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Friday, 18 August 2017

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!

If you are adding embroidery by hand or machine, or applique, you need to position it correctly onto your garment.
I chose a rope design which I wanted to add to the top and the trouser pockets. This is a very simple design from Ann the some of the designs are free, others you need to pay for. Those of  you with a brother embroidery machine will know that brother have designs to download in addition to those stored on the machine itself.
I want to have a design running the length of the pocket so my first step was to measure the length needed and choose my design to fit ,tweaking the actual size on my machine settings.
you will notice that I have marked the cutting line but not finished cutting out.This just makes it easier to hoop.

mark the centre of the pocket and then mark where you want the centre of the embroidery to sit. I use a hole strengthener for this as they are easy to see and easy to remove.
I also take my tailors chalk and a ruler and gently mark a line parallel to the edge so that I could position the embroidery in line with the edge.

There are a lot of stabilisers to choose from. For this project I used GUNOLD Gunold easy tear stabiliser  with a temporary spray adhesive.
The area to be embroidered is to small to fill the hoop so I took great care to ensure that it was firmly attached to the stabiliser. I used a few links at the very edge in addition to the spray glue.
I used the embroidery hoop guide to position my fabric in exactly the right position, with my fabric markings matching the lines on the guide exactly. The circle is placed exact centre.

Once my machine is set up I can check that the needle is in the correct position and if it is the circle can be removed and the embroidery done. If not then the fabric or needle position needs moving a bit until you are satisfied that the embroidery will be in the correct position.
I chose a Brother Country thread 000 which is an off-white. Brother EmbroideryThreads  There are many more colours in stock than there are on the web site  so do ask if you have a particular shade in mind. Or better still call in for a visit!

I made sure that I altered the direction of my design so that it faced in the correct direction on both pockets.

I then did the whole procedure again and embroidered the sleeves.
Remove the stabiliser from all the pieces when the designs are done.

I am not going to talk too much about constructing the top as it really is simple to put together. The instructions and very clear. I cut out a size 12 which fit me quite loosely, perfect for summer garments. Please do take your own measurements and compare them with the pattern envalope . There is a really great size guide for patterns on Jaycotts web site Size guide for patterns
This photograph is showing the neck band being pinned in place before sewing.

To make the little loop which closes the back I used this fabulous product, it makes turning looks so easy. It is the Prym Turning set and I promise you that you will love it and will be looking for excuses to add loops to lots of garments.
Finish the top according to the instructions, but if you get stuck let me know and I will help you.

I want to concentrate on trousers because so many people are scared of them. I chose this pattern because the trousers are loose fitting and easy to construct. You may need to merge the pattern sizes from one size to another if for example you have size 14 waist and 16 hips etc. This is perfectly permissable and will ensure a great fit. I like my waist band to have a bit of room in it but I like a close fit over the hips. Luckily my pattern fit me with no adjustments but I feel that a lot of people may want to extend the waist line a bit, so do cut out a size bigger than you think and when it comes to fitting just take the pants in at the hips which is easy to do.

The first stage is to attach the front yokes to the trousers and press and turn them to the inside. This forms the front of the pocket.
Then the pocket lining is stitched in place. I used  my overlocker on all seams.

The pocket is now finished, it just needs a final press to turn the facing properly to the inside. Any top stitching should be done before the pocket facing is stitched in place.

The pocket bag has been sewn and overlocked. This strengthens the pocket and helps to ensure holes do not appear. If you do not have an overlocker then stich twice around the pocket bag and then zigzag around the edge.

Stitch the front leg to the back leg and then stitch the centre front and back seam. For strength once again double stitch the seam and then overlock or zigzag.

