Review: Sewing Made Simple

I've got some exciting news: two of our fabrics have been featured in a UK sewing bookazine!  Yay!  The bookazine is called Sewing Made Simple and it's published by the same publisher as the magazine Love Sewing.

What's been featured?  Two of our stretch cotton sateens - our purple floral sateen and our black Leonore sateen.  They've been used to make a jacket:

 

 

I absolutely love this fabric.  I'm a real sucker for floral prints.  If I bought fabrics just based on my personal taste, the store would be filled almost exclusively with prints like this!  LOL  Since this fabric arrived, I've looked over at it longingly many times, dreaming of using it to make...

... a By Hand London Georgia dress

 

...and/or a simple pencil skirt paired with a black crepe camisole (probably McCall's 3830 for the skirt and Grainline Studio's Tiny Pocket Tank and our soft, black Isobel crepe for the top).

My plans have been thwarted by a lack of sewing time and the fact that I am, at heart, a practical sewer: I only usually make things that I know will go into heavy rotation in my wardrobe.  I can't envision that I'd get much wear out of either outfit.  Sigh.  So, I doubt these outfits will get made anytime soon.

Getting back to Sewing Made Simple, I have to admit that I wasn't familiar with this bookazine until I bought my first issue (which was this one!). Since there don't appear to be any full reviews on the web and since you can't flip through it in the newsagents (as, due to the included patterns, it's in a plastic bag), I thought it might be helpful to provide a quick run-down of what's in it.  

First, lots of patterns are included.  Some are separate patterns (in their own envelopes and printed on tissue) and some can be downloaded from Love Sewing's website.  The patterns are focussed on clothing and accessories, and they range in difficulty from beginner to intermediate (about half are aimed at beginners and half at intermediate sewers).  Most of the magazine is devoted to providing instructions for these patterns, with some of the more complicated techniques (including sewing a fly zipper) being explained in detailed, photo-heavy tutorials.

 

 

 

There are also some substantial articles in the magazine, including (but not limited to!):

  • a great introduction for newbie sewers on the differences between indie and commercial sewing patterns (written by Deborah Simms from the GBSB)
  • a fantastic article by Jamie Kemp on his favourite sewing patterns for men
  • a really useful article on using a tailor's ham (by Fiona Parker), accompanied by a tutorial on how to make one yourself (by Jeanette Archer)

I absolutely loved the article by Jamie Kemp.  I have never sewn for my husband before, and I loved his rundown of his 5 favourite patterns.  For each pattern, he explains why he likes it and gives some really useful tips.  With the 5 patterns he recommends, you could literally do an entire wardrobe for a man - for many years to come.  They basically cover my husband's entire wardrobe (except his sweaters and winter coats).  I'm definitely keeping this article and might even pick up the 5 patterns - just in case I decide to do some altruistic sewing in the future...  :-)

 

All-in-all, I really enjoyed reading it.  If any of the patterns and articles catch your fancy, I definitely recommend that you amble down to your local newsagents to find a copy.  :-)  This is issue 3 and it costs £9.99.  Issue 4 will be on sale on 3 March.

 

I think it's fantastic that there are so many sewing magazines and bookazines in the UK at the moment.  I buy them from time-to-time - often before getting onto a train or a plane!  Do you ever buy them?  Do you have a favourite?

 

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February 01, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Outfit of the Week - 18 January 2016 - Liesl + Co.'s Everyday Skirt with McCall's 6927 Blouse

I'm back!  I had a really fantastic holiday in Italy.  As I'd hoped, there was lots of cross-country skiing.  However, I'm sad to report that I didn't eat much apple strudel.  My one regret.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, my husband and I went to the same hotel we went to two years ago.  I can heartily recommend it.  It's called Hotel Monika and it's in the Sudtirol region of north-eastern Italy (near Austria).  This region is a veritable paradise for downhill and cross-country skiiers in the winter, and hikers and mountain bikers in the summer.  The hotel is fantastic: the rooms are beautiful, the food is wonderful, the facilities are excellent, and the service is impeccable.  If you're looking for a relaxing (yet active) vacation, this is a great choice!
 
