Saturday Sewing Session Blog

Our Top 5 and what really happens inside a sewing machine…

Its the middle of Feb, and it sees to be getting colder bar the sprinkle of daffodils peeping up from the ground.

That is enough to know that a change is on its way . WooHoo

We hope that everyones new year is ticking along nicely and that your resolution do and don’ts haven’t become a thing of 2015! At SSS Hq we are still mastering how to juggle, maybe we’ll keep that one in 2015!

Here is our Top 5 round up of our favourite book, restaurant, shop, exhibition and our top pick of the month to take you into Spring.

1) A Spool of Blue Thread – Anne Tyler We love a book that has thread on the cover here at SSS! This story is the tale of a beautiful emotional ride of a family  through the generations.

2) Sunday Cafe – This gorgeous little cafe in Barnsbury does an awesome brekkie!

3) BOB by DOP – Slightly biased but the wonderful Dawn O’Porter is online and has a POP up in town. Also check out her collaboration with Katharine Hamnett  in support of Help Refugees ’Choose Love’ campaign

4) Vogue100 A Century of Style - The National Portrait Gallery is showcasing  glorious Vogue commissioned photographs from 1916 to present day.

5) Magical lantern Festival – Chiswick House and Gardens comes alive with a  spectacular artistic installation of beautifully sculpted lanterns


Come closer, we have a secret….

We get asked all the time at SSS

‘Why does there need to be 2 threads’ and “How does the sewing machine actually work?’

Realising our answer of ‘Well, the thing is, ummm there are little fairies working their magic inside the little bobbin house’ … sort of, didn’t really cut it.

So we decided to find out the answer for YOU.

We  ventured far and wide, over hills and mountains, through streams and snow to find the answer, but then we just looked at Facebook and here is the result … and its a brilliant little vid!

Fairies not involved! How the sewing machine works!


Hope that helps!

Happy Stitching




On trend festive fashion

With Christmas less than a month away, and the diary bulging with parties, dinners and festive get togethers its time to stitch up some one off party frocks. We’ve picked some gorgeous festive styles that can be stitched and upcycled at home. As with every SSS blog we start off by doing a round up of our favourite book, restaurant, shop, exhibition and our top pick of the month.


  1. Us by David Nicholls, a witty page-turner about a couple on the brink of divorce on a tour of Europe with their teenage son.
  2. The Lodge, an authentic mountain Alpine retreat in the heart of Clapham. Cheese fondue, hot toddies and a meaty menu what more could you want!
  3. Harrods- a trip to see the Christmas window displays and the Toy Kingdom will get any Scrooge into the holiday spirit.
  4. Audrey Hepburn Exhibition, Portraits of an Icon, it may not be at the National Portrait Gallery anymore, but you can still catch the curated twitter tour.
  5. SSS Pick of the Month- Brixton’s South Pole Saloon. Join Santa’s elves for a post workshop tipple…festive, tacky goodness!

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Top 5 picks of the week in London

Sparkles & Sequins


Sequins are a Christmas party staple. There are plenty of unusual sequined fabrics on websites like ebay that will make you stand out for all the right reasons! Whether one block colour or just a sparkly section there are plenty of ways to jazz up your evening wear. For the subtler partygoer a sequined little black dress can give that festive edge without being too over the top. Below is a pattern for the new look maxi evening dress that can be customized with different straps and backs. We have also included some similar designer styles on the Catwalk to give you some on trend inspiration. If you are new to stitching with sequined fabrics always test on a piece of the fabric first, it may need a thinner needle to punch through the sequins. If a big evening gown project makes you nervous, please contact us and we can help you through it every step of the way!

Saturday Sewing Sessions Christams, dress, home made, dressmaking, Chanel, Catwalk, Sequin, Fabric, Pattern, Hand stitched, Sewing Lessons, Classes London..

Tulle Skirts


Carrie Bradshaw Style Tulle Skirts are an easy way of making a party ready look. They can also be worn with a Cashmere jumper and necklace for daytime festive shindig, or with a silk cami top for the evening. The look is versatile and can be worn throughout the year…. Well worth stitching this December. Below we have simplicity pattern 1427 so you can make your own Tulle Skirt in a number of lengths and styles. If tulle is a foreign fabric to you it may be worth organising a one2one session as we can cater for any type of project, no matter how big, small or glittery.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Christams, dress, home made, dressmaking, Chanel, Catwalk, Sequin, Fabric, Pattern, Hand stitched, Sewing Lessons, Classes London. Tulle Skirt, Sex and the city.

Embellishments and Appliqués


Embellishments, gems and Appliqués are a great way to add sparkle to any hand stitched dress or shop brought garment. Below we have a simple shift tunic dress that you can make at home, we also have our shift dress class which is really useful for getting the perfect fit (and brilliant for intermediate sewers!). Buying gems, embellishments and appliqués is a great way of adding a personal touch to your wardrobe, and it means you can up cycle last years cocktail dresses with a new twist! The dress below is £160 from Ted Baker, you can make your own for a fraction of the price and you can guarantee no one else will have the same outfit as you!

Saturday Sewing Sessions Christams, dress, home made, dressmaking, Chanel, Catwalk, Sequin, Fabric, Pattern, Hand stitched, Sewing Lessons, Classes London. Tulle Skirt, Sex and the city, Ted Baker, Tunic, Shift dress.

