New poster! Dressmaking Classes in Bristol…

Aprils Poster


Some of the above only have a couple of places left, and the Bra Making Course is almost all sold out but I could squeeze one more person on to it! There are 3 places left on the Play Suit Course, which I think is going to be awesome as I have three different patterns including a super Retro 40s style Land Girl one! The UpCycle Sew Anything  and Vintage Summer Dress Courses are both booking up and have just three places left each… book quick guys!

I love all of the new Project Days I have put together too! You can learn how to make Pyjama Shorts, Patchwork or Machine Embroidery in just one day among other things, and for just £35 which is pretty darn spectacular if I say so myself.

You can still book most Classes and Courses for just a £10 deposit, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Happy stitching!

Notes from the Atelier

A week or so ago I ran a Freehand Machine Embroidery Class here at The Midnight Atelier, which was a blast!

Machine Embroidery Class 3 Machine Embroidery Class 1 Machine Embroidery Class 15

Starting with the basic principles and how to set the Sewing Machine up for Freehand Machine Embroidery, we quickly moved on to the fun of it all and started to create mini works of art!

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Throughout the day I demonstrated different techniques like freehand pattern building and writing as well as using Water Soluble Fabric, Applique and using Metallic Thread.

Machine Embroidery Class 11 Machine Embroidery Class 10 Machine Embroidery Class 13

I seriously loved the delicate leaves (above, left), and watching what you have embroider become an almost 3D object is wonderful!

Machine Embroidery Class 15 Machine Embroidery Class 16

It’s difficult to be creative on demand like this, so I’m always super proud when everyone enjoys the day and gets inspired. It’s such a wonderfully easy thing to do, it really is all about what you want to do with it! Monogram something, make art work or create your own textiles? Embroider fabric to create Lingerie for sale? Embroider your logo, or use it to create new products for your Business? The list is endless…

Some samples were left in the workroom and I think I’m going to frame them to inspire everyone! This Class will run again on 25th April, 1-4pm and you can book here.

Happy stitching!

New Sunday Sewing Bees!!

sunday sewing bee image Are you as excited as me about the Sewing Bee? And have you seen my first crazy challenge?! I have had many, many enquiries recently about all sorts of Sewing related projects so I thought I would pop a few Sunday Sewing Bees in on the Calendar to help everyone out!

You can book up here, and they’re only £25 for the whole session or £5 an hour. There are six spots for each Sunday. I think they’re a super way to create your own course- book two and make yourself a Dress or something new and lovely to wear whilst joining in with Make Me A Wardrobe!!

They will also be a chance to learn at your own pace, without having to keep up with a class, and whenever you want! Alternatively, if you have been inspired by last years Sewing Bee, one of the many glorious Sewing Magazines or have a Sewing Machine secreted away somewhere, use them as a way to dip your toes and see if you like this crazy world!

Bring a Pattern and Fabric or use The Midnight Atelier’s extensive Pattern and Book collection to trace off a Pattern to make for just the price of the Pattern Paper!

Contact me for ideas and suggestions, or join the Bristol Sewing Club’s Facebook Page and talk to the group! Alternatively, you could use them to learn a specific skill… ever wanted to try your hand at Pattern Cutting? Designing? Embroidery? Have you liked a Course I have been running but couldn’t make the time slot? Come now and learn at your own pace!!

Find out more information or book here, and I look forward to seeing you soon!!

New Sewing Courses!

Phew! I have just finished updating the Class Schedule, and I have to say I am mighty proud of this one!

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There’re Classes for beginners and more advanced Sewers alike, and I have tried to plan in fun projects like the Playsuit Course or Beginners Dressmaking Course which both have three different Patterns to choose from (and they’re all great, I promise!), as well as Project Days including an Introduction to Patchwork Day and the completely awesome and fun T-Shirt Project Day.

You guys who have already been stitching up a storm are also catered for and can choose from the Sew Anything Course– which starts soon!- as well as Lingerie, Corset and Vintage Pattern Courses. I’m almost envious, but I get to be there too, yay!

