Tops, blouses and shirts

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Candy cane New Look 6707

    It’s quite thrilling to be one of the first people to review a pattern. When you search for hashtag inspiration and get photos of planes instead of patterns, you know you’re going to be one of the first haha.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    New Look 6707 is a sweet v-neck blouse that has an optional oversized ruffle collar and puff sleeves finished with a hem band. It was only recently released and taps into that trend of statement collars we can’t seem to escape right now.

    I really liked the pattern but was scared whether the collar would be too big for my narrow shoulders. I thought the only way to know for sure would be to sew up a wearable toile. I chose a polycotton gingham that I had in my stash from Minerva. It was originally for a sweet 50s dress but I decided I wanted a smaller print for that project.

    Close up of Almond Rock in New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    The collar involves a fair bit of gathering to make that ruffle but it’s so sweet when finished. I cut my collar as the pattern recommended with a straight grain line arrow position. This means the front ends up on the bias of the gingham creating an eye-catching effect.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    For the sleeves I already knew I couldn’t pull off the pleated sleeve caps. I tried that with my unfinished Sasha McCall’s dress which, yep you’ve guessed it, I didn’t finish for that reason. So on the tissue I folded out the pleats for a smooth sleeve cap while keeping the volume in the lower part of the sleeve. These sleeves remind me of the 70s McCall’s blouse I made recently.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    Even with a wearable toile I couldn’t resist ensuring a good pattern match. But I think the fabric isn’t right for this design on me. It’s too sugary sweet for my liking and again, the print is too big. I’m going to make it again with a little more length in the body and a plain fabric or less oversized print.

    Almond Rock makes New Look 6707 v neck blouse with oversized collar in pink gingham

    I’ll probably still wear this during summer don’t get me wrong! Have you been tempted by this pattern?

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Simplicity 9462 blouse

    Hi Everyone. When the world is feeling scary I find comfort in using my hands and focusing on a sewing task. Watching the news this week has definitely been made easier by being able to head upstairs and create. I recently finished this blouse and wanted to share it.

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    I do enjoy a quick hack. So I took the new Simplicity 9462 floaty lounge dress and made a new hem cutting line. I made it about 37cm aka 15″ from the centre front large circle notch which marks the bottom of that centre front opening. I wasn’t sure I could pull off the dress length but I adore this blouse and think I’ll make another.

    It’s such a cool design. The ruffled neckline is elasticated by a channel where the ruffle joins the neckline. The front opening and facing might seem a little intimidating but when you sew it, the finish on the inside is so nice and clean. I made a video sewalong for the Simplicity McCalls UK YouTube channel to show how it comes together.

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    Yes I’m also sewing raglan sleeves again. Since I’ve rediscovered them, they seem to be on all my favourite patterns. As they continue into the neckline they are gathered at the head by the elastic and then gathered at the cuff by a tiny 6mm elastic hem channel. This creates a beautiful silhouette that is puffy or pouffy but still fit under a cardigan (essential in my life).

    I used a Liberty lookalike cotton lawn fabric from Aliexpress. It’s just as soft as Liberty tana lawn but the colours are slightly different. It’s perfect for this blouse as it’s stable enough to construct the various elastic channels and make button loops from. And the sleeves achieve the perfect full balloon effect thanks to that slight stiffness. But it’s floaty enough that it doesn’t stick out from my body when I wear it. Of course being cotton, it does crease a little but I think a busy print helps hide that!

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    I’ve been wearing it with the top button undone, as I like to see my neck. That way I get the best of both with the ruffle still visible. The elasticated neckline and opening make it super easy to throw on. It’s great with jeans and red lipstick for a slightly dressier look. I might even wear it to a trade show I’m going to on Monday. Let me know if you’re inspired to make this one – as a dress or a top!

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Bloom Explosion McCall’s 8008

    Hello everyone! It’s a lovely crisp Autumn day here and I’m actually getting ready for a housewarming party!! We moved in January but have only just been able to arrange it. I’m excited to see everyone, show them the house and eat some good food.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8008 in Explosion bloom lady mcelroy viscose lawn fabric with Bishop sleeves pintucks and half collar

    Onto sewing related news and I finally finished my M8008 blouse. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen I ran out of buttons but Vicky of Sewstainability came to my rescue and posted me more.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    This blouse features Bishop sleeves with pintucks, sleeve head ruffles, a half stand collar, half button placket and back yoke. There’s also the option to add lace trim inserts to the front.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8008 in Explosion bloom lady mcelroy viscose lawn fabric with Bishop sleeves pintucks and half collar

    I used the most beautiful Lady McElroy fabric called Bloom Explosion. It was sent to me for free in exchange for a blog post and I was paid with additional fabric. You can get hold of some at Sherwood Fabrics.

