• Dresses

    Sunshine indigo

    I’m writing this late at night as storm Ciara batters my house. The streetlamps are noisily rattling and the rain is pelting against the roof. It’s February everybody!Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cadyJanuary was pretty quiet on the sewing front as I dealt with training my replacement at work, saying goodbye to everyone and joining a totally different company. And though I found time to make a new Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress for my leaving do, I lost my sew-jo a little by the end of the month.Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cady

    Thankfully it’s just starting to come back and I’ve cut out a pair of Juno pyjamas, found supplies for my eyelet trim dress and started a new embroidery project. I even managed to slap on some make-up and take blog photos! Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cadyThis is my second Indigo dress by Tilly and The Buttons. I made the same view again as you can see but learning from my last version I made a couple of changes. I added back in 1cm to the centre back bodice and 0.5cm to the front.Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cadyThough this fixed any tightness in my range of arm movement, the dress still has this nasty habit of riding backwards slightly, as if the shoulder and sleeve head isn’t in the right position. Something to tinker with if I make another.Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cadyThis stunning golden yellow fabric features blue outlined white flowers. It’s a viscose cady from Selvedge and Bolts, run by the gorgeous Dibs who I haven’t had chance to meet up with in like 7 or 8 years, crazy! But her online shop is beautifully curated with designer prints and high quality fabrics. This print is sold out but the ochre tencel twill is also a gorgeous gold colour.Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cadyWith fine draping fabric like viscose I appreciate having my cutting table as I can really ensure the grain is straight and the fabric doesn’t shift as I cut. The top of my table is covered in a jigsaw of cutting mats so I can use my rotary blade to work speedily.Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cadyA sharp new needle was required for snag free sewing and I even managed to find four yellow spools for my overlocker to make the insides pretty! I’ve worn this dress to work a few times and I’m super excited to have a shade of yellow that suits me. I think it suits me better when my hair is out of the way as it gets stuck in the neckline sometimes heheh.Almond rock sewing dressmaking indigo dress tilly and the buttons gold yellow selvedge and bolts viscose floaty fabric cadyTime to get back to the sewing room! But here are three more Indigo versions I love. Tiers and pretty colours from Purple Sewing Cloud, classic chambray from Patsypoo Makes, and last but not least a golden make from What Bec Sews.

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  • Dresses

    Don’t be shady, be a Zadie

    Hello everyone!! It’s been a lovely sunny day here but a little brisk. I hope you’re all warm and cosy in your sewing rooms.

    I’ve just finished my first week of driving to work. Trains to Stockport aren’t the most efficient or cheap so by driving I’m now saving lots of money (that I can spend on fabric) and lots of time (that I can use for sewing).

    Today I wanted to share pics of my finished Zadie dress by Tilly and The Buttons. The team were sweet enough to send me a copy at the start of the year when we featured it in the mag.

    Look at the lovely diamond seaming and deep pockets!! The cap sleeve option was my immediate preference. Just by the way the seam lines match up with the bodice.

    There isn’t waist seam all around so you don’t get a really snug fit but I tapered the side seams a little to help. Other than that I made no adjustments to the size 4.

    I bought two matching weights of ponte from Jack’s Fabrics in Leeds market. There was a gorgeous turquoise but it was much thinner than the rest of the ponte which seemed like a recipe for disaster.

    Given the unusual construction I had to read the instructions but naturally they were pretty flawless. The only thing I had to work out for myself is how to overlock the insides. That was a mixed success.

    The neckband is my best yet. Tilly suggests the best stitch length and width for a subtle zigzag that still makes a secure seam. I used teal ribbon to stabilise my seams too.

    Not much else to say other than I might go back for the turquoise and make a solid version with long sleeves! Are you going to try Zadie? Let me know in the comments!!


    I was asked to share some inside pics to show my overlooking. It’s a little ropey as my thread tension was a little off working with the multiple layers.

    Back of armhole first. Overlock the sleeve hem. Overlock the underarm. Sew the sleeve then overlock each side of the raglan. Press SA down and hem underarm. Topstitch catching the SA at the intersection to secure.

    Front of armhole. Same as back but a little smidgen of contrast colour SA shows… not from the outside of course.

    Waist seam point. I overlocked the two layers together stopping close to the v (above and below) but couldn’t get right on top due to changing layers.

