Safe As Houses


Fun times over here! I’m super happy* with my new dress and ready to share.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

Basically this is a dress you’ve seen a billion times before from me. I’ve paired the Simplicity 2444 bodice with the skirt from the Sureau (a dress that I still can’t get to fit nicely).

This cracking cotton duck fabric is from Cath Kidston. All out of stock now I’m afraid! The dress is also fully lined with navy silk habotai. I put in a centred zip for a change too. Plus I hemmed using a stiff bias tape to make the skirt flare at the bottom and keep the bell shape.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

It’s my new favourite dress because it fits wonderfully, the silk lining feels lush and the print makes me smile. Isn’t that everything you want from sewing your own clothes?

Because this is such a TNT for me, I felt safe to splurge on the fabrics.

And I finished the dress last week but the CONSTANT rain refused to let me wear it until the day of these photos! We had sunshine all day, and even though it was still 6°C it feels great to take photos outdoors again.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

The fabric was sort of a present from my Auntie Lynda, Uncle Paul and Cousin Poppy. I received a Cath Kidston gift card for my Birthday and I used it on some pretty bedding and 1.5 metres of this fabric.

I have to thank Char for letting me feel her dress out of the same fabric at the SewBrum meet up. I wanted to see what the fabric weight was like before I ordered it online, as it wasn’t in stock at my local CK. It’s about the same weight as my Little French Dress so I knew it would sew up great as a S444.

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

It was such a quick make seeing as how many times I’ve made this dress before. I nearly finished it within a day. Bonus part — because the fabric is so wide, I only needed a metre of fabric so I have spare!

I’m also very excited that Poppy is learning to sew! She’s had an amazing chance to design and sew a dress with the help of two tutors and has just received her first machine to use at home. I’m both terrified and excited for her! It makes her seem even more grown up!

I’m trying to think of good patterns she can work on at home. Please send me suggestions for trendy (but straightforward) tween patterns!! Or are there patterns for American Girl dolls?

almond rock cath kidston houses s2444 sureau

*Apparently I scrunch my face up when it’s a bit cold. I promise I’m seriously happy!


  • Emma Jayne

    It’s a fun print but grown up at the same time. Lovely pattern pairing too. I’m itching to get back into the swing of photographing my makes… the lighter days and better weather is a good start.

    • almondrock

      Thanks! That’s what I think CK are good at. Grown up novelty prints. High five for photography appropriate weather!

  • Cari Homemaker

    Love your dress. That print is sweet.

    Tween patterns are tough. It’s hard to find anything trendy, let alone with easy instructions. The Simplicity girls learn to sew patterns are pretty good, though sizing can be a mystery at first due to big 4 drafting. The instructions are written for beginners/tweens, and have much more detail than other Simplicity patterns.

    American Girl dolls are 18″ sized, so most 18″ doll patterns will fit them. I think they even had their own line of patterns back in the 1990’s.

    • almondrock

      Thanks so much for the help! I’ll take a look at the learn to sew patterns. I worry that sewing on such a small scale for a doll might be frustrating or fiddly for her but at least there are no fitting issues!

  • Rachel M

    Love the dress. Where was the kath k. fabric from? Ps I didn’t put myself on the list for the Birmingham sewing meet as I was driving my kids around. If you have another one please will you email me or announce it on your website. Thankyou so much.

    • almondrock

      I got the fabric from the cath kidston website! It’s free to collect in store which is good. Today was just an informal catch up with friends but promise if there’s a proper meet up it’ll be plastered all over my blog 🙂

  • Amy

    Oh nooo I can’t cope with how cute that fabric is! House/building prints might be one of my 60 billion guilty pleasures. Your dress looks gorgeous, that shade of blue really suits you.

    And lucky Poppy, with you to give her a helping hand with her sewing adventures! What about something like Tilly’s Clemence skirt? Cute and girly and awesome in both patterned and plain fabric 🙂 xx

  • Sue Shannon



    I’ve been following you blog for a while and love the garments you make. Very Professional.

    The link above is to a web site that has free American Girl patterns. They post a new free pattern every Friday. Most are simple makes like T shirts.

    I hope Poppy enjoys sewing as much as you do.
    Cheers Sue

    • almondrock

      Thanks so much for your kind words (professional? Blushing!).
      And thanks for sharing this link. Poppy has already had a look on the site and is very excited

  • Lynne

    Gorgeous! And what’s not to love about the fabric! I haven’t had much luck in getting Sureau to fit either, but that’s a good idea to put bias tape in the hem to add body to the skirt.

    • almondrock

      Thanks! Sureau gave me such a headache around the bust and v neck and even the back! I’ve done SEVEN muslins. Crazy.

      I love a sneaky bias tape hem when you don’t want to wear a petticoat but want a bigger skirt!

  • scruffybadger

    Gorgeous!!! I am in love with your dress, maybe it’s not possible to be as in love with it as you ( since I am not experiencing the lining) but I adore the fabric and pattern combo.

  • Kerry

    I love that fabric print! I do like Cath Kidston but much prefer her retro-looking prints to her floral based ones. I have just pre-washed some of the mushroom fabric which is a similar weight to the fabric you used, so will be cutting into that soon.

    • almondrock

      Yes I’m with you there! I have bought one subtle floral print piece of fabric but generally the quirky ones far outshine them. Mushrooms will look fab!!

  • sarah

    love the fabric choice. in regards to patterns for tweens figgy patterns and heidi and finn go up to a 12yr old or you could try liesel and co as they have some simple ones. but why not start with the plantain t-shirt from deer and doe as it is free and who doesnt need a t-shirt or you can get some simple patterns for free from tessuti fabrics.

    • almondrock

      Excellent suggestions so thanks for taking the time to comment! I’ve not heard of Heidi and Finn either so that’s doubly helpful

    • almondrock

      Thanks! A TNT is well worth the time spent perfecting it. Have you got a potential TNT dress candidate?
      And thanks for the pattern suggestion! Your print placement is so so cool!

  • Breezer

    If you are lucky you may still get some of this fabric in some of the stores. I managed to get two meters at lunch time in one of the Dublin branches. Even better it was on sale so I got the two meters for €28.80

    • almondrock

      Ooh thanks for the tip! Hope people can snaffle a bargain! Hope you and your fabric are very happy together heehee!!

  • Sabs

    Love it!

    How about Belladone? That’s tween appropriate – but she might need a bit of help from her older and wiser cousin! (Not that much older tho….!)

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