• Dresses

    Seeing stars Butterick 6446

    Hello lovely people. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin… Easter weekend I was due to go to a fun dinner with my extended family to celebrate my Auntie’s big birthday. Alas it was cancelled for obvious reasons. I’d already made the dress so I’m getting around to sharing it now.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    Butterick 6446 has been in my stash for a while. I first tried the pattern last March with my celestial gold mesh fabric but the stiffness of the glitter meant the folds on the bodice didn’t sit flat. But flash forward to Feb 2020 and we have a winning fabric + pattern combination.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    Enter Wow Fabrics. They offered me the chance to join their blogger network after I left Love Sewing. You might have noticed I had dialled back on all those kinds of partnerships for a while but now it’s great to be collaborating again! You might remember my sweatshirt made with their interesting scuba like base. I like to try a company once before committing to ongoing partnerships. They let me print 3 metres of fabric for free to test the site and fabric quality. I’m always honest in reviews so you don’t have to worry about that. I can’t comment on delivery times as my fabric was de-prioritised behind real orders which I think is absolutely fair when I wasn’t paying and wasn’t in a rush.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    I printed my own star design on the bubble crepe which has a lovely pebble texture and slight spandex stretch. The shade of blue I was able to achieve is perfect! I had saved so many azure/turquoise/cyan with white polka dot dresses on Pinterest and now I have my own to wear. It’s totally opaque too which is really important for me.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    I like Wow Fabrics because the range of base fabrics they have are quite interesting. The upload process when printing your own design might not be as helpful and explicit in the instructions as other ‘print your own fabric’ companies but it still works if you’ve prepped your swatch right. For beginners it might be scary so definitely use the A4 sample option!!

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    I cut a 12 at the upper bodice grading to the size 16 ish at the waist (I only had the smaller size pack so got inventive). You might have noticed a couple of alterations to the base design. Because I had 3m, the ruffle was cut out at the end when I was sure I had enough for the dress. I cut the tissue for skirt version B then made a ruffle using the offcut tissue marking up 20cm from hem line D. I also added little cap sleeves from New Look 6808 for some extra coverage.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    The fit of this dress can look a little odd as it crosses over the bust rather than under it. This makes for more modest coverage which is nice. But be aware the under bodice wrap may stick to your bra and wiggle out of place. Wearing a slip helps me but I should have perhaps lined the bodice in something silky rather than self fabric.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    I overlocked everything and used a concealed zipper in the back. I was lucky enough to have the perfect thread and zipper colours in my stash so could get started right away. It sewed up pretty quickly so I tried to take regular breaks to slow down.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    While its a lovely dress I’m not sure if I’ll make it again. The bodice moves around a little too much for me to keep an eye on but the skirt is fabulous. Maybe I’ll mash it with another bodice soon! If you’ve made this dress please let me know in the comments.

    Almond rock butterick b6446 6446 dressmaking crepe bubble pebble dress sewing wow fabrics

    Designing your own version of this print

    I went on a fabric design course a few years back, I have also ordered custom fabric before and I am quite confident in Adobe Photoshop (fyi this is a paid for product). To ease myself back in I decided to start simple with a repeating star print using the polygon shape tool. My tips below are for people who have already had a go with Photoshop so I don’t go into explicit detail about the settings. This is beginner level stuff though so have a play!

    I think a lot of people forget scale when designing fabric so to avoid a print that’s too ditsy, try a minimum of a 15x15cm frame aka 1772x1772pixels. It has to be 300dpi (dots per inch). That’s print quality: it doesn’t matter how good something looks on your monitor! And if you can print it out when you’re done and hold it on your body to check you like the scale.

    Another common habit is people add a single beautiful motif to the middle of the square and end up with a very regimented tile that looks a bit like checked fabric. The offset filter is the easiest way to avoid that.

    Make a star print like mine as follows: With guides visible on the screen add some star shapes around the middle of frame (I don’t try to be symmetrical but the overall spread of shapes around the centre point should be balanced).

