Tag Archives: pdf patterns

The Tapton Skirt – Now Available as a PDF Pattern

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MIY Collection Winter Layering PDF Pattern Bundle

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A Free MIY Collection PDF Pattern – the Pomona Shrug

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(Almost) 31 Days of Me Made May

I thought it would be good for me to write an end of the month post to summarise my experience of taking part in Me Made May for the first time, so here goes……

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OK so I missed 2 days, I didn’t think it was a bad effort for my first Me Made May! Have you been taking part? Have you enjoyed it? Did you manage every single day? I’ve really enjoyed taking part and it’s made me really think about the clothes I make, the fabrics I use, the clothes I actually want to wear and putting together outfits. All of which is good for me as I’m usually a very habitual dresser; I have a few things that I know work and I leave very little time for getting dressed everyday.

What I learned and did I meet my pledge?

  • the first part of my pledge was to wear samples I’d made from my patterns everyday, which I’m please to say I managed easily and they all fitted seamlessly into my everyday wardrobe, including some nights out
  • I have an enduring fondness for: black, grey, blue, comfort, knitted fabrics, denim and stripes
  • I don’t sew much other than for “work” i.e. developing new patterns and making samples
  • I used to sew just for me, just for the hell of it, but for the past 3 years I haven’t had space for a sewing machine at home (hence my foray into the scary world of knitting – see week 1)
  • as I can only sew in MIY Workshop I think that makes me subconsciously only sew for work and my making tends to centre around developing new patterns and making new samples for existing patterns
  • taking photos of myself – I inflict this a lot on my students and I know how they feel as I hate having my photo taken, however, I’ve learned all that’s required is to move around a bit, laugh a bit, have a willing person to hold the camera straight and push the button and if you take 40+ there will be one or two good ones!!

MY TOP 3  GARMENTS (based on number of times worn):

  • the Wisewood dress (5 wears)
  • closely followed by the Fulwood dress (4 wears, 6 if you include just tops made from the pattern)
  • and the oversized t-shirt / dress that is a pattern in development (4 wears).

The other half of my pledge was to “….plan a completely selfish sewing project and get it started as a treat for finishing my book!” Hmmmm well, the book is oh-so close to the finish line and I’ve had a lot of ideas rattling round my head;

  • I’ve been meaning to make the jumpsuit or dungarees from Marilla Walker’s Roberts Collection since Christmas
  • I then toyed with jumping on the pant-making band wagon (pants of the underwear variety for US readers – i.e. knickers), but doubted my motivation to see it through perfecting an old pattern I wanted to use (I may still give it a try as I was encouraged by Kerry Green and I like the idea of a wearable project that can use up my leftover fabrics)
  • after week 4 I realised that I really want to make more one-piece Fulwood dresses for my own use as they’re just so comfy and versatile and I might try lowering the front neck slightly on a collarless version
  • then I remembered….. the Refashioners, I’ve been invited to take part in Portia Lawrie’s fabulous Refashioners again this year and really should get cracking on my project. Surely I can justify that as a nice combination of work and pleasure?!

What did you learn from taking part in Me Made May this year and did you meet your pledge…..?!

Me Made May Week 4

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I spent most of week 4 up in Sheffield enjoying a (sort-of) week off, hence the new background wall!

Yes, it’s yet again more of the same, but nice to know that I can even put together a good travelling wardrobe for a week away of varied activities from my samples.

Here’s what I’m wearing from left to right:

TOP ROW:

  1. stripey ponte roma Fulwood dress in a one piece version without the waist seam (sooooooo super comfy, especially for the long drive to Sheffield)
  2. sleeved shift dress from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking in denim with contrast denim patch pocket and the zip jacket also from the book in lovely bouclé wool
  3. sample of the new t-shirt pattern in development, this time as a stripey dress in viscose jersey and my own pattern leggings (used in my Make Your Own Leggings classes and available to use in weekly classes at MIY Workshop).

MIDDLE ROW:

  1. a-line version of the Tapton skirt in that elusive of fabrics – a denim effect jersey, nice and comfy for the long drive back to Brighton from Sheffield
  2. a stripey Walkley vest in viscose jersey with RTW jeans (Cos)
  3. sleeveless Wisewood dress in denim effect jersey worn for a night out

BOTTOM ROW:

  1. the same Wisewood dress worn for another night out!
  2. that stripey ponte roma one-piece Fulwood dress again
  3. cosy pyjama trousers in Art Gallery fabrics super soft cotton jersey (the pattern is used in my Make Pyjama Trousers classes and is available to use in weekly classes at MIY Workshop).

What I learned this week:

  • I need to make more one piece Fulwood dresses; so comfortable, so versatile. I have some gorgeous quality ponte roma languishing in MIY Workshop so maybe I’ll chop into that.
  • I’m such a neat freak that I like the consistency of a similar backdrop.
  • I do like the brick wall of my mum and dad’s house for photos; the colour, the texture, the lines……
  • Trying to get my dad to hold a camera straight tested my patience to its absolute limits….sorry dad!!

