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Edition 5 – July 2019

Modern sewing


A popular fabric choice for Summer

starts here...

Make the most of your summer sewing here

Introducing... The first capsule pattern collection from Closet Case

La Boheme skirt by Vanessa Pouzet made by Alexis Wright using fabric from the Art Gallery Fabric collection – Everlasting by Sharon Holland


Editor’s Letter Hello The first half of this year has just flown by, and life just seems to get faster and faster but when it comes to sewing, it’s a chance to slow down the pace and loose yourself in something you love to do. In this issue, there really is something for every type of stitcher out there. WI Closet C N WIN W If you want to start sewing your own clothes, we’ve put a page together for a IN! collectio se has created you of patterns that are suitable for beginners (page 5). Sarah Ashford shares its first n of sew capsule in g pattern we’ve 3 some of her tips for keeping your sewing room organised (page 8) and Trudi s. To ce sets of lebrate each of pattern the sew s that m Woods discusses free-motion quilting (page 9). Also not to be missed is our ing ake up collectio th is n to giv wardrob interview with Susanne Firmenich, the surface pattern designer behind the e away! Shorts, e P Fiore Sk irt and C ietra Pants & popular German brand Hamburger Liebe (page 12). Rayon is a currently ielo Top with a re & tail pric popular fabric choice with sewers – Julie Bonnar talks about how to sew with For a ch e of £48 Dress ance to . w in this soft drape fabric (page 11). one of th –c lick here e sets Closing to ente date is 30th Au r gust 20 19

Happy stitching! Hantex Subscribe free to get your copy – click here


Quilter’s love Elizabeth Hartman’s patterns, and they are consistently ranked among our best selling quilt patterns. Have fun with the three latest designs featuring lemurs, animals from the Savanna and tropical leaves. The designs are made with conventional patchwork techniques, and there’s no templates or paper piecing! They’re perfect for using with fat quarters, fat eights and 10in pre-cut squares. To view these three new patterns and others from Elizabeth Hartman – click here Alison Glass’s patterns use colour in a unique way to create amazing colourful quilts. The three new striking patterns to join the line up are the Aura, Solstice and North Quilt. The Aura quilt explores shape and colour, while Solstice will vary in style depending on placement, and the fabric you choose. This quilt also has two size options and colour layout styles. And the North features a contemporary compass quilt. All three patterns feature foundation paper piecing techniques and include the block template, detailed instructions, and a colouring page. To take a look at Alison Glass Quilt Patterns – click here


Pick of the


New sewing pattern releases that you’ll want to make


THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT! The Shelby pattern is a princess-seamed dress and romper/playsuit that has four stylish options. Each has a V-shaped neckline, front button opening, and back waist tie. Views A and B are dresses with short sleeves offering a mid-thigh mini or ankle-skimming lengths. Views C and D are playsuits with cap sleeves that gives the illusion of a dress but with the coverage of shorts/trousers. To find out more about the Shelby Dress & Romper from True Bias – click here

Jalie has just released a collection of 12 new patterns including the Alice V-neck blouse. This feminine semi-fitted top is comfortable to wear as it has more ease around the waist. The V-neck is neatly finished with facing, and there’s a cap sleeve and optional keyhole back. The diagonal seaming makes this top a bit special allowing you to do some fun colour blocking and create a mock crossover effect. To find out more about the all the new sewing patterns from Jalie – click here


Cashmerette has just brought out the lovely sundress, Holyoke, which says goodbye to bust gaping thanks to its princess seams and faux placket. This sophisticated maxi dress has built-in comfort courtesy of the back-elasticated waistband, and your bra straps are hidden with the carefully designed straps. Whether made up in a floaty rayon challis or sumptuous linen – this sewing pattern will keep you looking cool all summer long. The pattern comes in sizes 12-28, with cup sizes C to H, and can be made as a full-length skirt too. To take a closer look at this Cashmerette sewing pattern – click here Check out the free-to-use resource listing of the very best Indie patterns and filter by fabric, garment, brand or skill level by visiting

