Hello, is anybody still over here?

22 Aug

Come join the party at almondrock.co.uk!

almondrock

So far you’ve missed out on TWO THINGS.

First is seeing my red lace party dress.

20130818_181232_LLS

And now you’re missing out on an awesome giveaway for the Ladybird Likes brooch of your choice!

pin-up-brooch

Shortly I’ll be setting up an autodirect for the site to reroute to the new domain but for any of you who haven’t updated your readers to the new address, you may never hear from me again (sob sob).

So come on over. The grass is definitely greener!

Advertisements

Moving Day! Are you coming with me?!

11 Aug

My blog is moving to a new domain!

Want to keep reading? It couldn’t be simpler. Pick the option that works best for you from the below list:

screenshot

1. Press this button immediately to follow the new blog on Bloglovin!

button blogloving

You don’t even have to go look at my new style blog first (though you really should).

2. Search for almondrock.co.uk in your reader: Feedly, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc and update to follow the blog at its new address.

3. Click through to almondrock.co.uk and subscribe by email using the form in the right hand pane.

4. Add the url almondrock.co.uk into your WordPress reader so it updates to follow the blog at its new address.

5. If you follow via the twitter or facebook links I post, then you’re off the hook! You won’t have to do anything but keep clicking on the links I tweet or post to my wall to keep reading.

I really want you to move over with me to my new blog. My readers mean a lot to me and this would be a terrible way to lose you all!

I’ll even try and make it worth your while….

I’ll be back in a few days with a potential reward for all those of you who have moved with me, as well as helping to lure all those slow pokes who haven’t switched over yet.

Please please update your settings, I beg you. I’ll be devastated if my readership dwindles because of my passion for teaching myself a new skill.

I’m looking forward to taking you all with me!

She Sells Seashells by the Shepherd’s Bush Market

8 Aug

What a wonderful week! Did you have a good one too?

image

I went to London on Friday in preparation for the blogger meet up. And managed to cram in plenty for a two-day trip.

Friday I popped into the Village Haberdashery and cooed over the coloured chambray, the independent sewing patterns on the colourful racks and also the cutie little baby bouncing away in the corner. I may have left with two little treats… the Belladone pattern by Deer and Doe and the Darling Ranges pattern by Megan Nielsen.

IMG_20130805_223251

Then I popped over to Berwick St. The shops there are a little more expensive but is chock full with beautiful high end fabrics. I couldn’t let myself buy any yardage when the fabric I was most attracted to was £55 a metre. So instead I bought two little lace letter As to appliqué onto my sewing.

IMG_20130805_223211

Finally, I popped into the wonderfully stocked Shaukat with floor to ceiling Liberty fabrics. Even though the prices are a little more friendly I didn’t want to use up all my spending money for the weekend in one go. I treated myself to a metre of the Kussman fabric from the newest collection. It has tiny shetland ponies in fun pop colours!

kussman

I had a really fantastic catch up with my friends that night, with dinner at Gastronomica in Plimico and a few drinks afterwards. Perhaps I stayed out a little later than planned but it was definitely worth it.

Saturday morning, the meetup at Goldhawk Road kicked off with a group of early birds having a coffee together before meeting the full group. There were 39 of us and Claire was doing a great job of getting everyone organised. Kat helped with name badges and there was a great mix of familiar and new faces to be seen!

I did better than last time than and made it into every single shop down Goldhawk Road, but I still didn’t make it into Shepherd’s Bush Market! I let myself buy a 3m bundle of Liberty lawn and some high quality striped bias-binding.

IMG_20130806_145519

We had a wonderful lunch and swap during the afternoon where I walked away with 2m of deliciously soft moss crepe that says Valentino on the selvedge (gasp could it be?) and this kick ass sewing pattern. Hello Georgeous!

IMG_20130805_223419

And for the meet up I wore a new dress! It’s another Simplicity 2444 in navy with white scallop shells and polka dots. It’s so fun and walks that perfect line of cute but not too cutsie!

Goldhawk Road

I added a collar in the hopes of being a Jessica Day lookalike but ahem, no it did not suit me in the slightest (and so despite being some of the neatest bias binding sewing I’ve ever done, I unpicked the collar).

2013-07-31 21.32.59-1

I did a full lining again and lowered the neckline a smidge. And I used an invisible zipper this time, making the effort to enclose it within my lining too so it looks almost as good inside out.

image

I know I’ve been so late posting this that it’s almost the weekend again!!
To everyone who was at the meet up. Thanks for being lovely. I had a great time catching up with sewists I already knew and I got to meet lots of awesome new folk too!

Sewing with Minerva Fabrics – New Look 6069

22 Jul

almondrock

Recently Minerva Fabrics asked if I’d like to review some items from their site and I figured why the heck not.

I have used the site before with good results but bad experiences elsewhere put me off Internet fabric shopping for a while.

Minerva sent me a pattern (New Look 6069), the required fabric of my choice (a lovely multi coloured spot viscose) and a 22 inch black JTL invisible zipper.

