Category Archives: Student work

A Perfect Pyjama Making Sunday

I know, I’ve been very bad at not uploading write-ups of classes over the last few months. There’s been lots going on what with books, magazines and new patterns! I will post some write-ups of previous classes, but in the meantime, here’s what we did today at MIY Workshop.

On a grey, wet, chilly Sunday what could be better than spending a day making cosy pyjama trousers?!

pyjama making class

Five students worked super hard and finished 5 1/2 pairs of pyjama trousers by the end of the day!

I could only persuade 3 of said students in front of the camera (well they are in their pj’s!) but you can see from these 3 what a great job they did.  For 2 of these students these were the first garments they’ve ever made!

I think a lot of people around the Brighton area are going to be getting pj’s for Christmas……

Here’s what today’s students thought of the class in their own words:

“A great day. It’s been creative and fun. Wendy is an excellent teacher and guided me through the difficult parts. I’m delighted with my pyjama trousers. Thank you!” Hilary

“My second workshop with Wendy and it was brilliant! Even when I made some mistakes Wendy knew how to still make it work! Can’t wait to do another class in the new year. Thank you.” Georgia

“Great day. I always felt that I could ask for help and was also comfortable to use my initiative and have a go on my own. The day went too fast!” Jo

“Very thorough, thank you so much for all your help!” Rebecca

“A thoroughly enjoyable day and much learnt! Look forward to the next one!!” Fiona

I will be repeating this class in the new year. If you’d like to have a go at making your own pyjama trousers sign up for the MIY Workshop newsletter here to get priority booking onto new classes before they’re opened up for booking online. Hope to see you at a class soon!

Beginners’ Pattern Cutting Workshop

This is the last post of catching up with the great work that’s been produced by students at recent workshops!

beginnerspatterncutting-may15-webMy 4 students hard at work in concentration mode!

Last Sunday was the Beginner’s Pattern Cutting workshop –  this is a really valuable skill to learn and is usually the next step for keen dressmakers who have got bored or frustrated by readymade patterns.

Pattern cutting enables you to draft your own patterns to your measurements and design. It’s quite a technical, mathematical skill and I find that people either love it or hate it! I love it, as I like how logical and precise you have to be, but there also still feels like there’s a bit of “magic” involved.  It’s such a satisfying process to be able to take an idea from your head and turn it into an actual garment that fits your body perfectly.

beginnerspatterncutting-may15-2I think those faces say it all, don’t you?!

It’s always satisfying for me as a teacher at the end of a pattern cutting class, to see a group of students try on the toiles they’ve drafted, half-expecting them not to fit and then see their faces light up as they fit perfectly.  And, when something fits well it automatically looks good, is flattering and is really comfortable.

Here’s what those happy faces thought of their day:

“Really good day, practical, useful and mellow. Wendy is strict but funny which means you get things done and enjoy yourself.  And my skirt fits!!!  Thank you.  Lara

“Thank you. Very well structured and clearly laid out. An excellent workshop which leaves you wanting to do more! See you on the stretch workshop!” Harriet

“A thoroughly enjoyable and informative day and the skirt fits me! As an introduction to pattern cutting the day was great and I learned techniques applicable to all my sewing. Can’t wait to learn how to cut trousers to fit me!” Mary

“Thanks Wendy, this was a great way to spend a Sunday – learning how to make a skirt that really fits me in a supportive friendly group. Fun and informative with plenty of hints and tips on sewing generally thrown in.” Jenny

If you want to have a go at drafting patterns perfect for you, I’m teaching a pattern cutting summer school in August this year. You can find all the details in this post.

If you can’t commit yourself to a whole week of it, I will be running this workshop and other pattern cutting workshops between July and December this year.  If you’d like to be one of the first to hear about new classes and get priority booking before they are advertised online, sign-up to my newsletter here.

Summer Frock Making Workshop

A few weeks ago was the first Summer Frock Making workshop of the year. An industrious (but camera shy!) group of students they were too, here’s what they made:

frockmaking-may15-3-webJen’s vest dress – a great example of showing off a bold print with a simple pattern.

frockmaking-may15-1-webErin’s gorgeous tube dress – jersey boob tube style top with a full skirt in a matching woven cotton print. This was Erin’s first ever garment and first time using a sewing machine! Super impressive.

frockmaking-may15-2-webHelen was on a mission with a day away from her new baby and was a one woman production line; she finished this black jersey vest dress and jersey shrug to wear with it and got a vest version of the dress cut out and started!

pull-onshift-zoe-webThis is Zoe’s pull-on shift dress in denim that was finished bar the hemming on the day and she finished at her next weekly class.

We had one more pull-on shift almost finished too!

