I have finally finished making my new blue dress. I say finally as it has been a long process of alterations as I went along. Dressmaking means you can get the right FIT for YOU.
It was only that I so loved both the feel and the look of the linen and wool blend fabric that kept me going dressmaking at times. Perseverance means I now have a classic, easy to wear dress, which will take me through the changing seasons.
The pattern I used was the Simple Sew Skater Dress. Contact me if you would like this pattern for your dressmaking.
I do agree with Simple Sew pattern advice to launder fabric before you begin. If your fabric is going to shrink, you want it to do so before you make it into your new dress!
What I didn’t do though, was make a toile, which is also a good idea. What I did do was use the pattern according to my bust measurement. I am still getting used to one effect of the peri-menopause – an increase in bust size!
What needed altering? Quite a lot!
I do just need to mention that the pattern instructions do not mention:
creating a hem on the sleeves
sewing a sleeve or side seemThese are necessary to make a dress! otherwise the dressmaking instructions seem clear to follow.
Neck Line Alterations
The neckline gaped so I inserted darts into the neckline (and also the neck facing) to correct this. This did alter the shape of the neckline but gave a much better fit.
To get the neckline to lie flat:
I clipped the curves on the neck and neck facing seam
Top stitching using a twin needle
I used this for the hems too and it gave a firm finish I also increased the lower front bodice darts for a better fit.
The bodice also needed some adjustments at the back as it didn’t fit too well at first.
The right back sleeve seam was baggy – maybe I am rather lopsided, but that is one of the joys of making your own clothes, you can make them fit YOU!
Here is the back bodice before alteration:
I turned the dress to the wrong side and unpicked the back of the sleeve. I then took in the excess back bodice and re sewed.
You can see that the left bodice back slopes down differently to the right side. So I unpicked the top-stitching and the facing at the left back. I then made a paper template of the right side and then used this to re cut both the back bodice and the facing.
The facing was then reattached and the top-stitching completed.
I think these pictures shows the improved fit:
They also show I need to get my hair straighteners out!
Dressmaking Finishing Extra
My final addition was straps with press studs to hold my bra straps and the fairly narrow shoulder together. This took a few minutes but will increase my comfort and confidence in wear.
There are lots of advantages of dressmaking
If you would like to increase your joy of stitching, I have a new workshop programme, including a weekend dressmaking course.
I usually put workshops on my FaceBook page events
Sharing my sewing adventures to show how to add a lining. Add a lining to take your sewing from home made to haute couture. Sew your own style.
Blue Trench Coat
My Spring wardrobe would not be complete without a coat to keep the blustery showers at bay.
Blue is a favourite of mine so I can choose to wear my blue boots or blue court shoes to complete the outfit. What colour coat would best suit you and your wardrobe? Sew your own style.
I used Simple Sew The Trench Coat pattern and some blue suiting from a local tailor.
Simple Sew Trench Coat pattern
This coat pattern is a flattering belted style without buttons. however it is short for a coat, and there in no guidance for adding a lining.
I made it more versatile to wear over a wider range of clothes, and in a range of weather by increasing the length.
Haute couture is French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion” and is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Not as difficult as the term may suggest, and is all about getting clothes right for you and not the same as anyone else. Sew your own style
Adding a lining
Rose & Hubble fabric for the lining
I chose some lovely Rose & Hubble cotton for the lining. The lining of a coat can be extra special, almost like a secret between the wearer and the coat, which can be chosen to be shared, or not!
I’m not a fan of slippery man-made fabric linings, as they can wear out quite fast, and be sweaty (this could just be me of course?!). I prefer a natural fabric which is more breathable, and in this case I chose a hard wearing cotton. I do tend to sling my coat around, when out and about in the car, or under seats etc at venues so they do need to stand up to this treatment!
What do you need to take into account?
The great thing about adding a lining is that all your seams are covered up so although they need finishing to stop any fraying, you don’t have to feel they will be open to inspection.
First things first, I always wash fabric so if there is going to be any shrinkage, it is before making.
While the fabric drys, inspect the pattern construction and instructions and decide on any alterations you want. I lengthened the belt as well as both the bodice and skirt length.
Cuting out in my kitchen as the worktop height is kinder on my back. I love using my fabric weights. Quicker and easier than pinning, especially with thick fabric. You can find these in my Etsy shop. I ship worldwide from Yorkshire. I’m also happy to create a custom order for you, if there is a particular colour or design you would like. Just let me know.
Using Fabric Weights
The lining pieces are the same as the main body (no need for the belt or facing though).
The sleeves and back pattern pieces are cut out the same as for the main fabric pieces.
You can see here where I use the main fabric piece to get the same length – this shows how much length I added – tall girls need more fabric!
