Massive Sale - and Some Big News!

I've got three big pieces of news to share today - two happy and one sad.  First, some happy news: I'm pregnant with my second child!  As long-time readers will know, I had my first baby, Annabel, in November 2016.  My husband and I had always planned to have two - and we were so excited to find out a few months ago that I was pregnant again (as we now know, with another girl!).  I'm due later in the summer - and I'm just so, so happy: I can't wait to meet her!

As you can see in the photos, I'm really showing now (I got huge with Annabel - and it looks like I'll be even bigger with this one!).  I'm wearing a bit of a frankenpattern that's hot off my sewing machine: a maternity blouse based on my custom-fit sloper that uses design elements from Sew Over It's pussybow blouse.  I've used our moonlit floral viscose broadcloth and I love it: it's so light and silky!  I feel so put-together wearing it: I can't wait to debut it at Annabel's playgroup later this week!  LOL :-)  I'm planning to do another blog post soon in which I talk about how I cobbled together my frankenpattern.  Because I used my sloper, I didn't have to do any fitting - yay!!  

 

Ok - so that's some good news.  Now the bad news.  I can't believe I'm having to write this, but I've decided that - with baby #2 on the way - I'm going to have to close down The Splendid Stitch.  This pregnancy has been really rough: my morning sickness lasted so much longer than it did with Annabel.  Thankfully, I'm now feeling much, much better.  However, the last few months were quite a struggle and it really made me think about how I'm going to manage to keep the business afloat once the baby arrives and I've got a newborn and a toddler to look after.  Keeping the business going when I had Annabel in late-2016 ended up being a bit stressful: Isobel worked at our premises packing all the orders and doing the customer service, while I tried to fit in all the other (numerous) responsibilities during Annabel's naptimes.  It was such a struggle that I ended up deciding to downsize the business in the summer of 2017 and brought it into my home. However, I've still found it difficult to find time to devote to it (as I'm sure most of you have guessed, given how few new fabrics have appeared on the website!), and things are only going to get worse when the baby arrives.  So, with great reluctance, I've decided that the best thing to do is to close it.  I have so enjoyed running The Splendid Stitch and it's going to be so, so hard to send off the last order.  However, I know, deep down, that it's the best decision. 

 

Since I'm closing the business, I now need to get rid of all the stock.  So, that leads to my other piece of good news: we're having a massive sale!  I've just marked down all our fabrics and sewing patterns so that they're 40-60% off!!  There's lots and lots of gems, and I hope you're able to take advantage of the massive discounts and find something you like!  Also, if you have any friends who sew, I'd so appreciate it if you could spread the word about the sale!  

To visit our online shop and see what's on sale, click here. :-)

Finally, I just wanted to add that, while I'm closing the business, I'm going to be keeping this blog and The Splendid Stitch's social media accounts: I'll just be using them to share my personal sewing makes.  :-)  The 'Level 1: Learn to Sew' course is also not going to disappear.  So, I'm definitely not going to vanish from the sewing community: if anything, without needing to work on the business, I'm really hoping that I'll have more time to sew!  I've got lots of makes planned for the coming months: I can't wait to get started!

Me and my sidekick, Annabel.  She woke up early from her nap and was very intrigued by the camera!  LOL

 

 

 

April 03, 2019 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

New: Free Online Sewing Courses!

For the last few weeks, I've been working on a secret project: I've been creating my first online sewing course!  It's a free course for absolute beginners which teaches you how to use a sewing machine. There are three projects: some simple sewing exercises, a set of napkins, and a tote bag!  The course is finally finished and it went up on the website on the weekend.  I'm so, so happy with it - and I hope that it will prove useful for many budding sewists in the months and years to come!


  

I've enjoyed putting this course together so much that I'm hoping to do more courses in the future: I'm pretty excited about it all!

How this came about is a bit of an interesting story...  I did not set out to create an online course.  Instead, it all started one sunny afternoon in December when I was sitting in my sewing studio and the thought popped into my head, 'This would be such a nice space to teach some one-on-one sewing classes.'  I immediately dismissed the thought: I've got enough on my plate as it is!  However, it kept gnawing away at me: I used to do a lot of teaching in my former job and I really missed it.  Wouldn't it be nice to teach the occasional class?  I gave into temptation over Christmas and started designing a series of classes, which I planned to just pop on the website, hoping it would maybe result in the occasional booking.

While I was designing the classes, I thought it might be nice to design a series of kits for use in the classes which I could sell on the website. These would be available to both my in-class students and the general public.  However, I quickly ran into a roadblock.  All the kits except one were dressmaking kits, with a sewing pattern and a choice of different fabrics.  The one exception was a tote bag kit, which was connected with my first 'Level 1: Learn to Sew' class.  I don't sell a pattern for making a tote bag, so non-students buying this kit wouldn't have any instructions for making the bag.  So, I decided to look online for a video which I could recommend.  However, the video I ended up picking assumed that viewers already knew how to use a sewing machine.  Since the tote bag kit was aimed at beginners, I thought it might be helpful to put together a separate page on my website which featured the tote bag video along with a video or two which showed how to use a sewing machine.

