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A whirlwind of activity

6 August 2015, 13:24

You can pretty much assume by this point that if I’ve gone a bit quiet on this site, then it probably means I’ve been sewing up a storm behind the scenes and am just struggling to find the time to tell you all about it! And yes, it’s happened again… So I’ll try and catch you up on a bunch of things at once!

Sewing Indie Month – Pattern Bundle 1

Remember how much fun Sewing Indie Month was last year?? It was a full month full of interviews, great tutorials (like Heather Lou showing you how to turn my XYT Workout Top into a summer maxi dress!), and fabulous Sew Along prizes and it’s back again this September!

But because us pattern designers know how much you all love a bargain, we’ve joined forces to create two pattern bundles in advance of Sewing Indie Month, and the first pattern bundle is on sale now through Wednesday 12 August only.

Click through to see all the included patterns and the different tiers, including some brand new patterns exclusive to this bundle! The cool thing here is that you’re not only buying these patterns for well under the usual price, but 20% of bundle proceeds will be donated to the International Folk Art Alliance, which provides education and exhibition opportunities to folk artists from around the world. So you’re helping out other crafters, too!

I made the Lolita Patterns Sugar Plum dress a few years ago and honestly, it’s one I still wear in regular rotation (and looks so much better than the photos in my post, annoyingly!). The Sugar Plum dress is a knit/woven hybrid, but the patterns in this first bundle are mostly wovens, so the sale timing gives you time to make muslins before the sewalong contest begins in September while supporting small women-owned businesses and raising money for charity. You can see the size range for each of the included patterns here, too.

Aztec Duathlon Shorts

Psychologically, short shorts make me run faster. Well, not really, but I think they do, and that’s all I need! So, a few weeks ago, with the British Transplant Games coming up, I managed to squeeze out a new pair of Duathlon Shorts for the occasion!

I ordered a massive pile of Funkifabrics lycra a few months back when I won a discount code, so I dipped into my stash for these, making them in the suitable jazzy summertime “Aztec Stripe” print in the green colourway (it also comes in purple or yellow), with a bit of leftover scrap fluorescent red wicking lycra for the side panels.

I’ve made loads of my Duathlon Shorts in the biker and booty length (I’m not much of a capri girl!) and, though the biker length stay in place just fine, the booty length usually need some help to stop shifting around. So again I added some silicone elastic zig-zagged onto the hems to keep them in place (pro-tip – use tissue paper to prevent it sticking to the machine bed!). I also added silicone elastic to the hems of all my Team GB shorts, since they’re also all booty length and really wouldn’t stay put before!

The photo of me running in my Aztec shorts was taken at the British Transplant Games up in Newcastle this past weekend, which were a fantastic warmup for the World Games in a few weeks! If you’d like to read more about my winning four gold medals, a bronze, and retaining my trophy for another year, head over to my running site

New Sewing Room

I am fully moved into my new sewing room! Wa-heeeey! It turns out all I needed was a firm deadline – my new sewing cave will be featured in a major UK sewing magazine, how cool is that?!

I’ve also shot some videos in the old room before I moved out and the new room which I’ll be posting along with all my storage supplies (so much IKEA!) when I get a chance – it might be a good one to post for while I’m on holiday at the end of the month…

Spoonflower Sports Lycra

This news came out of nowhere but omg they’ve finally released a sports lycra base fabric with stretch in BOTH directions!. I’ve ordered a swatch, but it sounds utterly perfect. Who’s going to be the first to try one of my Laurie King collaboration designs in the new sports lycra?? (Jump straight to my Spoonflower page here if you’re not interested in seeing the examples)

Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like about their previous Performance Pique and Performance Knit bases was that they had zero lengthwise stretch (so you had to modify all your patterns which require two-way stretch, or everything comes up too short!), so this is fantastic. Now if only (the UK based) FunkiFabrics started on-demand printing for their technical fabric bases, I’d be an extremely happy bunny!

Next pattern – next week!

The biggest thing I’ve been working on though is my next pattern!! Weeee! It’s gone through all my lovely pattern testers, I’ve got the illustration for the front cover, all my samples are sewn both for myself and my two badass athlete models, so it should be ready to go live some time next week!

