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Lesser known pattern companies

One of the things I love about having a sewing pattern printing company, is the number of new patterns I come across. Although I don’t get involved in running Fabulosew on a daily basis – that is entirely down to John, (I work full time elsewhere), I often find myself looking at the orders when they come in, and occasionally buying a pattern I’ve seen as an order for myself – I did this recently with the Wiksten Unfolding jacket https://shopwiksten.com/collections/sewing-patterns/products/womens-modern-shift-dress-top-sewing-pattern.

I have a really good memory, and an Instagram obsession, so already knew of a lot of pattern companies, but there are certainly some that I didn’t know of, or that you may not have heard of either, so I thought I’d just highlight a few of them.

Newbies

These 2 new pattern companies feel special to me, as both of them set up during the pandemic, just as we did.

First up – Make with Mandi.

Mandi has bought out 4 patterns now – 2 dresses (I’m really keen to make the Mia in some really special fabric to make my own Bodenesque summer staple), some culottes (I’ve fabric set aside for these) and a cami top.

Stitched in Wonderland is another new pattern company I love.

Alice’s artwork is so quirky and unusual, and her patterns have quite a youthful aesthetic. I’ve made an everyday blouse which I love

Seen on YouTube/Instagram

Recently, I’ve seen several makes on YouTube and Instagram from pattern companies that are surprisingly large, but less well known.

Pattern Emporium – Unwind hoodie

Alex Judge sews (who I get a lot of sewing inspiration from) made 5 of these in a week! Australia based, with loads of beginner resources.

Diby Club

https://doitbetteryourself.club/

One of the Sewing Bee contestants from series 6 recently made some jeans from this company – there are 3 different jeans patterns, as well as several maternity/breastfeeding friendly options too. As well as the Billie wearable blanket of course, a free pattern that everyone (in the UK) needs!

Made it Patterns

recently released the Eight Tee, which is getting loads of love on Instagram, but I’m dying to make the drop dress & top. It’s like something from a Japenese pattern book, but more size inclusive

Teen specific patterns, and a fab shorties/cami set too

Dressy stuff

I don’t have much need for dressy stuff, but there are 2 companies I’d not previously encountered whose long dressy skirts speak to me.

Little Lizard King – Manhattan skirt. This company also do a great selection of adult and child matching bundles, and dolls clothes too. After Frugal Frocks, you’ve probably all heard of the Galena dress too!

Violette Thread Fields is another company I’d never heard of before, and what I really love about this is the tween section – for that awkward girl period when childrens clothes are too childish and adult clothes don’t yet fit. And another gorgeous long skirt pattern, designed for Tulle

The rest

This is going to be too long, but there are more that I mustn’t miss (although doubtless I’ll miss some anyway)!

Sageville Patterns https://sagevillepatterns.com/collections/all

Sinclair Patterns https://sinclairpatterns.com/ – I’m amazed I’d not come across these before

Straight Stitch Designs https://www.straightstitchdesigns.com/

Marilla Walker https://www.marillawalkerpatterns.com/ – ok I’ve made several of Marilla’s patterns pre Fabulosew, but she’s less well known and I love her patterns

Capsule Patterns https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CapsulePatterns?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=903872801

Twig and Tale https://www.twigandtale.com/ – absolutely stunning website and patterns for men, women and children as well as accessories (including a brilliant ham pattern)

Brindille and Twig https://brindilletwig.com/ – beautiful childrens, babies and adult patterns, and the cutest logo

Peekaboo pattern shop https://www.peekaboopatternshop.com/ -a great selection of patterns for men too

Lowland Kids https://lowlandkids.com/collections/all-patterns – excellent beginner level patterns

The Sussex Seamstress https://www.sussexseamstress.com/patterns/pdf – lovely selection of patterns, great video instructions available too

There are so many more, and every time I step away from this blog post, I think of other companies! But maybe some of these are new to you, and will inspire you to try out a new designer. It was a long time before I moved on from the designer I first sewed with (Tilly and the Buttons), but honestly, there’s so much to discover out there!

