• Dresses

    Queen of Hearts Vogue 9000

    Hello all! As I write it’s a cold but bright Friday here in Yorkshire. I have plans to celebrate my anniversary this weekend (delayed since the summer, thanks Covid) and hosting a live stream sewalong on Instagram this Sunday for Simplicity. I’m making a S9240 sweatshirt live!! I need to ease myself back into live videos again! They were always so fun but moderately stressful. So let’s hope this one goes off without issues. 

    almond rock makes Vogue 9000 in heart print ecovera viscose from Rainbow Fabrics with a few pattern hacks

    Now onto today’s make. Returning to a pattern sewn years ago can inspire you to do things differently the next time around. I have made Vogue 9000 before but always knew I would revisit it, as I love the grown-on sleeves and full panelled skirt. This design also features a flat collar and buttoned bodice that is finished with a front facing and a strip of bias binding at the back neckline. The dress also fastens with an underarm side seam zipper for a neat fit.

    When I first made the dress in 2016 I sewed it in a luscious red John Kaldor microfibre. It was medium weight, glossy and a little stretchy (like cotton sateen) with the drape of polyester. I rounded off the corners of the contrast black collar and used black self-covered buttons on the front fastenings. It was a beautiful formal dress I wore to several events including a Christmas dinner dance.

    almond rock makes Vogue 9000 in hJohn Kaldor crepe from Sew Essentials with a few pattern hacks

    For my latest version I wanted to use an Ecovera viscose – a sustainable method of producing viscose that follows stringent guidelines to ensure eco-responsibility. The viscose was from Rainbow Fabrics in London who specialise in deadstock and overstock fabric from fashion houses which is a nice way to avoid waste and make your sewing more sustainable. In this pretty, confetti-heart print, the dress is lighter weight and easier to wear than the John Kaldor version which is just what I hoped. I can wear it in Summer with sandals, and Winter with brogues and tights.

    almond rock makes Vogue 9000 in heart print ecovera viscose from Rainbow Fabrics with a few pattern hacks
    Once again, I decided to round off the collar points but this time also extend the collar so it finished right at the front edges. This was due to the fact I would very rarely wear the neckline fully buttoned. Also the notch where the collar meets the facing isn’t very pronounced if worn open. A seamless transition into the collar seemed to be worth pursuing. It reminds me of a sporty polo collar now. I’m pretty pleased with the finished look. 

    Choosing viscose for this pattern does introduce a few more considerations. I didn’t line the dress so I’ll wear a slip underneath when wearing tights. A sharp fine needle and pins are vital to avoid snagging the fabric, and a dab of fray check on the button holes provides extra security. The most important thing to remember is to allow your skirt hem to drop for at least 24hours after attaching to the bodice. As it is a full skirt, there are areas on the bias that will naturally stretch out. Once the fabric has dropped you can then recut the hem so that it is level before finishing. I use a vintage Newey chalk hem marker that allows you to puff a line of chalk at a set height as you rotate in your garment.

    almond rock makes Vogue 9000 in heart print ecovera viscose from Rainbow Fabrics with a few pattern hacks

    I wholeheartedly recommend Vogue 9000. The panelled skirt is great for narrow fabrics while still achieving a flowing full skirt. I love the double darts in the back for even shaping, and like how the front bodice darts extend into the skirt panel seams. It’s a beautiful vintage pattern where you can create a dress that is a true reproduction of the era, or add a modern spin on the silhouette with an updated fabric choice.

    almond rock makes Vogue 9000 in heart print ecovera viscose from Rainbow Fabrics with a few pattern hacks

  • Loungewear

    The Cat’s Pyjamas – Carolyn McCall’s hybrid lounge set

    So before I get started with my blog post, I have an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! On April 25th 7:30pm (BST) I’ll be co-hosting the Pyjama Pictionary Party with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. This is a YouTube live stream on my channel where we’ll chat handmade pyjamas, you can ask us anything you’ve always wanted to know and then we’ll quiz your sewing knowledge with a themed game of Pictionary! PLUS we’ve gathered 9 amazing raffle prizes which we’ll draw at the end of the night.

    CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE RAFFLE!

    I love a classic pyjama. They make me think if Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Claudette Colbert… I could go on. They’re best slightly oversized with contrast piping, and occasionally a monogrammed pocket. Now despite loving pyjamas, I’ve blogged only a couple of the pairs I’ve made! You can see my McCall’s 6659 (aka M8056) here and why not check out my YouTube video on adding piping to the Closet Case Carolyn top here.

