Fashion through the decades: 40s & 50s

40s

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Despite the hardships of World War 2, the 40s were still a milestone decade for style, despite 1930s fashion being a hard act to follow. It was a decade of trailblazing styles and new silhouettes, and many of the styles we’re still supporting today. From Joan Crawford to Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth and Doris day, we chart the era’s style iconic, and top trends, that paved the way for 1950s fashion.

Put simply, 1940s women’s fashion was about creating an hourglass silhouette with masculine details, such as padded shoulders nipped in high waist tops, and A-line skirts that came down to the knee. This was the everyday shape for clothing, from suits to dresses. Even trousers had a similar high waisted, wide leg shape. If a woman was not naturally an hourglass shape, the clothes were designed to help her achieve the look. Being put together, cheerful, and practical was the job of women during WW2. Fashion accessories for this time included hats, gloves, handbags, and jewellery to complete an outfit, while natural makeup with bright red lips helped paint a happy face during difficult times.


50s

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There are two main silhouettes in 1950s fashion – the wasp waist with full skirt & the slim fitting pencil skirt. Both are iconic 50s looks that held great influence until 1956 & can be portrayed as super sexy or fun & flirty – all depending on how you wear them.

The beauty of the 50s era is that there is a ‘look’ that will suit everyone’s shape – the more womanly the better. For those who lacked curves, these were created easily with a bit of help from belts, foundation garments and plenty of net & padding!

From a fashion point of view, this was the rise of the ‘ready to wear’ phenomenon (RTW). Clothing was now being manufactured ‘in mass’ & with greatly improved standards in construction & cloth quality. Variety was now available & imports started to return from, in particular, Paris.

Dior’s iconic ‘New Look’ arrived in Paris in 1947 & due to it’s vastly different shape to the war years – had an enormous impact on the fashion world. Style was now back on track, ironically picking up from where it left off before the pause created by the war. Dior created a succession of silhouettes (which he based on letter shapes!) line A being an a-line silhouette which was achieved by a widening towards the hem & was quickly followed by the Y-line, created by wide dolman sleeves tapering to a slim skirt. However, Dior’s initial look continued to dominate for many years with fashion looking nostalgically to the past with its boned bodices & full petticoats.

Must have 50s accessories:- 

  • Red lipstick

  • Chiffon scarf

  • Gloves

  • Waist cinch belt

Fashion through the decades: 20s & 30s

Flapper Fashion - 1920s

Fay wray - actress and flapper girl

Fay wray - actress and flapper girl

Before the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis who brought us the iconic 1930s fashion styles, there were the super chic (and now very well known) styles of the roaring twenties. From the ultra-glam flapper girls to the first waves of cool androgyny, 1920s fashion was all about liberation, finally being able to try new things while having a lot of fun in the process.

After WW1, things loosened up (literally) when it came to ladies fashion - the corsets came off, skirts got shorter and thanks to one particular fashion legend, Coco Chanel, trousers for women were acceptable for the very first time! Fashion is eternally grateful to Mademoiselle Coco Chanel for so many definitive 1920s fashion styles, and some of the greatest fashion ‘inventions’ still to this day, for example; the little black dress, skirt suit, costume jewellery, espadrilles… But her greatest, most overarching influence? It has ot be the liberation of women’s clothing and the concept of ‘casual chic’ in the 1920s. Chanel led the trend for a flatter, corset-free bust, a streamlined silhouette with no hyper-waistline and as we already mentioned, she popularised trousers for women… So next time you let you are feeling bloated or just want to through on something loose fitting and baggy, you can aim your thanks to this woman.

Moving on to another iconic 20s style…

When it came to popular materials in the 20s, for evening dresses most were made of fine fabrics like silk, chiffon, taffeta and light velvet. They were usually sleeveless for young women and long sleeves for older women. Own anything with a dropped waist? You can thank the 20s for this iconic feature along with layers/tiers of fabric creating some fullness from the waist down. For those wanting to stand out and be more glamorous than the rest (basically anyone with good money) Beaded dresses were the way to go. Although everyone often thinks fringing and metal sequins when it comes to flapper dresses, this was actually quite rare. We often also think of these dresses as being short but this too is a myth! Real flappers wore knee-length or longer gowns that swished and swayed white dancing to jazz.

1930s

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Although the 1930s is remembered as a time of economic struggle, 30s fashion was an era of revolutionary style thanks to advancements in clothing production and the popularity of Hollywood cinema. As well as Great Depression (which began with the stock market crash in ‘29) causing an increase in the resourcefulness of ‘day wear’ fashion, as women could no longer afford to change outfits from day to night as the may have done before.

Advancements in technology also began the following following trends we still widely use today such as zippers as fasteners, fitted bras with cups and the bias cut method (a process of cutting material at a 45 degree angle so that it clung to the body.)

30s KEY ITEM: A “feedsack” dress, which as the name suggests, is a ladies dress made using the material from a sack of animal feed. (Bags from flour were also used!)

