Introducing the Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along!

I have been making my own Jeans and Trousers since I was about 16-ish, and I still remember the utter satisfaction- after another failed shopping trip to buy Jeans, any Jeans!- of rushing to my local Fabric Shop, buying the only Jeans Pattern available and making my first pair that very same day. They were great, I mean I’m sure they had a little wobble in the stitching here and there but even my Mum was impressed and I literally haven’t shopped for Trousers or Jeans since.

jeans sew a long

Blessed with my Grandmothers huge hips, as well as height it has always been difficult to shop for clothing. Fat or thin I have always struggled however; I was to receive a rescue of sorts that same year I was 16 when I toddled off to Art School to study Fashion and Textiles… dear reader, I was introduced to the mystical art of Pattern Cutting.

I honestly haven’t looked back.

Not only did it make sense in a way that made me happy, I was good at it! Have you ever had this happen? The simple joy of embracing a new skill and devouring all that you can? Heaven! I soon had students from the years above me asking for help and I think this was my first introduction to sharing ideas and skills, which I also loved. At the time I was obviously going to become a leading light in the Fashion World *ahem* and despite this not happening- mainly because I realized I wanted to work on film and a few years later toddled off to a different Art School to study Costume- I still adore Pattern Cutting and I want to start sharing this more here, especially after my enormously successful Pattern Month a few years ago.

Simply because I need some new Jeans myself I thought I’d start with Drafting a Jeans Pattern, Toiling and making the resultant Pattern up with tips on how to do so, fit and I am sure all sorts of further nonsense!

Sound good? Awesome!

I’m hoping to do this over the next month or so, starting today with Drafting the Trouser Block. If this is entirely new to you, you may want to check out my Pattern Month, which is a good introduction to all of this.

First off, I shall be using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting book, which is my bible! and, whilst I shall share some of the Pattern pages here, I do strongly suggest your buying a copy if this is a subject you are interested in. You can read more about why I think everyone should own this book here. After the last Pattern Month, I was asked frequently if I would email or post more pages from the book, but I will not due to copy right. Please buy the book, it’s brilliant!

jeans sew a long 2 jeans sew a long 3

You’ll need a Pattern Master, because these are the best tools when Pattern Drafting, along with a selection of Pens and Pencils as well as a Calculator. I use coloured Felt Tip Pens because if I make a wrong line, or want to highlight a line I can do so. I also find them nice to draft with because pencils can be a bit messy and I tire quickly of sharpening them!

There’s lots of information on how to use the above pages here, I would strongly advise reading it before joining in unless you are familiar with the Winifred Books. Firstly it is important to take accurate measurements as the Basic Blocks are to be made up to your measurements. It is imperative that accurate measurements be taken so that the Block fit as accurately as possible, with minimal changes needing to be made in the later stages of creating your Working Pattern.

For the Basic Trouser Block you need to take Waist and Hip measurements, then check which size these most closely resemble in the Standard Body Measurements Chart here. The measurements listed on the Basic Trouser Block can then be found on the Standard Body Measurements Chart. I have found that taking measurements from the Chart greatly increases the accuracy of the pattern and saves time! We will then draft the Pattern and make a Toile to make the Working Pattern and in future posts I’ll cover things like adapting the Basic Block to Fit, altering the Length and adding Style Lines.

It is not easy to measure oneself however; if no partner can be found use a mirror to ensure the tape measure is placed as correctly as possible. I have a few hints and tips on measuring oneself accurately here.

Well, as I have drafted my Basic Block already- I make this Pattern up quite a lot!- I shall leave you to Draft yours, and of course check out Jeans and Trousers you like on the internet to get an idea of what sort of a Pattern you’d like to make… retro… modern… button fly?… high waisted?… aah the choice is endless! Finally, this process won’t be too difficult I promise! If you are an Adventurous Beginner I am sure you will be able to follow along, and anyone can feel free to comment or ask questions as they need or want to.

I’ll give you a week or so to gather supplies and get drafting, I can’t wait to see what you all make!!

Happy stitching!

