• Dresses

    Not another New Look 6587

    I know, I know, I could possibly be stuck in a dress rut… but I don’t care. New Look 6587 is fast becoming one of those dresses that never turns out badly and I can always imagine another one!

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern

    As you know I haven’t really been sewing lately but I did want a birthday dress. And what could be better than ANOTHER LEMON DRESS?!? So for year 36 I made another version of my classic 90s pattern New Look 6587.

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern

    It’s the perfect dress because it isn’t tight but has enough shape and structure so I don’t feel like I’m wearing a sack. I can eat plenty without feeling uncomfortable and it fits me regardless of my fluctuating weight.

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern

    It was a rather fun birthday weekend with an Italian 60s themed murder mystery and illusion spaghetti and meatballs chocolate cake on Friday, and then on Saturday a picnic in my favourite park in Ilkley! I managed to wear the dress on the morning of my birthday but by the time the picnic came around it was a bit too cold so I had to change out of it. But I wore it for a brief moment so it counts as a birthday dress!

    almond rock fabric shopping paris husband

    This delightful fabric was picked up during my visit to Paris earlier this year. There are pineapples, lemons and strawberries on it as well as botanical leaves. It’s a half artistic and half cheesy but I LOVE IT! It’s a medium weight stretch cotton. Almost denim weight! But that makes it so well structured and perfect for this dress. Perhaps a little warm for the heatwave and a little cold for the weird snap in the weather! But who cares it’s cute and I wore it for a nice walk through the local fields to see how the foals were getting on.

    I used navy bias around the neckline as a facing and added more of the plastic buttons from the navy lemons dress… I  still have about 80 of them left. Those patch pockets are the greatest too. Perfect phone and key size for going on walks!

    almond rock new look 6587 nl6587 fruit pineapples lemons vintage dressmaking sewing pattern

  • Dresses

    China blue McCall’s 6959 wrap dress

    Like many of us, the Covid situation threw me through a loop for a long time. I was home all the time, working from the spare room, I didn’t get out of my pyjamas many days, and barely wore makeup. And crafting? That was non-existent. In a way I’d lost my sense of identity – I wasn’t wearing or making home sewn clothes. But things are slowly starting to get better. It started with house viewings! Yes I had to wear gloves and masks, not touch anything and keep away from the estate agent as a I moved around but I had a reason to get dressed and get out the house. Then I went to an arm knitting blanket workshop at Fabricate.

    I’d already seen on social media how dedicated Philippa was being about safety and going to the shop didn’t disappoint; she had socially distant workbenches, it was a zero contact tutorial, hand sanitiser a-plenty and much more. It was liberating to get a taste of what life used to be like but with a new safety-first slant. This week I’m going for a beach side break in a private cottage to celebrate my wedding anniversary and I’m taking one of my prettiest dresses to wear for dinner.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    This dress has it’s own story. At the beginning of the year I was contacted by Lindybop about doing a sponsored blog post. I received 3m of fabric and in exchange I was to write a guest blog post and do social media promotion when the dress was ready.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    This stunning china blue porcelain print fabric features delicate florals on a spandex cotton base which they called crepe de chine. You can read my earlier comments on how it isn’t really ‘crepe de chine’ on my magpie dress blog post. But before I could write the blog post, Lindybop went into administration. They kindly messaged me and said to keep the fabric and wished me well.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    It’s rather sad, but the dress turned out so nicely that I’d like to still share it, even though it’s bittersweet. I made the McCall’s 5969 from Love Sewing mag 65 last year, one of my favourite issues (now out of stock). By merging View D with its modest wrap bodice and long sleeves with View B’s full circle skirt and sash tie, this dress becomes delightfully vintage with the right fabric.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    I shared my toile of the bodice on Instagram earlier in the year – thought you’d appreciate the flash of tummy above. A brief reminder of my measurements: 36″ A bust, 33″ waist, 45″ hips. I chose a size 10 in the upper body/bust/armholes, 12 waist and 14 waist/hips. I then slimmed the sleeve width down a little and ultimately, shortened their length. I also moved the bust darts slightly and added 2″ to the skirt hem.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    I’m  not risking any mishaps with this wrap… There are multiple press stud fasteners used to close the dress at each side seam and the neckline. The sash belt is then purely decorative. The mix of facings and my own use of bias binding for the skirt and sleeve hems feels complementary.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    This feels luxurious to wear because of the fabric. Plus it feels well drafted, as that sleeve head is lovely and the bodice has just enough ease for everyday movement without looking saggy. PLUS the swish of the circle skirt is, of course, fabulous. But that means it is also fabric hungry, requiring me to use almost all of my 3m.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    Wrap dresses used to make me so upset when I tried them on as everyone said they were universally flattering no matter your shape. But when I tried them on in shops all I saw was this lumpy figure with overemphasised stomach and hips, and no bust. Then I tried the Eve wrap dress with some success. But a wrap dress with a circle skirt? This is glorious for my body shape aka the human butternut squash.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    Want to see more? How about Wendy’s version from the magazine. Or follow Rin’s gorgeous sewalong. At last but not least this STUNNING red Gucci Mindy Kaling inspired version by Serena.