Skiing near Sesto, Italy (that's my husband!)
 
With the busyness of the holidays - and the inevitable backlog of work once I returned from my vacation - I decided to take a short break from doing our 'Outfits of the Week'.  This break also gave me some time to re-think how I do our outfits.  I ended up deciding to change things up a little.  Rather then explain the changes, I'm just going to launch right in!  It would be great to get some feedback - particularly if there's something you miss or something that you don't like now.  
 
This week's outfit is Liesl + Co.'s Everyday Skirt with McCall's 6927 blouse.  Here's what inspired the outfit:
 
  
This is a great outfit combination that can be made casual or dressy depending on your fabric choices!
   
I've chosen Liesl + Co.'s Everyday Skirt for the skirt.  A quick glance shows it to be a basic gathered skirt.  However, it's definitely not a basic skirt!  It's got lots of great features, including front pockets and smooth side panels (to not add bulk).  My favourite feature is the elastic in the back waistband: a comfy elasticated waistband that doesn't look like an elasticated waistband!  So, no worries about eating that big lunch or dinner.  The skirt can also be made in a wide variety of fabrics - from casual fabrics like cotton poplin and chambray, to more dressy fabrics like wool suiting and silk shantung.  So, you can easily make lots of different versions.  Finally, it's gotten rave reviews (which you can see at the end of this post).  So, what's not to like!
  
 
I've paired the Everyday Skirt with McCall's 6927.  This is a basic, loose-fitting blouse with lots of options.  There are three options for the sleeves: sleeveless, short and three-quarter length.  There are also four options for the length - high-hip, hip, tunic and shaped (higher in the front than in the back).  It closes with a single button at the back, and - yay! - has separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes.  Finally, the top can be made in softly-draping, lightweight wovens (like lightweight crepes, lawn and voile) and lace (there are even pattern pieces and instructions for underlining the lace!).
   
   

  

To achieve the look in the inspiration photos, you could make McCall's 6927 in our black or cream Isobel crepe, or our black or cream Corrine lace.  You could make a lightweight Everyday Skirt in our black or cream Madeleine poplin, our black Spencer shirting, or our beige AGF broadcloth.  Or you could make a medium-weight Everyday Skirt in our black Eva poly-viscose suiting or our black Dorothea wool suiting.  You can see all of the fabric selections at the bottom of this page.

Here's what some of the fabric combinations look like (you can click on the photos to see a bigger version):

    

From top to bottom: black Corrine lace; black Isobel crepe; black Dorothea wool suiting (see all of the fabric selections at the bottom of this page)

From top to bottom: cream Isobel crepe; AGF Pure Elements Macchiato broadcloth (see all of the fabric selections at the bottom of this page)

From top to bottom: cream Corrine lace; cream Isobel crepe; cream Madeleine poplin (see all of the fabric selections at the bottom of this page)

From top to bottom: cream Corrine lace; cream Isobel crepe; black Dorothea wool suiting (see all of the fabric selections at the bottom of this page)

  

Further Details

£13
Sizes: 0-20
Level: very easy
Reviews: 9 reviews on PatternReview.com; 100% of the reviews give it a positive rating!
Similar patterns: Sewaholic Rae; Named Leotie
 
£8.75
Sizes: 8-24
Level: not given
Reviews: 6 reviews on PatternReview.com; 4 reviewers rate it positively; 1 reviewer had trouble fitting the darts to her body and another reviewer felt that the darts in the largest sizes were too big 
 
 
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January 20, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Happy Holidays!

