Make your sewing pattern weights 11 ways

Serger Pepper Pattern Weights DIY

Hi there! Irene from Serger Pepper here! How is your sewing machine? Did you clean it from the last time we met? And did you make a bag for your laptop? Or maybe you’ve been too busy choosing  your first serger… Today we’re here to talk about a sewing tool I didn’t use for a lot of time (my mom still looks at me weird when I say I’m not using pins… whaaat?): Pattern Weights What are pattern weights? Exactly what their name says! They can be any heavy object, better if not too fragile or spiky, absolutely not sphere-shaped They are used, just like pins, to keep the pattern pieces stuck to the fabric while you cut it, to make sure you’re cutting as accurate as you can. Let me show you my unconventional pattern weights: You can see I use … Continue reading

The best UK online fabric shops

Big list of 60+ UK Online fabric shops. Oh dear, I feel a shopping spree coming on :-)

By now you’ve probably all already seen the Big List of Online Fabric Shops and the Best Etsy Fabric Shops articles.  Awesome right.  Yeah, if you are in the US.  But although most of my readers are in the USA, a lot are also from the UK.  Perhaps its my British accent that attracts you, and you aren’t too put off by all of the American spellings! So if you are in the UK, here is your own list of great online resources for buying fabric for every possible sort of sewing project. I’m starting out with the smaller independent shops of Etsy, where you can often find great personal customer service and more unusual fabrics and products.  The below a list of websites and shops.  Enjoy! I’m not in the UK any more so am not familiar with all … Continue reading

Spring Applique Pillow Cover

Love the bright colors in this Spring Applique Pillow Cover idea. The raised flowers and buttons add a nice touch.

Feeling like Spring is in the air?  Tulips and daffodils starting to brighten up your garden yet?  I suppose it depends where you are, but when I lived in the UK I loved to see my garden burst into life this time of year with crocus, and all the spring bulbs and bright colors. Last year I made the Spring mug rug – remember that one?  I actually gave a pair of those away as a prize and then felt bad about it so I made myself a new Spring project to cheer myself up.  Love the bright colors, the bold flowers and butterflies. I used a new product from Shabby Fabrics, their pre-fused laser-cut shapes.  They have a nice range of flowers, butterflies, letters, hearts and more, all in different sizes and different colorways.  I used the medium printed … Continue reading

Join the latest (and best?) sewing chat group

No 'Bitchin' in this online Stitching group. Fun online sewing community launched. All are welcome.

Photo credit: Sewing class sponsored by ILGWU Local 91, October 21, 1966 via photopin (license)     If you’ve been following along here for a while, you’ll remember the launch of our sewing forum. So far there are 316 members – that’s pretty good! But even with all those members its a little quiet there. Not as much sharing and activity as I had hoped for. Just over the last few weeks quite a few people have written and asked if we could have a Facebook group as well. The forum is cool, but it’s a little bit ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for many who are used to spending chat time on Facebook instead. It can be easier to check in with a group if you are already there updating your status or watching cat videos Ever happy … Continue reading

Tool Tip – Dritz Thermal Thimbles

Sewing tool tips. These thermal thimbles are just what I've been looking for to stop my fingers getting burned from the steam iron.

I’ve started to accumulate. Not just fabric of course, we all need a sizable fabric stash in case of well, a zombie apocalypse or something, where we can’t get out to the fabric shop for a while. I’ve also started to accumulate some sewing tools. Small tools that make sewing quicker, easier or help me to get a better result. I’m so delighted with these Dritz thermal thimbles that I bought, that I wanted to share them with you. Why you need these Dritz Thermal Thimbles! Have you ever noticed when you look at the base of your iron how the majority of the steam vents are either near the tip, on the outer edges of the soleplate,  or both.  They even usually have little grooves that direct the steam outwards too. That means that whenever you want to press … Continue reading

The high cost of fashion – video series

Video series about the garment industry workers and the high cost of cheap fashion. Harrowing video footage about their real life struggles.