Planning the lining
Use the pattern markings for grain and fold lines for the lining.
Cutting out the lining pieces
However, because the lining is attached to the facing, the front lining pieces don’t want to be as wide as the main fabric front pieces.
In this pattern there’s lots of fullness from pleats in the front skirt pieces, which I din’t want in the lining, as it would be far too bulky.
You can see here how I pinned the pleats on the front skirt pattern piece and folded in the facing width to create my lining pattern piece.
adjusting the pattern for the lining
Sewing in the lining
Make up the lining as a second version of the garment. If curves need clipping do this after neatening the edges. I love using pinking scissors for finishing seams of cotton fabric.
constructing the lining
I hung my nearly finished garments up, to allow gravity to work and see how it would hang in wear. I checked the sizing before sewing together. The lining garment is placed wrong side to the wrong side of the main garment once the facing and lining are sewn together right sides together.
hanging during construction
The lining needs to be 2 – 3 inches shorter than the outer coat and I didn’t hem them separately, but chose to sew the hems right sides together and then turn through.
At this stage there are no sleeves.
The sleeve is inserted into the main garment, right sides together with even gethering.
insert the sleeve
You won’t get a smooth lining finish if you don’t hand stitch the lining sleeve top, or head, in place. So, first sew the wrist part of the lining and sleeve together. Place right sides together with the lining on the outside. Machine stitch the wrist circle and then turn the sleeve lining to the inside of the sleeve. Match up the side seams and ensure it isn’t twisted.
Fold over the top edge of the sleeve lining and slip stitch it to the lining bodice, matching the undearm seams. Careful hand stitching here really does finish the garment off well.
The other thing I added to finish my coat, was silver top stitch along the front edge, all around the collar. Along with clipping the seams, and tapering the collar point, this really helps the collar to lie flat aswell as finishing the garment. Some extra attention to finishing details really helps to sew your own style. I am thinking about which sewist brooch to add.
front of finished coat
back of finished coat
I’m looking forward to the end of wintery weather here, so I can step out in my blue coat. What clothesmaking would help you to sew your own style?
In this new dress sewing post: Project organisation; Matching Checks/Plaids; Creating a Neck facing; Inserting a Zip; Inserting Sleeves; Using Tacking
My new dress has both a high waist and both bodice and skirt darts which are flattering to my curves.
My aim is to use up the fabrics and resources I already have, reducing my storage needs and simplify finding everything.
I had already prepped some red, brown and navy plaid fabric: washing and drying it and then pinning the selvedges together, matching the plaid pattern up. Having decided to use a high waist winter dress pattern, I had stored the fabric and pattern together in a stacking basket, complete with thread and zip notions.
This is one of the ways I organise my projects.
After hearing a podcast on fabric and pattern organisation I’m considering options for my New Year goal of simplicity.
I already use Evernote for general organisation so this may be best for specific sewing project organisation. I would then have the info on fabrics and patterns, including the fabric & notions required on my phone with me when out.
When I realised I had a spare afternoon towards the end of December, when the rest of the family went off to the cinema, I washed down the Kitchen Island (which is just the right height for me to cut out fabric without back issues), and grabbed the basket for this project.
Having the plaid pattern already matched up, and using my fabric weights, which I find quicker than pins, I had my dress fabric pieces cut out in no time.
I made my own fabric weights, filling them with rice, and you can order some yourself choosing your own colour fabric, from my Etsy shop.
These pattern weights are not just handy for sewists, but make great paper weights or for juggling practice!
All the pieces were returned to the basket to take back to my studio and stay together during construction.
Over the following week, whenever I had a little time spare, I went to my machine, and pieced my new dress together. My aim became to have it ready to wear on News Year Day, and I did achieve this, even though I sat sewing the hem by hand at my sister in law’s New Years Eve gathering!
As I mentioned I had already pined the selvedge edges together, matching the plaid pattern up.
Fabric is not always folded up on in the bolt straight to the pattern so the first step to pattern matching is to straighten it out.
Pre washing means I know there will not be any distortion after making up.
When placing the pattern pieces on the fabric I considered what would need to match up.
My pattern needed matching horizontally and vertically, so I needed the skirt and bodice plaids to match up, as well as the front and back pattern to match horizontally.
I placed the pattern pieces to allow for this.
I also added an inch to the bodice armhole as shown, to give a little more movement.
In places, even after pinning the plaid to match on seams, there was some slippage. So the plaid did not quite match after pressing the seam. This is an instance when tacking, in this case sideways on the plaid line, as well as just inside the seam line, saved unpicking and resewing!
Creating a Neck Facing
An interlined facing creates a neat neck edge. I attached iron-on grey interlining to the fabric facing pieces. (It is not necessary to try to do any plaid matching, as the facing is turned to the wrong side and is not seen when you wear the dress).