Cross-country skiing near Dobbiaco, Italy (December 2013)

Wow - I can't believe that it's Christmas Eve already!  December has really flown by.  I hope that you all have a fantastic holiday!  I'm really looking forward to taking some time off: my batteries could definitely do with a bit of recharging!  I thought I'd better let you know about when I will and won't be despatching orders over the next few weeks.  No orders will be despatched on the following days:

Friday, 25 December
Monday, 28 December
Friday, 1 January
Tuesday, 5 January to Monday, 11 January (inclusive)

You'll see that the main period I'll be away is in early-January, when my husband and I are going on holiday. We're going the Dolomites in northern Italy to go cross-country skiing!  It's virtually the same vacation that we took two years ago (ok... it's exactly the same vacation: same hotel and even the same room - we loved it *that* much!).  I'm really looking forward to getting some exercise and eating lots of strudel (the two activities will hopefully balance each other out)!  

As The Splendid Stitch is currently a one-woman show, this means that no orders will be despatched while I'm away.  If you'd like your order to be despatched before I leave, please place it by noon on Monday, 4 January. Orders placed after that will be despatched on Tuesday, 12 January and Wednesday, 13 January.

As for what's going on at The Splendid Stitch between now and when I leave on the 5th, I'm excited to announce that there will be a big end-of-the-year sale, starting on Sunday, 27 December and running until Sunday, 3 January - yay!  Details will be announced via our newsletter and on Facebook.  

Now, to finish wrapping presents and writing out Christmas cards...  :-)

 

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December 24, 2015 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

Getting Help

Whoa... It's been a while since I last posted! As the number of orders per day has gone up, I'm finding that I have less and less time available for doing certain things... like writing blog posts, newsletters, and, err, bookkeeping.  Hopefully I'll be in a position soon to hire someone to help me.  :-) It's so hard, when you're a new entrepreneur, to know when to make the jump from one person to two - and what to outsource and what to keep in-house.  With regard to hiring and outsourcing, I have to admit that I'm probably a typical entrepreneur who thinks they can do everything: if I can do it, why not do it?  However, there are only so many hours in the day (a constant refrain of mine over the last few weeks - along with 'I wish I could clone myself').  :-)  There are also some things that are much better done by other people.  Plus, it's definitely much better working alongside other people, rather than working alone.  So, hiring and outsourcing are firmly on the agenda at the moment. 

While most of what goes on at The Splendid Stitch needs to be done in-house, there are a few things that can definitely be done by others.  One is bookkeeping.  Another - maybe - is blogging.  I am definitely going to keep on writing regularly for this blog!  However, I have been toying with the idea of starting a small blogging team/network.  If you have any thoughts on this, please do let me know.  Do you like it when online shops have blogging teams/networks?  What features/aspects do you like the most?  The least?  Any suggestions are definitely welcome.  :-) (And my apologies to those of you who have posted comments in the past and I haven't responded (or have responded very slowly!).  My blogging software is rather unsophisticated and doesn't let me know when someone has posted a comment - and I frequently forget to check! I'm going to try to get better at checking.)

It's actually been over three weeks since I published my last blog post.  What's been going on at The Splendid Stitch over the last few weeks?

Well, there was a free First Class shipping offer in the newsletter last week.  :-)  Wow - that kept me on my feet for a few days!  Thanks so much for all of your orders!!!

Three 'Outfits of the Week' have come and gone.  We've had...

... Burda's 6885 jeans with Grainline Studio's Lark Tee

 

 

... McCall's 6885 shirt dress

 

... and, most recently, McCall's 7292 jumpsuit.

 

Finally, as some of you may have seen in the last newsletter, I'm going to have a table at The Stitchery's Christmas Open Studio Day in Glasgow on 5 December.  I am so excited!!!  Several of you have already emailed to say that you're going to go and I'm really looking forward to meeting you.  Internet commerce can be somewhat impersonal and it will be so nice to meet some of you face to face - mince pie and mulled wine in hand.  :-)

Here are the details of the event:

When? Saturday, 5 December from 9:30am to 5pm. You can drop in anytime.  :-)

What's happening? Lots of fun things! There will be hands-on activities and mini-classes. You'll be able to meet other sewers and enjoy some Christmasey food and drink.  I'll also be selling fabric at the event, so you'll be able to see some of our fabrics in-person.

