A stylish guide to classic sewing

Earlier this year, I was approached by the lovely Sarah Gunn from Goodbye Valentino and Julie Starr to contribute some of my projects to their upcoming book. I had been taking part in the 2018 RTW Fast that Sarah organised, and posted some of my garments in the Facebook group, I was well chuffed that they wanted to feature me. And what do you know, a few days ago my copy arrived in the post, so I could not wait to share my review with you. Also, I’m very pleased to be able to offer one lucky winner the chance…


If you're thinking about making a few little gifts this year, and need something quick because once again you've left everything to the last minute (just me?) there are quite a few fun, free patterns out there that are quick, multipurpose, and don't require any fitting at all.

Perfect for that last minute addition to a gift!

First, you might want to make a beanie from this free pattern made by Workhorse Patterns for the Sewcialists. It's a great use for knit scraps & can be just as cute as you want it to be. It can also be plain and solid coloured for more sedate headgear.

Of course you can easily put together a scarf to match, using my very own tutorial for an infinity scarf, or this one for a longer scarf. You can make it all out of one fabric, or jazz things up by first stitching together your scraps into a patchwork and then making your... [read more]

Hello CSC! November was a great month for me. I hope it rocked for you too. 🙂 If the creations in the #cscmakes hashtag are any indication, you did! Check out the rest here, because these are only the highlights!

@leila_sews made a Muna and Broad Torrens Box top

@threadyforit made a Love Notions Sloane sweater

@whistlepea made a Cashmerette Tobin Sweater

@madebylaquana made Simplicity 8529

@rosesybrant made a Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse

@ithinkicansewit made an Itch to Stitch Cape Cod Capelet

@seamslikestyle made a Love Notions Forte top

@tilleycharlotte made a Cashmerette Montrose top

@bettybutterfly2 made a By Hand London Hannah top

@elanaknt made a Seamwork Natalie shirt

@needles_and_paint made a Hot Patterns Shirt Tail T

@sheila.okelly made a Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater

@happily_caffeinated made a Hot Patterns Favourite... [read more]

Hey Sewcialists!

No one will have noticed, but I basically took all of November off from Sewcialising as I was on a work trip. The trip included a couple of different places, but most excitingly (from a fabric perspective) we went to Singapore.

I live in Australia, so I was hoping that Singapore would be reasonably different in terms of fabric available (and price!). I used Fadanista’s post about fabric shopping in Singapore as a guide (thanks Sue!), and ended up visiting both Arab Street and People’s Park Complex based on her recommendations.

  • Two rayon challis fabrics to hopefully use together
  • A kind of brocade like piece for a skirt
  • Sparkly and cotton – for a top
  • This is way more green than it looks in this picture!
Pictures of 5 different fabrics purchased in Singapore

My haul is above. I tried to pick things that were... [read more]

Aiming For A Zero Waste Bathroom: Part Two

In Aiming For A Zero Waste Bathroom: Part One, I talked you through why we’re cutting down on the plastic in our bathroom. I shared…

The post Aiming For A Zero Waste Bathroom: Part Two appeared first on Thimble End.

Aiming For A Zero Waste Bathroom: Part One

Yesterday I told you about how I went shampoo-free. Obviously a huge environmental benefit of that is that there’s absolutely no plastic involved. Now I’m…

The post Aiming For A Zero Waste Bathroom: Part One appeared first on Thimble End.

For those of you waiting for the results of the jeans! They’re done, worn and I’m rather happy with them!  I have had my fun and games trying to chose the right size to make, initially going purely with my measurements and toiling the 31 in the slim leg version in some left over pieces of denim in the stash.  The toile fabric wasn’t quite stretchy enough, but I figured with the proper stretch, that the 31 was  just fine.  But I was wrong – so wrong!!  They were like leggings, but without the amount of stretch that leggings have – I felt like I was back in the late 80s again, having to wiggle and jump into my jeans!  So if anyone out there would like a pair of slim leg Ash jeans in size 31 – I have a pair looking for a home!

wide ash 6
Wide leg Ash Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns

It was tricky to figure out which size to actually make.  In the end, I retraced all the... [read more]

No Shampoo For Four Months?!