Happy sewing

Heather

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Frugal Frocks 2021 zero waste dress

Frugal Frocks

During March 2021, the lovely vloggers that are Sam (Fruglaisama) and Ruan (The Yorkshire Sew Girl) hosted an Instagram challenge whereby you use fabric from your stash, and sew a free dress pattern. Hence the title ‘Frugal Frocks’
I don’t often wear dresses, so spent the first half of the month feeling a little despondent and at a loss about what to do. Then a chance conversation about zero waste sewing launched me down a rabbit hole, and I was itching to get started with this pattern from Offset Warehouse.  Which rather fortuitiously turned out to be free, and therefore suitable for the challenge!

Zero Waste

I am very keen on anything that reduces waste.  This is the Fabulosew HQ, which is a converted shed, making use of patio doors and windows that someone local was throwing out during an upgrade.

 I use shampoo and conditioner bars, and even eat every part of apples, core and all so that there’s nothing to throw out (even though it would go straight to compost). My teenagers still expect carrots to be peeled, but I prefer to scrub them, primarily to avoid the wasted peel (and the need to clear it up and put it in the compost bin). Of course we aren’t perfect, but being environmentally friendly and questioning the need for a product and whether there’s a viable alternative with less packaging is a way of life. And our Fabulosew paper uses far less paper per pattern, saving not only trees and storage, but also fuel used to transport the same number of printed patterns compared to those printed on heavier paper. When John finishes printing for the day, he uses a bike to get to the post office.

Fabric waste is a sad by product of garment manufacture (15% according to Milan – AV-JC), and proportionally more for home sewists than in commercial manufacture where garments can be squeezed onto every last scrap of fabric (I can’t validate this assumption). In a world of masks and covid, I’m sure many home sewists have made face coverings to match their latest creation, in order to reduce the amount wasted. or Ogden camis from larger woven scraps, and knickers from knit fabrics. But there are still those tiny scraps left over. I make tailors hams and sausages and stuff them with my overlocker offcuts, but it’s a bit ridiculous really, I have more than I could possibly need!
Enter the zero waste pattern. There are a variety available, and the premise is that you use every inch of your fabric.

The Pattern

When you ‘purchase’ this pattern from Offset warehouse (it is a free pattern), it is downloaded as a set of instructions. You then calculate the amount of fabric required based on your measurements. They suggest to draw it on paper and to put this onto your fabric, but you could draw it straight onto your fabric. There are 3 different cutting layouts depending on the width of your fabric and pattern pieces.

As I used a super wide duvet cover, none of the suggested layouts worked exactly, as it was wide enough to put all 4 main pieces next to each other and the extra bits alongside them.
Step one of the instructions does say to head to www.offsetwarehouse.com and order your ethical fabric. As this was for the frugal frocks challenge, I didn’t do this, and I do feel a little guilty that I’ve benefitted from this lovely pattern without buying anything in exchange. So I will at some point order some fabric, as their selection is beautiful, and all thoughtfully procured.
The sewing is fairly straight forward, it felt like an introduction to draping. I didn’t put pockets on, but I wish I had – my belt is pretty long, I could quite easily have used some for pockets.

I love the clever shoulder detail, and I googled stopper knots to tie a thicker knot (it might have been an Ashley knot) that wouldn’t get lost in the shoulder channel, which was fun. It reminded me of paracord crafts that I did with scouts some time ago.
Overall, I really love the cleverness and finished product achieved with this pattern. I will definitely wear it, even though I don’t often reach for dresses.

Resources

For those interested in zero waste patterns, here are some patterns and resources I’ve come across. Most of these are patterns to buy, so are relevant to zero waste rather than Frugal Frocks!

  • Offset Warehouse – the link for the pattern I made
  • Schnittchen Patterns – have a couple of free zero waste patterns that look pretty interesting
  • Elbe Textiles – Australian based designer, with a zero waste pattern.  It’s quite an involved make, Alex Judge Sews has done a really good YouTube video on it
  • Birgitta Helmersson – several zero waste patterns including a coat, a dress and a shirt!
  • Milan AV-JC – fascinating company with loads of zero waste designs, and heaps of really interesting information and facts about waste in manufacturing and what happens to it (hint – landfill).
  • Cris Wood Sews – this is a zero waste design, but the whole ethos of the company focuses on reducing wasted fabric in clothing manufacture, so all of the patterns are zero or minimal waste
  • Sewcialists – not a pattern, but a fascinating blog post from with some pattern ideas. Liz Hayward almost made zero waste jeans!
  • The Craft of Clothes – the author of the blog post above has a brilliant selection of zero waste patterns in her Etsy shop

I hope you found that interesting, let me know if you try any zero waste patterns, or if you’ve got any ingenious solutions to your own fabric scraps!

