Sewing Tips, Tutorials, Projects and Events

  • A Review of the Tilly and the Buttons Orla Blouse

    Tilly and the Buttons Orla Make

    It has been busy, busy, busy here at Sew Essential HQ and between arranging our bloggers meet up (see previous post if you're interested - all welcome, booking essential) sourcing new products at the Stitches show (watch this space - coming soon!) life in general and the kids my sewing hasn't been churning out as quickly as I would like! I did manage to finish my first garment from a Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern though - I made an Orla blouse which I love. Garment number three done and dusted! I thoroughly enjoyed making it and am really pleased with the end result. It certainly isn't perfect, but within my realistic expectations of myself as a complete beginner I'm very happy and I'm sure I'll get a lot of wear out of it (as long as it doesn't fall apart in the wash thanks to my amateur sewing skills!)

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  • Sewing Blogger Meet Up 10th April at Sew Essential

    Blogger Meet Up

    We've thoroughly enjoyed our foray into the world of blogging so far! From the Sew Brum meet up to working with some of our favourite sewing bloggers on sponsored projects and giveaways we're having a ball! Not to mention writing about our makes and sharing our top we thought it was time to host a sewing blogger meet up and combine our two great loves - sewing and cake!

    We've joined forces with Krafty Kat and Samantha of Crafternoon Tea Hostess to reach out to the blogging community and will be hosting a meet at Sew Essential HQ in South Derbyshire near Ashby de la Zouch on Sunday 10th April.

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  • Essential Patchwork and Quilting Toolkit Part 2

    Quilting Accessories

    This week we're pleased to bring you the second post in our 'Essential Patchwork and Quilting Toolkit' series written by our lovely resident patchwork and quilting guru Joan! Joan gives us hints and tips for choosing the right tools for the job - perfect for those new to patchwork and quilting, but also a good opportunity to review all the options for a more experienced hobbyist. Last week Joan covered pins, needles, thread, fabric markers and thimbles and this week it's all about cutting equipment, cutting boards, rulers and templates. Over to you Joan!

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  • Angela's Pink Chanel Style Jacket

    Vogue 9095 Jacket Make

    Following on from our six most iconic vintage dress patterns post we’ve got a fabulous make for you to feast your eyes on. Angela has certainly channelled her inner Jackie Kennedy with this one and has created the most beautiful hot pink Chanel style jacket using the Vogue 9095 sewing pattern (view A). The pink is bang on trend for spring summer 2016, but the silhouette is timeless and classic. Here she shares her tips and tricks for successful tailoring, a professional finish and those all important finishing touches that will make your efforts look haute couture for sure daaaaahling! Now over to Angela:

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  • Essential Patchwork and Quilting Toolkit Part 1

    Essential Patchwork and Quilting Toolkit Part 1

    Ever fancied having a go at quilting, but not sure what you need to get started? Already a quilter, but sometimes wonder whether you’re using the right tools and equipment? You’re in luck - our resident patchwork and quilting guru Joan is here to help you! Joan has written a series of informative posts where she goes right back to basics and explains the reasons why certain tools are preferable to others, what they are useful for and how you will use them. Even those of you who are experienced quilters and patchwork fans may benefit from a read since it easy to fall into a habit of using certain methods without ever considering an alternative. As with all sewing and crafts using the right tools can take the experience from stressful, difficult and frustrating to easy, fun and enjoyable! You never know we might just share something that could make your life a whole lot easier!

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  • The Six Most Iconic Vintage Dress Patterns

    Iconic Dress Patterns

    Hello all, we hope you’ve had a good week? Here at Sew Essential we’ve been beavering away adding new products to our website and promoting our new indie sewing pattern range - we hope you like it as much as we do?!

    We also couldn’t help but notice the news story on Mom’s wearing pyjamas on the school run. How is this relevant to a sewing blog you might ask, but I think any debate around fashion and clothing is relevant and interesting to those of us who like to sew their own clothes. In this article we briefly ponder how our attitudes to dress code have been revolutionised in recent decades and indulge in celebrating the glamour of yesteryear with our six most iconic vintage dress patterns.

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  • How to Sew an Exposed Zip

    How to Sew and Exposed Zip

    Exposed zips have been ‘all the rage’ (as my Mom would say) for some time now. They are a great way to add an interesting little bit of detail to a top or dress and here we’ll show you how to go about it. Always use a good quality branded zip - the last thing you want is to have a faulty zip on your beautifully hand crafted garment you spent hours lovingly creating!

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  • How to Choose, Prepare and Cut Dressmaking Fabric

    Preparing your fabric and pattern

    Once you’ve selected your sewing pattern and have cut it to size following our guidance in the ‘How to Achieve the Perfect Fit from your Sewing Pattern’ article it is time to choose, prepare and cut your fabric. Here is a step by step guide, perfect for beginners, on everything you need to know. It is worth considering (and accepting) for most sewing projects you will spend around 80% of your time preparing and 20% of your time sewing. Getting the preparation right is crucial to success - my Mom always said: ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail!’ and as always (annoyingly) she was right!

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  • How to Fix Sewing Machine Stitch Quality Problems

    How to Fix Stitch Quality Problems

    Having worked with sewing machines for over 10 years, I've helped many customers sort out their stitch quality problems. Problems include:-

    • thread looping either top or bottom side of the fabric
    • bobbin thread getting pulled to the top side of the fabric and vice versa
    • thread bunching up and 'nesting'
    • skipped stitches
    • uneven stitch quality
    • thread breakages
    • jamming and more

    Well, if you're having trouble with your stitch quality, 99% of the time these problems are really easy to solve by following a few simple steps.

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  • A Red Dress, Some Sequins and a Bruce Springsteen Moment!


    We’ve been writing the Sew Essential blog for a couple of months now and I hope you’ve enjoyed the mixture of ‘how to’ guides, interviews, reviews and general interest articles. As we’ve always said we want the blog to become a bank of sewing advice and tips that make it a go to resource for sewers everywhere. We also want to share my personal beginner’s sewing journey under the guidance of founder of Sew Essential and resident dressmaking guru Angela. She’s my Yoda I’m her Luke (you really can’t avoid Star Wars anywhere at the moment, even sewing blogs aren’t safe!) and I thought it was high time we shared a make on the blog so here it is!

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