Back to Basics – How to pin out your pattern

Sew Me Something Postcard 6I know this might sound like telling my Grandma how to suck eggs, but it is an issue we come across time and time again in our workshops. So I thought I would just go over my method to see if it can help you too.

Now I also know that not everyone likes to pin out their patterns on to the fabric and they use weights and a rotary cutter instead – that’s absolutely fine. If you do prefer to pin, and I must admit I do, then there is an easy way of doing it.


We find sometimes in our workshops there is a temptation to try and lift up the pattern and fabric and slide your hand in underneath so you can feel where the pin is as you pin the paper pattern to the fabric


However, this can distort the fabric laying underneath the pattern as you’re lifting it. The easiest way to pin a pattern to the fabrics is this:


Pinning patterns

Lay all your pattern pieces out onto your fabric first before pinning. You can double check everything is in the correct place – all the pieces that need to be on a fold are on a fold and that all the grain lines are parallel to the selvedges, and that you have enough fabric to fit all the pattern pieces on.

Start by pinning the corners of the pattern piece. Try and keep the pin diagonally across the corner as this will hold more of the pattern paper flat.


Ensure that the whole pin sits on the paper and doesn’t hang off the edge. Even just 1mm over the edge of the paper could potentially get caught on your precious fabric shears and leave them with a frustrating notch in the cutting blade and render them useless.

Next look at any long edges on the paper pattern that might lift up and then pin along those.


Space your pins roughly a hand width apart and make sure they sit parallel to the edge of the pattern paper.


Curves are next and usually only two or three pins will suffice. Too many pins may distort the edge of the pattern paper and make it trickier to cut the fabric.


Once your pattern is in place you’re ready to cut!

Remember to throw out any blunt or bent pins as they are just plain annoying and of no use to anyone!


There are no hard and fast rules in sewing really, whatever works best for you. But these are just a few tips I have picked up over the years and I hope they work for you.

Do let me know how you get along with pinning. Are there any tips that work well for you? Or anything you’re not sure about?

Happy Pinning

Jules x

You can’t pour from an empty jug

File 02-02-2018, 17 08 03.jpg

“You can’t pour from an empty jug”

This is one of the sayings my Grandma used to come out with. Some of her others were, “That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” and “When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.” And all of them are true!

You really can’t pour from something that is empty, in other words continuing to look after everyone else without looking after yourself will leave you an empty vessel – tired, irritable and unhappy. You can’t keep giving and not replace what has been given. It is so important to remember that a little bit of self care goes a very long way. After all the in-flight safety demonstrations always say put your own oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else.

So why can this make us feel so guilty? Maybe it’s because I’m a Mum? After all they pass you the bundle of guilt that goes along with the baby as soon as it’s born! Or is it just that I have been brought up to put others before yourself?

This is something I have been asking myself a lot recently. Since Charlie’s accident, or the Bearded One’s Attempt to Fly as it’s known in our house. I have been doing a lot of ‘looking after’. Charlie, obviously, the kids, my business, his business, our finances, the chickens, the cats, extended family… the list goes on. And that’s fine I’m really not complaining. I am happy to do all of this, it’s my life I’m looking after.

Or is it? I have struggled to make time for myself in all of this and that is neglecting an important part of my life – Me. I have felt incredibly guilty about having time away from home or work. No-one else makes me feel this way, I am more than capable of doing it all by myself, but I am learning to be kinder to myself. To lower the somewhat unachievable expectations I have of myself and to allow myself to just be. I’m even scheduling it in to my day now.

I am getting up half an hour earlier so I can have a peaceful cup of coffee reading and planning my sewing projects.

IMG_0401 copy

Yes I am going to make time to sew just for me, something I rarely have a chance to do. Well I say that but it’s up to me isn’t it. How I decide to spend my time is, up to a point, my decision. So I have decided to allow myself some time during my week to sew for me. It might not be every week and that’s OK.

This is me giving myself a hug and saying “it’s alright to leave the dishwasher for a couple of hours. It’ll still be there when you get back. Now why isn’t that collar sitting right? And how are you going to fix it?”. We can be a best friend to ourselves or our own worst critic and I know I’d much rather have more friends, even if it’s just me.

DMCG 11th Shoot-10171.jpg

Now as we all know sewing feeds the soul. So I am going to fill my soul/vessel with sewing projects this year.

And this is my list of sewing projects so far. Or my #Sew9for2018 if you’ve been following this on instagram.

  • A white linen shirt. Oversized of course.
  • A pair of Hero Trousers with a front fly this time
  • A new pair of Rosalind PJ’s
  • A swimming costume that will cope with my capacious bosoms.
  • The ultimate, classic shirt waister dress
  • A new Winter coat
  • Some training gear – running leggings and a vest. Does that count as 2?
  • A super comfy hoodie for my inner teenager.
  • My daughter’s Prom dress

Pictures and plans on all of the above will follow…

Are you being kind to yourself? Do you find it a struggle and if so how do you tell yourself it’s OK?

I hope you have a friend in you.

Happy Sewing

Jules x