The maxium cake dress

Please don’t think of me as terrible birthday brat but I wanted to share details of day 3 from my long weekend of celebrations. I still have one more day to go before I head back to reality and another press day on Tuesday.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

My family weren’t free to catch up until the Saturday after my birthday so we made plans to have afternoon tea at Weetwood Hall near Adel. This 17th century manor house is popular for weddings and parties and there was a wedding going on as we arrived! We sat in the indoor terrace. All the beauty of a garden area but safe from the elements!

We dined on gorgeous sandwiches (I had the veggie selection of aubergine and hummus, avocado and salsa, and cream cheese and cucumber plus a huge onion bhaji). Then there was a dessert tray of scones, treacle tart, brownies, lemon posset, candyfloss and choc ganache lollipops!! Fizz, wine and Earl Grey tea finished the table off nicely and we chatted away the afternoon.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

Sometimes you need a baggy dress. When you have this much food to eat its practically mandatory!! I haven’t been fitting into my clothes very well lately so a baggy dress fits well into my life right now. I’ve been inspired by DIY Daisy’s floaty dresses which are quite straight up and down while still feeling figure flattering.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

I drafted a basic bodice with grown on sleeves and removed the darts from the front and back. Then I adjusted the front to a wrap extending into the waistline (rather than the side seam) using a v neckline as a guide. It sits high on the shoulder then drops in a steep v, crossing just under the bust. The skirt is just a gathered rectangle.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

The excess fabric was used to make bias tape to finish the armholes and neckline. It was an awkward assembly in that I had to bind the front up to the shoulder and leave the ends unsewn first. That meant I could construct the bodice and join to the waist then install the zip. Then finally I could bind the top of the zipper and remaining bit of neckline. Of course I used my blind hem foot to edgestitch the binding. I got impatient before adding a hook and eye at the top… a job for later.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

I decided to topstitch the wrap in place as I can’t be arsed worrying about flashing people. I don’t have a lot of boob to flash but no need to take the risk. The waistline is slightly raised to help the body feel and the rayon means the dress is delightful floaty!! My favourite part of the dress is this stunning print.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

Susan Driscoll designs the most gorgeous prints and I was overjoyed when she released her rayon collection ‘Soiree‘ with Dashwood Studio. I actually bought three of the designs! This print is called Fragment and it reminds me of geology and gemstones. It’s all my favourite colours in one design. It looks a little navy in my pics but is on a black base. I got this dress out of 1.5m of 45″-wide fabric by the skin of my teeth!

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

Do you think you can identify rayon? It’s known in the UK as viscose and is a natural fabric made of plant pulp. BUT sometimes shops just call drapey polyester ‘viscose’ which blurs the lines and sometimes it’s mixed with polyester… the same way any other fabric base can be mixed with polyester of course.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

You can get rayon challis, rayon linen, and rayon jersey plus much more. 100% rayon challis is prone to shrinking, goes hard and rumpled when washed then goes back to being silky and smooth when dry. It doesn’t melt under heat or make static when you wear it. Its breathable and luxurious to wear and it’s my favourite fabric type! You need a sharp needle and sharp pins as its prone to snagging and you need a large space to work on so the fabric doesn’t slide as you work or cut out.

almond rock dashwood studio pattern drafting rayon viscose fragment soiree Susan Driscoll dress

I hope you enjoyed this post and the details of my self drafted dress. I’m building up courage to cut into the Secret Garden print above and figure out what style to sew. If you are keen to try pattern drafting I recommend the Aldrich book series. I also attended a great evening course at Leeds Art School which taught me other methods of drafting if you don’t get on with Winnie Aldrich.

Finally thanks do much to everyone who commented on my tile dress on the blog and on Instagram. I definitely appreciate it!! Cheers to you all!

