• Jackets and coats

    Olive Green Vogue 1537

    Here she finally is, my finished Vogue 1537 in Olive Green wool. I’ve been dragging my heels all winter with this one but she’s finally done! When I made my first version of this coat it was LOVE. In fact I still love it…. I just can’t button it up any more. But I might in future so it’s staying put in my coat cupboard.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    If you remember, originally I wanted a pass at this coat after seeing someone make a wool version on pattern review. You know I like to break the rules and was happy to find a like-minded rebel. It’s of course designed for lighter weight fabrics but who cares about that. Here’s my second wool version!

    I used my altered pattern pieces with lengthened sleeves and no wrist tabs. And just like before there’s no hem vent. Shame on me AGAIN for not adding one. But you can easily move in this gently boxy coat without one. Plus it does line up but I was victim to the wind which was WILD. I had to choose between all my hair over my face or the hem not matching for the next photo.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    This is my 9th piece of outerwear I think? But second full length coat. And because I made it from wool coating I had to add some extra steps that weren’t in the instructions to prepare the fabric. First you have to decide how to prepare your wool. I like to steam shrink everything by hand with a garment steamer or iron. Other people take the risk and machine wash. And some don’t prep at all. With the horrible rain that UK Autumn/Winter experiences, I prefer to get all shrinking out of the way.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    Then I interfaced all the body with medium woven interfacing and the facings with a thicker canvas style interfacing. I decided not to pad stitch the interfacing in place, and used fusibles this time around because although my coating is thick, it’s not the kind of pile you could easily hide all the stitches in. Fusing such large pieces makes me wish for one of those big iron presses that tailors have. You can see I also use bright basting stitches to hold things in place… my idea of fun (I’m so wild, you can’t stand it).

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    When it comes to pressing seams I use a clapper and pressing cloth to hold the heat in the wool and avoid shiny marks from the iron plate. I also use a pair of manilla envelopes under the seam allowances to prevent a seam line mark on the right side of the garment. Then rather annoyingly when I was giving the coat a final press, I totally forgot this and pressed the long back seam creating a shadow/dent. I bet you didn’t even notice it in the photo, but I know it’s there. Hopefully it will fade with time and another steam.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    Its a really lovely pattern with a great dress included. Vogue patterns are filled with nice designer details for a super polished finish. And I love the 60s vibe of the collar. You’ll see this design has large patch pockets but unfortunately I was about 30cms short of fabric to add these to mine. Instead I used the scraps of wool to make hip level welt flaps, for pockets which are lined and functional. Given how thick the fabric is the welts turned out nicely but I prefer a patch pocket for easier carrying of keys/phone/mask.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    The fabric is from Montreux Fabrics (now sold out), from their stall at Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate. It’s a very thick pure wool coating with an interesting variegation of thread colours. The finished coat is only a little bulky while being pleasantly very warm – my orange version was much thinner. I’m really pleased with the colour out in the world… in my sewing room it looked a little drab. A word I try not to associate with! The lining is rather the star of the show. This cat print satin (also sold out) was provided free of charge from Rainbow Fabrics as a preview of their A/W collection in exchange for an Instagram story. When I saw it alongside the coat fabric the colours paired so beautifully, with the navy and mustard cats popping against the olive.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    So now I can be warm and dry again until nice weather returns to the UK. And I can move onto another project which hopefully I’ll finish quicker! Thanks for reading to the end. Or thanks for looking at all the pictures.

  • Dresses

    Starry night McCall’s 8090 hack

    Happy 2022 everyone! I’m kicking off the year by sharing a dress I actually finished last August. It’s a little ridiculous how long things wait before I photograph them properly. When I shared a sneak peek on Instagram it was very popular so hopefully you still like it now it’s finished. I’m pretty taken with it, except for one thing which I’ll cover in a moment.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    I used the Marina Dress from McCall’s aka M8090 which is available in sizes 4-22 (46″ hip). This dress came with Love Sewing 95 where is how I recommend you buying it as it’s £9.99 for three sewing patterns. As per my previous version I adapted the bodice and skirt panel lengths. Marina is drop waist so I took 9cm off the bodice and added it to the top skirt panels. Next I removed the square yoke by folding out the gathering at the centre front and taping the yoke piece directly on top of the bodice piece. Here’s what that looked like.

