Seeing stars Vintage Shirtdress

Hope you’re all having a good week? I’ve been spending lots of time in my sewing room, getting ready for my first wedding anniversary (as we’re making a weekend of it), and planning for our trip to Paris in September! I’m also looking forward to the Craft New House summer party with it’s Italian Riviera theme. You can see my outfit progress over on Instagram if you’re interested.

Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

Life has this stupid habit of getting in the way of essential sewing doesn’t it. Only joking, life is equally as important if a little less fun than sewing. I know I’m pretty lucky to get so much sewing time so it embarrasses me when I takes me months to finish a make. This dress was started in January.

Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern joanie

Inspired by a Joanie dress in a similar print I set about making my own version using the Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress pattern. Obviously I’ve used that pattern A LOT and I’ve made TOO MANY SHIRTDRESSES for some people! But safe to say it always makes me feel good. It’s not a brilliant match to the Joanie dress but close enough that I could dive straight in.

Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

This stunning Georgette fabric is from So Sew English who are actually in the US. They offered me two fabrics to review and this one screamed out at me. They’re keen for more international sewist to give them a chance and I have to say the fabrics don’t disappoint! It has a lovely crinkle effect on it and is slightly stretchy.

They also have a UK co-op that all have their orders sent to our person, Casey, in the UK. She then distributes and ships to everyone within the UK. It’s significantly cheaper for us to send large boxes with our carrier then to ship domestically within the UK than it is to ship directly to each individual. The UK co-op is here:

Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

I’m fairly confident with piping and enjoyed adding the pop of white to the collar and placket. Originally I was going to add sleeves with piped hems to my shirtdress but once again fell out of love with the drafting of the included sleeve shape. It is just so tall in the cap and makes a weird hill on the top of your shoulder when you move your arm. And I ran out of fabric to try cutting new ones. Instead I piped the armholes. I just wish I’d had enough fabric for a sash belt too.

Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

I added a couple of cm to the side seams as due to some increased cake consumption I’m now a 31.5″ waist, but working on getting that back down a bit so I keep fitting into all my me-mades. And I added 2″ to the hem to have more knee coverage. I really prefer hiding my knees these days. The back shot above makes me look super bootylicious!

Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

For the facings I used leftover organza from my wedding dress as I thought black interfacing would make those areas too opaque. I’m pretty happy with the result. The buttons are from my stash and the piping was from ebay so it was a pretty cost efficient dress.

Almond rock sew over it vintage shirtdress so sew english Georgette piping navy stars dress sewing pattern

I hope you liked a peek at my bazillionth shirtdress. Maybe it inspired you to give piping a go! All I keep thinking with these pictures is to get a haircut asap. I stripped another layer of hair dye off before these pics and my ends are super dry and sad looking. You can see more of my #grombre progress here though which is great even if it’s only a peek. You have to catch me in person for the full effect! I’ll leave you with a few of my faves from the So Sew English site!


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Elisalex V9000 superhack dress

Hello everyone! I’m keeping up my run of weekly blog posts and it feels so good! Today I’m sharing a dress that I cooked up by mashing a few things together. It’s the perfect 50s style swishy midi dress that makes me feel like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. I could easily swish around on a Greek island too if needed. Anyone offering a mini break?

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

So are you curious about my superhack? I started with the Elisalex dress bodice which I’ve made twice before but skipped the sleeves this time. I’m wearing the size 10 with a little bit of excess taken out of the shoulders. Then used Vogue 9000 which I’ve made here, and merged the skirt panels into a front and back rather than seven piece skirt. I’m wearing the size 14 waist and hip. I then adjusted the side seams and centre back edges slightly to make sure they’d match up and chopped an inch off the length.

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

I’m so happy with the result as it’s modest with the neckline and length, but a little cheeky with the dipped back, AND the skirt has fantastic swish! Seriously good swish. Which is mostly down to the fabric I chose but important to say that being flared rather than circle, there’s limited chance of the skirt blowing up and flashing everyone on a windy day. Result! My invisible zipper went in like a dream (I love my invisible zipper foot to death – if you don’t have one, go get one) and the waist matches nicely! I handsewed the lining to the inside for a change as I normally stitch in the ditch but had some telly to watch while I did it.

