The Dimpsy T Sew-Along: Week 3 The Collar

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Well, how are you today and how’s your Dimpsy T coming along?

Today we will be tackling the Collar and later on this week the Facings. I have chosen to make the Fang collar however; the instructions are similar and I shall be making note of the differences as I sew my Dimpsy T up.

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You will need to lay one Collar piece on top of another, making sure of course that you will be sewing a left and a right… which is why I like to lay them out (above, left) with right sides together and then pin (above, right).

Now, a small speech concerning the pin controversy! You may have noticed that I pin at a ninety degree angle, then sew straight over them. Whilst this probably isn’t the best thing to do, and I know there are many, many people who would disagree with this, I find it super duper helpful when sewing tricky curves like this, and it helps beginner Seamsters no end because they can concentrate on the actual sewing instead of stopping every few centimeters to take a pin out! And y’know, I’m a rebel sewer and all that!

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After shaking your head at my piratical approach to pinning, or mentally high fiving as you cavalierly sew over your pins too, you’ll need to sew- with 1.5cm Seam Allowance- around the outside. Do not sew the inside curve or you wont be able to turn it out the right way! Remember to reverse stich at the beginning and end to secure.

To sew around those tricky corners of the Fang Collar sew along one of the short edges then stop 1.5cm away from the edge, make sure your needle is in the fabric, lift the Presser Foot and then turn your Fabric then lower the Presser Foot to continue Sewing.

You may find it helpful to draw in your 1.5cm Seam Allowance with some Tailors Chalk to follow around the corners too.

To sew the curve of both Pan and Fang Collars, I like to stop every once in a while to check I am still on the Seam Allowance guide as it is quite important to do this evenly and smoothly!

Clip all corners (above middle), then Grade the Seams. To Grade you will need to cut back the Seam Allowance by half (above right) and then one side of the Seam Allowance by half again (below). This allows the fabric to curve once the Collar is turned out, but it also stops a ‘ridge’ forming when the Collar is ironed. It’s a beautiful finishing detail, which works for both the Pan and Fang Collars.

collar 6Once Graded, turn the Collar out the right way. You can use a Pin (as shown below) or Point Turner to make the corners pf the Fang collar turn out perfectly sharp.

Next, pin the Collar to the ironing board, making sure the seam is turned out as much as possible and Iron. Pinning to the ironing board helps to ensure the seam isn’t pleated. You may fing using your Point turner helpful here too.

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And there you have it, one beautifully made Collar!

Collar 10Because there are no Corners on the Pan Collar, you will only need to make sure the Seam is turned out when ironing. Grading as illustrated will help with this.

An interesting fact: the Collar side with the smallest amount of Seam Allowance left is now the Under Collar. This is because the smallest amount of Seam Allowance will leave a small ridge when washed and ironed multiple times and it is preferable this is underneath where it can’t be seen!

Later this week we shall all tackle attaching the collar to the main Bodice, then we’ll get a real look at how the Dimpsy T is turning out!

Don’t forget you can buy your own copy of the Dimpsy T- available as a cheap as chips PDF Pattern, or as a beautiful Hard Copy Pattern in my Etsy Pattern shop A Tangled Stitch.

Happy stitching!

Simple Sews English Tea Dress Sewing Tutorial

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Welcome my lovelies, to this impromptu, bonus Sew-Along!! Yes, as well as the Dimpsy T Sew-Along for my own newest Sewing Pattern I just couldn’t resist when asked by Simple Sew to create this Tutorial!

Have you spied the glorious English Tea Dress by Simple Sews free with Love Sewing Magazine recently? If you would like a lovely, easy breezy Summer Dress to make up look no further, I stitched one up in a couple hours the other day and I hope this Tutorial has some handy tips to help you stitch up your own!

Firstly, measure yourself and cut out the size Pattern which best suits. Alternatively you can trace your Pattern size off, using Pattern Paper or even Swedish Tracing Paper if you’re feeling fancy, and want to check the fit first! Tracing a Pattern will will allow you to change the Pattern (lengthen or shorten etc), but still preserve the original.

