Sunday, 30 September 2018

September Indie Pattern Update!



The change in season seems to have kickstarted the indie sewing pattern community into overdrive with new releases; I've got a whopper of a post for you this month! I recommend grabbing a cup of tea before you start. Get ready to open approximately 1000 browser tabs and to increase your new season sewing plans ten fold. After compiling this I can't wait to tackle my fabric stash and get back on my machine!


New Pattern Companies


  • The Hemming launched with two gorgeous patterns! The Adelia Dress with it's relaxed fit and button front has particularly piqued my interest and I wish it was still summer here so I could waft around in linen versions of this all day. The Polly Top is an off the shoulder design with ribbon drawstrings and a rolled hem finish.
  • Experimental Space have been producing knitting patterns for a while but this month released their very first sewing pattern! The Evelyn Blouse is available in both paper and PDF format. It is a pretty a classic style with stand collar, v-neckline and sleeves finished with vented cuffs.
  • Digital Pattern Library launched with their very first pattern; the Belted Sweater. I love the drama of this super comfortable and wearable design. It has a statement belt which wraps twice around the waist and ties kimono style as well as pleated long sleeves.


New Patterns


  • The two patterns released with this month's edition of Seamwork Magazine were the Bo Top and Callahan Pants. The top is a great little boxy blank canvas for woven fabrics that would look very different made up in light or heavyweight fabrics and I love the pin tucks running down the front and back of the trouser legs combined with rear patch pockets.
  • Sarah Kirsten released the Clematis Tote. It is a paperless design, so the pattern instructions guide you through drawing out your pattern pieces on to fabric then sewing up. It is a lovely simple unlined design assembled with french seams for a clean and sturdy finish.
  • New from Schnittchen is the Joy Dress. An elegant style with one sided lapel and option to make sleeveless, with a short sleeve or more cut away tank style shoulder. The insertion of the bodice into the skirt pieces looks really interesting, one of those designs that I want to sew to see how it is put together! 
  • The Picasso Top & Pants are new from The Sewing Workshop. The pants are a lantern shape with tapered bottom panels and the top features square inset sleeves and seaming perfect for colour blocking. I'm interested in making this for the overlapping seam technique included in the instructions!
  • The Women's Sierra Peplum, Mini, Maxi and Romper is the latest release from Made for Mermaids. Designed for knits, this pattern has a lot of options to play with including sleeved or sleeveless and side cut outs in the bodice. A girls version is also available.
  • New from Style Arc this month was the McKenzie Set. The Woven Pants have a classy cut and flared leg but the Blazer is the real star of the show for me. Longline, boxy and double breasted this is super on trend. The Almy Woven Top was the new one of the freebies for the month and features a cute combo on button front and neckline flounce.
  • Closet Case Patterns released the Amy Jumpsuit which I downloaded and started cutting straight away! It is a minimalist style with wide cropped legs, a flattering v neck front and back and optional tie belt. I can see myself living in this kind of thing! The pattern is designed for wovens and is available as a PDF download only.
  • The Quincy Dress is new from Jennifer Lauren Handmade; a classic shirtwaist style with drawstring around the waist and pockets neatly integrated into the panelled skirt. All the skirt, sleeve and bodice pattern pieces for this design can be mix and matched with her Mayberry Dress!
  • French Navy Now released the Morningside Dress & Shirt. This is a relaxed popover style with partial front placket that looks effortlessly wearable for work or pleasure. I'm particularly taken with the little flounce sleeves!
  • The Leone Coat is the latest release from Fresh Press Patterns and is a lovely unlined collarless design with feature pocket panels across the front. Minimal yet interesting; my favourite kind of pattern!
  • Ohhh Lulu released the Hunter Mid-Rise Boy Leg Panties. The top edge is finished with fold-over elastic and they also have the option to add a triangular insert at the front which looks great in contrasting mesh. There's a video tutorial to guide you through sewing this feature. They also released Tundra which is slightly different to their usual patterns as there are no pieces to cut and sew, just measurements and instructions. The design is a sexy adjustable elastic strap cage bralette and panty/garter which looks great layered other some of their other designs.
  • Elbe Textiles have been working on some new menswear designs, the first of which is the gorgeous Essendon Bomber Jacket. I'm now running through a list in my head of all the men I know to figure out who I can find an excuse to sew one for! A real wardrobe classic with ribbed neck, hem and cuffs and welt pockets in the front. They also posted instructions for making a Zero-Waste 'Kimono' which I'm definitely going to be trying out!
  • While I'm on the fascinating subject of zero-waste patterns, this month I discovered Milan AV-JC whose beautiful designs are all zero-waste. This month they released their Karma Trench in English which is designed specifically to be sewn in faux-suede or another fabric which doesn't fray. I love the drama of it and the pocket detail.
  • Mood's new free pattern downloads this month included the Xeranthemum Dress, Xylosma Dress, Yarrow Dress and the Zinnia Jacket which I really love as statement piece for Autumn and Winter. They also released the Fang Cosplay and additional gloves and belt to go with it.
  • Itch to Stitch released the Petaluma Faux Wrap Dress which is a flattering feminine style with petal shaped hem and three sleeve options. The wrap style is lovely and the bonus with this one is that you don't have to worry about it loosening up over the day as it has a centre back zip fastening!
  • Colette released their first Colette X Seamwork designs which are available to Seamwork Magazine members for just one Seamwork credit! The designs combine the simple lines of Seamwork patterns with the feminine details of Colette. The Nora is a sweater-dress that is a great base for playing around with interesting knit fabrics like the laces in the samples. I'm particularly taken with Elaine which are slim pants or culottes. The notched back waistband, triangular rear welt pocket flaps and split hems are all great little details.
