Monday, 27 October 2014

A Basic Bronte Top and Perfect Pattern Parcel 6!

Looking at all the gorgeous garments that have been popping up in my reader over the last week or so I'm fairly sure most of you are already aware that the sixth Perfect Pattern Parcel is now available. This parcel features women's apparel patterns from many popular independent pattern designers and I was delighted to once again be asked to sew up one of the patterns to spread the word and get behind the worthy cause that Perfect Pattern Parcel supports.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

After expenses, the proceeds from each parcel go to Donors Choose. Donors Choose is a charitable organisation that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale go to help K-12 students in minimising educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education. It's a fantastic way for the sewing community to contribute to charity and support the development and education of the next generation. My sister is a teacher so it's a need close to my own heart as I have watched and heard about the difference good resources and teaching can make. To date Perfect Pattern Parcel has raised over $13,000 for the cause!

The fantastic thing about the pattern parcels is that you can name your own price for the whole bundle! This parcel includes:
And if you choose a price of over $32 you will receive the bonus pattern, which this time is the Odette Dress from Blue Ginger Doll. Considering that the total retail value of all these patterns is $85.75 that's quite a bargain!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

Anyway, on to what I chose to make this time. After the frippery of my silk chiffon dress I've been trying to focus on sewing some more practical garments, which I still feel stylish in but which i'll get a lot of wear out of as they can be worn as part of a variety of outfits. The Bronte Top from Jennifer Lauren fits this bill exactly. I've long had my eye on all of Jennifer's patterns as she has a knack for designing basic, wearable garments with interesting vintage inspired details.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

Thinking about my aim to make basics I chose to use this plain white bamboo stretch knit which I picked up as a remnant from Ray Stitch when I visited to meet Christine Haynes in the summer. I'm so used to thinking about what I can do to make a project more unique (I mean when you can sew and are not restricted to the designs in the shops it's all about using your creativity right?!) that it was really hard to restrain myself from using a contrast binding or adding buttons to the neckline as the instructions suggest as an option. I had to remind myself that adding in some colour would restrict the garments I could pair it with. I'm so pleased I kept it simple as it's resulted in a great wardrobe staple and let me tell you when you are working with a fabric this lovely it doesn't need any extras!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

It isn't cheap for jersey (this is coming from a girl who tends to buy her knits for less than £5/m on Goldhawk Road) but it's totally worth the money in my opinion and any cash that I have for fabric splurges I'll definitely be using to make myself some lovely snuggly tees. I'd also love to make another Coppelia Cardigan in the mustard colour way! It's a super duper soft knit that's the perfect weight for tops and feels so nice against the skin. It's got a good stretch and recovery in both directions (I initially picked it up with a Nettie in mind but didn't have enough for the length of the bodysuit) and was the best knit to sew with that I've tried yet. I still consider myself quite the novice with knits but I could tell I had the good stuff here, it pressed and sewed beautifully.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top
I really like how high the design comes up under the arm

Pattern wise I loved the way the PDF was tiled in separate sections so there were only one or two pattern pieces on each assembled sheet. It meant less time trimming and sticking and also took up a lot less room! I cut a size 8 and have got the nice snug fit I wanted. I only needed 0.8m of the 150cm wide jersey and reckon I could have just about squeezed the long sleeves out of that much too. The assembly was really straightforward and with the thorough instructions and explanation of knits included is definitely suitable for a beginner. Everything is sewn flat with the exception of the hem. The only thing I had a little trouble with was getting the shoulders/sleeve heads to sit nicely as my fabric was so soft and that seam is quite bulky with all the layers of front, back, sleeve and binding. I think I'd grade it more vigorously next time.

