We have two branches in Clapham and Islington, London and teach sewing classes for everyone, from beginners to advanced dressmakers. If you want to learn to sew, look no further. Check out our blog for the latest sewing and dressmaking patterns.
The heatwave has hit the UK and over the past few weeks we’ve been enjoying so much beautiful sunshine in London. The heat means however that our wardrobes are being tested to the limit, and spare lunch breaks are being spent sewing new tops, shorts and dresses to wear the next weekend. As ever, our fabulous community is providing all the inspiration we need. Seriously, just have a little browse of the #SOIshowoff hashtag and try not be inspired by all those beautiful makes!
This month our #SOIshowoff award goes to Victoria and her fabulously summery Lucia Top! (Talk about inspiration!) With roses in her hair and Lucia’s lovely ruffle, she’s embraced the flamenca vibes and we can’t get enough. Oh and that’s an Erin Skirt she’s paired it with too. Beautiful!
Congratulations Victoria! A £20 voucher for our online shop will be on its way to you soon!
We have some sad news. Our time at Clapham has come to an end. We will be closing our Clapham shop on 17th August. (Though any classes set to start after this point will still run.)
Thank you to all of you who have visited us there since we opened in 2011. It was where it all began for us and is the springboard for everything we’ve built so far. We will miss it dearly.
This change will allow us to grow in new and exciting ways. Though London is our home, our goal is to spread the sewing love globally. In closing our Clapham shop and focusing more of our resources online, we’ll be able to bring more of you more of what you love, such as online classes, fantastic new paper and PDF patterns, and even more beautiful fabrics.
Our fabulous new store in Islington is going nowhere. We will be increasing the number of classes we run here, extending our classroom area to give you even more space, hosting exciting events and stocking those gorgeous planty shelves with even more fabrics.
To our lovely South London customers, we are so sorry that we are depriving you of your local shop, but we do hope we can tempt you north of the river, and that you will come see us in Islington.
Whilst we prepare for the change, we’ll be reducing our opening hours in Clapham. From Monday 16th July, our opening hours will be:
Monday – CLOSED
Tuesday – 12 – 6
Wednesday – CLOSED (Open for evening classes)
Thursday & Friday – 12 – 6
Sat – 10 – 6
Sun – CLOSED (Open for classes only)
We’ll keep you updated with news as we go, including a big closing down sale we’ll be holding in our last week. We’d love you to pop in before we go!
We’re delighted to release our best-selling PDF pattern, the Penny Dress, in paper format too!
We know lots of you prefer paper patterns, and so after lots of requests, we decided to print our popular Penny Dress!
The new printed version features a beautiful new illustrated front cover and a gorgeous hand-drawn instruction booklet.
And that’s not all! After lots of feedback that it was a little bit short, we’ve slightly lengthened the bodice of the Penny Dress by an inch.
If you’ve previously bought the Penny Dress and would like the new updated version, don’t worry! Everyone who’s bought the Penny Dress in the past can download the new files, including updated pattern and illustrated instructions, straight from their account!
Not familiar with Penny? Let’s introduce you!
The Penny Dress is a simple, easy-to-sew and utterly gorgeous shirt dress. Stylish, wearable and flattering for so many shapes, she’s a summer wardrobe must-have.
She features a sleeveless button-up bodice, flat collar, pretty gathered shoulder panel, easy-fit elasticated waist and on-trend midi-length skirt.
The flattering dropped shoulder offers a nod to the 1950s whilst the simplicity of the design will keep you looking contemporary and cool.
Though shirt dresses can often be fiddly, Penny makes for a refreshingly simple sew.
With no darts, zips or collar stands to contend with it’s a simple project, perfect for sunny summer days.
Incredibly versatile, Penny can be sewn in a huge range of woven fabrics. If you’re a beginner we recommend cotton lawn, seersucker or linen, whilst intermediate stitchers can have fun with drape, with rayon, viscose and lightweight crepe.
It’s an advanced beginner to intermediate level sewing pattern and comes in UK sizes 8-20.
Penny has become a fast favourite in the Sew Over It office. She’s flattering on so many figures and we’ve all enjoyed sewing our own versions. You can see some of them on our YouTube channel!
And see the fantastic versions our customers have sewn on the #SOIPennyDress Instagram hashtag.
Need a Penny Dress in your life?
Snap her up in paper or PDF format on our online shop!
Whilst the Libby Shirt is a roomy pattern, you may be used to doing a full bust adjustment (FBA) for many garments. Our patterns are drafted for a B-cup, so if you have a larger bust, you may wish to do an FBA.
To work out if you need to do an FBA, first find the difference between your high bust and full bust. If the difference is 3” or more, we’d recommend making the adjustment. You’ll want to choose a size that best corresponds to your high bust measurement for your FBA. If you chose a size that fits your full bust you’ll find it will be too big everywhere else, especially as the shirt is quite boxy. With this FBA method you will end up with a bust dart in the pattern, which you will need to sew up as you would normally.
