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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

How to alter Simplicity 8391 to make Palazzo pants and a darted printed top

A short blog post following on from before.

This is a continuation of my previous blog post Sew yourself Cropped pants and a matching top

The last post was an embroidered pair of crop trousers with a top featuring the same embroidery. I appreciate that some of you have no desire to embroider by machine or hand so this is another idea - Block Printing. 

I wish to thank the delightful Fiona from Hobbycraft in Preston who advised me on what I needed to purchase and how to use them! I have never done block printing before so her advice was invaluable. Hobbycraft Thank you Fiona.

 Everything is the same as in the previous post
All of the machines, zip, thread and habberdashery etc are from Contact Jaycotts

The Simplicity pattern is also from Jaycotts Simplicity 8391

The fabric is from MinervaCrafts I am just going to direct you to their section on cotton/linen fabrics as there is an enormous choice of colours, designs and prices Cotton Linen blend fabrics

The first step was to lengthen the sleeves slightly, I just added four inches to the length but some of this was taken up with the hem as I didn't add the sleeve band as previous. Then I did some simple printing around the edge.

Instead of embroidery I thought that I would attempt some block printing. I have never printed on fabric before so I was a bit nervous! The fabric paints have to be ironed with a high temperature to fix them, so make sure that your fabric can stand the heat, and do use a pressing cloth.

These are the blocks I bought from Hobbycraft and some Dylon fabric paints. They are easy to use but do practise first.
I had a comment recently from somebody who doesn't like my placement of embelishments. That's fine, the whole point of sewing your own clothes is that they can be as individual as you are and if you want to embroider yellow flowers all over your red skirt go ahead! We are making things to please ourselves, and so be creative, it's how we learn.
Another point is that I always try to keep my blog posts as simple as possible so that even a total beginner can make something to be proud of. I am a novice as far as machine embroidery goes too, so hopefully we will learn and progress together.

I made an alteration to the neckline of the blouse. Instead of the gathers I measured tiny darts all the way across the front, manipulating them slightly so that they still fit the neckband. I am quite happy with the effect.

The block printing on my trousers was done after I had stitched the side seams and I was careful to make sure that the design aligned on both legs.
My design is rather amateurish, but I am not an artist, you I am certain can do much better! This is the beauty of holiday clothes, they are an opportunity to try something different, new colours, new styles. Things always look different in the sun!

All in all I am delighted with the way this outfit has turned out. Yes, it's in Navy Blue again, but I did have rather a lot of it which needed using!

Thinks just a very short blog post, I hope that it inspires you to have a go at doing some different embelishments on your clothes.

Thank you for reading this


I made a short video explaining more about what I did to alter the pattern
The link to the YouTube video is here in case it does not open automatically My YouTube Video

Thanks to Jaycotts for the fabulous machinery and sewing equipment and a special Thank you to the delightful Fiona from Hobbycraft.

Angela  x

#palazzo #trousers #sewangelicthreads #sewing #sew #cottonlinen #blockprinting #printingfabric #sewingblog

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Australia On Tour

Jaycotts have recently hosted an exclusive event  with Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery Australia, and Brother Sewing Machines.

Sweet Pea were invited by Brother UK to do a roadshow in the UK and Germany and we were very fortunate that Jaycotts was chosen as one of the few locations to host an event promoting their incredible in the hoop embroidery designs

This photo was taken by Marion Barnett

First of all let me introduce you to the team. On the far left is Holly, and next to her is Allison. Allison is actually the creator of Sweet Pea Embroidery, about four years ago she was looking for something new and exciting to make and as she couldn't find anything she started to produce free-standing lace earrings which she sold on market stalls.
So this is a very new company.
Next to Allison is Annette and on the far right is Emma.

Emma is relatively new to the company , she only learned how to digitise a year ago, and  it was she who gave the demonstrations. Here she is at the beginning of the day, which was very early morning, preparing her fabrics and threads ready for the first demonstration.

Sweet Pea are unique in that they specialise in " in the hoop" embroidery, and the photographs on this page show examples of the 500+ designs they now produce and sell.

This form of embroidery is different to other forms of machine embroidery where a part made article is embroidered and then made into a garment or other item. With this method the actual piece of work is either fully or partially completed without removing it from the hoop!