I took a different approach with this knit project and sewed it all up using a narrow zig zag stitch on my machine, just using the overlocker to finish the side seams and armholes as I like the professional look it gives. I really like how robust the seams feel with the zig zag stitch compared to my previous overlocked projects and felt I was able to be more accurate when sewing.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

I actually had some straightforward success with my twin needle! I'm still not all that confident with it as it feels a bit of a fluke but I'm looking forward to trying it again. I'm not sure what made the difference, the lovely fabric, a different make of stretch twin needle or the thread but the combo of all three certainly did the trick on both the neckline and hem. To get it to work this time I:
  • sewed slowly
  • threaded the right needle with the standard spool as normal
  • threaded the left needle with the extra spool, threading as normal but missing the thread guide above the needle
  • used a normal stitch length (of about 2 on my machine) 

Just to clarify I was sent all the patterns included in this bundle in return for my review and promotion of the project. I'm wearing the top here with my wool crepe Charlotte Skirt, it's a great top for tucking into high waisted skirts and trousers. This Pattern Parcel is only available until Friday 31st October so make sure to decide on your price and snap it up quickly if any of the patterns have caught your eye!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: White Bamboo Jersey Bronte Top

Friday, 24 October 2014

Chiffon Dress Construction Details

This post follows up from the completed chiffon dress I posted earlier in the week and focuses on the step by step process I went through to make it, so if you want to see the garment as a whole first make sure to check that post out. I put a lot of research and thought into the construction of this dress as the fabric deserved to be turned into something extra special. I know I love reading about the nitty gritty of the construction process (in fact I think it was Poppy Kettle's fascinating posts on the construction of her incredible wedding dress that got me itching to try something a little more complicated!) so I thought you guys might like to hear a little more about each of the stages I went through to create my dress and which particular techniques and tutorials I used. Be warned, this is a long one!


So first things first I actually made a full blown muslin of the bodice which is something that is very rare for me to do! I already knew that the Flora skirt would work for me having made it twice before but I'd never tried the 1876 bodice pattern and from other Simplicity experiences I knew I might have some issues with the amount of ease. Working with these lovely silks I didn't want to be fiddling with fit or doing any unpicking at a later stage! Looking at the finished garment measurements on the back of the envelope I decided to go down a size from the size 12 which was recommended for me. This was thankfully the right decision and the size 10 was basically spot on. I only needed to nip it in very slightly at the side seams at the top. I used a lightweight cotton for the muslin and even inserted a zip so I could get an truly accurate idea of size. The other benefit I found to making the muslin was that it was great to have a practice attempt at assembling the bodice before doing it with the silk.


So next up it was one of the steps that I felt most apprehensive about; cutting. I'd read a lot about ways to handle these lightweight silks from using spray stabilisers or even a gelatine bath to give the fabric some stiffness to cutting between layers of tissue paper. At the end of the day I decided to stick as closely as possible to methods I was familiar with. I didn't think working with such a lovely chiffon was the ideal time to start trying out gelatine baths, I was concerned I might end up altering the hand and drape of the silk permanently.

I cut everything out in a single layer as having a double layer of silk on the fold would make it more likely that at least one layer would shift off grain. I worked on the carpet rather than on the table as this had a bit of grip on the fabric to stop it sliding around. It also meant when I was trying to get the fabric laid out straight I could pin the corners into the carpet and keep it nice and taught. I used a combination of pins and weights to hold the pattern pieces in place. Much of the advice I read suggested to avoid using pins but I knew I was going to want to use a lot of pins to keep everything nice and accurately positioned when sewing it up so used them at this point too. If you are thinking about sewing with silk bear in mind that pins will leave holes in the fabric, even if you are using fine silk pins as I did. Therefore you will want to keep your pins within the seam allowances, this worked out well for me.

I began with the skirt pieces and because of how large they are compared to the size of my cutting mat I decided against the rotary cutter and stuck with my trusty shears. I would usually move the mat around underneath the pattern piece to where I next want to cut but I didn't want to risk moving the silk about mid cutting. I had planned to use the rotary cutter for the smaller bodice pieces but the shears were working out so well I stuck with them throughout.

I'm not going to lie the cutting process was lengthy and got a little tedious but the effort to be accurate paid off in the end. It's so worth making sure fabrics which need to drape beautifully are cut right on grain. I cut every pattern piece from both the chiffon and the crepe de chine and then cut the bodice panels from both the organza and batiste too, adding just the batiste to the halter strap to add some strength without stiffness.


