10 August 2022

Six Steps to Starting Sewing

Six Steps to Starting Sewing - How to get into making your own clothes

Fancy sewing your own clothes but don't know where to start?

If you've stumbled upon this site while researching how to get into sewing - in which case, welcome! - you may have spotted that we offer lots of resources aimed at stitchers, including complete novices, from step-by-step patterns and award-winning books through online video workshops and free tutorials.

It can all still be a bit of a maze of information though when you're just starting out and don't know what you don't know. So I thought I'd break it down into six simple steps to get started sewing. You're welcome!

Six Steps to Starting Sewing - How to get into making your own clothes

1) Get a sewing machine

Whether you buy, thrift, rent or borrow it, you'll obviously need to get your hands on a sewing machine. Shopping for a machine can feel a bit overwhelming, but all you really need is a machine that has a straight stitch (for most stitching) and an adjustable zigzag stitch (for finishing edges and sewing knits). Full-size machines (rather than those cute half-size models) are best for garment sewing. If you want to try before you buy, go to a specialist sewing machine shop or large department store such as John Lewis if you're in the UK. Or keep it easy by buying online. 

I always say that the best machine is the one you have, so don't sweat the decision too much!

Read more about choosing a sewing machine

3 August 2022

Tilly's Embroidered Puff Sleeve Indigo Dress

Tilly wears a black and white gingham midi dress with hand-embroidered flowers on the puff sleevesTilly wears a black and white gingham midi dress with hand-embroidered flowers on the puff sleeves

Do you ever have ideas for DIY dresses come to you in your dreams?

That was the origin of this dress, and it’s lovely to see it now it’s come to life!

I’m not the most skilled embroiderer in the world, but I do enjoy the process of drawing with thread, as well as the beautiful results. It was nice to have a slow, meditative project to work on over a few summer evenings sitting in the garden once the kids were in bed, enjoying some peace as the sun began to set.

Tilly wears a black and white gingham midi dress with hand-embroidered flowers on the puff sleeves

This is, of course, the Indigo dress sewing pattern, with the midi tier from the add-on pattern. The sleeves started life as the puff sleeve pattern, also included in the Indigo add on, but I hacked them to create extra volume. 

To be more specific, I “slashed and spread” the pattern – which basically means slicing it up vertically and widening it at various intervals, patching up the spaces with more paper – and added some extra height to the sleeve head.

27 July 2022

Ten Tips for Cutting Fabric Accurately (with video!)

Ten Tips for Cutting Fabric Accurately

Ready to start your next sewing project? Sure you are! Before you dive into the sewing part, you first need to cut out your fabric. 

This is an important step to ensure the pieces go together perfectly and the shape and fit of your final project turn out fabulously.

So what's the best way to cut your fabric? Here are ten tips to keep in mind so you can make sure you're cutting out your next project as accurately as possible...

prepare your fabric

1) Prepare your fabric

Pre-washing your fabric is an important step that you shouldn't skip. If you're itching to get sewing, you may be tempted to start cutting out as soon as you have your fabric in your hands, but the risk is that your gorgeous finished garment will shrink the first time you wash it. So get any shrinkage out of the way first by laundering it on the settings you're planning to use for the finished garment.

Once it's dry, give it a good press (if the fabric can take it) to smooth out any creases. Ironing your fabric to get it nice and smooth will result in more accurately shapes.

20 July 2022

Handmade Holiday Wardrobe

Tilly and the Buttons - Handmade Holiday Wardrobe

As we're amid a UK heatwave, us Brits won't need to save our most summery makes for our holiday, but can rock them in our own back gardens instead! With our hot-weather sewing plans in full swing, here's some me-made summer sewing inspiration. We'll leave the actual making and the packing to you...

One of the many things we love about sewing is the versatility of patterns. Take a sewing pattern and instead of looking at the ready-made garment sample images (however gorge they may be!), have a look at the simple line technical drawings instead. This can get the old sewing-brain cogs turning and what you thought was just a pair of stay-at-home PJ bottoms could become a lovely pair of linen trousers! It's all in your fabric and styling choices. So here's some handmade holiday sewing inspiration, from the beach to the bar...

Coralie & Dominique

Don't leave for your summer hols without a Coralie swimsuit or two. Sew your swimwear in coordinating prints and colours to make the most out of your holiday wardrobe. You can mix and match your bikini sets and pair them with one sarong all week long! 

Our beginner-friendly Dominique skirt would double up as a fab sarong-style beach skirt - sew in a lightweight fabric like chiffon or voile for a dreamy beach-ready look. 

Sewing patterns: CoralieDominique
Fabric: swimwear fabric from our shop, turquoise chiffon
Style with: cat eye sunglasses, beach bag