Each issue is packed with tips, tricks and clever ideas to keep you inspired month after month. Every issue includes free sewing patterns, the best tutorials from industry experts plus exciting projects and inspiring articles. Whether you’re making unique garments, chic homeware and accessories, or fun embroidery projects, Love Sewing is the perfect addition to your sewing room.
Your chance to win an Adjustoform dressmaker’s mannequin!
Create perfectly fitted garments with this versatile model from Adjustoform. One lucky reader will win the Olivia mannequin, which is available in four sizes and can be easily adapted to fit a variety of garments. It features eight sections with 12 adjusting wheels and a simple rotating hand adjuster to adjust the height of the model to suit your measurements. The sturdy metal stand means the dress model will stay firmly in place, helping you to create professional looking pieces with ease.
Join in the fun of the new Peter Rabbit movie with our exclusive embroidery project that you can add to homeware, accessories and garments! This project is a brilliant way to build your embroidery skills and learn some new stitches.
The pattern is designed by Genevieve Brading of Floss & Mischief and we have step by step instructions for completing the project available in Issue 50, plus a downloadable template is available here.
Learn the secrets behind the gorgeous costumes of new film Phantom Thread
We are thrilled that this fabulous film has been awarded an Academy Award – an oscar for Best Costume Design! Read all about the costumes in this fascinating behind the scenes look at the designs and costumes from the film.
The film is set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London and tells the story of fictional renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) who are at the centre of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of the House of Woodcock.
Through his creations, Reynolds can make the timid feel courageous and the unattractive feel beautiful. He’s immensely talented and at the very top of his game, but he’s also fussy, self-consumed and difficult. He meets a young, strong-willed woman, who soon becomes his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.
Academy Award-nominated writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson had little interest in dressmaking or fashion history until he discovered couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga (1895-1972), whose collections were internationally renowned for their iconic lacework, innovative cutting and shapely elegance.
Immersing himself in Mary Blume’s biography, The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, His Workrooms, His World, the writer-director became fascinated with the designer’s monastic life and all-consuming approach to dressmaking, which dovetailed with the New Look in Paris and Christian Dior’s reinvention of the female silhouette.
With his handsome, angular features, Balenciaga reminded Anderson of his There Will Be Blood lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis. A major Hollywood star, who also happens to be trained shoemaker, Day-Lewis has an appreciation for making things by hand. Anderson and his star became devoted students of haute couture, learning everything they could about Balenciaga and his contemporaries, including Dior and British-born designer Charles James. They studied classic English tailoring from the period, in particular John Cavanagh and Hardy Amies, and the artistic temperament of contemporary figures like Alexander McQueen.
Day-Lewis relished the chance to focus on the British specialists;
“It felt right somehow that our work should reflect the history of England and the fabric that came from the British Isles, which is extraordinary. The tailors and dressmakers are still making these garments, and they are beautiful. Every season when the fabric arrives, they look at the fabric, feel it, smell it and make designs from it. There was something fascinating to us about the idea of England emerging from the war years, amid austerity.”
Princess Mona’s wedding dress, from Phantom Thread, by costume designer Mark Bridges
The title Phantom Thread came from the predicament common among East London seamstresses in the Victorian era who were accustomed to working long hours in miserable conditions. After marathon periods of sewing magnificent dresses for royals and aristocrats, the exhausted workers found themselves, like automatons, sewing invisible thread outside the workroom — aka, a phantom thread. Daniel Day-Lewis learnt to drape, cut and sew for the role
Day-Lewis mastered the finer points of dressmaking during this period, studying dozens of volumes on the subject, examining archived dresses by world-class couturiers and learning how to cut, drape and sew under the instruction of Marc Happel, Director of Costumes of the New York City Ballet. “Marc taught him everything from basic sewing and cutting to the more elaborate process of draping and measuring,” says Anderson. “At the end of his training period he proved himself by making a fantastic copy of a Balenciaga suit.”
For costume designer Mark Bridges (of 2012’s The Artist), creating costumes from scratch was the only solution for a story in which dressmaking is central. Authenticity and sophistication were of the highest importance and true couture vintage was in short supply. The result was 50 unique garments for the movie, including nine original pieces showcased in a spring fashion show sequence.
