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Roses are Green, So Are Violets!

10 Feb

Recently Alex who is involved in the Scottish Governments Greener Together campaign asked if I could come up with some hints, tricks and tutorials for a greener Valentines Day.  Obviously I said absolutely and then made myself a cup of tea and set my brain to work(and my Facebook, nothing like crowdsourcing for ideas!).

So the whole premise of greener together is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to make Scotland a greener place to live and to reduce our impact on the environment further afield too. It makes sense really, and it’s just a change in attitude and seeing a use in some things that you wouldn’t normally. I have a cupboard full of glass jars I use as glasses and they actually look great and it means I don’t have to ever buy any!

The first thing I came up with and the best present anyone can ever give anyone else is a sewing class obviously. The gift that keeps on giving! A skill you can utilise to make the best of your home and wardrobe and become an excellent green upcycler! You can find classes for men and women on the website here and you can also buy gift vouchers too. Once you have learned the basics you can move onto my next super green Valentines Gift idea…


An Apron!

Inspired by my classes who in their final week have the option of their own project. So many of them choose an apron, either for themselves of for a gift. The great thing about this is it’s useful and perfect for ladies or men. It can also be as simple or as difficult as you like. You can add patch pockets and frills or keep it nice and simple. Here is a tutorial for a nice simple one. I suggest using an old curtain as the fabric. These are a great plentiful source of fabric and often when we take down our old curtains we don’t know what to do with them so just stick them in a cupboard! Time to get them out and put them to good use! It might even inspire your other half to cook you a beautiful meal!


You will need:

Some spare ribbon, from Christmas pressies perhaps!
Set square
Sewing machine
Measuring tape

There is no paper pattern for this. I encourage my students to get used to using a set square because it opens up a world of possibilities. You can thik of something you want to make in your head and then make it happen without having to search the internet for a pattern. The set square ensure you get your angles right. If you don’t have one I suggest getting yourself one they are incredibly useful and will last forever.

The first thing I did was take some measurements. If you are making this for someone else just use you own measurements and adjust them roughly to make the apron longer or shorter. Measure from where you want the apron to start (just below your collarbone) to where you want it to end. My measurement for this is 75cm + seam allowance(4cm). Fold your fabric in half right sides together (so we are chalking on our wrong side) and mark this measurement down the fold.

Now measure from just below your collarbone to your waist/bellybutton. Using your set square measure down and square across where the dotted line is below. Measure what you would want the total width of your apron to be at the bottom. I went for 45cm. Half this and add seam allowance(this time 2cm). For the top part do the same. Now you can chalk the shape below on your fabric.  The curved bit can be drawn freeland, or you can draw a straight line. Don’t make it too curved because it makes it difficult to hem later.

apron plan-01

2. Now cut out your apron shape.

Sewing Classes Scotland

3. Fold down your top edge by 1cm then fold down again by 1cm to enclose all raw edges. Pin in place.

Sew Confident Green Apron
4. Before you sew enclose your neck ribbon. Leave a space of 2cm from the side(I forgot to do this in the photos). This will allow you to turn in the side seams in a similar way you have turned down the top part. Pin and sew.

20150206_140848 20150206_140901 20150206_140923 Green Apron Sew Confident


5. Now turn in and stitch the curved side seam and the straight side seam. This time we are not enclosing any ribbon.

Green ApronGreen Apron Sew Confident

6. For my side ties I had enough ribbon to stitch one continuous piece across the front to create my ties. If you don’t have enough to can enclose them in the same way we enclosed the neck tie. Here I pinned my ribbon in place and stitched the top and bottom to secure it.

20150206_143252 Green Apron Sew Confident

Finally hem your bottom edge by turned it in by 1cm, twice and you have yourself a super green upcycled apron!




