Thursday, January 18, 2018

Battle of the sweatshirts - Your Guide To Sweatshirt Patterns...

For me, January is all about getting out and doing some exercise or hankering down on the sofa and binge watching Netflix. Either way I need a wardrobe that is going to match my life style. I also want to get started on my New Years Intentions (I don't do resolutions they are just too easy to fail at) One of my intentions this year was to make more clothes. Ok I may not be doing dry January but I have made a stack of clothes this year and we are only 18 days in.

Quick easy makes = Instant gratification = January smugness

I started with a pair of leggings and loads of fab sports wear fabric. I then challenged you to start sewing with jersey. Now it is ALL about the sweatshirt. Now I am partial (read: addicted) to sewing a sweatshirt. Why? Well...

  1. Sweatshirts are easy, I can whip up a Toaster in less than an hour these days. 
  2. They are utterly wearable every single day, I can't say that for the many summer party frocks I used to make. 
  3. Why wouldn't you? With so many beautiful swoon worthy jerseys and many different pattern options there is bound to be something there that you will fall in love with.
Here are my 3 Top Sweatshirt Patterns.

In at number 1.
My current favourite Sweatshirt pattern is the Sloane Sweatshirt from Named Patterns. A simple boyfriend style sweatshirt with beautiful long bust darts that give it a feminine edge. I love the height of the neckline on this. I have lengthened it just 2cm. The pattern is cut for people 5'7" but as I come in over that I need the extra length in both the body and the sleeves. The original pattern had a much smaller waistband but I lengthened this for a more relaxed fit. It now sits on my hips rather than tight round my waist. Try our new Leopard Ponte Roma to make a  fab version of this sweatshirt. 

Number 2 was a tough call but in the end I have plumped for the Toaster Pattern from Sew House Seven.
What swung it for me on this pattern was the choice of styles. I have only made the winter friendly raglan sleeve version with a high neck and waist band. There is also a version with more of a swing body and a simpler neck. The best bit of this version for me is the deep sleeve cuffs. I made the bottle green version in a Roma jersey in forest and the thicker more chunky version in a Sweatshirt fleece. I love that this pattern is so versatile and changes so much depending on the weight of the fabric. I would really love to see this version in the new Floral Wool Mix Ponte Roma we have had in. Then I want a version B in the lighter Spot Ponte Roma. #sweatershirtgoals

And finally at number 3, my first sweatshirt love, is the Linden from Grainline Studio. This is where my addiction to making sweatshirts. The only reason I place this at number 3 is because at this time of year I prefer a higher neckband, I get a chilly bit on the back of my neck that seems to control my entire body temperate. This pattern is amazing and it is so versatile. Once again I make the lengthening adjustments. I also find that if I add 2cm to the length of neckband then I get a much smoother neckband with no puckering. I love adding a contrast panel in the front, see almost every version I have ever made (below is just a few of them) anything goes, faux leather, sequins you name it! The other hack which was a winner was my frill insert. I simply measured 7cm from the neckband all around and chopped it in half. I then inserted a frill all around.

There is also a long list of patterns I am just itching to make. Starting with the Bowline from Papercut and the Gemma from Named Patterns.

 Papercut patterns Bowline Sweater (Intermediate)

If you fancy having a go at making a sweatshirt, take a look at some of our brand new sweatshirting fabrics on our site...

(also in Black & Silver)

(also in Claret, Red and Royal Blue)

See the full range of sweatshirt fabrics in our Jerseys section here.

Happy sewing xxx

Monday, January 15, 2018

Super Scuba Your 2018 Sewing challenge

The Olivia Palermo Lookbook

If you have not yet sewn with scuba this may well be the year to change all that. Those of you who have followed me for a while will have heard me banging on about how amazing scuba is. And it really is, I'm not joking. It is the fabric I get asked most about. People always want to know what is scuba fabric, how do you sew with it and what patterns are best. So here I am to give you the low down on scuba.


