So before I get started with my blog post, I have an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! On April 25th 7:30pm (BST) I’ll be co-hosting the Pyjama Pictionary Party with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. This is a YouTube live stream on my channel where we’ll chat handmade pyjamas, you can ask us anything you’ve always wanted to know and then we’ll quiz your sewing knowledge with a themed game of Pictionary! PLUS we’ve gathered 9 amazing raffle prizes which we’ll draw at the end of the night.
I love a classic pyjama. They make me think if Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Claudette Colbert… I could go on. They’re best slightly oversized with contrast piping, and occasionally a monogrammed pocket. Now despite loving pyjamas, I’ve blogged only a couple of the pairs I’ve made! You can see my McCall’s 6659 (aka M8056) here and why not check out my YouTube video on adding piping to the Closet Case Carolyn top here.
This set was dreamed up while I was sick last Easter. I mean, really really unwell. Like crying in pain unwell. So… I’m lying on the sofa and Jimi brings me a present from my dearest Sewing Wife Marie. 3m of crazy cat fabric to make me feel better and some sweets! She’s the cutest right?? As Marie had bought herself some of the fabric too we both agreed to make PJs for some #sewtwinning fun. I chose to make the Closet Case Carolyn top and the McCall’s 6659 (M8056) trousers but turn them into shorts. I used sparkly silver piping to pick out the silver in the print. And found the cutest metallic painted shell buttons on eBay to coordinate!
This might seem crazy but for the Carolyn top I started with a size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Remember I have a surprising waist to hip ratio and I don’t believe in feeling snug while in loungewear! I’m currently 36:33:45. My McCall’s shorts are size 14. I made my own cuffs for the sleeves and short hems to maximise piping and tried my best with pattern placement… This pattern is hungry on a 45″ wide fabric. Marie nailed the pockets on her pyjamas of course. I’m jealous obviously. Everything is finished inside with zesty overlocked seams for a secret dash of sunshine.
Now I’m rather shy about my thighs but this next cropped shot is acceptable as you’ll want to see the bottoms on.
Now comes the dreaded back shot! The things I do for you guys eh?
It’s a funny fabric weight; somewhere between a loose cotton weave and a single gauze so it has a pretty crinkled texture and lovely soft hand. Marie thinks it might be seersucker. It’s totally opaque either way. Perfect for pyjamas! Marie got it from Leicester Market so I imagine it was fair price as well. It’s important with textured fabric like this that you embrace the wrinkles. Press the entire thing super flat when it’s not going to last is a waste of your time and will likely throw off your fit and finish.
I’ll leave you with a few more pictures, and don’t forget to join the Pictionary Pyjama Party on Saturday 25th!
Oh lemon print fabric how I love you. This is my third dress made from lemon fabric. The second made into New Look 6587 my delightfully ’90s pattern.
My pretty sateen is from B&M fabrics in Leeds last year but you can also get it here and the buttons are ebay. They’re so pretty I added two big patch pockets with buttons on them as well.
I made view E without the trim in a straight size 12. The skirt is barely gathered which I find quite flattering and works well in this style of fabric. I also added 2″ inch to the length for midi coverage. A tie belt cinches the dress perfectly.
There’s something magic about this dress, it instantly lifts my mood everytime I put it on. Oh and course I had to break out my lemon earrings for these photos! They are the best pair I’ve bought in a long time (thank you H&M).
I think because its not tight but has enough shape and structure I don’t feel like I’m wearing a sack. I can eat as much as I like without feeling uncomfortable and it fits me regardless of my fluctuating weight.
What else to add? Well I have two more lemon prints in my stash but I do like the look of Primevera by Rifle Paper Co! Trying to sew my stash first though. There’s a burning desire to shop while cooped up but I have been trying to resist adding to my heaving sewing room. I’ve only bought a couple of patterns and some buttons so far.
My productivity is having random little spikes of activity during this situation. I photographed three dresses today and whipped up a few garments over Easter. But then I also sit for hours uninspired and exhausted! I imagine that is the same for a lot of sewists. I’d love to hear how you’re coping.
When I visited New York a few years back I knew I wanted to go to the garment district and was lucky enough to go with some fantastic sewists. I met up with Karen, Sonja, Charlotte and Emma Jayne! Plus Peter joined us for a little bit too which was fantastic.
We headed to Mood Fabrics first. A project runway fave. It’s pretty overwhelming as there’s several floors and bolts are stacked so high you have to either know what you’re after or rummage. Swatch is uber adorable though! You can read more about my NY trip here.
In a bid to avoid panicking I decided to look for a pretty cotton eyelet as it’s so rare in the UK. The coral that I found was both gorgeous and reasonably priced so I got 2m. Now as is always the case… I should have got more for pattern matching but I made it work. It took 6 months to find the perfect lining then a full year where I painstakingly planned and cut out the dress. Then I put on too much weight to fit into the size I’d cut.
If I didn’t make enough of a song and dance about it at the time, 2019 was the year I finally visited Paris. And I wanted to finish this dress and take it with me. I had lost a little weight and I let out the seams and just got it to fit. We had quite a nightmare second day where after no sleep the night before we had to move out of our Airbnb so it was so fun wearing this dress to make me feel better on day 3. The weather was fantastic!!
