Coming soon…

The Midnight Atelier Skirt Making Book!

Front Cover

 

After the enormous success of the A-Line Skirt Tutorial here on the Blog (I can’t believe I wrote that over two years ago now!), which takes you through Pattern Making the A-Line Skirt and then completely Sewing it up with Hand Finishing, I have written a mini compendium!

Included are the instructions for the A-Line Skirt, and then a series of ‘Hacks’ to take the original Pattern and adapt it to make more styles like the ones pictures (although you might need to add a petticoat to mimic that amazing Circle Skirt!).

This will be the first in a series entitled Stitch Bitch Companions, which continue to encourage adaptation of Patterns and home Pattern Making. I shall be re-releasing my other Booklets under this new format including the Guide to Understanding Vintage Patterns, Seams and Zips as a set which should see any budding Seamster straight!

The next Stitch Bitch Companion after the Skirt Book however; is the Dimpsy T Hack Book (which I am still SO excited about!!)… watch this space!

Happy stitching!

 

 

5 Sewing Tips from The Midnight Atelier!

sew along header

As we prepare to start sewing our Dimpsy Ts’ on Monday I though we could discuss some hints, tips and tools of the trade to make Sewing easier so you can concentrate on the good bit… Sewing up the perfect Dimpsy T!

1. The right equipment.

I cannot stress enough how having the best pair of scissors you can afford, good thread and everything you need close at hand and ready to use make the whole process of garment construction easier, neater and more professional. I like to use these Scissors, they’re not very expensive and they’re re-sharpenable so they will last you a good long while! I actually have a couple pairs because darn of they don’t get lost under fabric and I hate to get held up! Take scissors to your local Cobblers to have them re-sharpened for around £5.

Good thread is a must, don’t cut corners here! I like to use Moon Thread as again it’s relatively inexpensive, there’s 1000 meters on a spool (woop!) and it is excellent quality. Using cheap, Vintage or old thread is dangerous for your Sewing Machine. If you hold a line of the thread up to the light you will be able to see if it is ‘furry’ or not… if it looks like there is a dusty haze around the line don’t use it! The dust will come off in your Sewing Machine, get stuck to the oil in there and dry it out which causes the machine parts to rub against each other and seize up. Not good!

A few other things I can recommend, and which will make sewing up a project a little easier so you can concentrate on the details are having enough Bobbins, pre-loaded and ready to go (I thread up two or three for any projects so- you guessed it- I don’t have to stop!), a heavy Pin Cushion with lots and lots of lovely Pins- I’m a bit of a Pin Geek it would appear and I like long, thin Glass Head Pins. They’re fine enough to use on a variety of Fabrics and you can do things like sew and iron over them! Merchant & Mills have some amazing Pins, well worth checking out. The heaviness of the Pin Cushion is important to me as well, I hate it when you pop a Pin back and the Pin Cushion skitters away from you! I have several made from Vintage Glass, an added advantage being I can use them as Pattern Weights too!

2. Great Prep

how to make tailors tacks

I’m sure you’ve all gotten as fed up with Cutting Out as I have- I like to get to the Sewing as quick as possible! however; I seriously believe that if you get the Prep right everything else will run smoothly. Pin each and every corner of your Pattern to the fabric- within the Seam Allowances if it’s delicate- then at about 5 or 6cm intervals. Rest your Scissors on the table as you cut, they are ‘flat’ along the bottom for a reason, this will increase your accuracy and allow your arm to rest as you cut. If you hold the fabric in the air and cut you run the risk of the Pattern shifting despite how carefully you have pinned.

Pin all pieces first, cut everything out, then snip your Notches and make your Tailors Tacks. Pinning all pattern pieces means that you will know if you don’t have enough fabric before you cut. As you’re pinning check all of your Grain Lines are parallel to the Selvedge or the fold of the fabric. If your Grain Lines are even off a little it can really effect the hang and wearability of the final garment.

