Sophia Tee Hack

Hello everyone! Sorry for my absence. It’s been excruciating because I’ve got about 15 things ready to blog but don’t have any pictures!! I’m going to attempt taking some myself this weekend while Jimi is away, but the last time that happened I forgot to smile heehee.

almond rock sophia tee abakhan

So to solve this problem I found some pics of my jeans that show off my Sophia tee.

almond rock sophia tee abakhan

For those of you who haven’t seen Love Sewing issue 19, we included a paper pattern for a long pleated waist skirt and simple dartless top. Separates are pretty on trend and a nice alternative to a dress. Plus both pieces make excellent staples. I can’t wait to make a knee length version of the skirt and many more Sophia tees.

almond rock sophia tee abakhan

The mag explains how to hack the top into tee length. Essentially you just extend the front and back around 5 or 6 inches along the fold line and side seam and the draw the new hem at a right angle to the centre front and back.

almond rock sophia tee abakhan

I used a zigzag polyester from the Abakhan remnant bin. God I love that place. I think it was £2. It’s surprisingly not that sheer, but I generally wear a little tank top underneath to avoid any hint of static.

almond rock sophia tee abakhan

The length is probably 2 or 3cm too short for my liking but I wanted to try and make a top that sat above the bottom of my Jean pockets. It’s exactly that but turns out I do prefer the added length.

So there you go! I’ll be making loooooads of these because they are insanely quick to make. And I want to swap out the facings for coordinating bias binding.

If you want to pick up issue 19, head out to shops quick as it goes offsale on November 5th! Though it will still be available to buy online.

almond rock sophia tee abakhan

Continue Reading

Queen Mathilde

Still working through my blogging backlog so today’s post shows me with shorter hair! I can’t believe how much it’s grown so maybe I should get it recut!

This is a Tilly and The Buttons Mathilde with 3/4 sleeves similar to my ikat version. I used a crown and queen print polyester from Abakhan in Manchester and floral white buttons from my stash.

It’s very thin and can really hold a crease – so it’s nice to wear in this sticky weather and the pleats sewed up easily.

I’m not really a royalist. I don’t have strong opinions either way about the monarchy and royal family. Part of me worries about how much support we extend to a very large family to provide a better quality of life than most people could even dream of. The other part of me feels that they’re a vital part of my country’s success and intrinsically tied to my perception of British culture.

I know there are people I am close to who fall on different sides of the argument and I don’t think me wearing a queen print top should rattle anyone, but it did make me pause for a second before buying the fabric; “does this say something about me politically?”

I guess the same way I wonder if buying polyester says something about me.

Deep thoughts for a simple top I suppose.

Continue Reading

Cheap as chips

almond rock polyester anna ka bazaar simplicity 2444

I don’t like the word cheap.

It’s too hard to distinguish between using it to indicate loss cost and implying low quality these days. People say you get what you pay for but I have often found amazing quality fabric at lower prices. And worse, the same fabric for frustratingly different prices.

almond rock polyester anna ka bazaar simplicity 2444

For instance my elephant print cotton lawn was £4.99 a metre but I’ve seen it listed for £14 a metre on other sites.

Part of me wonders if the cheaper fabric is a knock off of the more expensive. If I had only ever seen the lawn listed at £10 + I would have accepted that was its value. But maybe the seller I bought from was massively undercutting the market to secure sales?

I often project a perceived value on fabric if it feels nice or worse if the print sends my heart racing. I’ll put it up on a pedestal and have to will myself into cutting into it. But thats not to say I wouldn’t turn down fabric if the price seemed unfair. I’m still a fickle consumer, driven in some part by a sense of value: Even if the quality and longevity of my clothes is higher by making them myself I still need to justify my hobby from a price perspective.

Who knows.
It’s been playing on my mind though.

almond rock polyester anna ka bazaar simplicity 2444

So what am I sharing today. A polyester dress in an amazing triangle print called constellation.

I love the colours in the print. It’s like my dream design – geometric, repeating, with coral and teal.

almond rock polyester anna ka bazaar simplicity 2444

Here’s the kicker… The fabric was £15 a metre. With a discount code I got it for £11. Maybe you think this polyester looks worth that price? Or maybe you think polyester in any format screams cheap and nasty.

Granted, the fabric is prone to turning static and needed a fine sharp needle during construction. It’s actually slightly thinner than regular polyester, more like a peachskin weight that lifts with a slight breeze. But I still love it.

I bought it from Anna Ka Bazaar the Paris-based fabric shop last year –  sadly for me, I had to buy over the Internet instead of making a trip in person. One day though.

almond rock polyester anna ka bazaar simplicity 2444

The pattern is my one true love; a Simplicity 2444 bodice and gathered skirt. I altered the neckline and armholes to use bias binding and left the whole dress unlined. Made it super quick to sew! My overlocker kept everything tidy inside.

So there you have it! Would you ever pay £15 for polyester? Ever seen a fabric priced significantly higher or lower than you bought it for?

Continue Reading

Bits and Bobbins

Gosh it’s been ages since I last posted.
I get this horrible feeling when I don’t post during a week. Let’s remedy that!

I’ve been sewing like a maniac lately and have a big queue of things to show you in the next few weeks. I’ll start by sharing a few things today.