  • Sew Over It released the Cora Top PDF pattern. I'm definitely going to be downloading this one as it looks like such a satisfying to sew and wearable project. It has a relaxed fit and pleat details at both the front and back and comes with the option to lengthen into a kaftan style dress.
  • New from Designer Stitch is the Chelsea Cardigan. Best suited to showcase drapey fabrics this is the perfect transitional garment. I particularly like the longer 'high calf' length.
  • The Bingley Boxer Shorts are the latest release from Measure Twice Cut Once. A classic boxer with workable button fly and designed for both men and women, these are an adaption of their popular Darcy Boxer pattern but with a covered elastic waistband. Susan has also given the website a bit of makeover so go take a look!
  • Sew DIY released the Ali Sweatshirt. This is a sporty, casual design with some great little details like the dolman sleeves combined with a back yoke and guidance for topstitching the visible sleeve seams. There are two variations for sleeve length and neckline shape.
  • One of my favourite releases of the month is the 23+ Pockets pattern from Waffle Patterns. This pattern download includes an assortment of fun and functional pocket designs all with fully illustrated instructions. These can be applied to any of your sewing projects but would be particularly great of any of their lovely coats.
  • Issue 3 of Lisa Comfort magazine is out now and with it the beautiful Heidi Dress pattern! This wrap style has a real seventies vibe with loose sleeves and a skirt and bodice that gather into the waistband. It ties inside and out for security and can be made as a top or maxi dress with hem frill too.
  • Kommatia Patterns launched the Alice T-Shirt Dress. This has a semi-fitted silhouette that follows the curves of the body without clinging and looks great belted too.
  • I AM Patterns released the I AM Unique collection. Luna is a button back blouse with a large pointed collar and Magdala is a dress or blouse with dramatic tiers of ruffles. Gaia is my personal favourite, a simple v-neck cami with wide straps gathered into 'links' at the shoulders.
  • Studio Faro released the Boat Neck Tee. A real classic to add to your pattern collection this is best suited to four-way stretch knits. It has a slim fit and three quarter length sleeves and the neck band can be sewn as an inside or outside binding. 
  • Pipe Dream Patterns had two new releases this month! Firstly the Brooke Cami Dress, which is a strappy wrap style with optional flounces. The finish is fully bias bound so you can play around with contrast fabrics or sew as a simple cami too. The second surprise release was the Willow Overalls. They have both chino fit and wide leg options and are beginner friendly with straps that tie to the bib and rear patch pockets.
  • New from Itch to Stitch is the Aveiro Cardigan; a much requested v-neck style designed to be worn open. There are four bodice lengths including a rounded bolero shape and four sleeve options to mix and match.
  • Cashmerette launched the Chilton Trench Coat; a curvy and plus size classic single breasted coat. The design includes all the traditional details you'd expect on a trench including storm flaps, epaulettes, cuff latches and pockets. There are two views in different lengths. 
  • New from Wardrobe By Me are the Hepburn Pants. Features include a high waist with belt loops, zip fly, rear welt pockets and two hem widths to choose from. They have a slight menswear vibe as you'd expect for a pattern named after the iconic Kathryn. 
  • The Madison Cardigan is the latest release from Style Sew Me. A dramatic and stylish design with long length and curved waterfall front, this pattern is designed for heavier knits. I think it could be a great match for some double sided merino double knit I've just sampled from The Fabric Store. It would be amazing to see a pop of contesting colour inside.
  • The Maker's Atelier released the Relaxed Drawstring Dress. The drawstring waist adds gentle shape and the full length wide sleeves are finished with cuffs. The pattern comes with options for a deep round neckline or turtleneck.
  • New from Tessuti are the Chiara Pants. A really classic wide leg design that is sure to become a wardrobe staple; these have a subtle flared hem, front and back darts and a side zipper opening as well as a stitcher down facing to finish the waist.
  • There is a new collection of three patterns available from Liesl and Co. The Hollywood Trousers are a classic pair of fitted trousers with 'menswear style pocket stays' for smooth front which I'm very intrigued by! The Neighbourhood Sweatshirt & Hoodie is a classic wardrobe staple which has been cleverly thought out. My pick of the bunch is the Afternoon Tea Blouse which features a inset panel across the chest and sleeves forming a chevron at the side. This looks great in lace but I love the ruffle sample too. I'm also intrigued by the lack of shoulder seam!
  • The Assembly Line released the elegant V-Neck Dress pattern. It has a slightly a-line shape with optional belt and the choice to make sleeveless or with three-quarter length sleeves. My favourite feature is the v-shaped neckline which continues up into a graceful collar at the back of the neck.
  • Swim Style launched the next pattern in their collection of separates. The Vera Bandeau Bikini Top is a simple bandage style with bust pleats for shape and a removable cup lining. It comes with the option to add skinny tie shoulder straps.
  • Sew Swimmingly are a new pattern company discovery for me and I've added most of their designs to my holiday sewing queue! In September they released the Lucy One-Piece which has a smooth, flattering and clean finish and the Sabrina Pant which has two coverage options and knots at the sides.
  • Louis Antoinette released their Autumn/Winter Collection. There are two dress patterns; Omsk is fitted style with piping to highlight the design features and ruffles around the armholes and Oural has a soft bodice and more structured skirt with curved panels to enhance the hourglass shape. I love this made up in contrasting textures.
  • The London Shirt is new from The Sewing Workshop. Oversized with a swing back, I love the shape created by the diagonal side seams which end in vents and the dropped three-quester length sleeves with folded cuffs really compliment the style.
  • Friday Pattern Company released the Hughes Dress. The shape of this button up dress with it's scoop neck and button front has a bit of nineties vibe. I like that it includes process seams and am particularly taken with the optional back lacing.
  • New to download from Free Sewing are the mens Shin Swim Trunks. They are a close fitting style trunk with seven different pattern options and making use of three body measurements to achieve the perfect fit.