Heather

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How to place an order on an IPhone

A question that we get asked on a not infrequent basis, is ‘how do I place an order on my Ipad if I don’t have a computer?’

We are actually an Ipad free household (much to the youngest teens annoyance), but I do have an Iphone.  So one evening, I decided to see how to purchase a pattern, download it to my phone, and upload it as an order to Fabulosew.

Hopefully the same process will apply to an Ipad.

Step 1: buy a pattern

I don’t usually buy a pattern on my phone, but in the interests of research and screenshots, I did this time. Once I purchased, I got the links sent to me as usual by email, and can also access them through my account with the designer on any other device (as long as I remember my password)

This is what happened when I clicked the download link – you get a list of all the downloads you receive with the pattern. I am only downloading the A0 file for now (the top file)

This is what my ‘Waves and Wild’ account looks like.  Every red button is a different download, which you can click on and save using the same steps below. Because the file description (i.e print at home, copyshop, instructions, projector) is in white text, it can be difficult to tell what you’re downloading until you click on it, but I think the copyshop file is the first in the list

Step 2: Save the A0 file to your device

This is what the file looked like when I opened it on my phone. There was a page count on the top left which didn’t show on the screenshot. I was also able to see the number of pages by scrolling down. It’s important to note the number of pages for when you place your order

When I pressed the square with the upwards facing arrow on the bottom of the screen (next to the greyed out right facing arrow), this menu appeared, and I selected the option ‘save to files’

This is what happens after you select the option to save to files

I selected the option to save to PDF Expert. I also saved the instructions to pages, but I think that it doesn’t matter, as long as you can find it again

Step 3: Set up a Fabulosew A0 printing order

When you press the browse button, it should allow you to select from the location you saved your file(s) to, although you’ll need to access a secondary browse menu to do this – see the next screenshot.

When you press the browse button on your Fabulosewew order, you need to press the dot dot dot (ellipsis) button next to the browse on this menu

It will then take you to this screen, and you can select your pattern(s) from wherever you saved them in step 2

This bit is VERY IMPORTANT! Because our system isn’t clever enough to count the number of pages in your upload, you need to manually adjust the number of pages before you press the add to basket button. If you get it wrong, it can always be corrected later, but it might delay your pattern being sent.

After this, just check out as normal.  If you want to pay by card, make sure you select this option on the checkout screen.

And that’s it! You really can order a pattern and send it to Fabulosew for printing all whilst watching TV!

Whilst you’re waiting for the pattern to arrive (see here for delivery times), I suggest using the time you’ve saved on not printing and sticking A4’s to shop for fabric, browse the hashtag of your chosen pattern(s) on instagram for inspiration and tips, clean your sewing machines, or bake a cake.

Happy sewing!

Heather

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Adventures in making leggings

In an effort to knock the ‘Merry Christmas’ blog off the top spot, I think that it’s about time to write another post!

Over the Christmas break, I made several pairs of leggings, and although I am far from an expert in this, I have a few thoughts.

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings

Thought 1: Making leggings is fun, quick and relatively simple. For those of you who enjoy making a quick jersey top, leggings are as simple as this, but without as much hemming! you’ve just got the 2 relatively narrow legs to hem. I made my first pair (the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings) in an afternoon, including cutting and making

Thought 2: If you’re particularly long or short legged, making your own leggings would be an ideal solution. Because they are made with stretchy fabric, they are also quite easy to fit.

Thought 3: Use an overlocker if you have one. Still being a little nervous of my overlocker (yes, after 4 years), on my first pair, I used my sewing machine on all the seams first, and then overlocked afterwards. However, I found that the machined stitches pop, even though the overlocked ones next to the machine stitches don’t pop. If you don’t have an overlocker, then definitely use something a litte stronger than a standard zigzag stitch. On my later pairs, I went straight to the overlocker for the side seams, which was quicker and saved the machine stitches from popping.

Thought 4: Walking foot. This is a brilliant attachment for feeding stretchy fabric through evenly on your machine.

