Simplicity hack-along 8929

Have you joined the Simplicity Hack-along? This great initiative raises money for charity while letting your creativity shine! With every pattern bought in the UK you’ll be helping support a wonderful cause as Simplicity will be donating a portion of the sales to their chosen charity. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity funding research and raising awareness into the five gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.

To inspire you to take part in the challenge I’m joining lots of other bloggers to show you how you can hack a pattern with amazing results. Read on to see my make and learn more about how you can win great prizes by entering the competition!!

I love vintage styles and as you know I mostly stick to 50s and 60s designs. BUT something about the 70s tiered skirt trend has been calling out to me!! I decided to turn Simplicity 8929 into a flowy gathered skirt in a bold colour.

I’m not the greatest at maths but I worked out if I raised the frill to hip height and then added an even larger rectangle for the final tier I’d get a pretty good amount of swish. The basic pattern is pretty rectangular so I cut the size extra large but graded to the medium at the waist to accommodate my pear shaped figure.

I used the extra tissue that you get inside every hacking pattern to sketch out the extra piece as it’s printed with helpful guidelines! The second tier ended up measuring 120 x 39cm (one piece per front and back, seamed at the side) and the lower tier was 152 x 35cm (again one per front and back, seamed at the side). The bottom layer is the full width of my fabric.

The fabric really helps create a dramatic effect and although I had to use 3m to make this skirt, the price could not be beaten. It’s a bold polyester in the colour Jade from Minerva Crafts which you can get here. The rich colour is even lovelier in person!! The drape and weight is perfect for gathering and swishing. Plus its totally opaque so I didn’t need a lining.

Want to join the fun?? Use any of the nine patterns in the curated list from the Simplicity Pattern Hacking range and join the WORLD-WIDE SIMPLICITY PATTERN HACK-ALONG!

Choose your pattern(s), decide which category is right for your finished garment and then share your hack on social media using the category hashtag:

DAYWEAR: #HACKALONGDAY

PARTY: #HACKALONGPARTY

UNIQUE VINTAGE: #HACKALONGVINTAGE

You can email your entries (don’t forget to include pattern number and category) to simplicityhackalong@icloud.com There’s the chance to WIN Sewing or Coverstitch Machines from Janome and Goody Bags from Simplicity and their sister brands. Find more info on the rules and the pattern list on the SewDirect website.

Continue Reading

Spotty McCall’s 7085

Hello my loveliest ones!! I am hating humanity after a hellish time on public transport and the motorway but you’re all exempt. You wouldn’t leave giant cases in the aisles and blare music without speakers would you?? I hope not. And you wouldn’t try and drive me off the road in your a supermarket delivery van right???

Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

I’ve been doing a little less sewing than normal lately but wanted to experiment with the latest pattern from Love Sewing magazine. This pattern is included with issue 73 on sale October 3rd. That’s tomorrow! As you know I don’t often have time to make the magazine patterns but I just loved this neckline!

Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

Isn’t Lis’s version below so gorgeous? I knew I couldnt pull off the shift style so I wanted to see if I could hack the dress to a more retro silhouette. To do this I used the waistline mark on the front and back bodice pieces. I marked lines across the pattern pieces 1.5cm below the waistline point. This was the cutting line.

Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

I then worked out the finished waist measurement and measurements for the front and back and adjusted slightly so my skirt pattern would match at the side seams. The skirt here is actually my wedding dress skirt pattern! It makes it very swishy.

Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

I made view D of the pattern with its lovely sweetheart neckline and no sleeves. This stretch spot cotton sateen is amazing quality and gives the dress a lot of structure. It took 3m to get all the pieces of this dress on the fabric even at 60″ wide. It’s a pretty huge skirt!!

Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

I finished the hem with red bias tape; my preferred method for a circle skirt. There’s an invisible zipper in the back. And of course I added pockets. SO MUCH FUN!!

Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

Continue Reading

Scuba dooba doo Lena M6886 hack

Hi Everyone!
Hope you’re having a great week. Lots of happy vibes over in my sewing room at the moment as I’m making progress with my bridesmaid dresses, I finished my bicycle embroidery and also a lovely reader of the blog sent me some beautiful vintage sewing patterns.

