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HOME DECOR CLOTHES ACCESSORIES & MORE! Gorgeous makes with your free fabric




Fresh spring


Make our shift dress & cute clutch

Fast fixes, brilliant results

We show you how!

Sizes 8-16

Clever cushions Easy quilts Quick makes for kids

No pattern needed!

Inspire Imagine Create



ISSUE 01 UK £5.99


Welcome to the first issue of Love Sewing... Inside this month's issue, we have dozens of inspiring, achievable projects by a team of talented designers, each showing you how to create stylish, useful items for your home, your family and yourself – from chic dresses and simple, stunning quilts, to gift ideas and clever, thrifty upcycling projects for the home. We’ve also enrolled the expert knowledge of some of the sewing world’s best practical tutors, including Alison Smith and Debbie Shore, to help you complete your project successfully and improve your skills as you go. If you’re a busy stitcher, there are quick-make projects such as Laura Strutt’s gorgeous reversible loop scarf (page 38) and Nicole Daksiewicz’s appliquéd owl napkins (page 72), as well as more advanced projects, such as the fantastic chevron quilted cushion on page 80. You’ll also find 12 extra projects inside our bonus 52-page supplement, each made with exquisite Liberty-print fabric. We also have a round-up of the latest must-have fabrics, a run-down on courses and classes taking place across the country, this month’s best sewing books and buys, plus interviews with The Great British Sewing Bee’s May Martin and contestantturned-author Tilly Walnes about their sewing lives. To welcome you to Love Sewing, this issue also comes with three free gifts: a fat quarter of fabric from Kirstie Allsopp’s new range for Hobbycraft, a free digital Simple Sew dress pattern and a pull-out pattern sheet for six sewing projects. That's at least eight projects to get you started! We also have the new Janome DKS100 machine, worth £499, to give away to one lucky reader. We hope that if you’re already a keen stitcher or one of those people with a machine gathering dust in a cupboard upstairs, there’s plenty in the pages ahead to get you sewing – and sewing more. Once you start, the rewards are as great as the possibilities. Thanks for picking us up, and happy sewing!

Reversable loop scarf. Page 38 Your free fabric gift. Page 6

Helen McLaughlin, Editor

Chevron quilted cushion. Page 80 3

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Free with this issue

Your free fabric gift with this month’s Love Sewing... T

he beautiful fat quarter that comes free with this issue of Love Sewing is a first taste of a new range of fabric that will be available this summer as part of Hobbycraft’s exclusive Kirstie Allsopp range. Already in store is a super range of craft kits, which include a pretty apron kit, everything you need to make your own reusable fabric covers for notebooks, and a lovely fabric pin cushion set, all co-ordinating with your free fat quarter. These Kirstie Allsopp kits make great gifts and are prices from £10. To view the full range, visit


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Love Sewing Loves

Pleats please

Flattering, feminine and in spring’s must-have pink, this pleated wrap skirt is the creation of Liz Bryson (left), from the craft and sewing blog Cotton and Curls. “It’s a super easy skirt that looks so complicated – the best part is there is no zip,” says Liz, who made her version during her baby’s nap time. To make your own, you’ll need 2m of fabric (try Robert Kaufman’s Kona Pink, £8 per metre from www.plushaddict., some buttons and a mood for making pleats. Liz’s illustrated instructions are at www.

Fresh spring style Simple, classic style

Easy patches New from Sew Girl, these ingenious hand screen-printed panels have six 12cm patchwork squares for you to cut out and stitch together with other fabrics to create quilts, cushions, bags, purses, quilts or pockets. The panels are printed on 100% cotton and available in lagoon blue or azalea pink. £7.50 including delivery,

The patterns, people, fabrics and finds getting us sewing this month


We have 5 Mortmain patterns and 5 Tallis patterns to give away. For details of how to win, see page 23

Caroline Vargas and Sandra Meek, the duo behind the London-based pattern company Gather, are enjoying great success with their debut designs, the Mortmain dress and Tallis collar. Billed as “simple patterns for stylish women”, they are sold in beautiful illustrated packets, and the designs are just as impressive. “We wanted to create patterns with simple instructions and lots of clear diagrams to demystify the sewing process,” says Caroline. The Mortmain costs £13 and the Tallis is £6. Downloads and kits are also available. O See page 23 for details on how to win one of 10 Gather sewing patterns.


