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DEC 2018 ISS 118 £7.99


Cut & Stitch WINTER HITS






*Size ranges vary per pattern

3 ways to hack!


for every shape

Just for you!

Timeless Looks


Hello... December




Who else is keeping their fingers crossed for snow this winter? There’s something truly magical about waking up to a white-washed landscape – and, who can resist an excuse to stay indoors and dig out a sewing project you’ve been itching to get started on? Inside this month’s issue, you’ll find two patterns – perfect for snow days and beyond! Simplicity 8473 is a beautifully basic cape that can be hacked to create three bonus designs. There’s also Simplicity 8543, which offers three Amazing Fit dresses designed to suit every shape from slim to curvy. In addition, we’ve got fabulous jersey numbers to help stretch your sewing skillset: get started with a simple sheath tunic on p22, try a figure-hugging wrap on p28, or slip on a sleeveless sweater made with just 1m of fabric on p40. Our experts have also solved your most common knit problems to make sewing these garments a breeze on p30. Once you’ve brushed up your wardrobe for the winter season, tuck into our bumper read this month, which features style icons Twiggy and Zandra Rhodes (p45) – it’s guaranteed to boost your confidence when it comes to fashion, whatever your age. We’ve also got last-minute makes for Christmas, including adorable fat-quarter snow buddies (p55), a deluxe embroidered advent calendar (p58) and this month’s mascot, Esme the Elf (p69). Last but not least, I’m thrilled to reveal that Dressmaker of the Year is back, and better than ever before! Turn to p62 to read all about the fabulous freebies and prizes we have lined up for you!


Happy sewing!

Lucy xx


Lucy Jobber, Sew editor

Project exclusive to

20% H


Top up your knit stash with Girl Charlee! p6


free template download /templates



Look out for our templates and patterns, then download and print them at sewmag.

Get in touch! Share your creations, tips and views




0330 333 0042





H sewhq


Find Esme the Elf on p69

Twitter @sewhq

It’s time to stitch your winter wardrobe! Instagram @sewhq

Sew Magazine, 1 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex, CO2 8JY

sew in your December issue...




We love! IN EVERY ISSUE 03 Welcome

Come and say hello!

06 Who, what, wear

What’s trending in the sewing world

17 Sew social

You’ve been sharing your makes

60 Sew wishlist

December’s top picks make perfect stocking fillers

70 Stitch & learn Our round-up of sewing classes


85 The books we’re loving The latest must-reads

62 Dressmaker of the Year

It’s the launch of 2019’s stitchy competition!

86 Your sewing guide Get to grips with sewing jargon

72 Sew Saturday round-up

89 Next month

We reflect on this year’s fun-filled event

Our January issue’s out on 13th December

90 Style story: animal print

TEA BREAK 45 Timeless style

When it comes to your wardrobe, age is just a number

55 Heleen van den Thillart

The super-talented fabric designer from Spoonflower

Learn how to sew with this powerful pattern

50 Georgia the Pig

Put a smile on a little one’s face with this sweet doll

52 Eye mask

Whip up this easy make from a fat quarter

53 Snowman project Make a cuddly Christmas toy

54 Snuggly cover

Stay nice and toasty with this hot water bottle sleeve



Jazz up your habby stash with Christmas motifs

Susie Johns shows you how to make an advent calendar

49 Robin buttons

58 Christmas masterclass


64 Stuart Hillard

No colour is safe from our columnist this month!


66 Confessions of a sewing addict

Corinne reveals how to overcome ‘crafter’s block’

68 Patchwork quilt

Stitch a festive blanket

68 Geometric baubles

Make unique tree hangings 69 Star wreath A quick and easy make! 69 Esme the Elf Our mascot was lovingly named by a Sew reader 04




Dressmaking pages of fashion, 28 Reese wrap dress Take the classic garment up a notch 30 Sewing SOS Expert advice for working with stretch fabrics 32 Debbie Shore’s show and tell Learn how to finish seams to perfection 34 Indie pattern news Don’t miss out on these independent brand picks 44 Lauren Guthrie’s top tools... for hand sewing



37 Vera skirt Learn how to add bias binding with Fiona Hesford’s masterclass 40 Elsa sweater This cable knit top is a no-pattern make! 42 Winter wrap Cosy up with Corinne’s unique scarf 36 Fashion forecast We’ve hand-selected faux leathers

06 20% OFF* Girl Charlee On ALL full price fabrics

Stock up on materials and haberdashery items

81 WIN! Giveaways

A bumper special worth over £3,400!

84 Reader offer

How to Sew bookazine worth £9.99!

Subscribe today... FREE GIFT




STITCHY PRIZES TO WIN! Enter online at




07 20% OFF* Clothkits

Use your gifts to wake up your winter wardrobe

30 garments & more! 10 Dresses for every figure Create flattering frocks 13 Cool capes A make with pattern-hacking possibilities 20 Patterned fabric This month’s statement picks 22 Belinda dress Stitch a jersey frock 24 Laurel trousers Stand out from the crowd in these printed bottoms 26 Sewing with Tilly Get to grips with four-step buttonholes

20% off* CLOTH KITS!





SEE PAGE 56 05


d f


who what


The sewing world is a hub of excitement – keep up!

The hats are back!

The Innocent Big Knit campaign is back for its 15th year, once again calling on people up and down the country to make little woolly hats for smoothie bottles. This year, Innocent hope to have over 1.5 million hats in total, so why not contribute to the cause and have a go at knitting one yourself?

Baby Bootees

These soft leather shoes will make the perfect Christmas present for your little one, as they’re topped with cute festive appliqué designs, including reindeer, penguins and polar bears. They’re made with non-slip suede soles and the elasticated ankle ensures that the shoe stays nice and snug. From £8.99,


20% off


Girl Charlee!

*Valid from 15th November until 13th December 2018. Excludes sale items and bargain lots.

Check out the brand-new Ness pattern from Tilly and the Buttons! This stylish, casual skirt is bound to elevate your sewing skills with its classic fly front, topstitched mock-felled seams, belt loops and inseam pockets. It’s perfect for wearing all year round, too; pair it with a t-shirt in warmer weather or a turtleneck jumper for winter. £12.50, shop.tillyandthe

Winter calls for more knitted fabrics for your stitchy stash, so head over to Girl Charlee today with discount code SEWDEC20 to bag 20%* off ALL fabric ranges. You’ll be able to find an abundance of knit materials, from chevron prints and floral designs, to polka dots and statement colours.



13 TO WIN!

Half Yard membership Club





Debbie Shore has launched Half Yard Sewing Club, an online hub with pretty projects and patterns, plus handy video tutorials. Subscribe for just £5.99 per month and you’ll have access to an online notebook, as well as exclusive information on Debbie’s top tips and stitchy secrets! We’ve got three one-month subscriptions and 10 copies of her book, Occasion Bags to give away on p81.

Photographer: Jane Looker. Model: Harriet Hutton. Hair & Makeup: Natalie @ The Bridal Stylists.

Pattern perfect

If you buy one pattern... Everyone needs a go-to coat for the cooler months, and this Simplicity 8742 pattern is the perfect choice! Not only does it include four stylish variations, but it also has two hem lengths, in-seam pockets and the choice to add either a sleek straight lapel or some flare with a cascading collar. The pattern can be made up in warm and cosy fabrics, too, such as wool, fleece and micro suede. £8.95,

ASYMMETRIC STYLE Red Relaxed Fit Wool Mix Coat, £159,

We think this new Floreat top from Megan Nielsen Patterns is a musthave for your wardrobe! It can be made up in woven or knit fabrics, and the asymmetric design blends a current style with classic capped sleeves. The pattern can also be made into a dress which includes in-seam pockets, as well as a range of sleeve and hem options. £13.05,


Fancy making a top and a dress for your wardrobe? Then the Gable pattern is for you! Both garments have a classic, fifties-inspired slash neckline and you can easily transform the top into a figureflattering dress by adding a pleated and gathered skirt. Pair the frock with a coat or thick cardigan, and wear the tee with three-quarter length trousers to channel retro vibes. £10.88, jenniferlauren


d 20% off* Clothkits To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Clothkits is providing a fabulous 20% off* discount on ALL its material and haberdashery ranges, including everything from festive fabrics to essential dressmaking tools. Simply visit the website with code 50YEARS and bag yourself a bargain today!

20% OFF!*


*Valid from 15th November until 13th December. Cannot be used in conjunction with sale items and sewing machines.

CLASSIC collection

Curve-clinging shifts? Check! Pattern hacking capes? Check! Jersey basics you’ll love? We’ve got them all. This month’s capsule set is jampacked with everything you need to keep cosy while looking stylish this winter.



get stitching with your easy patterns

hack this


Channel Sherlock chic with this twohour make




FROCK This versatile dress is an instant wardrobe winner

our pattern PROMISE

All of our patterns are available in sizes 8-20* * Covermounted gifts may vary 08




SHIFT Sews like a dream, fits like no other






Get the linen look for less with our step-by-step photo-guide







cable knit


Flatter your figure with a classic jersey design

Introducing the queen of winter warmers 09

STITCH Stitch ITitWITH with

get stitching with your easy patterns

of your


Discover the



Jazz up your winter wardrobe for the festive season with your ENCLOSED PATTERNS; there’s gorgeous Amazing Fit party dresses plus warm and cosy capes inside. Start off with Simplicity 8543, which gives you the opportunity to create THREE STYLISH DRESSES in a variety of fabrics, from brocade and crepe, to denim and sateen. With this pattern, you’ll be able to add flair and flounce with design B, create simple cap sleeves with style C, or make a smart, sleeveless number with option A.

concealed ZIPS

Each design for this pattern will need you to add an invisible zip. If you stitch the fastening onto crepe material, then make sure you keep the fabric taut and the zip tape loose when sewing; this will ensure that the material doesn’t gather up. Before sewing the zip, machine-tack it in place with a standard zip foot, as this will prevent it from shifting as you sew and saves you from hand-stitching the ends of the tape in place.

pick your NEEDLE

This beautiful dress can be made in a range of fabrics, including brocade, denim, leather and linen, to name just a few. Many of these materials will require a different type of needle, but if you choose to make yours up in crepe, like our dressmaker, then a 60 or 70 sharps needle is ideal.


Hemline size 60/8 sharps sewing machine needles, £2.49 for five,

Rose Triple Luxury Crepe, £13.50 per metre,

Prior to cutting out your pattern pieces, it’s a good idea to preshrink the fabric by washing it first and press it with a warm, dry iron. Don’t worry if your material comes out of the washing machine with a few frayed edges, simply trim off any long strands. The ironing stage is particularly helpful as it makes your pattern pieces lie flat, meaning that they will be more precise when cutting out.

choose a THREAD

If you’re planning to use a crepe material, then choose a lightweight cotton or polycotton thread. Any all-purpose blends and 100 percent natural threads, such as silk are perfect for topstitching, too.

shape UP

Floral Print Denim Style This is a Simplicity Amazing Fit pattern, Fabric, £7.99 per metre, which means it caters for a broad range of cup sizes. The pattern also includes a one-inch seam allowance in certain areas to allow you to fine-tune the fit. With this find dress, the size is best based on your bust out what measurements. Simply measure at two points: bust and high bust. Subtract the your second high bust from your bust measurement pattern has to figure out what cup size you need to to offer make. For example, if the difference is ON p13 one to two inches, you’re a B, if it’s two to three inches, you are size C, and so on.

dancing in DENIM

If your next social event is a more relaxed occasion, then you may want to make up the dress in denim. To begin, make sure you invest in a jeans needle, as these We used Mettler Seralon are specifically designed to stitch with Universal General multiple layers of heavy material. With Purpose thread in White fitted dresses like this, the seams can be and Iced Pink for our under more stress, so remember to use a sleeveless dress, heavyweight thread when topstitching to £1.59 for 100m, provide extra support. 10

STITCH Stitch it ITwith WITH

3 stylish

your bonus pattern

style selector

party dresses

style a

SLEEVELESS STYLE Create an outfit that is perfect for work or play with design A. This figure-hugging ensemble will complement your curves and provide a simple style to see you through party season.

style b

FLAIR & FLOUNCE Go all out with three-quarter length statement sleeves using option B! This version will enable you to sport a classic look combined with frilled sleeves, which are all the rage at the moment.

style c

Bag, £8.99,; necklace, £15,

SUPER SMART Want to look smart and stylish but with a more traditional design? Choose design C which features a simple capped sleeve, a timeless V-neck and knee-length skirt.

why we made STYLE A

Our dressmaker chose this design because it can be easily accessorised with glitzy jewellery for the party season or made more formal for work. It’s also great for practising princess seams and waistbands, as well as inserting a concealed zip. 11

Stitch it with


the right

get stitching with your easy patterns

what’s your size? Remember to use your body measurements to find your pattern size, NOT the ready-to-wear size that you’d buy in high street shops. Visit to find out more about taking accurate measurements and getting the right fit for your shape.


As the name suggests, princess seams add a touch of elegance to any item of clothing. They create vertical lines which elongate the body and help to make a more fitted garment. However, this type of seam can easily become wavy and puckered rather than smooth and flattering; to prevent this, make sure you staystitch to stop the seams from stretching out and clip the centre seam allowances to give the fabric freedom to move.


This pattern gives you the opportunity to insert piping into the midriff section. If you want to include piping, then you can either buy some ready-made, or you can make your own: simply cut a strip of fabric on the bias and wrap it around piping cord, then sew in place. For this you’ll also need a piping or adjustable zip foot for your machine.


With this dress, you’ll need to sew a back vent, or as it’s otherwise known, a kick pleat. When sewing the vent, you will need to make sure that the corners are nice and sharp. To do this, just use a knitting needle to push them out, but be gentle as you don’t want to make a hole in the fabric.

es a combinre StyleicC d ed tt class it,hfisimple ss w capped sleeves 12

Stitch it with

creative simple patterns

with your


The Simplicity 8473 pattern offers four cosy capes with varying lengths, fastenings, hems and pockets. This garment can be made in several fabrics including crushed velvet, fleece, ponte and tweed. Choose two favourite buttons from your stash to create design one; opt for a stylish high-low hem with style two; make option three for a cape with large pockets; or select number four and add toggles and bands.

fasten UP

With this pattern there are a variety of fastenings you can use, including tab closures with shank buttons, loops and toggles. Our dressmaker made this garment using the tab closure option, which can be a little fiddly. To make sure they are the right size and in the correct position, pin them in place and do a couple of trial runs on the buttonholes first.

perfect the POCKETS

Our dressmaker used Beige with Pink and Brown Dogtooth Check Tweed, £32 per metre,

If you decide to include patch pockets, then make sure you create the armhole slits first, and if you’re adding a lining to the bulk of your garment, then remember to add this to your pockets, too. It’s also worth pressing and stitching the hem at the top of each one first so that the backstitching will be hidden, providing a clean finish.

line UP

Adding a lining to this pattern is crucial for polishing off the look, and also to make it a more practical and warmer layer for the winter months. A silk or polyester fabric would be ideal for this garment, or to make it ultra cosy, try inserting a soft fleece material. A lining will also ensure that you achieve a clean finish on the neck edge, as well as hiding the seams and adding interest to the inside of the cape. Why not go all out with a bright contrasting colour or print?