Pattern updates and expansions


  • Carolyn & Cassie released a second version of their popular first design, the Perth Dress in a larger size range. This new pattern is for sizes 46-54.
  • Pauline Alice re-released their Ninot Jacket pattern. The new version has a larger size range and a new mid-thigh length variation with round neckline. They've also chosen to simplify the construction a little by reducing the number of pattern pieces and replacing the bound buttonholes with machine-made. If you already own the pattern you can follow the instructions at the end of this post to receive an update.
  • Megan Nielsen has started a Pattern of the Month feature and part of this sees the release of a bonus variation. This month is the Harper Shorts and newsletter subscribers can download free pattern pieces or you can follow the drafting instructions online to transform them into a lovely pair of wide leg pants!


Sew-alongs, Tutorials and Online Courses


  • Also as part of her new Pattern of the Month feature Megan Nielsen has been running a sew-along for Harper Shorts & Skort. It includes tips for sewing both variations.
  • Fresh Press Patterns are just starting the sew-along for their new Leone Coat. This is going to include guidance on how to add a lining if you fancy taking your project a step further. 
  • Sew DIY are running a sew-along for their new Ali Sweatshirt. This will be great to follow if you are new to working with sweat shirting or knit fabrics in general.
  • The Sewing Workshop are part way through a sew-along for the new London Shirt on their ThreadWEAR 301 blog. It is packed with tips and tricks to make your stylish project a success. 


Upcoming!


  • Paprika Patterns are currently testing a maternity version of their Amber Trousers. These have a v-shaped yoke, perfect for a growing bump and two leg styles.
  • Elbe Textiles have some new designs coming soon including the unisex Fremantle Pants which they are currently testing and will have a mid rise, elasticated waist and tapered leg with three lengths. 
  • Named's sewing book will be officially published on 15th November. You can preorder Breaking the Pattern: A modern way to sew on Amazon now. I am SO excited to see more of this and what delicious clean-cut Scandi designs are inside!
  • Deer & Doe have two new patterns coming in October which promise to be demanding and rewarding designs. I've had a sneaky peak at one and it is definitely something to look forward to!
  • After the release of Sapphire last month, there will be a new Pin-Up Girls bra pattern coming soon from Bra-Makers Supply named Amethyst.
  • The next pattern from the The Avid Seamstress is due to be released on 5th October. I'm looking forward to checking out The Blouse at the Knitting & Stitching Show mid next month!
  • Thread Theory are working on their next pattern and from a sneak peak on Instagram I've deduced that it could be mens jeans! Definitely a huge gap in the indie sewing market.
  • Coming later this week from Afternoon Patterns are the Heron Culottes! I'm loving this style in my wardrobe at the moment so can't wait to see these.
  • Also releasing next week are the Orchid Midi from Chalk & Notch and the Parasol Jumpsuit and Trousers from Ensemble Patterns. They have collaborated so the patterns can be mixed together giving you three bodice options, four bottoms and two waistbands just to start.


Other Exciting News!


  • Unfortunately Vesta Patterns are closing down and as a result are having a 70% off sale on all their paper patterns.
  • Style Arc are now selling multi-size paper and PDF patterns through their website! A selection of 150 of their designs are now available in this format and will be great news for those of you that need to grade between sizes. PDF patterns also now come with print shop as well as the standard print at home files.
  • The Kickstarter campaign for new pattern company Selkie Patterns launched this month and is already 100% funded! They have some exciting additional stretch goals coming soon. Their first pattern is London and will be a sweet blouse or dress with keyhole neckline and full skirt. They are also offering exclusive hand-painted fabric prints of the London skyline.
  • Gertie has a third book coming out in April next year! Named 'Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses' it is a modern guide to vintage stitch-and-wear patterns which you can sew in a day. Keep your eyes on her Instagram and blog for more details coming soon.