Just like with the past few patterns, I’ll be sending out the first peek details to my newsletter subscribers very shortly, so if you haven’t already, join the newsletter!

This is the same form that’s on the bottom of my Shop – I really hardly send out any emails at all, and only when I’ve got either a new pattern announcement or a discount code.

This pattern’s got two distinct views, and fulfils some wishes that’ve been requested by a lot of customers, so I hope you’re all going to be as excited as I am!

Admitting defeat

So, on a bit of a down note, I’m sorry to admit that I am, in fact, not Superwoman. (Boo!)

This week I finally admitted to myself that there’s no way I can release a pattern, host a Thriftystitcher panty party (sold out!) and sew up a silk ballgown in the 2.5 weeks before I leave for Argentina. This is always my problem – I want to do everything and then feel disappointed that I can never do the insane amount of tasks I want to! But we’re attending a wedding in Provence at the end of September, so I think I’m going to re-target the silk ballgown (that McCalls vintage reissue!) for that instead. I’ve already traced the pattern and cut out the skirt pieces for the muslin (I’m not as fussed about the bodice), so it might be do-able?

PS: Anyone have any fabric store recommendations for either Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, or Iguazu Falls?

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Burda magazine August 2015

31 July 2015, 13:50

Finally, after months of lacklustre issues, Burda have produced one that I’m actually excited to show you! August is traditionally the start of the Fall fashions, but there’s plenty of transitional designs included in here too, and so many I want to wear right away…

Just to start things off on a damp squib – I see what they’re trying to do here and I know I’m normally a sucker for anything asymmetric, but I’m just not convinced by this shapeless dress with a weird pleated section tacked on at the hem.

It’s not really my style, but this riding jacket is beautiful. The details, the proportions, the finish – just lovely.

The outfit on the left, however, I’d wear exactly as it is, in a heartbeat! Both tops shown are the same raglan-sleeved top made from lightweight wovens, and the midi skirt with the hi-lo (or “mullet”!) hem is cut on the bias. I’m not a wide-legged trouser fan, but they’re an interesting design with the deep pleats.

Is this a shot straight out of Mad Men or what?? I love this simple silk teeshirt, with or without the folded overlay section (which would show a little bit of the matte reverse on a silk charmeuse, just saying!). I bet this would fit into one metre of fabric if you left off the overlay, too. And the pencil skirt is a great pairing – again, with or without the sailor-style buttons.

On the left is that riding jacket again, but the right – heart be still! A seamed ponte sheath dress!! Unfortunately it’s in Tall sizing, which Burda claim is changed only in length, but every time I’ve altered Tall patterns down to normal, the sizing has been way off, so I’m not convinced. But for this dress, I might try anyway.

What? Two awesome knit sheath dresses in one issue!? You’re killing me here Burda, because this one is so flattering and a no brainer to colourblock, too!!

Let’s overlook the weird hip-pleat dress on the bottom again and instead focus our attention on that Tall sheath dress, shown here as a top. Burda are quite proud that it’s made in “romanit” fabric, though, so I actually went and looked it up – it appears to be what every German website calls ponte (or ponti roma), so, err thanks for translating that, guys. But on the upside, it’s a million times easier to find great ponte knits than killing myself searching for “romanit”.

Such a simple dress, but so nicely done. This is a beautiful example where simplicity is just so chic, and the shape would be not only flattering on many body types, but also great for transitional weather with those half-length sleeves, too.

Now, into the Plus patterns, where we have a shirtdress pattern with a lot of nice details in the pockets and sleeve tabs, though they seem to have forgotten any waist definition…

Never let it be said that Burda don’t print fashionable Plus patterns, because you couldn’t be more on trend than culottes right now!

I’ve seen the preview for the September issue already, and I’m just going to say that the Oktoberfest pattern explosion every single year is getting reeeeeeeeally old. Let’s hope they’ve put some amazing patterns in the rest of the mag to even it out for their global audience!

