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Amanda’s Nina Lee Portobello Trousers

Hi Everyone,

Well, I’m back with another post for the Sewisfaction Blog and once again was faced with the extremely difficult task of deciding which fabric to choose from such an array of loveliness.

As autumn is creeping in I have found myself leaning more towards trousers and away from skirts and dresses.  I have made a couple of pairs of wide-leg trousers recently which have been in heavy rotation in my work wardrobe.  I think I am not quite ready to make the transition into tights and boots!

Anyway, after the success of my other wide-leg trousers, I saw this gorgeous Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel which Sheona recently added to the shop.  The fabric has a speckled finish which is a mixture of blue and black which I thought, in a pair of wide leg trousers, would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe.

The fabric has the softest brushed texture which feels lovely against the skin and has the perfect structure for a wide leg.  I chose to go with the Nina Lee Portobello Trousers because it is a pattern that has been on my radar for some time, but I have to admit I was a little unsure about the front pleats and whether they would be flattering.  I recently made some other trousers with a similar detail and am pleased to confirm that my concerns were unfounded, I love them.

I opted for the PDF pattern but Sheona also stocks the paper pattern if you are not into all the printing and sticking that comes with PDF assembly.

As you can see the Portobello Trousers have pleats in the front and they also have darts in the back.  The pattern provides for side seam pockets and therefore the zip is intended to be inserted in the back seam.  However, as I chose not to insert the pockets I moved the zip to the right-hand side seam.  This is really easy to do on this pattern as the waistband is just one long piece which is folded in half to make an all in one faced waistband.  Therefore, to change the zip placement you simply move the waistband short edges round to the side seam instead of at the back.

This pattern also has an overlapped waistband where a button and buttonhole is to be inserted with the zip finishing at the top of the leg pieces rather than going all the way through the waistband.  I prefer the finish of the zip going right through the waistband and therefore I didn’t bother with the button and buttonhole and shortened the waistband to remove the excess for the button overlap.

Finally, I added some length as I am 5’ 7” and usually wear a 36” leg.  Although the pattern doesn’t provide an inseam measurement it seemed a little short to me so I added 3” I probably should have added another inch as I only turned up 1.5” for the hem and would rather it was a little wider.  For reference, I made a size 8 (my measurements are W25” and H36”) and the fit was pretty good but I could definitely have sized down.  I also took the crotch curve in from about midway down the back seam to midway up the front by about 1” as they were really baggy.

As far as trousers go this pattern is really straightforward, there are no difficult construction techniques and the pleats provide a bit of interest which is a feature I am happy to say that I love despite my reservations.  I think this pattern would be perfect for someone thinking about venturing into making trousers as they are relatively simple to fit as long as you get the waistband right and I personally prefer a wide leg over a straight or skinny leg so these tick all the boxes as far as I am concerned.  The pattern is also a really quick make as far as trousers go, I managed to knock these out in a couple of hours including cutting out my fabric, which is great.

The fabric was amazing as always and I am sure they will keep me cosy when the weather cools down so I am hoping to get lots of wear out of these trousers over the coming months.  I would definitely make these trousers again but would size down next time and add a little more lengthy.  I also think they would also be perfect as culottes if you were to shorten them from a double or triple crepe.

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing!!

Amanda xxx

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New Craft House comes to Sewisfaction: Nerrisa’s DIY bra making experience

Hey! For those of you who don’t know me just yet, I’m Nerrisa and I’ve recently joined the team over here at Sewisfaction, helping the lovely Sheona with marketing. My sewing journey really started properly after attending the Jersey class here at Sewisfaction HQ, so it makes perfect sense that my first ever blog post should be about my latest experience – bra making in the Sewisfaction studio.

I had actually signed up to the class before working for the shop, because let’s face it, who doesn’t want ‘The perfect bra’? If you don’t think it exists, I’m here to tell you that it didn’t, until a few days ago..

The Bra Making class is taught by the talented Hannah from New Craft House, who if you don’t know is half of the loveliest duo, who both teach a whole range of sewing workshops over in East London.  They haven’t taught classes at other studios before, but very excitingly they were keen to collaborate with Sewisfaction and join us in Wokingham.

The session runs from 11-5 and the class size was a nice and manageable 8 people, small enough for Hannah to really get hands-on with each and every one of us and big enough to make sure that there was no cake left over… When we arrived, our patterns were already laid out for us, due to us giving our sizes in advance and if you’re anything like me, that was great – no reading the back of the packet trying to figure out which size to pick!

The other thing I don’t really enjoy too much about sewing is cutting the pattern out, but let me tell you if you’re looking for something to quickly snip your way through, this takes barely any time! After cutting out our paper pieces, we were presented with everything we needed to create the actual bra itself, including the most beautiful floral crepe, power mesh, the clasp and even the correct sized underwire!

