• Trousers and skirts

    Simplicity hack-along 8929

    Have you joined the Simplicity Hack-along? This great initiative raises money for charity while letting your creativity shine! With every pattern bought in the UK you’ll be helping support a wonderful cause as Simplicity will be donating a portion of the sales to their chosen charity. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity funding research and raising awareness into the five gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.

    To inspire you to take part in the challenge I’m joining lots of other bloggers to show you how you can hack a pattern with amazing results. Read on to see my make and learn more about how you can win great prizes by entering the competition!!

    I love vintage styles and as you know I mostly stick to 50s and 60s designs. BUT something about the 70s tiered skirt trend has been calling out to me!! I decided to turn Simplicity 8929 into a flowy gathered skirt in a bold colour.

    I’m not the greatest at maths but I worked out if I raised the frill to hip height and then added an even larger rectangle for the final tier I’d get a pretty good amount of swish. The basic pattern is pretty rectangular so I cut the size extra large but graded to the medium at the waist to accommodate my pear shaped figure.

    I used the extra tissue that you get inside every hacking pattern to sketch out the extra piece as it’s printed with helpful guidelines! The second tier ended up measuring 120 x 39cm (one piece per front and back, seamed at the side) and the lower tier was 152 x 35cm (again one per front and back, seamed at the side). The bottom layer is the full width of my fabric.

    The fabric really helps create a dramatic effect and although I had to use 3m to make this skirt, the price could not be beaten. It’s a bold polyester in the colour Jade from Minerva Crafts which you can get here. The rich colour is even lovelier in person!! The drape and weight is perfect for gathering and swishing. Plus its totally opaque so I didn’t need a lining.

    Want to join the fun?? Use any of the nine patterns in the curated list from the Simplicity Pattern Hacking range and join the WORLD-WIDE SIMPLICITY PATTERN HACK-ALONG!

    Choose your pattern(s), decide which category is right for your finished garment and then share your hack on social media using the category hashtag:




    You can email your entries (don’t forget to include pattern number and category) to simplicityhackalong@icloud.com There’s the chance to WIN Sewing or Coverstitch Machines from Janome and Goody Bags from Simplicity and their sister brands. Find more info on the rules and the pattern list on the SewDirect website.

  • Dresses,  Wedding

    Honeymoon Simplicity 1606

    WARNING: This post contains a lot of pointed elbows hahah.

    What do you do when you need to make your fifth toile for your wedding dress toile but are sick of wasting muslin? Make an actual dress!

    Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

    I had a precious 1.5m of this Rifle Paper Co for Cotton + Steel cotton fabric. The print is Bon Voyage from the Les Fleurs collection and has adorable holiday themed items all over with metallic details! I got mine from Miss Matatabi when it was first released along with a the rayon I used for my Anna dress.

    Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

    Though I bought it before I was even proposed to I never got round to using it. It seemed perfect for my honeymoon to the Seychelles when I looked through my stash later! Tropical flowers, palm trees and cute accessories? Yes please.

    Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

    I added a gathered Emery skirt (by Christine Haynes) and spaghetti straps. Plus I had enough to self line the bodice and sneak some pockets in there! Theres one of my best ever lapped zippers on the back bodice but turns out even new husbands don’t have the patience to take back shots on honeymoon. These pics were taken on the deck of our hotel in Mahé. After dinner were only 15 steps from the beach.

    Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

    It turned out awesomely cute and the fit was near perfect so it really did help with my wedding dress progress!I love the sweetheart of this pattern and as long as you clip and notch precisely the curves turn out like a dream. When you have a multi-directional print that is scattered like this, you can really get a great layout for a princess seam dress.

    Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

    Final thoughts are… If you can get hold of this fabric still I’d totally recommend it, especially the black version as the metallic shows up better. The print saturation and metallic have held up very well to repeated washing and it’s a good quality cotton. To see my other versions of this dress check out the blog tag Simplicity 1606.

