Our Dundee Superstar, Sandra

As Sandra prepares to become our first EVER Sew Confident FRANCHISE! (How exciting) Here is everything you need to know about this Dundee Sewing Superstar.


So Sandra, What made you want to start sewing?

I'm a bit of a craft addict! I have tried out so many creative projects over the years and love to throw myself right into them, buy all the supplies and then fall out of love with it a couple of weeks later, i dread to think about the amount of money i must've spent over the years. I'm glad to say that sewing seems to have stuck around and i'm still discovering new things to make and new techniques/tips all the time.

Don’t worry it is safe to say we have all been there with the changing of hobbies! (Sewing is 100% the best anyway). How long you have been sewing?

My mum gave me her old Singer sewing machine to try out as it was just lying around the house gathering dust. I used it to make some soft toys which I sold at craft fairs before I managed to break it oops! I then bought my own machine and used it on and off for a few years making bits and pieces but never really got to know it fully or try out many new things. I would say I really got into sewing properly around 5 years ago when I made a quilt for my little boy. I'd never done anything like that before but I followed a weekly quilt-a-long on a blog I liked and in 6 weeks I had a quilt - he still uses it to this date and it still hasn't fallen apart yet haha!

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Aw that is lovely that your son still uses your first ever quilt! Do you have your own sewing space?

My sewing space until recently has been a small box room / cupboard upstairs in my house sandwiched between my two boy's bedrooms - it's small but does the trick! I guess the only problem is i can't really sew at night while they boys are asleep, this is one of the reasons i got hooked on hand sewing quilts and into English Paper Piecing my quilt tops. I'm now lucky enough to have an amazing garage conversion i can sew in - i'm still moving all my bits and pieces in there but it'll hopefully become a nice little creative hub for the Sew Confident Dundee gang!

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I am SO jealous of this new sewing space of yours! It also sounds like you have made a LOT, but do you have a favourite thing you have ever made?

That's a difficult one. I start a lot of projects and finish very few but I think perhaps my favourite quilt might be the Altitude Quilt i made for Dashwood Studios to showcase their Altitude fabric line. It was my first large hand pieced quilt, unfortunately it is no longer with me - it has gone missing somewhere boo hoo! Although my Poppies quilt and Polaroid quilt are strong contenders too! Quilt's aside it might have to be the top i made recently at the Overlocker class - i'm now totally in love with the overlocker and how quickly you can make clothes on it - complete convert!

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Wow, Those quilts seriously make me want to give quilting a go!! With ‘vloggers’ & instagram etc being more & more popular, do you have anyone or anything that inspires you?

I can spend hours trawling through hashtags on Instagram and getting lost discovering new ideas, colour ways and people to follow. 

I’m sure there is many, but what is your proudest Sewing Achievement?

I was recently asked to be featured in a book all about English Paper Piecing written by Florence Knapp (she's a bit of a big deal in quilting circles haha). There's a wee interview in there with me and a photo of one of my quilts. It was such an honour to be featured and amazing to see my work in print.

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No way, that is so cool! Well done!! So for those of you who might soon see you at one of our Dundee classes, How long you have worked at sew confident?

I taught my first Beginners Class in May 2017 and fell in love with teaching straight away, i mean what can be better than spending hours sharing your passion with lovely people and getting lots of tea and biccies at the same time! I have since taken the Beginners class, Baby Accessory class, Hand Embroidery, Machine Doodles, Rope Bowl, Memory Blanket. I mean i love it so much i have just agreed to take on the Dundee Franchise and cannot wait to get stuck right in and see just how much more sewing we can bring to the City - exciting times ahead!

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Cat Walk To Cutting Table - The Denim Jacket

The denim jacket is an indispensable wardrobe basic. Each year the denim jacket can be seen on the Cat Walk as a designer tries to put their own twist on the classic. Lately we have seen some classy, embellished jackets on Elie Saab A/W 18 catwalk.

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Here are some images from my first attempt at a 'denim' jacket which I made for my holiday. The pattern is from seamwork & called 'Audrey'. I also used the brand new Sew Confident original printed fabric - it looks so fun, I want to make one out of all 4 prints we have!

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It wasn't actually that easy to source heavy weight/good quality plain denim but having made this Jacket now myself, you might want to start with a lighter weight material until you have gave it a go. There is a good few layers, button holes etc so do also consider what your sewing machine can handle! The Elna 340s which we use in our studios worked great with my jacket.

To create your own version of the embellished Elie Saab jacket, you might want to go through your cupboard of rubbish & see if you still have one of these beauties.... (TOLD YOU IT WOULD COME IN HANDY ONE DAY MUM!!)

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Crazy For Corsets

Corsets Today

In todays society, corsets are usually only seen when it comes to costumes, stage performance or "waist training"; although a few do still buy or make them for the uses that they were designed for hundreds of years ago. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Madonna & Beyonce often wear corsets on stage while touring to add drama and femininity to their performances. High fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen have been seen regularly using corsets or similar in their collections. Among many celebrities, reality star Kim Kardashion uses a waist trainer to "achieve a small waist" (DO NOT TRY THIS NONSENSE AT HOME!)

You are more likely to see a corset 'inspired' fashion piece such as the one pictured below which can be purchased from ASOS.com. (I must admit I am not a fan of these 'fashion corset/wasbie, over the tshirt' looks but each to their own!)

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The History of Corsets

If you read online there is various conflicting reasons for why corsets were created. Was it to change a persons body shape? Was it to supports ladies chests? WAS IT TO HELP WITH BACK PAIN? I just don't know the correct answer so I am just going with what wikipedia says since that is OBVIOUSLY true...

"The earliest known representation of a possible corset appears on a Cretan figurine made in c.1600 BC. The article of clothing depicted might be perceived as a corset, but is worn as an outer garment, and leaves the breasts exposed."

"The corset first became popular in sixteenth-century Europe, reaching the zenith of its popularity in the Victorian era. While the corset has typically been worn as an undergarment, it has occasionally been used as an outer-garment; corsets as outer-garments can be seen in the national dress of many European countries


Want to know more or learn how to make your own corset?

Whether you just want to push your sewing skills to the limit, have an interest in historical fashion or want to wear your handmade corset this is the class for you! Our fabulous tutor Emma with take you through the practical corset making process whilst also telling you all about the history of corsets - she's an expert!

At this course you will learn:

  • Corset Tailoring
  • Toile fitting
  • Pattern alterations
  • Working with synthetic whale boning and steel boning.
  • Hand finishing skills
  • Inserting eyelets.
  • History of corsets

To find out more or book on, follow the yellow bric...ok just follow this link: https://bookeo.com/sewconfidentglasgow?devent=42552P9MXRP164ACFAFAD4_2018-10-20_8cCcV6gciO0w

Tracey The Terrific Tutor

HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY? 2018 is sure flying in, but another month almost over means its time to meet another lovely Sew Confident customer...or in this case, past customer and current Sew Confident TUTOR x

Everyone say a big hello to Tracey! Now some of you may recognise Tracey, as after starting out as a Sew Confident customer she is now actually one of our tutors!

