Crafty sew and sew in Dorset

Welcome to my world of craft!

Make Nine Update

I have already made a change to my make mine list one month in!! I read up on some reviews for the GBSB 3 hour slouch cardigan and they weren’t great.

I understand there are errors on the pattern and instructions which I could probably work around but I bought some beautiful cashmere wool mix at the Dorset meet up and don’t want to risk it.

Blue wool fabric at the bottom of this photo

I had a search on the foldline website and came across a free pattern from Peppermint magazine in the folds slouchy cardigan with great reviews.

This magazine has a few free patterns that look lovely especially the jumpsuit.

I have already made 3 of my nine patterns; Carolyn pyjamas, Jenna cardigan and Nettie bodysuit.

I need to blog about all of these but I’m aiming to make a second pair of pyjamas so will probably wait to see these before blogging.

I’m trying to pace my sewing this year (not very well looking back over January 🤦🏼‍♀️) so planned to make the Ogden Cami and Copen dress this month; along with a bigger project to make a Sew over it Lola coat.

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Dorset Meet Up Second Meeting

On Saturday 20th January we had our second #dorsetmeetup starting at the Sweet Pea Cafe in Sturminster Newton for breakfast!

We had a better turn out this time with 10 of us coming along; Lynsey, Nicky, Sue and me from last time (Charlotte was unable to join us this time) and six new people; Rachel, Stacey, Sasha, Karen, Helen and Joanne.

We had a fabric swap this time on top of another pattern swap.

We all went home with some beautiful fabric and patterns for free and after a delicious breakfast headed to Hanson’s fabric and craft shop.

This is my stash from the swaps; organic pink striped jersey (probably a coco dress), multicoloured knit fabric (for a Jenna cardigan) and some black and white woven fabric for a pencil skirt (pattern to be decided).

I was pretty reserved in Hanson’s knowing I already had some fabric in my car! I bought this beautiful mohair, wool and polyester fabric for a slouch cardigan and some crepe for another Ogden Cami.

I also bought some jean buttons for my Morgan jeans later this year and new dungaree buckles for a second Cleo dungaree dress. Plus some glass headed pins.

Follow us on Instagram either by hashtag #dorsetmeetup or the group itself to be informed when the next meet will be. There were discussions about hiring a mini bus to go to one of the sewing shows later this year!!

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2018 Sewing plans

A year ago I set myself some sewing challenges and looking back I found them really helpful to direct my sewing plans and encourage me to try new Patterns.

I made a lot of clothes last year (32 items that I have photos of, plus a quilt, toys and dog coats!!) but I still don’t feel I have a complete wardrobe 🤦🏼‍♀️

This was my #makenine line up last year; a lovely collection of clothes but not coordinated or thought through. I failed on clothes for my husband….I now have two Patterns ready to make for him that I am confident the cut will work.

I made a swimsuit but not this one ☝️ and I didn’t make the coat or dress but lots if other dresses.

I did complete the sweatshirt as that was part of #sewmystyle of which I made most of the patterns.

I signed up to the Sew over it pdf club and bought some Patterns through that when in reality I didn’t have time to make them.

This year I have joined up to #sewmystyle and #2018rtwfast. I tried to give up shop bought clothes last year and did pretty well but failed at jeans, trousers and underwear so determined to master those this year.

My #makenine looks like this;

I just finished the Carolyn pyjamas today and the Nettie bodysuit last week so going well so far! I have a couple of these patterns already made so should be quick practical TNT makes plus a couple of new ones but crucially I own all the patterns already.

I also bought some folders to control how much I sew each month and plan out what supplies I need to get everything to coordinate and not just impulse Sew!!

I go back to university next month to start working towards my Masters so not sure how my sewing will fare against working full time, studying and family life….. then again I might need that time to keep sane!!

What are your plans for 2018?

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Happy New Year

Happy new year to all my readers sorry for the radio silence! I have really neglected my blog since I signed up to Instagram ( @craftysewandsewindorset ) as I’ve been able to share and enjoy others makes on there.

