Fabric collections

Karen Banfield explains how you can design your own fabric

Julie Bonnar chats to Karen Banfield from THREADS Inkjet Printables about its revolutionary new way to print on fabrics

What made you decide to start working with printable fabrics?
I’ve worked in both the science and arts fields. My brother Logan Meuth, Marketing Director for Texlon Corporation, told me about this new product that they’d developed, and I was excited by the idea of a product that used science in the form of a secret coating on fabrics that could essentially be a new canvas for fashion designers, artists and crafters.

How is the fabric is made?
THREADS products start with natural fabrics, either cotton or silk. We coat the fabric rolls with the secret formula in our factory in Southern California. The coating allows the fabric to take high-resolution prints without bleeding, enables washing, and yet the fabric retains all its original drape and feel.
After applying the coating, we add a paper-backing that enables the fabric to easily glide through a printer, which can then be peeled off without any residue. Lastly, we cut the fabric into specific size to the roll or sheets.

Taken on the catwalk at CHSI Stitches trade show

Taken on the catwalk at CHSI Stitches trade show

What sort of things can be printed onto the fabrics?
There’s really no limit to what you can print on the fabrics. Anything you can print on paper, you can print on this fabric!
The coating on THREADS inkjet printable fabrics binds with water-based printer inks, both dye and pigment inks. You can also use water-based pens, stamps, or paints directly on the fabrics without using a printer.
Any water-based product will bind with the coating and that’s why we say the magic is in the THREADS!

What sorts of items can be made with the fabric sheets?
The great thing about this product is that it's literally a blank canvas. Sewers are always coming up with new and creative ways to use it. Many people print photos of family or events, and include them in craft projects. People also use THREADS to personalise their designs. You can use any software to add people’s names, dates or greetings to make truly personal and one-of-a-kind items.

How does the fabric come, and what sheet sizes are available?
We currently have 7 fabrics available – cotton lawn, cotton poplin, cotton twill, silk chiffon, silk charmeuse and two weights of silk crepe de chine. 
THREADS come in common International and US paper sizes, and A4 and A3 sheets are available in the UK, and also come on rolls 2.7 m and 9.1 m long, with widths of 22cm and 33cm. Wide-format rolls are available in sizes all the way up to 142 cm by 9.1 m for interior design projects and clothing.

Do sewers need a special printer and how easy is the product to use?
No special printer is needed to use this fabric. Any home inkjet (not laser) printer will work. Wide-format printers have many types of ink sets so make sure that yours is water-based. The fabric sheets are extremely easy-to-use, just print, peel and sew!

Indonesian underwater reef print on skirt made with silk crepe de chine worn at Ocean Gala in 2016

Indonesian underwater reef print on skirt made with silk crepe de chine worn at
Ocean Gala in 2016

How are the printable fabrics different from what's already on the market?
It holds high-resolution prints without bleeding, it's washable and retains the natural feel of the original fabric without requiring additional processing such as applying spray protector or ironing to set the ink.
While there have been seemingly similar products available on the market before, none have achieved the same mix of performance across these three factors. This has been underscored by the tremendously positive feedback we’ve received, from well-known UK crafters who love these soft, vivid THREADS and have been disappointed by those previous stiff, faded inkjet fabrics in the past. The proof is in the using, and the students at Inkberrow Design Centre made us some fabulous garments for the catwalk for the trade show CHSI Stitches. 

What has been the best seller so far?
Because we initially focused on the craft sector, we’ve sold a lot more of the cottons than the silks. Cotton poplin has been especially popular among quilters, and we moved more into clothing and home décor, we expect that the silks will be used more often.

Where and how can sewers in the UK buy the printable fabrics?
You can find some of the range on Amazon and also we regularly appear on the craft shopping channels such as Create and Craft TV. We'd encourage anyone interested in the product to contact us. 

Find out more by clicking on THREADS Inkjet Printable Fabrics

 

 

 

makers in the spotlight

Caroline Smith, designer & teacher behind Sew la di da vintage

Julie Bonnar chats to Caroline Smith, designer and teacher at
Sew La Di Da Vintage, as she launches her latest retro
sewing pattern collection for children

Tell us a bit about how the business began?
After many years of working in industry as a bespoke designer, I found myself invited to teach a ’50s-inspired dress workshop at the V&A in London. Delighted, excited as well as daunted, I bought some commercial patterns and made a few dresses.
The sizing confused me so I studied the original pattern sizes and modern high street sizes. Commercial pattern sizes haven’t been up-sized since the ’70s while high street fashion has been up-sized several times over the intervening years. I collated all the sizes and found an average, workable size for each. After the workshop – and many happy customers – I realised that the success of the patterns was tangible and I set to develop more designs. 

What made you decide to step into the vintage sewing pattern arena?
At the time, I had a vintage shop and made bespoke garments from vintage fabrics. I’ve always had a love affair and a fascination with the past, the history of clothing and the skills of yesteryear.

How would you describe your style?
My style is born out of my love of history and architecture, as well as glorious paintings and the tapestry of stories that sew together people’s lives.

Why do you think the vintage pattern collection has been so successful so far?
Although I’m inspired by the past, I’m passionate about encouraging beginners and rusty returns back to sewing. My experience of teaching led me to understand that sewing terminology could be made simpler, allowing all learners to engage easily with the instructions. I developed photographic step-by-step instructions to visually support the simple instructions. We now print our designs on paper using different colour guides for each size making it clear where to cut.  

How has the range been received in the craft sector so far, and what sort of trends are you seeing?
We started with frocks, keeping them simple in style, that sold in my shop. It became clear that a skirt and shell top was in high demand from my beginners and as a result, Miss Maguire was born. That Christmas, my son came home and asked for a waistcoat that had a collar and was nipped in at the waist. He’d been inspired by one that he’d seen during his lunchtime spent at the V&A. That request that gave birth to Mr London. My daughter has always been my muse and I often imagine a garment with her in mind. My designs prove popular with teenagers right through to the more mature lady – the Margo playsuit being an excellent example.  

What has been the best selling patterns so far?
Rose, Margo, and Sweetheart are still our big sellers followed by Blitz and Audrey. 
My favourite is Margo, I love seeing the personalities of the girls making them come out in the garments. We’ve had military, nautical, lace cotton, denim and a fantastic Abba version of Margo in chiffon. 



Are you in the process of developing new patterns, and if so can you give us a sneak preview of what to expect?
We’re currently developing children’s designs and loving every minute! I’m working on a
younger range called Frock star and watch this space as I’ve another idea developing that will be ready in 2017.
We’re always working on new ideas, responding to the interests and passions of our
varied audience. I love to observe, engage, listen to people and take inspiration from our ever-changing environment. 
To find out more visit www.sewladidavintage.com.