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Love Sewing Loves

Brighter sewing John Lewis has launched its bargain JL110 machine in a range of cool new colours, including teal, pink and coral. A neat, easy-to-use machine for occasional stitchers and beginners, it has 14 stitch options, a 4-step automatic buttonhole facility, darning plate, free arm and dust cover. At £99 it’s also a steal.

New looks for less New in at Sew Over It, the Betty Dress is a glamorous 1950s-inspired frock with fitted waist and full skirt – perfect for spring weddings. Also out this month, its Ultimate Trousers patterns allows you to create perfect pants in the style that suits you best: high-waisted or low cut, straight-legged, capri or boot legged. Five looks for £12? Count us in. £12 each,

Baby love

Its charming childrenswear patterns are always a pleasure to sew, and now Oliver + S has launched its first pattern for babies – the Lullaby Layette Set. For newborns up to 24 months, the set includes a bodysuit, top, jacket and a natty little pair of trousers with elasticated waist. Each outfit is easy to construct, while still featuring nice little touches such as easy-change fastenings, extra room for nappies, and long/ short sleeve options. £14, www.

Bags of happiness With names such as Butterfly Bliss, Dreamscape and Wild Beauty, the prints in Pat Bravo’s Rapture collection for Art Gallery Fabrics capture the delights and colours of spring. As part of the launch, AGF has a free tutorial to download, showing how to make a drawstring laundry bag using a selection of Rapture fabric. See 9

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New collection fabrics

New collection


Art Gallery Fabrics , Cloud 9 and Monaluna lead with the way with spring brights, ice-cream pastels and folksy, floral-inspired prints

Littlest Art Gallery

Filled with frolicking rabbits and floral meadows, this new 100% cotton collection from Art Gallery Fabrics is perfect for nursery quilts and spring/summer garments for little ones, with a fresh pastel palette of mints, spruce greys and peach. For more inspiration and free pattern downloads, see


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This month’s best buys for your sewing room

Desk lamp, £19.99, B&Q,

Roo Arbrook sewing birds print, £10, www.notonthe

Make and Sew baby dungarees Kit (includes fabric, lining buttons, trimmings), £28.99,

Sew Caro kit shopper bag in Cobalt Floral, £15.95,

John Hanna owl needle tin, £2.50,

Fiskars Moomin scissors, £11.49, 17

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letters Got a question for Laura Strutt on sewing and dressmaking? Or a project to share? Get in touch at


Why do you need to pre-wash fabric before you use it and what's the best way to do it? Jackie Fletcher, Lancashire


Pre-washing does sound tedious and time-consuming, but it does result in a neater, more professional finish for your project. Washing removes any coating left on the surface from the manufacturing process which can alter the feel or drape of the fabric, and any shrinkage will occur now and not on the finished garment or project. It is also a good way to ensure that any excess dyes are removed, helping the finished make to remain colourfast. The care instructions for your fabric

should be on the selvedge or the bolt end – if in doubt, ask when you buy it. Try to get into the habit of laundering materials when you buy them so that they are washed, pressed and ready when you want to use them. Once washed, allow to air dry away from direct sunlight. Some woven fabric, like cottons, can fray around the edges during the wash. If this happens, just snip around the raw edges with dressmaking scissors. Once dry, press the fabric to remove the creases to give a smooth flat surface to begin your project. Test the iron's temperature on a small section close to the selvedge to ensure that the heat won't scorch or mark the fabric.