With easy to follow step by step instructions from Hannah, we were quickly into the construction phase and bar a few ‘user errors’ we quickly had constructed cups (complete with lace trim) and a power bar all before lunchtime.

Fun fact: I’m a huge foody, but since this is a sewing blog, I won’t go on too long about how amazing the The Grange Chocolate Café, located next to the shop is, BUT if you do go on a course, be sure to treat yourself to a veggie breakfast – thank me later.

Anyway, back to the sewing…the after lunch portion flew by, with Hannah  teaching us everything from adding the cups to the band, finishing the edges with pretty, elastic trim and even the secret to how to get your straps to go through the bra strap adjuster AND  ACTUALLY WORK, and before we knew it, we had a fully functioning, professional looking, fully bona fide bra.

Hannah was keen to make sure we all left with a well-fitted bra, making sure to show us what to change next time for the perfect garment which let’s be honest is the ultimate goal. For me, the workshop was great for testing the skills I already have, but not so difficult that I’ll never attempt to make a bra again, in fact – I’m off to the Knitting and Stitching show this weekend and I’ll be dropping by to see Hannah’s ‘lace dealer’ so I can get back into the bra making saddle right away!

Like what you read and want a chance to make your own bra? Never fear, there are limited spaces left on the next course, taking place on 10th March 2019, click here to book your place, but be quick, at the time of writing there are only 3 spaces remaining!

If you want to keep update with all the other exciting classes happening at Sewisfaction, sign up to our newsletter here.

 

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Top five sewing patterns for beginners

Taking the first step to sewing your very own me-made workshop can sometimes be confusing. There are so many patterns out there from the independent brands as well as the ‘big’ and ‘scary’ top four. So if you’re thinking of taking the leap and joining the community, never fear, we have your back. Read on for our top five beginner patterns.

1. Tilly and the Buttons – Cleo

Great for: Easy to follow instructions

Sew in: Woven fabrics, including denim, cord or even upholstery fabrics

Cleo is our go-to pattern for all seasons, from cosy corduroys and knits in the winter to denim layered over t-shirts in the summer.  We love Tilly’s patterns for a range of reasons, from the simple to follow instructions to the easy to use measuring charts; you really can’t go wrong. This on trend, style has no fiddly zips or buttons to contend with and the dungaree clips are super simple to use, in fact, the only difficult thing about this pattern is choosing how many versions to make!

2. Grainline Studios – Scout Tee

Great for: A quick, simple sew

Sew in: Lightweight to medium fabrics including cotton lawn, linen and denim

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the perfect top exists, but we think the scout tee comes pretty close. A great, quick sew, this top has no darts or pleats but does show you how to handle bias binding on the flattering neckline. This top is one that suits all body shapes, which we love and can be made again and again in so many different prints and colours that your closet will be packed with them before you know it!

 

3. Leisl & Co – Everyday Skirt

Great for: A well-drafted, wardrobe staple

Sew in: Medium weight cotton, needlecord or flannel

We LOVE the everyday skirt – so many variations, so little time. This A-line, classic shape has a flat front, with elasticated back, which sits perfectly on the hips of any body shape. There are no zips and fastenings which is great, but you can get to grips with adding pockets (who doesn’t love pockets) and also adding elastic to a garment. This is sophisticated, simple sew which you’ll be swishing around in forever.

4. Tilly And The Buttons – Coco

Great for: Getting to grips with sewing jersey

Sew in: Medium weight jersey including Ponte Roma or double knit

Another favourite from Tilly And The buttons, the Coco is the ultimate jersey top AND dress all in one pretty package. Crying out to be sewn in a classic Breton stripe, the super clear instructions strike again, not only that, the handy guide shows beginners how to sew stretch without the use of an overlocker if you aren’t quite ready to take that leap just yet. Sewing with jersey may seem scary, but this will most definitely help you along on your ‘jersey journey’ – thanks Tilly!

Sew Over It - Ultimate Shift Dress

5. Sew Over It – The Ultimate Shift dress

Great for: A simple dress with lots of variations

Sew in: Cotton, viscose or crepe

Last, but by no means least, the ultimate shift dress is a wonderland of sewspiration, from the long-sleeves to short, ruffled ones and even a top variation – it really does have something for everyone. Again, there are no zips but this pattern will help you to get to grips with bust darts and neck facings, in a simple, easy to follow way. This one is great for showcasing bold prints and if you feel like ‘stepping it up’, try stitching something in drapier fabrics for a challenge.

So there you have it, our top five patterns for beginner sewists, we love the variation of all of these and the great thing is, you can add your own flare once you really get going on your sewing journey.