I also have a Social Media Training for Small Businesses Seminar which I am completely thrilled to be offering. I seem to spend a lot of time spouting off about how important SEO is, why I try to maintain an Editorial Calendar and why everyone with a Small Business should Blog in the first place, as well as blithering on about Internet Marketing and all the many minutiae of running a Small Business in this wondrous Internet age that I thought I would  share all of the bits and bobs I have learnt over the years to help y’all out!

Click here for more information but loosely this seminar will feature group discussion and worksheets plus handouts for future reference and is the perfect next step for your Small Business as you build your Brand and start to create more business through your website, shop and in person! It’s going to be such fun guys, I’m hopping with excitement!!

Places are limited by space so I’d book quick for all of the Courses and Classes.

Happy stitching!

Advance Preview… and some exciting news!

Well Ladies and Gents (and I’m looking at you Gents!), here is a little sneaky peeky of what’s to come next Spring from The Midnight Atelier! And what treats there are!!

Firstly, we are on the move! Hooray!! B9 no more… I shall soon be found at A5 Pithay Studios which is a much larger room- and once was a Film Studio which I thought was very apt!- tucked away in a corner between a Gym and a Band! I have a month to do some serious maintenance, decorating and I shall re-open on 26th January. I can’t wait!!

I can fit in more sewing machines, a dedicated computer area for designing Patterns and Sewing Kits, and even an arm chair! I think the Courses already reflect my renewed passion for teaching, which has ebbed slightly because of the space and noise restrictions in my current studio, and I am definitely viewing it as an opportunity to re-launch and re-publicize what I am doing. I am SO excited to get started!!

And so, here it is, the new Class Schedule for The Midnight Atelier… booking will start on Friday where for 48 hours if you book a course you get 10% off of the Course Price! Woop!!

As ever, email me for any information at If you are popping along to The Bristol Sewing Club Christmas Party you will be able to advance book any of the Courses with the above offer. I must love you guys (I do!).

I am very excited to introduce Crochet Club which starts on the 10th January, the proceeds on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month for FREE. Join me as I fumble my way through learning to master this dark art… other will be on hand to impart wisdom and advice and as it is held in the Pithay’s own Phoenix Cafe I can also promise nice cups of Tea and Coffee as well as a treat or two!

We’re off to a grand start aren’t we? Next up the first of my ‘Project Days’. Aimed at Beginner Sewers, or those who want to master a specific technique or just stitch up a simpler project in  a day, I am rather excited about them! They’re scattered across Saturdays, cheap as chips, often include Patterns and Fabric and should be excellent fun…

Vintage Bag Project Day

17th January 10-4pm £35 6 places

Re-Create a Vintage Bag in a day! Pattern provided, simply bring along fabric of your choice! All levels of sewing experience welcome however; some Sewing experience would be an advantage.

T-Shirt Project Day

31st January 12-4pm £25 6 places

Learn to sew stretch fabrics and make a T-Shirt in a day! Includes guidance sewing with Twin Needles and working with Stretch Fabrics. You will need to bring 1.5  meters of fabric, pattern included. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

The first of my Courses is here by popular demand, and there will be two patterns to choose from including this one from Sewaholic… I have tried to keep the Courses cost effective and included Patterns where possible.

Trench Coat Course

28th January 5 Weeks £75 inc. Pattern 6 places

Choose from two Patterns to make a beautiful Trench Coat for Spring. This course would suit adventurous Beginners or Intermediate Sewers, and will cover several different types of Seaming, Top Stitching and aspects of sewing up a more technical Coat. This course includes the Pattern, please email me if you have any questions regarding fabric selection or amounts.

Sew Over It’s Tea Dress Sewing Course

3rd February 5 Weeks £78 inc Pattern only 5 places left already!!

