Sew Essential Blog

  • 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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  • Hem Finishes On An Overlocker

    Overlocker Hem Finishes

    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.

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  • Sewing The Moneta Dress By Colette Patterns

    Sewing the Moneta Dress

    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.

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  • How To Sew A Fly Front Zip

    How To Sew A Fly Front Zip

    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.

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  • Fashion And Textile Students In Sew Essential Pattern Hack Contest

    Sew Essential Pattern Hack Contest

    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.

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