Sew Confident Ltd is your one stop sewing shop. We provide a range of sewing supplies and classes set in a friendly and social environment. We know you have busy stressful lifestyles and we want to introduce you to a new hobby to help you learn, de-stress and be social!
Who doesn't love Prince Harry?! And it seems everyone loves his Bride-to-be (and previously, suits actress) Meghan Markle, who today joined the Queen and senior royals for her first official engagement with the monarch.
Often hitting headlines for her outfit choices, Meghan isn't the first member of (soon to be) royalty that everyone is obsessed with - who can forget Princess Dianas AMAZING outfits?!
As Miss Markle was pictured today heading to Westminster Abbey this afternoon, social media was going crazy for her jacket pictured below. I took it upon myself to find where this Jacket was from as I ALWAYS look at something and wonder how much it would cost me to make. (I'm hoping i'm not the only one who does this...)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leave following the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey this afternoon (Monday 12th March - 2018)
I found the exact coat Meghan Markle is wearing on www.amandawakeley.com . This cream sculpted tailoring crombie coat would only set you back £895... bargain eh? FEAR NOT, I am about to suggest various patterns & fabrics which will allow you to make this key waredrobe piece for much, much less!
I have found 3 different patterns, none of which are an EXACT match but could be easily manipulated to be! With the most expensive pattern being £8.99 and all 3 coming with various other patterns...we are already on to a winner with our budget royalty knock-off!
Again I didn't spend a lot of time on finding the BEST fabric, if you go to do this for yourself i'm sure you will find something to suit you better but in the mean time, here is some possible fabric options:
Going for even the most expensive pattern and fabric that I have found, you can make a version of this Meghan Markle coat for under £100!
Be sure to send us in a photo to email@example.com if you decide to give this a go at home, and if you would like some help remember you can come along to one of our pattern classes or monthly sew-cials!
I love our curtains class, but instead of just believing my slightly biased review(free lunch SAY WHAT?!) I thought I would demonstrate the kind of money you can save by booking yourself on. Feel that £65 is a bit expensive to attend a curtain making class? I have got some visual calculations for you to prove that it is 110% worth attending!
In this one day curtain class you will learn how to make lined curtains to fit a pole or a rail. We will be talking about the different header tapes, different linings and also how to measure your window and calculate your fabric requirements. We will be making small sample curtains in this class. You will leave with the skills and confidence required to make your own beautiful curtains! Header tapes are included in the price of this class, all you need to bring is fabric for the mock curtains. This can be from an old pair of existing curtains, or cheap cotton sheeting fabric - THERE IS ALSO A FREE LUNCH!
If you are wondering whether the class is worth it, take in to consideration how much it can cost you to buy around 6 sets of curtains to furnish your house, you will be saving yourself a FORTUNE in the long run! Still not convinced? Below are 3 quick examples I put together to show just how much you can save.
Remember that your curtain class skills will enable you to continue making curtains forever, think of the savings?!
W167 x Drop 228cm - £120 , JOHN LEWIS
£17.75 per metre
2 sets of ready made John Lewis curtains = £300
2 sets of self-made curtains = £80.50 + £65 curtain class = £145.50
**Personally, for this example I think the fabric I sourced would make a much nicer set of curtains than the ready made ones! Another advantage of learning to make your own, they can be as fun and unique as you like!**
W167 x Drop 228cm - £150 , John lewis
£17.50 a metre
2 sets of ready made John Lewis curtains = £360
2 sets of self-made curtains = £82.80 + £65 curtain class = £147.80
W167 x Drop 228cm - £180
£18 per metre
As I mentioned, this was just me quickly picking some ready made curtains from John Lewis... If you were looking to have these curtains made to a certain size you are looking at DOUBLE the price of ready made... and around 4x the price of learning to/making your own!
Having created this blog, I know i'll be making my own curtains and blinds for my future home!
Everyone meet our first sew-er of the month for 2018 - Heather!
1.So Heather, How long have you been sewing?