Another fantastic tip is to make sure you have everything you will need to sew to hand. Getting up and down to grab pins or a tape measure is annoying, slows you down and breaks concentration… I also have a bit of an old fashioned ritual in that I make sure I have a cuppa and give the Pattern a good read from start to finish then make a list of what I want to do… if it’s a Pattern I have self drafted, or a Pattern I have adapted, or need to adapt this really helps. If you are a new sewer this will give you a chance to flag the bits you may think you will have issues with, google them or ask your question on social media so that when you get to sew them you have some tricks up your sleeve to get through it!

3. Pattern Ponderings

pattern picture

 Unfortunately many of the Sewing Patterns we see and fall in love with, thinking they’ll look perfect on us, need some love and adjusting before they get sewn up. One way to manage this is to make up a Toile however; whilst relatively inexpensive this can get tedious, Toiling every single piece of clothing you want to make!

Another way to manage this is to adjust the Pattern before you make it up. The best piece of information I can impart is this: every Pattern company has their own set of standard Measurements and often they are up to two sizes smaller than clothes you would buy on the high street. I am often telling students that if they buy a 16 on the high street, they’ll need to cut an 18-20 from the Pattern. Which can be exceptionally demoralizing! I came to terms with this years ago, and also tell everyone that a beautifully fitting piece of clothing looks better than cutting the wrong, or smaller size ever can! Another thing to remember about Pattern Sizing is this: most Pattern Companies cut to a B Cup. I’ll repeat that (because I’m still stunned!)… a B Cup, Ladies. If you are anything like me- and the many, many people I have taught to sew, you started to make your own clothes because of high street fit issues so this isn’t all that helpful. To manage this you may need to do a Front Bust Adjustment, and I discovered this great Tutorial from Colette a while back. Whilst you’re over there, check their Patterns out as they cut to a C Cup and, being American, their sizing is generous.

To adjust the Pattern the best thing to do is make up a Toile, fit then transfer your adjustments to the Pattern. Invariable the adjustments you make will need to be managed on the majority of Patterns you make up and you will get used to making them on the Sewing Pattern before cutting your Fabric. I have a few notes on this subject here

If you’re feeling adventurous you can even learn how to create your own Sewing Patterns here, in Pattern Month!

4. Swift Sewing

When you’re working do things like pin all of the pieces together that you can, then sew them all, then neaten and iron them all in batches. This will enable you to work faster and, I have found, neater. It also helps first time or new Sewers to become used to and familiar with the various techniques without stopping to pin the next bit, and breaking concentration. I find this helpful as I can make things up for myself in my spare, in-between hours which is brilliant if you work full time. It stops me from getting annoyed that it might take me too long to create myself a new garment and demoralized when I can’t finish what I want very desperately to wear! 

Having said all of that the Dimpsy T makes up in a couple hours so you’ll be able to make up several!

 5. It’s all in the details

MCCALLS Herringbone Stitch

Ensuring you stick to the Seam Allowances, neatening Seams as you go, Understitching, Ironing and unpicking if you go a little wrong are all things you should get used to as you sew up a handmade wardrobe. As you sew more, they almost become second nature! One of the things I am obsessed with is finishing, and I’ll do some of the finishing details by hand if I think this will look better. Hand stitching down Facings, hand Hemming and making small details like the Dimpsy T’s Handmade Loop Buttonhole make your finished garment so much better, and infinitely more unique.

The instruction book that comes with the Dimpsy T has information on every aspect of this!

I hope you have found my musings useful,

Happy stitching!

Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along: Week 2

Welcome! Welcome to Week 2 of the Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along.

By now I hope you will all have drafted your Basic Trouser Block, so we can get started on the exciting bit- making the Basic Block in to our Working Pattern!

You will need to make decisions on the following. What sort of Pockets you would like at the Front, and whether you would like a little Change Pocket. What sort of Pockets you would like on the back of your Jeans- are they to be stitched decoratively? Would you like a Flap, are they to be shaped or even have a Zip? You’ll also need to decide if you would like a Button or Zip Fly Front. Now, I’m not insane so I shall be instructing how to make a Zip Fly Front however; there’s a great Tutorial on adding in a Button Fly Front here if you’d like to make one. The pieces of Pattern you need to draft are the same.

