• Dresses

    McCall’s 8090 Marina dress

    It’s finally the #sewrecreatethelook challenge reveal day! The goal is to recreate a look that you admire from RTW, the catwalk, Pinterest, a magazine, etc and share your progress. I’ve technically had my dress finished a couple of weeks but managed to hold off on revealing it. I’ve just been enjoying wearing it in the hot hot heat! Let’s start with a reminder of my inspiration…

     

    gal meets glam chassity dress

    This is the Gal Meets Glam Chassity dress. An American influencer I follow started her own line of clothing and ultimately it got too big for her to sustain, had some production issues and she closed the brand. There were some stunning dresses in her line so planning other recreations in the future.

    gal meets glam chassity dress

    I decided not to use shirting and find a viscose that was similar. This ebay find was close enough. It could have been more blue but the weight and drape were gorgeous. And I quickly settled on adapting McCall’s 8090 Marina as my dress base which came with Love Sewing 95.

    McCall's 8090 Marina dress pattern Love Sewing 95

    First up was adjusting the bodice and skirt panel lengths. Marina is drop waist so I took 9cm off the bodice and added it to the top skirt panels. Next I removed the square yoke by folding out the gathering at the centre front and taping the yoke piece directly on top of the bodice piece. Here’s what that looked like.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook

    Switching to raglan sleeves was one thing but these were gathered ruffled raglan sleeves. First I experimented with a sleeveless bodice with a rectangular ruffle sewn on top to give the illusion of a sleeve. I also tried shirring the gathered rows. Ultimately it wasn’t right. The rectangle created a stiff ruffle and the shirring was too unforgiving on top. But I was getting excited…

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook toile

    Second attempt I did things properly. I drafted a proper raglan sleeve for the bodice that would be sewn into the neckband, and then slashed and spread that piece to create excess for gathering. I pinned it into place again on top of my existing toile to save cutting it up / sewing a new one. It was much better but now not long enough for my liking. See below.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook toile

    Third time was the charm. I added length to my slashed and spread tissue piece then traced onto fresh paper. Then I decided I wanted more gathering so slashed and spread again. Here’s the sleeve before I finally cut it out sat alongside the version 2 tissue.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook toile

    Then I could commit to the new bodice armholes. You can see below how I marked the seamline and the cutting line on the bodice and then traced a fresh version. I’m also showing you the back for reference. Raglan sleeves are super fun to sew, if you’ve never made them before. FYI I also added notches for the raglan seam points on my neckband so I knew how much to gather the sleeve in to fit!

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    Construction went pretty fast once I’d assembled the band and collar. All the side seams were French seamed but the gathered skirt band seams were just overlocked to avoid bulk. I did a baby hem on my sleeve pieces before attaching them.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    I’m super pleased with the dress. The finished neckline is lovely and feels really polished. For that all important sleeve finish, I kept my gathering stitches in place and stitched on top of them for the appearance of thicker topstitching thread. And I love the varying directions of stripes at play!

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    Inside I used self fabric bias to finish the armholes, like a facing and a binding at the same time and topstitched it in place from the right side. I slipstitched the bands in place for a clean look. I do like the topstitched neckline of my toile version so might do that on a future version.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    The finished dress is breezy and stylish. I have to wear a slip underneath but I’m definitely pro-slips and already had the perfect white one. I love that you can’t tell the lower band is cut in three pieces. The seams are hidden in the stripes and this let’s you get a great gather with the extra width.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    Improvements for my next version will be curving the cropped waist seam up as it goes towards the hips as the straight line causes the seam to droop a touch at the sides. And to raise the underarm point as its a touch low, revealing my bra on occasion. But I already have fabric for a new version!! Thanks for reading this long if you stayed to the end.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

  • Loungewear

    Christmas pyjamas and Festive Wishes

    Hello all! Tonight I’m typing from bed. It’s been an exhausting few days. Today was supposed to be completion and moving day for our new home but on Friday afternoon the plug was pulled because our buyer was suspected of money laundering. You can’t make these things up. Fast forward to today when it turned out to be a big misunderstanding but all the cancelled plans couldn’t be reinstated.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    So instead I put on my new homemade Christmas pjs and jumped around on the bed! I usually wear a pair of Cath Kidston festive pyjamas this time of year but they’ve been worn to death. So let me introduce my “adventure Santa” set! (It looks like I’m about to hit the ceiling but I had good clearance haha.)

