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Tis the Season to…wear elasticated trousers! A comfy sew from Lesley!

Hi folks.

It’s been a while but I’m back as a guest blogger for Sewisfaction for December. Quite a lot has changed in my life this year and as a result quite a lot has changed in my wardrobe as I adapt to our new routine. Gone are the pencil skirts, heels and tight sheath dresses and in are the comfy trousers, tops and trainers. And yet I still hanker after fabrics and textiles that are smarter.

I’ve never been one for lounge wear – generally if I wear a pair of trackies its to jump on my bike or do some Pilates. However I really need comfy clothes that are good for sitting for hours as well as moving around. I therefore had to consult my sewing friends in my search of a pair of comfy, elasticated trousers that could also be a bit smart. By far the most common recommendation was for the Hudson pant from True Bias. After a quick internet search it was clear I’d missed the boat with this pattern. So many amazing different versions – some are even using this pattern as the basis for pyjama bottoms. As an added bonus the pattern comes in women’s, men’s and children’s sizes so you could be super cheesy and do trousers for the whole family (seriously tempted!).

So onto fabric choice. The pattern asks for a medium weight jersey that has up to 40% stretch. Sewisfaction has some cracking jerseys right now that are great for this pattern. I’m really keen on all the animal print that is around at the moment and apparently, leopard print is considered a neutral – winner! I was drawn to this Nyla embossed ponte fabric – it’s a black and grey textured jersey. It would also be cracking for a dress (perhaps a Southbank from Nina Lee Patterns or a Stella Hoodie jumper dress from Tilly and the Buttons), a cosy top (a Bento Tee from Liesl and co or a Toaster sweater from Sew House Seven) or even a cardigan (such as the Blackwood from Helens Closet).

I’m lucky and have an overlocker so this was a super quick make but if you just have a normal sewing machine this would be perfectly easy using a stretch stitch. There are lots of really good tutorials online for sewing with jersey if you are new to it. In fact, the latest Tilly and the Buttons book taught me quite a few tricks and I thought I was fairly experienced at jersey.

The only fiddly bit of this pattern is fitting the waistband. The pattern calls for a 2-inch elastic within the casing that you then stitch down in 2 lines before inserting cording into the channel. I used the old-fashioned method of attaching a large safety pin to the elastic and pulling it through. It mostly works for me but perhaps if Santa is listening he could bring me a bodkin?

The final result is a very VERY comfy pair of trousers that amazingly look rather cool as well. I’ve never really trusted elasticated waists on myself because they tend to make me look even chunkier than normal around that area. However, the combo of this cracking pattern and this super cool fabric makes for a really smart pair of comfy trousers.

As an added bonus I used a little of the leftover fabric to make myself a buff – basically a wide circle of fabric you can wear on your hair as a hairband or around your chin/neck as a warmer when cycling or walking. It’s a bit après ski but given I live in the frozen north its probably pretty apt for my climate.

Hope you enjoyed reading and are a little bit inspired.

Lesley @ Sew Sleep Deprived x

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Meet the team: Alice

We’ve nearly come to the end of our ‘Meet the team’ series and we might have saved the fabbest for last. What she lacks in sewing skills, she more than makes up for in ALWAYS looking glam – that’s right, it’s Alice! Part two of the fabulous duo who man the shop and pack the orders, Alice also has a claim to fame in being the person who create the perfect swirl in all our fabric photos –  and no, she won’t be revealing her secret.

We sat down with Alice to ask her some questions.

Tell us a bit about you? 

I’m 26 and live in Reading. I have an 18 month old little girl called Ronnie and I am engaged (due to get married 2020 if we can both be bothered to do all the organising). My loves in life are make up, gin and any crime series on Netflix but I’m hoping to make more time next year for sewing so I’m sure that will be in my top 3 if you ask me again in 2019.

What’s your role at Sewisfaction?

My main role is dealing with the ‘back office’ – responding to customer queries and processing all the orders, updating stock levels and so on.

Tell us a bit about your Christmas make?

So this isn’t technically my Christmas make, this is the zipper pouch (which I use as my every day make up bag) made during my Introduction to Sewing class that I did here in the summer – BUT, as previously mentioned, I will be making more in the new year so come back to me in the summer and I’m sure I’ll have something a little bit more exciting to show.

What’s next in your sewing queue?

Oh so many things I would love to make. The Seren dress by Tilly and The Buttons and the River dress by Megan Neilsen are the two I have had my eye on for a while.