Try this Herringbone Wool Blend Fabric in Burgundy Cream, £5.99 per metre,

Two Hole Plastic Toggles in Brown, 30p each,


your BONUS pattern

Stitch it with


machines 3 party£229 ready dresses


4 cosy


Necklace, £17.50, Marks & Spencer; shoes, £22.99, New Look; bag, £15.99, New Look; bracelet, model’s own





This machine features 27 built-in stitches, an LED light, an automatic one-step buttonhole and a quick-set bobbin to make your sewing experience easy and speedy. It’s perfect for dressmaking and home furnishing projects, plus if you purchase this model before the end of December you’ll get a FREE sewing machine book, too!


Jumper, £19.99,; Red Herring trousers, £22,; boots, £79,


Bag yourself a bargain with the Innov-is 15! This machine is on sale at £229, (usually £249) until the end of December, and comes with a FREE carry bag worth £20. The model is ideal for beginners as it has a super-easy jog dial for stitch selection, 16 built-in stitches and an automatic needle threading system. free your

why we made STYLE 3

Our dressmaker, Sarah Oecken, chose this design because it includes a handy pair of patch pockets and a pretty, practical tab closure, adorned with a couple of beautiful gold buttons.

Sizes XXS-XXL (US)

Sizes 14-22 (US)

Next month’s 2 FREE patterns 14


The new year doesn’t mean we have to wave goodbye to party season, especially not with these statement dress and one-piece skirt and top patterns to hand!

Dragonfly Fabrics – Specialists in Independent Sewing Pattern and modern dress fabrics. One of the largest ranges of Boiled Wool in the UK SPECIAL OFFER FOR SEW READERS! 15% OFF ALL PATTERNS Limited time only. Code: SEWP15 For further exclusive offers visit and join our FABRIC CLUB

Tel: 01892 731 087


sew YOU!

The Sew team are always eager to see what you wonderful bunch have been creating – here are some of our favourites!

This top is made from a Simplicity 8337 pattern, which was free in the July issue of Sew. It’s so comfortable to wear and is very much admired by my friends. Grace Brash

This is one of the keepsake bears I made for my grandchildren. I used my grandson’s first sleepsuit to make this teddy, and my granddaughter’s primary school uniform to make another one – I think they’re such a lovely idea!

Your cold-shoulder top looks beautiful, Grace!

Carol Clancy

We think so too, Carol – keep up the fantastic work!

I finished sewing this New Look 6413 jumpsuit on Friday night so I could wear it the next day – last-minute sewing at its best! Lorna Hulme

I love the Simplicity 8529 pattern that came with Sew ’s October issue! So much so, that I have more fabric lined up to make it again in winter. Di Kendall

Find Esme on


Say Hello to Esme!

I’ve just made my first-ever lined jacket! The material ended up fraying, so I overlocked the seams to make sewing with it a bit easier. This pattern had 36 pieces and it took me 13 hours to make! Beverley Mayhew

chosen by you

Each month on Facebook, we ask you to help us choose a name for our issue’s mascot. “I named your elf mascot after my beautiful sewing niece, Esme. She’s super pleased her name is going to be in your magazine – she thinks she’s famous now!” Linsey Williams, Sew reader Help us to choose a name for next month’s mascot at 17

Linsey has won a set of Aerofil sew-all threads from

Continued overleaf


Sponsored by Minerva Crafts

Write in and WIN! I created this bag to donate to a lung cancer fundraiser – those who are facing cancer are definitely wonder women! Robyn Nicoll

This was my first attempt at creating a sausage dog – I couldn’t be happier with the result. Michelle Moran

We think that’s fantastic as a first attempt!

I’ve almost finished this Halloween tunic! Claire Dolby

That looks spooktacular, Claire!

Just finished making this autumn jacket. Lucy Picksley

I’ve spent all week making purses in preparation for Christmas. Jennifer Rhodes

That looks super cosy, Lucy – we love the colour coordinated look!

on the sew blog...

Michelle Staub, pet embroiderer extraordinaire, is here to make your hand-sewing life easier!

Meet the Secret Projects founder, Fritha Vincent – the stitcher who’s empowering women, one pillow at a time.

I finished this Simplicity New Look wrap dress yesterday – I just need somewhere to wear it to now... Rebekah Cunningham

We think you look fabulous, Rebekah!

Sew have decided to channel our Royal Baby fever into a blog on the top stitchy projects to make for a tiny tot!

Read all of the latest stitchy news and more at 18

sew YOU! This month our Star Letter winner will receive a bumper selection of fabrics from Minerva Crafts, worth £50.

stitch&share Share your latest stitchy triumphs with Sew!


HOP TO IT! I stitched these cute rabbits for my friends. Audrey, Twitter



STAR letter


SEW THE RAINBOW A peppermint swirl dress from Candy Castle designs. Allison Maryon


My granddaughter Lara wanted me to stitch her a red dress, so I used a Simplicity 2377 pattern to create this lovely gown with a lined bodice! I found the pattern really straightforward.

SO CUTE! I just love these tiny sloth pants! Christy Foreman

Judy Power

Lara looks wonderful, Judy – you should be so proud of this dress!

I stitched these accessories to give to my friends and family at Christmas. The eye mask is fantastic for a peaceful night’s sleep, and the key ring pockets are lipstick holders – I’m always losing mine in the bottom of my bag! Emma Dalzell Kitching

EFFORTLESSLY CHIC This is a Bianca coat from Sew Me Something. Wendy Parker

DAZZLE IN DOGTOOTH My new winter skirt for work. Tina Ludlow

A red corduroy dungaree dress which I made for a seaside getaway. Charmaine West

Share your makes via social media @sewhq or email to 19

turn heads in

POWERFUL PRINTS What better way to celebrate the winter season than by creating showstopping garments with these hand-selected prints? It’s true that the fabric you pick can make or break any project, and with the chilly weather, you’ll need your material to keep you extra snug! These striking fabrics are blends of cotton, viscose and polyester, which will make your clothes incredibly durable and longlasting. With these vibrant materials to hand, you’ll be beating the winter blues in no time!

1 2 3 4 5 6



2 3

Quartzite fabric in Yellow, £53.99 per metre Corolla fabric in Tropic, £52.99 per metre Corolla fabric in Canopy, £52.99 per metre Corolla fabric in Harissa, £52.99 per metre Domino fabric in Foxglove, £57.99 per metre Faux silk in Sour Green, £21.99 per metre


All of the fabrics are available from





Step into winter with the


Project exclusive to


sew a

This berry frock is the new wardrobe superhero for those ‘I have nothing to wear’ days! Amanda Walker’s loose-fitting number in ponte roma jersey flatters your figure in all the right places and encourages you to explore your machine like never before. You’ll master the art of sewing with knits using ballpoint needles and learn just how much you can do with an overlocker. And that’s not all, this fantastic project is comprised of just four steps, so you can whip it up one afternoon and wear it out that evening.

JERSEY DRESS Get started

• Fabric, 1.7m (150cm) • Fusible interfacing

Sizes 8-20

Cutting guide

Front: cut one on the fold Back: cut one on the fold Sleeve: cut one pair Neckband: cut one, 5cm x 55cm 1.5cm seam allowance used throughout, except for the neckline where 1cm is needed.


Download, print and cut out the template from sewmag. Match the shoulder seams of the front and back pieces, then pin and stitch the right sides together. Sew the two ends of the neckband, right sides together, into a circle. Turn the band out, fold in half lengthways and press.


Match the join in the neckband to the centre back neckline and stitch. Match and pin the side seams of the front and back pieces, right sides together, then sew. Add a row of gathering stitches around the head of the sleeve, starting from the front notch and finishing at the back.


Stitch the underarm seams, right sides facing, and turn out. Pull the gathering threads up and place the sleeve into the armhole. Align the side and the underarm sleeve seams. Match the notch in the sleeve centre to the end of the shoulder seam, then adjust the gathers to fit the armhole.


Sew in place and pull out the gathering stitches. Overlock the base of the dress and ends of the sleeves. Press up a 3cm hem on the sleeves and a 4cm hem on the base. Insert fusible interfacing to secure, then finish the hems using a zig zag stitch.


The Belinda dress is made using a four-thread overlocker, but a sewing machine is required for the gathering and zig zag stitches. When stitching with knit fabrics, it’s so important to use the right needle in your machine; ballpoint or stretch types are ideal because they go through the fabric without leaving any holes. 22




free TEMPLATE download

SHOPPER /templates





BERRY BRIGHT Ponte roma jersey is perfect for dressmaking in the cooler months as it’s a soft, double knit. £12 per metre,

EYE-CATCHING COLOUR This material is a right royal choice! If berry reds aren’t your cup of tea, opt for blue hues instead. £19.50 per metre, ************************ thank you for shopping!


For expert advice on sewing with jersey fabrics, turn to page 30!


For work to play, make our



free TEMPLATE download /templates



• Fabric, 1.5m (150cm) • Concealed zip, 40cm • Fusible interfacing

Sizes 8-20

Cutting guide

Front: cut one pair Back: cut one pair Back pockets: cut one pair Pocket bags: cut one pair Waistband: cut one on the fold, and another on the fold in fusible interfacing 1.5cm seam allowance used throughout unless otherwise stated.


Popularised by the fifties icon Audrey Hepburn, sleek tapered trews are ideal for dressmakers who are keen to launch into their next challenge. With Amanda Walker’s tutorial, you’ll discover how to create a figure-hugging fit, plus master features such as in-seam pockets and a discrete zip at the back. A pop of printed colour will also flex your pattern matching skills!


Match the two front trousers together around the centre front crotch, then sew and neaten the seam allowance and centre back crotch seam edges. Match the seam together and stitch as far as the zip notch. Sew the darts into the back trousers and press towards the centre back.


Lay the front trousers over the back trousers, right sides facing. Match the side seams together, then pin and stitch. Neaten the seam allowance and press towards the back of the trousers. Match the inside leg seams and sew in one continuous seam. Neaten the seam allowance and press towards the back of the trousers.


Fuse the interfacing to the waistband and neaten one of the long edges. Position it along the waistline of the trousers, matching the raw edges together; the centre back edges of the waistband will run in line with the centre edges of the gap left for the zip in the back of the trousers. Pin in place, then stitch.

Download the template at, print and follow the cutting guide. Position the pocket bags along the slanted edges of the front trouser pieces, right sides facing. Match the notches, pin and stitch across. Turn the pocket bags wrong sides out, tease out the seam and press. Position the back pocket pieces behind the bags, matching the curves, making sure that the side edges are running smoothly below the pocket edge.


Pin and stitch from the top waistline around the pocket bag to the side seams, then neaten the edges. Press the pockets flat, then stitch the pocket layers to the trousers at the side edge and waistline, keeping the stitching within the seam allowance.



Sew the concealed zip into the centre back opening and up half of the waistband, using a regular or concealed zipper foot. Fold and press the seam allowance along the two sides of the opening. Open the seam allowance and, with right sides facing, place the open zip face down, matching the teeth to the crease line in the seam allowance, and pin. If you’re using a concealed zipper foot, place the teeth into the groove and as you sew the foot will uncurl the teeth and the stitches will be appear alongside

the teeth; sew to the fold line of the waistband. Back-stitch, then sew the other side of the zip in place. Thread the zip pull through to the right side and pull up to close. Remove the excess zip, then stitched over the raw end to prevent the zip pull from escaping.



Fold the waistband in half lengthways inside the trousers, folding the centre-back

seam allowances over the edges of the zip; these sections can be hand stitched in place. Pin along the waistband on the right side of the trousers, then seal the waistband by stitching in the ditch in the seam between the trousers and the waistband. Neaten the base of each leg. Fold and press up the 3cm hem, then hand-stitch in place.


Core skill:




If you decide to create a pair of trousers in a colourful print, you’ll need to know how to pattern match. If you’re matching two different pieces, like a front and back at the side seam, lay them out next to each other, keeping a straight line running across the bottom of each pattern piece. Disregard the seam allowance and match seamline to seamline, then pin carefully and cut out slowly.


Project exclusive to





STUNNING PRINT Add a vibrant touch to any outfit with Lady McElroy’s Flora Songbird poplin in shade Jade. £17.99 per metre, ************************ thank you for shopping!


Sewing with Tilly



ewing buttonholes is a fantastic skill to have under your belt as it opens up a whole world of new dressmaking projects, plus it’s a lot more straightforward than you might think. Tilly is going to take you through creating a four-step manual buttonhole, which has – you guessed it, four basic parts. With plenty of handy tips and clear pictures throughout, you’ll be stitching buttoned up shirts, dresses and skirts in no time!







Four-step buttonholes take more effort than the one-step kind, but you have more control over how they turn out. To begin, mark the buttonhole on the fabric, then attach a buttonhole foot to a mechanical sewing machine with the material underneath it.

Complete five stitches to form the bottom of the buttonhole. Stop with the needle on the right, then change to buttonhole stitch three and sew the right-hand side until you reach the top of the marking.

Make sure the window is showing the full buttonhole, and that its top end is underneath the needle, then lace the thread under the foot and towards the back. Set the stitch length to between 0.5mm and 1mm, and the machine to buttonhole stitch.

Switch to buttonhole stitch two/four and add five stitches across the top of it, then set the machine to straight stitch and include a couple of regular and reverse stitches to secure. Open up the buttonhole with a seam ripper.

Start sewing the left-hand side of the buttonhole and stop when you reach the bottom of the marking. Make sure you finish with the needle on the left of the zig zag. Set the machine to buttonhole stitch two/four.

It’s a good idea to stick a pin in each end to prevent the fabric from ripping. You should also sew a practice buttonhole on a double scrap of fabric so you have a chance to alter the settings before you start.

For patterns, workshops and more from Tilly, pay a visit to 26

Suppliers of mail order fabrics for over 40 years we source beautiful fabrics from Britain, Europe and rest of the world.


Stitch figure-hugging fashion with the

sew a

WRAP DRESS Get started

• Jersey fabric, 2m (150cm) • Fusible jersey interfacing, 30cm • Tape, 30cm

REESE WRAP DRESS If you’re hankering for that definitive classic wrap dress to enhance your natural assets, this pattern is the perfect opportunity! Just like pioneer Diane von Furstenberg blazed a figure-flattering trail with her relaxed jersey hit, Amanda Walker elevates a modern classic with two metres of a playful polka dot knit. This delightful dress pattern is versatile enough to refashion into all manner of elegant shades and prints.

Sizes 8-20

Cutting guide

Project exclusive to

Front: cut one pair Front skirt facing: cut one pair in fabric, one pair in fusible interfacing Back: cut one on fold Sleeve: cut one pair Neck band: cut two strips of jersey, 4cm x 58cm Tie belt: cut two strips; right side 10cm x 135cm, left side 10cm x 120cm


1.5cm seam allowance used throughout, except for the neckline, where 1cm is used.


Download, print and cut out the pattern from sewmag. Neaten the edges of the shoulder seams on the front and back pieces. Lay a strip of tape along the stitching line, then match and sew the shoulder seams and press open.

right side of the dress. Neaten the seam allowances, then fold the binding and press upwards so that the neatened edges fold inside the garment.


