Sunday, 2 July 2017

Pattern 8222 Skinny Jeans Review

As you will know if you have been to one of our classes I'm a huge Mimi G fan and I always recommend her youtube channel and blog to anyone starting out in sewing/dressmaking as she has such great clear tutorials.

I saw this pattern (Simplicity 8222 - widely available online) , on her blog ages and ages ago but I wasn't sure if my machine could manage sewing denim too well....but then I decided I needed to try ! 

FYI - I have a Bernina Activa 220 and it didn't mind the thick seams although I did hear the needle pull a little in places, and it refused to do the belt loops although I think I could have made some with less layers of denim than recommended.

I used a Schemtz denim needle size 16 with Gutermann sew all thread for the seams and a Schemtz topstitch needle in size 14 with Gutermann poly topstitch thread (this was so thick 30 weight never put anything to thick in my machine but it coped fine).

Mimi G has a amazing video tutorial for these jeans where she goes through everything so clearly and even though I've been sewing for years I found it gave me the confidence the jeans would turn our looking professional with the topstitching and machine bartacks in the right place.   Here's the link to her channel on part 1 there's 5 videos in total.  Honestly I cannot recommend enough FAB FAB instructions.

So here's my finished jeans.. the pattern is just brilliant I kept putting my favourite jeans against the pattern pieces just to check the shape was ok for me, and they are fairly close to my fav - UK Next Lift and Shape although they don't come as high or curve as much as those at the top.  

One of my errors is that my denim doesn't stretch as much as the pattern calls for (I mis heard I think on the video) I think mine said 12% stretch and the pattern recommends 25% cross grain.   The denim has washed really well (definitely pre wash you don't want those perfect jeans to tight), hardly any dye has come off.

The denim was from Ditto Fabrics - they have a great range I just need to select a more stretchy one next time just because that is what I prefer.

Here's the back - I played really safe and used the same colour top stitch thread ! I know very dull of me !

You can still see the chalk pencil for the fly even though I've washed them again I think I over did it - hopefully next wash it will come out !  As they don't stretch I need to extra fabric on the knees or I would have taken in but then I wouldn't be able to bend my knees !

If you are not sure if your machine can sew layers of denim you can often get samples online first.  I would 100% recommend this pattern can't give it and Mimi G's tutorial enough praise !

Friday, 16 June 2017

Mimi G No pattern Maxi Dress

I was looking for a new maxi dress pattern online and came across this great no pattern tutorial by Mimi G over on her blog.  She has a full youtube video tutorial to go with.

It was really straight forward to sew the only problem I have with the design on me is that is was falling off my shoulders but I have a sew some navy ribbon at the back v neck which I have seen done before on dresses like this.

I used plain woven viscose from Minerva Crafts, and it feels really nice and cool. So many maxi dresses are knit fabric and I much prefer woven fabrics.  I didn't cut the skirt as full as the tutorial instructions and then I added slits on both sides to allow for running about after my children, and not tripping over !

I've 100% recommend this tutorial for beginners the fabric was £4.99 per meter so a great way to start sewing with viscose and practice. 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sew Over It - Pussy Bow Blouse Pattern Review

Sew Over It  - Pussy Bow Blouse

Having seen the lovely Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It some beautiful versions of this pattern I was excited to try this pattern

I found some lovely viscose Challis - Black with redflowers on ebay - OhSewCraftltd for my first version this fabric was brilliant a really lovely weight viscose lovely drape and really soft.

I loved the first version so much I quickly ordered some more viscose this time from The Textile Centre, this was a finer viscose challis and seemed to crease very easy but was still lovely for the finished blouse.

There are 2 Versions to make 1 - Keyhole neckline 2- lower v neckline 

The instructions for this pattern were really excellent so clear and well explained.  The only tiny thing to take care on was the seam allowance for the neck-tie were different to the rest of the pattern, so do keep checking seam allowances.

I liked that the sleeve gathers into a thin cuff,  I didn't use interfacing and I thought it was fine without.  There's a fabric loop for the button maybe to help people avoid button holes?  I think it's quicker to do a button hole but I did do the loops as I'd already cut the cuffs before I read this and would have needed to extend the cuff for a button hole.

Overall 10 out of 10 from me for this pattern.   I think I need a white version for my spring wardrobe next !

I made size UK 12  &   Version 2

For Rayon/Viscose Challis fabric as well as the ebay shop and The Textile Centre I've also shopped at Minerva Crafts  and they currently have some lovely Viscose Fabrics I've got my eye on some for a Maxi Dress.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Sew Over It Cami Pattern Review

Sew Over It had some lovely sewing kits and they worked out as really good value because you got the paper pattern, and the fabric for less than it would have been to buy them individually, so I had to have one !

I had been looking a Cami top pattern to make some ready for beach holidays in the summer.

This viscose fabric was really lovely and smooth and great to sew with, ( think it's now run out but they do have some lovely new viscose).

It was really quick to make I didn't do a test run or pre wash because it's loose fitting I just made sure there was extra ease for some shrinkage on the first wash.

I'm delighted with this little top perfect, I may raise the neck line although I'm sure it would look fine with a tan !

It was the first time I had ever come across a all in one neck line and arm facing and I was impressed with how lovely the inside feels when the top is on, because it's also got french seams at the sides.

For the all in one neckline and arm facing I used Lisa's youtube video  which I had already seen and remembered, I did refer to it a few times as at first I was confused but it's a great tutorial.

French Seams as above are especially good for me as I do not own, an overlocker.   My machine does have a nice overlock stitch but I love french seams !