    Almond rock simplicity 1606 s1606 Rifle paper co les fleurs cotton + steel

  • Events and day trips

    Thoughts on neglected clothes

    Hello June! And hello everyone else. We’re well into a new month and well past the end of Me Made May. If you participated I hope you enjoyed the challenge. Maybe you’re keeping the fun going with #memadeveryday a great way of documenting your outfits more regularly.

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    If you weren’t aware, I started my blog with Me Made May way back when. I had only a handful of handmade garments but I wanted the kick to wear them out in public and share my thoughts online. This was several years ago so it’s always like a kind of anniversary for me when I take part now. I wear my handmade wardrobe everyday now so I have to get a bit more creative with the challenge aspect of the month.

    This year I pledged to wear unloved or neglected makes to see whether they could be resurrected. You can see the highlights of this experiments at the top of my Instagram wall.

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    The main reasons for neglect were:

    • I hate ironing
    • Too short/too big/too tight
    • Needs nude lingerie
    • Inexperience on early makes
    • Style mistakes

    This list contains both easily avoidable issues and things that you need to accept as part of life!

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    I really don’t need to pick fabrics that rely on ironing. That’s my own stupid mistake. I know my lifestyle and patience levels aren’t compatible with ironing. I’ve got better things to do and I don’t get any enjoyment out of it! And nude lingerie is easily available so that has been pure laziness on my part. It’s been brilliant to rediscover some of those light-coloured garments.

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    Working out your style is a lifelong exploit. Anyone who doesn’t experiment can’t be having much fun with their wardrobe. You’ll create a few mistakes but you’ll get a clearer idea of what you like!

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    While it was fun to try on some of those experimental garments again, I’m still not convinced they have a place in my wardrobe. Other than the maxi skirt… I really need to try that out a bit more!

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    Chasing a great fit can be an endless obsession with fluctuating success. Our bodies are constantly changing with age, activity and diet.

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    And interpreting wrinkles and drag lines on garments can be a black hole of fit iterations that you have to start again when you revisit the pattern after your body has changed or even just if you’re changing fabric!

    Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

    Lastly, I’m both fiercely proud and terribly embarrassed by my early makes. So I don’t think I’ll be ever able to get rid of them but they can stay out of heavy rotation.

    I know I’m a little late with this round up but I hope you enjoyed stepping into the world of my neglected clothes. Sometimes I worry that it looks like everything goes dreamily for me but that’s not real life! Failure and mistakes are part of learning and succeeding.

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Stripey Simplicity 8342

    Trying to write a post before the lovely weather goes away has proven a little tricky so I’m currently typing in my car before work starts! Every day I have to leave 2 hours to get to Stockport and find a parking spot but when I catch some good luck it takes an exceptional 1.5hrs and I get the sweet delight of bonus podcast listening, a breakfast snack window or typing time.

    almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

    Today I’m sharing my version of Simplicity 8342. You’ve probably seen this top crop up on my social media a few times. I made it for my birthday last year and it’s a great summer item. It’s sold out on the Simplicity site but I bet you’ll find it elsewhere online. I’m wearing it here with my turquoise denim A-line skirt, made from a pattern we gave away on issue 44 of Love Sewing (also sold out, sorry!).

    almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

    Simplicity kindly sent me a copy of this pattern for free when I made major googly eyes at it. It was part of the Summer Sewing Challenge where everyone could claim a free copy but as I couldn’t enter (work conflict) I was super pleased to still be allowed a copy. The top features an empire line bodice with keyhole and front ties, elastic back channel and different sleeve options. There’s a great pair of high waisted capris included for stretch fabrics and a wiggle skirt with sewn on buttons and frill hem details.