Phew! Well done for making it to the end of that! I don't feel like I can have missed much this month but as always feel free to add in to the comments anything that has slipped through the net. To finish up here's a few projects from the sewing community that have been inspiring my sewing this month!



  • Anna made an amazing refashioned version of the Hadley Top from a few pairs of jeans! Such a great idea to use this pattern as a blank canvas to piece together all those different colours and shades of denim and beautifully executed.
  • Susan did brilliant things with the Simple Sew Cocoon Jacket pattern. I absolutely love the inspired choice of white top-stitching on indigo blue denim. Workwear chic at it's finest!
  • Linda's version of the Isca Shirt Dress  features amazing pattern placement making the most of the check and style lines. Am so motivated to work creatively with checks and stripes now!
  • Mie's Style Arc Como Set really made me look twice at these patterns and their clever cutting and construction. She doesn't love it as an outfit but I think it's fab! I adore the fabric she chose for the cardigan in particular.
  • I adore Elena's version of the Named Helmi Shirtdress, she's made me look twice at this pattern. Her choice of a solid, neutral colour organic cotton is spot on and I like the change to a gathered skirt.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

A Quick Ogden Cami Hack

The Ogden Cami from True Bias is a stalwart of many a handmade wardrobe and as well as making it up in multiple colours, prints and fabrics there is plenty of mileage to be had out of the design with some simple pattern hacking too. What I did to this version was super simple and quick but transforms the look of the top. When you've got as many versions of this pattern in your wardrobe as I do making some of them look at least a little different to the others is a must!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe True Bias Ogden Cami Square Neck Hack

After my successful and straightforward hack of adding a faux button placket to the Ogden Cami last time I decided to get a little bit more creative and change the neckline this time. This was actually possibly even more simple than the button placket to do but makes more of a dramatic difference! The high square neckline on camisoles seems to be quite popular in RTW at the moment and gives off a bit of a nineties vibe. I think it is quite an elegant shape, especially paired with the slightly flared bodice shape of the Ogden. There are a few camisole patterns around you can use to achieve this but when you've got a cami pattern you love, why not adapt it slightly for the required effect?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe True Bias Ogden Cami Square Neck Hack

To achieve this look I simply put paper behind the back and front pattern pieces and drew a straight line between the highest points of the neckline where the straps meet the body. Make sure to do the same to your facing pieces too. When it came to sewing it was even quicker than usual as you've eliminated part of the stay stitching and attaching the straps is slightly less fiddly. You do want to take care that they sit right at the outermost edge of the neckline though so you don't end up with a weird step. The edge of the armhole should continue smoothly up along the edge of the strap. Also make sure to under stitch across the straight neckline to help create a sharp finish.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe True Bias Ogden Cami Square Neck Hack

The fabric I used was a couple of remnants of Atelier Brunette viscose crepe in the off white colour which I picked up from Guthrie & Ghani at the Knitting & Stitching Show in the spring. They were two tiny pieces at about half and metre and a quarter of a metre of the full width! I'd first encountered this beautiful fabric in the Atelier Brunette store in Paris when I visited in February and fell in love with it a little bit. It is soft, lightweight and diaphanous without being sheer and has a gorgeous sheen to that slightly textured right side, so lovely it almost glows. It is gorgeous to work with, apart from being a little shifty as most viscose is, and even nicer to wear with that lovely cool feeling against the skin. It isn't particularly cheap at around £17.50/m but certainly worth it for the quality. The only thing that stopped me buying it in Paris was being overwhelmed by the choice of colours, which you can see in all their glory here.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe True Bias Ogden Cami Square Neck Hack

I stood at the G&G stand for ages trying to work out if I could squeeze the main pieces onto the half metre and the facing on to a quarter! In the end I couldn't bear to leave the fabric behind at half price. When it came to cutting out the pieces I realised the answer to my dilemma was 'not quite' and I had to shorten the main pieces slightly to fit. I actually completely adore this length though and may shorten all future camis to match! Its still long enough to tuck into my high waisted skirts and trousers but sits really nicely over a pair of mid-rise jeans too. I'm wearing it here with my Mia Jeans from the Sew Over It City Break eBook.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe True Bias Ogden Cami Square Neck Hack

The fabric is a great match for the pattern and makes for a gorgeous soft cami. A totally different feel to the one I made up in cotton lawn. The only thing I don't like about the fabric is that in this light colour it is not 100% opaque, which isn't a problem for a relaxed top but it does mean that you can see the edge of the facing through it where two layers of the fabric give a denser colour and then that finishes. It isn't so bad in pictures but in real life it really bothers me and so this top has unfortunately not had a lot of wear. I don't think you'd have this problem with the darker colours though and I'm definitely considering investing in some more for some breezy bohemian tops and dresses.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe True Bias Ogden Cami Square Neck Hack