Elsa from Frozen Dress Tutorial [PART 1]

7 Oct

I must admit that I still haven’t seen Frozen. I don’t have many kids in the family, hardly any of my friends have kids so I’m very rarely subjected to kids movies (although I hear it is quite good even if you are an adult!). Anyway I love a princess dress so I couldn’t resist but make an Elsa from Frozen dress. It’s been so popular that there must be plenty of parents out there thinking of making a dress for Halloween so here is a step by step tutorial that should help you make your little princess the perfect Halloween costume.

The first part asks you yo reinforce the inner corner of the bodice front. A couple of wee stitches will do this. This is necessary as it’s a weak point in the dress and might pull and split with time.

Next it wants you to attach all the bodice pieces like so.

Elsa Dress Tutorial

Then reinforce the same point in the skirt with a few stitches for the same reason as above.


Stitch skirt back sections together, leaving open above large circles. I have been overlocking as I go because this fabric is fraying really badly. If yours is too you can use a zig zag stitch on the raw edge to stop it fraying.


Now attach skirt front to skirt back at side seams.


Now it asks you to ‘Ease Stitch’ upper edge of skirt. This is sometimes used in sleeves to gather them every so slightly to fir into arm holes. Its basically the same as gathering if you have ever done that. Two rows of parallel stitching, within the seam allowance. It must be a stitch length 4(or the longest your have) and you don’t do any back tacking at the start or at the end of the stitches. I atually didn’t need to ease this in, it fitted perfectly anyway!


Now attached bodice to skirt!


Now it’s time for the zip. They have a diagram showing you how to put in a zip in with stitching visible on the outside. That’s not really my thing and defeats the point of the invisible zip I’m putting in this dress. You can do it whatever way you like.


Stitch one side at a time with the zip open. Once you have sewn once side of the zip in pin the other side in and then close the zip to make sure everything is aligned with the zip shut. The seam where the bodice meets the skirt should be aligned and the top of the dress should be sligned with the zip shut. It is very easy to sew a zip in squinty so take some extra time at this part to get it right. You might have to pin it a few times before you get it right.


And the invisible zip is in, with everything lining up.


Now time to stitch your overlay together(this is the cape-y bit). Stitch the centre back together from the dot downwards and the side seams together. It also asks you to create a narrow hem in the centre back seam from the dot upwards. This part of the overlay will be sewn in next to the zip later. now pin the overlay to the dress with the right side of the bodice to the wrong side of the overlay. It asks you to baste in place. Basting is like a tacking stitch you do on a machine. Remember back to Home Economics when you spend half your like HAND TACKING things? My God, how dull. They didn’t want us to know you can do it on a machine. It’s just a long straight stitch(stitch length 4). It’s a temporary stitch so no back tacking either.



Video for help!

Now onto the yoke. stitch the yoke front and yoke back pieces together at the shoulder seams.


It starts to get a wee bit confusing now. It wants you to pin the yoke front to the bodice right sides together. You should have the bodice right sides up, with the overlay ontop right sides up and the the yoke right sides DOWN. Like a little overlay sandwich! Stitch that in place through all 3 layers.


It will look like this before you stitch it.

20140926_162007 20140926_162826

Now stitch the back of the yoke to the back of the bodice in the same way. Then make up the bodice lining in the same way you made up the outer bodice. The bodice lining is now stitched on in the same way that the yoke was stitched on. You can pretty much got through the same stitches again. To make this a bit clearer you will have the bodice right sides UP, the overlay right sides UP the yoke right sides DOWN and then the lining right sides DOWN. You are stitching along the front bodice and the back bodice where you stitched the yoke on. Don’t stitch in the wee arm holes yet.



Here is a wee video to help.

All that is left is the sleeves, hems and decoration. Part 2 is HERE

Any questions please ask away and I’ll help you out.