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1.    So Tracey, How long have you been sewing?

Nearly 6 years

2.     Why did you start sewing?

My son has Down's Syndrome, and when he was born and diagnosed one of the first things I read was that his legs and arms would be shorter so I had a sudden need to sew, so that he would never have baggy trousers

3.   That is such a great reason,  What sewing project are you most proud of?

I made a coat for a little boy with additional needs that was adapted to incorporate the framing on his arm

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4.     That jacket is AMAZING, that was so nice of you! What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

I'm not sure, they don't ask me to do much for them, they know me too well...

5.     I'm sure they are all very impressed with your skills! What sewing accessory could you not live without?

My quilting ruler, I use it for EVERYTHING!

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6.     If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Stop doubting yourself, stop being afraid to try something and fail, it's how you learn

7.     That is some great advice! Talking of failing...Have you had any sewing disasters?

I could write a book, many many sewing disasters. One made my son a pair of jeans and when it came to near the end I had to over lock the edge of the faux fly, I forgot to turn the blade off on my overlocker and cut the leg in half 🤣. I once sewed a circle skirt to the bodice of a dress, but to the neckline instead of the waist. It was stretch velvet so impossible to unpick

8.     Haha, You could have passed it off as some over exaggerated clown coller! How many classes have you attended at Sew Confident?  What was your favourite and why?

I'm not sure actually, quite a few. The intermediate class was really the point where I gained the confidence to sew without supervision. I love the sewcial too, it's great to sew with like minded people and make some new friends.

9.     What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

I really want to start tailoring and make a gown. I just want to keep improving and trying new things

10.  Well you defiantly have the skills to tackle a gown, that's for sure.What projects do you have on the go right now?

Im a master sewcrastinator. I have a few jersey dresses, a woven dress and a purse on the go and I'm. Putting together a pattern for a pair of jeans.

11.  'Sewcrastinator', love that haha! Finally Tracey, What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

Do it !! Don't be afraid to give it a go and don't be afraid of making mistakes, it's how you learn!

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If you think Tracey seems great fun (which she is!) be sure to join on our beginners or hoodie classes to say Hello!

RELAXATION

As every day now seems to be 'international something another', today is actually International Relaxation Day! Sadly due to this fast paced society we now live in it is easy to forget to take a few minutes to yourself and actually chill out. 

1. Being Active/YOGA

Now if you are anything like me you will be sick of hearing people saying to you, 'You should go to the GYM it will make you feel so much better!!'. YES I KNOW THIS BUT IT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!! Seriously though, if you have the dedication to get into the gym it does actually help. If you struggle to find dedicated time or not got the funds to join your local gym, I have found watching Yoga/Pilate videos on youtube great. Even better you can find ones which are as short as 5 minutes...Perfect to do inbetween waiting on your microwave meal to cook! 

Or... You can be like Jenny & fit your yoga poses in while reaching for your fav bottle of wine!

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2. Having a hobby

Not that I am biased or anything...but what has helped me a lot over the years when it comes to trying to relax is anything creative such as SEWING! It is so easy to zone out & not worry about lifes stresses since you are too busy making sure you don't make a mistake & need to dig the seam ripper out!

Good ol' Science also has many studies which say activities such as sewing, knitting etc are very good for not only relaxing but also improving brain function - WIN WIN!

 

3. Nature

Ever experience those 'awe moments' were you just let out a happy wee sigh? I find I get that most often when out and taking a minute or two to just take in the nature around me. Might sound ridiculous but you should give it a try! Seeing a squirrel running about in the garden, a massive belter of a sunflower or, my favourite, amazing sun sets/sun rises will easily put a smile on your face & let you relax for a moment!

4. Good Company

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Sometimes it is hard to get out of a rut/relax on your own as you sometimes need a bit of motivation or someone to vent to. It is an obvious one but hanging out with family or your best friends doing something you all enjoy is one of the best ways to chill out! Your friends are often busy? Well linking back to number 2.' Having a hobby', you will find various classes or groups which will allow you to be in the company of like minded folk & even let you make some new friends! 

This was the idea behind our monthly 'Sewcials' as, from personal experience, I have never had any friends who enjoy sewing & I could get together with. Now I have tons who often come along to our monthly sewcials which I can not only talk all things sewing with but it motivates me to get creative!

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5. Cooking

I can't say I have any experience with this one as the best thing I can make is a cheese toasty, but I have been told from many that one of their favourite ways to relax is to get cooking! I suppose it is similar to sewing in the way you can get so in to what you are making you don't have time to worry about anything else & you have some yummy food to enjoy at the end!

PS. Thank you to Laura (@missyouonamonday) for sending us this AMAZING looking cake from her latest baking blog post!

Sewing Room Tour - The Sewing Room That Wouldn’t Make it on Pinterest

The Sewing Room Tour

Guest Blog by Sew Confident Customer Laura

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My name is Laura and I have a pink sewing room with flamingo wallpaper.

I say this like an announcement at a fabric addiction meeting.  Never have I been girly, never have I been into pink and goodness only knows where the flamingos come from but I tell you something - I love it!!  Myself and my husband have a small converted farmhouse in the beautiful Ayrshire countryside and at the moment double the rooms than there are people to sleep in them so we converted the smallest into my beautiful sewing room.  My husband has a 40ft by 15ft outbuilding and I have an 8ft square room but I tell you I wouldn’t swap, well maybe just a few extra foot for a cutting table but you can’t have everything. 

 Laura's amazing flamingo wallpaper and handmade kimono!

Laura's amazing flamingo wallpaper and handmade kimono!

I done some pinterest and other sewing blog research before decorating the room and deciding on layout but like most things it really depended on what I could fit in there.  My large white desk is from ikea and is used for both sewing and cutting, I usually take the sewing machine (bought from Sew Confident as a 30th birthday present from my mum) off the table to cut so I have plenty of room. 

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My pin board and all the little hooks etc on it are also from Ikea.  In the top right corner is usually my next planned project, at the moment it is Tilly and The Buttons latest pattern, Stevie, the fabric on top of the sewing machine is what I plan to use, a beautiful black floral viscose from like sew amazing.  The book in the bottom left hand corner is my bible (The Dressmaking Technique Bible – Lorna Knight) open at the bias binding page, for some reason I drew an absolute blank while constructing a kimono that needed some.  All my essentials are basically right in front me when I sit down to start a project, all my scissors, pins and thread are at arm’s reach.  I also normally have a laptop with Netflix on watching a girly film or a podcast on in the background. 

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My book shelves aren’t too busy either, realistically I know I won’t read many books so these are the ones I found had patterns I liked and would be able to teach me something:

Love at First Stitch – Tilly Walnes

A Beginners guide to making skirts – Wendy Ward

Learn to sew with Lauren – Lauren Guthrie

Girl with a Sewing machine – Jennifer Taylor

 

 

 

The white chest of drawers behind me is just a spill over from our bedroom however I’d like it to be fabric storage.  All my fabric is in the corner, proud to say it does normally sit quite neat like this. 

