• Dresses

    Dreaming of a white Christmas

    Well hello. It’s been a while since I posted! For those of you who follow me on Instagram you’ll have had an insight into why life is a little crazy right now.

    After nearly 5 wonderful years, I will be stepping down as Love Sewing magazine Editor in January. I’ve collaborated and worked with many incredible people, I’ve learnt so much and achieved things I’ll cherish even when I’m a little old lady.

    With 13 years in the publishing industry it’s always hard giving up a title you love, but it is time for a fresh start and new challenges… but I’m still going to be here sewing furiously you won’t have to miss me!

    Ok!! So it’s December and I’m so happy to be sharing a Christmas make. I love the festive season. There are parties and great food and a sense of excitement in the air. I make so many social plans and then binge watch seasonal movies… soon I’ve run out of any sewing time. I know there are worst problems to have!

    It’s funny because we plan and photograph our festive issues of Love Sewing during the summer so I sort of have two Christmases! We’re wrestling trees and baubles around in the hot weather and planning party dresses months before party season. It can drive people a little crazy. But back to my latest dress… you might have seen it already on the Minerva Blogger Network but I thought it deserved a closer look here.

    Almond rock sewing dress ballet knit jersey sequin Minerva crafts vogue 9000

    This dress is going to be a great staple this year as it’s that magical combination of toasty and fancy. AND SPARKLY!

    Almond rock sewing dress ballet knit jersey sequin Minerva crafts vogue 9000

    It’s the fabric that makes it so wonderful with subtle silver metallic threads and white sequins woven into the jersey. There is a great texture to the fabric too that makes it feel like a sweater knit you’d find in ready to wear clothes. I wish I had more of it for a jumper.

    Almond rock sewing dress ballet knit jersey sequin Minerva crafts vogue 9000

    I used a mixture of the Dixie DIY ballet dress bodice with Vogue 9000’s skirt which I cut on the fold and adjusted at the side seams to fit the bodice. The sleeves fit so well, I love the scoop neckline and you can’t beat a swishy skirt. I made a slim waist belt in the same fabric but also like it with my black patent belt. I should have made thread belt loops to help stop the belt sliding down! Still time to add those now it’s done.

    Almond rock sewing dress ballet knit jersey sequin Minerva crafts vogue 9000

    The fabric cuts and sews very easy as the sequins aren’t too densely spread over the fabric. I used a rotary cutter and mat then finished everything on an overlocker. The hems are just turned under and zigzag topstitched. I used a universal needle and narrow zigzag for all the construction. Easy peasy!

    Almond rock sewing dress ballet knit jersey sequin Minerva crafts vogue 9000

    When using a woven pattern with a knit fabric you might want to size down to compensate for the stretch but I don’t mind the skirt a little loose as it leaves room for dinner.

    My finished dress is a little sheer but as you can see with a slip underneath I have perfect coverage. The glittery fabric gave me a good excuse to break out my wedding jewellery again. I feel so sparkly and merry!!

    Almond rock sewing dress ballet knit jersey sequin Minerva crafts vogue 9000

    Merry Christmas, happy festive season and a wonderful winter to everyone!

  • Dresses

    Hibiscus Simplity 8594

    Hello everyone! There was a little gap in my blogging there wasn’t there. I started feeling pretty meh about some of my previous makes and decided not to photograph them. I haven’t thrown them out or anything but I’m not sure they’re worth blogging as they’re not the most interesting or photogenic. I know these are weird problems to have!

    almond rock Simplicity 8594 simplicitybyme s8594 hibiscus hawaiian halter dress

    Instead I’m sharing the last of my honeymoon wardrobe posts from Mahé, in the Seychelles. This time featuring this super fun “halter dress”. I use that term lightly as the dress appears to be held up by a neckline strap but these extend into regular shoulder straps at the back. It’s rather ingenious.

    almond rock Simplicity 8594 simplicitybyme s8594 hibiscus hawaiian halter dress

    I’ve been daydreaming of a pattern like this for about 4 years now ever since a young-ish editor went to her second Love Sewing interview with a portfolio of potential projects for the magazine including a very similar dress based on a vintage Etsy dress I’d see for sale. It wasn’t right for the magazine but it never left my mind. This dress is possibly nicer as the straps are more curved around the neck and I love the flared skirt. I was especially grateful when the team at Simplicity offered to send me a couple of patterns from the new Spring season last year. I chose S8594 and also S8599 (an off the shoulder lace dress pattern). Two different but equally feminine designs that hopefully you agree suit my style.