In January I shall be leading a cheerful, banish this Winter Blues Tea Dress Class! Using Sew Over It’s lovely 1940s Tea Dress Pattern– which is included in the price of the Course so you have reference material, and can make it again if you wish!- this Course will cover Cutting Out, making adjustments to the Pattern (if needed), sewing up and fitting as well as stitchery details like inserting invisible zips and hand finishing to make this lovely Vintage inspired Dress. You’ll need to bring your fabric but all other materials will be supplied, as well as a much deserved cup of tea and a biscuit or two. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Perfect Jeans/Trousers Course

5th February 5 Weeks £70 inc. Pattern 6 places

Skinny, Retro, Hipster or Classic, on this course you will make the perfect pair of Jeans for you. From Adapting the Pattern, to inserting a Fly Front, Top Stitching everything and Learning to Fit Trousers, this course is not for the faint of heart, but will be so much fun! Previous experience sewing would be an advantage and this course would suit adventurous Beginners or Intermediate Sewers best. Bring your own Pattern to make the perfect pair of Jeans or Trousers, along with Fabric, Zip and Contrast Top Stitch Thread. Why not bring along a favoured pair of Jeans to gain inspiration from as well? Please email me if you are struggling to choose a pattern, or would like help with fabrics etc.

Machine Embroidery Project Day

14th February 1-5pm £25 6 places

Learn this super simple and incredibly addictive technique in a day. Includes guidance sewing with different types of thread (inc. metallic etc), free motion machine embroidery and embroidery techniques. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Up-Cycling Project Day

7th March 10-4pm £35 6 places

Pop along to this raucous event and Up-Cycle a  to be photographed, popped on the Bristol Sewing Club Facebook Group and get voted on,a la The Great British Sewing Bee!! Best Up-Cycle will win big! Includes basic guidance on reinventing clothing, patterning, changing and altering clothing.  All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Shirt Course- Menswear or Womenswear

10th March 5 Weeks £85 inc. Pattern 6 places

Learn to make a beautiful Men’s Shirt; Ladies fitted Shirt or Shirt Dress on this Course which would suit adventurous Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Sewers alike, and Men are very much welcome! There’s nothing better than a crisp, handmade Shirt! Guidance will be given on fit, cutting out, plackets and collars and several different types of seaming. Pattern included, all you need to bring is fabric. Please email me at for information regarding fabric choices and quantities.

Vintage Pattern Course

12th March 4 Weeks £65 6 places

Bring that steal of a pattern you bought but don’t know how to make, or is the wrong size, along and create the garment you have been dreaming of! Includes guidance on Vintage Sewing techniques and terminology, as well as construction and altering  Patterns to fit. This course suits all levels of Sewers however; it could be a wonderful opportunity for intermediate Sewers to really make something unusual!

Leggings Project Day

14th March 1-5pm £25 6 places

Whip up a dangerously quick pair of leggings in this one day course and learn to work with stretch fabric, insert an elasticated waistband and hem with a double needle whilst sipping tea! Pattern included, simply bring 2 meters of brilliant v4-way stretch jersey! All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Mens Sewing Project Day

28th March 1-5pm £35 6 places

Learn to make a Tie, Bow Tie or classy Cravat in this afternoon of introductory Sewing for Men! Not for the faint of heart, as we stitch up a stylish creation which will be the envy of all. Pattern and fabric included however; feel free to bring fabric if you are looking for something particular. All levels of sewing experience welcome.

Well, what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or if you think I should be teaching something I’m not. For those of you begging me to do it, Pattern Making will probably run in April, and Patchwork towards the end of the Summer.

Don’t forget you can pop along to Bristol Sewing Club most Mondays and Wednesdays but remember to Book In here to avoid disappointment!!

Booking for the Courses goes live Friday, and you will be able to save 10% if you book a place in the first 48 hours!!

Happy stitching!

Sew-a-Long News and The Sewing Bee excitement!

You may have seen my post recently about the Laura After Midnight Corset Pattern release and Sew-a-Long. I have made the decision to postpone this because… deep breath of excitement…

The Great British Sewing Bee is back!!

Until about a week ago the BBC had said this would air in April, and I was organising some pop up events and blog posts etc to follow along however; they have decided to start airing from tomorrow night! Eek!! After a quick panic, I have decided to support the classes I will be running alongside The Great British Sewing Bee, which meant that the Sew-a-Long had to be pushed back as I do not want to rush it!