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Out on the tiles dress Vogue mashup

Hello happy people! I’m in a great mood because this post is going out on my birthday!! I never work on my birthday and always try to do something fun. As it’s a Thursday this year I also took the Friday off so it’s double the fun! Today I had a trip to the spa with a back and head massage and a foot massage. Then I ate my favourite skillet pancakes for lunch in the sun of Mill Kitchen’s outdoor seating. I’ve come back super chilled! And there’s time for a bit of sewing before we head out to dinner!

In other news I finished my dress for the New Craft House Riviera party and had a wonderful time on the night. There were so many familiar faces to catch up with plus some ladies I follow on Instagram but had never spoken to. There was Aperol spritzes and the biscuit fairy Claire was making sure we had regular snacks. I managed to get in a couple of photos with my darling Marie but in my usual style failed at getting a proper outfit shot. I AM THE WORST when I get chatting and forget all about photos.

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

So this week I managed to get a few photos at the studio with the lovely Renata this week so I’m not leaving it for ages to share my finished dress. I love the overall look and paired my lemon earrings and blue belt with the dress to pick up the colours in the fabric.

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

This embroidered mesh was pretty damn difficult to work with. The ‘squares’ are actually slight rectangles and they’re a huge 6″ tall which I didn’t think was actually that flattering when cut on the grain as it chops your body up in weird directions. It has no stretch and of course needed lining. Here’s the fabric if you’re tempted.

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

With all this in mind I decided to cut everything out on the bias! This left me with much less fabric to work with. I used Vogue 9000‘s hacked skirt from this dress and shortened it another 2″. I then cut both the front and back on the fold.

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

For the bodice I could only manage to cut the front on the fold and used my old Vogue 1102 (made so many times with too many tweaks to count) as I could hide the waist darts inside a tile without it looking too obvious. The back bodice had to be cut with a centre back seam but think it looks okay.

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

This all meant I needed a side zipper and to figure out the opacity. The bodice is underlined and then the two layers treated as one for construction and the raw edges finished with nude bias tape. The skirts were assembled separately and joined along the waist seam and zipper position. Below the zipper the skirts hang free and both layers were finished with an overlocked rolled hem. To finish I hand picked a side lapped zipper to make sure nothing would catch in the teeth and the stitching would be as invisible as possible.

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

If you didnt know this fabric was used in Dolce and Gabbana’s Majolica collection. This dress above sold for £4,800…. yep that’s insane. Anywhoo my dress is surprisingly swishy and I feel great in it. It took a lot of brainstorming to figure out the perfect silhouette, pattern placement and order of construction. It was quite nice having a meaty project to work on as I’ve been sewing a lot of quicker things lately but on the flip side there was also a lot on my plate so life suddenly felt very busy. It’s such a happy dress so I’m really pleased I powered through and think it will be nice for future events and holidays.

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

I know I’m a little bit of a diva when it comes to birthdays but I really just take the chance to see as many people as possible, eat and drink well, find joy in everything and feel grateful for another year! My husband and his family know me so well, I got flowers, gin, my favourite most relaxing White Company candle and a voucher for fabric! And on Saturday my family are taking me for fizz and afternoon tea! Life is grand!!

Almond rock sewing embroidered mesh dolce Gabbana vogue v1102 v9000 new craft house dress

Oh and surprisingly I won one of the party raffle prizes for a Selkie Patterns pdf of my choice. I’m going to wait to see their exciting new launch and then decide which to get as an extra birthday present!! Thanks for reading. Maybe I’m writing to myself but I still love blogging, sharing my makes and documenting the process.

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I BLOODY LOVE POLKA DOTS

Small ones, medium ones, giant ones.

So it’s not surprising I bought 5 types of polka dot fabric at the Birmingham meet up!

This is what I did with my three metres of black and white large polka dot satin fabric.

First up I wanted to make a Colette Truffle dress. I made FOUR toiles trying to get the fit right.

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I got the bodice fitted after two toiles because I used a TNT pattern to get the sizing and darts placement right.

I just could not for the life of me, get the skirt to fit. So I gave up.