    Almond Rock fabric printing wow fabrics design Photoshop dressmaking sewing

    Merge all the shape layers and then duplicate so you have two versions of shapes and one colour background. Then apply the offset filter – Filter> Other> Offset with 886 pixels in each box (half the height and width). That will split one layer into perfect quarters and place in the frame corners.

    Almond Rock fabric printing wow fabrics design Photoshop dressmaking sewing

    After that, go back in and add more shapes to the surrounding areas, again in a non symmetrical pattern making sure to cross the guides and avoid shapes disappearing off the edges. Keep the same density of shapes you had at the start.

    Almond Rock fabric printing wow fabrics design Photoshop dressmaking sewing

    Merge layers then go to Edit> Define pattern > give it a name. Make a new file to test your pattern. It should be at least 100x100cm. Go to Edit> Fill> Use Pattern and select your pattern from the drop down. Use the existing settings.

    Almond Rock fabric printing wow fabrics design Photoshop dressmaking sewing

    Do you like what you see? If you need to make tweaks, unmerge the layers on your tile and move add shapes before merging again and defining a new pattern.

  • Trousers and skirts

    McCall’s 7547 dungarees

    Happy heatwave everyone! This glorious arrival of the sun has boosted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. Work is unbelievably manic, the wedding admin is piling up and I haven’t been sleeping well at all. What’s keeping me going is that bolt of vitamin D, a daily zma tablet and some therapeutic sewing when I can… plus oreo cookies. Something else that’s pretty cool is we’ve set up a craft club at the office, where every Wednesday we take our various crafts into the boardroom and chat and work away creatively as a group. Each magazine produced by the company is run by a crafter so we all look for opportunities to work on projects and share our knowledge with other people. I’ve played with macrame, failed at crochet and knitted most of a snuggly blanket. I generally do embroidery on my lunchtime and then help with other people’s dressmaking queries but with the big boardroom table doubling as a cutting table I was able to prep most of this project in a week of lunches.

    almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

    Now the one thing I never thought I’d make is dungarees. I got pretty tempted last year by a skinny jeans version in H&M but when I tried them on in the shops they gave me ginormous love handles due to the cut of the waist and I got scared again. Then we decided to run M7547 as one of the free patterns on Love Sewing 53 I thought I better suck it up and give them a go. I was convinced by the fact that I am forever in love with my high-waisted jeans and this pattern features a high-waist style. I’m only 5ft 4 and I think the high waist makes me look waaay taller than that. I could hear you thinking – Wow Amy looks as tall as Rachel Pinheiro – but it’s all a trick of the eye!

    almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

    These McCall’s dungarees are super quick to make because there’s no fly front zipper which are great to make but not as speedy as a good old lapped side zipper. You do need to do a bit of topstitching but if you do this in the same colour thread you don’t have to swap over your machine and can stay on track. The directions don’t include how to finish your seams so thinking ahead and jumping onto your overlocker is necessary which does take you out of the flow. As is normal for me, I pinned everything I possibly could then did a mass sewing session, then repeated this until they were done.

    almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

    I made a straight size 12 of the skinny jean version but could do with a smidge more length in the upper body and a smidge less width and length in the legs. The shoulder straps are very short if you ask me and it would be best to extend them a good inch then cut off any excess once you’ve tried the assembled dungarees on. I omitted the pockets due to lack of denim too.

    almond rock m7547 dungarees abakhan mccalls

    My brace kit was from Minerva Crafts (salvaged from a disastrous dungaree dress that never got blogged) and I have a thousand jeans buttons in my sewing room so found some that matched. This dark indigo denim was actually from the Abakhan remnant’s bin and has a slight flaw which I placed at the ankle level on the back so it was even less noticeable. It has great stretch recovery and has held it’s colour during several washes but it could be a bit less stretchy and it attracts fluff LIKE CRAZY! So infuriating. You can’t see the fluff in the main photos but check out the close up back shot; It’s there mocking me.