First let’s take a look at the pattern.

I kind of love New Look patterns because I very rarely have to make adjustments.

6069

This dress really spoke to me as view C looks like one of my favourite dresses. Please look past the horrible sample fabrics in use here and see the lovely dresses underneath.

Let me just say for the record, those longer length puff sleeves look horrific on the model and line drawings. I cannot imagine anyone suiting those. If you’ve made this dress and LOVE those sleeves, please get in touch to see if you can prove me wrong or if you need medical attention because the heat has clearly gotten to you.

I found this on the Minerva site after a bit of trial and error. There’s no way to filter for different pattern companies. You can only jump straight to the sale (hey that’s not that much of a problem, am I right?). As they stock loads of patterns I just did a search across the whole site for new look dress patterns and combed through the results.

Onto the Viscose!

viscose

I chose this print from the clearance section. It is so cute with all those different coloured oddly shaped spots. There are plenty of other lovely viscose prints I could have chosen, like 1, 2, or 3.

I wanted to use viscose so the dress could transition from day to night. I’ll probably make it up in an evening fabric at some point too.

The viscose I chose is lovely and cool to the touch. It’s a medium weight and very drapey. It washed very well with no colour fading and minimal wrinkling!

almondrock

20130722_201329_LLS

I decided to line the skirt to avoid any sticking to tights so I supplied some black peachskin to this make. I also wanted to get hold of the fabric before picking my interfacing. I had some Vilene “softline” black lightweight interfacing that turns out to be the bees knees. Oh and that invisible zipper? Went in like a flipping charm.

Right let’s get down to a wrap up of my thoughts!

almondrock

Pattern Adjustments? I cut a 12 but then shortened the bodice by 2cm. I also cut the bodice on the fold as I don’t like needless centre front seams. I also added a skirt lining. That’s it!

Things I’d change in the future? Use a lighter coloured fabric to show off the lovely details a bit better. The yoke gathers and waist band are much clearer in person, but not very photographic. I would also add the sleeves; I have cut and prepped the sleeves for this dress and may add them now the weather is taking a turn for the worse.

Thoughts about Minerva Crafts? Love em! Why did I stop shopping online?! I do wish there was some filtering of the patterns available but the the fabric is well photographed and the colours were spot on when I received it. Plus after a horrible incident with some viscose from the market that ended up full of holes after its pre-wash, I was very pleased to be working with a reliable company stocking good quality fabric.

Daniel Vosovic’s Fashion Inside Out

18 Jul

Here is my review of a seriously cool book.

Daniel Vosovic’s Fashion Inside Out. Subtitled Daniel V’s Guide to How Style Happens from Inspiration to Runway and Beyond.

daniel_vosovic1

Daniel Vosovic is best known as the runner up from Project Runway season 2. He won the most challenges that season and presented a beautiful fashion week collection but missed out on the win to fellow contestant Chloe Dao.

This book isn’t a reflection on that time in his life but a thought-provoking investigation into fashion and style,  from concept to reality. There are no real chapters but instead the book is divided into sections tracing this arc, and each division contains multiple passages, photo stories and interviews.

I won’t take you through each division or section one by one; I think it’s best if I cover the content in a slightly different way.

There are two main ways to be drawn into this book. If you’re interested in both, all the better!

If you are a sewist you’re most likely going to be drawn to the sewing and design topics covered in the books.

20130718_200546_HDR

Daniel has written passages on:

  • Sketching and using a croquis to convey your design and say something about the woman wearing it.
  • Swatching for maximum benefit.
  • A simple introduction to the mechanics of draping straight onto a dressmaking form.
  • Rubbing off existing garments to make template patterns for adapting

There is also a handy list of sewing tips from the chief patternmaker of DvF, which aren’t all obvious things you’ve heard a thousand times over.

20130718_201727_HDR

For those of you who have an interest more specifically in the fashion industry there are excellent  sections focused on the associated businesses of fashion such as buying and production processes, but also on modelling, model management and stylists.

The discussion touches on the methods used to promote a brand and designs; the influence of fashion week and other runway shows, and the benefit of portfolios and look books.

Interspersed are interviews with designers, pattern makers, stylists, models, photographers, magazine editors and fashion journalists.

There are some big names in here; Diane von Furstenberg, Todd Oldham, plus the Project Runway team Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia (plus a foreword by the delightful Tim Gunn). And although the other interviewees may not be instantly known by their names, they are well established in their careers and offer excellent comment under Daniel’s questioning.

20130718_193415_HDR

The only thing that disappointed slightly was that the photo stories felt a bit too wishy-washy for my liking.

They’re not compelling photographs and don’t reveal anything to the reader. They seem to merely fill space between the words and many are just glorified stock photographs, which have been “artistically” blurred (see below).

Many of the portraits capture Daniel’s (and his interviewees) love for the craft, which is lovely to see, but the images don’t say anything about the fashion industry or design process itself.