Sewing that’s made 4 sewing patterns that are ideal for beginners but also are quick makes for your holiday wardrobe


First capsule pattern collection

Inspired by a trip to Rome, Heather, the designer behind Closet Case Patterns has created the brand’s first capsule collection. Rome is designed as a chic capsule wardrobe, and is filled with simple to make and gorgeous to wear pieces that pair effortlessly with one another. Each pattern has been thoughtfully designed with beginners in mind, and is filled with enough interesting design details and variations to entice more advanced sewers too. The collection includes three versatile sewing patterns – Pietra Pants & Shorts, Fiore Skirt and Cielo Top & Dress. All of the new patterns can be made with a wide variety of fabrics such as crisp wovens like linen, chambray, light to medium weight cottons, and drapey fabrics like rayon challis, silk and tencel. To view more options from this versatile capsule collection from Closet Case – click here



My first skirt

The choice is yours! The Uniform Tunic has been designed so you are in control of how this top will finally look! Grainline Studio has provided four fab options for you to sew so that the styling is endless. All the design features can be mixed and matched so you can choose your favourite neckline, select the right sleeve for you, as well as add the much-needed pockets – you can’t really go wrong! To find out more about the Uniform Tunic – click here

The Rae skirt is designed for true beginners, so if you can work a sewing machine and follow directions you can make this skirt! Sewaholic developed this pattern in collaboration with a local sewing instructor. Designed as a very first sewing project for practicising sewing and finishing seams, and with vertical seams along the front back and sides of the skirt to create a better fit, and more flattering silhouette than a rectangle-shaped elastic skirt. This beginner-level project will be a garment that you’ll actually want to wear! To view the Rae skirt pattern – click here


Quick and easy

This lovely breezy tank and dress from Jalie has a rounded V-neck and shoulder straps, which are wide enough to cover your bra. The dress has a doublelayer style that allows you to use sheer fabrics in your stash while the tank option has a facing for opaque fabrics. The dress has a bodice with a roomy above-knee skirt with pockets that starts just above natural waist. It’s perfect for making in lightwoven fabrics with a soft hand and nice drape. The pattern includes 28 sizes. For more details about the Michelle Tanks and Dress – click here



Brazilian-born sewing blogger, Rachel Pinheiro, shares her ideas for how you can incorporate the scarf print trend into your sewing


Scarf print

When you think of scarf prints – paisley, chains, ornate baroque and modified florals spring to mind. The scarf print design was introduced by Versace in the ’90s but you can also take inspiration from Richard Quinn, Toga, Salvatore Ferragamo, Marni, Loewe, Jonathan Anderson and Chloe, just to name a few designers that are rocking the scarf look this season. This summer is all about earthy hues and tonal combinations so if you want to sew something trendy that will spill over to Autumn, look no further than the scarf print trend. 

Creating the look

To showcase this trend – I’ve chosen this vibrant earthy-print fabric, which moves away from traditional floral prints, and a bohemian vibe maxi wrap dress pattern. The best sewing patterns for this trend are those that are designed to make with drapey floaty fabrics. It’s not necessarily a loose silhouette, but should be a design that allows the fabric to move with you. Silk is the fabric most of us associated with scarfs, and will give your garment an airy feel and make your piece really special. However if you substitute it with a fabric that’s a lot easier to wear and care for, you’ll have a dress that you can wear every day – rayon fits the bill perfectly! If you’re usually print-shy, then ease your way into this statement trend by making less fabric-hungry garments like a boxy blouse. An easy way to incorporate this trend is to also tone it down and use the print as accent areas only such as yokes and straps. However if you’re feeling brave – go for maximum impact and create a matching scarf to wrap over your head.

“Th is style represents easy dressing without having to try too hard and makes me feel like I’m ready for a holiday!” Project thoughts Other complementary trends that work well with the scarf print are tie-dye and fringing. I plan styling my scarf print dress for autumn by adding long boots, a camel coat or trench, and accessorising with gold jewellery and a block colour tote bag. 