Ready to begin but still a bit overwhelmed? Don’t panic, we’ve covered all basis, check out our gorgeous kits for each of the patterns which contain everything but the sewing machine! From a perfectly paired Cleo/stripe combo to dreamy denim ready to be made into dungarees, we have plenty to choose from, so what are you waiting for? Shop the kits here.

To see Sheona talk in more detail about her favourite beginner patterns watch the vlog below:

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Happy First Birthday to Sewisfaction HQ!

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

If you thought only the Queen had two birthdays you’d be right, but here I am a mere 5 months after our last “It’s our birthday” post saying it again. That’s because a year ago today I opened the doors to Sewisfaction HQ, our happy haven, our lovely shop at Holme Grange Craft Village and I just couldn’t let the day go past without celebrating how far it’s come in the last 12 months.

Sewisfaction fabric shop Wokingham Berkshire

If you’d told me when I was a child or even a couple of years ago that I’d own a shop, I wouldn’t have believed you (hell if you’d told me I’d own my own business I would’ve laughed), but a shop keeper I am! I had no intention of opening a shop when I launched Sewisfaction, it was going to be an online business – if you want to hear more about how I got started and some of the key lessons I learnt in my first year of trading, I filmed a vlog.

Quickly though, I realised I wanted more. I wanted to create a space where people could come and touch the fabric, ooh and ahhh over them in the flesh, a place where people could chat about sewing and touch each other’s clothes whilst wearing them and not risk being arrested! I also wanted a studio where I could help people unleash their sewing superpower, so I didn’t have to keep lugging sewing machines and ironing boards and all the other paraphernalia that would come with me when I was teaching in empty studio spaces, and for it to be a real hub where people could learn and enjoy sewing and crafts together.

I looked at a few properties, but none were quite right, there was one that was very nearly it, a High Street shop in Surrey, which is now a computer shop and I thank my lucky stars I didn’t take it. When a friend recommended I visit Holme Grange, a place until that point I’d never heard of, I was smitten as soon as I pulled up the driveway. It’s village feel, it’s barn style quaint shops, the fact that everyone was a small independent business, it was to my mind exactly where I wanted to be. The only problem was, the available space they had was too small. I wracked my brains trying to think how I could make it work, but I couldn’t. Then by an amazing piece of luck, an upstairs unit became available. I persuaded the landlords to let me see it and as soon as I walked up those stairs and into the bright and airy space, I knew that was where the heart of Sewisfaction had to be.

Holme grange craft village

 

Holme grange craft village

At the time it was a pilates studio and a lovely one at that. In my mind though I didn’t see those reformer machines, I saw a classroom area, where the mats were would be the shop space and where the weights were stored would be my vintage haberdashery counter. Because yes before I’d even signed the lease, I knew there’d be a vintage haberdashery counter! After the standard legal back and forth, I signed the lease, quit my day job and picked up the keys on 17th July 2017.

It was essentially a blank space, and I remember an overwhelming feeling of excitement and a little bit of fear at how I was going to turn it into the beautiful creative space I’d envisioned – but like I find I always do, I ignored the fearful little voice and just ploughed on regardless! I worked solidly for 3 weeks, building furniture, sanding my beautiful haberdashery counter (let’s not talk about getting that up the stairs!), sourcing more stock and trying to learn as I went. There are so many little things I hadn’t thought about  – carrier bags – and some pretty big things – till system – that all had to be organised in a very small space of time. Reflecting now I don’t know how I did it, there were lots of 1am finishes and I didn’t have time to ponder over decisions, if I needed something I looked at the options and did it, because there was no time to do anything else. Some of those decisions would be different if I did it again, but I’m very proud that somehow I was ready to open on 7th August!

Hubby had to lean out very precariously to hang those first signs!

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Driving in that morning, I was full of butterflies. Not least because I hadn’t thought about putting a float into the till so had to make an unplanned stop for change at the post office (see no clue!). I’d decided if no one came it’d be OK because I’d just carry on with the changes I still needed to do and work on the website. The bigger fear was actually what if people DID come!? What would they think? Would they laugh at my little shop with it’s half bare shelves, or would I be able to work the new till system I’d spent approx 4 days of my life working on?

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Guess what, people did come! And they were lovely and encouraging and kind, and some people even bought things. The local paper turned up and took an unflattering photo of me and I remember locking up at the end of the day, pulling the blind down and laying down on the button rug and blubbing. Soppy I know, but they were happy, relieved tears – I could do this I told myself. Indeed there were customers who came on that first day, like Kathryn above, who still come and visit regularly. I’m not in the shop as often as I was, but I know their names and what they’ve been making and I am so deeply grateful to them – and to all our wonderful customers.