 

Week 2: Inserting the Busk Pt II

So, having perfectly inserted the Right side of our Busks in to our Eventide Corsets, today I shall be showing you how to insert the Left.

I think this is a little simpler than the Right, but should still be sewn with care. You will need your Awl for this bit.

Place the Left hand side of the Front Corset panels Right Sides Together and draw a line 2.5cm from the Front as illustrated. Again, using a Patternmaster will make this easier.

Sew along the line, remembering to reverse stitch at the beginning and end of the seam. Iron, with the Seams out and then roll the Front Fabric  around to the Back as you did for the Right hand side so that no Coutil can be seen from the Front. Pin.

Stitch a 5mm (or half a centimetre) seam along this Front edge- shown below right- this line is now our Centre Front Line of the Corset. You may need to attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine to see where you are sewing a little more clearly.

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Place the Right side, over the Left side, and in line with the Seam you have just stitched (below left). Using a Fabric Pencil mark through the holes of the Busk Hooks… if your fabric is highly patterned you may need to use pins. Mark- or pin- at the far edge of the Busk Hook as illustrated.

Take away the Right hand side of the Corset.

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Next, you will need your Awl. On the mark, push the Awl through the two Fabric layers- NOT the Coutil layers- until a hole has formed.

The aim is to gently push a hole and not snap any of the threads of the Fabric, as this will keep the structural integrity of the Fabric. If a hole is punched, or many threads snapped, when the Corset is worn and the Fabric put under stress the hole will rip larger and look incredibly messy.

When you have made a hole, from the back push the correct Busk Post through (the two together should be at the bottom as for the Right side of the Busk). This needs to be done gently so as to not damage the Fabric.

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When all of the Busk Posts have been pushed through (below left), pin the Busk hard in as you did for the Right hand side of the Busk.

Attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine, measure the Seam Allowance and make a mark on your Sewing Machine as you did before.

Stitch along the edge of the Busk from top to bottom of the Corset panel (below right).

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Easy as pie, right? And look… it’s a Corset Front! So pretty… …

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So, it’s not all that difficult. Just remember to stitch nice and close to the Busk so it is held in nice and tight- not baggy! Remember also that it can be unpicked at any moment if you are unhappy.

At this point you may find your Fabric has ‘stepped’ or mis-aligned. Do not worry about this too much. It can be trimmed at the end of the sewing up process and is quite common as the Corset is sewn up. In fact, the Eventide Pattern has been made a little longer than necessary for this very reason.

Join me again tomorrow next week as we start to stitch the Corset up, and fit it to your figure. Also watch this space for a cheeky little Book Review of one of my favourite Corset Books and more Sewing Tips.

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 2: Inserting the Busk

So, today we’ll be seeing how to insert a Busk in to our Eventide Corsets! I love this bit of Corsetry, it’s when the Corset starts to look, well… like a Corset! It is also the first time we will be sewing with metal, which whilst not difficult, has it’s own set of rules.

The most important thing to remember is that your Sewing Machine is perfectly capable of sewing over the metal however; the Needle is not! I have clipped the edge of the Busk or Boning many times and the Needle not only breaks, it can fracture into small pieces which is not fun! It with damage the Fabric and invariable flies towards your face…

Firstly, you will need to select the Right hand Fabric and Coutil sections AS YOU WOULD WEAR THEM. To do this, lay the Fabric out, upside down as illustrated. With Right Sides Together, lay the Coutil on top then put the Left hand side to one side.

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On the Coutil side, draw a line 3cm away from the edge. As you can see from the Pattern, this is the Centre Front Line. If you have a Patternmaster this will be super easy as you can line up the 3cm line and simply draw down as illustrated.

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Place the Busk against this line, equidistant from the top and bottom, then draw either side of the Hooks. The two Hooks together go at the Bottom of the Busk, and the Busk should be laying as illustrated- with the Hooks against the Centre Front line.

 busk6 busk6a

After you have marked either side of the Hooks, Pin the layers together. On the Sewing Machine, sew in between the gaps (as shown below, far left with a pink dotted line) remembering to reverse stitch at the beginning and end of each little seam. Try not to stitch too far in to the gaps or the Busk Hooks will not fit through.

