• Dresses

    China blue McCall’s 6959 wrap dress

    Like many of us, the Covid situation threw me through a loop for a long time. I was home all the time, working from the spare room, I didn’t get out of my pyjamas many days, and barely wore makeup. And crafting? That was non-existent. In a way I’d lost my sense of identity – I wasn’t wearing or making home sewn clothes. But things are slowly starting to get better. It started with house viewings! Yes I had to wear gloves and masks, not touch anything and keep away from the estate agent as a I moved around but I had a reason to get dressed and get out the house. Then I went to an arm knitting blanket workshop at Fabricate.

    I’d already seen on social media how dedicated Philippa was being about safety and going to the shop didn’t disappoint; she had socially distant workbenches, it was a zero contact tutorial, hand sanitiser a-plenty and much more. It was liberating to get a taste of what life used to be like but with a new safety-first slant. This week I’m going for a beach side break in a private cottage to celebrate my wedding anniversary and I’m taking one of my prettiest dresses to wear for dinner.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    This dress has it’s own story. At the beginning of the year I was contacted by Lindybop about doing a sponsored blog post. I received 3m of fabric and in exchange I was to write a guest blog post and do social media promotion when the dress was ready.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    This stunning china blue porcelain print fabric features delicate florals on a spandex cotton base which they called crepe de chine. You can read my earlier comments on how it isn’t really ‘crepe de chine’ on my magpie dress blog post. But before I could write the blog post, Lindybop went into administration. They kindly messaged me and said to keep the fabric and wished me well.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    It’s rather sad, but the dress turned out so nicely that I’d like to still share it, even though it’s bittersweet. I made the McCall’s 5969 from Love Sewing mag 65 last year, one of my favourite issues (now out of stock). By merging View D with its modest wrap bodice and long sleeves with View B’s full circle skirt and sash tie, this dress becomes delightfully vintage with the right fabric.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    I shared my toile of the bodice on Instagram earlier in the year – thought you’d appreciate the flash of tummy above. A brief reminder of my measurements: 36″ A bust, 33″ waist, 45″ hips. I chose a size 10 in the upper body/bust/armholes, 12 waist and 14 waist/hips. I then slimmed the sleeve width down a little and ultimately, shortened their length. I also moved the bust darts slightly and added 2″ to the skirt hem.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    I’m  not risking any mishaps with this wrap… There are multiple press stud fasteners used to close the dress at each side seam and the neckline. The sash belt is then purely decorative. The mix of facings and my own use of bias binding for the skirt and sleeve hems feels complementary.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    This feels luxurious to wear because of the fabric. Plus it feels well drafted, as that sleeve head is lovely and the bodice has just enough ease for everyday movement without looking saggy. PLUS the swish of the circle skirt is, of course, fabulous. But that means it is also fabric hungry, requiring me to use almost all of my 3m.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    Wrap dresses used to make me so upset when I tried them on as everyone said they were universally flattering no matter your shape. But when I tried them on in shops all I saw was this lumpy figure with overemphasised stomach and hips, and no bust. Then I tried the Eve wrap dress with some success. But a wrap dress with a circle skirt? This is glorious for my body shape aka the human butternut squash.

    Almondrock cotton spandex, McCall's, m6959, McCall's 6959, wrap dress, vintage style

    Want to see more? How about Wendy’s version from the magazine. Or follow Rin’s gorgeous sewalong. At last but not least this STUNNING red Gucci Mindy Kaling inspired version by Serena.

  • Other stuff

    Happy New Year!

    I’ve written this blog post about five times now.

    I’m both scared and excited to think about what 2013 will bring and my brain is racing at a mile a minute.

    Unavoidable changes are heading my way and I’m trying to figure out how to roll with them.

    I’m not going to start waffling on about all of that because it’s been a long day and this is still a sewing blog right?!


    Regardless of any drama the new year has brought, I’ve also done a smidgen of sewing!

    2013-01-09 21.02.35I eased myself back in slowly. I put an elastic waist in a B5653 strappy floral top UFO that’s been lingering around since Summer.

    This Butterick top is sort of a refashion and a muslin.

    I salvaged the fabric from an old Topshop dress and wanted to try out the strappy view of the top before investing other fabric in it.

    I’m already plotting many more versions of this is.

    And I  think it’d look lovely extended into a sundress. Yes yes I know we’re expecting snow this weekend.

    2013-01-09 21.09.46

    Then I hemmed the striped NL 6808 I started before xmas.

    Tweet peeps are sure to be sick of seeing this top. I’ve posted pics of it in every stage of construction.

    Check out the bitching stripe matching on it though! On the sides and on the sleeves (this damn near killed me).