The designs are available to purchase directly from them online so do look at the
 Sweet Pea website But very soon a very limited number of places will be selling some of their exclusive designs instore.  More exciting news about that at a later date!

It should be mentioned that the staff at Jaycotts, Melanie from Brother,  and the Sweet Pea team all worked incredibly hard to get the store ready. Brother sewing machines needed preparing, tables moved, and the exhibits prepared and displayed. It is rumoured that Melanie was still cutting fabric out in her hotel room at 2.30am , and I don't think Alex got to go home at all! So thanks must go to everyone for the tremendous work done to prepare for this event.

So, what designs can be made? Well the answer is almost anything! Toys,table runners, bags with zippers, quilts and much more. Even the fluffy teddy is an in the hoop design

Following the continued trend for embroidered clothes, don't you just love this Toucan and Hibiscus embroidery set? It is available to purchase and download from the website Toucan and Hibiscus Embroidery design this is one of the few designs done on an actual garment

Sweet Pea Designs support a number of  Charities,and produce some designs where all the proceeds to directly to a specific cause Sweet Pea supported Charities

All proceeds from the sales of the Duck purse go to UNICEF to purchase water pumps for people who have to walk miles each day to collect water. This was their first charity design.

The second one is the Worry Monster, the proceeds from this design go to World Vision to purchase classroom furniture in third world countries.  The idea of the worry monster is that children can write down their anxiety or fear and the monster will eat it away. (Of course a parent will remove the worry, but anybody with a young child will see the reasoning behind this idea)

 Another charity  design is this Owl mug rug. The proceeds from sales of this design will go to the Fred Hollows foundation. Every time Sweet Pea reach $250 AUD they will be able to restore sight to 10 people. So isn't this a worthwhile cause.

With all these designs Sweet Pea will show records that will verify that they are doing what they say they will. 

 The final design shown is a cute mug rug with an Owl appliqué for the 4x4 5x5 6x6 and 7x7 hoops. 

The mugrug requires only one hooping and it is completely finished requiring only a few centimetres of hand sewing to close where the mugrug is turned out the right way. It is a great design for anyone new to this type of embroidery.

You will notice that a lot of the Bags and Purses contain pockets holding soft toys. These are fabulous for girls and boys as they include dolls, mermaids,  cars , fire engines and lots more! I love this Australian themed bag don't you? The toys are fully removable and are meant to be played with.

There are a lot of designs for quilts and quilting blocks Quilts and quilting blocks as well as table runners and place mats. The colours used are amazing, but your design will be unique too as you can choose your own fabrics and block placements.

One of my favourite designs is this table runner, Cactus table runner. It is one of their latest designs.
You will find table wear designs for all the different seasons and holidays. There are some gorgeous Christmas designs for example

For all these designs you need an embroidery Machine. Sweet pea recommend Brother machines.

There is a wide choice of embroidery machines at Jaycotts and your choice is dependant on whether you want an embroidery only machine or a machine which does both sewing and embroidery. These machines  sew normally but easily switch to an embroidery machine at the touch of a button.

Of course there is also the incredible Brother Innov-is XV " Dream machine" which is thoroughly amazing.

Take a look at the machines on offer at Jaycotts Brother. Sewing and embroidery machines and for more information, or to arrange a visit where you can try a few out give them a call on 01244 394099 during office hours.

One of the more popular designs for gifts and fundraising are soft toys and little purses which can all be found on the Sweet Pea web site. Yes, you are allowed to sell the finished design once you have completed it.

Some of the comments I heard from people who have used the designs are that the instructions are very clear and easy to follow with pictures for every stage.

In addition, the web page Sweet Pea gives tutorials on a wide range of subjects including articles on using Leather, sewing with Metallic thread, thread breakages, choosing the right stabiliser and much more.  You will also find details of the monthly sew along on this page 

Another comment is that the designs are a very good price and that there is plenty of choice.
Kathie was one of their very first UK customers, she found them by accident by doing an internet search for embroidery designs and since then she has remained a loyal fan.

Sweet pea have a terrific Facebook page by the way, with a massive following
Sweet Pea on Facebook  you can show your own sweet pea makes and enter into their competitions. There is a monthly sew-along with prizes to be won.
There is also a quilt block of the month.