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I also have my great aunts sewing box that contains a lot of her sewing things such as thimbles, threads, zips, elastic and buttons.  There are also some of my grans sewing items in there too.  You can see my knitting bag popped on top of it too, another birthday present from my mum, I’ve never been very good at it but now that Sew Confident has a knitting class maybe I will be able to put this bag to use. 

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On top of the chest of drawers is my red house sewing box, another 30th birthday gift this time from my friend Yvonne, it’s from Cath Kidston.  How cute!!!!!! Also I love my jam rolly polly tin from TK Maxx, that’s where I store all my zips, I hate zips and quite often just do some sort of tie closure instead, hence why I have a few in there. 

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This is a realistic tour of my sewing room, this is the tidy version but it’s also not that well organised and a bit scattered but I didn’t want to tidy lots of things away and give an unrealistic pinterest friendly view.  All I need to complete it is a nice desk chair, I’m being very fussy, any suggestions please post the link!!  Any questions on where I got anything that I haven’t mentioned please let me know. 

 Laura and her Husband Ally

Laura and her Husband Ally

I also have a blog on called ‘miss you on a Monday’ and the same name on Instagram if you would like to see more of my sewing adventures. 

 

Sewing Projects for the Final Week of the Sew Confident Beginners Class!

You're looking for inspiration for the final week of your beginners class right? Good you're in the right place! Our beginners class has some time at the end designed for you to be able to get help with your own project. You can either make another tote/cushion/make-up bag etc OR you can make something else entirely! 

Have a look at some of our suggestions below!

Everyday Useful Stuff!

Laptop/I pad Cover

Two Tone Tote

Stuff for You

Circle Skirt(One of the more difficult tutorials!)

 

Stuff for Kids

T-shirt Applique

Homewares

Reversible Rug

 

Please note that we cannot guarantee that you will complete any of these projects. If you'd like to do something else have a chat with your tutor or get in touch before class. We'd normally discourage people from jumping in with a complicated dress pattern for example as you'll barely get any of it done and it might be a bit overwhelming as your final project.

Happy Sewing!

Why I’ve Vowed to be a Selfish Sewer!

Why I’ve Vowed to be a Selfish Sewer!

Guest blog post from Sew Confident Customer, Amanda.

 

This week I have completed the Friday Pattern Company Joni jumpsuit with the Sew Along live, made two pairs of shorts for my little girls & got along the Sew your Own Bikini class! Epic sewing week! I’m so chuffed to have gotten so much done and tackled new projects and techniques!! Winner! I think it feels particularly good, because this week I also completed my last EVER paid for sewing work & I can honestly say I’m delighted!
I started sewing for me, and me alone! I’ve been a stay at home mum for 4 years and learning to sew gave me a challenge, got me out of the house, taught me new
skills and gave me a sense of achievement. Initially I focused on making clothes for my daughters, Grace & Ella. I discovered the amazing Jilly Atlanta patterns for girls
and made the girls so many little blouses and pinafores. It seemed every time we went anywhere everyone commented on their outfits, insisting I should sell them!
Obviously this is beyond lovely, for a novice sewer to hear and I very quickly had dreams of my little empire.

 

 


So, I did it! It was easy, I got a little Instagram account, sent a few freebies to some
‘mummy bloggersʼ and before I knew it the orders were coming in!
Initially I was buzzing, but very quickly I felt so under pressure. Making things for my
own girls had been a joy, it had been fun and creative, but suddenly I was
scrutinising every seam, worrying about fit not to mention competing with more
similar instagram shops than I could ever imagine! It was stressed beyond belief and
I hadnʼt made a single thing for me or my girls in months!
Now, all this might have been fine if I was living a life of luxury with all my new found
earnings, but let me tell you I wasn’t even close! I was covering my costs, but if I
was to actually factor in paying myself for my time I was actually at a loss.
I found, to my surprise my little business of dreams was actually crushing my
creativity. It was boring, a one woman production line churning out the same again &
again & again.


On the plus side I was sewing more than ever. The order book dictated that I needed
to sew every day, but far from being the stuff of dreams, it was a chore, although, my
sewing was getting better with every order. I had more confidence, but this actually
made me resent the orders even more. With my increased skill set I wanted to tackle
new more difficult patterns, make things for myself and actually wear them. Fabric
shopping and pattern buying became my joy, my little pleasure, but it was all just
sitting there in an ever increasing pile! I lost myself in the Instagram accounts of
@SewMeSunshine, @I_seam_sew_happy_xx and Sew Confidentʼs very own
@made_by_amrit. I took note of new pattern ideas & fabric shops. Iʼd spend a
fortune (donʼt tell my husband!) on patterns & fabrics, but made nothing that was
actually for myself.

So, in May I decided to take no more orders and get back to the buzz of sewing for
me and my girls and itʼs a thrill again! Iʼd honestly forgotten how good it is to sit at the
machine for pleasure
, for me. To escape into the pattern, sit there with a cuppa & the
radio on and just enjoy it! Iʼve got major catching up to do, a hit list of makes and I
canʼt wait to get cracking with them!

It would still be a dream to find a way to make a living out of sewing, but safe to say
sewing for others is not the way for me!

   This is @marthashappilyeverafter (mummy blogger) little girl on her 1st birthday wearing one of my outfits...this was a high point!!

This is @marthashappilyeverafter (mummy blogger) little girl on her 1st birthday wearing one of my outfits...this was a high point!!

Amandas Pattern Hit List:

'Seamwork' Heidi shorts

'Simple Sew' Shannon shorts

 'Tilly & The Buttons' Bettine

'Vogue' very easy dress (V9312)

'Vogue' Very easy jumpsuit (V9321)

'By Hand London' Charlotte skirt!

2018 MET GALA

What is the Met Gala? The Met Gala is the fashion worlds equivalent to the Oscars. It is held the first Monday in May each year and it is a night for all the best dressed celebrities to show off their designer looks to the eagerly waiting fashion lovers of the world.

Each year their is some AMAZING looks...but equally there is some very questionable outfit choices which in my opinion are stylist-sacking worthy!

This years theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” Although not all guests stick to the theme, with others going all out - Just look at the photo below of Rihanna dressed as a super glamorous pope! 

Here is some of the themed looks from last nights Met Gala. Don't worry, for those of you not wanting to dress like a knight, angel or the pop, I will show the more 'normal' looks you can even recreate for yourself, on a budget!


Top Left: Rihanna in John Galliano
Top Right: Ariana Grande in Vera Wang
Bottom left: Blake Lively in Versace
Bottom Right: Jeremy Scott & Cardi B in Moschino

For those of you wanting to recreate the most talked about look from the evening, Zendaya in this ' Joan of arc' inspired outfit by Versace, I have found the perfect pattern for you!


Jokes aside, here is the more 'normal' looks of the evening that you will be able to create yourself, without the designer price tag!

Uma Thurman in Gabriela Hearst.
Pattern: Vogue 1094
Brooke Shields in Zac Posen
Pattern: New Look 6454
Cindy Crawford in Versace
Pattern: New Look 6670

As always, be sure to let us know if you create any red carpet looks for yourself! You can tag us on social media or send them over to hello@sewconfident.co.uk

Happy Sewing!

x

SUMMER IS COMING...slowly. - PS, FREE PATTERNS

There may still be some slushy snow on the ground but my head is already thinking ahead to Summer and booking as many holidays as my small bank balance can afford!