Me Made May Week 3

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I’m late posting this as I’ve been trying to take a week off, so, better late than never! I feel reassured that in summary week 3 was; “More of the Same”!

Here’s what I’m wearing from left to right:

TOP ROW

  1. sleeveless Wisewood dress (regular cowl depth version) in denim effect viscose jersey which I think was from Minerva and Brightside shrug in grey marl lightweight cotton loopback sweat from Ditto, plus leggings from my own pattern (not available to buy yet)
  2. sleeveless shift dress from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking in lovely heavy denim with a bit of stretch from Ditto and those leggings again
  3. colour blocked wearable toile of that oversized t-shirt from weeks 1 and 2 in a dress version – pattern coming later this year

BOTTOM ROW

  1. black linen short sleeved shift dress from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking (worn to a publicity meeting for my next book!)
  2. full length version of the trousers from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking in grey polyester crepe from Ditto
  3. short sleeved Wisewood dress (deep cowl version) in grey marl cotton jersey from Ditto and my trusty leggings again
  4. another full length version of the trousers from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking in lightweight cotton denim from Ditto and long sleeved top from my own pattern (not available to buy).

Despite me summarising this week’s Me Made May as “More of the Same” I actually think that’s a good thing and I can honestly say I’m really enjoying wearing all these samples and documenting the outfits. I often wear my samples anyway, but would rarely photograph myself or put so much thought into the overall outfits.

I hope they’re providing the intended inspiration for the many ways to make my patterns, the variety of fabrics that you can use and ultimately how easily the styles can be incorporated into an everyday wardrobe.

I also included this photo in week 3 of my daily MMMay pics on Instagram, just to prove that I don’t take myself too seriously……!

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Me Made May Week 2

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I had a much better week of documenting my daily wearing of Me Mades this week and am mostly managing to stick to my pledge (hooray, pat on the back for me) and I’m really enjoying it!

My realisation after week 1 that I didn’t wear much colour or many prints hasn’t really altered, that’s obviously just what I like to wear. I obviously subconsciously made an effort though and broke up the grey, black and blue with some stripes! Got to love a good stripe even when they need matching at seams…..

So, here’s what I’m sporting in those pictures from left to right:

TOP ROW

  1. Gloriously comfy cuffed version of the trousers from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking in heavy drapey viscose jersey and t-shirt version of a new pattern coming later this year (see a dress version of it in week 1).
  2. A colour blocked wearable toile in denim effect jersey and grey marl jersey of another new pattern that’s currently in development that will have a lot of versions. The more I work on this pattern, the more ways I come up with to make it. As a designer I love to really fully explore the potential of one pattern rather than constantly churning out new styles. I think this is heavily influenced by my experiences of working in the two extremes of the fashion industry, I wrote a bit about that here.
  3. A good old striped Walkley vest – a versatile wardrobe basic, teamed with an a-line version of the Tapton skirt in a heavy denim effect jersey. This skirt is so comfy and just so flattering, I can’t believe I don’t wear it more. It was nice to give my legs an airing that day too.

BOTTOM ROW

  1. A half fail this day – I only managed a me-made long sleeved top and vintage Levi’s dungarees as I spent most of the day climbing around in the MIY Workshop window installing a new exhibition of thread art by Brighton artist Michelle Abbott.
  2. My beloved and well-worn refashioned shirt dress that I made for last year’s The Refashioners and me-made leggings.
  3. A hacked version of the Fulwood dress with lengthened sleeves and the CF and CB pleats moved to the side seams in double stripe viscose jersey, super comfy. And those leggings again.
  4. Finally, that striped Walkey vest again, this time teamed with those super comfy trousers again from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking. Oh and me-made head/alice band.

I was trying to be a bit more adventurous with my hair too last week and have started making some alice bands and pushed the boat out with a plait. I keep toying with the idea of a fringe, it happens occasionally. I find that if I don’t act on it the idea eventually goes away again! I’ve had one before and I do like them, but I’m just too hair-lazy to keep up with the maintenance they demand.

Anyway, enough about hair, here’s to week 3!

Me Made May Week 1

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Are you doing Me Made May? It’s my first year and as I’m mainly posting my daily outfits on Instagram I thought it might be nice to do a weekly summary here, along with any profound musings that have come about as a result….!

So, this is my first 8 days worth of postings and the observant will notice that there are only 6 pictures. I had a stinker of a cold for 2 days and spent them mostly in pyjamas. No-one wants to see pictures of me in my pyjamas.

Here is what those garments are from left to right:

TOP ROW

  1. denim blocked Fulwood dress
  2. black jersey maxi skirt from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking and me-knitted cowl using this pattern (my first ever wearable finished knitted item, big proud achievement for me!), ready-to-wear leather jacket and striped top
  3. me-made leggings, oversized t-shirt dress (sample of a new pattern coming later this year) and one of my many Longley cardigans.

