• Dresses

    Seersucker hack dress

    I know it’s very very rainy in England right now but cast your mind back… This dress, Simplicity 9327 caught my eye from the new collection on a very hot day. And it instantly made me think of cool breezy nights on a Mediterranean holiday break. Small problem for me, the UK release was slightly delayed by Covid… Good news for you it’s available to buy now!

    S9327 simplicity dress pattern

    So I set about making my own interpretation. I chose a beautiful coral and white striped seersucker from SewSewSew. One of my favourite dresses came from their fabric and Katie gets unique beautiful fabrics that you don’t see elsewhere.

    Sewsewsew UK coral stripe seersucker

    I started with New Look 6587, one of my all time favourites that is now out of print. BUT the near identical Butterick 6674 dress has been released!!

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    I cut rectangles for the skirt front and back on the fold and gathered them up. But I kept the button placket on the bodice. It’s a loose fit design already but I let out the seams a little so the dress would definitely fit over my head unbuttoned.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    Then I cut out my frills and managed to snip into one. That would have been fine if I had more fabric to play with but I ended up having to use the fabric saved for my skirt hem ruffle to cut 2 new frills on the crossgrain. The frill was taken from the Cocowawa Raspberry jumpsuit. It’s gathered to match the armhole and secured with a bias binding tape facing.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    I normally avoid tiny stripes as they cause moiré when photographed at a distance. This is a visual effect where the pattern is so fine it becomes distorted to the eye in the final image, almost like its hazy or swirling. I managed to get some shots that weren’t too bad thank goodness.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    The dress is unlined and overlocked at the seams. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding and the sweet pearlised buttons are from my stash.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

     

    Seersucker is great for summer. I think of it as linens superior sister because it’s just as cool in hot weather, it also has an interesting texture AND better than linen you don’t look like a wrinkled mess after wearing it all day.

    I took these photos up near Cow and Calf in Ilkley, famous for a rock formation of a big rock (the cow) with a smaller rock nearby (her calf) but also famous for the Tour de Yorkshire race that tackled this steep and winding road. FYI this is a trip advisor photo. My photography skills aren’t this good.

     

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Spotty vintage New Look 6976

    Hello kittens! Hope you’re all hanging in there. Lots of DIY has been happening over here these last few weeks but not so much sewing. Now thankfully that’s changing and I have three sewing projects to start! Plus a few makes like this which I haven’t had chance to share. Let’s take a look at the first one.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    Here is my version of 1990s New Look pattern 6976. Okay, fair warning… it’s time to call the 90s “vintage”… because the definition is over 30 years is vintage, even though the 90s feel like a blink ago. Plus if you ask me this top has the perfect mix or 90s style and 60s flair. Trends always come back around.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    Here’s the twist; this is actually my toile! I made view C and cut a size 10 bodice, grading out to a 16 at the waist and hip. It turned out too boxy so I slimmed the sides back down and realised I needed to increase the length. I had some left over fabric so added a hem band for this version and increased the length on my pattern pieces ready for when I make my next one. Finally I decided the increase the shoulder strap width because they weren’t quite sleeves and not really straps. Thankfully I had even more scraps to cut new sleeves/straps out.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    When I compared the before and after pictures I was pretty happy! Can you tell from my face? Oh and if you notice the short hair, it’s because I made this top in May 2020, a flipping lifetime ago when lockdown was still fairly tolerable and a vaccine was just a daydream. The blue peachskin is perfectly opaque and drapes beautifully. Plus it’s a flirty style that actually had interesting construction.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    The ruching at the shoulders and back are formed by bias tape facing channels that contain stretched elastic. The front has the same bias tape channels but two thin pieces of rouleau are secured at the outer ends and fed through to the centre point where they’re tied tightly to create ruching and finish in a bow. A cute little fabric facing creates the centre front keyhole.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    The elastic isn’t really holding it in place, but is more for show/creating the ruching. I’m pleased with how the toile turned out but it still rides up a little under the arms so will sort that on the next version also. The back is very wide and a possibly a bit unflattering. Of course you can’t see your own back (unless you’re super bendy), but I’d like to implement a solution to fix the awkward shape.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    This pretty blue peachskin was leftovers from a Love Sewing garment from Dec 2019 and you know what… the fabric is still available! I love it when that happens. Buy yourself some from My Sewing Box. It took some fun pattern jenga to get the pieces cut out but it meant no scraps were wasted. For a stress-free sewing experience with peachskin, you just need a fresh sharp needle and remember to turn your iron down.

    almond rock New Look 6976 NL6976 90s 60s vintage top

    Now I’m ready for Spring weather, whenever it returns!

  • Other stuff

    DIY retro winter village wreath

    I’m so inspired by a few bloggers/Instagrammers who are able to live in almost authentic vintage decor. They embody gorgeous retro style in a way I’ve never managed to achieve in my daily life. But to add a little mid-century charm to my home I made this small winter village wreath inspired by this one on the Martha Stewart website.

