. I didn’t have any cord or string thin enough to sew into the top when I tried the same with an overlocker chain it got caught in the side seam. In the end it was my loop turner that had to take on the task.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Construction was a breeze. The fabric washed really well with no colour fading and it kept it’s gorgeous sheen. I have actually washed the dress three times after an unfortunate curry incident this weekend and it’s holding up amazingly well (the curry stain is almost out too). There’s a nice stretch recovery and the fabric is thick enough not to show the darts and seam allowance through which I was worried about. I lined the bodice in mint sateen suiting from Minerva Crafts, and the skirt in peach anti-static lining. Then I added a nice deep single-fold hem and a lapped zipper. It looks a little misaligned in this photo for some reason.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

I already owned a swatch pack and colour printing guide which I highly recommend before buying as the descriptions are not enough to know what the handle of your fabric will be. From the fabric pack my recommendations for dressmaking are definitely the Kona cotton, crepe de chine and sateen ultra. My cotton sateen was £25.30 a yard which is 53″ wide, plenty for a nice full skirted dress WITH POCKETS. Top tip, it would be a lot easier if you picked a multi-directional print rather than a one-way design as I did.

Spoonflowerbritishbloghop flora dress almond rock by hand london

Ooh pockets I love you.

In my book £25 per metre is worth it for the Spoonflower sateen if you’re getting a custom printed design. Although this fabric was provided free in exchange for a review, it’s a high quality fabric that I would definitely order again. No one is saying you need to be a technical whizzkid to make your own prints; Spoonflower have an awesome book that guides you through the whole process in fact and there’s a lot of info on the blog. If you’re still unsure, check out the epic print gallery for a pre-made design.

I hope you liked my dress and continue to follow the blog hop as it continues! Keep an eye on the hashtag #Spoonflowerbritishbloghop on IG and Twitter for more inspiration and if you have any questions about the quality, print or order process please let me know.

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Fantastic Flora

Sorry it’s been a while but I’m back with a cheeky festive party dress.

This is my last Minerva Blogger make of the year and I’ll be taking a break for a while so I can focus on sewing from my ever growing stash!

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This is the Flora dress from By Hand London. I’m really pleased Minerva have started stocking BHL patterns.

I wanted to take on the Flora dress but make it my own, so I decided it needed scallops!

My indecision over the pattern was over the high-lo hem. I’m really not sure that trend and I will ever be friends.

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But when I saw this wine coloured stretch cotton fabric I had an instant idea for some scalloped goodness.

It’s pretty much like cotton sateen but with a duller shine. It feels and looks richer than its price tag but gosh does it attract fluff.

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So I made a few adjustments to the pattern, I rotated out the front bust darts into the waist and in the end I decided a gathered skirt would be easier to scallop rather than the circle skirt.

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I used the adjustable scallop stitch on my machine along with lots and lots of measuring to achieve the right number along the bodice front and back, plus I self-lined the bodice and used a hem facing to make the scallops as clean as possible.

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The dress was worn to my work Christmas party with matching satin shoes, gold jewellry and big curly hair. It went down a treat!

The perfect party dress.

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Minerva Crafts Meet Up – Dress Reveal

Hello hello!

It’s time for the full reveal of my Minerva meet up dress. Let’s quickly recap, I had chosen a beautiful cotton sateen and had to make a lovely party dress for an evening of fun and frolics. Here it is!

almond rock mccalls 6833

Everyone was dressed to the nines which was great. I loved my dress; I can attest to how fun it was to dance in.

This is McCalls 6833 (the strappy version with a gorgeous pleated skirt). Because I used red crepe-like satin as my lining the dress felt especially nice to wear. It didn’t take much convincing to get me back into the dress for additional photos!

almond rock mccalls 6833

almond rock mccalls 6833

And how about some photos of the day? Words fail me to convey how busy, bubbly and fun this day was. I hope the photos show this!

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See more photos here!

