I’m in The Stage! Woop!!

It’s always rather pleasing to see something you have hand crafted in the Press, and this doesn’t disappoint because it’s accompanied by a rather lovely review! I’m head over heels a Costume I created was in a review in The Stage! I say again… woop!

Kristin Hutchinson, Catherine Cusack and Liam Smith in Howard Baker's Judith: A Parting from the Body at the Arcola Theatre. Photo: Nick RutterI was commissioned a couple weeks ago to create the Lead Actress’ Costume, a stunning Edwardian Bodice, Skirt and Petticoat (above, knelt center stage) in Green/Gold Shot Silk Dupion for Catherine Cusack in Judith: A Parting From The Body at The Arcola Theatre.

This costume had to be ”quick rigged” because the Actress had to unbutton the Bodice on stage, quickly, so all the buttonholes are fake! What fun!

greendress3 greendress1

With a Design and some measurements I drafted a Pattern and my assistant and I got stitching! Apart from the nifty fake buttonholes I also drafted a lovely detail in the front of the Bodice, wherein the darts are incorporated into a separate Pattern piece under the bust, with gathers above. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome!

The Skirt is shaped, as the Actress was taking the Bodice off pretty early on we decided it would create a lovely shape with the shirt underneath whilst also being period accurate.

greendress2 greendress4

In just four days this was picked up and whisked off to London to tread the boards, and I have to say she looked fantastic.

Happy stitching!

The Dimpsy T

So, finally the day has arrived where I get to shout from the rooftops of Bristol that I have finally conquered the Dimpsy T Sewing Pattern and it is on sale now!!

D Production 5 D Production 4 D Production 6

I literally can not wait for your reaction, as I adore it! It’s so pretty and flattering and gosh darn summery I want 6! It’s available- as ever- in a Paper Pattern and PDF format (for instant gratification), comes in sizes 10 to 20 and is suitable for light weight wovens’ like Poplin, Broderie Anglaise or Dotted Swiss.

I’ll be sharing more pictures and ideas over the next week or so- I have once again been felled with a Sinus Infection which is dragging on and on and generally being mean and delaying everything– as I can. I’ll also be releasing a pretty cool little book of Pattern Hacks. Because of the Dimpsy T’s unusual Dart it is eminently hackable and you can make Tunics, Dresses and all manner of other types of Top with the Pattern which I shall be exploring in the book and which will go on sale in a couple of weeks.

4 6 8

  Grab your Paper Pattern Dimpsy T here and your PDF Dimpsy T here to join in the fun… news on the Sew-Along soon!!

I’m also running a Competition to win one of 5 PDF Dimpsy T Patterns and a beautiful Red Linen Dimpsy Tunic… you just need to vote for your favorite Button to finish it… see the details here!

9 11 12

 Happy stitching!

Notions: How to Finish a Dart

I thought today I would show you this beautiful hand finishing technique for ensuring your Darts are beautiful every time!

As I am still up to my neck in Dimpsy T samples, as well as finalizing the Pattern ready for release, I thought I would make up my very own in the gorgeous Parisian Summer fabric. Isn’t it just the best thing ever?

Firstly, you will need to sew up your Dart as usual… the Dimpsy T’s is in the middle of the bust and can look a little odd until it’s sewn…

dart1

Leave the threads long and tie as usual however; instead of cutting close, thread them through a needle as illustrated.

dart2 dart3

As close as you possibly can, thread the push the needle back in to the fabric, in to the Dart as shown below. You need to insert it in to the Dart, above the stitching and take the longest stitch you can.

dart4

Push the Needle back out and pull, then clip the Threads close. I like to ‘pull’ slightly so the Threads *ping* back in to the Dart and are hidden forever.

dart7

As you can see, the Dart is finished beautifully with no Threads visible and is ready for a final press!

This is me proudly showing off my newly made Dimpsy T…

me in dimpsyI love the combination of the Navy Collar with the Red and Navy Print, and I’m super pleased with the fit and placement of that Dart!

Pre-order your Dimpsy T here, and help me bring this sweet Pattern to life!

Happy stitching!

 

 

The future is Dimpsy!

Late in 2014 it’s what I had decided 2015 was all going to be about…

I sat down and made a little list of the things I liked to work on, the things that make my heart sing, and put a smile on my face, I mixed these with the things that actually make me money and came up with a pretty pleasing list which happened to drop all of the things which were unhealthily stressing me out! Yay! This littler list was what I decided to concentrate upon them in 2015.

The past year has taught me so many things about running a Small Business, not least ‘don’t push things that aren’t selling or aren’t making you happy’, and this year I’m trying to build Laura After Midnight into a sustainable business with which I can support myself properly, in a less living on beans kinda student-y way, whilst being happy and having some time off.