  • Dresses

    Roar-some Tilly and The Buttons Seren dress

    Hello hello! It’s been a little while since I wrote on the blog. I’ve only been sewing a little lately but I thought I’d share this Seren dress I made last year.

    Almond fock tiger print stretch crepe midi Seren dress Tilly and the Buttons

    It’s been getting a fair bit of wear this Spring/Summer. The weather comes and goes but paired with a cardigan it looks rather cute. This is how I wore it during Me Made May.

    This dress was actually relegated to my wardrobe for the first year it was made. I made it too tight at the waist by taking it in too much and made the straps too wide. So earlier this year I dug it out, let out the seams and recut the straps.

    The fabric is a fun stretch crepe with white tigers lounging all over it. I wouldn’t recommend stretch fabrics for button down clothes unless they’re loose but I’m a renegade so I don’t take my own advice. I got it from Dalston Mill Fabrics who have an online shop of secret treasures like this.

    I use a loop turner to make straps and these made me scream bloody murder! In hindsight I should have move their position a little. For the covered buttons I love the contrast pop of yellow. They’re made in a similar weight yellow stretch crepe. I still have to make a dress from this crepe. Covered buttons are so polished and quite fun to make. I use a rubber tool to press the pieces together which you can see my tutorial for Love Sewing here.

    Almond fock tiger print stretch crepe midi Seren dress Tilly and the Buttons

    As a friend of the Tilly team I was kindly gifted the paper pattern with no obligations to promote but I love the dress so why wouldn’t I share. I made a size 4 but it was a little roomy under the armpits so I tinkered with the side seams as I mentioned. This is the plain bodice view without the waistband and the midi skirt.

    Almond fock tiger print stretch crepe midi Seren dress Tilly and the Buttons

    On single dart bodices I prefer them to be at the waist. I understand they couldn’t do that because of the tie front view. I could have moved the darts I suppose but pressed ahead regardless. The skirt is a great length if you don’t want to shave your legs properly and is lovely and swishy. Plus now it makes me think of of the show Tiger King.

    Have you made Seren? I’d love to know in the comments. Check out this stripey version from Malin, the Sewing Wife’s classic version and this beauty from Lena with ruffle straps!

  • Dresses

    Frilly Cocowawa Plum dress

    Well hello sunshine. It’s a bright and happy week outside and the sky is clear and calm. Which makes me feel a bit calmer too. I’ve been keeping busy doing quizzes with family and friends, experimenting with air dry clay and of course sewing. It is still rather difficult to know what to make but I’m managing to keep going. My Plum dress is a good example of that!

    Almond rock sewing dressmaking plum baby doll dress cocowawa patterns frill sleeve polka dot viscose challis pattern testing

    Sometimes you gave to be bold and challenge yourself to try a shape you wouldn’t normally wear/make. When Ana’s call went out for testers, my hand shot up. I like checking pattern instructions and testing construction so I miss that part of my old job. That’s why I also checked some patterns for the recent Sewing Bee book.

    Almond rock sewing dressmaking plum baby doll dress cocowawa patterns frill sleeve polka dot viscose challis pattern testing

    Plum is extremely loose and floaty babydoll but features fun frill sleeves with an interesting construction and a charming buttoned back bodice. I’d had success with the similarly roomy Indigo dress so was intrigued by the drop shoulder detail on Plum.

