A Marimekko-inspired Elisalex

Hi everyone! Fingers crossed you’ve had a chilled week with a good splash of sewing time. After the horrific incident in town on Monday night our office was quite a heavy place Tuesday. Thankfully no one I work with was personally affected but it’s hit us all hard. To lift my spirits I made a dress, ordered some new fabric and a horse shape handbag plus I watched A LOT of Parks and Recreation. It was a fabulous dose of medicine. I also found out I won a prize in the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge – I’m totally amazed and grateful so I’ll share more on that soon.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I wanted to talk about finally joining the Elisalex dress bandwagon. When Elisalex the real life lady sent me the updated pattern files for the By Hand London dress I was intrigued. I even tried the new 44″ printer at work to test the copy shop version. 

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

The dress did not disappoint. The bodice is really nicely drafted with the proportions and seam placement bang on and everything goes together perfectly… as you would expect from a By Hand London pattern!

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

I used a cotton poplin from John Lewis that was picked up on a trip to Birmingham with Roisin, Marie, Kat, Sabs and Helen. Chewie was a big fan as you can see. I had to wrestle it from under her butt several times. I used navy lining, yellow bias tape at the hem and did some ropey invisible zipper sewing if I say so myself. I’m going to have another pass to try and get closer to the teeth. My invisible zipper foot failed me somehow. I pressed the teeth open, moved my needle closer, everything like normal! Hmmmm.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

To reduce the bell shape of the skirt I graded out to an A-line below the hip. I like the curve at the waist and the shape the pleats make. The bodice princess seams fit me nicely and only required minimal tweaking from the size 10 toile.

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

Notice these pics are PP? “Pre-Perm” heehee. I love pairing the dress with these navy wedges and a mustard cardigan. The print reminds me of the Finnish design house Marimekko, which makes me super happy. And I got to wear it when Elisalex visited the studio a couple of weeks ago. She came to review the culottes you get with issue 40 and have a giggle with us. How freaking gorgeous does she look here??

almond rock elisalex dress marimekko

My plans to conquer more princess seam dresses are off to a flying start! Stay tuned for my gown from The Dressmaker’s Ball very soon…

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Daisy Chains and Ribbon Ties

Ooh this is so exciting! I’m able to show you the finished dress from the John Lewis sewing bee that I talked about in my last post.

So let’s recap, on the day I picked a beautiful fabric called “Daisy Chain” which has yellow, white and blue daisies and white tulips in garlands.

almond rock john lewis daisy chain

And this AKO for Vogue pattern which has cuckoo cover art but very nice line drawings. I don’t understand why this woman looks so angry!? Maybe she doesn’t like that loopy hair do? I like her shoes though, mega cute.

almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

Anyway! The weirdness about this dress is that it has a lined bodice but also has pattern pieces for interfacing facings. Now I would never bother to interface along the neckline of my lining only. I’d either use a facing or a lining. Not both!

Lisa, Freia, Charlie and I all sort of shook our heads over this. I made an executive decision to turn the interfacing pieces into proper facings and not line my bodice.

So here it is!

almond rock john lewis daisy chain

Can you believe I had coordinating yellow sandals?

Not sure where the sunshine has gone!

2014-06-05 19.00a

Come on then, let’s have a look at the back!

almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

I used a lovely butter coloured zip with a cute pull tab, and turquoise satin ribbon bow. Not seen is my satin butter yellow bias that I used to hem this epic circle skirt! By the way I took quite a bit off the length of the skirt as I’m only 5ft 5 and it was entering midi-dress territory.

I switched out the fabric bow for a few reasons: 1) the original bow was hemmed (not fully lined for some odd reason), 2) it was humongous, 3) this ribbon perfectly matched the turquoise in the flowers!

On a separate note, it’s very odd to see a photo of your exposed back. I love how it dips though.

almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

I think for modesty’s sake I’ll generally be wearing this beauty with a cardigan. But it’ll be great fun when I slip it off and give everyone a surprise with the bow.

almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

almond rock john lewis daisy chain V1102

I’m so thankful for the chance to make this pretty little number. I don’t want to take it off!!

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The John Lewis Sewing Bee – with Lisa Comfort

What a happy thing to be writing about.

John Lewis 150 years #150

As I mentioned in my previous post, this past Saturday I was very happy to help celebrate 150 years of John Lewis with Lisa Comfort and some awesome sewing bloggers.

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

Left to right: Freia (who assisted Lisa during the day), Lisa, Fiona, Elena, Clare, Charlie, Roisin, Me and Emmie.

We held our very own sewing bee in the Haberdashery floor of the Oxford Street premises. We cooed over the fabric, patterns and supplies and stitched up a storm  with the lovely Lisa, our celebrity host and founder of the Sew Over It sewing cafe and shop. There was lots of cackling and pink cheeks amongst the spoolettes as we gossiped over our work.

The photos are the wonderful work of our photographer Brian Doherty Photography, Kim and Holly from John Lewis and the lovely Charlie (who managed to find time to sew and snap pics!).

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rockJohn Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rockJohn Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rockJohn Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rockJohn Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

One of the cool things JL have done to mark their anniversary is to launch a line of heritage print fabric by bringing back special edition archive prints and putting a modern twist on them by rescaling the prints and using the 150 years colour palette.

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

 For instance the colourful brick print was originally a 1950s John Lewis dress fabric.

I went with white, yellow and turquoise floral print called “Daisy Chain” and an AKO for Vogue pattern V1102, a backless dress with a bow. It’s finished and photographed now so expect a post about the dress VERY SOON!

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

Charlie took this lovely photo of me. I’m so focused!

Amazingly we all managed to choose different fabrics. And I’m pattern twinsies with Charlie, who also went for the Vogue pattern.

Everyone was so lovely to us during the day, making sure we had everything we needed. Each blogger had an amazing prym toolbox chocca full of notions and gadgets. The shears cut like BUTTER!

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

 

We took the group photo on the new rooftop garden. It was pretty amazing up there and JL have planned some swanky parties to make use of it. Very jealous!

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

Look at Roisin’s pretty dress. “Winner Winner, Quorn family roast dinner”.

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

I might even have to buy myself a few metres of some of the other stunning fabrics on offer during this 150 year celebration. Possibly to recreate this little beauty!

John Lewis 150 years #JL150 almond rock

So all in all an EPIC day. I came home exhausted and hoarse and thoroughly happy. I’m so so grateful to have been included on such an amazing event.

More on my finished dress soon!

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