Neaten the edges of the side seams on the front and back pieces. Match them both, right sides together, pin and sew. On the right-hand side, leave a gap in the stitching line to thread the belt through. Make up the ties, fold in half lengthways and sew the edges, making a point in the stitching line at one end. Trim the pointed area, then turn the tie to the right side through the open end. Place the righthand tie on the right-hand side of the dress, at the base of the bound neck edge, and the left tie to the left-hand side, then stitch.


Fuse the interfacing to the pair of front skirt facings, then neaten the longest edges. Match the facings to the edges of the front skirt, then stitch in place, sandwiching the ends of the ties inside. Sew across the bottom of the facing, 3cm up from the base of the dress. Clip the corners, then turn the facing inside the dress. Tease out the corners and the seam line, then press flat. Turn under the curved top of the facing, then hand slipstitch in place along the edge of the neck binding.


Match and stitch the two ends of the neck band, then fold and press the strip in half lengthways. Match the join in the strip to the centre back neckline, then pin it around and down the wrap part, stretching the strip slightly to fit. Towards the end, on the side edge of the front wrap, angle the strip upwards so that the binding disappears when looking at the 28



free pattern download

Core skill: /templates

SEWING WITH JERSEY This pattern is made for stretch jersey only. The fabric used has a two-way stretch, however you can also use a one-way version as long as the stretch goes across the width of the material.


Neaten the edges of the underarm sleeve seams. Make a row of gathering stitch around the head of the sleeves, starting from the front notch and finishing at the back. Match, pin and sew the underarm sleeve seams, right sides together. Press them open, then turn the sleeves to the right side. Pull the gathering threads up slightly, then place the sleeve into the armhole of the top.





Match the side seams and the underarm seam of the sleeves; place the notch in the centre of the sleeve at the end of the shoulder seam, then adjust the gathers to fit the armhole of the top and sew. Pull out the gathering stitches and neaten the seam allowances. Tidy around the base of the dress and the ends of the sleeves, then fold and press up a 3cm hem. Use Bondaweb to secure the hems before twinneedling the hems in place.




JERSEY JUMBO POLKA NAVY Choose Navy Jersey Tumble Cube for this flattering navy and white design. To capture the playfulness of this versatile pattern, Jersey Jumbo Polka Navy provides the ultimate vintage backdrop instead. ÂŁ10 per metre, ************************ thank you for shopping!


sewing Our experts’ top tips for working with stretch fabrics


I want to add a neckband to my handmade jersey t-shirt but I don’t know where to start! Can you help me? Amanda Cooling

Alison says

To start, measure the neckline and cut a rectangle across the stretch of the fabric, 5cm deep by 80% of the neckline length. Sew the short ends of the band, right sides together, and press the seam open. Iron the band in half lengthwise, right side facing out. Next, find the neckband and neckline quarter points starting with the centre front and centre back. With the neckband seam at the centre back, pin each of the neckband points to the right side of the corresponding neckline ones, keeping all three raw edges aligned. Attach the neckband to the top using an overlocker, and remember to stretch it between the pins as you sew. Press the neckband seam allowance towards the t-shirt. Finally, to give your top a professional finish, topstitch around the neckline close to the seam using a stretch stitch, then sew through the seam allowance to help it lie flat, and trim it close to the topstitching.

Jumper, £40,


I’m creating a jumper out of cotton jersey and it keeps curling at the edges. How can I prevent this from happening while I cut the fabric? And will it curl on the finished garment? Olivia Deegle

Claire says

Twist knot stretch dress, £28 jdwilliams.

Although curling is annoying when you’re sewing and cutting, it’s useful as it indicates which side is the ‘correct’ one: on knit fabrics, the right side always rolls inwards. If you don’t want the fabric to curl, then spraying starch is an effective solution: lay the material, wrong side up, on an ironing board and unroll the curls with one hand, then spray the edges with the other. The good news is, the curl won’t impact your final garment as all of the fabric edges should be sewn or hemmed – I like to use a double fold hem to give my clothes additional anti-curl support! When it comes to snipping the jersey, I think using a rotary cutter and a mat is far easier than using scissors, and it’s especially good forLeather trimming label, knit fabrics. Use weights visit or prym. clips to hold the patterncom in for place, as pins can damage the stockists material’s structure – both Retro stripe jeresy, £35, options are particularly good for restraining a curling edge while you run it through Elm jersey shirt £42.50, the machine.


here to



Alison’s business BagLadyBird offers sewing workshops and bespoke garments. bagladybird.


There are so many types of jersey, and it feels impossible to know which ones are appropriate for my projects! What fabric do you recommend for sewing a pencil skirt? Maryanne Lucas

Lisa says

Just like woven fabrics, there are so many variations of knits! Some, such as viscose, are lightweight and stretchy, whereas others, like ponte di roma, are heavy and sturdy. The easiest way to tell what material will work for a project is to look at your existing garments and identify what clothes are made from which knits; t-shirts tend to be created from lightweight cotton, while dresses are usually crafted in something heavier. For your pencil skirt, ponte di roma would be my go-to choice! It’s durable and simple-to-sew – earning its nickname as the ‘stable knit’! If you’re a beginner, ponte is perfect as it behaves like a woven fabric in that it doesn’t stretch too much. When sewing with any knit, I advise you to use a ballpoint needle as this will prevent the fibres from being torn like they would be with a regular, universal one. Also, use a zigzag stitch instead of a standard straight stitch as it allows the seams to stretch alongside the fabric when you wear the garment.

tip! Create Sew Over It’s Heather dress, £7.50,



Claire has previously developed highstreet brand Peacocks’ jersey range, and now manages sewing shop On Trend Fabrics.

The easiest way to find a neckline's quarter points is to crease it in half, mark the folds, then open it out and put the two marked points together in the centre. Double it over again and mark the folds.

Lisa set up the stitching community Sew Over It, to encourage everyone to try their hand at the craft!

top 4

STRETCH FABRICS Feeling inspired to sew a jersey outfit, but don’t have the material to do so? Worry not stitchers, as we’ve handselected four fabrics from one of our favourite shops!

So stylish Rib effect jacquard

Blooming beautiful

Floral printed scuba

Delightful design

Grey loopback jersey

Subtle florals Ivory floral crepe


Got a stitchy question for us? Email us at or message us at and we’ll do our best to answer it! 31

Debbie Shore’s SHOW & TELL





The simplest way to use a zig zag stitch is to sew around the fabric edge after cutting and before sewing the seams.




Many tailors use a technique known as the Hong Kong seam. This method uses narrow bias tape and machine stitching to cover the raw edges.


An over-edge stitch is the closest you’ll come to overlocking. An overedge foot will help to tuck in stray threads as you sew.

It’s not always necessary to finish your seams, for instance in a bag with a lining where they won’t be seen. However if you’re making a garment which will be laundered regularly, it’s important to make the raw edges tidy. The methods I’ve shared here will help to prevent fraying, so your seams will not only look neat but will last longer. Don’t forget, if you are thinking of selling your garments, an overlocker will likely be the quickest way to finish a seam and is often the industry choice, but there are plenty of other techniques you can use with your domestic sewing machine.



A turned edge is made after the seam has been sewn. Simply turn the edge of the fabric under by 1/8” and topstitch.


If time is an issue, pinking shears will do the trick! Cut at 45-degree angles to prevent the fabric from fraying.

For more great tips from Debbie, visit 32







NDIE pattern T



18 S 6ZE




Paper ES IZ

6 -2 2

The Blouse by Avid Seamstress Difficulty:


It’s time to level up your work outfit with The Blouse. With an elegant stand collar and threequarter length sleeves, this pattern is loosely fitted to provide practical ease for your dayto-day activities, while being elegant enough

to wear in the evening. The top is also made without darts and includes a button placket, collar and elasticated cuffs, making it ideal for confident beginners. From £9.60,

20 8-


Opium Coat

Dawn Jeans

by Deer and Doe Difficulty:


by Megan Nielsen Patterns

Keep the cold at bay with the fully-lined Opium swing coat. Combining raglan sleeves with origami welt pockets, you can choose from version A, which is closed with discrete snaps or style B, which features a statement belt to cinch in the waist. Make in richly-textured Melton or boiled wool, then pair with a decadent silk lining in a popping print to finish.

Difficulty: A good-fitting pair of jeans are essential to any wardrobe, but have you ever considered stitching yours? The classic high-waisted Dawn style includes four different cuts to choose from, plus multiple lengths, including tall, regular and cropped. The pattern is designed as a high-rise, giving a close fit through the waist and hips with those classic jeans details. Make yours in heavy-weight fabrics, such as a rigid denim, for an authentic look.

From £9.75,

For stockists, visit 34


Magdala Top

by I Am Patterns

Hughes Dress


From £13.50,


S 8-1

Looking for an everyday frock that blends effortless chic with the comfort factor? Meet the Hughes Dress! Featuring body-hugging princess seams, sleeves that gather at the cap, and a gorgeous scoop neckline, this pattern buttons up at the front and comes with an adjustable lace-up tie in the back. Inside, you’ll also find options to cut it as a peplum top instead, or you can switch up the length to above-theknee or midi.









by Friday Pattern Company


Frills upon frills is the key to I Am Patterns’ stunning new Magdala Top. This exquisite sleeveless design softly builds up the volume with two layers of gentle pleats, finished off with a button placket on the front, and a neckline embellished by a collar. The bodice is made from a breezy poplin, while the ruffles are made in a flowing cotton voile. You can also slip a cami underneath to keep snug on nippier days.

SI Z ES 8-2


Floreat Top


by Megan Nielsen Patterns Difficulty: Megan Nielsen Patterns has been busy launching a fantastic new range of patterns, which includes the asymmetrical Floreat design. Choose from a dress or blouse, both of which feature handy in-seam pockets, and multiple sleeve and hem lengths to mix and match. Choose light to medium-weight dress or shirting fabrics such as cotton, linen and chambray, or whip it up in the bonus knit options. For stockists, visit 35

Lauren Guthrie’s

TOPforTOOLS hand sewing You can also use this wax to free up jammed zip fasteners



’ve taught a lot of workshops in my studio over the years, and have found that hand sewing is a bit like Marmite! I personally love it and think that it’s a useful skill to have for getting a slick finish on your handmade projects. These tools and gadgets will help you overcome the most common stumbling blocks: threading the needle, getting the thread tangled up and sewing through thick fabric or lots of layers.





We’ve all been there: squinting to find the needle eye! This clever gadget – the Prym Needle Fairy – magically does it for for you! Just tension your thread in the little groove on the top and press down the lever. £4.40,


These grips are particularly handy when guiding through thick materials, such as denim

There are four vents on the side to prevent your fingers from sweating



This Prym threader for embroidery needles is a flat stainless steel plate with two different-sized hooks on each side for easy use; it looks a little like an umbrella and is suitable for much thicker threads. £2,


Hanging onto your needle when stitching through fabric can be tricky – sometimes I feel like it keeps slipping away from me! These rubber pads from Prym will give you extra grip. £1.65 for two, 36


Want to prevent your thread from knotting and make it generally glide much better? Simply run it through one of the three slotted openings in Prym Dressmaker’s Wax before you start stitching. Sewing will be a dream! £2.15,


Thimbles can take a bit of getting used to but, once you master it, you’ll notice a huge difference when hand sewing, especially when working with thicker fabrics or stitching through lots of layers. £4.45,

YOU WILL LEARN: 3 Stitching with linen 3 Making a waistband 3 Add bias binding

sew masterclass


Project exclusive to


Get everyday style with the


Dress to impress with this wrap-and-go number! Fiona Hesford’s simple skirt will teach you how to create bias binding for curved edges, add fusible interfacing, make buttonholes, and stitch a side tie. This garment looks gorgeous when paired with boots in winter, but will also be a perfect staple for your year-round wardrobe. Once you’ve stitched this pretty make, why not complete your outfit with a top that matches the binding? Get started

• Fabric, 1.8m (112cm) • Bias binding, 3.5m (25mm) • Medium-weight fusible interfacing, 20cm • Button, 10mm

Sizes Top, £12.90,; bag, £22.99; shoes, £17.99,


Cutting guide Front: cut two Front waistband: cut two on the fold Back: cut one on the fold Back waistband: cut one Tie: cut two 1cm seam allowance used throughout unless otherwise stated.


stitch a WRAP SKIRT Making the skirt, bias binding and ties

Fiona Hesford’s top tips for STITCHING & FINISHING l Visit to download and print the pattern, then transfer any markings onto the fabric. l When sewing with linen, insert a universal machine needle between sizes 10 to 14, depending on the weight of the fabric; the larger the size the more heavyweight the material. l Don’t use erasable pens, chalk or wax to mark linen, as they can damage the fabric. Clipping the material is a better way to outline your pattern pieces. l Finish off the seams by either pinking, binding or overlocking.


Finish the raw edges of the back and one uncurved side of each front piece. With right sides together, join the front pieces to the back at the side edges. Press the seam allowances open. At the top edge, pin the right side of the bias binding to the wrong side of the skirt raw edge.


Press, pin and sew down a long side and a short end. Cut the seam allowance to 0.5cm and nick the corners. Turn the tie band inside out, then push out the corners. Press and topstitch around two long sides and one end, leaving the raw side edge open.

Sewing the waistband and buttonhole

4 To make the skirt without the bias binding, leave out this stage and finish off the seams


Stretch as you go around the curve. Sew along the fold of the binding, then iron it onto the right side. Pin and stitch all the way round, close to the inside edge of the binding, then press. Fold the tie pieces in half, long sides aligned with right sides together.

Pin the two front waistband pieces to the back, with right sides together at the short ends. Insert one tie at the raw edge, in between the short waistband pieces and 1cm up from the lower edge, then sew and carefully press the seam allowances open. Fold over and again press 1cm along the top raw edge of the long waistband piece.

CHAMBRAY EFFECT This Robert Kaufman Essex linen fabric in Indigo has a chambray look. It’s also soft-tothe-touch, easy to sew with and perfect for making staples for your year-round wardrobe. £28 per metre,


Pin the unfolded edge to the top of the skirt, right sides together, with 2cm of the waistband beyond the skirt at both ends.Tack the top edge, then sew. Press the waistband away from skirt seam allowance, and topstitch. Fold the waistband over at each short end, right side up. Insert the tie at the raw edge on the far-right side, in between the waistband and 1cm up from the lower edge.


STATEMENT PRINT This Nani Iro Encounter material in Blue is 100% linen and features a vibrant abstract print which is perfect for making a statement skirt. £28 per metre,



Sew along the short sides of the waistband in line with the skirt edge. Trim the seam allowances, nick the corner, press and turn onto the right side. Press the waistband over so the folded edge is aligned with the stitching, then hand-sew the waistband. Make a buttonhole on it at the far-left side, then mark the position of it on the underside of the waistband opposite the buttonhole, and sew.

PERFECT FINISH Polish off your garment with this gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn bias binding. It’s ideal for adding to your homeware projects, too, such as cushions and bunting. From £1.75 per metre,





free pattern download

8 8-1 /templates

Core Skill:

BIAS BINDING To create your own bias binding, take a small square of fabric and cut several thin strips at a 45-degree angle. Join them by placing right sides together and creating a 90-degree angle at the short end on the far-right side of the horizontal strip. Sew from the top-left corner to the bottom-left corner and snip the seam allowance.