As you can see from the these images, there are many choices to be made and it is worth having a good look out there to make your decision. I like to look at things I normally wouldn’t be able to afford to see style and design elements I like and would like to add in to my Patterns!

I like to make a little sketch of my design- called a Technical Illustration- of all of the elements I like so that I know what I need to Pattern Draft…

jeans sew along bristol sewing classes

Now, I’m going super duper classic here and there are a couple reasons for that. The first is that it suits me, the second is Classic Jeans kinda go with lots of different looks and, as I have made a few tops recently I want something to go with them all! Finally, it’s so that you guys can see what goes in to a Classic pair of Jeans instead of getting all fancy pants and convoluted on you!

Once you have a Technical Illustration, you’ll need to make a list of the elements to be drafted. Mine are:

1. Front Pocket

2. Front Pocket Facing

3. Pocket Bag

4. Change Pocket

5. Fly Front

6. Back Yoke

7. Back Pockets

8. Waistband

9. Belt Loops

10. Front

11. Back

Phew! Sounds like a tonne of work, right? But it’s not, I promise! Next I sketch a little break down:

jeans sew along bristol sewing classes2

Which is all well and good but I am sure a few of you out there will be questioning a couple of these instructions! Pocket Bag? Change Pocket? Yoke?! Yes, these are things, and I promise I’m not making it up…

jeans front jeans back

The Pocket Bag is the piece to which your Change Pocket (the teeny tiny Pocket with lovely Rivets on it) is sewn. About one third of this is seen, the other two thirds are attached to the Pocket Facing and form the Pocket istelf. You can choose to make this in two parts (as I am) so that both the bottom part of the Pocket Bag and the whole of the Facing can be made from a contrast Fabric. Which is delicious!

The Yoke sits above the Beck section of the Jeans, but below the Waistline. You can pop additional fitting in to this (like moving the darts in to it, I shall be explaining this later) however; how deep or shallow will effect the look and determine where the Back Pockets sit. This article is an interesting read on this subject, and give some invaluable information regarding Yokes for different body shapes. Again, I’m sticking with kinda basic and going for a Straight V Yoke because I know it suits me best.

So, that all being said, lets get on to the really interesting part- drafting the Pattern Pieces! I’m going to post this in the next few days as it has turned in to a slightly longer post than I had be anticipating!

In the meantime, why not take a peek at some Jeans or Trousers you already own to get a feel for the Pattern Pieces we’ll be drafting tomorrow? How deep is the Yoke on those Jeans that fit so perfectly? Why do you like the Pockets on that other pair? Part of learning to Pattern draft is to take on elements of designs which work for you as well as looking good… there will be a reason you were-or are- attracted to certain designs and now is a great time to see what they might be.

See you soon Jean-sters, I’m looking forward to it!

**UPDATE: Because of some scheduling issues some posts haven’t gone live at the correct times. The Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew-Along will re-start soon **

x Happy stitching!

 

 

Pattern Drafting Jeans Sew Along: Getting Started

I'm working hard to put ME back together one stitch at a time .... Make-Do-&-Mend Pin up

Now I know we all are excited to start whipping up a pair of Handmade Denim loveliness however; I thought that, after getting y’all pumped up about Drafting your Pattern last week I would take things down a notch and talk a little about the Fabric and Notions needed to complete this project, and give a rough schedule for this Sew-Along which I shall be posting weekly-ish.

Because we are drafting and fitting our own Jeans Pattern we can kinda choose whatever Fabric we like as we will be fitting down the line however; finer fabrics like light weight Chambray will fit differently than a heavier weight Denim so I would advise choosing a medium to heavier weight Denim for this first pair. I also like to make mine from a Denim which has a little stretch to it.  get mine from Fabric Land and theirs at something like 10% Elastane in it. This makes the Denim SO much easier to wear as it ‘pings’ back when you move instead of getting baggy, it is also a medium weight so it’s nice and easy to sew. Happy Days.

