Tag Archives: ernest wright & son

MIY Skirts Winner!!

MIY skirts winner

Continue reading

Inspiration For Your Entries to my Skirt Book Competition

miy skirts

Continue reading

Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts Competition

miy skirts competition

Continue reading

My 6 Inspirations & Must-Haves for Sewing Network Magazine

blogger picks sewing Network magazine.jpg

I really enjoyed choosing my 6 inspirations and must-haves for Sewing Network magazine’s “Blogger Picks” feature this month.

In true form you might easily guess some of my choices, but can you guess all of them?!

Gees Bend Quilts

I love the social history of patchwork and quilting. I find the idea of the stories and meaning held in quilts made from re-used clothing really powerful and they can make me quite emotional. Ever since I first saw images of the Gees Bend quilts they’ve been a constant source of wonder and inspiration for me. I love their honest beauty.

Worn Stories by Emily Spivack

The idea behind this book is simple; the author asked people she knew to tell a story about a piece of clothing in their possession, something significant that happened in their lives while they were wearing it. It makes for fascinating reading and a bit like the Gees Bend quilts, reminds us of the significance that clothing can have in our lives and that it is more than a disposable commodity.

The Community Clothing Project

Began as a kickstarter project and championed by Patrick Grant this is a great project. Based in one factory in the north of England it aims to reinvigorate garment manufacturing in the UK by using the seasonal quiet times faced by all factories producing for brands to make their own range of good quality basic items such as jeans, harrington jackets and raincoats.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Just up the road from my hometown of Sheffield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is heaven, how could it not be when it combines art and beautiful Yorkshire countryside?! There are permanent works set outdoors as well pieces from featured exhibitions and several indoor galleries including the stunning Longside Gallery whose huge windows not only flood the gallery space with natural light but also perfectly frame the most perfect views of the green valley below.

MIY Collection Fulwood Dress

This might be my favourite of all my patterns. It’s one of the most popular and I’ve personally made myself at least 8 versions. It’s easy to wear and easy to sew which makes it a good first dressmaking project for beginners. However, I think its real secret is its versatility; it works in almost any fabric and can be made as a top or a dress in lots of different combinations. I’m always finding new ways to make it. I enjoy working that way; I’d much rather explore the potential offered by one pattern rather than churning out pattern after pattern.

Ernest Wright & Son Scissors

Again, harking back to objects with meaning that can tell stories, I love my handmade Ernest Wright scissors. They’re made in my hometown of Sheffield and I’ve visited their factory to see them being made. It takes a huge amount of skill to make a pair of scissors and it shows in the finished product – they cut through anything and are sharp along the full length of the blade, including the tips. They’ll last you a lifetime and the more you use them, the more they wear to your hand and your particular grip. I love that. You can buy unique MIY Collection branded while handled scissors here.

Want to hear more about what I’m up to and get subscriber-only resources and offers? Join my newsletter and see what you’ve been missing!

How Many Pairs Of Scissors Do You Need For Dressmaking?

scissors for dressmaking

My column for this month’s Love Sewing magazine is all about scissors. Not like me to be going on about scissors is it?!

Here’s a little edited version of the column:

Anatomy of a pair of scissors.

anatomy of a pair of scissors

Scissors or shears?

What is the difference between scissors and shears? A good question as fabric cutting scissors often appear to be interchangeably called dressmaking, fabric or tailor’s shears or scissors. Well, apparently when scissor blades are longer than 15cm or 6 inches, they become shears.

Commonly used scissors and shears for dressmaking:

FABRIC SHEARS

dressmaking shears

Have handles set at an angle to make it easier to ensure the fabric is lifted as little as possible from the cutting surface. The lower handle is larger to accommodate your fingers and handles are often molded to be a more comfortable fit. They come in different sizes, which refers to the length of blades. I like to work with 10” shears, but 8” are also useful and probably easier for beginner dressmakers.

PAPER SCISSORS

paper scissors

Make sure you have a reasonable sized pair of scissors for cutting paper patterns. I prefer to use a similar style of scissors to my fabric ones, ie. angled handles and long blades. Cheap poor quality fabric shears actually make great paper scissors!

THREAD SNIPS

thread snips

For snipping thread ends when working on your machine, these specially shaped thread snips fit onto just your 2nd or 3rd finger and sit inside your hand to give you more control. They can take a bit of getting used to if you haven’t used them before, but many sewers love them and won’t use anything else.

SMALL SCISSORS

embroidery scissors

An alternative to snips which I tend to prefer. Choose a pair with large bows (handles) for comfort and make sure they have super sharp points. Keep them for snipping threads when working on your machine, for unpicking and for removing tacking.

