Tropical Simple Sew sweatshirt

Happy New Year everyone!! It’s an brand new decade and I’m both nervous and excited for 2020, a classic cocktail of emotions. With only a few days left in my Love Sewing role, I’m getting ready to say goodbye. There is lots to sort in my sewing room too. There’s new work clothes, pattern testing, fun collaborations and probably another destash sale on the horizon!

Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
Enough on that for now. Let’s talk jumpers (aka ‘sweaters’ or ‘sweatshirts’, for my international friends). I’ve made a few sweatshirts and never blogged them but somehow this one is breaking that spell. It’s a bold colourful print which is keeping me very warm!
Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
The Simple Sew sweatshirt is an oldie but a goodie with raglan sleeves and ribbed cuffs, neck and hem bands. I made view B and originally added the hem band but it felt a little bulky and long in this fabric so took it back off and hemmed the jumper shorter. This is the size 10 graded to a 12 at the hips. The structure of the fabric means I should have graded the sleeve hems out a little more to be able to push them up my arms… oh well.
Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
A jumper like this can be totally constructed on your overlocker but there are a few small places it can help to sew… 1) cuff and neckband side seams: to avoid bulk and because you never even see the seam edge. 2) underarm points: If you’re a stickler for a neatly intersecting seam sew the sides up on your machine first to avoid the fabric creeping. 3) Hem: If you skip the hem band like me, you’ll have to hem on a machine, unless you have a coverstitch you lucky thing!!
Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
This loopback palm leaf knit was a gift from – look for J173 ABSTRACT FLORAL JUNGLE PRINT. From 2m I have so much leftover it’s crazy! It’s definitely heavier than sweatshirting; a bit closer to scuba and has a lovely fleece backing adhered to it. My overlocker blade hated it so I trimmed all my seams before overlocking them. The ribbing is from Abakhan and I got the co-ordinating teal sweatshirting too. In fact I’ve already made another winter jumper with it!!
Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
I liked the fabric so much I’ve decided to join the Wow Fabrics blogger team and have created three of my own fabric designs to test out the print quality of their custom fabric printing service! A satin, bubbled crepe and cotton jersey. More details on that soon!

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Thoughts on neglected clothes

Hello June! And hello everyone else. We’re well into a new month and well past the end of Me Made May. If you participated I hope you enjoyed the challenge. Maybe you’re keeping the fun going with #memadeveryday a great way of documenting your outfits more regularly.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

If you weren’t aware, I started my blog with Me Made May way back when. I had only a handful of handmade garments but I wanted the kick to wear them out in public and share my thoughts online. This was several years ago so it’s always like a kind of anniversary for me when I take part now. I wear my handmade wardrobe everyday now so I have to get a bit more creative with the challenge aspect of the month.

This year I pledged to wear unloved or neglected makes to see whether they could be resurrected. You can see the highlights of this experiments at the top of my Instagram wall.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

The main reasons for neglect were:

  • I hate ironing
  • Too short/too big/too tight
  • Needs nude lingerie
  • Inexperience on early makes
  • Style mistakes

This list contains both easily avoidable issues and things that you need to accept as part of life!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

I really don’t need to pick fabrics that rely on ironing. That’s my own stupid mistake. I know my lifestyle and patience levels aren’t compatible with ironing. I’ve got better things to do and I don’t get any enjoyment out of it! And nude lingerie is easily available so that has been pure laziness on my part. It’s been brilliant to rediscover some of those light-coloured garments.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Working out your style is a lifelong exploit. Anyone who doesn’t experiment can’t be having much fun with their wardrobe. You’ll create a few mistakes but you’ll get a clearer idea of what you like!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

While it was fun to try on some of those experimental garments again, I’m still not convinced they have a place in my wardrobe. Other than the maxi skirt… I really need to try that out a bit more!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Chasing a great fit can be an endless obsession with fluctuating success. Our bodies are constantly changing with age, activity and diet.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

And interpreting wrinkles and drag lines on garments can be a black hole of fit iterations that you have to start again when you revisit the pattern after your body has changed or even just if you’re changing fabric!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Lastly, I’m both fiercely proud and terribly embarrassed by my early makes. So I don’t think I’ll be ever able to get rid of them but they can stay out of heavy rotation.

I know I’m a little late with this round up but I hope you enjoyed stepping into the world of my neglected clothes. Sometimes I worry that it looks like everything goes dreamily for me but that’s not real life! Failure and mistakes are part of learning and succeeding.

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My wedding dress – inspiration

So as I alluded to in past posts I intend to sew myself a wedding dress! Some of you may think “she’s mad!?” And some might be giving me a double thumbs up. And basically I’m in the middle, thinking “bwahahah this is so surreal”.
I wanted to share the process on the blog so I always had it to look back on but was relieved to hear that many of you wanted to read about it too.

So I’m going to throw my hands up and confess I’m a terrible decision maker when it comes to big dressmaking projects. It often takes me a long time to settle on fabric and pattern pairings, often changing my mind right up to the last minute. This is amplified when I’m emotionally invested. Not very good for a project where you need a clear plan and a strict time frame!

We’re currently struggling to find a venue for next summer. Apparently we’ve missed the boat for a lot of places which majorly sucks. There is a slim chance we’ll get Sept but it’s touch and go. This means my wedding may be 2018 and I’ll have double the amount of time to pick a dress design! 


I clearly jinxed myself and today we’ve lost our chance at getting married in 2017. Sadly now I doubt I’ll do anything towards my wedding dress until this time next year… sorry about that. I won’t delete this post though as it might still be nice reading!