The facing has been interfaced with a medium to heavy weight iron-on cotton interfacing.Vilene cotton interfacing. It is important that you use the correct interfacing. A waistband needs to be firm enough not to crumple during wear. I prefer to use a cotton or a woven interfacing as they move with the fabric and give a good result. If you use a very cheap interfacing the result will not be so good and you will not be happy with how it wears. It is false economy to use a cheap interfacing for garments. See the whole range here Interfacings. When attaching interfacing use a damp pressing cloth with your iron and press the iron on one place, lift and move it to the next until you have attached all the interfacing. Don't slide your iron over the fabric.
More about pressing later in this post

One of the things I am told people hate sewing are invisible zips. They do require a bit of practice but once you master them you will be delighted with the result.
There are alternatives though and for this garment I am using an ordinary zip. There are different ways of inserting it and I am going to show you how to insert a centred zip. This is easy!
First of all choose a good quality zip in a colour close to your fabric YKK zips.
Suppose you cannot find the correct length? Did you know that they can be shortened very easily? Measure the length you need and go over that point a few times with several rows of machine stitching on top of each other. Then cut the end off below the stitching . And that's it.

Then tack the seam together using a tacking thread. Tacking thread is preferable to normal thread for this purpose, it is made from cotton and the fibres are rough which means that the tacking will stay firmly in place until you pull it out. Do try it, it really does make a huge difference Gutterman Tacking Thread
Once tacked press the seam open.

On the wrong side pin and tack the zip over the seam. The zip should be face down and the teeth centred over the seam opening. Make sure that the waistband seam matches on both sides.

Using a normal zipper foot, which should have come with your machine, stitch in a rectangle from the top of the zip, across the bottom and up the other side. You will probably need to release  the tacking in the seam at the top to be able to stitch past the zip pull. If you have not got a zip foot, Jaycotts have them. This is the foot for the Brother range of machines Brother adjustable zipper and piping foot if you need another brand then contact Jaycotts who will help you to choose the right one for your machine Contact details below.

That's my zip in place. Press it using a pressing cloth taking care not to melt the plastic teeth. If your zip does not finish exactly at the top of your trousers, or if your zip opens easily (YKK zips stay closed until you open them) you will need to add a hook and eye to close the very top.
Then attach the waistband facing. And press.

I top stitched both the top and the bottom of the waistband for extra strength and to hold it in place.

All there is left to do now is to finish the hem. Try the pants on and decide how long they need to be. 3/4 length trousers like these should be slightly above the ankle.
I used my overlocker ( Overlockers ) to finish the edge of the trousers.
Using a seam measure, this is the one I use, Clover seam gauge measure the depth of the hem all the way round and press the edge taking care not to scotch the fabric.
I use the fabulous little iron from Prym. Prym mini Steam iron. Don't let it's size fool you, this has everything you need in an iron and performs every bit as well as your large iron! If you are a person who takes a travel iron on holiday, then this iron is definitely for you.

You also need a pressing cloth. This is essential if you are to avoid scorching or otherwise marking your fabric. Prym pressing cloth I do like this one as it is transparent and makes it so easy to see what is going on underneath. Another essential are these finger guards Finger guards which help you to hold the fabric close to the iron without burning your fingers.

To finish the hem I decided to do a few rows of pintucks. I am always looking for nice finishing touches, it makes any garment look more original.
If you want to do corded pintucks then I have a blog post which shows you how to do them - My white lace pintucked blouse do take a look

You will need a pintuck foot and twin needles. Both are shown on this page Pintuck foot and twin needles
If you do not have a pintuck foot then you can obtain a similar result using just a twin needle, but take care to align your stitches up. The pintuck foot does make it easier.

After completing the first row along the bottom of each trouser leg continue with as many rows of pintucks as you want, it is better to have  pintucks along the whole depth of the hem to hold it neatly in place. You can see the slightly raised effect of the pintucks on the photo above.

These pintucks look so lovely don't you think? They add a bit of interest to a plain edge in any garment

Have you ever wanted to press a tiny part of a garment easily? I wanted to give the pocket a final press but did not want to leave an imprint on the fabric behind. To solve this I used this pressing glove Pressing glove which is so useful for this purpose and is also invaluable for pressing collars and cuffs and other small areas when you don't want to get your ironing board out.

This is my finished outfit. It looks equally great with the top tucked in or left out. The neutral embroidery means that each piece can be worn with other items. It can be worn as a casual outfit for sightseeing with flat sandals  or dressed up with heels for lunch. 