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

The shop has continued to grow and evolve. I worked alone in the shop, bar some help from Suzy, teaching, processing online orders, serving customers until October, when I couldn’t do it alone any more. There began my wonderful team; Sophie was first, which was another piece of serendipitous luck as she also happens to be an amazing branding, design and general ideas whizz and she worked on our rebrand and created the bright colourful brand we have today. I slowly found more teachers who could teach things I couldn’t and could give me some time out of the shop.

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Then early this year Sandra joined us, and she is a dream; she organises, tidies, checks and balances everything and keeps me on track whilst all my crazy ideas whirl. Alice came on-board in April and is my little whirlwind, chatting 100 miles an hour whilst speeding through customer queries and website updates. They’re both part-time but between them it means I can spend more time working on coming up with new ideas and getting the business seen by more lovely customers. When I am in the shop it’s usually because I’m teaching which during term time I still do 4/5 times a week.

In March we had a big change around in the shop, extended our classroom area and made the shop easier to navigate. The green wall behind the haberdashery counter was banished and although I didn’t think it was possible, I fell even more in love with our happy little space.

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Times aren’t always easy, especially in retail; there are more days than I’d like where the takings in the shop are low – last Tuesday we took £2.50! But I prefer for now to focus on the positives, like the fact that nearly 200 people squished into our little HQ a couple of weeks ago for The Big Summer Stitch Up, that so many people come in and coo with excitement at all our lovely fabrics. And something that I’m incredibly proud of, in the last year we’ve taught over one hundred children to sew, and many more adults, from complete beginners to those who’ve been dying to stretch their skills but didn’t have anywhere to go. Our craft classes have been a place for laughter and mindfulness and just an escape and the feedback from our customers and students makes me burst with pride.

Childrens sewing Wokingham berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

Sewisfaction fabric shop sewing studio Wokingham Berkshire

So a huge thank you to those of you who’ve visited, of course those of you who support us via our website here, and to all of my lovely team and teachers. I’m excited for what this next year holds!

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, please do share it with your friends so we can continue to spread the word and reduce the number of £2.50 days – then hopefully we’ll be here for a very long time! If you’re not already please like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Instagram @sewisfaction, where I share more about what happens at Sewisfaction day-to-day.

Thanks for reading.

 

Recent photography (eg the good photos!) are by Terry Joshi Images

 

** A big Birthday Thank You to you all – come into the the shop and wish us happy birthday between 7th – 12th August and you’ll get 15% off everything, excluding classes. Can’t get to us? Don’t worry we love you too! Use the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at checkout**

 

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A little tricky Libby Shirt!

review sew over it libby shirt

Well hello! I’m back with another blog post and a little bit of an unusual one for me – this doesn’t happen very often to me but I had a bit of a nightmare with this make.

Firstly, I was so busy swooning over all the delicious fabric on the Sewisfaction site and struggling to choose a project (as they were all so tempting) that I managed to order some viscose thinking it was jersey!  I think I must have just had jersey on my mind and completely misread the description.  When I told Sheona about my plans for the fabric she pointed out that the fabric I had chosen was in fact woven and therefore would be completely inappropriate for the make I had planned, oops!

 

The fabric arrived and, as always, it was gorgeous and I needn’t have been concerned as it was this beautiful Ocean Storm Viscose, which is of course one of my favourite fabrics to work with, and has a lovely slubby texture.

review sew over it libby shirt

 

The viscose was so light and airy I immediately thought it would be perfect for a Sew Over It Libby Shirt which was a relatively new PDF only release.  I had purchased this pattern on the day I received my PDF Club notification as it looked so gorgeous.

All seemed to be going well and I laundered my fabric, which is so important with viscose as it shrinks like crazy, I had my pattern printed and started cutting out. I sewed the back yoke, attached the front to the back pieces and began constructing the collar.

review sew over it libby shirt

I was excited to get the shirt made as I thought it would be perfect for my forthcoming holiday as the fabric is so light and cool.  However, enter my second stumbling block, I realised I didn’t have enough interfacing which was required for the collar and facing.

Initially I thought about foregoing the interfacing but upon further reflection became concerned the fabric wouldn’t take the buttonholes so I chickened out and ordered some interfacing from another shop.  The interfacing unfortunately took longer than anticipated and annoyingly had I known I didn’t have enough I could have ordered it at the same time as my fabric from Sewisfaction as they of course stocks Vilene interfacing in the perfect weight for dressmaking. Frustratingly my interfacing didn’t arrive in time and my make had to be postponed until after my holiday.

review sew over it libby shirt

I picked up the project once again following my return and had no trouble constructing the collar, however, after the collar was attached I ran into problems with the instructions for the collar stand. It was a method I had not come across before and therefore had to read the instructions quite a few times.

