Tag: patterns

As a newbie looking to dip their toes into dressmaking it must be overwhelming to discover just how much resources and information there is out there. I know I am always looking at patterns and could spend an absolute fortune on them if I wanted without really knowing what I was buying (hint – I and many others have done this!). With this in mind, I asked the lovely members over at the Dressmaking Blogger Network on Facebook to tell me what their go to patterns are and why:

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Something I have learned from the sewing community is: you either love or hate PDF patterns. I am in the love camp (much more fun than hating!) and my PDF printouts were taking over the flat – seriously – so I have come up with an efficient, time and room saving way of storing them. Call it the admin in me.

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Vintage Pattern Haul

Now and again I will peruse the charity shops for sewing knick knacks. I don’t often find much, sometimes a duvet cover to toile in, occasionally a new zip but this journey I found a plethora of vintage sewing patterns. What is more, these were all in the same shop and there were lots more but I had to restrict myself (somewhat!).

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As winter is setting in and my pattern stash in growing I thought I would write about what are in my sewing plans for the up and coming months, so please keep reading, I hope it inspires you…

Carolyn Pajama Pattern by Closet Case Files

Carolyn Pajama Pattern by Closet Case Files

I was tempted by this pattern after seeing Sarah from Sewsarahsmith make a pair. Nightwear has not really been on my radar until now because… well, because I still havent got enough daytime wear clothes. I have now purchased this pattern and I am looking forward to making them. I bought a king size duvet set the other day with pink flowers, it was half price, and I will use that to make my first Carolyn.

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Clare Coat Sewing Pattern by Closet Case Files

Clare Coat Sewing Pattern by Closet Case Files

This is another Closet Case Files pattern (i love their style). I have had the Clare Coat in my stash for quite a while now. I’ve even bought some wool, but not thinking about the pattern matching I bought a plaid. So now I keep putting off making this. I may invest in a plain colour wool instead so it is a little bit less of a headache. I’ve been really encouraged to get on with this after seeing Lauren Guthrie make one, and SewSheSho embark on hers. I need to grow a pair and get going with a toile as I have the pattern all ready to use.

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Billie Dress by Tribe Patterns

Billie Dress by Tribe Patterns

Tribe patterns is a new collaboration between The Foldline and the sewing community. They will be holding regular competitions asking the sewing community to design some clothes and the winner will have their imaginations bought to life by Tribe Patterns. The first offering from them, in collab with Rachel Pinheiro is the Billie Collection. This is the dress from that collection. I really love this. It is stylish and will flatter most shapes. I really love that the sizing goes up further than most other indie patterns so I wont need to grade the pattern (hurrah!). I have cut out a toile and am in the process of making this and it is a very simple beginner friendly pattern.

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Billie Top by Tribe Patterns

Billie Top by Tribe Patterns

This is the blouse from the Tribe Patterns Billie Collection. I havent always been a fan of the peplum because I don’t see how it can flatter the fuller figure but the shaping in this is lovely. I will make up a toile and see – if it doesnt work I will take off the peplum and extend the length. I really love the zip feature on this top and can’t wait to make this.

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Sabrina Slims by Love Notions

Sabrina Slims by Love Notions

I first found Love Notions a couple of weeks ago and have since made 4 versions of their LDT pattern. They are great patterns to follow. I was really encouraged by them going up into my size so no grading needed. This was fantastic, I was going through a meh moment with sewing after attempting the Colette Rue, feeling like I was rubbish at alterations and so this pattern company helped me to fall back in love with sewing. I don’t currently have any trousers in my wardrobe and with winter coming I thought a staple like these would be a great addition. I have some stretch sateen that would be perfect for these!

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Negroni Shirt Pattern by Colette

Negroni Shirt Pattern by Colette

I have to admit to having this pattern in my stash for ages. I have been meaning to make a shirt for my husband for some time but selfish sewing has gotten in the way. I was planning on making a Halloween shirt with black cat fabric but I have missed that boat. I have some bees fabric from Sew Over It but he says its too loud. I will not be deterred though, I will find the perfect fabric and make this up. This will be my first man’s shirt I have ever made…

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Kelly Anorak Jacket Pattern by Closet Case Files

Kelly Anorak Jacket Pattern by Closet Case Files

Yet another CCF pattern… as soon as this was released I knew I had to have it and I’d soon bought the perfect fabric for it – a white floral twill. This is now my second coat pattern so I need to get a move on before winter is over! The feature I love on this the most is that you can place the drawstring where it sits best on you – love it.

