The Dimpsy T Sew-Along!

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Well, ladies and gents, the long awaited Dimpsy T Sew-Along starts today!!

The newest Pattern release from Laura after Midnight is a darling little Summer Top with a central Bust Dart, Kimono style Sleeves, Key Hole detailing and lots of snappy ways to learn to sew, brush up your Sewing skills or simply whip up a tip top Summertime Top in a couple hours!

Head on over to A Tangled Stitch– my Pattern Etsy Shop- to grab your Pattern right now! Use Coupon Code DIMPSYOFFER to get 15% off

We’ll start sewing next week however; we’ll be talking about sewing all week! I’ll be posting some helpful hints and tips about choosing fabric and equipment later this week but I thought I’d kick us off with the order or sewing, and what we’re going to be tackling along the way:

Week 1

Preparing to Sew, gathering your Supplies and cutting the right size. We’ll be talking about measuring for the perfect fit, discussing fabric choices and giving out some handy Sewing hints and tips about what equipment is handy in the Sewing Room, and more!

Week 2

That Dart! Just how mean was I when I designed that central Dart for the Dimpsy T? We’ll be finding out how to sew it up, with some helpful hints and tips about marking fabric and preparing to sew Darts.

Week 3

Concerning Collars! The Dimpsy T has two different types of Collar and in this Sew-Along I shall be stitching up The Fang. With lots of tips about how to sew curves, grading and clipping and lots more, this is going to be a get stuck in, nitty gritty, sewing geek kinda week! We shall complete the Collar first, then later in the week, Facings.

Week 4

Finishing and the release of the Dimpsy T Hack Book! Adding the final touches to our Dimpsy T, we’ll talk all about hemming, hand stitching and Hacks! I may even be persuaded to do another give away… cheeky!

Excited? I am! These bad boys only take a couple hours to make, and I can’t wait to reveal what other things you can do with the Pattern. We’ll be sharing our makes at the end, and you’ll be able to pin the on Pinterest for everyone to ooh over!

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!!

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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.

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  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!

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 Happy stitching!

Sample Sale

Yes, the rumours were true! I’m selling a couple of Costume pieces off, as well as all of the Samples I have made for Laura After Midnight for products that I wont be repeating again…

A gorgeous Victorian Jacket made from Purple Silk and Black Lace, pictured with and without Bustle. Just £28 + P&P. Click here to buy.

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A small Victorian Bustle, which ties on at the front allowing for multiple Sizes. The pattern for this was taken from a Late Victorian extant Pattern, and it is fully Steel Boned and a delight to wear. Just £25 + P&P. Click here to buy.

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A more Steampunk inspired Victorian Jacket with Zip front and teeny tiny Skull details. this is also Fan Laced and ties in a bow at the front which is super fun!  Shown with a Bustle however; it can be worn without. Just £28 + P&P. Click here to buy.

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I am also selling these gorgeous Waist Coat Samples. I no longer can find the Dark Grey and Light Grey Pinstripe Fabric so these wont be repeated like this again. I am however; re-printing the ‘Rudey Nudey’ Victorian pornographic Fabric, but more on that later… Each is about half price at £30+ P&P and I have to say they really are quite beautifully made. Click here for the Light Grey and here for the Dark Grey.

Grey Pinstripe Fitted Victorian Steampunk Waistcoat IMG_9944

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Finally, a little bit of an oddment I designed and made up a couple years ago… the Whipped Cream Silk Corset Topper. Designed to be worn over the top of a Corset, this Corset Topper will still show the wearers décolletage, but create a flight of pleated and circle cut silk about the wearers shoulders. A perfect statement piece! Just £30 +P&P. Click here to buy!

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I’ve also listed a couple new products too!

Happy stitching x

Studio Snippets

Today I thought I would share some images of some gorgeous Medieval inspired Costumes I Designed and Made Up a couple months ago. I think I am in love with quilting again, and intend to make up some Bolero Jackets and Spats featuring this rather elaborate technique…

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This is a technique I have employed before for Historical Costumes. Not only is it accurate (-ish, I do it by Machine), it is a cost effective trick to create a brilliantly elaborate piece!

I first made a Paper Pattern for the Doublet, then drew the Quilted Design on to it to make sure it would work, and that I liked it. It is very easy to become a little too intricate so drawing out the pattern is a very good exercise! I then- somewhat free hand- drew the Pattern on to the Jerkin with tailors chalk, making slight adjustments to ensure it matched both sides because there were to be eyelets and lacing down the front and a seam at the back.