Avoid shrinkage by washing your fabric before you sew with it


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Couture sewing with Alison Smith

Couture sewing with

Alison Smith MBE UNDERLINING What is it? A couture technique used in made-tomeasure garments. Specifically it is a separate layer of fabric that is attached to the main fabric. The two layers are then treated as one during construction. When to use it: Underlining supports the top layer of fabric, giving shape, stability and structure to the bodice skirt and stops the fabric from appearing too floppy. It also adds a layer of opacity and makes a slippy fabric easier to sew. The fabric you choose depends on the top layer of fabric and the garment's style. As a general rule the underlining needs to be slightly lighter in weight than the top layer. Most underlinings are made of natural fibres, usually cotton or silk. How to use it: After cutting out the pieces of the garment and before you do any pattern markings, remove the pattern tissue and use the tissue to cut out the underlining. It needs to be cut on exactly the same grain as the main pieces. Once you have cut the underlining layers, place the fashion fabric (the top layer) Butterick B5605 vintage pattern, £7.50,

Vogue V2903 vintage pattern, £14.75,

and the underlining together WS fashion fabric to RS underlining. Keeping the fabrics together and flat on a table, pin to secure and then tack all around the edges. Remember to make pairs, ie left-side front and right-side front. Keep your tacking stitches 1cm from the raw edge and use a matching coloured thread, as some of these stitches may stay in. Try not to pick the fabric up as you tack as this can distort the pattern pieces – keep the two layers flats and as you tack, keep smoothing the underlining out towards the raw edges. Once you have tacked the layers together, place your tissue pattern pieces back on to the fabric and transfer any pattern markings. These two layers of fabric that you have joined are now treated as one fabric during construction and it is unlikely that your pattern instructions will refer to the underlining again. NOTE: A garment that has been underlined will also require lining, but for the lining you can follow your pattern instructions. You will find the underlining makes a garment feel as if it has been moulded to you, and it becomes a very special dress to wear. Best fabrics to use: For a bodice that will feature darts or princess lines, cotton voile works very well, as does a lightweight pure cotton fabric. If you are making a strapless style you can even use a lightweight calico as the underlining. A skirt or special occasion dress can also be underlined, but for full skirt why not try attaching a layer of dress net to the skirt panels? The dress net will give lots of bounce and make a fab rustling noise that sounds expensive! O

How to sew with... chiffon

Birds On Pink, £7 per metre Description: Very strong, very fine with a plain weave. Gathers and ruffles well but difficult to handle. Uses: Occasion wear, blouses, scarves. Cutting out: use long-bladed sharp scissors. Place tissue paper under the fabric and pin the fabric to the tissue, cutting through all layers if necessary; use extra-fine pins. Stitch: 2mm. Seams: French. Thread: Polyester, all-purpose thread. Needle: 9/11 for machine; fine milliner's for hand sewing. Pressing: Dry iron on a wool setting.

Alison Smith MBE is the author of several best-selling books on dressmaking. She also teaches a workshop that includes underlining and other couture techniques at her School of Sewing. For details, see www.


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shift dress



The simplicity of this elegant, flattering tunic dress makes it an ideal project for firsttime stitchers. Wear as a casual day dress or shorten the length and team with trousers Project: Claire Garside/Simple Sew Fabric supplied by Minerva Craft

Top tip

Experienced stitcher? This dress looks great in a jersey knit. If you're a novice dressmaker, choose a plain fabric instead of stripes

Download your free Brigitte shift dress pattern at For stockists of Simple Sew patterns, see page 94 30

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layered skirt No pattern, no fuss and cheap to make, little girls will love this pretty skirt Project: Angelina Fracchiolla

Make in any layers of colours or prints you like 43

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Curtains: Fougere Portico Acacia in Lagoon, from ÂŁ40 per metre, Romo (


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How to... master curtains

How to...

master curtains

Nothing beats new curtains to give a room an instant refresh, and sewing your own really is easier than you might think. Laura Strutt tells you how

“Curtains are not, I repeat not, difficult to sew. If you think about it, the seams are all straight, so if you can use a tape measure and sew in a straight line, you can make curtains. Successful curtain making is all about accurate measuring and cutting – get both of those right and you’re on your way. Curtains are only as complicated as you want them to be. Just start simple, ideally with a plain fabric, and progress as your confidence improves.”


