Evening Classes from The Midnight Atelier

There are a couple of new Evening Classes getting booked up fast here at The Midnight Atelier and I thought I’d share them quickly!

The first is the wonderful Home Sewing Course! Book on this bad boy if you have been sewing at home, making your own clothing but can’t quite seem to get everything as you’d like it… maybe it’s troubles with Patterns, maybe a slight awkwardness with fit, whatever it is this Course will explain it away! Take a read, and click the image to book…

Home Sewing Poster Flier A6

 

Next up is the super, duper new Measuring and Pattern Evening! This promises to be great fun, and will take you through the processes of measuring yourself (properly) and recording those measurements on a chart so you have them to use again and again, then adapting a simple Bodice Block to fit. Having the confidence to do something like this before you cut your fabric is a magnificent thing. Book quick as places are being snapped up!!

Have a read and click to book…

measure pattern evening

 

Last but not least is my new Fitting Evening, ta daa!!

This baby is going to be hectic, but so so much fun… bring along those garments you have made to have them professionally fitted so that you can unpick, snip and stitch them back to the glorious pieces they were destined to become. No sewing will be done on the night, but you will leave with notes on how to manage the alterations, measurements and the confidence to do more!

Take a peek and book here…

 

fitting evening

 

Exciting times, no? Contact me with any questions,

Happy stitching!

 

Moving on up into 2015!!

2014 was an exceptionally busy, stressful and chaotic time for Laura After Midnight! From exceptional highs, and very low lows’ I learnt so much, and can’t wait to get my teeth into 2015…

To be honest the year started out fine and dandy, then around August two of the contracts I had- teaching Sewing at establishments across Bristol- ended very abruptly… just after I had signed the lease on my very first shiny new Studio! To say this put my financial situation into an interesting position is a slight understatement, but then something magical happened in September… I had scrambled to put a short Sewing Course List up of my own in a effort to keep myself up and running (I had never intended to teach from the Studio as I felt it was a little too small), and people started booking! People I had never met found me, liked the look of what I was doing and paid to be taught. I actually can’t put into words how happy this made me feel, and I will never forget the rush of excitement and gratitude I felt when I discovered the first Course had sold out!

With a couple extra Sewing Machines, one of which was donated by a Sewer I had taught who was moving back to the U.S., two more bought by my Mum and Dad, and a quick trip to Ikea the Midnight Atelier and Workroom was born… and I started welcoming some truly fantastic people along to nerd out about Sewing!

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Packing up and moving the old Studio to the new Workroom with a wonky trolly, determination and copious amounts of Tea! (above, left) The moment I realised I was stuck in the lift and had to take a picture between giggling! (above, centre) The last thing to be taken out, the cheerful Red, Black and White Bunting I made when I signed the lease but still had to wait a week to move in the the old Studio (above, right). 

In just four months this side of my business has grown exponentially, and a couple of weeks ago I signed the lease on a new space. Another huge step for me as the space is larger, and I can fit more students in, offer different types of Classes as well as having room to work on another aspect of Laura After Midnight: Pattern Making.

In 2015 I am intending to expand the current Patterns I offer within a broad ‘Costume/Alternative’ theme, which will draw on my experience as a Costume Designer and Maker. I’d also like to start Blogging and writing about this a little more as it is by far the most talked about aspect of what I write and teach about, and I think it is incredibly important I talk some more about advanced techniques in Sewing. There are many, varied Blogs and Websites talking about Sewing, but not many explaining more advanced techniques for the Beginner or Intermediate Sewer.

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The day the Chaise Longue I scored on Ebay for just £30 arrived! It’s Edwardian, needs recovering but I love it! (above, left) Me, all proud in my huge new space, full of ideas and plans and so excited I could skip! (above, centre) Moving day! It went in a little neater than I had hoped and will have to be carefully covered as I start the renovations (above, right). 