Thank you Vicki and all the Minerva Crafts team for such a brilliant day! I hope you had as much fun as I did!

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Shopping list as long as my arm

As I think you’ll be well aware, for the MC blogger team’s June garments we are all making fancy frocks in celebration of the Minerva Crafts Meet-Up event Saturday 14th aka TOMORROW!! We’re going to have a little blogger celebration after the day for the awesome awards the Network has won.

almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

There’s a whole day of fun that’s open for everyone remember. I really hope to see as many of my readers as possible there! You can watch me burn through my paycheck.

As we aren’t revealing our finished dresses before the event, you are just getting a teaser today. I hope you like what you see!

Clue no.1

I’ve made a dress I made recently. I didn’t say at the time but it was totally a “wearable muslin” for this party dress. It’s not exactly the same as the pattern includes variations that I’m taking advantage of.

almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

Clue no.2

I’m using a fabric used by a fellow blogger and friend at the end of last year. Do you recognise it? It is beautiful cotton sateen in reds, greys and pinks. I’m pairing it with a luscious crepe-like satin (I mean seriously luscious, I could have made my whole dress out of this stuff).

Intriguing I hope? Because I was in the mood to make an effort I added a few extra touches to make my dress extra special.

Including a handpicked hem to make it as invisible as possible (everyone who knows me, knows handsewing is a rare thing in these parts). I used hem tape in a coordinating colour to do this and then neatly picked through to the front periodically. Can you see my stitching!?

almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

I also added support to the waist by stitching thin ribbon in the seam allowance, almost like a waist stay. This will stop the sateen from stretching out.

almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

Finally I’m adding sew in boning to the sides of the bodice for support.

Right! That’s all I’m telling you. You’ll have to look out for the big reveal across social media and the blogs over the course of the weekend! 

Look forward to seeing many of you Saturday.

I’ll be the one loud and proud in my red stripey sundress!

almond rock stripey sundress minerva crafts

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Fabric Shopping Adventures!

Hello lovely Readers! I hope you’ve had a great week.

I’ve had two fantastic weekends in a row that I wanted to share. And both involved fabric shopping!

Last weekend I mentioned I was in London. The trip was centred around a lovely friend’s 30th birthday. I also got to see some of my family and go to the ballet. All excellent activities!

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On the Monday before I left for home I snuck in a little bit more fun in the shape of a Goldhawk Road trip with some famous sewing faces. I put a call out on twitter for London-based sewists who’d be free for shopping on a Monday and who replies? Only flipping Lizzie who was going to be visiting the UK and free to meet up!

Even better, Rachel, Fiona, Inna and Alana were also free for a shopping jaunt. It had been ages since we last caught up with each other.

We combed the shops for bargains and then had a lovely gossip over lunch in a funny little cafe (Rachel’s photo above). Monday was the day that Fiona’s first Mood post went live and also the day the Project Sewn results were announced! Talented ladies.

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Excellent London buys – Deer print Georgette, Geometric Cotton Sateen and Fabulous Swimming Ladies Polycotton.

This weekend was just as good. I got to catch up with Sabs, Kat, Marie, Helen, Roisin and Claire in Birmingham.

We enjoyed the Rag Market, the brilliant Barry’s and the Fancy Silk Store. Our lunch may have been more gossiping than eating but that’s just how I like it.

The fabric bargains, lovely company and good weather(!) all made it worth riding the megabus. I know I’m a broken record but it’s amazing considering we met randomly off the Internet, how I seriously value these ladies being in my life. They inspire me and they make me laugh so much.

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Brilliant Brum Purchases – Rose print Polyester, Hydrangea print Viscose. Not pictured are my bargain zip and bias binding purchases or my extremely dull lining choices.

I feel like I’ve been searching for the perfect floral since I started sewing. These two are pretty gorgeous but not perfect. They will do for now though!

Finally I still have one (ludicrously expensive) fabric purchase to show you but I’m saving that for another time…

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