    The top is super quick to put together and is a major stash buster! I used some breton striped jersey from Empress Mills that was left over from a t-shirt I made for work. It’s a rather thin viscose jersey that isn’t very stable but the stripes are great for a fun vintage pinup nautical feel.

    almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

    The bow is constructed by self lining the upper bodice and then the wrong side can show as you tie the bow. The bow isn’t so narrow that it creates any bother turning things out, you just need to trim your seam allowance nicely. Don’t expect a super crisp point on your ties.

    The fit for a small bust like mine is a touch roomy. Everything is secure but there’s probably more space than you actually need for an A cup. Empire lines where the seam line ends in a point can be a little tricky for some sewists I know, but this project is super simple as the keyhole means you don’t have to pivot around a point!

    almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

    I’m pleased I matched the stripes down the side seams but the area I fell down on is the centre back seam… though I should have gotten rid of it really if I’d had my wits about me. My elastic channel in the upper back edge could be tighter too. Oh the failure! Don’t look at that white zipper head either please (lazy seamstresses don’t always wait for the right colour zipper to arrive).

    almond rock s8342 simplicitybyme simplicity8342 diypinup retrosewing rockabilly

    Next time I’ll make the classic straps rather than the halter. And I’ve got a lot of jersey scraps that should be large enough! I also made a toile of the trousers but never stitched them up so need to rectify that right??

    For some more swoony versions see Abi in floral fabulousness and stripes, plus OMG LEMONS and here’s a dress hack to wolf whistle at!

  • Other stuff

    What could make this Sunday better? I know, a Giveaway!

    Hello Everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend. Mine has been full of good food and drink, library books and some sewing.


    A Raspberry beret for the lady, two red stripe for the gent.101d5588e1b611e2ad6922000a1fa410_7

    New Look 6886 bodice awaiting skirt attachment.fae64852dd1c11e2a73b22000aa80571_71

    The velvet photograph cover of Daniel Vosovic’s lovely book8b66ef2ce0c311e28e2c22000a1fb747_7

    Final touches to my Sassy Librarian Blouse.

    There is also some good news to share. Last week the lovely people at Simplicity got in touch.

    They actually offered to send me a couple of their patterns which I was over the moon at.

    I generally find that New Look patterns fit me straight out of the envelope and Simplicity patterns only ever require a few tweaks.
    … Vogue, McCalls and Butterick are *ahem* another story.

    I picked two favourites out of a short list of many and I literally ripped open my parcel in glee when the patterns arrived!

    I’ve mentioned to a few people lately that I’m interested in making a shirtdress. This seems like the natural progression of my desire to conquer blouses. I chose the very popular Project Runway 1880. Ami’s version really made me believe this was the pattern for me so I requested this as my first choice.

    For my second choice I went with the Leanne Marshall 1755 party dress. Oh yes I’m making the lace version.

    I want this to be my Birthday party dress. I have a lovely maroon lace with maple leaf pattern and I’m eager to try a pattern where the instructions actually help you create a lace overlay, rather than trying to wing it alone.

    But wait! The good news doesn’t stop here.


    Simplicity also gave me two of their amazing fit patterns to give away — 1800 (sizes 10-18) and 1652 (sizes 6 – 14).

    Two dresses with princess seamed bodices and a variety of skirts, sleeves and special features to bring together and create your perfect garment.

    I’m actually kind of jealous one of you will get to try the cool cut out back of 1652.

    And hang on, there’s a little bit more!


    I’m also throwing in a lovely Sylko bobbin head button badge!

    When I saw these lovely badges I just had to get one and I picked out a second just for you my lovely readers.

    One reader will win both amazing fit patterns and the badge.

    All you have to do to win this lot is to leave a comment saying what your favourite Simplicity or New Look pattern is.

    I also think it’d be worth your while following Simplicity on twitter – @SewSimplicity – to gather inspiration, hear about other giveaways to enter, and laugh with them about some of the crazy pattern envelope imagery the company cooks up.

    The competition is open for a week, until Sunday July 7th at Midnight BST.

    Good luck!