Editor’s notes The fabric Rachel used was Aloha Spirit Bonfire in 100% rayon from the Aura fabric collection designed by Mister Domestic for Art Gallery Fabric To view the full selection of rayon fabrics – click here The Highlands Wrap Dress from Allie Olson is the dress pattern featured here. To view - click here

Trendsetter All the trimmings

It can be hard to decide how to add the current trends to your wardrobe without over doing it. Here’s how to make 5 of them work for you


Adding embroidery is still as popular as it was last year, and can allow you to really show off your creativity. Why not try adding embroidery to a simple garment on the shoulders, sleeves, hemline or collar. Get a similar effect with an appliqué design like the one shown on this knit essential top sewing pattern from Alison Glass. To view the Knit Essentials dress pattern from Alison Glass – click here


Selma round crochet bag from Monsoon & New Look mustard crochet block heels

The crochet trend is definitely a trend that’s more suited to the warmer months. We’re seeing it on everything from beach to eveningwear but probably the easiest way to add it to your wardrobe is in the form of a summery bag or pair of sandals.


Peruvian Florals Tunic from Joe Brown


You can find a fringe on just about everything from a denim jacket, boots, bags and even earrings. We think this trimming looks best with simple styling and in the same colour as the garment for a stylish look. Give it a go and add some fringing to a skirt or jacket.


Designers are reviving this ’60s trend. You can Fabric from AGF’s Everlasting introduce it to your fabric collection wardrobe by making your own patchwork fabric for using with a sewing pattern or if you want a quicker make then choose a patchwork design fabric. This trend will work best with a simple colour palette or alternatively, select sewing patterns with fewer pieces such as a skirt or shift dress.

Big bows have certainly been a bigger catwalk hit than on the high street but there’s no reason you can’t bring the bow trend to your day-today wardrobe on a smaller scale. Bows can make garments feel very romantic or why not use up those scraps of fabric and use them as a brooch or hair decoration. Two sewing patterns with bows: Pussy Bow Blouse from Sew Over It – click here Seoul Blouse from Sew to Grow – click here


for organising your sewing space

Sarah Ashford, obsessive quilter and fabric lover shares her top five tips to help you keep your sewing space organised and allow for maximum creativity!


Keep your workspace clear

I like to try to keep a space clear for my cutting mat, so that I can easily spread and cut out fabric. There’s nothing worse than having to clear a whole pile of stuff or try to cut fabric with lots of things in your way. This is often easier said than done, but if you are strict that your cutting mat is a ‘no clutter zone’ you will soon appreciate the ability to spread your projects out and cut quickly and effortlessly.


Get your fabric organised

I organise my fabrics by size, and then colour. For example, anything half a metre or more is wrapped around an acid free comic book board and stored in the bookcase. This

makes me feel like I have my own personal shop! They are also roughly colour-coded, which makes it very easy to find what I’m looking for. Fat quarters are folded and stored in trays for quick, easy access. Fabric bundles that I want to keep all together I tie with ribbon and keep either on the shelf looking pretty or in a draw. Scraps live in a bucket, and I just tip them out when I want to use them. It’s messy but fun, and often I’ll put fabrics together that I may never have considered before. I always put them back afterwards though!


Have a system for your WIPS

As someone who has multiple projects on the go, it’s so important to keep in order, and not get things muddled up. I like to keep WIPs (work in progress) in project pouches so that when I want to work on a particular WIP I can just pull it off the shelf and it’s all in there ready to go. This also works really well if I’m travelling or going to a guild meeting – I can just pick up the project pouch that I need, get my sewing essentials together and off I go.


Keep notions close to you

It’s always useful to have the notions that you use all the time in one place, and I really like

If there’s one thing that helps me with productivity, it’s having a tidy and organised sewing space. I like to be able to find things quickly, keep my workspace tidy and have a system for my burgeoning fabric collection my Stash ‘n Store for this. I love that I can just easily grab my scissors or unpicker whenever I need it, and it’s so easy to return it once you’ve finished using it. No longer am I hunting high and low for those essential sewing items that I use all the time.


