Making More From Your Patterns – How to alter a woven pattern to make up in knit fabrics

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My Celia Top in Striped Apart Pink Jersey.

One of the ‘frequently asked questions’ that often comes my way is whether you can use the same pattern for wovens and for knits.

In effect is it possible to make Kate or Celia and some of our other patterns in a jersey knit fabric too.

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The Kate Dress and Celia Tops were both designed to be made out of woven fabrics such as linen or cotton lawn. Nice sensible, stable woven fabrics. But they do make up beautifully in jersey knits too.

So the answer to this question is –  ‘Yes, BUT…”

Here are a few things you might want to consider before taking the plunge:

  • The best patterns to use as a crossover from woven to knits are pretty simple shapes that have no darting through the waist, so both Kate and Celia tick those boxes.  
  • Choose your knit fabrics carefully. Anything with too much stretch will probably not work. A more stable jersey or something that will hold its shape and have a good return will give you a better result. The Art Gallery fabrics we have in store are the perfect cross-over fabrics.
  • Jersey or knit fabric clothing tend not to have darts, even at the bust. It is a very simple alteration to remove, or partly remove, the bust dart. All you need to do is fold out the dart all the way across the front. (There is more information below so read on).
  • Woven patterns require a lot more ease than knit ones do. So you may find that you need to drop down a size or even two.
  • Knit garments are made up slightly differently in that the sleeves are sewn in flat, like a shirt sleeve, and then the sides seams sewn. This means you have a chance to judge how much ease to allow and you can take it in through the side seams if need be.
  • You may need to finish the neck slightly differently too. I tend to go for a very simple neck band and you can see how to work out how big to make the band in the Woven Peaseblossom Tutorial.

 

This is how I pleated out the bust dart.

Mark on the seam allowance at the side and then draw parallel lines across the front level with the ends of the darts. Then fold the pleat out so the lines match up removing the dart.

Showing how to pleat out a dart in a woven pattern for knit fabric

Tidy up the side seam to remove the point at the edge of the dart.

How to pleat out the dart on a woven pattern for knit fabrics

But… and this is one of those big buts, if you have a fuller bust you may wish to keep part of the bust dart in place to give you a bit more shaping over the bust.

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I have a fuller bust and frequently have to do an FBA, so I felt I needed to retain some of the dart to give a better fit. All I did was pleat out half the dart and then redraw in the dart.

I made this one a teeny bit longer and left off the frill at the hem. But you can change and adapt your pattern to suit you. That is the beauty of making your own clothes.

I hope you give the adaptation a go and I’d love to see the results so do tag us on social media.

Jules x

 

Why a Retreat is All or Nothing

Sewing Retreat Feb 2018 Web Images-0020I have been asked, more than once, regarding our own Sewing Retreat if people “could just come along for the sewing bit without the accommodation or meals?”.

Maybe they live too close to Stratford to warrant staying somewhere else, or would prefer to not to stay overnight, whatever the reason it’s a perfectly valid question. And I could say ‘yes come and join us”.

But that would be missing the point. This weekend is a retreat, albeit a sewing retreat, but a retreat nonetheless.

Retreats, regardless of whether it happens to be a sewing retreat, a yoga retreat or even a religious retreat, are different from a normal workshop environment. Everyone is together for the duration of the retreat and separate from their normal lives.

The word retreat is derived from the Latin verb retractus which means –  “to pull back”.

So a retreat is a place where you pull back from the world.

This is perhaps the main reason for going on a retreat.

But here are 10 reason why I think retreats are important and different to normal workshops.

They help you to:

  1.   Pull Back

This is a strategic retreat. Almost in a military sense, and sometimes, as with all military campaigns a strategic withdrawal gives us time to reassess.

Pulling back from life allows us the time and space to gain a new perspective, you can re-group, and re-energise.

Gather your forces and refocus your energy onto something you love. You can find new inspiration and then put that into action.

Just getting away from it all; life, work, families, gives you the time you need to focus on what inspires you.

 

  1.   Find Space

Space can mean time. Time away from all the constraints and interruptions we face on a daily basis.

A whole block of time, not just dipping your toe into a bit of ‘me time’, but a whole chunk of free time to yourself.

More time than you would spend in a normal workshop.

Time to fully immerse yourself in what you are doing.

You might find that you need a bit of clear head space to work out why things aren’t working a well as you’d hoped. What alterations you need to do to a specific pattern for example.

Or you may literally need space to cut out fabric for certain projects.

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  1.  Be Inspired

Having that head space allows you the freedom to focus on what excites and inspires you.

We are all creative in our own ways and finding the time and space away from everything else allows you to alter your thinking and find new ways to reignite those sparks of creativity.

Spending time with other people who love doing what you do and seeing what they  make can install a renewed vigour into your own sewing too.

 

  1.  Listen

What do you hear? Hopefully you can hear yourself at last above the hubbub of daily life.

What do you enjoy doing, making, reading? On a retreat there will be others willing to listen to you too.

You may even find others worth listening to. And their stories may enlighten and inspire you in your own sewing practice.

 

  1.  Detox

Everyone needs to unload, clean out and empty their mental desktop.

You will leave a retreat lightened, clearer, recharged, refreshed, and better equipped to deal with any sewing or fitting issues that crops up.

Because you will have a new perspective on how to deal with the problems you arrived with.

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  1. Lose The Fear

So many times I have heard people say “Oh I don’t make anything with zips in” or “I avoid buttonholes”.  

Being fearful of trying something outside your comfort zone is perfectly normal.

But being in the safe and supportive environment of a retreat with expert tuition will allow you to learn to overcome those fears through practicing and making mistakes.

It’s only sewing! Make friends with your unpicker.

 

  1.  Remember Who You Are

In our daily life we are so many things to so many people, wife, husband, parent, child, friend, lover.

We need to be reminded that we are also individuals.

You can ditch all the other roles you have and just focus on being a better dressmaker, sewist or sewer. What ever you prefer to describe yourself as.

 

  1. Find your Tribe

We are all the same yet all different too.

On a retreat you will meet people who, like you, find joy in creating sewn projects.

You don’t have to justify your stash of fabric or vintage patterns. The seriousness of which is taken as a given.

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  1. Help others

When you take time away from your life, those in your life get time away from you too.

This brings appreciation. They realize what it’s like when you’re not around, to work, cook, clean, love them.

Without you taking up your usual place, people will shift their roles to fill that space and life takes on a new shape. Life is actually different when you return and you are free to take up a new space within it.

This is growth.

 

  1. Establish a Routine

Trying to find time to sew in an already busy daily schedule can be very hard. If you have a space at home to leave everything out and setup it’s much easier, but if you don’t making time and space can be nigh on impossible.

Listening and learning from others will help you understand how you can fit time into your own life back at home.

Establishing ways of working on a retreat is much easier as you are encouraged by the example of others.

You go back home and re-establish your life in a new way to accommodate your sewing.

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Retreats are important because people have time to spend on themselves and leave rested, happier, clearer and having learnt new skills and techniques.

Who doesn’t want some of that?

You can join us on our next Sewing Retreat in August 

 

Making More of Your Patterns : A Sleeveless Kate

Kate is just the most perfect dress for this hot weather as it’s infinitely hackable.

This is how you can adapt the pattern to make a sleeveless version just right for the long hot Summer days.

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Pattern alterations

The pattern needs a little bit of tweaking as the armholes are designed to take a sleeve.

First of all a I drew on the seam allowances around the armholes and across the shoulders. This makes it easier to see where and how the alterations need to be made.

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The shoulder point on the pattern needs to be brought in slightly so the arm hole sits better over the ball of the shoulder.

As the Kate Dress has a visible binding to finish the neckline this works well around the armhole too. But it means that the edge of the paper pattern will be the finished edge of the dress, with the binding wrapping itself around the cut edge of the fabric. Something to bare in mind!

First  I matched up the shoulder seams to make sure that both the armhole and neckline alterations were nice smooth flowing curves.

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For this dress I wanted to widen the neckline slightly too. So I made a mark 1.5cm in from the neck edge and then redrew the neckline curve blending it in to the original line.

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The shoulder point was moved in by 3cm and as it is going to be an open armhole I wanted to raise the underarm point a bit too so it would be too gapey.

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I raised the underarm point by 1.5cm so it was level with the cut edge of the pattern piece, then re-drew the armhole from the raised armhole point on the front to the new shoulder point, and around to the back underarm point.

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I cut the pattern through the new armhole and neckline while the paper was still pinned together to make sure the lines followed true.

I also lengthen the pattern by 10cm to make it more dress length than tunic length. I did this directly on to the fabric as I pinned out the pattern pieces.

Making it up

The Kate Dress has two options for the front of the dress. Plain and simple or with a bit of gathering at the centre front neckline.

As I am more than amply catered for in the bosom department I usually opt to go for the version with a bit of extra gathers just to make everything a bit more comfortable around the bust. You can do a Full Bust Adjustment too if you prefer.

Gathers are a form of ‘suppression’ and like their confederates; pleats, tucks and darts, basically just suppress the extra fabric to create a 3D shape. They can be interchangeable too.

For this dress I wanted a flatter finish at the neckline but to keep that bit of extra fullness in the fabric. So I turned the gathers into an inverted box pleat, a bit like the one I created in the Woven Peaseblossom Hack

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An inverted box pleat on the woven Peaseblossom

The additional fabric is marked on the Front pattern piece and I marked this onto the fabric.

Kate Sleeveless pattern hack front inverted box pleat pleat

I measured down 20cm as I wanted the opening of the pleat to be just below bust level, and marked this as the base of the pleat. I stitched along the new pleat line and then pressed the pleat open evenly to create the inverted box shape.

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It can be a little bit fiddly doing it on one this little but it’s worth getting it neat.

The rest of the dress was made up in exactly the same way as a normal Kate Dress. The pockets were bound across the top edge and sewn in place.

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I know you can hardly see the pockets here, no contrasting top-stitching this time.

The armholes were finished in the same way as the neckline. I measured the armhole first to work out how much bias binding I would need. 

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I used a visible binding finish, to matched the neckline. And it was sewn in exactly the same way as the neckline and pockets.

This is a simple and easy pattern hack to do. I hope you give it a go and make several Kates for the Summer.

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Happy Sewing!

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How to Keep Your Kids Happy this Holiday

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Our Kids Craft Club Tutor Marie-Jeanne is an experienced child care practitioner and teacher.

And she knows no bounds when it comes to creativity! We all want to join in with some of the activities she has planned for this Summer!

We have a regular Craft Club every Monday and Wednesday 9am – 4pm from 23rd July. These sessions will include a whole range of projects to engage and encourage children in their creativity. Sessions will include, sewing by hand and machine, paper marbling, weaving, smash journaling and all sorts of other things too. These sessions are £40 for one child and there are discounts for siblings too. Just let us know if you’d like to book for more than one child.

Call us on 01789 330588

Children are welcome from age 8 upwards and will need to bring a packed lunch with them. Drinks and healthy snacks will be provided to keep them crafting all day.

There will be workshops for the slightly older creative youngsters too.

August

7 & 13        Young Photographers – Learn how to understand and use your camera to take                great pictures.

14 am        Learn to use a Sewing Machine and get your Sewing Machine Driving License

14 pm        Sew your own Shortie PJ’s – super comfy shortie PJ’s, perfect for the holidays!

16               Make your own Lampshade – a great accessory to add to your room.

22              Young Photographers – Learn how to understand and use your camera to take                great pictures.

23              Sew Your Own Summer Skirt – a pretty gathered skirt with an elasticated waistband.

31             Learn to use a Sewing Machine and get your Sewing Machine Driving License.

To make sure the young people that attend our workshop have all the support they need we keep numbers limited to ensure that have plenty of 1:1 time with MJ and the other tutors. So please make sure to book early.

Have a look at our other Summer workshops too.

 

 

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Necessity is the Mother of creation.

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I know I’m paraphrasing here, but I think you’ll kind of get what I mean.

Not long after we moved into our new studio space I rashly agreed to become part of the Warwickshire Open Studios. “What better way of showcasing The Tall Photographer’s beautiful pictures and helping him kick-start his new career as a photo and videographer.” I thought.

“But what will you be exhibiting?” asked said Tall Photographer.

“Errrm?!”

And now you can see where my mis-quoted statement comes in. With only a few weeks to go until we joined the creative throng in Warwickshire I had to come up with some stuff to show.

When push comes to shove and you really have to hit a deadline it’s amazing how the creative juices can flow.

Being pushed for time meant I had to look around me for inspiration and our new studio is surrounded by the most beautiful countryside. Right outside our door we have a green haven of meadow grasses, cow parsley and daisies. Perfect for translating into stitch. Anyone who has done our Free Machine Embroidery classes will understand how liberating this can be. Literally using the sewing machine to free draw stitches onto the fabric to create a picture.

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Then I began playing with cut out shapes, in fabric of course, using our good old GoBaby die cutter. So much quicker than hand cutting shapes! And from a pile of leather, silk and linen scraps a hydrangea grew.

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Looking through my images on my hard drive, all the photos I’d taken over the years, the ones that sprang out were some taken in Istanbul on our honeymoon. The almost iridescent colours of the cerulean and cobalt blues with viridian greens brought back some wonderful memories.

As an aside – why do we not print off images anymore? Or flip through photo albums? Or is it just me that has thousands of images laying forgotten on a hard drive somewhere?

But what resonated with me where the red and white ceilings of the walkways in the Topkapi Palace Hareem in Istanbul. I love the contrast of colour on white, the simple patterns and repeats. So playing with this idea led to experimenting with the auto stitches on our machines.

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Now I don’t claim to be the most creative of individuals and I’m reasonably pleased with the work I have produced. But I so enjoyed the process of creating these pieces of work, having to think a little outside of the box of ‘dressmaking’ and to do some sketching again. Planning out ideas and experimenting.

Which is why I’m really excited about a new workshop we have coming up.

“Let’s Sketch” with Evegenia Golubeva.  Evgenia is an internationally renowned illustrator and has had won multiple awards for her work. You can find more about her here

If you would like to learn to draw, or just give yourself time to play and sketch, or even if you think you can‘t draw at all you will learn a huge amount from Evgenia. Her beautifully colourful illustrations are such a joy. And she will show you techniques you can use yourself to allow your creativity to flow.

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Drawing and sketching doesn’t have to be scary. As adults we worry so much about ‘getting it right’. About accurately representing what you see in front of you. But that’s what photos are for! Ha ha! I have found it’s more about trying to convey a feeling or mood or an idea that’s more important. And like any new skill, you get better the more you practice.

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So I fully intend on practicing much more now I have rediscovered my love of sketching and creating. Are you going to join me? 

Jules x

 

The Importance of Under-stitching – or -How to keep your facings in their place!

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This post kind of follows on from the Concealed Zip with a Facing tutorial and is part of the process for making up the Miranda Dress and Celia Top.

Under-stitching is one of those funny things people often don’t see the relevance of. I have even found it skipped in several commercial pattern instructions. Now I’m not sure if that was deliberate, maybe the pattern writers assumed that everyone would already understand the value and place of under-stitching or whether they had just missed the point themselves? Who knows?

But, under-stitching really is one of those processes that you shouldn’t avoid. It will elevate your sewing from ‘homemade’ to ‘handmade’ and give you a much more professional finish and make your clothes sit a lot better too.

As with so many terms in sewing it kind of does what it says on the tin. Under-stitching holds another part of the garment underneath so it doesn’t bounce out and reveal itself, particularly neck facings.

I have come across several methods for understitching but this one I find is the easiest and most effective.

Once you have attached the facing to the neck or waist line, layer and clip into the seam allowance.

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Layering or grading the seam allowance ensures that the seam allowance fades out into the rest of the garment rather than ending in a big step of fabric which can often be visible from the right side of the garment, especially after pressing.

Clipping into the seam allowance enables the seam allowance to fold back on itself and releases the tension on the outer edge of seam. Each clip in the seam allowance needs to be right up to but not through the row of sewing.

Turn the facing and garment out to the right side, but don’t press them first. The trick with under-stitching is to sew it first into the correct position. If you press the facing first and it’s not quite in the right position it can make it harder to get it corrected.

Lay the garment and facing flat with the right side uppermost. Spread them flat with your hands and make sure that all of the clipped into bits of seam allowance are pushed towards the facing.

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We will be stitching through the facing and all of the seam allowances, but NOT the garment.

If the facing is attached down the centre back or front don’t worry about getting in too close to  the corners. Start about a 5 – 8 cm away from the corner but make sure all the seam allowance is towards the facing.

Line up the machine needle about 2mm away from the seam line onto the facing.

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Sometimes it can be easier to line up a marker on the foot with the seam and then swing the needle into the correct position.

Start sewing through the facing and all the seam allowances spreading everything flat and away from the seam with both hands as you go.

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Allow the facing to dictate how it all sits by keeping that flat and letting the garment bunch up as it needs to to follow the curve of the facing.

Remember to lift up the facing and check that all of the clipped seam allowance is still pushed towards the facing.

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Finish as you started about 5 – 8cm from the corner, or if sewing in a circle, back to the beginning.

The action of spreading it all smooth and flat with your hands as you sew – no pinning, means that the facing and seam allowances are joined very close to the seam. Because of this the main garment fabric has to roll over the depth of the attached seam allowance and therefore when the garment and facing are pressed you should be able to see a very thin line of the garment fabric above the facing.

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Understitching means you can achieve a really neat and clean finish to an edge or opening of a garment.

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We have used this technique in several of our patterns including, Celia and Miranda. and you can see the clean finish it gives in the Celia below.

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I hope you give this method a go, do let me know how you get on.

Jules x

 

Retreating to move forward

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The most amazing setting in the woods at Cornish Tipis.

Life can be a bit of a slog sometimes. We can find ourselves on the Hamster Wheel Of Life, or just facing the daily grind without really thinking about what we are doing or where we are going. Sewing for yourself or anyone else for that matter just gets pushed out of the picture or put on the back burner until you have “more time”.

Sometimes we just have to stop and temporarily move away from life. Take a side step or just retreat from the coal face – just for a day or so.

I did this recently with my good pal Claire- Louise, also known as @thriftysticher on social media, complete sewing guru and all round fabulous person. She had told me about a Yoga retreat she was going to in Cornwall and did I want to come along. My first thought was ‘well yes it would be lovely but I have so much on my plate a the moment … blah blah blah’ and I didn’t really give it much thought.

Several weeks later even busier and with yet more ‘stuff on my plate’ I realised that I had to take a step back, or retreat from my life temporarily as I had lost sight of where I was going and beginning to feel that mild panic that can swiftly build into overwhelm. So I booked and managed to grab the last place on the retreat.

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Home for the weekend – chez Jules & CL

The weekend was a truly magical one in the most beautiful of settings. We were totally off grid and the wonderful Jules @pureplantnutrition (on instagram) cooked all our delicious meals for us. Amy from @nextwave_yoga lead the yoga sessions for us in the morning as the sun peeped through the trees and in the afternoons with the sun full on our faces.  Evenings were spent chatting around the campfire swapping stories and experiences.

We even went wild swimming in a freshwater lake with water so clean and clear you could drink it – literally, once you’d caught your breath back from the shock of the freezing cold water of course!

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No! You really don’t need to see me in a swimming costume!

There was no mobile signal and that meant freedom from outside intervention or work as most people call it. It was just time to think about and focus on what’s really important and how I can put those things to the front of my life and move towards them.  It also made me realise how un-bendy I am and that I really need to do some more exercise.

 

Apart from that particular fact I have also been able to take away several key things from that wonderful weekend.

ONE        I need to book time off  – Time off is not some random idea that happens to other people. I can have space away too and it makes me a better person for it.

TWO       Meditation really does calm the soul – I had forgotten this and was overjoyed to have rediscovered it.

THREE    Having a change really is as good as having a rest. It was actually quite hard work for me to do nothing. But changing where you do stuff can be just as beneficial.

FOUR      I need to hang out with my mates more. All work and no play makes Jules a dull girl and laughter IS the best medicine.

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I think our moustaches would rival even those of @thetallphotographer!

So where do you retreat to to help you find the clarity and focus you need? Is it just into the garden for a long G & T or for a walk in the woods early evening? Or maybe you just bugger off with some friends for a night out? Do let me know as I’m always looking for more ideas for ways to re-charge.

You can join Claire-Louise and me for our next Sewing Retreat if you fancy a bit of a chill and some sewing space just for you. Our expert tuition will see you sewing as you’ve never sewn before!

See you soon.

Jules x

 

Introducing Miranda

Miranda Dress Cover 1Miranda is the latest to join our pattern range and is a beautifully elegant shape to take you through all seasons. It is available in both paper and PDF formats.

Miranda, like all our patterns, takes her name from one of Shakespeare’s heroines, and her namesake is from The Tempest. Miranda lives in exile with her rather domineering father, Prospero. Consequently she can be perceived as a bit naive. But she is guileless and honest and she has an innocent and empathic soul. She begs her father to have pity on the poor passengers of a storm- tossed ship.

And when love strikes true she stands up to her father and shows she has a brave heart and the spirit to follow it. She faces the world bravely, armed with her own courage and loving heart, finding wonder and joy.