I backed the Blue Linen with very thin wadding and a lining- cut about 10cm larger than the Linen as there is to be expected some amount of movement when machine quilting- then started in the middle with the circles and worked outwards. When employing this technique I use a medium large stitch on my sewing machine and just take it slow. The whole jacket took about 7 hours to quilt in full but I am so pleased with the results, and can’t wait to see pictures of it in action!

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Above is some fabric I created for a Dark Queen Costume around the same time as the Doublet. I made it up on to a Waspie for the Costume, which looked just fantastic.

I worked with some Black Coutil for the base, then placed two layers of Gold Lace, a layer of Matt Black Sequinned Lace on top. I then Machine Stitched in Gold to outline the Pattern of the Sequins. This looked simply gorgeous and I fully intend to create a full length, Victorian Corset using the technique. It only took a couple hours because tracing around the outline of the Sequin pattern was done semi-freehand.

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I think I am becoming a little ‘known’ for my Machine Embroidery techniques!!

This above is a sample of some freehand machine embroidery I created for Dark Queens costume. I adapted and echoed the pattern from the Sequinned Lace and added in my own embellishments to create this piece of fabric which was ultimately cut up in to little strips!

Whilst machine embroidery is a relatively quick technique- which is why I use it so frequently in my Costumes, as if done correctly it can look like Medieval style hand embroidery or Black Work- it can still take time and I think I spent about 20 hours Quilting and Embroidering for this commission! I was quite content though, and adore the out come.

If you like the look of Machine Embroidery, why not check out Bristol Sewing Club to learn? I am also working on a handy little Zine full of hints and tips for the budding Machine Embroiderer too. I think it is a wonderful thing to master and can be used so many different ways.

Happy stitching!

The Great British Sewing Bee: Week 1

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Well… what did we all think?!

Click the above link to watch (it will be available to watch until the 25th of February, if you are in foreign parts you may have to search the underbelly of the Internet!) the first episode, which was a tour de force of sewing techniques!

Those poor contestants, they were well and truly worked over! From pinning, to pattern matching, not pinning OR pattern matching (I’ll be watching Chinelo with interest!), sewing Dartsclipping curves, easing fabric and under stitching and the ever present Patch Pocket; our first introduction to this years contestants was fascinating. And this was just all on the first challenge!!

I thought it was very clever to use the different fabrics for each challenge. Cotton is obviously the easiest to use, and I was surprised when a couple contestants admitted to not having used Wool before however; I thought the Silk challenge really levelled the contestants!

Over the next few days, and as promised, I shall be sharing my tips on creating Hand Made Button Loops, a simple Tunic Top and customising a Skirt. Over the course of the next eight weeks I shall also be sharing my hints and tips on working with different fabrics- and finally using my beautiful Merchant & Mills Book to make my own Tailors Ham, which is a wonderful piece of equipment to have around when working with Wool.

Has this first episode inspired you?

Happy stitching!

Notions: How to Sew a Curved Patch Pocket

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Recently I seem to have been teaching students how to do various forms of Patch Pockets so I thought I’d add this little Tutorial and follow it up with some variants upon the theme including a Pleated Patch Pocket.

Patch Pockets are super duper easy but care us needed when Top Stitching the Pocket to the Main Fabric. The more preparation and care taken, the more professional and beautiful the final product- but that is true of any Sewing project taken on!

If you are following a Pattern, you will already have cut out your Patch Pocket however; if you are adding Pockets to a project, or even up-cycling a garment you will need to draw up and cut out a Paper Pattern. this is easily done- simply draw the Pocket you would like on some paper using a pencil and ruler. If you would like curved edges- I think they look lovely!- use a glass or a sauces to draw the curves in. When you are happy, add a 1.5cm or 5/8″ Seam Allowance around the sides and bottom, then a 2cm or 1″ at the top.

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Pin the paper pattern to the Fabric you are going to be making the Patch Pocket from, keeping one side parallel with the Selvedge of the fabric to make sure the Grain Line is straight. Cut around the edge, and repeat if you would like to make two.

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Iron the top of the Pocket over .5cm or 3/8″, then iron over again 1.5cm or 5/8″ so the raw edges are enclosed. Lining the edge of your Sewing Machines Presser Foot up with the edge of the fold and stitch along the edge as illustrated. Lining the edge of the Presser Foot up against the fold will keep the seam nice and straight. You may wish to use your Zipper Foot to get extra close to the edge!

