New Trends, New Patterns!

Earlier this week, I took delivery of some new patterns from McCall's, Vogue and Burda, and I put them on the website on Friday.  Some of you are probably wondering how I select the sewing patterns I sell - as I don't sell every pattern produced by the different brands I stock - so I thought it might be worth writing a blog post in which I explain my buying strategy.

As most of you will know, there are literally thousands of womenswear patterns that are available to home sewers today.  Vogue, alone, has 213 dress patterns on its website!  213 dresses!  I started sewing in the early 1990s.  Even then - without all the independent pattern companies that we have nowadays - I sometimes found the amount of choice overwhelming.  What should I sew?  What's currently in style?  What will suit me?  I would pour over the pattern catalogues in my local fabric store, plagued by indecision.  The advent of the internet in some ways made it easier to choose my sewing projects: I was now able to browse the patterns at home at my leisure, look up reviews, draw inspiration from blogs, etc.  However, all of that research takes time.  And, in my previous career, I did not have an abundance of free time.

I had all of these considerations in mind when I started The Splendid Stitch. My aim is to provide you with a carefully-curated selection of patterns that are either (a) recent releases from the independent pattern companies we stock; or (b) patterns that are in tune with current fashion trends.  I also aim to buy patterns that are well-reviewed (unless they are new and/or don't have many reviews).  Essentially, I want you to be able to visit the pattern pages of The Splendid Stitch and know that what you're seeing is generally on-trend and well-reviewed.

So, we're never going to carry every single pattern produced by Vogue, McCall's or Burda.  However, we do carry a small selection of their on-trend patterns.  How do I do my buying?  Every few weeks, I evaluate the trends that I'm seeing in the fashion blogs and magazines that I read versus what I'm selling.  I then trawl through the catalogues of the pattern companies that I stock, on the hunt for patterns that will help you to sew the latest trends.  I did this last week and the result is the patterns that I added this week!

What's been added?  You can see all of the new patterns here.  Here are some highlights!

Off-the-shoulder dresses and tops are really popular at the moment.

Let's look first at dresses:

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

 

For this trend, I've added Vogue's 1379 dress, which is designed by Tracy Reese!  Okay - it's not 100% off-the-shoulder.  However, it's the best-reviewed, closest-to-the-trend dress I could find.  And it's pretty close!  It can be made in both jersey and woven fabrics (including crepe), and we've got lots of jerseys and crepes that would work well!  (Also, just to note: I was initially a little surprised by the armholes of this dress - they seem very low - but it turns out that the dress has an integrated camisole, so you won't have any worries about flashing your bra!)

 

Now, let's look at the off-the-shoulder tops:

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

 

For this trend, I've added McCall's 7163.  The recommended fabrics for this pattern are light- to medium-weight wovens, including voile, crepe and challis.  I'm sure that this pattern could also easily be lengthened to make a dress.  :-) 

On to the next trend... I've been trying to find a pattern for a button-up-the-front denim skirt - to no avail.  These are really popular at the moment! 

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

 

Do any of you know of a pattern company that sells a similar pattern? 

We do stock a few patterns for making regular denim skirts.  First, there's Grainline Studio's Moss skirtBurda also has a denim skirt (6769), which is one of our new patterns.  Tilly and the Buttons also has a skirt (Arielle) that has buttons running up side.

From left to right: Grainline Studio's Moss skirt; Burda's 6769 skirt; Tilly and the Buttons' Arielle skirt

 

We've got some really nice denims that would work well for making these skirts.

Unfitted, flowy dresses have also been popping up a lot on fashion blogs recently.

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

  

For this trend, I've added Burda's 7200 dress, which can be made in jersey and lightweight woven fabrics (like cotton and crepe).  I think this would look fabulous in some of our jerseys, crepes and cotton voiles!

  

Last - but not least! - there's this week's 'Outfit of the Week'.  It's McCall's 6744 - another new pattern!

 

This is a quick-and-easy knit dress pattern.  It's very popular, with 49 reviews on PatternReview.com.  It's also extremely well-reviewed: 96% of those who rated the pattern gave it a positive rating!  Finally, McCall's has rated it as an 'easy' pattern.  So, if you're looking for an easy-to-sew, comfy, stylish knit dress, you should definitely have a look at this pattern!

Inspiration images from here and here

Inspiration images from here and here 

 

In the images above, it's shown in some of our jerseys.  To find out more about this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - and to see the pattern and all of the recommended fabrics - click here.

