MIY March 2017 – Are you in?

make it yourself march

MIY March is back for year 3 which is already promising to be the biggest and best yet!!

Yes, that month-long shenanigans that involves us all running around getting friends, family and ourselves to take photos of us, us in our makes, our makes artfully arranged on tables, us in our sewing caves and more is back for another month of sewing photo fun.

This year also promises much more than fun, meeting new online sewing buddies, giving and receiving new sewing recommendations and learning new sewing tips; there will also be some amazing prizes up for grabs this year, most of which will be open to players worldwide.

make it yourself march

I invited 15 of the best sewing businesses around to be involved in this year’s event, including some names you’ll recognise and some new ones. I’m so excited to have them all on board and they have generously donated some amazing prizes that I just know you’re going to absolutely love.

We’re still finalising some of the prize details, but already the value of what has been confirmed so far exceeds £600!!

Thankfully I will again be very ably assisted by the lovely Emma and we’ll be posting more details about the event in the run-up to March.

So, make sure you’re following me @thatwendyward and Emma @dressmakerssocial on Instagram and watch out for updates there and here on the blog.

If you haven’t played along before, have a look at these blog posts to get an idea what happened in previous years.

Looking forward to “meeting” you all and seeing your pics!!

Bestselling Books!

In the midst of drafting patterns, making samples, writing instructions and drawing illustrations for book number 3 it’s heartening to see books number 1 and 2 doing so well; both in Amazon’s top 10 bestselling Dressmaking books!

beginners dressmaking book

My first book “Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking” is back in the number 1 slot.

skirt making book

And my second book “Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts” is currently number 4.

Both books have also recently received some lovely reviews…..

sewing book review

…..this one for Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking…….

dressmaking book reviews

….and this one for Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts.

A huge thanks to everyone who has bought my books and a bigger one for those of you that have taken the time to write reviews. It is much appreciated and I read every single one!

The MIY Collection Fulwood Dress Sewing Pattern

This gorgeous Fulwood dress popped up on my Instagram feed at the start of this week:

miy collection dress

It was made by Kath Webber who bought one of my Fulwood denim kits just over a week earlier, she’s obviously a fast mover!

It got me thinking how popular this pattern is so I decided to gather together a little gallery of some of the most recent makes shared by the online sewing community.

MIY Collection fulwood sewing pattern

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but this pattern is just so versatile and everyone that makes it seems to reinvent it all over again.

It’s a pull-on style without any openings making it easy and comfortable to wear and layer and quick and easy to make. It works in almost any fabric from heavier weight denims through to lightweight single jersey knitted fabric, it works as a top as well as a dress, has optional collar, pleats and pockets and I’m working on a step-by-step tutorial to show you how to add a lining to it.

Here are just a few that I’ve made for myself that get regular wears:

miy collection fulwood sewing pattern

If you’re feeling inspired the Fulwood pattern is available in print, as a PDF download and as a complete makers’ kit in a choice of 2 denim washes.

I look forward to seeing your version!

Change the Width of Your Elastic – A Quick Fix

Have you ever found yourself mid-project, in need of some elastic of a specific width and only able to find something too wide in your stash?

If you have an overlocker, here’s a genius way to fix that:

Just overlock your elastic to the width you need and the overlocked edge stretches with the elastic without unravelling.

Happy sewing!

January’s MIY Maker

MIY Makers

Well, 2017 MIY Makers got off to a good start, all 4 final makes were so popular it was neck and neck and I had to extend the voting time to get a final winner.

In the end Kath’s spotty Roewood Jersey Pencil Skirt from my book Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts just pipped the others to the post, by just 3 votes!

Congratulations Kath who wins her choice of MIY Collection pattern. This is already her second Roewood skirt and it sounds like she has many more in the planning.

If you fancy being February’s MIY Maker, just share a photo of your makes using my patterns on social media. Full details here.

Happy sewing!

Who Should be the 1st MIY Maker of 2017? Vote Now!

January MIY Maker

It’s MIY Makers time again. Who gets your vote for the first MIY Maker of 2017?

To choose from we have, clockwise from top left:

Whose make do you think deserves to be January’s MIY Maker and win their next MIY Collection pattern for free?

Over to you! Leave a comment with your favourite and I’ll announce the winner at the end of the day tomorrow (Wednesday 1st February). Voting is also open on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

My Top 5 Ethical / Sustainable Fabrics for Home Dressmaking

top 5 ethical fabrics


1. RECYCLED FABRICS

Pouches I made for a recent collaboration with Brighton charity the Martlets using fabrics recycled from clothing.

The easiest and cheapest way to use ethical fabrics in your home sewing is to re-use your old clothes. Give old fabrics a new lease of life and save them from landfill by using your creativity; be inspired by the tradition of patchwork and the boro textiles of Japan and have a look at Portia’s annual Refashioners project on www.makery.uk for more fashion focussed inspiration.

2. ORGANIC COTTON

Collections I designed for ethical sportswear brand Gossypium using organic cotton.

Organic cotton is the next easiest choice and is becoming more widely available. Fabric choices include single jersey and denim and colours aren’t just limited to pure undyed cream. Conventional cotton is intensively farmed using synthetic fertilisers and pesticides which can be damaging for both workers and the environment. Organic cotton tends to be better quality and even better, cotton biodegrades and won’t be around forever in landfill.

3. BAMBOO

make your own pantsPants I made myself last year using bamboo single jersey.

Bamboo has gained popularity in recent years. It is very soft and behaves a lot like cotton but is softer and drapes more like viscose. It takes a lot less water to grow than cotton and grows quickly. It is most commonly used in single jersey and makes beautifully soft t-shirts.

4. RECYCLED PLASTIC WASTE

recycledpolyesterFabric by the metre made from recycled plastic from Offset Warehouse.

You might think that polyester wouldn’t be a great ethical or organic choice, but polyester fabrics can be made from recycled plastic waste such as bottles. This recycled polyester is commonly made into fleece and satin fabrics and they have a double advantage in that they can also be recycled at the end of their useful life.

5. GENUINE IKAT

ikatGorgeous Ikats from Offset Warehouse.

Distinctive Ikat fabrics are likely to be ethically made as long as you buy them from a reputable retailer who can tell you where and how they have been made (Faberwood and Offset Warehouse have some gorgeous Ikat fabrics). Ikat fabric tends to be produced in small quantities due to the labour intensive way it’s dyed and woven: Ikat is a traditional technique worked by hand – this brilliant blog post by Offset Warehouse explains the process of making Ikat fabric really clearly. To tell a genuine woven Ikat from a printed one, just turn it over and look closely, a woven ikat will have the distinctive design on both sides of the fabric.

Inspired to include some ethical fabrics in your next project? Have a read of my post “Where to Buy Organic Fabrics” for more recommendations of where you can buy online.