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

I really like wearing dark colours in hot weather as I am always cold and this is a guaranteed way to warm up, but also I think black looks great with a tan. This is of course one of Lisa Comfort’s gorgeous fabric prints. I was very tempted by the first collection which features pastel colours and soft florals. I love Elderflower and the pink colourway would have been perfect for me but I resisted as I hate hate hate ironing and need to limit the amount of cotton dresses I make before I go insane over the wrinkles.

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

When the crepe collection was released I snapped up the Wild Flower print in black. At 150cm-wide it’s perfectly designed to fit a flared skirt like this without needing to cut on the cross grain but at midi length the pieces are fabric hungry. However the princess seam bodice of the Elisalex dress is a great space saver on a fabric layout. I lined the bodice in black habotai to help as well. In the end I got this dress out of just 1.5m of fabric! SO EFFICIENT!

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

The poly crepe barely wrinkles, floats like a dream and is totally opaque. Big points for my lifestyle! I’m only slightly bummed that there is a permanent crease in the centre front of the skirt from where the fabric was folded in half before being put on the bolt. I don’t know if this is just my piece, or just the bolt. It could be how the fabric was pressed during transit after printing. I don’t know… but every time I look down I try not to look at the crease line. BUT to end on a more positive note, I can totally recommend the fabric quality, the Elisalex pattern for how well drafted it is and Vogue 9000 as the perfect half shirtdress (eyes peeled for my newest version of this dress in one of the prettiest viscose prints I’ve ever found).

almond rock vogue 9000 v9000 elisalex dress by hand london lisa comfort fabric sew over it

*Just to let you know this post contains affiliate links but products I link are from trusted sellers like The McCall Pattern Co selling through Amazon or Minerva Crafts. There’s no obligation to buy through the link of course. I don’t advertise on my blog so this is a little way to fund the running of the site!

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Simplicity 1419

Hello everyone! Hope you’re enjoying this amazing weather!! I’ve been sewing up a storm for my honeymoon and finalising wedding details. It’s all pretty manic at work because I’m trying to do two issues at once so then my team only have to cover the third issue on their own. Oh what fun! But when I’m laid out in the sunshine with a tropical cocktail in my hand, the publishing panic will be far far far out of my mind. In other exciting news I finished my macrame plant hanger from November! I dyed white rope with tumeric, used wooden beads as accents and bought a pretty fern to go in the base. This is a result of our Wednesday craft clubs at work but I had to pause because it turns out you can’t buy little ferns during winter… who’d have thought!

almond rock macrame tumeric dyeing lifestyle

I made myself another version of the utterly fab Lisette Simplicity 1419 dress that I made once before here. I really need to make a few more before the year is out! The sweet keyhole detail and perfectly fitting sleeve make this the dream bodice for me and you can add any style of skirt you like on the bottom for an all round winning dress.

lisette simplicity 1614 round trip almond rock fabworks crepe

This time I used a beautiful teal crepe from Fabworks that has a slight texture to it but not too pronounced. The print is oriental in feel with pretty birds and peonies (MY FAVE FLOWERS EVER so I’m calling them peonies even if they’re not for definite) but I can’t seem to find it on the website so it may have sold out, or be an in-store special. A reader already emailed me after seeing a little pic of this dress on my welcome page. So sorry I couldn’t help further Tara! I love working with crepes like this as they don’t really need ironing, plus the amount of drape is great and garments from it hang perfectly. Fabrics like this fit into my lifestyle so well as I never have time for ironing and even when I do, two hours in a car and the seatbelt crumples everything I’ve smoothed out!

lisette simplicity 1614 round trip almond rock fabworks crepe

Unlike my last version I didn’t alter the neckline at all; Being a touch higher works when you’re adding a button loop but I’d lower it again if sewing a plain front. The loop somehow makes it feel even more traditional like a cheongsam dress or something. I wasn’t really going for that but I think it makes the dress look a touch more formal. This is of course the Emery dress skirt added onto the bodice.