The shoulder seams both of the bodice and the facing are sewn first
The facing is then sewn on to the bodice, right sides together. This curved seam needs clipping to ensure the facing lies flat.
I then pressed this facing seam to ensure a smooth neck edge.
Especially when pressing curves, a tailors ham makes a really good accessory, giving a firm surface to press against.
I made my own tailors ham, filling it with sawdust and you can order one yourself (choosing your own colour fabric if you choose) from my Etsy shop
I then used understitching the facing to give extra strength to the neck edge and help ensure the facing lies flat.
This involves a line of stitching on the opened out facing.
When the facing is folded under you don’t see the stitches.
An alternative would be to topstitch the folded neck edge, where you will see the stitches. This can add an extra design feature, especially if you use a contrasting thread colour. As my fabric already had plenty going on, I chose to understitch.
Inserting the Zip
I used a regular zip, rather than an invisible one, as that is what I had in.
When your fabric has several colours, it can be tricky to decide which colour zip to use. I had brown and red zips, so held both against the bodice pieces to choose which blended best. I went for the red zip and made sure the thread blended well too.
My zip method: tack the seam together, press it open and then lay the right side of the zip down centred over the seam.
Tacking again helps keep the centred and in place during stitching. Using a zipper foot helps get the stitches close to the zipper teeth.
Tack the sleeve heads, with the thread secured at one end. Pull up these stitches then to match the bodice armhole.
I place the pins sideways to the seam. Wind the unsecured end of the tacking round a pin in a figure of eight, after pulling the gathering to match.
The regular sewing machine foot used, glides over pins that are sideways.
My finished new dress for the New Year and Burns Night. Bring on the neeps and tatties!
I would love to hear from you. Please comment here, or using the contact form.
Avoid Christmas panic – make your own hanging heart decoration, or use one of our kits that has everything you need ready for you. The hearts you make, or the kits, are great stocking fillers or Christmas Eve box gifts.
Taking just the cotton print heart you have made, secure the thread in the centre with a couple of small stitches. Put the needle up through the small felt heart and one of the holes of the button. Take the neele and thread back down through the other hole of the button and repeat a couple of times.
Secure on the wrong side with another couple of small stitches. This is the stage it is easiest to add any personalised embellishment too.
Layer the 3 heart pieces with the print upermost.
Fold the ribbon in half and tuck the ends into the top of the heart. Secure with a couple of stitches, and test it with a little tug.
Using running stitch, sew from the top of the heart up and around the curve, down to the bottom point and then back up the other side, to 1 cm to the second curve. Secure the thread with a small stitch.
Use the hollow fibre filling poking it into the inside the heart, as evenly as possible. A pencil can help with this.
If you would like some scent, add some dried fragrant petals, such as lavender, or a couple of drops of essential oil to the hollowfibre.
Complete the running stitching back to the centre top and secure with another couple of little stitches.
Hang your completed hanging heart decoration with pride.
Hanging heart Kits
If you would like a kit to make a hanging heart decoration (available in three designs) then please go to my Etsy shop.
I offer to save you time, stress and money:
gift wrapping service (small extra charge)
I will send your purchace to your recipient with a greeting (free service)
I also have another DIY Christmas presents hanging kit available at my Etsy shop.
And as a blog reader you can use the code HCBLOG at the checkout for 20% off any orders from my Etsy shop over £10.
After months of anticipation and planning our daughter, Hannah’s wedding to Craig was this weekend. The Home Coaching sewing lounge became a hair and make up studio with no boys allowed!
The crafting has been taking place throughout the year with Hannah making paper flowers for the bouquets, corsages and button holes. Lots of the Moyes clan females made flowers, when we met up in the summer, to start the flower wall.
I was comissioned to make a cake with three tirers of sponge cake: red velvet, lemon and carrot cakes. The purple theme was used with pearl and gold embellishments.
I had one cake tin in each size so gradually made the cakes and stashed them in the freezer. Planning ahead meant I was not too fazed when one of the carrot cakes was an epic fail! Thankfully the next attempt worked fine.
Decorating had to be done at the last moment as fillings included cream and cream cheese. So after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner we set to.
Hannah is woman who know what she wants and often amazes me with her quick choices when shopping. This is a skill she uses in her job as a merchandiser. This was no exception when I went down south to go wedding dress shopping. Hannah had seen an Anna Sorrano dress she liked online and tried this on first. This being the first time I had ever seen my daughter in a wedding dress, I wasn’t sure if my “wow” response was due to just that. However, after trying a few more dresses we quickly returned to the first one, a classic a-line gown with long sleeves and sequin lace .