Linen has a tendency to shrink, so make sure you wash the fabric before cutting out the pattern pieces


Prep for chillier days with the


free pattern download /templates

This fabulous sleeveless top can be sewn using just one metre of fabric, and there’s no pattern needed. Amanda Walker’s cable knit vest helps you hone in on essential dressmaking skills such as stitching in the ditch, and is the perfect garment to layer up, too: wear it over a Breton stripe long-sleeve top or combine with a hip-length jacket to stay cosy on those crisp December walks.

the armhole base to the slit notch, 16cm above the base of the top. Press the seams open, including the seam allowance within the slits.

sew a



Group the two short ends on both armhole bands together, then pin and sew. Fold this in half, matching the two long edges. Position the band seam to the top centre of the side seams, and the adjacent point to the end of the shoulder seam. Pin the remainder of the bands in place and secure by overlocking the armholes.

Get started

• Fabric, 1m (150cm)

Cutting guide


Neaten one long edge on both of the base band strips. Position and stitch the raw edge to the base of the top. There should be 1.5cm of fabric extending beyond the folded slit seam allowance, so fold the strips in half, right sides facing, and stitch both ends.

• Front: cut one on the fold • Back: cut one on the fold • Collar: cut one strip, 4cm x 55cm • Armholes: cut two strips, 5cm x 56cm • Base bands: cut two strips, 10cm x 54cm


Turn the bands to the inside of the top, folding the seam allowance inside them. Pin along the neatened edges, then stitch in the ditch on the right side of the top; the seam allowance will be concealed within the bands. Secure the seam allowance in the slits by hand slip-stitching.

1.5cm seam allowance is used on the side seams, and a 1cm seam allowance is needed on the neckline, armholes and base band.


Download and print the diagram from, then follow the cutting guide. Neaten the side seams and the shoulder on the front and back pieces. Match, pin and stitch the shoulder seams together, then press open.

sew tip!


Match together the two short ends of the collar, then pin and stitch. Fold this in half, matching the two long edges together. Position the collar seam to the centre back of the neckline, and the adjacent point of the collar to the centre front of the neckline.

The diagram available online lists size 10 with the bust at 83cm and hip at 88cm. For a size 12 add 1cm to the side seams, 2mm to the shoulder length, and 2cm to the armhole and base band strips. After this, add an extra 1.25cm to the side seams, 3mm to the shoulder length, and 2.5cm to the armhole and base band strips, for every increasing size.


Pin the remaining collar in place, then attach by overlocking the neckline. Pair the front and back pieces together with right sides facing, and stitch from 40


Project exclusive to







20 8-

RICH RASPBERRY We can’t get enough of this cable knit fabric! This stretch material is fantastic for making a comfy top as it’s super soft and lightweight. £14.99 per metre, ************************ thank you for shopping!

Top, £12.99,; RJR John Rocha jeans, £40,

Core skill:

STITCH IN THE DITCH This is sewing along a preformed seam to ensure that your stitches aren’t visible on the surface. Begin by positioning the machine’s needle between the two pieces that meet at the seam; the stitches should fall on the opposite side to where the seam allowance was pressed. Stitch along the seam line, easing both sides apart as you go.



free TEMPLATE download /templates

Cosy up with a


sew a


Sometimes it’s nice to create something a little different from the norm, and Corinne Bradd’s unique scarf is just that. This gorgeous accessory is great for using up bits and bobs from your stash, as it’s made from an offcut of medium-weight tweed and some leftover leather. The stylish asymmetric finish drapes beautifully and, apart from the fasteners, this wrap is a super-easy no pattern make.

Get started

• Fabric, 70cm (150cm) • Leather offcuts • Leather piercing tool


Fold the length of the fabric diagonally from corner to corner and cut in half to make two scalene triangles. Flip one over and pin together, right side to wrong side. Stitch all around the shape with a 1cm seam allowance, then leave a 10cm gap in the centre of the short side. Clip the corners and turn out.


Topstitch around the scarf 2mm from the edge, folding in the raw edges of the gap and closing it up as you do so. Lightly press the scarf, using a steam iron over a cloth to protect the wool, then mark 6.5cm in from the short edge at 12cm intervals.


Download and print the template from Lay on the reverse side of the leather, mark, then cut out four double-headed arrows. Use a leather piercing tool to mark holes around the shape, 2mm in from the edge and across the arrowheads. Using a sturdy needle, hand-sew the straight sections with a line of simple stitches.


Position each arrowhead with the point on the mark and pin through the punched holes. Ensure the leather pieces are straight before sewing the triangles at each end through both layers of tweed to make loops. Thread the point of the scarf through the loops to wear. 42



When pressing tweed, place a piece of muslin under the iron to protect the wool from the heat. You should also make sure that your sewing machine needle is sharp and the correct size; 10 or 14 is a suitable weight, but feel free to adjust this for lighter or heavier fabric. Lastly, always check the washing instructions first, as some tweeds are dry-clean only, and others can be hand-washed with a suitable detergent.

Project exclusive to





Dress, ÂŁ39,

WARM & COSY Take a stroll wearing this Donegal tweed in a classy herringbone pattern, ÂŁ30 per metre, ************************ thank you for shopping!


Stitch the Look




It’s official: fake is fashion’s best friend! Not only can faux materials be incredibly cost-effective, but they’re also easier to sew with. Take faux leather for example: it repels water, meaning that it won’t crack or peel like its authentic companion, and has been modified in grain, colour and texture to give the fabric a uniform appearance. Plus, needle marks are practically non-existent – so, not only are you saving the environment by opting for this material, but you’ll create a professional looking garment, too!




“Faux leather has a fantastic textured finish which works great with skirts, jackets, bags and wallets, and it’s also a dream to sew with – there’s no need to worry about finishing edges or ravelling!”


Pam Chavez, Sew Hot

1 Faux leather in Beige, £15 per metre 2 Faux leather in Blue, £15 per metre 3 Faux leather in Grey, £15 per metre 4 Faux leather in Purple, £15 per metre 5 Faux leather in Burgundy, £15 per metre

Faux leather leggings, £35,

All of the featured fabrics are available from



Timeless STYLE When it comes to your wardrobe, age really is just a number! Words by Sophie Demetriades


he face of fashion is changing, or rather, it’s ageing! Terminology such as ‘ageappropriate’ is being recognised as ill-fitting and outdated; bold colours and statement prints are no longer considered ‘off limits’ to fifty-plus women. In fact, we recommend taking a leaf out of model Twiggy’s book: “I believe that fashion should serve you, not the other way around. As you get older you can still harness the latest trends to build a style which is flattering.” We chatted to Twiggy and other influential women in the industry who are rewriting the rules for the style by numbers formula, and asked for their advice on how you can bring fun to your wardrobe, whatever your age. It’s time to unearth your slim-fit jeans and leopard print tops, and read on to find out what colours, patterns, fabrics and styles have ageless appeal.

Turn the page for more 45


Ageing in style


Alex Bamford Photography

Twiggy has just released her twenty-second collection for Marks & Spencer, which is full of frosty winter tones and luxurious fabrics, including plenty of cosy faux fur! We asked her how the range caters for women of all ages: “I think fashion is about attitude, not age; all women want to feel stylish and comfortable. That’s why my collection is full of timeless pieces, so women can feel confident in what they’re wearing, no matter how “I think fashion old they are.” is about attitude, During her modelling career in not age; all the 60s, Twiggy to sew a lot of women want to used her own clothes. feel stylish and She goes on to tell about the staple comfortable” us styles and colours you should stitch for your wardrobe: “For me, I’ve always found that you can never go wrong with tailored jackets and trousers. I usually team these with a pair of smart brogues or heels. I’d also say that everyone needs a great pair of slim-fit jeans, a classic blazer, a crisp white shirt and of course, a great leather biker jacket! “When it comes to colour, navy, black and camel hues are ageless and very chic, but purple and fuchsia are my favourites – I’ve actually just released a deep purple velvet trouser suit in my latest collection.”

Vintage-inspired Blogger and Brighton-based Instagram star, Suzi Grant is proof that style has no age limit! After retiring from the world of TV and radio, Suzi wondered what to do next. At 64, she set up her blog after being inspired by a documentary with Advanced Style founder Ari Seth Cohen. Suzi says: “Ari has spent his life photographing women well over the age of 60, so I decided to do something similar as I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to give advice and inspiration to an often sidelined demographic. “We’re anti-war and anti-poverty, so why would

Follow in Suzi’s footsteps and go all out in bold prints and bright colours with these fabulous fabrics


This Lady McElroy watercolour fabric is stunning! The material is 100% cotton, so it’s perfect for a broad range of dressmaking projects.

Check out Twiggy’s new range, available online and in selected stores at marksandspencer. com/women/twiggy we be anti-ageing? Getting older still means you can wear anything you like – as long as your clothes look good and make you feel great, then that’s all that matters. I tend to wear longer sleeves nowadays, but I still sport a 50s-style bikini at the beach!” Suzi’s blog Alternative Ageing, focuses on vintage garments and tips for women over 50 on how to stand out from the crowd. Suzi explains: “I love Audrey Hepburn’s classic look combined QUIRKY DESIGNS with Frida Kahlo colours, and I’m mainly This Lady McElroy cotton lawn is a inspired by 50s, 60s and 80s outfits because lightweight, breathable material, which they suit my height and body shape. I think would look gorgeous when made into a vintage tea dress. vintage patterns are wonderful, and certainly ageless – if I could sew (and I really wish I could), I’d make a lovely 60s shift dress. “When choosing the right pattern and colours for you, it’s less about age and more about body shape and skin tone. I’m an apple shape, so I usually opt for a vintage dress and add a big belt to nip it in at the waist. With regards to skin colour, I have a warm, autumn tone, so I often choose clothes in burnt orange, dark greens and soft blues. I also love black and white checks, especially for winter. If vibrant hues aren’t your thing, then just add a jaunty hat, statement jewellery or a bright belt. Accessories can make an outfit, plus you’ll get more wear out of your clothes if you mix and match them with different combos. Just look at Prue on The Great BOLD GEOMETRICS British Bake Off – I love what she does with colourful Striking geometric prints are a great way to glasses and necklaces!” make a statement! So why not whip up a new project with this Lady McElroy cotton lawn in Dakota? Visit Suzi’s blog at

and her inspiring Instagram @alternativeageing 46

All materials are £8.90 from

Streamline & refine Former fashion editor Alyson Walsh, created That’s Not My Age in 2008 to prove that midlife and beyond doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style: “I started my blog 10 years ago because I felt that women over 40 were being ignored by the fashion industry. Things have slowly changed, and now we’re seeing older models in ad campaigns and on the runways, but there’s still a way to go. “Rather than ‘dressing your age’, the emphasis today is on looking relaxed, vibrant and modern. Women of all ages feel liberated and are wearing clothes which are comfortable, reflect their personality and suit their body shape. “Social media has had a massive influence on the diversity and increased visibility of older women, and I’m delighted that I now have many loyal followers who to enjoy the “Rather than seem honesty of my posts. ‘dressing your It’s also proof that older women want age’, the to see people like emphasis today themselves, being is on looking themselves.” Alyson theorises relaxed, vibrant that our younger years focus on and modern” experimenting and identity-finding, whereas 40+ is all about streamlining and refining our style: “Lucinda Chambers once told me that the most stylish women she knows are older – and I agree. The notion of being ‘born with style’ is nonsense – you should experiment and make mistakes. Style is individual, and over time you

develop a signature dress sense which becomes something of a uniform; I live in jeans, shirts, jackets, jumpsuits and trainers – these are the clothes I feel confident in. Once you’ve found your look, it’s easy to add updates in the form of new season colours or accessories; for instance, Iris Apfel has maximalist style, with big flying saucer glasses and piles of jewellery – she looks amazing! “With regards to fabric, I’m such a denim lover – one of the best things about it is that it gets better with age. I’ve been wearing Levi’s 501 jeans since I was a teenager and I still do today. In terms of colour, my teens and twenties were an interlude in black, but midlife and beyond is all about dark blues and army greens.”

Visit Alyson’s blog at

Autumn/Winter 2018 collection from

get the book Know your Style: Mix it, Match it, Love it by Alyson Walsh, (£8.39, Hardie Grant).

Advanced Style: Older and Wiser by Ari Seth Cohen, (£20.99, powerHouse Books).


Everyday STYLE

Step out with confidence in these timelessly chic outfits

Strike a pose Iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, 78, tells us all about how her mother inspired her bold colour choices, and encourages other women to embrace this vibrant style: “My mother was very exotic; she wore colourful makeup and sprayed a big silver curl on top of


Rivermont Dress & Top, £10.80

her head – she always looked amazing. I love colour, too, as you can probably tell by my bright pink hair! In my opinion, older women look great in colourful garments. “I believe all fabrics are ageless, it’s the style and the way you wear them that matters. I absolutely adore silk chiffon, and I love satin and velvet, too. I find that these materials always look gorgeous when made into trousers, jackets and long tops.” Zandra explains that women shouldn’t be afraid to be stylish and wear statement clothing because of their age: “Why should mature women have to dress ‘old’? Quite simply, they shouldn’t! I absolutely people “It’s better to be encourage to challenge bold and have a themselves and outside the few slips than think box when it comes play it safe and to style – I believe it’s better to be never change” that bold and have a few slips than play it safe and never change. Go shopping with a young person, as they’ll take you to places you might not have thought of, and don’t be frightened to try things on and experiment. “I think we’re moving towards celebrating age; for example, only this year I designed 40 flags which flew around the roof of the Festival Hall on London’s Southbank Centre to acknowledge artists who are still working over 70.”

Take a look at Zandra’s designs at

Stitch with confidence CASUAL STYLE

Washington Dress, £10.80

Dressmaker and founder of Sewgirl blog, Fiona Hesford tells us how she has become more comfortable with her style choices as she’s got older: “Nowadays, I’m much more sure about what suits me, or maybe I think less about what I should be wearing and more about what gives me pleasure. I love the way that young girls now sport grey hair as a fashion statement, too; it’s given me the confidence to finally embrace my silver locks.” Fiona’s style is influenced by the 70s, but she’s also inspired by modern design houses, too: “I’m a big fan of Marrimekko – I love the bold prints and simple shapes. Recently, I’ve been following Eponine London, too, which cleverly mixes vintage style with ethnic textiles. Lotta Jansdotter’s prints and colours are also old favourites, as well as Donna Wilson’s quirky fabrics. “When designing and making clothes, I don’t have anyone of a particular age in mind, instead I create garments which I would wear. I used to photograph my 21-year-old daughter in my makes, but now I SOPHISTICATED prefer to model them myself; this has attracted some TRENCH really positive responses from my followers, many of Chilton Trench which are women of a similar age. Coat, £12.30 “I love comfortable tunics worn with coloured tights; it’s a timeless look which can be easily All patterns are from combined with other ensembles. My go-to outfit is an indigo jersey dress with pockets – the colour goes well with my recently acquired grey hair! Fabric-wise, I like to work with linen, organic cotton and eco-friendly materials. I also love to accessorise, so I tend to sew a matching bag or purse to go with my outfits.”