 

makers in the spotlight

Peggy, the amazing woman behind Sew House Seven

We caught up with the amazing Peggy from Sew House Seven, such a lovely and inspirational woman, that goes to show you can really achieve great things in following your sewing dreams

Tell us a little bit about you and the company? 

I live in Portland, Oregon and work out of my fixer-upper house with my husband Teera and 9-year-old son Wylan. 

I’ve been sewing for most of my life. I started sewing around age 8, and was soon an addict. I’ve always loved sewing and making but moved away from it once I started a full-time job. Now I’m so happy to be back doing what I love. 

I started Sew House Seven two years ago after working in the apparel industry for more years than I care to admit, and always dreamt about doing my own thing. My main focus with Sew House Seven has been on simple designs with easy to follow instructions that encourage beginners. I try to incorporate unique elements in most of my designs so they remain appealing to sewists of any level. Last June, I quite my day job as a surface and sweater designer in order to focus on Sew House Seven. 

Tea House Dress

Tea House Dress

What made you start dress and pattern making? 

The passion has been with me for a long time. As a teenager, I used to daydream about designing while looking through pattern books. Back then, I was sewing about fifty percent of my clothes. I didn’t realise that designing could be a real career so returned to school to pursue Masters degree in apparel design. 

A career in design was always my end goal. I’ve worked for various companies and freelance jobs, but the one that truly defined me was working for Jantzen swimwear and I learned so much there. It’s not always satisfying designing for someone else as there are too many restrictions and different opinions to consider. The process of fast fashion disheartens me, so I wanted to do things my own way and I wanted a creative job that was more meaningful. 

For years, I had dreamed about designing my own sewing patterns. It wasn’t until I spotted a Colette pattern at a local bookstore that a fire was lit under me. I did a bit of research and then just went for it. I still feel a little new to the game but I know I’ve finally found my happy place! 

Tell us about the patterns in your collection so far, and what made you chose them? 

When I started, I had several patterns in the mind - items that I wanted to wear. I started out with just three patterns. I had a feeling that dresses would be most desirable because they’re generally easier to fit and more special to make. 

The first pattern in the line was the Mississippi Avenue Dress. This is an easy slip dress -and looks great in a printed floral. Them there’s the Bridgetown Backless Dress and Tunic, which is a very simple, elasticated waist dress with short kimono-like sleeves but the drama is in the back. The back crosses over and drapes to reveal a peak at the wearers back. 

The Alberta Street Pencil Skirt came next and is a good addition and a staple style for to any wardrobe. 

I try to keep my patterns current and classic. I don’t want to have to scrap the pattern in a year or two because it’s no longer in style. There’s so much work that goes into each pattern and as a small independent I want my patterns to be lasting. I’m not a fan of fast fashion. 

I love clothes that can be dressy or casual – these are more versatile. 

Later I added the Rose City Halter Dress, which is another classic but more familiar style would be a nice addition. It’s a halter with a V-neckline, fitted bodice and two skirt options. 

And more recently, the Tea House Top & Dress and the Nehalem Pant & Skirt have been added to the collection. In September, I released The Toaster Sweater, as my collection was lacking knits, tops and garments for cooler weather. 

What do you feel makes you stand out from the other independent sewing pattern companies? 

Hmmm! I’m not sure that I do stand out, I’m still relatively undiscovered. What I’ve heard about my patterns is that the instructions are very thorough and clear. I also try to make unique patterns that have a special design feature (even if it’s subtle and simple). I wanted my designs to have something new and different about them to get noticed! Many of my patterns are quick and easy, which is one of my strong points as well. 

 

 

What is your favourite pattern you’ve designed so far? 

When I get ready to release a pattern, I tend to be tired of looking at it and start doubting myself. After it is released, I fall in love with it again because it’s new. My favorite was the Mississippi Avenue dress. More recently I fell in love with the Tea House dress. Now I am back to the Mississippi dress. It’s just so easy, original and classic and it was my first best seller. 

The Mississippi Avenue Dress

The Mississippi Avenue Dress

Who is your biggest inspiration to your sewing? 

I don’t really have a muse as far as designing goes. I generally design pieces that I would like for myself. My mother helped me get started sewing and who really sparked my interest as a child was my best friend’s mother, she bought my friend her own sewing machine when she was 8 years old. I wanted to make all the wonderful things they were making, and my mom made this happen. I have to add that I’m very inspired by many of the other independent pattern designers who’ve paved the path for me in this career. 

How would you best describe your personal style and what impact has it had on your pattern collection? 

My personal style has definitely impacted my patterns as I’ve already mentioned I design mostly clothes that I want to wear. Even though I often dress pretty casually, when I do clean up to go out I’m drawn to very feminine styles. Not pink and frilly things but rather romantic, flowing and beautiful. When I sew, I like to make dresses and special items that I can’t find anywhere and that is how I design as well. 

The Rose City Halter Dress

The Rose City Halter Dress

What do you feel is your best achievement with your company so far? 

I still have so far to go in my mind. I don’t know if it’s an achievement but the smartest thing I’ve done is having my patterns printed and in shops as opposed to solely PDF patterns. The idea that my patterns are used for classes is such an honour for me. I still get goosebumps when I walk into a shop that carries my patterns and see them on display. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I’ve been asked that question before and I think my answer has changes a bit. In the beginning, I wanted to be doing this solo - not worry about employees or growing into a full blown company. However focusing on this full time, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to create so I think I’ll need to hire in the near future. I’d also love to expand and get into fabric design some time in the future. My husband and I have a few other big ideas but I can’t quite divulge these yet! 

Are there any spoilers you can share such as new patterns? 

One thing that I’m very excited about is that I will soon be including sew-a-longs and tutorials on my blog. I’ve been promising that for a while now but just haven’t been able to get myself together to deliver. I have another knit dress and top that I’ve been working on and I’m thinking about a coat or wrap dress. Now that I’m devoting more time, I plan on being more prolific – here’s hoping at least.

Nehalem Pant and Skirt

Nehalem Pant and Skirt

makers in the spotlight

Lisa Comfort, the beauty behind Sew Over It

The Sew Over It name is getting bigger and bigger as her brand sweeps the dressmaking community. We interviewed the amazing Lisa to get the ins and outs and gossip about her blooming company!

Lisa Comfort

Tell us a little bit about you and the company...

Sew Over It was set up in 2011 officially but I had actually started it a couple of years before. Back then it was a very simple site and just me and my sewing machine, going round London teaching private lessons. Now it is two shops, a pattern range of 16 designs that we sell all over the world, two books and the YouTube Channel. So it has been a productive time! At the beginning I ran the shop, taught all the classes and did the admin. It was pretty exhausting. But now we have a team of 4 full time members of staff, 5 part time and 10 freelance teachers. So the team has grown somewhat!