To figure out how much room you need to add into the front of the shirt for your FBA, work out the difference between your full bust and your high bust. Minus 2” (this is how much is drafted for already for a B-cup) and halve what is left to find out how much you need to add. (We only add half here, as when you cut a pair this will equal the full amount you need to add across the whole shirt).
For example, if you have a 4 inch difference between your high bust and full bust, you’ll need to add 1″ of room into the pattern: 4”-2″=2. 2″/2=1”.
Making your full bust adjustment
1. Hold your pattern up to yourself/try on your toile and mark your bust apex directly onto it using a felt tip. (Your bust apex is usually where your nipples are!)
2. Transfer your bust apex point to your pattern piece from the toile if you’ve made one.
3. Draw a line from the bust point down to the hemline (line 1), parallel to the grainline.
4. Draw a diagonal line from the bust point to the upper notch on the armhole (line 2).
5. Draw a third line from the bust point to the first notch on the side seam (line 3).
6. Cut through lines 1 and 2, but on line 2 stop when you reach the seam allowance on the armhole.
7. Cut through line 3, but again leave a small amount uncut at the bust apex.
8. Tape your pattern down onto a piece of pattern paper, just along the centre front and line 1 to start with. Draw a line parallel to line 1, at the distance you need to increase by to the left hand side of this line.
9. Move the pattern until it sits exactly on this line, as shown above. Tape this section of the pattern in place.
10. Line 3 will have opened up to accommodate the width you’ve added, so tape it in place where it has opened up. This will look like a dart, and you will need to sew it up like one when making your shirt.
11. To level the hem on your pattern, cut all the way along the lengthen/shorten line on just the right hand side part of the pattern. Shift this new piece down until it lines up with the hem again. This is shown above with the green lines.
12. You will then need to true up the centre front again, by re-connecting the two lines. You will also need to do this with the hem.
13. Trim down the excess paper around the pattern, except at the side seam as you still need this.
14. You then need to redraw the dart. Double check your bust apex is in the right place by holding your pattern up against you. Re-draw it if it seems slightly off. Create two dart legs connecting the bust apex with the cut openings of line 3 on the side seam.
15. As you’ve used your true bust apex to draw in this new dart, you’ll want to move it slightly on the pattern to avoid any pointiness once the shirt is made up. You’ll want to move the dart tip slightly away from the point you’ve just drawn, towards the side seam. We recommend between 2.5cm and 3.5cm from the original point. The bigger your bust, the further away you will need to make the new dart apex.
16. Draw in the new dart legs as shown above.
17. Fold the dart closed, bringing the lower leg up to sit on top of the upper leg. Tape or pin down. Cut along the side seam of the pattern piece, at the same time removing all of the excess paper.
18. Remove the pin or tape and open up the dart again. It can be helpful to cut in new notches for the dart leg ends at the side seam at this point so you remember to snip them when cutting out your fabric.
Working with your new pattern
Your pattern should now look something like this.
The tailor’s tack marks the apex of the dart.
As per the Libby Shirt instructions, stay stitch the neckline edges. Then sew the darts as normal.
1. Mark the darts onto your fabric using tailor’s tacks and a fabric marker. The dart apex should meet the two notches you snipped in the side seam.
2. Pin the darts closed, making sure your pins go through the fabric marker lines on both sides of the dart legs.
3. Starting at the side seam, carefully sew towards the dart apex, following the lines you’ve drawn with the fabric marker. When you reach the dart apex sew straight off the fabric without back stitching. Leave long thread tails and, with the knot as close as it will go to the fabric, tie the threads together to prevent your stitching from unravelling.
4. Press the dart towards the hem, first from the wrong side and then again from the right side.
And voila! That’s your full bust adjustment made and sewn! Continue with your Libby Shirt as detailed in the instructions, and don’t forget to share your version once it’s finished using the #SOIlibbyshirt hashtag on Instagram, or in our private Sew Over It Makers Facebook group. We can’t wait to see!
If you fall for any of Lisa’s picks and don’t have it in your pattern stash, remember you can snap it up (along with any of our patterns) with 20% off until midnight (UK time) Wednesday 27th June with code HEATWAVE at checkout!
This week we released our brand new Libby Shirt, and we’re loving how much you guys are loving her! If you’re not sure and you fancy a closer look, Lisa’s made a little video where she talks us through the details and design inspiration behind Libby.
It’s a bit hard to see Libby’s lovely partial collar stand on the video, but here’s what it looks like from the inside. This extra panel helps the collar to stand up nicely at the back, whilst keeping the front neat and flat.
Browsing through the #SOIshowoff hashtag is such a treat each June. Why? Me Made May of course! We LOVE how so many of you get into the spirit of the challenge, sharing your handmade wardrobe every day during May. As Rosie mentioned in our Instagram Stories Me Made May round-up (still in our Highlights), getting a glimpse at everyone’s actual day-to-day handmade outfits, past just the party dresses, is a real delight every year.
This month our #SOIshowoff award goes to Sonny and her pretty yet oh-so sultry Eve Dress. Isn’t it a beauty? We love how feminine it is with the lovely florals, yet with her styling it looks edgy and cool at the same time. Love it!
Congratulations Sonny! A £20 voucher for our online shop will be on its way to you soon!