Tag Archives: indie patterns

A Review of the Roehampton Culottes from Beginner’s Guide to Skirts

Aimee (aka Wrong Doll on her blog and Instagram) is a prolific stitcher, I don’t know how she manages it alongside a full-time job!

She recently made the Roehampton Culottes from my book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts” and I instantly wanted to steal them!  They’re so my style; Aimee’s chosen the kind of fabric I’d have gone for and wears them pretty much how I would choose to.

Her review of the culottes project and the whole book makes heart warming reading for me but here are some choice words:

“Wendy’s book is split in two – the individual projects, followed by a techniques section at the end. This format empowers you to get into the driving seat and customise each pattern according to your whim.”

“Thanks to the mode of presentation and clarity of instruction, these Roehampton culottes are by far my most well made make to date.”

It’s so satisfying to know that I’ve played a small part in improving someone’s sewing skills like this. That’s what it’s all about folks.

Read Aimee’s full review here and get a signed copy of my book here.

A Look Back at 2016 & A Look Forward to 2017

2016bestnine

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?

20% Off MIY Collection Until Christmas Eve

MIY Collection

If you’ve had your eye on a certain something from my MIY Collection shop (a signed copy of one of my books, a pattern to whip up a festive outfit, one of my complete making kits, some gorgeous Ernest Wright scissors, some of my cute scissor themed accessories……) here’s a chance to treat yourself (or stock up on some crafty gifts) before Christmas.

All you need to do to claim your discount is take just a few minutes to write a review of any products you have bought from MIY Collection. You can have bought them online, direct from me at MIY Workshop, at a show or from another shop who stocks MIY Collection.

Honestly, it’s really easy – you don’t need to create an account or anything, just go to www.miycollection.com and find the product you want to leave a review for then:

reviewinstructions-01

  • click on “write a review” under the product description and the box will expand
  • fill in your name and email address 
  • enter your rating from 1 to 5 stars
  • write your review then click “submit review”. 

That’s it! Your email address won’t be collected by any 3rd parties.

You will then be emailed a single use 20% discount code to be used on anything in the shop before midnight on Christmas eve.

Merry making!

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!

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!

September’s MIY Maker

miy makers

It was fairly unanimous; Sara’s gorgeous denim Fulwood dress won your vote for this month’s MIY Maker. What impresses me even more about this is that it’s Sara’s first ever dress! Quite a way to start your sewing journey.

Congratulations to Sara who can now choose her next MIY Collection sewing pattern for free and I’m waiting with baited breath to see Sara’s next few dressmaking projects.

Reckon you can be October’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!

August’s MIY Maker

MIY Maker - August

Naz’s bright and beautifully fitting shift dress from my 1st book “Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking” won your vote this month!

Well done Naz who can now choose her next MIY Collection sewing pattern for free. That dress is going to be quite an act to follow….

Reckon you can be September’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!