    It’s the softest viscose challis in brilliant colours. The pops of fuchsia and chartreuse are my favourite. And it washed and pressed nicely during construction.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8008 in Explosion bloom lady mcelroy viscose lawn fabric with Bishop sleeves pintucks and half collar

    Viscose is notoriously shifty so my giant cutting table was very handy. I used sharp pins and a fine needle to construct. I’m very pleased with the bottom of the placket given the floaty movement of the fabric.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8008 in Explosion bloom lady mcelroy viscose lawn fabric with Bishop sleeves pintucks and half collar

    The pintucks on my sleeves are beautiful but could be straighter though. The grain must have shifted as I marked the stitch lines. I also recommend hand basting everything you need to hold steady before you sew it. Eg the collar facing, the cuffs, etc.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8008 in Explosion bloom lady mcelroy viscose lawn fabric with Bishop sleeves pintucks and half collar

    I changed the cuffs to be half their depth. And let out the side seams a little. Other than that this is the size 12 with no alterations. It’s bold, romantic and a bit outside of my comfort zone. And I’m so pleased I made it!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Vintage McCall’s 4916

    Ahhh Carefree McCall’s. Doesn’t that sound like a dreamy collection. I’ve no idea where the name came from but it seems to have run throughout the seventies. I picked up M4916 from my local charity shop and instantly was captivated by that pleated bib. I thought I’d make the dress version on the pattern but when it came down to it, I knew I needed more easy tops in my wardrobe I could throw on. Can you believe it? Me… NOT making the dress… unbelievable.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s

    The blouse is boxy but hopefully doesn’t make me look pregnant when I’m not. (A common mistake unfortunately, people are often congratulating me when they shouldn’t). And I thought go on Amy, try the puff sleeves you might like them. Factor in a sweet swiss dot effect 70s floral polycotton and I was ready for the #sewseventies challenge. Except I wasn’t. I finished this blouse a day too late and then photographed it even later. So now it’s ready for the Sew Vintage September challenge!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    It was a pretty fun make apart from struggling to cut a nice pair of bib pieces that looked carefree and not too repetitive with the flower positions. That’s just me being annoying I bet. There were 4 bibs in total. But thankfully I found the winning pair in the end. The bib has a self facing you fold in half to get the centre front line and then is basted together around the outside. No interfacing which was interesting. I made a toile in black to have a practice and was pretty pleased so moved ahead to the real fabric.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in black as toile version

    You attach the triangular yoke to the bottom of each bib piece to hold them in place and fold back all the seam allowance before topstitching it in the opening. Fiddly and with no seam finishes but I got a neat finish with my topstitching and overlocked the inside to protect it from the washing machine. I also took an extra step of sewing up the centre front line by placing the two bibs RST before folding back the facings to add a bit more bust coverage. I also skipped the half collar in favour of a bias bound neckline as I find half collars a bit claustrophobic!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    My fabric was actually from eBay and while not authentically vintage, it has that sort of 1970s Laura Ashley nightdress print. Like I mentioned earlier, the dots are just printed on which is a shame as a true dobby aka swiss dot would have been lovely for this top. You need something crisp enough to make the pleats and soft enough not to balloon out like a tent and polycotton satisfied both these requirements! It was a whopping £4.49 per metre.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton with puff sleeves

    What surprised me is how much I like these little puff sleeves. At the minute statement sleeves or BIG SLEEVE ENERGY is everywhere and it’s a bit much for me. I have very small shoulder and don’t seem able to pull off the dramatic styles. These are pretty adorable though right!? Or am I on my own here? They are gently gathered into a band which I always enjoy making. In hindsight I could have given myself a little bit more room at the armscye but this is a minor point.

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    What I really don’t like about the pattern is the centre back seam. YUCK. This breaks everything up in an unattractive way. But it’s a curved centre back seam so I just went with it to add shaping. Now I look at it and think I should have taken the time to cut it on the fold and add diamond shape darts for shaping instead. I mean, this print is too small the pattern match effectively without needing another 50cm of fabric… but I suppose if I hadn’t cut FOUR bibs like a mad woman, I might have had enough. Ca La Vie!

    Almond Rock makes McCall's 4916 vintage blouse pattern from 1970s in floral cotton

    Overall I’m super pleased with the blouse and the fit achieved by altering a single size sewing pattern to match my measurements. Plus I’m happy to take part in Sew Vintage September at least once… but hope to sneak in one more make before the month is over. Watch this space.

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Sew Over It Libby

    Sewing enthusiasm has finally returned to my sewing room. I’m bursting with ideas again! Today I’m sharing a quick make that is really a wearable toile, the Libby shirt from Sew Over It.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I had been admiring many people’s versions of this cute cropped blouse before buying the pattern. I love notch collars and grown on sleeves so a combination of the two is glorious.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I bought the pdf pattern and sent the copyshop file to get printed at Fabulosew as I like that they print on tissue rather than paper. I made a straight size 10 and the only alteration was to move the bust darts down a bit.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    This fabric is a thick opaque polyester peachskin I got as lining for my coral eyelet Anna dress. There was lots leftover so I’d been waiting for something to use it for. It’s probably a bit thick for the pattern but such a good colour!

    The Libby shirt gets a lot of bad press online because of the back facing/collar construction which can be considered unnecessarily complicated, when you know there are other methods that would be quicker and simpler.

    You attach the back facing to each inner curve of the collar before stitching the collar pieces RST. I’ve constructed this way before on tailored coats and jackets so I didn’t have any bother with it but can see how it would stress many sewists out. There’s a sewalong with nice clear pictures if this is your first time using this method.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I used a set of mixed print Tilda fabric covered buttons from my stash as some had a hint of coral in them. And I chose pink, coral and orange overlocker threads to keep it pretty inside. The turned up cuffs on the sleeves are quite easy to do and only take a couple of hand stitches to hold in place.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I don’t think the back is flattering but I like the front and will still get plenty of wear out of it. For my next version I’ll use viscose or crepe de chine for a less thick version. As you can see my love of notched collars continues.