I picked the By Hand London Anna dress because of the bust pleats that come up from the waist. This eyelet was too bulky for darts and the pleats don’t interrupt the pattern too much. I hand gathered the skirt as it was too bulky to baste stitch and I’m pretty pleased with the results. To do this you pin the seams and CF/CB points, then pin the halfway points between those pins and so on until you’re only hand gathering very small sections of around 2″ and you can keep things even.View this post on Instagram
I’m VERY pleased with the pattern matching at the invisible zip. I love pattern matching and try to indulge every so often in a tricky match. Isn’t this video hypnotising!?
Here’s a brief guide for this symmetrical fabric which needs to match vertically and horizontally across an invisible zipper:First I pin the left hand side back bodice first with the CB seam allowance on the pattern piece folded under. The folded edge sits straight down the centre of the motifs.
Then I unfold the seam allowance and cut out the whole piece. See how the motif looks at the centre back below?
I then repeat for the right by laying the left cut piece on top of my fabric to find an exact matching location then line up my right hand side back bodice and move the cut left bodice out of the way.
I ensure that my folded pattern edge is again straight down the centre before unfolding the seam allowance and cutting out the right hand side bodice.
When installing the invisible zip in the centre back it can help to mark the seam allowance in water soluble pencil and baste the zip in place to achieve the perfect match. This method works for centre sewn regular zippers but you need a different method for a lapped zipper. This approach also works for printed fabrics like florals or scene prints.
I hope you liked the dress and tutorial. I’m hoping to get some wear out of it this spring and summer somehow!
Why not test your sewing knowledge with a fun free informal quiz about all things sewing. This post will tell you what’s going to happen and how to enter the raffle!
What, Where and When?
On Sunday 7pm UK time I’ll live stream the quiz on Instagram @almondrock_sews so everyone can join in at home. Remember that is 7pm BST as the clocks go forward 1 hour on Sunday morning so if you’re joining us from overseas check your time difference.
This will be a fun chance to play along, have a giggle and see how your sewing knowledge stands up to my questions! It’s not competitive so you’re just playing against yourself and you might learn something new in the process. We’re operating on an honour system here, so please don’t google answers and then tell everyone you won.
Did someone say prizes?
To help support our lovely community of craft businesses I’ve got a few raffle prizes together. I did not ask the companies to donate prizes as that’s the last thing they need right now, so these were self funded. Alas I couldn’t support everyone but if you see someone I’ve missed consider buying a gift card from them. This will give their business an injection of cash now when they need it and you can use the voucher later to get some delayed gratification in the form of sewing supplies!! If you can’t get the embedded form below to work, enter on this link
Hello everyone. I’m currently sat intermittently knitting in front of the telly and thinking about sewing plans.
I’ve been playing around with some beautiful pleated fabric and dabbling with ladder trim insertion. Two projects with no deadline and a real desire to make considered choices before getting started. This means pinterest boards, testing machine settings and doodling designs.
In other news I shared a new video for my Sew North Soiree gown plans. I’m making a minty organza dress using a gorgeous sketchy floral with mint satin underneath. Check out the video here for more.
This leads me nicely onto today’s topic! Often a fabric would be amazing as a fancy party frock and sometimes it’s fun to make a great everyday dress instead. I picked up this cupid/cherub print twill fabric from Ditto fabrics after squealing at the sight of it. I was very torn between this and the mustard colourway and while I think made the wrong decision, it is still a stunning fabric.
Its a medium weight cotton twill which means it has that visible weave pattern and a lovely floaty drape. It shoots a touch redder than it is in real life. Twill is very prone to fraying and snagging plus standard slippery fabric rules apply. I used fine sharp pins and a size 70 needle.
I decided to choose a pattern I’d get a lot of wear from… enter the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress with my previous hacks to remove the buttons. See that version here. It’s the perfect dress if your weight fluctuates as the drawstring means you can cinch the perfect amount. I love that feature!!
At the minute my measurements are 36A:32:45 but know my first version still fits so I cut the straight size 12 and lengthened the skirt by 2″. It shrunk a tiny bit in the wash which makes it fit even better actually. My first version was polyester but the twill is slightly stretchy so a tiny bit of shrinkage counteracted this perfectly.
The drawstring is made in self fabric with the seam allowance rolled inside to make it very round almost like roulueau but not cut on the bias. If I’d had any I would have added cord inside. And instead of using eyelets like last time, I sewed buttonholes for the openings.
Proving it can still be dressed up I’ve worn the dress to a) my work leaving do, b) my dad’s 65th birthday dinner and c) the New Craft House Galentines party. The latter was extra special as my #sewingwife Marie of A Stitching Odyssey and I had a lovely weekend in London together seeing the Mary Quant exhibition, having dinner with our friend Allie and then winning the #sewingwife bingo at the party!
Dressing in the same fabric pushed us over the edge into winning I think. Marie’s dress is the Solina by Named with extra long waist ties. She hasn’t blogged it yet but watch this space. The prize was fabric vouchers for the NCH shop and we both ended up buying the same fabric!
I don’t think I’m done with this pattern yet as it’s a great showcase for prints as well as being endlessly comfy to wear. I have some solid chartreuse/mustard twill that could be good and a couple of viscose florals that would work well. Maybe just one or two more versions then…