Here’s what the students thought of their day:

“Another great class with Wendy.  Such a nice way to spend a Sunday!  Left with something I will actually wear.  Wendy was a great teacher – very patient.  Chris

“The Summer Frock Making workshop was my first ever attempt at sewing and using a sewing machine. I walked away with a gorgeous dress for my holiday.  Looking forward to making a new wardrobe now!” Erin

“This is the 2nd workshop I’ve done and already feel so much happier and confident at my machine. Wendy is an excellent teacher.” Zoe

“A fantastic 1 day workshop, easily able to finish a jersey t-shirt dress and shrug which I’m very pleased with! The workshop is small in number so Wendy was able to provide plenty of equal attention to each student.” Helen

“Thank you for another great class where I felt like I learnt a lot and left feeling I could go home and make some more garments by myself. Your patient and relaxed style of teaching makes it very easy to learn.” Jen

If you fancy making yourself a new dress in a day, this workshop will be running again between July and December this year.  I’m working on the new timetable as we speak!  If you’d like to be one of the first to hear about new classes and get priority booking before they are advertised online, sign-up to my newsletter here.

Another Sewing with Knits Workshop

I’ve been a bit slow at posting write-ups of workshops and pictures of students’ fabulous creations recently, so here’s the first of a few belated posts, this one from my ever-popular Sewing with Knits workshop.

sewing with knitsFirst up Chris in her really cute little floral print version of the MIY Collection Vest.

sewing with knitsNext Sharon in the dress version of the vest above.  This fabric had a lovely texture which you can’t really see in the picture.  (Sharon has since gone on to make several more of these!)

sewing with knitsAnd Kate in another printed jersey.  Kate used to be a regular at MIY Workshop before she started writing best-selling cook books, but she wanted to get back into sewing again and made an excellent start here!

We also had two almost finished drapey cardigans.

Here’s what the students thought of their day:

“I love coming to MIY – it’s a great escape from normal life as you get so lost in the sewing, and the ‘sewing with knits’ workshop was fantastic: lots of advice and personal attention to help you make a whole garment in a day. I was really pleased with the result, especially as I haven’t been near a machine in about 18 months, but I will be wearing my new dress all summer.  Kate

“Excellent day. I came full of apprehension about working with jersey fabric. I left with a fully completed beautifully fitting top and full of enthusiasm to start another garment at home. Many thanks Wendy.  Lesley

“Great day – was far easier than I expected and will be making lots more knit garments! Thank you.  Suzanne

“A great day with patient, helpful guidance using a lovely pattern. Thanks Wendy!”  Chris

“Knitted fabrics demystified for me thank you! Great to see so many types of knits and the different finished achieved. A good pace for learning and thrilled to take home a finished garment. Thank you Wendy for sharing your skills and enthusiasm.  Sharon

This workshop will be running again between July and December this year.  I’m working on the new timetable as we speak!  If you’d like to be one of the first to hear about new classes and get priority booking before they are advertised online, sign-up to my newsletter here.

Sewing with Knits (again!)

Yesterday was the first weekday Sewing with Knits workshop. As usual it was a popular one with a long waiting list and yielded some great garments at the end of it.

sewing with knits vest easy sewing patternHere’s Georgia in her floral print vest (doesn’t it look great with blue jeans?!), she finished this and got a lovely black and grey striped one cut out and tacked ready to finish at home. This was Georgia’s first attempt at sewing with knits and I think we’ve got her hooked! This fabric was from Raystitch. The pattern is available from MIY Collection and you can make a dress version too.

sewing with knits cowl neck dress easy sewing patternNext up, Claire in a gorgeous blue and red striped cowl neck dress. Another newbie to sewing with knits I love this frock and I think Claire was rightly proud of it, she even managed to wear matching tights! This will be available as a MIY Collection pattern very soon. Claire’s fabric was from Brighton Sewing Centre.

sewing with knits leggings easy sewing patternIf you love leggings, get a load of this pair! I don’t think I could live without leggings in my wardrobe and I love this pair that Erica made. Another convert to sewing with knits, Erica has spent many years sewing but always been a bit wary of sewing stretch fabrics, hopefully she’s now cured! This fabulous fabric was from Funki Fabrics – they have a huge selection of high stretch knits that are perfect for leggings in prints much wilder than this!  Erica also got a second pair cut out and well on their way to completion. My leggings pattern will also soon be available to buy from MIY Collection.

The day also saw two drapey cardigans tantalisingly close to being finished, I’m looking forward to seeing pics soon.  **Update 28/5, here’s Dee’s finished cardi!

sewing with knits - drapey cardiEven more impressive considering that this is Dee’s first ever garment and it seems to have instantly become a new favourite in her wardrobe.  Result!!

