Tag Archives: modern sewing patterns

New Master Classes – BOOKING NOW!!

I’ve been working hard over the last couple of months on these new classes and I’m really pleased with the final selection. It’s a varied list, with lots of new classes and something to suit every interest and ability. Let me know what you think!!

To book a place or for more information contact Wendy on 01273 693451 or miyworkshop[at]gmail.com

Sunday 12th July – Draft Your Own Culottes NEW CLASS!!

CULOTTEs pattern cutting class

Culottes are the way to be stylish and practical and comfortable for the summer and are everywhere this year! If you have previously drafted a skirt block, bring it along to this class and learn how to turn it into culottes, we’ll go through pleated, flared and plain and touch on how to add pockets. We’ll draft a culotte pattern and make a toile.  Suitable for people who have previously drafted a basic skirt block and are confident making clothes from patterns.

  • Class size limited to just 4 people
  • 11am to 4pm
  • £115

Thursday 23rd July – Skirt Making ***

skirtmaking class

Want to learn to sew? Fancy a new skirt? Want to make a present for a friend? This class will teach you some good solid dressmaking techniques and how to use a pattern. The skirt can be made in different style variations including pleats & pockets depending on your skill level. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience – includes pattern to take home & make more skirts!                                                                     

  • Class size limited to 5 people
  • 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • £110

Sunday 26th July – Pattern Testing Day *** NEW CLASS!!

pattern testing class

Be one of the first to try out one of Wendy’s new patterns and get an insider peak before it’s launched. This time it’s the cowl neck top and dress. Learn how to sew knitted fabrics on a sewing machine and put this new pattern through its paces. This design can be made as a top or dress and with or without sleeves.  Suitable for those with a little bit of sewing experience as well as more experienced sewists & includes a voucher for an advance copy of the pattern as soon as it’s released.                                                                                                                                  

  • Class size limited to 5 people
  • 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • £85

Wednesday 2nd September – Learn to Sew in a Day

learn to sew in a day

Got a sewing machine and no idea how to use it? Bring it along to this class and become the master of your machine! The day is aimed at absolute beginners to find your way around your sewing machine and use your new-found skills to make a simple fabric bag, zipped make-up bag/purse or cushion cover. You can use one of our machines if you haven’t got round to buying your own yet. Just bring fabric and thread. Suitable for absolute beginners.                                          

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • £85

Sunday 13th September – Sewing with Knits ***

sewing with knits class

Sewing with stretchy knitted fabrics is easier than you might think.   At this workshop you’ll learn the best ways to cut and sew knitted fabrics using just a regular sewing machine.  You can choose from a range of Wendy’s patterns specifically designed for knitted fabrics for you to whip up something to wear by the end of the day. All you need to bring is some stretch knit fabric of your choice and matching thread. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience – includes a copy of your choice of pattern to take home.                     

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • £110

Sunday 25th October – Make Your Own Leggings ***

make your own leggings class

Leggings, they’ve become a staple of all our wardrobes and they’re very easy to make. Come and make your perfect pair – all you need to bring is some fabric, patterns are provided! You’ll be able to make them the length you want, I’ll show you a few different ways to finish the waist and some other ways to make them your own. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience, Includes a copy of the pattern to take home & make more!

  • Class size limited to only 5 people
  • 11am to 4pm
  • £90

Wednesday 28th October – Trouser Pattern Cutting

trouser pattern cutting class

Tired of buying trousers that don’t fit properly? Join us and draft the perfectly fitting trouser block. By the end of the day you will have drafted a basic trouser block and pattern and made a toile (sample). You will get the most out of this workshop if you have previously made clothes from patterns and are confident using a sewing machine.    This workshop is suitable for those new to pattern cutting & those who have previously had a go at pattern cutting.

  • Class size limited to only 4 people
  • 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • £140

Tuesday 3rd November – Master Zips NEW CLASS!!

zips master class

Struggle with zips? Avoid putting them in your you-made clothes? New to dressmaking and terrified of zips? It’s all in the preparation. Join us for a half-day of focused zip sewing and master the perfect centred (slotted) zip, lapped zip and invisible zip. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience.