So, the Corset Pattern and Kit will be available for pre-order from the 3rd March, and the Corset Sew-a-Long will now take place from 7th April, and I have changed the dates in the original post to reflect this.


Do not worry however; I shall be sharing all sorts of sewing, pattern and stitchery goodness over the next 8 weeks- it promises to be quite eclectic!- and might even run up a couple quick Sewing Bee Sew-a-Longs from their new book! I have some more interviews with a couple of Independent Pattern Companies in the return of my popular Pattern Making Musings series, I shall be hosting drop in classes every Sunday and blogging alongside the programme to help highlight some of the information, tips and tricks, and choices the programme makes. The biggest comment I noticed coming out of last years Sewing Bee was that some elements were either not explained, or explained too quickly and I hope to assist in rectifying this. They only have an hour after all!!

The first show will test the contestants on the three core fabrics in a dressmaker’s cupboard: cotton, wool and silk. In the surprise pattern challenge, the sewers must create a simple tunic top from straightforward cotton. For the alteration challenge, a plain high street woollen skirt must be dramatically altered within a 90 minute time limit. Lastly, the contestants must then create a made-to-measure silk nightgown. (Original source here)

I shall be making up Colettes Sorbetto‘ Top as an excellent illustration of making up a Simple Tunic Top. I shall also be talking about grading the patterns in the first Great British Sewing Bee book, different fabric choices, their treatment, usage and wear-ability (and some top tips on where to buy fabrics!). For their alteration challenge I shall be altering a skirt I made up a couple years ago with a slightly curious hem detail which I now don’t like! I’ll be creating a scalloped Vintage style hem instead!

Because this series has been slightly sprung upon us all, I am not sure that every week will be as good as this but I shall endeavour to write as much as I can- because it’s so much fun! I really do feel that you get a little glimpse in to my life as a Costumier when viewing their 90-minute challenges!! On many an occasion I have had to sew up pieces at lightning speed, and I think this is the bit of the programme I like the best.

So, whose with me?

There are several ways you can follow along with me. I shall be continuing to Pin Techniques and Advice on to my Sewing Boards on Pinterest here. Share your makes, or take a peek at what I am up to on Facebook here, Tweet me your burning Sewing quandaries here and finally to get all the latest news, offers and general loveliness why not get yourself on to my monthly Newsletter?

I think that you will agree from the above that the wait for the Corset Sew-a-Long will be worth it as I am going to use the time to add in a Waspie Pattern, and I shall be releasing my much anticipated Button Up Spats Pattern in just a few short weeks!

Because The Great British Sewing Bee is a BBC production there won’t be any repeats from last year however; you can watch the first Series of the Great British Sewing Bee on-line in various places such as here.

If you are itching to get stitching why not have a peek at my range of Sewing Bee inspired posts. Clickhere to see all of them, but here are my favourite… …

aline 1

How to make a Simple A-Line Skirt from start to finish.


Basic Patch Pockets.


Inserting Concealed Zips.


Making fabulous Roulaeu Loops.

Happy stitching!

Pop Up Sewing Emporium… success!

8-1 sewing 4-1-2

Phew! What a crazy, hectic, mad, brilliant December I had, but I can’t believe I haven’t shared with you the super fun day that was the Christmas Pop Up Sewing Emporium!!

It was a lovely day, very rainy out which undoubtedly affected turn out however; everyone who came had a lovely time and made some beautiful decorations and gifts! We even had a new Dad stitch up a stocking for his new Son, so cute!

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On the day I was so nervous! It was so liberating and exciting to run something like this myself however; I had for some reason decided I was going to be sat, all alone and surrounded by fabric, beads, thread and sparkle with no one to play with however; at just £5 a go the Pop Up Sewing Emporium proved irresistible to many and in the end every table was occupied with crafty peeps!

Cafe Kino were wonderful, and many availed themselves of their delicious Veggie BLT’s and coffee! There was so much room, it has thoroughly gotten me excited for the next one because there could have been so many more tables, market stalls and sewing.