Head over to Fiona’s blog at

sew gifts

Get started • Fabric • Iron-on transfer paper • Embroidery thread, various colours • Embroidery hoop • Button-making kit

Stitch embroidered buttons


Download and print the robin motif from, then use iron-on transfer paper to draw it onto fabric and place in a hoop. Start embroidering the part where the eye is positioned by filling the space with long and short straight stitches using one strand of orange thread. Make sure they follow the same direction. Stitch the top of the head using one strand of medium brown thread, making freestyle long and short straight stitches following the same direction. For the wing, use two strands of dark brown and fill the area with satin stitch, following the same direction. Work one long straight stitch for the tail using two strands of dark brown, then make a few lines on the wing using straight stitches and one strand of dark brown. Stitch the belly using one strand of light brown and one strand of cream. Once again, use a freestyle combination of long and short straight stitches, following the same direction. For the eye, make a short straight stitch using two strands of black, then use one strand of grey to add the beak with another tiny straight stitch.

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Robin buttons

This cheerful little bird is easily identifiable with its sweet face, so why not have a go at capturing this in your sewing? Tiny Stitches by Irem Yazici is full of beautiful small-scale embroidery projects, but we’ve picked out these pretty robin buttons as they will add the perfect finishing touch to any festive project.


Create the branch by working two long straight stitches using one strand of green. Work the legs in straight stitches using one strand of grey, and stitch the feet as a second layer on top of the branch. Use the transparent template in the button-making kit and trace a circle around the embroidery, then cut out and sew running stitch inside the edge of the fabric. Put the button shell on top, press into the mould, tuck the fabric in and cover the shell with the button back, push until it clicks. Remove the button by pressing the mould.


4 5

get the

book For more beautiful embroidery projects, check out Tiny Stitches by Irem Yazici. £12.99, Search Press.



Get started • Felt: light pink, black • Fabric, cotton • Embroidery thread • Buttons, 4mm • Snap fasteners • Fabric pen • Toy stuffing 0.5cm seam allowance is included in the templates.

Cutting guide Head: cut two Ears: cut four Snout: cut one Snout strip: cut one Eyes: cut two Body front: cut one Body back: cut two Arms: cut four Legs: cut four Socks: cut four Shoe upper: cut two Shoe sole: cut two Bodice front: cut one Bodice back: cut two

Stitch Georgia the Pig


Download and print the templates at, then cut out the pieces using the cutting guide. Whip stitch one edge of the long strip all around the oval snout piece. Add two French knots for nostrils. Lay the snout on the face to help with eye placement, then sew on the eyes using blanket stitch. Embroider eyelashes and add small white highlights with French knots. Add an off-centre smile by sketching a curved line with a fabric pen and embroidering with backstitch. Place two ear pieces together and backstitch all around the edges, but leave the base open. Turn the ears right sides out and push out the seams. Repeat to make a second ear. Pin the ears in place pointing inward over the face.The ends should extend past the edge of the head by about 1.2cm. Turn the head over and tack across the ends close to the edge of the head, then remove the pins. Pin the front and the back of the head right sides together, and backstitch all

2 3


Georgia the Pig This sweet piggy created by Louise Kelly will make a lovely Christmas present, plus she’s super simple to make! All you need is some felt, cotton, stuffing and a few bits from your habby stash to create this heirloom treasure. The simple step-by-step will show you how to make Georgia and her dress, but look out for her 90s-style denim jacket online at around the outer edge, leaving the neck area open. Turn the head right sides out, push out the seams, then stuff. Lightly stuff the snout and secure in place on the face using pins pushed straight down through it and into the head. Ladder stitch all around the base of the snout, then remove the pins.

the hole in the neck directly under the mouth. Use a few pins pushed through the base of the head into the neck to hold it firmly in place. Sew the head to the neck using ladder stitch. To attach the arms, use a doll needle and double thread. Pass the thread through the shoulders a few times until it feels secure. Sew through an arm, the shoulders, and then the other arm, back and forth until they’re secure. Finish by adding a 6mm button to each side.


Sew the body


Place two arm pieces together and backstitch all around, leaving a turning gap of about 1cm on a straight edge. For the legs, sew all the way around, leaving a turning gap on a straight edge and the top open. Turn each limb out the right way. Place two body back pieces together and backstitch along the straight edge, leaving a 2cm turning gap in the lower part of the seam. Tack the legs to the body front; the legs should extend past the body by about 0.5cm. Fold the legs back on themselves so that they are within the edges of the body. Pin the back and front sections right sides together, so that the legs are in between the two pieces, then backstitch all around the edge. Turn the doll out the right way by pulling the legs first and then the rest of the body through the turning gap in the back. Stuff the legs, arms and body through the turning gaps. Close all the gaps using ladder stitch. Tuck the neck inside the head and use ladder stitch to sew up some of the hole, so that the head fits snugly onto the neck. Line up

Make the socks and shoes







With the sock pieces, turn under a small hem on the straight edge of each one and backstitch in place. Now place two pieces right sides together and backstitch, leaving the top open. Repeat to make a second sock. For the shoes, put one upper and one sole wrong sides together, matching the edges, then whip stitch leaving the top open. Without cutting the thread, backstitch around the top edge. If you want to add detail to the shoe, backstitch around any cut-out sections.

Create Georgia’s boat-neck dress


Snip into the curved seam allowance around the neckline on all the bodice pieces, turn it over to the wrong side, and secure the tabs with a glue pen. Turn over and glue down the

small hem at the centre back of each back bodice. Using backstitch, sew around the necklines on the front and back pieces and down the straight hems at the centre back. Place the front bodice and one back bodice right sides together and backstitch the shoulder seam. Repeat to attach the other back bodice. Open out the bodice, turn under a small hem on each sleeve and secure it with a glue pen. Sew both hems using backstitch or running stitch. Without cutting the thread, place the bodice right sides together and backstitch the side seams from the underarm to the waistline. Cut fabric, 13cm x 50cm, for the skirt. Turn under a small hem at the right-hand short end. Place the bodice and the skirt right sides together with the bodice on top, lining up the bottom edge of the right-hand side of the bodice and the right-hand end of a long edge of the skirt. Backstitch the pieces together, with a 3mm seam allowance. Fold small 0.5cm pleats as you sew, with two or three stitches in between each. When you get towards the far end, turn under a small hem on the skirt, then finish off the stitching. Backstitch the short edges of the skirt in place and leave the back open. Turn under a hem along the bottom and backstitch. Add two snap fasteners to the back of the bodice and sew on two 4mm buttons to cover them.



15 16 17

sew gifts



free template download /templates

get the


Find out how to make the rest of Georgia’s cute friends in Sew Your Own Animal Dolls by Louise Kelly (Search Press), £11.34,




easy eye mask


minute make!

If you're looking for a super-simple project and a time efficient way to use up your fabric stash, you've come to the right place! All your loved ones will be sleeping in style with this easy-to-sew eye mask that can be made in just 30 minutes. It makes a quick and easy stocking filler, too!


free template download

Get started /templates

• Fabric, assorted fat quarters • Wadding • Elastic, 56cm

Stitch an eye mask


Download the template at, print and cut out the fabric, wadding and lining. Pin elastic to the right side edges and stretch it across your face to find the size that fits. Trim the excess and machine-stitch in place. Place the material right side up, with the elastic facing upwards on top of the wadding, then place the lining on top and pin in place. Machine-stitch around the outside using a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a 5cm opening for turning. Trim the excess and clip the curves, then turn it right side out, press and slip-stitch.

2 3

get the


Let's face it, we'll be swimming in new fabric at Christmas, so now is the time to bust your stash! Tina Barrett's fantastic Fat Quarter: One-Piece Projects book has 25 straightforward creations to make! £12.99,

Edge the mask with contrasting binding for a decorative look 52



jolly snowmen


minute make!

We’re always looking for innovative ways to turn our fat quarter stash into terrific treats for family and friends – and Corinne Bradd’s latest festive make provides the perfect opportunity to do just that! You can stitch this marvellous centrepiece in just an hour using a simple running stitch. How’s that for last-minute sewing?

Get started • Fabric: assorted fat quarters; plain white cotton • Wadding • Embroidery thread, pink • Felt, assorted colours • Pom-poms, cream • Buttons: black; orange

Sew a snowman


Download the template at and cut out a head from cream fabric and a body front from a contrasting

print. Sew at the neck, right sides together, then open out. Trim a back piece from the same fabric used for the body. Stitch the front and back pieces together, right sides facing, leaving the top and bottom ends open. Clip the curves and turn out. Stuff the snowman and, when the head is almost full, turn in 5mm at the raw edge and gather using a running stitch. Continue to stuff, then gather the base using the same stitch and pull to flatten. Cut a 6cm circle of felt and oversew it to the base, then gather around the neck.



Trim four arm pieces and sew in pairs, right sides together, leaving the top edge open. Clip the curves and turn out. Stuff lightly, fold in 5mm at the top and gather. Oversew the tops of the arms to the shoulders, then stitch through the centre of each arm to create a bend. Attach the limbs to the body. Secure two black buttons for eyes, an orange one for the nose, and take two strands of embroidery thread to make a mouth. Fold contrasting fabric, 6cm x 20cm, in half lengthways. Sew three edges, right sides



free template download /templates

Embroider the eyes and nose, instead of using buttons, if giving to little ones 53

together, leaving a gap on one long side. Turn out and press before tying the scarf around the neck. Prepare the two hat pieces and sew on the curved edge, right sides together. Cut a band and sew it into a ring, then fold it in half lengthways, wrong sides together, and zig zag stitch. Slip over the inside-out hat, placing the seam at the back, and sew. Turn it out and add a pompom. Double up the band and attach the hat to the back of the head.




hot water bottle

Keep the chills at bay with this stunning patchwork cover from Corinne Bradd, designed to be made in just over one hour. While this project has been created in complementary blue hues, there's plenty of options for customisation – simply find a fat quarter pack in your recipient's favourite colour and get stitching!

Get started


• Fabric, assorted fat quarters; cotton lining • Medium-weight quilt wadding • A3 card • Hot water bottle

minute make!

Sew a hot water bottle cover


Draw around the hot water bottle onto A3 card, leaving a 5cm margin, then cut out to make a template. Create a panel of stripy patchwork, 43cm x 60cm, from 6cm x 60cm strips of fabric sewn together with a 5mm seam allowance. Pin the patchwork onto quilt wadding and topstitch along the seam lines. Fold the quilted panel in half, right sides together, and sew down the side, making sure the horizontal seams line up neatly. Trim away excess wadding and manoeuvre the fabric so the seam sits in the centre of the folded fabric. Place the template on top and trace around. Pin the folded layers together and stitch along the line, excluding the sides of the neck. Trim the excess fabric to a 6mm seam allowance. Use the template to cut two pieces of plain lining cotton, and sew together in the same way as the quilted fabric. Turn the padded fabric right-side out and put the lining inside. Fold over the raw edges at the neck and top of the cover, pin and slip-stitch together. Roll up the empty hot water bottle sideways and slip into the cover, allowing it to unroll inside.

2 3


Draw inspiration from our columnist Stuart Hillard and stitch in rainbow shades! 54

Spoonflower helped me discover my love of designing fabric prints Meet Heleen van den Thillart, the super-talented fabric designer who launched her career online


ince 2008, Spoonflower has opened its doors to numerous designers, providing them with a platform to showcase and sell their unique fabric prints – and the Dutch designer Heleen van den Thillart is just one of these fabulous artists. We sat down for a quick chat with Heleen to find out what inspires her work, and discover what first attracted her to the platform. “When my parents gave me my first coloured pencils, I fell in love with drawing. I used to go to a club every Saturday for ten years and this passion stayed with me as I got older, developing into a love for design.” After studying a degree at the Academy of Art in the Netherlands, Heleen struggled to find work, so she decided to set up her own brand: “There weren’t many jobs available in design at the time, so I tried to have a go at setting up a business on my own. I’d created a lot of logos and corporate identities for myself before I found my niche.”

Heleen’s unique tea towel designs

Heleen in her studio


At the end of 2014, Heleen discovered Spoonflower, and with it she stepped into the wonderful world of material design: “I kind of stumbled upon the website, but I immediately got excited about the possibilities of printing my designs onto fabric, so I decided to try it. Within a month, I’d made my first sale, and now my shop is constantly growing with the new designs I make every week. “Spoonflower has been, without a doubt, the perfect choice for me! A lot of the designers who have set up shops with the company are also stay-at-home mums; it’s a wonderful community where we all encourage and inspire each other with our work. “It has definitely helped me discover my love for designing prints. The process is very mathematical and precise due to the pattern repeats, yet also free and playful because of the hand drawings. For me, it’s the best of both worlds: artsy and nerdy – a combination I love!” The website has also allowed Heleen to get involved in all sorts of multi-media projects, including its new release title: “It gives me such a thrill to see my designs in the new Spoonflower book; it’s a wonderful feeling to be included in something which supports so many unique artists.”


When it comes to finding fresh ideas, family is at the top of the list for Heleen: “My kids are often a source of inspiration and my husband always encourages me to come up with new projects, although he does think I use too much turquoise in my designs – I just love

Heleen’s llama print would make a lovely Christmas gift!

New Crimbo fabrics

“Spoonflower is a wonderful community where we all encourage and inspire each other with our work” the colour, even the wall behind my desk is turquoise! “I’ve also started transforming my designs into products, such as tea towels, baby bibs, posters and changing mats, plus I’ve recently finished my Christmas postcards. I’ll be making these into repeat patterns soon so I can sell them as part of a new fabric collection on Spoonflower.” Heleen goes on to tell us all about the next step for her designs: “In the future, I’d love to have my own online classes so I can show people the process of making prints. However, right now I’m happy with the way my shop is progressing, and I’m sure when my children are older and in school I’ll have more time to embark on some new design steps!” 55

Brand-new festive postcards

get the book For more fabulous prints from Heleen and other talented designers, check out The Spoonflower Quick-Sew Project Book by Stephen Fraser (£20.99, Abrams). Photography by Zoë Noble.


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Get started • Fabric: quilted Christmas, 55cm x 87cm; white velvet, 45cm square; red cotton, 50cm square; green cotton, 11cm x 12cm; backing, 55cm x 87cm • Medium-weight fusible interfacing • Velvet ribbon, 15mm: green, 70cm; red, 3m • White embroidery thread, one skein • Embroidery needle • Dowel, 60cm Use a 1cm seam allowance unless otherwise stated.

Size 53cm x 85cm

Brimming with chocs and tiny surprises, advent calendars are a must for Christmas lovers across the globe. This design features a Herringbone stitch which, as the name suggests, resembles a fish bone. Also known as Russian cross stitch, it can be used as a decorative border or, as this project shows, a couching stitch over lengths of velvet ribbon.

Project exclusive to


Stitch the pockets


Download and print the template at Cut fusible interfacing into 24, 9cm squares, then trim 23 rectangles from red cotton, 11cm x 12cm. Place the interfacing on each pocket, including the green cotton shape. Position each square so that there is a 1cm fabric border on three sides and 2cm on the fourth, which will form the pocket top. Cut red ribbon into 23, 11cm lengths, plus another in green; set aside the remainder to make hanging loops. Pin ribbon to the right side of each pocket, with the top of the ribbon 2cm from the fabric top edge. Thread a crewel needle with two strands of white embroidery thread and couch the ribbon in place using herringbone stitch. As you make each stitch, pierce the needle through the border of the ribbon to secure. Using the templates, trace the numbers 1-24 on to the paper backing of fusible webbing, place glue side down on the wrong side of white velvet, then press to fuse. Cut out each number, peel off the backing papers, then arrange on the right side of the pockets, with number 24 on the green pocket. Using non-stick baking parchment between the fabric and the iron, press to fuse the numbers in place. Fold and press the fabric borders on the wrong side of each pocket, over the edge of the interfacing on three sides. To neaten the top of each pocket, fold the 2cm border twice, to form a double hem, and stitch.