Where? The Stitchery is located in the Finnieston area of Glasgow - near the SECC and The Hydro. It's a short walk to Glasgow's main shopping district. So, if you're from out of town, why not make a day of it: a morning at The Stitchery, a nice lunch in Finnieston (there's lots of great restaurants there!), and then Christmas shopping in the city centre. :-) 

You can find out more about the event here.

 

 

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November 16, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

Fashion Trends for Autumn/Winter 2015

I don't usually have much time to go shopping, but I had a brief window of opportunity last weekend to look round the shops in Glasgow.  The two things at the top of my shopping list at present are boots and a winter coat (and crazy tights - more on that later!).  Before going shopping, it occurred to me that I'd recently posted articles on Twitter about the latest trends in coats and shoes.  I then tried to find these articles... a process that ended up being more time-consuming than I'd anticipated (I've posted a lot of articles on Twitter over the last few months!). It then struck me that it might be a good idea to start a Pinterest board with these articles - to make them easier to find in the future.  So, that's what I've now done!  :-)  You can find the board here.

View The Splendid Stitch's board 'Favourite Fashion Articles' on Pinterest.

What kind of articles will you find on this board?  They're mainly of three types:

  • articles related to the latest fashion trends
  • articles on planning individual outfits
  • articles on planning your overall wardrobe

I've gone back through my Twitter feed and have added my favourite articles from the last few months to the board.  I'll be adding new articles somewhat regularly from now on. 

I'm certainly going to find it useful - and I hope that some of you will as well!  It turns out that I have two articles on shoes and two articles on coats/jackets to look through.  :-)

On the subject of fashion and Pinterest, some of you may have noticed that I have a whole board devoted to the Autumn/Winter 2015 ready-to-wear collections.  There are 270 images on it!  These are all images that featured in the August and September issues of a number of popular UK fashion magazines.  On Pinterest, I also have boards related to particular items of clothing (for example, a whole board on 'Skirts').  I've almost finished copying over the images on the Autumn/Winter 2015 board to these other boards.  Hopefully I'll get that done in the next week.

View The Splendid Stitch's board 'Autumn/Winter 2015 Ready-To-Wear Collections' on Pinterest.

Outfits from the Autumn/Winter collections have started being featured in our 'Outfits of the Week'. This week, we've got looks from Saint Laurent and Versace. The two patterns I've chosen for recreating these looks are Named's Sloane sweatshirt and McCall's 3830 pencil skirt.  I'm going to be doing a separate 'Pattern Spotlight' blog post on 3830 in the next few days: it's another really popular pattern!  To find out more about this week's outfit - and to see the patterns and the recommended fabrics - click here.

 

Inspiration images from here and here

Inspiration images from here and here 

Inspiration image from here

Last week's outfit featured Tilly and the Buttons' Francoise dress.  My favourite look was inspired by a dress by Christian Dior.  Oh my goodness - those boots!  Ok - I'm not going to buy boots like these (I'd hate to think how much they cost!).  However, I have added 'crazy tights' to my shopping list.  :-) 

 

Inspiration image from here

Regular blog readers might now be thinking, 'Did Amy blog about this outfit?'.  The answer is 'no'.  Unfortunately, things were stupendously busy last week and I didn't have time to write a blog post - my apologies.  :-(  For those of you who missed seeing this on the website last week, here are the other looks from last week's 'Outfit of the Week'.  You can find out more about the outfit here.

 

Inspiration images from here and here 

Inspiration images from here and here 

Inspiration image from here 

 

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October 23, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

Pattern Spotlight: Grainline Studio's Scout Tee

This week's 'Outfit of the Week' is Grainline Studio's Scout Tee paired with Liesl + Co.'s City Stroll Wrap Skirt.  The Scout Tee is a very popular pattern: there are currently 65 reviews on PatternReview.com and many more versions scattered across the web.  I was looking through some of the reviews and blog posts - enjoying seeing all the different versions people have made - and it occurred to me that it might be nice to occasionally highlight some popular patterns on the blog, as well as start a new category in the 'Make Something!' section of the website devoted to these patterns.  So, 'Pattern Spotlight' was born - and this is the first installment!