Thought 5: Pattern choice. I’m definitely not an expert on this, having used 2 leggings patterns in total. But when selecting your pattern, think about what you want from your leggings. Do you want something for everyday wear, or for exercise? What type of exercise? What do you like about your existing leggings?

Personally, I particularly like leggings without an outside leg seam, so the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings and the Fehr Trade Steeplechase leggings both ticked this box. I like both of these patterns, and tend to use the Avery leggings for everyday wear and the Steeplechase leggings for running. Fehr Trade has a brilliant blog about gussets, among other things, – it feels like something a bit fancier in a legging pattern, but functionally, it is only really useful if you are doing leg spreading exercises (sorry, couldn’t think of an alternative term!) in your leggings, so for running a gusset isn’t really needed, but for yoga it is useful.

Thought 6: Fabric. This is something I have still not perfected. Funki fabrics have some brilliant patterned and plain fabrics in all colours, and many different bases. I have tried the muscular compression which is good, not too shiny, and some of the cheaper, shinier ones as well. Some of the cheaper stretch fabrics actually feel a little cold to put on which isn’t delightful. They have a good range of recycled fabric too. It’s not cheap, and postage is annoyingly high, but for my size, I only need a metre for a pair of leggings.

https://www.funkifabrics.com/

I have also tried some fabric from Minerva crafts, and was recommended some from Dalston Mill Fabrics, which I’ve not yet used, but it does feel warmer. And it’s much cheaper per metre.

https://www.dalstonmillfabrics.co.uk/

So if you are looking for a quick, fun and useful project, then give legging making a go, you won’t regret it!

Heather

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Merry Christmas!

Hello, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year from Fabulosew!

Thank you to all of our wonderful customers who have supported us since we launched in October this year. 

Everyone has been so lovely and supportive, and we are hugely grateful to everyone who has placed an order.  Some of you have placed multiple orders, which is just lovely and helps us to feel that we’ve got something right on this business journey.

Christmas is strange this year, New Year even stranger with so many going into Tier 4 from boxing day.  New Years Day is normally when we have our main family get together as it coincides with my Dad’s birthday.  We can see his house from ours, but will not be seeing him inside, although a dog walk is definitely on the cards.

I am hoping to do a bit of sewing and knitting as I’ve got the 3 days between Christmas and New Year off work, and obviously it won’t be spent driving to relatives this year. 

I’ve some leggings on my list – John has bought and printed the Fehr Trade Steeplechase leggings for me, as I was so excited to see the interesting pattern piece when a customer sent it for printing. And I am part of the way through a Deer and Doe Melilot.  It’s a bit of a challenge as the instructions are fairly scant.  I’m doing the long sleeve version and it took me ages to get my head around the placket instructions.  I was hoping to make a Deer and Doe Bruyere as it looks like a great option for working from home – smart on top, leggings on the bottom.  Also Bruyere means Heather in French.  But Deer and Doe aren’t selling anything to the UK at the moment, not even digital products.

Who knows what next year will bring? Hopefully covid will be a fading memory by next Christmas.  We have been looking at the post Brexit rules, and it looks like, because we aren’t VAT registered, the consequences won’t be too impactful, and we can continue to send printed patterns to Europe. 

When we reach 1,000 Instagram followers, hopefully early next year, we are planning a giveaway.  There will be 2 identical giveaways, one for Instagram and one for Facebook.

And for anyone who has already ordered from us this year, here’s a special offer for you:  Throughout January, use the code THANKYOU10 to get 10% off your printing during the whole of January, starting on Boxing day.

We hope that you all enjoy the festive period.  Stay safe everyone, and do comment if you’ve any sewing projects on the go over the Bank Holidays!

Printing and post runs will still be happening every day the post office is open.

Heather

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Dhurata Davies Maxine dress

I love a simple pattern with interesting details, and this is exactly how I saw this pattern from Dhurata Davies. It’s a fairly simple tunic/shift dress, but with really interesting lines. There is a cross feature on the front (my seamlines could not match more perfectly), and pockets along the lower seam line. Very clever. It reminds me a bit of the Papercut patterns Sapporo coat which has similar pockets.