HISTORY BEHIND THIS ITEM:  Although the trend of the feedsack dress actually began in the ’20s when resourceful women realised they could upcycle the material used for the sacks to make clothing for themselves and their family, the trend grew rapidly due to economical necessity during the Depression era (30s). It didn’t take long for those in the animal feed industry to catch on to this ‘fashion’ trend, and competing companies released floral patterned sacks for women along with novelty prints such as animals, clowns, etc sacks for dresses made for the children. This led women requesting their husbands to buy the more ‘stylish’ feedsacks with their final outfit in mind.


New Sew Confident Studio: Chorley, England - Meet Dawn

Hi everyone, I’m Dawn! Born in Fife, Scotland, I moved to England with my parents and sister when I was 15. After studying at college and Uni I settled down in the North West of England and live with my husband and two children.  

I’ve always been creative, my mum and granny taught me to knit, I’ve had a go at card making and even made my own wedding invitations and favours. I also love sewing and doing DIY. I think it all began at high school many years ago in my home economics class.

It started as a hobby and I’m self taught, I did a GCSE in textiles at high school and have attended night classes on how to make curtains, blinds and upholstery - I chose to up-cycle a chair. 

I love looking on Pinterest, surfing the internet and mooching in Shops, then try and re-create things. 

I find sewing and crafts so relaxing, therapeutic and rewarding.  There is no better feeling than when you’ve handmade something and people like and admire your work.

Life is too short and I have always wanted to get away from years spent working in office environments. 

I’ve always wanted to have a career doing something I love and that I’m passionate about. I cannot wait to open my studio in Chorley. I’m excited about this next big step, I’m looking forward to welcoming people into my gorgeous Sew Confident Studio. It’s going to be relaxing, friendly and a sociable space where people can come and learn a new skill from beginners sewing classes, to sewing pattern class and quilting plus so many other fantastic on trend classes. 

I can’t wait to join the Sew Confident team, hopefully I’ll meet some of you reading this very soon at one of the classes. 

Remember to sign up to our Chorley mailing list to be the first to hear all about our Opening Day Party ! : Click here to sign up

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Things to do in 'airplane mode'

Things to do in ‘airplane mode’

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With the start of summer basically here, it’s time to start getting excited and orgnaised for your trip away. Whether it’s a plane journey away to somewhere abroad or maybe it’s a 5 hour long train journey to visit family elsewhere in the UK, either way you are going to have plenty of time to kill when travelling (unless you pulled the short straw and need to drive of course)!

Here is a quick blog post on various ideas to keep you busy and productive. These will come in handy not only while on route to your holiday destination, but if you are anything like me and can’t sit still to sun bathe or at the beach, these ideas will certainly keep you occupied… and off your mobile phone!


FAKE NEWS!

Before we start, let me clear up some myths when it comes to being crafty on flights and what is allowed in your hand luggage! Having been on a 13 hour flight to Thailand in February this year, I can confirm the following is totally fine to be on board a flight - (Hey, don’t just take it from me! You can find out more on the GOV website too)

OK TO FLY LIST:

  • Small scissors (with blades no longer than 6cm)

  • Nail clippers - If you don’t have small enough scissors, nail clippers do the job in desperate times when it comes to cutting embroidery threads!

  • Knitting needles

  • Crochet Hooks

  • Sewing needle


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I have only recently started learning how to crochet and knit thanks to our amazing tutor Beth! So for me personally before now, I found hand embroidery the best thing to keep me occupied outdoors and while travelling, also because hand embroidery isn’t as bulky as carrying around various balls of wool!

Although with that being said, I felt that doing hand embroidery on a 13 hour flight did start to make my eyes go a bit crossed eyes so it was nice to then be able to sit and continuously knit rows and rows of what I am now claiming to be a very long scarf!

I also found being crafty on holiday helped my tan - yes you heard correctly! As I mentioned, I am useless when it comes to sunbathing or relaxing on the beach, I get bored so easily and need to be kept busy, so between reading a book and finishing off the hand embroidery kit I started at the airport I would I was a slightly darker shade of white!

So whether it’s one of our embroidery kits, knitting, crochet, weaving or more - make sure you are staying crafty this summer.

Ok maybe this one isn’t exactly something you can do while in ‘airplane mode’. but it is still a handy thing to mention for any of you luck lot that maybe have holiday homes or going away for a couple of weeks but don’t want to leave your sewing machine behind! This 100% fits in hand luggage as our very own Jenny took one to Glasgow airport to test it out for herself.

https://www.sewconfident.co.uk/sewing-machines/elna-sewingmachine-carrycase-red

#SewHappyBeingMe , or at least I'm trying to be.

As this months theme is all things summer, sun and holidays… we thought this month would be a good time to talk about the link between sewing and body positivity !

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Although shopping sounds like a fun day out, for many it turns in to a chore and can actually leave you feeling pretty rubbish. There is nothing worse than finding an item you love hanging up in a store, then trying it on in the changing rooms to realise you are in-between sizes, it’s too big round the bust but too small around the waist, they don’t have your size or it just doesn’t look as nice on as you hoped.

We often have people come along to your classes wanting to learn to make clothing to fit them perfectly, after all we are all unique. Personally I think this is a big part of dress making, along with making items that NO-ONE else will have of course. The feeling you get trying on an item you have made that fits and flatters you perfectly is amazing and really does give you a big boost of confidence! It can make you go from only wearing long sleeved blouses to short sleeve now that you have mastered how to sew the perfect shape to suit your style.

