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21st September 2020
Sewing Scarves and Squares
There has been interest in my technique for finishing fine fabrics so I recommend you take a look at my early videos.
Many of my members have been asking about the different stitch widths that sewing machines are capable of.
I would say most sewing machines have a 5mm width zig-zag stitch. Machines that are more for embroidery commonly have a 7mm width and machines like the one featured here which is the ultimate in embroidery machines has a 9mm.
I have to say I am less interested in machine embroidery now and find the 9mm width more of a hindrance. A 5mm machine is much more useful for dressmaking. To check your machine, you can measure the width of the slit in the sole plate. You could also sew a line of zig-zag stitching on some stiffish fabric and measure the width. That would give you the correct measurement. Also, the dial may be numbered and that is usually the mm.
The Best Technique for Silk and Chiffon Edges
Two More Essential Skills Tutorials - Invaluable Guidance for Coat Making
3rd August 2020
The Coat Hem Tutorial
The Turn Back Cuff Tutorial
20th June 2020
The Interactive PDF has links to video tutorials to help with this ambitious project. But I think even a complete beginner could tackle this garment and it is well worth the effort.
The Welt Pocket with Flap Tutorial
20th May 2020
While developing the Frock Coat Pattern, I have also exploited this time in lockdown to work out easier and quicker ways to produce my patterns.
I don't use commercial pattern software, as I like to be hands on at every stage. I do though work digitally once I have a sample made up and I am happy with it.
So I am looking forward to bringing you new patterns more often!
The Frock Coat Pattern - The Pattern is finished!
12th May 2020
The Frock Coat Pattern is nearly finished!
This pattern has taken a while but I think you will agree, it is worth the wait.
Grading such a structured garment across 9 sizes has involved some sample making to make sure it works for all figure types.
I have two tutorials to complete before I release it -
13th April 2020
We may be in lockdown in London but we had some lovely weather over the Easter Weekend! So, if like me you are longing for a day at the beach, don't give up hope.
I'm sure we will all be out and about very soon.
Focus on preparing - Get started on some beachwear. Stay home and sew.
12th April 2020
The Frock Coat is Nearly Finished! Using up furnishing fabric, the design was conceived for my #usewhatyouhave and #sustainablefashion campaigns.
I will be following up with tutorials on lapel collars, welt pockets with flaps and these pretty cuffs.
I thought the fabric would be too bulky for covered buttons but these have worked well. The coat has a very classy back with pleats emerging at the waist. I will be adding a half belt with buttons either side. So the coat is nearly complete and the pattern will follow soon.
28th March 2020
Let's bring back sewing baskets. If you have children at home who are keen to get busy with sewing, make a little sewing box, maybe from a shoe box and collect together some sewing paraphernalia.
See my Sewing Supplies Page - please keep ordering online. You will help these businesses to survive!
And For Wherever You Are in the World!
We all have to get down to basics and that means getting back to making things. It's good for mindfulness. It's good for the planet. It's good for your budget. Most of all it makes you feel good!
There has been plenty in the press about this and I hope my site can offer you the resources to get you going.
All my tutorials are free. Join for access to all my classic sewing patterns.
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This is me sewing with my friend, probably in 1957. I would have been nine and my friend is a year younger. This is the same friend who photographed me ten years later. See the previous photograph.
So, supporting all 70 plus year olds across the world who are staying at home, it’s a great time to learn new skills or update old ones.
22nd March 2020 - Mother's Day
If your children are grown up and you won’t be seeing them, you have time on your hands. Get the album out send them some pictures about you that they may have forgotten or may never have seen!
This year I am celebrating 10 years of sewing on YouTube, 15 years of sewing patterns online, 25 years since I set up machine knitwear online, nearly 50 years since I was making machine knits to sell in Bond Street and around about 60 years of sewing clothes for myself.
This is probably a Vogue Pattern. I made it up in a lovely pink bouclé wool and it would have been around 1968. I was photographed by a dear friend who was studying photography at the time.
Have fun and get creative.
6th March 2020
I am enjoying wearing my 1 Metre of Harris Tweed - Boxy Jacket. #UseWhatYouHave for #SustainableFashion. Go through your fabric stock and see what you can use up.
This version is slightly shorter than the pattern and the sleeves are also a little shorter. I love this silhouette! This is a perfect style for the petite woman.
Despite saying a while ago that I would only wear dresses and skirts from now on, I have succumbed! These days I am wearing looser straight legged styles, hence the jeans featured here which were designed for men and look great on women too.