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10am to 1pm
  • £60

Sunday 8th November – My First Me-Made Dress *** NEW CLASS!!

my first dressmaking class

Just started sewing and want to have a go at a frock but feeling a bit daunted? Fancy making a unique dress for the festive season or nights out? Join us at this class and choose from three of Wendy’s easiest dress patterns designed specifically for scared beginners! Learn some new techniques and good habits and whip up your new frock by the end of the day. Just bring your fabric and matching thread. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience, Includes a copy of the pattern to take home & make more!

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10am to 5pm
  • £130

Tuesday 17th November – Master Buttonholes NEW CLASS!!

buttonholes master class

Struggle with buttonholes? Avoid putting them in your you-made clothes? Join us for a half-day of focused buttonholing and master the perfect machined buttonhole and learn the art of the couture bound buttonhole to really up your game! Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience.

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10am to 1pm
  • £60

Sunday 22nd November – Embellished Tops & Dresses *** NEW CLASS!!

embellished top dress class

Want to make a garment that will wow for the festive season and nights out? Looking for something to make your you-made clothes completely unique? Come and make a top or dress and embellish it with one of Wendy’s unique lace motifs in a choice of patterns and colours. Just bring fabric and thread. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience, includes a pattern of your choice & lace embellishment.                                                                                    

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10am to 5pm
  • £150

Sunday 6th December – Make Pyjama Trousers *** NEW CLASS!!

pyjama trouser making class

Looking for the perfect Christmas present project or a nice easy project for yourself? Pjyama trousers make the perfect home-sewn gift and are a great beginner project for yourself. I’ll show you 2 different ways to finish the waist. Just bring fabric and thread. Indulge yourself and make a pair for every day of the week! Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience, Includes a copy of the pattern to take home & make more!

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • £110

Tuesday 8th December – Master Zips NEW CLASS!!

zips master class

Struggle with zips? Avoid putting them in your you-made clothes? New to dressmaking and terrified of zips? It’s all in the preparation. Join us for a half-day of focused zip sewing and master the perfect centred (slotted) zip, lapped zip and invisible zip. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience.

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10am to 1pm
  • £60

Sunday 13th December – Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking ***

beginners guide to dressmaking

Make a garment from Wendy’s best-selling dressmaking book. You will be taken step-by-step through using one of the 6 patterns from “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking” and should have a new t-shirt, skirt, dress, trousers or jacket to take home at the end of the day! Just bring fabric and thread. Suitable for beginners and those with a bit of sewing experience, includes a signed copy of the book to take home & make more!

  • Class size limited to just 5 people
  • 10.30am to 4.30pm
  • £125

*** ALL CLASSES THAT USE WENDY’S PATTERNS COVER THE FOLLOWING MEASUREMENTS: bust 84-101cm (33-40″), waist 68-85cm (27-33.5″), hips 92-109cm (36-43″) if your measurements are outside of this range contact Wendy to see if the workshop will still be suitable for you.

To get priority booking before new dates are advertised online, sign-up here: http://eepurl.com/EVEYn

Please check your diary to ensure you can make the date before booking a class and ensure you read the  Classes – important info which contains important information about cancellations.  Thanks!

Read what previous students have thought of classes 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.

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.

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?

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.

Do You Know Your Weft From Your Selvedge?

If not, here’s a little reminder…..

understanding fabric

Download MIY Collection Sewing Patterns

It’s one that seems to divide stitchers – you either love using PDF download sewing patterns or you hate them!

This is what people have told me are the positives of using digital sewing patterns:

  • ease of storage
  • ability to re-use once size has been cut – just print out another
  • no taping together tatty old patterns – just print out another
  • cheaper to buy initially.

And these are the things that put people off using them:

  • cost of printer ink
  • size of printouts being accurate
  • time and hassle involved in taping the pieces together
  • accuracy of the pattern once it’s been taped together.

Well, in an attempt to keep everyone happy I’m starting to make my sewing patterns also available as downloads.  I feel like I may be slightly doing things back to front as every other indie sewing pattern company I look at seems to have done it the other way round ie. PDF patterns first, then hard copy, but hey ho, I like to be different!

The first PDF pattern available is my straight neck vest and dress.

MIY Collection digital sewing patternsHere are some examples of MIY Workshop student makes from this pattern:

MIY Collection digital sewing patterns

They’re available at just £7 from my Etsy shop and once you’ve ordered, the files will be automatically available to you to download and get started on, including a step-by-step guide on how to print your pattern and how to piece it together!

What are you waiting for?!