You don’t even need to always make items from scratch either. Once you are feeling confident with your sewing skills you can always alter or put your own little twist on items you already have or that you buy from a high street store/charity shop.

Summer Sewing

Ah Summer. We all crave the nicer weather but when it comes to dressing for it we often want to dig back out our tights and oversized wooly jumpers. Many of us would rather sit in the office over heating & sweating than have our bare legs or arms out…and don’t even get me started on the dreaded B word… yup you guessed it, the BEACH.

Whether you prefer a bikini or an all in one, no matter what your shape or size , the fear when stepping out in swimwear 100% crosses everyones mind, even if only for a split second. BUT WHY?! Luckily despite the rise of everyone wanting to look perfect thanks to the likes of photo editing and instagram (such a blessing and a curse) , there has also been a rise in #bodypositivity and all round #selflove .

As I already mentioned, being able to make items that flatter your body shape and suit your style is a confidence boost in itself. I always feel a lot more body confident wearing something I am proud to have made and want to show off, this also goes for beach wear.

#SewHappyBeingMe , or at least I’m trying to be!

#SewHappyBeingMe , or at least I’m trying to be!

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks of February in Thailand. As you can imagine it was VERY hot and sunny which meant wearing jumpers and jeans was not an option. For those of you who have met me at our Glasgow studio, you will say I am ‘crazy’ & i’m often told I have an ‘amazing body’ & to stop being ‘stupid’ - this doesn’t mean I feel the same! I know technically I am pretty slim but I can honestly say I don’t feel it 9 times out of 10 but I am working on it this year. I even put up a bikini photo on my social media from Thailand in a bikini THAT I MADE…even though it did take me at least 5 times of posting it and deleting it to FINALLY have the guts to leave it up. Normally I prefer being able to ‘hide away’ more in an all in one costume or will wear big tops over my swimwear while walking about at the beach, but I was chuffed with what I had made (I even designed and printed the fabric!) so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to at least try get some nice photos of it while in the beautiful Island of Koh Samui. There is always something kind of liberating when wearing items you’ve made, I couldn’t pose like this in any shop bought bikini but do you know what - THIS WAS MADE BY ME, FOR ME! So I am going to own it as best as my awkward posing can.

Yes, as you can see I am hiding my face & you can barely even see the print on the bikini…BUT I TRIED. One of the big issues with social media is people can look at what you post and think you are so confident/in love with yourself in a vain way when in reality, most of us are pretty insecure and not happy about one thing or another.

Looking back at this photo I think how great a day it was, i’ve stopped zooming in worrying if people can see my stretch marks, hairy legs or that I have tan (burn) lines. Oh and of course it also makes me think - ‘I CAN’T BELIEVE I MADE THAT !’.


YOUR TASK

I know many people probably won’t want to share holiday photos of them in a swimming costume, but here at Sew Confident we would LOVE to see you share any type of old holiday photos that make you genuinely HAPPY, or even post a photo of something you have made that makes you feel AMAZING. Not wanting to share it with EVERYONE? Why not post it in the private Sew Confident Facebook group which is full of lovely supportive crafty folk (aka YOU LOT!)

PS. Brownie points for those confident enough to share photos in swimwear they have also MADE ;)

Be sure to tag our social media pages and use the hashtag #SewHappyBeingMe so we can see all your great posts. Any thoughts or comments on this particular topic or blog post? Be sure to leave a comment below.

Lots of LOVEEEE,

SC Colette x

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An Introduction to Our Theme for May

I’m sure you are sick of everyone saying it already but…

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT IS MAY ALREADY?

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We hope you enjoyed last months Capsule wardrobe theme and the blog posts that came with it but with a new month comes a new Sew Confident theme. This month it is all about HOLIDAYS! Whether you are jetting off abroad, enjoying the beauty of Scotland or just catching some sun-rays in your back garden, we will all be looking forward to the summer months.

Just because the sun is shining and the factor 50 is out, doesn’t mean it’s time to put the sewing, knitting or crafts away. If anything, now is the perfect time to get started on your Autumn wardrobe, get knitting that scarf or learn a new skill such as crochet.

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Why is now the best time? I know soon as the temperature is above 10* and the whole of Scotland is in ‘taps aff’ mode the last thing people think about doing is sitting in and sewing… but If like me you don’t have the patience for sunbathing and need something to keep you busy, a hobby such as hand embroidery or crochet not only keeps you occupied but it makes you feel like you are also being productive - all while still outside enjoying the summer weather. They are also great to help pass the time when travelling, whether it’s long flights or car journeys.

For those of us from ‘Sunny’ Scotland, now isn’t the time to put your sewing machines away. A 3 day summer means there is still plenty of time for us to get sewing and adding key summer pieces to our ‘me-made’ #scCapsuleWardrobe . Whether is is a bikini, pair of shorts or the perfect summer dress, what better compliment than to have strangers ask on holiday, while you are chilling with a Pina Colada, “Where did you get that dress from!?”

Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog post where we will introduce you to this months hashtag, story behind this theme and of course, our competition!


For GLASGOW classes, click here.

For DUNDEE classes, click here.

Guest blog: RTW vs ME MADE

Hi everyone, Sew Confident regular Laura here!

