#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.

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.

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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: 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!

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

Sewing With a New Born - Guest Blog

Sewing with a new born…It’s not really a thing is it? I had grand plans to set my beautiful new baby in its bouncy chair and set to work sewing while the baby slept soundly.

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Ha ha…Reality came crashing down around me. Finding time to sew was impossible. I think the closest thing I came to being crafty during the first 6 weeks was knitting a single row on a scarf I was making (for myself).

Then came a rare day when my husband was off work and there was no housework to be done. Now don’t be hating on me, all this happened because of specific well timed events, mainly an in home lifestyle photo shoot for the arrival of our beautiful baby boy. I found myself with an hour to myself and I ventured into the sewing room and I made a garment. An actual wearable top. Sounds impressive I know but it was a pattern I’ve made twice before and I had already cut out all the pattern pieces pre-baby so all the hard work was done.

It’s 4 weeks later and I haven’t sewn anything else BUT I have had time to think. Sewing has now become just as much about the planning as it has the actual sewing. I find I’m taking more time choosing fabrics and thinking of what to use from my stash. I’m planning on investing myself in more quality sewing rather than too much of a sew and hope. Reading patterns before I sew them is becoming a thing, feels like I’m learning more.

Also I have booked babysitters to cover any upcoming classes and the sewcial for this month. Grans are awesome!!

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Have you seen my 'sewjo'? - Guest Blog

Hello pregnancy, goodbye sewjo !

I think that’s exactly how it happened, well I’m pretty sure of it anyway.  I was on a roll with my sewing, had a started my own sewing blog, curated my instagram, sorted out my sewing room and had sewing plans for the year made which did not include a new pregnant body I can assure you. 
 That’s pretty much what halted it, the pregnant body. All of a sudden I had to try and dress this bump. Everything I wore was stretchy. I had no motivation, no patterns caught my eye, it was either a pattern that suited pregnancy only or a pattern that I would need to wait until post pregnancy to measure myself so no point even embarking on it. I didn’t know what shape I was going to be once I had the baby so felt like I couldn’t even plan for new me made outfits. Meanwhile every insta blogger is churning out the latest patterns, it felt like there was a new indie pattern released every week.

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Then the hallelujah moment - enter Tilly and the buttons Stevie pattern. I adored this pattern while pregnant, it draped nice on my body and didn’t make me feel like a whale. I made four in total (two dresses and two tops, I've included a photo of one of the dresses) It’s best points being that it was simple and quick to make and felt like it could be worn as an oversized t-shirt dress post pregnancy, I’ve road tested it and it falls into the secret pyjamas category. Just throw an oversized cardigan on with it and wear it with tights and it looks fab.

The moral of the story - I don’t have one but does there need to be one? I lost my sewjo for a while but it’s coming back slowly. There are new ideas cropping up in my brain and suddenly fabric is making its way into my wish list again. I think I stressed out about having no creativity and thinking it wouldn’t come back but it did though plus I think I will appreciate my sewing time a little more now that it’s limited.

Baby news - We welcomed a baby boy on 13th October, Max, weighing 6lbs 4oz, literally a little bundle of joy 💙

(PART 2 OF LAURAS BABY BLOG COMING SOON!)

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New Year, Same Fabulous You.

Hopefully by now you have, sadly, gotten back into the swing of things at work/uni and recovered from the festive holidays! If like me you are probably sick of people asking the same questions; “How was your Christmas?”, “Do much for New Year?” and the worst of all… “What’s your New Year Resolutions?”

PERSONALLY, I don’t set life changing goals at New Year. I’m not going to tell folk I’m going to lose a stone and run a marathon because the chances are I’ll go to the gym twice this year, maybe three times if I’m lucky…then I’ll feel horrible about myself at the end of the year for not achieving my goals and it’ll be an endless cycle. I also feel that a lot of peoples (not everyone) goals focus too much on the ‘negative’ things about them rather than realising how great they already are! “I want to lose weight”, “I want to get my teeth done”, “I want to get a boyfriend because I’m lonely and bored on my own” …to quote just a few of my friends ‘New Year Resolutions’, and within the first few days of the new year people beat themselves up and feel they have failed for already giving into a slice of cake etc etc. (In response to the boyfriend ‘goal’ - YOU ARE A STRONG, INDEPENDENT GIRL/MAN THAT DON’T NEED NO MAN/GIRL.)

What we SHOULD all be doing this year, may it not be the start of this year…maybe not even next month over even this year, is to learn all about SELF LOVE. Focus on the things you are already interested in or good at, or even things you are bad at but enjoy & LOOK FORWARD to improving. In this case, being crafty.