One of the things I love most about the designs is how the zipper is stitched in the hoop too! I only wish zipper insertion was this simple for clothes!

I also liked the demonstrations given by Emma who made these zippered purses. People were transfixed by her knowledge and expertise and friendly manner.

She created the fabric using scraps of lace and ribbon (you could even use cellophane apparently) She placed lots of  little pieces of lace and ribbon on top of a base fabric , covered it with a wash away stabiliser and stippled all over it to hold the pieces in place.

This is the design being stippled on the embroidery machine. Which means that a lot of random stitches are being worked to bind everything together as one fabric .
Notice that embroidery machines are not like sewing machines in that an embroidery machine just gets on with it whilst you sit and watch, you only need to touch it to change a thread or to move to the next stage

Emma drew a large crowd around her as she gave other ideas on how to create a unique effect. She told us that she has seen people use sweet wrappers and even a crisp packet effectively!

This is one of the beautiful finished designs.

There is a whole range of designs on most topics you can think of, I like the TEA TIME
designs where you can find pot towell holders, coasters, cushion, table runners and more.

This is the lovely Holly. On the day she was downloading designs which people had purchased onto a disc to make it easier to start using the design once they got it home.
There are full instructions on the web site on How to download our designs which need to be followed carefully.

If you purchase a design from the web site it is important to remember that you cannot just transfer the whole thing to a pen drive and stick it into your embroidery machine

Each of the design comprises of a full set of instructions which you can either print or open on your computer and follow them off there. The instructions are very comprehensive and easy to follow with photographs and text to show you exactly what you need to do step by step
There are options for different hoop sizes and English or German.

The part which needs to go onto a pen drive is marked "pes" file. Once you have found that click on it, and you will find that it will be in the correct format for your Brother Embroidery Machine.

The pes. file shows on my computer as a blue flower but that is only because it was opened in the Brother PE design 10 software which I use to digitise my own designs and to make alterations to others.

The instruction booklet  for each design is in colour and you really cannot go wrong if you follow it exactly. It is very comprehensive so you may wish to keep it on your lap top if you have room for it next to your embroidery machine. Otherwise you can make a printed copy.

I have put a pen drive into my lap top ready to receive the embroidery design. I keep my embroidery files in a folder on my laptop and they are also backed up on my pen drive.
I have a separate folder for the Sweet Pea designs on both .

The embroidery designs are shown on my PE design software but if you do not use it then there is no need to panic - you do not need it. Simply open the design from your downloads .

This is the design I have chosen just for an example to show you, it is called Pretty House Applique.

What you need to do next is to send your Embroidery design to your USB media stick  ie your pen drive.

It is very important that you do not try to open any pes. designs on your computer.
simply drag or right click the pes.files and transfer them to your pen drive.

I am only able to open them on my lap top because I have the corect software which enables me to do it.

When you have transferred the file to your pen drive insert it into your embroidery machine.

The icon on the right of the above picture will appear and so you need to click on it to open it.

You then need to scroll through your designs until you find the one you want

Once you have found your design on the LCD screen, click on it and it will appear on the LCD  editing screen. This is where you would make any minor changes to your embroidery design.


Your design is now ready to embroider. You will notice that the screen shows how long it will take to complete the design, the thread colour order and the area which is currently being embroidered etc.

At the moment all the designs are only available to purchase through their web site, but soon a few select outlets will be announcing that they have some designs to purchase in their own stores. These will come ready on a disc so there will be no necessity to download these particular designs from the internet.

I hope the photographs of just some of the Sweet Pea designs have inspired you to want to have a go yourself.

I have made a couple myself and the process is fascinating and easy to follow. I especially like the zippered purses - this is the easiest zipper insertion I have ever come across. Do use a plastic zip though as it needs to be trimmed and besides a metal one will damage your machine.

Jaycotts was transformed into a riot of colour and everyone who came was totally impressed with the unique and special Sweet Pea ladies and their beautiful designs.

Thank you to Allison, Holly, Annette and Emma for including Jaycotts in your tour. Thank you to Melanie from Brother for arranging it all and Thank you to the Jaycotts family - and I include all the staff here because they are one big happy family - for giving up your time and space for this incredible event.