This part of the instructions was made more difficult by virtue of the fact the fabric used in the instructions is really light and it is quite hard to see the steps being shown.  I managed to figure out the steps which were confusing me but I have to admit the finish on my collar stand is not the best and I am glad it is covered by the collar on the outside and my neck on the inside!

review sew over it libby shirt

Once I managed to finish the collar it was plain sailing and I finished the shirt in no time.  The fabric was a dream as it cut, sewed and pressed perfectly and has given the shirt a really lovely finish  I used matt navy buttons to finish off the shirt.

review sew over it libby shirt

Until next time.

 

Amanda xx

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Kathy’s Aqua Zantelle Fringe Dress by Chalk & Notch

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Viscose

Hi everyone,

It’s Kathy back with another dress! This time I am trying a Chalk and Notch pattern for the first time – The Fringe Dress. This year as part of my #2018makenine pledge, I am trying to use nine sewing patterns from independent companies that I have never used before. This is the fourth pattern made now from that list, so I am slowly working my way through them.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Viscose

I cannot resist a cute floral fabric, so when I saw the arrival of this adorable Aqua Zantelle Viscose crepe I knew that I wanted to make a dress with it! Viscose does have a tendency to shrink a little in the pre-wash so make sure that you allow for this, also it is worth noting that it is fairly slippery to sew with and moves around a little, so may be a fabric more suitable for someone who has some sewing experience under their belt. That said, it is a stunning fabric, the colour is bright and happy and the surface of the fabric has an interesting natural slubbed texture to it.

This dress pattern has different neckline, sleeve and belt tie variations and I opted to make view A which has a v-neck button front and simple sleeves with a cute button up tab feature.  It looks a little like a shirt dress. Both views have a shaped hem with a gathered skirt, but I felt that I wanted a horizontal hem and so cut my skirt pieces out with a level hem.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Viscose

I found the sizing a little challenging. My body measurements put me at a Chalk and Notch size 10, but the finished garment measurements  look like a size 6 would be a good finished fit. I made up a size 6, but it still feels roomy ( I can get it on and off over my head without undoing the buttons), and the belt tie at the back is tied as tight as it can go. Next time I will size down.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Viscose

I enjoyed making the pattern very much, clear written instructions are accompanied by good line drawings, and although it’s not the quickest dress I have ever made, it is straightforward and comes together nicely. The front bodice fastens with 3 buttons, and you will need a button for each sleeve tab. The buttons that I chose have a natural look – rather like coconut shell, and they pick up the golden colours in the fabric perfectly. I used ¾” buttons for the bodice front and used smaller ½” ones for the sleeve tabs.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Viscose

The skirt has a really subtle gather – barely none at all, and I like this. I’m glad that I chose to make the hem horizontal rather than the shaped hem, as I know I will get more wear out of this style. I’m kind of thinking that I might have left the length a little too long, and will perhaps shorten it a tad. Hmmm.. not sure.  Also can we just take a moment to appreciate that it is a dress with pockets! Oh yes!

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Viscose

All in all, it’s a great dress, made all the more pretty by using this colourful floral fabric. I am so looking forward to getting lots of wear out of this during the Summer months,  warmer temperatures permitting. Thank you so very much to Sheona for providing me with the fabric to sew up such a cute dress, I had a great time making it!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Viscose

 

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Summer Jeans of Dreams! Suzie reviews the Jalie Eleonore Jeans

The Eleonore Pull-On Jeans

I have a little bit of a confession to make. I have been sewing for nearly 10 years now, and I could count on one hand the number of trousers I have made! I think the fitting issue has always scared me just a little bit too much. But this year’s Me Made May challenge made me realise how I really ought to get over my fear and try and add some trousers to my handmade wardrobe. Enter the Eleonore Pull-On Jeans from Jalie Patterns.

I had seen these jeans popping up numerous times on Instagram and always wanted to give them a go. They are nearly identical in style to a pull-on jean/jegging that H&M do which I pretty much live in (I own 3 colours ways), so I thought it would be amazing to be able to recreate them.

 

Fitting

I decided it would probably be wise to sew up a toile first, in order to tackle the dreaded trouser fitting issue, so that’s what I did. They came together really quickly and I have to say, the toile fitted nearly perfectly on the first go! But I did have some horizontal lines under my bum and I felt the crotch was a little high as well. With a little bit of searching (namely this post on the Closet Case Patterns blog– so helpful!) I decided I needed to do a low bum adjustment (lol, not a surprise!) and scoop out the seat curve slightly. So I made sure to do that on the final garment.