I’ve heard and read many reasons why people make their own clothes but rarely is the reason ‘to save money and protect the environment’ because we all know making our own clothes quite often costs more money. I can only speak for myself on the environment side of the debate and say that I am happy making some of my own clothes contributes to protecting the environment but that’s all I will say on the matter as the debate over fast fashion and slow fashion is another blog entirely. 

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For now I want to share my thoughts on ready to wear and me made items of clothing.  Looking through other sewists #makenine2019 goals and their resewloutions for 2019 I saw a lot of people wanting to eliminate their wardrobe of all ready to wear clothing and others wanting to buy nothing ready to wear in 2019.  It made me feel guilt for enjoying my ready to wear (RTW) clothes, like I wasn’t dedicated enough to making my own clothes.  I enjoy fashion and mixing my wardrobe with both me made items and ready to wear items, I mostly own ready to wear items as my sewing journey has just began.  Completely eliminating fashion retailers would deny me my inspiration.

Some of my much loved clothing is ready to wear, my wedding dress for one.  Although I have seen some beautiful me made wedding dresses by some very talented sewers and I wish I could have had more of a hand in my own but it does not dull how much I adore my wedding dress.  I still have the outfit I was wearing the night I met my husband.  I have a coat my gran bought me on one of our many shopping trips, she is no longer fit enough to come shopping with me and I treasure that item of clothing. 

Some items of clothing I have wanted to make have not come to pass, last year I wanted to make a dress to wear to wear to a friend’s wedding but due to being pregnant I decided to go down the route of ready to wear instead. 

The me made section of my wardrobe makes me very proud and I love to show it off but I am equally proud of my ready to wear section, I am trying to grow my me made wardrobe and make more conscious buys in relation to clothing.  I am also trying to use up my stash rather than spend money on more fabric.  Finding the time to make these clothes is proving difficult at the moment with a new baby, however, slowly but surely I am doing bit by bit nap by nap. 

Personally I prefer my wardrobe to be a mix of me made and ready to wear and I always try to remember that dressmaking is a hobby not a way of life (for me).  I think eliminating your ready to wear wardrobe would be difficult if not impossible for most and I don’t completely agree with the reasons why.  I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on their ready to wear vs me made wardrobe over on the Sew Confident ‘sewcial’ fb group. If you haven’t already joined, you can do so here whether you are a SC customer or now!

Love Laura


WANT TO LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN SLOW-FASHION, ME MADE ITEMS? check out our up coming classes  here .

WANT TO LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN SLOW-FASHION, ME MADE ITEMS? check out our up coming classes here.

Capsule Wardrobe: Bottoms up!

Straight leg, boot cut, cropped, ankle grazers…. the list goes on when it comes to various styles of trousers making it a more popular choice than ever when it comes to being a staple piece in the modern ladies wardrobe. Despite their increasing popularity over the years, trousers weren’t considered ‘acceptable’ women’s attire until the 1970s and even then, in some places it was illegal for women to wear trousers! These days, trousers are worn by women for all occasions without any masculine connotations . One of the woman we can also thank for this is, Coco Chanel - The first woman who dared to wear a pair of pants in her daily life.

Ash Jeans Pattern Set

Ash Jeans Pattern Set

JEANS

“History of Jeans and Denim. Jeans are pants made from denim or dungaree cloth. They were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873 and a worn still but in a different context. Jeans are named after the city of Genoa in Italy, a place where cotton corduroy, called either jean or jeane, was manufactured.”

Now many sew-ers seem to have a fear when it comes to wanting to tackle making their own jeans but we think they are the most satisfying make! Here are some patterns, both from Megan Nielsen Patterns , which cover different styles in each pack! :

Dawn Jeans (4 in 1)

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Ash Jeans (4 in 1)

VINTAGE

Not only does this 1940s vintage pattern by Simplicity come with the patterns for amazing loose fitting pants & the great overalls…it also comes with a sweet blouse and blouse with hood pattern.

FITTED

I could go on for ages about various trouser patterns I love, I will quickly mention the Tyyni Cigarette trouser pattern by NAMED. I personally think these would be the perfect capsule wardrobe make. These trousers are so flattering that they would look great for both work or day-to-day !

Capsule Wardrobe: A 'short' history of skirts

The skirt: a garment so distinctly feminine that in the 1800s, the word itself was slang for woman. This particular item of clothing comes with a lot of history too. The skirt is said to be the second-oldest garment known to mankind, with loin cloths winning the award for the oldest.

Today, a skirt's design is all about personal style. But not long ago, long skirts were the only way to go. For hundreds of years, a long skirt was the very definition of luxury, mainly because fabric was so expensive.

Here are some of my favourite classic styles and patterns to create your own!

THE PENCIL SKIRT

Here at SC HQ are totally loving the Pulmu High-waisted Pencil Skirt by NAMED. Whether you love wearing a pencil skirt to work or dressing it up for a night out at the weekend - we think this particular pattern would work well whatever the occasion!

THE MINI SKIRT

THE DENIM SKIRT

Available to create in various lengths, the Leonora denim style skirt by SEAMWORK would make a gorgeous wardrobe stable! This particular pattern features all of the usual denim garment constructions, including flat felled seams, a classic back yoke, belt loops, and jean hardware. Perfect for those looking to maybe advanced there garment making knowledge.