I set up a wall of examples and inspiration with all of the fabric and decorations underneath and visitors were able to select their materials then get down to some serious Christmassy stitching! It was, as ever, wildly exciting to see what others make up from just a few suggestions and inspirations. Each little table had an oversized Vintage Glass Pincushion, pot of Pens and Pencils, lots of Scissors and a Vintage Tablecloth! It just looked adorable and everyone who came settled in at a table with a cuppa or some coffee and the whole space felt like a cool, secret after school club for grown ups!

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My runaway favourite make was a delightful little Pink Fox Brooch a little girl made. Sadly I didn’t manage to get a photo but she was so pleased! In fact she at one point very seriously turned to me and said, ‘Are these on all the time?’ which completely made my day! (I am pleased to say, the Pop Up Sewing Emporium will return in the New Year).

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Lessons I learnt from the day? Advertise more! Even when you think you have advertised as much as you can, do more!! I think also there is a real ‘window’ for advertising and mine was a little early in some cases. I think I should have started a month before, then reinforced the week before. All of this of course comes with experience, and I shall learn more as I host more Pop Up Sewing events. I also needed an assistant to help people when I was otherwise occupied, which was Fella’s take away from the day and makes me feel a little grandiose but he’s right. I also felt I maybe gave visitors a little too much freedom, the choice was limitless and some had a hard time choosing what to make so next time I shall be running a more course like event, with pre-booking.

It all passed so quickly and has left me thirsty for more, so I am busily organizing myself to run events hopefully in April, when I shall be a little less in competition with other, larger Christmas events and everyone has gotten over the Christmas splurge and New Year tightening of belts. I think my first will be T-Shirt Making, and I hope to have a fellow Sewer host a Customization Bar… so you can see why I would be excited! It’s going to be super awesome all kinds of cool!!

If you would like to find out how to make some of the things visitors to the Christmas Pop Up Sewing Emporium did why not check out the Jewel Bird Tutorial, or the Stocking Tutorial? Get a head start on 2014 now!

Watch this space for more Pop Up Sewing Emporium news… don’t forget to sign up for our monthlyNewsletter to keep up to date on all Midnight goings on!

Happy stitching.

Notions: Marking Your Handmade Patterns

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Hopefully you are well on your way to drafting your first Block and these are a few vital pieces of information it is advisable you note down on each and every Pattern piece. This will help to identify the pattern and assist you if you decide to make it up again.

As a costume designer, I have many patterns which are drafted for one production but which I can use for another, or make slight changes and use for yet another. If I don’t write the following on a pattern piece I may as well throw it out!

1. What the Pattern Piece is

Is it the Front Bodice, Side Bodice, Front Skirt? Some of these pieces can look awfully similar when laid side by side and it will be enormously helpful to future you if you label the pieces!

2. Cutting Directions

Simply how many pieces to cut, if they are on the fold and which way the Grainline should lie. If it’s a Back piece normally two are cut, if the Front normally one piece is cut but it is placed on the fold. I like to draw in the directions for these too. Click here to buy my Zine Understanding Patterns to see a full run down of Pattern Markings and their uses.

3. Size

Noting the size, and even the Bust/Waist/Hip measurements, is super important. When drafting patterns for yourself you will start to notice how dramatically we all fluctuate in weight, and therefore size. Noting the Size and Measurement on a pattern will enable you to quickly determine if that pattern still fits you, and if not where in the pattern you will need to make allowance to make it fit.

PATTERN MARKING INFOThe above illustrates how I would mark my Basic Bodice Block. 

4. Seam Allowance

Basic Blocks are made up with no Seam Allowance, this is put on later on the Working Pattern, and it really is up to you how much Seam Allowance you add in. Sometimes I work too quickly, or know a Working Pattern will need more adjustments so the Seam Allowance never gets put on. Because of this I write on the pattern that there is no Seam Allowance so that if I decide to make it up again in the future I know to add it in… otherwise the final garment will be over a size too small!!

