Vintage French Joan-ish

Hello hello! Is everyone surviving the week? Are you taking part in Amanda’s awesome #bpsewvember on Instagram?  Go on and tag yourself on my IG feed if we’re not a already friends as I’d love to see all your snaps.

I have a fun dress to share today as it’s a Sew Over It pattern love child! I merged the Joan Dress and the Vintage Shirtdress with excellent results.

almond rock sew over it joan shirt dress

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

So in case it’s not obvious, this is the Joan bodice and sleeves without the collar. The team kindly sent me Joan when it was first released as they knew it was right up my alley. I did a really rough toile as I know SOI sizing is consistent across the patterns but in reality I should have possibly done a tiny sba. The sleeve caps are a tiny bit off as well but these are micro points when I skipped all my normal fitting steps.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

In case you’re not sick of them, see my shirt dress versions here. The skirt was made by cutting the front on the fold following the centre front line. Then the back was cut in two with 1.5cm centre back seam allowance added. The side seams, darts and skirt pleats lined up almost perfectly! I just basted them together by hand so they wouldn’t slip during sewing.

And how lush is this fabric? It’s Atelier Brunette modal which is sort of like a viscose in that it’s also a cellulose fabric but is produced in slightly different conditions. It’s thicker than normal viscose but not twill like. It’s slightly spongy and as easily creased it gets, it irons smooth with ease. This print is called Facet and I bought it last March during a sale at M is for Make. Look out for the Black Friday sale everyone!! Ps. I love love love my new Clarks shoes. The’re called Hotel Vibe. Yummy.

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

The bodice is lined with navy polyester from my stash and I used a concealed zip. Life is short and when you have a concealed zipper foot they’re the speediest option.

I wanted to repeat my love for this great blog post on clean lining a sleeved bodice. The technique is amazing… but I really want to make an easier to follow version as it’s really hard to see in these step by step images. To be really clear, this technique creates a clean finish on the inside of your lined bodice around the armholes. All you see is the sleeve seam allowance! Here’s a little vid to show the finish – please ignore the telly playing in the background. Although if you can name the show I’ll be mega impressed.

Fully lined sleeved bodice. This technique is pure magic 💙

A video posted by Amy (@almondrock_sews) on

So I guess all that’s left to do is force you to look at a terrible dark night time picture of me in the dress heading out for dinner and that’s blatantly because I curled my hair and got dolled up and want to use the picture as many times as possible haha. I’m still on the hunt for a hairdresser who will perm my hair in big rolls like this. The specialist I went to blew me off and told me no one would give me the hair style I’m after. But since then the hair and make up team at work have told me that answer is horse poo and I should try someone else for a second opinion. Fingers crossed on that note. Also it’s scary seeing how going swimming once since the below photo was taken has drained all the hair dye out of my hair. Doh. I’m off to work on my Colette Anise jacket! Bye for now

almond rock sew over it vintage shirt dress joan

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Vintage shirt dress number 3

I can’t help myself with this pattern, plus I have so many more versions planned!

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In case it wasn’t obvious, this is the Vintage Shirtdress from Sew Over It aka the Ultimate Shirtdress in my mind. I wanted to try the pattern in viscose this time and felt I knew enough about the pattern to make it work.

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This poly viscose is from possibly the man outside Sainsburys… well it’s definitely from Walthamstow market following a very successful shopping trip with a Emmie, Roisin and Lauren. He just wasn’t quite behind sainsbury’s so who knows!? I thought this print was very Hobbs like or maybe Whistles? Nothing proven but it’s fun to dream and I know TMBS often gets end rolls from the high street.

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To keep the viscose from slipping all around I spritzed the uncut fabric with spray starch which was a big help during sewing but hasn’t washed out fully so the fabric is still a little stiffer than I like. These shell buttons were from my stash and I have absolutely no clue when from!

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The pattern sizing hasn’t changed from versions 1 and 2 so I’m not sure I have much else to say. I hope you forgive me for being brief!

On a plus I think I’m finally getting to grips with my camera settings! I took a few pictures of Chewie Cat and love how they turned out. These were shot on my X30 Fujifilm. It’s a bridge camera so I have the option to adjust my settings or let the camera decide. It’s great for when I’m in front of the camera as it does the hard work but then I get to play when the camera is back in my hands!

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Put a cat on it… put a bow on that cat while you’re at it

almond rock cat print vintage shirtdress sew over it

I’m still getting used to what might be a ‘typical’ day! Since taking the job of editor of Love Sewing Magazine a few months ago, my life’s been pretty hectic. It generally starts off the same though – either my alarm buzzes at 06:30 or my cat slaps me in the face with her paw demanding breakfast. I have a massive cup of tea and pick out one of my handmade dresses to wear. Then I’m off on my way to the train station, it takes me two hours to get to Stockport in Manchester, where the Love Sewing offices are based. I get home around 7.30pm and once I’ve had dinner I have a brief window for sewing time. If I’m desperate to get my teeth into sewing something I have to save it for the weekend.

almond rock cat print vintage shirtdress sew over it

This fabric demanded to be a shirt dress. And I became pretty obsessed with having a yellow/mustard collar in the same shade as the bow on the cat’s tail. I searched all of Leeds and Birmingham for coordinating fabric but no dice. But that absolute sweetheart Marie said she thought she had a piece of double gauze in her stash that was a close match. I sent her off with a little snippet of a cat and she posted back the PERFECT colour gauze that was so soft and lovely I felt terrible cutting into it. I bought some French vintage buttons from Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge to pull everything together.