The next step was to get the individual pattern pieces ready for machine sewing. After cutting I marked all notches with tailors tacks rather than making a snip into the seam allowance as I usually do. I did this as the fabrics were so fragile and also because I wanted to use narrow french seams in for the skirt. I usually use tailors tacks to mark dart points and pleats as they are a great way to be really accurate without risking permanently marking your fabric.

Then came the most lengthy step of the entire process; hand basting the layers of the bodice together. I had already had a bit of practice at this during the 'boned ballet bodice' part of the tutu construction course which I completed earlier in the year. I laid out the pieces flat on a table and kept them flat as I sewed. I like to use brightly coloured thread which contrasts with the garment so it's easy to see which need to be removed at a later stage. I use a single thickness of thread and use a separate strand for each side of the pattern piece, leaving a reasonably long tail at each corner. This means that when it comes to removing the basting you can pull out each length individually and with ease. The stitches can be fairly big, mine were about a centimetre long.

All of the bodice panels were formed of four layers of fabric. Starting from the outside there was the printed silk chiffon which I basted to the underlining of ivory silk crepe de chine. Then came the silk organza interfacing and cotton batiste which I basted together and applied the boning to. I settled on using batiste as the bodice base after searching online for the best fabrics to underline/line the chiffon and coming across some advice from a ballet costume maker on a sewing forum. I had already decided to use silk organza in place of a fusible interfacing as fusibles tend to bubble up and alter the hand of delicate fabrics like these silks. The combination of this with the batiste worked out perfectly; it gave a nice stiffness and structure when combined with the boning without adding too much weight.

I wanted the silk chiffon and crepe to hang separately in the skirt to give it some more movement so to prepare these pieces I just marked the notches with tailors tacks and stay stitched the waistline.


So the time had come to get on my machine. I had a good long practice first with some scraps of the chiffon on it's own, the crepe on it's own and then both together. I'd picked up lots of tips from many of your lovely blogs in advance and thanks to them I didn't encounter many problems! These are some of the most useful posts I came across:

I used a size 60 sharps needle and a medium stitch length (about a 2 on my machine). To avoid the start of seams getting chewed up I made sure to hold the thread ends back and not back tack at beginning or end. The only time I had trouble was when sewing with the chiffon on it's own for the skirt, which just required a bit of patience. The only bit of advice I didn't follow was to use narrow throat plate on the machine as I don't have one.


I was a bit nervous about using the iron with the silk but good pressing is the key to making any garment look a little bit more professional so I knew I needed to get it right. I used an organza pressing cloth and a medium heat. My tailor's ham came in so useful for getting a nice crisp edge on those princess seams. I also followed a tip from Coletterie and used as little steam as possible. I'm really pleased with my crisp seam finishes throughout!


Following the pattern instructions for the bodice I constructed the lining in it's entirety (consisting of the the cotton batiste basted to the organza interfacing) and attached the boning to this before sewing this piece as one to the bodice shell. I mentioned in my previous post that I used pre-covered plastic boning from Mood Fabrics and how well it worked for this particular project. It's quite lightweight so won't give you much support but the weight matched the weight of my fabrics perfectly and gives a great shape. The pattern has you insert the boning right up over the bust along the front princess seam line so you want something that has a bit of flexibility.

Pre-covered boning is super easy to insert. I used some on my Martini Dress which was also plastic but fixed into the casing. The boning I used for this dress you can slide in and out of the casing. I loved this as it meant I could slide the end of the boning out and trim it down, then push it back in and sew the casing right up through the seam allowance so the ends would be sealed when I sewed the intersecting seam line. It also meant I could push the boning away from the seam line as I sewed so reducing the risk of a broken needle! I attached the boning to the wrong side of the batiste so it would be concealed within the bodice when it was assembled. I aligned each length of boning along each of the seam lines then sewed by machine down both sides of the casing as close to the bone as possible. The pattern does include instructions for creating your own casings using the seam allowances of the lining if you prefer to use a different kind of boning.


