Making More of Your Patterns: A longer Julia

IMG_1784When I design patterns I nearly always find ways of altering them and adapting them in some way. I guess I just don’t like to play by the rules, or be told what to do – even if it’s by myself.

So with the Julia Top, although I love her hip-length, as she was originally created, I have found myself preferring her a bit longer.


Most patterns will have lengthen or shorten lines on them and Julia is no exception. These marks let you know the best place to add in extra fabric, or to reduce the amount of fabric, in the best places so as not to alter the lines of the pattern too much.

IMG_1757With the Julia, and her integrated pockets, proportion is key. So while I could just slap a bit of extra paper on the bottom of the pattern it’s going to leave the pockets rather high in proportion to the new length of the garment.

IMG_1758This is why I cut across the Front of the Julia pattern ABOVE the pockets. This way I could insert another 15cm of fabric to lengthen the top and keep the pockets in the correct place. The back was easier, here I could just slap on another 15cm to the hem of the top. And by “slap on” I do, of course, mean carefully measure and ensure the added on paper is parallel to the existing hem.

IMG_1760Now I have to confess I am a Prittstick fan. I know it’s easier to use tape sometimes, but when I go back to use my patterns again, (and being the slightly obsessive person I am about patterns I need to press them to sit flat after being folded away), I find it tricky to avoid the tape with the iron. And you really don’t want melted sticky tape on the base of your iron – trust me!

IMG_1761This is why I prefer glue. Once glued on you can sweep the iron over added-on paper or other pattern alterations without having to worry about becoming stuck – literally!






With the Julia’s I have in a heavier weight sweatshirting I prefer to have a slightly higher neckline too. IMG_1834.jpgTo do this I draw on the shoulder seam allowance on both the front and back pattern pieces.

IMG_1763Stick a bit of extra paper under each of the pattern pieces, but make sure to keep them as individual pieces otherwise you won’t be able to separate them afterwards.

IMG_1764Then overlap the shoulders, making sure that the seam lines are on top of each other.

IMG_1765Now mark on your new neckline. I didn’t really want mine higher, just not quite so wide. Remember to factor in the width of the neckband as this will reduce the size of the neck opening too.

IMG_1766Now is a good time to measure out and calculate the length of the neckband. I explain how to do this over on the Woven Peaseblossom tutorial.

Once you have the pattern altered it will make up in exactly the same way as the original pattern. You should be able to overlock this together really quickly, in fact the only bit of actual ‘sewing’ is the seam across the front to create the pockets. But if you’re pretty nifty on an overlocker you could even do that seam on one as well.IMG_1784One tip I will share is that you can use a twin needle to finish off the neck band. It just ensures the seam lays flat and sits neatly. Just to prove contrary I haven’t actually done it on this new yellow one because I quite liked it just as it was. 






IMG_1845But I have on one of my older ones.

It’s so hard trying to photograph navy on navy! But here is a row of twin needle stitching around the neckline I promise!

Although, I have acquired a new coverstitch machine and this will do the job as well. (I just have to get mine out of the box and find some time to play with it.)


To finish off this pattern hack I decided to add a cuff at the hem. Remember when calculating how deep to make the cuff you will need to double that measurement as the finished cuff is a double layer of fabric.

If you are using a proper rib it will usually come as a narrower tube of fabric. So for this Julia I chose to make a cuff 8cm deep. So I cut two strips of 18cm – 2 lots of 8 + 2 lots of 1cm seam allowance.

Open up the tubes so they are two long pieces, one for the front and one for the back. These pieces will be loo long to fit onto either the front or the back so they need to be trimmed down.

IMG_1769I made this one  14cm narrower than the body so it will bring in the hem slightly to create more of a ‘sweater dress’ kind of look.

Join the two ribbing pieces into a loop and then fold in half with the right sides on the outside. The bottom cuff then attaches to the hem in the same way as the sleeve cuff. Use the side seams on the cuff to match up to the side seams on the top. Then you can match up the centre fronts and centre backs of both the cuff and top.



That’s enough photos now!

This is my latest Julia Hack. I hope you have a go at hacking one too.

You can always join us for a Julia Workshop if you would like some support and expert tuition to help you get yours hacked.

Jules x



A Rather Large Announcement


Word has been creeping out about this, but we are now ready to make our Big Announcement.

We Are Moving!