On average you will need 2.5 meters of Fabric because of the length of Jeans. Remember when cutting stretch Denim however; you will need to cut it with the Stretch going around the body.

I found this great Blog post from Pattern Review which has some fantastic information about Fabrics and Notions which is well worth a read.

Concerning Notions I sometimes like to push the boat out and, because this is a Sew-Along I am going to on the Black and Blue Jeans and treat myself to Rivets, Topstitching and proper Jeans Riveted Buttons… but more on this and so very much more later. All you need to get yourself started is the Drafted Pattern, some more Pattern Paper for all of the other bits we’ll need to draft like Pockets and Fly Fronts and about 2.5 meters of Calico for the Toile. Oh yes, there will be a Toile!!

In choosing your fabric for your Toile try to get a similar weight Calico to the Denim you would like to use. This means that all of the fitting we do on the Toile should assist in the final fit of the Jeans.

The schedule will be as follows, and starts next Monday:

Week 2 Design Decisions

This will cover making the Basic Block in to a Working Pattern as we decide what sort of Packets, Patch Pockets, length, Zip or Button Fly etc to have and draft all of the Pattern Pieces to create the Working Pattern.

Week 3 Making up the Toile and Fitting

Just exactly what it says on the tin! We’ll be making up the Jeans and fitting them, which is an excellent opportunity to try our hand at all of that pesky Top Stitching, and whether we’ll be going all fancy and double Top Stitching! It will also give us a chance to practice the Fly which can be very awkward. We’ll also be transferring any fitting issues we resolve on to the Working Pattern to make our Final Pattern.

Week 4 Treating the Denim, Cutting Out and starting to Sew

Prepping to Sew as we wash our Fabric and cutting it out, the beginning to Sew up our Denim goodness. I’ll be sharing a few tips on working quickly as I’ll be making four pairs of Jeans throughout this Sew-Along as well as tips on finishing and neatening Denim, which can be a little different from the usual as we are making classic ‘work wear’.

Week 5 Fit and Finishing

a Final Fitting session to make sure there aren’t too many discrepancies from the Toile to the final Jeans the it’s on to all the finishing details like Rivets! Yay!!

Hope this all sounds as good to you guys as it does to me, I can’t wait to get started. I’m finally going to be able to wear all of those tops I’ve been making myself!

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!

 

Free Vintage Patterns!

Have you noticed you can get a Pattern for almost anything on Pinterest? The Vintage- and even Historical- Patterns people are sharing I have become fascinated with, you can make anything so long as you know what to do with them to make them work.

From Coats to Chemises and everything in between, there are amazing War Time Make Do and Mend Patterns, beautiful 50s Dress Patterns and (my favourite for some unearthly reason!), sleeves… so many sleeves!

I have hoarded many of my favourites here, some you would need to draft the Basic Block- be is Skirt, Bodice or Dress- the make the adaptations suggested, and others need to be enlarged:

http://www.costumes.org/history/20thcent/1910s/thornton/117.jpgFree Trousseau Nightgowns Pattern

The early 1900s Skirt on the Left would be easier to make from a Basic Skirt Block, with suggested adaptations however; the Night Dress Patterns on the Right can be enlarged to be used. 

If this all seems a little daunting, don’t worry! This is simply how it used to be, and if they could do it so can we! You will need a few supplies- a Pattern Master or Ruler, Pencils and different coloured Felt Tip Pens, a Tape Measure and an ample supply of Pattern Paper however; non of this is particularly mind-bendingly difficult.

To Draft the Basic Block, refer to Pattern Month here. To enlarge Patterns, refer to my article here. There are also more resources on Pinterest for using this type of Pattern and I highly recommend giving it a go… they’re free!

When you come to make them up, I hedge my bets and make a Toile. This is a mock-up of the Garment to check everything is in working order before making the real thing. Sometimes, if I am feeling good about a Pattern I’ll make the Toile up in cheerful cheap fabric that, if it works, can still be worn. Cheeky!