Anyway, enough from me – here’s what the students thought of their day:

“Great day, can’t believe I’ve mastered stretch fabric and actually finished the dress! Many thanks!  Claire

“Thank you Wendy for yet another brilliant day. Very pleased with my t-shirt.  Georgia

“Did the sewing with knits workshop today. Wendy was very thorough and patient and her patterns very clear to understand. I haven’t used a sewing machine for 24 years and have a beautiful cardi to show for my day’s work. Thank you Wendy and look forward to doing the next course soon.  Dee

“A fun day! Learnt plenty of techniques to take home and an almost finished cardi! Thanks so much!  Charlotte

“Thanks Wendy! I made a great pair of unique leggings. I am an experienced sewer but had no confidence with knits and I’ve learned so much today.  Erica

If you want to know as soon as my new patterns are available, sign-up for the MIY Collection newsletter here.

This workshop will be running again soon, I’m currently working on my timetable for July to December, if you’d like to get access to priority booking and hear about new classes before they’re advertised online, sign-up for the MIY Workshop newsletter here.

Make Your First Garment in a Day Workshop

make your first garment in a day workshop

Don’t they look fantastic!!  Yes, these really were their first garments and yes they are all made from knitted fabrics. We have from left to right:

Tracey-Leigh in her gorgeous stripey vest, Kate in her floral print sweatshirt shrug, Lesley in her retro style glasses print shrug, Anne in a lovely version of the asymmetric skirt and Louise in a gorgeous vest dress – I love that colour!

All 5 students did absolutely brilliantly, they worked really hard, crammed loads of learning into a day and all had a finished garment to show for it.

Here’s what they thought of the day in their own words:

“Absolutely fantastic day, I’m an absolute beginner and came away with a dress I made and love.  Louise

“Really exciting to have something completed to go home with. I had a really fun day and learnt loads. Thanks!  Tracey-Leigh

“A lovely way to spend a day, being creative with like-minded people. Having a bit of banter with nice cups of tea and by the end of it all you have a lovely handmade creation!  Lesley

“A really good day!! Learnt lots of basic techniques which will be very enjoyable to put into practise.  Anne

“Lovely day as so very helpful to learn how to do things properly!  Kate

If you’d like to have a go at making your own version of one of these garments at home, all three patterns are available to buy from my online shop at MIY Collection, printed on sturdy paper not tissue paper and complete with comprehensive instruction booklet, including how to work with knitted fabrics.

I will be running this workshop again between July and December this year. To hear first about new dates and get priority booking before they’re available online, sign-up to the MIY Workshop newsletter here.

The 1st “Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking” Workshop

beginners guide to dressmaking-tshirtsinprogressThree new sewing converts busy making t-shirts while two more feed their existing habit next door making a shift dress and fishtail skirt.

Yesterday was the first Sunday workshop based around my new book.

Judging by the end results and what the students thought of the day it was a great success!

Beginners guide to dressmaking-tshirtsHere are three fabulous t-shirts made by three complete beginners to dressmaking. From left to right: Beth in a beautiful rich purple ponte roma version, Natalie in her printed single jersey version and Emily in a zingy bright red single jersey version.

All three went off inspired to make more t-shirts, in fact they had all already got fabric lined up for their next ones and Emily (who is a graphic designer and book-binder) is planning to start screen-printing hers.  I look forward to seeing those!

beginners guide to dressmaking - fishtail skirtHere’s Mel in her oh-so-close-to-being-finished fishtail skirt. Fitting perfectly and looking fabulous in a fine needlecord with a tiny polkadot.

And Salva got a good way along with a short sleeved shift dress with a collar in electric blue needlecord – I can’t wait to see the pictures of that one finished.

Here’s what the students thought of their day:

“Wendy, thank you so much for a lovely day. Brilliant book with very clear instructions for a complete beginner, I definitely have the bug!  Natalie

“Wendy is the most patient and informative sewing teacher ever! The course is worth every penny. Thanks Wendy for another great day!” Mel

“As always Wendy was great and her new book is fabulous – very clear and simple instructions, so difficult to come across in so-called beginner books. Great course. Loved it!” Salva

“A really helpful day which has given me the confidence to have a go at home.” Beth

“I wanted to learn some very basic sewing skills, I came away with so much more. Thank you. I think you will be seeing me again on future sewing courses.” Emily

The next date for this workshop on 30th November is fully booked, but I will be running it again in 2015, to get priority booking before new dates are advertised online, sign-up here:

Another Brilliant Sewing with Knits

Sewing knitted fabrics was today demystified for another 5 students and the world of making wearable, comfortable, easy, modern clothes welcomed 5 more converts!

This workshop really is the workshop that keeps on giving!  Almost always fully booked with a waiting list, I’m never disappointed by what students create in a day.  I think my students leave feeling pretty good too.  Here’s what today’s batch made:

sept14knits-cowlsTwo cowl neck tunics/dresses by Andrea and Sally.  Completely different looks all down to fabric choice!  This pattern will soon be available to buy. 

sept14knits-dress-skirtA lovely striped straight neck dress by Assuntina (with an excellent bit of stripe matching!) and an asymmetric fold-over waist skirt by Gehya.  Both these patterns are available to buy online from MIY Collection.