I think this hack needs a bit of perfecting but its certainly wearable as it is. To get the neckline sitting where I wanted it to I shortened the straps a little more than I do usually and this has made it a tad snug under the arm holes and possibly reduced the overall length of the top a little more. The armhole situation is bearable and doesn't look bad (although is slightly more obvious across the back) but I would like to make another to rectify the issue. To do this I think I will add a bit of height to the neckline rather than dropping the armholes as this will probably be more straightforward. An extra 3/4" should do it and to keep the slightly cropped effect I'll have to take the same off the hem. When making another I'd like to either use a more opaque fabric or something very fine to change the facing into a full lining and avoid the line of the facing hem across the bust.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe True Bias Ogden Cami Square Neck Hack

Each Ogden Cami I make feels so different to the others and mainly because of variety in fabric choice rather than hacking but I'm delighted to be able to push my use of this pattern a little further. If you're new to pattern hacking then this is a great pattern to start with as the simple shape and clean lines provide a good blank canvas with little in the way of darts and additional seam lines to complicate things. I don't think I'm done with this one yet! I'm thinking straps that tie on top of the shoulder for the next version. Have you got any other ideas?

Friday, 31 August 2018

August Indie Pattern Update!



August was another incredibly busy month in the indie sewing community! As well as endless beautiful new releases there have been some great sew-alongs running and lots to look forward to as well. I'm not quite ready to let go of summer here in the UK yet and partly because I feel like I barely made a dent in my summer sewing plans! I guess its about time I started sewing for the colder weather and put those projects on hold until next year but its difficult as I always feel much more inspired to sew for sunshine! I do love planning projects though so hopefully a sit down with my pattern and fabric stash will get me motivated. Just putting together this update has made me feel more creative and optimistic about the changing season.


New Pattern Companies


  • Not new this month but new fairly recently and definitely worth drawing your attention to are patterns from Elbe Textiles. Lauren has launched with a gorgeous wearable collection of PDF patterns for both men and women including a number of free downloads! I can see myself using a lot of the mens patterns actually and love the little backpack too.
  • Athina Kakou released her very first solo pattern this month. The Sheona Dress & Top is a shift style designed for knit fabrics with five variations including various sizes of hem and sleeve ruffles. I've been spotting some gorgeous tester versions popping up in my Instagram feed.
  • Pearson and Pope launched with a collection of classic and versatile pieces perfect for a working wardrobe. The collection includes three blouses, a dress and two skirts; my personal favourite is the Catherine Blouse which has a beautifully cut collar and removable neck tie which can we worn in a number of ways.