And this is where the madness started.


The video I selected - by Dana Willard of Made Everyday.

I should preface what happened next by saying that (a) I used to do a lot of teaching in my previous job (including a lot of technical teaching), and (b) the part I loved the most about teaching was planning the teaching.  I loved planning teaching so much that I could have probably even classed it as a hobby.  I used to even take books on teaching practice on holiday!  (I can remember a wonderful plane ride to Canada one year when I excitedly read through Understanding by Design and Collaborative Learning Techniques - both of which I thoroughly recommend!)

So, when I found myself in January putting together a page of advice on sewing for absolute beginners, I was totally in my element.  It was so much fun!  And the page kept growing and growing.  At first, it was just the tote bag video and two videos showing how to use a sewing machine.  However, one of the videos also included instructions for making a napkin - and that seemed like a great project to start with.  So, I added a napkin to the kit.  And then I realised there were important topics not covered in the videos - and so I found more videos and blog posts to recommend that covered these topics.  It then occurred to me that it might be nice to provide written instructions for doing the napkins and tote bag (who likes to be constantly pausing and rewinding videos?) - and maybe I should also provide some sewing exercises to start with?  And so the page grew and grew (eventually being split into four separate pages).  I just couldn't help myself!  Finally, by mid-February, I had to acknowledge that what I'd created was actually a course.  :-)

 


The sewing exercises

So, that's how this all came about!  I hope the course will prove useful to budding sewists.  There's so much free content available on the internet now which shows you how to sew.  So, the temptation is to just binge-watch YouTube videos, rather than pay to take a course.  However, while it's fabulous to have so much information available at your fingertips, I can imagine that it must also be somewhat frustrating, as, when you're just getting started, you don't know what you should be learning (and so you may miss crucial pieces of information), and whether the videos you're watching and blog posts you're reading are providing good-quality information.  So, I hope that my course - which makes use of the best of what's available online - will prove useful and serve to highlight some of excellent sewing content creators who are active today (there are a lot of them!).  :-)  If you know anyone who would like to learn how to sew, please do let them know about the course!  You can see the course here.  

 


The kits for this course - there are currently five to choose from. The kits also provide access to a private message forum, where I'm on hand to provide extra advice and answer any questions!

Now, I realise that most of the subscribers to this blog will probably already be experienced sewers.  So, this course likely won't be of much interest to you.  However, if you're still pretty new to sewing, there may be some parts of the course that you might want to have a look at, including:

Some of the step-by-step photos from the course

 

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March 07, 2018 by Amy Lloyd

All Change

Wow - I can't believe that my last blog post was in early-January!  The past few months have been incredibly busy.  Most of my time has been devoted to my daughter Annabel (who is now almost six months old!) and I've been working on the business from home when I've been able to.  Sadly, the amount of time I've had to work on the business has been scant.  I had a few good weeks in January when Annabel was taking really long naps and going down for them easily (I seem to remember that I had about 6 hours to myself during the day back then!).  However, her daytime sleep patterns soon changed: long naps became 35-minute naps, with much fussing to get her to sleep and to get her back to sleep. This didn't leave much time or energy for getting much done.  


Recent photos of Annabel: she's getting so big!

So, I've had to withdraw myself more and more from the business over the last few months: Annabel definitely comes first.  Isobel has been doing a fantastic job keeping things going: getting your orders in the post, answering emails, posting on social media.  However, due to my lack of time, there hasn't been much activity behind-the-scenes - particularly with regard to ordering new products and getting them on the website.  

With my lease expiring in June, I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last few weeks about what I'd like to do with the business long-term.  It's clear that things can't continue as they are.  During the past few weeks, Annabel has been sleeping a lot better during the day: she's in a more regular routine with 3 long naps each day - and so I now have a bit more 'me' time during the day, and more energy (and desire!) to do things in the evening. However, I still don't have the amount of time that's needed to run the business in its current state.  So, it seemed to me that my options were to put Annabel in a nursery for at least 3 days per week - or re-jig the business (making it smaller, more focused and more manageable) and bring it into my home.  After a lot of thought, I've decided to go with the second option. 

So, there's going to be some big changes around here over the next month!  Firstly, while I have a very decent-sized room to put the business in in our flat, it's definitely not as big as our current studio, so I'm going to need to slightly downsize our fabric collection.  So, there's going to be a big sale - starting now!   I'm mostly trying to get rid of a good number of our rolls of fabric, as I will have limited storage space for rolls.  So, there's lots of good deals to be had on many fantastic fabrics, with savings of up to 45% off!  You can see what's on sale here. If you know of anyone who might be interested in our sale, we'd really appreciate it if you could let them know!