Magena Jumper and Sewing Snobbery

22 Sep

When I first started teaching I was quite young at 23. Fairly fresh out of University(about a year graduated) I was also a bit of a sewing snob. My first issue was I could not get on board with the word craft. Craft to me totally belittled the skill involved in sewing. For me it carried connotations of fiddling about with some glitter glue and not making anything productive when I know it to be an incredibly useful skill. I soon realised that it was definitely me getting the wrong end of the crafty stick and I chilled out about it. The second instance of sewing snobbery was about using patterns. For years I would only use patterns if I was against the clock and didn’t have time to make my own. Even then I would alter them, or buy two and amalgamate them. This was a definite case of sewing snobbery. Why draft your own when you can buy great patterns in every style ever(albeit requiring a bit of the imagination on the 80’s style photographs)? I don’t make clothes to sell, only really for myself now so it never made sense to draft absolutely everything from scratch, but I still did it!

This is quite a recent breakthrough for me. I suppose it is fueled by all the amazing funky pattern companies who are making really cool patterns, with nice photographs and in PDF format. I found myself on the Named Patterns website recently. I instantly fell in love with the Magenda jumper and next thing I know I had bought it in PDF format. Autumn is almost here so I thought it would be a cute jumper to wear to class. I had great fun picking the fabric and the bobbly bits. I’m loving working with jersey cotton just now. The overlocker makes jersey the easiest fabric to work with. Previously I have said to people, only buy an overlocker if you are thinking of going into business but now I would say if you like jersey cotton get an overlocker.

Named Clothing Magena Jumper

Named Clothing Magena Jumper

So here is the Jumper from the Named Clothing website. The grey and black doesn’t really do it for me but I could see the potential. I do however love the fringing. Need to get myself some of that!

First impressions, the instructions look pretty concise. I won’t lie I didn’t read the first few pages but it would be very useful for beginners because it tells you things like how to measure yourself, prewashing(sorry what?), how to print the pattern, pattern sheet assembly, tracing the pieces(ain’t nobody got time for that) and basic vocabulary. I printed all my pieces off ans stuck them all together. The first thing that annoyed me was there was a pattern piece printed across all the other pattern pieces so I WAS going to have to trace that piece right enough. It is a pretty big piece(the yoke) so I do understand why they have done it but it’s a bit annoying!

Before cutting it gives you a layplan and a list of what pieces should be cut from what fabric. I decided to use my yoke fabric for the cuffs and hemline panel so you can switch these about if you wish.

Sew Back sleeves to back piece. A super easy way of putting in sleeves. I used an overlocker for most of the sewing but you can use a straight stretch stitch on your normal sewing machine too.


You then do exactly the same with the front sleeves and the front piece. the front and back pieces look very very similar so I would make sure you don’t mix them up or it will make attaching the yoke difficult.

Now you need to sew the two yoke pieces together to form the neckline. It also tell you to see any fringing/bobbly bits onto the yoke at this point. I stitched mine to my front piece instead, because I’m contrary and a bit of a rebel really…

Magena Jumper 20140919_144831

Now it asks you to pin and sew the yoke to the front piece. Just be careful you don’t sew the back of the yoke to the front of the jumper. I had my pattern piece out just to make sure I had it the right way round.


Then repeat this step with the back pieces and the back of the yoke.


Now you are sticthing the sleeves and side seams together in one go. This truly is the easiest sleeve you will ever insert.


Cuffs now! With right sides together stitch your cuff pieces into a band.


Fold the band over until the raw edges match. You might want to stitch the cuff together at this point to keep it in place.


Now matching the raw edges of the cuff and the raw edge of the sleeve stretch the cuff and pin in place. The cuff is intentionally smaller than the end of the sleeve so you will have to stretch the cuff to pin and sew it. Wee bit tricky but just take your time.


Sorry about this blurry photo!


TA DAH! Now do exactly the same on the other cuff and on the hemline band and you are done!

20140919_153611 20140919_155746


I thought the instructions on this Named Pattern were very user friendly. I would definitely reccommend them for beginners.


Overlocker Adventures : Make yourself a skirt in an hour WITHOUT a pattern!

8 May

I’m a “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is” kinda girl but I assure you this is not one of those false claims. You can make a skirt using your overlocker in about an hour. Of course this depends how many tea breaks you have and whether or not you stopped halfway through to go an teach a dressmaking class for 3 hours. If you work flat out it’ll be done in an hour no bother!