We hadn’t been sure if we would make a dress, as I had for my wedding, but felt that for all the fabric and inner corsetry, we certainly wouldn’t save any money by making from scratch and we felt we had found the right dress. Nick was sent a text with a picture of Hannah wearing the dress but had to delete it from his phone. It was then kept secret until the big day.
There was the conundrum of the wedding dress swishing down the isle of the church, but then not getting in the way of partying. We solved this on my return South by removing lots of the underneath layers of the skirt at hip level and turning them into an under skirt. This involved trying the dress on lots of times on the hottest day of the year – the last Sunday in August! The sleeves were taken in to fit snugly and the hem length checked with Hannah wearing her purple heels.
Here is Hannah and Nick arriving at the church, with the the dress A-shape with the underskirt layers. Dior is quoted as saying “I have designed flower women”, when referring to the A-shapes. Incidently I am rather envious of Hannah who will be visiting the Dior exhibition later this week in Paris.
And here is Hannah and Craig dancing, showing the dress without the underskirt layers, and with the train fastened up using a button and loop.
Mother of the Bride Outfit
Back in Sheffield, I chose a Vogue pattern which suited my love of putting fabrics together as well as my shape. Now my attic studio was originally Hannah’s bedroom and needed to be reinstated as such. This meant much sorting and clearing up was required. The great thing of sorting through my fabric stash under the eves, was finding I already had the fabrics for my dress!
Also found was a cotton jacket I had stashed away from a charity shop spree, which I had never worn as it was a bright yellow (cheerful but not one of my colours) and was rather dated with it’s shoulder pads and long length.
The pads, buttons and lining were removed and the jacket dyed with a dye I had also had a while, to tone down the bright yellow to a paler pink.
I had chosen some wool on a trip to Wingham Wool in Wentworth, earlier in the year and set to with the embellishing machine. I chose navy, jade, grey and purple wool, a turquise silk and a blend.Playing led to a swirling design, which turned out reminiscent of some of VanGogh’s skys.
Unlike my sewing machine, the embellisher isn’t designed for sleeves so these needed their seams unpicking. Felting caused the sleeves not to be long or wide enough, so some calico was added and then needle felted. The loss of length on the jacket was not an issue as I wanted it shorter, and I remodelled the front facing to get the front to fit.
The upcycling continued as a silk blouse that no longer fitted me was used to line the jacket.
I used the cotton from one of my Grandpa’s old shirts I also had in my stash to make a toile of the dress bodice. I hadn’t used a Vogue pattern with different pieces for different cup sizes before so wanted to test it out. I had to adjust the fit on the shoulders, and across my upper chest and after fiddling around to get the toile to fit, decided to use it as the bodice lining.
Since I had already cut down the length and re-fitted the waist of my wedding dress netted underskirt (sadly I am not the same waist size I was at age 19!), I decided this would be right for the circle skirt of the dress.
The sleeves also needed adjusting for a better fit.
As I was using some silk for the mid setion, I found I needed to add interfacing to this for a smooth fit.
The simple dress lines are enhanced by top stitching, but I did need to unpick some of this to get one shoulder to lie flat!
Here is the non fitting shoulder
And then modified
I used an invisible zip from my stash, which worked although a little shorter than the length suggested in the pattern.
The pattern instructions were clear to follow.
The hem was finished using horsehair braid, which is great to add body to a hem. I wasn’t totally happy with the finish of the hem as it was a little ruckled. However it was good that I was staying with my mother in law when I was finishing the dress, as she was able to give me a pep talk that it is only me who would notice this!
I chose a one colour hat which was not too high, as I am already tall. The added bonus was this was in the sale! I trimmed this up with a fabric flower from offcuts from the dress and some feathers in the jacket colours.
As it’s been rather windy lately,to keep my hat on, I embellished a filigre hat pin, to go with a couple of vintage plain hat pins inherited from my grandmother.
With all the saving, using inherited vintage items and up-cycling, I was able to justify a Radley handbag which was in both petrol and purple!
The Pavers court shoes I chose were navy and purple and I wore them while sewing to “wear them into my feet”.
So the anticipated wedding day came and now we have so many happy memories shared with family and friends, and also with you. I do hope you have enjoyed sharing the special day with us.
I will show you how to up-cycle and simply sew to get a cosy classic coat, ready for the colder weather.
A coat can be an expensive garment to make, unless you up-cycle one you like the fabric of.
Here is my charity shop bargain, £3 for a wool navy coat, in very good condition.
bargain wool coat
I would love to be able to report that this “before” picture is really an “after weight loss” picture. However, my size has stayed the same but the coat was far too big, several sizes too big.
The material was good quality, a great colour for me, so worth some care and sewing. In fact, as the cost of material rises, I both buy, and advise others to buy, clothes that will provide fabric and haberdashery to use instead of buying new.