Whether you are embarking on a big dressmaking project for an upcoming event this December or hoping to upcycle 2014’s party frocks we want to hear from you. Party season is upon us andthere is no better feeling than have some one ask where you brought your outfit from and replying you made it yourself!


If you have a family member or friend that loves trying something new, why not get them a Saturday Sewing Sessions giftcard this Christmas. There is nothing better than finding a hobby that you love, and you won’t know you love it until you’ve tried it! And if you are very brave, why not try making your loved ones a handmade prezzie?


Warm Wishes in the build up to Christmas,


The SSS Team xxxxx



London Fashion Week SS16 Sewing Projects.

Hot on the heels of New York Fashion Week, the London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2016 shows did not disappoint. As expected it was another stand out year for British Designers, from the outlandish to the sublime, all were hailed for their innovative talent and progressive design. Before we look at our favourite sewable LFW trends we’ve got to start as we always do with our Saturday Sewing Session Top 5 picks of the Month in the following categories a Book, Restaurant, Shop, Exhibition and our Pick of the Month.

  • The Girl Who Wasn’t There- A gripping murder trial that will keep you guessing right until the end. Dark, ingenious and irresistibly gripping.
  • Darwin Restaurant, Sky Garden- Incredible brunch and views to rival the Shard…Perfection!
  • Pearl Lowe Petite- Uber cute Circus inspired Kids collection from Pearl Lowe- Launching in Harrods soon!
  • Mademoiselle Prive- Saatchi Gallery-a journey through the origins of CHANEL’s creations and the charismatic personalities of Mme Coco and Karl Lagerfeld.
  • Pick of the Month- Autumnal Walks in london- embrace the change in season, wrap up and get out there!


Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Sewing, Pearl Lowe, Fashion Week, Autumn Walks, Darwin Restaurant, Chanel Exhibition, Saatchi Gallery,

There is often a disconnect between fashion and home sewing, and here at the SSS we want to bridge that gap. Couture glamour and experimental design shouldn’t be left solely to the designers, if you feel inspired to make your very own home made fashion statement then we want you to give it a go!


We have identified 3 trends for the SS16 LFW catwalks that we think can be easily created at home…….get stitching!

Print Blocking

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Sewing London Fashion Week, Trends SS 2016, Designer Fashion, Sew at Home

Jonathan Saunders, Emilia Wickstead, Duro Olowu, Mary Katrantzou, and Mother of Pearl


Colour blocking is usually the trend that keeps on giving, but this time around, the city has taken it up a notch by blocking prints. Head to your local fabric shop, pick the jazziest prints and start mixing up your dressmaking patterns. Whether they clash or compliment each other this trend will be big next spring. There is so much room in sewing for experimentation, taking risks and getting creative. We can do tailored one to one courses for any project that you want to tackle, so be ambitious, get in touch and we can help you make your dream project a reality!


All tied up

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Sewing London Fashion Week, Trends SS 2016, Designer Fashion, Sew at Home 

Issa, David Koma, Christopher Raeburn, Eudon Choi, and Amanda Wakeley


Tied waists not only add structure to unfitted designs but they are also an easy way of updating an existing outfit. To make your own tie, measure out 2 lengths of black thin fabric, edge stitch down each side and one end, poke inside out, press, top stitch 0.3cm in and secure the open end by top stitching. Add to a boxy outfit for a LFW designer twist to your outfit! Emphasis was placed on the waist with plenty of designers tying their looks up with a bow.



 Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Sewing London Fashion Week, Trends SS 2016, Designer Fashion, Sew at Home, Net Mesh

Sibling, Paul Smith, Pringle of Scotland, Simone Rocha, and Burberry Prorsum

If like us at the SSS you are a keen follower of Fashion but also love to sew then why not try some dressmaking patterns that you know and love in some on trend fabrics? As an example why not try our Jersey Dress Pattern that you can make in our SSS class in a netted mesh? It creates a bold look, that may require a slip underneath to protect your modesty but its an easy way of creating a high fashion look. It can be a great opportunity to learn how to Alter patterns to accommodate fabrics with different properties.


If you have a go at sewing the Catwalk then please send in your photos, we would just love to see them! We will be doing a bigger round up of all our favourite fashion week trends across Milan, London, New York and Paris next month… so watch this space!


Happy Stitching



The Self Taught Stitcher

This month’s blog will uncover one girl’s love of stitching and the tale of where it all began!

At the Saturday Sewing Sessions we are big fans of unearthing how people discovered their passion for sewing so hopefully it encourages others to dust off the sewing machine and get creative especially at Autumn starts rolling in. Rosie helps with the blog and social media at the SSS, she started sewing 3 years ago and has now turned a hobby in to a career.

Rosie looking fabulous!

       Rosie looking fabulous!

Before we get stuck into Rosie’s stitching story we first of all we need to fill you in with the SSS monthly picks in the following categories: a restaurant, shop, exhibition, book and the ultimate pick of the month.


  1. Tendido Cuatro- The best Tapas outside of Spain, and it is a walkable distance from the Saturday Sewing Sessions, perfect after you have whipped up a stitching appetite.
  2. Yoga Girl- part memoir, part lifestyle, part yoga how to, what’s not to like?
  3. Buckingham Palace Summer Opening- Nosey around the grand halls that Kate and Wills often frequent!
  4. Byron & Bronte – Sports wear in snazzy vibrant prints, want to have the best leggings at pilates? Look no further!
  5. Our pick of the Month is the Heartbreak Hotel immersive theatre experience on the Greenwich Jetty, £10 a ticket and a free glass of prosecco- Sold!