almond rock cat print vintage shirtdress sew over it

I used the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in a straight size 8 as before but I cut the collar, and two facings out of yellow. This is a really nice trick for a contrast collar. You just have to be quite precise with your understitching – I didn’t want navy showing around my collar seam, and I didn’t want yellow showing around my centre front!

almond rock cat print vintage shirtdress sew over it

I went sleeveless again as you can see. There’s also self made bias binding which you can’t see. Not cutting the facings or collar out of the cat print gave me enough scraps to cut bias strips. I got the dress out of 1.5m of fabric! I’m pretty chuffed with that I have to say. And I didn’t skimp on cutting out pieces on grain. And I added the extra inside button to stop the waistband gaping – thanks go to Emmie for that ingenious addition.

almond rock cat print vintage shirtdress sew over it

The kitty fabric is a polycotton from the Abakhan bargain bins at Manchester. I searched for ages to see if there was more but this was the only piece. Man that place is a treasure trove. I think it was £4 for the piece! The title of this post comes from me watching too much Portlandia recently. Sorry (not sorry).

almond rock cat print vintage shirtdress sew over it

So what more can I say! Sorry to post this so close to the other shirt dress, but I wanted to get it online before the end of the month. I’m going to enter it in the Sew Over It monthly show off competition. I don’t expect to win but it’s a clever comp for people to show how they’ve put their own spin on a pattern. I’ve seen some gorgeous floral shirt dresses and lovely Bettys and so on. I like noseying at what everyone is sewing who don’t have blogs heehee.

almond rock cat print vintage shirtdress sew over it

Until next time, happy sewing everyone!

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Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress

Hope all of you are still out there and reading my ramblings. First up, with the WordPress 4.3 update I lost my last post and all your lovely comments. So sorry about that.

Also you may be wondering why I haven’t commented on the recent news in my life yet. Basically, I’m building up to it! It’s a little overwhelming to put into words exactly how it’s changed everything.

One thing I will hold my hands up to is that it’s now almost impossible for me to comment on blog posts. I honestly cannot find the time. Even time for reading blogs has been squeezed. That really upsets me because I always felt like I was part of a conversation in this community of sewists. Instead I have to rely on twitter and IG where I can comment all at once. Maybe you hadn’t even noticed the difference but I’ve absolutely missed it.

almond rock vintage shirtdress sew over it polka dot chambray

So now I’ve bummed everyone out… I have another unblogged make to share with you all. Here is my first Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress. I’ve already made a second!

I saw Emmie’s tester version at the Fashion on the Ration exhibition and wanted to rip it off her hahaha. Instead I bought it the day it came out. I was in such a rush I didn’t even see there was a pattern discount to apply – doh. This is my favourite of all the SOI envelope illustrations.

almond rock vintage shirtdress sew over it polka dot chambray

So where to start. Probably sizing because it’s important. I made a size 8 and it fits me almost perfectly which is insane!!! I made a size 10 muslin fully expecting it to fit me around the bust but need letting out at the waist, shortening in the torso and a narrow shoulder adjustment. But it was almost right which is absolutely bonkers. I’ve got a 35″ bust, a (EDIT! I mistyped my waist measurement by 4 inches on my first post. Sorry!) 34″ waist and I’m 5ft5.

There’s no need to give my hip measurement as it’s safe to say the quarter circle skirt skims over everything and is really flattering on a pear shape. It’s JUST long enough so ladies taller than me, take note. The release pleats are a nice change from darts. For reference I normally make a size 12-14 in Big 4 patterns and a 10/12 in BHL and 36 in Deer and Doe.

almond rock vintage shirtdress sew over it polka dot chambray

I actually used the sleeved cutting lines but then left off my sleeves at the last minute. I think the armholes sit well but the gathers seem a little distorted. I saw a recent pic of Lisa in a blue polka dot sleeved version and it made me a little sad I’d left them off mine but nevermind.

The collar is constructed slightly differently to a regular notched collar as the two pieces of the collar stay separate. I’m comparing this collar to my satin pjs and my Simplicity 1880 shirtdresses. This actually makes it much easier to manipulate and achieve a clean finish. Clever thinking for making this easier for new sewists and a new twist on the style.

almond rock vintage shirtdress sew over it polka dot chambray

The fabric is a dotty chambray I picked up in the M is for Make sale a few months back. It’s a Robert Kaufman chambray in Royal with white woven dots.

I loved the drape and feel so much I recently bought the black colourway from Village Haberdashery! The dots are woven and slightly raised rather than bleached or printed.

It’s finished off with little red rose buttons from Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge. After a bit of headscratching I managed to get them to fit in my automatic buttonhole foot. If I’d had to do a 4 step for this button I’d have been pretty scared of nailing the sizing!

almond rock vintage shirtdress sew over it polka dot chambray

I used navy bias tape and overlocking to finish everything inside. I wanted to finish the hem with bias too but it made it too stiff.

So there you have it! I wear this dress a lot and when I pair it with my red cardigan and shoes I feel like a 1970s schoolteacher or with my navy cardigan it more Matron at a 1950s hospital. Can’t really explain why hahah.

almond rock vintage shirtdress sew over it polka dot chambray

Last week, I had a few days off to sew as I want to make a proper dent in my fabric stash. Now I have four or five dresses, three tops and a pair of jeans to share at some point! I also want to talk about my new job and some of the things I’ve sewn for that! Am I the only one with a blogging backlog? I bet you’re all more organised than me!

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