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Don’t also forget that you can unpick at any moment if you are unhappy with the stitching.

Once happy, iron the Seam as follows… Iron the Seam out on the wrong side (below left), then wrap the Front around to the back so that on the Coutil side you can see a little of the Front fabric (below right) but none of the Coutil on the Right side.

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Push the Busks Hooks through the holes, then push the Busk up against the Seam and hold firmly in place whilst pinning. The Busk needs to be hard up against the edge so that, when sewn, it is not baggy. A baggy Busk simply wont do!

Push the Pin in, then scrape the Pin along the back of the Coutil until you can feel the edge of the Busk, then pin through. Pinning like this will make sure the Pins hold the Busk in place nice and tightly.

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When pinned, measure in from the edge of the Busk as as illustrated then, on the Sewing Machine, raise the Presser Foot and roll the Needle into the Machine. Place the measuring tape against the Needle, and use a Pencil to mark the Seam Allowance needed to stitch alongside the Busk.

Doing this makes sure that, above and below the Busk, you are able to sew in a neat line that is the same distance from the edge for the whole length. Marking with a Pencil means that you will be able to rub it off, alternatively you can use Washi Tape.

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When you have you Seam Allowance marked, stitch along the side of the Busk from top to bottom. You will need to attach your Zipper Foot to do this. Because the Busk starts and finishes 5 or 6cm after the start or before the end your Seam Allowance mark will come in handy to guide you in a straight line to sew next to the Busk.

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Voila! One beautifully inserted Busk!!

How easy was that? Join me tomorrow as I continue Corset Month with how to insert the Left side of the Busk.

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 2: Cutting the Eventide Corset out

Now, after a week of taking it easy it’s time to get stitching your Eventide Corset!

After having made any adaptations to fit on the Pattern, you’ll need to cut out the Fabric. Diagrams and more information can be found in the Eventide Instruction Book however; here are a couple of hints… … and dire warnings!

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After having traced off, adapted and cut out the Pattern, pin to the Fabric remembering to measure the Grain Line. Fold the Coutil in half, Selvedge to Selvedge and Right Sides Together (so you are pinning to the back of your Fabric), and lay it on a flat surface.

It is incredibly important that each piece of the Pattern is cut out ON GRAIN. The Grain runs parallel to the Selvedge, which is the woven, finished edge of the Fabric. Cross Grain, or Bias, runs at a 45 degree angle to the straight Grain. Corsets must be cut out DIRECTLY ON THE STRAIGHT GRAIN to ensure the Waist Line in particular maintains the strength provided by the Straight Grain. Cutting the pieces of the Corset even slightly ‘off grain’ will mean it will twist uncomfortably as you wear it.

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Now, dire warnings aside!, after you have pinned each Pattern piece you will need to draw on your Seam Allowance… which is 1.5cm.

To do this, use a Tape Measure to measure out 1.5cm from the Pattern piece, and mark with some Tailors Chalk or a Fabric Pencil in a contrast colour. As you can see, Tailors Chalk is available in a variety of colours and it is useful to have a selection. Continue around each Pattern piece, measuring out and making a mark every few centimetres or so. Use a ruler or Patternmaster to connect the dots.

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Cut each piece out, and before you un-pin it, make a little snip no more then 1cm deep at the Waist Line. This is called a notch and will assist you in sewing the Corset up. It is another important little detail!

Repeat for the Coutil.

cutting diagram

You may have noticed that each piece looks similar to the next, and you can choose to cut out some paper markers to Pin on to each piece. To do this simply write what the piece is on a little scrap of paper and pin to the piece BUT pin to the piece as you would WEAR it. To do this, lay the pieces out upside down so the top is closest to you.

And that’s it!

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Notions: Preparing to Sew with Difficult Fabric

For this weeks’ Notions, I thought I would discuss something which, whilst being relevant to Corsetry, is also good basic knowledge for using unusual fabrics for all types of projects.

There comes a time when we all would like to use something a little more adventurous! Preparing the Fabric well is half the task of sewing Lace, or Sequinned Fabric.