What made you start dress and pattern making?

I have always sewn - since I was a child. I would say that one of my main passions in life is clothes. I love them and spend a lot of time thinking about outfit combinations and taking inspiration from people around me, what they are wearing and how they are wearing it. I was always designing when I was younger and initially thought I wanted to be a fashion designer. But the fashion world isn't really for me (tried and tested!) and I liked the idea of designing clothes that are classic and flattering for all women, not clothes that are necessarily on trend. I wear what suits me, not what suits fashion trends.

Tell us about the patterns in your collection so far, and what made you chose them?

We launched with Betty Dress, Ultimate Shift Dress and the 1940s Tea Dress. All have a nod to the 40s, 50s or 60s which are my favourite eras for style. The Betty Dress and the Ultimate Shift Dress are still our best sellers today. They are just great wardrobe staples and look great on a range of figures. I tend to design clothes I want in my wardrobe or something that I get inspired by that I see someone wearing in the street or in a film. I not only think about the design but I think about construction, fit, fabrics and suitability for a range of figures. I also like to think of ways to help our customers progress their skills, by introducing more skills. I often think it is easier to design clothes that are going to be bough because you only have to design a dress for one type of fabric and to be made in a factory by experts. Home dressmaking patterns have to be more considered - there are lots of factors!

What do you feel makes you stand out from the other independent sewing patterns?

I think we have a strong style - our patterns are all very feminine in design and have that little vintage twist. That said I will be launching something soon that moves away from the vintage. Watch this space! I hope that customers find our patterns have an excellent fit as we spend a lot of time on this. Plus because most of our patterns are released as classes first they have been tried and tested by lots of figures before they make it to the shop shelves.

What is your favourite pattern you have designed so far?

It probably has to be Betty - she was based on Betty Draper from Mad Men. I wish I could design more and more patterns like Betty - such a classic!

Who is your biggest inspiration to your sewing? 

I think I would say our teacher Julie. I worked with her in bridal wear couture - that's where we met. She has such a wealth of knowledge and treats sewing as a real art. She is one of our main teachers and also our main pattern cutter. I love working with her because we are in tune, both in design and coming from the teaching angle. I have learnt a lot from her and I think I will continue to do so.

 How would you best describe your personal style? and has this impacted your pattern collections?

I would say I am feminine and at times I like to have a bit of glamour and elegance in my style. I would say that I mainly dress in clothes that someone like  Audrey Hepburn would wear but with a modern twist. Colour is important to me as is print- you rarely see me in just plain fabrics! And yes, I definitely think it has impacted our pattern collections as ultimately I imagine myself wearing the clothes. That's how I judge the designs - will I want this in my wardrobe??

What do you feel is your best achievement with your company so far?

I think the diversification of the brand has been our most successful achievement. We have many areas to the business so that if one isn't doing so well, the others support it. I also think that keeping two shops open and running has been an achievement - keeping a bricks and mortar shop open is hard! It has been a really struggle to get here, so I am grateful for how well we are doing. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I am someone who lives in the future so I think about this a lot. I always have lots of plans floating around in my head, some of which are definitely happening and others - who knows! I would like to grow our online classes so we can reach those out of London. I also want to ramp up the amount of patterns we produce so we can get more out there. As for another shop - who knows - I am still undecided on that. I am also hoping to diversify even further and beyond Sewing, I am working on that now. There are some exciting plans in motion. Fingers crossed they work out!

Any spoilers on your next moves? New Patterns?...

We might be releasing an E-Book in September... and a subscription model is on the cards for next year as well. Right thats it. I have said too much!

It was great to hear from Lisa and we wish you luck in your adventures over the next year, hopefully we can catch up soon when all your ideas have come to life! 

Purchase any of the beautiful Sew Over It patterns through clicking this link!

Indie pattern companies

Lisa Falconer, the designer behind The Avid Seamstress

We were delighted to chat with Lisa Falconer, the pattern maker behind the new independent
sewing pattern brand, The Avid Seamstress

Tell us about yourself and how you first got into making your own clothes?
I fell in love with sewing when I was very young – I spent all of my pocket money on fabric and most of my weekends sewing. My mom taught me to sew on her Singer machine and I loved nothing more than spending the whole day sewing.
Naturally, I went on to study fashion design straight after school but 'in those days'  only big companies were making sewing patterns so doing my own range was not in my mind. I started my own clothing range in South Africa, where customers could choose one of my styles and the fabric, and I made each bespoke piece myself. I then moved to London in 2004 and brought my passion for creativity with me. I absolutely love living in this incredible, buzzing, gorgeous city.

How did your own brand of sewing patterns come about?
I started writing a sewing blog called The Avid Seamstress early 2013, and with the encouragement of my friends and family, I finally took the plunge and started teaching. The response was overwhelming! I was teaching sewing almost every evening and found I was teaching many people who had never touched a sewing machine before. The beginner’s workshops were my favourite, it filled me with so much happiness to see how many people were falling in love with sewing.

Through teaching, I was able to gain incredible insight and feedback on how new sewers viewed the world of sewing and patterns. I spent months working on a business plan to launch my own pattern range, taking their valuable feedback into account.

I applied for a government grant in March 2015 and was very lucky to be chosen to receive a grant to launch my business. From March to November 2015, I spent every evening and weekend working on my pattern range, whist still working at my full time job. I was over the moon to launch my first range at the Stitching, Knitting & Hobbycraft Show last November 2015, and was so pleased to receive such a positive response to my patterns

Tell us about the patterns in the collection so far and why you chose them?
I wanted to create a range of adult and children’s sewing patterns for my first range. I love simple, functional, organic fashion and often feel like clothing just has too much detail, especially children’s clothing.

Most importantly, I wanted to create a range of patterns that beginners could make, which would fill them with confidence. I created the two children’s patterns first – The Raglan Dress has such a gorgeous shape and is such a great pattern to put together. The Gathered Dress is a super beginner's dress as the entire front piece, sleeve and half back is all cut as one piece!

Moving on to the adult patterns, I essentially made patterns that I would love to wear. The Sheath Dress is the perfect beginner’s pattern. Like the Gathered Dress, the entire front piece of The Sheath Dress including the sleeves is one piece cut on the fold and the back only has two pieces. It’s extremely flattering, and can be made in so many fabrics.

The Day Dress is the prettiest dress in your wardrobe – there are three ways of making the bodice, and it has such a gorgeous shape. For me, this dress is just the epitome of femininity.