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Made up of my classic duo, the Closet Core Carolyn top pattern and McCall’s 6659 (now M8056) bottoms pattern which I’ve made multiple times. There’s not much I can say other than I SQUEEZED these out of 2m. My foolproof method when I need to do this is piece the front facings together. As long as any seams avoid buttonholes they are unnoticeable.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    My fabric is this charming vintage style Santa print from The Fabric Guys. It’s a brushed cotton that isn’t super soft but is well printed and warm to wear. Santa shows off how he skies, sledges, builds snowmen and let’s Rudolph in on the fun too. And as a reminder, I wear top size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Bottoms are size 14.

    Sometimes you achieve pattern matching perfection like the pair of flannel Hanukkah pjs I made for a friend using the exact same sewing patterns and other fabric from the same website. My friend has similar proportions to me but is taller with a smaller bottom so only minor adjustments were needed. And she LOVED the pyjamas hahah!!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in Hanukkah dogs brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    With only 2m of santa fabric I couldn’t achieve anything like this matching but I don’t mind as sometimes making the project you want it more important. The dog pjs took 4m of fabric in comparison, as you generally need 1.5m more for pattern matching and I couldn’t buy in half metres online. So I saved £13.98 on my Santa set by skipping this.

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

    Now I’m ready for Christmas and for a new moving date. I’m hoping we can at least exchange so everything is legally binding and give my family some peace of mind for the holidays. Things are already stressful enough here with changing covid rules, loved ones being furloughed and it seems the best present I can give is avoiding people. And let’s not mention Brexit! I hope you find a way to celebrate the festive season and recharge your batteries. That’s my plan. Time for more jumping on the bed!

    Almondrock dressmaking sewing m6659 McCall's 6659 and Closet Core Carolyn Pyjamas in santa sleigh brushed cotton from The Fabric Guys

  • Dresses

    Coral eyelet Anna dress

    When I visited New York a few years back I knew I wanted to go to the garment district and was lucky enough to go with some fantastic sewists. I met up with Karen, Sonja, Charlotte and Emma Jayne! Plus Peter joined us for a little bit too which was fantastic.

    Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching

    We headed to Mood Fabrics first. A project runway fave. It’s pretty overwhelming as there’s several floors and bolts are stacked so high you have to either know what you’re after or rummage. Swatch is uber adorable though! You can read more about my NY trip here.

    Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching

    In a bid to avoid panicking I decided to look for a pretty cotton eyelet as it’s so rare in the UK. The coral that I found was both gorgeous and reasonably priced so I got 2m. Now as is always the case… I should have got more for pattern matching but I made it work. It took 6 months to find the perfect lining then a full year where I painstakingly planned and cut out the dress. Then I put on too much weight to fit into the size I’d cut.

    Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching

    If I didn’t make enough of a song and dance about it at the time, 2019 was the year I finally visited Paris. And I wanted to finish this dress and take it with me. I had lost a little weight and I let out the seams and just got it to fit. We had quite a nightmare second day where after no sleep the night before we had to move out of our Airbnb so it was so fun wearing this dress to make me feel better on day 3. The weather was fantastic!!

    Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching

    I picked the By Hand London Anna dress because of the bust pleats that come up from the waist. This eyelet was too bulky for darts and the pleats don’t interrupt the pattern too much. I hand gathered the skirt as it was too bulky to baste stitch and I’m pretty pleased with the results. To do this you pin the seams and CF/CB points, then pin the halfway points between those pins and so on until you’re only hand gathering very small sections of around 2″ and you can keep things even.

     
     
     
     
     
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    A post shared by Amy almondrock (@almondrock_sews) on

    I’m VERY pleased with the pattern matching at the invisible zip. I love pattern matching and try to indulge every so often in a tricky match. Isn’t this video hypnotising!?

    Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching Here’s a brief guide for this symmetrical fabric which needs to match vertically and horizontally across an invisible zipper:First I pin the left hand side back bodice first with the CB seam allowance on the pattern piece folded under. The folded edge sits straight down the centre of the motifs.

    Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching

    Then I unfold the seam allowance and cut out the whole piece. See how the motif looks at the centre back below?Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching sewing

    I then repeat for the right by laying the left cut piece on top of my fabric to find an exact matching location then line up my right hand side back bodice and move the cut left bodice out of the way.Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching sewing

    I ensure that my folded pattern edge is again straight down the centre before unfolding the seam allowance and cutting out the right hand side bodice.Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching sewing

    When installing the invisible zip in the centre back it can help to mark the seam allowance in water soluble pencil and baste the zip in place to achieve the perfect match. This method works for centre sewn regular zippers but you need a different method for a lapped zipper. This approach also works for printed fabrics like florals or scene prints.Almond rock new York mood fabrics cotton eyelet by hand London Anna dress pattern matching sewing

    I hope you liked the dress and tutorial. I’m hoping to get some wear out of it this spring and summer somehow!