Lace Overlays

When using Lace for Corsets, you will need to consider the pattern of the Lace- is it large or small and do you need to take this into consideration when placing the Pattern Pieces? You will need to re-trace off your Corset Pattern (from your adapted Pattern) and add in Seam Allowance before cutting out. This will ensure you do not have to draw the Seam Allowance on to the Lace which can be difficult for a number of reasons- the Lace will move about and can stretch out of shape, it will also be delicate and should not be overly handled.

After tracing the Paper Pattern off, pin the Paper Pattern on and cut out as you would Fabric. If the lace is very delicate, you may wish to use Pattern Weights instead of Pins to ensure you do not damage the Lace. I do not worry about being overly accurate- as long as the Lace is cut out within 1cm of the edge of the Paper Pattern and all Waist Notches are marked you will be fine.

Once all Lace sections are cut out, lay the Fabric pieces of the Corset out, then lay the Lace sections on top. Double check your Waist Notches are all in line throughout the Corset pieces, and that you have a left and a right of each piece.

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Pin the layers together, pin carefully so as to not damage the Lace.

Tack each section together as illustrated. Use a contrast Tacking Thread, and try to keep within the 1.5cm Seam Allowance so you will not have to remove it. If, when the Corset is sewn up, you can see the Tacking Stitches, the contrast thread will help you to see where to remove them.

Once the pieces are tacked, you can trim back any excess Lace to the edge of the Fabric.

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Alternatively, and you may wish to Sew a couple Corsets having tacked them before trying this method!- you can pin the sections together as illustrated. Pin along the Seam Allowance as shown, and keep the Pins in until they are stitched up. Of course, whilst this method is quicker there are some obvious drawbacks! If you have to adjust the Corset or unpick it for any reason, these pieces will become separated and need to be pinned again, it will take a little more experience to be able to control the layers of fabric with just pins holding them together… you also use a lot of pins!!

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This is a technique I often use when manufacturing multiple Corsets.

Sequinned and Beaded Fabrics

Sewing with Sequinned and Beaded fabrics has another set of rules. Because you are unable to Sew over Beads or heavier weight Sequins, you will need to remove them from the Seam Allowance.

It is easiest to trace off the Pattern, and add the Seam Allowance as for working with Lace Fabrics before pinning in the Pattern and cutting out.

Using a Tape Measure, measure in 1.5cm (which is the Seam Allowance for the Eventide Corset Pattern) and mark with a line of Pins as illustrated.

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With a contrast Thread, tack along the line of Pins.

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When you have tacked a line of stitching 1.5cm in, you will need to remove all of the Beads and Sequins from the Seam Allowance. And yes, this takes ages!! I keep the Beads and Sequins I remove, in case I need to add a couple in again. The stitching which holds on the Beads or Sequins is actually a chain so sometimes a couple of centimetres can unravel when it is cut, and will need to be carefully sewn back down, or added in by hand.

I will insert the Busk by hand if I am making a Corset from Beaded Fabric so as to not disturb the pattern of the Beading at the front of the Corset.

Pattern Matching and using Patterned Fabrics

This tip for Pattern Matching Fabrics is enormously helpful however; if you are using a Patterned Fabric you may wish to select the sections you wish to use, or even Pattern Match the Front Panels so that the Pattern runs across them. This isn’t too difficult BUT please do try to remember to cut out a LEFT and a RIGHT of each Panel!! For this you will need to flip the Pattern Piece over.

pattern matchAs illustrated above, I have chosen which piece of the Pattern I would like to run down the front of the Corset. Folding the Pattern Piece back along the Centre Front line, I have matched it so that- when the Corset is sewn together- the Cyclist will pedal across the Bust!

Remember to fold the Pattern Back along the Centre Front line, then match on the Fabric. As you Pin the Pattern Piece on to the Fabric you can un-fold it and pin it down.

Matching along the Centre Front line is incredibly important because- and you’ll see this from the Instruction Book– the Fabric beyond the Centre Front is used as a Seam Allowance when inserting the Busk, so any pattern will be lost.