Favourite Christmas food?

ALL OF IT. Literally I cannot get enough of Christmas food. Mince pies, shortbread, pate, smoked salmon, stuffing, chocolate – I mean the list goes on.

Tipple of choice?

Urm.. again, ALL OF IT. I’m really not that fussy when it comes to a Christmas tipple. Baileys has to be my absolute number 1 Christmas beverage though.

Any sewing New Years resolutions?

To actually dedicate more time to sewing. Ronnie is hopefully going to be starting nursery in the next few months which means that I will be able to grab a few more hours to myself which is when I will start putting into practice all the knowledge I gained during my Intro to Sewing class.

And there we have our lovely Alice, we’re sure when she gets around to it, she’ll be a super sewer and we can’t wait to see what she produces – even if it is another make up bag!

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Meet the team: Sandra

As promised, this week, you’re in for a double dose of team Sewisfaction and up next is in some ways, the face of the brand. If you’ve been to our bricks and mortar store over in Wokingham then there are two smiling faces that will be there to meet you and one of them is the lovely Sandra (more on the other smiling face soon).

With a background in interiors, Sandra seems to have always been around fabric and more often than not, you’ll hear her commenting on what a lovely cushion our new in fabric would make. However we’re on a mission to make a dressmaker out of her yet so we sat down to ask her all about what that looks like in 2019.

Tell us a bit about you? 

I have lived in Wokingham for over 50 years and one day, I’d really love to live by the sea. I have a husband called Mike, and two lovely girls – Natasha & Claudia, plus a very naughty cocker spaniel called Zak. I love interior design and am looking forward to getting stuck into my new hobby, dressmaking .

What’s your role at Sewisfaction?

My main role in Sewisfaction is customer service, which covers a lot of the online orders preparation & posting as well as helping customers in the shop with their purchases and queries.

Tell us a bit about your Christmas make?

My Christmas make is my Betty dress, in this lovely black and white polka dot stretch cotton from Sewisfaction of course. It has an amazing skirt and a cute fitted bodice, I shall be wearing it Christmas Day with a red cardi. I decided to make the Betty at our ‘dressmaking for beginners’ course which I attended this year and I learnt many new techniques including. zips and darts. I might make a new version in a lighter weight cotton for the summer.

What’s next in your sewing queue?

My next make will definitely be a Tilly & the buttons Bettine dress – I actually already have it all cut out just waiting to be sewn up – I’ll be using a cotton fabric ready for the warmer months and I can see me wearing this when it gets warmer –  great for work. Once I have mastered this, I’ll definitely be making lots more in Sewisfaction fabrics.

Favourite Christmas food?

My favourite food, other than Christmas dinner is stollen – I must admit I have eaten a packet of it already!

Tipple of choice?

This year we’ll be trying the ‘Hugo’ cocktails which are made up of Gin, Prosecco, elderflower cordial, mint lime wedge & lots of ice.

Any sewing New Years resolutions?

I’d really like to get to grips with jersey as it’s comfortable to wear and I constantly see such beautiful jersey fabrics in our shop so that’s my main motivation.

So that’s Sandra everyone and doesn’t she look amazing in her very first dress? Plus trust us, this interview doesn’t even begin to show just how sweet she is – if  you’re ever in the area, make sure you pop in and say hi, she’s the best!

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Tips & Tricks: How to be a speedy sewer

When it comes to sewing, sometimes, it feels like there just really aren’t enough hours in the day, right? From distractions at work, to simply having to be responsible when you get home, a lot of the time life can just get in the way of your hobby. This week, we’re sharing our top tips for super sewing productivity, so you can feel like you’re getting the most out of any sewing time – no matter how big or small of a window!

Batch cutting

Let’s be honest, cutting out is not the most fun part of any sewing project. To ramp up the productivity, we quite often like to sit in front of the TV and cut on the floor with a cup of tea during the week, that way, when it comes to the weekend and it’s time to sew, you can get stuck straight in because everything is ready to go!

Skip the scissors

Rather than pinning you pattern pieces to the fabric and then tirelessly going around the edges with scissors, simply lay your fabric and pattern pieces onto a cutting mat, add some pattern weights and take a sharp, 45mm rotary blade to them. If you struggle to keep a straight edge or you’d like to keep those curves perfect, invest in a metre rule and a french seam which will help you to keep it crisp.