I have so many makes I have not blogged about I am not sure if I can catch up without boring you all! Therefore I have decided to write them up as pattern reviews to cover off a couple at once and hopefully be more useful to those reading.

These are just some of my sewing makes from 2017.

I’m a bit too late to the party to complete my top 5 highs, lows and reflections but I will let you know what my favourite makes were and some sewing highlights.

1. Having my colours assessed.

I arranged an evening at my church with my friends to have our colour tone assessed which was great fun. I was then offered a full consultation for arranging the evening and spent a morning with Colleen at her home. I have been assessed as a cool summer and now have a wallet of my colours…..it had transformed my wardrobe and sewing as I now match all fabric choices to my set of colours and know it will suit me and coordinate with everything else!

2. Megan Nielsen Flint trousers

These were great in the summer for work and home. Cool in hot weather and comfortable all day. I planned on making a full length pair on black crepe but now I’ve been advised to avoid Black I need to find another fabric to use 🤦🏼‍♀️.

3. Sew over it Florence dress from Love Sewing magazine.

This dress not only looks great and was another staple in my wardrobe over the summer; it also won me two prizes via Instagram!

I won the Love Sewing magazine competition and was given £50 to spend in Sew over it. I bought a few metres of orangey boucle wool to make a Lola coat. I’m planning on making this in February instead of the Rumana coat in the #sewmystyle line up.

My second prize was from the Instagram competition to Sew a shirt dress in the summer. I won a Sew Hayley Jane box of goodies and aiming to make a dress with the fabric when the sun resurfaces!

4. My kids sewing

My daughter has always shown an interest in sewing but this year she has been far more independent with her hobby and is showing real talent. She made this doll for her friend with minimal help from me, all I did was sew the body together on the fiddly hands. My daughter did all the designing, cutting out and hand sewing.

They two sided cloud toy is my son’s work of art. He has been learning sewing at school and wanted to make a bonus item to show his teacher. He designed the toy and helped to sew it together on my machine. It has been lovely to share my hobby with them both as they are getting older.

5. Meeting instagram Sewing friends in real life.

This year I created the hashtag #dorsetmeetup and with the help of local sewing shop Hanson’s in Sturminster Newton we now have a logo.

5 of us met up to go fabric shopping and then talking about our sewing journey over lunch. It was such good fun and amazing how 5 strangers can get on so well based on a shared interest.

We have our second meet up next Saturday 20th January during Hanson’s sale with breakfast first at Sweet pea cafe in town to swap fabric and patterns. I am hoping there will be 12 of us there this time!

6. Going to the Sewing Bee Live

This day was amazing!! I went with a friend after winning free tickets from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics in Ferndown.

There were so many beautiful fabric stalls and shows going on plus it was great to meet lots of online sewing community in real life. I really want to go again in June at the second show.

7. Making Cleo

I finally submitted and made myself a Tilly and the buttons Cleo dungaree dress in pale blue cord purchased during the Dorset meet up in the summer.

I altered the pattern slightly to make it more fitted on the waist and I really love it. I wore this to the sewing bee live (with 100 other people!!) and was really comfortable all day.

8. I made swimwear

I actually made two swimming costumes last year and realised how easy it is.

This was one of the things I never thought I could do and now feel more confident to tackle underwear and jeans in 2018.

I have a few plans for 2018 but will write another post for those!!

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My Top 10 Sewing Tools

I had a bit of a tidy up in my sewing corner today and started to think about the amount of sewing paraphernalia I own and what items I use almost every time I sew something.

I have shown my sewing space before here, it’s not huge but I’ve packed it with all the necessary sewing gadgets and some other bits that are just helpful occasionally.

I use a plastic tool box for my daily tools, mainly because I needed to be able to take them with me when I attended sewing lessons with Sarah and just kept it.

I have an Ikea desk with two drawers. The large drawer holds craft kits, sewing threads that don’t fit on the wall and haberdashery such as elastic and my bias binding makers.