Pass it on

It’s always a good idea to have a clear out from time to time. If you don’t want it or need it anymore, either sell it or pass it on. Often sewing groups or guilds have a ‘swap table’ where you can donate unwanted fabric, and then receive some ‘new’ fabric in return. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, and if you’ve had a tidy up of your sewing room at the same time – even better! So that’s how I organise my sewing space, and I find that it works for me. I hope that it encourages you to have a clear out, get sorted and create a happy, productive sewing space so that you can enjoy the process of making beautiful things!


Just the mention of free-motion quilting (FMQ) can bring the most rational person out in a cold sweat. Trudi Wood, patchwork and quilting tutor aims to take away some of the fears you have, starting with the fundamentals

Threads Not all thread is created equal, and your machine may be a thread snob! Personally, I favour a good quality cotton thread that I know my machine likes. Yes, there is a popular brand of thread that none of my machines will play nicely with! The important thing to know is the type and size of the threads. Cotton or polyester – all threads come in different weights (wt), anything from 12wt to 100 wt. A Standard weight is 50wt or 40wt. All you need to know is the bigger the number the finer the thread.

Needles Use a good quality needle. I use a Schmetz topstitch needle as it has a bigger elongated eye for the thread to pass through (and is easier to see). It also has a groove down the front of the shank to guide the thread through. This needle also has a sharper point than a universal needle. Needles come in different sizes, however, the bigger the numbers the bigger the needle. You should be matching your needle to your thread and changing it regularly. There’s excellent information on needletypes and sizes on the Schmetz website – www.

Wadding There are many waddings to choose from depending on your project, budget and personal preference. Choose the right one for the project you’re working on. Be aware that there’s a right way and a wrong way up for some wadding. The way to tell is using a machine needle, and carefully stab the wadding on both sides to find the path of least resistance – this will be the right way up. This helps for cotton and cotton rich waddings. It means your machine is not working so

hard to push the needle through, and therefore it will feel smother as you quilt.

Basting Layer up fabrics with backing face down, wadding then main fabric right side up. Whether you choose to pin baste using basing pins, safety pins or glue baste (Using a spray is your personal preference). If you are spray basting try pressing from fabric side and a cool/ medium iron setting to smooth out the wrinkles before moving onto the next layer. Only recommended for cotton rich wadding. Repeat this with the

top. Not only will you have a much flatter smoother quilt sandwich, it activates the glue too. If pin basting – pins should be spread and hands width apart and bear in mind it will take a lot of pins for a bedside quilt.

Sewing Machine Clean and oil your machine regularly (consult your manual on how to do this). It’s important that lint is removed from the machine’s workings regularly as the build up can affect tension and cause problems when stitching.


If you’re having problems, check your machine is threaded properly and that the bobbin is in correctly. If you’re having problems with skipped stitched, change your needle and also try changing your thread to a different manufacturer, it really can make a difference!

Let’s start with a practice piece Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you didn’t learn to write your name in half an hour so practice is the key word here! When you start quilting, use the needle to pull up the bobbin thread and hold onto the top thread, press the needle up/down button or wind the needle up and down once with the fly wheel on the machine. This will pull up your bobbin thread so you move it to one side and place the needle in the same spot as the thread before starting to quilt. Hold onto the

threads as you begin to sew just lightly, this will stop the dreaded birds nests from appearing under your work. Sew in threads when finished.

Designs ‘Quilt as desired’ the words of terror! Choose a design that’s beginner friendly like loops. These are easy to do and with every crossover point is an opportunity to stop with the needle down and assess where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. They’re a great design to join one motif to the next too. There are some great books for inspiration, my particular favourites are by Christina Cameli. Her books are packed full of designs and directions on how to quilt them out. At the end of the day, it’s all about the practice, so start with a charity quilt or a small project that you’ve been meaning to finish. You’ll soon find your skills improve.