SSS Top 5 eat, drink, see and do


 And now we hand over to the self taught stitcher…

As a child I had always been interested in arts and crafts, and making things from scratch. As a youngster I remember crafting some rather wonky pillows on my mums old singer machine, so when she brought a shiny new one a few years back I thought there was potential room for improvement! I’ve always been impatient so after a few practice projects I thought I would attempt to make a dress, so I got a dress out of my wardrobe (that I liked the shape and fit of) turned it inside out then traced the pieces of it on to baking paper. I used my Mums bed linen as fabric (much to her dismay!) and started sewing each piece together using my DIY baking paper patterns. This is a similar method to that in the Clone your Closet Class (however you have experts teaching you and real pattern paper plus all your questions can be answered!!) the next course is coming up on the 10th of October, get signed up if it sounds like your bag or you have a favourite dress that you cannot bear to throw away – copy it :) . On chatting to some of the SSS girls they all started in the same way. Arianna used to buy from Topshop – copy then return so that not every teenager in Cornwall had exactly the same dress!

Any tricky bits like zips and hems I learnt by watching YouTube tutorials and practicing over and over again.

 The photo’s below are my first ever makes, I call it the ‘Old Bed Sheet collection 2013′

 These photo's are my first ever makes, I call it the 'Old Bed Sheet collection 2013'.

Much to my Mother’s linen cupboard’s relief, I started spending the weekends buying different types of fabric. I brought an adjustable dressmaking dummy and started pinning fabric in to the shapes I wanted to make dresses.

I’ve got to note how important it is to buy good dressmaking tools. Here is a quick pic of my dressmaking toolkit! The Fiskard scissors below have been through thick and thin with me, I cannot recommend them enough and they do loads of great sewing bits and bobs to help! Shears, rotary cutter, tape measure, pins … the list can go on but theses are my top tools!

Seamstress toolkit

I love to experiment with different styles and try out making garments out of unusual fabrics and bold prints. Sewing had slowly turned from a hobby into something I wanted to build a career in. I started designing and making my own evening gowns at home and had a really good response on social media, which has spurred me on (Instagram @monacoandmargot). At this point I knew I was addicted to sewing. In the future I am now hoping to start my own label called Monaco & Margot, making bespoke evening gowns. In the mean time I need to learn a little more about the Fashion Industry and pattern making.

My first evening gown attempt.

                                My first evening gown attempt.

After I moved to London I wanted to learn more sewing techniques so I contacted Arianna at the Saturday Sewing Sessions to see how I could get involved with the courses and help out in return. I cannot recommend the Secrets of Sewing Lingerie course enough; it was brilliant to work intricately with tulle, elastic and lace. (Have a peek at our Facebook page for pics) The courses at the Saturday Sewing Sessions cater for all different skill levels and a variety of projects, it gave me such a confidence boost. Because I had taught myself to sew, there were so many aspects I didn’t know about or understand, so I knew before I could think about pursuing a career as a designer/dressmaker I needed to gain some experience first.

My Tulle Lingerie Set made at the SSS.

Lingerie Masterclass

As well as learning at the SSS I embarked on a 5 month dressmaking training course. I now know how to stitch pockets, waistbands, suit lapels a variety of collars the list is endless! During the tailoring course I secured a job as a Studio Assistant at a company called Fashion Capital. It finally feels like I’m on the right track, and I’m so grateful to do something creative and fun everyday.

I really want to encourage people who do enjoy sewing to not worry about getting it perfect. It was only a few months ago that I picked up my first pattern! What ignited my passion for sewing is that you can create something truly unique and there is no better feeling than some one asking you where you got your dress from, and you get to say, ‘I made it myself’. Simply cracking on with making a dress made me fall in love with sewing even though they were wonky bodge jobs, I still had an end result I was proud of and completely changed what I wanted to do in my career.

 My latest creation.

Latest collection!

 Holy Macaroons!! How gorgeous is that!

Rosie has made some amazing garments and so can you. We hope hearing lovely Rosie’s story has inspired you to stitch, sew, copy, draw and just give it a go.

At the SSS we are here at every stage of your stitching journey. The courses vary in skill level and we do one2one tutoring that can be for all different kinds of projects. And we would love to hear how you started stitching, email us your story at

Have a lovely September!




The SSS home sewing blog review 2015.

This fortnight at the Saturday Sewing Sessions we are reviewing our favourite home sewing blogs to get you inspired to try some new projects, and unearth some helpful tips and tricks. So much can be accomplished at home with the help of a sewing machine and a bit of imagination. All our bloggers are UK based, have incredible dressmaking skills and specialise in one particular area.

We like to start off each blog with our top London picks of the weeks in the following categories: Restaurant, Shop, Exhibition, Book and our SSS ultimate pick of the week.

  1. The Bonnie Gull, Oxford Circus. A gorgeous fish restaurant, serving up fresh, tasty catches of the day. Try the Cod Scotch Egg…. you will not be disappointed!
  2. Princes May School Boot Fair, Dalston. Rummage through the bric and brac for beautiful vintage garments and accessories.
  3. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, V&A, £12. This exhibition looks at the extremes of footwear from around the globe, a must have for any aspiring cobbler.
  4. When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. A witty, beautifully written gem of a book.  It follows the eccentric life of a girl named Ellie, well worth a read.
  5. SSS Top Pick of the Week- Luna Cinema outdoor pop up cinema in numerous locations across London, bring your prosecco, a picnic and have a whale of an evening this summer!