Clearly my two machines are my best sewing tools but I thought I would run through my top 10 used items.

1.

My walking foot

I was fortunate enough to be given a walking foot with both of my machines. I ignored it for years on my husqvarna Viking machine until I made my Grainline studio Cascade duffle coat at my sewing lessons. Sarah showed me how to fit this scary looking machine foot and it transformed my ability to pattern match all those plaids!!

Now it almost lives on my machine as it makes all pattern matching so easy. I only switch foot if I need to add a zip etc.

2.

Long tweezers and washi tape

These tweezers came from my dad’s engineering workshop!! I was pulling my hair out trying to thread my old overlocker as he offered them to see if it would help. My new janome overlocker actually came with a pair of tweezers and it makes such a difference if you need to rethread (ie when you try to knot the new thread to the old but it gets jammed somewhere!).

The washi tape is really helpful to mark seam allowance on the machine or to tape slippery fabric to pattern pieces when cutting out.

3.

Seam ripper

Need I say more!! I have several cheap and cheerful ones so I have one close by at all times!!

I have seen a few people with larger clover ones and tempted to upgrade but unclear how they keep them sharp. I find these ones are great for a few months then get blunt but at £1 each I just replace them.

4. -7.

Magnetic pin holder

I tried so many different pin cushions over the years and this is definitely the best design.

The ones on my wrist irritate me and i always leave pin cushions in the wrong place (my sewing desk and cutting table are in different rooms). I also like the fact that i can throw pins at this one while sewing and it sort of catches them.

Tape measure

My aunt bought me this sheep tapemeasurebut have another Cath Kidston one and several basic tape ones.

Seam allowance gauge

I can’t remember where I bought this but I use it all the time. I’m pretty good at estimating 1.5cm seam allowance but always good to do a quick check. I also use this when extending pattern length to do a quick check or spacing buttonholes.

Point turner

This has made life so much easier where I need to turn a corner out either on a collar or mitred sweater corner. I tend to use a pin to get a sharp finish but this helps on the way.

8.

Tailors Ham and sleeve press

One of the basics of sewing is pressing seams and is something I always make time to do. I keep meaning to get a sleeve press like my fabric tailors ham but my mini ironing board does the job most times.

The tailors ham is great for armhole seams and darts etc.

9.

Rotary cutters and pattern weights

I always use my rotary cutters to cut out patterns. I find with scissors the pattern pieces move so I have to pin it down (or tape it- see washi tape above!).

I have two sizes inmy drawer, mainly due to availability of blades, this way I can buy whatever is in the sale. It’s worth changing the blade fairly regularly to avoid little inconsistencies when cutting and having odd sections that didn’t actually cut.

I made my pattern weightswith air dry clay and some acrylic paints. I need to varnish them really but think I’m lusting after the macaroon ones I’ve seen online and therefore procrastinating about it!

10.

Fiskars scissors

Invest in your scissors and then guard them with your life!! Mine live in my desk drawers and even my kids know they are only allowed to use the paper ones (with permission!!).

I was given my large pair with my first ever sewing machine 10 years ago ( a second hand singer bought to make curtains for our camper van).

I use the paper ones all the time to cut out my pdf patterns and the sharp ones to transfer pattern marking (I tend to cut little nicks in the seam allowance).

I bought the snips recently and I am a little disappointed for fiskars. They only work if at a certain angle or else nothing happens!

The little sharpening device is really effective and has kept these scissors like new.

What are your top sewing gadgets?

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The Great British Sewing Bee Live 2017

I was lucky enough to win tickets for me and a friend to go to the sewing bee live from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics last week.

This is the first sewing show I have been to so difficult to make any comparison but I absolutely loved it.

This is the first version of this show and was held in one of the units at Excel London. We had a very long day leaving Bournemouth at 6.30am and then risking an Uber taxi across London (which took an hour to go 8 miles at 9.30 in the morning).

We grabbed a coffee as soon as we arrived and sat down to watch one of the catwalk shows.