You may be wondering why I want to teach this side of things and there are two reasons… the first sounds very egotistical but I’m super proud of it too- I’m really, really good at Pattern Cutting! I also love it, and this leads me to the second reason (which is slightly more complicated)… I am tall, like 6” tall, and every Pattern I have made up since I was 14 I have had to adapt. I’ve been adapting Patterns so long I can’t remember who taught me but it was probably my amazing Mum. Currently I have to add in up to 4″ to the length, which means I have to adjust where Darts are, Armholes, Seam Lines and… and …and. The list is endless so when I got my first introduction to Pattern Cutting at 16 I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I consumed it! In teaching I have noticed that my average student isn’t the average shape. They’re tall like me, larger, short, all sorts of variations and they have often gravitated to Sewing as a way to create clothing which looks better on them. The Beginner or Intermediate Sewer often doesn’t understand why that then doesn’t look as amazing as they had hoped and I would love to start illustrating the process of how you can sculpt Patterns and Garments to not just look good on you, but make you look fantastic!

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Snapshots as I set up the new space… more on this to come in the next few weeks!

I also saw record sales on Etsy towards the end of 2014 however; received the nastiest and demanding messages from buyers who could not or would not understand I hand make my products and there will always be a waiting time, especially when shipping internationally! This was a huge contributing reason for my temporarily closing Laura After Midnight on Etsy in December, which after the stress of dealing with such abuse was a sad relief. In combination with the new EU VAT Regulations I am left unsure of the direction I need to take selling online and have decided to take a break from this side of Laura After Midnight whilst HMRC and various other Governments across Europe duke out how everyone will deal with the VAT Issue. It will give me time to Blog more and start designing Patterns as well as finishing Patterns and Kits which have long been set aside so the start of 2015 should be a very exciting time!

Places are booking up fast for the new Courses, as well as spots at Sewing Club, so if you are Bristol based check them out quick! Don’t forget you can pop along to Crochet Club– which starts on 10th January- for free and join me and others in creating Crochet goodies (I’m quite, quite obsessed!). Join Bristol Sewing Club on Facebook, or the Newsletter for up to date information too.

I wish you all love, luck and fun stitching times in 2015 and if you have contributed to the Laura After Midnight story so far, thank you.

Happy stitching!

 

A li’l treat!

Yes! Gift Vouchers are now available! Available in £10, £25 and £50 denominations, they would make a fantastic gift this Christmas towards one of my Sewing Courses… get dropping those hints peeps!

You can purchase on the Class Schedule page, and for your bucks you’ll receive on of these luscious Gift Vouchers in a scrummy envelope with a Mini Bunting Sewing Kit, all wrapped up in a bow!

 25 Voucher

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The Bunting Kits will be Christmas themed as we get closer to the Festive Season (I have some amazing Christmas Fabric stashed away, yay!). What a treat to get… you could make the Perfect Pair of Jeans with them or learn to Pattern Cut on my Springtime Skirts Course. I have a few more courses for the new year up my sleeve too, what fun!

Happy stitching!

Notions: Simple Patch Pockets

What with The Great British Sewing Bee, the return of Project Runway and Channel 4’s new Vintage inspired show This Old Thing, I thought I would share a few basic sewing techniques which could be used to re-vamp Clothing or customize creations!

The first is Patch Pockets! Who doesn’t like a cheerful Patch Pocket or two? Great on a pair of re-vamped Jeans or Shorts, even better on a Top or T-Shirt, they can be made in contrast fabric, lace fabric, matching fabric… endless fun!

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Cut out the pocket as indicated by your Pattern, or to the size you want (plus 3cm Seam Allowance at the top and at least 1cm Seam Allowance on all sides). Turn the top over 1cm (above, left) towards the back, then 2cm towards the front (above, centre). Pin and stitch- using a 1.5cm Seam Allowance- at each end remembering to reverse stitch at beginning and end (above, right).

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Clip the corners (above, left), then turn out the right way (above, centre). Turn the rest of the pocket edges in by the 1.5cm Seam Allowance and pin. Turn over and pin on to the main fabric of the skirt, shirt or other garment you are making (above, right).

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Using the Zipper Foot on your Sewing Machine- to Top Stitch nice and close to the edge!- stitch around the pocket evenly. You may choose to do a fancy top as I have done to strengthen the opening.

And that’s it, simple right? To make the slightly more swanky Curved Patch Pocket click here. You can add them to both the A-Line Skirt– for the Gathered, Pleated or Straight versions- and Pyjamas Tutorials I have in the Tutorials Section as well. Now be off with you to make Patch Pockets for everything!

Happy stitching!

What’s on the board this week?

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Well, boys and girls, this week on the Midnight Atelier Chalkboard is information about our up-coming Vintage Lingerie Classes, Vintage Bra Making Classes, the Eventide Corsetry Course and Sewing Club dates!