2. Date and Name

This is probably a professional thing however; I like to date and initial all of my pattern pieces. More probably it is a hold over from my degrees- it is amazing the things some students will steal and try to pass of as their own! In this way I mark it as mine, and provisionally copyright it also. The date is often helpful on my personal patterns as anything older than a couple years will need quite a bit of altering!!

3. Name/Who it is for

Name your patterns and therefore your designs! Even if you simply call them ‘Basic Shirt from Block’ this will help identify all the pieces in a given pattern if jumbled or lost. It will also give you a kick to come up with names for your designs! Recently I decided to hand the honour over to Fella and he came up with ‘The Homely Ethel’ for a rather nice 60’s inspired Wedding Dress pattern and ‘Enid’s Secret’ for a slinky 50’s inspired Black Satin and Lace sheath dress. They still make me laugh!! If I am working on a production the name of the Character and Actor will go on the pattern for reference.

Understanding Vintage and Modern Patterns

Understand Vintage and Modern Patterns, available now through Laura After Midnight on Etsy

Well, my class starts tonight so wish us luck! Oh, and don’t forget to share your Pattern successes- and failures!- with us! This is after all Pattern Month, and I would love to hear from all of you. You can even post a picture here and I’ll pin it on my Pinterest board here. Remember also to grab yourself a button here, and to keep a beady eye out for my interview with Alexandra of In House Patterns and our Pattern give away on Friday… it’s a good’n!!

Happy patterning!

Notions: 6 ways to create a tip top Fascinator!

Fascinator Class 1 Fascinator Class 3 Fascinator Class 2 Fascinator Class 4

This week I taught my first Fascinator Class for Flo-Jo Boutique on Gloucester Road. As I am developing a fun little Fascinator Kit I found it especially interesting to see which elements people had difficulty with & I thought I’d pass on a few tips in case you all were thinking of making a tasty treat for your head this festive time of year…

1. To begin with make sure you have a firm base to sew things on to. You can use card or buckram covered with fabric, or felt it doesn’t matter so long as it will support everything you wish to sew on to it.

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2. Use Bias Binding around the edge to neaten, which comes in so many colour ways now it’s almost an art form in itself! I love to use Satin Bias in a contrast colour which I can then overlay with lace if I want. It is real easy to channel a Retro vibe with some of the patterned Bias Bindings! You could also go all out and make your own Bias Binding for all sorts of yummy effects, click here for a basic tutorial.

3. Pleat your base in to a cone to make it a little less flat. This will also give you a useful ‘platform’ to attach feathers & net & to decorate on to. Buttons look particularly fetching applied to the back of a cone shaped Fascinator.

skull  BlueCherry KER1619a

4. Although I tend to favor circles, your Fascinator base can be any shape you desire- heart, skull, star, anything!

5. You’ll be stitching through multiple layers to attach things & this can sometimes be tricky. Thimbles are an excellent way to help you with this however; I actually wind a thin strip of Gaffa Tape around the end of my finger. This doesn’t fall off & still protects me from gouging holes in my finger tips.

6. So, last but not least, what do you need or want to decorate you Fascinator with? I find the best way to approach this part is with a little planning… sounds dull I know!! I like to make a pile in the middle of the table of all the things I think I might like. Then I put my fascinator base against all of them and start editing! Also, more is more when decorating a fascinator. They are so small you may as well go all out for the fun of it!

Black and White Fascinator Flower Fascinator

I do hope you try to make your own Fascinator, they are so delightfully fun & frivolous & wearing one for the office party, or nice lunch out or even in the bath makes everything just a little bit more special & fun!

Happy stitching!

Late night shopping event!


If you are in the Bristol area on the 6th December why not swing on by to Flo-Jo Boutique & join in with the Christmas shenanigans there?

Open from 6 to 8pm for late night Christmas shopping I’ll also be holding a Fascinator Making Class, for just £10 this is a great way to make yourself something unique and interesting for the party season, there will be discount shopping offers & a raffle in support of DEKI along with a cheeky mulled wine to get everyone in to the Christmas spirit!

It promises to be great fun & places for the Fascinator Class are booking up quick, I can’t wait!!

Happy stitching!