 Using geometric fabrics will give you guidelines of where to quilt.  Start by practicing your designs on paper. If you feel more comfortable, make a plan of the quilting.  Pre-wind several bobbins so you don’t have to stop half way through your project. Your thread should look as pretty on your bobbin as it did on the spool. Don’t use an uneven bobbin as it will cause more problems than it’s worth!  Layer up a practice sandwich piece. This will help you to get used to the right working speed for you, and you’ll be able to get confident with the design.  A patterned back can help disguise any mishaps or tension issues.  Use matching threads as they’re more forgiving than a thread that shouts out at you.  Start off slowly, it’s easier to control your work if you slow your machine speed down. Learn to listen to your machine sound to help remember where that speed is for you.  Wear gloves to help you grip the fabric. A non-slip draw liner can also do the same job.  Take regular breaks, work in small sections of time, and pace yourself.  And finally give yourself permission to play and have fun!

Raise your game

with rayon

Julie Bonnar from The Pattern Pages shares her tips on sewing garments with the fabric of the moment – rayon What is rayon? Rayon is a beautifully soft, drapey, breathable fibre, which is perfect for making flowing garments. Since rayon is manufactured from naturally occurring polymers, it is not considered to be synthetic. Like most fabric types – you’ll find good and bad when buying so make sure you choose a premium smooth one that doesn’t snag. If you haven’t worked with rayon before – here are my tips for working and sewing with them.

65/9 or 70/10 for thin, lightweight wovens. Use a delicate stitch such as 2mm stitch instead of the automatic 2.5mm. This can help with any fraying going beyond the seam. Remember to match the thread weight to your fabric weight. Rayon can be machined wash and tumble dried. Wash on a warm temperature, and dry on a medium heat. To see what the shrinkage rate is – you can test a small sample while pre-washing. Cut a 5in square on gridded paper or plain paper is fine too. Use this as a template to cut a square of fabric the same size, which you can compare after washing. The fabric I’m using is ‘Let’s Chalk from AGF Joyful Fusion’ and as you can see from the photo, there really was minimal shrinkage.

Cutting your fabric

Choosing a sewing pattern Start with a simple pattern that requires a little amount of fabric, so you can build up your confidence. Pick a pattern that has a good drape I chose the Ogden Cami from True Bias.

Pre-washing Rayon is colourfast but can shrink so always pre-wash.

The main aim is to stop your fabric shifting around – there are several things you can do: Place a piece of tissue paper underneath the fabric/ pattern to help it stay put on the cutting surface. I use pattern weights rather than pins, but if you prefer to use pins choose sharp fine tipped ones, as these are less likely to leave holes in delicate fabrics. Always pin in the seam allowance. I like to use my scissors to cut out – make sure your pair is super sharp – but you may find it easier to use a cutting

board and rotary cutter. Cut your pattern out on the floor if you’re working on larger projects to avoid the fabric hanging off the table. Minimise any stretching by storing your cut out fabric pattern pieces by rolling them up.

Sewing your garment Tes your sewing machine tension on a fabric scrap. I’m guilty of skipping pinning the fabric together when sewing pieces with straight seams, but with rayon you really should secure the fabric layers. Rayon can stretch out of shape when sewing so make sure you avoid pulling the fabric whilst you sew! Stop sewing to re-adjust your fabric at regular intervals. Stay stitching is key is to helping necklines stay in shape. Choose a fusible sheerweight interfacing so it doesn’t affect your fabric’s drape. Silk organza is recommendd for this. As rayon is prone to fraying, finish your raw edges properly. French seams are a good choice. Use a new needles size

Pressing When ironing, lift your iron and press. Rayon is a sensitive fabric and if the iron is too hot it can leave a shiny mark, which you won’t be able to get off. Use the wool setting and a pressing cloth. Always let your fabric rest and cool before removing from the ironing table.

Hemming It’s a good idea to hang up your garment for a day before hemming it.

