• Dresses

    BOND, ANNA BOND… By Hand London Anna

    Hello everyone. I’m writing this from a corner of my sewing room, slightly frazzled from car issues and too tired to sew. I’m really keen to start wedding related sewing but have had a few silly setbacks.

    One of my bridal fabrics has arrived cut into two lengths instead of being kept whole and I’ve lost the pattern number I noted down for my bridesmaids’ dresses. All fixable of course but frustratingly will slow me down. Chewie isn’t impressed.

    Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

    So to perk myself up I’m sharing a recently finished make. It’s not my first and not my last Anna dress but possibly my most noticeable. When I wear this dress people love to find out if it’s really Rifle Paper Co, ask to stroke the rayon to feel the quality and tell me the colours are wonderful. I happily answer all the comments because I think the quality is fantastic; the shades of blue and coral, the weight and sheen of the weave, and the scale of the design make this a perfect fabric. Go buy some while you can.

    If you’ve made something from Rifle Paper Co fabric please link me in the comments!!

    Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

    In case you’ve been off the grid, the last couple of years have yielded some fabulous fabrics from the collaboration of Rifle Paper Co and Cotton + Steel.

    Anna Bond is the creative force behind Rifle Paper Co, a stationery business famed (primarily) for its painterly florals designed by Anna herself.

    Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

    Cotton + Steel is comprised of the design power houses Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Kim Kight and Sarah Watts who collaborate on fun and unique prints that still coordinate across each range. The bulk of the offering is quilting cotton but lawn, rayon and canvas substrates are also available for certain designs.

    Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

    The Birch Floral I used is from the Les Fleurs collection which I picked up from Miss Matatabi. Also in my stash is the Painterly Roses rayon from the Wonderland collection. I have 1m to play with which I picked up from Village Haberdashery using my birthday stash points!

    Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

    Ok so dress nitty gritty time. This is the Anna v-neck bodice and the Emery gathered skirt with 3cm added to the length. I used a 70 needle to avoid snags and the fabric was robust enough not to shift as I worked or get sucked into the feed dogs.

    Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

    My armholes are finished with blue bias and I used the facings provided. My invisible zip is pretty invisible considering its navy and I took the dress in a little from previous versions as I’ve lost some weight. I try and save this dress for nice occasions as it does noticeably wrinkle after a few hours of wear.

    Almond rock rifle paper co cotton steel by hand London Anna

    The big thing this dress taught me is that I love wearing primary colours. My red Sumo dress, started that off. So I’ve bought some emerald green tana lawn which I’m excited to sew up. But that better wait until after I get my bridal sewing back on track…

  • Dresses


    I have a dress to share, and a story. Hopefully it’s something you’re interested in reading. First up this is my new dress. It’s an Emery Dress by Christine Haynes mashed with Project Runway for Simplicity 2444.


    I used the bodice darts and neckline from 2444 but the armholes and sleeves from the Emery. It’s the Emery skirt too. I mentioned this on Instagram and Twitter but I used a clever but fiddly tutorial to fully line the bodice, even though it has sleeves. I made it extra hard for myself by lining the bodice in the same fabric as the shell so it was hard to work out what to sew and when.

    The fabric is a Robert Kaufman limited edition print called “Patriots” – a design to commemorate the centennial of the Naval Airforce. I bought it at Abakhan a few months back and felt emotionally drawn to it. I knew I had to sew it up before November.


    This time of year always makes me a little sad. You see every Remembrance Day I think of my Grandparents and I feel regret that I didn’t know them better. I never asked them the questions that I should have before it was too late. I know that’s a familiar tale but it doesn’t make me regret it any less.


    So today I’d like to share something about my Grandad, on my Father’s side. Alfred Edward Thomas, “Ted” to his friends was in the Navy during the Second World War. Here’s what I know.


    Volunteering in June 1942, aged 19, he joined the HMS Collingwood as a Leading Seaman – that was the equivalent of a Corporal from what I can tell. Between June 1942 and Feb 1945 he served on the Collingwood (for training), Osprey, and the Drake IV Tanatside. In May 1943 during his time on Tanatside he was promoted to Able Seaman meaning a seaman with at least two years’ experience at sea. From Feb 1945 to June 1946 he served on the HMS Pembroke IV, Fabius (sp?), St Angelo (Caduus), Peacock, and Blenheim. He also spent several months on various out-stations of HMS Victory, most likely for more training.