You may be interested to see how I up-cycled some denim jeans and some shirts to meke a lined tunic dress
Sometimes a £1 bargain rail charity shop, or car boot sale find will generate fabric, a zip and/or buttons. Extra—large cotton men’s shirts are a favourite up-cycle of mine for patchwork and crafting. It’s worth training your eyes to see pre-worn garments in a new light!
It’s much easier to take fabric away than to increase the size of a bargain!
This wool coat needed taking in by 12 inches, to have a fitted rather than sack like feel. After measuring, the first thing was to cut up the back of the lining to expose the coat’s construction.
Here is the maths:
The 12 inch reduction was then planned and divided:
4 inches by taking in the back seam by 2 inches
5 inches by taking in both side seams by 1.25 inches. (this was continued for the sleeve seams).
2 inches by creating 2 back darts, and 1 inch by moving the button position (the buttons were also replaced)
First some unpicking was needed:
The shoulder pads were removed
Either side of the bottom back and side seams
Either side of the top and bottom sleeve seams (armhole and cuff)
The seams were pinned and the new seam position marked with tailors chalk.
Because wool does not fray, straight stitch on my trusty Bernina
machine was used.
If the fabric had been one to fray, I would have considered using my overlocker (serger), to cut and finish the seam in one action.
After sewing the seams, they were trimmed to the original seam allowance, clipped in to the stich line and then pressed (with a steam iron on wool setting)
The lining was then taken in at the same places, except for the inside back.
The unpicked cuff, armhole and hem were then reattached to the lining, to complete the seam
The back darts were positioned, pinned and marked with chalk as shown.
After stitching, these were pressed towards the centre back seam.
The centre back lining cut was then taken in and with right sides together stitched, leaving a portion to allow it to be turned back so the inside main and inside lining seam were together. The gap was slip stitched together to close.
The new buttons were sewn on further in and the original buttons removed. You can up-cycle something from one garment to create further designer items!
To embellish the completed coat, I made a brooch which was attached with a brooch back.
The coat was brushed to remove threads and fluff, and then steamed to remove a stain and refresh both the fabric and lining.
The completed upcycled coat. 12 inches smaller.
I would love to hear of your up-cycling, please get in touch, or comment below.
The fabric I used for this Lottie blouse is a lovely comfy, slightly stretchy silk blend. The downside from a sewing point of view is its a very slippery fabric! I won’t repeat my mutterings as I sewed, but will share how I dealt with this issue.
Helen Moyes Designs Lottie Blouse
For cutting out I avoided the use of pins, which can stretch fabric and leave holes in fine fabric, by using my pattern weights. I run workshops on making these or they can be found in my Etsy shop.
I also used a French rule and a rotary wheel cutter (along with a self healing cutting mat) for cutting out as This was much easier than scissors for this fine, slippy fabric.
Avoiding pins – using pattern weights
I did find the fabric layouts a little confusing, and there is only a 60″ wide fabric blouse layplan provided. My fabric was not this wide, so I used 1.9m of 45″ wide fabric, which worked out fine.
I also used a rule, along with carbon paper and a carbon tracing wheel for marking the dart position.
using a carbon tracing wheel for marking the dart position
The darts are the first thing to be sewn. With fine fabric, it is even more important to start the stitching at the narrowest part and not back stitch, but rather to hand tie a knot. This avoids bulky stitching showing on the right side of the blouse.
I also used my new fine Tulip pins. These are extra fine and short – ideal for fine fabrics and applique. I got these from another Yorkshire seamstress, Grace at Beyond Measure
For fine fabrics, use a finer, new needle. I used a 70 universal needle.
Since the fabric frayed a lot and is slightly see through, I chose to use French seams, as all the raw edges of the fabric are enclosed and hidden.
Because this blouse pattern seam allowance is only 1cm, I made sure I cut the blouse on the generous side to allow for the French seams.
I do find it interesting that the French refer to this seam construction as “Coutures anglaises” – English seams!
A French seam is actually two seams, first starting with a 1cm seam allowance wrong fabric sides together, which is then trimmed and enclosed in a second seam right fabric sides together. Here is how you create this seam:
Place the wrong fabric sides together, and sew a 1cm seam. Then trim the seam allowance down to 4mm
Press this seam allowance to one side
Place the right sides of the fabric together and press
Now sew along the seamline with a 6mm seam allowance
Press this enclosed seam towards the back.
Bias Bound Neckline
Once the shoulders are joined with a French seam, the next stage is to bind around the bottom of the neckline on the front piece. This uses a strip of bias binding, cut on the diagonal – to the selvedge of the fabric. This means the strip is stretchy to work on the curved neckline. I pinned this on the right side of the neck , sewed, trimmed and then clipped to the stitching line on the curve.