Last but not least, a gorgeous orange drapey cardi was soooo close to being finished, but I have been promised photographs of the end result.

I find this workshop really satisfying to teach.  I use 9 sewing patterns of my own design and I’m always surprised by how many different versions of the same patterns my students manage to make.

Here’s what the students thought of the day:

“My first time sewing with knits was great.  Wendy’s pattern was easy and straightforward and thanks to her prior instructions I had all the right things with me.  As always Wendy was a wonderful teacher.  She’s patient, clear and fun to be around.  Looking forward to more workshops and classes.”  Assuntina

“I’ve had a wonderful day at MIY Workshop as usual.  Wendy’s been very helpful in giving guidance for sewing knits.  I haven’t had time to finish my cardi but I already know it’s gonna look gorgeous!”  Maelenn

“Lovely course, great to go home with a finished garment.  Very informative providing lots of useful tips and instructions.  Thanks Wendy!”  Gehya

“A very enjoyable and inspiring day.  I have learnt some new and useful tips and am keen to do more with renewed confidence.”  Andrea

“I’ve had a really lovely day learning about sewing with knits.  Wendy’s a great teacher – very patient and clear with instructions.”  Sally

Thanks to all my students and I hope you all enjoy your fabulous new garments!

If you would like to join the club of happy “sewing with knit” dressmakers, I will be running this workshop again soon.  To get priority booking, sign-up for the MIY Workshop newsletter here.

Make Your Own Leggings

That’s certainly what yesterday was all about!  Five students, five lots of very different fabric, five hours later…..four and a half pairs of leggings finished! Yes, one pair will be finished at my class on Tuesday evening thanks to a pesky bobbin running out at just the worst minute – don’t they always do that?!

Here’s what was finished yesterday…..

make your own leggings

This is what the students thought of the day:

“Wendy as usual makes everything work, I could not believe that I would go home with a perfectly fitting pair of leggings and the day was such fun.”Brenda

“Fantastic course and a fab pair of leggings at the end of it.  Don’t know what all the fuss was about on the Great British Sewing Bee!” Naz

“I have had a fantastic day, Wendy taught me so much and the other girls were great fun.  I will certainly make more leggings now!” Joy

“Brilliant day, learned lots and was really good fun!” Mel

Of the four pairs that were finished by the end of the day, three were proudly worn home!  Now that’s a good day’s work.

This legging pattern will soon be available to buy from MIY Collection.

Some Fabulous Work from Students

Confession: I’ve been a bit slow at adding pictures of some of the fantastic work that my students have been producing recently.  So here’s a bit of a box-set for you to feast your eyes upon…..

leggings-june14 leggings-june14-2One legging pattern – so many variations.  Clair even managed to make two pairs in one workshop!

pc-dresses2-june14Some beautifully fitting dress toiles at the Pattern Cutting for Dresses 2 workshop.

summerfrockmaking-july14-webFabulous frocks at the Summer Frock Making workshop, all made using MIY Collection sewing patterns.

studentcollageAnd a brilliant collection of makes from my some of my weekly sewing & dressmaking students:

Top row – Joy in her beautiful pink wool skirt which is fully lined, Salva in her dress with beautifully matched print at the seams and Lou in her fold-over waist skirt made from this MIY Collection pattern.

Middle row – Lou again in her denim shift dress made using my soon to be available MIY Collection shift dress pattern, Lizzie in a really well-made shirt*, Debbie in one of the many dresses she’s made from this pattern of mine and  Assuntina in her gorgeous shift dress** using the same pattern as Lou.

Bottom row – Lizzie again in my loose shift pattern and Lou in her cosy cowl (another pattern soon to be available from MIY Collection).

*Lizzie started classes with me about a year ago as a complete beginner, not sure if she would enjoy sewing or be any good at it.  Hasn’t she made amazing progress?!  Partly thanks to sticking with it and practising on her new sewing machine that she went out and bought once I’d got her hooked after a few classes (!) and partly thanks to following a progressive approach to her sewing by making sure that each project she tackled challenged her with something more than the previous one.

**Assuntina is another example of a student that’s made fantastic progress – starting last year as a nervous absolute beginner she has also taken a progressive approach to her sewing, starting with some easy cushions and now making gorgeous, well-fitting dresses, with skirts and tops along the way.  Shirts next Assuntina…..!

Inspired?  If you need that extra push to find time to sew or have always wanted to learn, join us at some weekly classes.  You can come to as many or as few as you like and start at any time when a space is available.  Get in touch with Wendy to book your sewing time on 01273 693451 or miyworkshop[at]