MEASURING Sizing and measuring is the most essential aspect of curtain making. Accuracy is vital if you want to avoid results that are too short, long or just plain sloppy looking. The measurements that you need to take depend on the final appearance that you are looking to create. You will also need a notepad and pencil and a metal tape measure. Here’s how to get it right.



CALCULATIONS FOR THE FABRIC Starting with the width measurement, add 2.5cm to each side to accommodate hems – if you are having two curtains, you will need to add this to each side of both the curtain panels. To the length measurement, you will need to add 5cm-8cm to accommodate the upper section (which will be secured to the heading tape) and 15cm to accommodate the lower hem.

The measurements for curtains that will sit on a pole or run on a track will be taken on the wall surrounding the window. A track or pole is usually 10cm longer than the window on each side – this space is to accommodate the volume of fabric when the curtains are pulled open. For symmetry, this track or pole will usually sit around 10cm above the window. Measure the length of the track or the pole, or the position where the track or pole will be affixed – 10cm wider on each side, and 10cm, above the window.


Place the tape measure in line with the top of the track (or where the track will be positioned) and measure to the position you would like the lower edge of the curtain to fall – either on or just below the windowsill, or to the floor.

O When cutting your fabric, it’s vital that your fabric is lying flat, and is absolutely straight and square to the grain before you begin. Take care not to stretch the fabric out of shape while you work


THE LINING Adding a lining will give a proper professional finish and provide better insulation against light and noise. The calculations for lining fabrics are also made from the initial measurements. This is worked out by adding 5cm to the upper section and 15cm to the lower section. The width of the fabric needs to be around 2-5cm narrower than the main fabric, to ensure that the lining sits neatly to the back of the curtain when it is seamed into place. If you are making two or more curtain panels for your window, simply repeat this process for each panel. 53

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Pleated pockets, ideal for storing needle packs


sewing board Brighten the walls with this retro-style organiser for patterns, swatches and notions Project: Debbie Shore


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penguin bath set

Use you r free templat e

Make bathtime fun with this cute matching wrap and toy set made from a towel and face flannels Project: Debi Birkin


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Reversible design – one bib, two ways!

3 ways with...

Use you r free templat es


Try these different takes on a simple baby essential – the bandana, reversible and appliquéd bib Project: Laura Strutt 67

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owl napkins Give your table linen a makeover with this brilliantly simple idea using just one fat quarter of owl-print fabric Design and styling: Nicole Daksiewicz

Make in under an hour!


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quilted cushion Combine patchwork techniques with a striking zigzag design to produce a cushion with instant style impact Project: Nicole Daksiewicz

Grey Abbey Folk Daisy fabric by Cloud 9


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Courses, Classes & Workshops April 26th

Crafternoon Cabaret

The Hospital Club, London WC2 The club with live entertainment while you sew or craft is holding a special party to celebrate its first birthday. Suggested dress is “handmade bowties and headband hair candy”. Tickets £12 (all materials included) or £22 with refreshments. 2pm-4pm.

April 27th

Cushion Workshop

The Stitchery, Glasgow Learn free-motion embroidery techniques and apply them to making a decorative cushion. 10.30am-4.30pm, £50, includes fabrics.


Tick the Boxes Quilt

Quilty Pleasures, Brighton, East Sussex Learn the basics of making a quilt over 7 sessions, (see website for times), £70.

May 1st

Introduction to Patchwork & Quilting The Eclectic Maker, Worthing, East Sussex Take your first steps into patchwork and quilting and make table runners and mats. 7pm-9.30pm, £17.50.


Modern Appliqué Quilt Class

Plain Stitch, Wendover, Buckinghamshire Learn appliqué techniques to make a modern quilt in six lessons. 10am-12pm, £80.



Ministry of Craft, Manchester Learn button basics and make a cushion. 10am-4.30pm, £37.50.

Bobbins and Buttons, Leicestershire Learn bagging out, patch pockets and working with curves. 10am-1pm, £28.



Venn School of Sewing, Cardiff Learn about the machine, some techniques and make an item. 10am-4pm, £60.

Ministry of Craft, Manchester Make a simple reversible tote bag 2pm-7pm, £35.