As you can see, all courses include Pattern (with the Eventide Corsetry Course you receive the Pattern and Instruction book), and they are all booking now!

Check out the Class Schedule Page for more information, and to book. If you would like to pay a deposit, and the balance later please email me on laura@lauraaftermidnight.com

Happy stitching!

 

 

All Change!

Well, you may have noticed it is a little quiet around here at the moment! My sincere apologies, moving in to the new Studio has been all consuming, and will make for an epic JRR Tolkin style narrative one day however; we are almost there!

Sunday is the last moving day, when I shall have tables in for the Sewing Machines, all storage sorted and all walls painted (with a rather fancy chalk board and mural… but more on that as I do them!). I have tried to make it one, hideous week so as to get working again as soon as possible- I haven’t sewn anything all week but for one solitary pair of Spats!- and Corset Month will resume next week because of this. I have some great work in progress images to show you of people joining in with the sew-a-long!

I am also working on a couple of exciting, slightly off the wall Sewing Courses too. If you are in Bristol and want to sew something a little different, watch this space for news of a Corsetry course using the Eventide Pattern, a Vintage Lingerie Course and a Light Upholstery course. So exciting!!

Don’t forget also, you can join Bristol Sewing Club which will start on the 16th June in the new space. Running for a couple of years now, this Club meets every 1st and 3rd Monday, and every 2nd and 4th Wednesday. It’s just £7 a ‘go’ to sew anything with a cuppa and a biscuit or two. If you would like to join, email me or follow the above link to join the Newsletter for further dates and information.

Happy stitching.

 

Great British Sewing Bee: Week 3

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Well, what did we all think about week 3? Poor Julie, I shall definitely miss her. She brought a wonderful normality to the Bee!! Click the above lick to watch…

This week the Sewers tackled Leggings, T-Shirt Up-Cycles and sewing Jersey dresses. Which was all a bit the same really, and I found myself zoning out a little to be honest! Probably because I sew a lot of Historical Costumes I don’t sew much stretch, don’t worry though, I have tracked down some helpful links and tips for you and some even more helpful tips if you don’t own  an Over Locker/Serger if you’d like to work with stretch fabrics.

First things first. I find that when tackling a new fabric or technique it is important for me to be stitching up something I really like, or want! I’ve been on the hunt, and there are some lovely patterns out there from some great Independent Pattern Companies which should get anyone excited about sewing with stretch.

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From left: Sewaholics Pendrell Blouse, Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi and IN-HOUSE’s Kimono Tee.

For help stitching up the above, you should really check out The Thrifty Stitcher for some greatTutorials for using stretch fabrics. The Burda Style Blog is also worth checking out for a great no nonsense tips for Sewing Stretch Fabric without an Overlocker video tutorial. The Papercut Collective also have a some Knit tips, and and article about sewing with Knits without an overlocker.

As with anything, take your time and stitch up some samples to get used to your fabric if this is your first time working with Jersey. In my experience, each and every Jersey fabric is different and contains its own unique properties and samples will help you understand and manage it to the best of your abilities. A super neat trick to remember: if you like it and your garment sews together well, buy more Knit fabric in a different colour and make the same thing again! This applies to most things to be honest however; Knits are easy to wear and a little more versatile than some styles.

That’s about it, told ya I zoned out didn’t I?! If you would still like a bit more help Sewaholic has put together this exhaustive list of many varied Tutorials on the subject! Hurrah!!

Happy stitching!

Sewing Bee Snippets Week 1

As previously discussed, here are my insights in to construction details, tips and tricks, and practices used on The Great British Sewing Bee this week.

The contestants were really put through their paces this week sewing each basic staple fabric- Cotton, Wool and Silk. Their Cotton Tunic Tops displayed a very wide range in construction details- and finishing techniques!- and this week I set myself the task of making a Simple Tunic Top to remind myself of some of the basic, subtle techniques needed in a Seamstresses repertoire. Sewing something simple but very well is a fine art, and not to be sniffed at! I was not surprised that a few contestants ‘fell’ at this first hurdle, but managed to complete far harder tasks later on. In simple sewing projects, a lot of the sewing can be seen, and finishing- as May Martin said- is incredibly important to the final garment.