Now i’m no life coach, I probably have a cheek to be talking about self love as I know I can be very hard on myself…BUT one ‘goal’ I do have for 2019 is to sew more. GROUND BREAKING, I KNOW, This isn’t even learning something new! I’ve had more downs than ups over last year, but the one thing that really helps is being creative and sewing, yet when people ask the last thing i’ve made I can barely remember. I’m so guilty for ‘knowing what’s good for me but ignoring it.’ I think that’s why I love the whole idea of Sew Confident so much. I can already hear everyone reading this saying I’m being biased haha - maybe I slightly am. Although class after class after class, the one thing that is always said is how people love that they have dedicated time to coming along and being crafty. That they are the same as me and often get distracted at home or feel guilty for taking time out of their busy lives to get creative.

Yes our classes cost money, which especially in the longgggggggg, poooor month that is January you might not have the disposable income. BUT, if you think about it long term, one of our knitting or crochet classes costs £40 (this is less than a normal night out for me - but i do go a bit OTT) and in one evening you learn a new skill that you can continue to use and improve for LIFE. I mention knitting and crochet as that is the only new skills I would like to hopefully master in the next year or two (See, again, no pressure to be a crochet queen by the end of 2019). As I also mentioned earlier, for me, using my creativity or learning a new creative skill is all about the positive effect it has on my mental state. Good Mental State = Positive Self Loving. Making things from scratch whether it be a quilt, a dress or evening a weaved wall hanging…getting to meet knew creative friends…or guilt free time to hang with current crafty friends -

IT HELPS MAKE THE SAME FABULOUS YOU, EVEN MORE FABULOUS.

Lots of loving and positive vibes,

Sew Confident Colette


Frida Frenzy

Everywhere we look there is Frida Kahlo designs to be seen! What are your thoughts on this latest trend or are you still a little unsure on who this famous mono brow lady even is…?

Who is Frida?

Considered one of the Mexico's greatest artist, Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyocoan, Mexico City, Mexico.  Frida painted many portraits, self-portraits and works inspired by the nature and artefacts of Mexico. Inspired by the country's popular culture, she employed a naïve folk art style to explore questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class and race in Mexican society. Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy. In addition to belonging to the post-revolutionary Mexicayotl movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity, Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist.


Sew Confident does Frida

Never wanting to miss a trend, here at Sew Confident we have created our very own, super cool item. DRUM ROLL PLEASE… Ladies & Gentleman, now available via the website or from our studios - A Frida hand embroidery kit!


Wanting to see what else we are loving? Check out below some of Colettes best finds! Just click the image to follow on to the website I found them on.

Quirky Quilting

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Hi - let me introduce myself! I’m Jo and I have started working with Sew Confident to spread the word about the wonderful world that is Quilting. We started with some beginners’ classes on the Bothwell and Glasgow studios this autumn (with Dundee already being up and running) and hope to bring you lots of exciting and new classes in 2019 so I hope we can find something that will suit everyone. Not just quilts too – you’d be surprised what you can make with so many scarps of fabric from repurposed shirts and the like. If you fancy giving a class a go we’d love to hear from you, or if you have any ideas what you’d like to try do let me know and we can see what exciting ideas we can come up with!

As you might be able to tell already I am somewhat of an enthusiastic quilter and have loved having this opportunity to bring this great and addictive hobby to some new stitchers. I’ve been quilting now for about 20 years, having previously been a keen dressmaker and cross stitch fan. However, once I started quilting there was no going back, and my wardrobe has sadly had to stay high street based, and the dressmakers form was resigned to the loft. (I have to say though its seen the light of day again recently have been inspired by the goings on at Sew Confident). I struggle to put my finger on it exactly, but there is something slightly magical about the whole quilt process that I adore and sitting surrounded by lots of little pieces of fabric and a reel of thread puts me in a very happy place. Of course, friends and family are very happy about this as not only does it keep me quiet and out of the hair, but they know they will never be cold and reckon they save hundreds on heating bills, having been bombarded with shed loads of quilty loveliness over the years….Learning to quilt is not as daunting as you may think and once you have the basics you can make quilts and lots of other great things which your friends will find instantly very impressive. The Sew Confident beginners course starts with a baby quilt, but back in the day I, like a mad woman, decided to start with a full blown double bed sized quilt!!

Looking back now it is a very traditional quilt, in very traditional colours, and I still love it, but now though, you’ll find me in a far more colourful world as we have seen a revolution in the quilt world, with the arrival of social media and the very active on line quilting community. Not only is this spreading the word to a wider and younger audience, but its giving us all so much great inspiration, with colour, shape and textures we may not have found in our local shop or book shop. Do check it out- you’ll be amazed.

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At the moment I am trying to design a quilt to submit for my first ever competition at QuiltCon (this probably sounds like the quilt world’s equivalent of being a geek but is in fact a fantastic annual get together of the Modern Quilt Guild). It’s quite a scary prospect but a good way to stretch myself, so watch this space! We’d love to hear from you if you think this is a craft that’s calling to you so why not drop us a note now.

You can also follow Jo on Instagram here!

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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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!

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!

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