Saturday Sewing Sessions Top Picks of the Week

Saturday Sewing Sessions Home Sewing Blog Review 2015 The Little Tailoress

Saturday Sewing Sessions Home Sewing Blog Review 2015 The Little Tailoress

Blog 1: The Little Tailoress

Best For: Fashion Dressmaking Inspiration.

Who is the little Tailoress?

Ami Lowden is a freelance pattern cutter and designer. She started the blog to keep a record of her home makes. She enjoys the freedom that she can create her own style, and you can see she loves creating pieces that compliment each other.

What is it all about?

Originally started as an online portfolio of Ami’s designs, it has now transformed into a gallery of well tailored sewing projects to encourage others to learn how to sew their own Fashion wardrobe. Not only does she create beautiful garments she also styles her look using existing pieces in her wardrobe. Naturally she has a great range of self drafted patterns and tips for all levels of sewing skill.

Blog Features:

  • Pattern Reviews
  • Handy Hints, Tips & Tutorials
  • Uses Vintage Tailoring techniques
  • Fashion sewing & Design
  • Styling

If you are inspired by the Little Tailoress but feeling overwhelmed with where to start, why not try one of our beginners dressmaking classes or even a one 2 one tutorial to get you started.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Home Sewing Blog Review 2015 The English Girl at Home

Blog 2: English Girl at Home

Best For: Ethical Craft & Dressmaking Ideas.

Who is the English Girl at Home?

Charlotte is a home sewer based in Birmingham that dabbles in a number of crafts, knitting and sewing projects.

What is it all about?

Charlotte’s blog is multi facetted; it showcases all her beautiful dressmaking projects and also traditional crafting practices like dying her own yarns for knitting. The main focus of the blog is making good ethical choices when home sewing, whether that be sourcing fair trade fabrics, altering clothing you already own and using animal friendly products. Charlotte highlights the concerns around mass produced garments made in sweatshops and the steps a home sewer can take to make good ethically produced home garments.

Blog Features:

  • Traditional crafting techniques.
  • Beautiful gallery of makes.
  • Hand embroidery
  • Hand repairs
  • Global Pattern reviews
  • Fashion book/autobiography reviews.

If Charlotte’s blog has made you think twice about shopping on the high street why not try your hand at our clone your closet class? If you have the perfect dress already waiting at home why not try make it in a variety of fabrics and colours?

Saturday Sewing Sessions Home Sewing Blog Review 2015 What Katie Sews Saturday Sewing Sessions Home Sewing Blog Review 2015 What Katie Sews

Blog 3: What Katie Sews

Best for: Pattern Knowledge

Who is Katie?

Katie is a twenty something home sewist from North London.

What is it about?

The blog chronicles her attempts to build a wearable everyday wardrobe by sewing everything from basics to some special one offs. The patterns are categorised by company so it’s a brilliant reference point if you wanted to see the final garments before you commit to buying a new style.  Katie has great knowledge on picking a pattern company for your shape and altering patterns for a perfect fit for your body shape. Katie also provides brilliant tips on what bits of home dressmaking you can skip to save time!

Blog Features:

  • Self drafted patterns.
  • Planning your project.
  • Fabrics, pockets and print knowledge.
  • Quilting.
  • Men’s clothing.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Home Sewing Blog Review 2015 Cloth Habit

Blog 4: Cloth Habit

Best for: Lingerie & Nightwear patterns

Who is the blogger behind Cloth Habit?

Amy is a designer and maker who is interested in pattern making, lingerie and traditional couture moulding methods.

What is it about?

Amy’s blog is crammed with gorgeous photos of her inventive makes from jumpsuits to nightwear. She has a wealth of tips, sew-alongs, tutorials and even a mini pattern shop! What we loved most was that she takes a traditional technique like Moulage (French couture moulding/casting) and gives you a step by step of how it is done, she includes YouTube clips that explain about how the method was used. Other wonderful blog posts touch on the importance of good edge stitching, guides to dress forms and investing in good dressmaking tools.

Blog Features:

  • Pattern Shop
  • Traditional Methods
  • Gorgeous Dressmaking Inspiration
  • Specialises in Lingerie
  • Sew-alongs to help with making her patterns.
  • Informative and detailed.

At the SSS we have a wealth of knowledge in all different areas of dressmaking so if you have heard about a traditional/historical technique and what to give it a go, please get in touch and book in for a one2one.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Home Sewing Blog Review 2015 By Gum, By Golly

Blog 5: By Gum, By Golly

Best for: Vintage & Knitting

Who is By Gum, By Golly?

Tasha Moss is the lady behind the intriguing By Gum By Golly blog, she’s a vintage enthusiast, knitting fanatic and DIY devotee.

What’s it about?

Tasha’s love for vintage is infectious. Not only does she make her own vintage clothes using dressmaking and knitting patterns from the 1940s but she embraces the style on a daily basis. The blog is jam packed with awesome vintage tutorials, groovy knitting patterns and how to live life with a little vintage flair.

Enter this retro paradise and see how you can embrace nostalgia through creative crafting, hair tutorials and a catalogue of her inventive outfits.