I love trousers and pockets and wanted to make a pair of trousers that didn’t have the overwhelming fly front. So I created flat front trousers with gorgeous side pockets that don’t stick out and widen your shape, and put the zip on the back seam. The City Trousers are cigarette shape with an optional side slit, and work both in non-stretch and a slight stretch fabric.


I really love pockets, and you might notice that all of my patterns incorporate pockets!!

 
What makes them different from other independent sewing patterns?
An A5 instruction bookletmakes these sewing patterns easy to make and easy to wear!  When I was designing the patterns, I really wanted my customer to feel like I was there with them, taking them through the journey of sewing. So the focus was very much on teaching the skill of sewing, and I invested a lot of time in creating a step-by-step instruction booklet with beautiful hand drawn images.

As well as the pattern itself, printed on the best pattern paper that irons beautiful and doesn’t tear, my sewing patterns have two A5 cards that are full of useful sewing advice such as 'How to take measurements', 'Sewing and Fabric basics', 'Sewing Terms Demystified' and a 'Checklist' to ensure you’ve covered everything before starting your project.

I thought that these would be useful for my beginner seamstresses to have nearby to refer to.  I also wanted to make something that could last, so made sure that all Avid Seamstress patterns come with a beautiful envelope to house all these wonderful pattern pieces and goodies in.  I know that beginners can find the start of the journey overwhelming, so I wanted to create a simple, helpful pack, ensuring that beginners have everything they need and can just get on and enjoy making the garment.

What is your favourite pattern you’ve designed so far?
Oooh now this is a hard one!  I love them all for very different reasons!  If I had to choose it would be The Raglan Dress. I’ve had such an incredible response to this pattern that have made it in an adult version which I’m excited to launch very soon!

How can sewers get hold of your patterns?
The sewing patterns are available on our website www.theavidseamstress.co.uk, in Dragonfly Fabrics and soon in a gorgeous shop MetreMetre in Denmark.
You can buy our patterns on Kollabora (a great sewing community where you can share your projects), and also on our Etsy shop – just search for Avid Seamstress.

What sort of clothes do you like to wear and who do you most admire in the sewing industry?
I like simple, timeless fashion in muted colours such a greys, mustards, black and salmon pinks. I do love a patterned shirt or trousers. There are so many great sewing companies and new independent pattern companies, and I would honestly say I admire them all for following their dream. Everyone has such great fashion style and produce such beautiful patterns. I just love the sewing community and I’m proud to be a part of it!


 

Indie pattern companies

Christine Haynes, Queen of Frocks and LA-based pattern designer with her own line of patterns

We catch up with Christine Haynes, Los Angeles-based sewing author, teacher, and pattern designer with her own line of sewing patterns for vintage-loving modern seamstresses

Christine Haynes, sewing pattern designer

Tell us about yourself and how you got into dressmaking?
"I learned to sew when I was about 10 years old from my mother, but I didn’t really get deep into sewing until I was around 18 years old when I worked part-time at a local fabric shop and bought my first overlocker machine. From there, I sewed my own clothing as a fun hobby while studying for a Bachelor’s of Fine Art from college.
After graduation, I participated in the second Renegade Craft Fair selling finished garments, which launched my former ready-to-wear label. But quickly realised that it was too much work to do all that sewing alone, and when I was given an opportunity to write my first book, I took it. With that decision, I closed my label and launched the current phase of my career–teaching sewing, designing and distributing sewing patterns, and writing for books and magazines. I’m so thrilled with the way it’s been going."

Sneak peak at Christine's very tidy sewing studio!

Sneak peak at Christine's very tidy sewing studio!

What is your favourite fashion label and why?
"That is such a hard question to answer! I love Orla Kiely designs, and think we've a similar base of inspiration for our designs. I also hugely admire the designs of Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino. They make sublime creations, and wish I could get away with wearing a lace gown everyday!"

Who is your sewing pattern range aimed at?
"My hope for my designs is that they speak to more than just one age range. I’ve seen my garments on teenagers, as well as ladies in their 60’s, like my mother. I do think, there’s a common style sensibility however.
My designs are for people that like the vintage detailing, but don’t want anything overly fussy or overdone. I never want to look like I’m wearing a costume, and it’s key for my designs to be vintage-inspired, while remaining modern."

What is your favourite pattern that you’ve designed so far?
"My favourite is always the next one! I get so excited about the garment I’m working on, in anticipation for releasing it into the world. For my past patterns, the Emery Dress is an all-time favorite of mine. And based on its reception, I think it’s a favourite for many people as well!"

How can dressmakers in the UK get hold of your patterns?
"I ship directly from my website to anywhere in the world, but if you want to find it locally, I've many UK retailers, and a list can be found on my retailer’s page of my website. There are lots of online-only retailers, as well as physical shops, so there are plenty of choices."

Who do you most admire in the sewing industry?
"I have to say that I’ve such respect for the indie sewing community as a whole. Many of these ladies with their own pattern companies are dear friends, and the fact that we all support and help each other, instead of constantly competing is simply amazing.
It’s an incredible group of women. If I were to choose one person, it would be Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns. I think many of the indie pattern companies, myself included, really didn’t think that producing our own line of patterns was an option until she came along. I give her credit for blazing the path for the rest of us!"

You’ve written a string of sewing books. Tell us about them?
"I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to write four books. Each is different from the other, so in a nutshell, here is what each is about:

My first book, Chic & Simple Sewing, is a beginner-friendly book with projects for simple dresses, tops, skirts, jackets, and a nightie. It’s out of print, but there are still some around, including in my shop on-line.

My second book is The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction. I'm so proud of this encyclopedia-style book and without sounding biased, I think it's a very helpful resource for beginners and beyond. It illustrates in clear photos, how to do nearly everything for constructing a garment–darts, all kinds of zippers, gathers, pleats, and so much more.

My third book, Skirts & Dresses For First Time Sewers, is another beginner-friendly book of patterns. This is focused on skirts and dresses with classic silhouettes, like a slip dress, wrap dress, tunic, and more.



And my fourth book is How to Speak Fluent Sewing. I love reference books, so this is another favourite, and I'm hugely proud of the way it turned out. It’s basically like an illustrated dictionary of every possible sewing term you can think of, with clear explanations on the who, what, and why of each item, tool, or technique. Great for all levels of sewing!



Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Fleur Hoare, Patternmaker behind Maison Fleur Patterns

Fleur Hoare hailed from England but she’s also half French, so Masion Fleur came about to honour the French side in her! She took up sewing in my early twenties and that’s where she discovered flat pattern cutting, which she loved so much she decided to retrain at Central Saint Martins (now part of UAL) whilst  in London. Fast forward a few years, and she now resides and works in Brooklyn, NYC, as a freelance patternmaker working for small indie clothing labels.