“We discovered early on that we would be making a lot more garments than we initially thought,” Bridges says. “Silk only lasts for so long even if the garments have been well preserved. Time marches on, and moths are busy. Most of the clothes we sourced we wound up using for inspiration or understanding construction techniques. If we were duplicating a garment, we tried whenever possible to reproduce the fabric as closely as possible to the original garment.”
The veteran costume designer resisted focusing on a single couturier as inspiration for his creations. Instead, he researched designs from the era, combed through vintage editions of Vogue and watched segments from the British Pathé archive on YouTube. “Having the [Victoria and Albert Museum] archive at our disposal was very helpful because we could see how lines were cut and patterns constructed,” says Bridges. “It’s amazing how simply conceived a lot of the garments are, including Balenciaga’s embroidery, with its meticulous details.”
Joan Emily Brown and Sue Clarke were working as volunteers at the V&A when Anderson discovered that the women had extensive backgrounds in fashion. He hired both as creative consultants, based on their ability to verify in an instant whether a bobbin or pin was appropriate to the era. But he also gave them roles as actors, playing the crucial backroom roles of head seamstresses Nana and Biddy.
Clarke had taught fashion for most of her adult life before retiring and Brown spent decades in couture ateliers across London sewing, cutting and beading. They helped cast and crew understand workroom hierarchy, including the intricate power structure between cutters and fitters and assistants and hands. They shared minute workroom details like the mandatory white gloves worn by handlers during House fittings, and recounted stories of rigidly enforced etiquette that was the hallmark of the top Houses. “It’s a very organised world to work in with an emphasis on following the rules,” says Brown. “If you were the head of a workroom, you were addressed as Mr. or Mrs. along with your first name. It was all part of the etiquette of the time and you learned things quickly as you worked. There was a very disciplined way of doing things.”
In her essay The New Bloom of Couture, Cassie Davies-Strodder explains London couturiers produced two collections per year, for autumn/winter and spring/ summer. The garments were made with the finest fabric and trimmings, the majority made by hand by highly skilled seamstresses before the garments were fitted bespoke to each customer. Up to three fittings were required, and it took up to four weeks to produce the finished piece.
Curator of 20th and 21st century fashion collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Davies-Strodder reports how clients would enter the tall, terraced Mayfair couture houses on the ground floor where the grand rooms were used as a reception space. A twisting staircase, often at the center of the house, led the way to the first-floor showrooms and fitting rooms.
A brand new issue of Love Sewing will be in shops on Thursday February 22nd. It’s our 50th Issue and to celebrate we have 50 reader offers included inside.
This issue comes with a gorgeous free Butterick pattern gift, a 6-in-1 princess seam dress – Butterick B4443. We have a great reviewer this month, Anne Marshall – find her on Instagram @madewithmadness she’s more well known for her quilting, a regular contributor to our sister magazine Quilt Now – however, she has done an amazing job on the strapless version of this dress. We love her fabric choice, Alison Glass Geometric Sunset from www.simplysolids.co.uk
EXCLUSIVE Mischief maker Peter Rabbit embroidery – we include a stitch gallery and masterclass so you can try this even if you’ve never embroidered before.
Tilly and the Buttons Frankie tee from her new book, we’ve included a masterclass on applique – this month you can get Tilly’s new book Stretch for free when you subscribe.
Sunny side up girls’ dress by Melissa Mora of MellySews taken from her new book Sundressing.
Pretty in pink hexie cushion by Anne-Pia Godske Rasmussen from her book Flower Power Patchwork
Pick these pockets skirt by Claire Garside of Simple Sew
Into the blue Liberty tote
What’s the buzz mini quilt
Peachy keen double gauze top
Blooming lovely embroidered pansy hoop
We also have the usual dose of fabric inspiration, book reviews, sewing masterclasses from our resident experts, interviews and articles inside, including a fascinating look at tambour beading and your chance to win a brand new sewing machine amongst other great giveaways inside!
Amy celebrated reaching 50 issues by sewing up her own version of this month’s fab free pattern! We think you’ll agree – she looks great in her version, she’s added longer sleeves and is clearly enjoying a celebratory Happy 50th issue twirl of the skirt here!
FREE TILLY AND THE BUTTONS NEW BOOK: STRETCH! when you subscribe to Love Sewing!
This brand-new book offers perfect proof that easy-to-wear clothes can be seriously stylish with a collection of outfits that combine the comfort of stretch fabric with Tilly Walnes’s
The book includes complete, full-size patterns and is aimed at dressmakers who have grasped the basics and want to expand their sewing horizons.