Blog Features:

  • Thrifting/Charity Shop finds
  • Vintage Upcycling
  • Hair, beauty and beyond!
  • Crafting
  • Knitting
  • Free Patterns

We hope this month’s blog review has left you feeling inspired and ready to tackle another project.  We have plenty of great courses up on the website that vary in size and skill level, and we have one to one tuition available if that is more your bag.

Share your thoughts about our blog review below; we would love to hear from you.

Happy Sewing!



Demystifying Dressmaking Patterns

Dressmaking patterns are notoriously difficult to understand, especially if you are a beginner. You’ve gone out picked the perfect garment pattern, got the fabric ready, you open it up and you can’t for the life of you work out what all the squiggles and markings are. We have all been there! So we thought this fortnight the blog would focus on demystifying patterns so you can tackle all kinds of projects with confidence.

 Before we start demystify the hieroglyphics we need to take a look at the Saturday Sewing Sessions Top 5 Picks of the week in the following categories: a book, a restaurant, a shop, an exhibition and our SSS ultimate pick of the week.

  1. Hemsley & Hemsley The Art of Living Well- A cook book that will help anyone who wants to feel better, lose weight and have more energy.

  2. Gazette Brasserie Balham, incredible provincial French dishes and a mean charcuterie and cheese selection.

  3. Brissi Homeware Shop- handcrafted furniture that creates serene and elegant spaces.

  4. Festival of Love- The Southbank Centre’s summer of love is back with a host of installations, activities, pop-ups and performances that celebrate humankind’s most overwhelming emotion.

  5. SSS Top Pick of the week- Transparent- an awesome Amazon prime series about a dysfunctional family living in LA dealing with their fathers gender transition. If you liked Orange is the New Black, you will LOVE this gem of a series.

If this pattern guide still leaves you a little confused join us at our  upcoming ‘Dressmaking Patterns- Reading to Realisation’ classes and learn to dymistify patterns over a glass of bubbly!  These sessions do not require any experience. And we can also do one to one sessions if you would prefer! No project or enquiry is to big or too small just get in touch.

The SSS Pattern Guide – Lets GO!

Measure yourself!

It is important to measure yourself correctly before you start on your dressmaking adventure. Whether it’s inches or CM’s BUT stick with one or the other or things will get a bit weird looking!

*Top Tip*- IGNORE the sizes at the top of the chart! Go by your measurements and not the size at the top as they are not our highstreet sizes. To get the perfect fit, tape measure yourself up and go from your actual size!

body measurments pattern class

 Cutting Lines

 Lines/dashes around each  piece of the pattern that differentiate the sizes, measure yourself up and cut your size!Bust, waist and hip are the main ones to get you started.

*Top Tip*- Always trace your pattern and markings on to paper rather than cutting your size out, then if you want to use the pattern again in a different size it won’t be a kerfuffle!

 The Grainline arrow

This marking shows the direction you need to position your pattern against the salvage edge (bound edge) of the fabric.

On the Fold

This symbol indicates that the pattern should be positioned along the folded edge of the fabric, to cut out a symmetrical pattern. The pattern piece only represents half the fabric piece. 

*Top Tip* – Keep an eye on the grain line when lining up your pattern, and if it is a bias cut garment the pattern will look a little squiff but as long as the grain line is parallel to the salvage, well, thats just tops!

Bust and Hip Indicators

These indicators you will find positioned on the bust and hip points, remember to transfer them if you are tracing your pattern on to paper.

Lengthen and Shorten Line

Two horizontal parallel lines that indicate the point where you can chose to customize your pattern to suit your own measurements by lengthening or shortening it.


 Although these markings all greatly differ they all represent the same thing. They mark where two pattern pieces are supposed to align. Make a small nip in your fabric on the notches. They work a little like a jigsaw, one piece will fit with another piece.

Buttons and Buttonholes

 This symbol represents the position of buttonholes on a pattern.


This marking indicates where the darts are situated that help to mould the fabric around the curves of the body.  Transfer the markings on to the fabric and stitch the diamond/triangular shape together by folding it in half-length ways.

Tucks and Gathers

These markings resemble a square that is missing one line; the dots at the bottom indicate where to pull in the fabric to make it meet in the middle, and the vertical lines and dots at the top indicate where to sew your stitches.

**Top Top Tip** You want to transfer all the above markings onto the fabric and there are a range of ways to do it. Tailor tacks, chalk, invisible pen, carbon paper and a tracing wheel to name but  few. As long as you mark the fabric with all the relevant information you’ll be away. We will be doing updates on all theses techniques soon so keep on the look out!

Fabric and Pattern Key

This key is a visual guide to differentiating the fabric pieces on the pattern.

 These squares refer to which way your printed pattern should be when cutting.

TA- Darrrrr

We really hope this mini guide has made your pattern seem a bit less overwhelming, and if there are any other markings you are not sure of, do get in touch with us and we can help you decipher it!

 Happy Sewing!



Are you Bikini ready?

Now we are not wading in on the Protein World debate, we simply want to inspire some summer ready sewing projects! After all everyone is beach ready, but not everyone has made their very own swimsuit.

In the build up to summer the high street is bursting with bikinis, kaftans and swimming cozzies. I spent a day traipsing through the shops looking for the perfect bikini to accompany my upcoming summer holiday. I knew what style and colour I was after but it just didn’t exist in the shops. On my way home, bereft of bikini the idea struck me…..I could just make it myself! I love dressmaking so why do I feel like swim wear is a different ball game?

