• 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.

  • 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!

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Tropical Simple Sew sweatshirt

    Happy New Year everyone!! It’s an brand new decade and I’m both nervous and excited for 2020, a classic cocktail of emotions. With only a few days left in my Love Sewing role, I’m getting ready to say goodbye. There is lots to sort in my sewing room too. There’s new work clothes, pattern testing, fun collaborations and probably another destash sale on the horizon!

    Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
    Enough on that for now. Let’s talk jumpers (aka ‘sweaters’ or ‘sweatshirts’, for my international friends). I’ve made a few sweatshirts and never blogged them but somehow this one is breaking that spell. It’s a bold colourful print which is keeping me very warm!
    Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
    The Simple Sew sweatshirt is an oldie but a goodie with raglan sleeves and ribbed cuffs, neck and hem bands. I made view B and originally added the hem band but it felt a little bulky and long in this fabric so took it back off and hemmed the jumper shorter. This is the size 10 graded to a 12 at the hips. The structure of the fabric means I should have graded the sleeve hems out a little more to be able to push them up my arms… oh well.
    Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
    A jumper like this can be totally constructed on your overlocker but there are a few small places it can help to sew… 1) cuff and neckband side seams: to avoid bulk and because you never even see the seam edge. 2) underarm points: If you’re a stickler for a neatly intersecting seam sew the sides up on your machine first to avoid the fabric creeping. 3) Hem: If you skip the hem band like me, you’ll have to hem on a machine, unless you have a coverstitch you lucky thing!!
    Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
    This loopback palm leaf knit was a gift from wowfabrics.co.uk – look for J173 ABSTRACT FLORAL JUNGLE PRINT. From 2m I have so much leftover it’s crazy! It’s definitely heavier than sweatshirting; a bit closer to scuba and has a lovely fleece backing adhered to it. My overlocker blade hated it so I trimmed all my seams before overlocking them. The ribbing is from Abakhan and I got the co-ordinating teal sweatshirting too. In fact I’ve already made another winter jumper with it!!
    Almond rock, fabric printing, wow fabrics, custom fabric, palm leaf, tropical, botanical, sewing, dressmaking, crafts, simple sew patterns, sweatshirt, jumper,sweater,loopback,Terry,sweatshirting,ribbing,cuff,overlocker
    I liked the fabric so much I’ve decided to join the Wow Fabrics blogger team and have created three of my own fabric designs to test out the print quality of their custom fabric printing service! A satin, bubbled crepe and cotton jersey. More details on that soon!

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  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Strawberry stripes McCall’s 7322

    Theres something magical about pink and red together. It shouldn’t work but it totally does. And there’s something magical about this jersey. It’s another fabric that we got for a work project (out next week) and I ended up buying my own, obsessed with it!! Its such good quality, it had to be done. I wore the top to the office on a particularly bloated and tired day and someone told me I looked great. That made me like the magical top even more. Funny how easy swayed I am!

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    The jersey is thick enough to sit smoothly on the body but light enough to still feel like a t-shirt, it’s also holding colour perfectly after a few washes and showing no signs of wear. It’s from Bloomsbury Square linked here and is nearly sold out. There’s a similar fabric here at Cornish Haberdashery and also here at Bobbins and Buttons! I’m pretty chuffed with my stripe matching and overlocking/top-stitching. As you can see below I always try and land my twin needle stitches just on the edge of the folded under seam allowance so it looks like a cover-stitched finish… until the day I can afford one. I also added to heat transfer patches to the chest I got from China because the colours match perfectly!

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    Back to the top! This is my fourth version of M7322 but first blogged. Sorry about that. But all four are striped and all matched at the side seams, sleeve seams and magically on some of the armhole. You can achieve armhole matching too if you use this pattern and an evenly stripe fabric. The armhole and sleeve are the perfect gradient/curve to ease the stripes together. Intrigued? Read on

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    On many patterns the sleeve head is aggressively shaped, curving at an incline that doesn’t match the gentle curve of the armhole. Does that make sense? But not this one.

    First…. Use a stripe layout, matching the underarm points of the front and back bodice and sleeves with the same part of the stripe. Sew your bodices together and your sleeve seams, matching your stripes. You’ll ned to pin every stripe together if you want a flawless match. Now everything should start to come together ready to make the sleeves…

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern

    Turn both your sleeves and bodice WS out and mark the seam allowance at the armhole in air-erasable or water-soluble marker. You should be able to match the first few visible stripes on the front bodice above the sleeve seam as you see above.

    In all your stripe matching here is a quick note, you’re not aligning the stripes RST, just matching points at the seam line if that makes sense. The stripes won’t always match in the seam allowance area. The goal is to cross perfectly at the seam line. Pin both horizontally and vertically then quickly tack stitch this area of the armhole by hand if you want guaranteed success.

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern saltaire

    Here’s a peek of the top out on a day trip to Salt’s Mill in Saltaire. This amazing historic town was custom built by the mill owner so his workers had somewhere to live. The area is now grade listed and the mill is the home to a David Hockney gallery and amazing cafe plus lots more. As well as the mill we like walking by the canal, stopping at the barge that sells ice cream and visiting the park! It’s a great day out. Ahhh how much I already miss summer!! Watch this space for a cheeky kitten top…

    almond rock stripe matching ponte jersey stretch knit tshirt top mccalls 7322 sewing pattern