For enquiries about any products - sewing and embroidery machines, haberdashery, patterns and anything else sewing related  Contact Jaycotts via the online contact form by telephone or by calling into their Chester showroom.

Lastly a huge thank you from me to everyone mentioned for including me in this very special event.


Sew yourself some Croppped Pants and a matching Top

This is a post using Simplicity 8391

This is such an easy outfit to make, with or without embroidery. It is suitable for beginners upwards.

Skills learned

Centred Zip
Positioning of embroidery/applique 

When I first saw this pattern I wasn't sure if it would suit me or not. Wrong! I decided as soon as I tried it on that I love this outfit.It is perfect for holidays, flattering and easy to sew. I like the 3/4 length wide trousers, they are cool to wear in the sun - I like to cover up mostly and I want garments which are easy to wear and light to pack.
I have paired the outfit with a pair of navy wedges.

The pattern is by Simplicity and is available to purchase from Jaycotts Simplicity 8391  In the envelope are patterns for a top, skirt, pants and shorts, everything you need for your holiday in fact.
The fabric is from Minerva Crafts and is a linen look Cotton, Linen look Cotton fabric This fabric is cool to wear and very easy to sew.
The pattern shows the garments made up in cotton trimmed with eyelet fabric or lace, but I wanted to use embroidery on mine - of course!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Vogue V9004 Fitted tops with seam detail made in Linen fabric

This is a pattern review of the very flattering Vogue 9004.

I have such a lot of fabric in my stash at home and I was thinking about it and came to the conclusion that although constantly buying new fabrics is fun, it can become an obsession. I have so many beautiful fabrics already, each one chosen because I love something about it, be it the colour or design, so I have made a decision to use some of those wonderful fabrics and not to buy any more until my supply has seriously reduced in size!
So, in my fabric collection there is (or rather was) a collection of pure linen of varying weights.
This top pattern from Vogue  is perfect for using some of the smaller pieces.

The trousers are from the same pattern as my navy ones in previous blog posts.
Palazzo pants These garments are all for my holiday and can easily be mixed and matched

I made both versions of the top, adding sleeves to them but if it your preference for sleeveless tops then instructions are included in the pattern.
This version has A-symetrical seams and I just love it.
The trick with putting together any garment, especially one like this where the placement is slightly out of the ordinary is to transfer every single pattern marking onto your fabric. Otherwise the task will quickly become irritating as you try to figure out where each piece goes - pattern marking saves a lot of time!
My favourite way to mark fabric is with  Tacking thread. Tacking thread is something which you may not have in your work box, you may think you don't need it but think again. The fibres are rough being made out of short cotton fibres so it stays put until you remove it. Normal sewing thread is slippery and is likely to fall out before you get the chance to use the markings! It is very affordable, so do add it to your order.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Vogue 1246 Designer shirt by Lynn Mizono in Linen Fabric

 This is a Pattern review for this fabulous designer shirt/ jacket by the American designer Lynn Mizono.

I am delighted with this fantastic Vogue pattern and with the whole outfit

The pattern is from Jaycotts and can be purchased here Vogue 1246. The fabric is quite old and I have been longing to use it for ages but never could decide what to do with it. I thought it perfect for this jacket though, and even though there wasn't enough fabric for the entire garment I decided to go ahead anyway. It is an embroidered linen with flower applique on it, purchased as I said several years ago.There was just enough to cut out the main body of the jacket and a small piece was left over for the contrast panel on the top. I had another piece of linen in the same weight but plain. This went into making the sleeves and collar and the trousers. My final piece of linen went into making the bulk of the top. It was a bit of trial and error with pattern placement bit in the end the fabrics go together very well.

In case you missed my last post I am trying very hard to reduce my stock of fabrics rather than just have them sat there gathering dust. After all I chose them because I wanted to wear them!

I am enjoying working with Vogue patterns immensely, they are challenging with plenty of pattern pieces but very satisfying to work on.  When working with a pattern which has little or no symetry you are most likely working on a single layer of fabric so you need to find somewhere large enough to cut out. I did manage to use my dining table with a bit of judicous folding!

