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 : 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!

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.

Sew Confident sew-along! (Week 2)

WELCOME BACK

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Colette x

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November Sew-er of the Month - Laura!

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

 

 

 

So how long have you been sewing?

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

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Laura's cross stitching is pretty amazing!!

Laura's cross stitching is pretty amazing!!

Bit of sewing room jealousy on the go here!

Bit of sewing room jealousy on the go here!

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Winnie the Pooh Quilt!

Winnie the Pooh Quilt!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura's Machine Doodles Sheep

Laura's Machine Doodles Sheep

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

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

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

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

Laura's family heirloom sewing box!

Laura's family heirloom sewing box!

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

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

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

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

Sew Confident sew-along! (Week 1)

WELCOME!

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

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

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

Where I got everything I need

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

What is the sew along all about?

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


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

Love Colette x

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