I started hand sewing when I was quite young, my Mum’s friend showed me how to cross stitch and I took up embroidery too. I didn’t start sewing with a machine until I took a beginners machine sewing class that was only for a morning in 2013. I loved it and started looking for classes to attend.
2. That's lovely your mum taught you! Why did you decide to go from embroidery and have a go at using a sewing machine?
While I still do some hand embroidery! I always wanted to be able to make more practical things myself and I love learning a new craft.
3. What sewing project are you most proud of?
I’m currently in the middle of a big quilting project called the Gravity Quilt! It is very complicated and intricate but I am enjoying every stage I am now working on the back ground and then will piece it altogether – it should look like this when finished (fingers crossed) http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/2014/11/gravity-quilt.html
4. That quilt is AMAZING, we love how colourful it is!! What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?
It is lovely to give a handmade present – all but one of my quilts have been given away. I made a book stack quilt as a retirement present for a librarian I work with and it was really personal – I picked her favourite colours for the fabrics and the pattern was an obvious choice for us librarians! I made cushions and make up bags as Christmas presents this year. I think my brother liked his (whipped up on Christmas Eve) Marvel heroes cushion more than the things I’d bought him. I haven’t done any alterations as yet but it is only a matter of time.
5. We agree, hand made gifts are best! What sewing accessory could you not live without?
I like Frixon pens – they iron away and are brilliant, also my rotary cutter. Scissors are so slow! I am totally in love with the new fabric scissors in the shop though just can’t decide between rose gold or multi-coloured. So pretty.
6. Yip we couldn't decide either so just HAD to treat ourselves to both the rainbow and rose gold scissors...haha. If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?
Don’t try and read patterns or cut fabric when you are tired or after a large glass of wine. Do the cutting before the wine.
7. hahaha maybe our favourite advice yet! Have you had any sewing disasters?
Things have been upside down and back to front. I’ve ripped a fair few seams out but you just sew it again and don’t tell anyone. Any mistakes in a quilt are a variation and make it your own personal take on a pattern. These are rules I live by!
8. Sounds like a great rule to us! How many classes have you attended? What was your favourite and why?
My first class with Sew Confident was the advent calendar class back when you were in Yorkhill. I just put it away with my Christmas decorations recently. Then I took the beginners sewing class – my make up bag is still in daily use in my work bag and my sister got the cushion. I like making cushions and went on to make a fair few most recently for my parents with some cool stag head fabric. I’ve also done the pattern class, the curtain class and been to the Sew-cial. I took the crochet class and liked the wool I was given for the project so much I bought more and am making a blanket for the back of my sofa. I’ve definitely go a lot out of coming along and trying things out, my confidence has grown so much.
9. That is going to be the coolest blanket EVER! What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?
I don’t have a big project in mind just to keep going and having a go at projects – curtains next I think.
10. Good choice, learning how to make curtains will save you a fortune! What projects do you have on the go right now?
The big quilt, curtains for my living room, a hand quilting project for charity and a crochet blanket. I’m keeping busy!
11. What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?
I have loved it and had a go at so many things, sewing is also very social and I have met and made some great friends both through quilting and at the classes. You don’t need a big complicated machine and expensive fabric – I’ve cut up my Dad’s old work shirts and practiced on old duvet covers. Getting my sewing machine and learning all this new stuff has been truly brilliant and there is always new stuff to learn.
Laura (left) & Heather (right) are now great friends after meeting on one of our classes! Here they are meeting up for a concert in Glasgow - AMAZING!
Everyone say a big hello to our December sew-ew of the month:Amrit !
So Amrit, how long have you been doing the BEST hobby ever (IE sewing)?
Maybe about 3 years .... when you had your shop at Yorkhill and came for a beginners class.....I thought they know how to thread a machine and sew straight lines already ....I didn't know I was an hour late until someone asked if I was stuck in traffic lol!
Haha! Don't worry, we have all been there!! Why did you decide to start sewing?