Some of the fabrics which are now on sale.

Secondly, during and after the move, the store will probably close for about a week, to give me time to set things up and restyle the website.  I'll give you details about this closure closer to the time (I'm still working out the dates for the move).

What's 'The Splendid Stitch' going to look like after it reopens?  One of the biggest changes will be that I'm going to start to sew regularly for my blog and my fabric buying will in the future revolve around these makes. This is somewhat similar to my current strategy of bringing in fabrics for our 'featured outfit' posts. The only difference now is that I'm actually going to be using these fabrics myself to sew up a nice, stylish wardrobe!  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this!!  So, for example, I'm planning to make some summer dresses over the next few months and am going to be bringing in a number of amazing voiles, challises and jerseys.  I'm also planning to make myself some trendy cropped trousers and will be bringing in some absolutely luscious trouser-weight denims, chambrays and linen-blends from Robert Kaufman.  Overall, I'll bringing in more fabrics than I could possibly use, but they'll all be fabrics that I personally absolutely love and will be geared towards creating a beautiful, modern wardrobe.  

To give you a flavour of what's to come, here are some of the images that are serving as inspiration for my fabric buying and sewing over the next few months:

 

All of these images (which are drawn from recent fashion blog posts and articles) can be found on a new Pinterest board I've set up.  

I'd also love to find out what you'd like to sew.  To facilitate this, I've set up another Pinterest board here where you can pin images of outfits that inspire you.  I'll have a look at this board when I'm planning my fabric buying!  

So, that's what's going to be happening to our fabric collection. In order to streamline the business and make it more manageable, I'm also going to make some further changes:

  • I'm going to decrease the number of fabric suppliers I work with.  In the past, I've bought from 24 suppliers (yikes!) and that's just too many: it makes shopping, reordering and doing payments very time-consuming.  So, I'm going to hone in on some of my more favourite and reliable suppliers.  To this end, I'm also probably going to carry fewer pattern companies.  
  • I'm going to make our social media contributions more focused: Instagram and Facebook will be where I'll primarily be hanging out.  
  • I'm (reluctantly) going to be discontinuing our 'sewing schools' program (we currently supply kits to students at a number of sewing schools).  I absolutely love doing this, but it is really time-consuming and I just don't have the time now.
  • I'm going to change the way we do samples.  As many of you will know, you can get samples of all of our fabrics for 20 p each and I include two free samples with every order.  I've absolutely loved both policies, as I think it should be easy and cheap to get samples of fabrics you're interested in - and I love picking out personalised samples for each order.  However, the cheapness of the samples means that we often get very large sample orders which take a really long time to put together (sometimes 20-30 samples at a time!) and picking out and preparing personalised samples for each order also takes up a lot of time.  So, I'm thinking of marginally bumping up the cost of the individual samples (maybe to 50 p - to better account for the time it takes to put together sample orders) and maybe including standardised free samples with each order (so, maybe two samples of some new fabrics that have just come in).  If you think I'm making a big mistake in changing this, please do let me know!  I've put together an online form for you to give me your input on the changes I'm making to the business.  If you have some thoughts or suggestions, please do fill it out here!  

 

So, there's going to be some big changes taking place here over the next month or so! I'm pretty excited about this impending transformation of the business, and I hope that these changes excite you too and that you'll all join me in this second leg of 'The Splendid Stitch's' journey!  You'll be able to see what's coming in and what I'm making by following this blog, signing up to our newsletter, and/or following us on Instagram or Facebook.

Finally (yes, there's one more piece of big news!), I am really sad to announce that Isobel is leaving!  She was recently promoted at her main job and is now unable to fit in the 10 hours a week that she currently does for us.  I was really excited to hear about her promotion - but so sad to hear that she'd have to leave.  She's done such a fantastic job over the last few months and I'll miss her a lot! 

Fortunately, I've found a really superb replacement who will be starting next week.  I'll give you more news on that soon.  I think that's enough announcements for one day!  :-)

To see what's on sale, click here.

To give me feedback on the proposed changes (which I'd love to receive - good and bad!), click here.

 

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May 13, 2017 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

I'm Back!

I'm super excited to introduce you to the newest member of The Splendid Stitch's team!  Meet baby Annabel:

 

She's now almost two months old, and is smiling and cooing - and just so much fun.  As she's now into a bit more of a settled routine, I've returned to work.  And by that, I mean that I'm doing some work from home during her naps.  :-)  It's definitely nice to have something else to occupy my mind - and keep me busy - while she's sleeping!  She'll likely go to a local nursery on a part-time basis when she's a little older.  However, I'm going to try to keep her by my side for as long as possible.  

