My little French dress

Well now, this is a well timed dress reveal.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know Le Tour has come to Yorkshire. This weekend in fact!

I myself am in Lancashire for the weekend but I’m participating in the fun by sharing this little French dress with you all. Sorry it’s not made of yellow lycra. (I’m not actually sorry.)

almond rock simplicity 2444 french paris dress

The dress should probably be called my little Paris dress given the fabric is covered with Parisian landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Seine, etc. There are also gloves, hats, dogs and umbrellas plus French sayings!

almond rock simplicity 2444 french paris dress

The fabric is home furnishing fabric I got at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year. I seemed to be the only one obsessed with it! Afraid I don’t know the maker and can’t remember the stall name. I lined the dress with mint coloured peach skin fabric which feels lush against my skin.


I’ve been freaking myself out trying to find the perfect garment to make but realised simplicity 2444 was the one. It’s a dress that can be worn in summer and winter and has enough coverage for work: these facts mean my 2444 dresses are my most frequently worn me-made garments! Why fight a good thing?


We took these photos strolling about near the canal. My photographer was making me laugh and encouraging me to do silly faces. Happy to oblige.


I’ve got to show you the back. I tried so hard to pattern match across my lapped zipper but I was about half a centimetre out! It mostly isn’t noticeable but these two dogs sniffing at each other are rather hilarious.

almond rock simplicity 2444 french paris dress

almond rock simplicity 2444 french paris dress

There you go, my favourite version of 2444 to date! Have a lovely weekend if you’re into cycling. If you’re not I hope you find somewhere to hide out!

almond rock simplicity 2444 french paris dress

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Spring florals (Part 1)

Hullo everyone! I’ve just gotten back from a few days away and am really happy to have a new dress to share with you, which I finished just before I left.

I’m going a bit nutty for super big floral dresses right now. Be warned for my next few posts.
I’ve just finished my second and will soon be starting a third.
Here is my first though.

almond rock simplicity 1880

These beautiful blooms are from Textile Express… I posted a pic on instagram of my fabric sample and it inspired Vicki Kate to purchase some too.

almond rock simplicity 1880

It’s one of their lovely cotton lawns from Japan. You remember my aeroplane fabric from this shop right? Very high quality prints with lovely drape. Check out the rest of their cotton lawn, I dare you.

So back to me larking about in the park.

*DANGER: Lots of pointy elbows coming up!*

almond rock simplicity 1880

This is Simplicity 1880 which the lovely folk at Simplicity sent to me for review quite some time ago. I made a shirt version but now have finally made the shirtdress!

almond rock simplicity 1880

The pattern calls for buttons only on the bodice but after making this up I kept getting distracted by the lack of button continuation. Am I the only one?

So I hacked my skirt up the front, added a placket and more lovely pearly buttons. Heehee I love breaking the rules and ignoring instructions!

almond rock simplicity 1880

I do love the notch collar; it’s so classic. And I worked hard to make the print look pretty on the collar, see the hydrangea peeping through? That’s my favourite bit.

almond rock simplicity 1880

Other pattern alterations included adding a skirt lining and omitting the waist pleats for gathers (both without any major issues). I’m very tempted to make a matching belt to cinch the dress it in a little further. I also made bias-binding for the armholes and used the back facing from the wrap dress variation as Sunni suggests here in her 1880 sewalong.

I hope you like it! Who else has made this one? Add a link in the comments in case I’ve not stalked yours before now.

Well I think that’s quite enough of my razor sharp elbows for now. Toodle pip!

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Top 5s of 2013! The Hits

It’s nearly a brand new year so that means it’s time for a bit of reflection with the top 5 lists!


Head on over to Gillian’s blog to grab a button and check out her suggested lists and proposal on why looking back on our projects is a helpful learning exercise.

1. The Anise jacket


I am so proud of this jacket. I learnt so much and think it looks pretty smart. It was in daily rotation before winter hit. And I don’t think it’s scared me off jacket-making in the future

2. Simplicity 2444


I won’t ramble on too much about this dress. Safe to say it’s an absolute winner in my eyes. And this lovely aeroplane lawn version is definitely my favourite.

3. Sassy Librarian Blouse


My first craftsy course was brilliant. Christine Haynes was a lovely teacher and I finished up with a cute practical blouse that I have in regular use.

4. Simplicity 1755


I’m pretty darn pleased with how polished this dress turned out even if I don’t have much opportunity to wear it. The lace matching turned out amazingly and I’m rather proud of my collar.

5. New Look 6069


Not so obvious but this little dress has been a star in my wardrobe. Its mostly due to the soft drapey viscose. It skims over me in a flattering way and I love the print.

So there are my top 5 hits of this year. Next up are the dreaded misses!

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The Jackson Pollock splodge dress

I just finished a pretty little number.


The fabric is a Liberty tana lawn called “Melly”. You might recognise it from Elise’s tulip sleeved peplum blouse.