So this fortnight I’m going to be looking at classic swimwear patterns and nifty ideas to make your handmade swimwear stand out for all the right reasons. As on all the Saturday Sewing Sessions blogs I’m going to start off with our top picks of the week in the following categories; book, exhibition, shop, restaurant and the highly anticipated SSS team pick of the week.

1. The Mindfulness Colouring Book- An adult colouring book developed to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress …. We say pass the Crayola.

2. London Craft week (May 6th- 10th) a week of activities, exhibitions, expert craftsmanship and general homemade goodness, get involved!

3. What Mother Made- It’s Kids fashion, but not as you know it.  With their chic 2015 collections you are in real danger of your children being more stylish than you are.

4.  Sushi54 Putney- My Favourite sushi takeaway in London- so fresh, so tasty and quick delivery. It blows the big sushi chains out of the water!

5. SSS Top Pick: This one is a social media trend that every home sewer should be involved in ‘Me Made May’ simply post a snap of your homemade outfits using the Hashtag #MeMadeMay and be involved in promoting home dressmaking in a world of mass produced garments!

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Bikini ready Top Picks

So on with the Bikini Feature!

First of all I thought I would pick out a 2015 Swimwear trend that I totally love, then look at how to make it by altering one type of pattern the Butterick 4526. Available to buy here. Learning to alter patterns is such a useful skill in dressmaking, which means you can make beautiful one off pieces tailored to just how you want them, we have a brilliant course that breaks down the process of reading patterns (with classes coming up in May, June & July!) book on now to get pattern savvy.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Bikini ready Butterick Bikini Swimsuit Pattern

I love the high neckline on these pieces, it gives a chic look. This can easily be achieved by altering the Butterick pattern above. This swimwear shape can work with patterned lycra or with textured fabrics, but looks great plain too. If you are keen to give it a go but weary of using a new stretch fabric like lyrcra then get in touch we do one to one classes too.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Bikini ready Bikini Swimsuit Pattern High neck 2015 Fashion trends sewing London

A great way to create a unique look is to add different embellishments to your swimwear, this can also work with old bikinis that you want to give an update. Here are some easy DIY bits that can add an instant wow to old tired pieces.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Bikini ready Bikini Swimsuit Pattern High neck 2015 Fashion trends sewing London

Fringing and pom poms give a stylish edge and are bang on trend for summer 2015. Adding cute flowers, feathers and gems also give a tired old swimsuit a new lease of life (do bear in mind that there can be a fine line between fashionable and Carnival!).

The beach look is not complete without a cover up, and we have the perfect course to make your own Maxi Kaftan in June and July. Choose your own fabric and you can be beach ready before you know it.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Blog Bikini ready Bikini Swimsuit Pattern High neck 2015 Fashion trends sewing London

We hope you have enjoyed this fortnights Bikini feature, do send us any snaps of your homemade swim wear and of course tag us on Instagram and Twitter.

And don’t forget about #MeMadeMay!

Happy Sewing x


The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie

This fortnight Arianna very kindly invited me along to take part in The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie workshop at the SSS, so I thought it might be nice to share with you my experience of the course. As with all the Saturday Sewing Sessions blog posts we have to start with a round up of the top 5 team picks of the week in each of the following categories- a book, restaurant, exhibition, shop and our ultimate pick:

  1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison, if you liked The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, you will love this.
  2.  The Abbeville Kitchen Clapham South, hearty flavoursome seasonal dishes. The sharing lamb shoulder is phenomenal.
  3. Fashion Rules Exhibition at Kensington Palace, a nostalgic look back at the recent decades of Regal fashion, on until summer 2015!
  4. Obvious State unique designs notebooks, prints, cards and books. Witticisms, original illustrations these will make you want to take note.
  5. SSS Pick of the Week, Saturday 11th April Spitalfields Farm- The Oxford v Cambridge Goat Race- The Highlight of the 2015 Farmyard Calendar.

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

Before I write about my experience of attending The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie course last weekend, it may be appropriate to let you know a little bit about me and my sewing abilities. My name is Rosie (I’m posing with my floral dummy in the photo below), I taught myself to sew so I lack in technical expertise, but I really love giving it a go. I would definitely count myself as an amateur as I am unfamiliar with patterns, types of stitches, seams and hems but I’m enjoying learning. If you fancy having a look at some of my home makes take a look at my Instagram @monacoandmargot. Alongside Arianna I write the blog for the SSS, and help out with some aspects of social media too.

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

I was thrilled when Arianna invited me to take part in the course and thought it would be nice for anyone thinking of attending to know what to expect (the classes vary according to skill level). ‘The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie’ workshop ran over 2 days and was taught by the lovely Laura Stanford. Laura has an impressive CV working at all the big Lingerie companies (Marks & Spencer and Agent Provocateur to name but a few). She has taken her extensive knowledge and put it into her beautiful new book “The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie’ (co-authored by Katherine Sheers) and runs handy workshops to show you how to make our own sets too!

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

There were five of us eager to learn how to make our very own delicate knicker and brasserie sets. Laura had sourced the most beautiful Italian tulle, British lace and vintage French tape for us to make our creations. We picked our colours and trims then set about cutting our fabric out of the intricate patterns (all available in Laura’s book). As a newbie sewer what I found useful was having the finished products on the table to use as a reference point throughout the day.

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

Now I am not going to reveal all the Secrets I learnt about sewing lingerie, you will have to attend the course to hear all the tips and tricks of the trade. It really does help having an expert to guide you through it, and show you how to master the fiddly bits like elastic on tulle.