Clipping seems scary but the worst thing that can happen is you cut through the stitching and need to re do some stitches!
I then turned the bias strip over to the wrong side and slip stiched the free, folded edge to the stitch line.
The next step I did was to insert the sleeves.
By a row of running stitches between the notches I achieved a slightly gathered sleeve head is. As I wanted a French seam here as well, I did wrong sides together and then created the second seam as above.
I show you that creating a replacement cover for an ironing board is quick, easy and inexpensive.
I love the convenience of my Ikea JALL table ironingboards which I use in the guest room and in my textile workshops. It was the Simple Sew Sheffield launch which made me stocktake and realise that one ironingboard was really not fit to be seen in public. I’m not sure I really want to “bare all” and show you how tatty it had got here, but in true before and after style, I have decided I will.
ironing board hack BEFORE
Not a pretty sight heh?
Ikea sell replacement covers for their larger ironing boards but not for the table ironingboard. I am really into up-cycling rather than replacing so I set about investigating how to make a replacement cover.
Going to my fabric stash I found a piece of cotton just the right size. It was a remmenant I was offered very cheaply at Economy Fabrics. This project needs 90 x 40 cm of fabric.
Taking the existing cover off, I found the wadding still usable and used it as a pattern, adding 5cm all around
Using the wadding as a pattern
I decided to improve on the single wadding and added some Insul Bright heat resistant wadding. This wadding feels more like felt and contains heat-resistant properties, often Mylar fibre which is used in the space programme. It is ideal for such projects as place mats, cool bags, tea cosies etc. where it is important to keep things hot, keep them cold or protect surfaces from extreme temperatures.
I was glad I did add this extra wadding as the board is not only more padded and so nicer to use, pressing seems quicker too. In order to prevent the two layers of wadding sliding around I sewed them together using a large zig zag stitch.
sewing wadding layers together
Binding the Cover
I used pink bias binding, to edge and create a casing to thread some cord through.
I often make my own binding but for speed I used some matching bought binding I had in my stash. This project used 1.8m of binding and 2 m of cord.
adding bias binding
Open out the binding and place right side to the wrong side of the fabric, on the edge of the cut out cover fabric. Sew along the fold line. This makes it easy to then turn over to the right side and sew along the egde to secure and form the casing. before turning over the binding and sewing the second line of stitching, clip the seam around the curved parts so that the cover will lie flat.
clipping the curves
Finishing the replacement cover
I used a safety pin attached to one end of the new cord to thread it through the pink casing I had made.
threading new cord through the casing
Make sure you secure the other end though! You may be able to reuse the existing cord, but mine had weakened too much.
To complete this hack, just lay the cover face down, place the wadding on top (of the wrong side) and then lay the iron board on top. Pull up the cord so the cover gathers up to fit the ironing board. Tie the ends of the cord together.
And voilla, you have made a replacement cover and a good as new, or even better, ironing board.
ironing board hack after – back
ironing board hack after – front
If this blog post inspires you to investigate updating worn out items, I would love to hear about your projects.
The Anneka Tunic Simple Sew pattern is very versatile, and can be made up in a variety of fabrics, but this time I chose to make it from upcycled denim with shirts for the optional lining.
Shirt detail and orange satin stitching (to match the jeans seams) add styling. Three jeans pockets made the new outfit even more practical for me.
I am teaching courses in Dressmaking with this being one of the possible pattern choices, and as a Simple Sew Stockest, can also supply the pattern for you to use at home, so please get in touch for more details.
Much hard wearing denim remains when jeans are discarded. My family provides heaps of fabric and charity shops are also good sources. Often it is worth asking if they have any that has not been put out, which may be even cheaper. If jeans are not of a fashionable style or if shirts have some wear or staining (which we can cut out) they may not have been but out on display.
I used a buttoned back pocket from one pair of jeans as a breast pocket, and a loop I liked from the back of a shirt added some extra detailing to the upcycled denim.
This dress can be worn over leggings and a top in winter and the front and back pleats give lots of movement for a busy lifestyle. I did extend the stitching on both pleats down further than marked on the pattern. This was more flatterning but still gives me plenty of movement.
I used a comfortable soft brushed cotton pyjama top to make bias binding for the neck and arm edges. Then there is no discomfort from upcycled denim rubbing at your neck or underarms! This also conveniently binds the outer and lining layers together.
Joining Lining Using Bias Binding
Hand Finishing Binding
When I tried on the lining for size before joining the layers, I liked it so much I think I will make a shirting dress for summer. What do you think?
If you haven’t tried upcycling clothes in this way, it involves choosing parts of garments you want to use. You sew these together to form a patchwork large enough to lay on your pattern pieces.
Join pieces right sides together with a 1.5 cm seam allowance.