As all the raw seams of the bodice were going to be enclosed I simply pinked them. I briefly considered overlocking them as the novelty of having such professional looking seam finishing at my fingertips still hasn't rubbed off, but ultimately decided limiting any extra bulk and risk of seam allowances shooing through to the right side was the way to go. I didn't trim down the seam allowances much, in case for some reason I needed to make an emergency alteration.

I was keeping both layers of the skirt separate so used french seams to finish them both. I was apprehensive of trying this somewhat fiddly technique on the slippery silk so erred on the side of caution and made them slightly wider than I should have done. Next time I will be more aggressive with trimming them down. I debated for ages which way up to attach the crepe de chine lining. Usually with a lining I would automatically attach it with wrong sides and seam allowances up, against the wrong side of the shell. However as I was working with the semi sheer chiffon I thought it would be best to keep that side as clean as possible. As I'd finished the seams so neatly I went with the wrong side of the lining inside, against the skin.


I spent a fair amount of time using different methods to strengthen the neckline of this dress and give it a nice crisp finish. I began with stay-stitching the neckline edge of each pattern piece before assembly. When I'm concerned about an area stretching out I usually apply twill tape in the seam allowance but I felt like this might be a bit bulky for this design. Instead I cut 1cm wide bias strips of silk organza and stitched them to the seam allowances close to the seam line. I used bias strips so they would curve around the sweetheart neckline. I then clipped the seam allowances where necessary and under stitched the lining to the seam allowances before giving it a good press.


I was really nervous about inserting the invisible zip as I was envisioning unpicking a puckered and twisted mess and leaving all kinds of holes in the chiffon. However, it came out great first time! I followed all my usual tips as described in this post. Firstly I needed to stabilise the seam allowances along where the zip would be inserted to prevent puckers, but as explained previously I couldn't use my usual strip of fusible interfacing. Instead I followed the advice of Clare Shaeffer on p101 of her book 'Couture Sewing Techniques' and machine sewed a selvedge strip of silk organza as close to the stitching line as possible. I then inserted the zip following the rules of sewing both sides in the same direction and after inserting one side making a snip in the zipper tape of the second side where the waistline seam needed to line up.

To finish it up neatly I stitched the batiste lining of the bodice to the zipper tape with my normal zip foot. I also went the extra mile with this one and enclosed the end of the zip tape in a piece of the batiste. I had a bit of a head scratching moment when working out how to insert the zip into the skirt when I wanted to hem the two layers separately but I'll explain in a moment how I got around that! At this stage I just went ahead and inserted the zip into both the chiffon and crepe as one and left the seam beneath the zip open.


I've been absolutely devouring Clare Shaeffer's book recently and am looking out for any projects I can incorporate some couture techniques into. This book is fascinating. Just learning about the best purposes for different stitches and the basic process of the couture construction has opened my eyes to so many different techniques and finishings to try and ways to think about construction. It's got me all fired up to push my skills to the next level! One of the things I've been really keen to try is using a waist stay in a garment and I thought this dress would be the perfect time to try it out. I used a curved piece of 1" petersham which I bought from Maculloch & Wallis as the slight curve makes it sit around the waist better. I lined the bottom of the petersham up with the bottom of the bodice and hand stitched it in along the centre with a running stitch, starting and finishing 1.5" from each end of the bodice. I'll admit I then found Clare's written instructions a little confusing but I used the illustrations to work out how to fold the ends of the bias tape and attach the hooks and eyes. It's given it such a clean and secure finish and I can feel the difference when wearing it. The weight of the skirt is quite surprising so it's great to have an extra something to stop the waistline distorting.


The first piece of hemming I had to do was to hem the front drape of the bodice, which is simply a piece of the chiffon and crepe basted together. My rolled hem foot did not at all like working with the two layers together so I resorted to the instructions included with the pattern which has you turn and press a skinny hem, stitch close to the fold, grade the raw edge, then turn, press and stitch once more. The silks pressed so beautifully that this was pretty straight forward.