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

As part of the course you get copies of the patterns so you can make a whole collection at home if you wanted too! Here is a photograph of my finished black lingerie.

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

It is simply divine, and one of the only things I have made with a professional finish!

The workshop revealed what kind of learner I was, I much preferred being shown by Laura how to do something then repeating it myself. Whereas some of the other ladies were a little more ‘pattern savvy’ and could follow the steps then asked for extra assistance when they needed it.  The Naughty Knickers course at the SSS may be a great springboard to prepare you for making the whole set.

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

Everyone beavering away!

The Secrets of Sewing Lingerie Workshop Saturday Sewing Sessions, handmade, knickers, underwear, delicate, lace, beautiful.

It was so lovely to meet like-minded people in the workshop, and throughout the weekend you find out more about each other and generally have a good old natter over tea and cakes! We were all at different levels of experience so we all took it at our own pace, and then helped each other out if someone had already completed a fiddly bit you were tackling. I would thoroughly recommend the workshop to anyone; Laura’s extensive knowledge and tales of the fashion lingerie industry are fascinating. I couldn’t be more thrilled with my lingerie set, not only is it delicate and feminine but it fits perfectly.

Keep an eye on the website as another Lingerie workshop will be announced shortly. We also have tonnes of other classes available if you want to brush up on your sewing skills before the class, (the sewing bootcamps are a great starter!) and we do one on one sessions if you would prefer that too.


Let us know if you’ve done any makes over the Easter weekend, we would love to hear from you!



Sew the Catwalk

Over the past month we’ve been bombarded with images of the weird and wonderful designs of the global fashion weeks. The most influential designers, creative minds and industry elite have flocked to London, Paris, New York and Milan to showcase their upcoming collections. In the coming months we will see the hottest trends trickle down to the high street, and here at the SSS we thought, why wait when we can make it ourselves? Fashion can sometimes be quick and disposable, but this isn’t the case when you have hand crafted a catwalk classic yourself. A handmade garment becomes something to be cherished, looked after and worn time and time again. So if you fancy yourself as a fashionista, why not try and make some of the upcoming trends you have seen on the 2015 Catwalk. This fortnight we have selected 3 key trends from this years fashion weeks and hunted down vintage patterns to recreate your designer favourites.

As with every SSS blog post we are kicking off with our five favourites of the fortnight. We have picked a Book, Shop, Exhibition, Restaurant and of course the SSS fave.

  1. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, a gripping novel that enthrals you, voted ‘unputdownable’ by Rosie from the SSS!
  2. Rockett St George- Brace your credit card this online emporium of beautiful homeware is simply to die for.
  3. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A, its brought the fashion elite out in their masses, not to be missed (March 14th-2nd Aug).
  4. Dans Le Noir Restaurant- Dining on mystery cuisine in the dark, you have to rely on your senses and a highly skilled team of blind waiters. Its pricey but worth doing at least once!
  5. SSS Pick of the week is Cahoots in Soho- A cocktail bar in a theatrical vintage tube carriage, with live music which you enter through an old air raid shelter….Yes.Please.

Saturday Sewing Sessions, Dans Le Noir, Alexander McQueen, Cahoots, Rockett St George, Girl on a train

If you have any suggestions or recommendations do comment below or get in touch, we love hearing what you’ve been up to!

Now on with the fashion…

London designers led with 1970’s influences which is already a huge trend for Spring 2015. At the SSS we are thrilled this look is coming back into fashion, its chic, fitted and immediately conjures the style of Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone in Anchorman.

Anchorman Style Fashion, Saturday Sewing Sessions

Before we get on to showing you our top 3 trends the aim of this blog is to source similar patterns for you to make your own DIY Catwalk collection. If you are pattern-phobe, beginner or a tad rusty have a look at our Dressmaking Patterns- reading to realisation course, it will give you the confidence to tackle even the most complex catwalk design!


Trend One: Flared 1970’s Trousers

Saturday Sewing Sessions, Millie Mackintosh, London Fashion Week, Topshop

Do you remember these old favourites? Here you can see Millie Mackintosh from Made in Chelsea at the Felder Felder show wearing bang on trend bold flared trousers. If the patterns a bit too snazzy for you, you can just pick whatever fabric you fancy…(oh the joys of dressmaking!). On the right is the Topshop Unique version of 70’s flares worn with a complimentary seventies turtle neck. The cut of the trousers really emphasize an hour glass figure, and there is no better fit than trousers tailor made to your measurements.

Weve hunted down this fabulous Vintage Simplicity pattern so you can create your own 1970’s flared trousers. Top tips colour wise are Blue and Brown hues. And in terms of material aim for suede and denim to really nail the look.

Vintage 5589 Simplicity Pattern found on Etsy

Saturday Sewing Sessions Simplicity Flares Pattern


Trend Two: Pussy Bow Blouses

From Paris to Milan, Gucci to MGSM, pussy bow blouses seemed to be integral to the catwalks this year. The blouse goes perfectly with the 1970’s flares so if you are wanting to complete your seventies look why not try to create your own?

Saturday Sewing Sessions Paris Fashion Week, Pussy Bow Blouse


What we love most about this look is that it can be worn to work, out in the evening and can be dressed up and down as you see fit. The pussy bow blouse is ultra feminine but can be matched with cigarette pants, skirts or suits for a completely revamped style. Now on to the important bit….. the pattern to do it yourself!

