• Dresses

    Starry night McCall’s 8090 hack

    Happy 2022 everyone! I’m kicking off the year by sharing a dress I actually finished last August. It’s a little ridiculous how long things wait before I photograph them properly. When I shared a sneak peek on Instagram it was very popular so hopefully you still like it now it’s finished. I’m pretty taken with it, except for one thing which I’ll cover in a moment.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    I used the Marina Dress from McCall’s aka M8090 which is available in sizes 4-22 (46″ hip). This dress came with Love Sewing 95 where is how I recommend you buying it as it’s £9.99 for three sewing patterns. As per my previous version I adapted the bodice and skirt panel lengths. Marina is drop waist so I took 9cm off the bodice and added it to the top skirt panels. Next I removed the square yoke by folding out the gathering at the centre front and taping the yoke piece directly on top of the bodice piece. Here’s what that looked like.

    Almond Rock shows a pattern hack to remove the yoke from McCall's M8090 sewing pattern

    On my previous version I also adapted the sleeve into a raglan but I decided to keep the standard rounded sleeve for this dress. As I made the dress in August, I went for a sleeveless finish but honestly regretted it. That’s the major thing I referred to at the start of this post. And there is a sleeveless view for the pattern but I think a smaller armhole would be more flattering on me if going sleeveless. I have enough fabric left over to cut some sleeves so will add a 3/4 sleeve with an elastic cuff. 

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Another thing that didn’t go quite to plan is the neckline where I decided to omit the collar stand. I wanted a nice flat open neckline which I got by drafting a neckline facing on the inside, instead. It’s not enough to support the placket opening even with an interfaced placket, so the fabric sags. Not unwearable but not as smart and neat as the original pattern. While I’m going to add sleeves, I’m not going to add a collar retrospectively. 

    Almond rock shows the back of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Fit wise I didn’t change anything from my first version which was size S (8-10). The waistline droop I mentioned in my previous post turned out to be caused by my raglan sleeve alterations so I still need to curve the waist cutting line on those pattern pieces but not the regular sleeve version.

    Almond rock shows the skirt of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepeLet’s talk about this stunning fabric! It’s an ecovera viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics. It’s definitely a bubbly crepe weave but has the shine of a crepe de chine. It’s gorgeous with the perfect drape and opacity! It’s a deadstock fabric from the brand Nobody’s Child and they seem to get fabric from them quite regularly so I always keep my eyes peeled for more of this type. 

    Almond Rock wants to make the Nobody's child lemon print dress using McCall's 7974

    For instance McCall’s 7974 would be perfect for this dress if I can get the Nobody’s Child lemon fabric!

     

  • Dresses

    Dress like your bathroom M7969

    OK! If you saw that blog post title and are getting worried just keep reading! When we were planning our new ensuite I fell in love with some floral hexie tiles I’d seen on a few home accounts including the mid-century modern kitchen of Amanda aka Modern June Cleaver.

    Almond rock teal turquoise bathroom with black shower and floral Black and white hex daisy tiles

    Long story short, I got the floor I wanted but had to create the tile sheets myself. Hours of finger numbing work. It was all worth it though!

    Almond rock wearing a floral m7969 dress hack in her turquoise bathroom with with floral hex tiled floor

    Flash forward and I’m happily shopping at Rainbow Fabrics when I spot this gorgeous floral print. It reminds me of the Marc Jacobs daisy and Kate Spade prints. And most importantly it reminded me of my lovely tiled floor!! The flowers are a soft beige and the fabric base is a poly challis.

    M7969 dress pattern envelope

    I decided to make another puff sleeve M7969. Similar to my red and pink version using view B but this time added elastic to the hems in a channel to the cropped sleeves instead of shirring.

    Almond rock wearing a floral m7969 dress hack in her turquoise bathroom with with floral hex tiled floor

    As you can see I also cut the front bodice on the fold and rounded the neckline. I still finished the neckline with bias binding but skipped the interfacing since that is included to stop the neckline stretching out on the v neck.

    Almond rock wearing a floral m7969 dress hack in her turquoise bathroom with with floral hex tiled floor

    This is size M again but with 1cm taken out of each side seam. Given the slightly stiff fabric I thought it looked better slightly slimmed at the sides.

    It’sfantastic how quickly this dress comes together. Especially when you round off the front! I made it in a few hours while at a sewing retreat with friends.

    It’s a cute, eas- to-wear dress though the puff sleeves make it difficult to wear a cardigan on top. I still love it though! I’ll probably put this pattern to one side for now but sure I’ll return to it next year.

