Sew Essential Blog

  • The Great British Sewing Bee Contestants 2016

    Great British Sewing Bee 2016

    We've all been waiting for this moment since February last year - well we at Sew Essential have anyway! The Sewing Bee is back and the first of eight episodes starts on BBC 2 on Monday the 16th of May at 9 o'clock. There's simply nothing better than sipping a cuppa glass of wine, settling down and watching the drama unfold. It never ceases to amaze me how the contestants manage to cope and sew under all that pressure and it is a joy to see the amazing creative designs that pop up along the way.

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  • Make Your Own Prom Dress And Save A Small Fortune!

    Make Your Own Prom Dress

    As we head towards the summer prom season we have the dress patterns and fabrics to save you a fortune and make you the Belle of the ball...

    The soaring costs of high school proms in the UK has been well documented in recent years. Talking to some Mom's at a children's birthday party last week we laughed about our end of high school celebrations back in the 90s. It sounded like I was quite lucky - I had a leavers ball, which included a sit down meal and a disco. I borrowed a full length silky silver evening gown from my glamorous older cousin (thanks Nikki!) did my best with my hair and make up and took my then boyfriend who borrowed my Dad's tux! We got a lift there and back from our parents and had a ball (literally!) The whole night probably cost £30, if that. One of my Mommy peers laughed and told me she had a meal with her teachers in the school canteen - rock and roll!

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  • New Look 6106 Skirt In John Kaldor Ditsy Fabric

    New Look 6106 Skirt In John Kaldor Ditsy Fabric

    Angela suggested I try this New Look pattern following my first foray into sewing and dressmaking last year when I made another summer skirt using a Burda pattern and some pretty cotton fabric. I chose our very pretty John Kaldor ditsy cotton fabric in blue and yellow and was full of enthusiasm, but short on time with Alex still a babe in arms and Toby not having started school yet. As a result I cut the pattern out and pinned it to the fabric then it lived in the dining room side board (AKA my sewing store room) for about a year!

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  • The Sew Essential Bloggers Meet

    Sew Essential Blogger Meet

    A while ago we advertised the fact we would be hosting a sewing blogger meet up at Sew Essential HQ. It seemed like it was a nice idea off in the future somewhere and I didn't need to think too deeply about it. Before I knew it the weeks had rolled by, bloggers had reserved their places and it was time to get organising! I couldn't wait to meet everyone and sprung into action quick sharp!

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  • Rae Skirt Sewaholic Pattern Review

    Rae Skirt Sewaholic Sewing Pattern

    As always there has been a lot happening at Sew Essential the last few weeks and I now have a growing list of sewing patterns that have turned into garments waiting to be blogged about!

    First up is the Rae skirt by Sewaholic patterns, which I made in three and a half hours (not including cutting out). I must admit this wasn't one of the patterns that jumped out at me when we first starting stocking the range a few months ago, but when I saw it made up on the Sewaholic website I immediately wanted one! It looked super stylish with a vest top tucked in and a pretty pendant necklace and I could just imagine myself wearing it strolling down the road in a pair of summer sandals to pick Toby up from school. Just imagining the sunshine at the end of a bleak February was enough to get me motivated!

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  • How to Make Bias Binding the Easy Way

    How to Make Bias Binding

    Bias binding is an alternative way to give a hem, sleeves or neckline a lovely neat finish and also introduce a contrasting colour or design to your garment for that added wow factor. Here we'll tell you how to create your own enabling you to choose exactly the colour or design you would like if you are unable to find something suitable from the ready made bias binding options available. Here's how to do it in a few simple steps:

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  • How to Draft Patterns Using a Basic Block by Neela Mistry-Bradshaw

    How to Pattern Draft Using a Basic Block by Neela Mistry-Bradshaw

    We’ve got a juicy post for you this week on the Sew Essential blog – Neela Mistry-Bradshaw, a former contestant of the Great British Sewing Bee, has written our first guest blog post and it’s a corker! Neela used one of our basic block patterns to design and make herself a beautiful dress using fabric and haberdashery also from Sew Essential (full shopping list at the end of the article).

    So sit back, relax and let Neela take you step by step through her sewing adventure, then why not have a go yourself?! Over to Neela...

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  • The Big Vintage Sewalong at Sew Essential

    The Big Vintage Sewalong

    Here at Sew Essential we are proud to be supporting the McCalls Pattern Company Big Vintage Sewalong. We have put together this special blog post to help you find your vintage va va voom and join in the fun! Twenty vintage sewing patterns have been selected for the sewalong and a different sewing blogger will be making their favourite design each week so why not join them?

    You can share your creation with others taking part via social media using #bvsewalong. There will even be a vintage tea party taking place at the Knitting & Stitching Shows at the Alexandra Palace and Harrogate in the autumn for participants to attend wearing their very own vintage creation.

    Not only will it be a whole lot of fun taking part in the sewalong it is for a great cause too. Money from the sale of each of the featured 20 patterns listed below will be donated to the Eve Appeal - a charity working to achieve better prevention and detection of women's cancers.

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  • Top Sewing Trends for Spring / Summer 2016

    Top Sewing Trends for Spring / Summer

    Finally the sun is shining (albeit a bit nippy!) and we are getting more and more excited about the sewing patterns and dressmaking fabrics that will build our spring/summer handmade wardrobe.

    The Butterick half price pattern starts today and New Look and Kwik Sew half price sewing pattern sales end at midnight on Sunday making it the perfect time for some spring/summer sewing inspiration.

    We’ve selected some of the key trends for the new season and the patterns and fabrics you can use to get the look below, but remember this is just a sneaky peak of our full range so have a good rummage and see what other gems you can find!

    Not only do we have hundreds of sewing patterns on offer, with prices starting at just £2.95, we also have some gorgeous new and existing fabrics in stock, plus all the haberdashery and supplies you need to whip up a new wardrobe for the new season in no time!

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  • 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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