A Few Small Updates



Have you noticed anything different? Well probably not but I just wanted to highlight a few new things around here. I've been wanting to update my 'category pages' for a while to have more relevant headings for what I actually write about. So you can have a look through the new pages, Sewing School, Sewing Projects, Photography, Crafts and Food and it should be easy to find what you are looking for. Sorry if you were browsing through yesterday evening, that was when I was updating it all and it probably looked a little strange.



I also wanted to simplify everything a little and just opt for plain Black and White. Hopefully this will mean when I make something colourful it won't clash horribly with the header! But I plan to still be using lots of colour in my fabric choices and other posts. Enjoy the new site and have a look around through the category pages and tell me what you think. There are a few small alterations to come but I just need to get a good profile picture first! See you next week for making a Patchwork Cushion or two. Zoe x

Sewing School // Ideas For Beginner Sewing Projects



If you have been following along with Sewing School you are probably desperate by now to actually make something. Finally here is a list of ideas of things that you could make with the skills you have learnt over the last few weeks. At the time of writing most of these projects I didn't have Sewing School in mind so there may be gaps in the explanation, if there is anything you don't understand then feel free to ask your questions in the comments section below and I'll get back to you. But all these projects are suitable for a learner sewer so just choose the one you'd like to make the most and start sewing!

I'll start with the smallest and simplest projects and work up to a few bigger more ambitious ones. Even the bigger ones though will be suitable for a beginner so feel free to jump in at the deep end.

My first suggestion is to make yourself a simple infinity scarf. This is made from only 1 metre of fabric so isn't too expensive, but also it is incredibly easy. As long as you can sew in a straight line, you can make one of these.

Next week I will be going through a set of step-by-step tutorials for making some patchwork cushions, if you can wait just 7 more days then this will be a very easy place to start too.

If you are mad into coffee and can only tolerate the proper stuff then maybe you could make yourself a bunch of coffee bags. 

If you feel up to sewing a curve then you could try making one of these peg bags. Again it's very simple and only uses a small amount of fabric. Plus there is plenty of summer left to use it when you hang out your washing.



Or you could try sewing a tote bag. Its a little more fiddly than a peg bag but gives you more practice on your machine. There are lots of straight lines and corners to sew but no curves.



If you'd like to make a quilt then this star pin wheel baby quilt is really easy for beginners plus it makes a really lovely gift to someone who is expecting (yours doesn't have to be pink or course!). This project is mostly straight lines, it's just a little bigger than the others so far so will take a bit longer for you to finish it.


Or you could go all out and make yourself a double quilt like this octagons quilt. My first project was a double quilt so I know it's possible even for a beginner.

I am also going to be making a simple circle skirt soon with step-by-step instructions, but I have no picture yet to show you (it is finished but not photographed). It will be easy enough for a beginner and you'll have something you can actually wear afterwards. (There won't be a zip or buttons so I am sure you can do it!)



If you can't wait for my circle skirt walk through then maybe you could make a picnic blanket skirt following Tilly and the Buttons instructions. You'll learn to gather fabric and sew on buttons and button holes so if you are hoping to keep learning then this is a great project.

I hope you have been learning lots so far. Don't forget to come back to learn to make patchwork cushions and then a circle skirt. Zoe xx

Sewing School // What is a Pattern?

Even if you are just learning to sew you have probably heard of the phrase 'sewing pattern.' Before I learnt to sew clothes I certainly had, but I was pretty nervous about buying a pattern because I didn't know what they would be like or even what a pattern was. Well today I am going to explain all so that you don't have to feel nervous too.

What is a Sewing Pattern?
 A Sewing Pattern, called a pattern for short, is simply the shapes that you will need to cut out of your fabric. Drawn on these shapes are some markings that will help match the right parts up together, cut out pieces out in the right place on your fabric and all the information you need to sew it up. Often with the pattern you will also get some instructions for what you need to do and in which order. Sometimes though, especially with older patterns, the pattern maker will assume that you know how to sew it together already.

Sometimes the pattern will be instructions for the shapes that you need to cut out, for example you might need a rectangle that is 5cm by 25cm. Other times you will actually have the shape that you need to cut drawn onto some paper. You can then cut out the paper shape and draw around it onto your fabric.



What Kind of Patterns are Available?
You will be able to find a sewing pattern for just about anything that can be sewn together. Modern dressmaking patterns, such as this pattern for the Elisalex dress from By Hand London, will have the pattern printed on a very large piece of thin paper. Each size will be drawn on with a different line:

You need to measure yourself to work out which line is the best one to fit you. You can then trace this shape off, and cut it out before marking it on your fabric. The patterns also have markings like the little bold squares, you match these up to the markings on another pattern piece to make sure you are sewing it in the right place. I will write a post another day about all the different kind of patterns markings, let's just stick to the basics for now.

Some older patterns will only include one size rather than a range of sizes. Be careful if you buy one of these to check the measurements for the size. If you fit a size 10 now, that probably wasn't the same as a size 10 from 20 years ago.

There are also many printable pdf patterns around now too. These are e-mailed to you for you to print at home and stick together before you cut out the right shape. These can be an excellent way to get your pattern straight away if you just can't wait any longer, but the sticking them together part can be quite time consuming so it isn't always better. Some great free patterns are available like this now too.

What Do I Need To Know Before I Start Cutting and Sewing?
If you have found a pattern you are interested in buying and sewing then there are a few things you should know before you start.

First of all sewing patterns usually include their seam allowance. They will state how wide the seam allowance should be, but the actual line you sew on won't be shown on the pattern. Therefore the line on the pattern is the line you need to cut along. You will need to sew the distance of the seam allowance away from this line for your pattern to fit together properly. Find out more about seam allowances here.

Secondly don't forget to have a look at the recommended fabrics for that pattern. Try to buy something as close as possible to the right weight of fabric or you'll find it doesn't turn out the way you would like.

Finally have a think about the things you know how to do before you buy a pattern. If you have seen a dress pattern that has a lapped zip, a rolled hem and is made from a very fine and lightweight fabric its probably not the best thing to try for your very first one. Wait a while and when you have sewn up a few other things then go back to that one later.

So this is a very brief introduction to what sewing patterns are. I will go into more detail about the different markings and instructions soon. On Tuesday next week I will be suggesting a few beginner sewing projects so don't forget to come back then. Zoe x

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