    Pocket was easy peasy to overlock. Same as the side seams!

  • Events and day trips

    The Sewing Weekender

    Hello everybody! Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I’m now on the hunt for amazing fabric suppliers in the UK and will write a little round up soon about my plans. I’ve just got back from a last minute holiday where I did a lot of plotting for how to share snippets of my diy wedding dress.

    I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on the recent Sewing Weekender hosted by Rachel and Kate of The Foldline and Charlotte of blog English Girl At Home and what I made. There were a limited number of spots so I count myself lucky to have nabbed one. I didn’t think my boss would mind too much if I bunked off for five mins to buy myself one as a birthday treat. To be fair he probably never realised.

    When 57 attendees arrived in sunny oCambridge we were met by an amazing sight; goodie bags being handed out as you stepped in with treats from Village HaberdasheryLove SewingRemnant Kings and Abakhan, Janome machines set up on large tables with ribbon tied boxes of haberdashery from Adam Ross, swap items stacked high and enough tea and coffee to keep us charged all day.

    I sat on a table of four with my friend Ruth who travelled down from Yorkshire to meet new sewing friends (I definitely recommend following her on twitter) and Sarah who I’ve enjoyed following online, who headed over from Suffolk with her mum! I feel like such an idiot but I can’t remember Sarah’s mum’s name. I hate it when that happens but it’s best to just hold your hands up and be honest about these things.

    It was like the shirt table as there were two shirts and a shirtdress being sewn, but I bucked the trend by sitting and hand sewing while gossiping. I’d decided to finish my new circle skirt Cambie with matching bias tape which I pieced from 20 scrap bits of my fabric. Thankfully I got everything finished and Ruth kindly snapped some pics for me which I’ll share at the end of the post but here’s a cheeky pic of me and Louise in our Cambies together! (Don’t you love her use of border print cotton from Gertie’s fabric line?).

    The Saturday was dedicated to sewing and everyone busied themselves with different projects whilst “Prefects” wandered around offering advice, fitting help and biscuit-based support, there was a fabric and pattern swap, lovely lunchtime walk into Cambridge and for the overnight crew a dinner in town. I stayed with my in-laws to be so we could celebrate the engagement with the whole Scarr family which meant sadly missed out on that last part. It’s so funny but after 6 and a half years dating a Cambridge man I have still never been punting and only a handful of times to the town centre!!

    Sunday was structured around lectures that were funny, insightful, thought-provoking and educational. The clever and charming women who spoke were RachelGraceMarillaElenaTilly and Gabby, talking about wardrobe planning, pattern design, small design businesses and vlogging to touch on a few topics. There was no need for sewing as the lectures were thoroughly engaging. One thing that resonated with me was cataloguing my stash for better planning and so I’ve begun adding scraps on a keyring of index cards. I also thought a lot about my wedding dress plans and what I’d like to achieve and learn from the project because it really needs to be a learning experience for me as corny as that may sound.

    So I won’t cover what others have said but I would like to heartedly recommend that you get a ticket for the next Sewing Weekender (we’ve totally badgered the girls into considering a repeat) and am honestly in awe of Charlotte, Kate and Rachel’s organisational skills.

    Ok, now here’s my dress. I know you’ve seen Cambie dresses frome me before (here and here) but I wanted to try adding a circle skirt to the pattern to see how it looked. 

    Answer? I’m pretty damn happy with it. But I’m also very into circle skirts at the moment. It’s a little bulky around the pockets so maybe should have been omitted but hey, I like pockets. Again I omitted the waistband and used a straight neckline. A 22″ concealed purple zipper for a bit of fun too.

     The dress is fully lined in anti-static peach lining which means it’s tights-friendly and the skirt lining adds extra volume. The hem as I mentioned is bias faced and invisibly hand stitched. I only wish I had horsehair braid in my stash to finish the hem with!

    I cannot believe I found some Liberty Carline poplin in purple (variations seen here and here by me) at Birmingham Rag Market… I blumming love that place. Spotted during an awesome mini shop with Marie, Kat, Roisin and Helen (guest appearance from Sabs) a few months back. It was £8 per metre because it had a big flaw parallel to a good portion the selvedge about 10cm in but because it’s so wide I just bought some extra material and worked around it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

    Here’s some silly bonus pics of it in action on holiday! Until next time everyone, drop me comments with your best score on a fabric shopping trip!! 