THE MAXI SKIRT

Depending how confident you are when it comes to sewing and drafting patterns, it is easy enough to draw out and make your own maxi skirt pattern! If not, you will often find them included as part of a set in many of the ‘old school’ patterns such as this one by NEW LOOK. It also includes patterns for a tank top, tee shirt, pull on pants and maxi dress with side slits which could also be makes for your ‘me-made’ capsule wardrobe!


Want to have a go at making a skirt or another item of clothing but unsure where to start? Why not book on to one of our pattern classes at either our GLASGOW or DUNDEE studios to get a helping hand from one of our amazing tutors!

PS. As always, remember to tag @sewconfident in any photos of your creations AND use the hashtag #scCapsuleWardrobe as at the end of April we will be picking one lucky winner to win a fantastic mystery prize!

Capsule Wardrobe: The Top (Free pattern included!)

After covering all things coats and jackets in the last capsule wardrobe blog post, it is time to move on to one of the essentials: Tops. Whether its’s shirts, vest tops, blouses, bralets or off the shoulder - you can’t leave the house without one. (Well you could, but it isn’t exactly seen as socially acceptable).

In my opinion a top can make or break and outfit…I’d even go as far to say it is the most seen item of clothing you will wear, if you think about it. Sitting at a desk/restaurant or in photos, it is normally the next thing people will notice after your face.

That is why when planning your ‘me-made’ capsule wardrobe it is important to not only pick something versatile but something that will also show off your style at a glance.

In this quick blog post I am going to tell you about one of the tops I am going to create, and which some of you might already have made; the hemlock tee! This is the beauty that we cover in our overlocker class and it is just a great dress-up or dress-down item. The pattern is by Grainline Studio and best of all, it is FREE! You can download it for yourself >> here <<

What I love about this pattern (along with the fact is is free), is that by simply changing the fabric you make it in, it almost looks like a totally different design! So don’t be scared to experiment with various weights of jersey or bold/fun prints. You can also mess around with the size/length of this top making it go from off the shoulder crop top to front knot tied cami !

Wanting to try one for yourself but unsure about where to start when it comes to stretch fabrics or the overlocker? Just give us a shout!

Sew Confident Founder Jenny modelling some of her lovely hemlock tee makes!

Taking part in this months capsule wardrobe theme? Remember to tag us @sewconfident and use the hashtag #SCcapsulewardrobe to win some prizes and be shared on our social media pages and mailing list. Not yet on our mailing list? Sign up here to be the first to hear about all things Sew Confident and receive some mailing list only deals.

Capsule Wardrobe : History of Two Coats

With this months theme being all about creating your own, ‘me-made’ capsule wardrobe, I thought it would be interesting to not only tell you some of my pattern choices but explore the history behind them! In this first post I will be looking at all things outer wear. Remember to keep us updated on your capsule wardrobe makes this month by tagging us and using #SCcapsulewardrobe !

The Trench Coat

Trench coat pattern by ‘NAMED’

Trench coat pattern by ‘NAMED’

The trench coat was developed as an alternative to the heavy serge greatcoats worn by British and French soldiers in the First World War. Invention of the trench coat is claimed by two British luxury clothing manufacturers, Burberry and Aquascutum. Usually made from of waterproof heavy-duty cotton gabardine drill, leather, or poplin. The classic versions come in various lengths ranging from just above the ankles (the longest) to above the knee (the shortest). Traditionally this garment is double-breasted with 10 front buttons, has wide lapels, a storm flap and pockets that button-close. The coat is belted at the waist with a self-belt, as well as having straps around the wrists that also buckle (to keep water from running down the forearm when using binoculars in the rain). The coat often has shoulder straps that button-close; those were a functional feature in a military context. Originally the trench coat was an item of clothing for Army officers (developed before the war but adapted for use in the trenches of the First World War, hence its name). Trench coats have remained fashionable in the decades following World War II. Their original role as part of an army officers uniform lent the trench coat a businesslike respectability, although many prefer to tie the belt in front (rather than use the buckle) to project a more casual look than strict military dress.

Want to learn how to make your own Trench coat? Book on to Jennys Trench Coat Class now!

The Denim Jacket

Denim Jacket Pattern by SEAMWORK

Denim Jacket Pattern by SEAMWORK

Denim blue jeans trace their history back to 1860s Italy -- if not earlier --the rugged bottoms haven’t gone out of fashion since, and over time have worked their way up to the top half of the body, sported by figures as iconic as Marilyn Monroe and the Marlboro Man. Todays denim jacket exudes a sense of sturdy individualism, but it took many decades to establish itself as a pillar of fashion. Around 1905, American jeans manufacturer Levi Strauss and Co. introduced the “Levi Blouse,” an outerwear shirt intended as a companion to work pantaloons. By 1938, the blouse was officially redubbed a “jacket.” Strauss produced six versions of the jacket through 1947, making minor additions and variations. The late 1940s and & 50s saw the denim jacket transition from workwear into day-to-day attire as Strauss introduced lightweight coats in its western wear line. Although Levis premiered a womens jean jacket in the late & 40s, a denim-wearing Marilyn Monroe made the piece fashionable for mainstream women -- cementing the jacket as a unisex staple -- during a 1950s photo shoot. For men, icons such as James Dean helped to associate the denim jacket with a sense of individualism. By 1962, Levis settled on the double-breast pocket featured on most modern jean jackets. Later, hippie culture experimented with everything from shearling lining to sleeveless denim jackets. Want to learn to make your own like Sew Confident Colette? Check out our Denim Jacket Class!