Happy stitching!

A-Line Skirt hack!

Hello lovelies! Having been very inspired by The Great British Sewing Bee a couple weeks ago, here is my A-Line Skirt Hack based on my super duper popular Patternless A-Line Skirt Tutorial to make an Inverted Box Pleated Skirt as they did.

The original Tutorial is amazingly simple, and I highly recommend it if you are learning to sew or want a quick make for a cute Skirt. You need just 1 and a half meters of fabric for the A-Line version, but you’ll need 2 meters for this Pleated version, which will make a knee length Skirt just as beautiful as Tamara’s was!

pleats 1

Firstly, you will need to make up the Pattern for the A-Line Skirt. In the original Tutorial this is simply drawn on to the fabric after taking a couple basic measurements (a la Chinelo!) however, for the Pleated Skirt you will need to make it up on Pattern Paper.

Once you have your Pattern, divide the waist line and hem in to three, and draw a dotted line between the markings as illustrated. Cut up these lines to separate the pieces, the tape the first piece on to another piece of paper. Decide how deep you would like your Pleats- the Great British Sewing Bee had 8cm, and I like 12cm- then measure from the first dotted line out by this measurement… i.e. 8cm. Measure and mark out along the whole line, then tape the second piece along this line, effectively moving it 8cm away. Repeat for the third piece.

pleats 1 pleats 2 pleats 3 pleats 4

Mark a circle at the top of each of the the dotted lines. This is to mark where you will need to make Tailors Tacks which will help you see where the Pleats are to be made, and keep the Skirt the same size as it is made up.

Fold your Skirt Fabric Selvedge to Selvedge (so you get a long, thin folded piece), then lay the Pattern on the Fold, pin the pattern and cut around. Move the pattern down, flip over and lay next to the Selvedge as illustrated and pin and cut again. If you have an obvious print, you will need to match it.

cutting diagram pleat skirt

Before you un-pin each piece, place Tailors Tacks on each mark. Tailors Tacks are a great way to mark your fabric without resorting to a pencil or snipping the fabric as you can with Notches.

pleats 5 pleats 7 pleats 8

To make the Pleats, fold the fabric, right sides together, so that the Tailors Tacks lie on top of each other. Pin, then press the Pleat flat, distributing the Pleat evenly each side…

pleats 9 pleats 17 pleats 15

pleats 2

… thanks to The Great British Sewing Bee for that! Once pinned, you can follow the rest of the A-Line Skirt Tutorial and sew the Skirt up.

Alternatively, and this word strikes fear in to my classes because they know what I am going to suggest will probably be exciting enough they want to do it but difficult!, you can sew the Pleats down before continuing to sew up the Skirt! I love this technique, it makes the skirt incredibly flattering, and distributes the flair about the Hip and not the Waist (which is great if you aren’t stick thin).

pleats 10 pleats 17 pleats 15 pleats 16

Fold the Pleat so that the Tailors Tack matches as before. Place the second Pin 12cm down. Using the Tailors Tack as a guide, sew straight down (for example, if you have done 8cm Pleats, you will have 4cm Seam Allowance at this point and will need to sew 4cm away from the edge from top to bottom) until you reach the Pin marking 12cm. Remember to reverse stitch at the top and bottom. Distribute the Pleat evenly on each side as before, pin and then Top Stitch down each side of the Pleat on the Front as in the last picture.

Once you have pinned your Pleats, or sewn them down, you can continue to sew up the Skirt at in the A-Line Skirt Tutorial. You can choose to sew it up with the Simple Zip method included in the Tutorial or use an Invisible Zipper, or a Lapped Zip as in The Great British Sewing Bee.

As ever, I’d love to see your makes! Happy stitching!

Simple Pattern Drafting: Pyjamas!!

