If you’re anything like me, you’re a big fan of independent pattern makers, there’s nothing wrong at all with the ‘big four’ (McCalls, Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue) it’s just that the new raft of independents for me at least, provide much (much) better instructional information in the form of colour photos, well laid out instruction books and sewalongs WITH VIDEO! Coupled with the modern clean designs and I can’t remember the last time I used a ‘big four’ pattern.
I definitely have my favourites but I’m always worried that I’m missing someone. This is a list of the excellent indie pattern makers I’m aware of, all of them have PDF patterns that are available online.
I’d love to know if there’s anyone I’ve missed, drop me a line!
Who: Grainline Studio is run by Jen in Chicago, USA.
Who: Heather Lou is the face behind Closet Case Patterns, she’s based in Canada
Who: Started by Tilly Walnes in 2013, in London
Who: Papercut Patterns was founded by Katie Romagnoli in New Zealand, in 2010
Who: Kristiann started Victory Patterns in 2011, in Toronto, Canada
Who: Started by Sarai in Portland, Oregon in 2009
What: Womenswear and Menswear
Who: Ex-Physics teacher Rae Hoekstra based in Michigan, USA
What: Womenswear and childrenswear
Who: Launched by Morgan and Matt Meredith in 2010, in Canada
Who: Run by Lisa, who started Sew Over It in 2011, in London
Who: Named is a Finnish clothing pattern label founded by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta. … Read More...
I’ve been doing some research this week for some new products (secrets for the moment!) relating to sewing room organisation, I’ve found some fantastic solutions whilst in the depths of pinterest, I’ve rounded up the best and where possible have linked to the original source.
- I’ve actually done somethign very similar on my sewing table, the tape measure cost less than a pound and I use it all the time. (Pic: Melly Sews)
- Keep your rogue length of sewing elastic or bias binding in check with some bull dog clips. I’ve also found this a really useful trick for keeping USB cables under control! (Pic from Craftsy)
- This is what I aspire to! A pill box used as an organiser for different sewing machine needles (first I need to remember to actually change the needles..) (Pic from Hand sewn and home grown)
- Not strictly ‘organisation’, but something on my to do list is to get my scissors sharpened. Turns out it’s not so tricky, there are a variety of methods but it looks like cutting through six layers of foil might do the trick! (Pic from So Sew Easy)
- These homemade drawer dividers are an excellent solution for keeping things in order, who knew you could make them so simply?!
As well as buying online you can also find Creative Industry products in the following fabulous stockists;
Dot to Dot Studio – East Hoathly, East Sussex
Fabrics a go go – Sheerness, Kent
Fiona’s Fabrics – Woodbridge, Suffolk
Harvey Jacobs – Online
Minerva Crafts – Online/Darwen, Lancs
Ray Stitch – London
Sew Crafty – Online
SEWN – Bristol
Sewisfaction – Online
School of Sewing – Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire
The Crafty Mastermind – Online
Village Haberdashery – London
Meter Meter – Aarhus
Style Maker Fabrics – Online
For an up to date list please have a look at our stockists page
I’ll accept it finally now the clocks have changed, Autumn is here. This is the time for warm cosy layers and of course the opportunity to add a few more handmade items to your wardrobe!
I’m looking for an autumn skirt pattern, these are my finalists, what do you think?
Tilly and the Buttons: Arielle Skirt
You can’t beat a skirt with thick tights and boots! Arielle is a pattern for a confident beginner and comes in mini and below the knee lengths
Sew Over It: Tulip Skirt
In Tulip Lisa has designed a funky update on a simple pencil skirt, this skirt also comes in two different lengths and could easily make a versatile summer skirt with bare legs and Birkenstocks!
Friends it began with this,
Brilliant isn’t it?! 😉
A little while back I decided to get organised, after making my favourite garments several times over I wished I had a way to document my makes, note down the modifications and keep a record of the fabrics I’d used.
I decided to try writing down the crucial points as I went along, but the scrap of paper you see above was the result of me making a Socialite Skirt (seriously).
Five minutes after I’d finished I didn’t have a clue what my hieroglyphics meant.