    Image (3)

    He was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, Atlantic Star (service in France and Germany), Africa Star (service in North Africa 1942-43), The Defense Medal and The War Medal. There’s a significance to the order of the medals which I won’t delve into too much but I want to say the 1939-1945 Star is awarded to those with more than 180 days continuous service – that’s something to imagine. And the Atlantic Star was awarded to those who participated in the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous battle of the Second World war.


    To think of anyone serving in a war is almost inconceivable, it becomes a mental amalgamation of film or television scenes and patchy school history lessons. To think of someone you know – someone who has taken you on day trips and played board games with you – being at war is even harder to rationalise.

    But it’s good to try and remember, to think of the effort and sacrifice. So I know what I’ll be thinking of at 11am on the 11th of November.


  • Dresses

    Dot Dot Dash

    Afternoon all!
    Did anyone get any black Friday sewing bargains? I bought a couple of pieces of fabric on sale which I’m looking forward to receiving.

    Today I’m sharing my attempt at an Emery dress. And I’m not sure it’s my best work. See what you think.

    almond rock emery liberty milla

    I bought the pdf of Christine Haynes Emery Dress when she offered it at 20% off. I’d been itching to try it out as I thought it would be the perfect silhouette for me.

    I used a Liberty print cotton called Milla in colourway B. It’s just happy colours and makes me smile when I look at it. I bought it from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road on a shopping trip with some lovely sewing ladies in August before we went to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit. Happy memories!

    almond rock emery liberty milla

    So that’s why I’m pretty gutted this turned out as such a wrinkly mess!

    almond rock emery liberty milla

    I made a muslin as always. I made two in fact. But when I cut into my liberty it didn’t fit?! I had to take it in at the shoulders and try and adjust my darts after construction. I hate it when that happens.

    I used up the last of my good pink polyester for the lining so at least it feels nice to wear.

    almond rock emery liberty milla

    Urrrgh wrinkly back.

    Plus something about the neckline is throwing me off. I think it’s too rounded and not boat neck enough on me. I’m so fussy I know.

    almond rock emery liberty milla

    I’ll still wear it of course. And I’ll probably try the emery again. I’ll just have to muslin it again to get it spot on.

    Sigh… onto bigger and better projects right?

  • Other stuff

    I nearly made two of this blouse, just in case I got a hole in one!

    Waheeeyyyy I finally can share my Sassy Librarian Blouse with you!

    (Plus I’ll be announcing my Giveaway winner!)


    I was lucky enough to sign up for the course that accompanies this blouse when Craftsy had a free class day.

    I’d seen so many great variations of this blouse that it really intrigued me if the style would suit me.


    At the blogger meet up I chose a Liberty cotton tana lawn print that had tiny golfers and greens in a purple, lialc and apple green colour way.

    Erica also bought this groovy fabric in a red and blue colourway, great minds think alike.

    I went for view 2 – with pleats, the bow and the tab. As soon as Christine mentioned Mary Tyler Moore I was like hells yes, that’s what I’m after.




    What do you normally do on a sunny evening? Of course you go up to the roof terrace and do a golf themed photo shoot!



    I’m really pleased I made this blouse as it’s a pretty different and unique design.

    Perhaps I’d make a couple of changes next time though:

    • I’d definitely lower the back neckline as it’s a bit too high which makes it gape.
    • I’d also lower the front a touch as the tab and bow hit a little too high for comfort when I look down.
    • I might also swap out the release pleats for darts as I feel they aren’t as flattering on me as I’m used to.
    • I’d also experiment with using more overlocked edges and see if they add any bulk to the insides.

    The class was pretty well run and perfectly tailored for beginners.

    As I had a little more experience I was chomping at the bit to fast forward a little and see the next step but it probably did me some good to stop and watch all the parts.

    I do wish details were added in to explain how to use french seams on this blouse. I figured it out myself but bet loads of people had the same head scratching moments that I did. I much prefer the insides with french seams when using a delicate cotton lawn like this.

    I also sneakily sewed down my facings, behind one of the pleat flaps. This way my seams (trapped between my facings and outer fabric) definitely won’t fray which is something I was worried about.

    Christine is such a sweetheart, explaining everything carefully and clearly, and I really liked that she always looked well put together and was so softly spoken.

    The paper pattern wasn’t too fiddly to print and stick, though I did still end up tracing it out afterwards as I had so many amendments to make after my muslin.

    I’d definitely recommend the class and it’s inspired me to see what other classes Craftsy has that I could take.

    Giveaway winner announcement!

    Now what you’re probably all waiting for.

    Congratulations Darlene!

    winner winner chicken dinner