Scuba is technically a double knit jersey fabric. This means it is similar in weight to ponte roma jersey, so it is a thick jersey rather than a T- shirt weight jersey. It is usually made from polyester, sometimes with added elastane. Don't let this put you off, I know many dressmakers who turn their noses up at polyester, but it really does have a place in fashion. In fact many top designers use polyester in their collections. Scuba has a matte finish and a bouncy texture. It takes print really well so you can find many bold designs in scuba.


Sewing with scuba is like sewing with any jersey. I suggest using a jersey or ball point needle as this will prevent pulling or laddering in the fabric. An overlocker can be a really great way to sew with scuba, but if not, then a normal machine set to a stretch or zig zag stitch works just as well. One of the things I love about sewing with scuba is that it does not fray, so you can leave your seam allowances trimmed without the need to finish them. I also often don't hem my scuba. As it is quite bouncy it can create bulky hems unless you go for a wide hem, so you get a much sharper finish with a cut edge.

Bold geometric hoodie in shades of blue. Hanelli Mustaparta is such a style icon

As for what to make with scuba, popular garments are skater style dresses, leggings and full skirts. Scuba is also great for making swimwear, tee shirts, fitted dresses and jackets. A jersey pattern is ideal but you can easily use a woven pattern as scuba fabric is pretty stable. You may want to size down if using a woven pattern to allow for the extra ease in the fabric. The body of scuba fabric makes it ideal for anything with a frill, a flounce or a  peplum. Read down for my tip Scuba sewing patterns.

Image sources.

I have added more to my Scuba Sewing Inspiration board over on Pinterest so go and check it out.

Here are our newest Scuba fabrics, see the full collection here.

Chaffinch bough in Old Gold is one of our favourite designs so you can imagine how excited we are to now have this beautiful print on a scuba fabric.

The Vintage Roses scuba has a wonderful delicate feel to it.

Voilet Roses scuba features a vibrant floral design on an inky background. 

This new embossed scuba is stunning. Subtle roses give it an interesting textural finish. In Black or Navy.

Our popular crepe scuba now comes in 2 new colours. Choose from Grey and Ivory for a clean contemporary look. 

This Suede scuba is really breathtaking. A soft suede finish on a scuba backing.

Want to know the best scuba sewing patterns? I've collected them all together for you...

Gaia coat would make a stunning statement coat in scuba.
Named Gaia Quilted Coat (Intermediate)

With its cute frill round the bottom the Saiph Dress was made for this fabric.
Papercut patterns Saiph Tunic (Beginner)

A Sweatshirt looks really contemporary when made of scuba. Try Gemma or Sloane
Named Gemma Sweater & Maxi Dress (Intermediate)

Panelled dresses are having a moment, my favourites are the Zadie and the Washington dress.
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I've made the Scout Tee in our Crepe scuba and it is a favourite make of mine.
Scout Tee Pattern

Happy sewing xxx

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ready. Set. Sew.....

Yes this is another January motivational message designed to get you off the couch and running 25k. Ok, maybe not 25k. But at least as far as your sewing machine. This year is an exciting time to be making your own activewear. Here is a guide to how you can easily make your own workout gear, wether you decide to wear it to yoga, the gym or just as lounge wear is up to you!

2018 is the year for activewear sewing with many new pattern launches to motivate you. Here is my quick round up. Keep reading for my top fabric selections and tips for sewing your own activewear.

Seamwork, the online magazine from Colette patterns feature the Skipper sweatshirt and the Shelly leggings as this months free patterns. You need to subscribe to the magazine to get free patterns or you can buy them from their website. If you do choose a subscription you'll get pattern credits, style hacks and fabric picks. As well as loads of great articles and interviews such as the one this month with Meg Stively the face behind Sew House Seven who bought us hit patterns such as the Toaster Sweater.
Seamwork Skipper and Shelly

Cashmerette have also launched a range of Curvy sized activewear. Featuring the Cedar Tank and Top, Belmont leggings and Yoga Pants and the Shawmut yoga bag. All patterns are available to download from the Cashmerette website and there is a great value bundle where you can buy Cedar and Belmont and get Shawmut for free.