2 3

4 5

When fusing the webbing to your project, gently press using a hot iron with no steam

Make the calendar


Lay quilted Christmas fabric on a work surface and arrange the pockets in three vertical rows. When you are happy with the arrangement, pin and stitch each one around three sides, leaving the top edge open. Cut the remaining velvet ribbon into five equal lengths. Fold each one in half and pin to the top



edge, evenly spaced, with the cut edges of the ribbons lined up with the raw edge of the fabric, then tack. Place the backing fabric on top of the calendar, right sides together and edges aligned. Stitch all around with a 1cm seam, leaving a gap of 1215cm on the lower edge for turning. Clip corners and turn right sides out.


“The pockets are the ideal size for stashing treats. You could pop a chocolate inside each one, or perhaps a daily note for your loved ones?” Susie Johns, Sew designer


free template download /templates

Herringbone Stitch



Bring the needle up through the fabric at the beginning of the lower line and down on the upper line. This will create a diagonal stitch slanting from left to right.

Bring the needle back up through the fabric to the left, on the upper line. Take it back down on the lower line. This will make a crossed stitch that is wider at the bottom than at the top.



Bring the needle back up through the fabric to the left, on the lower line and down on the upper line, then repeat the rest of step 1 and 2 to the end of the line.


Wish Lis t

The team’s top picks for December We know what you’re thinking: Christmas is fast approaching and after stitching stockings, decorations and calendars, you’ve forgotten about one important thing – the presents! But fear not stitchers, our round-up of crafty treats will solve your dilemmas. We won’t tell anyone if you don’t...

Stocking filler This Scottish Puffin appliqué kit contains everything you need to make a wonderful piece of art! Mounted in a bamboo embroidery hoop, the colourful felt design is created with stitchy newcomers in mind, as there are no complicated embroidery stitches to master. £12.99,

Finishing touch

Keep on giving

The secret pillow – also known as a ‘quillow’ – is a charming cushion that unfolds into a blanket. This colourful gift is made by women in India and sold by the charitable Secret Projects organisation. Available in striking prints and bold colours, this homeware accessory will make a wonderful present – and it’s all for a good cause, too! Prices vary, We’ve fallen head over heels for Deer & Doe’s Luzerne pattern! If you want to up your sewing skill-set, then this trench coat is perfect for you; it’s a double-breasted make with princess seams, front and back pleats, diagonal welt pockets and two-piece sleeves. Are you ready for the challenge? From £9.60,

Add some homemade festive cheer to your Christmas tree this year! Designed for sewing newbies, the Clara craft kit contains everything you need to create this sweet angel duo, including natural wool blend felt and cotton poplin, along with patterns and clear instructions. £10,

Wrap up

Closet classic

Sew funky

If you’re a fan of effortlessly cool sweaters, then you’ll love Nora – the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons! This quick top can be whipped up in an afternoon and comes with easy-to-follow photo instructions as well as handy tips throughout, making it ideal for beginners. £12.50,

If you’re searching for a Christmas gift for a sewing buddy, then look no further! We can’t get enough of Sew Girl, Fiona Hesford’s Funky Kitchen kit which contains African-inspired fabric, thread and patterns in a sweet gift bag – you’ll have everything you need for a complete set of accessories! £10,

Tell us your favourite products by emailing 60



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Be our next...


Tops, frocks and tapered trews that blend a high-level of comfort with ease of wear.

Stitch your way to stardom!


From pretty prom dresses to wedding ensembles, it’s time to showcase your finest partywear.


Draw inspiration from the past with glorious retro makes from your chosen decade.

Upcycling Jump on the eco bandwagon with inventive touches added to your existing garments.



Dressmaker of the Year is back – and this time, it’s bigger and better than ever before!

patterns for everyone who enters

With more than 2,100 entries received in 2018, the competition has become a landmark event for avid Overall Winner sewers across the globe. As last year’s winner Jennie Jennie Stones Stones says: “Just go for it! There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if you don’t win, there’s free treats just for entering! How good is that?” Stay tuned to find out all the details on how to enter...



Kid’s wear Share fun-sized makes for your little ones, from cute costumes to button-up pinafores.


Ann Snow



Our stellar judging panel Y STRTICATRL S

HO DR W r designe

Ray Holman

With credits such as Doctor Who and Broadchurch under his belt, costume designer Ray Holman brings iconic characters to life using the power of an outfit.

Stuart Hillard

Portia Lawrie

Sewing Bee star and beloved Sew columnist, Stuart Hillard brings his in-depth knowledge of fabrics and passion for all things stitchy to his role as a judge this year.

Debbie Shore

Founder of Makery and The Refashioners campaign, Portia Lawrie won our first-ever Dressmaker of the Year competition with an outstanding upcyled jacket.

Between TV presenting, bookwriting and launching her new Half Yard Sewing Club, our columnist Debbie still finds time to stitch up a storm!

Enter now for your chance to win!

Win! £4,000+ Prizes!

Lucy Jobber

Editor of Sew, Lucy Jobber will also be casting a final eye over this year’s competition.


“The quality and creativity of last year’s entries was astounding! I can’t wait to uncover more dressmaking gems this year” LUCY JOBBER, EDITOR

HOW TO ENTER Simply take a clear photo of your garment against a plain background and enter it at dressmakeroftheyear. You can include up to five shots of your make for detail if you like, and you’ll also get the chance to tell us the story behind your make. Contestants can enter each category with multiple garments if they wish, but each must be a different make. All entries must be received by 11th March 2019.

The overall winner will win:

★ Brother Innov-is F420 sewing machine ! WOW ★ One night’s spa break with dinner ★ EQS 96-piece thread collection ★ £100 Hobbycraft voucher ★ Pair of ICHF tickets to a Creative Craft show

Each category winner will get their hands on the following treats:

*UK residents only

Vicky Gill

Head Costume Designer for the Strictly stars, Vicky Gill shares her unique eye for design and brings plenty of sparkle and sequins to her role in the judging dream team.

★ Brother Innov-is A50 sewing machine ★ Pair of ICHF tickets to a Creative Craft show ★ £100 Hobbycraft voucher ★ Roll of Rose & Hubbard fabric


A hand-stitched rainbow hoop is guaranteed to brighten up any room,

These sweet patchwork deer could be whipped up in vibrant shades,

Here’s hoping 2019 brings plenty of colourful crafting!

At home with...

© Photographed by Rachel Whiting.

STUART HILLARD Red, yellow, pink and green, no colour is safe from our columnist this month!

This morning I received the happiest of deliveries! A large brown cardboard box filled with a bundle of my newest fabric range. It’s called Rainbow

Etchings and will be available in shops early springtime. Once again I’ve teamed up with The Craft Cotton Company and we’ve sourced a wonderful mill in South Korea where the world’s finest quilting fabrics are produced. The materials I received are called ‘strike offs’, which are a test run to make sure that everyone is happy with the designs, colours, scale and quality. These are also the first pieces I get to play with and, with Houston Quilt Market looming in just a couple of weeks, I’ll be cracking on with a quilt or two to send to the US. I’m thrilled with the designs, which are etched drawings of rain, clouds, rainbows and the sun in sixteen beautiful saturated colours. Now that designing fabric is a big part of my life, I spend more and more time sketching, painting and most importantly, working with other quilters and sewers for inspiration. Rainbows are an important design staple at the moment and mean so much to so many people. One Bulgarian myth suggests that walking beneath one is enough to make a man think like a woman or a woman think like a man... Maybe you know someone who could do

with a walk under a rainbow? It’s certainly worth a try! A CRAFTY HIBERNATION I get very reflective at this time of year: shorter days and longer nights equals more time in the bear cave, and therefore more time to craft and reflect. Now I’m certainly not a fan of icy chills or bleak skies, and I really don’t relish driving on snowy roads, but the winter has always been a peak time for me to be really creative. It’s the season when my productivity soars; I sew day and night and I surround myself with glorious

“Shorter days and longer nights means there’s more time in the bear cave to craft and reflect”

colours, tones, textures and shapes. While the world outside my window seems like a pared back and spartan place, it unlocks my desire to decorate and embellish even more! December also sees the airing of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas on Channel 4 and this year, I had the huge honour of being a guest judge on the show and having a jolly old time with Kirstie and a bunch of beautiful fabrics! We met up at her Christmas HQ in rural Devon and had a

It was lovely to catch up with Tilly at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Ally Pally!

wonderful few days making beautiful gifts, decorating trees, eating cake and talking all things crafty. The atmosphere was magical and I do hope that you’ll watch the series when it airs. Whether you go for a full-on handmade Christmas or just enjoy a few selected highlights, there’s nothing like sewing your own to bring joy to your home. OUT AND ABOUT I’ve still found time in the last few weeks to visit the Knitting and Stitching shows in both London and Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The best part for me is always meeting other enthusiasts of fabric, yarn and the pursuit of creativity. Maybe it’s because at the core of what we do is creation, making something come alive, but I don’t think I’ll ever meet more positive and wonderful people. Walking around these shows, I’m surrounded by great colour and energy – it’s a wonderful place to call home. Ancient American Indian culture speaks of a prophecy called ‘The Whirling Rainbow’: one day, people of all creeds, colours, races and religions will put aside their differences and ‘whirl’ across the earth. It’s a wonderful thought to go into the New Year with – I hope whatever 2019 brings, it gives you every glorious colour of the rainbow!

Stuart x

You can check in with Stuart on, channels Virgin 748, Freeview 23, Freesat 813 and Sky 683, or visit @stuarthillardsews on Instagram 64

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Confessions of a sewing addict Corinne reveals how she overcomes the dreaded ‘crafter’s block’ – it’s easier said than done!

“I am determined to start making things which aren’t necessarily trendy, but are beautiful, unusual and most importantly – useful” It’s nearing the end of the year and with it, I’ve ran out of project ideas and inspiration.

I actually started suffering with crafter’s block in September, although at this point I still had a couple of makes on my list that I wanted to create – but this time it’s for real! I’ve hit a wall, albeit a wall that’s beautifully decorated with kilim-style hangings and embroidered quotes. Usually, when I’m struggling for inspiration I just glance at our mood board in the office. Working closely with the various creative bods at Crafty HQ means that every emerging trend is explored, highlighted and ultimately pinned up on the wall. Whether it’s something created from paper, yarn or paint, more often than not it can be restyled into something stitched, and it’s

my job to do just that. By the time the trend is readily-available in your favourite shops or boutiques, we’ve moved on to something new; we started gathering information on Christmas trends in July, and we’ve already started on 2019! Every new item I’ve bought or made this year seems to look familiar, with most of the on-trend styles, motifs and colour combos being lovingly housed in my tiny home. I have also ended up with oodles of beautiful leftover fabrics which I end up unfolding, stroking, refolding in a different direction and putting back on the shelf. The problem is that I don’t have enough of any one print to risk cutting it up for a project that might not look as good in real life as it does in my head. It’s that whole seventies upbringing of ‘saving stuff

New year brings new


for best’ rearing its frugal head again. If I don’t shake myself out of this habit then the designs will go out of style and I’ll have to wait another 30 years before they’re fashionably retro again – and goodness knows how strong my reading glasses will have to be by then! So, this coming year I’ve got a new plan; I am determined to wean myself off all of those online scrapbooks and start making things which aren’t necessarily trendy, but are beautiful, unusual and most importantly – useful. Watch this space for tassel-trimmed oven gloves, velvet-patchwork laundry bags and beadencrusted seat covers... or maybe not, perhaps they’re just a step too far. It’s back to the drawing board for now I think! IF LIKE CORINNE, YOU’VE GOT OODLES OF LEFTOVER FABRIC, THEN USE IT TO MAKE THIS GORGEOUS STASH-BUSTING QUILT, SEWMAG.CO.UK







sew sewhome gifts

H Higgs & Higgs H Christmas Critters Fabric Get started • Fabric: Christmas Critters; patterned, white, pale pink, gold and silver cotton • Lightweight quilt wadding • Fibre filling • Medium-weight iron-on interfacing • Fabric glue • Embroidery thread • Cotton DK yarn, yellow • Beads • Ric rac • Metallic braid • Pom-pom trim • Flat-backed gems

*The offer is valid from 12th November until 31st December 2018 while stocks last

• Small bell

The festivities will soon be in full swing, so celebrate with this wonderful fat quarter offer and Corinne Bradd’s easy makes! The Christmas Critters cotton prints have been made into a pretty patchwork quilt, a trio of geometric baubles, a beautiful star wreath and our sweet mascot – Esme the Elf! To top it off, Higgs & Higgs are also providing a fabulous offer on this festive fabric; simply head over to with discount code CRITTERS18* to get a five-piece fat quarter pack for just £9.99!

To claim your discounted fat quarters visit 67



Make a gorgeous trio of decorations to add a unique touch to your Christmas tree

Sew a patchwork quilt

Create geometric baubles



From five cotton prints and two metallics, cut four 11cm squares for the amount of chevron rows desired, then cut four rectangles, 10.5cm x 21cm, from any fabric. Lay out the squares in rows and draw a diagonal line in pencil across the back of every other row. Place the squares right sides together with the adjacent unmarked pieces, then stitch 0.5cm on either side of the pencil line. Cut along the pencil line and open out the fabric to make blocks of half square triangles. Sew the blocks into pairs, then stitch them into a square, matching up the seams. Stitch the rectangles to the bottom edge of each larger block to create solid bands before sewing them together horizontally. Sew the bands

2 3




“‘This beautiful blue-hued, metallic quilt will make the perfect playmat for your little ones, or you could use it as a festive bed throw!�


Download and print the template from sewmag. Cut eight triangles from fusible interfacing for each bauble. Lay out two triangles on the wrong side of four different fabrics, leaving a 1cm gap in between them before ironing. Cut out the triangles, adding a 0.5cm seam allowance around the interfacing. Lay the triangles out in two rows so that each line has a different print below it. Sew the prints together in pairs along one edge and open out to make diamond shapes. Place right sides together in pairs and stitch down one edge, then put the pairs right sides together and sew, leaving a gap in the centre of one seam.

together to make the quilt top and press firmly. Cut backing fabric and wadding 5cm larger than the quilt top. Layer together with the wadding in the middle and the patchwork face-up, then pin at regular intervals. Topstitch the quilt along the horizontal seam lines, then trim the backing and wadding to the same size as the top. Cut several 4cm wide strips of patterned cotton and sew them end to end to make bias binding. Sew the binding facedown around the edges of the back of the quilt, then mitring the corners neatly. Turn the binding up over the edge of the quilt, fold under 0.5cm on the raw edge and pin to the top of the quilt, folding in the mitred corners. Topstitch 1mm from the folded edge to finish.


free template download /templates

Corinne Bradd, sew designer 68


Turn the baubles right sides out and stuff with fibre filling. Fold in the raw edges of the gap and slip-stitch to close. Trim the horizontal seam of the bauble with coordinating ric rac and hand-stitch in place. Make a tassel from embroidery thread wrapped around your hand several times. Bind the top of the wrap with more thread, leaving the long ends. Clip the loops of the thread to make a long tassel. Pass the long ends of the binding through a large decorative bead and stitch to the bottom point of the bauble. Sew a long loop of thread to the top point of the bauble and slip another bead onto this to finish.


sew home



free template download

name our mascot! Thanks to Linsey Williams for helping us ira threads! Help us with We hope you enjoy your prize – a set of Made faceb suggestions for next month’s toy at /templates

Make a star wreath


Download and print the templates from sewmag. Place 30cm squares of patterned and metallic fabric right sides together. Trace the star template onto the stack and pin together before stitching around the central circle. Cut out the centre of the design, leaving a 0.5cm seam allowance. Cut around the star shape, adding a seam allowance and clipping the inner angles. Turn in and finger-press the seam allowance following the pencil line. Flip over and fingerpress the edges to match the other layer of fabric.


