Pattern Ponderings

I thought I would share a few of the lovely new Patterns coming from The Big Four pattern companies today.

First up is Vogue V9103, and I am completely in love with it!

V9103, Misses' DressLine ArtV9103, Misses' Dress

Those darts, that v-neck plunge! Le sigh, they’re perfect and I think I may have to pick up a copy of this understated perfection. As you can see from the above, there are a couple of different variations and I’m not entirely sure about the gathering in back however; I think in real life it would give a truly enchanting flair to an otherwise plain skirt. The fabric needed isn’t insane either. At just under 4m this could be a pretty and cheap make for the Summer!

Vogue have a tricky reputation, and even I will admit their Patterns can be entirely too snooty but they do design beautiful things. My advice? Read all of the instructions, even the bits at the beginning about how to use the Pattern and make sure you look at both the picture and the written instructions. They have a tendency to assume you have done this before which can trip up even a *ahem* seasoned seamstress!

Next up… McCalls M7154

M7154, Misses' Dress M7154, Misses' Dress M7154, Misses' Dress

This Pattern is truly sublime, don’t you think? It’s from the McCalls Archive Collection and I hope you are as pleased as I am all of these companies are re-releasing their Vintage Patterns! They call it swoon-worthy and I’d have to agree. Capturing the essence of that elusive between the Wars glamour they have another here, both of which are Patterns I think I may buy simply to gaze upon their glory.

Including sizes 6 to 22 this dress is to be made in fabrics which I think sound as lovely as the finished item… Charmeuse, Crepe de Chine or Crepe Back Satin. Yum! Because of this I think it places the skill level firmly in Adventurous Intermediate or even Advanced but the effort would be well worth it!

Finally, this interesting Vintage re-release from Simplicity 1166

I think if you were looking for a truly Vintage Summer look this is the one for you. I’d be going for the more covered up version however; if you were brave the bikini style top version would be super cute on any beach, don’t you think? I actually love the shirt on its own, and think it would also look amazing with a pair of jeans too!

Pattern includes button up blouse, bra top with crossed back, and full skirt with buttons up to a size 24… woop! It’s quite fabric heavy though, that skirt needs over 4m, yikes!

That’s it for Pattern Ponderings this week, have you discovered a delicious Pattern recently? Do tell… if you’re in or near Bristol, UK join Sewing Club on Facebook to swap and share Patterns.

If you’re as into Patterns and Pattern Making as I am watch this space too for more news on my Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-a-Long as it’s just getting warmed up!

Happy stitching!

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!


Pattern Ponderings

A cheerful, Monday morning to you all. I have my delicious Phoenix Latte in front of me, and today I’d like to chat about Free PDF Patterns. Yes my lovelies, truly free Sewing Patterns! What bliss! Using a Pinterest or Google search will pop up quite a few, even 1000’s of these however; I thought I’d share a few of the ones I like the most.

This week, I am still lusting after dresses, and easy to wash, wear and care work wear… which rhymes. So I have found, for your delectation and delight the following…

An Urban Outfitters Ecote Dress Knockoff. Now, as a lifelong Pattern Cutter I love a bit of searching the High Street for what you like but can’t afford and then popping home and making it up. In doing this I normally add/take away elements the original may have had or been lacking and end up with something unique in the process.

free pdf patterns postThis includes a hand made Pattern, full Sewing Instructions and would be a super easy make. There’re also instructions for making it larger (as I would have to)… I think I’d also be adding a little flair to the hem because this suits my body shape, and maybe some side seam Pockets. You’ve gotta love a bit of a Pocket in a contrast fabric!

This Pattern comes in a Small but you can find info on re-sizing Patterns here.

Next up is the Hemlock Tee Pattern from Grainline, which you may have heard talk about as it seems to have been endlessly made by many a Blogger! Paired with some Jeans or maybe some Capri or Cigarette Pants I think I would be happy with several of these! They’d also be a fab way to introduce yourself to sewing with Jersey (if you can’t make my T-Shirt Project Day of course!).

Britex x Grainline Studio | Hemlock Tee Pattern

The Pattern can be split to create a Two-Tone effect which I rather like. She also has some great tips for working with Jersey (She actually uses Tissue Knit, which can be awkward as hell but lovely!) and the Tutorial is very easy to understand however; you will need a Serger/Overlocker if you want to create it as it is in the Tutorial. A simple Stretch Stitch on you Sewing machine will enable you to create the top if you do not have access to one.

This Pattern comes in a S/M but you can find info on re-sizing Patterns here.

Finally, this fab-o Cropped Jacket Pattern from Camelot Fabrics!


This also comes in a S/M so check out re-sizing info here. I love the balance of this little Jacket, the Collar and the Short Sleeves. I think it would look amazing over a little dress for work or over Jeans and a Tee as they are wearing it. I’m always getting chilly so maybe this could be the answer for those awkward Spring into Summer days?!

It too includes a free PDF download, and The Coletterie have a great Blog Post about using PDF Patterns here. Having used quite a few, my advice would be to stick all of the A4 sheets together as explained then trace off on to Pattern Paper as this is much easier to use and pin onto Fabric. This has the added advantage of being able to pass the Pattern around if you know someone who would also like to make it! Ta da!!

Can’t wait to share more of these with you all, I am also working on a new Pattern Month all about Trousers so watch this space… it’s about to become Pattern Drafting central!

As ever, if you are in the Bristol area, why now check out my Classes and Courses, join me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter?

Happy stitching!



50s Couture Summer Dress Pattern

My Sewing Group and I are going to start making up Tap Pants, or Petti-Pants this evening, so I have just been searching online for free patterns- there are so many out there! (I would recommend proceeding with a search only if you have some pattern knowledge as many of them need re-sizing or adjusting however they are limitless)- and having a nose about trying to see if I could find a slightly nicer pattern than the one I drafted (I did, it’s here courtesy of, only I also stumbled across this list of free PDF Patterns from Dresses to Tap Pants with Sewing Tutorials, Knitting Patterns and other interesting Vintage Sewing bits and bobs too! Burda also have a lovely looking Vintage Style Lingerie Set free PDF here, for slightly fuller Cami and Tap Pants click here for a Free Graded Pattern and Tutorial.

However; the Free Pattern which really caught my eye was a listing for a 50’s Couture Dress and I eagerly clicked the link- Vintage Patterns are expensive and I only have so much time in which to draft my own so I clicked the lick speedily and this is what I found:


Create a Couture Inspired Dress

This dress pattern has been specially created for the Golden Age of Couture website. It is based on a 1950s ready to wear dress from the V&A collection and has been sized for modern day UK sizes 10, 12 and 14.

You can download a PDF to print at home- or there’s a separate one so you can take to the printers if you prefer (but remember to tell them to print at 100%!!). I think it is rather sweet, if you follow the link- click the picture above- you can also upload a video of your finished dress along with others!

I also came across this from Threads Magazine which shows the simplest way to adjust patterns like these- Cut and Spread pattern Grading.  If you would like to buy cost effective, Vintage Patterns I hasten you to Mrs Depew of Etsy… in just a few clicks you will be hooked as she has everything!! All graded for the modern form and instantly downloadable… heaven!

So, my printer has just chucked out the Tap Pants Patterns- 30 pages in total! so I’m off the get closely acquainted with my tape dispenser! Let me know if you have found any great Free Patterns out there, and don’t forget to check out my Free Pattern- the Simple A-Line Skirt!

Happy stitching!