“I really love my work, I enjoy geeking out on patterns and can easily bore the socks off anyone about the intricacies of drafting. I also do the odd bit of teaching,  I’m doing a swimwear weekend intensive at the Workroom Social in Brooklyn next month, and have an unhealthy obsession with spandex so it felt like the stars aligned for that class! The covers were designed by artist, R N Taylor. He has a very distinct drawing style much like comic book illustrators and I love what he did for the covers! Fleur told us.

Fleur has designed three of her own patterns under the Fleur Maison label and is open for business. We just love the French retro-inspired pattern envelopes that they come in!

Summer Blouse (1301)
This sweet design will complement anything from high-waisted shorts, casual jeans to a breezy A-line skirt. The top consists of a fitted bodice and sleeves with a feminine shoulder tie. Its 1960’s flair and nipped-in waist will look great on all body shapes and designed to accentuate a curvy silhouette. It also has a shallow scooped neckline, front and back darts to add nice shaping and a side seam zipper closure. Hem finishes at the hipbone level.

The pattern comes with three sleeve variations. Version 1 features shoulder tie knots while version 2 has button-hole closure at the back of the shoulder and version 3 has puffed kimono tie sleeves. This pattern is definitely one of our favourites and a must-have for the summer!

Fit and Flare Skirt (6101)
This skirt is lined with a fit-and-flare silhouette and has a very flattering cut and unusual seaming. Its versatile too and can be made for casual or evenings out. It sits at natural waist, is fitted at the hips with a flat front panel and lightly flares below the hip. The above the knee hem has subtle shaping rising slightly at the sides and dipping down at both the front and back. Centre back zipper closure. Lining has side seam slits for ease of movement.

Box Pleat Skirt (6104)
Another gorgeous lined skirt that has an above knee hemline. With classic A-line cut and pleating, it will never go out of style and will become a staple in your wardrobe. With slanted welt pockets, shaped yoke with a single box pleat and back darts, its sure to be a good fit.

These 3 patterns are downloadable from Maison Fleur sewing patterns and come in sizes 2 -18. Do check the website’s Size Chart before ordering.

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Lilith & Eve, new indie pattern company that's just about to launch its first pattern

Lilith & Eve is a new indie pattern company that's just about to launch its first pattern .

Lilith & Eve was created by Nicole Davis & Sarah Frack last year (2014) who wanted to sell thoughtful and original sewing patterns that are sized for a modern woman's body. They're  based in Philadelphia, PA.

The first blouse pattern is the LE101 - Drapey Blouse

The Lilith & Eve brand aims to serve a few of the under served markets, one being intermediate sewists and also to provide sewers with a wider range of sizes from 2-24 including plus sizes.

As newbies to the sewing pattern market, they felt that they could offer something a little special to the sewing pattern scene.Patterns will have a split personality (who doesn't feel like that sometime!) and instead of the traditional View A and View B, each style will have patterns for two garment styles. One garment for Lilith, the earth born child of nature and one for Eve, the adventurous sophisticate.

The Drapey Blouse pattern is is a versatile button down in both tank top and long sleeve versions. It fits loosely in the bust and waist, but has a fitted shoulder for a contemporary look. Eve’s version features a slim sleeve and simple collar. Both have back drape that is easy-to-sew. Available in both PDF ($13) and a paper pattern (£18) and divided in to two size groups: 2-14 and 12-24.

Patterns include clear instructions and pieces are easy to locate. Wording is down to earth and the cutting and sewing process is simplified by the easy-to-spot icons that represent each of these personalities.

Nicole and Sarah have spent years sewing with traditional patterns and instructions, and want to improve upon the old formula by keeping what works and dropping what doesn't make sense! Lilith & Eve sewing patterns are about design versatility where each garment can be made and worn in two very different ways.

Their are four initial patterns in development and the others to be released include a lined jacket, blouse, maxi/tunic and a tank top so watch this space!

 

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Alison Smith MBE and Sew Wardrobe

Alison Smith has taught more than 23,000 students to sew over the past 21 years and she’s the first person to receive the award of Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to sewing. She also runs the School of Sewing in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, is the author of the best-selling book The Sewing Book, which has sold in excess of 300,000 copies worldwide and regularly writes for sewing magazines

We caught up with Alison as she treats dressmakers to a new range of sewing patterns called Sew Wardrobe:

How did Sew Wardrobe patterns come about?
Its an idea I’ve had for some time, and after looking through not only my pattern collection but also pattern collections of my students I realised we all have many patterns that follow a similar theme, so why not buy a simple basic style of pattern once and then each season, learn how to up date the look by use of a simple adaptation.

Tell us about the collection and what patterns we can expect to see in the range?
The range has currently 4 patterns; Clara top (two styles in one pattern) Anna skirt (two styles in one pattern), a dress and a pair of trousers.

The dress and trousers will be available in early April/May (2015). They’re classic designs that will not date and are simple and straight forward to make but they’re designed to mix and match to make staple pieces for your wardrobe. Each pattern can be made to look different by omitting the collar or using different fabrics for the pattern pieces of the garment.

What dressmaking skills do you need to be able to work with the Sew Wardrobe range?
My patterns are aimed at dressmakers who’ve already made a few garments and want to take their skills up a level. All my skirt and dress patterns are fully lined.

We understand you aim to help dressmakers with the sewing dilemma of pattern or fabric first?
Yes. For each pattern we’re offering a fabric kit to make the garment. The kit includes everything you need including the zip and matching or contrasting thread. This takes the guesswork out of choosing a suitable fabric.

I’m also making variation suggestions with the kits. Clara v1 – the tunic top will have a kit with a lace collar in place of the peter pan collar. So there’s no worry about bumping into some one in the same kit either as we’ve a maximum of six kits per fabric.

How can dressmakers get hold of the Sew wardrobe patterns and how much do they cost?
At the moment, the patterns and kits are available via Sew Wardrobe. The patterns and kits are also available in my shop Fabulous Fabric in Ashby de la Zouch. I’ve already had enquiries for wholesale and the patterns will retail from £14 each.

How many patterns will you produce each year?
I’m hoping to be able to release between six and eight patterns year but its still early days!

Is there any other news you can share with us?
There are some fabulous new patterns around the corner for this autumn… but that’s all I am saying for now!

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Trudy Hanson and Hot Patterns

Now in its 10th year, the brand Hot Patterns was created by Trudy Hanson
to bring fashion to the forefront for sewers. Today the company goes from strength to strength
and still upholds this philosophy!

Tell us about yourself and the other people behind the brand?
HotPatterns is myself and my husband and business partner Jeremy, plus a revolving cast and crew of various assistants both online and in the office. We’re a small, 100 per cent independent, family-run business and that’s how we like it!