    This set was dreamed up while I was sick last Easter. I mean, really really unwell. Like crying in pain unwell. So… I’m lying on the sofa and Jimi brings me a present from my dearest Sewing Wife Marie. 3m of crazy cat fabric to make me feel better and some sweets! She’s the cutest right?? As Marie had bought herself some of the fabric too we both agreed to make PJs for some #sewtwinning fun. I chose to make the Closet Case Carolyn top and the McCall’s 6659 (M8056) trousers but turn them into shorts. I used sparkly silver piping to pick out the silver in the print. And found the cutest metallic painted shell buttons on eBay to coordinate!

    This might seem crazy but for the Carolyn top I started with a size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Remember I have a surprising waist to hip ratio and I don’t believe in feeling snug while in loungewear! I’m currently 36:33:45. My McCall’s shorts are size 14. I made my own cuffs for the sleeves and short hems to maximise piping and tried my best with pattern placement… This pattern is hungry on a 45″ wide fabric. Marie nailed the pockets on her pyjamas of course. I’m jealous obviously. Everything is finished inside with zesty overlocked seams for a secret dash of sunshine.

    Now I’m rather shy about my thighs but this next cropped shot is acceptable as you’ll want to see the bottoms on.

    Now comes the dreaded back shot! The things I do for you guys eh?

    It’s a funny fabric weight; somewhere between a loose cotton weave and a single gauze so it has a pretty crinkled texture and lovely soft hand. Marie thinks it might be seersucker. It’s totally opaque either way. Perfect for pyjamas! Marie got it from Leicester Market so I imagine it was fair price as well. It’s important with textured fabric like this that you embrace the wrinkles. Press the entire thing super flat when it’s not going to last is a waste of your time and will likely throw off your fit and finish.

    I’ll leave you with a few more pictures, and don’t forget to join the Pictionary Pyjama Party on Saturday 25th!


  • Dresses

    Scuba dooba doo Lena M6886 hack

    Hi Everyone!
    Hope you’re having a great week. Lots of happy vibes over in my sewing room at the moment as I’m making progress with my bridesmaid dresses, I finished my bicycle embroidery and also a lovely reader of the blog sent me some beautiful vintage sewing patterns.

    Turns out she wasn’t going to use them so I’m happy to give them a loving home. I’m not sure when I’ll ever make the slippers but I honestly love all the instructions and illustrations in each pattern. It’s so irresistible to see how things were done in the past

    Almond rock vintage sewing patterns

    As you might know I’m woefully behind on photographing makes and have around 35 to share on the blog that haven’t been shot yet. I’m happy to report that I snuck into the studio last week and managed to take some pictures.

    Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

    When I saw THIS SCUBA on the Minerva Crafts website I audibly gasped. I am of course addicted to florals but the colours in this print had been smitten. Although I don’t currently participate in the Minerva Blogger Network, Vicki was kind enough to still send me some of the fabric to make a skater dress.

    Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

    I used my new favourite tshirt pattern M6886 which I stole from issue 44 of Love Sewing and added a waist seam. The neckline is the perfect amount of scoop without being too revealing I then added the skirt from the Simple Sew Lena Wrap dress. I love the flare on the skirt and decided to keep the hem band even though it’s not as obvious in this fabric. But as you can see I left off the waistband.

    I actually constructed this entirely on my overlocker (the old one not the new one) which meant it was finished in around an hour. The only machine work was the hems which I overlocked, turned under and topstitched, including the neckline.

    Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

    With the base fabric being white and the print being a little sparse it is a little see through in places if you’re wearing white lingerie, so I either wear nude or a slip to add opacity.

    I’m so excited to pull this dress out of my wardrobe to wear with my chartreuse cardigan and red shoes. And you can’t beat the effect you can achieve when you make a full skirt out of scuba, it has a lovely sway when you walk. I end up swishing up and down the street

    Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

    If you’re scared of trying scuba here are some tips. It cuts easily but if you don’t fancy the hand workout with your scissors, try a smaller rotary cutter for any intricate cutting sections.

    Remember to prewash scuba as you should with any other fabric and wash it like normal but avoid hot heats and overwashing as you’ll get a bobbly garment and damage the stretch content.

    With that in mind be sure to iron scuba on a low setting, this fabric will mark or even melt if iron too hot.

    Last but not least use a stretch or ballpoint needle to prevent snagging and slipping.

    Almond rock mccalls 6886 lena simple sew scuba

    It’s painfully obvious that my blog productivity and especially my time to read blogs has taken a nose dive but I’m pleased I’m clinging on and still posting. I imagine you’re all struggling too and I’m really grateful if you’ve clicked through and kept reading this long! So high fives all round?