The other thing you need to be aware of is that you must be meticulous about transferring every single pattern marking onto your fabric or you will become muddled and it will be an unpleasant experience. If your fabric has no obvious right or wrong side then you need to mark the back of each piece too. Preparation is key to stress free sewing no matter what pattern you are using.

The top is exactly the same as in my previous blog post, so for instructions and link to order the pattern and supplies from Jaycotts go to this link Vogue fitted linen tops.  On this post you will also find details of tacking thread and other methods of transferring pattern markings onto your fabric.

There are quite a few corners on this garment and the points need to be sharp. So this is how I do it. I trim the corner on the inside, bearing in mind that linen frays so I don't want to trim right up to the stitching, I want to cut away just enough to remove the bulk. I pressed the seams open as far as I could, A sleeve pressing roll is so useful for this, Jaycotts have a fabulous range of pressing tools so take a look, Pressing tools If you do not have any yet I would definitely start with a sleeve roll ,a sleeve board and a pressing cloth. You will be using them for years to come so the initial expense is money well spent. I also love the pressing Mitt and the finger guards.

You also need a point turner in your basic sewing kit, Point turner again this is an item which you will be using in many years to come.

The back of the jacket has ties which can be fiddly to make. Not with this nifty gadget though! The Prym Turning Set makes strap making so easy, you will be thinking of lots of ways to use it!

The sleeves are folded and held in place with buttons.  I chose some cream ones with a gold border but you choose some really special ones to match your fabric . Jaycotts have some very pretty buttons, I particularly like the ones on the first row of this page, but they have others equally as nice. Buttons. My buttons are small so I put two on the front, one buttoning to the inside and two on each sleeve.

I know that you are interested in what sewing machines I use.
My main machine is the Bernina 350PE Bernina 350 PE and it is a fabulous machine. It is robust, reliable and has a wide choice of stitches including decorative stitches and Fonts. I really love and appreciate this machine.
I also have a Brother sewing machine , which is the machine I carry around if I am giving a sewing lesson, or if I want to sit at the dining table for a change.
Brother innov-is 15
Both of these are great machines and come in at different prices. Choosing a sewing machine is something that should be given thought. My only bit of advice would be to choose something you can grow into as you become more proficient - and you will!
You also need to choose one within your budget. Jaycotts know all there is to know about sewing machines so don't be afraid to telephone or call in and ask for advice. They will guide you through the different machines with their various functions and prices so that you end up with a machine which suits you perfectly. Contact details are at the end of the post
Although I did not use my overlocker except for the trousers seams it is by Brother and I find it a dream to use. It copes with all fabrics and is easy to thread. It is the Brother 3034D overlocker. Again though there is plenty of choice at Jaycotts.

I also made trousers, these are the same as on this blog post. Palazzo trousers

As I was saying earlier I didn't have enough of any of the fabrics to make a full garment, except for the trousers, so I had to mix them up. Luckily they are all in the same colour palette so blend together really well

All of my seams are French seams. I have a tutorial all about seams so take a look, it really is a useful seam to be able to do. All about seams. The sleeve head is neatened with a strip of fabric rather like a Hong Kong seam - details of how to do it is also on the post.
There are no raw edges anywhere.

The sleeve was only meant to have one button folding the upper edge upwards, but I didn't like having the other corner flapping loosely so I folded that inwards and added a button to hold it in place.

The sleeve fabric was plain so I did some random freestyle embroidery on my Bernina sewing machine purely to echo the design on the main fabric. I cut out a couple of flowers too and appliqued them onto the sleeves. It just tied the fabrics together nicely.

You tube video    You tube

This is a short video clip of the jacket. If you receive my posts by email it may not appear in which case just visit the post on my blog and you will be able to view it there.

I am really pleased with this outfit. It is very different but extremely wearable, it's a great addition to my holiday wardrobe.

For any product information contact Jaycotts on  01244 394099 or fill in the contact form and they will get back to you on the next working day Contact Jaycotts

Thank you for reading this post. Have a look at your fabrics and see what you could combine to make an outfit.


#jaycotts #sewing #sewingmachine #overlocker #Vogue #Vogue1246 #sewingblogger #sewangelicthreads #fabric #linenfabric #tutorial