    almond rock m7547 dungarees mccalls

    Kerry said I had a Rosie the Riveter vibe going on which is mega fun! We played it up on set haha. Her floral sateen version is amazing, go check out the review (I think she’s posting it today or tomorrow!). I used a frilly sleeved version of New Look 6808 to balance out my top and wore my red loafers. The lack of pockets sort of makes my crotch area look HUGE which is endlessly cringeworthy in photos but you forget when you’re wearing them… until I try and put my phone in the back pocket! Ho ho I made you look at my crotch, you filthy scoundrel!!

    almond rock dungarees m7547 mccalls abakhan

    I’m definitely going to use this pattern to make a pair of skinny jeans as I really enjoyed making my last pair of jeans but got fatigue by the end and these felt much quicker. I also have a copy of the new Megan Nielsen Ash jeans which look great so will also make those later this year. First though I need to find some great quality denim! Katie is a wonderful source of inspiration in this respect but please send me details of high quality stretch denim suitable for jeans!! I saw some lovely stuff on Fabric Godmother and Guthrie & Ghani but would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with suggestions in the comments!

    almond rock ash jeans megan nielsen

  • Dresses,  Events and day trips

    Sip and sew Vogue 1434

    It’s Friday!! Lets raise a glass of something delicious to celebrate.almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    I’m sure you’ve heard about the Vogue Patterns Cocktail Hour? I mentioned a while ago here! This is the latest charity sewalong from The McCall Pattern Company in partnership with The Eve Appeal. almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    A portion of the sales from 20 selected patterns go to this kick-ass charity who are raising awareness and funding research into the FIVE female cancers. Yes there are five…. It’s like the seven dwarfs, you can never think of them all in one go.

    almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    My garment for this year’s blogger tour is a designer Vogue pattern by Isaac Mizrahi who I love from his appearances on Project Runway. The envelope styling is a little bit bridesmaid-like but I could see gorgeous potential and Pattern Review showed me some stunning versions.

    almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    It’s a classic little dress and probably doesn’t surprise you that I chose it. There are lovely knife pleats at the waist that come with a separate guide pattern piece so you can mark more easily (very handy), the dress is fully lined which is a nice touch and there’s an interesting shape to the upper bodice where it’s sort of cutaway at the shoulders in an athletic style. I tried my best not to decapitate any people in my bodice seam placement.

    almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    I cut the longer length skirt of view B with a size 12 bodice. My only adjustments after the toile were to reposition the princess seams inwards a little and do a hollow chest adjustment above the bust. I skipped the tie for the waist as you can see. And I added my favourite… a lapped zipper! It’s a great little dress which I’ll definitely make again.

    almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    My fabric is a beautiful sateen featuring illustrated ladies and gents at an event (possibly a day at the races if you take in the hats). The sateen was crisp enough for the pleats and soft enough to shape around the body. I’d looked into brocade but was worried about bulk at the waist. This lovely print was bought in March from Ditto Fabrics and I think it was called “gathering”. Sadly it’s now out of stock and to be honest I never saw this sateen on sale anywhere else….

    TIME FOR A MASSIVE BUT… there is the same print available on a crepe base with either a blue or oyster coloured background. I’m very tempted by the blue I have to say.

    PLUS this if you live in Germany I’m told this shop has a couple of metres left in the cotton/elastane on blue. The size of a lady is about 5cm. And two remnants of about 2m from the Crêpe. Size of the print seems to be smaller than this and MacCulloch’s version though.

    I’m very proud to support the campaign as someone who has lost several family members to cancer. Cancer in any form needs a good old fashioned kick in the pants so let’s raise some money for Eve Appeal and look fab doing it!

    And why not put on a fancy frock and come to our cocktail party??

    almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

    HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE