Tag: notions

I am starting a new beginner dressmaker series here on my blog. Today’s post, which will go over the things we need in order to be able to sew, and things that will make life a lot easier. If you are interested, why not subscribe to me through bloglovin (the link goes through to my account which you can then follow).  

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In the three years that I have been sewing I have purchased and used a wide range of notions/toys/gadgets aimed at making my life as a seamstress easier. I have spent a small fortune when you add it up – sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Today I want to share with you my top ten best sewing purchases

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The Big Giveaway!

The Big Giveaway is finally here! After lots of negotiation I have managed to source a number of very generous sewing companies who are willing to give gifts to help and encourage you guys with your sewing.

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Here are a list of prizes and the companies that are offering them:

Mini Sewing Machine from Penguin & Pear

Mini Sewing Machine from Penguin & Pear

As a part of this giveaway I will be giving one lucky winner a mini sewing machine from John Lewis! This sewing machine will be a great gift for a child, someone new to sewing, or just a lightweight machine to carry around instead of lugging your main machine. The machine has a worth of £59.99 and comes in four colours.

Penguin and Pear is my blog for sharing my sewing makes, writing tutorials and discussing anything sewing related. Find me on Instagram, Facebook, The Fold Line and Twitter as ‘Penguinandpear’.

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Fabric bundle from Abakhan

Fabric bundle from Abakhan

Abakhan are giving one lucky winner a bundle of fabric, carefully chosen by them for the winner.

Abakhan are a hugely popular fabric shop in the north of England. They have a good range of fabrics on their website at great prices. For more information go to the link below.

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Two PDF dressmaking patterns by Sew Over It

Two PDF dressmaking patterns by Sew Over It

Sew Over It are generously offering 2 PDF patterns from their range of dressmaking designs.

Sew Over It are a hugely popular haberdashery shop (they have two in London) and are known for their pretty vintage style. Go to their website (link below) to see what they have on offer. This offer is open worldwide.

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£50 Fabric bundle by Minervacrafts

£50 Fabric bundle by Minervacrafts

MInervacrafts are generously donating a £50 hamper of fabric to one lucky winner.

MInervacrafts have a massive range of fabrics on their website and are very helpful if you ask for something in particular. To find out more, follow the link below.

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£20 Gift voucher by Fabric Godmother

£20 Gift voucher by Fabric Godmother

Fabric Godmother are offering one lucky winner a £20 gift voucher for their website. You might like to buy a pattern, fabric or notions with this!

Josie from Fabric Godmother has a wide range of fabrics and other products on her website and is well worth a look. Follow the link below to find out more.

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Maker's Workbook by Creative Industry

Maker's Workbook by Creative Industry

Claire from Creative Industry is offering one lucky winner her Maker’s Workbook. This is a great prize where you can organise your projects, plan new ones and have as a reference for the future.

Clare also sells Swedish tracing paper and ‘made by hand’ labels. Her products are a very high quality and great additions to your sewing stash. To find out more, follow the link below.

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Jean's Kit by SEWN Bristol

Jean's Kit by SEWN Bristol

Marie from SEWN BRISTOL is offering a jeans kit comprising of a metal zip, jeans buttons and a rivet kit. A must have if you are making jeans this autumn.

Marie owns SEWN BRISTOL, a haberdashery shop in the south-west of England. If you are close by, I highly recommend you pop in. Otherwise they also have an online shop which gorgeous fabrics, notions and more. Follow the link below.

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Spool holder by Laura ter Kuile

Spool holder by Laura ter Kuile

Laura ter Kuile makes handmade spool holders and she is offering one lucky winner the chance to own a small version of her one-of-a-kind designs.

Laura is an independent maker and you can check out all of her products by following the link below.

Go to the website

To Enter:

To enter, go to the Sewing and Dressmaking Blogger Network on Facebook and request to join. Once you have been accepted you will see a post pinned to the top of the group page that will give you instructions on how to join and explain the rules.

