Ahoy there Sophia skirt

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

March is finally over and I’ve survived, pretty much in tact! I’ve barely been at home with a day at a Birmingham trade show, two days at a Birmingham consumer show, a week at Woburn Centre Parcs with Jimi’s very poorly family, the Dressmaker’s ball in Leicester (more on that later) and then two days at a trade show in Cologne!

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical dressmaker's ball

Plus there was a three week turnaround on a bumper issue and Sewing Bee needing lots of my time. I made it through and took a celebratory day off to relax, see friends and sew… so obviously I then got sick.

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

But now its April and all is well with the world (not politically of course). The weather is perking up and I’ve had time to write a blog post.

This is the Sophia skirt from Simple Sew patterns hacked to just below knee length. I really love this pattern because the two front pleats are placed in a really flattering place to keep the centre front flat but they still add fullness to the skirt.

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

Normally ankle length, you can easily crop the length to whatever you fancy. Just shorten the hem staying true to the grain line. Easy peasy. I also used a very stiff cotton duck (like a canvas basically) from Cath Kidston after working with it on the magazine. This is often how my money disappears, buying things I’ve seen in the office. Every time I wear it Jimi and I race to be first to say “boats boats boats” which is a quote from HIMYM. (If you know, you know.)

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical love sewing magazine

While it is a simple skirt, it does give the chance to play with extra details. I wanted to see if I could make a neat lapped zipper in such a thick fabric so swapped out the suggested concealed zipper. It went well thankfully. I didn’t have enough to exactly pattern match on the back but it’s really close so I’m happy. I didn’t have enough fabric for pockets either… less happy about that.

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

I’ve previously made this skirt in crepe for a lovely swishy version. It’s so versatile! I’d recommend picking a size based on your waist and then grade the hips as needed. The skirt pattern doesn’t include lining but it’s easy to cut the skirt pieces from lining fabric, assemble and place WST with your skirt before attaching the waistband. Just remember to leave an opening around the zipper so the lining hangs free.

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical

I’m wearing my skirt with a ponte cropped version of M6886, my go to Jersey top pattern for skirts. This red version is the perfect shade and fabric weight so I regularly break it out for skirts. The pattern does come with a simple top to wear with the skirt. It’s very quick and doesn’t take much fabric! I made one here. Word of warning though it doesn’t have any darts so fuller chested ladies might want to add some for a better fit.

Almond rock simple sew Sophia skirt and top cath kidston nautical So pleased I was able to lie in bed full of germs and get this post done! One upside to feeling gross I guess?? Silver linings. Now I think I’m going to listen to podcasts and cuddle the cat. Until next time everyone!

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Simple Sew Poppy top

I’m writing this on Sunday, currently freaking out about my half made ballgown for The Dressmaker’s Ball. I have the pattern ready finally but as I came to cut out my fabric I realised I don’t have enough underlining fabric! How silly of me. So I had to get more yesterday and sew before next week (as I’m away from then until the ball). GULP. I’m going to make it work and Tim Gunn would be proud of me, I’m sure.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

My brain is utterly frazzled by work at the minute as we have been running so many special issues and there are garments flying around everywhere and I don’t have a free weekend until late April. The glamorous world of publishing.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

I really want to sit quietly and write a blog post so have forced myself to do it! This is thePoppy top from Simple Sew patterns. I got the printed version free from the cupboard at work but it was also a digital download from issue 48 of Love Sewing.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

With gently fluted sleeves and neckline pleats instead of darts it’s a pretty nice top that could be made for everyday wear or a special night out.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

I made the size 8 and let out the hips out to a 10 but it isn’t close fitting so didn’t need too much extra room. I should have made the 10 at the upper body I think as its a tiny bit tight.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

It’s a super quick make though and the pleats are fun to make. There’s a decent size facing underneath which supports the neckline pleats well. And a cute keyhole back letting you pick a pretty button from your huge stash to use… or is that just me?

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

The fabric was from the 1st Sewing Weekender goodie bag! It’s aStoff & Stil viscose with little bird/boomerang shapes. Everyone got the same 1.5m piece so it’s been cool to see their makes over the years. I generally prefer brighter colours so I don’t wear this often unless it’s with a bright cardigan. Although it wasn’t my style I couldn’t seem to part with it. Glad I finally used it eh? I call the next photo “My fabric stash is THIIIIS big”.

Almond rock simple sew poppy top stoff and stil viscose

Now it’s time to count down the days until I see my girl Marie and hang out with loads of lovely ladies at the ball!!

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Plum fun crepe skirt

When it’s feeling especially chilly I like to think of Dubai. This was the last step of our honeymoon as Dubai is a great transfer point for the Seychelles. While we were there it was a staggering 41°. Almost too hot to breathe. We were there for two nights and on the second night went out for an amazing birthday meal in Nobu at the Palm hotel where we were staying.

We literally waited until 6pm for it to cool down (it didn’t) then dashed outside to take a couple of pics in the gorgeous courtyard (aka sweaty photos) then ran back inside. It had to be done because the colours and shapes of the building exterior are stunning. I wore my plum skirt with a black vest and cardigan to keep things modest but whipped the cardi off for my photo so not to pass out!

This is another way I wear the skirt, with a polka dot jersey top I made using M6886. More on that another day. The skirt is made of purple Rio crepe from Sew Over It. Its a really vivid shade that always gets noticed. The weight and handle are perfect for a skirt like this. It does wrinkle a little but steams easily.