Go pinless

We know, we know. Whenever we mention this to the non-converted, they look at us like we’re absolutely mad. Don’t get us wrong, we know pinning can help, but often, they can distort the fabric, break the needles on your sewing machine and it takes AGES to sew the simplest straight seam when you have to stop every 10 seconds to remove the pins – try it we think you’ll love it!

Bye bye back stitch

Nobody wants their seams to come apart, we get it, but if you look at the construction of your garment, you’ll quite quickly notice that if you’re sewing a skirt for example and you stitch the side seam, it’ll be locked off by your finished hem. Save yourself a few seconds at the start of each stitch by just going straight on through!

Batch sew and press

Back to batch. If you’ve got all your pieces cut, why not ‘get into the zone’ and take all your pieces and do all of the darts at once? Or if you’re about to finish up, add all of the zips to all of the pieces so that you are able to cut down on the time fiddling about swapping between feet. The same with pressing seams, although most instructions will tell you to press in between steps, use your keen sewers eyes to select areas that you can finish in bulk and then steam all at once.

These tips and more are the reason we’re able to chuck in a sneaky sew every now and then and of course as with anything, preparation is always key, check out Sheona’s vlog here for more details.

We’d love to hear any tips you have for a quick sew, simply comment below.

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Meet the team: Nerrisa

We’re continuing our ‘Meet the team’ series and this week you’re in for a double dose of intro goodness. Starting with Nerrisa, curl enthusiast and lover of all cats, we asked her all about her role at Sewisfaction.

Nerrisa, tell us a bit about you? 

Howdy! I’m Nerrisa, and I’m a craft addict. I love sewing, creating and generally anything that helps to make a mess of the spare room my boyfriend still thinks is an ‘office’! I started working for myself just over a year ago and vowed to only work with brands that make me happy and that I’m super passionate about.

What’s your role at Sewisfaction? 

I support on the Marketing over at Sewisfaction, which can mean helping Sheona with anything from the newsletters to blog content – I also get to manage the lovely blogger team too. No day at Sewisfaction is the same which is what I love about working with the team, from planning events to sewing up samples, there’s always quite a bit of sewing based fun to be had!

Tell us a bit about your Christmas make? 

My dress is the Nikko dress from True Bias. The pattern is SO simple to make and although I was a little scared about cutting into this beautiful velvet, it all turned out fine. I made a few tweaks to the dress as I hate wasting good fabric and so although the back should have been one continuous piece, cut on the fold, I actually cut it in two halves creating a back seam. I also lengthened the sleeves so they would be ruched and as you can see, it’s much shorter than the dress on the cover..

Finally, the dress was a little ‘straight’ at first and so I turned it inside out, put it back on and used a white gel pen to mark out the contours around my bust, waist and hips then stitched along those lines for a more body-con fit – it’s a party dress after all!

What’s next in your sewing queue?

I’m very lucky that I get to sew a lot so I tend to come up with project as and when to try and avoid having a ‘stash’ that I’ll never get through. On Saturday, I brought the Old Gold Bouquet Needlecord whilst introducing a friend to the store and I’m planning on making a hack of the Tilly & the Buttons Rosa dress in the style of this beauty from ASOS – cute right?

Favourite Christmas food?

If you know me, then you’ll know I never met a food I didn’t like so I’m going to simply go with ‘everything’.

Tipple of choice? 

I’m not a big drinker (I’m fun enough already) but if I had to choose, I’d pick a Pina Colada which I’m aware isn’t very festive!

Any sewing New Years resolutions?

I recently started a blog in order to document what I make which I think is automatically making me more conscious about my ‘stash’ and I also have really cut down how much ready to wear clothing I buy – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with shopping on the high street or having lots of fabric, but I don’t like to be wasteful or overwhelmed so I guess my New Years resolution is to just to be EVEN MORE organised and mindful when it comes to my makes.

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A transitional denim sew from Maddie

Hi everyone,

It’s Maddie here (@thimblebee) and I’m here today to tell you all about this gorgeous dress I made using Sewisfaction fabric. The fabric I chose is the Chester Dark Blue Modal 6oz denim, and it really is that perfect weight for a dress like this; not too heavy, not too soft. Isn’t that just great?

Now, something you may not know about me is that I am all about those trans-seasonal pieces, I LOVE making something I know I can rock all year round, after all, if I go to the effort of making something, I want to wear it as much as I can, right?

