Tag Archives: MIY collection

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!!

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Vote For June’s MIY Maker

MIY Maker Sewing Challenge

It crept up on me this month – where on earth did June go??!! Here are your four wonderfully summery choices for June’s MIY Maker. Whose make gets your vote?

Clockwise from top left:

So, another crop of fabulous makes all worthy of being this month’s MIY Maker and wining their next MIY Collection pattern for free. Who do you think should win?

Leave a comment with your choice.  I’ll announce the winner on Monday. Voting is also open on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Full details on how you can enter your make for July’s MIY Maker are here.

Spoonflower Fabric Printing

Woohoo!!! I designed and made a dress AND the fabric!

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that at the end of last year I took a short screen printing course at the fabulous Inkspot Press in Hove.

 

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It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years as; a) it felt like the next logical step after creating my own clothes and b) I’m so incredibly fussy when it comes to printed fabric and find it difficult to find prints that I love. I’m very clear about what I do and don’t like in a fabric print, I love: bold, simple, graphic, abstract, oversized; and I have a definite aversion to: pastels, cutesy, florals (unless they’re very painterly or abstract)!

So, when the European arm of US fabric printing giant Spoonflower got in touch I was just a tad excited. Disclaimer time: I need to point out that Spoonflower offered to print me a length of the fabric of my choice for free in return for being interviewed for their website. I also decided to write this blog post independently to share my experience with you lovely lot who might be interested in having a go yourselves and so this review is completely unbiased, honest and my own opinion – I haven’t been paid to write it.

For those of you who have never heard of Spoonflower, it’s a kind of “print on demand” online fabric printing service. You choose a base fabric, you find a print from their huge collections of print designs from independent textile designers from around the world, or (and this is what appealed to me) design your own print and voila, your very own unique fabric plops through your letterbox.

So, as I’d already been playing around with print designs it made sense to have a go at creating my own Spoonflower fabric print!

Once you’ve set up an account it’s really easy to upload your artwork to create your own design. You can either upload artwork that you’ve already put into repeat, or upload an image and use Spoonflower’s basic repeat tools.

I’ll hold my hands up here to being far from an expert when it comes to print design. I’ve done one course, a bit of my own research and played around with a few ideas. If you’re going to create your own design on Spoonflower, I think you’ll get far better results if you have at least a basic understanding of print design and how repeats work, consequently that will enable you to create a far more professional and seamless print (that said there are lots of tutorials on the site). Personally I hate print designs where the repeat is blindingly obvious and that for me is the sign of a poor quality design and someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing. With this in mind I kept mine super simple, as you can see! 

Once you’ve finalised your design (decided on the repeat and scale), you need to select a base fabric that you want to print your design onto. This is where I started to feel a little limited. I think Spoonflower is great for buying fat quarters for craft sewing (such as patchwork) but once you start to order fabrics by the metre (or yard as is listed on the site) they start to get a little pricey and I found the range of fabric bases a little limiting for dressmaking. However, having said that there is crepe de chine, poplin and a few different knits which was more than I was expecting! Price-wise, you’ll be paying (and watch those dollars and yards UK shoppers) $23 (approx. £17+) per yard for polyester crepe de chine, $26.75 (approx. £20+) for cotton/spandex single jersey and $17.50 (approx. £13+) is the cheapest fabric called “basic cotton ultra”. I’ve no idea what that is.

I plumped for cotton poplin ultra at $20 (approx. £15+) per yard as I knew I wanted a nice crisp fabric to make a gathered skirt version of my Fulwood dress. I needed 3 yards as it’s only 42″ / 106cm wide (pretty narrow for a dressmaking fabric) and this would have cost me $54 & $6 shipping (over £45). For a special one-off fabric, I don’t think this is outrageous. I’m not one to skimp on fabric and would rather pay more for quality and reliable provenance so I probably would have paid that myself to try out Spoonflower.

Now, this all took place in April and from what I remember I’m pretty sure delivery was pretty speedy (European orders are sent from Germany) and my fabric arrived within approximately a week.