    Almond Rock shows a pattern hack to remove the yoke from McCall's M8090 sewing pattern

    On my previous version I also adapted the sleeve into a raglan but I decided to keep the standard rounded sleeve for this dress. As I made the dress in August, I went for a sleeveless finish but honestly regretted it. That’s the major thing I referred to at the start of this post. And there is a sleeveless view for the pattern but I think a smaller armhole would be more flattering on me if going sleeveless. I have enough fabric left over to cut some sleeves so will add a 3/4 sleeve with an elastic cuff. 

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Another thing that didn’t go quite to plan is the neckline where I decided to omit the collar stand. I wanted a nice flat open neckline which I got by drafting a neckline facing on the inside, instead. It’s not enough to support the placket opening even with an interfaced placket, so the fabric sags. Not unwearable but not as smart and neat as the original pattern. While I’m going to add sleeves, I’m not going to add a collar retrospectively. 

    Almond rock shows the back of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Fit wise I didn’t change anything from my first version which was size S (8-10). The waistline droop I mentioned in my previous post turned out to be caused by my raglan sleeve alterations so I still need to curve the waist cutting line on those pattern pieces but not the regular sleeve version.

    Almond rock shows the skirt of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepeLet’s talk about this stunning fabric! It’s an ecovera viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics. It’s definitely a bubbly crepe weave but has the shine of a crepe de chine. It’s gorgeous with the perfect drape and opacity! It’s a deadstock fabric from the brand Nobody’s Child and they seem to get fabric from them quite regularly so I always keep my eyes peeled for more of this type. 

    Almond Rock wants to make the Nobody's child lemon print dress using McCall's 7974

    For instance McCall’s 7974 would be perfect for this dress if I can get the Nobody’s Child lemon fabric!

     

  • Dresses

    Raspberry Hacked M7948

    Ho Ho Ho, a festive treat today. Remember the last dress I shared? Well I hacked it to make my perfect dress. It’s great for eating and drinking in, dancing in, and attending zoom meetings! Let’s take a look shall we? It’s M7948 view C with sleeves from view D with no frill on them.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 7948 in raspberry linen, dress pattern hack

    As I said in my last post, I loved the Indigo from Tilly and The Buttons but the armholes never fit quite right, even after a lot of tweaking so M7948 is the perfect replacement dress. I just wanted a different neckline. So I traced my bodice pattern pieces then trimmed off the neckline into a boat neck. Changed the back bodice to be cut on the fold. Next I added a very thin U shaped keyhole to the front bodice. I could have gone a smidge higher in hindsight but oh well. Then I drafted a facing for the keyhole on extra tracing paper.

    The keyhole facing and front keyhole are sewn RST, clipped and turned through. Plus I topped stitched to keep everything flat. Then I made coordinating bias binding to finish the neckline and extend into long neck ties. The finished front can be worn open or tied in a bow.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 7948 in raspberry linen, dress pattern hack with tiered skirt

    My fabric is absolutely perfect. I ordered it not entire sure what the composition would be. Turns out I should have just trusted the description… It’s a lovely Raspberry linen-look viscose/polyester mix fabric. It’s totally opaque but light and floaty which is my dream combo. The linen texture is a little rougher than real linen but actually make the black and white print pop. The polyester mix makes the handle a little springy but it still presses well. I knew it would look great for the tiered version of the skirt.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 7948 in raspberry linen, dress pattern hack with elastic hem cuffs

    I ended up cutting the size 12 for the bodice as before, but cut a size 8 skirt so it’s a little less full. On the last version I talked about slimming the sleeves a little. I just took 1cm out of them and then added an elastic cuff hem by creating a thin channel and using 10mm elastic. The sleeves are now perfect to wear under cardigans!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 7948 in raspberry linen, dress pattern hack dressing the tree

    Final thoughts are this is a great choice for Christmas day which at my house involves lots of food and drink, lounging around playing games and curling up on the sofa at the end of the day. And I like this last photo for showing off my grey hair as it generally still photographs quite brown a lot of the time. My marvellous hair bow is from Beaded by Laura.