Once cut or traced, and using the Cutting Layplans’ on the Instruction Sheet, pin the Pattern to your Fabric then cut the Pattern out. You will need to pay close attention to the Grain Lines as they need to run exactly parallel to the Selvedge or folded edge of the fabric.

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At this point it’s a great idea to make a cuppa and have a read of the Pattern Instructions, just so you know what’s coming and can google any unknown terms.

Once cut out, cut any notches- the Triangular shapes along the edge of the Pattern pieces- and mark all of the Tailor’s Tacks on the Circle markers across the Pattern pieces.

how to make tailors tacks

Once you have made marked the Notches and made all of the Tailor’s Tacks, pull the Pattern off carefully holding on to the Tailor’s Tack threads so they don’t come out. Separate the Fabric pieces and snip the Tailor’s Tack in between so each piece has little thread markers. .

Remove every pin that is keeping the rest of the Pattern pieces on the Fabric, and then pin the Pattern pieces back on with just one pin. This means that you’ll still know what each piece is, but as you are sewing you won’t have to stop to un-pin every time you start to work on a new piece of the Pattern.

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The first pieces to be sewn are the Front Bodice and Back Bodice. Un-pin them and, with right sides together, on each Dart match the Notch on the Seam then fold the Fabric so that the fold goes through the centre of the Tailor’s Tack. Pin.

I like to pin everything I can, then start sewing. I find it’s a quick way to make the sewing process quicker.

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To sew the Dart first pull the Top Thread on the Sewing Machine very long, next- and whilst holding the Threads in place so they don’t tangle- put the Machines Needle down next to the Notch, lower the Presser Foot and then reverse stitch back and forth to start yourself off. Take hold of the Top Thread again and pull round and under the Presser Foot until it is lying in line with the Tailor’s Tack. Start Sewing along the line made by the Top Thread. When you reach the end sew ‘off’ the fabric then pull out of the Sewing Machine. Do not reverse stitch but cut the Threads long, then hand tie and snip close. Hand tying the end threads of a Dart will ensure a neat finish.

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Sew all Darts in this fashion, and then Iron into the top of the Dart before ironing the bottom as illustrated. Iron all Darts towards the Side Seams. You cannot iron over a Dart in it’s entirety as it’s not flat anymore!

To beautifully Hand Finish your Darts see this handy Tutorial.

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With right sides together, join the Front Bodice and Back Bodice at the Shoulder Seam with 1.5cm Seam Allowance. Zig-Zag neaten the edges as illustrated then iron. Repeat for the Front and Back Facings pieces.

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Lay the Bodice out with right side up on your sewing table. With right sides together lay the Facing on top. Match the Shoulder seams- push one seam one way and the other seam the other way to reduce the bulk as illustrated.

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With 1cm Seam Allowance, sew the Bodice and Facing together. When you reach the ‘V’ leave the sewing machines needle in the fabric, lift the Presser Foot, and then turn the fabric for a clean sewing line.Once sewn, Zig-Zag neaten the Facing outside edge.

Once sewn, snip into the ‘V’ as illustrated, then continue to snip all the way around the Neckline Seam Allowance, each time as close as you can to the stitching. This is super important as the Neckline will not turn out neatly unless the seam is clipped.

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 You will next need to Understitch the Neckline for a neat finish. On the Facing side of the Seam, sew through the Facing and the clipped Seam Allowance as illustrated. This needs to be sewn as closely as possible to the original Seam, as you can see.

Understitching is magical and helps the Facing ‘roll’ to the back so you won’t see it as you’re wearing the Dress!

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After Understitching, iron the Facing in position. This is sometimes easier if you pin into the ironing board to keep everything where you need it to be.

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Attach the Front Bodice to the Front Skirt. Pin and sew the left side, but stop sewing when you reach the Centre Front point as shown. Reverse stitch to secure, then snip into the Skirt seam allowance until you almost touch the stitching. This will allow the seam allowance to ‘relax’ so that you are able to pin, and then sew the right hand side of the Front Skirt to the Front Bodice.