  • Dresses

    Vampire’s Wife Butterick 6705

    Hello hello! I’m in a very good mood today as Issue 101 of Love Sewing is on sale, and I’m in it! As former Love Sewing Editor it’s was so nice to be back in the pages of the magazine, to share a review for this lovely dress. My new column as Simplicity Brand Ambassador also begins in issue 101 so it’s two lots of Amy for the price of one this month! Butterick 6705 is one of the pattern gifts for the issue, provided in the full range of sizes. You can pick up a copy of the magazine at all good supermarkets or online at craftstash.co.uk

    Almond Rock makes Butterick 6705 in Rainbow Fabrics viscose as vampires wife inspired dress for Love Sewing 101 reader review

    For my version of B6705 – this is view A but with a couple of small changes. I used the sleeve construction from view B but cut to mid-arm. And I used the skirt length of view C. Mixing and matching pattern elements is such a satisfying way to get the exact dress you like. Like many of us, I overindulged during lockdown and had the fear that an empire line dress might highlight my midriff weight gain but to my delight, this beautiful skirt skims over my lower half and flares out. It somehow also makes me feel much taller than I am. I was also inspired by the version by Dei in animal print who makes such elegant clothes.

    Almond Rock makes Butterick 6705 in Rainbow Fabrics viscose as vampires wife inspired dress for Love Sewing 101 reader reviewFitting wise my Bust Waist and Hip measurements are 36A : 33 : 45 so I made a size 12 in the upper body and graded from a 12 at the waist to 14 at the hip. I’m quite petite in my upper body with very narrow shoulders so I lowered the neckline by 2cm so it sat in the right place, and as I found the two-piece sleeves slightly too large, I removed 2cm along the overarm seam. 

    Almond Rock makes Butterick 6705 in Rainbow Fabrics viscose as vampires wife inspired dress for Love Sewing 101 reader review

    The under bust construction forms a beautiful v shaped seam. My top tip is to pin each side individually and start sewing from the centre point out to the sides on each part of the seam. I’m also pleased to report you can customise the length of your keyhole so if you don’t want to reveal too much you can sew it a little further than the pattern notch. The front neckline is wrapped in visible binding and closes with a hook and eye fastener but you could choose to sew it closed with a continuous piece of binding or add a button loop.

    Almond Rock makes Butterick 6705 in Rainbow Fabrics viscose as vampires wife inspired dress for Love Sewing 101 reader review

    This beautiful green and black floral is a deadstock viscose challis from rainbowfabrics.co.uk, who specialise in excess stock from fashion houses. But with great prices and limited quantities you have to act quick when shopping the website! With viscose challis being prone to stretching, it’s important to let your curved hem hang for 24 hours to allow for any drop in the fabric and then recut so it is level. Plus to aid my invisible zipper, I added a thin strip of interfacing to support the centre back seam during construction and wear to avoid the fabric stretching out in this important area. I’m making a video about getting a perfect match across a waist seam when using an invisible zipper that will go live soon.

    Almond Rock makes Butterick 6705 in Rainbow Fabrics viscose as vampires wife inspired dress for Love Sewing 101 reader review

    My dress makes me feel like a James Bond femme fatale (who watched the latest movie?? MY GOSH). And at the same time, a model from fashion line Vampire’s Wife (whose dresses suit the name entirely). And though I can’t pull off a dreamy faraway stare, I feel very elegant in it.

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Vintage McCall’s 4916

    Ahhh Carefree McCall’s. Doesn’t that sound like a dreamy collection. I’ve no idea where the name came from but it seems to have run throughout the seventies. I picked up M4916 from my local charity shop and instantly was captivated by that pleated bib. I thought I’d make the dress version on the pattern but when it came down to it, I knew I needed more easy tops in my wardrobe I could throw on. Can you believe it? Me… NOT making the dress… unbelievable.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s

    The blouse is boxy but hopefully doesn’t make me look pregnant when I’m not. (A common mistake unfortunately, people are often congratulating me when they shouldn’t). And I thought go on Amy, try the puff sleeves you might like them. Factor in a sweet swiss dot effect 70s floral polycotton and I was ready for the #sewseventies challenge. Except I wasn’t. I finished this blouse a day too late and then photographed it even later. So now it’s ready for the Sew Vintage September challenge!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    It was a pretty fun make apart from struggling to cut a nice pair of bib pieces that looked carefree and not too repetitive with the flower positions. That’s just me being annoying I bet. There were 4 bibs in total. But thankfully I found the winning pair in the end. The bib has a self facing you fold in half to get the centre front line and then is basted together around the outside. No interfacing which was interesting. I made a toile in black to have a practice and was pretty pleased so moved ahead to the real fabric.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in black as toile version