By the way, this awesome Fabric is available from Spoonflower, and I may just have to snap up a bit!

Don’t forget, the Eventide Corset Pattern is available in a number of options including Instant Download here, and you can join in with Corset Month on FacebookTwitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Week 1: Recommended Tools and Equipment…

… to help you make the Eventide Corset, and for Corsetry in general, these Tools and pieces of Equipment come highly recommended.The full list of supplies, with recommended Suppliers etc comes in the Instruction Book with the Eventide Pattern or can be found in The Little Book of Corset Tips.

recommended tools and eqt for corsetry

Later, I shall be discussing how to adjust and alter the Pattern to fit! Don’t forget to join in with Corset Month on Facebook, Twitter (#corsetsessions) and Pinterest!

Happy stitching!

Corset Month: create bespoke Corsetry with Laura After Midnight

corset month button

Welcoming the biggest Laura After Midnight Sewing Pattern and Kit release to date, which has taken months of prep and sampling to be happy with. The Eventide Corset Pattern is here!!

The Eventide Pattern has a re-usable, graded Pattern for a Victorian inspired Over Bust Corset, with an Instruction Book which covers every aspect of making up the Corset including supplies and suppliers list, adapting the pattern to fit, marking and cutting out the fabric, inserting the Busk, notes on fitting, sewing up and inserting Boning and finishing. You can choose to buy a Hard Copy Pattern, Instant Download PDF or a Kit which includes Coutil, Busk, Boning and Heat Shrink Tubing for Tipping.

corset 1 pattern logo   corset 2 pattern logo   corset 3 pattern logo

Click the links to buy!

I know it’s been a little bit more of a wait than anticipated however; I also have some great news!!! I’ve managed to persuade a production company to  make a series of films to release alongside the Sew-a-Long. Entitled The Corset Sessions, they’ll highlight the trickier aspects of Corsetry, and provide a glimpse into the Professional side of making a Corset. There are hints about working quickly, production and construction so they’re unmissable quite frankly!

As with all of the Laura After Midnight Sewing Kits, the above is available as a PDF Instant Download- if you simply can’t wait or, like me, already have a stash of supplies and fabric and maybe a little more experience! If this is your first foray in to the world of Corsetry, you can also buy the full Corset Kit which includes the above Supplies. All you will need to do to start sewing is buy your front fabric, eyelets and binding then thread your machine and make a lovely cup of tea!

To coincide with this release I will be hosting a Sew-a-Long, which will take you through every stage of creating your very own custom made corset which will start on the 21st of April.

The Sew-a-Long will look like this… …

Week 1

Starting slowly- so everyone has time to gather supplies and get them selves in order!- this week will cover Supplies, Tools and Equipment, and details about Printing and Assembling the Pattern. I’ll be sharing where I like to shop, and wholesale my supplies from as well as talking about Measuring for Size and Adjusting the Eventide Pattern to Fit, handling fabrics and preparing to make up your Corset.

Week 2

Tutorials will cover Cutting out, Marking and Preparing to sew your Corset and Inserting the Busk. The ever popular Notions series will be Corset centred and talk about Corset Making Resources.

Week 3

Tutorials will cover Sewing Up the Eventide Corset, fitting the Corset with removable Eyelet Channels and alterations. Get your Seam Rippers ready! This week I shall also be sharing some notes on reproducing Historical Corsets, and hosting an Interview from Steampunk Family.

Week 4

Week 3 will see Tutorials on how to sew the Boning Channels. As there are several different methods to choose from this will be an interesting week, the Notions post will cover this in more depth, as will the Sewing Zine which comes with the Kit. Another Book Review and notes on 50s, retro and Vintage style Corsets, with a Notions all about the different ways in which you can lace a corset should make this a lively discussion week.

Week 5

Hurrah, we’ll be almost finished, and Tutorials will cover… finishing in Part I and Part II! I shall also be discussing adding details like corset toppers and Historical details like flossing. All of which will probably make this the prettiest week! With a final interview and give away we’ll all be off somewhere splendid to order complicated frivolous Cocktails and show case our gorgeous new Corsets before we know it!