When it comes to holiday there is nothing more annoying than turning up at ocean beach in Ibiza (or even your hotel pool in Benidorm) wearing the same swimwear as everyone else. Maybe it is just me, but I would much rather be tanning myself up in a unique fun bikini than comparing myself to 4 different girls all in the same Primark 2-piece as me.

Sure there is a lot of online independent designers making more unique swimwear but at AT LEAST £40 a pop, it is money I would much rather be putting towards on a first class flight out of here (ok maybe a £9.99 Ryanair flight...)

Lucky for those who are still with me on this fashion faux pas, I have found 4 FREE, YES FREE!, swimwear patterns to make your own .

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When it comes to making swimwear it is important to consider the following: 

  • How do you make a swimsuit?
  • What fabric do you need to buy to make swimwear?
  • Where can you buy swimwear fabric?
  • Where to source hardware?
  • Sanitary requirements for swimsuits?
  • Where to buy hygienic liners?
  • Standard swimsuit sizing?

Modern swimwear is sewn with knit fabrics. Most readily available fabric that’s labeled as “swimsuit fabric” is a combination of nylon and spandex: The nylon is lightweight, easy to care for and dries quickly. The spandex gives it stretch and allows for a figure-hugging fit. Most swimwear fabrics are 80 to 90 percent nylon and 10 to 20 percent spandex.

This type of knit fabric is woven to create a four-way stretch, which means the fabric will stretch about 60 to 70 percent in either direction. Be sure to check for adequate stretch in your fabric. Plus, if your fabric has a print or pattern, see what happens to the pattern when stretched, so that the print looks good all over your finished swimsuit.

When shopping for swimsuit fabrics, check the section labeled “dance wear” or “exercise wear.” This is usually where you’ll find nylon-spandex blends along with various linings. Whichever fabric you choose for your, swimsuit make sure you carefully choose the other components like elastics, thread and lining. Swimsuit elastics are available and have resistance to the degradation of pool chemicals and sunshine. If lining your swimwear, choose one which has similar properties of stretch and fiber content as your main fabric. 

OK! ENOUGH OF THE BORING (but important) INFORMATION, HERE ARE THE FREE PATTERNS:

1. Free Bikini Triangle Top Pattern - How to make it in 8 easy steps -
http://www.sirenapatterns.com/blog/2016/7/11/diy-bikini-triangle-top

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2. Ruched 2 piece Bikini from Sew Mama Sew- http://www.sewmamasew.com/2011/05/summer-sewing-free-swimsuit-pattern-tutorial/

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3.  Free pattern and tutorial: triangle bikini from Pattydoo

 https://www.pattydoo.de/en/blog/2015/07/free-pattern-and-tutorial-triangle-bikini

4. Small collection of basic swimsuit blocks from ralphpink.

https://www.ralphpink.com/free-swimwear-sewing-patterns/

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Lots of love, Colette x

March Sew-er of the Month - JANE

Say a Big Hello to Sew Confident Loyal - Jane!

1. So Jane, How long have you been sewing?

I’ve always wanted to learn to sew and I took a short beginners class about 2 years ago.  I loved it but wanted to do more and I wanted to make things that I’d actually wear/use. About a year ago I found Sew Confident and haven’t looked back since!!

2. Why did you start sewing?

I’ve always wanted to sew my own clothes.  You know when you see that ‘almost’ perfect outfit but wish the sleeves were a bit different, the length was longer/shorter  or it was in a different material. I just think it is amazing to be able to alter or make your own clothes to be exactly what you personally want.

3. Sounds like we could have a future fashion designer in our classes... What sewing project are you most proud of?

I love my wee 2 piece suit from Colette’s Co-ord class.  The material is so nice and it’s fleecy on the inside so keeps me nice and cosy!!  Colette taught me how to incorporate the fringing detail from the edge of the fabric and I think it looks really fab!  My own version of a Channel jacket!! I also like my coat I made at the pattern class – it was a bit adventurous and the 1st time I’ve done something that is lined, but I think it turned out ok.

4. Both your co-ord and jacket look AMAZING! You will be giving Channel a run for their money in no time. What do your friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

I think they’re just astonished I can do it!!  Haha. I remember showing my Mum some fabric I got one day.  I was so excited about it that I went ahead and cut a wrap dress out that night and sewed it up.  She couldn’t believe it when she saw the finished dress the very next day!! No one has really asked me to hem anything yet – maybe they’re waiting for me to build my skills up!!

5. That is so nice, there really is no better feeling than saying you made something yourself! SO, What sewing accessory could you not live without?

Jenny and Colette on speed dial!! ☺ haha! Actually – this is a bit silly, but since Jenny taught me how to use the needle threader on my machine, I can’t live without it!!  I don’t think I can actually thread the machine needle by myself anymore!

 

6. You know you are more than welcome to drop us a message or e-mail whenever you need!! Next question, If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Probably a bit predictable but...Just keep sewing and don’t worry too much about mistakes.  No-one else notices them! I think I put myself under pressure to make everything absolutely perfect but you’ll never get any better unless you keep practising.

7. Since your beginner days, have you had any sewing disasters?

Yes! Loads!  I can be a bit slap dash so end up unpicking things all the time!!

8. Sadly I think the unpick is most sew-ers best friend!! How many classes have you attended?

I’m a bit addicted to attending classes!!  My first was the shirt dress class which was amazing.  Lovely people on it (looking at you Amanda and Amrit!) and it was the first time I’d been able to make something I actually wanted to wear!  I’ve done the overlocker for beginners, underwear class, Advent Calendar class, 5 week Pattern class (with another amazing bunch of people) , 121’s and Colette’s Co-ord class.  I’ve got the Initial hand embroidery class coming up which looks amazing. I adore the ‘Sewcial’s’ too and get to as many as possible. One of the best things about every class is the lovely people you meet – we’ve had some great chat and interesting stories.

9. That is a LOT of classes, You really are a Sew Confident Loyal!! What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

My dream is to be able to draft my own patterns – just think up a design and be able to draft a pattern and make it.  I’d also like to become more skilled in altering bought patterns to fit me the way I want. At my last 121 with Jenny we drafted a pattern for a jersey skirt (I have a new obsession with the pattern master – what a piece of kit!!) and it’s fab – I’d like to do more of that.

10. **Takes note of future pattern drafting class idea**...What projects do you have on the go right now?

I’m so naughty for starting loads of projects at one time!!  I tried to focus myself this year with the ‘make 9 in 2018’ challenge.  I’ve already finished some – next one to finish is the Sew Over It Eve dress – I’m taking that one to the next Sewcial for a bit of help!

11. We are excited to see you & your project along at the Sewcial! Last question, What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

DO IT!  It is so relaxing and de-stressing, it’s an amazing skill to have and you’ll meet some really lovely people.

Dress Like Royalty For Less

Who doesn't love Prince Harry?! And it seems everyone loves his Bride-to-be (and previously, suits actress) Meghan Markle, who today joined the Queen and senior royals for her first official engagement with the monarch.