lisette simplicity 1614 round trip almond rock fabworks crepe

I made this dress on a whim to wear to the lovely Ruth’s hen do in York. It was a bit of a rush so I sewed the most awful zip I’ve done in a long long time. Partly this was because I just added a centre installed zipper where you use a close ended zipper and sew down either side. I’ve always hated this finish as they never sit neatly flat and open up, exposing the teeth in an unsightly way. BUT, now it’s done will I really be bothered to unpick and resew? Other than the shame of other sewists seeing it, I don’t care what non-sewing folk think as their clothes usually pale in comparison with off grain jeans, misaligned plaids and careless stitching.

lisette simplicity 1614 round trip almond rock fabworks crepe

I’m not sure I’ll ever made a version with the peter pan collar as they may be look extremely childlike on me but I won’t say never… that’s not the way to live. I should really try the included skirt pieces as the pleats would be quite flattering now. My changing waistline has led to me rediscovering some patterns and styles I previously ruled out.

lisette simplicity 1614 round trip almond rock fabworks crepe

If you find this fabric please do send me the link or tag me on social media so I can spread the word! It’s sooooo gorgeous, you’re definitely going to want some. For more dress loveliness, check out the fabulous Roisin of Dolly Clacket in red, and an amazing pattern hack from the darling Rachel also in red and last but not least the jacket that’s included in the pattern whipped up by Kerry in an awesome bird print!

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Bits and Bobbins

Gosh it’s been ages since I last posted.
I get this horrible feeling when I don’t post during a week. Let’s remedy that!

I’ve been sewing like a maniac lately and have a big queue of things to show you in the next few weeks. I’ll start by sharing a few things today.

First up are a couple of work tops that are modest and smart but still a bit fun and go with jeans. It’s the “I’m so cute, don’t you want to let me standardise your product and put it in a media neutral content management system” look. Snappy eh?

almond rock new look 6148 squirrel rabbit crepe

So here we have a yoke-less new look 6148 in ex-Dorothy Perkins crepe with awesome squirrel and rabbit print. I picked this up from Goldhawk Road a couple of summers ago and as soon as I was on the train home regretted only buy 1m.

And my firm favourite, new look 6808 in red and cream polyester. I’m not falling into the trap of calling it tribal, ohhhhhh no. This fabric was one of my bargain Birmingham Rag Market purchases that I recently shared on Instagram.

almond rock new look 6808 tribal polyester

I thought I try the 6808 sleeves on the 6148 as well and wahey they fit all right! Maybe even a bit better than they fit the pattern they came with!?

Moving along… a few weeks ago my friends had the fright of their lives. Their baby who hadn’t quite finished cooking, arrived 8 weeks early weighing in at a teeny 2 lbs. After some love and attention she’s been beefed up enough to be at home with her family.

As a baby gift I made the Dylan Onsie pattern (babygrow to all us Brits) from Spit Up and Stilettos – it was free for some time but appears to now be priced. I also snaffled the Drew leggings pattern while they were free and they also seem pretty cool too for an easy baby gift.

almond rock dylan onesie babygrow spit up and stilettos metallic gold hot pink jersey

The pattern includes “preemie” size for teeny babies just like Baby Amber. I used some garish but fun hot pink and metallic gold jersey from Birmingham rag market with some jersey bias tape and a bit of velcro from Samuel Taylors, and whipped it up on my overlocker. It’s definitely opinion dividing but I knew if anyone would get a kick out of this, it would be Tom and Helen, and I love that Amber is disco-ready.

Finally I made a little tool and pencil case ready for my pattern drafting class! What a geek, I know. This is the “Develop” Pattern Drafting and Garment Design evening course that I’m doing through Leeds Art College just like my Textile printing course.

The notes advise bringing basic sewing supplies, plus basic pencil kit so I had to make the pouch quite big. It’s about A5 sized.

almond rock vintage sewing pattern tshirt transfer paper zipper pouch

I printed a black and white image from a vintage sewing pattern onto tshirt transfer paper. I used some cotton canvas for the pouch and an invisible zipper. Here’s a good tutorial for pouches with regular zips. Easy for anyone to do, whether they’re a newbie or an old pro.