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Martha Sewing Pattern by Tilly & the Buttons

Martha Sewing Pattern by Tilly & the Buttons

I’ve had this dress for a while and have made up a toile. It was a nice make but slightly too small. Once I have made the necessary adjustments I think its going to be a really flattering garment. I am taking part in the Red Dress Challenge that is being set by Running N Style and think it may be my Christmas day make. It is more of a summer dress but made up in a medium weight I think it is appropriate through the winter too. I probably wont have the neck collar though as I dont like anything that far up my neck.

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Coco Dress Pattern by Tilly & the Buttons

Coco Dress Pattern by Tilly & the Buttons

I’ve had this pattern for over a year now and have made it up once before. I want to give this a proper go with some adjustments. I have 1 metre of a Ponte Roma stripey fabric and want to use this, along with some ribbing for the arms, neck and hem areas. I will probably make this as a top though.

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Summer Caye Pants Pattern by Love Notions

Summer Caye Pants Pattern by Love Notions

This is the second pattern by Love Notions. I wanted a few different types of trousers and feel the palazzo pants would be really comfy for sitting down all day at work. I have cut these out but have yet to sew them up. Even though they are in my size I am expecting some adjustments but I am hoping they will be a simple make. If so, there will be lots in my wardrobe.

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Camden Cape Pattern by Seamwork

Camden Cape Pattern by Seamwork

I have wanting to make a cape pattern for a while now and as I have this Seamwork pattern in my stash I thought I would make this. I am expecting this to be a fairly simple make. I might use the plaid wool I bought for the Clare Coat as I think this should be easier to pattern match… but we will see.

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Do you like the look of any of these patterns? Have you made them up? Please tell all in the comments below…

And before you go, Have you entered The Big Giveaway? You can win a sewing machine, fabric and much more. Click here for more details…

A little while ago I started a new group on Facebook for us sewing bloggers called Sewing and Dressmaking Blogger Network. The aim was to bring together a community of sewists who like to write about their makes. The group is developing and evolving as time goes on; it is growing, now with over 100 members, and there are lots of blog posts shared (something other groups seem to frown upon) and tips, tricks and useful links. Everyone is super friendly, supportive and engaging. I am very proud of the group is evolving.

giveawaysmall100 new members!

As a celebration of hitting 100 members, and as a thank you to everyone, and because I believe in the group I have decided to host a giveaway!!

Yes, free stuff!

If you go to my group here and look at the pinned post you will find details of the giveaway. There is a £25 voucher for fabricgodmother.co.uk up for grabs! You could buy a couple of patterns with this, or a few metres of fabric, or some haberdashery items… the list is endless. I am kind of jealous I cannot enter myself!

 

I havent posted much about what I have been making to date so with this in mind I thought I would introduce a new regular slot – Makes for this month. The first make is the Dahlia dress by Colette but I wont talk about this now because I will have a post all of its own coming out shortly. I’ve also been making a toile of the Aster blouse by Colette but I am waiting on my buttonhole function to be fixed to show this off. There are two patterns I do want to talk about though:

 

LS26_Pussy_Bow_Blouse_ENVELOPE_1The Pussy Bow Dress by Simple Sew

This was a freebie pattern with one of my sewing magazines, I cant remember which though! I’ve accumulated quite a few free patterns but have never used them so thought I would give this a try. I had some elephant crepe-de-chine from Fabricland (I think it was either 3.99 or 4.99 a metre) so I thought this would go well with this pattern. The pattern has patterns for a dress or a blouse and I went for the dress pattern.

I am used to PDFs so when I opened this pattern envelope I noticed immediately how thin the pattern paper was. I cut straight into it because I have two copies of this pattern (bought the same mag twice by accident!) and went for the largest size (20). I started cutting with scissors but soon changed to a rotary blade as it is so much more time efficient. The pattern paper did rip on one piece, but it was in the middle and not a big tear so it was okay.