Before I get into this blog post, I have to admit a major failing on my part. I did not take any photos. Yep, this…

The post No Shampoo For Four Months?! appeared first on Thimble End.

What a beautiful Theme Month we have had this November! Thank you for taking part and sharing the myriad ways we can give to other people, animals and our communities. Each and every one of them was the perfect way to #givesewmuch.

Here is a round up of the makes shared for The Giving Challenge, but as always bear with us if Instagram glitches and human error means your amazing make hasn’t been shared. Just drop us a message and we will add it on!

Enjoy these makes and do keep the giving spirit going!

  •  I recently shared a photo of a pattern that I found when I was sorting through my stash -- it's a c1991  Vogue 8132, a "Very Easy Vogue Sport" jumper pattern that I bought in 1991 and have meant to make ever since! I decided that it was time to cut it and make it up.

    This coincided with the grand reopening of our local Fabricland -- it nearly closed this year but was relocated instead, to the great relief of all the sewists in our community. This weekend was the opening of the new location, which is bright and big and full of wonderful things (and people!)

    I picked up a few knits and a couple of patterns. When I saw the black and white houndstooth on sale I knew exactly what to do with it.

    Added to this brand new fabric was my very old pattern. Because I bought this Vogue pattern in 1991, it only went up to size 12. But with the oversize silhouette, I... [read more]

Why You Won't Be Getting Any More Newsletters From Me

I’ve been sending out newsletters for a while now. Well, technically I have, but this year I really slipped and barely sent any.    …

The post Why You Won’t Be Getting Any More Newsletters From Me appeared first on Thimble End.

Sometimes you see a pattern, you buy it and you sew it up in a blink of an eye. Well, this did not happen with the Perth dress. It only took me 7 months from buying the pattern to finish it.
I can’t remember when I saw the Perth dress for the first time but I remember that I was immediately intrigued by the design of it. Especially by the front closure. A search through my pattern files learnt me that I bought the pattern last March. I intended to sew it for my late spring wardrobe but other projects interfered with that plan!

Perth dress

Eventually, I cut out the pattern in June. I took the pieces with me to the Sewingweekender at the end of August and I nearly finished it there; except for the collar and front closure. During the mid-term break at the beginning of November, I could finally finish this beautiful dress. Alas, we are in Autumn now, therefore, I have to... [read more]

Welcome to the #SewingTop5 for 2019! After hosting it here for 7 years, I decided it was time to shift the series over to the Sewcialists. I’m blogging less than I used to (gone are the years where I did two posts a week religiously) and with what time and energy I have these days, I’m focusing on keeping Sewcialists rolling.

Usually I find it so hard to narrow down my top 5 hits… but since I did so little sewing and blogging in 2019 due to my concussion, this year is a little easier! My #SewcialistsMiniChallenge knit jumpsuit!

1. My #SewcialistsMiniChallenge Knit Jumpsuit

I love sewing under a time crunch, and I love how this jumpsuit turned out! It’s the Zadie pattern that was so popular this year, but of course I sewed it in a knit instead. I think the liverpool knit works really well in this pattern, and I always felt cute and put together... [read more]

Collage showing 8 years of images for the Sewing Top 5 Series.

It’s time for some end-of-year fun! I’ve been hosting the #SewingTop5 on my personal blog, Crafting a Rainbow, since 2012 – which makes it one year older than the Sewcialists! This year, we decided that it would be a perfect fit here instead.

What is the Sewing Top 5?

It’s a chance to look back at your year of sewing and celebrate! Before you rush into another year of sewing, think back on what worked or didn’t, what else you accomplished, and where you want to go next.

Sewing Top 5 of 2019

So, how can you take part? 

