Sew Essential Blog

  • Sewing A Stripy Jersey T-Shirt Following Angela's Top Tips

    Sewing a Top with Jersey

    Ok so this New Look 6735 top isn't anything particularly exciting, in fact most people probably have something similar hanging in their wardrobe or folded in a drawer somewhere. Having said that, it was my first attempt at sewing with jersey fabric so it was pretty exciting that I a) finished it and it is totally wearable and b) didn't find it difficult to make.

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  • The Top Five Easy Sewing Patterns

    Top 5 Easy Sewing Patterns

    If you're going to have a go at sewing your own clothes one of the most important things to get right is choosing an easy sewing pattern to get you started. This can make the difference between trying, struggling and giving up vs enjoying the new challenge and coming out with something you're really proud of at the end. Warning: if the latter happens you will more than likely become addicted to sewing and will never love another hobby the same way again. It may well take over your life. Seriously.

    As a relatively new sewer myself I know how it feels to take those first few tentative steps on the journey to a handmade wardrobe. I am lucky enough to have the guidance and support of my mother in law Angela (co founder of Sew Essential and sewing for over 60 years) but I know that in the beginning what you really need is a bit of quick gratification: to spend a few hours into making something and see the results almost instantly. This is what will give you the belief you can make your own clothes, it isn't as complicated as you think and you could, one day, go on to be a sewing demon producing uber complicated garments worthy of a Milan catwalk or a Hollywood red carpet...

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  • 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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