The trickiest bit about hemming the skirt was levelling it up. I left it to hang overnight and it dropped really unevenly. I have never been so grateful for my tailors dummy! The rolled hem foot behaved completely differently when working with just a single layer of silk and it was a super speedy way to finish that huge hem! On both fabrics the foot dealt well with sewing over one side seam but struggled over the second. I just carried on and rolled the inch or so that it missed by hand afterwards. I often find the trickiest part of making a rolled hem is getting it started and finished. This problem was resolved for me by the fact that I had left the centre back seam open under the zip. Starting from a raw edge rather than mid circle is so much easier! I closed the bottom of the centre back seam with my zipper foot right at the end. This is the only point where the two layers of the skirt are attached.

If you've made it all the way through that lengthy post, congratulations! You must be as obsessed with all the intricacies of sewing techniques as I am! I think I've remembered to include most things but if you've got any more questions (or tips for how I could improve things further next time!) then let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

When I first joined the Mood Sewing Network one of the things that excited me most was having a wide variety of beautiful fabrics I'd never used before at my fingertips. I've really tried to challenge myself to sew with new and slightly trickier fabrics this year; so this month I decided to take the plunge and try one of the most infamously tricky fabrics to handle and gave in to my urge to snap up some of this stunning printed silk chiffon from Oscar de la Renta.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

I probably should have picked a slightly more straightforward garment for my first chiffon project but I have a tendency with my sewing to jump right in feet first and all I could envision this fabric as was a dress with a full, floaty skirt. So that's exactly what I did! I chose the skirt from By Hand London's Flora Dress as this was the fullest skirt I could think of. It is a  I had an image in my head of the movement of contemporary ballet skirts and knew that many of these are formed of layers of chiffon and lightweight silk so I chose this antique white silk crepe de chine for my lining/underlining. I used just the one layer of the crepe in my skirt, if I'd been sure the whole project was going to work out or if it had been for an extra special occasion I probably would have put a second one in to add a bit more plushness to swirl of the skirt. As it is I am so delighted with the movement and the weight of the chiffon and crepe de chine together. It doesn't show up fully in photos but hopefully these two give you some kind of idea!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

For the bodice I chose view A of Simplicty 1876. It reminds me of the Sewaholic Lonsdale (which I've previously made three of!) but I prefer this halter tie to the Lonsdale straps. I found this pattern in the bargain trays at the front of Dalston Mill for £1 a while back and can't believe it hadn't caught my attention before. I can't wait for next summer already so I can make a breezy cotton version with the more fitted skirt that comes with the pattern.

Fitting the bodice was pretty straightforward because of those princess seams. It also helped that most of my fitting problems stem from excess length between the shoulder and bust which obviously isn't an issue with this design! The boned, strapless style meant I was going to need fabric with a bit more structure for the bodice pieces. I therefore chose to use the crepe de chine as underlining in this area and added a cotton batiste lining with silk organza interfacing. I didn't want to the halter strap to be too rigid or too weak so I used the chiffon, crepe and batiste for strength but no organza here. I cut a size 10 of both the bodice and skirt and used 2 yards of the chiffon, 2.5 yards of the narrower crepe de chine and just 0.5 yards of both the batiste and organza.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

Silk organza was used a lot throughout this dress. Stabilising is key when using fabrics this delicate for a fitted dress. I stitched selvedge strips of organza to the seam allowances where I was going to insert the zip (in place of the fusible interfacing I usually use) and stitched bias strips of it into the seam allowance along the neckline instead of stay tape as I thought even a narrow twill tape would be too bulky.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

I used this fabric covered boning from Mood Fabrics which I will admit I was a little apprehensive about ordering as it was such a bargain for a whole roll! However, it turned out to be absolutely perfect for this particular project as both narrow and lightweight meaning that it would not put too much stress on the delicate silk nor show a ridge through to the outer side. The plastic bone can be removed from the casing which is different to similar products I've bought here in the UK before. It makes it much easier to work with as when sewing the seams across each end you can push the boning away slightly and not risk breaking your needle by catching the end. I really like the boning that comes pre-covered as I could just sew it straight onto the wrong side of the batiste lining once it was assembled, aligning it over each seam line.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

I've been reading Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques recently and it got me fired up to try out some more involved techniques to make the most of the delicate chiffon. Don't get me wrong, I still started each step pretty terrified about what I was about to encounter but I was up for the challenge! One of the main things I took from her book was how to add a petersham waist stay. Even with these super fine fabrics that full skirt is surprisingly weighty and I didn't want it to distort the shape of the bodice or add stress to the delicate fabrics.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