Capsule Wardrobe - An Introduction

With the Great British Sewing Bee now coming to an end (booooo), we hope you are all feeling creative and motivated to get sewing more yourself!

For the month of April the theme at Sew Confident HQ is ‘Sew the perfect capsule wardrobe’. Here are some top hints and tips to help you with ‘Planning a me-made capsule wardrobe’. Fancy joining in and creating your own personal capsule wardrobe? Be sure to tag us in any posts of your makes and use the hashtag #SCCapsuleWardrobe (We'll be giving a pattern bundle to one lucky winner at the end of the month)

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Part One: Pre Planning

  1. What is the dress code?

  2. Is it for work, home, active wardrobe?

  3. What colour scheme?

  4. What can I create that will ‘complete’ and work with items already in my wardrobe?

Part Two: Planning

  1. Make drafts, take your time and make the perfect choices.

  2. Is there patterns you can use that you already own?

  3. Do you already have suitable fabric for any of your pieces or do you need to source more?

  4. Are the items you have chosen to create appropriate for more than one season?

  5. Do you have all the skills needed to create these items or do you need some extra help?

    Part Three: Get Started!

  1. Start with the most exciting piece

  2. Get help when needed ( I heard Sew Confident have some good classes for this… )

  3. Stick to creating your capsule wardrobe

  4. Post it, promote it, be proud of it!

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Keep an eye out for my other blogs this month where I will be telling you all about my capsule wardrobe picks, the history behind those items and some of my favourite patterns to make them yourself! REMINDER: Fancy joining in with this months ‘capsule wardrobe’ theme? Be sure to tag us in any posts of your makes AND use the hashtag #SCCapsuleWardrobe (We'll be giving a pattern bundle to one lucky winner at the end of the month).



Do you have what it takes to be the next Sewing Bee Superstar?

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With the successful come back of the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2 and the rise in people trying their hand at sewing, we have a feeling that the competition on next years GBSB is going to be tougher than ever! That is why we are putting together a blog post to help YOU, yes YOU, have a better chance of getting through to being on the show.

What are they looking for?

Unlike other years, the enter requirements this year were higher than ever. Despite the show being for ‘nonprofessionals’ (ie anyone who has not learned to sew through certificated education) they actually asked for quite a lot from those applying. For example, they wanted you to have some knowledge and experience of using a cover stitch machine. Now I went to college for a year and also done some sewing in university and I have never touch one/only even recently knew what a cover stitch was! I would like to know how many applications the show received because I think asking someone who may be self-taught from home, or someone who have been to classes such as ours, to have/know how to work a sewing machine, overlocker AND a coverstitch is a bit much…but hey i’m no Patrick Grant so what do I know! ;)

Like all TV shows they are looking for personality, a good back story. Sadly just being a talented sew-er doesn’t cut it in the days of showbiz and the craving of high show ratings. Therefore you must remember to SELL YOURSELF! Not literally of course, but don’t be shy and overly modest! We are all unique and what you think might be boring or nothing interesting may be just the thing to give your application that extra boost to get through to the next stage.

Find yourself stuck and needing a little helping hand from one of our amazing tutors here at Sew Confident? Be sure to check out all GLASGOW classes here and all DUNDEE classes here.

Catwalk to Cutting Table - LBD with a twist

Intern Kirstys, Catwalk to Cutting Table

London Fashion Week has JUST ended and you know what that means, we get to take a closer look at all the designers and see who’s managed to create something amazing.

Personally one of my favourite designers from this years LFW was RIXO. They tend to design fun, quirky and stylish dresses.

The design that caught my eye, was this off the shoulder, black velvet fitted dress, with a colourful dot fabric at the bust area. This stood out to me as the contrast between the soft black fabric and the bright dots at the top defined each section of the dress.

I have even managed to find the perfect fabric copies and similar pattern. Although this may look complicated and impossible to recreate yourself. ITS NOT! So why not give it a go.

Feel like you may need some extra help, or feel you want to take your knowledge further? Why no come along to one of our pattern classes. For more information on these classes please feel free to contact us.

Hope to see you soon.

Love, Kirsty

For the spot fabric, click here. For the black velvet, click here.

M7719 MISSES' DRESSES PATTERN

M7719 MISSES' DRESSES PATTERN

Mothers Day Makes

With Mothers day right around the corner (31st of March for those who may have forgot), it is time to get your thinking caps on to create your mum a beautiful unique gift! We have posted below some nice ideas we might even try for ourselves! Ditch the boring, usual flowers and chocolate and this year get crafty!

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Not only are these embroidery hoops beautiful to look at and make a great wall hanging, if your mum is as crafty as you are she will appreciate all the time put into that hand embroidery. You could even use your hand embroidered fabric and create a classic but one of a kind zip bag.