    The dress is fitted with princess seams and finished with a lining. The centre back zipper is a thing of beauty when you get the straps and everything to line up nicely. I might suggest adding hanging loops to the side seams to reduce the strain on the shoulder straps when it’s hanging in your wardrobe.

    I used a linen/cotton mix broadcloth from B&M Fabrics in Leeds. I picked it up at Sew Up North a couple of years ago and it’s perfect for this dress. Medium weight, a bit drapier than cotton poplin and with interesting texture on the surface, plus the print is perfect for a tropical holiday!

    Image result for gal meets glam halter dress

    I’ve also made a version for The Dressmaker’s Ball  you can see here and still have more planned as it’s so flattering!! Maybe another tropical version using this orange and purple palm leaf cotton. And a version adapted with thin straps to match the Gal Meets Glam dress above too!

    Want more inspiration?? I love this Liberty version from Liesl of Jorth, and I love the colour blocking of this sleeved version I saw on Pattern Review. Last but not least, ohhhh Mimi’s version is so good (and she made the neckline sit a little lower)!

  • Dresses

    Pretty little pattern hack Butterick 6318 and Butterick 6453

    Sometimes an idea for a dress sticks with you.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    I have a wonderful and annoying job where I constantly search for fabric for the magazine. Mostly the thrill of featuring the prettiest fabric in the magazine is enough but a lot of the time I become obsessed with getting some for myself. Like the cover garment for issue 43…

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    This Art Gallery Fabric rayon is absolute gorgeous and was designed by Maureen Cracknell. I’ve bought a couple of her other prints and I’m a big fan in general. The design is called Floral Universe in turquoise from the collection Soulful. You can still buy it here.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    While I loved the wrap ties with the gathered skirt of B6318 I had a feeling the grown on sleeves and high neckline on the bodice would drown me. Then I remembered this dress I’d saved on Instagram! The perfect compromise. So in steps B6453!

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    There’s not much to say about the B6453 dress as I’ve made it before. I added the wraps into the side seams during construction like the B6318 instructions direct. The fabric is pretty opaque but I underlined the bodice for stability and lined the bodice for a clean finish. The skirt is unlined and I overlocked the insides. I use a metal loop turn to turn through straps which I know some people hate but it always works for me.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    So in hindsight the waist ties could have been a smidge longer as this back shot below shows. Meh, you live and learn I say. It’s hard to see but there’s a lapped zipper as it’s my favourite and it is what the pattern recommends. Plus I used rings and sliders on my straps, again following the pattern which let’s you get a custom length. The sew-along and Facebook support group for this pattern is wonderful if you are nervous.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    The colours of my fabric are heavenly and the scale of the print is so fun and the feel of that rayon… oh hubba hubba, it’s so dreamy!! AGF rayons are amazing quality. I wote this dress on honeymoon and felt amazing. I wanted to dance around like a vintage movie star to make the skirt swish as often as possible. It was hard staying still for these photos.

    almond rock gertie b6418 b6453 butterick retro sewing patterns art gallery fabrics floral universe

    Now I’m excited to take it on more sunny adventures and swish around new countries!

    *Just to let you know this post contains affiliate links but products I link are from trusted sellers like The McCall Pattern Co selling through Amazon or Minerva Crafts. There’s no obligation to buy through the link of course. I don’t advertise on my blog so this is a little way to fund the running of the site!

  • Dresses

    McCall’s 6891 chambray shirtdress

    Hello all! I’ve recovered from my extremely busy December and am back with a finished make for myself.

    This dress was a rather spontaneous make as I was lucky enough to try on a finished version we had in the office! This meant I quickly worked out the couple of tiny adjustments I’d need to make it fit me. I could then cut out with confidence and whizzed this up in a day. In fact I made the yellow version you’re seeing on the new pattern envelope! We’re now making the designs in UK fabric and reprinting the envelopes. Squeal!!

    The pattern is M6891 which is on the front of Love Sewing 63 on sale from tomorrow! It’s double stuffed so you get sizes 8-24 in one envelope and the issue includes tips on collars and cuffs if you haven’t made them before. I love a notched collar and The McCall Pattern Co instructions direct you to make theirs differently to other brands like Simplicity or indie designs.