Trying to sew this in one go will result in bunching at the Centre Front.

Attach the Back Skirts to the Back Bodices. Zig-Zag neaten all seams then iron.

Sew the Side Seams with right sides together, Zig-Zag neaten and iron flat.

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To sew the Sleeves, you will need to double check that you have the Notches cut as shown.

With 1cm Seam Allowance, and using the longest straight stitch on your Sewing Machine, sew from one notch to the other. Reverse stitch to secure beginning and end. Sew a second line of stitches at 2cm Seam Allowance so you have two channels of stitching as illustrated. Reverse stitch beginning and end as before.

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With 1.5cm Seam Allowance, and with right sides together, sew the Side Seams of the Sleeves. Zig-Zag neaten the Seam and iron as before.

Turn the Dress inside out, and the Sleeves right side out.

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 Ensuring the Single Notched side of the Sleeve faces the Front, pop a sleeve in an Armhole and match the Sides Seams. Pin.

Continue pinning the Bodice to the Sleeve on each side until you reach the beginning of the Gathering.

With a large pin, ‘pick up’ a stitch from each line of gather stitches and pull to gather up. Continue gathering until the Sleeve fits the Armhole. Tie the two stitch loops together to secure then ‘shuffle’ the gathers along until even. Once you are happy, continue pinning the rest of the sleeve in then stitch in place, Zig-Zag neaten and iron.

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Carefully unpick any gathering stitches you can see on the right side of the Sleeve.

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To insert the Zip, iron the 1.5cm Seam Allowance in place as shown. Unfold and lay the Seam flat, place the top of the Zip high up and close to the edge of the Neckline, then pin one side of the Zip with right side down against the right side of the fabric.

Attach the Zipper Foot to your Sewing Machine, and then sew down the Zip, ‘rolling’ the teeth away so sew underneath and following the line made by the iron. It is in this action that the Zip becomes ‘invisible’.

Stitch right to the end of the Zip, and reverse stitch at the end to secure. You can also draw in the Seam allowance line with some Tailor’s Chalk if you wish. There is a more in-depth Invisible, sometimes called a Concealed, Zipper Tutorial here.

For the other side, do up the Zip (and admire your handiwork so far!) and pop a Pin in the un-sewn side of the Zip at the Waistline.

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Undo the Zip, and match the top with the other side of the Bodice as before but ensure you match the Waistline with the Waistline marker pin. It is very easy to mismatch the waistline unless you do this. Pin along the Zip and then stitch in as before.

When the newly inserted Zip is done up the Waistline and Center Back line should for a cross as illustrated.

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Turn the Dress inside out and with right sides together, next to the Zipper stitching as illustrated, start sewing about 2cm above and next to where you stopped sewing the Zip in. Continue sewing to the Hem, reverse stitching to secure beginning and end.

The Zip, once done up, should be invisible with the edges of the Fabric rolling to cover it.

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On the inside of the Back Seam fold the Facing back, and at an angle. Pin in place, then Slip Stitch down to the Zipper Edge. Try not to go through to the fabric on the other side.


Zig-Zag neaten the edge of the Skirt Hem, and both Sleeve Hems. Iron, then turn up .5cm and pin in place. Stitch the Hem and both Sleeve Hems in place.

Alternatively, for a beautiful Hand Finished Hem you can use a Herringbone Stitch which is wonderfully invisible!


Iron your lovely new Dress to finish, and wear it immediately… not forgetting to share a pic with us first!




Thank you for joining me, I can’t wait to see what you make!

If you are in the Bristol area and are having issues with fit, why not join me for my Fitting Evening? Bring along something you have made to fit properly, discuss fit and what you can do yourself to create better fitting garments and measure yourself professionally. You’ll go away with a full Measurement Chart to use in future Dressmaking adventures, as well as notes on fitting.