Often hitting headlines for her outfit choices, Meghan isn't the first member of (soon to be) royalty that everyone is obsessed with - who can forget Princess Dianas AMAZING outfits?! 
 

As Miss Markle was pictured today heading to Westminster Abbey this afternoon, social media was going crazy for her jacket pictured below. I took it upon myself to find where this Jacket was from as I ALWAYS look at something and wonder how much it would cost me to make. (I'm hoping i'm not the only one who does this...)

 Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave following the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey this afternoon (Monday 12th March - 2018)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave following the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey this afternoon (Monday 12th March - 2018)

 

I found the exact coat Meghan Markle is wearing on www.amandawakeley.com . This cream sculpted tailoring crombie coat would only set you back £895... bargain eh? FEAR NOT, I am about to suggest various patterns & fabrics which will allow you to make this key waredrobe piece for much, much less!

 

 


The Patterns

I have found 3 different patterns, none of which are an EXACT match but could be easily manipulated to be! With the most expensive pattern being £8.99 and all 3 coming with various other patterns...we are already on to a winner with our budget royalty knock-off!

K4225 MISSES' PRINCESS SEAM JACKET AND COAT - £8.99

NL6163 MISSES SEPARATES | EASY - £6.95

BD8292  MISSES' COAT - £7.19

The Fabric

Again I didn't spend a lot of time on finding the BEST fabric, if you go to do this for yourself i'm sure you will find something to suit you better but in the mean time, here is some possible fabric options: 

1. Designer 'Lady McElroy' Graceful Cream Wool Mix Felt Coating - £29.50 p/m  - Available from www.sherwoodsfabrics.co.uk

2. LIVIA - A Superior High-Demand Pure Wool with Stretch - £17.90 p/m - Available from www.sherwoodsfabrics.co.uk 

3. 'Soft Coat Fabric In Cream' - £8.95 p/m - Available from www.myfabrics.co.uk 


Going for even the most expensive pattern and fabric that I have found, you can make a version of this Meghan Markle coat for under £100!

Be sure to send us in a photo to hello@sewconfident.co.uk if you decide to give this a go at home, and if you would like some help remember you can come along to one of our pattern classes or monthly sew-cials

Lots of love, Colette x

Attending this course will save you AT LEAST £100

I love our curtains class, but instead of just believing my slightly biased review(free lunch SAY WHAT?!) I thought I would demonstrate the kind of money you can save by booking yourself on. Feel that £65 is a bit expensive to attend a curtain making class? I have got some visual calculations for you to prove that it is 110% worth attending!

You can attend the BEST CURTAIN CLASS EVER  for just £65!

In this one day curtain class you will learn how to make lined curtains to fit a pole or a rail. We will be talking about the different header tapes, different linings and also how to measure your window and calculate your fabric requirements. We will be making small sample curtains in this class. You will leave with the skills and confidence required to make your own beautiful curtains! Header tapes are included in the price of this class, all you need to bring is fabric for the mock curtains. This can be from an old pair of existing curtains, or cheap cotton sheeting fabric - THERE IS ALSO A FREE LUNCH!

If you are wondering whether the class is worth it, take in to consideration how much it can cost you to buy around 6 sets of curtains to furnish your house, you will be saving yourself a FORTUNE in the long run! Still not convinced? Below are 3 quick examples I put together to show just how much you can save.

Example #1

2 sets of the John Lewis curtains = £240

2 Sets self-made curtains = £81.65 materials + £65 curtain class = £146.65

Remember that your curtain class skills will enable you to continue making curtains forever, think of the savings?!

 W167 x Drop 228cm - £120  , JOHN LEWIS

W167 x Drop 228cm - £120  , JOHN LEWIS

 £17.75 per metre

£17.75 per metre


Example #2

2 sets of ready made John Lewis curtains = £300

2 sets of self-made curtains = £80.50 + £65 curtain class = £145.50

**Personally, for this example I think the fabric I sourced would make a much nicer set of curtains than the ready made ones! Another advantage of learning to make your own, they can be as fun and unique as you like!**

 W167 x Drop 228cm - £150 , John lewis

W167 x Drop 228cm - £150 , John lewis

 £17.50 a metre

£17.50 a metre


Example #3

2 sets of ready made John Lewis curtains = £360

2 sets of self-made curtains = £82.80 + £65 curtain class = £147.80

 W167 x Drop 228cm - £180

W167 x Drop 228cm - £180

 £18 per metre

£18 per metre


As I mentioned, this was just me quickly picking some ready made curtains from John Lewis... If you were looking to have these curtains made to a certain size you are looking at DOUBLE the price of ready made... and around 4x the price of learning to/making your own! 

Having created this blog, I know i'll be making my own curtains and blinds for my future home!

Colette x

January Sew-er of the Month: Heather

Everyone meet our first sew-er of the month for 2018 - Heather!


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1.So Heather, How long have you been sewing?

I started hand sewing when I was quite young, my Mum’s friend showed me how to cross stitch and I took up embroidery too.  I didn’t start sewing with a machine until I took a beginners machine sewing class that was only for a morning in 2013.  I loved it and started looking for classes to attend.

2.  That's lovely your mum taught you! Why did you decide to go from embroidery and have a go at using a sewing machine?

While I still do some hand embroidery! I always wanted to be able to make more practical things myself and I love learning a new craft. 

3.       What sewing project are you most proud of?

I’m currently in the middle of a big quilting project called the Gravity Quilt! It is very complicated and intricate but I am enjoying every stage I am now working on the back ground and then will piece it altogether – it should look like this when finished (fingers crossed) http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/2014/11/gravity-quilt.html

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4.      That quilt is AMAZING, we love how colourful it is!!  What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

It is lovely to give a handmade present – all but one of my quilts have been given away.  I made a book stack quilt as a retirement present for a librarian I work with and it was really personal – I picked her favourite colours for the fabrics and the pattern was an obvious choice for us librarians!  I made cushions and make up bags as Christmas presents this year.  I think my brother liked his (whipped up on Christmas Eve) Marvel heroes cushion more than the things I’d bought him.  I haven’t done any alterations as yet but it is only a matter of time.

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5.     We agree, hand made gifts are best! What sewing accessory could you not live without?

I like Frixon pens – they iron away and are brilliant, also my rotary cutter.  Scissors are so slow!  I am totally in love with the new fabric scissors in the shop though just can’t decide between rose gold or multi-coloured.  So pretty.

6.     Yip we couldn't decide either so just HAD to treat ourselves to both the rainbow and rose gold scissors...haha.  If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Don’t try and read patterns or cut fabric when you are tired or after a large glass of wine.  Do the cutting before the wine.

7.   hahaha maybe our favourite advice yet!  Have you had any sewing disasters?

Things have been upside down and back to front.  I’ve ripped a fair few seams out but you just sew it again and don’t tell anyone.  Any mistakes in a quilt are a variation and make it your own personal take on a pattern.  These are rules I live by!