Another issue I had was with the fit on the legs. I felt they were a bit too loose. I also had a lot of wrinkles behind my knees (which I can’t find any fitting guidance to at all). To be honest, I think this is the style of the jeans. They are definitely a straight cut, rather than skinny. I did go back and forward about keeping them straight, but apparently I just love my skinny jeans! So I tapered them in to be totally form-fitting. This also helped with the knee wrinkling a little bit.

The fit around the hips and waist is spot on! Honestly, I am absolutely delighted with the fit. The waistband comes up slightly higher than I thought they would, which is actually great because it holds in my ‘muffin top’ (for want of a better expression)! They still sit slightly below the bellybutton.

Construction

The Eleonore pull-on jeans are constructed pretty similarly to regular jeans, with copious amounts of topstitching (I just used my regular thread though). The main difference is that the pockets and fly are all faux, and of course the waistband is elastic. The faux fly is very easy but there is a little bit of tricky sewing getting the faux pocket pieces in. It’s not particularly difficult, it just requires slow and careful sewing (and I may have been holding my breath while doing so…). But oh my goodness, it is so satisfying once it’s done! Saying that, you can actually buy an ‘add on’ pattern piece for real front pockets. I think I will go ahead and get it because I will definitely be making this pattern again and it would be nice to have real pockets.

The way the waistband is constructed was really interesting. The elastic is sewn on to the lower half of the waistband piece with a zig-zag stitch, without being stretched. The upper part of the waistband is then folded over the elastic (thus encasing it) and this is the outer side. So the elastic is totally secure and there is absolutely no chance of it flipping over (one of my pet-peeves when it comes to elasticated waistbands). And the stitching is on the inside, leaving the outside beautifully smooth.

That may have been as clear as mud, sorry! It’s quite hard to explain. But one of the best things about this pattern, is there is a free video tutorialfor the entire construction on YouTube! I pretty much followed along with the video and paid no attention to the written instructions which came with the pattern (they are actually quite sparse).

Turquoise Fabric Of Dreams

I made up the final Eleonore jeans in the most amazing turquoise stretch twill from Sewisfaction. It’s hard for the camera to do this fabric justice. In these photos, and on the Sewisfaction shop page, the fabric comes across more as a bright light blue, but there is definitely a tiny bit of green to it to tip it into the turquoise category. It is 20% stretch, which is what the Eleonore pattern requires.

The fabric sewed up really well and was a dream to work with. It does fray a bit, so having an overlocker was a god-send (I think all twill fabric frays though). Having worn my jeans out and about for a day, they have stretched a bit, so it might be a good idea to maybe make your jeans (or whatever you are sewing up) just a touch tighter to compensate for this. A run through the wash though and I’m pretty sure they will be back to their original fit.

The Low Down

I am completely and utterly head over heels in love with my new bright turquoise jeans! The only problem now is that I don’t actually have very many things in my wardrobe that coordinates with them. Not to worry, I picked up thesetwo beauties from Sewisfacion which both pair really well and I plan on whipping up a couple of tops (I see they are both out of stock now, but I also have this fab parrot fabric which goes perfectly too!)

As for the Eleanore pattern? I see myself going on a little bit of jeans-making binge soon! I’ve already pulled out a couple of stretch cottons and denims from my stash and they’ll be heading for the pre-wash soon!!

Find Suzie and her other amazing makes over on Instagram @threadquarters

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The Big Summer Stitch Up!

We are so delighted to announce the inaugural Big Summer Stitch Up taking place on Saturday 14th July 2018 – 11am to 4pm. Come and join lots of other sewing lovers for what we hope will be the South East’s biggest free-to-attend Sewing Meet Up.

As well as meeting and chatting to other sewing lovers, we’ll have lots of other exciting things happening through out the day so here’s all the info – we hope you’ll come along and join us!

 

What is The Big Summer Stitch Up?

It’s a celebration of all things sewing & dressmaking and a chance for us sewists to get together, meet each other, chat as well as look at lovely fabrics and show off your best handmade outfit. We’ll have some sewing related stands (more details to be released soon) and lots more. Here are just a few things we’ve got happening on the day;

  • BBQ & Pimms Bar
  • Best Dressed Competition (Handmade of course!)
  • A brilliant raffle with lots of amazing prizes in aid of Make A Wish UK (Full list of prizes below)
  • Demos from some of our brilliant craft teachers

Of course there’ll also be lots of fabric stroking opportunities upstairs at Sewisfaction and at the Stitchery Do stand. Plus we’re based in the beautiful Holme Grange Craft Village, a quaint independent shopping village with lots of unique shops and crafts, from pottery painting to a handmade gift shop, glass fusing to vintage and upcycled furniture. We’ve also got a yummy cafe which serves food, drinks and amazing cakes throughout the day.

Where are you based and how do I get there?