Workout Pattern Bundle : Belmont & Cedar PLUS free Shawmut Yoga Bag
Cashmerette Cedar, Belmont and Shawmut

Fehrtrade is a pattern company dedicated to activewear patterns, just check out their website for a huge selection of styles.  In 2018 Melissa is launching her very first book (Yay! congratulations Melissa) You can pre order a copy here. Now if that doesn't motivate you to sew your own activewear I don't know what will.

I have fallen in love with leggings. I wear them under dresses, to yoga, round the house. I'm not yet at the stage where I feel comfortable wearing them with a crop top, but you never know #2018fitnessgoals. I set myself the challenge of making my own this year after totting up that I bought at least 5 pairs last year (I know, how naughty when they are so simple to make!)
I made my first pair of yoga leggings using Megan Nielsen's Virginia leggings pattern (available as PDF download only) and our new Black Roses sports jersey. The pattern was so simple I easily made them up in an evening including sticking and cutting the PDF. I am pretty tall and made no adjustments to the high rise long version, next time I will add extra rise of about 1" and the front and 2" at the back to allow for my 'peachy' behind. And to prevent that revealing builders bum in a yoga class, nobody needs to see that!
Scuba is also a wonderful fabric to make leggings from, just make sure it has enough stretch and that it goes 4 ways, otherwise you won't be able to bend your knees.

The Lark Tee from Grainline studio is one of my most versatile go to patterns. The short sleeved version is perfect in our Milano jersey. This is a viscose and elastane mix jersey. Did you know that viscose is a natural fibre derived from wood pulp that is highly breathable and sweat wicking, perfect for a workout tee shirt. For a comfy yoga cover up, try making a longer sleeved version in the Isabella jersey. This wool and viscose mix will keep you cool when you build up some heat, but it is also ideal to slip on to keep you warm and cosy during your relaxation. The pattern includes loads of neck and sleeve variations so you can tailor it to your style. As the pattern is quite a long fit it is perfect for staying in place while you twist and turn, jump and kick or run.

Grainline Studios Lark Tee Sewing Pattern

For serious gym bunnies and runners you need activewear patterns with clever benefits, think hidden pockets and supportive tops. Sewaholic has the Pacific leggings and Dunbar top that are ideal. Use our plain Sports jersey in bright colours to mix and match and create your own fun outfit.

Sewaholic patterns pacific leggings
Sewaholic Pacific and Dunbar

Before and after your workouts, or just to nip to the shops you are going to want an extra layer. There are some amazing sweatshirt patterns around, may favourites are The Toaster, Linden, Gemma and Sloane. Or you could try a Rigel Bomber jacket, or a Seymour hoodie. These all look great made in our Ponte Roma Jersey. Or for something a bit more fun using a Floral scuba be amazing. We've just added some stunning new designs to our scuba range see them all here.

Named Gemma Sweater & Maxi Dress (Intermediate)

Sewaholic Seymour jacket sewing pattern
Customising your activewear is so much fun and really simple. Here are my top customisations:
  • Add panels in a bright neon sportswear fabric to leggings and tops for added visability. 
  • Use Airtex or Powernet for the body or sleeves for a cooler top with an urban edge to it.
  • Mix colours, use contrasting or co-ordinating colours for the body and sleeves. The Gemma sweatshirt is ideal for this.
  • Don't be afraid of patterned fabric. Pair bold patterned leggings with plain tee shirt as the ultimate in gym styling.
Don't forget you're gonna need some of these bits as well.
  • Supersoft elastic, ideal for waistbands and underbust support.
  • Powernet is great for lining sportswear, choose between black and nude.
  • You should always sew jersey fabrics using a jersey needle and a strong thread. Nobody wants a split seam mid vinyasa.
Image 1

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What ever your workout style, I hope there is something here to motivate you to make your own activewear but if you need just a little more inspiration then checkout my Fitwear Pinterest Board.

Happy sewing xxx