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Label evolution

29 July 2015, 14:05

I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about adding your own label into a garment you’ve sewn that just makes it feel 100% more professional. Sometimes it’s practical, too – it’s a lot easier to see a label on a teeshirt or pair of leggings and instantly know that side is the back, but this could also be accomplished by some extra stitching or a bit of folded ribbon, which doesn’t give anywhere near the same finishing touch.

Way back in 2006 I made my own first labels – I’d bought some pale green ribbon and used iron-on inkjet transfer paper to put my logo onto each one. Even back then, I knew it was a pain to print, cut, and iron each one (especially since we were early adopters to laser printing and had to borrow an inkjet printer!), and after repeated wears, the transferred area would wear and look a bit grubby.

I still wear a few items from this era, but couldn’t find any in my summer wardrobe when I went on a hunt to photgraph the changing evolution in my labels, so you’ll have to make do from the above image from 2006. The baby I sewed those trousers for is now nearly 10 years old!

After those ran out (I stupidly printed “2006” on half of them so I couldn’t really use them in 2007! Lesson learnt.) I placed my first order with Cash’s for woven labels. Since they didn’t have mint green, I chose black and silver instead, purely as I thought it’d be the least likely to clash with my fabrics. These were quite narrow and had about four fonts to choose from, and a handful of symbols too (which were all incredibly “happy hands at home” so I opted to have no symbol at all). But their best feature was they were super cheap, so I’d just re-order them when they ran out. At some point they changed their fonts, as you can see in this photo.

I’ve been largely satisfied with these labels, but I’ve been jealous of all the ones I’ve seen from other sewists online with their logo woven inside that look even more professional. I’d even gone and shopped around on a few occasions, but there seemed to be an overwhelming array of label places on Etsy, nearly all shipping from the US or Asia with long turnaround times.

So when the Belgian-based Nominette approached me and asked if I’d like to try out their labels and English-language site, I think I took all of 30 seconds to reply!

They’ve got an online form where you can upload your logo, pick your font, colours and washing care symbols (a bit tricky unless you predominantly sew with the same fabrics – I chose care instructions for lycra, for instance!), and also the orientation of where you want the fold. You also get some space for a custom message so I went with “Designed and sewn on a barge in London”, which I think adds a nice little personal touch for any custom client sewing I may do (not like I’ve had the time to do any since I took my office job in January, though!).

These arrived in about a week, and I am so happy with the quality. These look seriously professional! I feel like I’ve just level-upped in the label stakes! Coming from the 8mm Cash’s tapes, these are a bit taller than what I’m used to (you can get narrower ones, but then you loose the custom logo, which was my main driver).

These are about an inch tall, and since I prefer 3/4in elastic on my leggings and shorts, these won’t really fit horizontally on my waistbands. But they do fold really nicely between the logo and the care instructions, so I inserted one under the elastic as I did the last topstitching instead! Problem solved.

My only complaint is that the colour isn’t quite what I was expecting – in the online form the colour I selected definitely appears to be pale green, but in reality it’s a sky blue. So not really on-brand for me, but I suggested to them that having some photos of the labels on that page would really help give an idea of the true colours. Hopefully they’ll put up some example product photos soon to make colour choosing easier, because the finished labels are really very nice indeed.

Nice enough that you may find yourself only adding these to your absolute best garments, and leaving the slapdash ones’ origins as a mystery…

Disclaimer: Nominette kindly sent these for review, but my opinions are entirely mine and I don’t earn anything should you care to order for yourself.


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MyImage magazine FW15-16 (and giveaway!)

22 July 2015, 13:16

It’s been a while since we had a look inside the bi-annual, quadrilingual pattern magazine, MyImage – over a year in fact! But they’ve got a new issue out, full of Fall and Winter styles and they’ve got a few new tricks up their sleeve, too, like a wider size range for more patterns, and some pdf pattern options, too.

MyImage magazine is printed on nice, thick paper that’s actually larger than my scanner bed, so apologies that some of the images are a bit cropped here – you get a nicer look at the images than if I’d just taken a photo of it! Or you can always have a better look in the digital magazine flipthrough, too.