Once cutting the pieces was completed it was time to move on to cutting the fabric. With wovens I always start with ripping across selvage to selvage at the top and bottom, this ensures that I can line up the fabric correctly and it gets cut on grain. It can seem like a waste if you lose quite a few inches of fabric but its not once you take into account that you wont need to recut pieces that warp! Because crepe-de-chine is quite slippery I ensured I pinned generously (also used pattern weights). I would not advise cutting with scissors with a slippery fabric, a rotary cutter and mat will be much more accurate.  I would not advise forgoing pins either, for the same reason.

Once I began sewing the garment sewed up nicely. Its a largely simple pattern: a front and a back with 6 darts and an invisable zipper. I made the garment with french seams which took longer, but worth it for the lovely finish.The neck finish was simple enough – I’d never made a pussy bow before so did not know what to expect but the instructions are straight-forward and I didn’t run into any problems. It did require some hand stitching at the back of the neck and I am reluctantly becoming more accepting of this. The invisable zipper was probably the biggest challenge of the dress – if you are not experienced in this I would practice first but this is one of the things that has come to me quite easily. I think the trick was that I started doing them almost as soon as I started to sew so now they are simple enough (especially with an invisable zipper foot – great investment). Buttonholes however are another matter but luckily this pattern didnt have any! The armholes were simple enough, mainly because you put them in before you sew up the side seam, so much easier than setting them in. Then it was just the hem to finish. I initially tried a special foot to do a thin hem but this messed up so I went the traditional route and folded twice.

This is a pattern that an advanced beginner could do – I say that due to the zip, otherwise it is very beginner friendly. Would I make it again? Yes for sure, though I might try the blouse next time, and you could probably omit the zip in that version.

 

Pussy Bow Dress
Pussy Bow Dress

This looks a little top heavy because I have pinned back the waist so you can see the shape

 

 

LOVE_AT_FIRST_STITCH_8Mimi Blouse by Tilly and the Buttons

The Mimi blouse is a pattern in the Tilly and the Buttons book Love at First Stitch. I bought this book when I first started sewing but I’d never gotten round to making the Mimi blouse. I was also trying to stop myself from purchasing more patterns when I dont need to( we wont count the three I bought while making this!!). I’d just bought some Cotton Lawn from Fabricland for 4.99 a metre that I wanted to use and it was perfect for this.

Firstly I had to trace off the patterns because I definitely did not want to cut into the patterns that came with the book. This was simple enough but the blouse had 8 pieces to trace so it did take quite a long time.

Once this was done it was time to cut the fabric out. Cotton lawn is light and floaty but perfectly managable. I torn the ends and lined it up and pinned really well. I have to say, cotton lawn might just be my new fabric fabric of all time. It cuts so easily! I also had to cut my interfacing out – I used the lightweight one to go with the cotton lawn and by the end I was struggling to have enough. I cut two pieces for the neck line instead of one on the fold and stitched it together – who will know?!!!

Firstly I had to stay stitch – Tilly is a big advocate of this and while it does add extra time to your makes it can stop your fabric from stretching out of shape so is worth doing. Its just a line of stiching along curves within the seam allowance. Next up I had to run a basting stitch across the back and front pieces. I hate gathers with a passion, its a lot of work to make them even. You should do three lines of stitching at 5.0 length but I am lazy and only ever do one. They advise against this but I have never had a problem. As it turned out attaching the yoke to the back and front pieces in this way was fine and it looked good.

Then I had to attach the side seams, which I did using a french seam. A french seam is where you sew wrong sides together first and then right sides together encasing all the raw edges. Its a lovely technique but i would only use it on light-weight fabrics – anything heavier I use the overlocker.

Once this was done I had to attach the collar – I did not read the instructions carefully and attached one side of the collar without making it up first. Cue the unpicker. Once I made the collar up and attached that, it was quite easy to attach the neckline facing. Rather than turning the hem under and stitching to finish the facing, I overlocked. This worked well except going around the curve – if you have any tips for doing this please share in the comments.