20130718_202418_HDR

Finally I want to say that the design of the book was fantastic, and by this I’m referring to all the things that fascinate me in my day job in publishing: it’s wonderful to see the care taken in selecting the typography, layout, use of colour and graphic design for this book. They combine to make the text look visually arresting on the page and draw you in.

I’m a big Daniel fan. I liked his work on Project Runway and I think he’s definitely gotten better over the years. His fall/winter 13 collection is all kinds of gorgeous!

Check out the subtle print on this dress. It looks like an xray of a spine to me! I think it works wonderfully with the contrast and draping.

look_06

I’d recommend you get hold of this book and paw through yourself. Even just to rub your hands over the velvet photographic cover. That’s right, I said VELVET!

I mean if it’s going for £3 on Amazon.co.uk what’s the harm!?

P.S. Don’t forget the new season of Project Runway aired on Thursday July 18th!

I nearly made two of this blouse, just in case I got a hole in one!

10 Jul

Waheeeyyyy I finally can share my Sassy Librarian Blouse with you!

(Plus I’ll be announcing my Giveaway winner!)

sassy

I was lucky enough to sign up for the course that accompanies this blouse when Craftsy had a free class day.

I’d seen so many great variations of this blouse that it really intrigued me if the style would suit me.

wpid-IMG_20130616_222838.jpg

At the blogger meet up I chose a Liberty cotton tana lawn print that had tiny golfers and greens in a purple, lialc and apple green colour way.

Erica also bought this groovy fabric in a red and blue colourway, great minds think alike.

I went for view 2 – with pleats, the bow and the tab. As soon as Christine mentioned Mary Tyler Moore I was like hells yes, that’s what I’m after.

20130708_185147_HDR

20130708_184944_HDR

20130708_184937_HDR

What do you normally do on a sunny evening? Of course you go up to the roof terrace and do a golf themed photo shoot!

20130708_190614_HDR

20130708_190802_HDR

I’m really pleased I made this blouse as it’s a pretty different and unique design.

Perhaps I’d make a couple of changes next time though:

  • I’d definitely lower the back neckline as it’s a bit too high which makes it gape.
  • I’d also lower the front a touch as the tab and bow hit a little too high for comfort when I look down.
  • I might also swap out the release pleats for darts as I feel they aren’t as flattering on me as I’m used to.
  • I’d also experiment with using more overlocked edges and see if they add any bulk to the insides.

The class was pretty well run and perfectly tailored for beginners.

As I had a little more experience I was chomping at the bit to fast forward a little and see the next step but it probably did me some good to stop and watch all the parts.

I do wish details were added in to explain how to use french seams on this blouse. I figured it out myself but bet loads of people had the same head scratching moments that I did. I much prefer the insides with french seams when using a delicate cotton lawn like this.

I also sneakily sewed down my facings, behind one of the pleat flaps. This way my seams (trapped between my facings and outer fabric) definitely won’t fray which is something I was worried about.

Christine is such a sweetheart, explaining everything carefully and clearly, and I really liked that she always looked well put together and was so softly spoken.

The paper pattern wasn’t too fiddly to print and stick, though I did still end up tracing it out afterwards as I had so many amendments to make after my muslin.

I’d definitely recommend the class and it’s inspired me to see what other classes Craftsy has that I could take.

Giveaway winner announcement!

Now what you’re probably all waiting for.

Congratulations Darlene!

winner winner chicken dinner

Spy my sewing space

7 Jul

Today I wanted to share my sewing space with everyone.

see through sewing space

I wish I was posting my Sassy Librarian Blouse but fate has conspired against a photo shoot. It shouldn’t be much longer.

It can be a little addictive to look at people’s sewing rooms online. An entire room to put their hobby in!

It’s something I dream of having when we move and is a big factor for me in selecting a new house.

When I start drooling I try to stop and think:

“Is something frustrating me about my sewing space which I could easily fix?”

This weekend was a day to get things in order.

A quick ikea trip and some ruthless stash sorting has made a wealth of difference.

2013-07-07 17.29.46-1

It’s not the most spacious and glamorous area but it works for me in my teeny flat.

I’ve got some space on my bookshelf for sewing books, magazines and pattern books.

2013-07-07 17.33.36-1

My mannequin Beryl fits behind the sofa ready and waiting for fitting tasks.

2013-07-07 17.57.24-2

I use a drop leaf dining table as my sewing table which has its flaws but helpfully it can hold my cantilever sewing box, machine, serger and spool holder.

2013-07-07 17.20.53

I have an ikea storage unit with big teal boxes for all my fabric; I have winter weight fabric in one, summer weights and what-not in a second, ufos and re-fashions in a third, and scraps in the fourth. My vogue calendar hangs from the side keeping me inspired.

My patterns sit in two expanding box files just out of sight but always in reach, along with my rulers, cutting mat, and new tailor’s aubergine!

So there you have it, a look into how I’ve squeezed a sewing area into my living room.

Today has also been about  pre-washing fabric.

2013-07-07 18.00.24-1

The fantastic folk at Minerva Crafts have sent me this luscious viscose and New Look pattern 6069.

But more about that later…