I knew it was a great sign when I saw these seamed jeans about two pages in – SWOON! It’s like they made a pattern just for me! I love, love, love the seaming on these – they’d look great from all angles and really take the average pair of jeans up a notch. Or for that matter, they wouldn’t even have to be in denim – I’ve some great stretch navy twill in my stash…

I also wanted to show you some of the improvements they’ve made to the instructions (which are, as always, offered in English, Dutch, German, and French) – many of the patterns now also have photos or illustrations showing how to do some of the details of the pattern construction, and these jeans actually have an extra tech drawing which labels where all the pattern pieces go! What a great idea!

The raglan teeshirt dress on the left could be a great style basic, but I also really like the jogging bottoms and cropped jacket on the right, too. The trousers reminded me of the True Bias Hudson Pant that so many people have made, and looks super comfortable for lounging!

This sweater would be a really quick make, with its kimono sleeves and slouchy fit – I also noticed here that it (and many other patterns, like the accompanying panelled skirt) now go up to size 50, too!

This last jersey tunic/dress pattern to catch my eye isn’t actually included in the magazine at all, but showcases the new range of pdf patterns, some of which look familiar from earlier issues (great if you missed it the first time around!). If you’ve got the magazine, you get a 50% discount on the pdf patterns, bringing them down to a (quite frankly, ridiculously cheap!) price of €2 each.

Apologies for the weird ghost on the right-hand lady – it’s show-through from the back cover!

As per usual with My Image, you can browse through the full magazine here and see a full overview of the tech drawings here. I love that they offer this, as I usually have to spend loads of time compiling my own At-a-glance images for my own records, and this just makes it so much easier!


Thanks to the magazine producers, I’ve got a copy of this issue to give away to my readers! Due to international post skyrocketing in the last few years, however, I’m afraid I’m only able to ship to UK/EU addresses (mostly because there’s a cheap “printed materials” rate within the EU). If you live elsewhere and would still like to enter, please only do so if you’re willing to pay for the postage.

To enter the draw, please leave a comment below stating, in your opinion, the optimum date to start sewing Fall fashions. ha!

I’ll pick the winners by random draw next Thursday, 30 July. Good luck! Congrats to Terri, winner by random.org draw!

These issues were kindly provided by MyImage, but I’ve bought (and sewn!) plenty on my own in the past, and my opinions here are all my own.

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Comment [24]

Pedal power

20 July 2015, 14:12

My main sewing machine is a JoAnn Sonata, and it has a bit of a history. It’s technically a vintage machine, I think, having been made in the early 1980s and then promptly forgotten by the entire world. Every now and then I get an email from someone who bought one at a yard sale, thanking me profusely for scanning and uploading the user manual, but for years the only Google hits for it were ones I’d written myself.

My machine, photographed in 2006

To complicate matters even further, my machine began life as my sister-in-law’s grandmother’s machine, which was gifted to me well over a decade ago when my mom brought it over as checked luggage on a flight from the States. So on top of being some random, vintage brand no one’s ever heard of, it’s also the wrong voltage (I run it through a voltage converter).

Considering the sheer volume of use it sees, the machine does so well, and I have no intention of ever replacing it so long as I can keep repairing it. I mean, I clean it fairly regularly, but I hardly ever oil it, and it only went in for its first ever service (during my tenure, anyway) last winter when the foot pedal stopped responding. My man at Maury Sewing was able to repair the foot pedal then, but advised that if it failed again, I should buy a replacement pedal from the States and just swap out the plug end (he looked into replacing the motor with a 220v one but couldn’t find one to fit the body on short notice).

The repairs lasted a good six months, but again recently, I found myself having to pump the pedal to get it to respond, and even then, it’d only go at maximum speed which isn’t exactly ideal. So I hunted on US eBay and found a really similar-looking vintage, metal food pedal in 110v wiring, with the thought of recruiting James to rewire the old plug end onto the new-to-me pedal.

The eBay replacement (top) and my original (bottom)

But our friend Alex happened to be visiting after it arrived, and said he’d be happy to have a look. He grabbed a screwdriver and opened them up and to our amazement, the pedals were actually identical inside!