I used french seams on both layers of the skirt. I expected these to be quite frustrating in the chiffon but both fabrics responded well to pressing so I managed to achieve a neat and smooth result. I wish I'd been a bit more aggressive in trimming down the allowance of the first seam so that the completed seam was narrower and more delicate in appearance but it's not a major issue, just something to remember next time! The bodice seams are all enclosed within the lining so I chose just to pink these to reduce some of the bulk and risk of fraying.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

I hand basted each of the bodice layers together (chiffon to crepe and organza to batiste) and used very little steam throughout as I know the loose weave of chiffon means it has a tendency to shrink and stretch. I used a brand new size 60 sharps needle in my machine, made sure not to back tack when sewing with the chiffon on it's own and kept hold of the thread tails when starting off a line to stitching to prevent. All this really worked to help prevent snags, knots or fabric getting 'eaten' by the machine. I did a lot of research into sewing with lightweight silks and noticed many people recommended not to use pins at all. With these shifty fabrics I knew I wanted to use A LOT of pins to keep everything in place so I simply made sure to use silk pins and keep them within the seam allowances. I used a combination of pins and weights when cutting and (although a rotary cutter seems to be the preferred cutting implement for silk I had some huge pattern pieces for that skirt) I used shears, cutting everything out in a single layer on carpet which helped prevent pieces shifting off grain.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

I feel like I could ramble on for hours about the construction and different techniques I used but I'll stop this from becoming the longest post in history and be back later in the week with some more detailed insights! All in all I'm really proud of this dress and certainly won't shy away from working with chiffon or lightweight silks again. It's very time consuming and requires some patience but I really enjoy a challenging project like this. The process was a mixture of ups and downs (the downs namely being slipstitching the lining down at the waist and that hem...argh!) but most aspects actually came together better than expected and with surprisingly infrequent use of the unpicker!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mood Fabrics Oscar de la Renta Silk Chiffon Dress

Monday, 6 October 2014

September Indie Pattern Update!

Whoops. This month's Indie Pattern Update is coming to you a little late this month! I can't believe it's the end of September and the start of Autumn already! It's been pretty crazy for me with work recently and time is flying by. I've had hardly any time to sew (with the exception of my Selfish Sewing Week dress!) but have very much enjoyed still making time to read blogs and check out the news from the indie pattern world on social media. Here's the round up on what happened this month:

New Pattern Companies/First Releases!

  • Amanda from Apples and Green has recently launched her new pattern company, Tenterhook Patterns. She is specialising in plus size sewing patterns which I think is a fantastic gap to fill in the market and her first pattern is the Snapdragon Skirt.
  • I was very excited to see that the lovely lady behind one of the very first sewing blogs I discovered and creator of Me Made May, Zoe from So Zo...What Do You Know? has released her first PDF pattern. It's called Dolores, is for knits, has batwing sleeves and three length variations so you can make yourself a top, tunic or dress from the one pattern!
  • Orange Lingerie is an established company offering custom made bras. They have recently expanded into offering bra patterns for sale for those ladies who would like to sew their own! Currently the Marlborough Bra PDF pattern is available through Etsy.
  • Lindsay Woodward has released her Senna Dress. I've got to admit to not being that drawn to this pattern when the preview pictures were released but now that I've seen the tester versions I'm seriously tempted to make a purchase! It looks so chic (especially when sewn up in black I think) and also super comfortable.