Art Gallery Fabrics, Modelo and Cloud9 do beautiful rayons that come in vibrant colours and patterns, and are great for making clothes. To view these – click here

Editor from Cloud9 Business Class Flower keeper from AGF Everlasting Let’s Chalk from AGF Joyful Fusion

Susanne Firmenich is a surface pattern designer with a passion for life and colour. She has a huge following in Germany but is fairly new to the UK market, but is no shrinking violet when it comes to colour. We talk to her about her beautiful designs Tell us a little about your background and how you began designing surface patterns? As a child I have always loved to paint and draw. When my own children were small, I started sewing again. I quickly realised that there were no fancy patterns for children.

On my blog (hamburgerliebe. com), I started showing illustrations that I’d made just for fun. I received an inquiry for the design for embroidery files first, and then later for woven ribbons. Then I discovered Spoonflower, a print on demand service for fabric

in the US, and I began to design my own patterns. At that time, I worked as a freelance graphic designer and often found the work frustrating. I enjoyed sewing and illustrating so I decided to only create beautiful patterns for fabrics.

it could look on fabric. But sometimes, I want a certain fabric and then think about a pattern that’s especially for that.

Do you have the fabric in mind when you are thinking of a new design? And what comes first the fabric or the pattern?

Basically everything! I’m a very visual person and find everything I encounter inspiring! It can be a beautiful packaging, nature, my children, a holiday trip or certain mood lighting. There are still so many ideas in my head and sometimes I wish I had more time to draw everything I can think of!

Usually I have an idea for a certain colour combination, as well as a motif or theme. The design comes later. And when I’m happy with the pattern, I think about how

Your designs aesthetics are always bright, fun and entertaining – what inspires you?

How many collections have you produced under the Hamburger Liebe brand? Honestly, I didn’t count them! I started with textile design eight years ago, and have been able to create so many wonderful collections with my production partners. And of course, there are always new ones to come! My newest collection with Albstoffe is called ‘Bliss’ and will be available in the UK later this year. This autumnwinter collection contains wonderful organic jacquards and prints on organic jersey and sweatshirt, all produced

in Germany, with matching cuff, stripes and hoodie cords. My autumn-winter collection for Hemmers Itex will be called ‘Park Lane’ and will be distributed exclusively by Hantex Ltd. It’s a tribute to my time in London as a young adult. There will be softshell and quilted to make warm jackets, but also beautiful soft falling blouse fabrics and embroidered cotton fabrics. I’m really looking forward to both these collections launches. And some designs for next year are already finished – and it all stays

very colourful!

What sort of things do you like to sew? I love sewing clothes, but I’m impatient stitcher and like sewing patterns that are quick to make!

Tell us about your collaboration with Albstoffe? I’ve been working with Albstoffe for three years now, and I think the team has adopted me! Seriously, this is a very lovely and fruitful collaboration, and I really love the products. Albstoffe is a young company, and they were looking for a designer, and so glad they asked me! Albstoffe has emerged from a traditional family business producing knitted fabrics to the highest

organic standards. It took me a while to deal with the jacquard fabric as the design works differently. You have much less colours than with printing, because you knit with the coloured yarns. But we constantly exchange new ideas and have brought some very successful products to the market together in the recent years. The ready-made cuffs called ‘Cuff Me’ are just one of them.

Where else can we see your designs? My most beautiful designs can be bought in my Redbubble Shop on a range of products such a mobile phone cases. On the website, Not Like You – you can buy some of my designs on Converse chucks, which I think are really cool! Someday, I’d love to design my own tableware, too!


This is how Sharon Holland describes her new Art Gallery Fabric collection ‘Everlasting’, which was inspired by her daughter’s wedding and her childhood memories. It’s the first looks exchanged, promises of love that are always kept and the ritual of marriage and family traditions – this is what the collection celebrates. This eternally classic colour story brings together heart red, creamy ivory and, of course – something blue. Available in knit and rayon options too. To take a closer look at this beautiful fabric collection – click here