First up are a couple of work tops that are modest and smart but still a bit fun and go with jeans. It’s the “I’m so cute, don’t you want to let me standardise your product and put it in a media neutral content management system” look. Snappy eh?

almond rock new look 6148 squirrel rabbit crepe

So here we have a yoke-less new look 6148 in ex-Dorothy Perkins crepe with awesome squirrel and rabbit print. I picked this up from Goldhawk Road a couple of summers ago and as soon as I was on the train home regretted only buy 1m.

And my firm favourite, new look 6808 in red and cream polyester. I’m not falling into the trap of calling it tribal, ohhhhhh no. This fabric was one of my bargain Birmingham Rag Market purchases that I recently shared on Instagram.

almond rock new look 6808 tribal polyester

I thought I try the 6808 sleeves on the 6148 as well and wahey they fit all right! Maybe even a bit better than they fit the pattern they came with!?

Moving along… a few weeks ago my friends had the fright of their lives. Their baby who hadn’t quite finished cooking, arrived 8 weeks early weighing in at a teeny 2 lbs. After some love and attention she’s been beefed up enough to be at home with her family.

As a baby gift I made the Dylan Onsie pattern (babygrow to all us Brits) from Spit Up and Stilettos – it was free for some time but appears to now be priced. I also snaffled the Drew leggings pattern while they were free and they also seem pretty cool too for an easy baby gift.

almond rock dylan onesie babygrow spit up and stilettos metallic gold hot pink jersey

The pattern includes “preemie” size for teeny babies just like Baby Amber. I used some garish but fun hot pink and metallic gold jersey from Birmingham rag market with some jersey bias tape and a bit of velcro from Samuel Taylors, and whipped it up on my overlocker. It’s definitely opinion dividing but I knew if anyone would get a kick out of this, it would be Tom and Helen, and I love that Amber is disco-ready.

Finally I made a little tool and pencil case ready for my pattern drafting class! What a geek, I know. This is the “Develop” Pattern Drafting and Garment Design evening course that I’m doing through Leeds Art College just like my Textile printing course.

The notes advise bringing basic sewing supplies, plus basic pencil kit so I had to make the pouch quite big. It’s about A5 sized.

almond rock vintage sewing pattern tshirt transfer paper zipper pouch

I printed a black and white image from a vintage sewing pattern onto tshirt transfer paper. I used some cotton canvas for the pouch and an invisible zipper. Here’s a good tutorial for pouches with regular zips. Easy for anyone to do, whether they’re a newbie or an old pro.

Isn’t she working that dress? She’s giving me Liz Taylor vibes.

Now that I’ve broken the silence, look forward to a few more posts from me soon!

Continue Reading

Textile Printing at Leeds Art College

Hello everyone!
I thought it was about time for a full round up of my Textile Printing course. This is going to be picture heavy I’m afraid and I’ve not even included all the pictures!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 1 and 2 we worked with disperse printing using heat set dyes on man made fabrics. Using paper soaked in dye and a giant heatpress, I played with geometric shapes on coloured polyester and crepe.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art collegealmond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 3 we made paper stencils using scalpels and when taped to mesh screens we could pull binder ink through onto any fabric we liked. Mine was an utter disaster due to poor squeegee technique and rubbish stencil.

Week 4 was about free form painting direct onto a screen using Procion reactive dyes. I printed a splatter print onto cotton lawn and silk.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 5 and 6 we prepped for future sessions by coating screens in light sensitive emulsion and thanks to a huge light box we exposed imagery onto the mesh. We drew the images in thick black pen to act as positives and when the screen was exposed the black areas washed away creating a negative that would allow ink to pass through in just those areas. I chose pineapples!!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

While our screens set we also dyed silk, satin, velvet and cotton in big pans using tiny amounts of dye and lots of hot water. Excitingly I also got to use the digital printers while our fabrics soaked! I printed 1.5m of paper crane print cotton drill and 1.5m of painterly triangle print silk.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 7 was the start of my pineapples adventures! We pulled binder ink through our screens onto any fabrics we wanted. I chose to print fluorescent pink ink on white cotton and crepe de chine and black ink on brown polyester.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Week 8 we tried discharge screenprinting where a smelly seaweed-based paste bleaches the colour from dyed fabric. As well as devore printing which removes cellulose fibres leaving the man made fabric base behind – e.g removing the nap from velvet to create a relief. I used my pineapple screen again to discharge print on my dyed cotton and silk. And freestyled a brush painted devore print on my dyed satin and velvet.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college
almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Weeks 9 and 10 I decided to expose a new screen with hummingbirds and printed onto some colourful viscose. I printed teal ink on pink and pink ink on purple. Plus I had time for a sneaky little bit more disperse printing.

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

It was such a wonderful course, I’m actually a little sad I can’t repeat it next term but I’ve already signed up to a pattern drafting course.

Here are the details for Textile Printing: The course I did was a short evening course run by Leeds Art College, over 10 weeks for 2.5hrs. The tutor is Kirstie Williams who also runs independent print courses.

The course costs £185 with all materials provided but you bring extra if you want to print something specific.

I ended up with enough fabric for 3 dresses, 4 tops, and plenty of A2 pieces for tote bags or small garments – silk pineapple knickers perhaps?!

The new term starts in a couple of weeks so I suggest you sign yourself up asap if you’re interested!

almond rock textile printing leeds art college

Continue Reading