Sew a Skirt in 1 hour! Tutorial.


I have recently been trying to work my way through my enormous stash of fabric and this wild print is a true archive bad boy. I made  one of my bessie mates a dress for her 21st out of this stuff. That was 5 whole years ago. My god, my old haggered knees are creaking at the thought of how time flies. Anyway this has been in the collection for a while, that is my point. I have a holiday coming up and I thought I could get away with this print there…who am I kidding I’ll be wearing this in Glasgow tomorrow. SO what do you need?

You will need a skirt to use as a pattern
Enough elastic to go round your waist, 2.5cm wide should do
About half a metre of fabric, but that depends on the size of your skirt really.
An overlocker

So as I mentioned before this skirt was made completely using an overlocker. The overlocker is different to a normal domestic sewing machine. They are not necessary for sewing, you could follow this tutorial using a stretch stitch on your sewing machine but the overlocker makes life incredibly easy. If you have one already, lucky you, if you want one you can get one here It looks like this:

Elna 664 DREAM MACHINE mate. Anyway fold your fabric in half, right sides together. Place your skirt on top like shown in the photo below. This piece of fabric has been used for other things so no longer has a selvedge, that is why it looks like I have placed it wonky, I haven’t! Overlocker 1 Hour Skirt Tutorial This skirt is the perfect pattern because I love it and it is also a stretchy pencil skirt which is exactly what I want to make. This one is from Zara. I do love a cat print! Chalk round the outside of your skirt adding a 1cm seam allowance all the way round. Leave a bigger seam allowance at the hem if you plan to hem it. Jersey cotton tends not to fray so I don’t need to WAHEY. DSCN0730

You also want to cut yourself a waistband pieced that is 2x width of your elastic +2cm seam allowance and long enough to go round your waist + seam allowance. All your bits will look like this now.


Here is the tiniest video of what goes on in my sewing room. Always music on full bung and in this case it was very fitting to be playing holiday music!

Pin your side seams. and overlock them together. Take your pins out as you go as you don’t want the overlocker blade getting near one – not unless you want to be changing that blade more often than necessary.


Now you will have a tube of fabric. Time to try it on inside out and pull it in to make it fit better(if necessary). I had to make a few adjustments at the waist. Remember whatever you do at one side do at the other!


Now you are happy with the fit time to overlock the side seams of your waistband to make it one continuous strip.

DSCN0748 DSCN0750

This bit is a little tricky. Place the waist band piece inside the skirt right sides together. Matching raw edges at the top of your skirt pin and overlock these together.

DSCN0751 DSCN0752 DSCN0754

Now you need to cut your elastic to size. I usually do this by wrapping a bit of elastic round my waist(or where ever the top of the skirt is going to sit) and pulling it until it is tight enough to keep the skirt up but not so tight that it feels(and looks) like an exterior gastric band. Looking like a pork sausage that has been tied in the middle with a piece of string is not a good look and even the skinniest of skinny minnies can look like this. You get the jist – not too tight! Cut the elestic to size and using a normal sewing machine zig zag it together flat. I went over this about 5 times.


Pop the elastic over the waistband like so. DSCN0759

Now fold the waistband piece over the elastic until the raw edge of the waistband matches up with the recently overlocked edge of the waistband(which isalso the top of the skirt)


Pin all the way around, completely encasing the elastic and overlock in place.

DSCN0760 DSCN0762

I don’t know at this point  why my photographs go all acidic on me. Get your sunglasses out! What can I say? I am not a photographer and my camera has a mind of its own.


If you have more of a seam allowance than me you can cut off the extra so the elastic is nice and snug in that waistband. Finally you can hem the, erm hem? I decided to make mine a little fringey by snipping in 4cm all the way around.

And that, my friends, is the simplest no pattern skirt you will ever make!

Sew a Skirt in 1 hour! Tutorial.

