Tag Archives: easy sewing patterns

June’s MIY Maker (& MIY Makers is a Year Old!!)

MIY Maker sewing challenge

Well it was a pretty strong win this month for Tracy’s bee print Brighton Skirt from my last book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts”.

Tracy has chosen her next MIY Collection pattern which is buzzing it’s way through the post to her.

And can you believe it’s already been a year of MIY Makers – here they all are! A strong showing from Brightside Shrugs and Fulwood Dresses.

If you want to win your next MIY Collection pattern for free and want to enter your next make (or a previous one) into July’s MIY Maker challenge, all the details are here. I’m looking forward to seeing your makes!!


May’s MIY Maker

May MIY Maker
The votes are in and better late than never I’m happy to announce that Claire’s t-shirt won your vote!

Claire will be enjoying her next MIY Collection pattern for free, congratulations!!

If you feel inspired to make your own t-shirt, this one is from my first book “The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking”.

(ps. With summer around the corner, this looks great lengthened into a t-shirt dress too! Just saying…..)

April’s MIY Maker (a bit belated…!)

Fulwood dress

I can’t believe I completely forgot to post this on here. (I managed to post it everywhere else!!)

So, it was a fairly close run vote, but Kath’s Fulwood dress won in the end. I do love the look of those pleats turned into gathers and have been inspired to make a version of my own. More on that soon.

In the meantime a well deserved congratulations to Kath.

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!

February’s MIY Maker

February MIY Maker

Jackie’s vision in red Fulwood Dress just pipped Abi’s Rusholme A-line Skirt to win this month’s MIY Maker.

Congratulations on a stunner of a frock Jackie!

Don’t forget as it’s now MIY March, the next MIY Maker is an extra special one. More details here.

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!

A Look Back at 2016 & A Look Forward to 2017


It’s New Year’s Eve and time to reflect on the year almost past and make plans for the year ahead.

Some popular ways of doing this over on Instagram are the “Best Nine” pictures that are automatically picked for you on the best nine website (just Google “2016 best nine” and enter your Instagram username). Share them your Instagram using the #2016bestnine hashtag, that’s mine just above and is actually a nice reflection of some of the achievements I’m most proud of this year:

  • Publication of my second book – “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts” including a successful move to a new publisher’s (Cico), I’m now working on book number three with Cico!
  • Fashion Revolution Day and Week – an important global movement that is really gaining momentum and challenging the way that clothes are produced in a globalised world. It’s a subject I’m passionate about and that I wrote about here.
  • Along that theme I found an amazing UK fabric manufacturer who agreed to collaborate with me on my new book, they’re called Discovery Knitting and they make beautiful fabrics right here in the UK, some of which are also made from organic fibres. I had a long chat with Simon one of their directors and he’s very much on my wavelength; passionate about creating skilled jobs and bringing sustainable manufacturing jobs back to the UK. Expect more from me on the company over 2017, but in the meantime check out their fabrics online.
  • I finally made time this year to have a go at painting and printing my own fabric designs, something I’ve been wanting to do for a good few years! I had a go at a few ideas under my own steam before enrolling on a 6 week screen printing course at Inkspot Press in Hove. I’ve built up a small library of good books on the subject (here’s a list of some of them on Amazon) and there are some great classes on Creative Bug, but I’ve got to say that actually attending a class was the thing that really got me moving on this one. I’ve found as a learner, that if I’m learning something completely new I much prefer to be shown in person first by an expert, only then do I find books and videos useful. A good insight for me when I have my teacher hat on. Here’s a video of me in action and deep in concentration!

  • And of course, the Refashioners – another brilliant challenge organised by Portia of the Makery blog.

Aside from my Instagram highlights I also managed to achieve the following in 2016:

  • my 9th year of teaching, the 6th year of writing this blog, the 4th year of MIY Collection and the 5th year of running MIY Workshop
  • started my monthly MIY Makers challenge to highlight your makes using my patterns
  • continued writing my monthly column for Love Sewing which has expanded to 2 pages and has given me the chance to write about some really diverse subjects from sewing and mental health to what it’s really like to work in the fashion industry
  • launched PDF versions of the MIY Collection Longley and Wisewood patterns
  • ran the second MIY March which exceeded all my expectations with sponsors on board donating fantastic prizes and almost 6000 photos shared by the sewing community on Instagram
  • finally started my own YouTube channel and as well as a couple of my own very DIY style tutorials, I filmed a brilliant series of tutorials called “A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing” with Cico my publishers, covering all the basics from how to start and finish sewing to how to understitch and staystitch
  • addition of a shopping checklist and measuring guide to all my printed MIY Collection patterns
  • I taught my first class in Sheffield and helped organise a dressmaking pop-up event with Laura of Running with Scissors, Fiona of Faberwood, Grace of Beyond Measure and Nick of Ernest Wright & Son Scissors
  • I cancelled my stand and my classes at the Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace and didn’t regret it for a second, partly so I could spend time with my parents as my dad had a year of health issues and partly for my own sanity (I could write at length about this decision and what it involved, but that’s for another post, not here)
  • a really enjoyable collaboration with local Sussex charity the Martlets which pushed me creatively and made me step out of my comfort zone – never a bad thing to do once in a while.

Outside of the sewing world, my highlights included:

  • getting out walking fairly regularly and enjoying the English countryside and my 2 dogs more than ever
  • overcoming the most terrifying attack of nerves I’ve ever experienced to get a merit in my Grade 3 trumpet exam
  • realising I can’t do everything which led to cutting back on my  teaching commitments, more realistic to-do lists and prioritising what I really want to do rather than what I think I ought to be doing.

The other way that Instagram users are planning for the year ahead is to share a “Make Nine” a sewing to-do list for the year ahead. Luckily for me, but frustratingly for you dear reader, right now a lot of the things I’ve been wanting to make will be covered by the projects in my new book which of course I can’t share just yet!

However, here are a few things I’m determined to make time to sew that I can share:

  • Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection jumpsuit – I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve had this pattern for over a year now, but the fact I still keep dreaming about making it reassures me that I will eventually get around to it!
  • A recent-to-me find is Hannah Garr’s Paddleboat Studio patterns – as soon as I saw her new Mitchell dress and jumpsuit I knew I wanted to make both.
  • More samples of this new MIY Collection pattern that first saw the light of day over 10 years ago! I think I’ve now nailed it (no I haven’t been working on it for 10 years, it was languishing in my pile marked “eventually”) and am really excited to make more versions of it. I’ve a feeling it may become the knit version of my Fulwood pattern as there are just so many ways to make this one.
  • I made this pattern for a girl’s dress and top a few years ago for a “Sewing for Kids” workshop I taught. Ever since I’ve been dreaming of making one for big girls and I finally made a few toiles this summer that were spot on. I have just the right fabric for this for next summer and I can see myself living in it.

Aside from sewing and making, there are a few other things I plan to do in 2017:

  • Be kinder to myself – I’m really really hard on myself and push myself extremely hard to achieve my goals, it’s easy to constantly focus on what I haven’t done rather than what I have, so I’m going to try and shift my focus next year and this blog post is a good start!
  • If my teacher thinks I’m ready, try my grade 4 trumpet exam.
  • More screen printing and fabric painting.
  • Incorporate more art and creative endeavours (including more writing and journal keeping) into my everyday life, I’ve realised it’s essential for my wellbeing.
  • Make time to see more of my mum and dad and my friends that live in Sheffield.

And finally, here are some of my most popular tutorials and blog posts from this year for you:

So, how’s your 2016 been and what have you got planned for the year ahead?