    Almond rock sewing dressmaking plum baby doll dress cocowawa patterns frill sleeve polka dot viscose challis pattern testing

    The dress us unlined so very quick to put together (perfect for beginners) but I was slowed down trying to figure out the fit. I ended up with a size 2 in the upper body, size 1 in the lower body. It’s a smidge tight in the biceps… I use that term loosely as I don’t have any! So perhaps a 3 in that area would have been best. The size 1 has oodles of space for my 45″ hips so it’s nice and breezy.

    Almond rock sewing dressmaking plum baby doll dress cocowawa patterns frill sleeve polka dot viscose challis pattern testing

    This polka dot visvose challis fabric was a present from Marie from Birmingham rag market. We both bought it in 2014 (I think) but I managed to rip mine. So sweet Marie sent me hers as a bonus treat when I recently shopped her stash. I found some adorable flower buttons to finish the placket and used blue bias tape around the neckline.

    Almond rock sewing dressmaking plum baby doll dress cocowawa patterns frill sleeve polka dot viscose challis pattern testing

    I made my version before the neckline was altered on the final pattern but knew it was being lowered so trimmed it down to be a close match. I hemmed to just above the knee so I didn’t feel swamped.

    Almond rock sewing dressmaking plum baby doll dress cocowawa patterns frill sleeve polka dot viscose challis pattern testing

    The husband approves of how floaty it is but I’m hyper aware of the frills when I wear it. My fear of ruffles continues!! It’s a great working from home dress for definite.

    See the other tester versions and buy the pattern here to make your own version!

  • Loungewear

    The Cat’s Pyjamas – Carolyn McCall’s hybrid lounge set

    So before I get started with my blog post, I have an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! On April 25th 7:30pm (BST) I’ll be co-hosting the Pyjama Pictionary Party with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. This is a YouTube live stream on my channel where we’ll chat handmade pyjamas, you can ask us anything you’ve always wanted to know and then we’ll quiz your sewing knowledge with a themed game of Pictionary! PLUS we’ve gathered 9 amazing raffle prizes which we’ll draw at the end of the night.

    CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLE!

    I love a classic pyjama. They make me think if Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Claudette Colbert… I could go on. They’re best slightly oversized with contrast piping, and occasionally a monogrammed pocket. Now despite loving pyjamas, I’ve blogged only a couple of the pairs I’ve made! You can see my McCall’s 6659 here and why not check out my YouTube video on adding piping to the Closet Case Carolyn top here.

    This set was dreamed up while I was sick last Easter. I mean, really really unwell. Like crying in pain unwell. So… I’m lying on the sofa and Jimi brings me a present from my dearest Sewing Wife Marie. 3m of crazy cat fabric to make me feel better and some sweets! She’s the cutest right?? As Marie had bought herself some of the fabric too we both agreed to make PJs for some #sewtwinning fun. I chose to make the Closet Case Carolyn top and the McCall’s 6659 trousers but turn them into shorts. I used sparkly silver piping to pick out the silver in the print. And found the cutest metallic painted shell buttons on eBay to coordinate!

    This might seem crazy but for the Carolyn top I started with a size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Remember I have a surprising waist to hip ratio and I don’t believe in feeling snug while in loungewear! I’m currently 36:33:45. My McCall’s shorts are size 14. I made my own cuffs for the sleeves and short hems to maximise piping and tried my best with pattern placement… This pattern is hungry on a 45″ wide fabric. Marie nailed the pockets on her pyjamas of course. I’m jealous obviously. Everything is finished inside with zesty overlocked seams for a secret dash of sunshine.

    Now I’m rather shy about my thighs but this next cropped shot is acceptable as you’ll want to see the bottoms on.

    Now comes the dreaded back shot! The things I do for you guys eh?

    It’s a funny fabric weight; somewhere between a loose cotton weave and a single gauze so it has a pretty crinkled texture and lovely soft hand. Marie thinks it might be seersucker. It’s totally opaque either way. Perfect for pyjamas! Marie got it from Leicester Market so I imagine it was fair price as well. It’s important with textured fabric like this that you embrace the wrinkles. Press the entire thing super flat when it’s not going to last is a waste of your time and will likely throw off your fit and finish.

    I’ll leave you with a few more pictures, and don’t forget to join the Pictionary Pyjama Party on Saturday 25th!