He started to take them apart and check the voltage and everything, but then realised it was going to be a bigger task than he’d thought, so agreed instead to take it in to his work (he’s the one who works at “the death ray” we toured last Fall) where they had better equipment, and he’d post them back to me.

A few days later the text messages started arriving – apparently the in-house electronics technician came over to have a look, started taking it apart, and got really interested in the vintage electronics! Instead of just swapping the plug end so the eBay one would fit into my machine, they opted instead to repair my original pedal using the eBay one as spare parts, which was much more fun!

Apart from not having an Earth because it’s US wiring (in the UK, the outside chassis would be connected to Earth to ground it, but US plugs don’t do that), they’ve said it’s perfectly up to safety specs (the voltage converter I use has it’s own fuses), and the slight charring we saw on the wires’ insulation was most likely caused by the earlier repair soldering and not any electrical fault! Phew!

Apparently the coolest thing about the pedals is that they have about 100 or so little carbon discs inside (see photo above) – as the pedal is pressed, the stack of discs is squashed down, which changes their resistance! The technician had never seen anything like this before, and was very pleased to have worked on it. A few of the discs in my pedal were singed and a few were shattered, so the main repair work just consisted of replacing the discs with ones from the eBay pedal, and in one case, a brass washer so that the right space is still maintained. How cool is that?

And to answer your question – it sews like a dream now! It’s purring like a kitten in a way I’ve not seen in ten years. And more importantly, it’s allowed me to keep sewing on my machine which I love, otherwise works great, and has a wonderful history. A new, plastic replacement machine couldn’t have come close!

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Pleated denim leggings

14 July 2015, 13:38

The three words in the title may not seem like they naturally go together, but it’s all made possible by the super stretchy denim I bought from Mood when we were in NYC for my birthday in March. The weave definitely looks more like a denim/twill than a knit, but strangely, there’s more lengthwise stretch than widthwise (about 50-60% compared to only about 20%). There’s still plenty of stretch there for them to just pull on with an elastic waistband, and the fit is definitely more “leggings” than “jeans”, despite the denim.

I made these well over a month ago, and I’ve been wearing them pretty much twice weekly since then – they’re unbelievably versatile and so much more interesting than just a basic stretch denim legging (or, ugh, “jegging”). They were one of the last items to be made in my old sewing room, and I’m not entirely sure why it’s taken so long to photograph these, because I really do like them!

There’s no pattern to talk about here, I’m afraid – I just opened my basic leggings sloper in Illustrator and made some modifications to fit what was in my head.

In short, I drew some design lines on the Front where I wanted the pleated panel to be, sliced that off as its own piece, then digitally spread it apart again to have twelve 1cm pleats with 2cm in between. (You can do this really quickly by overlaying a grid onto the pattern piece, splitting it apart, then moving the top (or bottom) piece by the amount you want the total spread to be (in my case, moving it 12 × 2cm=24cm). Then just set those pleat pieces to distribute vertically!) IMHO, this is so much easier then getting out scissors and tape and a ruler and trying to draw out all the pleats myself. I truly am a digital native when it comes to pattern drafting now, I swear!

Worn here with my mustard Drape Drape top – still a favourite 2.5 years later!

I did all the pleating first, sewing each with a zigzag stitch in bronze thread to get more of a classic jeans vibe, but to ensure they’d actually stretch around my thighs without popping stitches! I did the hem and waistband topstitching with the same bronze thread, too.

Ultimately, these are an homage to a pleated MyImage pair I made a few years ago and loved so much I wore them to bits – even taking them in after I lost weight (and I hate alterations so that just shows how much I loved these!). When we were in NYC, I was specifically looking for super stretchy denim to recreate these, and I’ve been itching to have these in my wardrobe ever since – 3 months!

The back view is a bit boring, but I just wanted a plain back – sure, I could’ve continued the pleating around, but that’s not really the look I had in my head!