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Our Miranda is slightly more shaped than the rest of our dress patterns, Miranda is still a comfortable fit through the bust and waist but requires a full length centre back zip.

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The streamline princess seams flow over the bust from the shoulders and down into the skirt. These particular seams allow for creating a much better fit for individual figures and draw the eye in and down.

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Version 1 has pockets sewn as part of the side front skirt panels and makes up beautifully in a fabric than has a little bit of body, such as soft denim or linen. It would also see you through into the Autumn and work well in a soft needlecord too. Smart enough for work but casual enough for the weekend depending on your choice of fabrics

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Version 2 is a simpler make with no pockets, but we will be showing you how to add in seam side pockets in a later tutorial. As there are no pockets this version lends itself to softer more drapey fabrics like Marocain crepe or cotton lawn. And a pretty floral fabric looks perfect for the Summer or for more of a ‘dressy’ look.

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Miranda has two sleeve options. Version 1 has a longer, ¾ length sleeve with a faced notched cuff which can left long or folded back giving the possibility of utilising a contrasting fabric. Version 2 has a simpler cut short sleeve that sits just above the elbow.

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The neckline on Miranda can be left clean and gently rounded, or you can choose to echo the Version 1 sleeves and include the notch at the centre front.

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Shakespeare’s Miranda is a character that induces hope and admiration. In fact her name means “that which must be admired’ and we hope you’ll be admired in whichever way you choose to make up your own versions of Miranda.

SHOP MIRANDA

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We are in our New Home!

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Our signs will be going up next week.

At last we have moved the entire contents of the shop and everything else we have over to the new, even bigger studio space. Information on how to find us is on our Contact Page

The tables are set up, the machines working, the tea is in the pot and the printers fired up! Hat’s off the the SMS ladies who worked so hard and were totally awesome at moving us lock, stock and very large printer into the new studio.

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We’ve already had our first SASSY Club and I’ve been teaching on a couple of workshops too. The feedback we’ve had on the new environment has been wonderfully positive!

So it’s the same as before – but a little bit different.

You can still purchase your favourite fabrics, haberdashery and patterns from our online shop, but we are no longer operating an ‘open door’ shop, nine to five, five days a week. We will be increasing the number of products that will be available online to ensure that you have everything you need to make up any of our patterns. And if you do a workshop with us, you can buy anything we’ve got online, there and then!

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Doing this means that we have a lot more time to devote to designing and creating more patterns for you to enjoy making and wearing. We can write, photograph and even film more tutorials to help you improve your sewing and become confident creating your own handmade wardrobe.

And this is the most exciting thing for me. I really enjoy teaching some of the sewing and pattern cutting workshops we run, but I appreciate that only a small percentage of you can physically come and join us. So being able to focus on producing more in-depth tutorials and even online video versions of some of our workshops and courses is our goal for the coming months. We already have the next pattern ready and waiting for you and it’ll be available very soon.

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Another wonderful thing about our new workshop and studio space is that we can now separate the different parts of the business. Although Sew Me Something was how we started, we have been offering different types of workshops, not just sewing, for a while. And we want to be able to continue and develop this by providing a space for different types of craft and creative workshops to run.  We are all aware of the positive benefits craft, making things and generally getting creative has on our wellbeing and we want to be able to offer alternatives to sewing.

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Yes, there really are some people who prefer to do other crafts! Shocking, I know!

With this in mind we will be working with other creatives to provide workshops in photography, lino cutting, weaving and a whole host of other things too. Now as we are going to be doing more than just sewing in our new workshop space, we thought we might give it a more appropriate name – so we have called it The Makers’ Space.

Makers Space Branding [Recovered]

So you’ll be able to Sew Me Something at The Makers’ Space. Or learn to crochet at the Makers’ Space, or get to grips with your DSLR camera at The Maker’s Space, or even create stained glass Christmas decorations at The Makers’ Space. Sew Me Something is still here too, but we’ll be upstairs creating and developing new ideas and patterns for you to enjoy.

We are aiming for The Makers’ Space to become Your space to learn, create, have a great time and even make new friends. So watch this space and we shall keep you posted on what’s coming soon.

If there is anything you’d like to learn or to find out more about, or even if you would like to run a workshop with us do let us know. We always love to hear from you.

 

Jules x

 

Making More Of Your Patterns – Julia Hack #1

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.

 Lengthening

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!

Neckline

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.)

Hem

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.

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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

 

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