Saturday, 14 May 2016

Final Installment in Our Current Summer Sewalong

Well here it is, our finished summer sewalong:


All we had left to do this week was the hem. To prevent fraying, zigzag or serge your raw edge. Follow the steps below to achieve a great hem:



For more guidance we have a sewing resource card on hems.

If you’ve missed out don’t worry, you can visit our sewlong page for all the previous posts. Better still, why not join our next summer sewalong?

Sewalongs are a great way to access support for your next sewing project:

  • Think of a sewalong as the modern equivalent of a quilting or sewing bee. Instead of us going over to each other’s houses to work on a quilt together, we’re sewing along together digitally.

  • There is no official sign-up to participate in the types of sewalongs we host. It’s nice when you leave comments on the announcement blog post, saying you’re in, but you can participate completely anonymously if you’d like.

  • We provide a schedule of Saturday dates for the sewalong, but feel free to go as fast or as slow as you’d like. We will not remove any of the posts pertaining to the sewalong as long as this blog exists. So if you’re too busy to join us now, you can always revisit this at a more convenient date.

  • Our Flickr group is a great place to post progress photos and seek opinions from your hosts and fellow sewalongers. If you’re not on Flickr yet, please think about joining, if only just to provide comments and help to others.

Final Installment in Our Current Summer Sewalong

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

How To Create The Perfect Curved Hem

Today’s tutorial card is all about creating the perfect hem. For those of you who are part of our sewalong this will be especially useful as we’re approaching this stage on our Beth dress pattern.

If you’d like more sewing resource cards, we’ve collated those published so far here. To ensure you don’t miss out on future resources you can use the link on the right hand margin to subscribe.

hem card light

How To Create The Perfect Curved Hem

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Why Not Join Our Stylish Summer Dress Sewalong?

This is our penultimate sewalong post for our Beth dress pattern. This week is where it all begins to come together.


1.We need to stay-stitch the upper edge of the skirt front and back to prevent the fabric pulling out of shape.

2. To make darts in the front and back, with right sides together, fold fabric through the centre of the dart, bringing the dart legs together. On inside, place pins at right angles to dart legs. Stitch dart from the wide end to the point. To ensure a smooth dart, do not backstitch. Press towards the center.

3. Starting at lower edge and working up to the circle on the center back, pin back sections together, matching circles. Stitch your back seam and press open.

4. Check you’re happy with the fit of the skirt before you attach it to the bodice. With right sides together, pin your bodice to the skirt, matching centers and seams. Stitch and press up towards the bodice.


Invisible Zipper

5. Baste the opening edges together from large circle on the skirt up to neck edge. Press basted seam open.

6. Place your zipper face down on the seam allowances, the zipper stop will be at the large circle on the skirt. Center teeth on the basted seam. Secure this position with pins. Machine stitch (medium stitch length) the zipper tape to the seam allowance on either side of the opening.


7. Once you’ve removed your pins, take out the basting stitches on the center seam line. Open the zipper to check its position. With the zipper open, use a zipper foot and stitch as close to the teeth as possible.

8. Turn the garment to the rightside and very gently press. If you press too hard you’ll see the indentation of the zip and if you use steam this might damage some zips.

9. Slipstitch neck facing over zipper tape and attach your hook and eyes.



If you’d rather use a regular zipper, there’s a video tutorial here.

Next week we’ll be focusing on hemming and finishing.


Why Not Join Our Stylish Summer Dress Sewalong?

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Great Video Tutorial Inserting Zips Made Super Simple

Inserting zips can be a bit scary but this tutorial will ensure that you get great results every-time.

Prior to starting the tutorial steps, it's important to ensure that your opening and zipper tape are well prepared:

  • It's worth steam pressing your zipper tape before you start. This will ensure that your zip lies flat and there are no puckers or ripples. Moreover it acts as a pre-shrink, ensuring that the tape doesn't shrink in the wash and ruin all your hard work. If you're using a plastic zip, don't let the iron touch the teeth.
  • It is worth considering if the seam allowances that you're attaching your zip to need to be interfaced. If you're using a lightweight fabric, stitching on the bias or curve, or if this is a side-zip fusible interfacing would help to stabilize the seam and support your zipper.  You'll just need to cut two pieces of medium weight fusible interfacing, double the width of your seam allowances so that it crosses the seam line onto the main fabric; and an inch longer than your opening so that it extends below the bottom of the zipper. Fuse, following the manufacturer's instructions, on the wrong-side of your seam allowances.

Muse Zipper Tutorial from Muse Attire on Vimeo.

Great Video Tutorial Inserting Zips Made Super Simple


Monday, 25 April 2016

My Ideal Daily Schedule For Stress Free Sewing

After quite a few years of creating I've found the daily structure that works best for me. Like everyone, I can't stick to this rigidly: kids have clubs, I get sidetracked and life happens but I try not to deviate too far from it. On days when I'm not teaching this is what my scheduled looks like.

6:00am | Study

I almost always start the day with half an hour bible study. Sometimes I feel like I'd rather have the extra half hour in bed but once I start I'm never disappointed. It's then Earl Grey and hot cross buns before getting the boys up.

7:00am | Prepare

It usually takes me about an hour to get ready. I try really hard not to look at any digital devices before I'm dressed; it's so easy to get sucked in and find myself still in my robe at 9:00am otherwise.