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Zipped Pouch Tutorial

At our beginners workshop we normally make a zipped bag with boxed corners, so I thought it would be helpful to pop a tutorial up on our blog for reference for anyone who has been on the class or might come across our blog.

I do apologise that the photos are not great it's been so grey over the past for weeks and although I did purchase some photography lights they are very yellow so I need to find some better whiter lights asap !


2 x Outer fabric 11" by 8"
2 x Interfacing if using lightweight fabric (like in this example)
2 x Lining fabric

1 x 10" Zipper 

In the photos I've used a quilting cotton fabric and iron on interfacing.  If you use curtain weight fabric or canvas you would not need to interface.  I only used interfacing so that the bag will stand up on it's own.

Step 1 
Cut out and apply interfacing

Step 2
Pin or clip zipper to one piece of your outer fabric, note the zipper pull should be facing the right side of the fabric.

Step 3
Using your zipper foot sew your zip in please.  Remember that the zip foot edge should be on the right just by the zipper teeth and the needle should go down just inside the notch on the zipper foot.

Step 4
Repeat for the other side

Step 5
Add your lining fabric as shown, so the right side of the lining is facing the wrong side of the zipper. Pin/Clip and sew in the same way as for the outer fabric.

Step 6

Now the zipper is attached to lining and outer fabric, iron or press with your fingers so that the fabric is pulled away from the zipper teeth on both the outside and lining.

Next topstitch close to the zip edge.  I like to use my normal foot for this and just line up to the edge of the zip teeth.  I also change to a topstitch cotton 40wt thread and make the stitch length longer to look nice and neat.

Step 7
Open your zipper so it 1/2 open (this is so we can turn the bag the right way out later)

Next clip or pin the outer fabric and lining together and sew around the edge leaving a 3"-4" gap along the bottom of the lining fabric.

Use a 1/4" seam allowance or if you don't have a 1/4" patchwork foot the edge of your presser foot will be fine, just take care near to the metal zip stop.

Hopefully you can just about see the gap here

Step 8

This is optional only do if you would like boxed corners on your bag.

Mark 1 1/2 " from the sewing line as shown on the 2 photos below

Then cut the corner off and open up the hole as shown 

Pull together the 2 seams and place the seam against each other with the seam allowances going in opposite directions as shown, and sew across using the same seam allowance.

It will then look like this ...

Step 9 

You are almost finished, turn your bag the right way out and push out the corners by putting your hand in the gap we left in the lining.

Sew the lining closed by pulling it out and top stitching to close the gap like shown..

So then the lining is neat and your bag is finished :-)


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Memory Bear

I recently made this cute little bear as a gift for a friend using her son's old baby clothes, wow I have forgotten just how small baby clothes are hardly enough fabric for some of the pattern pieces !

The pattern was free in Issue 5 of Love Patchwork and Quilting very old now I'm afraid the templates are available here online but no instructions without the magazine which is a shame   I enlarged the pattern by 193% on my photocopier so my bear is about 30cm rather than the 15cm original.

The lady who wrote the pattern and instructions did an amazing job, I've never made a bear and I had no idea how it would all go together  !   It too me ages and ages to stuff it because I was not sure how to get it even and not lumps.

I was really pleased with the finished bear in his super soft baby grow fabric  :-)

If like me you would prefer instructions Jo Carter who designed this bear has a free Polar Bear pattern on her blog along with a great tutorial, perfect for a Xmas bear gift.

I got my toy filling from Dunelm Mill as they sell toy safe filling and are handy to me.  

I'm keen to make a bear in patchwork fabric next I think that would be a really pretty bear !

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse review

I had seen this top on a few blogs and I immediately thought it might be a good pattern to teach at a beginners dressmaking class along with some other tops because of the raglan sleeve, which is much easier to sew than the more commonly used set in sleeve (like on a traditional shirt).  

I must say the fabric I used was not ideal, I purchased it online it is Robert Kaufman Essex Linen, a 50% cotton 50% linen blend, I'd not seen it before it was ordered to make another top but it's a lot thicker and stiffer than I had expected.  In addition I ordered white this is cream to me but the online shop confirm it's called white by Robert Kaufman most confusing. 

So what did I think over the pattern ? 

Very well designed, instructions are excellent, I didn't make any adjustments. I cut a size 10 in Sewaholic sizes which are US so I think that would be roughly a 14 in UK sizes.

The great thing about this pattern for a beginner there's no darts to get in the right place and the sleeve is much easier than a set in sleeve. 

The neck line is finished by using bias binding as a facing, I normally prefer a facing but in this case the binding works well with the shape of the neckline. 

I like cuffs for the sleeves and again these are nice and easy.

The fabric I used is wrong, too thick not enough drape but I shall still wear my linen version I'm happy enough with it.

It does need to be tucked in I think to be flattering as it swings out but in a fabric with more drape the "swing" would be less obvious.

There are 3 options, plain, pin tucked shoulders and a pocket.

I bought the pattern version which comes on tissue paper, you can buy as a PDF also which is cheaper.

My pattern pieces all cut out, you can see here the curve on the top of the sleeve should which I really like.

Excuse my looking confused is the camera working look, as you can see the neckline is pretty wide, but I think a nice height.  I could have cut a UK 12 but I wanted a loose fit for hot weather.  With no darts and fabric which is too thick the pattern has turn out really well I think.

The raglan sleeve line is not very obvious on a plain fabric but take care with bold patterns.

This seam goes down the middle on the sleeve and gives the shoulder a curved shape which I really like.

The bias bound neckline works really well.

I shall make another top with this pattern in a rayon/Viscose challis next up and report back on how it looks in that fabric.

Let me know if you have any questions !

Thanks  :-)