Combining a love of sewing and of beautiful stationery, I wanted a workbook that would make me keep a note of all the information I would want to use in future versions of a garment, and something I could refer back to, because hey it’s nice to be able to sit down and peruse your achievements! and I wanted it to be easy, I don’t want to stop mid stitch and write an essay!
So after much prototyping and trialing. Please welcome on stage the Makers Workbook
It’s been a steep learning curve, there have been many paper choices (I’ve chosen a lovely thick paper that will stand up to being scribbled on).… Read More...
This week I’ve been chatting to Claire from Penguin and Pear
Can you tell us a little bit about your sewing journey? Have you always made things?
I always wanted to be creative but never felt I was when I was younger. In 2013 I was unable to work due to a chronic health condition and took on some volunteering. While volunteering the person who was supervising me offered to teach me how to make jewellery, something I’d wanted to do for a while. One half hour session and I was hooked. I began making and selling jewellery for a year or so and whilst doing this it released my inner creativity bug. I began trying other crafts, such as crochet and sewing. Truth be told, I bought a sewing machine from Ikea and it sat there gathering dust for six months or so, until I came across the book ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly and the Buttons and the rest, they say, is history!
Can you tell us a little bit about your sewing journey? Have you always made things?
I always wanted to be creative but never felt I was when I was younger. In 2013 I was unable to work due to a chronic health condition and took on some volunteering.… Read More...
Jackie is a Swedish Tracing Paper customer and enthusiastic amateur sewist from the North West.
Where did you learn the very basics of sewing? How long was it before you got your own sewing machine?
I can’t really remember a time before crafting and sewing. It seems like I’ve always needed something to keep my hands busy and a new challenge. I remember lots of hand embroidery at school and knitting and a little crochet at home with my Mother and Grandmothers. Mum had a lovely old sewing machine from Woolworths. It had a Janome motor on the back and was very noisy but boy could it sew! Mum sewed for all of us and special events were accompanied by a new garment or two from extended family as well. I thought as a teenager that this was ‘not my thing’ as I was interested in maths and science but as an adult I realised I could with a bit of effort get something better than shop bought and got going.
I’m most proud of a shirt I made despite the fact that I hardly ever wear it. What’s the thing you’ve made that you’re most proud of? did it become a wardrobe staple?!… Read More...
This week a collection of not too tricky projects for your home!
- A drawstring bag: the handiest of handy things. Make it big for a laundry bag, medium for a PE bag or small for a gift.
- Pillow cases: Great for jazzing up a bedroom cheaply and easily
- An apron: a kitchen win, or perhaps a a gift for someone?!
- Cushions: Fancy cushions for funky sofas
- Floor cushions: a quick and satisfying project to brighten up your room
- Ironing board cover: When you’re old one is wearing thin, or covered in burn marks (eek!)
- A faux taxidermy Rudolph: ok…….!
- Curtains: If you can find the working space, making your own curtains give you the chance to completely personalise any room!
- Fabric storage bins: a great way of using up your scrap stash
- A hamock chair: Ok, most of use don’t have room for this, but one day..!
We’re considering selling our Maker’s Workbook in bulk packs (10/15?) for use in sewing classes, schools, or to people who just really want lots of them! 😉
Is this something that you/your school/local sewing shop/online fabric shop might be interested in?
- Pre-wash the fabric, yes I know, you wish you’d done it yesterday I know, but it must be done.
- Trace your pattern pieces, mark the tracings up with the size and all the little notches you need. Your original pattern sheet can be folded and put back pristinely ready for you to trace another size at a later date.
- Cut out all of your fabric pieces, if you’ve got some sticky labels or masking tape make a little name label for each piece, that way you know what it is and there’s the added bonus of remembering which is the ‘right’ side with tricky fabrics.
- Make sure you’ve got enough space, take 2 minutes to clear up your work space. You’re probably going to be sat here a while.. Make sure you can spread yourself and your fabric out.
- Fill a bobbin, no, fill two bobbins, although playing chicken with a fast running out bobbin is quite exhilarating…
- Change the thread colour in your overlocker if you need to, I know it’s boring, and you’ve lost the instruction booklet, but youtube has millions of instructional videos, surely one must be your machine.