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Pinning directly on to your Ironing Board, turn the edges of the Patch Pocket in 1.5cm or 5/8″ and pin as shown. Pin carefully around each curve , the fabric you are turning back should wrinkle, but the front should stay flat. It is helpful to hang a Tape Measure about your neck, and measure each turn. When you are happy that the curves are perfect, carefully Iron over to ‘set’ the Fabric. Turn the Pocket over and Iron again to be sure.

Pin the Pocket onto your Main Fabric- if you are using a Pattern this will be marked. If you are adding this detail in yourself if may take a couple of goes to Pin exactly where you like them, and it may be advisable to try the garment on to make sure they are not too high or low.

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On the Sewing Machine, you will need to start on the Top Stitched Hem you previously sewed and, sewing towards the top of the Pocket and at a slight angle stitch to the top of the Pocket as in the first two pictures above. Do not reverse stitch but do push the thread away from you as you start, and make sure they’re about 15cm or 6″ long.

When you reach the top, use the Balance Wheel to roll the Needle in to the Fabric. Lift the Presser Foot and turn the Fabric then sew to the edge of the Pocket. Remember that, if you do not think you can sew slowly enough, you can always roll the Balance Wheel forward to sew these few stitches by hand. When you reach the corner of the Pocket, roll the Needle into the Pocket, lift the Presser Foot and spin the Fabric as before.

Continue to sew around the Pocket. You may choose to use the Zipper Foot again however; I have used my normal Presser Foot because I find it feeds the Fabric a little more easily, especially when sewing right on the edge like this.

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When sewing around corners, use the same technique as when sewing a corner. Lifting the Presser Foot, with the Needle in the Fabric, and moving the Fabric to keep an equal distance from the edge of the Pocket.

When you have reached the top edge of the Pocket, turn and sew along the top edge- the same distance at the other side- then turn the corner and stitch at an angle until you join the stitching from the side and the original Top Stitching along the top of the Pocket- as in the above picture on the right.

If you notice the Fabric is not making a perfect curve, you can use a Pin to gently push it back in to place.

Again, do not reverse stitch, but pull the fabric from the Sewing Machine and cut threads long.

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On the reverse side, pull the thread (here white) until a little loop pulls through (here red). This is the front thread. Use a pin to pull the loop through (the middle picture above), until the front thread has been pulled completely through. You will then be able to tie in a knot to secure so that the front is incredible neat! I tie two knot just to be safe!

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And you are finished!

If you look carefully at the above picture you will see the left hand Pocket curve is perfection however; the right hand is slightly squared. This will happen when the Fabric isn’t pinned correctly initially, or not corrected as it is stitched. Not preparing properly will result in a ‘squared off’ curve. Of course, you can always unpick and start again (that’s the beauty of Sewing!) however; I think you will agree that on patterned Fabric and with matching thread this would not be as noticeable. Sewing curves is all about practice, so you may wish to sew a few practice runs before stitching the real thing.

As ever, I would love to see any projects you use this technique on! You can also find more hints and tips here, and here.

If you would like to have a go at Patch Pockets, but don’t have a project, why not grab a Sewing Tidy Kit?

Happy stitching!

Alice in Midnightland!

My very first feature has appeared on A Very Curious Wedding!

There are more features to follow as the Kits are made up however; why not follow along as Michelle makes up her Alice in Wonderland themed Fascinator and Mini Top Hat Kits? Available now on Laura After Midnight on Etsy from just £10…

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The Fascinator Kit comes in Pale Blue Watered Taffeta and Paper Silk. Included in the Kit is a decoration pack with Cream Feathers, dainty and very pretty Daisy Chain Lace, Black and Cream Ribbons and Paper Silk hand made Flower with Vintage Button details to decorate with, and veiling to make a Birdcage Veil. The Mini Top Hat Kit is made up in 100% Black Silk Dupion. Included in this fantastic Alice themed Kit is a Decoration Pack with Red Velvet Ribbon, gorgeous Black Guipure Lace trim, a selection of Vintage mis-matched Buttons, Black and Red Satin Ribbon and to set it all off some quirky Vintage style Alice themed Playing Cards. Pretty cool!!

I’ll even pop in a Mini Kit of your choice to the first 5 sold! Click the link to buy and don’t forget, Augusts Discount Code is AUGUST13 for free shipping on orders over £20.00.