So, what do you think? I am wildly excited, as Corsetry is a wonderfully fancy thing to be able to accomplish and I am so looking forward to sharing how with you. After the success of Pattern Month I am also looking forward to seeing what you all make, or take away from it too!

Happy stitching!

Announcing… …

corset month button

 

Corset Month!!

On the 17th February (fingers seriously crossed!!), I shall be releasing my Corset Kit!!

This is the biggest Sewing Pattern and Kit release to date. The Corset Kit will have a re-usable graded Pattern for a Victorian inspired Over Bust Corset, with an Instruction Zine which will cover every aspect of making up the Corset including tracing off the pattern, marking and cutting out the fabric, inserting the Busk, sewing up and inserting Boning and finishing. The Kit will also include an Equipment Supplies list, notes on fitting, alterations and lacing.

As with all of the Laura After Midnight Sewing Kits, the above will also be available as a PDF Instant Download- if you simply can’t wait or, like me, already have a stash of supplies and fabric!

If this is your first foray in to the world of Corsetry, you will also be able to buy the full Corset Kit which will include all Supplies including Boning, Busk, Coutil and Eyelets. All you will need to do to start sewing is buy your front fabric, thread your machine and make a lovely cup of tea!

To coincide with this release we will be hosting a Sew-a-Long, which will take you through every stage of creating your very own custom made corset which will start on the 10th of March.

The release of the Pattern and Kit is timed so that you will be able to order your copy of the Pattern and Instructions or Kit, and gather all supplies needed before joining in the Sew-a-Long.

The Sew-a-Long will look like this… …

Week 1      10th March

Tutorials will cover Measuring for Size, Tracing off and Cutting out, Pattern Alterations, Marking and Preparing to sew your Corset. There will also be the beginning if a short series of Book Reviews. The ever popular Notions series will be Corset centred with this weeks instructing on how to piece Lace. To finish the week I am hoping to host another series of Interviews and Give Aways… watch this space!!

Week 2      17th

Tutorials will cover Inserting the Busk, and stating to sew the Boning Channels. As there are several different methods to choose from this will be an interesting week, and the Notions post will cover this in more depth. This week I shall also be sharing some notes on reproducing Historical Corsets, and hopefully hosting another Interview.

Week 3      24th

Tutorials will cover Making up the Lacing, Fitting and Adjustments before starting to put the finishing touches to your Corset. Another Book Review and notes on 50s, retro and Vintage style Corsets, with a Notions all about the different ways in which you can lace a corset should make this a lively discussion week.

Week 4      31st

Hurrah, we’ll be almost finished, and Tutorials will cover… finishing! I shall also be discussing adding details like feathers, sequins, corset toppers and Historical details like flossing. All of which will probably make this the prettiest week! With a final interview and give away we’ll all be off to somewhere splendid to order complicated frivolous Cocktails and show case our gorgeous new Corsets before we know it!

So, what do you think? I am wildly excited, as Corsetry is a wonderfully fancy thing to be able to accomplish and I am so looking forward to sharing how with you. After the success of Pattern Month I am also looking forward to seeing what you all make, or take away from it too!

Happy stitching!

Studio snippets

It’s been a hard week over here to be honest. Both Fella and I have had some upsetting news about family members, and it has been a strange, quiet, sad and stressful time. We are both trying to be positive however; as with anything unexpected like this is has taken it’s toll and I have found myself unable to write, create or do much other than read or be still. It is at times like this that I am least able to take control of my m.e. and depression so I have been sleeping a lot which I actually find to be very depressing in itself.

Last night I didn’t sleep, I read until it was light then napped for a while before Fella made me some tea (he selflessly used the last of the sugar on me, aw!), and I rushed off to work. Today I taught a Beginners Sewing Class where we made Christmas Stockings, Patchwork Cushions and Door Stops, then a Children’s Tea Party where I helped seven nine year olds make delightful appliqué Owl Cushions.  It was also the West Bristol Arts Trail today, and Cordial & Grace, where I was teaching, were hosting a gorgeous Artists’ work which meant a lot of foot fall, with people popping down to the Sewing Parlour to take a quick peek at what we were so feverishly working in. In all of this I simply forgot to be sad, contemplative or even quiet. I wrapped myself up in my days sewing and assisted, chatted, stitched and laughed with everyone, and I think it has broken the spell. I am still contemplative, and sitting here at my work table I find I am still unable to concentrate for very long, but I am writing and that is a true pleasure.