Building upon the Patterns I have already released is a big part of that, and it’s a big part I enjoy too (crazy, right? I hated Math as a kid!), and continuing along the road to joining the ranks of all of the other wonderful Independent Pattern Makers out there is incredibly important to me and I have been working away on the next design to be released this past week!

I called her Dimpsy (if you are any where near to Devon you will know this means dappled shade) and you may have noticed the Samples popping up on Facebook and Instagram! Work continues apace here at The Midnight Atelier on the new The Dimpsy T (love that name!) which now has a release date of the 24th April! Yay!

   

I had wanted to create a simple t-shirt from Jersey fabric however; after working upon a few samples and getting nowhere I remembered I hate sewing Jersey fabric! I mean, I’ll do it, and I’m not stopping anyone else from doing it, and I often sew stretch for costuming however; right now Jersey is not a fabric I’m interested in constructing garments from. As soon as I made the change to Cotton the ideas kept coming and it was difficult to choose the ones to use!

I decided to use some of my Pattern Cutting wizadry and pop the Darts at the front of the Bodice, with a little seam which runs from the Collar down to the Dart. I am all about this detailing, I love it! The Collars lie slightly either side of the Seam and just look heavenly!

So far I have designed this t-shirt to have two different Collar Patterns, a small Cap Sleeve, Peek-a-Book back detailing and that glorious Central Dart however; the T-Shirt will also be released with a Booklet of ‘Hacks’ to make this peach of a Top into a Dress, or alter the Pattern to create a Pin Tuck or Pleated detail at the front. It’s going to be so cute!

dimpsy t promo poster

Because creating Patterns is an expensive habit- I’m going to be Grading and creating about six Samples in total as well as sending out Pattern Test Samples and quite a lot more over the next few weeks, I have popped up Pre-Order listings up on Etsy to help me out! If you think you’d like to make a Dimpsy T pre-order your copy today and help me out a little in the process, just click below… In return you’ll get 10% off, an instant copy of ‘Understanding Vintage and Modern Patterns’, as well as the ‘Hacks’ Booklet for free, and it’ll be emailed or shipped to you directly on the 24th April.

PDF Dimpsy T Sewing Pattern   dimpsy pre order pdf

I’m also planning a Sew-Along and I’ll need Pattern Testers soon so watch this space over the next few weeks for more details!

Happy stitching!

Pattern Ponderings.

There are so many fantastic Independent Pattern Designers out there I thought I’d start sharing the ones I’m all about, the ones I’m obsessed with, the ones which I want to stitch up and frolic about in a sea of daffodils wearing!

My first new discovery and current obsession is Salme. I love their clean, pared down designs, my favourite being the Buttonless Shirt Dress. I think it would be such a simple little make (ideal for a Sunday Sewing Bee maybe), and perfect for Spring with leggings and boots, but also a great Summer Dress when the weather gets a little warmer. You could make several, all in different Light Weight Cotton and be happy forever!

PDF Sewing pattern - Buttonless shirt dress

Now, my next new discovery seems to have happened at the same time as every one else! But I’ll share anyway, it’s the Emmeline Tee from Little Tailoress.

Emmeline Tee   Emmeline Tee

You can make this from stretch or non-stretch Fabric, yay! I love the sleeves, to be honest, and again, this would make up so quickly and be comfortable forever!

And now another Top,  this little darling from Wiksten. The Tova Sewing Pattern, which I first discovered and know best as a dress. By lengthening the Pattern you can create several different Dresses…

Tovabyprosestitch Image of Wiksten Tova Sewing Pattern Downloadable PDF Image of Wiksten Tova Sewing Pattern Downloadable PDF

You can add Buttons, remove the gathering… or even add pleats! There’s so many ‘hacks’ online it’s unreal! I have just bought this little gem but I think I need to treat myself to some lovely fabric before I make it up so it might be a while until you see me wearing it. A pattern like this would be the perfect thing to bring along to my Sew Anything Course as re-designing the Pattern would be a fantastic project.

And now for a little colour… I mean I love Grey, but phew! Feast your eyes upon this beaut from Waffle Patterns!

Billed as Advanced (but I think a determined Intermediate Sewer would manage it, maybe with a couple visits to Sewing Club, or on the Sew Anything Course), this Jacket is just heaven to me, and wouldn’t it go well with the Tova, or Buttonless Shirt Dress underneath? I’d be too scared to make a Mustard one, in case I went off it after all that work, but I might be persuaded to make an Indigo or Midnight Blue one… There’s a great Waffle Patterns Blog too.

Have you discovered any Patterns recently? I’m always on the look out, what have you made up? As I start to develop my own  Pattern Line further I am discovering more and more Indy’s out there and I’m so happy that there is so much choice these days!

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!

20141221_184037 20141221_184203 20141221_200801

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.

20141218_192440 20141218_193009 20141221_222253

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!

 20141222_215245 20141222_204335 20141222_204324

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!