This pattern comes as a short sleeve dress, but there is also a sleeved sweatshirt version which is available either on its own or as a bundle with the dress, so you could easily make a long sleeved dress. I didn’t see the bundle until after I had bought the dress, I was thinking about using a sleeve from another pattern, but then Dhurata shared a photo of herself with a short sleeved Maxine dress with a long sleeved top underneath, so I decided that I’d just copy her. Its also really versatile as it can be made in knit or woven fabric.
I had this pink ponte in my stash from when Girl Charlee had a uk closing down sale. It was a bit pinker than I imagined, it’s now slightly more muted than it was originally after I pre washed it with some dark fabric that bled onto it!
I enjoyed making this. I made a size 14, and was surprised and amazed that my centre front seamline matched perfectly at the front cross.

I didn’t overlock anything as a lot of the seams were pressed open. It came together fairly quickly, once you get the front piece constructed, it goes together like a normal jersey dress. The sleeve piece is symmetrical and cut on the fold. I find it easier to cut smaller pieces on the flat, so I traced it (onto our lightweight paper) so that I could do this. I think that the top front panel is also a ‘cut on fold’ piece, and again, I traced it to cut on the flat. Just personal preference. Of course the good thing about pieces to cut on the fold is that they take up less room on the paper. This pattern is only 1 A0 page.
When I tried it on at first, my 16 year old said that it looked like a pink bin bag. It was quite large and loose. I therefore took a reasonable chunk out of the side seams, and I think that might have slightly spoiled how the pockets sit.
But overall I really like the effect, and it is a good use of some overly pink fabric, which looks far better as a garment than sitting on my shelf! I think I will make it again.

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Christmas gifts for sewists

If as a sewist, you are lucky enough to have anyone asking you what to get you for Christmas, here are some of my thoughts.  If you’re looking for something to buy for a family or friend sewist, then welcome to the site, I hope I can offer some inspiration!

I’ve not mentioned a certain large online retailer, if you can, try to shop small and/or local this year.  Covid has been, and continues to be tough on many small businesses.

Machines

Maybe a sewing machine upgrade is on the cards? Or an overlocker?  Contact your local sewing shop to see if they can deliver, many will given the current restrictions. 

The New Craft House also sell fantastic Pfaff machines, and occasionally sell their ex workshop machines at a discount https://shop.thenewcrafthouse.com/collections/pfaff

Cutting tools

There are so many different scissors that can be useful to sewists, from small snips (you can’t have too many of these) to heavy duty shears and pinking shears.

Again, try sourcing these locally, some well known brands include:

Ernest Wright – based in Sheffield – http://www.ernestwright.co.uk

Kai – a Japanese brand

https://www.kai-europe.com/kitchen/allroundscheren.php?lang=en

Also Friskars, LDH, Millward and Wiss are all popular brands of scissors for sewing.  Check out these beautiful ones from Sew Me Sunshine

https://sewmesunshine.co.uk/collections/scissors-seam-rippers/products/9-5-prism-fabric-shears-ldhv

I tend to use my rotary cutter more for jersey projects, I find it easier to get around curves.  The one I have is by Olfa and has a 45mm blade. https://www.williamgee.co.uk/shop/olfa-rotary-cutter-45mm/

 Smaller ones are also available, useful for smaller projects like lingerie.  You do need a cutting mat to go with these though, I got mine from Hobbycraft.

Books

I always love getting books for Christmas, and a sewing book gives that craft hit without disappearing into my sewing space. 

Wendy Ward has some great books, including this one for garments suitable for any body regadless of gender, age or body shape:

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Sewing-Basics-for-Every-Body-by-Wendy-Ward-author/9781782497509

Breaking the Pattern is a book I received last Christmas and I love it! There are also links to download the patterns in A0 format, so we can print them out for you, instead of having to trace them from the paper patterns in the back of the book

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Breaking-the-Pattern-by-Saara-Huhta-Laura-Huhta-Arto-Markkanen-photographer/9781787131835

The Palmer Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting was one of the reasons we went down the lightweight paper route.  She shows you how to fit your garments by tissue fitting.  I have this book and it’s really useful

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Palmer-Pletsch-Complete-Guide-to-Fitting-by-Pati-Palmer-author-Marta-Alto-author/9781618471017

And here’s Tilly’s latest book, Make it simple.  I’ve seen some fantastic versions of these projects on Instagram.  Her first book, Love at First Stitch, was my introduction to sewing.

https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Make-It-Simple-by-Tilly-Walnes-Tilly-and-the-Buttons-Firm-associated-with-work/9781787134676

This category on Blackwells, has so many sewing books, it is well worth a browse! And is slightly less overwhelming than Amazon.https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/category/WFB?offset=144

Stocking fillers/small gifts

Here are a few suggestions for smaller but nonetheless useful gifts for sewists:

Labels are great for adding that finishing touch to your garment, and being able to tell the front from the back! I keep forgetting to add them to my garments though!

