Sew Essential Blog

  • Sewing a 60s Tartan Pinafore Dress & How to Pattern Match Fabric

    Sewing a 60s Tartan Pinafore Dress

    As those of you who follow us on Instagram will know I'm currently loving retro and vintage fashion reflected in my most recent sewing project - a 60s pinafore dress pattern in our lovely tartan fabric, which was also the perfect opportunity for me to practice pattern matching fabric. I've always loved this Simplicity pattern having spotted it many times making it's way to one of our lovely customers and thought it would be perfect for one of the biggest trends this season - tartan.

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  • Starting Sewing - My First Year In Dressmaking

    Starting Sewing - My First Year In Dressmaking

    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.

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  • Sewing A Turtleneck Kwik Sew 4069

    Kwik Sew 4069 Make

    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.

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  • Welcome to the All New Sew Essential Vlog

    Sew Essential Vlog

    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.

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  • An Introduction to Machine Embroidery

    Guide to Machine Embroidery

    If you're into sewing, whether it be dressmaking, patchwork and quilting or home dec, embroidery machines can open up a whole new world of possibilities for you. Always at the forefront of new sewing technology and machines our very own Angela discovered machine embroidery way back when the first machines were introduced roughly 20 years ago and the incredible advances in technology and resulting capabilities of the machines have kept her captivated ever since. Her passion, enthusiasm and embroidery projects gave Joan and Sylvia, two of our other staff members, the bug and even I, the novice of the team, have had a little go. In this article we'll start by showing you some of our makes and ideas of what you can create on these machines then we'll take you through the key features of the machines, how they differ in price and functionality and the kit you need to get started.

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  • Tissue Fitting & Sewing The Tilly & The Buttons Agnes Top

    Tissue Fitting Pattern

    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...

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  • Sewing A Denim Moss Skirt & Bouncing Back From A Difficult Project

    Sewing the Denim Moss Skirt

     

    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...

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  • Handmade Christmas Decorations Ideas

    Handmade Christmas Decorations Ideas

    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...

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  • Five Ways To Machine Stitch Hems

    Five Ways to Machine Stitch Hems

    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.

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  • Sewing With Velvet - This Winter's Must Have Fabric

    Sewing with Velvet

    The new season is in full swing and the key trend I would really love to try is velvet, I mean is there a more luxurious, sumptuous fabric out there? Plus we have the most beautiful quality John Kaldor stretch velvet in black, purple, wine and teal that keeps calling out for me to take it home. Another benefit of this gorgeous fabric is that you can wear it whatever your age - it is beautiful on children and every generation of women and men. Of course Angela, co founder of Sew Essential, has worked with velvet on many occasions so let's have a look at some inspiration for starters then I'll share Angela's top tips for sewing with velvet.

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