Send me photos of yours!

Two Tone Bag with Chain Strap Tutorial

25 Apr

Two Tone Suede Bag


This lovely bag can be made in any size and is really simple but looks great. So what do you need?

I made this one out of my enormous fabric stash. I had some suede lying around that I wanted to use and the stripey stuff was left over from some cushions I had made. I also got my hands on some amazing proper vintage blue print that was given to me by a friend of my Mums. Those who know me know I don’t band about that ‘vintage’ term lightly. Real deal here! I also had some bobbly trim in one of my baskets full of sewing bits n bobs. I did have to go and buy the chain but you can get it from any B&Q. Hombase type shop. You will also need a closed end zip(the kind that doesn’t come apart). The size of this will determine the maximum width of the bag so have a think before you buy one. I used a 25 cm zip.

things you need to make a bag

  • 2 Lining pieces 42cm x 27cm
  • 2 Outer pieces 32cm x 27cm
  • 2 Outer contrastin pieces 12cm x 27cm
  •  1 25cm closed end zip
  • 1m chain(cut to size in shop!)
  • 27cm trim(optional)
  • extra little bit of fabric to attach handles

Chain and clippers


So I went to my local Homebase and found this nice black chain. It is pre cut in 2m length so I also got some wire cutters after a member of staff pointed me in the right direction. I thought I would probably use 1 m for this bag and the rest for another. I got home and tried to cut the chain. Turns out you could anchor a cruise ship with this stuff and my cutters won’t even cut a flaming marshmallow in half so I had to just use it all. Lesson learned! Get them to cut it for you in the shop. They have industrial looking cutting machines.

First thing we need to do is cut out all our pieces. Although I used suede in mine you don’t have to. I would actually say if you are not a confident sewer don’t use it at all. It’s not easy stuff to work with. You don’t have to use a contrast at all. You can cut another 2 pieces the same size as the lining. This works fine! Use a set square to cut your rectangles, otherwise they will be weird 4 sided shapes that won’t fit together. If you don’t have on you can get one here!

Use a setsquare


Firstly you want to sew your contrasting front pieces together so that your front pieces are the same size as your lining. your seams allowance is 1cm. places pieces right sides together and attach.
Sew front pieces together

Then they should all look like this:


Now we want to insert the zip. Place a lining piece in front of you right side facing up then place the zip right side up on top matching the raw edges.

inserting zip

Then place your outer piece right side down on top. I like to refer to this as a ‘zip sandwich’ because, well it IS a zip sandwich and I’m always thinking about food.

inserting the zip

Now you want to pin and sew between the top raw edges and the teeth. You will want to use a zip foot on your machine as a normal foot will not let you anywhere near those teeth. If you sew on the wrong side of the teeth you’ll soon know about it because the next step won’t make any sense. If in doubt, pin it turn it out and see if the next part makes sense before you sew it. Or just unpick it, it’s good practise!

Next step, turn your pieces out so your zip is exposed. Your lining and outer pieces should now be attached to the zip like so.

Inserting a zip

Now we are going to do EXACTLY the same step again so lay your lining right sides up in front of you. Now take the zip(that is now attached at one side to the other pieces of fabric) and place the raw edge of the zip against the top raw edge of the lining piece. Then take your outer piece and lay it over the top, right sides together/down and make that zip sandwich! Sew across the top in the same way as before.

Inserting a zip

inserting a zip

Now you have inserted your zip wahey! It really wasn’t that difficult was it? Now you want to take the two lining pieces and put them right sides together and take the two outer pieces and place them right sides together. Take your chain and thread a little bit of fabric or sewn bias binding through a ring at either side. This is how we are going to attach the handle as obviously we can’t sew through the chain. I used a little bit of scrap fabric, folded all my raw edges in and stitched it to make almost a little tiny tote bag handle. It is about 6cm long.

DSCN0715 DSCN0716

Now here is where a lot of people make mistakes. It is really easy to sew these handles in the wrong way so that they are actually on the inside of the lining instead of the outside of the whole bag. So flip back one of the outer pieces and position your handles as show below. I measures down 10cm from the zip.