New Patterns

  • The much anticipated Holly Jumpsuit from By Hand London has been released into the wild! I tested the shorts version and (now changed) bodice design a while back and it's one of my favourite makes to date. I love how much scope the three variations give you for creating a variety of completely different outfits.
  • The By Hand London ladies have also treated us to a second release this month! The Sabrina Dress is their very first pattern to be solely released in PDF form and I'm loving the simple lines of variation 1 and the relaxed style of variation 2.
  • Jennifer Lauren's third pattern is the Dalloway Dress and Skirt. It features a gorgeous tiered skirt which keeps a slim fitted shape and like all of Jennifer's patterns combines a sleek combo of both vintage and contemporary style.
  • Gather Kits filled a gap in my sewing pattern collection with their new Buchanan Robe. It's a relaxed yet glamorous dressing gown which I'd love to make up in an oriental silk for a real sophisticated 1940s feel!
  • Abby from Blue Ginger Doll has yet again nailed a vintage inspired dress design with gorgeous details with her new Odette Dress. It's got a gored skirt and v neckline with triangular insert.
  • Salme Patterns have released three new patterns this month! I was really excited to see this as their range is just my style. There's a Dip Hem T-Shirt, an Elastic Waist Skirt and my favourite of the three, the Sofia Dress.
  • Sew Over It have really been treating us with a steady stream of pattern releases all year and their most recent one, the Pussy Bow Blouse, is a real stunner.
  • Hot Patterns released two new patterns in September, including the perfectly timed Metropolitan Domino Sweatshirt. I love the slightly cropped proportions and the envelope illustration!
  • Melissa from Fehr Trade released her newest sportswear pattern the Threshold Shorts. I am no athlete but even I can appreciate the genius of the optional 'Runderwear' pieces you can add in. They also includes pockets and a bias bound curved hemline.
  • Pattern Anthology released a collection of 4 patterns named '8 Days a Week' including a tee, knit pants, the Marigold Dress and McCartney Jacket (which I love).The idea behind the collection is wearable garments for busy women who need more time in the day!


  • Abby from Blue Ginger Doll gave us a sneak peek on her Instagram of her next release, the Bonnie Vintage Sweater. I'm really looking forward to finding out more about that one as it's just turned chilly here!
  • One of the loveliest sewing bloggers I've had the pleasure of meeting, Jennifer from Workroom Social is introducing her new sewing pattern line with a free PDF download! The Tate Top has a racerback style neckline and will be available at the beginning of November.


  • The very first Capital Chic sew-along for the Bellini Blouse has just finished! But if you are disappointed to have missed the start, not to worry, the beauty of a sew-along is that all the posts stay live so you can work through the steps in your own time.
  • The sew-along for the new Bruyere Shirt from Deer and Doe Patterns has begun and has so far included some really great posts on adjustments to the pattern.
  • As with her Bronte Top, Jennifer Lauren will be posting a series of tutorials on the trickier construction aspects of her new Dalloway Dress and Skirt. I think this is a great alternative to a sew-along as it allows you to focus intently on one particular technique.
  • The sew-along for the new Holly Jumpsuit has begun over on the By Hand London blog. It's covering all variations and is also giving ideas for pattern hacks! The sew-along for the Sabrina Dress will follow on from that one.
  • Anto from Jolie Marie Louise is also running her very first sew-along for her very first pattern, the Lea Dress. It's a great design and I know from testing how thorough her instructions are so I can't wait to see what else might be included in the sew-along.
  • The Odette Dress sew-along started over on the Blue Ginger Doll blog just last week so there's still time to get your hands on the pattern and catch up if you're interested!

Other Exciting News

  • Gertie's second book, 'Gertie Sews Vintage Casual' has been released and is in the hands of many sewing bloggers already judging by my Instagram and Twitter! The patterns included have been getting some favourable reviews already.
  • Sewaholic's next couple of patterns to be released in PDF form are the Lonsdale Dress and Gabriola Skirt. I've made both and can vouch for how gorgeous they are sewn up! The instructions for the Lonsdale in particular taught me a lot when I first started sewing.
  • Hot on the heels of her first printed pattern the Alder Shirtdress, Jen from Grainline Studio has released two of her most popular PDF patterns in paper form; the Archer Shirt and Scout Tee.

I'm pretty sure my chaotic month has meant I've missed a fair bit of news so if you know of anything else please let me know in the comments so I can add it in! As usual I'm going to finish up with a bit of indie sewing inspiration for you. I have absolutely loved finding some new makers through Instagram and Twitter this month using the hashtag indiesewing so please keep using it as a great way to find new ideas and pattern reviews!