My experience is mainly in design and garment production, Jeremy’s is in sales and marketing, but we both worked together for a decade in our high-end wedding gown business in the UK, so between us we’ve a lot of garment and pattern experience. More importantly, we get the work done but we have some fun too!

How do you keep patterns fresh and inline with what’s happening on the Catwalk and High Street?
Research, a LOT of research! Both online and in real life. There’s no substitute, we look at runway collections, fashion magazines and style blogs, as well as trawling the stores when the new season goodies hit the racks.

It’s a constant for us, we’re literally researching on a daily basis. We also look really carefully at the sale racks-what didn’t sell, what wasn’t so popular? I like to get Jeremy’s take on styles too, and we love the customer feedback that we get with style suggestions. It’s all super-important and helps us build our range.

Which designers from the past and present do you admire?
I’m really focused on wearable garments, so whilst for pure eye-candy I love classic Chanel, Dior, Givenchy and Balenciaga, I really admire old-school ‘modern’ designers like Clare McCardell and Oleg Cassini.

For present-day design inspiration, Celine is brilliant, Chloe is gorgeous and I love the quirkiness of Marni, but for sheer design genius you simply cannot beat Dries Van Noten. He’s always about 2 or 3 years head in terms of colours, silhouette and trends, but always wearable and never costume-y.

How many patterns do you currently have in the range?
We usually have around 100 patterns in the range at any one time, we’ve found that to be a good amount. Of course, we’re also constantly refreshing the range, dropping older styles to add new ones. It’s fashion, we have to keep up!

What’s your favourite pattern you’ve ever designed?
Ha ha ha, my current favourite is usually the latest one! My all-time favorites are those that are in constant rotation on my cutting table. In a hot climate like Florida’s, I live in white-pants-black-T combos, so my copies of the Marrakesh Drawstring Pants and the Tummy Taming Trousers have had some major use, and I can make the Plain & Simple Relaxed T-Shirts and the La Strada T’s almost in my sleep. Having said that, I’m looking forward to sewing up a ton of our new Plain & Simple Woven T’s, and I do have a rather nice slouchy blouse in the works that will rock. So many fabulous styles, so little time…

How do you decide on new patterns and what’s next for the company?
We’re really finicky about this, we start with the question, ‘What do we need?” We work to this fantasy mental scenario where a sewist needs a whole new wardrobe, what would she (or he!) pick? She’d need simple basics, a few classic pieces and some trend-driven items. Something for work and something for play, for casual and for dressy, and probably a cool bag or two along the way.

We’re also conscious of making our styles wearable and make-able in the real world-are they bra-friendly? Can you have the sleeves or hemline longer or shorter without wrecking the style? Can you easily tweak the fit over the bust line or waist to get your perfect fit? We’re always looking closely to make sure, for instance, that all our tops, T’s and jackets could be worn with jeans, or that all our skirts and pants could work with a simple T and maybe a jacket. Dresses need to be fabulous on their own but they also have to work under a jacket or cardigan, or over trousers. That’s how clothes are worn in the real world so that’s what we do!

We love your pattern envelope illustrations – who’s responsible for these lovely line drawings?
Just like the ‘big four’, we use a team of super-talented illustrators to create our envelope artwork. It’s really a collaboration, I send them my roughs for the technical details of the garments, and an idea of the mood I want to convey in the fashion sketch, as well as ideas for colours, textures, prints and accessories. Between us we work out how to show the style off to its best advantage, so our customers can really see what’s going on, and get ideas on how to style each piece.

It’s really very much like styling a model for a photo shoot (but without the behind-the-scenes drama!). Everything has to be just right so the technical sketches are correct and the style really pops on the envelope.

What would you say makes your patterns different from other sewing patterns?
There are a few factors that make HotPatterns unique; apart from the heavy paper we print on (these patterns are hard to wear out!), we’re certainly more fashion driven, but with our backgrounds in the garment industry, we’re able to mix the best methods from factory production, couture construction and classic home sewing to get a really great result.

We’re also really focused on making sure that our customers can achieve a very high-end, ready-to-wear finish to their outfits-when I first started sewing I was really frustrated with the finished look of a lot of the garments I made, they didn’t have that hot-off-the-runway look and that’s what I wanted. In the best traditions of crafty people everywhere, I decided I could do a better job myself-and I have!

Why are you a keen advocate for YouTube and sharing your sewing exploits with the sewer through sew-alongs?
We love doing YouTube tutorials, sew-a-longs and show-and-tell videos for our patterns. It’s a great way to show the patterns actually made up in various fabrics, and we can give the back story to any style, explain why it’s so good and why it’s so wearable. We show techniques we love and sometimes, some tricks we’ve developed to make our sewing better and faster. Also it’s nice to be able to chat to our customers, we really want to demystify the whole process of creating a fabulous, self-sewn wardrobe.

 

Link to YouTube tutorials

We also have a Facebook sewing group which is where HotPatterns sewers all get together to share ideas, projects and tips. It’s really a more interactive extension of our YouTube videos. I hate to brag but our customers are very cool, very stylish and really the nicest people!

Have you seen a change in the way sewers buy patterns since the invention of print- at-home?
Yes and no. Sewists like the idea of print-at-home patterns, especially when the midnight sewing bug hits and you just want to make something right now! Also, some of our customers live a long way from the US; instead of waiting and paying for shipping, which can get expensive, it’s great to be able to just hit the ‘add to cart’ button and download. But, it does depend on each individual-some of our customers prefer the classic paper pattern, so we’re happy to provide both whenever we can.

 

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Frances Tobin, founder & designer of The Maker’s Atelier

The Maker’s Atelier is based in Brighton and sets dressmaking apart with its most stylish patterns
and unique making-experiences.
We caught up with Frances Tobin, the fashion designer behind this exciting new sewing brand

Frances – tell us about yourself?
I’ve been sewing since I was a child, my mother taught me. I always knew I was going to be a fashion designer. But in fact, I studied fashion textiles first at Brighton then went to the Royal College of Art to do my MA Degree. From there I went straight to Italy to work for luxury brands including Gucci, Les Copains and Umberto Ginocchietti. But I was homesick so I returned to London where I designed for many of our high street brands including French Connection, Warehouse and the Arcadia Group. More recently I’ve also been working in Interior Design and Colour forecasting.”

How did The Maker’s Atelier patterns come about?
“About 18 months ago, I walked into Ditto fabrics – my local fabric shop here in Brighton – and Gill the owner, asked me whether I had made the clothes I was wearing and suggested I publish my own patterns. It had never occurred to me to do this, although I knew that the Indie pattern market was growing. I don’t buy commercial patterns, as they don’t reflect what’s happening in fashion to me. I always found it easier to create my own. But what Gill said had made me think that there might be a gap in the market for what I design and make for myself.”