We’re based at Holme Grange Craft Village in Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3AW. Sewisfaction is based upstairs and will be a hive of activity on the day, and there’ll be other things going on throughout the village. There is ample free parking and we’re very easy to get to from both the M4 and M3 and we’re 5 minutes from Wokingham Train Station in a cab. You can find us on Google Maps here.

I really want to come but I don’t know anyone!

Please don’t worry! Sewing can be a fairly solitary hobby at times which is why it is so great to get out and meet people at these events and everyone is usually super friendly and happy to chat, and remember lots of other people come on their own too. Why not join our Facebook group and post in there to see if anyone else is coming from near you or wants to meet up on the day. Also, Sheona and the Sewisfaction team will be available all day and are so looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. If you’re on your own make sure to pop in and see us first and we have a catch up!

Do I need to register?

You can just turn up on the day, but it would really help us if you could register in advance so we have an idea of how many people to expect – this’ll help us make sure the fizz is well stocked and we’ve got enough goodies for you! You can register on Eventbrite here, it’s completely free.

Timings

The event will be on between 11am – 4pm and you’re welcome to pop in or stay for the whole event! Our BBQ & Pimms bar will open at Midday and the cafe at Holme Grange Craft Village and other shops are open 10am – 5pm.

Lucy Dorothy will be demoing Freemotion Machine Embroidery and Paper Cutting between 11am – 1pm. Steph from Flat102 will be giving you the chance to have a go at Screen Printing, you’ll be able to choose from 3 exclusive designs to print onto a tote bag. Lucy & Steph will be very happy to answer questions too.

Raffle tickets will be available throughout the day and winners will be announced at 4pm.

Pattern & Fabric Swap

Got a pattern or some fabric stashed away unloved? Bring it to our swap and someone else might just love it! If you bring something you can take something away with you – you might find a real gem.

Special Offers

There’ll be 10% off all full price Sewisfaction fabrics throughout the day.

Raffle Prizes

A huge thank you to all who have donated raffle prizes – all proceeds will go to Make A Wish UK who grant wishes for children with serious and life threatening illnesses.

2x FULL EXPERIENCE TICKETS for the HANDMADE FAIR

HAMPER from HOLME GRANGE CRAFT VILLAGE

£50 VOUCHER from SEWISFACTION

3x PDF PATTERN BUNDLE from SEW OVER IT

2m FABRIC & PATTERN of YOUR CHOICE from SEW ME SUNSHINE

NET PRINTER PDF PATTERN PRINTING VOUCHER

TILLY AND THE BUTTONS ONLINE CLASS and STEVIE & SEREN PATTERNS

2m of IKAT FABRIC from DRAPER’S DAUGHTER

5 x PATTERN BUNDLE from LOVE SEWING

£20 GUTHRIE & GHANI VOUCHER

SILVER BUTTON PIN from SILVERDASHERY

PATTERN BUNDLE from TWO STITCHES

100 PERSONALISED, WOVEN LABELS from NOMINETTE LABELS

£100 SUPER STASH BOX from SEW HAYLEY JANE

£30 VOUCHER from FABRIC GODMOTHER

PATCH and PATTERN BUNDLE from NEW CRAFT HOUSE

KEVIN MURPHY PRODUCTS and BLOW DRY from GILDED HAIR

FLORAL BOUQUET from DAIZEY’S DEN

 

We can’t wait to see you at The Big Summer Stitch Up! 

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Me Made May ~ What’s it all about & my pledge

I’ll avoid the inevitable cliches about how fast the year is going and instead rejoice that one of my favourite sewing challenges has arrived again!

Me Made May or #MMM18 on social media, is a sewing challenge run by blogger and dressmaking whizz Zoe of So, Zo What do you know? The idea is a simple one, you make a pledge to wear handmade in May. Many people choose to challenge themselves to wear handmade every single day, others a couple of times a week. The beauty of the challenge is that other than making your pledge, you don’t have any strict rules to stick to, you can interpret it however you like.

If you’re a beginner sewer you might be pledging to just wear some of your me-mades rather than worrying about whether they’re perfect. Those who’ve been sewing a long time may pledge to wear completely handmade outfits every day – it’s totally up to you, it’s meant to stretch you a little bit so use your imagination and sign up on Zoe’s blog here.

 

I’ll be participating on Instagram, either in Stories or on the grid and will try and post weekly round-ups on here – I always find I learn quite a lot about my sewing and the gaps in my wardrobe so am hoping this year will be the same.

‘I, Sheona @sewisfaction, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’18. I endeavour to wear a me-made garment every day and not repeat any item more than 3 times. I also pledge to finish my current in progress garments by the end of the month (currently a Kew Skirt, Kalle Shirt & Rosa Shirtdress) ofMay 2018′ 

 

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Fashion Revolution Week; Thoughts from a fabric shop

This week is Fashion Revolution Week, coinciding with the tragic collapse of the the Rana Plaza factory. The collapse killed 1138 people and injured many more on 24th April 2013, the vast majority of whom were garment workers for well known High Street fashion retailers.