8.  Sounds like a great rule to us! How many classes have you attended?  What was your favourite and why?

My first class with Sew Confident was the advent calendar class back when you were in Yorkhill.  I just put it away with my Christmas decorations recently.  Then I took the beginners sewing class – my make up bag is still in daily use in my work bag and my sister got the cushion.  I like making cushions and went on to make a fair few most recently for my parents with some cool stag head fabric.  I’ve also done the pattern class, the curtain class and been to the Sew-cial.  I took the crochet class and liked the wool I was given for the project so much I bought more and am making a blanket for the back of my sofa.  I’ve definitely go a lot out of coming along and trying things out, my confidence has grown so much.

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9.   That is going to be the coolest blanket EVER!  What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

I don’t have a big project in mind just to keep going and having a go at projects – curtains next I think.

10.  Good choice, learning how to make curtains will save you a fortune! What projects do you have on the go right now?

The big quilt, curtains for my living room, a hand quilting project for charity and a crochet blanket.  I’m keeping busy!

11.   What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

I have loved it and had a go at so many things, sewing is also very social and I have met and made some great friends both through quilting and at the classes.  You don’t need a big complicated machine and expensive fabric – I’ve cut up my Dad’s old work shirts and practiced on old duvet covers.  Getting my sewing machine and learning all this new stuff has been truly brilliant and there is always new stuff to learn.

   Laura (left) & Heather (right) are now great friends after meeting on one of our classes! Here they are meeting up for a concert in Glasgow - AMAZING!

Laura (left) & Heather (right) are now great friends after meeting on one of our classes! Here they are meeting up for a concert in Glasgow - AMAZING!

December sew-er of the Month!

Everyone say a big hello to our December sew-ew of the month:

Amrit !

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So Amrit, how long have you been doing the BEST hobby ever (IE sewing)?

Maybe about 3 years .... when you had your shop at Yorkhill and came for a beginners class.....I thought they know how to thread a machine and sew straight lines already ....I didn't know I was an hour late until someone asked if I was stuck in traffic lol!

Haha! Don't worry, we have all been there!! Why did you decide to start sewing?

Well really it was my husbands fault. After baby number 3 I really felt like I had nothing for me. I was a full time mum with 3 babies aged 3,1 and a newborn. I didn't feel good about myself or about my clothes. I was stuck in a rut. My friends were all working and I felt like my only purpose was to nurse and change nappies...so he nagged me to get out the house and get a hobby. Perhaps he was thinking I would take up running but it was sewing. 

I remember both my grannies sewing all their own Indian clothes and fitting perfectly. I have a weird body shape. I'm just 5ft. With quite long legs but short body. A sway back and sloping shoulders. And one boob bigger than the other! Ready to wear clothes didn't sit right and always need altered.....so that's where it all began!

What sewing project are you most proud of?

Eh I'm quite fickle. It's usually my last garment I've made haha. BUT if you force me it's actually the projects from the beginners class because that's what started me off. Recently though, my By Hand London holly trousers - They are sooooooo sexy. And I always get a bonus compliment. Colette Moneta dress I've made 4 and plans for more. The Sew Over It Nancy dress is a staple in workwear. I'm not a shirt person but I made a Grainline Archer Shirt. I loved that as I learned new skills like button holes, placket, collar stand.

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That is a LOT of pattern making! What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?

Ok. So as a rule don't ask me to hem anything. Aaaaaaargh. I only do my mums trousers (she's even shorter than me)... Friends and colleagues are always impressed and flattering me with questions of what I'm sewing up for them (I can't sew for anyone either I'm too scared I'll do a botch job - it's ok if that happens for me). I feel so smug when someone says nice dress and I'm like thanks I made it ...family are bored with me I'm afraid. They are always scared incase I ask them to take 100 pictures of me lol.

Your sewing skills are amazing you shouldn't be scared to create great things for others Amrit! What sewing accessory could you not live without?

To be honest I don't have a favourite thing or a must buy this item. But I do like my magnetic pin holder. It's a bit boring but it's so easy to take pins out when your sewing and flick it on to the dish 

My 2 favourite sewing thing are:

  1. Where I store my threads. It's my grandmas thread box and it still has her threads in them. I don't think I can bring myself to use them! She lined these wee drawers with newspaper aswell. It's soooo cute. 
  2. And another thing is her tiny pin cushion with her pins in it. I think she likes that I'm into sewing I only wish I could have shared it with her. My other gran gives me fabric that she's had since she was married-vintage!!!! I'm too scared to cut into it and ruin it. I want to do it justice....any ideas what to make?? We were so lucky to have her. I always feel blessed that my children had 4 great grandparents.

If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Don't worry about squiggly lines or pattern matching. Have fun. It's supposed to de stress not stress you out......And drink lots of tea!

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Yup you definitely need a good cuppa when sewing! Have you had any sewing disasters?

All the time!!! Today I was making a top and it said sew right sides together...Easy right? NOT. I twisted the front piece sewed right sides together and ended up with a big knot in the front. I don't think I've ever made something without getting stuck at instruction or unpicking. But it's the learning. Something I learnt I'll never do again.... like that DP floral top you helped me with. The instructions were hopeless but the top looked amazing on someone else lol...it's also an achievement when you finished and got through that disaster. Another thing i've learned is what suits my body shape and what doesn't.

Sewing is all about the learning, as they say, every day is a school day, and boy was that DP pattern a school day for us! How many classes have you attended?  What was your favourite and why?

I have done lots...I even followed you to Kirkintilloch! I like the classes and love the social aspect. Their was:

  • The beginners
  • Sew far sew good (advanced beginner)
  • Christmas Advent Calendar 
  • Christmas things
  • Walk away dress from Great British Sewing Bee
  • The dress pattern class
  • The shirt dress

And probably 100s more!! All the classes are great and recommend people to go along. I loved the learning but I've made great friends and have eaten a fair amount of fabulous cake 

 

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What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

A coat! I really want to make one but think I should have started in July to have one ready for the colder months. The dream is to have a 100% handmade wardrobe and my style sorted out....the latter you think I might have done that by the time I hit 40, my still finding my style 

 

What projects do you have on the go right now?

I'm cutting a closet case ebony dress. In black knit with large florals on it.  Dresses and black tights are my wardrobe staple. I have plans to make another in a dusky pink ... In my head there are so many things I want to make

  • Victory Jackie dress
  • Another Tilly button cleo dress
  • Sew over it Erin skirt in denim or burgundy cord
  • A sewaholic sweatshirt
  • Everything from named patterns lol 

 

What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

Do it!!!! It's a great hobby. You'll pick up skills for life, make lots of friends, and you might get great fitting clothes out of it!

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The final week of the Sew Confident Sew-along! - Part 1: The Duffle bag

Sew Confidents Sew-along - FINAL UPDATE

Part one - The duffle bag

OK SO, I may have missed a week or two of updating the sew-along...I was away gallivanting in London & we have been super busy in the studio!

 

I also feel a lot of people won't have started this sew along..may that be due to total FEAR/feeling they aren't good enough to do it OR Christmas is approaching super fast so it is understandable that everyone is very busy!