   

 

While I've been away, Isobel has been expertly taking care of things.  She's going to continue packing all the orders, doing the customer service, and posting on social media now that I'm back.  

I had hoped to post more new outfits on the blog while I was away, but I'm afraid that I was overly optimistic about what I could accomplish in those early weeks after giving birth: the first few weeks were quite a challenge!  LOL  I'm sure that most of you who have children saw that coming!  :-)  The outfit posts will be resuming very soon - but in a slightly different format.  Isobel and I have been cooking up something really exciting, and I can't wait to show it to you.  Keep your eyes peeled: I'll be revealing all on the blog shortly!  Also keep your eyes peeled for new products: I've been ordering like crazy over the last few days and some really lovely new fabrics and sewing patterns are going to start appearing on the website very soon!

 

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January 10, 2017 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

Pretty Pleated Skirts - Plus Introducing Isobel!

I'm back!  My apologies for my lack of blog posts over the last two months.  Things have been super busy here, as I've been preparing for my upcoming maternity leave and hiring and training a new employee.  Something had to give - and, unfortunately, writing blog posts was it.  I know a lot of you like my featured outfit posts (and have missed them over the last few weeks), so you'll be happy to hear that I have quite a few in the pipeline at the moment!  I'm going to be bulk writing them over the next week, so there should hopefully be a steady flow of them while I'm on maternity leave (which will probably start in the next two weeks or so).

Technically, I've sort-of started my maternity leave, as I'm now largely doing light desk-work from home (I absolutely love working, so I'm likely going to continue doing so until my contractions start; watching TV or doing housework holds very little appeal!). My maternity leave has been made possible by the fact The Splendid Stitch now has its first employee - yay!  You may recall that I put out a job ad in early-September.  I ended up getting around 150 applications!  I managed to narrow them down to a long-list of 18 and a short-list of 6.  4 were eventually interviewed and 1 was hired.  I'm so incredibly excited to introduce you to Isobel:

We had fun taking a few photos yesterday of the two of us for using on The Splendid Stitch's social media profiles.  What you don't know is that I am actually standing on 5 Vogue and McCall's pattern books - because Isobel is quite a bit taller than me!   LOL  Oh yeah - I should probably point out that I'm the puffy, pregnant-looking one on the left and Isobel is the taller, leaner figure on the right!

 

Isobel is going to be packing all the orders from this point forward (during my maternity leave and beyond) - as well as answering customer emails and doing some posting on social media.  She's a professional artist - and sews in her spare time!  She learned to sew a few years ago and hasn't looked back since.  So, you'll be seeing her creations popping up on on our social media feeds and our blog over the coming months.  :-)  Here's a dress she made recently for a wedding using a Burda pattern and some silk dupioni - so, so pretty!  

Isobel's picked up everything extremely quickly and I'm confident I'm leaving The Splendid Stitch in a capable pair of hands while I'm away during my maternity leave (which will stretch to mid-January - after that, I'll come back part-time).    

So, that's the big news.  :-)  Now, onto the featured outfit: a pleated skirt!  Here's the images that inspired the outfit:

 

 

 Images from: Prada's Autumn/Winter 2016 Ready-to-Wear Collection; Pink PeoniesKendi Everyday; Atlantic-Pacific; Gal Meets GlamPrada's Autumn/Winter 2016 Ready-to-Wear Collection

 

The pattern I've chosen is McCall's 6706.  It's a pattern for a simple pleated skirt with a waistband.  As for variations, there are two lengths to choose from, as well as options for striped colour-blocking and for doing a shaped back hem.  There's also pattern pieces for a petticoat, if you're after a fuller-looking skirt.

As for fabrics, this pattern works well with both shirting-weight cotton broadcloths and poplins, as well as fabrics with more body like cotton sateen and silk shantung.  Based on the inspiration photos, I've chosen some of our cotton broadcloths from Art Gallery Fabrics (all three of which are new!) and some of our cotton sateens.  

First, here's the three AGF broadcloths I've chosen: 'Bees and Bits Mellow', 'Pure Elements London Red' and 'Pandagarden Naptime'.

As I've mentioned before on the blog, the quality of these AGF broadcloths is just fantastic.  I absolutely love the new prints!  The bee print is both fun and daintily pretty.  Here's a closer look at the bees:

The panda print is ah-mah-zing.  I could see it being a really great dress too.  :-)  You'll get a good view of the print by looking at the mock-ups below (which are to scale): 

As for the cotton sateens I've chosen, here they are: our Leonore sateen in red and white, and our purple floral sateen.  As sateen is heavier than broadcloth, it would make for a fuller, more structured skirt; the broadcloth would make for a lighter, swishier skirt. 