Stitch Esme the Elf



Turn the layers inside out through the central circle and press flat, then pin the folded edges together. Slip-stitch the borders of the star together, adding wadding to it as you go, stuffing until it holds its shape. Stitch a loop of ribbon to the metallic side for hanging. Use star templates or dies and cut them out from gold metallic fabric. Glue these to the patterned side of the wreath at the top point and one of the lower points. Intersperse the stars with flat-backed gems.

Download and print the templates from sewmag. Cut out the head, hands and feet from pink cotton, then cut the body and limbs from patterned fabric, adding a 0.5cm seam allowance to each piece. Sew the head to the neck of each body piece and the hands and feet to the bottom of each limb, right sides together. Open out and press. Sew the matching pieces right sides together, leaving the straight edges of each section open for turning. Firmly stuff the limbs, leaving 1.5cm at the top of each one. Fold in 0.5cm along the open edges and slip-stitch closed. Stuff the head and body, then fold in the bottom raw edge and slip-stitch closed. Hand-sew the limbs onto the body, then trim the neck, wrists and ankles with metallic braid and add a band of pom-pom trim to the bottom of the tunic. Embroider a face using two strands of coloured thread. Use a darning needle to sew loops of yellow



“‘Get your home ready for the festivities and hang this beautiful make in your living room, or gift it to a loved one this Christmas”



Corinne Bradd, sew designer 69


free template download /templates

yarn across the forehead, stitching in between each one to secure. Clip the loops neatly to make a fringe. Cut 15 lengths of yarn, 30cm long, then bind the hank in the centre. Fold over to make a tassel and plait the strands to an 8cm length. Bind the bottom of the plait with more yarn and trim the ends. Make a second identical plait and stitch these either side of the fringe. Trim a hat from metallic fabric and band from patterned cotton. Fold the band in half lengthways, right sides out, and stitch to the bottom curved edge of the hat, right sides together. Fold the piece in half and stitch down the back seam. Turn the hat right sides out and trim the band with ric rac braid. Fit the hat over the head to cover the top of the hair. Secure with a few stitches before sewing a small bell to the point.





Clothkits, Chichester Visit NOV


Empire Lampshade




Spend a day at Clothkits to learn how to create a traditional empire lampshade. Using fabric of your choice, you’ll be taught how to prepare, stretch, attach and hand-sew the material onto the frame, alongside adding trims and binding for a beautiful finish. Price: £75


Shift & Swing Dress

Sign up for a fun-filled two-day workshop where you can make one of these gorgeous Have a go at practising capped TUE dresses! sleeves as well as button and loop openings with the trapeze-shaped swing dress, or create the classic shift with cut-away pockets, zips and darts. Price: £120


Kick your skills up a notch with our workshops

Sew in the City, Sheffield

Visit DEC


Christmas Trinket Box

Head along to Sew in the City for a day of festive crafting! In this class, you’ll have the opportunity to make a tiny fabric-covered trinket box for Christmas, or a tooth fairy pouch to gift to a little one. Throughout the day, you’ll also be guided through the process of lining and fastening a zip to your projects. Price: £20





Liberty Fairy Light Garland Add a touch of hygge to your home this Christmas with these pretty Liberty London fabric fairy lights. You will have a selection of Liberty Tana Lawn material to choose from, and will learn how to adhere the lampshadestyle bases to the fabric, adding embellishments of your choice. Price: £49.50



Crimbo Embroidery

Get crafting for the festive season SAT with this popular workshop, taught by experts Ellie and Hannah from online store, Fizzy Pigg. With this tutorial, you’ll learn how to handembroider a personalised decorative hoop, which is perfect for giving to a loved one on Christmas Day! Price: £25



The Makery, Bath and London


Get to grips with the art of needle felting! Lou from online Etsy store, SUN ThimbleLou, will teach you how to mould and model wool fleece into your very own pretty penguin decoration – it will make a gorgeous ornament to adorn your home with this winter! Price: £36


Visit DEC


Needle Felting

Mini Embroidery Hoop Pendant

This workshop is perfect for beginners as it will help you learn the basics of hand-embroidery. Plus, you’ll end the day with a finished pendant which is perfect for gifting to a loved one this Christmas! If you don’t fancy making this piece into a necklace, you can always transform it into a keyring or festive decoration instead. Price: £10



Christmas Decorations

This workshop can be enjoyed by the whole family! If you have children over the age of eight, then bring them SAT along to have a go at making these lovely festive decorations to adorn your home. The class will teach basic hand-sewing techniques and how to add trimmings, such as lace, ribbon, buttons and sequins. Price: £15


Guthrie & Ghani, Birmingham


Make your very own party top in time for the festive season! SUN On this one-day course, you’ll tackle sewing with sequins or silky, slippy fabrics to create your glitzy outfit. You’ll also get a choice of two patterns: opt for the Scout Tee which has a loose shape and classic style, or go for the Ogden Cami with its V-neck and spaghetti straps. Price: £79


Visit DEC

Glitzy Top

Festive Bee

What better way to enjoy the festivities than sipping on mulled wine THU and eating mince pies while crafting? At this workshop, you can do just that! You’ll be able to choose between two projects: a decoration with bells, or an appliqué sack with which you’ll learn how to create a channel for the drawstring. Plus, there’s 10% off fabric in the shop on the day! Price: £22



Sewing Stretchy Fabrics

In this one-day workshop, you’ll discover how to create a Linden sweatshirt from Grainline SAT patterns – this style is a gorgeous staple for your winter wardrobe! Not only will it teach you crucial techniques for sewing with this type of fabric, but it will also show you how to make raglan sleeves and add stretchy cuffs. Price: £79



Proudly sponsored by

It’s been another wonderful

Sew Saturday S

ew Saturday may be over, but we’ve loved catching up with your stories across the nation; whether you remember joining in with a bag-making workshop, indulging in some homemade cake, or perhaps you think fondly of the discount you got on that fabric you’ve been coveting. Read on for our round-up of one of the stitchiest days of the year – and who knows, maybe your unicorn mascot will make an appearance...

Rachel’s Textiles Studio

“Seeing everyone enjoy themselves made it all worthwhile!” A happy customer at GillyBee Designs!

Gillybee Designs

“It’s a safe haven where we can escape from life’s stresses”

Owner Rachel had advertised the Jersey-based shop on her local radio station in the hope of encouraging more stitchers to get involved in Sew Saturday – and it certainly did the trick. “I provided everything for free, so all of the money donated went to Jersey Hospice care – we raised £363 in total. It was exhausting, but seeing everyone enjoy themselves made it all worthwhile!”

This toddler’s hoodie was the winner of Goldstitch’s competition


The Sew team headed to GillyBee Designs in Norwich for Sew Saturday! Gilly had set up a tote bag workshop and, while everyone was hard at work, we took the opportunity to catch up with attendees and delve into a slice of cake... or two! Sewist Jackie shared what the shop means to her: “I attend Gilly’s Thursday evening sessions along with seven other ladies. From the minute we go through the door, it’s like stepping into a safe haven full of fabric where we can escape life’s stresses for a few hours.” On the day, Gilly was busy lending sewers her expertise and unwavering support. “Gilly makes you feel like you can actually sew well! We have a lot to thank her for.”

“The standard of creativity was incredible!” If there was an award for fitting the most tasty treats into Sew Saturday, Goldstitch would certainly take the lead – customers helped out by bringing along delicious bakes for everyone to enjoy! The Durham-located store also hosted a tea towel sewing challenge. Owner Jean says: “The standard of creativity this year was incredible, but it was a tea towel hoodie that reigned superior!” 72

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Unleash your inner creativity We are your local independent Craft Store, stocking a wide range of craft materials, haberdashery, yarns, kids crafting, modelling, paints and much more. We hold regular workshops & events. Why not pop in and unleash your inner creativity, you are sure of a warm welcome.


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Join our fun ‘Sewing Bee’ workshops and short courses for garment technique specific projects. We can arrange one to one tuition to suit you.

Bugweed’s Ltd is dedicated to sewing and crafts. We teach adults and children, make bespoke items, host birthday parties, hen parties and baby showers and sell a wide range of fabric and haberdashery.

The Ropewalk, Barton upon Humber, North Lincolnshire DN18 5JT



Phone: 01280 308 721 Opening times: Mon, Tue, Thurs & Fri 9.30am - 4pm Saturday 9.30am - 2pm Closed Wednesday & Sunday



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The Corner Patch


a little corner of patchwork heaven Opening Hours: Tues - Sat 10 - 5 Late Night Wednesday until 8 Fabric, Wadding, Threads and Haberdashery Workshop & Classes for all Abilities

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Download your digital patterns in

4 EASY STEPS! Get prepped for party season with our FREE pattern downloads!


1 the Sew website at for FREE. Find the tab circled at the top.


2 title, according to the project names opposite. Click on the search tab.

SHAKIRA STYLE Take a walk on the wild side with this tiebelt design, made from just two pieces!




Slip on a soft jersey wrap dress for ultimate comfort and style.

...which you will find under the main image.


4 right clicking to save on your computer, then print out (DON’ T fit to the page!) PRINT OUT & KEEP

Issue 100 Aug issue 2017 Issue 118 December 2018

JUST PRINT OUT THE PAGE OR PAGES YOU NEED FROM YOUR PRINT MENU In your print menu, under Size options, be sure to select to print ‘Actual Size’, instead of ‘Fit to Page’

You can also locate the templates for this issue and all of our previous issues at Designer: Amanda Walker Magazine page: 18 Total 23 pages to print








EL PAN ACK T&B side FRON oth FOR on b PLEAT otch uter n een o r betw Gathe

BACK FACING Cut one pair









FRONT PANEL Cut one on fold SIDE PANEL Cut two on fold BACK PANEL Cut one pair

FRONT FACING fold Cut one on

Cut one pair for back panels

BACK BODICE Cut one pair

Cut on fold for centre front panel and side panels

FRONT BODICE Cut one on fold

‘TILING’ DIGITAL PATTERNS Note that most digital patterns need to be ‘tiled’. This involves placing the A4 printouts in the correct order to form the pattern as indicated – so get some sticky tape ready to join the sheets! 20


centre front





Lorem ipsum


WAISTBAND Cut one only


All projects, templates and patterns are for personal home use only and cannot be sold or used for commercial purposes.



Ramp up your party look with a figurehugging pencil number.

You don’t need to spend hours stitching to look stunning, as this shift dress proves.


directory • FABRICS • SEWING MACHINES • HABERDASHERY • PATTERNS Everything from Craft Cottons, through Polar Fleece to Lycra

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UNMISSABLE CRAFTING SHOW We've secured 10 pairs of tickets, for you and a like-minded crafty friend, to attend the Craft4Crafters show in Exeter! This three-day event will feature a whole host of artistic delights, including textile displays, demonstrations, workshops and over 170 national and local craft suppliers. Available at We have ten pairs of tickets to give away. To enter, tick CRAFTERS





EQS has one of the most extensive collections of fabric in the UK, including incredible brands such as Michael Miller and Riley Blake. Luckily for you, its offering the chance to win Miller's Kasmir Gardens bundle! The collection is adorned with traditional floral motifs, and each piece is highly decorative, and full of colour and pattern! Available at

Bumper Giveaways We have one bundle to give away. To enter, tick EQSUK



Get your hands on the extraordinary Gemini Junior twin-function machine! Perfectly complementing the Gemini in size and style, the Junior is a portable diecutting and embossing machine. To top it off, we also have four Miniature Friends to give away: these versatile, 1.5mm-thick multi-media dies come in the shape of cute foxes, owls, deer and hedgehogs. Available at We have one bundle to give away. To enter, tick GEMINI

1 Bundle to win!


Relax, unwind and refresh with a spa break for two. The voucher is available for a selection of hand-picked hotels, and comes with dinner, an overnight stay and one treatment for you and a friend; enjoy a soak in the jacuzzi and some downtime in the sauna before heading off for a rejuvenating facial – we feel relaxed just thinking about it! Available at

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We have one voucher to give away. To enter, tick SPA


Kawaii Fabric houses thousands of stunning materials from world-renowned designers. Enter today to get your hands on a fabric bundle full of all kinds of colours, weights and types – it's suitable for just about every sewing project you can think of! Kawaii Fabric also offer free shipping on all orders over £55. Available at We have ten bundles to give away. To enter, tick KAWAII


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1 Teddy


If you're ready to take your fabric stash up a notch, then this amazing prize from Higgs & Higgs is the way to do it! Win a bundle including quilted cotton and cable knit jersey, as well as three prints from the brand-new Magique collection in glorious colours and on-trend patterns. Available at

to win!

We have one bundle to give away. To enter, tick HIGGS


Grin & Bear is a leading British teddy company which create the ultimate heirloom gifts for little ones and those of you who are young at heart. The manufacturer has teamed up with Liberty London to produce two handmade teddies in Christmas fabric, and you have the chance to win one of these limited-edition bears! Available at and

1 Bundle to win!

STITCH ALONG Hands up if you like to have the music on while you're sewing – us too! This CD, newly-released by Naxos Records on 14th September, is jampacked with tunes from various classical artists to listen to as you're stitching. Available at We have 21 CDs to give away. To enter, tick CD


We have one teddy to give away. To enter, tick BEAR

We have more than

MAKE YOUR MARK Contrado is giving away a voucher to print any design on custommade clothing, a choice of 105 fabrics or over 250 lifestyle products. With the services of this store, you can create something unique to you. Plus, your final product will be ready for you just two days after purchase. Available at


as a treat for all our lovely readers!

We have five £30 vouchers to give away. To enter, tick PRINT

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5 to win!