Patchwork with Shirts for Annika Tunic
I then like using pinking scissors on cotton fabric seams to stop fraying. But you can use a zig zag stitch instead. Press seams open, and cut each piece straight before adding the next piece.
It is worth thinking about where you want certain pieces to be as you work, and the mix of pattern and colour. Upcycled denim has so much variety.
You can see here, I also added a small dart (on outer and lining) as I found the armhole gaped a little. It is worth regularly trying pieces against you, and trying the garment on, as you make them up to check for fit. I was able to make this adjustment before adding the binding. So I now know I need to do this for this pattern to fit me well.
Helen Moyes Designs – A custom made, re-purposed designer dress for the cost of some thread!
During the five months of the round robin, I looked forward to seeing how others interpreted the theme. The challenge included piecing, but not quilting, the rows, which were to be between 5 and 9 inches deep.
My Row Design
My Sheffield Quilt row was inspired by growing up and living in Nether Edge and Ecclesall. These leafy suburbs in South Sheffield are on the edge of the beautiful Peak District. So I wanted to include both the city and peaks I love. This combination of a green, culture rich city with easy access to the Derbyshire Peak District makes me love living here. In fact, a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park.
I upcycled some existing patchwork from a worn out skirt, signifying my love of creating with the discarded.
The greens spoke of a lush landscape with varying foliage, and I created a background of hills.
I added a sky-scape for the city of Sheffield, in dark, small floral print fabric. And I used the council logo as a basis for the design, enlarging it and cutting out the dark fabric (with bondaweb on the reverse) with embroidery scissors. Running stitches in black thread attached this to the patchwork background.
I added millstones in a textural fabric and the Peak District arched logo in green satin to blend the City with the Peak District.
As instructed, in August we each took our first row in a plain cream fabric bag. We were also told to include any fabric we wanted in future rows and a notebook with colour or style preferences, theme etc.
I noted the inspiration for my row in my quilt notebook and added that I was happy if the theme was interpreted in any way, with any technique. Furthermore I wrote: ” a traditional patchwork block may come to mind, or it may be an experience of Sheffield you have which inspires your row design”
The group bag monitor then redistributed the bags so each month we each received a different bag. So during August, September, October and November I received a bag containing an ever increasing number of rows and I made a further row. This year I plan to blog about the other sewing, as each completed quilt is revealed. However, here I will share about my Sheffield quilt.
This was the deepest row and ended up at the bottom of the Sheffield Quilt. The team member wrote in the notebook they hoped they weren’t being greedy as they chose five aspects of Sheffield to create:
Henderson’s Relish, because they were born in the previous maternity hospital opposite the factory that made this iconic sauce brand. Made in Sheffield for over 100 years, it’s spicy and fruity and known locally as “Enderson’s”, or simply “Relish”. The comedian Tom Wrigglesworth said that while ‘outsiders’ think Henderson’s Relish is Sheffield’s answer to Worcestershire sauce, Sheffielders think it’s the answer to everything. If you haven’t tried it and you live outside South Yorkshire, you can purchase online.
Stanedge Pole, where the quilter used to walk and learned to drive on the road leading to it. Stanedge Pole, also known as Stanage Pole, is a landmark on Hallam Moors close to Stanage Edge in Sheffield 10 (grid reference SK2468784429). On the crest of the moor the carved wooden pole (and it’s replacements) have helped the weary and confused navigate in driving rain or blowing snow from the 1550s.
Forge Dam Slide, near the cafe and by Ivy Cottage Lane, Sheffield S10, is a long metal slide. As the quilter said in the notebook, “the joys of living somewhere hilly is that you can get long slides”. You can see an image on Trip Advisor.
Cutlery, is what Sheffield used to be well known for, with the first reference to cutlery made in Sheffield in 1297. Now there are only a few small producers, including Ernest Wright & Son (whose stork embroidery scissors I used for the city-scape in row one). You can see sheffield cutlery at the Sheffield cutlery shop.
Wind, which the quilter remembers blowing the cherry blossom in her parent’s garden. The blossom blowing from the tree reminds me of frequent visits to Sheffield Botanical Gardens, from toddlerhood to the present day.
This row, which is in the middle of my Sheffield Quilt , concentrates on Sheffield’s industry. The quilter shared in the notebook how, like me, when she thinks of Sheffield her first thought is of the hills, and her second is of the rivers which led to industry. The quilter used a background fabric suggesting the contours of the earth and appliqued the Bessemer Convertor, strip mills, steelworks and cooling towers. I hand quilted along the rivers in the top three rows.
Five Weirs Walk Sheffield’s industrial landscape has been changing along the river Don with it’s five weirs since the 1980s. Now it’s a green ribbon of trees known as the Five Weirs Walk. This 8km takes you through the East End of Sheffield, past scenes of Sheffield’s history. There are Victorian buildings and scenes of the city’s industrial heyday: old schools, mills, factories and some contemporary sculptures.