Here's what the fabrics look like mocked-up (again, to scale):

Oh, how I'd love to have a waist so I can make and wear skirts like these!  Hopefully in a few weeks' time.  :-)

As for how to style these skirts, I love how Kendi has styled hers with a simple black camisole (a plain blouse or t-shirt would also look great).  Doesn't it also look great with a shirt?!  I particularly love the white skirt / chambray shirt combo sported by Rach ('Pink Peonies').  If you wanted to recreate this look, our Robert Kaufman light blue chambray (maybe with Grainline Studio's Archer shirt?) would be perfect.

 

Further Details

McCall's 6706
£8.75 (£7.88 until 18 November!)
Sizes: 6-22
Level: easy
Reviews: 32 reviews on PatternReview.com; 87% give the pattern a positive rating 
Similar Patterns: Colette Zinnia; Liesl + Co. Everyday Skirt

 

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November 10, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Now Hiring!

I've got some exciting news: I'm looking for my first employee!  I finished putting together the job ad yesterday morning and it went up on the website last night.  If you know how to sew, live in Glasgow, and are looking for part-time work (or know someone who lives in Glasgow who might be interested in this position), then please do check out the ad here.  

Essentially, I'm looking for someone who can pack orders, do some social media, and answer customer emails and phone calls.  The position will start on 10 October and it will be a permanent one.  

I'm so extremely excited about this.  I've been working on my own for ages now and it will be so nice to have someone else in the company.  The workload has been pretty extreme over the past few months and it will be nice to have some of it lifted.  Plus, two heads are definitely better than one: it will be lovely to have someone to brainstorm with and bounce ideas off of!  :-)

September 06, 2016 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

Stash-Busting Sewing: Patterns Perfect for Fabric Remnants and Scraps

As some of you may have noticed, I started a 'Remnants' section on the website about a month ago.  Since opening, the pile of remnants at Splendid HQ has been steadily growing - from a few remnants in a box last summer to (more recently) multiple heaps on several tables.  These are mostly the ends of rolls and bolts: once a fabric has less than 7 quarter metres left, I generally mark it as sold out and the remaining fabric becomes a 'remnant'.  I've always been meaning to list these remnants on the website and, last month, I finally set aside some time to start doing just that.  I've now finished that section and there are a grand total of 67 remnants, ranging from 28 cm to 171 cm in length.  I've grouped them by length and by type of fabric - and they're all being sold at a discount, ranging from 15% off for the longer lengths, to 30-40% off for the shorter lengths and lengths with faults.

As I was unfolding, measuring and refolding all of these remnants, I inevitably started to think about what could be made with them.  A lot of the smaller ones, I thought, would be great for contrasting facings, pockets, cuffs, collars, partial linings, etc.  As for actual garments, the obvious candidates - pencil skirts, camisoles and shorts - sprang to mind.  But anything else?  At one point, curiosity got the better of me: I ended up wandering over to the patterns section of Splendid HQ (it wasn't a long wander - about 5 steps!) and started going through our patterns and looking at the fabric requirements.  I was actually surprised by what I found (good surprises and bad surprises!) and it occurred to me that it might be nice to share my findings with you!  Almost every sewer has a pile of remnants at home and you've probably likewise wondered what can be done with them.  It seems a shame to waste them (particularly from an environmental standpoint).  Hopefully this article will give you some ideas regarding the types of garments that can be made with shorter lengths of fabric!

So, let's get started! 

Knit Tops

Tops designed for jersey can be somewhat fabric-hungry.  However, we have two patterns that require as little as 1 to 1.2 m of fabric!

 

From left to right: Grainline Studio Lark Tee; Liesl + Co. Maritime Knit Top

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Grainline Studio Lark Tee light to medium-weight jersey 1.2-1.5 m cap, short and 3/4 length sleeves 150 cm-wide fabrics only
Liesl + Co. Maritime Knit Top knits of all sorts 1-1.4 m all views 150 cm-wide fabrics only

 

I was pretty surprised that most of our top patterns for medium-weight knits (mostly sweatshirts) required very little fabric.

From left to right: Grainline Studio LindenMcCall's 6992

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt medium-weight knits 1.2-1.4 m all views 150 cm-wide fabrics only
McCall's 6992 medium-weight knits 1.3-1.5 m most views 150 cm-wide fabrics only

 

Woven Tops

Now, what about top patterns for woven fabrics?  Well, I was a little disappointed not to find a greater range of tops.  A lot of woven top patterns are much more fabric-hungry than I'd anticipated.  Even some camisoles require almost 2 m of fabric!  However, there are some patterns that very economical in their fabric requirements:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Burda 7509; Burda 7079; Named InariBurda 7200

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Burda 7509 linen, crepe fabrics, lightweight cottons 0.9-1.6 m all views all widths
Burda 7079 satin, cotton fabrics, crepe fabrics 1.1-1.6 m top only all widths
Burda 7200 lightweight cottons, crepe fabrics, linen 1.2-1.3 m top only all widths
Named Inari light to medium-weight fabrics 0.9-1.4 m top only all widths