It is extremely comfortable to wear and the fabric being cotton is cool for warmer climates.

I did a slightly tongue in cheek video which shows you the outfit being worn. It reminds me of my much younger days when I did a spot of modelling, but that's another story!  The link to it is My YouTube video if the video does not show.

Jaycotts can be contacted here Contact Jaycotts. And reached by telephone during opening hours on 02244 394099  
Don't forget too that you can visit the showroom and test run the machines before you buy.

Thank you for reading this post. Please contact me if there is anything you would like me to clarify and don't forget to contact Jaycotts with any product enquiries and to place your order. Have you sent for your free catalogue yet? It's my favourite catalogue to browse through when having my morning coffee.


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Pattern Hacking Simplicity 8376

This is my interpretation of Simplicity 8376, and how I turned the pattern from an ordinary top into something unique and special. A post 

Watch my YouTube video on this link here:- My YouTube video

  DEFINITION – Pattern Hack [pat-ern hack]: to modify or write a sewing pattern in a skillful or clever way.

I read a lot of blogs and some people think that if they have merely taken the hem up by  two inches they have created their own pattern hack. In my opinion a good pattern hack totally changes the appearance of the original design to make it individual and very different . It could be anything from creating a different sleeve or adding a lace overlay but  it has to significantly change the appearance of the original garment, so with that in mind I decided to have a go myself.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Appliqué made on my Brother Innov-is NV 800E Embroidery machine

It's so easy to use your embroidery machine from Jaycotts to applique garments, bags and household items.

My Brother Innov-is NV 800E     Brother Innov-is 800E from not only does beautiful embroidery and makes free standing lace but it also creates applique easily and quickly. In other words this one machine does everything you need to embelish your sewing project. Or indeed a ready made item!
I am currently making a red jersey top ( watch out for it in my next blog post)  and wanted a simple embelishment to add to it. A small appliqué flower was the answer.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Sewing Workshop ZONA Jacket . A MCBN post

This is the Zona Jacket, a pattern by The Sewing Workshop with fabric from MinervaCrafts. A Minerva Crafts Blogger Network Post

Once in a while something unexpected and magical happens, and that’s how I feel about this pattern. On first glance the pattern envelope shows a drawing of a rather ordinary looking jacket, but once sewing commences it quickly becomes apparent how complex and interesting this pattern is. I would say that if you have some sewing experience and if you are prepared to follow the pattern instructions and not go “off piste” then fantastic results are very achievable.  Do include the pleated back and resist the plain back as it is mainly the back view which adds magic to this garment.........

To read the rest of the post go to:-The Zona Jacket by The Sewing Workshop

#jacket #linen #MCBN #TheSewingWorkshop #Zona #topstitching #BiasBinding #elephants #patterncutting

Saturday, 8 July 2017

What I wear on holiday. Packing for all weathers!

People keep asking me what I wear on holiday and if I take only me-made clothes.
The answer is that it depends on where I am visiting. So here are a few examples of what I take with me.
The one thing which annoys me now is that cabin baggage has mostly been reduced to 5k. A good portion of that for me is taken up with necessary medication and my electronic devices. I used to enjoy short breaks where the cabin allowance was 10k or sometimes more. The hold luggage has now been reduced to 15k mostly too. When I am in holiday I like to wear all my nice clothes, so I have to admit that I pay extra and then I can take 20k.

My last holiday was to Austria which is somewhere I absolutely love. The climate is wonderful but it can change in an instant so you do need to be prepared.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

How to sew The Serendipity Willow Tunic A MCBN post

Pretty Flamingo Tunic Top

I love the combination of tunic top and cropped pants for summer and I was therefore delighted to have been given this pattern and fabric  by MinervaCrafts for a blogger network post.
Embroidery is so fashionable at the moment too, and so are Flamingoes so what better way to adorn this tunic than with embroidered Flamingoes? My embroidery machine is the Brother Innov-is 800E from . Do look at this machine Brother Innov-is 800E and the other embroidery machines in the range and give Jaycotts a ring to discuss which machine best suits your needs. The number is 01244 394099

 The post itself is on this link. Serendipity Willow Tunic
So do fly over there right now and read all about my experience with this rather lovely sewing pattern ( and the near disaster I almost had!)