On your Instagram, blog or other social media, post about your top 5 in each of the following categories:

  • Top 5 Hits: The 5 most worn or most loved makes from your year!
  • Top 5 Misses: Not everything works out, so this is your chance to share the 5 projects that didn’t turn out, never got worn, were accidentally destroyed in the wash, or were... [read more]

Thank you for all your lovely comments on recent posts. I’m sorry I haven’t replied to every one of them. It’s been a tough transition with my new job. I will get to replying to them when I can, though. ❤ I appreciate and read every one of them.

Last Thursday was my birthday. I celebrated in a *very chronic illness* TM way by busting my knee and being in bunches of pain. That said, it was actually a really good birthday for me. My brother visited and he gave me some wrist warmers he knit and I made cake and had wings for dinner. My husband took me to a Brazilian steakhouse on Tuesday (since we knew my brother was going to visit) and he gave me a huge bottle of one of my fav kinds of tequila. While my chronic illness and pain can often offset my plans, I’ve learned to relax a lot of my expectations and listen to my body when it says I need to rest. It’s... [read more]

Somebodies already did the work on this topic.
I'm just making mashup contrasty pictures of it.

I like her version the best. It's almost just like all the real ones I've seen, and she gives you the instructions for assembly.
But this is hard to see.
And there's a free pattern for a similar thing, which we're going to borrow. But let me make this clear, this is Mad Housewife's Idea. This is.... the children's book version.

If you combine her ideas with their pieces, you get a pretty nice collar for free. Her recommendation to stretching the smaller undercollar and showing the results is sweet.
Go read it on her page!
Then come back.

Looking at the shirts in... [read more]

I love this pattern – the drafting is terrific, the neckline really works for me, I can alter it easily. It is my new TNT T!

I  got this marble fabric from my buddy at Seamstress fabrics. She only has the good stuff. This is a beautiful organic cotton with spandex and a delight to work with.

One colleague asked me if sewing really did save money. Inevitably I said “it depends – not really for t-shirts, but yes for other things”. My colleague then drooled over the fabric…

It got a label, from my considerable collection of KATM labels. Then coverstitched in variegated black~grey thread (needles) and white (looper).

I got some other fabric from Seamstress at the same time – they were both on sale. More organic cotton spandex but with strawberries this time.

No label yet, cover stitching with red thread in the needles and white in the looper. Amazingly I found... [read more]

Making Fabric Jewelry / Marthe Le Van
NY: Lark, c2012.
144 p.
This month I'm going to be featuring some craft books with quick, easy, but also nice last minute gift potential projects in them. This is a book I've had on my shelf for quite a while, and I think there are many fun ideas in it, from extremely simple to a bit more complicated. 

You can start with the covered button bracelet, which is exactly what it sounds like. (image on the 20+ projects bubble on the front cover). Get a bunch of button forms, cover them with adorable scraps, and string them together into a bracelet. 

Or go a little bigger with a wire wrapped teardrop earring which requires more materials and more expertise with wire work. 

You can even transfer images to fabric and use those to make brooches and gewgaws! I'd love to try that one. 

There are some familiar ideas, like a... [read more]

Everything I may or may not have mentioned up til now, and what DIDN’T work out…  PROBABLY the last panto post, you’ll be relieved to know!

  1.  the parrot costume.  After Billy Bones hands over the treasure map and dies, the actor was thrust back on stage to act as Long John Silver’s missing parrot for a while…  cape made from stash, feathers freehand pinked from appropriate stash remnants, parrot features copied from this tutorial in felt from stash.  Elastic wrist loops and ribbon ties for the hood.  It went down a storm!
the understudy
the real deal

2. The sailor suit.  This was made from another of my not-large-enough-any-more duvet covers, which JUST HAPPENED to be white with blue ribbon trim and pintucks, so I cut to use them to their best advantage.  This was one of my rare attempts at draping on the body, so a sort of freehand bit of work made to look... [read more]

Almost all the characters need britches, and I started by digging through my copy of ‘Patterns for Theatrical Costumes’ but ended up using it for other bits and bobs.