WELL I AM HERE TO TELL YOU ALL THAT YOU 110% CAN DO THESE SUPER PROFESSIONAL LOOKING BAGS!

1.Finishing The duffle bag

So on the last blog post I had an almost finished duffle bag..we done the hard bit of putting in the zip, attaching the straps & panicing that our machine wasn't going to handle all the layers of the fabric (Which it handled perfectly fine!)

The last steps to complete the shell of the duffle bag is to attach the ends and the base. Problem numbero Uno - sewing curves is NOT fun. I am a total perfectionist so wanted to make sure the curves on both ends of my bag were the same, the easiest way I have now decided to sew the curves etc is to 1. Pin notches and important areas. 2. Have the curves pieces of fabric on the bottom so you can see/it is easier to fit the straight top fabric into the required area!

I know I am not the best person at explaining things but I feel the instructions are decent for this pattern & the main thing you need when doing it is CONFIDENCE!  So lets skip to my pictures...

 Once the shell of the bag is completed, the lining is easy. Just remember to iron back the opening to leave room for the zip! I also ignored the instructions where it said to 'hand stitch' in the lining...I machined through the shell/zip & lining and unpicked the original row I done when first attaching the zip to the 2 sides!!

Once the shell of the bag is completed, the lining is easy. Just remember to iron back the opening to leave room for the zip! I also ignored the instructions where it said to 'hand stitch' in the lining...I machined through the shell/zip & lining and unpicked the original row I done when first attaching the zip to the 2 sides!!

 TA-DA! One bad photo of the finished duffle bag...the detachable strap I found was VERY long, so to save webbing/money in future I won't make it as long as the instructions say! For my first attempt at bag making I was SO CHUFFED with myself, it honestly looks better/very professional in person...which is why I feel I rushed to finish this one and start my own personal weekend bag that I cut out in different fabric...

TA-DA! One bad photo of the finished duffle bag...the detachable strap I found was VERY long, so to save webbing/money in future I won't make it as long as the instructions say! For my first attempt at bag making I was SO CHUFFED with myself, it honestly looks better/very professional in person...which is why I feel I rushed to finish this one and start my own personal weekend bag that I cut out in different fabric...

Now if this isn't the COOLEST BAG EVER I don't know what is...joking! But I honestly am so so happy with how this turned out. I even used our new embroidery machine in the studio to personalise it to give it an extra professional finish. I also decided to only go for one pocket on this bag as I wanted as much of the colour to be showing as possible.

After making two duffle bags I have decided that next time (because i'm 100% making everyone I know one of these for Christmas/Birthdays) I would get thicker iron on interfacing as I feel that unless stuffed it is still a bit saggy & doesn't look its best!

The sew-along is all about bringing all us sewing lovers together and helping/showing off to each other our great talent!! I hope everyone, or at least one person hahaha, joins in & challenges themselves to make this great travel kit!! For those of you that are going to create your own bags, make sure you tag us in any photos/videos on any of your social media and use the hash tag #SCsewalong !

HAPPY SEWING! 

Love, Colette x

Make a start on your Christmas party outfits!

It is definitely time to start thinking about just WHAT to wear for all those Christmas parties you are looking forward to (Or being dragged along to). Well the best conversation starter and way to impress your colleges this festive season is to make your own amazing outfit!! (This also means you wont have the embarrassment of turning up in the same outfit as Annoying Anne who works on the 2nd floor). Here at Sew Confident HQ we have saved you a bit of the hassle and looked out some patterns we think would make AMAZING party wear!

PAPERCUT PATTERNS

 Sapporo coat from PAPERCUT patterns 

Sapporo coat from PAPERCUT patterns 

 Mito cami/dress from PAPERCUT patterns

Mito cami/dress from PAPERCUT patterns

 Sea-bell Dress from PAPERCUT patterns

Sea-bell Dress from PAPERCUT patterns

NAMED PATTERNS

 Elizabeth Gown from NAMED patterns

Elizabeth Gown from NAMED patterns

 Leotie Midi Dress from NAMED patterns

Leotie Midi Dress from NAMED patterns

 Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit

Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit

BY HAND - LONDON

 Alix Dress from BY HAND LONDON

Alix Dress from BY HAND LONDON

 Orsola Dress & skirt from BY HAND LONDON

Orsola Dress & skirt from BY HAND LONDON

 Kim Dress from BY HAND LONDON

Kim Dress from BY HAND LONDON

Are you making this years Christmas outfit? Send us some photos!

Colette x

Sew Confident sew-along! (Week 2)

WELCOME BACK

 

So hopefully by now you have downloaded your PDF and done the long boring part of putting together the pattern and cutting out all the fabric.

At our 'Sew-cial' on Friday evening I joined the class &  made a start on the outside shell of the duffel bag. The first problem I came across was that the instructions said my webbing should have been hanging over the end piece of fabric...mine was not...BUT when things like this happen, do not stress! As you can see from the photos once I attached the D ring there was more than enough webbing to do the job. (Wither I was wrong or the instructions were who knows for sure.)

I was worried my stitching wouldn't be very neat due to so many thick layers & using materials like the canvas webbing which I have never handled before but the Elna 340 machine worked a treat. I was pretty pleased with how well and tidy it was coming together though & once I started to see it coming together I began to love my choice of fabrics even more!

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Once the ends and 2 sides were complete the instructions say to go straight in to attaching the sides to the zip. Now normally I love putting in zips...THIS ZIP ON THE OTHER HAND... I must have unpicked and redone the zip about 4 times until I was happy with it as I felt doing it the topstitching way as suggested didn't leave the finish as neat as my previous stitching.

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Am I being to harsh/a perfectionist? Possibly! haha but even sew-ers with experience can struggle at times too and there would be no point me showing my progress if I didn't show the rough parts too. 

Hope to see how some of you are getting on and I will post blog number 3 next week!!

Remember there is still plenty of time to join in... ;)

 Colette x

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November Sew-er of the Month - Laura!

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I know we forgot all about an October Sew-er of the month, what can I say it was a pretty busy one(and I forgot sorry) but our November Sew-er Laura will more than make up for it. With a love of all things flamingo and her own brood of farm animals she's got some interesting in-class stories. Many of you might have met her(because she has been on MANY a Sewcial and many a class!) and you might have even been lucky enough to sample her insane home baking!  This is her sewing story!

 

 

 

So how long have you been sewing?

About a year, before that all my experience was in cross stitch kits.  I came for some private lessons with Jenny first and then asked my mum to buy me a sewing machine for my 30th.  It stayed in the box for a little while as I had the fear and then I took it out and looked at it for about a week.  I had to you tube how to thread it because I was nervous I would get it wrong.  Now I have a whole sewing room.  It’s pink and has flamingo wallpaper!! There is a flamingo theme to my sewing I think, I recently made a flamingo cushion cover, a flamingo top and then drawstring bags from those scraps. 

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 Laura's cross stitching is pretty amazing!!

Laura's cross stitching is pretty amazing!!

 Bit of sewing room jealousy on the go here!

Bit of sewing room jealousy on the go here!

LOVING all the flamingo stuff and your sewing room looks amazing!  What was your reason for learning to sew?