Pj Pic

Who wouldn’t want a gorgeous, hand made pair of Pajamas? Over the years I have whipped up a few pairs to give as gifts, so I thought I’d share how to make them up Pajamas, without having to buy a Pattern!

I have sorted out the following, super simple printables’ for you all to follow, which illustrate how to make up your own pattern (from just two simple measurements!), how to cut them out and then full instructions at the bottom to sew the Pajamas up… all you really need to worry about is which fabric you’re going to choose first!!

If this is your first foray in to Pattern Cutting take a peek at Pattern Month. You may want to load up on some basic supplies too like a Meter Ruler or Pattern Master and some Pattern Paper however; you can make do with Baking Paper and a Tape Measure just as well too!

Click on the images to enlarge, and print.

Easy Pattern DraftingPyjamas

Pyjama Pattern Page 2

Pyjama Instruction Sheet

Wasn’t so difficult was it?! I like to simply buy nice, plain t-shirts, tank tops and lacy vests to match the fabrics I have chosen to serve as Pajama tops, which can be great fun if you are making for someone else!!

For all my old school followers the conversion of inches to centimeters is 1″:2.5cm, but there is a handy conversion calculator here.

When choosing fabric for your Pajamas, remember that they should be soft and lovely so fabrics like Cotton Flannel, Brushed Cotton and Winceyette are perfect, as are printed cottons. Anything silkier or satin-y can prove a little too static inducing for my liking, and fleece a little heavy and hot. Why not have a trawl through the wonderful world of Spoonflower for something truly unique… or even design your own?!

Don’t forget to share your makes with me over on Facebook!

Happy stitching!

Pattern Month, signing off.

So, it is all over… and what a glorious, action packed, fun Month this has been!

I would very much like to thank all who have joined in, commented and taken part in Pattern Month. Congratulations to the winners of Pattern Making Musings- but don’t forget to comment until Midnight on the 4th October on my interview with Madalynne!- and a HUGE thank you with sprinkles on to those who allowed me to interview them! IN-HOUSE Patterns, Colette, Sinbad & Sailor and Madalynne were all very gracious and enthusiastic.

The reception to everything I posted, wrote about and shared has  been so lovely that I am sure I shall soon be declaring Pattern Month again… there’s just so much more to talk about!! I sincerely hope it has inspired creativity, and even adventure in some of you. It’s so wonderful to be able to create your own designs and then make them up that I strongly urge anyone thinking about it to give it a go. Once the maths has been mastered- there’s a lot of it, sorry!- and you become more accustomed to thinking 3D whilst looking at a 2D Pattern you will be fine.

If you have been following along and created either Flat Patterns, Blocks, Toiles or even a Working Pattern or final Garment please share! It would be so lovely to see what you have come up with.

I shall be teaching a Garment Construction Course over the next month specifically designed to teach my Pattern Cutting Class how to make up their designs. I’ll be posting about their progress, and sincerely hope you share yours.

I’ll be taking a well earned break over October but November is another matter… stay tuned for exciting news! Eek!!

Don’t forget to check out Laura After Midnight exclusive Zines, and the original Pattern Month post. Find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter too.

Happy stitching!

 

Pattern Making Musings: Madalynne

mad4

Welcome one, welcome all to the last Pattern Making Musings! Boy, what a month it has been, and we are ending on a high with some great advice from Maddie of Madalynne.

Starting as something to occupy her during a holiday, Sewing turned out to be the most amazing transition for Maddie and you should hop on over to her website to have a read of how she got where she got! Starting out as a self confessed ‘Science Nerd’, she attended college yet never graduated, deciding instead to do something which I strongly advocate- get industry experience and stay there if someone offers you a job! Starting out as a Production/Technical Designer- which means tons of Pattern Making!- for Urban Outfitters she now teams Dressmaking and Pattern Making with Blogging for Urban Outfitters and Madalynne.com… but I’ll let Maddie introduce herself properly…

mad 2

Hi, my name is Maddie Flanigan and I am the blogger behind Madalynne, the cool sewing and pattern making blog. If Steve McQueen was the ‘King of Cool,” then Madalynne is the “Queen of Cool.” My blog covers everything from how to draft a Sloper (Basic Block) to interviews with seamstresses and what projects I’m currently working on. For two and a half years, my day job was in the technical design department for a very large fashion company in Philadelphia, and about a year ago, this company took note of my personal blog and asked me to start an intranet blog that would create a cohesive voice for all their brands. Sweet, right? I consider myself one lucky lady to be able to do what I love both day and night (blog and sew), not to mention I receive a stellar discount off some really fancy clothes!

