Hi and welcome to the second installment of the Sew Essential vlog and thank you so much to everyone who tuned in to our first video and for your likes and comments. It's always good to know someone is listening - not a feeling I get at home very often with three boys in the house!
As many of you know I am a beginner sewist being patiently taught to sew by Angela, my MIL and co founder of Sew Essential, who has been sewing for over 60 years and blows my mind with her sewing knowledge on a regular basis! I was always in awe of Angela's sewing creations and last year I finally bit the bullet and had a go myself. Having completed my first year in dressmaking I wanted to look back at what I made and what I learned so I can plan a successful year of sewing in 2017. Continue reading →
In previous posts I mentioned I lined up some nice, quick, easy sews to bounce back from my denim skirt saga and this Kwik Sew 4069 pattern was always going to make it into the pile! Elena of the 'Randomly Happy' and Edina of 'The German Edge' both picked this pattern when we collaborated with them for a blog post and I thought both of their versions were lovely. They also chose the same great fabric and I followed suit - our Isabella wool jersey. I have been waxing lyrical about this stuff all over Instagram and there are a lot of people who seem to agree it is just beautiful and perfect for those warm winter makes to keep you cosy and snug whatever the weather. Continue reading →
Today we have a different post for you and would like to introduce you to our new Sew Essential vlog. For anyone who doesn't know 'vlogging' is essentially producing video content to communicate with your followers and I'm very excited to be bringing you our first vlog just in time for Christmas. Fear not we will still have our regular blog posts running alongside the vlog too, this just gives you an additional way to keep up to date with what is going on at Sew Essential. Continue reading →
This Tilly and the Buttons Agnes pattern in our lovely geometric jersey fabric was the perfect quick and easy sewing pattern for bouncing back after my challenging denim skirt project. Plus I find long sleeved T shirt tops one of the most useful things to have in my wardrobe all year round - perfect for layering, comfortable and ideal for wearing with skirts or trousers they tick all the boxes. I also thought this easy top project would be a good way to try and understand a fitting issue I have where the fabric of the garment gathers into creases that run from my armpit to the shoulder seam, which Angela spotted on my embroidered denim dress project.
At first we thought maybe I had made a mistake with the sleeve insertion, but then I noticed it on some of my favourite ready to wear garments too and so I had discovered my first fitting issue. That's the wonderful and awful thing about dressmaking isn't it - your standards for the fit, hang and finish of a garment become so much higher than they ever were before. I never noticed this before and now it bugs me every time I wear something where it presents itself and that is how this quick easy project became a little bit more interesting... Continue reading →
I'm starting this post with an incredibly honest opening statement - sewing this denim skirt nearly killed me! It shook my love of sewing to the core, it made me feel incredibly frustrated and I started to doubt my sewing ability - big time. This wasn't because there was anything wrong with the pattern, it was excellent - the instructions were very clear and easy to understand and the pattern cutting was good (apart from the waistband, which I think was too short and I will talk about later). It was because my beginner's luck, which lasted the whole of my first year of sewing, had finally run out. Have you ever had one of those projects where everything and I mean everything went wrong? Even the most simple of tasks that you normally whizz through without a second thought somehow go badly and end up in a lengthy and depressing unpicking session? Yeah, it was my first one of those - with bells on! The good news is I lived to tell the tale, I like the skirt, I learned loads and I'm back on the wagon. Here's how I got there... Continue reading →
Whether you're thrilled or mortified at the prospect Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to get in the festive spirit than making your own decorations?! We have Christmas fabrics, ribbons, decoration kits and more and have created this handy page to help you find exactly what you are looking for plus we thought we'd share a few quick, simple ideas for whipping up some decorations in no time... Continue reading →
Having covered hand sewn hem techniques and hem finishes on an overlocker in previous articles, it's time to talk machine stitched hems. Whilst it could be argued a hand stitched hem is always preferable there is definitely a time and a place for machine stitching. Not only is it quicker (in most cases) it is also easier to achieve professional results for some fabric and hem types. For example it is much easier to achieve a flat hem when creating a narrow hem on a sewing machine than by hand. Hand stitching stretch fabrics can be tricky and if you don't have an overlocker or cover stitch machine a machine stitched hem with a twin needle is a great option for a professional finish. Plus there are now some fab sewing machine feet available (see our full range here) that make accurate, neat machine stitched hems easier than ever to achieve. Continue reading →
A few weeks ago we shared five hand stitched hem techniques here on the blog and I promised there would be further posts on machine stitched hems and hem finishes on your overlocker. Seeing as it is now well and truly Autumn when we find ourselves reaching for the cosy knit fabrics in our stash or the fabric store (we have a good range of stretch fabrics on our site if you want to check it out) I thought we'd share the hem finishes you can achieve on your overlocker. Plus I must admit I'm currently in the throes of a long and unwavering love affair with my Babylock overlocker and can't stop raving about it having spent a little time exploring its full capabilities. If you have an overlocker or are considering buying one it is well worth spending a little time opening your eyes to the tasks you can complete on an overlocker - ironically finishing seams is merely the starting point. Continue reading →
Ever since we started stocking the Colette pattern range I knew I wanted to make the Moneta dress. There is definitely a big gap in my wardrobe where casual every day dresses for cold weather should live - I have tonnes and tonnes of casual summer dresses and skirts, but when it comes to winter I seem to live in my jeans. In fact I'm wearing jeans right now! Last year I promised myself I would break this depressing habit and failed miserably. This year I'm on a mission with patterns like the Moneta and the Grainline Moss skirt tucked under my arm to help me along my way. Continue reading →
A fly front zip is the fastening traditionally used on jeans, trousers and can often be found on skirts and shorts where the zip is positioned on the front of the garment. The zip is hidden from view by a zip facing or extension and is covered by a fly shield from the inside of the garment. Knowing how to sew one is a great skill to add to your sewing arsenal so we've prepared this handy guide for you to refer to. Continue reading →
If you follow our blog you'll already know at Sew Essential we're people with a passion for fashion and dressmaking. If we're not at work advising customers on sewing machines, products and techniques or writing tutorials we're most likely at home sewing. In fact we even dream about sewing. No, really. For this reason we decided to work with one of our local colleges to encourage and challenge their fashion and textile students to push their creativity and sewing ability to the limit in a Sewing Bee style pattern hack competition.
We worked with Jo Hall, Lecturer of Fashion and Textiles at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College to develop the project remit. Angela (co founder of Sew Essential) and I chose this simple New Look pattern as a starting point for the students and asked them to develop their own original, wearable design within the theme ‘an English Country Garden’ using fabric and supplies from Sew Essential. Continue reading →
Hi folks, I hope you're well? We've been busy as always here at Sew Essential - last weekend I had the pleasure of joining my second Sew Brum event and thought you might like to hear a bit about it.
For those of you who don't know Sew Brum is an annual event organised by Charlotte (in the picture with me below) of the blog 'English Girl at Home' in, yes you've guessed it, Birmingham. Charlotte started the event three years ago and it has grown in popularity and attendance numbers ever since. Although there are so many ways for us to connect with other sewists now through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and blogs you just can't beat getting together with fellow enthusiasts for a good natter, some shopping and some nice nosh! Continue reading →