Things I’ve learnt in July

Things I've learned _Jul.jpg

Would you believe it? It’s only the 8th of August and I’m ready to publish the month round-up post! I’m getting the hang of this, folks!

After a really long travel to Chester to meet some of the Season 3 sewing bees for our annual reunion, I’m up and early to publish this at long last. We had the most amazing day mooching through Abakhan in Mostyn (Paul is a regular tutor and demonstrator there). I might have came back with a ginormous bag of fabric that I may or may not have where to store in my sewing room *blushes*. It’s always so great seeing my fellow sewing room veterans and we always have such a blast reminiscing and sharing sewing war stories.

I digress! Back to the round-up… July has been a very frustrating month! Loads of sewing, very little to show for and still haven’t finished my pink culottes or the second iteration of Gingers I started ages ago… I did finally finish the silk jacket for my mother in law, which pretty much took all my sewing time this month. And I made a really cool and funky dress for a collaboration which will be unveiled soon. But yeah, my head is still bursting with unsewn ideas and the summer is almost over, not that we got much of that as it was… *pulls hair*.

Anyway, here we go with a few sewing tid-bits I picked up this month.

1. Remember to deduct the facings when drafting a lining for jackets

New Look 6080 view A

I’ve been making my MIL’s jacket for what feels like forever. The sewing part was easy-ish (save for the fraying fabric). However I wanted to line it, the pattern didn’t have a lining, therefore I had to draft one. All fine and dandy thanks to the instructions of the fabulous Sara Alm on Craftsy (boy, I love that woman, she is my new sewing guru). I assembled both lining and self fabric and then could not figure out why they would not come together. There was waaay too much lining going on. Then it dawned on me, I had not taken out the facing from the lining pattern, duh!! I had to disassemble at all and recut, but then it worked like a charm. It only set me back a whole evening, but I won’t forget that lesson in a hurry! I have another jacket that I want to make, for which the pattern is not lined, so all these skills will come in very handy.

2. I love teaching sewing!

Since last year, I am part of the teaching staff at Sew it with Love in Waterloo, an independent sewing school owned by Elena Pintus. I was so flattered when Elena asked me to join the team and although I was a bit nervous to begin with, I soon realised how much I love teaching. I do the Upcycling and Alterations class, where I work with my students to give new life to loved or unloved items so that they can be worn again.

It’s a bit of an unusual one, because there is not curriculum and every time is completely different. People bring a few things they would like to alter and I recommend what can be done with them. We usually sew one alteration during the class and people take home the rest to complete at home.

After teaching a few classes, a common alteration were dresses that fit badly across the chest, because the bodice is too long. I often have had this problem myself, as I have a narrow back and a short waist, but it made me realise how different I look at RTW fir since I started sewing clothes for myself. It really is a bit of a pain to alter this, as you have to unpick the shoulder seams and neckline (and sometimes the zipper) but the difference it makes in the overall fit is amazing. If you have a dress that you really love, it really is worth it!

If you’d like to join me for a class at Sew it with Love, have a look at the next scheduled classes here.

3. Sewing people are so generous!

I know this is a bit of a generic statement, but I recently been at the receiving end of such generosity. A friend of a friend from work was looking to get rid of a large collection of sewing, fitting and fashion illustration books and I offered to take them all off her hands. Let me tell you, they weighted a tonne and I has to trek across London from Ealing to Crouch end, but when I got home with the collection, it was all worth it! So many books, it will take me forever to read them all, plus some real gems, like the Metric Pattern cutting (Aldrich), Claire Shaeffer’s Couture book and the McCall sewing bible.

TIL - July (2016) #01

There were some books that I will probably not be best placed to give a home to, like fashion school text books – as much as I would fancy, designer I will never be. So keep an eye out on Twitter and Instagram as I will be posting what I am looking to find a home for (UK only I’m afraid, and even better, London, so we can meet-up and save the postage).


So that’s July wrapped up, folks! Off to make some more projects to report on in August!

Have a great week!




    1. Oh Meg, so so sorry, I just gave the lot to Emily. I only have one left on illustration with photoshop, but it’s a bit out of date. I’ll bring it to Cambridge on Sat.


  1. That’s a fab haul of sewing books! I’ll def be keeping an eye out for those in need of a new home (plus I’m in London so it’s totally convenient!).


    1. Send me an email with your contacts, I’ll send you a pic with what I have to pass on. Mostly fashion design books, but could be useful if you’re into that sort of things/studying fashion.

      Liked by 1 person

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