Fashion Revolution describe the movement as pro-fashion, wanting to see it as a force for good. Featured everywhere from The Guardian to Vogue this week, the campaign hashtag #WhoMadeMyClothes has been a force to be reckoned with on social media, with people discussing how positive a move away from fast fashion to an ethical, sustainable industry can benefit everyone.

How though, when you make most of your clothes yourself, can you participate? This is something I’ve been asking myself more often over the last few months, not only as a maker but as the owner of a fabric shop. I feel a growing sense of responsibility on a personal level and from a business perspective – I’m very conscious that just sewing our own clothes isn’t a cure all, but it is a brilliant starting point to build upon. The below are a mixture of personal and business goals that I’m aiming to continue to develop over the coming months and years.

MAKE WITH LOVE, TO LAST

If you’d suggested hand sewing the hem on a circle skirt to me a few years ago, you would’ve laughed at my dour face – why do that when I can whiz it through the machine in 2 minutes? The fact that I spent over two hours a few days ago hand-stitching not only a full hem but an entire waistband is pretty demonstrative of how my attitude has changed.

If I am going to put any time at all into making something, I want it to be finshed to the best possible standard, so that every time I wear it (heck every time I look at it) I feel proud and love wearing it. The pieces I make with care, finish properly and enjoy wearing are the ones I will keep in my wardrobe for as long as possible. I enjoy sewing french seams and using beautiful quality fabrics, and I am learning to embrace slow sewing – even though I now have less time than ever!

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy whizzing something up on my overlocker, but they’ll predominantly be high quality knits, properly finished and worn again and again and again. Quick and simple doesn’t mean cheap and disposable.

To prolong the life of my clothes, I wash almost everything on a 30 degree wash and advise our customers to do the same where possible.

REFASHION & RECYCLE

Repairing a dropped hem, turning some jeans into shorts, a bit of visible mending; all simple but effective ways to get more wear from our wardrobes. For me, I am going to make sure I get through my work in progress pile and see what can be refashioned from those makes that really don’t fit or no longer have a place in my life. It could be another garment, or as the case with a lovely Liberty skirt one of my students bought in to show me, it could become a tote bag or gift for someone. If there’s really nothing that can be done to save or repurpose it, it’ll go in the charity bag to hopefully find a new home.

We’re focussing more on recycling in the shop and studio too. Every last scrap of fabric gets put in the scraps bin and people can fill a bag with as much as they like – it’s popular with quilters, crafters and schools but there’s definitely more we can do here – it’s easy for bits of fabric to creep into our main waste and we’re going to work really hard to make sure we’re reducing our contribution to textile landfill.

#WHOMADEMYFABRIC

When the answer to #whomademyclothes is “I did”, then the next logical question has to be who made my fabric? As a business I strive to ensure we work with reputable suppliers and source ethically produced fabrics.

Predominantly our fabrics are manufactured in Europe and the US with a smaller percentage coming from the Far East – usually Japan, where the ethical treatment and standards for garment workers tends to be higher. #whomademyfabric isn’t an easy question to answer, because it depends on how long the supply chain is and how much information we’re able to access, but it is something I ask of all our suppliers and am trying to ensure we know the answer most of the time. Simply stocking an organic cotton for example, doesn’t mean it’s been ethically produced – just that certain chemicals aren’t used in it’s growth or production. We’ll continue to make sure we’re asking the question and being as frank and transparent as possible with our customers.

EDUCATE & ENCOURAGE

Spreading the joy of sewing is something I am obviously passionate about and teaching more and more people how to sew is key to bringing this somewhat neglected skill back to the forefront of ours and future generations. Seeing friends who have never sewn before take an interest in learning one end of a sewing machine from another is beyond encouraging and watching children master skills they’d never even thought of before is a selfish joy, but one that I hope continuous to spread. Perhaps we could all invite a friend over and help them get to grips with a sewing machine? It’s sure to be a good giggle if nothing else!

CHAMPION WOMEN

Apparently 80% of global garment workers are women, many of them underpaid and poorly treated. My hope is that Sewisfaction will continue to champion women, working with a growing group of talented, amazing women who are all treated fairly and paid well so that collectively we can have some impact no matter how small.

 

We are far from perfect, there are lots of ways we can do more and I know it’s something I want to keep learning about and trying to improve wherever we can. Like anything, small changes make a big difference. Is the Fashion Revolution something you’re conscious of? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear what you’re doing and any suggestions you have for us.

Find out more about the campaign here.