Isn’t she working that dress? She’s giving me Liz Taylor vibes.

Now that I’ve broken the silence, look forward to a few more posts from me soon!

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Tips for working with Slippery Fabrics!

If you’ve stuck around here long enough, you’ll have noticed I have a real affection for slinky fabrics.

With the completion of my Satin pyjamas I thought it was about time I share some of my personal survival tactics with Satin.

BUT most of these also apply to Silks, Viscose, Chiffon, Crepe or Georgette.


1. Storage
I’ve always heard it’s best to store Satin rolled up to avoid getting creases that need to be ironed out later. I’ve stored it both rolled up and loosely folded and I have to say I didn’t have much problem either way. That being said, best not to put a ton of Corduroy and Denim on top of your Satin if you’re not sewing it up straight away.

2. Can’t stand the heat!
Satin has a special kind of weave that creates a glossy right-side to the fabric and a dull wrong-side. This lustre can be damaged by the high heat and steam of an iron or even accidentally picking an overaggressive spin-cycle on your washing machine.

Wash at 30 degrees and turn your iron to its coolest setting. Always press on the wrong side of the fabric or if you must press the right side then use a pressing cloth. The weight of your iron, more than the heat will help you achieve neatly pressed edges.

3. Lay it down.

Don’t be fooled, slippery fabric wants to escape your cutting table as soon as your back is turned! So unless you can fit all the fabric on the table without gravity coming into play I’d suggest cutting out on the floor (not the carpet). Basting will also be your new best friend – pin or stitch the folded fabric together to increase stability.

Best to also clear a good space around your machine, as again, you’ll be sewing along and suddenly your fabric will fling itself off the table like it has decided to end it all!


4. Nap.
It’s not as obvious as the pile of velvet but there is a subtly different sheen when you view Satin one way rather than the other. Remember to lay all your pieces out in one direction even if your print is multi-directional… if you care about things like that.

5. To the point
First off, I hope you don’t have a tin full of dented blunt pins. That’s going to end in disaster.

Use the finest machine needle you can get hold of. Nice and sharp. I always use polyester thread. Use a small stitch length and try not to rip out stitches.

If you need to unpick, hey it happens, break the threads at regular intervals and then carefully unpick the shorter lengths to save trauma to the fabric.

6. Grain
I’m going to say the words people aren’t supposed to say. Deep breath… don’t beat yourself up about the grain. HEY I didn’t say ignore it completely! If you end up slightly off-grain because of the slippery nature of the fabric, you’ll be okay.

I generally find drapey fabrics far more forgiving in this regard and they very rarely warp over time. A significant amount of ready to wear clothing is produced off-grain and it’s never done us that much harm. But it’s not like it takes long to do so make the effort to line things up as best as you can.


7. Finishing
Before you end up in a sea of Satin-fluff you might want to think about how to finish your seams. I definitely recommend French seams. I used them for 90% of the pyjamas except for the crotch seam on the pj bottoms and around the armholes in the pj top; there I used my serger to neaten things off.

French seams are so good because they’re secure, look pretty awesome and are really easy to sew when you’ve thought through the logistics! You can even use them on curved seams, even though I didn’t as I was honed in on the finish line – aka lazy. I did take the time to encase the exposed edge of my shirt facing with Satin bias binding as I was feeling classy for about 5 mins. .

Other options still apply — zig zag the raw edges, use pinking shears or bias/seam binding, or maybe you’ve prefer to fold under and top stitch your seam allowances out of sight.

Final thoughts

  • You can use a gelatin bath or similar on your fabric to give it temporary body – this washes out easily enough but I don’t like how slimy it makes the fabric and my machine bed.
  • If you want more tips for silk check out Jen’s awesome tutorial which covers helpful cutting techniques using paper. This is a very common method for a good reason.
  • Familiar with the tissue paper technique? This is for sewing (rather than cutting) and I’ve found it very handy in the past.
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