Despite the weird lengthwise stretch (normally only seen in bengalines, which this is most definitely not!), I really wanted these to be snug fitting and I thought it’d be weird to have the grainline going around the body, so I made them with the 20% stretch going around the body to keep the grainline running up and down. They’re definitely snug, but they feel great and fit exactly the way I wanted, thanks to a high lycra content.

The only problem with this is that, when I finally had a spare few hours to sew these, I was feeling supremely lazy and couldn’t be arsed to change my overlocker threads from white to something darker. And because these are so snug fitting, you can see some of the white overlocker threads on the centre front and centre back seams where it’s stretched the most.

Eventually I’ll go back over these seams with a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine (in navy thread this time!), but see above regarding my thoughts on alterations, ha! I wanted to document these as-is, both because it’s been long enough already, but also because these will act as a reminder to myself that I really should just spend an extra two minutes to change my overlocker threads before starting a new project!

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Manequim magazine June 2015

7 July 2015, 14:11

We experienced a bit of Brazilian heat here in London last week, but I’m happy to report that it didn’t stop me from moving into my new sewing room. Hefting furniture and hauling boxes wasn’t fun when dripping with sweat, but I’m about 80% moved in and I’ll of course give you all a tour once I’m done. Even without my machines hooked up and with some temporary lighting, the space just makes me happy just being inside.

But for now, let’s try and cool off with some thoughts of a Brazilian winter…

First up is this leather pencil skirt, which really reminds me of my grey one I made a few years back, though it’s sadly now too big. And this one’s sized far too small!

These may not seem like much, but a nice, basic trouser pattern in the full standard size range is an absolute goldmine! I get asked over and over (and over!) again what I do when a pattern I love isn’t in my size, and basic patterns like this are great for transferring interesting details from ones that are too-big or too-small. Just take the pleat, or panel, or pocket, or seamline you love and transfer it onto a basic version in your size…

From the same “black and white” feature, we get a pattern for this asymmetric, faux-wrap skirt, which is really striking with the colourblocking, but I think would also be great in an all-over tweed with a leather buckle detail.

Like the multisize trousers, this basic woven shift dress could be really useful for adapting other, fancier patterns that aren’t in your size (it also looks similar to the orange dress hack in the 3rd GBSB book)

Ooh men’s patterns! I can’t actually recall another time in the past 3-4 years I’ve been subscribing that they’d offered patterns for men! It’s only this pea coat and a pair of basic trousers, but still! Also, this ladies long faux fur coat looks like it’d be useful, though potentially too hot for Brazil…

This piped, short jacket is utterly lovely, and I’m intrigued by the cross back shown only in the tech drawing, too.

I’ve seen this silhouette everywhere for the past few years, but this is a nice take on the casual, silk trouser.

At first glance, this looks like any old wrap dress, but look closer and you can see some great, asymmetric seaming going on here.

There are only the usual three Plus patterns this month, but the short culottes are very on trend, and the playsuit is really cute, too.

Only one more issue of Manequim to go before I’m (eep!) in Brazil myself, though only barely over the border and just for one day. But still!! (Iguazu Falls side trip after competing in the World Transplant Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina)

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Burda magazine July 2015

24 June 2015, 13:38

I’m not normally a fan of “summer” sewing since the styles printed by the likes of Manequim, Patrones, and Burda for the summer months tend to all be focused on super hot, beach weather that’s just completely impractical for English summers. Case in point: today in London it’s sunny and warm, high of 23C (73F) and for the most part, that’s a pretty average summer day. In other words, it feels like Spring or Fall do in most places, and I love it. You all can keep your disgustingly hot and humid summers, and I’m happy to take a few useless sewing magazine issues each year as a trade-off!

But surprisingly, this July issue of Burda actually isn’t half bad! There are, of course, a few wholly impractical, wispy beach styles, but there are also designs I could wear…

Speaking of designs which work for English summers, this one’s got ours written all over it! The details of this boxy, yoked shirt are just fabulous – I can’t recall ever seeing rounded placket before, for starters…

Ugh, the fabric choice here just makes this look like a cheap and awful nurse’s costume! And those insipid sleeve flounces, gag.