New Patterns


  • The two new patterns with Seamwork Magazine this month were the Adria Top and Christina Skirt which look great together in a minimalist scan-chic two piece kind of fashion! The member bonus this month for the fitted pencil skirt includes side and rear welt pockets and a traditional vent.
  • Named released Anni to celebrate their fifth anniversary. I am totally in love with this 'building block' pattern which provides you with a variety of blocks you can mix match to create up to 36 different garments! The bodice pattern has three necklines and four sleeves (including sleeveless) and it comes with a skirt, trousers or shorts. My favourite of the three samples is that amazing blue jumpsuit with keyhole neckline.
  • New on Free Sewing is the Sandy Circle Skirt. As with all the patterns from Joost this comes with a fantastic range of options to make the design your own and also achieve your ideal fit. Plus its free to download!
  • New from Style Arc is the Como Outfit which consists of three patterns that can be bought in a bundle at a discounted price. The Como Cardigan is long-line and features an all-in-one dropped shoulder, the Knit Top is an appealing minimalist modern design with v-neck and slight grown on sleeves and the Knit Pant has wide legs, an elasticated waist and the option to make full length of cropped. They also released the trio of Sutton styles which include a woven top, cami and skirt all with feature buttons. I think my favourite is the top. One of the freebies for the month was also new. Perry is a sleeveless swing top with asymmetrical hemline.
  • Amongst the new free downloadable patterns released by Mood Fabrics this month were the Ulmus Dress, Ursinia Dress, Vanda Dress, Willow Cardigan, Xryis Dress and Victoria Tee which features a fun pleated back to make use of their range of pre-pleated fabrics. They also released the Woodsia Shorts for men, a classic cargo style.
  • Opian released the Pilatus Swimsuit. I'm more of a two piece girl but if I make a one piece its going to be this one! I love the cut outs and bow front combined with high waist.
  • By Hand London released the Eloise Dress - a mix and match pattern with on trend ruffles and statement sleeves. I can definitely see myself making multiple variations of this one and wearing them to death, someone point me in the direction of some beautiful viscose prints!
  • I turns out I wasn't very on the ball last month with the update and the next few are patterns released in July but which I wanted to make sure you got to see! First up the Magnuson Vest by Straight Stitch Designs; a fashionable twist on a military vest with large patch pockets, button placket and stand collar and a drawstring waist.
  • Muse Patterns released the Manuka Dress & Top last month too which has a breezy fit, dropped shoulder and the option to use a flutter or long voluminous sleeve.
  • Also launched in July was the new Breeze Shirt from Twig and Tale. A pullover top with mandarin collar and the option for long sleeves with optional tabs or short flounce sleeves. There is also a men's version available.
  • DG Patterns released the Ursula, Renata and Adele Tops & Dresses in August. Renata is a woven style with slight cocoon shape and gathered detail along the sleeve. Adele is a simple summer style with drawstring waist and optional shoulder ties. Ursula is a knit design with keyhole neckline and cold shoulder.
  • Orange Lingerie released the Lansdowne Bra pattern which is a cleavage enhancing plunge design with a two piece seamed cut and underwires. Every time Norma releases a pattern I say that this is going to be the one to start me sewing lingerie but I still haven't got my act and all the supplies together! 
  • Sew Over It released their Carrie Trousers pattern (previously only available as part of the trousers e-course) as a PDF! A relaxed style perfect for those new to sewing trousers these are a loose fitting tapered style with an elasticated back waist. 
  • New from Tessuti is the Soho Coat. With a classic cut this features a turn back collar, slightly dropped shoulders and side pockets. I love their suggestion of making this up in a heavy linen.
  • Wardrobe By Me released a new pattern for Mens Chino Pants. These have a slim and modern fit and include all the classic design details such as welt pockets, belt loops, fly front and slanted front pockets. Very tempted by these for some un-selfish sewing. 
  • The Relaxed Raglan Short Sleeve Knit Top and Easy Construct Maxi Knit Skirt are both new from Hourglass Patterns. This pattern company are new to me and I'm intrigued to find out more. The patterns are drafted to accommodate a larger bust and more muscular bicep and shoulder.
  • Laela Jeyne Patterns released the Emily T-Shirt which is a versatile tee pattern with numerous variations to play with. It can be made up as a mini dress, classic tee or with a peplum and includes two shapes of neckline and three sleeve styles.
  • Sew House Seven launched the Montavilla Muumuu in PDF format. Perfect for the heat much of the northern hemisphere has been experiencing over the last few months this is a long dress with hem vents, a ruffle at the armhole cleverly created by gathering the shoulder dart and large deep pockets. The also released a free downloadable pattern for a cross body Micropurse last month. I might make myself a few of these in fun prints as they'd be really useful on set at work!
  • Kommatia Patterns released Piper, a nineties inspired tube top, and Rommy, a quick to sew, loose fitting pair of trousers with a tapered leg. Ideal to add to the wardrobe as we move towards cooler weather. I'm loving their new illustrations and they've also been working hard to improve their sizing and add features like layers to their PDFs.
  • New from Pin-Up Girls Patterns at Bra-Makers Supply is the Sapphire Partial Band Bra. This is an underwired, foam bra which is cut to give a rounded push up effect. I can't even imagine making lingerie so structured yet bet I'm hoping to work up to it!
  • Wearable Studio released the Canary Cami, a simple yet clever design with small grown on fluted sleeves and princess seams for a flattering fit.
  • New from Itch to Stitch is the Dana Point Top. I love the clever flattering shape of this design with pleats at the waist creating flare over the hips and the combination of v neck and slightly exposed shoulder is subtle yet gorgeous.
  • Both Carmen Bouchard of French Sewing Bee fame and Maire Poisson have released pattern books with publisher Editions la Plage this month. Le Manteau de Carmen is a classic tailored coat with notched collar and Le Body de Marie is a bodysuit with two variations including a cute wrap style with sleeves. Both are currently available in French only from both the publisher and via Amazon.
  • The Maker's Atelier released the latest pattern in their design studio line, working in collaboration with students at Brighton University. The Madeline Robertson Jumpsuit and Dress is a dramatic yet elegant design with butterfly sleeves and a drawstring waist. They also released the second edition of the Maker's Atelier Magazine - 48 pages of inspiration for your autumn sewing! The pattern included with this issue is a simple but versatile pleated skirt inspired by Frida Kahlo.
  • New from Designer Stitch is the Gemma Twist Tops pattern. The pattern comes with pieces for both a top with a feature twist back and front. Designed for jersey knits I think this would look great made up in directional prints to emphasise the twist.
  • Create Space Adelaide released a new pattern in the form of How To Sew Leather. The pattern is for a simple zip clutch and the instructions take leather newbies through all the steps including lots of tips for sewing leather on a domestic machine. I'm definitely going to be trying this one as leather is one of the fabrics I haven't quite mastered yet.
  • I'm really excited about the new My Capsule Wardrobe: Work to Weekend ebook from Sew Over It! I'm a big fan of the patterns from their first ebook and these look just as good. Wearable, well-drafted, timeless styles. It contains five patterns, with twelve variations between them. I like the boat neck of Edie, the split skirt of Kate but my favourite is either the Camille Jumpsuit or classy Anna Coat.
  • Maven Patterns released the Barcelona Dress in PDF format; a classic fit a flare style that looks great made up in stripes. My favourite feature of this is that elegant boat neck with dart tucks that can be sewn with a v-neck or high neck at the back.
  • Emily from In The Folds has designed a new free pattern download for Peppermint Magazine. The Button Up Dress is a great wardrobe staple with a nineties vibe. I wish the summer would stick around here longer so I could make it up in lovely linens. 
  • Love Notions just released the Duet Pants which are a classic trouser with a straight or tapered leg and mid rise that can be made in wovens or stable knits.
  • 5 out of 4 Patterns released the Virginia Tank & Maxi which is a knit design with a whole heap of interesting features. You can make it up as a separate tank and skirt with yoga waistband in two lengths or as a dress. The tank has an optional built in bra and pattern pieces for a fuller bust as well as a maternity option! There's also a girls version of the pattern.
  • The new So Classic Sundress from Patterns for Pirates is a beauty for those of your heading into warmer months. It features a classic fitted bodice with shirred back and sweetheart neckline, a button up front and various skirt lengths. There are some truly gorgeous tester versions on the product page.
  • Hot Patterns released the HP 1237 Plain & Simple Favourite Shirt, Tunic & Shirtdress. An elevated basic with revere collar and lots of classic shirt details I think this would be a gorgeous and somewhat challenging sew in billowy lightweight silks.