Focus on

FABRICS Feast your eyes on the latest fabrics for your summer sewing

A FREE VERSE OF PAINTERLY PRINTS Bloomsbury is a fabric range designed by Bari J., and an ode to the group of artists and writers who met in the Bloomsbury area of London in the early 1900s who discussed art, writing and philosophy. Bari J. imagines what would surround such luminaries as Virginia Woolf, and her sister Vanessa who was a postimpressionist painter. The images become vivid in tones of fuchsia, teal, and fresh green and the collection includes knits, canvas and rayon options. To view all the Bloomsbury collection from Art Gallery Fabric – click here


This is the latest fabric collection for Cloud9 from surface pattern designer, Feena Brooks. Her designs are inspired by her travels and quirky England influences. All of her designs are named after places (mostly in Britain), and many are places that hold special memories from my childhood. Stockbridge is a collection that celebrates the woodland and flora of Hampshire, UK. The palette is suffused with rich, vibrant greens, soft pinks and blues and the shock of golden yellow. This 100% organic quilters weight cotton range is perfect for quilting, dressmaking and other accessory projects. To view this lovely subtle colour collection – click here


The new 100% rayons from Modelo are perfect for summer tops, dresses, and skirts with a floaty 120gsm weight. It’s available in two very popular colour ways of red and navy, as well as, two choices of designs including circle print and circle patchwork – what’s not to love? To take a closer look at Modelo rayons – click here


You can rely on Mister Domestic to come up with fun designs for your sewing projects. The Catch and Release fabric range that Matthew has designed for Art Gallery Fabrics illustrates the place where his family goes to fish and enjoy nature. Multiple shades of blue create this refreshing collection with touches of green and a few drops of ladybug red. The range also includes knit and rayon options. To see more of the fun designs within this collection – click here

The illustrations are from the popular Lark Tee and Alder shirtdress sewing patterns from Grainline and Free Range Slacks from Sew House Seven



I love receiving fabric samples for appraisal, and one recently reached my desk screaming ‘Make me into an oversized slouchy bag’ … so I did! Designed by Jacqui Smith

What really appealed to me was the wonderful metallic and pearlescent colours of this new faux leather range by Modelo. It’s super soft and to my surprise was incredibly easy-to-sew due to a fabric backing, which also gives great stability. So for an on-trend, super-easy fashion accessory that you can make yourself here are the instructions that use just two pieces joined at the centre-front and back.

Requirements: Main fabric - 60 x140cm wide faux leather Lining fabric - 85 x115cm wide cotton 1 magnetic clasp (sewon or push-through) Light weight iron-on interfacing, approx 7.5 x 3.5cm (3 x 1½in) Matching thread and contrasting thread for topstitching Quilting clips Paper for pattern at least 85 x 70cm (34 x 24in)

To sew the bag: 1. Place bag pieces in main fabric right sides together, and sew the centre front and back seams. Open out the seams, and topstitch from the right side of the fabric – I did two rows on both sides of the seam in a contrasting colour. 2. Repeat this process for the lining. Sew centre back seam on lining, right sides together. 3. Make pocket by folding the square in half, and with right sides together make a rectangle 25 x 11cm (9¾ x 4½in), sew along both the short edges. Trim corners and turn right way out.

To make the pattern: Visit to download the template. Fold paper in half to make 85 x 30cm (34 x 12in) Draw the pattern out as per diagram measurements with the long straight side against the fold. Cut out and open up to make the pattern. Cut out two from both the faux leather and the cotton lining fabric. No need to worry about right or wrong sides as both pattern pieces are the same. You’ll also need to cut out a pocket in the lining fabric 25 x 22cm (9¾ x 8 ¾in). Seam allowance is 1cm There is enough fabric left to make a matching pouch (see instructions in the next issue).

6. With right sides together sew the centre front seam of the bag lining. Fold the main bag right sides together with the centre front and back seams matching. Sew the bottom of the bag. Repeat for the bag lining leaving a gap open on one side of the centre seam of around 10cm (4in) to turn the bag.