Thanks for reading this


#tunic #embroidery #embroiderymachine #chambray #flamingo #jaycotts

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Easy sewing challenge, try adding a lining to a Simplicity dress

Lining a dress

There is nothing quite like a fully lined dress. It feels special and it looks special. Adding a lining to a dress makes it feel wonderful, it hangs better, it lasts longer and when you choose the right type of lining it swishes when you walk. As a bonus your dress will look just as good on the inside as it does on the outside.
It is definitely something which you must do for a special occasion dress but why not line a day dress and see how wonderful you feel when you wear it.
This pattern includes a lined bodice and if you choose the straight skirt a lining is included. It is however very easy to add a lining to the full skirt version

I chose a bold printed linen and cotton mix fabric which is widely available. This particular fabric was from Abakhan Fabrics. Linen on its own creases badly but the addition of cotton helps to prevent it happening quite so much. Other fabric choices are cotton lawn and viscose. Whatever you choose for this full skirted version it needs to drape well. If you are going to make the dress with the straight skirt then your fabric choices are almost endless, why not try a brocade for a cocktail dress or a slub silk for a wedding?
I used the same fabric to line the bodice and sleeves for coolness and comfort but I chose a good quality lightweight woven lining fabric in Navy for the skirt. This gives a swing to the skirt and makes that delightful swish as you walk.
You can use lining fabric for the bodice but remember that it will not be as cool to wear unless you pick a lining fabric made from natural fibres such as a pure silk or a cotton voile.

The pattern is by Simplicity and it is New look 6447 available from Jaycotts on this link  NewLook 6447
There are options for a wide skirt or a pencil skirt and cap sleeves or sleeveless.
I cut out size 12 and it did fit well. I have a narrow back and needed to make a small adjustment during fitting, more about that later.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

An easy make summer dress in printed Batik. Why not sew two?

A blog post

I have been longing to get into my summer clothes here at home and now that summer is here I want some quick easy makes that I can wear in a day or two.I know people who cringe at the thought of wearing summer clothes, assuming wrongly that the sun means baring skin. Not so, some of the coolest clothes to wear are those which offer some protection from the sun. My usual summer clothes consist of pedal pushers and tunic tops, but I guess that's more out of habit than anything else, so I am making myself some dresses.

I made two versions. The red one is in an African printed cotton and the dark blue is Hand printed Batik. The red one has a fully lined bodice.

 Fabric choices

For fabric choices  look no further than Minerva Fabrics.
MinervaCrafts have an amazing collection of batik fabrics do look at the choice on the link to their website. Batik Fabric
The price range is excellent and I am always impressed with the quality, so do take a look

This is a very pretty dress by Simplicity, available from Jaycotts Simplicity S8294 it is a vintage style dress with the option of having a collar, waist tabs and short cap sleeves. There are also two skirt options so this pattern does offer value for money.
I made a size 12 and it needed no adjustments. You will find that your pattern size differs from your commercial dress size, please do not be alarmed, just make sure that you cut out the size which most closely resembles your body measurements. If your top and bottom halves differ then this pattern allows you to cut out relevant sizes for your top half, and a larger or smaller size for your bottom half . It is easy then to merge the two sizes together at the waist.

I like the slightly lower back in this pattern and as I do not appreciate having burnt shoulders I was glad that one of the options is to include a cap sleeve.
When choosing your pattern think about any parts of your body which you would like to cover up and look for a pattern which will do that. For example if you do not like your arms then think about choosing a pattern with a sleeve - which could be a flutter sleeve, short sleeve or whatever length you prefer. To draw attention away from a problem tummy or hip then choose a flattering neckline to draw the eye upwards.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