    I also added an exposed zip to the back.

    Yessssssss (smug).

    Roisin suggested a tutorial post which I’m eager to supply.

    I will not be showing you the insides of this bad boy but will instead draft up something neater for show and tell.

    I wore this one today and wasn’t most impressed with how I looked but think that’s just because I’m full of cold at the minute and in my mind I look I have bats nesting in my hair and the pallor of a jaundiced gremlin.

    And on that delightful note I shall leave you for now.

    I will return shortly with organised thoughts rather than the deranged stream of consciousness I’ve been trying to fight back…


  • Other stuff

    What happened to all the dresses?


    When I first started sewing I thought it would be the perfect way to indulge my addiction to dresses. Somewhere along the way I ended up making a lot of tops, a few dresses and not much else! So where did all the dresses go? And all the other plans I had?!

    This revelation struck me as I was ironing my nice white fabric with red polka dots ready to make another top. Firstly, I stopped because it seemed the washing machine hadn’t gotten it very clean… hmm where are these dirty marks from?! And secondly, once I had stopped I did some thinking about skirts.

    It’s nearly summer and I don’t have many skirts. Very few for work especially. So how about a polka dot skirt? I have a prima pattern for an A-line skirt saved up for the task and from what I hear they’re simple enough to make. So I’ve re-washed my fabric ready to start this very soon.

    I also made a promise to myself to figure out why I have a lot of fabric, and a lot of dress patterns, but very few FINISHED dresses! “Finished” is the core issue as I have FOUR partially completed lying in my sewing corner and plenty more that I’ve plotted but not started.

    One of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) is a lovely pale green dress using a quilting fabric from The Skep – Knitting and Quilting shop in Farsley and a pattern from the book Famous Frocks by Sara Alm and Hannah McDevitt.

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dress

    I’m so close with this dress. I just need to power on. The pockets need refitting before I can sew the skirt to the top. Then I can wear it to work!

    Anna Maria Horner, innocent crush voile in “Shattered”

    Another is made from Anna Maria Horner fabric, the “Shattered” voile from the Innocent Crush line.

    I bought the fabric very early on in my sewing career and immediately started sewing a Butterick 4443. WHY?! I should have held onto this fabric until I knew what I was doing and made something better than 4443 out of it?! Chuh. Now I look at it and think is there a way to turn this into a different dress?! I don’t think there is but I keep looking.

    I should just finish it and hope I like the outcome.

    The “why haven’t I finished you?” green striped dress

    Third there is a green striped number which I finished poorly and it started to unravel before I’d even worn it! So I unpicked it to redo the waist seam using my overlocker. But then I never actually rebuilt it!

    The reason is that it has an elastic waist casing and I doing HATE elastic casings even though they fit me great. I always make them about 1mm too small and work up a sweat trying to thread the stupid safety pin through. But I do love this fabric and the dress would be so easy to wear to work or during relaxing times so I should get my butt into gear and finish it!

    Finally I have my Vogue 8723 Ikea dress to finish. It’s mocking me even now while pinned to my mannequin. But something is throwing me off. I can’t tell if the fit is off or is it the slightly too dark lining fabric or possibly the fact I didn’t understitch the seams properly? Well whatever it is I want to get back into this dress soon!!

    All very shameful I know. I need to remedy this problem asap. I have so many other things I want to sew I’m getting so tormented about what to work on!! I need some organisation in my sewing life and to stop being seduced by new projects.

  • Other stuff

    MMM Day 28: Hello sunshine!

    Wow the weather was so good recently. And I spent a lot of time away from my sewing table and my computer! I went out for a wander in town in this little number on Saturday. It’s one of the first things I ever made and I still love wearing it! It’s made from quilters cotton in a print called Brooklyn heights. There are little dots arranged in an unusual zig zag pattern and the colour is beautiful (to me anyway). I HAVE to get better at my photos. This was taken in the courtyard and again, we missed the sun and the best picture turned out to be my crazy face snap.

    Now moving on, time to brag about my Mother again, AND my Dad this time too! Remember the car boot?

    They went back and cleared it out!!

    45 zips in varying colours and sizes, some double ended zips too!
    3 patterns, some lilac cotton, cream satin and brown satin bias binding and some pink braided cord
    3m of blue polyester lining, 7m of peach polyester lining, 2m of peach chiffon, and 1.5m of royal blue silk
    9 bobbins of mercerised thread, and then a whole load of colours and sizes. Yummy


    I’m a super lucky girl. And you know what I’m going to say. This lot was an insane bargain!! A massive £12 for the lot. Amazing!!