The skirt is the Simple Sew Sophia skirt made during my first week at Love Sewing to test the pattern. I’ve made the Sophia top from the pattern previously too here. The skirt comes together really quickly, works well in a lot of fabric and the length is easy to adjust.

Now you might wonder why it’s never made an appearance before now… well I only started wearing it this May as part of my challenge to wear unloved clothes during Me Made May! I never thought I was a midi or maxi skirt person. I’m still not sure but I’m warming up to it.

I think it looks better with the vest personally. Though it may be happy honeymoon memories influencing my perspective. Here we are taking a terrible selfie hahah.

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Lena wrap dress Simple Sew

Winter… my nemesis! It really feels like we’re galloping through Autumn and Winter is here. To prepare I’ve made a few snuggly clothes to help keep the chill off. I am unbelievably cold all the time and often have my little desk heater on at work. I’m pretty wimpy I know.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

Today I’m sharing the Lena wrap dress by Simple Sew patterns. It came free with Love Sewing 35 but is also available here. The surplice bodice is lined and fits into a waistband, then there’s a flared skirt with hem band. These are the 3/4 sleeves from the pack but the wrist length would maybe have been better for me.

The fabric I used for this dress is a lovely double knit of mysterious mix that I got from Charlotte, and that she got from Barry’s of Birmingham. She made a Coco dress by Tilly and The Buttons which is linked here. She donated it to a sewing swap table and I happily took it home! It was a pretty big piece so thank you Charlotte!!

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

This dress is extra cosy because I lined the bodice in self fabric which is a little bulky but warmth wins over bulk. And I made the hem band in self fabric and I don’t mind the seam at all even though it would be more effective in a contrast colour or print.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

I made the size 10 but should have sized down. Not long before I started the dress I’d been burned by trying to make a size 8 version in low stretch fabric and then over-compensated here. You know how things grow with wear and shrink after a good hot wash in a never-ending circle. On the second wear, the sleeves end up pretty big and I sometimes wear a cami top in case the bodice falls open. Oh well.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

I used a zigzag stitch and my overlocker for construction and I’m super pleased how it’s holding up inside. The skirt is fabulously twirly for a jersey dress and i feel very smart when I wear it. All in all, a big thumbs up. I should really make another! This one has wonderful memories of this girl band inspired photo shoot we tried at the studio last year. So moody I love it.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

Here are three lovely versions to check out next: this floral beauty from Giorgia, Harriet looking pretty in pink and Gabby looking lush in velvet!

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Love Sewing and Lottie Blouses

Ooh so it’s probably time to say it. If you aren’t already aware, I’m the new Editor of Love Sewing magazine. EEK! It’s a UK-based magazine based in the North of the country, available from most major supermarkets and WHSmiths, plus it sells internationally via moremags.com and is even exported for sale in Australia.

Basically this is the culmination of 10 years of professional effort and 5 years of sewing experience. I never really mentioned work on the blog before but I’m happy to change that for a good reason.

LS18 cover

I’ve been in the role three months now and it’s still amazing to be able to be able to talk about sewing on a daily basis. I’ve produced two issues in that time and I’m slowly putting my stamp on the magazine: It’s always strange taking over a title from another Editor as they’ve lined things up for either a few weeks or a few months and you need to work around what’s already in motion. I’ve had an amazing amount of support and well wishes from everyone which has warmed my heart – so thank you to everyone who gave my magazine a chance and those of you sitting out there, sending me your best. It means a lot.

There are some people who have voiced concerned I haven’t been sewing long enough to manage a sewing magazine and if you fall into that category then I’m sorry you feel that way and I might not be able to convince you otherwise. But sewing experience is only one side of running a successful magazine and I honestly believe it’s better to have an Editor in charge who is experienced with both publishing and sewing. And to offset what I don’t know in sewing, I’m very fortunate to work with experienced and talented industry experts! I’d definitely be terrified by someone who claimed to know everything.

Either way, I hope you pick up a copy and like what you see, and it makes you want to pick up another!

Onto actual sewing now. In issue 18, my second issue, the lovely Charlie of This Blog Isn’t For You wrote a hack for turning the Simple Sew Lottie blouse into a button up pussy bow and I just had to try it out! I mean she is queen of the Lottie hack!! A pic of Charlie’s version is below:

lottie

First up I made this apple print crepe de chine version using fabric from Regency Rags (who reeeeeally need to get their webshop back up and running so I don’t have to use the eBay shop anymore). It’s only a little polyester feeling and a pretty nice weight, plus it’s only £2.99 a metre.

apples crepe de chine

DSCF8349

Then I thought I’d try the button up but without the bow tie! Crazy I know. But look at this pretty floral crepe from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester. I think you all know about their crazy bins of fabric remnants where you pay by weight not length. This was £2.50 for a 1.2m piece. The flowers are so stunning and it’s actually navy blue not, black like it looks in the pics.

20150911_201419-1 DSCF8371

Side note. This photo was taken the day before I got poorly with a sinus infection! I felt like I looked weird somehow but couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe that’s an early germ detection system?

It was a worthwhile experiment, though I think the button up either needs to be higher or lower for this version. I’ll wear it a lot though because of the print and it looks great with a cardigan which makes me wish I’d had enough fabric to add sleeves.

So there you go, short and sweet. What do you think of my tops? Did you see the hack in the latest issue? And I’d love to know if you vote that I use a lower or higher neckline if I make the button up with no bow version again? I love hearing from you!!

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