BUTTONHOLE SCISSORS

buttonhole scissors

Unusual shaped scissors, with short blades and often with an adjustable screw between the handles. The screw is adjusted so that the scissors can only cut the length of your buttonhole! Much more accurate and tidier than cutting buttonholes with a seam ripper.

APPLIQUÉ SCISSORS

duckbilled scissors napping scissors

Another pair of unusually shaped scissors, I honestly don’t know what I did before I got my pair they are just so useful. Interchangeably also referred to as duck-billed or napping scissors. In dressmaking I use them most for layering seams. That wide blade on the bottom and the angled up handles allows you to layer seams with no danger of accidentally cutting through the fabric underneath. They are also useful for cutting into reverse appliqué.

Which ones you really need and which ones are “nice to haves”:

As a bare minimum aim to have a pair of each of the following in your sewing tool kit. Save up and buy quality and you will only need to buy them once.

  • Fabric shears (at least 8 inch / 20cm)
  • Small scissors OR snips
  • Paper sicssors (a cheap pair of fabric shears are best, not a 50p pair of tiny craft scissors!)

As you start to do more sewing, you will find these useful so invest in them as and when you can (or stick them on your Christmas list!), but again, quality only and they’ll last you a lifetime of sewing…..

  • Appliqué scissors
  • Buttonhole scissors

A big thanks to Nick Wright of Ernest Wright & Son (one of the remaining Sheffield scissor makers) who is responsible for a lot of my scissor knowledge!

MIY March 16 – Week 2 Round Up!

I need a time machine, I can’t believe another week has slipped by. It was another inspiring week of MIY March though and there are now almost 3300 #miymarch16 photos on Instagram. We’re taking over, I love it!!

Week 2’s themes covered everything from sewing heroes, peeping inside people’s sewing zones and embracing everything slow, here were mine and Emma’s top picks from each day (I have to admit this task gets harder every time as there are more and more great pictures to choose from):

DAY 7 – SEW & STYLE HEROES – what a varied bunch!MIY march 16 day7

DAY 8 – SEW ZONE – a nosey peek behind the scenes of all those sewing spaces….MIY march 16 day8

DAY 9 – SLEEVES – the humble sleeve in all its varied forms.MIY march 16 day9

DAY 10 – TROUSERS OR PANTS? – in celebration of the worldwide and hilarious confusions this can cause!miy march 16 day10

DAY 11 – HOLD IT TOGETHER – our second Prizeday Friday sponsored by Textile Garden, this time 2 of these top 4 picks were the lucky winners of a voucher to spend on beautiful buttons and notions from Maggie.miy march 16 day11

DAY 12 – PRINTmiy march 16 day12

And DAY 13 – SLOW – one of my favourites so far and something I plan to do more of this year.miy march 16 day13

Now how can you fail to be inspired by that lot?! If you’re feeling inspired enough to join in follow me @thatwendyward and Emma @dressmakerssocial on Instagram. Full details on how to join in are in this post.

As an added incentive, this week’s Prizeday Friday is from Ernest Wright & Son….!

Missed Week 1? It’s here.

MIY March is Back!!

MIY March

Did you take part in MIY March last year?

If so, I hope you’ll be joining myself and Emma again and if not, you need to join in this year! MIY March (aka make-it-yourself March) is bigger and better for 2016, I’ve got 5 amazing sponsors offering some great prizes for each week during March.

MIY March Sponsors

Most of the prizes will be available internationally, but some will only be open to the UK, I’ll make that clear when I post that day’s topic.

Here’s the list of daily topics to whet your appetite and start planning your pictures, get thinking!

MIY March topic list

Here’s how to join in:

  • everyday in March post a sewing themed photo to Instagram inspired by the daily topic from the list above, I will post a topic reminder each morning
  • use the hashtag #miymarch16 in the caption of your picture
  • follow me @thatwendyward and Emma @dressmakerssocial so that you know each day’s theme and can check out our daily top 4 and Prizeday Friday winners
  • everyday myself and Emma will choose our favourite 4 pictures to share and repost with you all
  • on Prizeday Fridays you will also need to follow the sponsor to enter and the sponsor will choose their winner from our favourite 4
  • Prizeday Friday winners will be announced on Monday morning of the following week
  • if your account is set to “private” no-one will be able to see your pics so you won’t be able to join in!

So, what’s not to like? Exercise your little grey cells, meet like-minded people from around the world, win prizes and get inspired!

If you’re not already on Instagram there is lots of help for how to set up your account and how to use Instagram here.

Look forward to meeting you!!