    You attach the triangular yoke to the bottom of each bib piece to hold them in place and fold back all the seam allowance before topstitching it in the opening. Fiddly and with no seam finishes but I got a neat finish with my topstitching and overlocked the inside to protect it from the washing machine. I also took an extra step of sewing up the centre front line by placing the two bibs RST before folding back the facings to add a bit more bust coverage. I also skipped the half collar in favour of a bias bound neckline as I find half collars a bit claustrophobic!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    My fabric was actually from eBay and while not authentically vintage, it has that sort of 1970s Laura Ashley nightdress print. Like I mentioned earlier, the dots are just printed on which is a shame as a true dobby aka swiss dot would have been lovely for this top. You need something crisp enough to make the pleats and soft enough not to balloon out like a tent and polycotton satisfied both these requirements! It was a whopping £4.49 per metre.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton with puff sleeves

    What surprised me is how much I like these little puff sleeves. At the minute statement sleeves or BIG SLEEVE ENERGY is everywhere and it’s a bit much for me. I have very small shoulder and don’t seem able to pull off the dramatic styles. These are pretty adorable though right!? Or am I on my own here? They are gently gathered into a band which I always enjoy making. In hindsight I could have given myself a little bit more room at the armscye but this is a minor point.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    What I really don’t like about the pattern is the centre back seam. YUCK. This breaks everything up in an unattractive way. But it’s a curved centre back seam so I just went with it to add shaping. Now I look at it and think I should have taken the time to cut it on the fold and add diamond shape darts for shaping instead. I mean, this print is too small the pattern match effectively without needing another 50cm of fabric… but I suppose if I hadn’t cut FOUR bibs like a mad woman, I might have had enough. Ca La Vie!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    Overall I’m super pleased with the blouse and the fit achieved by altering a single size sewing pattern to match my measurements. Plus I’m happy to take part in Sew Vintage September at least once… but hope to sneak in one more make before the month is over. Watch this space.

  • Dresses

    Ditsy Butterick 6758

    Happy bank holiday weekend everyone! I’ve just finished photographing a new dress and I’m really hoping the weather stays nice enough for me to wear it out and about this weekend. This is Butterick 6758 from the latest summer collection. It’s a really nice day dress pattern with drawstring waist and grown-on sleeves (aka drafted to be attached to the bodice), plus the option for a hem ruffle! I chose to make view A but without the sleeve bands. And I changed the drawstring to a waist belt.

    almond rock in butterick 6758 loose fitting dress red leopard ditsy ecovera viscose from rainbow fabrics

    The dress turned out so great. Easy to wear and fit, plus it will transition from summer to winter easily! I sewed it over the course of a few evenings, taking my time with it so I could slow down and enjoy the process.

    almond rock in butterick 6758 loose fitting dress red leopard ditsy ecovera viscose from rainbow fabrics

    My fabric is from Rainbow Fabrics, an online seller of deadstock fabric. This means the fabric is limited quantities, ie left over from ready to wear lines or excess stock from fabric wholesalers and once it’s gone it’s gone… which is the case for this print I’m afraid. It was labelled Ecovera viscose and they do have this same fabric base in other prints so maybe take a look. It’s unusual as a viscose as it has a crepe like texture with that familiar bubbled pebbly surface. I think it works perfectly for this dress as it has enough drape to gather nicely but still feels substantial to wear.

    almond rock in butterick 6758 loose fitting dress red leopard ditsy ecovera viscose from rainbow fabrics

    I love grown-on sleeves on me. Not because I don’t enjoy sewing sleeves, that’s not it. I just have very narrow shoulders and I love how grown-on sleeves broaden my top and balance everything out. Plus, when slightly oversized like this they look and feel super breezy! The trick with grown-on sleeves though is to recognise how the seam will fall down your arm, you’re asking a straight line to curve over your shoulder and down the arm so you will naturally get a small curve at the very end if using a soft fabric as it bounces up at the hem. A slightly stiffer fabric will hold itself away from your arm but you might not like that look. One trick that helps is to snip into the seam allowance from the shoulder point downwards every 2cm or so this helps the seam allowance lie flatter along the arm. But this shouldn’t be tried on a fabric that frays very easily.

    almond rock in butterick 6758 loose fitting dress red leopard ditsy ecovera viscose from rainbow fabrics I use a similar technique on the underarm of a grown-on sleeve, I snip into the seam allowance of the curve in a couple of places and then overlock the side seam allowances together letting the snips stay slightly open as I go over the fabric. Alternatively you can trim quite close so there is minimal seam allowance pulling on the curve.

    almond rock in butterick 6758 loose fitting dress red leopard ditsy ecovera viscose from rainbow fabrics

    I’m wearing my dress with red converse right now but I can easily see it with tights and a cardigan in colder weather. I made a size 14 and graded out the hips to add another 1″ at the side seams. To share this evenly I divided by 2 so I knew how much to add to the front and the back. Then divided by 2 again to work out how much needed adding to each side seam. So by adding a 1/4″ to the front and back side seam on my tissue pieces this added up to 1″ in total. Have you made this dress? Or are tempted to make it now? Please let me know in the comments!