Grainline Studio's Scout Tee has not only been popular among sewers, but it's also been glowingly reviewed: 93% of the reviews on PatternReview.com give it a positive rating. Why is it so popular?  Here's what I've gathered looking at the reviews:

  • It's got a nice shape.  In particular, it's fitted at the shoulders and then falls loosely from the bust downwards in a slight a-line shape. The hem is also scooped - higher in the back than in the front. A lot of sewers find it a very flattering shape.
  • It's versatile.  It was originally released simply as a woven T-shirt.  However, since then, Jen (the designer) has put a lot of variations on her blog.  The most significant has been instructions for sewing it in knit fabrics: a lot of sewers now sew it with knits.  There have also been tutorials for adding longer sleeves, a fuller back, cuffed sleeves, a curved hem, and more.  I'll be talking more about these later.  Also, with its simple shape, a lot of sewers have also done their own modifications (as you'll also be seeing later!).
  • It goes together nicely.  As with all of Jen's patterns, it's very well-designed and has great instructions.  There's also lots of extra help available to get a beautiful finish.  There's a detailed sewalong on Kollabora by SownBrooklyn.  Jen has also posted tutorials on how to do the bias-faced neckline and how to do French seams (both on straight seams and armholes).
  • It's easy to sew.  It's a simple shape - it doesn't even have darts or buttons - so it's easy and quick to sew, and requires very little (if any) fitting.  Jen has given it her easiest difficulty rating. 
  • It's easy to wear.  Throw it on with a pair of skinny jeans and you've got a great outfit!

Ok - let's first look at the Scout-related modifications that are available on Grainline Studio's blog.  Jen released the pattern - as a woven T-shirt pattern - in 2011.  Here's the Scout that Jen made in Liberty tana lawn to introduce the pattern:

 

Her first variation was to alter the pattern to create a fuller back.  She provided a tutorial on her blog for doing this.  Here's one she made in red wool crepe:

 

Next, Jen provided a tutorial on how to sew up Scout in knit fabrics.  She did three posts for this: one showing three knit tees she made, one showing close-up shots, and one giving instructions on how to sew Scout using knit fabrics.  The Scout shown in the photograph below is sewn in cotton jersey.

 

Jen later provided a tutorial on how to add three-quarter-length sleeves to Scout.  You can see that she's also lengthened Scout to tunic length.  This version is made in viscose challis.

 

Last, but not least (yes, there's more!), inspired by a top she tried on at Madewell, Jen provided a variation with these alterations: a longer short sleeve with a cuff, a raised neckline with a slit, and a curved hem.  There's three posts with this variation: one introducing it, one with the pattern alterations, and one with the sewing instructions. Here's the one she made with these alterations - sewn in 6.5 oz denim:

 

So, as you can see, you can get a lot of mileage with Scout!  

Now for some more inspiration! I've had a look through reviews of Scout on PatternReview.com and more widely across the web, and I've put together some collages with some of my favourite versions.  Sadly, I could only choose a few to feature.  I wish I could have shown more: there's lots of fantastic versions out there! 

First, as you've probably already noticed with Jen's cotton jersey version above, Scout looks great made up in striped fabrics -  both knit and woven! 

Clockwise from top left-hand corner: Kelley's version in a striped ponte; Heather B's version in a striped silk crepe de chine; Jen's version in a cotton jersey; Katy's Scout in a mystery synthetic fabric

 

Scout also looks great in bold, graphic prints:

Clockwise from top left-hand corner: Scout by Ehashley in polyester charmeuse; Scout by Mmmberry in silk charmeuse; Scout by ShanniLoves in a mystery fabric!; Scout by Swirlgurl in cotton lawn

 

Floral prints also work well.  Here's two I love:

 Scout made by Sarah in a cotton print; Scout made by Dixie in a cotton voile

 

It also looks great in small novelty prints like these:

Gillian's Scout in a koala double gauze; Jen's Scout in an elephant cotton print

 

Scout also looks fantastic in solid colours.  I love Jen's solid-coloured Scouts.  Here's some more of my favourite solid-coloured Scouts made by other sewers:

Clockwise from top left-hand corner: Sara's Scout in a lightweight chambray; Lisa's Scout in grey cotton jersey; Katie's Scout in chambray; Shedabble's Scout in a blue cotton

 

Looking at the photos, it seems that Scout looks particularly good paired with skinny jeans or a short skirt.