8:00am | Plan and Review

Check my planner. In the last year I've converted to Livescribe which I love. My sister bought me a Livescribe 3 smartpen which uses Bluetooth to send everything I write to my phone and iPad. There's two things I like about this:

  • I don't really like typing so handwriting that can be turned into digital text is perfect. Obviously I only bother converting extended pieces of writing but there's also something comforting about knowing everything's backed up;
  • it's made me better at recording and checking tasks. Before I was one of those people who created lots of plans and reminders but never bothered to read or check them!


9:00am | Pattern Drafting

I'm a morning person so this is the best time for me to focus on pattern drafting. Currently, I'm working on a super day dress called ‘Kate'.  The sketching work I do in the evenings feeds into this process as does the research that goes into the Fashion Lookbooks.


12:00am | Pressing and Tidying

If I can avoid pressing in stages, I do. I'd rather complete 3 or 4 construction stages and then press. It's not always possible as sometimes you can't move onto the next stage until you've pressed. I do this for two reasons: it's my least favorite job and it's quicker to work this way.

This is also the time that I use to tidy my work-space and check supplies for future projects. Currently, my workroom is a converted loft but I'm planning a purpose built space in the garden so am collecting ideas on Pinterest. 

1:00pm | Lunch

This tends to be leftovers from yesterday's dinner! If the weather's half decent I'll often pop outside to catch-up on gardening jobs.

2:00pm | Blogging and Social Media

This is when I return to my calendar and prepare what's due to go out for the following week. I like to set my schedule at least six months in advance so I know what's ahead.  If I don't do this, I find myself sitting in front of blank screen wondering where to start or having lots of good ideas that never end up getting done.

3:00pm | Sewing

My favorite bit. This is when I construct samples for future patterns, create vintage dresses for my own wardrobe and work on our current sewalong. I'll usually be listening to Radio 4 or an audio-book and the time just flies. I always try to finish any tricky bits so that the next day I start with something easy.

5:00pm | Dinner

I'm not a particularly adventurous cook and my sons are quite fussy so nothing too exciting. Again, I might pop into the garden for some quick jobs. My grandfather's gardening advice was spot on: “little and often.” That's not bad advice for sewing either, it's amazing what you can get done even on half an hour a day.

6:00pm | Fashion Illustration

This probably happens about 4 times a week as this can sometimes turn into catch-up time for other tasks that have over run.  When this goes well it's relaxing and exciting all at the same time but sometimes the ideas just don't work out. Watercolor is my preferred medium: the fluidity is great for fashion. Watercolor also forces me into a more loose and creative way of working; being a perfectionist this is just what I need.


7:00pm | Hand-sewing and Knitting

I try to save up anything that can be done by hand until the evening. I do all hand-sewing and removing of basting whilst watching the television for 2 reasons: it's a great way to fit everything in and relax; secondly I can't sit and do nothing anyway.

10:00pm Reading my Kindle

It took me years to let go of books but I think I've managed it. Right now my favorite writers are Rachel Joyce and Kate Morton.



My Ideal Daily Schedule For Stress Free Sewing


Saturday, 23 April 2016

Sewalong: How To Sew Your Perfect Summer Dress

Welcome to our sewalong for creating your perfect summer dress. We're on week 3 (seams and sleeves) of our Saturday Sewalongs for our Beth Sewing Pattern. Last week was all about preparation, this week we're starting stitching. Although all the sewalong posts will be available once the sewlong finishes, this is the last week that our sewalong pattern is on sale, 25% off!

Sewing Your Sleeves

1. With right sides together, pin side seams. Stitch and press open.

2. Now we're ready to construct the sleeves. With right sides together, pin sleeve underarm seams. Stitch and press open.

3. On your sleeve cap create two rows of ease stitches. These are basting stitches and can be hand or machine stitched. Stitch these parallel rows on the seam allowance, close to the seam-line.


4. Hold your bodice wrong side out with the armhole towards you. With right sides together, pin sleeve to armhole edge, matching the underarm seams and notches. Pull up ease-stitches so that the excess fabric is evenly spread across the sleeve cap and the sleeve fits the armhole. Distribute the fullness evenly to avoid puckers and tucks.

5. Now add more pins at right angles to the seam, to fully secure your sleeve.

6. Stitch, go slowly and keep checking that you're not catching any of the fabric layers. Check there are no puckers on the right-side, before you remove all basting stitches. Depending on the finish you want the seam can be pressed: towards the bodice, sleeve or open. I've pressed mine open as I want it to lie flat.

N.B: If you'd like more detailed information and diagrams on setting sleeves we have covered this in one of our tutorials.


7. To hem your sleeves, press up the sleeve hem along the marking.

There are two ways to edge finish your sleeve hem:

  • stitch ¼” (6mm) from edge, turn under along stitching and slip-stitch your hem in place;
  • alternatively you can zig-zag stitch or serge the raw edge before you slip-stitch your hem in place (to avoid a bulky hem, this was the option I used).

Next week, we'll be focusing on constructing the skirt.

Future Sewalongs

You can keep up with this and future sewalongs, by subscribing using the link in the right margin. Saturday Sewalong posts appear on the blog every Saturday but I'll be posting images on Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram during the week so if you follow using the buttons on the right you'll be right up to date.

Sewalong: How To Sew Your Perfect Summer Dress