 We stock Kylie and the Machine labels https://fabulosew.co.uk/shop/kylie-and-the-machine-labels/

But others are available e.g Pink Coat Club.  My Favourite Pink Coat Club label is the one that says ‘contains pet hair’ with a paw print image.  There are other great products too https://pinkcoatclub.com/collections/shop-all

Needles.  You should switch your needle between every project.  I don’t do this, it really depends on the project, and how big it is.  Would you really want to change your needle after sewing just a T shirt?  So I try to do a few woven projects together, then change to making a few jersey and obviously switch the needle then.  Always good to have a stash of needles to hand!

Pins.  Nice pins really do make a difference.  Merchant and Mills ones are apparently fantastic, although I don’t actually have any.  Also quilting clips, like small bulldog clips are useful for jersey fabrics, or thicker fabrics.

https://merchantandmills.com/product-category/equipment/notions

Pin cushions/magnetic pin dish.  Always handy to have more than one of these around!

Pattern weights.  I was given a Foxglove and Field pattern weight for my birthday and it is one of my favourite things.  Magnetic, weighty, beautiful and also stabbable!

https://www.foxgloveandfield.co.uk/product-category/pin-cushions/

Measuring equipment

Tape measures are obvious, but also seam gauges are extremely useful to have multiple of.  But also a quilting ruler is useful for drawing straight lines and lining up with another straight line.  And if you’re making changes to patterns, a French Curve for blending between sizes would be useful.  So I’m told! There is also a gadget that kind of concertinas up to enable you to mark evenly spaced buttonholes.  Genius!

https://www.bobbinsandbolts.co.uk/shop/haberdashery/marking-tools/simflex-expanding-sewing-gauge/

Jen Hogg of Sewing Bee fame has created a range of beautiful and extremely useful sewing and knitting rulers, including ones that say ‘Sew over 2020’ So true!

https://www.jenhogg.co.uk/shop

Marking equipment

Chalk, chalk pens, frixion pens (that apparently fade with heat)https://fabulosew.co.uk/shop/chaco-chalk-pen-blue-sew-easy/

Kits

I love dressmaking kits, where you get the fabric, a pattern, thread and any notions such as buttons, zips, interfacing all in one package.  These often sell out really quickly, but today on Instagram I saw one advertised by Stitched in Wonderland which as of 1st November is on pre order for Christmas.  I think the pattern is timeless and would suit a variety of different body shapes and ages.https://stitchedinwonderland.com/product/the-dunga-dress-christmas-gift-box-preorder/

In a Haystack has a monthly subscription plan which includes a digital sewing pattern, interviews and discount codes. They’ve just launched a menswear version. Maybe I’ll get that for John! https://inahaystack.co.uk/

Gift vouchers

Of course, if you want to build your fabric stash, or would just like the opportunity to choose a special fabric for a particular project, gift vouchers for fabric shops are a great idea.  Some of my favourites are

Sister Mintaka https://sistermintaka.com/product/gift-card/

Sew Me Sunshine https://sewmesunshine.co.uk/products/gift-card

Sewisfaction https://www.sewisfaction.co.uk/product/gift-vouchers-online-in-store/

Stitchy Bee https://stitchybee.co.uk/collections/gift-voucher

Lamazi Fabrics https://lamazifabrics.com/products/gift-card

But there are many more too.

Online classes

There are many out there, but below are a selection that I’ve encountered personally.  An online class, combined with the gift of time to work through the lessons, would really help to progress your sewing.

Tilly and the Buttons have a great selection, when I started sewing I did the introduction to knits class, and have since made quite a few Agnes tops that comes as part of the class.  I also did the shirt dress class.

Sew over it also have a lot to offer, I have done their Chloe coat workshop, and the trouser fitting one too.  Their format has changed, and I don’t know much about the whole stitch school thing, but it would definitely be worth checking out.