  • Dresses

    Super swishy M7948

    A winter’s sewing storytale of sorts…

     I needed more dresses like the Tilly Buttons Indigo for winter but wasn’t enjoying the sleeve and armhole issues which I tried resolving on multiple versions. I liked the loose fit, great canvas for prints, breezy style so I switched to try McCall’s 7948.

    This lovely floaty style is very similar to the Indigo but has a more rounded neckline. It has different skirt options. Plus there are different sleeve lengths and cute sleeve cuff ruffles!

    I actually used the pdf version of the pattern to make the dress as I was testing something out for work send needed to print one of our patterns. I thought why not make it one I want to sew!

    I sewed a straight size 12 with a narrow shoulder adjustment. I chose the tiered skirt which is made from gathered rectangles. It’s marvellously swishy as you can see from my attempts to twirl on camera! It’s a great length and pleasingly roomy but I need to fix two elements.

    The neckline is too high for me. I never wear round styles like this, always preferring boat neck. A new row of stitching on the front neckline, probably a further 1cm or 1.5cm in from the current seam will suffice. And I’ll ease off to meet the existing seam line at the back. That should also help me get it on without using the button loop.

     

    I’m also going to slim the sleeves a little as they’re a touch boxy. But these are two teeny little things right!? I’ve already made another version with a front keyhole, neck ties and elasticated sleeve hems! It’s in a beautiful raspberry linen look fabric and I’ve worn it several times already. I can’t wait to show you. I see lots more m7948s in my future!!

    A quick note to add I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought this polyester fabric! I feel like it was either Rainbow Fabrics or Simply Fabrics Brixton. But I’ve been hanging onto it for aaaaages. It’s good to sew older things from your stash. Justifies them being in there so long!!

     

  • Dresses

    Dress like your bathroom M7969

    OK! If you saw that blog post title and are getting worried just keep reading! When we were planning our new ensuite I fell in love with some floral hexie tiles I’d seen on a few home accounts including the mid-century modern kitchen of Amanda aka Modern June Cleaver.

    Almond rock teal turquoise bathroom with black shower and floral Black and white hex daisy tiles

    Long story short, I got the floor I wanted but had to create the tile sheets myself. Hours of finger numbing work. It was all worth it though!

    Almond rock wearing a floral m7969 dress hack in her turquoise bathroom with with floral hex tiled floor

    Flash forward and I’m happily shopping at Rainbow Fabrics when I spot this gorgeous floral print. It reminds me of the Marc Jacobs daisy and Kate Spade prints. And most importantly it reminded me of my lovely tiled floor!! The flowers are a soft beige and the fabric base is a poly challis.

    M7969 dress pattern envelope

    I decided to make another puff sleeve M7969. Similar to my red and pink version using view B but this time added elastic to the hems in a channel to the cropped sleeves instead of shirring.

    Almond rock wearing a floral m7969 dress hack in her turquoise bathroom with with floral hex tiled floor

    As you can see I also cut the front bodice on the fold and rounded the neckline. I still finished the neckline with bias binding but skipped the interfacing since that is included to stop the neckline stretching out on the v neck.

    Almond rock wearing a floral m7969 dress hack in her turquoise bathroom with with floral hex tiled floor

    This is size M again but with 1cm taken out of each side seam. Given the slightly stiff fabric I thought it looked better slightly slimmed at the sides.

    It’s fantastic how quickly this dress comes together. Especially when you round off the front! I made it in a few hours while at a sewing retreat with friends.

    It’s a cute, eas- to-wear dress though the puff sleeves make it difficult to wear a cardigan on top. I still love it though! I’ll probably put this pattern to one side for now but sure I’ll return to it next year.