Most reviewers wear their Scouts untucked.  However, Scout also looks good tucked into skirts!  Here are some examples:

Lsaspacey's Scout; Jen's Scout

 

Finally, Scout can also quite easily be transformed into a tunic or dress!  Here are two I love:

Sara's version in a cotton jersey; Kelley's version in ponte


Wow - lots of inspiration! 

Based on these inspiration images, I've chosen some of our fabrics that will work particularly well with Scout.  You'll find all the recommendations here.  You can also access this page by going to the 'Make Something!' section of the website: I've added a new category called 'Pattern Spotlight'.  You'll see that I've added an abbreviated version of this blog post at the top of the page, followed by all of fabric recommendations.

Now, getting back to where we started - this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - I've paired Scout with Liesl + Co.'s City Stroll Wrap Skirt:

 

I've recommended a few of our crepes and jerseys for Scout, and some of our suitings, sateens and lightweight denims for the City Stroll Wrap Skirt:

Inspiration images from here, here, here and here 

 

You can find out more about this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - and see the patterns and recommended fabrics - by clicking here.

Ok - so that's it.  Phew!  I hope you've enjoyed this guide to Grainline Studio's Scout Tee. Please do let me know if I've missed anything!  Also, do you have a favorite version of Scout that I haven't featured?  Please do let us know!

 

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September 26, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

On Holiday!

Just a quick blog post this week - as I'm just about to go on holiday!  Yippee!  I'm going to Canada to visit my sister, brother-in-law and nephew.  I'm leaving tomorrow (16 August) and returning a week on Tuesday (25 August).  This means that orders placed during this period will be put in the post when I get back.  I am going to try to ship all orders on 26 and 27 August.

My sister lives near the Rockies and the photo above is of us hiking two summers ago.  It's almost impossible to take a bad photo out there!  I'm really looking forward to a relaxing week - swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, reading, barbequing, etc.  It should be hot and sunny: a nice change from Glasgow!  I'm going to try to take on board as much vitamin D as possible! 

Because I'm away, there will be no 'Outfit of the Week' next week.  This week's outfit will span two weeks.  What is the outfit?  It's a lovely shirt dress: McCall's 7084!

 

Inspiration images from here and here 

 

Inspiration images from here and here

 

This pattern has lots of options - for the collar, sleeves, and skirt.  As for fabrics, I've recommended some of our lovely poplins, broadcloths and shirting fabrics.  To find out more about this (and next) week's outfit - and to see the pattern and the recommended fabrics - click here.

 

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August 15, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

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

Introducing Art Gallery Fabrics!

I'm really pleased to announce that we're now carrying fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics!  This is a Florida-based company that is well known for producing high-quality cotton fabrics.  Their main fabric is a broadcloth which has a high thread count and a very fine weave.  Their slogan is 'feel the difference' and you most certainly can: it is a beautiful fabric!  They also produce a voile and a jersey.  Here's a close-up of one of their broadcloths, so you can see the quality:

 

(If you're wondering what broadcloth is, it's similar to poplin: it's a lightweight, densely-woven cotton fabric with a crisp hand.  Broadcloths and poplins are slightly heavier than cotton lawn and voile: think shirt-weight, rather than light and floaty.)

Art Gallery Fabrics' catalogue contains a huge number of designs - most by independent designers!  To start, I've selected four of their broadcloths, which I'm selling at £12.20 per metre (£3.05 per quarter metre).  Our selection will expand over time. I'm also planning to get in a few of their voiles and knits eventually.  I'm a little unsure about the knits: they're nice, but they would have to retail at around £18 per metre.  Would you pay £18 per metre for a cotton jersey?  Feedback would definitely be appreciated!