For jeans, you can’t go wrong with Closet Core Patterns.  Heather Lou talks you through the process of making your first pair of jeans, which is my most favourite thing to make.  She also has a swimming costume class, and a blazer class as well as a learn how to sew clothing class.  Closet Core patterns also have a brilliant selection of sewing patterns.

The Stitch sisters have some great classes, I’m working my way through the bust adjustments and overlocker classes, but they have many more too

https://www.thestitchsisters.co.uk/all-classes/

Jewellery

If an actual sewing accessory doesn’t appeal, then how about some sewing themed jewellery?

Check out these gorgeous scissor necklaces from Sew Dainty

And many other fantastic necklace and brooch designs.

Cepheid Studio has a beautiful range of accurate, wooden, laser cut sewing themed jewellery as well as astronomy themed gifts and Christmas decorations

https://www.cepheidstudio.com/shop/ruler-jewellery-bundle

I hope that’s given you a few ideas.

Happy sewing!

Heather

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Does anyone want to make Christmas presents?

Yes, I know, it’s way to early to discuss Christmas.  But I know that some sewists turn their thoughts to it far earlier than others, as they toy with the idea of making Christmas presents for friends and family.

Personally, I’m not in this camp.  Earlier in my sewing journey, I made pyjamas for my 3 daughters (out of brushed cotton Aldi duvet covers), but I actually found it quite stressful sewing for someone else (fitting issues) and to a deadline!  They actually ask for shop bought pyjamas now, and I’m not sad about it! But weren’t they cute?

However, some of you, I know, are eager to showcase your skills, and show your loved ones how much you care, by putting the time and effort into creating something bespoke for them.  So here’s a few of my ideas. I’m keeping them simple, and without too many fitting issues.

Cosy stuff

There are a few patterns for slippers out there.  Made by Jacks mum have a lovely pair, the Fireside Slippers: https://madebyjacksmum.com/shop/firesideslippers/

Tilly and the Buttons have a free pattern and instructions on their blog, again for slipper boots:

https://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/2017/11/free-pattern-make-your-own-snuggly.html

And to go with them, you could make a Billie Wearable Blanket by DIBY club.  I’d never heard of this company before, but this pattern is perfection for cold evenings, it looks like there’s a pocket big enough for the TV remotes, a book, a knitting project or just a stash of sweets!

https://doitbetteryourself.club/product/the-billie-wearable-blanket-sewing-pattern/

They also do a chlidrens version, the Blaise wearable blanket.  And both patterns are FREE, but will be rather hungry on fabric, but you could buy a supermarket throw and upcycle it! When youdownload it, make sure you send us the A0 version for printing.  It’s 4 A0s, but if you mention this blog in the notes, we will only charge you for 3!

Home stuff

Making cushions for someone can be a really lovely gift, if they have recently moved home, or gone to university.  You could personalise them with some applique or find some fabric that fits in with their interests.  For example, a whippet loving friend might appreciate a cushion made from this fabric from Zazzle.  And it wouldn’t be too difficult to make, there are tutorials on you-tube for cushion making

https://www.zazzle.co.uk/whippet_silhouettes_pattern_dog_lovers_grey_fabric-256116505418043626

Helen’s closet in Canada have a lovely tutorial for making for a soup bowl cosy.

Perfect for not burning your legs when you’re eating soup in front of the TV!

They also have a tutorial for  making a plant bucket which would be a lovely way to pimp up a supermarket poinsettia! (I love poinsettia, they remind me of my Granny)

You could also make an apron for someone.  Tessuti in Australia have this fantastic free pattern, but there are others too.

One of my favourite things to make for the home is a pouf.  This is also a free pattern from Closet Core patterns (when you sign up to their newsletter) and a great way to hide all of your scraps! You can see my version on our Instagram.

Clothing

There are a few items of clothing that are simple to make and don’t require much fitting, so make ideal gifts.

I’m going to recommend Helen’s Closet again, as her Suki robe is brilliant.  It can be worn as a dressing gown, beach cover up, or summer jacket.  So versatile, and I love Helen’s Closet for their inclusive sizing, and use of models of all sizes, ethnicity and ages.

You could also make a Blackwood Cardigan, again from Helen’s Closet, without needing to be too hung up on sizing.  I wear mine all the time.