I have had several requests for Boyfriend Jeans and a pattern is on my to do list.
2nd March 2020
The Making Up Series for the Boxy Jacket 647 is now complete
Check out all the episodes on the Sewing Pattern Page for the 647 Boxy Jacket
The Six Part Sew Along series covers the following topics:
- How to alter a pattern for petite/tall women
- Different ways to add interfacing
- How to add a lining to a tailored jacket
- How to add vents to a jacket sleeve
- How to set in a jacket sleeve with a lining
- Shoulder pads and sleeve heads
- Hems and hand finishing
19th February 2020
Making Up Series for the Boxy Jacket 647 - Here is Part 4
16th February 2020
I have completed the Making Up Series for the Boxy Jacket 647
Here is Part 3
20th January 2020
Sewing Pattern Review
Now is a good time to review some of my early patterns. In-between designing new patterns, I am embarking on the task of adding additional features to my original patterns.
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My current collection of 38 Classic Wardrobe Essentials plus the new patterns I am currently working on.
9th January 2020
This video is about transferring markings and applying the interfacing.
Continuing with making my 647 Boxy Jacket, I now need to cut out the interfacing. I have ironed the interfacing to all the main pieces.
So I am ready to sew the bodice together. A word about interfacing first. There are two main types of interfacing products - iron on - You can tell it’s iron on as you will be able to see the shiny adhesive on one side or - sew in - and within these types you have several weights and also non-woven and woven.
When it comes to sew in, there are two basic methods The first method - you cut it with the seam allowance and baste it onto the wrong side of each piece.....
The second method involves catch-stitching the interfacing in place.....
When I started making my own clothes many years ago, all interfacing was sew in.
Watch the video for the full story -
2nd January 2020
Reducing or Increasing Back Waist Length
Back Waist Length is the most important measurement.
I am petite and I am altering my 647 Boxy Jacket pattern for myself. It will also help me fit this pattern onto my single metre of Harris Tweed in my mission to #UseWhatYouHave and #SustainableFashion.
Every other measurement can more or less be altered after cutting out but getting the Back Waist Length right will solve many fitting issues.
If you fall into the petite range as I do, you will be familiar with gapping armholes and bagginess across the back.
Usually it is necessary to take a little out at armhole level and also across the sleeve crown but on this occasion I want to keep the sleeves roomy.
31st December 2019
I have at last started making up the Boxy Jacket Sewing Pattern Number 647. It has been a busy few weeks. I am looking forward to wearing this Chanel style jacket.
Continuing on the theme of #sustainablefashion and #usewhatyouhave, I am utilising short lengths of linings and interfacings. I had hoped I would find enough buttons in my button box but I may have to reorder some extras.
I will be making my shoulder pads - this is another way to use up small offcuts.
Taping up this pattern took me less that 15 minutes but cutting out always takes a little longer.
I may have to add a false hem in an attempt to squeeze this pattern out of just one metre of fabric. I will be reducing the back waist measurement as I am 5'3" and that will help! I may shorten the sleeves a little more as well. They are three-quarter length and an inch shorter will be attractive.
My video making up this jacket will be uploaded soon.
18th December 2019
The Boxy Jacket Pattern is now finished - I will be adding the Instructions for Making Up. The more experienced sewers among you can probably get straight on and make it up without.
I will be making a video which will be available soon.
More details of this pattern to follow. And of course pictures.
You can buy this pattern for just £7 - Members can download it - Boxy Jacket 647
14th November 2019
I am currently finishing the Boxy Jacket Sewing Pattern Number 647. As this design has three-quarter length sleeves, I have been thinking recently about shirts and cuffs .
I have sewn a lot of shirt sleeve plackets over the years. This is definitely the best method. The essential template can be downloaded from my Free Sewing Page
Once you get used to doing plackets this way, you will have shirt cuffs that deserve to be seen. Good design is all about the detail.
I will be reviewing alternative shirt cuffs. Next I’ll take a look at my Semi-Fitted Shirt with Frilly Cuffs Sewing Pattern Number 545.
5th November 2019
I have cut the pattern for the Boxy Jacket 647. I will have the pattern available on the pattern page soon.
In the meantime I have been making notes on drafting the pattern and how to use the 725/726 Panel Dress as a drafting block.
2nd November 2019
I have made a decision not to buy any more fabric until I have used up all that I have stored - follow me to see the PDF Sewing Patterns I will be producing as a result.
I will be using my 725 Panel Dress with Sleeves Pattern / Block as a basis for these patterns .