Here’s how it looked when it arrived, complete with washing instructions. (How many fabric companies do that?!)

On first unwrapping my parcel I was a bit like a kid at Christmas, it seemed like magic to see my design on fabric, but then I noticed I’d made a mahoosive boo-boo with my design…..

See that gap right across the middle of the white scissors?……. Argh, told you I wasn’t a print design expert, but I really should’ve checked and spotted that one and Spoonflower won’t check for you (understandably!) I was in such a rush to order the fabric, that I skipped the stage of ordering a test swatch (8″ x 8″ for $5). Lesson number 1 learned.

The next surprise was the stiffness of the fabric. I ordered poplin, it’s meant to be crispy, but this really felt almost starched. I hoped it would soften up once I washed it.

I washed my fabric on a gentle 30 degree wash using colour safe washing liquid. Sadly the stiffness didn’t improve much, but the colour faded noticeably and you can see in the picture above that the colour faded more where the fabric had creased in the wash. With the benefit of hindsight I wonder if I should’ve gone for a design with less solid black coverage. Lesson number 2 learned…..

The fabric also shrank in the wash, which to be fair, I would expect with a natural fibre fabric. My piece measured 2.76m long and 114cm wide before washing and 2.66m long and 111cm wide after washing. That’s 3% lengthwise shrinkage and 2% across the width. Probably more or less what would be expected of cotton poplin, but still significant enough to be aware of if you have a tight lay plan and / or a large or directional print design.

As expected, the fabric sewed up like a dream (it was cotton poplin after all) but, that black print did leave a residue on my iron (which was easy to remove). The print was also very easily marked by needle holes. I managed to get an unwanted tuck in the fabric when machining the waist seam and this is what was left behind once I’d corrected it….

I haven’t washed the finished dress yet, so maybe (hopefully) they’ll come out in the wash.

Here’s my finished frock though, of which I am still most proud, despite it’s flaws! It’s super comfy and cool to wear.

So, in conclusion, what did I think of the whole experience?

  • price – at over £45 for 2.75m (3 yards) it’s towards the top end of what I spend on fabric, but certainly not outrageous,
  • quality – this is what I was most disappointed with, but I can’t say if it was my choice of print design (with so much black ink coverage), I need to try a different print on the same base to do a fair comparison,
  • choice of fabrics – OK, the basics are covered, but it’s definitely all about the print!

I’d definitely order again to make a special garment and / or to try out new print designs, but next time I would get a test swatch to check the accuracy of the repeat of my design and the quality and handle of the fabric once printed and take my advice – definitely order the fabric sample pack! It’s only $3 (approx. £2.30) and shipping is free.

I’m going to post a step-by-step guide on how to sew the gathered skirt on the Fulwood dress as inspired by Kath’s winning MIY Maker dress. Honestly, I still can’t believe I’ve never done this before, I absolutely love how it looks.

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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…..)

Vote for May’s MIY Maker

me made may miy maker

Me Made May meant stiff competition for this month’s MIY Maker as sooo many great makes were shared over on Instagram, but I whittled it down to these 4. Who will get your vote?

Clockwise from top left:

So, have your say, which of these gorgeous garments do you think deserves to be this month’s MIY Maker and win their next MIY Collection pattern for free?

Leave a comment with your favourite and I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday morning (6th June). Voting is also open on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

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 Review of the Longley Cardigan Pattern

Looking for that perfect in-between-seasons project?  My Longley cardigan pattern might just be for you and Fiona of Diary of a Chainstitcher blog has just made a gorgeous version which she’s blogged about along with a review of the pattern.

Spoiler: I think she loved it! Here are some of the lovely things Fiona says about the pattern.

“When the construction is as well thought out as this getting professional looking results is very satisfying.”

“The finishing of the Longley is a real selling point for me and I highly recommend it as a cracking pattern to try if you are looking for a similar style.”

Read her full review here. You can also read more reviews of the Longley pattern here and get your copy of the pattern here.