In my eyes, the best pattern of this entire issue comes from designer Antonio Marras – it’s a great silhouette, and the neckline and hem length are bang on trend. But even better are those angled seams, which are only really revealed in the tech drawing!

I’m not usually drawn to maxi-dress styles, but this halter dress (for Tall sizes) with its fantastic, sweeping full skirt really catches my attention in a way that a shorter hemline version just wouldn’t. In fact, it reminds me most of ballroom dance gowns!

Burda have been dipping their toes into the backless trend for a few months now, but IMHO they’ve finally nailed it with this one. It’s still not particularly bra friendly, but the design of both the top and the dress version are so on trend and really quite flattering, too.

This sarong-style dress just screams summer holidays! It’s got a structured, strapless dress underneath with a sarong-style overlay to change up the look.

And finally, this Plus-sized gown is just stunning – it looks to be really well designed with curving, sweeping seamlines to really show off a curvy figure.

What do you think? Is there anything worth your summer sewing time here, or are you just camping in front of a fan and dreaming of sewing Fall styles instead?

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Comment [9]

New digs!

22 June 2015, 21:43

Sorry for the silence last week, but I’ve been working really hard on two big things:

1. My new sewing room is done and ready to move into!!

Yes, after 8 years in my “temporary” sewing room which is smaller than the average American closet, plus over a year of hard graft of sanding, painting, filling, more sanding, more painting, buying smoked oak parquet flooring, cutting a million tiny pieces to fit, then gluing, more sanding, three coats of oil rubbed in by hand (in amoungst working two jobs and marathon training, I might add), I finally nailed the last bit of trim down tonight!! So I can start moving into my permanent sewing cave, which is only a little bigger than my temporary room but concealed behind a hidden bookcase door (no, really). I’ll try to put together a little video for you all…

2. My next sewing pattern is coming along very nicely and should be ready for testing in a few weeks! It’s passed my own testing with flying colours and even got a “ooh that’s very Stella McCartney!” comment from a friend at track, too!

I don’t like to announce my patterns until they’re nearly ready, but I’ll share the clue I’ve already leaked to my Twitter followers: it has two distinct views, and (big sigh of relief) none of the new Jalie patterns overlap with anything I’ve had planned for this year, either!

So I hope you’ll forgive me that my blogging output is a little quiet at the moment, but it’s all time investments into my sewing future at the moment! If you’re in need of some reading material, you should head over to The Monthly Stitch, where you can read an interview with me about Fehr Trade patterns! Their “New To Me” Challenge is happening right now, and you can win a heap of prizes (including my VNA Top pattern!) just for sewing something from a new pattern company. Which sounds like a good thing to do anyway, if you ask me…


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Funkifabrics tech lycra is HERE! (And 20% discount)

9 June 2015, 12:58

Remember back in April when I helped Funkifabrics road-test some new technical lycra fabric bases? I had two bases to choose from (onto which they printed my choice of designs), so I went off on some intense runs in warm weather, and ultimately decided on one, which I then went and ran London marathon in!

Post London marathon in my experimental Funkifabric Steeplechase Leggings shorts!

Well, the same tech fabric I ran the marathon in is now available, and in a collection of twelve limited edition prints!

You can read more about their selection process (which involved feedback from their customers) as well as links to buy each pattern in their blog post here (and no, they’re not planning on offering the tech base in solids yet so ignore the sports bras).

They’ve also got a rare 20% off everything sale running until tomorrow night (midnight BST, 10 June) which includes these new bases! I’ve been buying Funki’s regular Flexcite lycra for nearly two years now and this is only the second time I’ve ever seen them do a sale, so if you’ve been waiting, I’d buy now!

And you don’t have to run a marathon to appreciate them, either!

If you’re looking for great patterns to use with your new tech lycra, here are a few of my own road-tested, runner-approved patterns which work great with fabrics like these:







Disclaimer: Nope, nothing to admit to here. I got the experimental bases for free back in April, but that’s it. I wasn’t even asked to blog about this – I’m just a stupidly happy customer.

PS: Those of you in the Pacific Northwest might want to read through Gwen’s guide for swimwear & activewear fabric suppliers

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