The sleeves were easy enough – first a pleat needed to be made; I couldnt really understand what Tilly was instructing so I did my own thing and it worked out fine. I’m not sure I gathered the sleeve correctly but the end result was acceptable. Attaching the sleeve facing was a breeze although I did have to do some dreaded hand basting to finish it.

Then it the turn of the hemming process. I learned a fab technique watching one of Gertie’s videos; you sew a line of stitching 1/8th away from the edge, then turn it under and sew another line on top of the first line. Once this is done trim away any excess and fold under again sewing a final line of stitching. This is by far the easiest way of hemming in my book.

The last thing to do is create buttonholes – eak!!! I havent done this yet because my 1-step function is not working and I  need to speak to my dealer but once I create these and sew buttonholes it will be finished.

Love at First Stitch is a book aimed at beginners, and it certainly has beginner patterns in it but the Mimi blouse isnt one of them. I feel this is an intermediate pattern because there are a lot of different techniques to be used and it takes some time to complete (even if you are not a beginner), so I wouldnt use this pattern as your first attempt at sewing. I will possibly make more but it depends on time constrains as this did take quite a while to make.

 

Mimi Blouse

Mimi blouse sans buttonholes!

Mimi Blouse

I have pinned the waist back so you can see the shape

 

There are a lot of patterns on the market, to the point where a new sewist could be overwhelmed by the choice. I remember feeling exactly that, especially when looking at the big 4 – Burda, Butterick, Simplicity and Vogue. I just did not know where to start! Luckily I soon came across independent designers and I can safely say I have never made a dress from the big 4! Indies have all the content I need. With this in mind, I thought I would share with you my top 5 independent pattern makers. This post is not sponsored in anyway – its based purely on my experience and my thoughts.

 

 

Tilly & the Buttons

Tilly & the Buttons

This pattern making company was created and is run by Tilly Walnes. When I was first learning to sew I came across her book Love at First Stitch, which I credit with capturing my interest. It is a very good, beginner-friendly book that shows sewing can be funky and stylish and isnt just for the older generation. Her brand is a style setter (rather than follower) and her patterns the same. Tilly was on the second series of the GBSB and her brand has gone from strength to strength since then. She’s released quite a few patterns in recent years and I have some of them. The patterns are on very high quality paper and the instructions are plain and simple. She also blogs around new patterns so there is always additional help on her website.

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Sew Over It

Sew Over It

Sew Over It are another big favourite of mine. Sew Over It is run by Lisa Comfort, who has two haberdashery stores in London. Her patterns are stylish and easy to follow; vintage inspired although Lisa will often adapt her patterns to bring them up to date. I have a lot of these patterns and swear by them. In fact, I am addicted. Lisa also has a vlog on Youtube, where she discusses her makes, fabric, shop related stuff, patterns, hacks, tutorials and more. Lots of really useful footage. I often go back and re-watch her older stuff to get fabric choice inspiration as I love her style.

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Colette

Colette

I am quite new to Colette but I really like their range because they are stylish and fun but also do a bigger range of sizes (which means less grading needed). I have purchased a few of their patterns now (recently they had a big sale on) and find the instructions very clear (different instructions for different variations). Colette also run a blog, which has inspired my posts on the Wardrobe Architect and they have another site dedicated to sew-alongs for each of their released patterns. They are one of the big boys in the independents for a reason!

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Doe & Deer

Doe & Deer

I discovered Doe and Deer a while ago and just adore their style. I have to be honest and say I havent made their patterns yet – mainly because I need to grade up and have only just learnt to do this. They do have a free pattern in their portfolio so I would encourage you to download this and see if you like what they offer.

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By Hand London

By Hand London

I have warmed to BHL quite slowly but I am becoming a bigger fan by the day. I have produced garments from a couple of their designs and they were straight-forward and easy to follow. My first blouse was the Sarah blouse and I felt very accomplished after making the yoke as it was a new skill and they make it easy. So if you’re looking for a pattern company that will help you to develop this is one of them (although to be fair they all do that). BHL also have a circle skirt calculator on their website, which is fantastic for drafting your own full circle skirts.

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What do you think of my choices? Are you a fan of any of these? Are you inspired to look into them? Is there a pattern maker you really like that is not on my list? If so please do share as I am always on the look out for new patterns!