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How adorable is this cushion cover? To those who have been along to our beginners class you will be masters of the piped cushion! Machine embroidery (or as we like to call it, machine doodles) is then used to create the writing and hands, also making this gift the perfect scrap buster.

Speaking of scrap buster, this basic stuffed heart shape with a message wrote in fabric pens is the perfect simple quick make that is guaranteed to be a hit with Mums with young kids.

Last but not least, a beautiful hand made Memory Bear (as pictured below). This can be made using some personal old items of clothing such as baby grows or maybe just some old tshirts that can no longer be worn. Not got anything old to use? These bears look just as good made in a nice mix of different patterned fabrics.

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If sadly you just don’t have the time to get crafty with your gifts this year, you can still make your mothers day efforts original by purchasing some Sew Confident Gift vouchers which can be used to whatever class, whenever they want!

For Glasgow Classes: https://bookeo.com/sewconfidentglasgow

For Dundee Classes: https://bookeo.com/sewconfidentdundee

GBSB: Where are they now? [Guest Blog]

The Great British Sewing Bee – Where are they now?

Hi everyone, Sew Confident Loyal Amanda here! So, it seems we are all loving the return of the Bee!! Personally I consider myself a bit of a GBSB super fan and I’m not ashamed to say I’m often found re-watching episodes from the last 4 seasons. I have followed a few of the former contestants on Instagram for a while now but with the show back on our screens I wondered how many of the former contestants have been able to give up the day job and make their living from sewing?


Tilly Walnes – Season 1

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Although the name Tilly Walnes may not be familiar to you, I’m sure the pattern company Tilly and the Buttons is!  Series one contestant Tilly had only been sewing for two years when she featured on the first ever series of Sewing Bee. Since leaving the sewing room she has set up one of the best loved independent pattern companies. She has published numerous well know patterns and two best selling books. Her aim is to “demystify sewing” with her clear, jargon free instructions. Tilly has also won Favourite Sewing Personality at the British Sewing Awards 3 years in a row.

www.tillyandthebuttons.com

@tillyandthebuttons  


Stuart Hillard – Season 1

Series 1 contestant Stuart has kept very busy since the GBSB. Now a regular of the Sewing Quarter Stuart has also written two best selling books and has a range of fabrics available at Hobycraft. Although a “quilting expert” Stuart has also featured as one of Sew Magazine’s “Dressmaker of the Year” judges.

@stuarthillardsews


Lauren Guthrie – Season 1

Scottish born Lauren now lives in Birmingham with her husband where she owns the well-known fabric shop Guthrie Ghani.  As well as the bricks and mortar shop Guthrie Ghani are also online selling fabric, haberdashery and patterns. Lauren also runs sewing classes from the shop in Birmingham and often blogs about her makes.

@guthrieghani

www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk

Matt Chapple – Season 3

The first ever male winner of the Great British Sewing Bee, Matt can now be found at www.sewwhatsnew.co.uk a “creative lifestyle blog and is also the author of “Make it Your Own.” Matt has collaborated with Singer Sewing Machines and if often featured in our favourite sewing and craft magazines.

www.sewwhatsnew.co.uk

@sewwhatsnewcouk


Charlotte  Newland– Season 4

Season 4 winner Charlotte has left her former life as the editor of a scientific journal well and truly behind her! Now an award winning quilter she is a regular on the Sewing Quarter.  She also offers online tutorials on her website and often features as a guest columnist in popular sewing magazines.

@charlottesews

www.charlottenewland.com

Jade Earley – season 4

Still the youngest ever GBSB contestant Jade went on to be a finalist. She currently has her own column in Love Sewing Magazine and is working to develop her own line of patterns. Jade is also regularly involved with the Knitting and Stitching Show and The Great British Sewing Bee Live.   

@thegirlwiththebrightredhair2

Angeline Murphy – season 4

Irish Angeline is the resident sewer on Ireland’s RTE TV channel.  As well as this she has her own sewing blog and You Tube Channel. She is currently going live on Instagram every Tuesday after the GBSB to chat about the latest episode, often with a fellow contestant, perhaps we should invite her into the Sew Confident FB chat group!

@angelinemurphydesign

www.angelinemurphy.com

So for any of us hating the day job and dreaming of a life behind the sewing machine, perhaps The Great British Sewing Bee 2020 is your big chance to change your life! Where do we sign up!?

Sew Vintage - [Guest Blog]

Hey! My name is Dominic, I’m 21 years old and am currently studying at Strathclyde and work part-time in retail. This means, like a lot of people my age, money doesn’t spend a lot of time in my bank account. Whether its rent, travel or groceries - young adults are always having to budget and save money where it’s possible, and in my case I tend to save money on clothing. Up until recently, I was on the lookout for fashion sales in high-street stores or online retail platforms, however my foreign study semester in 2017 changed this mind-set; I found myself studying in a university in Malta, a country with limited retail options and expensive delivery charges. I decided to try vintage stores and charity shops to save money, and fell in love with the idea. Not only did I find clothes at a fair price, but the style and culture behind the recycled fashion experience allowed me to better express myself in an environment that was new to me. It was an activity that encouraged me to explore different areas of the country in an exciting hunt for outfits unique to me, all the while saving money and meeting new people doing the same thing. In a world where sustainability and reusing is more important than ever, it helped me feel like I was doing my part in reducing my carbon footprint as well as giving time and money to those who require it most, rather than multi-million companies where all you are to them is an order number.