 

Shorts

While trousers require a generous amount of fabric (legs are pretty lengthy!), shorts are incredibly economical on fabric:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Colette Iris; Grainline Studio Maritime; Named Alpi; Burda 6812

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Colette Iris stretch cotton twill, poplin, suiting, gabardine, pique, wool blends, etc. 1-1.3 m all views all widths
Burda 6812 cotton fabrics, linen, gabardine 1-1.5 m shorts only all widths
Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts denim, twill, linen, etc. 1-1.4 m all views all widths
Named Alpi light to medium-weight linen, cotton twill, etc. 0.7-1.2 m shorts only all widths

 

Woven Skirts

Our pencil skirt patterns did not disappoint: almost all of them are very sparing in their fabric requirements!  However, I also found a few a-line skirts that were equally as economical.

Let's start with the pencil skirts.  First, there's simple pencil skirts like these two patterns by McCall's and Burda:

From left to right: McCall's 3830; Burda 8155

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
McCall's 3830 cotton, linen, wool crepe, gabardine, lightweight woolens, etc. 0.7-1.4 m views D and E (above the knee skirts) all widths
Burda 8155 tweed, lightweight wools, gabardine, etc. 0.9-1.6 m all views all widths

 

There's also more casual pencil skirts with a front fly:

From left to right: Grainline Studio Moss; Burda 6769

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Grainline Studio Moss Skirt medium to heavyweight fabrics 1-1.2 m view A (shorter version) all widths
Burda 6769 cotton, gabardine, denim 1.1-1.5 m all views all widths

 

What about a wrap mini-skirt?

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Pauline Alice Safor Skirt medium-weight cotton, gabardine, denim, linen, etc. 1.1-1.4 m view A (above the knee version) all widths

 

Smaller remnants can also be used to make shorter a-line skirts - such as these patterns from McCall's and Pauline Alice:

From left to right: McCalls 3341; Pauline Alice Rosari

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt medium-weight cotton, corduroy, gabardine, linen, denim, etc. 1.1-1.4 m mini length all widths
McCall's 3341 cotton, lightweight linen, stretch wovens, gabardine, crepe, denim, lightweight wool, etc. 0.7-1.5 m views C-E (at or above the knee) all widths

 

Knit Skirts

Got a shorter length of a medium-weight knit?  Why not make a pencil skirt! Incredibly, you need as little as 0.5 m to make Colette's Mabel skirt (admittedly for the smallest size!). 

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Colette Mabel double knit, rib knit, french terry or heavyweight jersey knits 0.5-1.5 m all views all widths

 

Knit Dresses

Finally, dresses.  I didn't expect to find any dresses that could be made with a shorter length of fabric (like trousers, there's a lot of body to cover with a dress).  While I was largely right, I did find two patterns for knit dresses that have rather sparing fabric requirements - particularly for their sleeveless and shorter-sleeve versions:

From left to right: McCall's 6886; Vogue 8946

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
McCall's 6886 jersey, cotton knit, novelty knits, interlock 1.1-1.5 m half of the views 150 cm-wide fabrics only
Vogue 8946 two-way stretch knits 1.2-1.5 m view A (sleeveless version) 150 cm-wide fabrics only

 

 

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June 12, 2016 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News Remnants

Pattern Spotlight: McCall's 6696 Shirt Dress

Today's blog post is another 'Pattern Spotlight' post: this time on McCall's 6696, which was our last 'Outfit of the Week'.  It's been a while since I've done a 'Pattern Spotlight' post.  Over the last few months, I've slowly come to the realization that (a) I really only have time to write one blog post per week, and (b) if I do an outfit each week, it means that I can't write other types of blog posts (such as my 'pattern spotlight' posts or my 'sewing pattern comparison' posts).  Judging from your feedback, I know that you like all these types of posts, and so I've decided to try mixing things up from now on.  Most of the posts will continue to be 'Outfit of the Week' posts.  However, I will intersperse these from time to time with other types of posts.  I hope that sounds okay to everyone!

(Also, just to add to my previous blog post, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling so much better now - I haven't had a bad day in well over a week! - and so I'm going to be getting back into more regular weekly blog posts from this point forward.)  :-)

Ok - onto McCall's 6696.  As I discussed in our last 'Outfit of the Week', it's a versatile shirt dress that features two options for the skirt (pencil and pleated a-line) and three options for the sleeves (sleeveless, short, and cuffed three-quarter).

This is a really popular pattern, with 55 reviews on PatternReview.com and many more in the wider sewing blogosphere.  It should come as no surprise that it's very favourably reviewed, with 94% of the reviews on PatternReview.com giving the pattern a positive rating!  In my research, a surprising percentage of sewers have made multiple versions of 6696 - a fact that definitely underscores how well-liked this pattern is (you'll even see some repeat versions in the photos below!). 