What would you say sets your patterns apart from other indie sewing patterns?
“I think my patterns are different in that I don’t reference vintage styles. I create patterns that are about clothes right now and also for what’s happening with current fabric trends. At the same time, I want to bring a level of luxury and sophistication back into dressmaking. In a way, I want to emulate ‘Net-a-Porter’ and their shopping experience – from the first visit to The Maker’s Atelier website through to receiving a pattern, I want the experience to be pleasurable.”

What patterns are currently in the range?
” Currently there are six patterns, including the Unlined Raw-edged Coat and Shell Dress which are designed for technical fabrics like neoprene, as well as more traditional boiled wools.”

“The Sport-Luxe Bomber Jacket appeals to more fashion-forward dressmakers and can look stunning in silk satins or wool crepes.”

“My Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern has options for stretch or rigid fabrics.”

"While the Drawstring Dress with a flattering drape front  works in stretch or woven fabrications.”

“Finally, the Box Shirt is really lightweight and fluid but can also be recreated in a canvas to become a shirt jacket.”

What sizes do your patterns come in and are they designed for a particular body shape?
“All patterns are from a size 8 to size 18 and skim the body, except for the pencil skirt – so I think they suit most body shapes. Probably the most flattering pattern is the Shell Dress. We use this style in our Dress in a Day course and focus on getting a great fit; everyone has looked really good in it.”

What’s in each of your sewing pattern packs?
“Each pattern is printed on superior paper, packaged in bespoke washer and tie envelopes, with detailed instruction sheets, a ‘How to Measure’ guide with ‘Hints and Tips’ and a woven back neck label.”

What is your favourite pattern in the range, and why?
My favourite pattern is the pencil skirt – I especially like the stretch fabrics and have versions in plain, stripe, brocade and silver PU as shown on the website.”

What would you say is the recipe for making exceptional clothing?
“Good fabric – dressmaking is a bit like cooking, always buy the best ingredients. All my money goes on fabric.”

What can sewers expect from attending one of your sewing workshops?
The first part of the day is all about fabric, what works and what doesn’t and how to sew with different fabrics. Then we cover fit, from how to measure through to altering a pattern and your garment during the making process. Finally everyone leaves with a completed garment. It’s a great day out, you meet lovely people, have a wonderful lunch and everything is included in the price.”

What’s next for The Maker’s Atelier?
“The second set of patterns is currently in development and should be out shortly – so it’s all very exciting.”

Click here to find out more about The Maker’s Atelier workshops.

 

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Kimberly Payne is the designer/maker behind Straight Stitch Designs

Kimberly Payne is the designer/maker behind Straight Stitch Designs. She now has six sewing patterns under her belt which are proving very popular within the sewing fraternity

Ballard is a comfy and casual top with 3/4 sleeves, banded hemline, simple scoop neck. It also features an open slit back so can be worn with a contrasting camisole or if you’re feeling brave by itself! The pattern includes instructions for creating 4 more looks with the same pattern.

Ravenna is a contemporary easy- to-wear top with scoop neck and features a high-low straight hem. We really like the longer length on this top as not all of us like to wear the shorter tops and this length is practical for going out everyday business. The back of the garment is surprising  – with a low-cut back, ruffle detailing, exposed zipper and two sleeve options. This is a pretty top to wear with jeans at the weekend but equally be can be 'glammed' up for evening.

Bellevue has a wide scoop neckline, shirt-tail hem and raglan sleeves that you can make in 4 sleeve lengths - short, elbow, 3/4 and long.  The shirt-tail gives the maker the chance  to mix up the fabrics so it's a great make for wearing any time of the day or evening. Pattern comes in sizes 0-24 and it's apparently very easy to grade between sizes to get the perfect fit.

Greenwood is their latest pattern for an everyday tank style T-shirt and a must-make for holiday essentials. Kimberley suggests mirroring the front neckline for a fun detail in the back or keeping it traditional with a higher back neckline.

Patterns come in sizes 0-18 or 0-24 and have been put together by Kimberly at Straight Stitch Designs in a way that it’s easy to grade between sizes to get the best fit.

 

Capitol Hill is the first dress in Straight Stitches collection and features a easy wear scoop neck, double pleat detail at the front and 3 skirt options. It can also be made as a tunic with elbow or long sleeves. There are plenty of variations on this pattern too. You can go for the classic gathered skirt for knit and woven fabrics or make as a half or full circle skirt. Also you can band the sleeves or just finish with a simple hem.

Laurelhurst is a draped front cardigan with 3 sleeve lengths. This pattern can be made with a wide range of knit fabrics. It's a pattern that can be made in a matter of hours and is available in sizes 0-24.

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Eléonore Klein, pattern designer behind the Parisian pattern brand Deer & Doe

Deer&Doe is the French pattern company that sewers are all talking about, and now translated to English, patterns are being welcomed by sewers to the UK market

We chat to Eléonore Klein, pattern designer behind the Parisian pattern brand Deer&Doe.

Have you always worked in a creative job?
I started sewing when I was studying computer engineering in Toulouse about 7 years ago, and it grew from a hobby into a passion! I graduated in Computer Sciences, and for the next 4 years, I worked as a web developer, growing my sewing skills in my own time. During this time I created a French sewing community called Thread & Needles.

How did you decide to design your own patterns?
Working as a web developer was taking me more and more time and energy, and I slowly started giving up on all the things that I love like sewing, managing my community, and developing my creativity. I wasn’t really happy, and one day I woke up and decided I didn’t want to be like this anymore!

I’ve always wanted to start my own creative business, and I saw a real need for modern, fitted and easy-to-sew patterns among French seamstresses. It was really scary because it was a total career change and I knew it would be lots of hard work. But with the support of my family and the encouragements of my friends, I took the plunge!

How and when did the Deer&Doe pattern label come about?
I knew from the start that I wanted to convey a relaxed, stylish but nature-conscious vibe. I’ve a special thing for forest, and being in the woods gives me such peace and serenity, so naturally I chose a symbol linked to fashion and to nature. And hence the Deer& Doe label came about (and the duality of the name flatters my inner Gemini too).

How many patterns are now in your range?
I started Deer&Doe about two years ago with a small range of 5 patterns, and now have 13 (including one free pattern) which are all available in the online store. I plan to release one new pattern every two months, and host more sew-alongs on the blog.

What is your favourite pattern?
My patterns are like children, I can’t love one more than another! But I can say the two garments that I wear the most at the moment are my Réglisse dress and my Aubépine dress.”