Well really it was my husbands fault. After baby number 3 I really felt like I had nothing for me. I was a full time mum with 3 babies aged 3,1 and a newborn. I didn't feel good about myself or about my clothes. I was stuck in a rut. My friends were all working and I felt like my only purpose was to nurse and change nappies...so he nagged me to get out the house and get a hobby. Perhaps he was thinking I would take up running but it was sewing.
I remember both my grannies sewing all their own Indian clothes and fitting perfectly. I have a weird body shape. I'm just 5ft. With quite long legs but short body. A sway back and sloping shoulders. And one boob bigger than the other! Ready to wear clothes didn't sit right and always need altered.....so that's where it all began!
What sewing project are you most proud of?
Eh I'm quite fickle. It's usually my last garment I've made haha. BUT if you force me it's actually the projects from the beginners class because that's what started me off. Recently though, my By Hand London holly trousers - They are sooooooo sexy. And I always get a bonus compliment. Colette Moneta dress I've made 4 and plans for more. The Sew Over It Nancy dress is a staple in workwear. I'm not a shirt person but I made a Grainline Archer Shirt. I loved that as I learned new skills like button holes, placket, collar stand.
That is a LOT of pattern making! What do you friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?
Ok. So as a rule don't ask me to hem anything. Aaaaaaargh. I only do my mums trousers (she's even shorter than me)... Friends and colleagues are always impressed and flattering me with questions of what I'm sewing up for them (I can't sew for anyone either I'm too scared I'll do a botch job - it's ok if that happens for me). I feel so smug when someone says nice dress and I'm like thanks I made it ...family are bored with me I'm afraid. They are always scared incase I ask them to take 100 pictures of me lol.
Your sewing skills are amazing you shouldn't be scared to create great things for others Amrit! What sewing accessory could you not live without?
To be honest I don't have a favourite thing or a must buy this item. But I do like my magnetic pin holder. It's a bit boring but it's so easy to take pins out when your sewing and flick it on to the dish
My 2 favourite sewing thing are:
Where I store my threads. It's my grandmas thread box and it still has her threads in them. I don't think I can bring myself to use them! She lined these wee drawers with newspaper aswell. It's soooo cute.
And another thing is her tiny pin cushion with her pins in it. I think she likes that I'm into sewing I only wish I could have shared it with her. My other gran gives me fabric that she's had since she was married-vintage!!!! I'm too scared to cut into it and ruin it. I want to do it justice....any ideas what to make?? We were so lucky to have her. I always feel blessed that my children had 4 great grandparents.
If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?
Don't worry about squiggly lines or pattern matching. Have fun. It's supposed to de stress not stress you out......And drink lots of tea!
Yup you definitely need a good cuppa when sewing! Have you had any sewing disasters?
All the time!!! Today I was making a top and it said sew right sides together...Easy right? NOT. I twisted the front piece sewed right sides together and ended up with a big knot in the front. I don't think I've ever made something without getting stuck at instruction or unpicking. But it's the learning. Something I learnt I'll never do again.... like that DP floral top you helped me with. The instructions were hopeless but the top looked amazing on someone else lol...it's also an achievement when you finished and got through that disaster. Another thing i've learned is what suits my body shape and what doesn't.
Sewing is all about the learning, as they say, every day is a school day, and boy was that DP pattern a school day for us! How many classes have you attended? What was your favourite and why?
I have done lots...I even followed you to Kirkintilloch! I like the classes and love the social aspect. Their was:
Sew far sew good (advanced beginner)
Christmas Advent Calendar
Walk away dress from Great British Sewing Bee
The dress pattern class
The shirt dress
And probably 100s more!! All the classes are great and recommend people to go along. I loved the learning but I've made great friends and have eaten a fair amount of fabulous cake
What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?
A coat! I really want to make one but think I should have started in July to have one ready for the colder months. The dream is to have a 100% handmade wardrobe and my style sorted out....the latter you think I might have done that by the time I hit 40, my still finding my style
What projects do you have on the go right now?