If you want to delve deeper into creating that perfectly made garment you may wish to join the Measuring and Pattern Evening where we will be discussing how to measure yourself then adapt a Pattern to fit before any fabric is cut!

Both are just £10 and include refreshements. You can book here, or click on the links above the links above to find out more.

x Laura x




The Dimpsy T Sew-Along: Week 2

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At last, it’s time to start Sewing our Dimpsy T’s up! We’re going to start right at the beginning… with Cutting Out, Marking the Fabric with Tailors Tacks and sewing up the Dart…

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Choose which size you would like to make up by measuring yourself, and looking at the Chart on the back of the Pattern Envelope. Cut that size out of the Pattern then, following the Cutting Diagram in your Instruction Book lay the pieces out on your Fabric and pin remembering to check the Grain Lines are straight- especially important when it comes to the Collar.

Cut out around the Pattern as close as you can- adding extra fabric at this point will only make the final garment bigger. Remember to cut the Dart out at the Center Front, cut the angle of the Shoulder Seam (it’s slightly angled towards the edge as you can see in the third picture above), and the teeny tiny corners at the underarm (above, far right).

how to make tailors tacksMake the Tailors Tacks on each and every circle you can see across the Pattern as above.

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Once you have made each and every Tailors Tack (remember how I spoke about ‘batching’ things to make Sewing quicker? I start as I mean to go on!), pull the Pattern off carefully, then separate the Fabric and snip so each side is marked as illustrated.

I next like to remove every pin that is keeping the Pattern on the Fabric except one. This means that I still know what each piece is, but as I am sewing I don’t have to stop to un-pin every time I start to work on a new piece of the Pattern.

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Sew up the Centre Front Seam with .5cm Seam Allowance. If you use any more the Dart will be too big! Pin, right sides together, then Sew and neaten with a Zig-Zag as illustrated. Iron flat and to one side before attempting to pin the Dart. This will make it easier to handle the fabric and make the Dart neatly.

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With right sides together, pin the Dart along the Seam as illustrated. You may need to Ease it slightly- as I have done. Distribute any excess along the opening and pin. As you can see it looks a little ‘lumpy’. This is the excess distributed, I’ll then pull or stretch the fabric slightly as I sew to sew it flat, then iron flat. This is also a great technique for setting in sleeves!

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To sew the Dart first pull the Top Thread on the Sewing Machine very long (1), next- and whilst holding the Threads in place put the Machines Needle down next to the starting Tailors Tack, but not through the Fabric (3). Take hold of the Top Thread again and pull round and under the Presser Foot until it is laying in line with the middle and end Tailors Tacks (4). Start Sewing- with 1cm Seam Allowance- along the line made by the Top Thread (5), ensuring it passes through the middle Tailors Tacks (6).

Do not reverse at the end, but pull the threads long again and hand tie for a beautiful finish. A more detailed Tutorial upon this can be found here.

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Once you have sewn the Dart, Zig-Zag along the edge as before the Iron. It will naturally want to Iron ‘up’ towards the Neckline.

And that’s it!  I think a well deserved Cuppa is in order, I know I’m going to make one! Watch this space for further Sewing musings from myself later this week!

Don’t forget to share your Dimpsy T’s with me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram!

Happy stitching!

5 Sewing Tips from The Midnight Atelier!

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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!

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!

Pattern Ponderings: Lingerie Edition!

My very first Lingerie and Bra Making Course starts this week, and I have been extensively trawling through the Patterns, advice, Fabrics and (my favorite bit!) the Notions available out there so I thought this weeks Pattern Ponderings should be a Lingerie Edition!

First up, if you can’t make my Class- it’s sold out, yippee!!- there will be another in the Fall. There is also a tonne of information out there and Patterns available to help you create that perfect Bra if this is what you have been dreaming of…

First up is Elna 645.

This is the first non-self drafted Bra Pattern I ever used and it’s fantastic. The instructions are super clear, seam allowances are included and there’s quite a lot of information at the front with tips like why you should trace the Pattern off. I am on to my 2nd Bra with this Pattern- after some adjustments- and very happy indeed. It’s a great starter Pattern as it includes a little of everything and you can choose to sew it up in stretch or non-stretch.