Turns out she wasn’t going to use them so I’m happy to give them a loving home. I’m not sure when I’ll ever make the slippers but I honestly love all the instructions and illustrations in each pattern. It’s so irresistible to see how things were done in the past

Almond rock vintage sewing patterns

As you might know I’m woefully behind on photographing makes and have around 35 to share on the blog that haven’t been shot yet. I’m happy to report that I snuck into the studio last week and managed to take some pictures.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

When I saw THIS SCUBA on the Minerva Crafts website I audibly gasped. I am of course addicted to florals but the colours in this print had been smitten. Although I don’t currently participate in the Minerva Blogger Network, Vicki was kind enough to still send me some of the fabric to make a skater dress.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

I used my new favourite tshirt pattern M6886 which I stole from issue 44 of Love Sewing and added a waist seam. The neckline is the perfect amount of scoop without being too revealing I then added the skirt from the Simple Sew Lena Wrap dress. I love the flare on the skirt and decided to keep the hem band even though it’s not as obvious in this fabric. But as you can see I left off the waistband.

I actually constructed this entirely on my overlocker (the old one not the new one) which meant it was finished in around an hour. The only machine work was the hems which I overlocked, turned under and topstitched, including the neckline.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

With the base fabric being white and the print being a little sparse it is a little see through in places if you’re wearing white lingerie, so I either wear nude or a slip to add opacity.

I’m so excited to pull this dress out of my wardrobe to wear with my chartreuse cardigan and red shoes. And you can’t beat the effect you can achieve when you make a full skirt out of scuba, it has a lovely sway when you walk. I end up swishing up and down the street

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

If you’re scared of trying scuba here are some tips. It cuts easily but if you don’t fancy the hand workout with your scissors, try a smaller rotary cutter for any intricate cutting sections.

Remember to prewash scuba as you should with any other fabric and wash it like normal but avoid hot heats and overwashing as you’ll get a bobbly garment and damage the stretch content.

With that in mind be sure to iron scuba on a low setting, this fabric will mark or even melt if iron too hot.

Last but not least use a stretch or ballpoint needle to prevent snagging and slipping.

Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

It’s painfully obvious that my blog productivity and especially my time to read blogs has taken a nose dive but I’m pleased I’m clinging on and still posting. I imagine you’re all struggling too and I’m really grateful if you’ve clicked through and kept reading this long! So high fives all round?

Continue Reading

DIY drafted dress

Today I have a slightly different post for you all. I hope you read to the end and enjoy what you see.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

A few years back I was in a luxurious position where I finished work at 4pm every day and could indulge myself in my evenings. One of the things I tried was a course called “‘Develop’ Pattern Drafting” at Leeds Art College. This was just after I tried the print making course and was fully enamoured with the LAC’s facilities.

Over the 10 weeks I made two blocks and about 6 patterns. I then promptly shoved them on a shelf and forgot about them… until a few months ago. I saw an email saying that LAC would sadly have to stop its evening education programmes and it inspired me to dig out my designs.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

The pleated tuck effect of my pattern is created 90% by dart manipulation and 10% creative construction. I should caveat this by saying that my construction method may not be the most logical way to make this dress. But who cares, because this was my experimentation time and it’s not like I’m forcing you to copy me. Plus there’s a guarrantee I won’t remember the process entirely accurately but let’s cross our fingers shall we?

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

First things first I drafted a V neck bodice with waist-only darts and slim straps and importantly NO SEAM ALLOWANCE. I traced off two copies of this bodice. On the first copy I altered to swoop of the neckline so it fell under the bust (about 1″ below the bust point), leaving a shorter side seam no dart. This became the left side as worn.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

For the right side as worn, I repeated the above neckline swoop but made the width of the front stop about 1.5cm into my dart area so it would be caught inside the closed dart. I then slashed three lines that angled from the new shorter side seam, connecting to the bust point. By slashing up the dart to the bust point I could pivot the paper so it opened up gaps between each slash, creating my pleats. This was really fiddly, I’m not going to lie. Keeping the neckline edge on the correct curve so it met the centre front evenly and only opening the pleats below that point took some practice.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

Then I added seam allowance all over! As I knew I would finish everything with bias tape facings and an overlocker I use small seam allowance. On my toile I had some slight pulling due to the positioning of my neckline curve so redrafted slightly to fit better under the bust.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

To construct the dress I had to sew the shoulder seams, bind the neckline edges stopping short of the back zipper area, construct the pleats, sew the pleats into the left dart and sew the remaining right dart, tack the lower edges, sew the side seams, add the circle skirt, install the zip, finish the neckline binding, bind the armholes and bind the hem. Plus overlock the waist and side seams at strategic moments. You might notice I also changed the colour of my topstitching from the in progress shot above!