I made fall-front breeches from S4923 for the Captain and Ben Gunn.  The captain’s were from a fabulous textured blue velvet from the Rag Market, which was only £4/m.  It has a shot effect with a gold thread in it, and lit beautifully.  Cheap as chips, but a bit too flimsy so had to be completely flat lined with some of the sheets I used.

I added shiny buttons at the knee, and they looked great!  [The coat was from the Lolita pirate pattern S8285, for a more womanly shape, the long waistcoat from this one, made in a cream curtain damask from my stash]

Ben Gunn got the same pattern in a stained old cotton from a bolster cover, pre-aged as it were, and some rips added.  I... [read more]

A right load of pants!

Spotty bloomers for the dame, in cheap-as-chips tacky polyester with weird holographic plastic polka dots, from Barry’s Warehouse, on the £1/metre heap.  This is a great source for costume fabrics, when all you want is effect and nothing has to be massively sturdy or long lasting.  All good dames need horrible bloomers to flash, so these jumped out.

Static?  Whatever…

It all frays like hell, so I used the overlocker both for speed and neatness, and prayed that those plastic circles would not over stress any needles.  At least they’re usually sturdier in the overlocker!

I’m typing this all up after the show and am wracking my brains to remember what pattern I grabbed to cut these out…I suspect it was one that was to hand, so probably the New Look K6351 I used for Pirate Hands’ stripey drawstring trousers and jacket- made... [read more]

Shirts shirts frilly pirate shirts.

Just 9 cast members, most with one costume only, still means a fair few shirts.

Image result for gentleman jack shirt

Related imageRequirements- Long John Silver, Cap’n Smollett [my Gentleman Jack inspired outfit], Jim Hawkins [going with the Harry Styles look], 2 sidekick pirates [one ‘snobbish’ one ‘sexy’], tattered for Ben Gunn, scruffy for Bones, plus two wenches [one for the Dame]

So I got cracking, having scoured the local charity shops for curtains with useful linings and some sheets:

Ben Gunn got a very nicely faded, very softly washed striped shirt from a charity shop, ripped appropriately.  Half an hour snipping off tabs and adding tears, sorted!

Proper fall-front breeches from S4923 using an ancient, stained bolster cover.  Perfect!

Simplicity 4923 seemed like a good investment, shirt, waistcoat, breeches and coat, and even FAIRLY historically... [read more]

Stashbusting is good this month!  I have finally, finally used a piece of viscose that I honestly cannot remember buying.  It’s been in the stash for what seems like ages, just waiting for the right project to come along (another of those!).  It’s a lovely drapey weight, closely woven, unlike some cheaper viscoses.  And the little feather print is lovely, without being too cute!  Really, I’ve earmarked this fabric to many a pattern over the last few years, but have always bottled it at the last minute.  So what happened this time?  Who’s the lucky pattern?


Well, it’s actually a vintage Vogue, from 1956.  I’d always liked this pattern, the front is interesting with the dart pleats at the neckline.  But, I wasn’t the right size…  Thank goodness that’s all changed, and now I have a variety of 50’s Vogue patterns, jackets in particular, that I can make!  I’d come... [read more]

I have no cat, okay? But I promised my readers I’d give them a tutorial for a macrame cat hammock, so here it is. … More macrame cat hammock »

The post macrame cat hammock appeared first on My French Twist.

Another repeat pattern! November is 'Nother month I guess ;) I first made this Very Easy Vogue 9022 in 2014, and really loved it. But my mom came to visit and tried it on, and looked so great in it that I gave it to her. But I started to miss the dress so have remade it -- exactly the same dress, in the same colour & material -- a red ponte that is similar to the original, but a little heavier weight. 

And the biggest change was that I had to adjust the sizing just a little more to fit right! My pattern only goes up to Medium, so I had to grade out to about a large in the hips; I added just a smidge more this time around. I also added a touch of shaping to the back seam to add a 1/4" more width across the posterior. I think it worked out. I also shortened the sleeve as usual, since I prefer a 3/4 length -- that also helps to fit it on to your fabric since a long cut... [read more]
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