I kept this mind-set when I came back home at the end of 2017, and made my resolution for the New Year to only buy clothes that have been used and loved before. Luckily for me, there is no better place to do this than in Glasgow! I have a love for retro looks, so I found myself at vintage kilo fairs more than I’m willing to admit. It is never a dull place to be and some of the clothes that I found were one of a kind. From jackets to footwear, there is something for everyone when you look hard enough. I always go and check out a charity shop whenever I walk by one, and Glasgow have so many to offer. The West End and City Centre provide a great variety to choose from, with a Bernardos in Merchant City being my favourite. The Glasgow outskirts are always fun to travel to as well, such as local charities in Giffnock and Inverclyde. You would be surprised how often new items come in to charity shops, and that’s what entices me the most. I manage to find a new outfit once a week usually, and never spend more than £15 in total. There are always big-brand items as well (some I’ve found include Ralph Lauren and AllSaints, as well as retail brands like River Island and Zara) which are always in pristine condition, with designs that make others turn heads. Some other items you find in charity shops would surprise you; things like bags I use for university, kilts and formal attire, sportswear and retro football shirts are just a few which might catch your eye.

And that’s what I would say to anyone that might be sceptical about shopping in charity or vintage shops; what is the worst that can happen? I have loved every second of my resolution and plan to continue it in to 2019. I even plan to learn some sewing skills, to help with mending and upcycling items I find to make them even more unique! It excites me to know that you won’t bump into anyone who shares the same clothes as you do, and you ultimately get to wear the unique clothes that define you at a fraction of the cost you might think, all whilst contributing to inspiring and meaningful causes. When someone asks me where I got something that I’m wearing, I take pride in telling them, “Vintage Shop, mate”.

Cat Walk to Cutting Table - The Skirt Edition

MINT MODA      Cushnie Spring/Summer 2019

MINT MODA

Cushnie Spring/Summer 2019

With it being New York Fashion Week, have you ever wondered how easy it actually is to make your own, ‘cat walk ready’ clothes. One of my favorite pieces from this years cat walk so far is a simple but effective skirt, from the Mint Moda Collection.

Although such a simple piece of clothing, a skirt is able to turn your body shape into something completely different. Hugging in at the waist and flowing down the body, is the skirt style that ‘Mint Moda’ went for at New York Fashion Week 2019. A simple design, yet with the colors they used, they have brightened up the cat walk.

Feel like giving it a go yourself, here are some patterns you may want to use. And you can make you very own cat walk ready skirt.



Feel like you may need some extra help or feel like you want to take your knowledge further, why not come along to one of our pattern classes. for more information on these classes please feel free to contact us .

Signing off Kirsty







Say hello to Kirsty!

We’ve recently been joined by another sewconfident team member! Kirsty is going to be with us for the next month!

Kirsty’s going to be coming along to one of our beginners classes as well, you can see them here if you want to come along to one too!

Here’s a little bit more about Kirsty . . .


What and where are you studying?

The course that I study is called Food, Nutrition and Textile Education. I study this at Perth College (University of the Highlands and Islands).

Why did you decide to study this degree?

I chose this course as at school I was extremely interested in Home Economics and every aspect that it offers young people. It is not only a fun and interesting subject, but it also offers many life skills for young people who may need them the most.

Why is Home Economics as a subject important to you?

I believe that Home Economics is important in schools as it teaches many life skills that most children may not be taught at home. These skills include knowledge on nutrition and a healthy life style, cooking skills that can be used throughout your life and textile and sewing skills that can always be helpful. All these skills are useful to everyone throughout a lifetime.

Have you always wanted to be a teacher?

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Being a teacher has always been what I have wanted to do. I enjoy passing on my knowledge and seeing others succeed after using the knowledge I have provided. I enjoy with both young and mature students.

While at school, what was your most liked and most disliked classes?

Well, of course my favourite class in school was Home Economics. The class I probably disliked the most was maths, it was never one of my strengths.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

With whatever free time I have, between balancing uni, part time employment and socialising. I enjoy spending quality time with friends and family. This includes going out for food and drinks and having cosy nights in, just relaxing and watching movies.

Have you done a lot of sewing/textiles? What is your favourite thing you have made?

Unfortunately, having only the limited skills that I was taught In my first year at High School, I don’t know a lot about sewing. However, I am extremely intrigued by it and can’t wait to learn more from my time at Sew Confident and throughout my four-year degree.

During my school placement that took course over four weeks, I was able to engage in many first-year textile classes. In these classes the children were able to make a pillow. They were asked to decide colours of fabric and, also the design that they wanted on the front of the pillow. I was also able to make my own pillow alongside the children, I decided to make it for my baby niece, and to be honest, it turned out great.                                                       

What about the cooking side, what is your go to dish?

Cooking is something I have always loved, and throughout the years I have massively improved on my cooking skills and knowledge. My go to dish is always pasta, my favourite being tagliatelle pasta with sweet chilli and garlic prawn, this one also never fails to impress.

 

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