My heart goes out to my wonderful auntie Karen, who is possibly the rudest of all of my aunts!, and to my Fella’s Mum. Nothing like this could ever beat us but it has made us all pause, reflect and will take some time to process.

So, I though I would share some photographs I have been snapping of work in my studio over the last month or so, just little snippets really, but flicking back through them today made me happy so I am going to share them with you.

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This is me a couple days ago. I had wanted a small, black button. That was all however; my button collection- which contains anything from Victorian Green Painted Wooden Boot Buttons, to Art Deco Mother of Pearl gorgeousness- was strewn between a Vintage Sewing Box, my Vintage Kilner Jar collection and various zip-lock bags. So I quietly sorted through them for nearly a whole day. I love that my view now includes all these Vintage jars and buttons, and I am finding them endlessly fascinating.

Also, there is a sneak peek in to one of the tutorials I will be hosting for Christmas Month in the 2nd picture…

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I shipped so many orders a couple weeks ago, I had to snap the process. As I was just finishing packing them all up another one came through, for a couple of my Zines. I received a wonderful message from  Joan, the buyer, about them yesterday…

Just received the Zine, and I love it. I am an avid sewer, and have been all my life. I read in the Zine a few things I didn’t know and learned from it. I attended fashion school fresh out of high school. I had a partial scholarship to attend (FIT) The Fashion Institute of Technology here in NY/USA. Unfortunately, the scholarship was for only 5 months. My parents could not afford the tuition, so I had to leave. In those short 5 months I learned a lot. How to work on a mannequin, pattern making, etc. Thanks for sharing your little booklets. I have lately given much thought to writing my own zines. I use to publish newsletters, and have thought about doing again, but online.

Joan, I say go for it! Making up those little Zines made me unspeakably happy, and the return has been enormous. I didn’t really ever study Fashion somewhere glam like FIT, and I am envious even of the few months Joan spent there! Sewing, I have discovered, is a living, breathing thing with a life all its own. You can always learn something new, or a new way to do something. I am so pleased my Zines were received so well, and I a very much looking forward to releasing the next batch.

The first of the Sewing Tidys’ is winging its way across the Pond as we speak, to the last competition winner of Pattern Month, and I have been hard at work manufacturing more for my Christmas Markets Stalls. They’ll also be for sale in my Etsy shop so look out for this wonderful Christmas present idea. The picture shows a small selection of the many patterns I am making them from- my favourite is the Eiffel Tower blue and yellow print.

Finally, I made up some great Pattern Weights- the eco friendly pin!- and there will be a tutorial soon for these little darlings. Although these match, I am looking forward to making many, many more from the scraps of extravagant fabric I have stashed away over the years. I love the idea of having a Silk Shantung pattern weight, next to a Liberty print one, next to one made from fabric salvaged from a Vintage hanky. I may even decorate them…

I think this is the first glimpse I have given in to Midnight Heights. It is a cosy,ramshackle place but full of love, too many DVDs and lots and lots of fabric! I think I may have mentioned that I intend to move in to a dedicated Studio space in the next few months however; after a long time working from home, and despite having dreams of large open spaces with proper Pattern Tables at the right height, I am sure I shall miss it.

I’d love to hear others tales of working from home, and I sincerely hope everyone reading this is happy, healthy and creating like billy-o.

Happy stitching!

Last but not least… our final Winners of Pattern Month

Congratulations to our final two Winners of Pattern Month!

Gjeometry and Kelly!!

Kelly wins a free Pattern from Sinbad & Sailor, and Gjeometry wins my goody bag with Sewing Tidy, Vintage Pattern and Zines!! Well done!!

Thank you again for the many wonderful people who commented and took part… November will be the next opportunity to WIn Big, so keep an eye out!!

Happy stitching!