Pattern updates and expansions


  • Cashmerette released the Lenox Shirtdress Expansion Pack. This add on to their best selling pattern provides a full bicep version of the short sleeve, a new long sleeve in standard and full bicep sizes and a sleeveless bodice in their range of cup sizes. 
  • Wardrobe By Me have given their Piper Boho Tunic a makeover and as well as extending the size range have added on loads more design options giving you a huge 27 variations to choose from. New features include a kaftan length, new sleeves styles and necklines.


Sew-alongs, Tutorials and Online Courses




Upcoming!


  • Colette have two new patterns coming out next month. I am clueless as to what they will be but if you are a Seamwork Magazine member you'll be able to buy them with just one credit as you now can any pattern in the Colette line.
  • There's a new pattern company coming soon! The kick-starter campaign for Selkie Patterns will be launching next month and you can follow along with the progress of the patterns on their YouTube channel.
  • The Avid Seamstress has a new pattern coming soon. All I have been able to gather from Instagram sneak peaks is that it features button closures and promise to be a year round wardrobe staple.
  • Pipe Dream Patterns are working on the Brooke Cami Dress. I'm loving the detail in the close up of the hem pictured on their website hem page at the moment.
  • Sarah Kirsten is set to release the Clematis Tote which is a clean and simple bag with no lining or pockets, constructed with french seams for a clean and strong finish. 
  • Louis Antoinette have a selection of new patterns coming out in September.
  • Jennifer Lauren Handmade will soon be releasing the Quincy Dress, the sister pattern to the Mayberry Dress. Each pattern piece is interchangeable between the two designs, giving you a design freedom.
  • Thread Theory put out a call for testers for their next pattern and have specifically asked for people with experience sewing trousers. I'm looking forward to this one!
  • I AM Patterns have collaborated with French magazine Modes & Travaux to release sx new designs. For those of us in the UK English versions of the pattern will be released on their site on 21st October. 
  • Ensemble Patterns are testing the Parasol Jumpsuit which looks really cute! Wide legs and a sleeveless wrap bodice.


As always feel free to share the indie pattern love and add anything I've missed into the comments (I'm sure there's plenty!). Here's your monthly dose of indie sewing inspiration to get your September sewing started:



  • Rosie drew this Yorkshire Dales image, had it printed onto fabric and turned it into a Claudia Dress. AMAZING.
  • I absolutely love Jade's striped Celeste bikini. A great fabric choice and beautifully sewn. Swim Style patterns are a new discovery for me thanks to Jade and the cut of this one in particular is gorgeous.
  • Marie made my favourite Kew Dress yet. Her fabric choice is beautiful and the fit is amazing!
  • I love a little black dress at any time of year and Kelli's black linen Ariana Dress is perfect for summer. I think this will look great layered in winter too.
  • Emanuelle's testve rsion of the new Sheona Dress is a stunner. A classic little black dress and I absolutely love her choice to do the little hem and cuff ruffles in a chiffon. What a gorgeous detail.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

A Trio of Blackwood Cardigans

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

Ever since I made my first Longley Cardigan in silver grey merino about 18 months ago I haven't felt the need to add another cardigan pattern to my handmade arsenal. That cardigan and the subsequent maroon patterned version I made work with my entire handmade wardrobe and are ideal to throw at any time of year. It is a fantastic pattern and really fun to put together. I didn't think any other cardigan could steal my affection until I met the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's Closet. A pattern I liked so much on first sewing that a month later I owned three!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

I started looking at cardigan patterns because I got the idea into my head that I wanted to sew a dramatic maxi length cardigan for wearing over simple jeans and tee combos. Lengthening the Longley wouldn't work as that waterfall front would overwhelm me with fabric. I looked at the I AM Patterns Artemis for a while before deciding that the cocoon shape wasn't quite right and I wanted something a little more slimline and lightweight. I can't remember who but I spotted a slightly lengthened version of the Blackwood (which comes with both hip and thigh length variations already) on Instagram, liked the neat look of the close fitting shoulder and thought it would definitely suit being lengthened all the way down to the ground.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