9. Cut the iron-on interfacing in half to make two small squares, and fuse these to the wrong side of the lining across the centre front and back seams approx 2cm (¾in) down from the top edge. This will provide support for the magnetic clasps. Fix the clasps onto the lining right side over the interfaced square making sure they are an equal distance from the top edge of the bag.

7. You now need to ‘bag’ the bag bottom to make the shaping. To do this take the bag outer and firstly trim the corner off both ends of the bottom seam. Fold the corner right sides together so 4. Using a quilting ruler mark that the seam on the bottom the placement for the internal matches the side of the bag, pocket on the right side of the this should make a triangle bag lining. Mark a line at right with the bottom seam. angles to the centre back seam 16cm (6¼in) down from the top edge, 12cm (4½in) to 10. Turn bag inside out each side of the centre seam. and place the lining inside it with right side facing. 5. Place the pocket with the Matching centre front and raw edge to the line you’ve back seams, clip edges marked with the pocket together and sew the bag facing downwards. Sew from 8. Using a quilting ruler make and lining together. Always one side of the pocket to a line across the triangle at use clips rather than pins for the other with a 1cm seam, faux leather as pins can mark backstitching at each end to right angles to the bottom seam 3.5cm (1½in) on either the fabric. secure the seam. side of the seam and stitch Fold and press the pocket upwards. Stitch up both sides securing the stitching at both 11. Clip seam allowances ends. Trim the triangle off around the curves and turn of the pocket to secure in leaving a seam allowance of the bag to the right sides place – you may also wish to sew a divider to make two 1cm. Repeat for all corners of through the lining opening. the leather and lining. Topstitch edges. smaller pockets.

12. Sew the handles together by sewing them right sides together about 4cm (1½in) from the ends of the handles. Trim one handle seam allowance to approx 1cm. Fold the other seam allowance in half and put the raw edge inside, then topstitch across the handle to secure. Slip stitch the gap in the bottom of the lining. Your bag is now finished...enjoy!

Sewing with faux leather: The Modelo faux leather used here is available in a great range of colours including metallic and pearl finishes. It has a woven fabric backing, which sews really well with a normal machine foot. Depending on faux leather fabric you choose you might find it easier to sew with a teflon foot or walking foot (the Modelo is easy to sew with so I didn’t need either), also make sure you increase your stitch length a little to around as this avoids stressing the faux leather at the seams. To view everything used in this project – click here



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Bag making is as popular as ever and is a great way to express your creativity and style. Anna Graham from Noodlehead is renowned for her wonderful bag patterns, and has recently added two stylish totes to her range. The Redwood Tote is a mid-sized crossbody bag with front zip pocket, back slip pocket, zip top closure and reinforced base. This will become your go-to bag for everyday use! The handy short handles make for easy grabbing while the long strap keeps you hands free! This bag is great for travelling and keeping your belongings organised. The Crescent Tote is a smaller bag that’s ideal for stashing a few essentials. The small shape fits snugly under your arm and the curved lines really plays up its feminine design. The zip front pocket holds those little items you want to get quick access to, while the flat bottom makes it easy to set on a table. To find these bag patterns and others – click here


Scanfil, known for their popular organic thread, have introduced a new all-purpose polyester thread, which complies with environmental standard Oeko-Tex 100. This means it's free from harmful substances. There's 200 colours catering for pretty much any fabric match you require, and it's available in 100 metre reels. Additionally the reels include a handy thread catcher. We love the way it sews and you should be able to find it in all good sewing shops. To see all the Scanfil thread colours – click here


Woolfelt is the registered trademark of the famous wool and rayon mix that’s exclusive to National Nonwovens. Designed for easy sewing and accurate cutting, it’s popular as a crafting medium as the uses are never ending. You can use it for decorations, ornaments, wearables, appliqué, cushions and more. Six new colours have been added to what is already an extensive range, so there will always be the right colourway for your sewing project. To view the complete range of Woolfelt from National Nonwovens – click here

Beautiful Pima Cotton

by Art Gallery Fabrics ... soft, drapable and wonderful to sew

Photograph courtesy of Alexis Wright

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Modern Sewing Starts Here Issue 5