    Christmas,vintage,retro,crafting,crafts,puts,Americana,wreath,flocking,diy, almond rock
    The Putz style mini houses take colour inspiration from 50s Americana. The bottle brush trees in teal, gold, silver and white could have been bleached and dyed in the same palette but blend nicely as they were. Glittery details and fristy fake snow make it feel extra festive!
    Christmas,vintage,retro,crafting,crafts,puts,Americana,wreath,flocking,diy, almond rock
    First things first. I bought this 35cm wide fake wreath from eBay, quite the bargain but I should have gone a bit bigger. I flocked it with fake snow by mixing Daz washing powder with a little water so it had a gloopy thick paste-like texture and slopped it over the branches. I popped it in the airing cupboard until the paste set hard and the pink colour crystals had faded away.
    Christmas,vintage,retro,crafting,crafts,puts,Americana,wreath,flocking,diy, almond rock
    The houses were made from cardstock printed at home with this very versatile FREE template from Martha Stewart. I actually had a lot of fun with these by mixing and matching the architectural elements and getting inspired to design my own tweaks to the templates.
    Christmas,vintage,retro,crafting,crafts,puts,Americana,wreath,flocking,diy, almond rock
    I used a scalpel to cut everything out and a pair of scissors for scoring the folds. I mocked a few up first (see above) then I painted each with tester pots of emulsion I had lying around before construction and used pva glue to assemble.
    Christmas,vintage,retro,crafting,crafts,puts,Americana,wreath,flocking,diy, almond rock
    Adding thick pva glue, spread on the roof before sprinkling glitter in place was the messiest part. In a final bit of inspiration I glued baking parchment behind the windows to appear like panes of glass before gluing each building onto its snowy base, made from packing material William Gee had happened to use in a recent parcel sent to me!!
    Christmas,vintage,retro,crafting,crafts,puts,Americana,wreath,flocking,diy, almond rock
    I bought a pack of 46 trees of different sizes and colours and arranged them in pairs, adding some to sit alongside the houses. After testing out the placement of everything I glued everything in place and added a hanging ribbon. A bigger base wreath would have meant a more extravagant finished effect but this suits my hallway nicely. In hindsight these coloured trees might have been cuter? But I love the sparkles of mine and I have plenty more for crafting with next year.Christmas,vintage,retro,crafting,crafts,puts,Americana,wreath,flocking,diy, almond rock

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  • Dresses

    Spotty McCall’s 7085

    Hello my loveliest ones!! I am hating humanity after a hellish time on public transport and the motorway but you’re all exempt. You wouldn’t leave giant cases in the aisles and blare music without speakers would you?? I hope not. And you wouldn’t try and drive me off the road in your a supermarket delivery van right???

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I’ve been doing a little less sewing than normal lately but wanted to experiment with the latest pattern from Love Sewing magazine. This pattern is included with issue 73 on sale October 3rd. That’s tomorrow! As you know I don’t often have time to make the magazine patterns but I just loved this neckline!

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    Isn’t Lis’s version below so gorgeous? I knew I couldnt pull off the shift style so I wanted to see if I could hack the dress to a more retro silhouette. To do this I used the waistline mark on the front and back bodice pieces. I marked lines across the pattern pieces 1.5cm below the waistline point. This was the cutting line.

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I then worked out the finished waist measurement and measurements for the front and back and adjusted slightly so my skirt pattern would match at the side seams. The skirt here is actually my wedding dress skirt pattern! It makes it very swishy.

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I made view D of the pattern with its lovely sweetheart neckline and no sleeves. This stretch spot cotton sateen is amazing quality and gives the dress a lot of structure. It took 3m to get all the pieces of this dress on the fabric even at 60″ wide. It’s a pretty huge skirt!!

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

    I finished the hem with red bias tape; my preferred method for a circle skirt. There’s an invisible zipper in the back. And of course I added pockets. SO MUCH FUN!!

    Almond rock M7085 McCall's pattern dress sewing polka dot retro vintage sateen minerva crafts

  • Dresses

    Wild roses Vogue 8469

    A fresh faced sewing enthusiast called Amy made her first version of Vogue 8469 back in 2013 and said, “oh yes this is lovely I better make it again”. She used £1 a metre polyester she found in Leeds Market and wore it to one of her first sewing meet-ups in London – the epic V&A event.

    Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

    Flash forward to 2016! The new version is again made out of £1 a metre polyester, but this time from Birmingham Rag market. This amazingly versatile dress has lived in the back of my wardrobe only occaisonally getting worn because I slightly messed up the gathers on one side of the bust, and my zipper installation wasn’t very neat. What I discovered during Me Made May this year, is that it really doesn’t matter! You can’t see either of those things when I wear the dress so I should blumming well get it out the cupboard more often.

    Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

    This dress is great if you’re a large or small busted lady in comparison to your waist and hip size as you can adjust for your bust easily; simply slash and then add or subtract the space you need and then draw the fabric under the bust neatly.

    Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

    The skirt is more tulip shaped than you might think, a change from my super flared skirts. It’s still gathered making it easy to fit through the hip. The bodice, waistband and sleeves are lined and I used my trusty tutorial for clean finishing the sleeves into the lining. I skipped the sleeve elastic again as you can see.

    Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

    The centre sewn zip is what we all learn early on, stitched down each side to secure the zip and create a little flap to cover each side… but this is the hardest zip to achieve a neat finish for me. The zipper always peeps through and the sides aren’t even! The supposedly harder invisible and lapped zippers are much nicer in my book. Am I wrong?

    Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

    I wear this dress with the bow tied at the front most days but occasionally swing it to the back. It’s a great number to wear with red lipstick and dangly earrings for dinner out, or ballet flats and curly hair for a vintage day look.

    Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

    It was great to teach myself, just because you messed something up doesn’t mean you can’t still love it. The annoying perfectionist in me shuts up while I wear this so that’s a win right?!