Deer&Doe has just been translated into English. How popular has this been?
Actually, the Deer&Doe patterns were translated into English around January 2013, but I just recently released the English blog with translated tutorials and sew alongs. I’ve been amazed at how welcoming the English-speaking crowd has been since the beginning, and I hope the English blog will be helpful to my clients. A third of the patterns are now sold outside of France, and I hope this number will grow!

Where do you run your business from?
I run Deer&Doe from my home. At first, I was living with my boyfriend in a tiny one bedroom in Paris, but soon it became clear that we needed to move! Now, I live in Toulouse and I’ve my own, spacious home office. I love my new place and I’m slowly decorating it with things I love.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on the Centaurée Sew-Along, and developing the next two patterns… but shhh, it’s a secret for the moment!

What is on your wish list for the future?
The beginning of 2014 has already been full of big steps for Deer&Doe. In the future, I’d love to hire an assistant to help me full-time with the blog and with the pattern samples.

Visit the Deer&Doe website and Threads & Needles blog.

Fabric collections

Lace Mountain fabric collection from Zandra Rhodes and FreeSpirit

Last week, I spent a lovely afternoon with fashion icon Zandra Rhodes at her London penthouse apartment (along with other people in the sewing industry, I must also say). We were all there to take a look at her debut collection of fabrics for FreeSpirit and Coats Crafts

I'd met Zandra many years ago at a Brother sewing machine function at the Fashion and Textile Museum and forgotten what a lovely lady she is and so approachable too.

Zandra Rhodes early textile fashion designs were considered too outrageous by traditional British manufacturers, and so in 1969 she decided to establish her own retail store front on fashionable Fulham Road in West London. Zandra Rhodes is a major influencer in the world of fashion and the founder of the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

Lace Mountain, is Zandra’s debut collection with FreeSpirit and it is full of bold and vibrant colourful designs that you would expect from such an exuberant designer. Zandra has always been known for her dramatic, glamorous and extroverted designs and she has now collaborated with FreeSpirit  and Coats Crafts to come up with this dynamic range of fabrics.

This new and exciting fabric collection takes its in inspiration from nature, and her mother who sewed and made dresses at home. “For this collection, I’ve delved into my vast Rhodes repertoire of wiggles, stitching, frills and flowers to specially produce wonderful memories that can be magically sewn together in a myriad of ways.”

“Lace Mountain represents memories of Australia’s Ayers Rock (The Lace Mountain), and the Spinifex Grass that grows around it. The way the imagery is interpreted is influenced by my mother and my sewing background,” explains Zandra.

There are three ranges within this colour-fest collection: Tribal, Midnight and Solar. Each has its own colour palette  making them very adaptable for using together for making clothes to home furnishings. Tribal features gorgeous rusts, purples and oranges, Midnight features turquoise and purple tones while Solar includes hot pinks and yellows (what you would expect from a lady that loves pink). These fabrics drape beautifully and are also going to wash well and will retail at £12.99 per metre from FreeSpirit fabric stockists.

Zandra told us that “It’s been great going back through my designs and including them in this fabric range. The swatches were sent to me for approval while I was travelling with my exhibition in Kuala Lumpur  and I was delighted with the results.” “These fabrics will so very versatile to stitchers,” she added.

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Thread Theory, new menswear pattern brand

Thread Theory is a new Canadian pattern house led by Morgan and Matthew Meredith from Vancouver Island. Morgan does the designing, while Matthew, the self proclaimed computer nerd,
is the photographer and ideas-man

The brands first collection, named the Parkland Collection, consists of four patterns. Three of which are in print now:

1. The Newcastle Cardigan
2. The Strathcona Henley and T-Shirt
3. The Jedediah Pants.
4. The Goldstream Peacoat (coming soon)

The Newcastle cardigan is a cosy knit-cardigan with a shawl collar and customisable shoulder and back yoke. While the Strathcona Henley and T-Shirt is a great basic pattern that can be made up with long or short sleeves and with either a crew-neck or a 1 inch henley placket (that’s the buttony bit). Alternatively, it can be made in a heavier knit as a sweater.  The Jedediah Pants and Shorts are a chino style slim trouser, which can be made either in a heavy fabric such as denim or twill, or made in a light summer fabric such as linen.

Aside from these patterns being stylish and accessible to beginners, it’s also worth mentioning the packaging is very eye-catching too, and would make great presents for keen dressmakers.

Find out more about the Thread Theory pattern brand or to get your hands on these patterns in the UK, visit Backstitch where they stocks this exclusively-menswear patterns in stock on their website: click here to go to the page.

Fabric collections

Helen Snell, founder of 20th Century Cloth

Helen Snell textile designer and vintage enthusiast is behind 20th Century Cloth. This is the home of Mid Century inspired fabrics that are perfect for creating one-of-a-kind bespoke vintage look dresses, or adding a retro twist to any of your dressmaking and sewing projects

All 50’s  fabrics are 100 per cent poplin cotton, designed in London and printed in the UK, and come in 150cm width. All fabrics are priced at £14 per metre. Helen's dress  has been made in  Bluemerang fabric.

Other print designs  include: Biscayne, Coronado, Skylon and Senora.
Available exclusively on the 20th Century Cloth.

Indie pattern companies, sewing pattern companies

Introducing Lekala sewing patterns

Lekala sewing patterns are produced by Vilar Soft company based in Moscow who specialise in developing software for retail and fashion industry

 

Lekala's online shop was opened in August 2012 with the aim of making professional sewing patterns to the public and is managed by Lekala LLC, based in San Francisco, USA.Patterns downloadable in PDF format and instructions are in English. All you have to do is let Lekala know the size that you require to download  a custom-fit pattern based on a few measurements: height, bust, chest, waist and hip.

  • With each pattern ordered, you’ll receive the following:
  • An image of the garment and/or illustration
  • Technical drawing
  • Recommendations on fabrics to use
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Printable pattern in the size you’ve asked for*

*Seam allowances are minimal (industry standard) and the pattern will stretch over several pages so you will need to cut the pieces out and glue together for cutting.

We recommend that you begin by downloading one of the selection of free patterns available to try out and see how you get on with downloadable patterns such as this knit top (pattern #8004).

PROS

  • Patterns are reasonably priced for downloads
  • Good range of patterns for women, men, children, accessories
  • 5 PDF patterns for $9.99 (bundle pattern deals)


CONS

  • Patience is required to cut out and glue together before using
  • Site allows you search for patterns by fabric
  • Many patterns are shown with illustrations so perhaps more difficult to imagine how it will translate into a real garment
  • Recommend a basic understanding of dressmaking patterns

 

This blouse pattern is designed for woven fabrics, the description on the website will quote level of competence required to make too. Price is $2.49.

 To purchase patterns, visit Lekala Sewing Patterns