  • Dresses

    Megan meets Orla dress

    Hello hello!

    Hope you’re all having a fab weekend. I’ve been poorly but thankfully starting to feel better, even if I’m still struggling to speak. My throat is burning but that won’t stop me sharing a new dress with you!

    almond rock tilly and the buttons Megan love at first stitch

    So yesterday I made the Megan dress from Tilly’s book Love At First Stitch. It’s not really my normal silhouette but I really wanted to try it!

    almond rock tilly and the buttons Megan love at first stitch

    It came together really quickly but I should have made more adjustments. I cut a 4 with a 6 from the bum downwards. I moved the bust darts and lengthen the waist tucks. Then I had to adjust the armhole and sleeve cap to reduce fullness. This dress totally needs a sway back adjustment I think. Let’s face it, It’s not great on me. I don’t care though since I didn’t spend much time working on fit.

    almond rock tilly and the buttons Megan love at first stitch

    Close fitting skirts aren’t really the most flattering on my unique derriere. I have a very round tummy with a flat hip, curvy butt and wider thigh. That means if skirts like this fit on my thighs they leave a sallow spot around my hips. The flowy fabrics helps minimise that in person but you can see it on the pictures. Here you can see the sway back issue.

    almond rock tilly and the buttons Megan love at first stitch

    The fabric is a poly twill from Abakhan. I really like the print because it gives me an Orla Kiely vibe. One downside was it was near impossible to pattern match. I gave it a fair shot but I’m not losing sleep over any off bit. Especially since I won’t wear it often.

    almond rock tilly and the buttons Megan love at first stitch

    I replaced the neck facing with bias binding, then adding bias binding to the hem and sleeve hems. I watched An Education while handsewing the bias in place. 60s flick for a 60s frock.

    Quote from the boyfriend: “I like it, it’s sort of smart. Like workplace smart”.

    I can work with that.

    almond rock tilly and the buttons Megan love at first stitch

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Summer Blouse, Makes Me Feel Fiiiiiiiiiiiiine

    Oh July – she’s a fickle beast. One minute she’s pouring you with rain and the next it is sunstroke inducing warmth.

    almond rock tilly turquoise polyester mathilde blouse

    So for my July Minerva make I thought I better sew something that looks nice and summery but could easily work for those chillier days too.

    I used the Mathilde blouse pattern from Tilly and The Buttons. It’s a cute pleated front blouse with button up back. My first version of this blouse (in a polka dot polyester) has never been blogged but cropped up during Me Made May (the polka dot week!) a few years ago.

    It was too tight across the front yoke and it eventually ripped at the underarms, probably because I like to talk with my hands and use wild gestures all the time.

    almond rock tilly turquoise polyester mathilde blouse

    The original pattern comes with banded puff sleeves but they don’t really suit me so I swapped these out for straight sleeves. I did this on the first version too. I used the sleeve piece from New Look 6000 which I’ve never actually made because I’m not a shift dress kind of girl.

    This bright polyester fabric in turquoise and cream was a great match for the pattern. It’s not like horrible static-creating polyester; it’s quite soft and light. It holds the pleats really well but also skims over your body in a flattering way. And I was sent perfectly matching thread which makes me happy as well.

    almond rock tilly turquoise polyester mathilde blouse

    There wasn’t much fraying to contend with but I French seamed the blouse for neatness and overlocked the armholes once I’d set in the sleeves.

    Take a look at that back!

    almond rock tilly turquoise polyester mathilde blouse

    I really had a hankering for some gold metallic buttons after seeing them all over the high street lately. Gold and turquoise just seemed the perfect mix.

    I used seven buttons in total but together they don’t drag the back of the blouse down as they are very light.

    almond rock tilly turquoise polyester mathilde blouse

    I can really see myself wearing this all year round as it would be easy to layer and it appeals to my need to dress colourfully even when faced with dreary weather.

    Or weather like today where the sun kept disappearing behind massive clouds making my photos look like they’ve been taken on different days.

    But hey, no don’t notice that… Look at my shoes! They match my top! Phew, glad I distracted you.