In the end my cardigan doesn't quite reach the ground as I was restricted by the amount of fabric I had. But its a much more practical length now, who wants to drag beautiful merino in the London dirt?! I settled on adding 38cm to the length as it was long as I could go while still having just enough fabric to squeeze out another Nikko Top. I would have needed more fabric to make it any longer anyway as I cut the Nikko around the cardigan pieces to fit it all on. I had two metres of this deep teal premium merino from The Fabric Store. If you're making a longer version of this cardigan don't forget to add the extra length to the front band pattern piece too. I almost forgot which would have been a disaster as I was using every scrap for my Nikko!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

I cut the size small from shoulder to waist and then graded out to a medium at the hip continuing with that size down to the hem. I did think as the cardigan is designed to be worn open I could get away without changing size but it is a fairly close fitting style I didn't want it too tight across the bum. I added the extra length to the hem of the front and back pattern pieces just above the hem band and made sure to draw the lines straight down at the side seams rather than following any flare so that the hem band would still be the right size. I'm really happy with the fit even the sleeves which I am usually quite particular about. I wasn't sure I would like the 'extra long sleeves' but I do and they are nice and slim.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Black Merino from The Fabric Store

So my first try with this pattern was in fact a hack; but a straightforward one that turned out just as I had hoped! Making this highlighted the careful design choices of this seemingly simple cardigan and I realised a shorter version would definitely be of use to me. Along with the teal I'd ordered a couple of metres of black in the same premium mid-weight (because lets face it, that is ALWAYS going to be useful) and I decided to use some of it for a practical black cardigan. I got this little black number, using the hip length view A, out of just 90cm of fabric. That counts as a stash buster to me, especially considering that the Longley needs 2m to accommodate those big pieces required for the waterfall front.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Black Merino from The Fabric Store

Knowing how little fabric was needed next time I ordered from The Fabric Store a metre of the rose pink ended up in may cart and my third version of the Blackwood was born. I've never been much of a pink wearer but current trends must be infiltrating my subconscious. I think I placed the order around the same time as I made my blush pink Ogden and rust orange Erin combo and was firmly on board that colour palette train. This pink has actually ended up being my favourite of the three! It is surprising how well this colour works with the majority of my wardrobe. I'm almost treating it as a neutral.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

I think part of the reason I made so many in quick succession is that it is such a speedy sew. I've had a really busy summer at work and the gratification of being able to make something useful for my wardrobe in under two hours proved impossible to resist. As always the merino was a dream to work with too. No unexpected nasty surprises slowing down my speed sewing there. As the construction of this cardigan results in three layers of fabric at a lot of the seams (along the front and hem bands as well as the cuffs) a fairly lightweight knit such as the merino is a great choice to stop things getting bulky. It also presses beautifully so the cardigan hangs well and those seam allowances stay where they're supposed to be. When choosing fabric for this pattern make sure to pay attention to the stretch requirements too. There's negative ease to achieve the close fit around the shoulders so it needs a good amount of stretch.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

It was my first time sewing with a Helen's Closet pattern and I was impressed. So impressed I bought the Winslow Culottes pattern soon after. Her instructions are well thought out and leave little room for error and the drafting was spot on for me, although obviously a knit cardigan doesn't test the sizing as well as a more fitted garment. She has a complete sew-along posted over on her blog if you want any additional guidance.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Maxi Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Teal Merino from The Fabric Store

I like the way the cardigan is put together. The only construction technique I was a little unsure about was topstitching along the front neck band seam allowance to finish. I was concerned I wouldn't like the look of it and worried about keeping it neat but it has turned out beautifully and doesn't bother me at all on the finished garment. Make sure to be careful not to stretch anything out as you sew this though as you don't want to end up with a wavy front. Another area to be careful about is matching up the bottom edge of the front band correctly at the hem as it will be very visible if you end up with the step there. I'm a couple of millimetres out on some of mine and it bugs the perfectionist in me!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Rose Pink Merino from The Fabric Store

This is a very different cardigan pattern to the MIY Collection Longley. I think in the winter I'll still be reaching for the Longley more often as you can wrap that waterfall front around you for extra warmth and cosiness! I slightly miss being able to do that with the Blackwood which is purposefully cut to sit open at the front but I really like this feature over summer dresses, cami tops and tees as it feels less cumbersome but still provides enough coverage when there's a chill in the air. I think could be a great combined with the mock turtleneck of the True Bias Nikko Top or Dress in winter. I've now got a contemporary twist on a twinset of these two patterns in the teal! Overall there is a place for both styles of cardigan in my wardrobe and I now feel well and truly kitted out for the onset of cooler weather. Well until I spot another shade of merino I can't resist that is...

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Helen's Closet Blackwood Cardigan in Merino from The Fabric Store