Tilly’s tried-and-tested, learn-as-you-make approach is structured around five made-to-measure, speedy-to-sew garments and the friendly instructions and clear step-by-step photographs are accompanied by lots of tips and tricks to make sewing a breeze. The multiple variations and ideas will help you customise the garment to suit your own style.
And don’t forget, you also get a year of the fabulous LOVE SEWING MAGAZINE with free Butterick / McCall’s patterns every month!
Save money on the cover price every month
Priority delivery – get your copy before it’s in the shops
Free top quality patterns from Butterick / McCall’s every month
Don’t pay any more for our double gift issues
Patterns in a wide range of sizes, most from 8 to 24
Scuba fabric is a type of double knit made from polyester and spandex, with a very fine gauge thread, and smooth texture. It’s a little springy, very smooth and has a nice drape to it. Scuba fabric should not be confused with neoprene which is a thicker synthetic rubber and fabric hybrid that is more durable, flexible and is often used for wetsuits.
You can also buy a fabric called scuba crepe which is a lighter version of scuba, more like a traditional lycra but with a crepe textured finish.
Love Sewing Editor Amy pictured above wearing a scuba fabric dress, she says:
“I love the effect you can achieve when you make a circle skirt out of scuba, it has a lovely sway when you walk and creates a structured silhouette.”
> This fabric can vary in thicknesses, be sure what you are buying when purchasing scuba fabric online (see a list of good stockists at the end of the post)
> Scuba cuts easily, try a smaller rotary cutter for any intricate cutting sections.
> Prewash scuba as you should with any other fabric.
> Use a stretch or ballpoint needle to prevent snagging and slipping – read our full sewing machine needle guidehere for more help with needle choice.
> Try using a walking foot to help avoid bunching beneath the presser foot. This will help to evenly feed the scuba fabric as you sew, for perfect results. For more help with choosing a presser foot read our sewing machine presser foot guide.
> Use scuba for structured garments as you won’t need a lining, perfect for autumn and winter wear to keep you warm. Worth bearing in mind breathability when picking this fabric, you might not want to wear a clingy scuba dress on a hot day!
> It doesn’t have to be used just for tight fitting dresses, you can create a nice drapey effect with scuba.
> You can leave edges raw, but we think it looks nicer finished. Try using a bias bound hem.
> Unpicking can be tricky and can leave marks… take extra care!
> If you use an overlocker take care as the extra bulk of scuba fabric can cause problems. It’s best to trim seams by hand and then overlock with the knife disengaged.
> Be sure to iron scuba on a low setting, this fabric will mark or even melt if iron too hot. The fabric is thick, so extra attention to pressing will give the best results.
> Wash scuba garments at 30 or 40 degrees and avoid the tumble dryer, high temperatures will damage scuba fabric.
This scuba fabric dress is McCalls M7536. It has been made with pretty blue floral scuba from Fabworks– if you like the pattern pick up a back issue of Love Sewing 41 from www.moremags.com, the pattern comes free on the cover.
Seam finishes to use when sewing with scuba fabric
> Ballpoint needle stitch – use a three step zigzag stitch on the WS of the fabric so the zigzag covers over the raw edge, as mentioned scuba fabric won’t roll but it does look good finished.
> Twin needle stitch – Twin needle stitching is a bit more fiddly but it’s a useful stitch as the bobbin thread creates a zigzag effect on the underside of the fabric and covers the raw edges of the hem. You need to be as accurate as possible for a professional finish. (practice, practice, practice!)
> Overcasting – some machines have a special foot to use with a co-ordinating stitch which looks a bit like mountains and valleys, sometimes called over edge foot/stitch. The purpose is to give a neat finish to the raw edge and prevent unravelling, often used if an overlocker isn’t available.
> Overlocking – use an overlocker to finish the edges of seams and get a professional clean finish.
This is a dress our editor Amy is working on at the moment in scuba of course – we’re looking forward to seeing her wear it into the office soon! So where are the best places to buy scuba fabric online?
Where to buy scuba fabric?
Here are a few links to shops that sell scuba fabric online, click the links to go directly through to the scuba fabric they have for sale at the moment. You’ll see what beautiful bold prints you get with this modern fabric, it holds dye really well.