I'm cutting a closet case ebony dress. In black knit with large florals on it. Dresses and black tights are my wardrobe staple. I have plans to make another in a dusky pink ... In my head there are so many things I want to make
Victory Jackie dress
Another Tilly button cleo dress
Sew over it Erin skirt in denim or burgundy cord
A sewaholic sweatshirt
Everything from named patterns lol
What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?
Do it!!!! It's a great hobby. You'll pick up skills for life, make lots of friends, and you might get great fitting clothes out of it!
Sew Confidents Sew-along - FINAL UPDATE Part one - The duffle bag
OK SO, I may have missed a week or two of updating the sew-along...I was away gallivanting in London & we have been super busy in the studio!
I also feel a lot of people won't have started this sew along..may that be due to total FEAR/feeling they aren't good enough to do it OR Christmas is approaching super fast so it is understandable that everyone is very busy!
WELL I AM HERE TO TELL YOU ALL THAT YOU 110% CAN DO THESE SUPER PROFESSIONAL LOOKING BAGS!1.Finishing The duffle bag
So on the last blog post I had an almost finished duffle bag..we done the hard bit of putting in the zip, attaching the straps & panicing that our machine wasn't going to handle all the layers of the fabric (Which it handled perfectly fine!)
The last steps to complete the shell of the duffle bag is to attach the ends and the base. Problem numbero Uno - sewing curves is NOT fun. I am a total perfectionist so wanted to make sure the curves on both ends of my bag were the same, the easiest way I have now decided to sew the curves etc is to 1. Pin notches and important areas. 2. Have the curves pieces of fabric on the bottom so you can see/it is easier to fit the straight top fabric into the required area!
I know I am not the best person at explaining things but I feel the instructions are decent for this pattern & the main thing you need when doing it is CONFIDENCE! So lets skip to my pictures...
Once the shell of the bag is completed, the lining is easy. Just remember to iron back the opening to leave room for the zip! I also ignored the instructions where it said to 'hand stitch' in the lining...I machined through the shell/zip & lining and unpicked the original row I done when first attaching the zip to the 2 sides!!
TA-DA! One bad photo of the finished duffle bag...the detachable strap I found was VERY long, so to save webbing/money in future I won't make it as long as the instructions say! For my first attempt at bag making I was SO CHUFFED with myself, it honestly looks better/very professional in person...which is why I feel I rushed to finish this one and start my own personal weekend bag that I cut out in different fabric...
Now if this isn't the COOLEST BAG EVER I don't know what is...joking! But I honestly am so so happy with how this turned out. I even used our new embroidery machine in the studio to personalise it to give it an extra professional finish. I also decided to only go for one pocket on this bag as I wanted as much of the colour to be showing as possible.
After making two duffle bags I have decided that next time (because i'm 100% making everyone I know one of these for Christmas/Birthdays) I would get thicker iron on interfacing as I feel that unless stuffed it is still a bit saggy & doesn't look its best!
The sew-along is all about bringing all us sewing lovers together and helping/showing off to each other our great talent!! I hope everyone, or at least one person hahaha, joins in & challenges themselves to make this great travel kit!! For those of you that are going to create your own bags, make sure you tag us in any photos/videos on any of your social media and use the hash tag #SCsewalong !
It is definitely time to start thinking about just WHAT to wear for all those Christmas parties you are looking forward to (Or being dragged along to). Well the best conversation starter and way to impress your colleges this festive season is to make your own amazing outfit!! (This also means you wont have the embarrassment of turning up in the same outfit as Annoying Anne who works on the 2nd floor). Here at Sew Confident HQ we have saved you a bit of the hassle and looked out some patterns we think would make AMAZING party wear!
Sapporo coat from PAPERCUT patterns
Mito cami/dress from PAPERCUT patterns
Sea-bell Dress from PAPERCUT patterns
Elizabeth Gown from NAMED patterns
Leotie Midi Dress from NAMED patterns
Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit
BY HAND - LONDON
Alix Dress from BY HAND LONDON
Orsola Dress & skirt from BY HAND LONDON
Kim Dress from BY HAND LONDON
Are you making this years Christmas outfit? Send us some photos!