I don’t really follow fashion, I just wear what suits me and there are a few things in my wardrobe that are standard staple items for me like little shift dresses and A-line skirts, I wanted to know how I could just replicate what I already wore but in a colour palette more suited to me and in prints I really liked.  My gran taught me a few things when I was young and I really wish I had kept it up, I have ended up with an old sewing box that I’m not sure if it’s hers or her sisters but every time I am looking for a hook and eye or a piece of elastic or something I normally find it in there so it feels like she is still kind of involved in my sewing. 

 

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That's really cute, its so nice to know your gran would be delighted with your hobby, I too wish I had got into sewing when my Nana was still about, she'd love all the things I make! Speaking of which, what is your favourite sewing project to date? 

Probably a little elasticated circle skirt I made with Jenny in under an hour, I didn’t realise how easy it would be and it was my first handmade item that gave me the confidence to keep going and make more.  I learned much more than how to sew two bits of material together in that hour.   

Aw I remember that skirt, great for summer holidays! What do you friends and family think of your hobby? Do you end up hemming everyones trousers? 

They are really encouraging, I made a Winnie the Pooh quilt for my niece who was born in April this year and her mum and dad seemed impressed.  My mum is tiny so most of her wardrobe needs altered so I’d like to be able to do that for her save her always needing to pay for it.  My brother popped round at the weekend with a pair of tartan trousers he is needing altered, never  hemmed trousers before but it felt nice he had the confidence in me that I probably don’t have in myself. 

 Winnie the Pooh Quilt!

Winnie the Pooh Quilt!

I'm confident you could adjust trousers, just no the most exciting job ever! What sewing accessory could you absolutely not live without? 

I have this little pin cushion attached to a strap of elastic that goes round my wrist, I bought it on Ebay I think for like £2.  Could probably easy make it actually.  I find it easier than using a pin cushion that inevitably you put down and then can’t find plus when you are actually sewing and taking pins out as you sew it’s much easier to just pop them back on your wrist.  I’m just waiting for the day that I do that and I’m not using it and I stab myself in the wrist with a pin. 

Stabbing yourself with pins is an occupational hazard of being a sew-er, maybe not in the wrist right enough! If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?

Classes are great and definitely the way to go but social media is your friend,  follow blogs on bloglovin, follow people on instagram, subscribe to sewers on youtube.  The sewing community is so friendly and welcoming.  No one will ridicule you, I worried people would think I was stupid for asking certain questions.  That never happens!!!  Sewing trolls do not exist. 

We're friendly breed, sew-ers! Haha! You've been sewing for a while, you've got to have had a few disaster along the way, right?  

I was using a Tilly and the buttons pattern to make a skirt and I’ve made the facing shorter than the waistband so now it’s too tight and it’s never going to fit, I’ll need to get some more fabric and do that bit again.  Also I bought this gorgeous sheep pattern cotton fabric that I made pyjama trousers out of but I read the pattern wrong.  I looked at the ‘finished garment sizes’ section and cut out the wrong size, the pattern had a big seam allowance so once I had finished them I literally couldn’t get them up.  When I did it the second time I had to tape all the pattern back together so now I trace my patterns out and you can bet I have never read the sizing wrong since. 

Making mistakes is the best way to learn but it's still annoying if you waste some amazing sheep fabric! I know you have been in our studio loads but how many classes have you actually attended, and what was your favourite? 

I’ve done a few private lessons, the pattern class, the shirt dress class and the free motion embroidery class (I won that in the Christmas advent competition).  My favourite was the pattern class, it just taught me so much and completely de mystified patterns.  Everyone had different patterns too so although mine didn’t have pleats in it someone else’s did so we all learned from each other.  One of the other girls was talking to me about making quilts and I ended up making one (the winnie the pooh one) and we went to a gig together not long after the class, so I made a friend and gained some new skills. 

 Laura's Machine Doodles Sheep

Laura's Machine Doodles Sheep

That's so nice that you made a friend in class, I think that happens quite often! You've come on leaps and bounds in the time you've been sewing, what would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?

A winter coat and a pair of jeans.  I’ve been reading a few blogs lately about making jeans and it doesn’t look too hard and recently in Sew Confident I’ve seen Colette’s winter jacket taking shape so I don’t feel as intimidated anymore but I definitely want to make a bit more before tackling those projects.  I would also love my own sewing blog but I want a bit more experience before I start that. 

I would definitely read your blog Laura, you need to get on that! What projects do you have on the go right now?

I’m experimenting with fabric right now and have extended my fabric stash to include viscose, jersey, wool and needlecord.  I’ll make an A-line skirt with the wool and probably a little dress with the needlecord.  The others I needs to get some inspiration from but I might book onto the next kimono class and use my viscose there, it’s a nice autumnal floral pattern.

 Laura's family heirloom sewing box!

Laura's family heirloom sewing box!

Viscose is up there with my favourite fabrics just now, cheap and looks lovely - would make a fab kimono! What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?

Have a private lesson first, you can ask all the questions you maybe wouldn't ask in a bigger class and you can get a feel for it without spending too much money on a class that lasts a few weeks.    

Good advice! Thanks for chatting to us Laura, get writing that blog and we'll share it with the Sew Confident Crew!

Do you want to follow in Laura's footsteps?You can book a 121 lesson here or check out all of our classes here!

Sew Confident sew-along! (Week 1)

WELCOME!

This first week is just more of an introduction, I will tell you where I got everything I needed for the project...my chosen fabrics...why I picked this pattern for the sew-along and more!

We will be making the 'Portside travel set' from Grainline studio. (available here) I picked this pattern, since as we all know, 'WINTER IS COMING' (said in the best game of throne voice of course) which means it is time to start thinking about Christmas gifts.

I like this pattern as it would make a lovely gift for ladies and gents & there is endless possibilities on fabrics you can mix & match to make it look totally different each time! I also picked this pattern as I think people would be more interested in giving themselves a bit of a challenge while still being able to get a bit of help too! I haven't had a test run at making this set yet myself so who knows...maybe you lot will be giving me hints and tips!!

Where I got everything I need

  • The pattern - Grainline studio
  • The interfacing - Sewconfident website
  • The Zips - smaller zips from Sew Confident, (large 21" zip I got on ebay!)
  • D rings - Sew Confident
  • Swivel clips - Sew Confident
  • Fabric 1 - Canvas fabric from Ikea (only £4 a metre!!)
  • Fabric 2 - Fake leather look fabric from The Cotton Print Factory (£7 a metre)
  • Lining - Remenant kings
  • Webbing for straps - For the sizes mentioned in the pattern I ordered this on ebay in big 10m rolls as it worked out cheaper than buying just the 2m ... guess ill just make a few bags!

What is the sew along all about?

The sew-along is all about bringing all us sewing lovers together and helping/showing off to each other our great talent!! I will be posting an update of my progress once a week for about 3 weeks (maybe more if anyone joining in wants extra tips!) So make sure you tag us in any photos/videos on any of your social media and use the hash tag #SCsewalong !


If you have any questions just drop me an e-mail -  colette@sewconfident.co.uk ,

Love Colette x

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