Love Sewing 48 comes with a free designer sewing pattern on the cover! You can buy your issue online at www.moremags.com or in shops now!
Palmer/Pletsch for McCall’s 7415 4-in-1 trouser pattern, uses the world-famous tissue-fitting method and is available in sizes 6-22. Try your hand at your first pair of trousers or have a go at chic shorts for the summer.
We also include some great send-away offers – just pay P&P! A brilliantly versatile McCall’s 7313 easy-wear jersey dress pattern featuring six styles in sizes 8 to 16, as well as lots of helpful tips for sewing with knits. If you’re looking to sew for the kids this spring, then look no further than our adorable free book, Sew Sweet. Featuring a mix of garments, toys and nursery inspiration, this £7.99 book is yours for just the price of P&P!
What else can you find in issue 48 of Love Sewing!
A classic corduroy skirt from Designer Stitch and a beautiful pleated top you’ll want to sew again and again.
Practise your patchwork with our beautiful Valentine’s cushion, made from half-square triangle blocks.
Use faux leather to sew a eye-catching circle bag and show off your hand embroidery skills by embellishing a fold-over clutch.
Discover the history of the Palmer/Pletsch tissue-fitting technique and meet the mother-and-daughter team behind your free pattern. Pati and Melissa continue to teach new generations how to give their garments a great fit, all by taking only one measurement!
Meet retro-loving fabric designer Kate Marsden and step inside the sewing room of Australian quilter Anorina Morris.
Win a £200 dressmaker’s bundle from Vlieseline and Hemline and save an impressive 20% on By Hand London PDF patterns with our exclusive discount. Plus, we have lots of fantastic prizes to give away, including books, fat quarters and kits.
Every issue includes tutorials and advice from our industry experts – Sewing Bee’s Jade Earley, Wendy Gardiner, Alison Smith MBE, Wendy Ward, Elisalex de Castro Peake, Kerry Green and Claire-Louise Hardie.
Whether you are sewing Christmas stockings for the end of kids beds or as decor for your house we have some great free tutorials and sewing patterns to share with you from generous bloggers around the world. Thank you sewing bloggers!
Having sewn a few stockings ourselves in the past we have a few words of advice! Unlike with a Woolly stocking, there won’t be any stretch in a woven fabric stocking. You might want to let Father Christmas have a quick look to see if it’s going to be wide enough. Also when items are placed in the stocking the heel and foot needs to be slightly roomier than a real sock would be to allow for lots of nice goodies to fit past.
If you are making stocking just for decoration in your house just be careful of hanging them over open fires, woodburners or anywhere they are likely to get very hot. sounds obvious but they do look so pretty you may forget! We think hanging them up the stairs looks great, especially with additional garlands, like this beautiful example we found on decoist.com above.
Free Tutorials and Sewing Patterns to make a Christmas Stocking
This Christmas stocking sewing pattern is free to download, it’s from Issue 33 of Love Sewing, however you can now find both the stocking template and instructions for sewing this lovely quilted Christmas stocking for free! Holly Jolly Christmas Stocking
This pretty Christmas stocking is from Issue 7 of Love Sewing (so long ago!) The pattern and instructions to make this lovely decorative stocking can be found free in our sewing downloads – Happy Hexie Christmas Stocking
Beautiful handmade Christmas stocking – find the free tutorial to make a stocking like this onFyne Designs blog. We love the way they have styled this by filling the stockings with baubles.
Look at these gorgeous little elf stockings, with bells on the toes too! Find the pattern / tutorial on the blog Blonde Design. We’d love to see the rest of the elves outfits if these are their stockings, so pretty. You don’t have to use expensive Liberty print, you could just use up some scraps you have available.
Find the tutorial to make these pom pom stockings here –Interiors by Sarah LangtryWhen we were searching for patterns we found so many examples with pom poms, we especially liked the white pom poms as they look like little snowballs.
Traditional burlap Christmas stocking – the pattern and tutorial is available at Craft Passion. These stockings just feel so Christmassy, you can almost here the music from the film Miracle on 34th street in the background and taste the mulled wine!
We really love this cute garland of stockings, a great way to get through and scraps from your stash. We think it could also work as an heirloom advent calendar if you made 24 and numbered them, perhaps with applique. Find out how to make it on Polkadot Chair.