The Vogue Guy Laroche Pussy Bow Blouse Pattern No.1416 is available to buy from sew essential. If the sleeves are a bit much, you can choose to put a plainer variety on, it’s up to you. Some of these patterns do get a bit tricky so if you are struggling we do run private sessions that you can book in for, especially for bits like altering patterns or getting sleeves perfect, simply get in touch.

Saturday Sewing Sessions Vogue La Roche Pattern, Pussy Bow Blouse

Trend Three: Tasselled Jackets. 


Saturday Sewing Sessions Balmain Tasselled JacketBlogger Paris Fashion Fringe Tassells

Tassels are going to be huge this spring/summer. We love this tasselled outfit worn by this chic fashionista to Paris Fashion Week. On the right is Balmain’s Fringed Nappa Jacket (yours for a cool £3069!) this style jacket gives any plain outfit an instant fashionable edge.

Here we have sourced a fabulous fringed Jacket pattern that you can jazz up as much or as little as you want. The pattern is Kwik Sew Ladies Easy Sewing Pattern 3173 Jacket that you can find on Minerva crafts. The pattern is a basic template but you can add as many or as little layers of tassels as you like, that is the beauty of making your own clothes! We can also show you how to make the perfect tassels in a private lesson or in either our Make Do and Mend Session or our Survive and Revive if you wanted to have a go yourself!

Saturday Sewing Sessions Kwik Sew Fringe Jacket

Making a jacket is also a brilliant opportunity to use some heavier fabrics like leather or denim that you may not be as familiar with. If you want to learn some new techniques, or this blog post has inspired you to give dressmaking a go, keep an eye on our up coming classes, they are regularly updated and cater to all levels of skill.

So if the seventies styles have left you recoiling in horror, or you are threading your needle eager to get going on your flares, we want to hear from you! Keep us in the loop about what you are working on and your favourite catwalk trends of 2015.



Sew what are you waiting for?

This fortnight’s blog is kicking off with yet another juicy assortment of hand picked goodies selected by the SSS team. We have chosen an addictive book, a mouth-watering shop, a healthy exhibition, a quirky restaurant and a team favourite you cannot miss!

  1. Not That Kind of Girl – musings and stories written by the audacious Lena Dunham. If you are a fan of HBO’s Girls you will love this.
  2. The Biscuiteers -totally delicious crumbly goodness, perfect for all occasions (check out the Mothers Day biccies below!) and the biscuit boutique in Battersea is a MUST see.
  3. BBC Good Food Eat Well Show- Olympia from the 27th Feb to the 1st of March- a wholesome healthy event hosted by an impressive array of chefs and celebs.
  4. Gingerline – A nomadic dining experience hosted in a hush hush pop up location along the East London overground line. It is created by two-adventure loving foodies…book in and wait with anticipation for a text detailing the secret location.
  5. The SSS Top pick of the week is a brilliant play called ‘The Nether’ on at the Duke of York’s Theatre in Soho. Compelling yet dark…not recommended for a first date!

Saturday Sewing Sessions top picks.

The focus of this weeks blog is about a lovely lady called Fran and her sewing journey. Her passion for sewing has evolved from wanting to create unique personal decorations for her new home and has led on to her selling accessories on Etsy. Read on to see how simply ‘giving it a go’ can lead to discovering something you love.

So Fran how did you get into sewing?

I loved the thought of being able to do something creative and make something for myself and my kids. And when we bought our new house I started making cushions and decorations to give it a personal touch. At first I just experimented and gave it a go, but eventually I wanted to learn more techniques so I found the Saturday Sewing Sessions and attended some classes to become more confident. Its now evolved into something I love and a bonus is making money from it too!

What aspect of sewing do you like most?

I like both dressmaking and accessories, but at the moment I’m focusing on creating accessories as I sell them on my Etsy shop Sewingly beautiful. But I do have some gorgeous jersey fabric waiting to be made into lovely summer dresses for my girls and me.

Fran's Easy Shop makes

Below is my before and after from when I attended the Saturday Sewing session’s ‘Jersey in a jiffy’ introduction to pattern cutting and dressmaking course. I loved creating a garment that no one else will have…And what beautiful fabric!

Fran Saturday Sewing Sessions Jersey in a Jiffy before & after

What is it you love about sewing?

I have two small kids who take up most of my time, but I try and make time for sewing whenever I can. I love buying fabric (one can never have enough fabric) and then get the scissors out and start making something. When making dresses I normally don’t think too much about it before and start drawing a pattern onto the fabric and just go for it and see what comes out of it. Luckily most of the times it works!

What advice would you give to people who are beginner sewers eager to learn more?

Just go for it! You don’t need an expensive sewing machine, a pretty basic one is enough to see if you enjoy it, but I would definitely recommend attending sewing classes at some point if you really want to go further with it.

Would you recommend Etsy to other sewers keen to sell their projects?

Absolutely. Don’t expect to sell lots and lots, but if you do get an order it just makes you feel good and gives you more confidence. Have a look around on Etsy to find similar items of what you are wanting to sell to get ideas on pricing.

Fran & her Daughters.

Thank you so much to lovely Fran for taking the time out to catch up with the SSS. If you have been inspired to give it a go, have a look at our beginners classes to learn the basics… you will be cross stitching before you know it!

If you fancy saying hello or have any recommendations for pick of the week, please comment below, we would love to hear from you!


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