How to sew Simplicity 1940's Style Vintage Trousers

On last month's MinervaCrafts Blogger Network I posted the blouse made from the same pattern, this month I completed the outfit with this lovely pair of trousers.
The trousers are wide leg and as fashionable now as they were in the 1940's.
 Never made trousers before? This Simplicity pattern is very flattering and simple to follow so you won't have any problems.
My post is all about fitting them to suit you so please click on this link and view my post on MinervaCrafts website.Simplicity vintage style trousers on Minerva Crafts Blogger Network

Do let me know what you think about this outfit and please contact me if you have any questions


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Make An embroidered tunic top -Sew fashionable

This is a continuation of my previous blog post, Making free- standing lace....  I have made exactly the same top but this time I have embroidered it instead of putting applique lace on.
The pattern is as before by  Simplicity -  Simplicity 4149

When I find a pattern I like I keep it in a large plastic envelope to use again. I liked​ the Navy Blue top on the previous post so much  that I wanted to make another one straight away.
The fabric is a length of embroidered Indian cotton from my own stash of fabrics. I have been looking for an opportunity to use it for a few years!

I am using my Embroidery machine Brother Innov-is 800E which is one of a range of embroidery machines from Jaycotts. I absolutely love it.
I also used Gunold tear-away stabiliser on the embroidery hoop underneath the fabric Gunold stabiliser. It really does tear away from the fabric very easily indeed .
The threads I am using are from a box of 40 satin finish embroidery threads by Brother Satin embroidery threads . Everything is from and the links take you directly to the product on their web site

I chose a heart design for on the sleeves and on the bottom of the right  front. This is the reverse side as you can see I am picking away at the residue of stabiliser with a pin and some tweezers. It is very easy to remove 

The finished design is rather pretty. When I was choosing my designs I looked for something which would echo the embroidery on my fabric, but the important thing is for you to choose something which you like!

I tacked the front darts in place and marked the cutting line and stitching lines on the tunic front before placing my embroidery.
I then measured carefully where I wanted the centre of each design to be, marking the grain lines and centre with tacking thread which I did not fasten off.
After placing the fabric in the hoop it was then easy to align the centre of the design with my markings which also allowed me to ensure that it was straight and not off-grain. This is important if you are thinking of mirroring a design on a piece of fabric, because if one is off centre or crooked it will be instantly noticeable.
Pull the tacking threads out once you are certain that your fabric is hooped correctly.
The designs are different from each other but I did carry some colours through each, for example I used the same pink and the same yellow and blue to provide a little bit of continuity. Please don't get too hung up about it at this stage,but where there is an obvious substitution then do make it.

Instead of the French seams on my previous top I used my overlocker throughout. This enables speedy construction! By that I mean just less than two hours after the embroidery had been completed.
My overlocker is very easy to use and more importantly easy to thread  it is the Brother 3934D Brother overlocker Do telephone for the best price and to discuss other options, the contact details for Jaycotts are at the end of this post.

To hold the facing down I am using one of the embroidery stitches on my Bernina Sewing machine Bernina 350PE  Again do telephone to find out current prices and other options to suit you and your budget.
If you are using embroidery thread in your regular machine then you do need to swop to an embroidery needle
There are various choices depending on what you are sewing on Embroidery needles

Did you know that your needle needs to be changed after almost every project? When I am using my Embroidery machine I remove the needle after I have finished using it. Then when I come to use it again I insert a new needle as part of setting it up ready for use.
The pattern is very easy to make. There are no fastenings to worry about and it has nothing complicated about it whatsoever. It is suitable for all abilities from beginner upwards.

This is my finished top. It is very different from the last one don't you think, I like them both!

Please do not hesitate to contact Jaycotts with any questions about their wonderful products and If you have any general sewing questions I am happy to help you too. There is a contact form on the right hand side of my own blog.

Contact Jaycotts by telephone or by completing the online contact form and why not pay them a visit and see and try out  the machines for yourself?

Contact Jaycotts HERE

I hope that you are interested enough to consider purchasing  an embroidery machine, you definitely will not regret it!
 And I hope that you are inspired to explore how you can get the most out of your sewing patterns by re making them with subtle alterations .I do recommend Simplicity Patterns, they are a good fit, easy to use and fashionable Simplicity Patterns at Jaycotts

We would love to see photographs of your makes by the way!