Why is it so well liked?  Here's what I've gathered from reading many reviews:

  • Reviewers like the shape of the dress, finding it very flattering: it nips in at the waist and the pleated skirt lies flat against the hips (and so it doesn't add too much bulk).
  • Reviewers also find it very comfortable (it is not too closely-fitted).
  • The pattern has some nice details (such as the yoke, gathering on the back bodice, and a proper collar with a collar band).
  • The pattern goes together well and the instructions are very good.
  • There are separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes (A/B, C, and D).

As for sewing it up, here are some tips that I came across in the reviews I read:

  • Beware of the amount of ease in the pattern.  Like many Big 4 patterns, reviewers found that the pattern runs a little big.  Make sure to measure the pattern pieces to determine which size to make.  Sew Dixie Lou describes how to do this in her blog post on 6696.
  • Quite a number of reviewers used (and recommend) Andrea's famous tutorial on sewing shirt collars to sew up the collar. 
  • The back bodice features gathers and some of the reviewers felt that the back - as a result - was too puffy.   If you think this might be a concern, you might want to consider narrowing the back bodice piece, so that there is less gathering. It should be noted that not all of the reviewers felt that the back was too puffy.
  • Some of the reviewers felt that the waistband piece wasn't long enough.  It might be worth measuring your waistband piece to make sure that it is the right length for the size you are making. 
  • There is no button at the centre front on the waistband (as the dress is designed to be worn with a belt).  If you're planning to wear it without a belt, you may want to reconsider the button placement and make sure that there is a button on the waistband.

As for what fabrics work best with 6696, I've trawled through the reviews and have picked out some of my favourites. Sadly, I can only feature a fraction of the versions I liked!

Turning first to the version with the full pleated skirt, a lot of fantastic versions have been made in chambray, lightweight denim, and linen.  Here are some that I particularly liked:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Sewmanju's version in dark navy linen; Miniextravaganz' version in a lightweight denim; Fabricate's version in a slubby tencel chambray; Mag's Creative Meanderings' version in chambray

 

Doesn't it also look great accessorized with a leather belt?

6696 also looks lovely made up in soft, delicate floral fabrics.  Here are some versions I particularly liked - made in lightweight cottons and lightweight polyester:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Neoknits' version in cotton lawn; Sew Dixie Lou's version in lightweight polyester; Bows and Bunnies' version in cotton lawn; Cotton Creek Sewing's version in cotton

 

While it looks great in delicate florals, 6696 can also take bolder, darker prints.  I really loved these two versions by Cashmerette (left) and The Girl Who Makes Things (right) - both in cotton:

 

Darker fabrics with polkadots - big and small - also work well.  I love these versions by Dolly Clackett in a cotton-linen blend (left) and Mags' Creative Meanderings in a polka-dot chambray (right):

 

Finally, doesn't the full-skirted version look great in white eyelet?  I love these versions by Not Sew Simple (left) and Sandjjdesigns (right):

 

The straight-skirted version isn't as popular as the full-skirted version.  With regard to fabrics, I particularly liked those made in chambray and linen: clearly a match made in heaven with 6696!

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Sew Dixie Lou's version in chambray; AT Couture's version in a linen-viscose blend; Sew Impatient's version in dotted chambray; Sara in Stitches' version in chambray

 

Further Details

McCall's 6696
£8.75
Sizes: 8-24
Level: not rated (looking at the pattern, I would probably classify this as an intermediate pattern)
Reviews: 55 reviews on PatternReview.com; 94% give the pattern a positive rating

 

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May 22, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Where I've Been

I've got some news!

I'm not sure if any of you have noticed, but, over the last five weeks, I've virtually disappeared from social media.  Where have I been?  Well, I certainly haven't been lazing about on a Caribbean beach on an extended vacation (I wish!).  Instead, my silence has been due to illness.  Don't worry - this is not illness in a bad way, but illness in a good way: I've just suffered through my first trimester of pregnancy!

With my 35th birthday fast approaching, my husband and I decided last autumn that we'd probably put off having a family long enough.  Having children is something that we'd always intended to do (we've been together 11 years), but we initially didn't feel ready and then it didn't seem like the right time.  Well, it's amazing how one's biological clock can force the issue!  We were absolutely delighted to discover that I was pregnant in early-March. 

However, the delight quickly wore away a few weeks later when my morning sickness made its appearance.  It's been absolutely horrible.  Having never been pregnant before, the severity of the symptoms really caught me off guard.  Fortunately, as with most pregnant women, the symptoms were not of uniform severity throughout the day, so I was still able to carry on with running The Splendid Stitch (in particular, the dispatching of orders). However, some non-essential activities had to fall by the wayside - and participating in social media was one of them. 