The quilter shares “the leaves represent the regeneration of the industrial sites”.
Sheffield Tinsley Canal In 1819 the 4 mile Sheffield Tinsley canal was completed between the River Don and a new basin in the centre of Sheffield.
Some trade continued up to the 1970s but then it was neglected. Now the towpath is a walk out of Sheffield for all weathers and seasons, and I have enjoyed a cruise along the canal.
As shared by a reviewer on the park’s facebook page, I’ve been going to this park since the 70s as a child. A shame the lido went, but the cafe and all the facilities brought about by the friends of Millhouses Park have kept this beautiful space totally user friendly and alive.
The park was near Abbeydale Grange, the comprehensive school I atended, and is quite near where I live now. My children were taught to ride a bike without stabilisers on its gentle slopes and I enjoy the cakes at the cafe by the miniature boating lake depicted on the quilt row. I have walked dogs, played tennis and mini golf, and watched my sons play basketball and rugby at this park.
The blocks of the quilt row represent the sports pitches, paths and flower beds.
I added a “love blooms here” print to widen the row to fit the others and represent family times at Millhouses Park.
The common colours in the five rows for my Sheffield Quilt were grey and green. I chose a fairly dark grey textured “linen print” to divide the rows, highlight them and represent the “steel city”.
I chose a light grey with cream spots to represent living above “the snow line” in Banner Cross in Ecclesall.
Batting & Backing
My choice was a bamboo cotton 50/50 blend batting as this is eco friendly and anti bacterial. The makers recommend you hand wash it, so I did this in the bath with soap flakes. I then squeezed and rolled it in a towel to remove some moisture, before drying it flat.
The sashing, border fabrics, and batting for my Sheffield Quilt, were a gift from my son Matthew – from Billow Fabrics. I used a plain grey, soft fabric for the back.
Each month I am inspired by the stitchers at my quilters group. The Totley Brook Quilters are keen sewers and quilters who meet each month to chat and sew. Each session includes “show and tell” and it is amazing to see what has been produced. So this month I was able to show the top of my Sheffield Quilt – pinned and basted, ready to quilt.
I used a walking foot to do straight quilting rows on my Sheffield Quilt, rolling the quilt to work through the machine.
Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
This binding gives a piped look you can completely sew to your quilt with the sewing machine. Use either invisible thread or thread to match the piping in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.
Make the Binding
You will need: 1½” strips of your main binding fabric and 1¾” strips of a contrast fabric.
Cut sufficient strips of each of these to go around your quilt plus extra for corners and joining. Prepare the binding by Joining the strips of fabric with a diagonal seam:
Place fabric right sides together at right angles
Trim seam allowance to ¼” and press seam open
Next sew the two colours together along their length using a ¼” seam.
Press the seam towards the main binding fabric.
Fold the binding in half lengthwise, so the raw edges are flush. Then press so a strip of the contrast fabric is visible on the right side of the binding.
Now prepare the beginning of the binding strip:
Unfold the left edge of the binding, fold the corner in and press.
Trim the triangle leaving a ¼” seam allowance
Refold the strip
Attach the binding to the quilt
You will first sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Then fold to the front before stitching again. Place the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the quilt, with raw edges along the edge of the quilt. Using a walking foot stitch ¼” from the edge of the quilt.
To turn the corners, stop stitching ¼” before the corner of the quilt. Then remove the quilt from the sewing machine to fold the corner. Fold the binding up so that the diagonal fold points directly into the corner.
Next, fold the binding down again, aligning it with the edge of the quilt.
Continue sewing ¼” from the edge, all round the quilt, folding each corner.
When you reach the start, trim the binding. Then Insert it into the pocket created at the beginning. Pin and stitch in place.
Complete the Binding
Fold the binding onto the right side of the quilt so you can now see the narrow piping strip.
Pin carefully, being careful the match the corners.
Stitch in the ditch on the piping using a thread matching the piping, or invisible thread in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.
Sewing my Sheffield Quilt during the Christmas holidays was also a time to catch up with family. So I thought how patchwork and family life are similar and I also about this quote from, The Christmas Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts novel).
“A family is an act of creation, the piecing together of disparate fragments into one cloth – often harmonious, occasionally clashing and discordant, but sometimes unexpectantly beautiful and strong. Without contrast there is no pattern, and each piece, whether finest silk or faded cotton, will endure if sewn fast to the others with strong seams – bonds of love and loyalty, tradition and faith.” Jennifer Chiaverini
I would love to hear about your experiences of quilting and/or Sheffield. Please leave a comment below, or contact me
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