I desperately wanted the flounce but settled for a gathered skirt that I drafted myself.

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I teamed the dress with gold glittery shoes and a black glitter headband.

I’m pleased with the fit in the back. I usually have a lot of gaping around the upper back but nailed it this time and my zipper is pretty neat.

There is a little bit of gaping around the neckline but think that’s because it’s a touch too low for me combined with such a drapey fabric. Also I normally love gathered waist dresses but after a few too many cakes lately I’m not sure it’s as flattering as it could have been. I’m too ashamed of my handstitching to show you inside I’m afraid.

And then because I didn’t need the extra fabric I’d bought for the flounce I made I had a metre left over!

Hello New Look 6808!

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The best bit about making another one of these tops is that I knew I could fix the sleeves. I did this in two ways. I altered my pattern pieces to lower the bottom of the armhole on both pieces but increase the armhole curve on the back piece by a few millimetres.

Then I sewed the sleeves in flat! This was a revelation!!

I knew you could sew sleeves into jersey tops/dresses in flat but I wasn’t sure about woven garments.

A quick rummage around my google reader unearthed Sunni’s confirmation that you can!

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I made the gathers a bit more pleat like on this version. Though it’s hard to see in this photo.

The top fits like a dream with room for a big fat dinner.

I’m soooo making 50 more of these.

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Refashioning to the max-i

I call this the Promaballoona project.

If you don’t know about Oona and her “recent” Promaballoona you’re missing out. I wanted to go but had my own deadlines to work to and couldn’t whip up a dress in time (or sort the minor matter of flights out).

Watching with jealousy as everyone else got ready, attended and had a kick-ass time made me think of my own “prom” gown. I use air quotes because I’m talking about my graduation ball from University instead.

I was such a silly girl. I bought a vintage 70s dress that made me feel like a Bond-girl in the casino…

…problem was my kick ass dress didn’t help me have a kick ass night. There was no James Bond to liven things up!

I barely had any friends in my year, and the ones I did have weren’t attending. I got some nasty comments on my dress. And I had a pretty lame night overall.

I cringe when I look back on it.

Errr and for the record NO, I’m not putting any pictures on here as I’m cringing all over again at the thought! *Shudder*

It’s all okay though because I gate-crashed my friends’ ball the next year while I was doing my MA and we had an amaaazing time.

Ahem, anywhoo I still loved the dress and had wild ideas every now and then to chop it up and refashion it.

I’m not really a maxi dress girl being so tiny. And the huge flouncy sleeves just swamped me really.

But check out that gorgeous flower detail. That had to stay.

The dress is pure acrylic, which is partly why I think it photographed so incredibly badly with flash and without. But it looks good in person trust me.

First I unpicked the sleeves and sewed the arm holes as if the dress was always strapless. A little fiddly since I didn’t unpick the whole back bodice so had to turn the seam allowance inside and topstitch into place.

Then I removed the skirt and lining completely. The skirt is a lot tighter than my uni days since my derriere is now more pronounced!

So I made a new skirt pattern that was more gathered and swishy then the maxi column skirt and cut the lining and fabric out.

I then sewed it all up and made sure I added pockets to the skirt. Because who doesn’t love pockets!

The zip was a bit tricky. The dress had a lapped centre back zipper.

Due to my unpicking and altering work I had to upick the whole thing and turn it in to a centre back zipper. It actually came out rather neatly!

I finished the whole thing in about 7 hours (split over a series of nights) and wore it out on Saturday to a lovely dinner in Harrogate.

Dinner was for my Mum’s and Brother’s joint birthday celebrations. We went to the amazing William and Victoria Restaurant in Harrogate.

I still think I made it a touch too long. I wanted it at knee level but it’s just over my knees so still makes me feel a bit titchy! I’m going to take up the hem a couple of inches to raise the va va voom.

I’m really pleased that I now have a dress I can still wear and can hopefully create some happier memories to associate with the dress.

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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….

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRq0blwOHiI?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

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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