Happy stitching!

Sale!

Uh oh… I have been reading business stuff again! How to market yourself, how to self advertise, how to boost sales!! It’s all swimming about in my head, whilst I am having a HUGE clear out of my Studio to give myself some much needed space so… I have decided to have a crazy sale in my Etsy store!!

Use Coupon Code JuneSale13 to receive 25% off when your spend £25, easy peasy!

Black and White Stripe Spats Butterfly Mini Top Hat Garden Flowers Mini Top Hat Kit

Primrose Yellow Silk Mini Top hat Kit Pirate Ship Spats Red Silk and Lace Mini Top Hat

all 25% off at Laura After Midnight!!

Happy stitching!

Exciting times at Midnight Heights

Whilst remaining acceptingly sceptical with a healthy dollop of nerves I am in the process of sending out my first Press Release and Wholesale Order information. It has taken several months of preparation, photos being taken then discarded and taken again, re-writes and editing however; finally I am more happy than I am not so I have decided ‘heck, lets just do this thing’!

All of this planning has put me in mind of all the Mini Top Hats I have sent off across the World, and I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the many people who follow me, help me and who have been supporting me in this endeavour as I take the next step.

If you are reading this as a proud owner of the Laura After Midnight Mini Top Hat Kit, please gain as much inspiration for decorating your creation as possible, as you can see sometimes a bow is enough!

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This gorgeous little Black Silk Mini Top Hat was the first I ever made, and the first I sold! Taking inspiration for Victorian Riding Hats, I simply made an outsize silk bow to attach to the back, with a Birdcage Veil trimmed with some Organza Ribbon to finish the effect. It was bought by a photographer in L.A. who very kindly sent me the above photograph.

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As you can see, it is super simple however; I just adore that! The next hat was a private commission and it was the first time I started to bring some more of my Costume knowledge in to the Mini Top Hats. Created with overlays of Cotton, Net and Lace, this little Hat looks like a slice of beautiful antique China.

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It also has some stunning Vintage Button adornments, with a ruffly lace edge to offset and emphasize the Tricorn. Also my first Tricorn, I was very pleased with the result. So I made another…

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The thing I love about making Tricorns’ is, you get to use more Buttons! Again however; this has some pretty simple decorations which help to make the Tricorn shape stand out. This little darling went to live in Georgia, USA.

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Another Mini Top Hat destined for a Wedding ensemble was this gorgeous Silk and Pearl pure white Hat. I overlaid Antique Victorian Corset Lace around the Brim and added a Vintage Art Deco mother of pearl Button and Feather. Sent off in its little Hat Box to Germany, this Hat was worn for a Victorian Steampunk themed Wedding!

And a couple more…

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purple hat Red Hat 2 pink hat

 

I had no idea they’re were so many out there in the World! How glorious!! Remember you can purchase your own little bit of Midnight visit the Laura After Midnight Etsy store where you can find Hats, Kits and many more delights. 

Happy stitching!

Some stunning new Mini Top Hats.

New things have been listed (finally!) in the Laura After Midnight Etsy store, hooray!! I feel as if I am a whirlwind of activity at the moment, and had actually given myself today off. What do I find myself up to? Writing a new Zine, and excitedly photographing things for Etsy then listing! Oh well, I’ll sleep when I’m dead and all that!

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In the spare time that I do have, I’ve been hand embellishing some Mini Top Hats I made a while back with all sorts of lace, spangles and adornments I have found in my stash, and I do have to say that I am mighty impressed with the results! I bought a Vintage Embroidery book a while back which was all about the results Chain Stitch can give you if you layer it up.  As you can see I have used it to make Flowers and mixed it in with Spangles for a very effective and highly embellished look.

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Above are just two, there are more in the shop! Because my line of Spats have proven so very, very popular, I have been working towards make a new and slightly more colorful range. What do you think? I adore the Pirate Spats soo much!!

Red Spats 1 Ship Spats 2

Stripe Spats 1 White Spats 1

In other news: I am on target for my 2nd Zine! Eek!

I am furiously commanding Photoshop to do my bidding as we speak, scanning in illustrations and generally having a high old time. This one is actually going to be given away as a free little extra with any Zines I sell and is all about the Vintage Sewing Books I use, and find most helpful. As I think every Seamstress (or Seamster!!) should own a couple and I have hand illustrated the covers and written a small review for a teeny tiny yellow Zine.

Right, time for tea me thinks…

Happy stitching!