Another thing you may not know about me is that I am truly obsessed with By Hand London Patterns – the pattern I chose for this dress was the BHL Flora dress, it’s one of my ‘go to’ patterns, honestly I think I have around 10-15 versions of this in my wardrobe (I even graduated in one!)

Now… on to the good stuff. The fabric! As soon as I saw this fabric on the Sewisfaction site I knew I had to have some, and I knew it would become a very cute dress. However, I am a bit sceptical when it comes to denim because I’ve had a bad experience before, one of my lovely dresses shrunk in the wash even after I had pre-washed it, so I washed this fabric twice before cutting into it. And I am happy to report it is still as gorgeous as when it first arrived.

Cutting into it was super easy and I was done in no time (something that is super helpful to someone who, like me, who has two jobs). Getting the tension right was also a breeze! All in all the experience of making this dress one highly enjoyable. All in all I love this dress. I think it’s going to be in heavy rotation in my wardrobe and it’ll look just as good as it does with boots and tights, with sandals and a basket bag during those warmer months. What do you guys think? Are you also big fans of those trans-seasonal pieces? One last thing; can you all please note the PERFECT drape this fabric has?

Anyway that’s it for now! I’d love to hear your thoughts on my make.

Much love xx

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Meet the Team: Suzy

This Festive season, we’ve decided a meet and greet with the Sewisfaction team is well overdue, so we’ve asked the girls to put on their best me made party dresses whilst they sit down and answer some questions for us.

First up this week is Suzy, sister-in-law extraordinaire to the lovely Sheona, in her Deer and Doe Belladone dress.

So Suzy, start by telling us a little more about you?

Hi Everyone! I’m Suzy, Sheona’s sister-in-law (Sheona is married to my younger brother). I am married with 3 kids. I am fortunate enough to work from home part-time, which means I can also spend some time in Sewisfaction. As well as sewing I also enjoy crochet, cooking, reading, travelling, listening to podcasts and getting together with family and friends.

What’s your role at Sewisfaction?
All sorts really! Officially I work part-time as Class Coordinator,  but generally I help out whenever Sheona needs an extra pair of hands, which could be packing orders or working in the shop. Usually if I’m doing Class Admin I work a morning a week making sure everything is in order for our classes and then extra as and when I can help.
Tell us a little bit about your Christmas make? 
This Christmas I will be wearing my Deer & Doe Belladone dress that I made using the gorgeous Rosabella Jacquard from Sewisfaction (of course). It’s a versatile, classic, little black number that I can wear to any event over the Christmas season.
I was in a bit of a hurry when I made it and I regret leaving out the lovely detail that the pattern gives you on the back but, as I love wearing it with a silver bolero, (as I am always cold) you wouldn’t see the detail anyway. I really love shape of this dress it as it nips me in at the waist and gently flares out, but is not too flouncy. Oh and how could I forget …. the pockets!
What’s next in your sewing queue?
If I get time (and it may be a big ‘if’), I am planning to make a wrap dress in our gorgeous petrol Luxe Stretch Velvet to wear for Christmas day. After stroking it in the shop I just couldn’t resist it.
Favourite Christmas food?
Its got to be all the goodies, the mince pies, stollen, panetone and the tub of Cadbury’s Heroes!
Tipple of choice?
Cointreau! And, I hate to sound old but …  I also like a Sherry when I am prepping for Christmas (I think it reminds me of my Nana).
Any sewing New Years resolutions? 
1. Try and be more thoughtful in what I sew. Get less distracted by patterns I won’t wear often or fabrics that, although I love, I won’t get as much wear out of. I have realised I tend to wear plainer or smaller prints more often.
2. Take my time. Instead of rushing in because I’m in a hurry or excited to get started, make time to check the pattern against my measurements /bodice block to make sure it will fit me. Make pattern adjustments before I cut out. It’s so worth it and far less painful that adjusting it later.
So there you have it everything you need to know from Suzy over here at team Sewisfaction -isn’t she just lovely? We’re lucky to have such an amazing team, so look out on the blog over the next few weeks for an intro from us all.
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Tips & Tricks: Sewing with Sequins

It’s sequin season and we are so ready for lots of shimmery creations, but we know that they can be a bit daunting when you haven’t worked with them before. Don’t worry, we always have your back here at Sewisfaction and to ensure you that you get yourself prepped for the party season, our ever popular kits are back – this time with a sparkly twist.

