Tag Archives: miy collection

The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

Read all about what I got up to at the Knitting & Stitching show last week over on my blog.

knittingandstitchingshow1 knittingandstitchingshow2

MIY Collection Fold Over Skirt in Sewing World’s “Pattern Showcase”

My MIY Collection Fold Over Skirt pattern has been picked to be featured in this month’s Sewing World magazine “Pattern Showcase” feature:

SewingWorld-foldoverskirt-july15-web

I love this pattern – it’s so quick and easy and the skirt is super comfy. The a-line and asymmetric versions are both included in the pattern. A perfect sew for your summer holiday wardrobe……. Here’s MIY Workshop student Tam in the one she cut out and finished (apart from hemming) in class this week!

If you’re inspired to have a go, get your pattern 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.

A New Website for MIY Collection

I spent a good chunk of my Christmas holiday designing a new website for MIY Collection – my sewing patterns and tools. It’s now live and even if I do say so myself, I think it looks pretty good!

miy collection easy sewing patterns and practical sewing tools

To celebrate the launch of the new website I’ve reduced the price of all my patterns by 20% for 2 weeks only. That makes each pattern just £12. 

You can choose from:

All my patterns are printed on proper paper rather than tissue paper and packaged in a sturdy bag with an A4 detailed instruction booklet. Better still, there are more styles waiting to be added this year!

I like Etsy, but it was never quite what I wanted and I felt never looked as professional as I’d have liked.  Hopefully this new site combines everything you need: easy-to-use online shop, detailed sizing info, thorough FAQ section and a link to my blog for access to a whole library of sewing tips and advice.

I really hope you like it. Happy sewing!

See you at the Knitting & Stitching Show

Later this morning I will be heading off to London town to spend 5 days at the Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace.  If you’ve never been it really is an amazing event, my two pieces of essential advice if you’re going…….

  • wear: comfy shoes and layers
  • take: food!

There are three halls full of stalls selling everything you could ever need and more for sewing knitting and creating in general, exhibitions, workshops and fashion shows.

I’m playing with the big boys this year in the Great Hall with MIY Collection on stand O19.  I’ll have my sewing patterns, tools, accessories and an advance copy of my book.  Here are some new things I’m launching at the show……

cowl sewing patternA new sewing pattern for the show: MIY Cosy Cowl – quick, easy and perfect for this time of year when you’re not quite ready for your winter coat!  Available to buy online when I’m back from the show.

scissor earrings Teeny tiny scissor earrings! A treat for you or the perfect gift for your stitchy friend.  Also available to buy online when I’m back from the show.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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.

Which Pressing Tools Do I Really Need?

pressing tools for dressmakingYou need slightly different pressing tools if you’re dressmaking rather than craft sewing and patchwork.  And remember, pressing isn’t simply ironing!  It requires more precision, often more heat and a lot more than just an iron and ironing board.  Here’s the ideal pressing tool kit:

1 – IRONING BOARD – buy the best you can afford, ironing boards last for years! The 3 crucial qualities in an ironing board are: the size of the ironing surface – as big as possible (!), the height it can be adjusted to – more important if you’re taller than average, being hunched over a short ironing board isn’t pleasant and finally how sturdy it is – rickety ironing boards are dangerous. Here’s a great review of the best ironing boards by Good Housekeeping. My recommended brands: Brabantia

2 – IRON – your iron should not be too lightweight which might go against what you would instinctively look for (lightweight = easy, no aching arms!), but to press well, you need some weight, so a lightweight iron actually means more effort is required from you!  Irons are now available with a whole range of high tech materials on the sole plate which can glide over your fabric and also be non-stick (handy when ironing on fusible interfacing), make sure the sole plate also has plenty of steam holes and has a nice long tapered point at the end to make it easier to iron in and around those fiddly bits of your sewing. Also look for a variable steam setting, a long cable and a large water tank.  The irons that come with a separate steam generator (that look like they’re sitting on a tank) can be useful but obviously take up more space and the cords tend to be a bit shorter. If you live in an area of the country with hard water, always use ironing water to avoid your iron scaling up and leaving dirty marks when it steams. My recommended brands: TeFal, Rowenta, Morphy Richards.

3 – PRESSING CLOTH – a simple piece of unbleached or white cotton muslin will be the cheapest and most useful addition to your pressing tool kit.  It allows you to protect delicate fabrics whilst ironing and will also protect your iron. Place it between your fabric and the iron and always use one when ironing on fusible interfacing.  Some people use a tea towel for this job, but it won’t work as well because you need a fairly open weave fabric like muslin which allows the heat to pass through it, tea towels are too densely woven and will simply block most of the heat.

4 – SLEEVE BOARD – might look like a luxury, but once you have one I guarantee you will use it a lot! They’re not just for sleeves, they’re handy for any awkward to get at bits of pressing such as inside leg seams, pocket openings, cuffs…..see what I mean?! They’re a bit harder to get hold of than ironing boards, but not if you shop online – you can even find them on the John Lewis website. Sleeve rolls are a good alternative – these are long sausage shaped objects filled with sawdust to make them more sturdy.  I’ve even heard of people using rolling pins wrapped in a towel! My recommended brands: Minky, Brabantia, Prym or look for a nice vintage wooden one.

5 – TAILOR’S HAM – so-called because of its ham-like shape, this is another tool that once you have, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without! Stuffed with sawdust to make it solid and compact, a tailor’s ham really is the best thing for pressing darts and any curved, awkward to get at areas of your garment while maintaining their shape. Choose one that is a reasonable size (get an idea of scale from my photo) and make sure one side is covered with a slightly hairy wool (usually checked) and the other in a smooth cotton for pressing different types of fabric. I don’t really have a preferred brand for these as there are so few making them, have a look at some of the shops listed at the end of this post, most of them stock tailor’s hams.

6 – IRONING BOARD COVER – a padded base on your ironing board covered with a reflective cover gives the best surface for pressing.  A bit of padding supports your fabric and reflective covers have multiple benefits: they reflect the heat from the iron back into the fabric for a thorough press, won’t absorb spills and leaks of water from your iron and are easy to clean (things tend not to stick to them, unlike fabric covers).  My recommended brands: Lakeland have a separate padded base, Brabantia for reflective covers.

Where to buy?

Here are some online shops (some that also have bricks and mortar shops) that  I’ve found to be good sources for pressing tools and equipment:

Next in this series on tools and equipment a question that keeps cropping up from my students: Should I buy a mannequin?