The Watson Bra and Bikini Knickers.

Watson Bra & Bikini PatternWatson Bra & Bikini PatternWatson Bra & Bikini Pattern

Included in this list simply because of the stunningly good work Amy has done with her Sew-Along to accompany the release of the Bra set. I have not made my Watson up yet however; there have been 100s’ of glowing reviews and I would strongly recommend a read through of the Sew-Along if you are considering making your own Lingerie. Also, how much do we all want a Yellow and White Bra set right now? Heaven!

Ohhh Lulu

Vintage Style Pin Up Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1311 Lili Bralette Sewing Pattern Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1304 Jasmine Soft Bra Multi-size Digital PDF Vintage Style Bra Sewing Pattern Ohhh Lulu 1301 Bambi Soft Bra Multi-size Digital PDF Sewing Pattern

I adore the Vintage glamour of Ohhh Lulu Patterns, there’s something very unusual and extremely pretty about them isn’t there? They do come up a little small however; she has a series of Tutorials one of which tells you how to increase the cup size of a Bra Pattern. In fact, it is well worth a visit to her Tutorials page which includes a couple Sew-Alongs, how to add in Padding, making a boned bikini, how to measure yourself and quite a bit more! Take a good look around her shop too as there’s Swimwear and Panties Patterns as well as Pattern Sewing Bundles.

There are so many more out there including Mrs Depew, VaVoom Vintage for the Vintage lovers, Orange Lingerie who also have a Blog and Madalynne who both have Sewing tips and Sew-Alongs for more modern Bra Patterns.

Right, I’m off for some more lesson prep- I’m making my next Bra in Black with Pink Lace! What was I thinking?! Can’t wait to show it off…

Happy stitching!

Wordless Wednesday

Internal finishing and detail on a pair of bespoke jeans. This service is available by appointment in Savile Row.

I’ve never really thought much about finishing garments for myself like this inside… after finding this I might have to channel some of this beautiful Savile Row detailing for my Jeans as I get a little over excited about using scraps of beautiful fabrics to make scrumptious Bias Binding! I also rather like the contrast pocket detail.

Have you drafted your Basic Trouser Block yet?

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!


Notions: Herringbone Stitch.

MCCALLS Herringbone StitchIllustration from McCalls Sewing in Colour, 1960. 

I know this seems complicated but I use Herringbone Stitch for all my hems. I first got taught this technique when I was working at the- now sadly closed down & sold off for parts- BBC Costume Department in West London.

The reason it was being used on costumes was twofold… firstly it doesn’t show from the front, at all! Secondly, it’s super strong. If your heel gets caught & rips one stitch the rest don’t immediately unravel because of the way Herringbone Stitch is worked.


Herringbone stitch, often called Catch Stitch, is a most useful little stitch to know. As you can see from the above diagrams, it is a version of Back Stitch, in Cross Stitch form. Turn your hem up as needed, or refer to your pattern for instruction.

Firstly, thread you needle in a complimentary colour, then stitch a couple stitches ‘on the spot’ to start. This stitch is worked backwards so the first stitch you take will be through the main body of the fabric. Take a stitch from right to left but only take up a couple of threads of the fabric. This stitch should lie directly above the hem fold as illustrated.

Secondly, and roughly 1.5cm to the right of the first stitch, take a larger stitch through the fold in the fabric. Do not go all of the way through to the front. Move to the right again and take another stitch through the main body of the fabric, as illustrated, and only taking up a couple threads. Continue until the hem is complete or you need to re-thread.

The examples above I have completed in black & white, so you can imagine how the stitches disappear when executed in a complementary colour.

Happy stitching!

*This was originally posted on 19th March 2013 but I have been talking about it so much recently I thought it would be helpful to re-share! 


Notions: How to Finish a Dart

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

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

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


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

dart2 dart3

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


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


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

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

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

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

Happy stitching!