I’ve used many things as tracing paper for my patterns over the last few years that I have been sewing; mainly cheap greaseproof paper from the poundshop! It works well but its not very wide and the better I get at sewing the more intrigued I’ve become to try the professional equipment.

A couple of weeks ago the Swedish Tracing Paper company sent me a roll to try out. I was very excited because I’d heard it not only acts as tracing paper but you can sew it into a toile too!

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Previously I had been sewing mainly for others, but further to my last post, I decided to bite the bullet and make The Rushcutter by In the Folds for myself.

FRONT-PAGE_WITH-TYPEThe first thing I noticed about the Swedish Tracing Paper is that it is very wide (1m) so there is no taping together of pieces necessary. As if that wasn’t reason enough to fall instantly in love with it, it almost has a feel of fabric about it. Well, maybe a cross between high quality paper and poly-cotton fabric. Ideal for making a toile.

Once I’d cut and pieced together my PDF pattern I put the Swedish Tracing Paper over the pattern pieces; pinned and cut. I then drew any information on the Swedish Tracing Paper that I needed to. I used an ordinary pen and there was no problems with writing on it. You could perfectly see through the Swedish Tracing Paper too.

rushcutterwritingtoile

Once all my pieces were cut I began to make the pattern following the PDF instructions, leaving out any non-essential steps. The sewing of the STP was straight-forward and worked exactly the same as if I were sewing fabric – probably better if anything – no chewing of tracing paper here! I was sewing with quite a lot of Swedish Tracing Paper and it did become crumpled in places, but this didn’t weaken it (I think the paper is very strong really).

cutting

Okay, so toile made – my first real one – and I tried it on. The pattern is an easy fit. One thing I did notice in the measurements was I went across two sizes, but decided to stick with the smaller size as it is an oversized garment. The toile showed me how much room I would have with the dress made at that size which was really informative at that stage, although you cannot rely on the tracing paper for an idea of drape because obviously paper doesn’t drape very well!

rushcuttertoile

I did not end up making any adjustments as the toile seemed fine, it was nice to approach a garment feeling secure it would fit in the end.

When I got to work with the actual pattern it was quite easy as I had done many of the steps already, much better than blindly forging ahead with a pattern in manic excitement! I decided to block sew with two different fabrics, so I made up two dresses as I went. Here are the results:

rushcutterstand

Conclusion

If you are concerned about getting a precise fit and improving your dressmaking skills to professional standard then Swedish Tracing Paper is definitely worth the investment. I’m glad I tried it and will be purchasing more in the future. It does make the process of sewing more long-winded but that is preferable to getting the seam ripper out after you have finished your piece!

The next project I plan to use Swedish Tracing Paper on is SEW OVER IT’s Ultimate Pencil Skirt. I recently went on a fabric haul trip and sourced some lovely red tartan…

Have you used Swedish Tracing Paper for your projects? What did you think? Have you used something else to toile? Or do you just shortcut to the making of the actual garment? Let me know in comments below…

Disclaimer: Swedish Tracing Paper company supplied me with the tracing paper in exchange for a review. However, all opinions within the article are my own and not influenced by the company.

EDIT: We have a winner – please check out Instagram to find out who the winner is!

Competition time! Who would like to win the two patterns pictured here! They are from Threadcount and are in sizes 16-24 (UK). They are beginner patterns too! The reason I am giving them away is in my excitement to buy a sewing magazine I bought two and they gave these away with the addition. So rather than let them sit in my stash unused for an eternity I thought I would spread some joy and pass them to one of you guys!

Now I know not everyone will be the size these offer but that shouldn’t stop you from entering. Maybe you have the skills to downgrade the pattern? Maybe you have a family or friend in this size who would really appreciate a hand-made gift from you? Its not that easy to come across good patterns in this size range, after all! Whatever your motivation, everyone likes to win free stuff, no?!!

 

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The rules:

  • You need to live in the UK
  • You need to like my Facebook page & Instagram
  • You need to leave a comment on this post saying why you’d like them
  • I will pick a winner at random who fulfils the criteria on the 20th April 2016 after 5pm (GMT).

 

Thank you in advance!

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