So hopefully by now you have downloaded your PDF and done the long boring part of putting together the pattern and cutting out all the fabric.
At our 'Sew-cial' on Friday evening I joined the class & made a start on the outside shell of the duffel bag. The first problem I came across was that the instructions said my webbing should have been hanging over the end piece of fabric...mine was not...BUT when things like this happen, do not stress! As you can see from the photos once I attached the D ring there was more than enough webbing to do the job. (Wither I was wrong or the instructions were who knows for sure.)
I was worried my stitching wouldn't be very neat due to so many thick layers & using materials like the canvas webbing which I have never handled before but the Elna 340 machine worked a treat. I was pretty pleased with how well and tidy it was coming together though & once I started to see it coming together I began to love my choice of fabrics even more!
Once the ends and 2 sides were complete the instructions say to go straight in to attaching the sides to the zip. Now normally I love putting in zips...THIS ZIP ON THE OTHER HAND... I must have unpicked and redone the zip about 4 times until I was happy with it as I felt doing it the topstitching way as suggested didn't leave the finish as neat as my previous stitching.
Am I being to harsh/a perfectionist? Possibly! haha but even sew-ers with experience can struggle at times too and there would be no point me showing my progress if I didn't show the rough parts too.
Hope to see how some of you are getting on and I will post blog number 3 next week!!
Remember there is still plenty of time to join in... ;)
I know we forgot all about an October Sew-er of the month, what can I say it was a pretty busy one(and I forgot sorry) but our November Sew-er Laura will more than make up for it. With a love of all things flamingo and her own brood of farm animals she's got some interesting in-class stories. Many of you might have met her(because she has been on MANY a Sewcial and many a class!) and you might have even been lucky enough to sample her insane home baking! This is her sewing story!
So how long have you been sewing?
About a year, before that all my experience was in cross stitch kits. I came for some private lessons with Jenny first and then asked my mum to buy me a sewing machine for my 30th. It stayed in the box for a little while as I had the fear and then I took it out and looked at it for about a week. I had to you tube how to thread it because I was nervous I would get it wrong. Now I have a whole sewing room. It’s pink and has flamingo wallpaper!! There is a flamingo theme to my sewing I think, I recently made a flamingo cushion cover, a flamingo top and then drawstring bags from those scraps.
Laura's cross stitching is pretty amazing!!
Bit of sewing room jealousy on the go here!
LOVING all the flamingo stuff and your sewing room looks amazing! What was your reason for learning to sew?
I don’t really follow fashion, I just wear what suits me and there are a few things in my wardrobe that are standard staple items for me like little shift dresses and A-line skirts, I wanted to know how I could just replicate what I already wore but in a colour palette more suited to me and in prints I really liked. My gran taught me a few things when I was young and I really wish I had kept it up, I have ended up with an old sewing box that I’m not sure if it’s hers or her sisters but every time I am looking for a hook and eye or a piece of elastic or something I normally find it in there so it feels like she is still kind of involved in my sewing.
That's really cute, its so nice to know your gran would be delighted with your hobby, I too wish I had got into sewing when my Nana was still about, she'd love all the things I make! Speaking of which, what is your favourite sewing project to date?
Probably a little elasticated circle skirt I made with Jenny in under an hour, I didn’t realise how easy it would be and it was my first handmade item that gave me the confidence to keep going and make more. I learned much more than how to sew two bits of material together in that hour.
Aw I remember that skirt, great for summer holidays! What do you friends and family think of your hobby? Do you end up hemming everyones trousers?
They are really encouraging, I made a Winnie the Pooh quilt for my niece who was born in April this year and her mum and dad seemed impressed. My mum is tiny so most of her wardrobe needs altered so I’d like to be able to do that for her save her always needing to pay for it. My brother popped round at the weekend with a pair of tartan trousers he is needing altered, never hemmed trousers before but it felt nice he had the confidence in me that I probably don’t have in myself.
