Saturday Sewing Session Blog

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.

 

Netting

 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

x

 

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.

SSS SEPTEMBER TOP 5 

  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 info@saturdaysewingsession.co.uk

Have a lovely September!

X

 

 

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!

 

x

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.

Notches

 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.

Darts

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!

X

 

A little lesson in love from the Saturday Sewing Sessions.

Chelsea Victoria Etsy Shop Hearts, Twinkle Lights- Holding On To Love. Hearts, valentine, sewing, dressmaking Saturday Sewing Sessions.

Image Credit: Chelsea Victoria Etsy Shop Hearts, Twinkle Lights- Holding On To Love.

Each week on the blog we are going to select our top five ‘picks of the week’ in the following categories: exhibitions, shops, books, restaurants and the SSS team’s favourite. They won’t necessarily be sewing related but just interesting things for lovely people.

  1. Deliciously Ella cookery book- whole plant based recipes from a very inspirational lady. Ella’s philosophy is all about embracing natural food your body loves.
  2. SMUG gorgeous lifestyle store in Camden (and online) selling beautiful stationary, homeware & much much more.
  3. Thea Porter Exhibition- at the Fashion & Textile Museum, 6th Feb- 3rd May. Fashion & interior design from the pioneer of 1970’s bohemian chic- major dressmaking inspiration!
  4. 10 Greek Street -Unpretentious tasty hearty food in Soho. It has a small perfectly picked menu, friendly staff and a buzzing atmosphere…Yum, yum and yum.
  5. The SSS favourite this week is the seriously addictive Serial Podcast. The first season unearths a complex murder case in Baltimore 1999, which will keep you guessing…did Adnan really do it? Not exactly tying in with the Valentines theme this week, but it’s just too good to miss.

 Saturday Sewing Sessions Top 5 Picks of the week banner.

With Valentines Day looming we thought it might be topical to tackle the subject of love. Whether you are single, taken or too busy stitching to care, read on to find out our top sewing related lurve tips that will get you in a romantic mood this Valentines Day….

Taken?

So, you and your other half have been together for a while, and maybe you are looking for something special to surprise them with this year? Well forget the bouquets of flowers, dinner for two and annihilating that trusty tray of Guylian Chocolates, and book yourself in for our Naughty Knickers workshop on Sunday the 8th of February 2015! Nothing says ‘thoughtful present’ more than a handcrafted gift you can both enjoy. Your Naughty Knickers can be personalised however you want; sew on bows, appliques, ribbons, lacey trims and other pretty decorations…. It’s completely up to you!

Single?

Valentine’s Day can be a sore subject if you are a singleton with only a hearty tub of Ben & Jerry’s to keep you company. But have no fear! The SSS team has the perfect solution to get cupid working overtime. It is a fact that you meet Mr/Mrs Right when you stop searching for them and start focusing on something you love. Start a new hobby that excites you as it opens you up to meeting like-minded people and discovering what makes you passionate and creative. And what is more attractive than watching someone who is impassioned by what they do, you can literally see the happiness radiate off them! And if dressmaking could be your thing, have a look at our upcoming classes…. After all, you may need to knock up a little black dress for all the dates you will be asked out on!       

Too busy stitching?

Most of us sewaholics will be in this category…..so make sure you share your lovely makes via our Instagram & Twitter. Soon we will be launching our ‘Make of the Month’ to everyone who has taken part in our classes, so keep an eye on the website.

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

Happy Valentine’s Day

X

P.S If you are still stuck for prezzie ideas for your Valentine you can buy gift vouchers here for our SSS classes or when in doubt, diamonds are ALWAYS a winner!

 

 

Pencils – and not the ones you write with!

Hello!

I hope you all enjoyed the sewing bee  - wasn’t it good!

So I had a spare hour the other day and really wanted to try out a pattern by the brilliant By Hand London Girls.

They are a couple of lovely girls who stared drawing up more on trend patterns and the packaging is totally beautiful.

The beautiful Charlotte Skirt from the girls behind By Hand London

The beautiful Charlotte Skirt from the girls behind By Hand London

The packaging is so well thought out and attractive, that alone was enough to tempt me, plus I had heard great things.  I also wanted to try this pencil pattern hoping this would become the one that we would use in our sessions… so here goes!

I went for a faux leather – mainly because I had some but also I was after a really similar leather pencil that I had seen from ASOS, so I thought, I will make myself one and kill 2 birds to also test the pattern. As a seamstress I make and mend for my career and I forget to run myself up some lovely things for myself – so its a real treat to have the time.

It tells you very clearly what you need to make this cracking garment and there are options with the peplum – around the waist, on the hem or without – I went without.

I am so use to making my own patterns that this felt like a royal treat!

I used sandbags to hold the pattern in place, being from Cornwall, its a little bit of home…

Tip… If you are heading to the sea side anytime soon, fill up a little bag with sand – empty them into little calico hand stitched bags when you get back, secure the top and voila – brilliant weights!

Alternatively, any weight or anything heavy will do, pins puncture leather so if you do pin, stay inside the SA (Seam Allowance). I extended the pattern about 2″ to make it more of a midi. It s a very slim skirt so I took the sides out a little too.

Once it was all cut out, I needed to mark the darts -now, there are loads of different ways to mark darts, tailor tacking, chalking, using a spiky roller aka a tracing wheel – as long at you mark where you need to mark, while being aware of your fabric choice, thats fine. In this case I used a tracing wheel and carbon paper to transfer the markings, whilst popping a pin at the head of the dart for accuracy. (Its OK to use pins here as we are going to stitch there anyway!)

Follow the lines of your chosen size, this can look like dotted line mayhem but rolling up against a ruler really helps! Once you have your lines transferred onto the fabric, pinch the right sides together and sew down your drawn lines and off the edge – tie the ends in a knot – as if you are putting a knot in your gift wrap ribbon.

20140131_160641

It should look a bit like this from the outside… remember, I chose a faux leather so it looks a little bumpy, even when carefully pressed with a pressing cloth on a low heat. To be honest, I think I took this before I went anywhere near the iron!

If you are using a lovely cotton or something similar, press darts to the side and it will look sharp and polished. Once you have sewn something, press as you go. It really makes a difference to the finished result.

After that, it was sewing the side seams up and I used a white invisible zip to close. Although invisible means invisible I quite liked the idea of perhaps seeing  a flash of white zip so I sewed it a little further away. Its one of the privileges of making your own things – Artistic Licence I think they call it!

Then after attaching the waistband around the top edge of the skirt I fastened the top with a metal popper to secure. Ta Darr my skirt was done and I loves it!

Ta Darrr

Ta Darrr

Excuse the selfie!! So I teamed my new leather pencil skirt with a simple T and, what looks like really scruffy boots!

I thought the pattern was great, easy to use, easy to read, a lovely shape. Next time I think I will pop a vent in the back and will definitely make another with the peplum, perfect for Summer in a bright colour or floral pattern.

Result…

This will be our Miss Moneypenny Pencil skirt. A perfect intro to dressmaking covering really great techniques, darts, zips and waistbands.

We would love to see any pics of your makes or if you have any sewing questions let us know and if we can help we will.

Have a wonderful Easter everyone – oohh imagine a skirt made of chocolate!

Thanks for listening and hopefully see you soon.

xx