The time has come to move out of The Minories and into a new home. We have spent 6 happy years in our current location but we have outgrown the space we’re in now. The high street is changing and our business has grown and developed in new and exciting ways in the time we have been here.


We will still be providing top notch workshops, with expert tutors, a truly friendly welcome and incredibly tasty cakes. And we shall still have a carefully curated selection of fabrics and haberdashery that will meet the needs of the workshops we run and the patterns we create.

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But opening the ‘shop’ at more selected times will enable us to focus on producing more patterns and developing the business in a more sustainable way.  Our long term vision is not only to help people improve their sewing skills but to enable them to learn different crafts as well, and to help them develop their own creativity and enhance their mental wellbeing too.

The move will mean a bigger studio with more space for different types of workshops, all on the ground floor, and with free parking right outside the studio too, so no need to worry about over-running your parking ticket!

Our new home will be on the Alscot Estate just on the edge of Stratford upon Avon on the Shipston Road. A beautiful drive down the farm track will take you to a group of converted farm buildings that house a range of other businesses. Our New Studio is 3b on the Grove Business Park in Alderminster.


Now we have the keys and the work of transformation has already started turning it into an oasis of crafting calm. We will let you know how the renovations are going and keep you posted on social media.

We will be closing the doors at the Minories on Saturday 7th April and will be opening the news doors of Sew Me Something at The Maker’s Space Studio at Grove Business Park for our lovely SASSY Club Members on Wednesday 18th April. So all workshops listed on our website after this date will be in the lovely new studio. You will still be able to buy fabric, patterns and everything else online while we are in the process of moving.

Hop over to the Workshop Calendar to see what we’ve  got coming up….

I appreciate change is not everyone’s cup of tea but our new location is really easy to find and once we have worked our magic there it will be a fantastic space offering creative workshops and training for other local businesses. I am so excited about all of the new things we are going to be able to offer here.

So please watch this space for more exciting news…

Jules x


After the Sewing Retreat

Sewing Retreat Feb 2018 Web Images-0020We have had a couple of major events back to back hence the time it’s taken to put fingers to keyboard and blog about the wonderful weekend we had on the Sewing Retreat.

It really was a weekend of sewing bliss. I firmly believe everyone learnt from it too, including Claire-Louise and me.

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I can still teach and drink coffee!
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No, It really will work if you do it like this, trust me I’m a pattern cutter!

There was a diverse range of projects on the go from day one including, trousers, jackets, a coat, a jumpsuit, various tops and even children’s wear too, which reflected the different levels of ability and sewing confidence. It also kept CL and me on our toes as we never knew what was going to be asked of us – just the way we liked it!

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Nicky’s jumpsuit.
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Gillian’s trousers.

It was also a great opportunity to see how others dealt with the tricky issues of fit. Because let’s face it there is rarely a pattern out there that doesn’t require some form of major adjustment or even minor tweak somewhere. There were more than several occasions where a small group had gathered to talk through some fit challenges faced by someone in particular. Claire-Louise and I helping them sort out their own problems definitely helped the others see their way through some thorney sewing and fitting issues too. Sharing different methods of alterations and pattern adjustments helped us all make more sense of our own body shapes and how we fit our own clothes better.

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It was also lovely to be able to see another professional tackle sewing challenges as well. Having two heads come at the same problem from different perspectives I think really helped the Retreaters make sense of things too. I felt reassured by CL being there, and although from different backgrounds, mine fashion and  CL costume, seeing her deal with issues in a similar way affirmed my own way of sewing and teaching style.

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I know there’s a camera in my face but I’m going to ignore it!

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Several of the early risers made use of the pool for a refreshing swim before breakfast and on Saturday night some of the retreaters returned to the sewing room after dinner and they kept us there until gone 10:30pm! Hardcore sewing! But that is what the luxury of a retreat is all about. You could sew as much or as little as you wished and we were there to help every step of the way.

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The response from the lovely ladies on the retreat has been overwhelmingly positive. All have enjoyed their weekend and learnt things they never knew before. Their confidence has grown and they have achieved even more than they’d hoped.

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We have also learnt from the weekend and will be able to improve on this one for the NEXT Sewing Retreat.

Yes, we are going to do this all over again in August. So if you weren’t able to join us in February, come and sew with us over August Bank Holiday. If you want to treat yourself, improve your sewing and meet some wonderful people you will not be disappointed!

Book here to secure your place!

See you in August!

Jules x