The competition closes on 23/11/16 at 1pm GMT.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: Comments on this blogpost will not be considered entries. You must join the group to be eligible.

When you are beginning to sew the amount of information and advice available out there can be daunting, and there is no guarantee any of it is really appropriate. With this in mind I have compiled a list of tips for you. There are no promises about what will work for you but these snippets of advice below have certainly helped me and I wish I had a resource like this available when I first started sewing.

fusable interfacingIroning interfacing

When ironing interfacing you need to be careful not to get glue on your iron as it can be a nightmare to remove. I recently discovered a tip from Joy on Youtube who advised to use greaseproof/wax paper between the interfacing and iron. The immediate benefit is a clean iron but since I have been doing this I have discovered the fusable interfacing is much more efficient at sticking to the fabric and takes a lot less pressing time.

 

Walking foot

A walking foot is a type of foot that goes on your sewing machine. It takes some initial grappling to work out how to fit it but once you do it will take your sewing to the next level. If your sewing bunches up or both pieces don’t go through evenly, a walking foot will be your friend. They are particularly useful when sewing with knit fabrics but I tend to leave mine on machine most of the time, only taking it off if I need to use a specific foot. A walking foot doesn’t usually come with your sewing machine (unless you buy higher-end) and they can be pricey dependant on where you buy it but in my opinion it is worth the investment.

Washi tape

Washi tape isnt an obvious tool in a dressmakers box but it is a very useful one, especially if you struggle to sew in a straight line. Even now, when I have been sewing a couple of years I still use this to ensure accuracy. You just cut some off and line it up on the machine with the distance from the needle that you want to sew; for eg. 5/8th or 3/8th. Washi tape as opposed to other kinds of tape is particularly good because it doesnt leave a residue on your machine and comes off easily. Its also particularly nice if you want to take photos as you can get some really pretty designs.

pinsPins

One of the best bits of advice I can give you in your sewing and dressmaking is to use pins appropriate to your fabric. When starting out it is tempting to use the pins you have for everything (and this will do if you are on a tight budget at least initially) but there are a wind range of pins available for different thicknesses and delicacies of fabric, and appropriate pinning will lead to better cutting and sewing of
your garment.

PDF patterns

Initially I was pretty anti-PDF pattern purchases. I thought if I am spending money then I want something tangible in return. Also, the thought of piecing paper together, sometimes 40 or more pages, wasnt exactly enticing! I much preferred the idea of a gorgeously packaged pattern that was ready to go. Then I started to grow impatient that when I bought my pattern it would take days to arrive (a couple of times the pattern wasnt in stock and I had to wait a couple of weeks!). So I began downloading my patterns with the additional benefit of them being cheaper than their paper counterparts. Look back over my library of PDF patterns now the thing I like now is that if I wear out the pattern then I can simply re-print it very cheaply.

dartsdrawingDarts

Darts are used to offer shaping to a pattern but when you first begin using them they can be difficult to master. I think it is very useful to draw lines on the dart with some kind of fabric marker, not only on each side but directly down the middle too. Then when you fold it there is no mistaking where the fold should be. Another option is by inseting a pin on the line on one side of the dart and ensuring it comes out the other side on the other line, and then pinning. I would also advise ironing that fold prior to sewing as this will make the process of sewing your dart much easier. Just remember to backstitch at the top and leave long threads at the tip to tie twice and snip.


Topstitching foot

When I was first learning to sew my straight lines were, at best, completely wonky. So learning to top stitch wasnt the easiest job in the world. It was only a couple of months ago that I discovered there are feet that can help with this! There are a number of feet on the market that will help with this, just look for one that has a vertical guide. You then put the guide along the seam, and the needle far away as you need it – your topstitching should then be even across the piece.

 

 

 

Have you found these tips useful? Do you have other tips that you have found helpful? Why not leave a comment and tell us?

You can find me on Instagram, The Fold Line & Facebook all under the name of ‘penguinandpear’

Until next time…

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