Now flip that outer piece back and find the handles in place. Pin all the way round the outside, so all the raw edges together. Make sure the zip is nice and flat as we’ll be sewing over those ends. Sew all the way around the outside in one continuous row of stitching leaving a gap of about 10 in the lining. usually



Now I know what you are thinking, WOW LOOK AT THAT ILLUSTRATION! This girl is a graphic design genius! Yes this is a photo of a pencil drawing. Life is too short to relearn Illustrator every 6 months. ANYWAY, start sewing the middle of the lining and sew right around the outside. then you can turn it out through the wee hole you have left in the lining.

Inserting a zip


And you are done!

zipped bag

Sew Along #8 – Finishing up

16 Apr

So how did everyone get on making the real deal? Any problems with fit?



I made a few changes to mine, adding in some pink to break up the mad pattern. I also finished some of the inside edges with bias binding and inserted a little hint of pink underneath the arm too. All totally unnecessary right enough! I also put some shoulder pads in there too which I think probably is necessary. I just hand stitched them in place.



























Next time I do a sew along I will get it all done in one go before I post the first post.So you won’t have to wait 3 years for the finished product next time haha!

Let me know how you got on!


Sew Along #7 – Fitting your Toile

6 Jan

So we are now at a point where our toile actually looks like a jacket and you will have tried it on already. As soon as anything starts to become remotely wearable I will be trying it on. So that is pretty much after the shoulder seams have been sewn together! At that point it looked like an old Rainbows tabard that I hated with a passion. I hated Rainbows, I cried every time I went(all of twice). I wasn’t a brat I just knew what a liked and even then I knew that lemon yellow tabard was a huge no no.

Anyway you have tried it on what do you think? Does it need taken in at the sides? Maybe a little adjustment to the darts? It’s not very easy to put this in words and pictures but here goes nothing.

Lets say you need to nip in the waist slightly. This is an adjustment I make quite often. Turn the jacket inside out so you have access to the seam allowances inside. Put the jacket on in front of the mirror. Remember this will be going over a tee shirt or a jumper so wear what you might be likely to wear this with. Pull it in at the side until it fits better and pin in place.


No we have to transfer this exact adjustment over to the other side seam. Easiest way to do this is to line the side seams up and put some pins in the other side seam. Try to make them as equal as possible.


the rule is whatever you do to one side you do to the other. Now that the pins are in place on both side seams try it on again. Is it looking better? If so you have to sew up one of the seams and trim the side seam so that the seam allowance is 1.5 away from the new line of stitching. Now you need to change your paper pattern accordingly. The two pieces that will have to be changed here are the side front and  the side back. You may have to unpick these pieces in order to lay them on top of the paper pattern. Now cut the paper pattern until it is the same shape as the side back and side front that you have just altered. The piece of fabric that you cut off the toile should be the same shape as the piece of paper you cut off the pattern. Consider your pattern ready to go.

So that’s that!  Now that you pattern has been adjusted and you are happy with the fit we are ready to start this all over again with the real fabric!


Sew Along #6 Inserting the Sleeves

27 Dec

Has the suspense killed you yet? Sorry for leaving you all hanging for so long but Christmas is a mental time of year for me! I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and ate your weight in festive treats? Thankfully we have not got round to doing any fittings otherwise I fear I would be taking some seams out rather than in! So where are we – sleeves! Sleeves can be a bit tricky. You almost always need to ease them in which basically means stretch the fabric to fit however the Great British Sewing Bee have decided to gather their sleeves slightly which will make life a little bit easier anyway.

So instructions say “Gather between the notches” but you might notice that there is only 1 double notch(triangle things) how helpful! Instead I am going to gather between the circles. There is 3 sets of circles one I think it to tell you where the top of the sleeve is, I’m gathering between the two outermost sets of circles. Please excuse my terrible chipped nail varnish. I won’t let it happen again!

