Category Archives: Sewing Patterns by Wendy

No Pattern T-Shirt & Dress Project

free dressmaking project

When Julie from the Sewing Directory got in touch to ask if I’d create a dressmaking project for their site that could use an overlocker and didn’t require a pattern I immediately said yes. I like a challenge!

Armed with some gorgeous knitted fabrics that were kindly provided by Girl Charlee here’s what I created…..

free dressmaking project

….a tapered hem dress,

free sewing project

and a loose drapey t-shirt (those dogs, always trying to get their little hairy faces in…..!!)

The project works in woven fabric as well as knits and you can find it here.

Don’t forget to share your makes on social media and tag me (I’m @thatwendyward on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest or you can post a photo on the MIY Collection Facebook page). I love seeing what you make with my patterns and projects!

A Free MIY Collection PDF Pattern

Free PDF sewing pattern

Remember me promising something special for you as part of MIY March? A free pattern that you can use to enter the MIY March MIY Maker sewing challenge?

Here it is; the Pomona Shrug. It’s a pattern I designed 3 years ago, initially for a Love Sewing magazine project that has since been languishing unused. As lots of my students at MIY Workshop seem to love the samples that are in the workshop I thought it was time to give it a 2nd wind!

free pdf sewing pattern

free pdf sewing pattern

Those of you that know me, know that “free” is not a word I use very often. Attach the word free to anything and I feel it’s valued far less by people, so enjoy this while you can. As the Pomona Shrug is a free pattern it’s in one size only, but the shrug is a relaxed, loose fitting garment which can comfortably accommodate bust sizes from 80cm to 101cm (31.5″ to 40″).

free pdf sewing pattern

free pdf sewing pattern

This pattern is suitable for woven and knitted fabrics (although the neckband and optional cuffs must be made from knitted fabric). My samples are made from silk satin and viscose single jersey.

You can download the pattern for free from the MIY Collection website. You will be asked for your email and postal addresses, but these will not be used to contact you unless you sign-up to receive my newsletter. A link to download the files will be emailed to you automatically once you’ve completed your free order. There is a full step-by-step instruction booklet, a full size copy of the pattern which can be printed at professional copy shops (sized to A0 paper width), the tiled pattern sized so that it fits on both A4 and US letter sized paper and a set of instructions to help with printing your tiled pattern.

You don’t have to use this pattern to enter the MIY March MIY Makers challenge (full details on how to enter here) but if you’d like to, I can’t wait to see what you make!

I can’t guarantee how long I’ll have this pattern available for free so get it while you can!

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!

November’s MIY Maker

MIY Makers

Another day, another winner!

Dianne’s penguin Fallowfield Skirt from Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts stole your hearts and was voted this month’s MIY Maker.

Congratulations to Dianne who wins her choice of MIY Collection pattern.

If you’d like to be November’s MIY Maker just post your makes using any of my patterns online and you might make the final 4. Full details of how to enter here.

I look forward to seeing your makes!

Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts Blog Tour

Did you see the fantastic line-up Cico organised for the blog tour of my new book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts“?
Here’s a summary of the gorgeous skirts those creative bloggers made. Each of them also included a detailed review of the book, so click on the links I’ve included to see their full blog posts.

I know how much work was involved so I want to send out a huge thank you to each of them for taking part. Jane, Kerry, Marilla, Elisalex – you’re THE best xxxx

Day 1 was Jane Marland’s Rusholme A-line skirt:

rusholme a-line skirt

Day 2 was Kerry Green’s Maxi Rusholme A-line skirt:

verykerryberry rusholme skirt

Day 3 was Marilla Walker’s Roehampton Culottes:

marilla walker roehampton culottes

Day 4 sadly didn’t result in a finished project from Peas and Needles, but there is a brief review of the book:

beginners guide to making skirts

And last, but very much not least, Day 5 was Elisalex’s Fallowfield Pencil Skirt for the By Hand London blog:

fallowfield skirt byhand blog

Hope they all inspired you as much as they did me!

Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts – Love Sewing Interview

I was interviewed about my new book by Love Sewing this month, here’s the full interview. Read on to find out more about how the book came to life!

beginners guide to skirts

What first drew you to designing, and teaching, dressmaking?
I started sewing quite young, I think I made my first garment around 12 and was very inspired by the early 1980s series of “The Clothes Show”. I’m an only child so was always busy creating and making something and generally keeping myself busy. I was inspired to start teaching by a couple of friends who are amazing teachers. I felt that my job as a designer and product developer in the fashion industry was getting further and further removed from the craft of making, which for me and the way I work is a fundamental part of designing. I never just sit down and draw a picture of a finished design; I sketch an idea and then play around with fabrics. Funnily enough I never really thought I’d be much good at teaching or enjoy it, but I really love it. It’s all about the craft of making, I get to spend my time with people who are enthusiastic about fabrics and sewing and it’s the best way to keep learning.

skirt project names

We love the versatility of projects you suggest, based on 8 core skirt designs. How did you choose your base projects, and what process do you go for each alteration?
Skirts are such versatile garments and feature in most women’s wardrobes; they also make the perfect first dressmaking project. I started off with 8 basic skirt shapes with the aim of including a wide range of basic styles that would suit a variety of body shapes: some people feel more comfortable in a full circle skirt while others prefer a fitted pencil skirt. I also wanted to offer readers a range of skill levels and the ability to start right at the beginning having never made a garment before and slowly build your skill level by working through the projects in the book. This also means that people who have already done a bit of dressmaking can just dive straight in!
As well as working through the skirts in order in the book to build on your skill levels, each basic skirt in the book has 3 different style variations that will also help you to develop new skills and gives you more flexibility to make your own unique version of each skirt.
I wanted to incorporate ways to build on skills within each project while using style details that will actually work with that particular skirt, so I wasn’t about to add patch pockets to the pencil skirts just for the sake of it because they just don’t work on fitted styles so they went on the wrap skirt, while the jersey pencil skirt focuses on drape and simple colour blocking and the woven pencil skirt explores details like vents and godets.

fabric samples

You suggest a great range of fabrics for each project in the book! Do you have a favourite fabric you love to work with?
I like to encourage my sewing students to embrace a range of fabrics and not to be afraid of knitted fabrics and so I’ve applied the same philosophy to my book. I tried to choose a wide range of fabrics for my samples to show how adaptable one pattern can be; choose 2 different fabrics and you can have one skirt suitable for beach holidays and one perfect for a night out. I’m not sure I have a favourite fabric, I love the challenges and possibilities that they all offer, but I am quite partial to knitted fabrics and more substantial woven fabrics over delicate floaty fabrics. Maybe that’s because I’ve never really been much of a girly girl and I like practical clothes that last. My lifestyle with 2 lively dogs isn’t really conducive to delicate fabrics!

work table

What influences you as a designer, and as a sewer?
Despite my training and background I’m not a massive follower of fashion! Especially not faddy fashion trends like the latest trouser shape or the latest print designs, for me they have no longevity and go against everything I believe to be important about making your own clothes.
I am very inspired by bigger trends like the moves towards sustainable and ethical fashion, developments in fabrics and then the smaller details like for example, how shirt details have evolved over time. I love clothes that have to perform a function; I spent a long time working for an ethical clothing brand designing yogawear and I loved that project; I had to really think about all the small details in the garments that would make them more comfortable to wear and perform better. I also like to build in an element of personalisation/customisation into all my designs making them easy to adapt and make in different versions so makers can really make them their own.
It may sound a bit grand, but I see my job as empowering people to create their own style, interpret fashion in their own way and importantly, to re-connect with the joy of making something with your hands. I like to think of myself as a clothing engineer rather than a fashion designer!

cotton reels

Do you have any advice for designer hopefuls and sewing newbies?
Work with good quality fabrics and buy fabrics in the same way you would shop for clothes; choose colours, prints and textures that will go with the rest of your wardrobe and that you enjoy wearing. The thing I’m also always telling my sewing students is to enjoy the process, if you set out on your sewing journey in a rush, with cheap, poor quality fabrics, with only the end product in mind, you will give up quickly and honestly you might just as well go shopping and buy your clothes. Learning a craft like sewing is a way of life which will enhance your life the more you practice it. If you start your sewing journey with enjoyment, patience and aiming to make your sewing as accurate and neat as possible, you’ll have years of sewing pleasure ahead and the speed will come with practice. Start off slapdash and you’ll always be slapdash.

fabric selvedge

Finally, what’s next for you?
I’m trying to put more effort into fabric sourcing and choosing fabric from traceable sources and organic fibres when I can. I think it’s an important next step to take once you start to make your own clothes. I find makers to be some of the most responsible consumers as they’re more aware of (and more interested in) where things come from and who makes them.

Photography by Julian Ward for Cico Books.

October’s MIY Maker

miy makers

Better late than never, here is the make that won your vote for October’s MIY Maker sewing challenge.

Congratulations to @_stingeling_ on Instagram with her gorgeous Brightside Shrug who can now choose her next MIY Collection sewing pattern for free.

Reckon you have what it takes to be November’s MIY Maker? Post your makes using my patterns online and you might make the final 4. Full details of how to enter here.

I look forward to seeing your makes!