Winnie the Pooh Quilt!
I'm confident you could adjust trousers, just no the most exciting job ever! What sewing accessory could you absolutely not live without?
I have this little pin cushion attached to a strap of elastic that goes round my wrist, I bought it on Ebay I think for like £2. Could probably easy make it actually. I find it easier than using a pin cushion that inevitably you put down and then can’t find plus when you are actually sewing and taking pins out as you sew it’s much easier to just pop them back on your wrist. I’m just waiting for the day that I do that and I’m not using it and I stab myself in the wrist with a pin.
Stabbing yourself with pins is an occupational hazard of being a sew-er, maybe not in the wrist right enough! If you could go back to your beginner days and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?
Classes are great and definitely the way to go but social media is your friend, follow blogs on bloglovin, follow people on instagram, subscribe to sewers on youtube. The sewing community is so friendly and welcoming. No one will ridicule you, I worried people would think I was stupid for asking certain questions. That never happens!!! Sewing trolls do not exist.
We're friendly breed, sew-ers! Haha! You've been sewing for a while, you've got to have had a few disaster along the way, right?
I was using a Tilly and the buttons pattern to make a skirt and I’ve made the facing shorter than the waistband so now it’s too tight and it’s never going to fit, I’ll need to get some more fabric and do that bit again. Also I bought this gorgeous sheep pattern cotton fabric that I made pyjama trousers out of but I read the pattern wrong. I looked at the ‘finished garment sizes’ section and cut out the wrong size, the pattern had a big seam allowance so once I had finished them I literally couldn’t get them up. When I did it the second time I had to tape all the pattern back together so now I trace my patterns out and you can bet I have never read the sizing wrong since.
Making mistakes is the best way to learn but it's still annoying if you waste some amazing sheep fabric! I know you have been in our studio loads but how many classes have you actually attended, and what was your favourite?
I’ve done a few private lessons, the pattern class, the shirt dress class and the free motion embroidery class (I won that in the Christmas advent competition). My favourite was the pattern class, it just taught me so much and completely de mystified patterns. Everyone had different patterns too so although mine didn’t have pleats in it someone else’s did so we all learned from each other. One of the other girls was talking to me about making quilts and I ended up making one (the winnie the pooh one) and we went to a gig together not long after the class, so I made a friend and gained some new skills.
Laura's Machine Doodles Sheep
That's so nice that you made a friend in class, I think that happens quite often! You've come on leaps and bounds in the time you've been sewing, what would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?
A winter coat and a pair of jeans. I’ve been reading a few blogs lately about making jeans and it doesn’t look too hard and recently in Sew Confident I’ve seen Colette’s winter jacket taking shape so I don’t feel as intimidated anymore but I definitely want to make a bit more before tackling those projects. I would also love my own sewing blog but I want a bit more experience before I start that.
I would definitely read your blog Laura, you need to get on that! What projects do you have on the go right now?
I’m experimenting with fabric right now and have extended my fabric stash to include viscose, jersey, wool and needlecord. I’ll make an A-line skirt with the wool and probably a little dress with the needlecord. The others I needs to get some inspiration from but I might book onto the next kimono class and use my viscose there, it’s a nice autumnal floral pattern.
Laura's family heirloom sewing box!
Viscose is up there with my favourite fabrics just now, cheap and looks lovely - would make a fab kimono! What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?
Have a private lesson first, you can ask all the questions you maybe wouldn't ask in a bigger class and you can get a feel for it without spending too much money on a class that lasts a few weeks.
Good advice! Thanks for chatting to us Laura, get writing that blog and we'll share it with the Sew Confident Crew!
Do you want to follow in Laura's footsteps?You can book a 121 lesson here or check out all of our classes here!
This first week is just more of an introduction, I will tell you where I got everything I needed for the project...my chosen fabrics...why I picked this pattern for the sew-along and more!