    As normal you position the collar between the facings and shirt neckline, instead of sewing over the seam allowance they ask you to push it out of the way and stop at the seam point marked by a dot, then sew on the other side in the same way. Here’s a diagram to explain a bit more:

    This reduces bulk as it means you can grade the seams and trim a bit more freely as the seam allowance isn’t trapped… But this technique seems more beneficial on thicker fabrics like coats really. Unless I’ve missed another reason for this technique.

    It’s not a surprise I like this pattern, as retro style shirtdresses are a big proportion of my wardrobe. They’re both smart and casual – perfect! I made view C and love the full skirt. The darts give a nice shape and of course the notched collar has a lovely vintage feel. It needs a reverse button/hole at the waist point for extra security but I can add that any time.

    Now of course the Ultimate Shirtdress which is my favourite shirtdress pattern but in truth I’ve never got on with the sleeves. On the McCall’s design the sleeves fit great so maybe I need to try and merge the armscye and sleeve of this pattern with the Sew Over It pattern in the future.

    I made the size 10. The bust fits my 36a-cup really nicely so no SBA here. I just adjusted the waist at the side seams to fit my 32″ tummy and the wide flare of the skirt is very roomy on my hips.

    You might be wondering about the fabric… well to that I say, “Sewing friends are awesome”. They are especially great at birthday time because they think like a sewist when getting you a present and remember what things you say you like! This gorgeous Robert Kaufman spotty chambray was a gift from the darling Marie! Creative mind behind blog www.astitchingodyssey.com, Marie is such a lovely soul so I highly recommend you follow her inspiring blog/social media accounts and if you run into her at an event you’re guaranteed to leave smiling.

    If you clicked into my shirtdress tag you’ll see I now have two spotty Robert Kaufman chambray dresses. Well I actually have a third UFO of Vogue 1102 cut out in the black colourway but I messed up some of the pintucks and have been putting off fixing it for months. Maybe 2019 is the year you’ll see that dress appear.

    I’m currently trying to plan some sewing for the coming year. There are some lovely fabrics that have been in my stash for way too long. I’d really like to fix that and not be afraid of making the wrong thing anymore. I have my dressmakers ballgown to make too. Will I see you there?

  • Loungewear

    Pyjama party McCall’s 6659 (M8056)

    Hey hey everyone. I’m writing this post on the way home from London. It was a gorgeous sunny weekend with good food and lovely people.

    almondrock gretchen gertie hirsch raystitch charlotte newland

    Here’s a silly pic taken by Karen where I’m trying to keep my bun out of Roisin’s face UNSUCCESSFULLY!

    Tasha was visiting London so I headed down to hang out with her and Marie, Jane, Charlotte, Emmie, Karen and Roisin for a day of fabric shopping and gossiping. Mel joined us for a bit as well, very sweetly carrying Tasha’s bags of treats. Both Tasha and Mel have lovely accents so I really enjoyed listening to them talk and they did a great job of defeating their jetlag. Amazingly I briefly met Gretchen Gertie Hirsch while she was teaching at Raystitch!! She’s utterly gorgeous in real life as if that’s a surprise.

    almondrock joel and son fabrics elie saab

    I spent some time mulling over fabric choices for my wedding dress. This Elie Saab style embroidered mesh stole my heart. Ultimately I came home empty handed and still pretty confused about what style I want. But something that I did decide after seeing Emmie, Gretchen and Tasha’s stunning vintage curls is that I reallllly want to get my hair sorted so am looking for a free weekend to book myself in for a new do.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    So what about the pjs? I wanted to finally share a picture of the finished set being worn not just laid out flat.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    The pattern is McCall’s 6659 (now renamed M5086) which I made once before here. Again this is views C and G. The fabric was a gift from Katy Jones during my first week at Practical. She sits two desks down as editor of Quilt Now but excitingly this is a print from her fabric line with Art Gallery Fabrics!! It’s Sunday clippings on a voile base.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    I like how the bird peeks out of the pocket heehee. And the vintage turquoise buttons make me smile. The sleeves would look better a bit shorter or longer I think. I didn’t made any adjustments to the top but I altered the trousers to have a deeper curve in the seat.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

    Better confess that I topstitched the front closed and now I throw the top on over my head. Never going to wake up with the buttons undone and everything hanging out that way! Everything is overlocked inside and the crotch seam is double stitched for security. Everything staying where it should.

    almondrock mccalls 6659 pyjamas

     Definitely need to make another set or two! They’re great to sleep in and I feel put together when I wake up. I can retire my slobby worn out tshirts now!

    Have you made pjs recently? Share your links!!