Put a personal spin on Christmas this year with a signed copy of Corinne Lapierre's bestselling book and a coordinating craft bundle. The prize includes soft wool mix felt, ribbon and thread, as well as a quirky llama kit – make your crafty creations into gifts which will be cherished for years to come. Available at We have five books and kits to give away. To enter, tick DECORATION

Sally's Cottages is an award-winning holiday letting agency with over 470 retreat houses in the Lake District and Cumbria, and it's offering you a voucher so you can stay in any one of them! Will you head off to the peaceful hills or opt for a quaint town? Wherever you stay, it's guaranteed to be picturesque. Valid for 12 months from issue, subject to availability. Available at

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We have three £100 vouchers to give away. To enter, tick COTTAGE 82

enter online at


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ULTIMATE COLLECTION If you're new to dressmaking, then we have just the prize for you! Hemline's deluxe sewing kit is a real treasure-trove of tools and accessories, and we've secured all of the necessary equipment you need for your projects, including a sewing machine bag, Bondaweb, Framilastic tape and so much more – you'll never be short of supplies again! Gütermann available at and Vlieseline available at

Sew have secured three one-month memberships to Debbie Shore's exclusive club, Half Yard Sewing, as well as copies of her bestselling book, Occasion Bags. The club showcases special monthly projects with patterns and video tutorials, not to mention the online feedback sessions with Debbie herself! Available at and We have three one-month memberships and ten books to give away. To enter, tick DEBBIE

We have five bundles to give away. To enter, tick BUNDLE



Who doesn't love Art Gallery Fabrics' stunning selection of timeless prints and bold materials? We know we do! Its fabric collections are well-known for exceptional quality with unparalleled weave and thread count; that's why we've hand-picked a bundle of the most exciting materials just for you! Available at We have one bundle to give away. To enter, tick ART

One lucky reader is going to win the brand-new Sew Lovely collection – the exciting addition to the Sara Signature set at Crafter's Companion! This coordinating range features everything you need to create beautiful projects, from mixed media and home décor items, to faux leather and essential haberdashery. Available at We have one collection to give away. To enter, tick SARA

1 Bundle to win!

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£220! To enter our giveaways, just tick the box that corresponds with the prizes you want to win and send your entry to us no later than 27.12.2018. Mark your envelope: Sew December Giveaways, PO Box 443, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP2 8WG.


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we’re loving... Delve into something new with these delightful reads

The Fashion Chronicles

by Amber Butchart Fashion historian, Amber Butchart has released this fascinating book which explores the style stories of the best-dressed icons! Across cultures and throughout history, people have used clothing as a symbol of power and status, from Eve’s fig leaf to Beyoncé’s Black Panther homage – the looks are as diverse and inspiring as they come! Octopus Books, £20,

The Big Book of Pretty & Playful Appliqué by Carol Armstrong

The title speaks for itself – you can create charming and lifelike appliqué from any of the 160 fullsize, flora-and fauna-inspired patterns inside. Carol’s book is perfect for nature and animal lovers alike, as it enables stitchers to decorate everything from clothing to homeware with delicate petals and dainty wings. C&T Publishing, £21.40,

A Year of Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi

The celebrated textile artist and designer, Yumiko Higuchi follows the ever-changing seasons in this guide to embroidery. Each month is woven into 38 extraordinary patterns inspired by Scandinavian designs, including garden veggies for autumn and skiing bears for winter. With gorgeous imagery, clear step-by-step instructions and detailed diagrams, this book can be enjoyed by sewists of all abilities! Roost Books, £16.80,

Embroidered Treasures: Birds

by Dr Annette Collinge You’ll be amazed by the stunning array of colours inside this book!

Sewing enthusiasts will be blown away by the history of the embroiderers’ guild and its collection – learn all about the use of metal thread, birds in art and every stitch variation you could possibly think of! Search Press, £20,

Women Who Rock Cross-stitch by Anna Fleiss and Lauren Mancuso

Let’s face it: women rock! Whether dominating stages on a stadium tour or redefining music, girls have always been a force to be reckoned with when shaping the music industry – and now, you can cross-stitch your favourite pop star! Who out of the 20 icons will you embroider first? We’re starting with Dolly Parton! Running Press, £13.80,

Shibori for Textile Artists by Janice Gunner

Shibori is a Japanese dyeing method which is all the rage in the sewing world. This practical guide shows you how to create materials bursting with intricate patterns and bold colour through a variety of techniques such as wrapping, pleating and binding. That’s not all, Janice also teaches you how to transform your dyed fabric into a marvellous quilt or wall hanging! Batsford, £14.99,

How to Embroider by Susie Johns

We’re taking you back to the essentials with this wonderful book! If you’re an embroidery beginner, then this guide is for you – each new technique is clearly explained and accompanied by a super-easy project, such as a tea cosy and baby blanket, to put your fresh knowledge into practise! The GMC Group, £7.99,

Discover more from Susie Johns on p58


who does what... Editor, Lucy Jobber 01206 505420 Deputy Editor, Sophie Demetriades Editorial Assistant, Laura Wybrow Publishing Director, Helen Tudor Group Editor, Lynn Martin Advertisement Sales Hannah Suttling 01206 505495 Anna Spilsbury 01206 505932 Sarah Collins 01206 506255 Jackie Weddell 01206 506221 Jo Bluck 01206 506253 Art Director, Phil Dunham Designers Gemma Eales & Cat Morton Ad Production, Angela Scrivener Photography CliQQ Photography, Models Sylvia, Anna Sophie, Ariana, Colette, Nevs; Kate, Kirsty, BMA Models Fashion stylist, Boo Hill Hair and Make up, Dottie Monaghan Accounts, Denise Bubb 01206 505958 Subscription Enquiries/Back Issues 0330 333 0042 Website Enquiries



Get to grips with the dressmaking basics! THE PERFECT FIT

The key to successful fitting is taking accurate body measurements to ensure you get the right size. Pattern sizes aren’t the same as high street clothing sizes, so don’t be tempted to skip this stage. Once you’ve taken your measurements, compare them to those on the pattern envelope or Size It Up panel over the page, then you can make any necessary alterations. Cut out the paper according to the size closest to the measurements you have selected, choosing the best fit (for dresses, blouses and jackets) in the bust and shoulder, as this area is harder to adjust. If your waist or hip measurements are out of proportion according to the standard pattern size, then simply graduate in or out to reach the relevant waist or hip lines to your size.

l Measure yourself in your underwear, preferably in the bra you will be wearing. l Use a new tape measure as they can distort out of shape over time. l Ask a friend to help you, especially with tricky measurements such as your back-neck to waist and height. l Be honest with your measurements and remember that pattern sizes are totally different to ready-to-wear high street sizing. l Use your measurements to help you adjust the pattern to fit your shape, not forgetting to take the required amount of ease into account.

Newstrade Sales Marketforce 0203 148 3300 Marketing Manager, Andrea Turner


Subscriptions Executive Jo Gould

HIGH BUST Published by Aceville Publications Ltd 21-23 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY © Aceville Publications Ltd. 2018 Toy safety: please note that toys with small parts are not suitable for children under three years of age. If making a toy for a very young child omit any buttons and embroider the details instead. Babies should be supervised when playing with toys. All projects from this issue and the FREE online patterns are for personal home use only and cannot be sold or used for commercial purposes. All patterns that are featured in Sew are reproduced in good faith that they do not infringe any copyright. The publishers are not responsible for any safety issues arising from any items created from projects contained within Sew magazine. While all possible care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of all projects, we are not responsible for printing errors or the way in which individual work varies. Please read instructions carefully before starting construction.



Measure while in the underwear you will be wearing and hold the tape measure comfortably snug, but avoid pulling tight.

HEIGHT Standing against a flat wall without wearing shoes, measure from the floor to the top of your head. HIGH BUST Measure directly under the arms, straight across the back and above the bust. FULL BUST Take the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust and straight across the back. WAIST Tie a length of narrow elastic around the waist and let it settle naturally at your waistline, then measure over it. Keep the elastic handy for future garments. HIPS Measure around the body at the fullest part. This is usually 18-23cm below the waist. 86

Use our FREE pattern to create this pretty Lisa top and skirt combo at!


SIZE it up

Once you have your body measurements, choose the closest size from the chart below. Remember, there will be variations depending on which fabric and pattern you choose, so always make a toile first.

For size 8:

Bust - 78cm Waist - 59cm Hip - 85cm Back neck to waist - 39cm

For size 10:

Bust - 83cm Waist - 64cm Hip - 88cm Back neck to waist - 40cm

For size 12:

Bust - 88cm Waist - 69cm Hip - 93cm Back neck to waist - 41cm

For size 14:

Bust - 93cm Waist - 74cm Hip - 98cm Back neck to waist - 42cm


The basic markings you will find on commercial dressmaking patterns are important to familiarise yourself with. These marks indicate various techniques or steps and are best transferred onto your fabric pieces once you’ve cut them.

MULTIPLE SIZE CUTTING LINES These lines indicate dress sizes. Highlighting yours can help with cutting.

BUST/HIP INDICATORS Located at the bust and hip points on the pattern – make any necessary adjustments if yours don’t fall there.

TUCKS AND GATHERS Bring these lines together before stitching.

GRAINLINE Align this mark with the grain of the fabric i.e. parallel to the warp (see below).

LENGTHEN/SHORTEN HERE This is an opportunity to customise the pattern to your preferences.

BUTTON / BUTTONHOLE PLACEMENTS These indicate where buttonholes should be made on a garment.

FOLD LINE This mark indicates that the pattern piece should be positioned along the fold of the fabric, creating a larger ‘mirrored’ piece.

MISCELLANEOUS MARKINGS These come in a range of sizes and are used as points of reference on a pattern to indicate where pieces should be placed.

NOTCHES Match two pieces of fabric together at these points.

“To ensure the hem is professionally finished, use narrow fusible stabilisers on the inside fold to prevent it from stretching while sewing. Next, turn the hem under and stitch from the right side of the garment. For this, you can use a twin needle, but don’t fret if you don’t have a second spool pin, as two bobbins will fit on a single one.” MAY MARTIN, SEWING PERSONALITY

For size 16:

Bust - 98cm Waist - 79cm Hip - 103cm Back neck to waist - 43cm

For size 18:

Bust - 103cm Waist - 84cm Hip - 108cm Back neck to waist - 44cm

For size 20:

“This Abigail viscose and lycra jersey blend has a timeless polka dot design, which would look gorgeous when made into a wrap dress, skirt or top.”

With the paper pattern pieces facing up, place them onto the fabric. Some will need to be placed on the fold of the fabric (where it’s folded in half, giving you a mirrored piece), which will be indicated on the individual pattern pieces. Most patterns offer a layout guide for the placement, according to the width of your fabric. This helps you get the most from your fabric, and avoids wastage. Pattern pieces that are not indicated to be placed on the fold need to be put on the material with the grainline arrow running parallel to the selvedge. Measure the distance from one end of the arrow to the selvedge, repeat for the other side of the arrow, and move the pattern piece until both measurements are the same.

Getting to grips with your fabric is a fundamental part of sewing. Before you start, familiarise yourself with:

WARP These are the yarns that run the length of the fabric. They are stronger than weft yarns and less likely to stretch.

WEFT These run over and under the warp threads across the fabric from selvedge to selvedge. BIAS The bias grain runs 45° to the warp and weft of the fabric. Cutting garments on the bias creates a finished piece that will follow the contours of the body. SELVEDGE The non-fraying, woven edges that run parallel to the warp grain is the selvedge.


Bust - 108cm Waist - 89cm Hip - 113cm Back neck to waist - 45cm




Abigail, £7 per metre,







WORTH £2,700!

WINNER ANNOUNCED CHRISTMAS EVE 7 night stay at the luxurious Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Includes transfers.

£24.99 FOR 6 ISSUES

A gift for them and a gift for you

£19.99 FOR 7 ISSUES

£24.99 FOR 6 ISSUES

£19.99 FOR 7 ISSUES


VISIT ACEVILLE.COM/XMAS18H OR CALL 0330 333 0041 AND QUOTE XMAS18H ­­Lines are open Monday – Friday 9am-5.30pm, Saturdays & Bank Holidays 10am-3pm *Terms and conditions apply, for further details please refer online or ask our customer service team when calling.

Next month in





DRESS YOUR BEST * Features subject to change

 l Four fabulous styles to


choose from S  tep up your skill-set with silks and sheers


You’ll love our


l Stitch a floral embroidery hoop


l Mega Paddington Bear fabric

 l Just one pattern piece

offer – only £7!

for each garment Perfect for beginner stitchers!

l Plus, we chat with the founders


of Named Clothing!


Go wild with zebra print, £65,

Leopard makes a roar on the highstreet, £48.50,

Ace your animal accessories

Silvia Olsen/REX/Sh utterstock

New belt on the block, £10,

Less is more with this snakeskin clutch,

Style Story

ANIMAL PRINT It’s time to take a walk on the wild side Words by Laura Wybrow

Exotic and daring animal prints have captivated us for centuries. From leopard and snakeskin, to zebra and crocodile, these designs have always been big news in the fashion world and it’s time us stitchers got on board!

As early as the 18th century, kings and queens used animal rugs and decorative skins to showcase their wealth; fabrics resembling catlike spots were also seen decorating the uniforms and saddle-cloths of the Napoleonic cavalry. According to Hilary Alexander, the author of new-release title Leopard, aristocracy and animal print are two peas in a pod: “These prints link royalty to first ladies: Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Grace of Monaco and Jackie Kennedy have all been seen wearing animal-skin coats.” This print has also played a starring role in Hollywood, too. “No pin-up was worth a roll of celluloid unless she posed on leopard print: just look at the endless publicity shots of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe!” exclaims Hilary. And it continued through to the swinging sixties: “Barbra Streisand was also seduced by the print in Funny Girl (1968) when she was dressed by Irene Sharaff, the power-house behind Elizabeth Taylor’s leopard-clad costumes in Cleopatra.” So what is it about this print that has made it so iconic? As designer Donatella Versace famously said: ‘Leopard symbolises

glamour and something a little wild… We feel closer to something that is breathtakingly beautiful, gracious and precious.’


When it comes to animal prints, fake is fashion’s best weapon. Hilary reveals that: “Jackie Kennedy’s favourite designer, Oleg Cassini, was so horrified by the leopard skin mania that he began using man-made fibres to produce fake fur.” It kickstarted a revolution that has since inspired designers such as Stella McCartney and Hugo Boss. Thankfully, animal prints are now widely transferred onto materials such as cotton, silk and more. Because of this, the possibilities for creating outfits that roar are simply endless! Low-pile faux fur is sturdy and easy-to-sew with, making it perfect for accessories and thick gilets for the winter, while luxe silk dupion has a smooth, crisp finish that would look oh-so elegant as a snakeskin midi dress. ‘But how do we pattern match with such bold prints?’ we hear you ask. It’s important to remember to measure the repeats on your chosen fabrics, keep all the directional prints facing the same way and most importantly, choose a pattern that will hold its own in a busy material. A simple but effective idea is to drape your dressmaker’s mannequin with your chosen length of fabric, then cinch in with a belt to give the illusion of a dress. As for accessorising, anything 90

goes! Animal print is regarded by many as a neutral, adding personality to closet classics and elevating any plain ensemble from drab to fab. So, now that you’re clued-up on this fabulous trend, what will you sew first?


Create chic garments in these striking materials, and remember to include these leopard buttons to let your outfit roar! Sevenberry zebra print fabric, £12 per metre

Large leopard print design button, £1.40 for one Jane Makower Fabrics cheetah mixer, £12.50 per metre

Delve into Hilary Alexander’s book Leopard (Laurence King Publishing), for more inspiration! £16.99 FABRIC AND BUTTONS ARE FROM GILLYBEE.CO.UK

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