Top 5 posts of 2014!

Well readers, it’s been an interesting year! These are the posts published in 2014 which have been viewed time and again… thank you!

Whilst that’s self explanatory, I’d also like to say that the Pattern Free A-Line Skirt Tutorial and Pattern Month Tutorials beat these posts by a Country mile (but were published in 2013, so don’t count) however; this has made me so happy because I shall be concentrating on Pattern Cutting, Drafting and Making Up in the near future as I start to design and sell more Patterns.

I am so excited about this. I’ve got a new computer, new workroom and new passion and drive after a very hard end of the year which had left me questioning pretty much everything. But more of this later… on with the show!


Simple Sewing: How to Make a Patchwork Cushion

cushion43This is a fantastic make for any young or new Sewers out there, and you end up with a pretty fantastic Cushion at the end of the make too… and who doesn’t like a Patchwork Cushion?! You can make this with a couple of Fat Quarters and some backing fabric too so it’s pretty cheap. I love Patchwork for instilling straight lines and perfectly sewn seam allowances, I’m such a dreadful old bore of a teacher!

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See the original Tutorial here.


Corset Month

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Following on from the release of my very first Sewing Pattern- the Eventide Corset Pattern- this March I did a Sew-a-Long for the next month with hints and tips to sew up your very own Eventide! With such a fantastic reception (and despite the evil new VAT regulations)  I shall be releasing more Patterns in 2015, all of which will have a slightly Victorian/Edwardian or unusual flavour. I can’ wait!

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See the first article here which has links to all of the posts.


5 Tips for Product Photography

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Covering tips on Backdrops, placing your Products, Framing, Lighting and Editing Software it’s no wonder this tutorial is so popular! It’s part of an occasional series and was recently followed by 5 Tips for Craft Fairs.

See the original article here.


Notions: Concealed Zips


The first entry from the Notions Series, which is (or is supposed to be!) a weekly photo tutorial on a specific technique. Lamentably abandoned in recent months, I will be resurrecting it as soon as I can as they are ridiculously popular, and exceptionally useful in class! It is no surprise to me this is the most popular as Concealed Zips are a problem for a lot of Sewers’, I’m just pleased this has helped a little bit!

See the original Tutorial here.


The Sorbetto Top from Colette


Who else is looking forward to The Great British Sewing Bee in 2015? This is a post I wrote to accompany last years Sewing Bee, when they made a simple top… which covered an awful lot of Sewing Techniques! A lot of my students were left in a spin and I like the Sorbetto for teaching these techniques, whilst making a garment from not much fabric (also known as, if it mucks up, don’t worry it didn’t cost too much!). Covering making Bias Binding and sewing it on, Slip Stitching, Understitching and a couple other techniques this is a most informative little post and the Pattern is still free over at the Coletterie! Wow!!

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See the original Tutorial here. Added bonus, click here to see my Interview with Sarai from Colette!

Well, that was 2014, I didn’t do so bad upon reflection. I am trying hard to think which was my favourite post from 2014 and I think it has to be this one. There’s much to look forward to in 2015, and it all started in that little Studio!

Happy stitching!

Book review: Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing

Now, I have the proper old school copy of this, and I’m fairly sure I stole it from my Mum many moons ago! I find it is synonymous with good sewing techniques, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Often found in charity shops (my second copy for classes was just £4), this hefty tome is clearly laid out & quite formally written with wonderful illustrations liberally sprinkled over every page. I find illustrations are vastly easier to follow than photographs, and as everything from basic pattern cutting, fitting and cut to sewing up & finishing is covered the sheer amount of them is immensely reassuring. There’s even a section in back which covers Children’s clothes & upholstery.

Written with the firm understanding that the reader knows at least the basics of sewing, the complete novice should not be daunted as this really is useful for all levels of sewing ability. The basic stitches chapter clearly illustrates how to sew by hand & machine, whilst the seams chapter will have you running up simple garments in a trice. For people wishing to refine, check or relearn techniques there are more advanced instructions, covering the often varied ways of doing one task for example; there are instructions on how to work button holes in over ten different ways, which are then repeated for various weights of fabric.

Whilst this book does cover pattern cutting, tailoring and upholstery it really focuses on sewing techniques, and these sections are by far the weaker chapters. My suggestion if wanting to pattern cut, would be to purchase Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear and start from scratch. It is a discipline which will either entrance or infuriate you but is does deserve more space than the Complete Guide to Sewing gives it. The same for tailoring, which is a skill one cannot simply learn from the scant 20 pages it is given here. I’d grab a copy of Classic Tailoring Techniques for Womenswear by Cabrera & Meyers & hole up for a couple months!

Written in a very no-nonsense style, it really should be the cornerstone of every seamstress, fashion student, designer or, in this case, costumiers bookcase. This is something the beginner can grow in to but also makes a great reference book for the more knowledgeable sewer.

Happy stitching!