We will be making the 'Portside travel set' from Grainline studio. (available here) I picked this pattern, since as we all know, 'WINTER IS COMING' (said in the best game of throne voice of course) which means it is time to start thinking about Christmas gifts.
I like this pattern as it would make a lovely gift for ladies and gents & there is endless possibilities on fabrics you can mix & match to make it look totally different each time! I also picked this pattern as I think people would be more interested in giving themselves a bit of a challenge while still being able to get a bit of help too! I haven't had a test run at making this set yet myself so who knows...maybe you lot will be giving me hints and tips!!
Sew Confident Sew along - week 1 - YouTube
Where I got everything I need
The pattern - Grainline studio
The interfacing - Sewconfident website
The Zips - smaller zips from Sew Confident, (large 21" zip I got on ebay!)
D rings - Sew Confident
Swivel clips - Sew Confident
Fabric 1 - Canvas fabric from Ikea (only £4 a metre!!)
Fabric 2 - Fake leather look fabric from The Cotton Print Factory (£7 a metre)
Lining - Remenant kings
Webbing for straps - For the sizes mentioned in the pattern I ordered this on ebay in big 10m rolls as it worked out cheaper than buying just the 2m ... guess ill just make a few bags!
What is the sew along all about?
The sew-along is all about bringing all us sewing lovers together and helping/showing off to each other our great talent!! I will be posting an update of my progress once a week for about 3 weeks (maybe more if anyone joining in wants extra tips!) So make sure you tag us in any photos/videos on any of your social media and use the hash tag #SCsewalong !
If you have any questions just drop me an e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org ,
I have had this blog idea on my to do list for what feels like years and now I have the fabulous Colette on board, halving my workload I am getting round to all sorts of things! So here is the first edition of Sew Confident's Sew-er of the Month!
Meet Amanda! A fabulous sew-er who has come on leaps and bounds in the short time I have known her. She makes clothes for herself and her adorable wee girls. We had a wee chat about her sewing journey so far.
Amanda, how long have you been sewing?
Can you tell which one is shop bought and which is handmade?!
I’ve owned a sewing machine, (my mum’s old one) since I was about 16, so almost 20 years, but I wouldn’t say I could sew! I remember being about 17 and trying to make a pair of trousers for myself, they were a complete disaster, there was nothing right about them at all! I’d say I've actually been sewing as in actually successfully for only about 6 months, that’s when it all fell into place and I thought, I think I can do this, I can say to people, I can sew!
I think we've all been there with trousers to be fair! Why did you start sewing?
When we bought our first house it needed lots of work done to it so spending a fortune on curtains and blinds was just not an option. I got out mum’s old sewing machine and taught myself how to make roman blinds and curtains. Every blind and pair of curtains in my house is handmade. I enjoyed making curtains, essentially it’s just sewing straight lines, I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do anything else, but actually working with such massive lengths of heavy curtain fabric is hard, hard work! It’s nothing like the joy of sitting with comparatively tiny bit of beautiful fabric and making clothes!
Every curtain and blind?! You are putting us all to shame here Amanda! Apart from the soft furnishings what sewing project are you most proud of?
How cute are these two?!
I’ve recently started making clothes for my two little girls and when I see them in the clothes I’ve made I do feel so proud of myself. I’ve made them lots of little pinafores and some blouses. It’s lovely when people comment on their clothes and are shocked to learn I’ve made them myself. My fabric stash is high and my plans are infinite, it’s just time that’s the problem!!
Honestly some of your holiday pictures on Instagram looked like they were straight out Spanish Vogue! You have an adorable little family! What do your friends and family think about your sewing skills, are they impressed or do they use you as a free alterations service?
I actually find alterations quite stressful and I haven’t done many. I thing sewing and creating something step by step is one thing, but to try to undo some of the steps and alter things is a different story, you could be taking in a side seam of a fully constructed garment, but it you were making it from scratch the side seams would be done much earlier in the process. I have done a few alterations for family, but it is something I’ve still got my knickers in a bit of a knot about!!
