• Tops, blouses and shirts

    Simplicity 9462 blouse

    Hi Everyone. When the world is feeling scary I find comfort in using my hands and focusing on a sewing task. Watching the news this week has definitely been made easier by being able to head upstairs and create. I recently finished this blouse and wanted to share it.

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    I do enjoy a quick hack. So I took the new Simplicity 9462 floaty lounge dress and made a new hem cutting line. I made it about 37cm aka 15″ from the centre front large circle notch which marks the bottom of that centre front opening. I wasn’t sure I could pull off the dress length but I adore this blouse and think I’ll make another.

    It’s such a cool design. The ruffled neckline is elasticated by a channel where the ruffle joins the neckline. The front opening and facing might seem a little intimidating but when you sew it, the finish on the inside is so nice and clean. I made a video sewalong for the Simplicity McCalls UK YouTube channel to show how it comes together.

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    Yes I’m also sewing raglan sleeves again. Since I’ve rediscovered them, they seem to be on all my favourite patterns. As they continue into the neckline they are gathered at the head by the elastic and then gathered at the cuff by a tiny 6mm elastic hem channel. This creates a beautiful silhouette that is puffy or pouffy but still fit under a cardigan (essential in my life).

    I used a Liberty lookalike cotton lawn fabric from Aliexpress. It’s just as soft as Liberty tana lawn but the colours are slightly different. It’s perfect for this blouse as it’s stable enough to construct the various elastic channels and make button loops from. And the sleeves achieve the perfect full balloon effect thanks to that slight stiffness. But it’s floaty enough that it doesn’t stick out from my body when I wear it. Of course being cotton, it does crease a little but I think a busy print helps hide that!

    almond rock makes Simplicity 9462 sewing pattern - S9462 has raglan sleeves, elasticated neckline ruffle and bishop sleeves with elastic hems. There are button loops and buttons at the neckline opening.

    I’ve been wearing it with the top button undone, as I like to see my neck. That way I get the best of both with the ruffle still visible. The elasticated neckline and opening make it super easy to throw on. It’s great with jeans and red lipstick for a slightly dressier look. I might even wear it to a trade show I’m going to on Monday. Let me know if you’re inspired to make this one – as a dress or a top!

  • Dresses

    Starry night McCall’s 8090 hack

    Happy 2022 everyone! I’m kicking off the year by sharing a dress I actually finished last August. It’s a little ridiculous how long things wait before I photograph them properly. When I shared a sneak peek on Instagram it was very popular so hopefully you still like it now it’s finished. I’m pretty taken with it, except for one thing which I’ll cover in a moment.

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    I used the Marina Dress from McCall’s aka M8090 which is available in sizes 4-22 (46″ hip). This dress came with Love Sewing 95 where is how I recommend you buying it as it’s £9.99 for three sewing patterns. As per my previous version I adapted 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.

    Almond Rock shows a pattern hack to remove the yoke from McCall's M8090 sewing pattern

    On my previous version I also adapted the sleeve into a raglan but I decided to keep the standard rounded sleeve for this dress. As I made the dress in August, I went for a sleeveless finish but honestly regretted it. That’s the major thing I referred to at the start of this post. And there is a sleeveless view for the pattern but I think a smaller armhole would be more flattering on me if going sleeveless. I have enough fabric left over to cut some sleeves so will add a 3/4 sleeve with an elastic cuff. 

    Almond rock makes McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Another thing that didn’t go quite to plan is the neckline where I decided to omit the collar stand. I wanted a nice flat open neckline which I got by drafting a neckline facing on the inside, instead. It’s not enough to support the placket opening even with an interfaced placket, so the fabric sags. Not unwearable but not as smart and neat as the original pattern. While I’m going to add sleeves, I’m not going to add a collar retrospectively. 

    Almond rock shows the back of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepe

    Fit wise I didn’t change anything from my first version which was size S (8-10). The waistline droop I mentioned in my previous post turned out to be caused by my raglan sleeve alterations so I still need to curve the waist cutting line on those pattern pieces but not the regular sleeve version.

    Almond rock shows the skirt of her McCall's 8090 black star print tiered dress in Rainbow Fabrics ecovera viscose crepeLet’s talk about this stunning fabric! It’s an ecovera viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics. It’s definitely a bubbly crepe weave but has the shine of a crepe de chine. It’s gorgeous with the perfect drape and opacity! It’s a deadstock fabric from the brand Nobody’s Child and they seem to get fabric from them quite regularly so I always keep my eyes peeled for more of this type. 

    Almond Rock wants to make the Nobody's child lemon print dress using McCall's 7974

    For instance McCall’s 7974 would be perfect for this dress if I can get the Nobody’s Child lemon fabric!

     

  • Dresses

    Seersucker hack dress

    I know it’s very very rainy in England right now but cast your mind back… This dress, Simplicity 9327 caught my eye from the new collection on a very hot day. And it instantly made me think of cool breezy nights on a Mediterranean holiday break. Small problem for me, the UK release was slightly delayed by Covid… Good news for you it’s available to buy now!

    S9327 simplicity dress pattern

    So I set about making my own interpretation. I chose a beautiful coral and white striped seersucker from SewSewSew. One of my favourite dresses came from their fabric and Katie gets unique beautiful fabrics that you don’t see elsewhere.

    Sewsewsew UK coral stripe seersucker

    I started with New Look 6587, one of my all time favourites that is now out of print. BUT the near identical Butterick 6674 dress has been released!!

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    I cut rectangles for the skirt front and back on the fold and gathered them up. But I kept the button placket on the bodice. It’s a loose fit design already but I let out the seams a little so the dress would definitely fit over my head unbuttoned.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    Then I cut out my frills and managed to snip into one. That would have been fine if I had more fabric to play with but I ended up having to use the fabric saved for my skirt hem ruffle to cut 2 new frills on the crossgrain. The frill was taken from the Cocowawa Raspberry jumpsuit. It’s gathered to match the armhole and secured with a bias binding tape facing.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    I normally avoid tiny stripes as they cause moiré when photographed at a distance. This is a visual effect where the pattern is so fine it becomes distorted to the eye in the final image, almost like its hazy or swirling. I managed to get some shots that weren’t too bad thank goodness.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

    The dress is unlined and overlocked at the seams. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding and the sweet pearlised buttons are from my stash.

    Almond rock S9327 NL6587 dress sewing pattern coral seersucker

     

    Seersucker is great for summer. I think of it as linens superior sister because it’s just as cool in hot weather, it also has an interesting texture AND better than linen you don’t look like a wrinkled mess after wearing it all day.

    I took these photos up near Cow and Calf in Ilkley, famous for a rock formation of a big rock (the cow) with a smaller rock nearby (her calf) but also famous for the Tour de Yorkshire race that tackled this steep and winding road. FYI this is a trip advisor photo. My photography skills aren’t this good.

     

  • 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!!

    Almondrock Jade crepe Simplicity 8929 hackalong skirt, charity blog for eve appeal

    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:

    DAYWEAR: #HACKALONGDAY

    PARTY: #HACKALONGPARTY

    UNIQUE VINTAGE: #HACKALONGVINTAGE

    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