That’s right, we’ve taken our favourite fabrics and paired them with the Grainline Studios Scout Tee for a simple yet shimmery showstopper sew. Excited? First up, the fabrics: we’ve got something for everyone with the three new colourways in the shop:

The sequin top is a must have in your wardrobe, not only for the Festive season, this top is also perfect for both festival and wedding season too – it’s all in the styling. It’s all about tights and sky high heels for formal occasions or add jeans, trainers and a parker for an off-duty chic look.

So now hopefully we’ve got you inspired? You’ve got your pattern and the perfect fabric, next up, our top tips for sewing sequin success.

  • Don’t prewash your sequin fabric! You will want to prewash any lining fabric, as it will shrink a little on its first wash. You’ll need to handwash your sequin top when finished to keep it looking fabulous.
  • You will find it easier to work with the fabric wrong sides together when cutting out, so the sequins are facing out and can’t get caught on each other.
  • Using a rotary cutter and mat is the quickest and easiest way to cut sequins, as you can then change the blade afterwards. However, don’t fear you can still cut with pins and scissors if you don’t have a rotary cutter, but we would recommend you don’t use your best fabric scissors, as sequins can dull the blade – ordinary scissors will be just fine.
  • Sequins can have a tendency to leave little bits everywhere so we recommend cutting out somewhere you can clear up easily! And maybe wear glasses to avoid any rogue bits pinging up at you – sounds extreme but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  • When sewing with sequins, use a fresh, sharp needle – we’ve included a new full pack in your kit as you might find you need to use a couple. A medium weight needle is ideal (80 or 90).
  • Sew your seams as normal and then trim off as many of the sequins from your seam allowance as possible, this will stop them catching the lining fabric. If you want to you could actually trim off your sequins from your seam allowance before sewing – just sew a line of basting stitches (the longest stitch on your machine) in a contrasting thread, and trim off any sequins that fall in the seam allowance.
  • Check your seams from the right side, you will have some sequins that are half caught in the seam allowance, this is fine. Either trim them off or if possible use an unpicker to pull the full sequin through to the right side.
  • Pressing your seams – either finger press your seams open and don’t use an iron at all, or if you really feel an iron is needed ensure you use a low heat, iron from the reverse side and use a pressing cloth (or tea towel!) between your fabric and iron.

And there you have it, all the tips and tricks that you’ll need to add a little sparkle to your tee. Our kits are available right now, so head here quickly, because once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Sequin Top Dressmaking Kit

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Sewisfaction Christmas Gift Guide

It’s officially December which means it’s time to share something very exciting with you.. our official Sewisfaction Christmas gift guide.

Stuck for something to buy for the sewist in your life, or perhaps you just fancy a little treat for yourself – don’t worry, we have something for absolutely every maker! From dressmaking kits to vouchers for those who are difficult to buy for, this guide is everything you need to pack any sewing based stockings with lots of crafty goodness!

Take the weight off – quite literally with these stylish ‘Sewisfaction’ pattern weights

Pattern weights, from £13.99 at Sewisfaction

You’ll have the perfect gift in a ‘snip’ thanks to these super stylish rose gold scissors

Rose gold dressmaking scissors, £9.99 at Sewisfaction

Give them the happiest ‘Stitch-mas’ with this beginners cross-stitch kit

Sewing machine cross stitch kit, £7.49 from Sewisfaction

This gift will be a ‘cut above the rest’ with everything you need for beginners paper cutting

Papercutting starter kit,  £22 from Sewisfaction

Measure your next project in style with this brass finish measuring tape

‘Loved beyond measure’ measuring tape,  £39.95 from Vinegar & Brown Paper

Store your sewing essentials in style with these acid etched jars 

‘Pins and needles’ jars, £52, from Vinegar and Brown Paper

Add a touch of pretty to your projects with these Liberty print, reel pattern weights

Reel pattern weights, £24 from Foxglove & Field

How cute is this little guy – perfect for storing your pins with a smile

Emerald Green Teacup Pincushion, £20 from Hannah Doodle

Help them show everyone they’re a seamstress with this keychain – also comes as a pin

Seamstress keychain, from £10 at Pink Coat Club

Let them choose for themselves with a voucher from Sewisfaction

Gift voucher, from £15 at Sewisfaction

So there you have it, our gift guide which gives you absolutely NO excuse not to please the sewer in your life. Personally, we’ll be picking up the Hannah Doodle pin cushion for ourselves – who wouldn’t want that little guy smiling at them whilst they sew?