If you need more then take a look at our Pinterest board dedicated to Christmas Stocking patterns to Sew.
We love the idea of making your own advent calendar. We’ve found some free fabric advent calendar sewing patterns for you to make (there’s still time!) The advent calendars on the high street are so uninspiring and expensive for what they really contain, moulded plastic, chocolates… why pay £10 for that! Make yourself and your family an heirloom advent calendar and fill the calendar each year with some treats that are actually tasty instead.
With DIY advent calendars (we like the type you have to sew best!), you can also steer clear of chocolate and sweets if you’d rather not start the day with chocolate (anyone?). Fill with little promises, little toys, mini-liqueurs (for adults – maybe open that in the evening!) or even little found objects that might interest the kids and spark conversations like pebbles, seed heads or pine cones – you choose. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful and fun. we’d love you to comment with your ideas for filling handmade advent calendars.
We think that it’s always best to try and make your calendar unique, so take time over fabric choices and think about where it will hang and what you want to fill it with so you can adapt the size of the calendar, the little pockets for the gifts and work out the fixings to hang it in your home.
This cute hanging stocking advent calendar pattern is from Issue 33 of Love Sewing, you just need an old frame, which makes it really practical as it can be propped up anywhere and those 24 stockings will sew up in no time at all – you can download the free pattern templates on our website now – Free Advent Calendar Stocking Templates
This advent bunting idea is really cute – to make it more Christmassy you could pick up one of those fat quarter packs of Christmassy fabric to make it with. Find the free advent bunting pattern on the Happy Zombie blog
You can also download this free advent calendar pattern to make cute little stockings to hang as a garland with a quilt backing over on Craftsy.
Fabric advent calendars with pockets
You can find the full step by step tutorial to make this cute fabric advent calendar – the calendar has been designed and made by Molly Flanders
This pretty fabric advent calendar is a classic design with pockets for each of the treats – Jera from Quilting in the Rain has added little chalk labels on mini clips which look really contemporary.
This must have taken a while – from 1 button through to 24 little mother of pearl buttons stitched onto this fabric advent calendar – it’s a really simply played down design if you’re not all about the razzmatazz at Christmas. See more at Miss Gaioia
This cute Calendar has pockets big enough for little notes where you can add little promises – like ‘bake cookies with Mummy’ or ‘Rent a Family Film tonight’ – you’ll be choosing the days, so you can decide what suits your schedule for the promises. See more and a written tutorial over on Smiles and Wishes blog
This has to be our favourite! A Father christmas to sew up and hang on a wall or door that you can use every year and fill with lovely treats. Find this advent calendar tutorial over on Craft Gossip by Anne Weaver
Step into spring and make 2018 the year you master your sewing machine, try your hand at some new projects and push your dressmaking skills. This new magazine, in shops now is full of spring sewing projects.
You can download the free pattern templates for the issue here –
Sew it Spring comes with two free designer sewing patterns, worth £26!
First off we have the Very Easy Vogue 9022 2-in-1 tunic dress pattern, in an easy-fit style with short or long sleeves and those all-important pockets! It’s available in sizes 4-26 and perfect for woven and knit fabric.
We also include the stunning Very Easy Vogue 9075 jumpsuit and dress pattern, which is ideal for special occasions including all those spring weddings! With a cinched-in waist, flowing skirt or wide-legged trousers and some more handy pockets – both versions are quick to sew and flatter all figures.
What else can you find in Sew it Spring!
– 23 stunning projects to sew, quilt and stitch!
– Sew a new spring wardrobe with our beautiful frill top, classic A-line skirt and bags and purses for all occasions.
– Spruce up your sewing space and give your home a spring refresh with our step-by-step wall organiser, cushions, quick quilt, lovely lampshade cover and more!
– Discover adorable clothes for kids, as well as sweet toys and fast and fabulous gifts they’ll love.
– Meet Liberty fabric specialist Alice Caroline and get to know kids clothing company Baboosh Designs.
– Win a year of Vogue Patterns, £120 of fabric from Minerva Crafts and save an impressive 20% at Cotton Reel Studio with our exclusive prizes. Inside you’ll also find lots of exciting discounts and fantastic prizes to give away, including books and Liberty fat quarters.
– PLUS, Sew it Spring is packed with top tips and techniques from expert sewists, and all the basics you need to guide you every step of the way, whatever your skill level.
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