Unintentional rock and roll sign here

The book tell you how to gather by hand but life is too short for that so I will be doing it on the machine. Set your machine to a straight stitch length 4. This is a very long stitch. Small stitches will not work they need to be free to move like a drawstring. Stitch 2 stitches parallel to each other between the circles. It is really important to leave a nice long tail of thread at either side with absolutely no backtacking/backstitching.

Now separate the top threads from the bottle threads as shown below.

Pull one set of threads(top or bottom) to gather your fabric. Imagine it is a little drawstring if you are struggling. Gather this as much as you like as you will have to pull it out a bit when fitting it into the arm hole anyway.

With right sides together match up the double notches and start to pin in the sleeve from the underarm upwards. It is important to match the notches here in case you put the left sleeve in the right armhole!

Now start to pull the gathers out until the sleeve fits in the armhole. Put your machine back to a stitch length 2 and get stitching. You may have a removable arm on your machine which will make life a lot easier.

Once your sleeve is sewn in you might want to do the other one for practise but you don’t have to. I think my blazer looks like it would benefit from a wee shoulder pad so i’ll bear that in mind when making the real deal.

Try it on, how is it looking?

Sew Along #5 Inserting the Facing

2 Dec

So I have started taking baby steps with this sew along. Partly to let you guys catch up and partly I have 100 jobs and things to do at the moment!

Lets attach out facing to our main jacket. You will be sewing from one side seam to the other with this one. I suggest you lay you main jacket part down on the table/floor right side up and then lay the facing on top right side down. You will be able to see where the pieces match up in this photo.

Insert the facing

You can see where my pins are – this is where we are sewing.

When you are pinning it together you might also notice that the collar pieces don’t seem to fit. This is where some careful stretching of fabric called easing comes in. You often have to stretch things slightly before they will fit. Pin them in place and prepare to stretch them to fit as you sew. You can do this by having one hand at the back of the machine pulling the fabric away from you and one hand in front pulling it towards you. Keep the fabric taught but still let the machine pull it through at its own pace. If you pull the fabric through the machine you will end up with big stitches and bent needles so don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Once this is sewn in trim you seam allowance to about 5mm. You will also need to snip into the seam allowance at some parts to make it sit right. Any curved edges always need snipped so start with them. I snip a few times then turn it out to see what ti looks like and whether it need another snip. Then press the collar and give yourself a pat on the back as the hardest bit is over!

Snipty snip!

Now sew your side seams together and we almost have a jacket!!

How are you doing? Stuck at anything? Let me know!

Sew Along #4 – Toile Continued

24 Nov

Your toile will start to resemble the real deal now so it only gets better from here on in!

If you are following the book instructions too then we are on number 6. The next step is to construct the facing. Take the back facing and the two front facings and sew together at shoulder seams as shown below.

The book talks about stay stitching. This is a technique used to prevent pattern pieces skewing out of shape. Any curved edge or edges cut on the bias can stretch right out of shape really easily so putting a nice line of stitching within the seam allowance will help the pieces stay in shape and be easier to work with. You don’t have to stay stitch though – I only ever do it if I am working with a difficult fabric.

Press shoulder seams open. You can also press the bottom edge of the back facing under to the wrong side by 1cm and the non lapel side of the front facing inder by 1cm also. See photo below if you have no idea what I mean! You can stitch this in place if you like but it is probably not necessary at the toile stage.

Find your upper collar piece. With right sides together pin this to the neck edge of the facing. Now here is where it gets complicated because it starts talking about big dots and wee dots and surprise surprise all the dots are the same size! Thankfully I have sat for 10 minutes working out what way the collar goes on so listen up. Your upper collar has a long edge with two double notches. This is not the edge you are sewing to the neck of the facing. You will also see that this upper collar is going to have to be stitched round a corner. If you snip the facing at the corner it will make life a lot easier. You should also have about 5cm of the lapel facing that has nothing sewn to it at all. This is correct!


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