It was great to see lots of other bloggers and Instagram people walking around. It was a little surreal waving at people like we knew each other although we had never met in real life!!

I was rubbish at taking photos and only have a few to share I’m afraid! There were loads of fabric shop stalls all aimed at dressmaking or quilting with so many beautiful fabrics.

We were very reserved and I only bought a couple of fabrics and patterns.

I bought some French terry jersey from girl charlee uk and have already made a Papercut bowline sweatshirt with it.

I bought a Rosa shirt dress pattern from Tilly and the Buttons and some cotton fabric from Fabrics Galore.

It was so great to be able to sample the quality of the fabric from stores I can normally only access online such as Higgs and Higgs and Guthrie and Ghani. Lauren had some beautiful kits put together for linden sweaters and ginger jeans.

Apart from the fabric stores there were displays of clothing from Liberty and also from the contestants on the tv show. It was amazing to see the quality of the finish garments the contestants had made under such pressure. I have to admit I had assumed that they probably weren’t finished well but the ones on display certainly were. Especially Jade’s beaded finale dress.

We also watched a few of the contestants at the mini theatre demonstrating how to insert zips or Sew with jersey.

We sadly didn’t get tickets for the super theatre so didn’t get chance to see Esme and Patrick.

So who’s up for going next year??! Anyone interested in Dorset look up @dorset_meet_up on instagram as it looks like there might be a few of us!!

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A Frilling Top


Back in June I braved the shops to find a smart top to wear to an interview. It was a painful experience even with the decent selection of shops available in Bournemouth for a couple of reasons; I had to find something plain and smart (no prints 😫); and I object to the cost when I know I can make it for less (even if I don't have the time!). I only went shopping this time to reduce pressure on myself before an interview.

So this is the top I settled on from Dorothy Perkins…. it cost £25!! For a polyester crepe top with a necklace. I got it home and looked at it and looked at it…the quality just wasn't there. The threads from the seam allowance were caught in the seam and the edge stitching wasn't very neat!
I decided I couldn't do it and it would need to go back to the shop….so the day before my interview I turned to my sewing machine and made a simple sew pussybow blouse.

The fabric was from fabricland (bought on the way home from the shop!) and the pattern was sent to me from Naomi after my last pussybow blouse was a disaster.

I still loved the design of the yellow top so I posted on instagram and Lynsey came to my rescue with a replica pattern.

https://instagram.com/p/BV1SuDmhvhx/


Lynsey recommended the Farah top from chalk and notch, which was a perfect match.
I picked up some mustard yellow fabric during the Dorset meet up with lovely drape that I thought would work well.

The fabric was lovely to work with, almost like a jersey.

The pattern is well drafted and ensures all edges are finished well with a mitred hem and French seams etc. It has a section to insert under the arm between the frills.

I am really pleased with the finished item and prefer it to the RTW version and only cost £8!!

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Dorset Meet Up 2017

We did it…..a group of us from instagram met up in real life to go fabric shopping together and talk sewing over lunch! It was an amazing day!

Left to right:
@patternographer (Nicky) @dogsinstitches_and_me (Sue)
@craftysewandsewindorset (Jenny/me)
@lynsey_makes (Lynsey)
@charlotterunswithscissors (charlotte)

We were a small but friendly group and had such a lovely time chatting away like we have known each other for ages. The online world is so strange like that and something I am still adjusting to having not grown up with it. It offers so many opportunities.

We met up at Hansons in Sturminster Newton as a central location for most of Dorset. They helped us with designing the logo and advertising.

It really is an awe inspiring place to go shopping for fabric. They stock tonnes of beautiful quilting fabric plus so much dressmaking fabric it's hard to know where to start. Plus they had 20% off everything and a stash of fabrics at 50% off!!

I bought 6 different fabrics plus a small sample of ripstop for my daughter to make her barbie a raincoat:

The yellow fabric is to make a farah top to replicate one I took back to the shops as I couldn't deal with the extortionate price tag.
The light denim was originally bought with a pair of Morgan jeans in mind but have decided to make another Sew over it Erin skirt (following an instagram vote):

I need some decent pjs in my life so the plaid cotton is destined to be a pair of Carolyn pyjamas.