I chose to make Colette’s free PDF pattern ‘Sorbetto‘, which I have had on my makes list for quite some time now. Having fallen in love with a great Cotton Print fabric which was a little bit Mid-Century modern, this was the perfect excuse!

It differs from the Sewing Bees top in that it has a simpler Bias Bound Neckline but what do you think?

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 I am completely in love with it! The scoop neck is just right, the armholes and straps fit wonderfully- they’re a pretty interesting shape to be honest (I had to make an extra dart in the bust which didn’t help!),  and the fit and flair of the side seams is just perfect. I decided to Self Bind, meaning I hand made Bias Binding from the same fabric to finish the Neckline and Armholes however the hem is simply neatened and machined. Simple, and all sewn up and hand finished in under two hours!

As I said, this is a free PDF Pattern and I highly recommend it!

The essential tricks needed for a simple top like this are basic machine skills, good ironing and some simple hand stitch knowledge. Any top like this will only have two pieces- a front and a back- so a lot of the work you do will be in the neatening of the raw edges about the armholes, neckline and hem. Facings are one way to go however; Bias Binding is a another choice which I feel can make the garment look a little more unique. You can choose to Self Bind as I have, use a contrast, satin or even a lace edged binding!

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Pin, and stitch the Bias Binding Right Sides Together on to your garment (Colette’s pattern instructions for the Sorbetto take you through this step in detail). Lay flat, and push the Seam and Bias Binding away from you as illustrated above right.

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 Fold the top of the Bias Binding down by the amount of Seam Allowance you have (normally 1.5cm/5/8″), and pin. Then fold again to lie next to your original Seam. Pin parallel as shown.

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 Thread a needle with thread twice as long as you need. Fold in half. Thread the loop through the Needle, and pull longer than the other threads (above left). Take a stitch through on of your machine stitches, and a small amount of the Bias Binding (above right) and, before the thread has been pulled though entirely, thread the needle through the loop and pull tight. this will anchor your thread.

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 Continue down the length of the Bias Binding, taking stitches through the machine stitching and edge of the fold of the Bias Binding. Do not worry about making them teeny tiny, even lengths are better and mine are normally about 1cm or 2/8″ long. When you come to the end or need to re-thread simply thread your needle through the loop of a stitch to tie a knot.

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 And there you have it, a nice simple Slip Stitch to finish any garment beautifully.

Pressing- not ironing!- is also essential and I have found a wonderfully demonstrative article on why ironing should be a firm part of your Sewing knowledge here. She makes quite the case doesn’t she boys and girls?!

A few notes on pinning and why even this jaded Seamstress still does it… … it means you often don’t have to hand tack pieces together. It is also a great way to keep things in place as you sew that may alternatively slip out of place. You can use Pins to easily control ease in a garment. They’re gorgeous, have you seen Merchant & Mills selection recently?! They’re invaluable when sewing darts and finally, they are often what helps a beginner or intermediate Sewer create a more professional garment. About the only time I don’t use pins is on straight seams I am piecing quickly. Having said all of that, use pins wisely as they can mark delicate fabrics- so pin in and parallel to the Seam Allowance- and sewing machines can snag on them.

Finally, to Under Stitching. A sadly neglected art I am afraid, and even I am guilty of ‘doing’ a Julie and simply pressing the Neckline down! No more! Here is my Tutorial to make us all Under Stitching superstars!!

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 Pin the Facing to the Neckline and stitch the seam according to your Pattern Instructions. If you pin at a right angle the sewing machine will happily sew over the pins- especially useful when sewing curves! Remove the pins, and clip in to any curves.

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 Fit the Zipper Foot on to the sewing machine and, on the Facing side, and making sure the clipped seam lies underneath the facing, stitch round nice and close to the edge as illustrated.

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 The Under Stitch will immediately make the Facing ‘roll’ towards the back so that, with a little press, the facing will sit invisibly behind the front. Lovely!

The image to the far right clearly illustrated the technique of sewing the Seam Allowance at the same time at the Facing.

There was no discussion on hemming the Tunic tops however, I normally like to hem by hand.

I think these have been the most popular subjects raised since Tuesday however; I shall cover quick fix Skirt alterations in the next couple days just to make sure you all will be so up on your stitching knowledge you’ll be sewing in your dreams!!

Don’t forget to take a peek at Laura After Midnight on Pinterest, I have a great collection of free patterns and sewing projects over there from all corners of the globe!

Happy stitching!