Here are the four broadcloths that we've currently got in stock.  To see them, click here.


 

Two of these fabrics feature in this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - which is Tilly and the Buttons' Agnes knit top paired with Colette Patterns' Zinnia skirt! 

 

Inspiration images from here and here
 

Inspiration images from here and here

 

As you'll see on my 'Skirts' pinterest board, gathered and pleated full skirts are currently quite popular!  Zinnia is a great pattern for this trend: you can make it pleated or gathered, and there's also a view with buttons up the front!

 

Other similar skirt patterns include Sewaholic's Rae skirt, McCall's 6706, and Named's Leotie skirt.  If you're new to sewing, Rae would be a really good choice: it was designed specifically for beginners!

From left to right: Sewaholic's Rae skirt, McCall's 6706, Named's Leotie skirt

 

Drawing on the inspiration images, I've recommended some of our new broadcloths and poplins for Zinnia: you can see them here

A variety of tops can be worn with Zinnia.  As you can see in the inspiration images above and below, pleated and gathered skirts look great with shirts, jersey tops, and cute summer blouses.

Inspiration images from here, here, here and here

 

Unfortunately, I had to choose one top pattern for our 'Outfit of the Week', so I went with Tilly and the Buttons' new Agnes knit top, which I think is such a cute and versatile pattern, with several neckline and sleeve options!  If you're new to sewing with jersey, this is also a perfect first pattern: Tilly designed it with beginners in mind.  You don't even need an overlocker!

 

Other good choices for tops to wear with Zinnia include Vogue's 8536 knit tops, Sewaholic's Belcarra blouse, Burda's 7079 blouse, and Sewaholic's Granville shirt:

Clockwise from top left: Vogue 8536; Sewaholic Belcarra; Burda 7079; Sewaholic Granville

 

So, lots of options!  To find out more about this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - and to see the two featured patterns and all the recommended fabrics - click here.

July 23, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

Summer Sale and New Fabrics!

Things have been very busy (and exciting!) at Splendid HQ recently!  During the last week, I've received several deliveries of new fabrics and I'm expecting more deliveries over the coming fortnight.  Yay!  I've started photographing and uploading the new fabrics, and you can see them all here.

The new fabrics include several striped, organic cotton knits, including a blue and white striped jersey...

  

... and a light grey and white striped French terry.

 

They're really lovely: very nice quality!

Striped knit tops are really popular right now (as I talked about in a previous blog post!) and these knits are perfect for making not only striped tops, but also dresses and skirts.  For some stripe inspiration, make sure to check out our striped fabrics Pinterest board!

 

With all of these new fabrics arriving, I felt that it was probably a good time to have a sale!  Yesterday, I marked down several fabrics and patterns, and I've decided to do that every Friday throughout the summer.  You can see all the sale items on our 'Summer Sale' page!

Items currently on sale include:

Dreamy Floral Viscose Knit

 

Sabine Black on White Small Polkadots Poplin

 

Vogue 8909 Trousers

  

Turning now to this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - which features two more of our new fabrics! - it's Sewaholic's Saltspring sundress.  I'm not sure that it's currently warm enough in Glasgow to wear this without a cardigan, but I hear that some parts of the UK are still enjoying hot temperatures (I've got to stop listening to London radio stations - the DJs seem to love complaining about how hot it is outside!).  I'm trying not to get too disheartened about the weather, though: surely Scotland will get at least one more week of nice weather this summer!

Sorry - back to Saltspring.  It's a really lovely summer dress!  You can make it in wovens and jerseys, and it's really easy-to-sew.  It's a popular and very-well-reviewed pattern: 20 reviews on PatternReview.com and all of the reviewers give it a positive rating!

 

I've paired it with a few of our crepes, jerseys, and viscose challises - including a new blue floral crepe and a new pink and blue floral jersey.

Inspiration images from here and here

 

Inspiration images from here and here

 

To find out more about this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - and to see the pattern and all the recommended fabrics - click here

  

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July 18, 2015 by Amy Lloyd