Well you're not alone there, I think alterations are the least exciting sewing activity you could get involved with! So moving onto equipment - you've got one of our Elna 340s don't you? Apart from your machine what sewing accessory could you not live without?
Ikea Trolley is a Genius Sewing Must-Have!
I am not lucky enough to have a sewing room and I found that I didn’t sew as much as I’d like to because if I only had half an hour or so to spare the thought of getting everything out of the cupboard and set up put me off. I am a total neat freak so I also just couldn’t leave everything lying around my dining room table, so although it probably doesn’t seem sewing related at all, my can’t live without item is an amazing little wheeled trolley from Ikea. It’s got all my essentials pilled on I just wheel it out, grab my machine & iron and I’m good to go! It’s such a silly thing but it works for me, I’m sure it’s all in the mind but I love me little sewing room on wheels!
I recently got one of these for the studio!! It's a total game changer and saves so much space! Take me back to your beginner days...If you could go back and give yourself one sewing tip or piece of advice what would it be?
It would absolutely be just give it a go, what are you afraid of? I’ve noticed at classes that everyone who is new is nervous and scared, I was too, but actually it’s just sewing together bits of material, just have a bash, what’s the worst that can happen? And you’ll probably find your much better at it than you thought you would be, and that’s when the real problems start because you’ll be hooked!!
Haha, I think you are definitely hooked, you must have had a few sewing disasters along the way?
No, not really. I guess it’s early days though. I have definitely done my fair share of unpicking, asking for help and Youtubing but nothing that’s ever been that bad. The things I have made that I feel are not perfect and I can see the flaws in no one else ever can, we are all too critical of ourselves.
I'm always saying that in class to students, people are way to hard on themselves! How many classes have you attended? Do you have a favourite?
Two shirt dresses are better than one!
I think I have been to 5 classes and I have two more booked in, the kids hoodie class and the portfolio class. I’ve also had a couple of one to ones with Jenny and been to a Sew-cial. My favourite class without a doubt was the shirt dress class. It was the first time I’d attempted a collar, button stands, technical things I thought would be a real challenge, so it was such a great feeling to complete the dress. I loved the shirt dress so much I had two on the go at the same time, one in class and one at home, it was also the first time I’d ever made something and actually worn it.
I'm so glad you liked the shirt dress class. It's one of my personal favourite patterns too, so versatile! What would you like to be able to sew in the future, what is the dream?
The dream, dream, the pipe dream is to make a living designing and making children’s clothes. My own little label, worn by more than just my children, but on a slightly more realistic note I guess the dream is to have more time to sew more, to keep learning, to make more things for myself and keep pushing myself, I’d like to make myself a blazer and get better on my overlocker.
Amanda's gorgeous sister wears a bespoke tulle circle skirt for her hen do!
If you can dream it you can do it! Your own kidswear label sound very exciting! What projects do you have on the go right now?
A couple of last minute summer dresses for my daughters before we go on holiday in October and lots more Autumn / Winter designs for the girls. I’ve just ordered lots of lovely soft needle cord to make pinafores for the girls and some gorgeous liberty print cotton for beautiful blouses for underneath. I’ve also just bought myself the Tilly & The Button’s Cleo dungaree dress pattern and the Sew Over It Coco jacket pattern, but I’ll always make for the girls before myself. I’ve got the Sew Confident Portfolio class and the kids hoodie class too coming up so I’m keeping busy!
I'll need to keep my eyes on your Instagram in October, to see what adorable outfits your girls wear on that holiday! What would you say to someone who was thinking of taking up sewing?
Do it! Give it a go, book some classes and one to ones and give it a go. With some guidance it’s not as tricky you perceive it’s going to be. If I’d done that when I was 17 and made the dodgy trousers, who knows maybe I could have my own children’s clothing company by now.
Lovely chatting to you Amanda, i'm sure you'll be one to watch on the designer kidswear front!
Do you want to follow Amanda and see all the lovely things she has been sewing? You can check out her instagram here!
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