Introduction to Zip and Buttonhole Cushions

Beginner’s Sewing


Patchwork Social

The Sanctuary School of Sewing & Craft, Thornton, Lancashire Bring your handiwork. 6.30pm-8.30pm, £8.

Reversible Apron

Beginners' Sewing


Pattern cutting for Dresses MIY Workshop, Brighton, East Sussex Draft your own dress block. Intermediates/Advanced. 10.30am-4.30pm, £50.

May 6th

Make The Doris Dress

Sew Over It, London SW4 Learn to make a gorgeous vintagestyle dress to fit you. Intermediate level (3-4 classses) 6.30pm-9.30pm, £185 (see website for 25% off introductory offer).

April 29th



Raystitch, London N1 A six-week course designed for those who have basic sewing skills and would like to progress to making their own clothes. Learn all the techniques required to make clothes using a commercial pattern and make three full garments in class: a top, zipped skirt and a dress. 7pm-10pm, £250.

Dots n Stripes, Dundee Learn basic sewing skills. £20.

The Sewing Academy, Hazel Grove Civic Hall, Stockport, Greater Manchester Understand your machine and work with sewing patterns.Then showcase your skills by making an item of your choice in the final weeks of the course. Eightweek course. 9.45am-11.45am, £99.

Introduction to Dressmaking

Beginners' Workshop


Dressmaking from Patterns (over three sessions) Made and Making, Ditchling, East Sussex 9.30am-1pm, £80.

Beginners' Sewing Course 93

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Love Sewing asks...

May Martin Best known as a judge on the BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee, May Martin has been teaching and sewing for 40 years. She is a course tutor at the Women's Institute Denman Academy in Oxfordshire Interview by Hugh Metcalf

How and when did you learn to sew? It was at junior school, with a piece of cross stitch. Then, when I was 13 and making my first shirt, I had a lightbulb moment. I found I was just really good technically at it. When did you decide to make a career from your craft? After my A Levels, I decided that I wanted to teach. I went to teacher training college and studied Dress and Design. Where do you sew, and do you still sew for pleasure as well as for work? I have a lovely big workroom at home. I still sew for pleasure – it’s a joy to make a gift for my friends and my family. When you bake a cake, you eat it, but when you sew something, you create something that you can keep forever, and I find that creation process really exciting. Describe your fabric stash. Is it neatly ordered or boxes of chaos? Sorted into types and stored in clear boxes. What do you think is behind the revival in home sewing? My classes have always been popular, but my students have been getting younger recently. It’s great that creativity is starting to feature strongly in people’s lives again and it’s sewing that is definitely in vogue at the moment. It's really exciting.

What has been your biggest sewing disaster or mistake? In the sixth form I made a raincoat to take on a field trip. The night before we were about to leave I made the buttonholes and while cutting them, went off the edge. I had to make tabs to cover my mistake. I also cut curtains out with no hem allowance! For that, I made a false hem. There are fixes, but you learn from your mistakes! Where’s your favourite place to shop for fabric and why? I have a fabulous patchwork and quilting shop in Romsey called Greenhill ( It’s like a sweet shop with walls of fabric in the colours of the rainbow. I love to purchase small quantities of fabrics for craft and longer lengths for my summer dresses.

“I still sew for pleasure. It’s a joy to make for my friends and family”

What’s the best thing about teaching people to sew? Sharing my skills with others gives me a fabulous sense of satisfaction. What’s on your sewing table right now? Samples – they’re for a book I’m in the process of writing. What’s your biggest and best sewing advice or tip? Invest in good equipment. Cutting out is so difficult when you’ve got blunt scissors. Why do you love sewing? It makes me feel like a magician knowing that I can create something unique from just a piece of fabric. O

For information on the Denman Academy’s sewing courses, see www.denman


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Love Sewing 1 new sampler  

Brand new Love Sewing issue 1 our brand new sewing title is on sale next week, here is your chance to order one of the most anticipated Sewi...

Love Sewing 1 new sampler  

Brand new Love Sewing issue 1 our brand new sewing title is on sale next week, here is your chance to order one of the most anticipated Sewi...