First up let’s get something out of the way… I’m having a short dress. Below knee or tea length. And a big bad ass petticoat floofy skirt. Bodice is still tbc… I have to mull that over. So in the mean time I’ve been examining fabrics. Here are my thoughts:


I’ve seen some beautiful sequin dresses. Light frothy cleverly pieced frocks and embellished designs. Recently I’ve been obsessing over the Jenny Packham Jolene dress which features sequinned (and beaded) star appliques on it. The completely wrong silhouette for me but wow at all the bling. Searching for star shaped appliques stole a day of my life.


I favour dense lace designs (Nottingham, guipure etc), but at the same time I love 3d constructions and beading. Where lace steps into embroidery really gets me excited. Blooms built up with subtle textiles and colours like this dress makes me stop and stare. I also ordered a swatch of some beautiful beaded lace from Bridal Fabrics but I need to go see it in person. I also need to level up my lace handling skills if I go down this route.


There’s always something that pulls me back to tulle dresses. Probably because I know of several suppliers of stunning coloured or polka dot tulle. There’s so much drama you can achieve with tulle and mesh at the same time as looking light as a feather. It takes a lot of effort to look that light though but with stunning results. I want to test this vintage Butterick tulle pattern with tippet style shawl (thanks go to bridesmaid, talented seamstress and wedding dress designer extraordinaire Charlotte for explaining tippets to me).

Next steps

I have a few appointments to try on dresses to help me pin down the design. That seems crucial to me but not being able to take photos will surely prove problematic. I am working out a rough time line in my head for the construction but think starting the bridesmaid dress toiles may give me a little breathing room for my own decisions!

If you know any short wedding dress companies or vintage dress sources please do drop them in the comments so I can continue pinning my heart out. Thanks for reading and please cross your fingers for me on getting a date!!

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Top 5s of 2013! The Hits

It’s nearly a brand new year so that means it’s time for a bit of reflection with the top 5 lists!


Head on over to Gillian’s blog to grab a button and check out her suggested lists and proposal on why looking back on our projects is a helpful learning exercise.

1. The Anise jacket


I am so proud of this jacket. I learnt so much and think it looks pretty smart. It was in daily rotation before winter hit. And I don’t think it’s scared me off jacket-making in the future

2. Simplicity 2444


I won’t ramble on too much about this dress. Safe to say it’s an absolute winner in my eyes. And this lovely aeroplane lawn version is definitely my favourite.

3. Sassy Librarian Blouse


My first craftsy course was brilliant. Christine Haynes was a lovely teacher and I finished up with a cute practical blouse that I have in regular use.

4. Simplicity 1755


I’m pretty darn pleased with how polished this dress turned out even if I don’t have much opportunity to wear it. The lace matching turned out amazingly and I’m rather proud of my collar.

5. New Look 6069


Not so obvious but this little dress has been a star in my wardrobe. Its mostly due to the soft drapey viscose. It skims over me in a flattering way and I love the print.

So there are my top 5 hits of this year. Next up are the dreaded misses!

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Sewing with Minerva Fabrics – New Look 6069


Recently Minerva Fabrics asked if I’d like to review some items from their site and I figured why the heck not.

I have used the site before with good results but bad experiences elsewhere put me off Internet fabric shopping for a while.

Minerva sent me a pattern (New Look 6069), the required fabric of my choice (a lovely multi coloured spot viscose) and a 22 inch black JTL invisible zipper.

First let’s take a look at the pattern.

I kind of love New Look patterns because I very rarely have to make adjustments.


This dress really spoke to me as view C looks like one of my favourite dresses. Please look past the horrible sample fabrics in use here and see the lovely dresses underneath.

Let me just say for the record, those longer length puff sleeves look horrific on the model and line drawings. I cannot imagine anyone suiting those. If you’ve made this dress and LOVE those sleeves, please get in touch to see if you can prove me wrong or if you need medical attention because the heat has clearly gotten to you.

I found this on the Minerva site after a bit of trial and error. There’s no way to filter for different pattern companies. You can only jump straight to the sale (hey that’s not that much of a problem, am I right?). As they stock loads of patterns I just did a search across the whole site for new look dress patterns and combed through the results.

Onto the Viscose!


I chose this print from the clearance section. It is so cute with all those different coloured oddly shaped spots. There are plenty of other lovely viscose prints I could have chosen, like 1, 2, or 3.

I wanted to use viscose so the dress could transition from day to night. I’ll probably make it up in an evening fabric at some point too.

The viscose I chose is lovely and cool to the touch. It’s a medium weight and very drapey. It washed very well with no colour fading and minimal wrinkling!



I decided to line the skirt to avoid any sticking to tights so I supplied some black peachskin to this make. I also wanted to get hold of the fabric before picking my interfacing. I had some Vilene “softline” black lightweight interfacing that turns out to be the bees knees. Oh and that invisible zipper? Went in like a flipping charm.

Right let’s get down to a wrap up of my thoughts!


Pattern Adjustments? I cut a 12 but then shortened the bodice by 2cm. I also cut the bodice on the fold as I don’t like needless centre front seams. I also added a skirt lining. That’s it!

Things I’d change in the future? Use a lighter coloured fabric to show off the lovely details a bit better. The yoke gathers and waist band are much clearer in person, but not very photographic. I would also add the sleeves; I have cut and prepped the sleeves for this dress and may add them now the weather is taking a turn for the worse.

Thoughts about Minerva Crafts? Love em! Why did I stop shopping online?! I do wish there was some filtering of the patterns available but the the fabric is well photographed and the colours were spot on when I received it. Plus after a horrible incident with some viscose from the market that ended up full of holes after its pre-wash, I was very pleased to be working with a reliable company stocking good quality fabric.

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