Do you have any other Blogs or Websites you would recommend?

All sewing and pattern making blogs provide a lot of useful information and each one has their own vibe. If you’re looking to strengthen your patterning and sewing skills, don’t focus on a particular blog, instead, pay attention to the post content. Any post about a garment that a blogger just made will detail the construction steps and tricks they used – that’s where you gain a lot of information.

What has been the best piece of Pattern Cutting advice you have been given?

The best pattern making advice that was been given to me was “use common sense.” At the time, I was working as an assistant technical designer and the woman I reported to, Alla, was a Russian pattern maker with over 30 years experience. I was a newbie in the industry, so I asked a lot of questions, but a woman can only handle so many, “Should I reduce the rise? Can I bring in the width from the side seams? What if I increased bottom opening?” After asking my umpteenth question, Alla turned to me and said, “Use your common sense!” So simple, but so true. Pattern making is not rocket science – a pattern’s curves and shapes must make sense and if they don’t, just put two brain cells together and make it make sense.

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What is your must have item of equipment?

For this question, I’m going to have to answer with one of the simplest tools – a ruler or a measuring tape. Because I have experience in technical design, I’m a numbers kind of pattern maker / seamstress and I rely on my “specs.” When drafting, sewing, or altering a shirt, and this concept applies to other garments as well, I know that a body length spec (HPS to bottom opening) of 24” is perfect for my height and that anything longer than 29” long will look like a tunic on me. I stick to my numbers so much that I know my armhole depth by heart!

What Pattern, that you have you made, makes you the most proud?

I used to make elaborate garments that would take months to complete, but after finishing them, those clothes sat in my closet unworn because, well, where the heck am I going to wear a ball gown?! Over time, I’ve simplified the things that I make and as a result, I’m wearing more me-made clothing. Now, what makes me proud is not only that a garment is beautifully constructed, but that it’s wearable.

Which if the Independent Pattern Companies out there do you love at the moment?

Right now, my favourite pattern line is actually a book – Stylish Dress Book. It’s a Japanese sewing book that contains 15+ simple patterns. The designs are simple but also feminine and pretty. What I like most about these books is that even with a demanding full-time job, I can complete projects within weeks, not months, and that’s a great feeling.

How super cool is Madalynne? I especially love her advice about using your common sense. I am always telling my Pattern Class to use their eye, and if it looks a little odd on the Flat Pattern, it probably will make up odd. Don’t be timid- ironing out mistakes is what Toiles are for!

As ever, I would love to hear what you all have to say, comment below to join in! If you would like to read the other Pattern Making Musings the first was by Alexandra of IN-HOUSE Patterns, the second was from the lovely Sarai of Colette and last weeks was from Hannah of Sinbad & Sailor. Don’t forget to comment on Hannah interview to be in with a chance of winning a fandabbydozey Pattern from this new but oh so cool Pattern Company!

This weeks give away is all me baby! I am offering up the below bundle of goodies…

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A delicious Vintage Butterick Skirt Pattern, a stack of Dressmaking Zines including my newest Zips Zine, and one of my soon to be launched Sewing Tidy’s! Wow!! As ever, comment below to win. I’ll close the competition at midnight GMT 4th October 2013.

If you have just stumbled upon Pattern Month feel free to catch up through various posts from making the Basic BlocksToile and tips like Marking your Patterns, the Order of Sewing,  and Scaling Up Vintage Patterns! It’s great to have you with us!

Happy Patterning!