It’s a bit of a sad little tale really. I wanted so desperately to pair this lovely fabric with some black shiny buttons and decided the Deer and Doe Sureau would work excellently. I was also going to add black contract bands of ribbon to the skirt and sleeve hems.

But in my eagerness to press ahead I didn’t realise that the waist measurements I’d used to grade my pattern weren’t quite right. Curse you, biscuits! I ended up with about 5/8 ” of a gap where the side seam wouldn’t meet (*shakes head in horror*) and there was not enough seam allowance to let it out.

I had a good half metre of the Melly cotton left so I thought I might be able to squeeze something out of that but the Sureau pattern pieces were just too big. Instead I turned to my trusty Simplicity 2444.


The pattern pieces fortunately fit on the remaining fabric and I cut cap sleeves out of the Sureau full sleeves, that had been rendered useless. I kept the Sureau skirt which is a bit slimmer cut when you compare to my previous 2444s.


I love how from a distance this fabric looks so delicate, almost floral but up close the paint splatter effect is brilliant. I feel like a walking Jackson Pollock painting.

The sleeves made this version feel quite different to my other Simplicity 2444 dresses (I’m pretty sure this will be my last for a while now though). But as I’m sure you’ve noticed I took them off. They were a teeny bit too tight for all the dancing I was planning!

2013-11-17 11.31.19

Only the skirt is lined this time, in a bright blue polyester and I inserted a side zip to give myself a new challenge. This may be my best “centred” zip insertion to date; I think this is due to me marking out in air-erasable pen where to sew rather than following the grain of the zipper alone.


Do you think the dress lacks a bit of punch? It made me feel sad that I ended up having to make a different dress to the one I had in my head but overall I’m happy.

I wore the dress to my friend’s wedding at Chevin Country Park near Otley, paired with red satin ballet flats, a fabulously gaudy silver necklace that forms a big knot, a matching silver handbag and since it is November, a black wool cardigan. Plus curls, because y’know they’re muchos fun! I think I possibly should have also worn a belt to supply some contrast. I made a black bow belt but it came out looking too twee and didn’t have a bought belt that fit the bill.


So there you go! My last Simplicity 2444 for a while. I should probably hide the pattern from myself right?

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She Sells Seashells by the Shepherd’s Bush Market

What a wonderful week! Did you have a good one too?

I went to London on Friday in preparation for the blogger meet up. And managed to cram in plenty for a two-day trip.

Friday I popped into the Village Haberdashery and cooed over the coloured chambray, the independent sewing patterns on the colourful racks and also the cutie little baby bouncing away in the corner. I may have left with two little treats… the Belladone pattern by Deer and Doe and the Darling Ranges pattern by Megan Nielsen.

Then I popped over to Berwick St. The shops there are a little more expensive but is chock full with beautiful high end fabrics. I couldn’t let myself buy any yardage when the fabric I was most attracted to was £55 a metre. So instead I bought two little lace letter As to appliqué onto my sewing.

Finally, I popped into the wonderfully stocked Shaukat with floor to ceiling Liberty fabrics. Even though the prices are a little more friendly I didn’t want to use up all my spending money for the weekend in one go. I treated myself to a metre of the Kussman fabric from the newest collection. It has tiny shetland ponies in fun pop colours!

I had a really fantastic catch up with my friends that night, with dinner at Gastronomica in Plimico and a few drinks afterwards. Perhaps I stayed out a little later than planned but it was definitely worth it.

Saturday morning, the meetup at Goldhawk Road kicked off with a group of early birds having a coffee together before meeting the full group. There were 39 of us and Claire was doing a great job of getting everyone organised. Kat helped with name badges and there was a great mix of familiar and new faces to be seen!

I did better than last time than and made it into every single shop down Goldhawk Road, but I still didn’t make it into Shepherd’s Bush Market! I let myself buy a 3m bundle of Liberty lawn and some high quality striped bias-binding.

We had a wonderful lunch and swap during the afternoon where I walked away with 2m of deliciously soft moss crepe that says Valentino on the selvedge (gasp could it be?) and this kick ass sewing pattern. Hello Georgeous!

And for the meet up I wore a new dress! It’s another Simplicity 2444 in navy with white scallop shells and polka dots. It’s so fun and walks that perfect line of cute but not too cutsie!

I added a collar in the hopes of being a Jessica Day lookalike but ahem, no it did not suit me in the slightest (and so despite being some of the neatest bias binding sewing I’ve ever done, I unpicked the collar).

I did a full lining again and lowered the neckline a smidge. And I used an invisible zipper this time, making the effort to enclose it within my lining too so it looks almost as good inside out.

I know I’ve been so late posting this that it’s almost the weekend again!!
To everyone who was at the meet up. Thanks for being lovely. I had a great time catching up with sewists I already knew and I got to meet lots of awesome new folk too!

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