 

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August 02, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

Fashion, Quality, Convenience

If you've looked at our 'About Us' page, you'll have seen that the focus of The Splendid Stitch is on fashion, quality and convenience. I thought I’d use my second blog post to talk a little more about these three core principles. Let’s start with fashion.

Fashion

The Splendid Stitch is a fashion-focused store. As you may have seen on our Pinterest pages, I keep my eye on what is going on in the fashion world, and these trends guide my buying of both fabrics and sewing patterns.


Recent post on Style Scrapbook, a blog I follow

Quality

I spend a lot of time sourcing good-quality fabric. Particularly with our ranges that we keep continually in stock, you can trust that I have scoured the available wholesalers and manufacturers in search of the best-quality fabric for a given price. In evaluating fabrics, I consider technical aspects like pill resistance and stretch recovery. I also ask myself these questions: would I be excited to sew with this fabric and would I be happy to wear something made of this fabric? Only fabrics that pass these tests are stocked (and I’m a pretty tough customer!).

Unfortunately, much of the time, when I’m evaluating fabrics, I’m having to answer these questions using tiny samples – which can be difficult. When I receive the actual fabric itself, I am sometimes a little disappointed. Rather than return these fabrics, I’ve established a clearance section on the website where these fabrics are sold at a deep discount. In many cases, there isn't actually much wrong with the fabrics in this section. However, I just wasn’t 100% happy with them and didn’t want to stock them in the main collection. If you’re looking for a good deal, you may want to have a look at these fabrics. You can find my reservations about each one in the descriptions, and you can make up your own mind!


Some samples I've received

One of the problems with shopping for fabric online is that you can’t feel a fabric and ascertain its quality. With The Splendid Stitch, you can trust that all of the fabrics stocked on our website are good-quality fabrics for making apparel. 

Our focus on quality also extends to patterns. In choosing which patterns to sell, my first concern is fashion. However, the patterns that I shortlist have to then meet a second requirement: if it’s a pattern that has been around for a while, is it well-reviewed? If it isn’t, then I don’t stock it. In determining this, I mainly use PatternReview.com.

Convenience

A lot of us don’t have a huge amount of time to sew. With this in mind, I’ve designed The Splendid Stitch to make fabric and pattern shopping an easier and faster experience.

In particular, each fabric product page has a ‘Goes Well With…’ section, where I’ve listed patterns that will work well with the featured fabric and matching haberdashery (thread, zippers, lining, etc.). Each pattern product page has this section as well: here, you’ll find fabrics that will work well with the featured pattern, and haberdashery needed to make this pattern. I hope you will find these sections useful!

Finally, if you’re looking for inspiration with regard to what to sew next, check out the ‘Make Something’ section of the website: here, you’ll find pattern and fabric suggestions.

 

So, these are the three core principles of The Splendid Stitch. Of course, they’re not the only principles (I also believe in great customer service, for example!). However, these are the main principles that have guided product selection and the design of the website.

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April 21, 2015 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: About Us

Opening Day!

After months of planning, I'm really excited to finally launch The Splendid Stitch.  I love to sew: it's a hobby that I have pursued for over two decades, ever since I learned to sew at school at the age of 11.  However, over the years, I haven't always lived in towns or cities with (good) fabric shops.  I either had to travel quite a distance to the nearest fabric store or had to shop online. While I liked the convenience of shopping online, I always found it a little frustrating, as none of the existing stores seemed to really meet my needs. I wanted a shop which I could depend on to sell quality, reasonably-priced fabric for making apparel - maybe even a shop that focused on current fashion trends, and offered services that made buying coordinating fabrics and patterns easier. 

Me with *some* of the fabrics!

Last summer, my contract at work ended, and I was faced with finding another full-time job in the same line of work or trying something new.  I opted for the latter.  I have always wanted to run my own business and was excited to make use of my sewing skills.  So, The Splendid Stitch was born.  I have spent the last few months carefully sourcing products and building the business.  It is lovely to finally open my doors (so to speak!) and I hope you will find this online shop a nice addition to UK sewing scene.

Through this blog and through Facebook, Twitter, etc., I'm also looking forward to finally engaging with the online sewing community.  For me, sewing has always been a somewhat solitary activity, as none of my friends or family are active sewers. Also, my previous career was somewhat all-consuming and left me with very little time to sew, let alone blog!   I'm looking forward to changing this.  :-)  I can't wait to meet and engage with other sewers online - and hopefully eventually in person! 

Well, I think that's enough introductions for now.  Time to go home and crack open a bottle of bubbly!

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April 14, 2015 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: About Us