I’m a bit behind the times here out on the island, but I know there was a shocking book all about the ‘high cost’ of cheap fashion, and then the news and documentary about the collapse of the factory in Bangladesh, where 1,129 garment industry workers lost their lives in 2013. “Dhaka Savar Building Collapse” by rijans – Flickr: Dhaka Savar Building Collapse. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. I’d heard of both of course, but never really looked into it too much.  To be truthful, I actively try to avoid bad news and live a happy life pretending bad things don’t happen. But then I stumbled across this video series and couldn’t avoid it any more.  The short video series follows a group of young Norwegians as they visit with garment industry workers in Cambodia, see how … Continue reading

New Class Collections – in-depth sewing learning

How to become a better sewer - take more in-depth classes with these new Class Collections. Learn more AND Save more at the same time! Sewing, quilting, cooking and more

I’ve come a long way since I started to learn to sew in the late summer of 2012.  I’ve tackled many different subjects, projects and ideas along the way – the range of possible topics in sewing is vast!  I’ve even tried a little quilting here and there, started out with my new serger and started drafting my own patterns. Do you feel sometimes it time to ‘specialise’?  Go more in-depth in a subject, beyond the basics and really get down to the nitty gritty, and become an expert? As you know, I’m a huge fan of Craftsy.  Living out here on a small island with no access to sewing lessons or lots of other sewers to turn to for advice, I’ve learned everything I know thanks to their awesome range of online classes which you can watch any time, … Continue reading

Sewing the Glenda Clutch Bag from Swoon Patterns

Video tutorial for how to sew the GLENDS Convertible Clutch bag from Swoon Patterns.

{Read all the way to the bottom – there’s a giveaway here too!} I gave myself a break from pattern drafting and sewed up someone else’s pattern this week. Makes a nice change to not have to make 3 or 4 draft versions while I make changes here and there until I’m happy with the final version. Pattern drafting is a long process – I did an article some time back now about the Carry All Bag and what goes on behind the scenes to get a bag from idea to published pattern. Hint- its a lot of work! Plus, by sewing other people’s patterns, I can often pick up new tips and tricks, discover new materials or new ways of doing things that I’d not considered before. This can only help in the development of my own patterns. This … Continue reading

What fabrics do you want to know more about?

Which fabric is which? What fabric would you want to see in your perfect swatch kit?

  I’ve just heard from Fabric Mart that the Knit Fabrics Swatch Kit has almost sold out again, down to single digits. By the time this goes live, it may well be out of stock again. I’m glad so many of you are taking advantage of this great offer and learning more about the different types of knit fabrics. Don’t know what I’m talking about?  Check out the earlier article and video about the Knit Fabric Swatch Kit. So what would you like to know more about next? Fabric Mart have offered to put together another kit to help you out with your online fabric buying, so you can get some samples of fabrics, feel the weight, the thickness, the drape etc and help you determine which fabrics will be just right for which project and pattern. If you could … Continue reading

Best fabric shops on Etsy

This page lists exclusive discounts to lots of Etsy fabric shops. I found some new favorites.

What makes a good online fabric shop?  Range of fabrics?  Designers stocked?  Style of designs?  Prices?  Good customer service?  Reasonable shipping? Fast response to enquiries?  Sales and discount codes?  All of the above and more? I’ve always been a big fan of Etsy, both for all the wonderful handcrafted goods, but also increasingly for their supplies.  There are so many awesome fabric sellers doing a good trade on Etsy these days that I wanted to pick out a few I recommend. I wrote to ALL the big fabric sellers on Etsy, told them all about the So Sew Easy site and invited them all to take part in this article, with a link to their store, a picture and a paragraph telling us all about them.  And would you know it – 90% of the fabric shops I contacted didn’t … Continue reading

1034D – Licenced to Serge

Not sure where to start? Feeling the fear? Check out these tips to get started with your new serger.

You must be wondering what happened to my serger I got for Christmas? Well, I’m embarrassed but I just never found the time! I enrolled in the Beginner Serging Class on Craftsy and then never found the time to watch it, and was afraid to make a start without knowing what I was doing. So while hubby was out an an event, I sat down with a big cup of coffee, my manual and my class and tried to put my fear aside. The lovely instructor in the class, Amy, is SUCH a sweetie and she gave me confidence that nothing terrible was going to happen if I just turned it on and pressed the pedal. She was right of course – it just worked. In fact it was absolutely fascinating to watch it work and then I just couldn’t … Continue reading

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