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

I wore this dress to a friend’s wedding and felt very glam all day. The fabric used is a silky poly sateen from Minerva Crafts. It’s very drapey with no stretch, so don’t imagine cotton sateen which is more crisp. It was £16.99 so quite a splurge on my part when I didn’t have any specific plans but I couldn’t resist. It’s a hand-painted digital print, with splatters of paint and brush marks visible in the design. The colours are so gorgeous and there are places where it reminds me of a milky way or galaxy. My only regret is not buying half a metre more. I let fear of how much I was spending get the better of me and ended up with a pattern placement I’m not 100% happy with. Although it still looks great, it gave me a lot of headaches trying to place the print in an attractive way to show off the pleats.

Almond rock pattern drafting Winnie aldrich

While pattern drafting at home is rather involved unless you have lots of space and a good head for maths, dart manipulation at home is lots of fun. I highly recommend taking a basic bodice pattern you know fits you and play around with pivoting the darts. You’ll just need some basic supplies like tracing paper, or dot and cross paper with a tracing wheel and carbon (don’t use the hemline carbon it’s crap). William Gee have some great prices on drafting papers even if you just want them for tracing off your patterns. Perhaps you’re ready to try pattern drafting? Well a pattern master will be your best friend for 90 degree angles, quick measurements and soft curves. And I must confess I live by the bible of Winnie Aldrich but some people seem to hate her method. On the course we followed Hilary Campell but I couldn’t retrain my brain to Hilary’s ways. Maybe it’s just what you encounter first?

I hope you found this post interesting. It was a bit more in-depth than many of my other posts but perhaps it’s inspired you to have a go at pattern drafting if you’ve never tried it, or dust off the old pattern master if you’ve left it alone for too long.

Continue Reading

Spot on

You won’t believe how long I’ve been waiting for August 2014.

almond rock new look 6886 viscose

It’s a month of two major events – first, it’s my 30th birthday. (Today in fact) Huzzah! And second, I’m moving to my new home and getting a sewing room.

I am VERY excited. I hope you can sense a bottled up giddiness in my photos; take a look and see if you can catch the twinkle in my eye.

So for my August Minerva make I wanted to make a strappy sundress; I mean can you blame me given the weather we were having?

almond rock new look 6886 viscose

I used an amazing spot viscose from Minerva that I can honestly say is like my absolute ideal fabric –

  • the print is small but noticeable;
  • it has brilliant drape;
  • it’s cool and soft to the touch; and
  • there are so many good colours in their I can wear a wild variety of coordinating clothes and accessories.

I’ve even used this fabric before on a dress, that’s how much I love it. I have TWO dresses in my wardrobe in it now.

almond rock new look 6886 viscose

The dress pattern used is New Look 6886 which is a great staple sundress pattern with several cute variations. I was very tempted to use gathers around the bust but in the end went plain and simple with view D.

The bodice is self-lined, and I inserted a lapped zipper (as I’m done with my invisible zipper obsession now) plus as an interesting touch I used a slider set to make the straps adjustable.

almond rock new look 6886 viscose

This is something I’ve always loved about ready to wear clothes because I have one shoulder lower than the other and even though I try so hard, fitting straps on myself isn’t 100% fool-proof. These nifty sliders are cheap to buy and come in packs of 10, in black/white/transparent.

Doing this will mean a couple of changes from the pattern pieces and a little extra effort – first you’ll extend your strap piece to  cut a much longer strap, then you’ll make a very short strap about 3 – 4 inches long. You should bring out a bra to sit next to you as you sew to compare how the straps feed through the loops.

I absolutely adore this finished dress and feel wonderful in it. It’s been worn every week since I finished it.

almond rock new look 6886 viscose

Continue Reading