I relented and bought the Cleo pattern from Tilly and the buttons last week in the summer sale, so I will use the pale blue cord for that.

The whale fabric and seaside border fabric are for my daughter. She wants shorts from the whales and another Flo dress in the border fabric. The pattern only goes to age 6 so I have had to scale it up and squeeze it on to the fabric.

After exhausting the shop we walked up to Stur of the moment for a delicious lunch.

After we had eaten and taught Sue how to use instagram we swapped some patterns.
I walked away with three new patterns including a sewaholics Minoru jacket pattern:

Lynsey left with a bag of leftover patterns ready for another meet up.
We have set up an instagram group for @Dorset_meet_up or look up #dorsetmeetup
We have over 40 followers already so hoping the next meet up will be bigger and better each time!

Hansons have another sale in January so we are thinking about another meet in the new year…..maybe with a themed sew along or theme to our outfits??!

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My sewing space 

I have been meaning to post about my little sewing space for a while now but getting my new machine has inspired me to tidy up.

I basically have an alcove space in our lounge with an orange Ikea desk and some shelving above for my paper patterns.


The cd boxes on the shelves are labelled by pattern type such as dresses or tops with envelopes in. All my cotton is on a reel holder from hobby craft with a matching bobbin underneath.

I have a radiator behind my desk so limited to wall space (no peg board for me sadly☹️).


I have a pin board full of my kids drawings and cute sewing related cards and photos above.

All my PDF patterns are printed and stored in a4 wallets in the wicker magazine basket by my feet. My husband bought me the cute pink metal bin for all my threads and overlocker offcuts.


My cupboard has a large bag of overlocker threads in various colours, my sleeve press and tailors ham plus homemade cutting weights.


The small drawer has all my scissors, rotary cutters, rulers and reinforcing elastic etc. The larger drawer has haberdashery such as poppers and bias binding makers. I also store spare cotton and my tin of buttons.


The jars were a gift from a friend and store my zips and spare change!!

The little hanging heart and signs were also gifts. The embroidery hoops I made a few years ago, there are three; the third one out of sight has my name on it.


This final photo is my stash of fabric, kept in an Ikea storage box in the dining room. We use it as a bench for extra seating space around the table. Our home is open plan so the dining room is easily accessible and houses the ironing board and my cutting mat on the table when I’m sewing.

That’s it. My tiny sewing space crammed with everything I need. Where do you all sew? Are you lucky enough to have a room to yourself?

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Inspiration planning

How do you organise your thoughts and plans for sewing?

I’m not very good with technology, mainly due to having a rubbish mobile with no memory space (due to my Sew Awesome app which held all my sewing patterns but alas is no more after my husband “fixed” my phone).
I prefer to have something physical to hold but not adverse to solutions to help me find patterns, a bit like kindle vs book, and similar to that debate I fall somewhere in the middle.

I have a lot of patterns, and even more now I have gotten over my fear of pdf files and what if I lost them or couldn’t download them!
I print my pdf patterns off and put them in clear a4 wallets to hold the instructions and cut out pieces and actually quite enjoy the process of sticking the pattern together, safe in the knowledge that I could share print out a new one of I needed to.

Recently I have tried to review my wardrobe to make it more cohesive and increase my ability to wear a fully me made outfit (which I love the satisfaction of telling someone if they ask where I bought it from).
I am finally winning on this challenge, although I need to look towards spring and summer and keep the momentum going, I now have an answer…..

…..I use croquis images to draw outfits combining already existing makes with ideas based on stashed patterns or other Indi based patterns I have saved in my ever growing favourites list on the foldline.

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I am not the best artist in the world but enjoy sketching ideas and colours while watching tv on an evening. Combining pattern ideas and thinking about what I already own and what colours I am missing.

How do you plan your sewing?

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