Visit Helen’s blog, there are so many great ideas on there!

You could also make a cape, I love this Skye wrap from Cool Crafting in Cumbria.

https://www.coolcrafting.co.uk/product/downloadable-skye-wrap-instructions/

And of course you could make pyjamas.  Tilly and the Buttons has just released a new men’s pyjama pattern, so you could make matching for the whole family!

A hoodie or sweatshirt would also make a nice simple make for someone you know the size of.  There are plenty of patterns out there. A good choice of fabric would really make for something very special.

Bags There are many bag patterns out there.  I particularly like this one from CocoWawa crafts, although it’s a bit more involved than a simple tote

For a simple shopping bag, try the Orton bag from Merchant & Mills.  It’s huge!

If you make a shopping bag, you could of course make a matching face mask and a little pouch to attach it to the bag! I’m not sharing a facemask pattern.

So there’s a few ideas from me, I could probably carry on all day, now that I’ve started, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.  After all, I’ve not mentioned any pencil case, make up bag, eye mask, or scrunchie patterns, but all of those would also make great gifts!

Happy sewing everyone!

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Stella love

I’m a big fan of Tilly and the Buttons, it’s where my entire dressmaking journey began, when I bought the ‘Love at First Stitch’ book in 2015.  I also went to an in person workshop at Tilly’s headquarters in London (she doesn’t do these any more), and made a Bettine dress in a day! At that point, I’d not graduated from the book, thinking that I had to make each project in turn before moving on, and my eyes were well and truly opened to other possibilities!

So when Tilly’s second book, ‘Stretch’ was released in 2018, I immediately bought it.  It focuses entirely on projects made with stretch fabrics, one of which is the Stella Hoodie designed for sweatshirting fabrics.

I made one with Lara back in 2018 which was her entry to the Christmas jumper competition that Tilly and the Buttons ran that year.

More recently, I have made 2 for the youngest teen, complete with inseam pockets to incorporate details of her favourite, falling apart, Fat Face hoodie.  I also used ribbing on the bottom band instead of just folding over like the book suggests, because I prefer that finish.

And now, there is this one that I made for the oldest teen, in part to thank her for her work on the website (it works well, I think?) She wanted something warm and snuggly to throw on with leggings, and a pocket for her phone, obviously.  She has a ready to wear one with welt pockets (!) which I wasn’t able to replicate, and she finds the pocket from the pattern a little small.  She was most unhappy about having to take her coat off so that I could photograph it, but here it is!

As it is from the book, I had to trace the pattern pieces off, but there are not too many (2 hood pieces, front, back, sleeve and cuff) so it only took half an hour, and that probably included some procrastinating because I don’t really like tracing.

It came together fairly easily, as always, although with this one, I managed to firstly sew the hood on wonkily, lining the centre front of the hood up with one of the off centre notches, and then on backwards!! Luckily I don’t tend to overlock it, instead I use my sewing machine, then trim the neckline and hood outer pieces leaving a longer lining piece which I use to cover the seam around the neck.

This was going to be a Made by Jacks Mum Hot Coffee, the pattern for which I bought in a recent sale, but I ended up sticking to what I know, and I’m not sad about it, although I think that I will try the Hot Coffee at some point.

I note in the Boden catalogue that was sent to me recently, that there is a pink hoodie dress of a very similar style.

Happy sewing everyone!

Heather

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And we are live!

Following our Facebook offer in September, we found the loveliest customers who were all really helpful and understanding while we were trialling our pattern printing and processes.  We also managed to open our website early (thank you Holly), and got some feedback on how that worked too. 

Here’s what we learned:

  • Sewing people are the best, thank you all so much!
  • Printers are temperamental work colleagues, but at least they don’t leave dirty plates in the sink (actually that’s just me!)
  • The folding table needs to be raised up in order to save John’s neck
  • Postage costs more than we thought
  • There are so many sewing pattern designers out there, and the patterns we are printing are often from designers I’d not previously come across, such as DIBY, Ellie and Mac, George and Ginger, and we’ve yet to print a Closet Core Pattern or Named Clothing which are 2 of my favourites
  • Stitching A4s is possible but hard work, and we’ve not had time to properly test it yet
  • Everyone loves our paper, hurrah!

Happy sewing everyone!