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.

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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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

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

Sew Confidents Sew-along - FINAL UPDATE

Part one - The duffle bag

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

 

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

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

1.Finishing The duffle bag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY SEWING! 

Love, Colette x

Sew Confident sew-along! (Week 2)

WELCOME BACK

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Colette x

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