- Find all the zips, buttons etc you need and put them together, maybe in a nice little pot, like they do one cooking shows when they are super organised with their ingredients
- Unfurl the instruction sheet and read it through to the end (yes, the end..) Google the bits you don’t understand.
Today we’ve teamed up with Josie from Fabric Godmother to bring you a long overdue giveaway!
Together we’re offering a roll of our fabulous Swedish Tracing Paper,
..a Maker’s Workbook for you to start planning your next project and to keep a lasting record of all of your makes..
..and (as if that wasn’t enough..) a gorgeous 2m piece of this Peached Cotton Poplin.
The giveaway closes on 21st April 2016
Good Luck!… Read More...
Tell us a bit about what brought you to sewing in the first place, have you ever been formally taught?
I began sewing in 2009 after the birth of my son. It was the first time I had ever not been working and had the opportunity to pursue something recreational. I wanted something that was just for me and didn’t involve nappies and feeds too, lol. So I enrolled at a local adult community college where I spent the next year or so attending one day a week. I gained basic qualifications in garment construction and pattern cutting and learnt the ins and outs of using a machine, following a pattern and making adjustments as well as drafting from a block. We moved about 18 months after I started and the distance became to much to continue. But it gave me enough of a grounding to start working things out for myself and, more importantly, ignited a passion that just keeps growing!
We’re all looking with envy at your Shedquarters, but have you worked your way up from less salubrious sewing surroundings?!
Ah yes! Dining table. Tiny space behind the bedroom door. Floor. Been there! Having said that, this is not my first summerhouse.… Read More...
Jane White runs Jane White Couture in North Lincolnshire.
What brought you to sewing? and have you been formally taught yourself?
My Dad was a cabinet maker and I think I had a natural curiosity for making things because he did. I can remember having fabrics, needles, pins, scissors from a very young age, about 6 or 7 making clothes for dolls and other craft bits and pieces. Mum, long suffering with the mess, but was very encouraging. We also did a lot of sewing at primary and junior school. The lightbulb moment was when Great Auntie Margaret’s Singer hand sewing machine entered my life aged 9 enabling me to make my first garment. I was hooked!
My high school teacher, Mrs Tong, was a couture dressmaker and an inspiration. From 13 I was so lucky to learn fabulous, high level practical making skills from her. I gained an ‘O’ and ‘A’ level in dressmaking with her. I spent years making my own clothes at home, going on courses yearning to do something in the sewing world. In 2000 I graduated with a level 4 City & Guilds Fashion and Pattern Cutting qualification and a Certificate in Education and started my couture dressmaking and teaching career.… Read More...
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where did your passion for sewing come from?
I grew up in Slovakia, with mum, and I was always full of beans and quite a handful so mum decided to occupy my body and mind. She taught me lot of crafts since very young age. I had my first toy sewing machine at the age of 7 and was sewing clothes for dolls by hand and on this little machine (I didn’t really like dolls otherwise, preferred lego and puzzle). I made my first skirt when I was about 10 and I remember being told off for sewing white fabric with dark thread…but I wanted to surprise mum while she was out by quickly making it by myself and didn’t have a clue how to re-thread the machine. Well, she made me unpick it all and start again…I can tell you I hated sewing at that point.
When did you take the step to make your passion your business? What do you enjoy the most about running it?
I have set up ‘sewansome’ after I have lost a job when living in Cornwall. I decided to create my own work as I got fed up with looking for an employment and never find nothing challenging enough and stable.… Read More...
So you’ve got your pattern home from the shop, carefully unfurl the pattern sheet but then what?
You could chop into the sheet, cutting out the pieces in your size.. But, what happens if you fancy making it again in a bigger size? You’ll have discarded the rest of the paper.
So, instead of merrily cutting into the pattern sheet, bring in you roll of Swedish Tracing Paper, lay it over the sheet on the kitchen table or the floor and trace the pattern pieces in the size you need. Remember to make a note on the tracing of the size and all the little notches and markings you’ll need.
As a bonus you can easily adjust these newly traced pieces to suit your shape, a bit of masking tape and a good adjustment tutorial and away you go! Just remember to stow away your bespoke pattern pieces so you can easily make yourself a version in a different colour when it becomes your favourite!