I'm pleased to report that I'm now in my 13th week and the symptoms seem to be tailing off.  So, all normal activities will be resuming - and I can't wait!  The last few weeks have been so frustrating, as there's been so many things that I have longed to do, and I just haven't had the health to do them.  Bring on the second trimester 'burst of energy'! 

As for what this means for the future of The Splendid Stitch, my pregnancy shouldn't impact on operations too much from this point forward.  The main thing that you'll notice between now and November is that The Splendid Stitch will be expanding by 1-2 people.  I can't wait!  I have been meaning to hire someone to help me for a while now: the workload is such that it is really beyond the capabilities of one person now.  After I give birth, I'll probably take around 2 months off and then come back part-time (and later - eventually - full-time). 

So, that's what's been happening around here over the last few weeks.  I have to say that I'm pretty excited about what the future holds - both for myself and my husband (and the little one growing inside of me!), and for this business. The last year has been absolutely amazing and I can't wait to see how The Splendid Stitch will grow and evolve over the coming years.  I've got lots of plans and the next six months promise to be very, very busy: there's so much that I want to do before I go on maternity leave.  It's also going to be amazing to go from one person to a team of people!

Finally, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support over the last year. In particular, as I've been ill, I cannot tell you how much I've especially appreciated all the positive emails and feedback I've received from you: they've meant a lot and have really buoyed my spirits on some days when I was feeling especially poorly (little did you know!).  Please do continue dropping me a line if you ever have any comments, suggestions or feedback.  I absolutely love hearing from you and am really keen to learn about ways that I can improve The Splendid Stitch to better serve your needs. :-)

May 11, 2016 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

Outfit of the Week - Pauline Alice's Eliana Dress

Those of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook will know that I added a new pattern company this week - Pauline Alice!  I actually had a giveaway: a lucky winner - laura_.parker on Instagram - won a £15 voucher for correctly guessing that it was Pauline Alice's patterns that were shown in this photo:

 

I'm so excited to now be stocking Pauline Alice's patterns!  They're designed by Pauline - a French designer who lives in Valencia, Spain.  I absolutely love her designs!  Her aesthetic is a wonderful amalgam of modern and vintage, and her patterns usually have lots of fantastic design details.

You're going to be seeing a number of Pauline Alice's patterns in our 'Outfits of the Week' over the coming months, so I won't introduce all the patterns we stock now.  If you'd like to see them, click here (most of them are also in the photo below).

 

This week's outfit is Pauline Alice's Eliana Dress.  Here's what inspired the outfit:

Photos from Atlantic-Pacific, Cupcakes and Cashmere, Eat/Sleep/Wear, The Blonde Salad, Gal Meets Glam, and Cupcakes and Cashmere

 

Pauline Alice's Eliana dress is a semi-fitted, easy-to-wear dress that is gathered at the neckline and at the waist.  There are two options for the sleeves: sleeveless or long, raglan sleeves.  So, it's a great all-season pattern!  The waistline is gathered either with elastic or grosgrain ribbon, and you have the option of a front or back opening with ties - a feature that I absolutely love!  

 

Lightweight, drapey fabrics (both wovens and jerseys) work best with Eliana.  Based on the inspiration images, I've recommended a few of our cotton batistes, viscose and modal challises, and jerseys.  Some of these fabrics are new: we've received some new fabrics from Atelier Brunette!  Two of the new fabrics (shown below) are modal challises (modal is a varient of viscose).  They're absolutely lovely: light and silky.  See how they fall in soft folds in the photo below:

Atelier Brunette's Summer Swoon Modal Challis and their Lili Modal Challis (see all the recommended fabrics at the bottom of this page)

   

Atelier Brunette's modal challis is very different than their viscose challis: the viscose challis (shown below on the right) is much heavier.  However, it is still relatively lightweight and drapey, and would work well with this pattern.  On the left below is another new Atelier Brunette - their Bye Bye Birdie Black cotton batiste.  I love the design!  Batiste is a lightweight cotton, just slightly heavier than voile or lawn.  Again, this would work well with Eliana. 

Atelier Brunette's Bye Bye Birdie Black cotton batiste and their Halo Blue Viscose Challis (see all the recommended fabrics at the bottom of this page)

 

Eliana can also be made in jersey, and below you'll find three of our jerseys:

Black Aurele viscose jersey, paisley viscose jersey, navy Rosalie viscose jersey (see all the recommended fabrics at the bottom of this page)

 

Finally, what would Eliana look like made up in these fabrics?  

Further Details

Pauline Alice Eliana Dress
£12.50 (£11.25 until noon on Monday!)
Sizes: 34 to 48
Level: level 1 (Pauline Alice's easiest difficulty level)
Reviews: 2 reviews on PatternReview.com; both are positive!
Similar patterns: Sewaholic Nicola; Sewaholic Saltspring; Vogue 9124; Vogue 1379

 

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February 05, 2016 by Amy Lloyd