BOTTOM ROW

  1. grey marl jersey boxy t-shirt made from the Fulwood dress pattern and super comfy trousers in viscose jersey from Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking (a winningly cosy combo that you’ll no doubt see again)
  2. those leggings again, a sleeveless Wisewood dress in denim effect jersey (I love how such a luxuriously glamorous cowl neck dress can be so comfortable) and another Longley cardi
  3. a naughty peak at a wearable skirt toile from my new book (A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts) and another boxy t-shirt from the Fulwood pattern, this time in a lovely heavy woven linen.

I’ve found the process of posting a daily photo of my me-made outfit surprisingly revealing. Having never done anything remotely like this before (I’d far rather be behind the camera than in front of it), it’s been fascinating to take an objective look at what I wear and how I wear it.

What stands out to me after this first week is my enduring fondness for: black, grey, blue, comfort, knitted fabrics, denim and stripes! Where’s the colour and the print Wendy?! I think that’s probably just me and I’m old enough to accept it. I’m certainly not about to start wearing head to foot brightly coloured prints as a reaction!

I’m also thinking that I should wear my hair up more often. There’s so much of it, that sometimes when it’s down I can start looking like Cousin Itt. Trouble is I’m useless with hair. I’ve never been much of a girly-girl, I didn’t spend my teens trying out different hair styles and experimenting with make-up. I need a class! If someone in Brighton ran a “5 ways to Style Long Hair” class I’d be there like a shot…..

I’m starting to feel like I’ve entered some sort of wardrobe self analysis of the kind you might be forced to do by an image consultant. I’m not entirely sure that’s the point of Me-Made May, so I may be thinking too deeply about the process. I’m interested to see what week 2 is going to look like though…..clue – it’s already started with denim!!

Brightside Shrug to Longline Cardi Hack

When Portia who hosts the fabulous Makery blog asked if I’d be up for her having a go at a hack idea she had in mind for the Brightside Shrug I jumped at the chance. Portia and I seem to have very similar tastes (always a pleasure to find an kindred aesthetic spirit) and I was really intrigued to see what she would come up with. I’m not precious about people altering my patterns, in fact I love to see the clever and creative ways my patterns are interpreted by different makers. So, over to Portia….


I have an irresistible urge when I see a pattern, to mess with it. For some reason when I look at a sewing pattern I start imagining variations of it. A tweak here. A tweak there. And you can change the look and feel of a pattern. Basically pattern hackery is fun and what’s more, using an existing pattern as a jumping off point means the hard work of drafting is basically done for you. Playing with a pattern to create different variations can give you more bang for your buck when you buy a pattern too; and who doesn’t love that?!

Image 1 - MIY BRIGHTSIDE SHRUG HACK (2)

What I’ve often wondered though is whether designers mind when you mess with their patterns? After all, they’ve spent all that time and skill creating a pattern and along you come and start changing it! I mean, isn’t it a bit like having someone cook you a gourmet meal, then covering it in salt or pepper before you’ve even tasted it? (For the record….I absolutely do not do that!) Well I needn’t have worried. Methinks Wendy is a passionate explorer of ideas because when I tentatively mentioned to her that I’d been pondering a “longline” hack on her MIY Brightside Shrug, I could almost hear her clapping her hands together with delight. And when she asked if I could turn it into a guest post for her blog, well, honoured, right?

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So here is the starting point. Beautifully modelled by Wendy. It really is a great little pattern. Especially for beginners. I especially think it’s a great project to cut your teeth on a serger with. I really do love the style of this. So neat and compact and perfect to throw over a tee. But the beauty of being able to sew your own clothes is adapting them to suit you. Now I’m a bit self-conscious when it comes to my waistline. So it’s a matter of feeling comfy to me to have my midriff covered; and I generally prefer my cardigans to be at the hip or lower.

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Much lower in this case, because I hacked it so it was knee length!

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It’s a very simple hack. I tested the idea out in miniature first. When you buy the pattern in pdf there’s a layplan for the pdf tiles and I simply cut the whole pattern piece from that and messed around with it on paper first. I even cut a miniature in fabric and sewed it up but forgot to take a pic of that! You can see the basic idea here. I’ve extended the bottom section of the pattern to make it longer following and extending the angle of the side seam…

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Here it is drawn directly onto fabric…

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Construction is exactly the same as the pattern. Except of course, when you’ve finished sewing the underarm/side seam sections, you’ll have the extended bottom section, well, extending. Which actually looks a bit weird as you sew because essentially it’s at right angles to the top section. But thanks to the nature of knit fabric (this is French Terry from Girl Charlee) as soon as you put it on it will automatically stretch out a little and drop down and hang vertically

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Now of course changing the length of the back section means the existing pattern piece for the band that goes around the entire shrug, is basically redundant. It’ll be too short. Simply measure the new circumference of the shrug opening and cut a longer band to fit. (Same length as the circumference plus a little SA)

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Apply the band as per the pattern instructions. Pressing the seam allowance to the inside and top stitching down. When you reach the section at the side seam where the back is longer than the front, simply ease/gently stretch the seam so it’s straight. Much in the way you would treat a curved seam on a serger.

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Ok, ignore the fact that I had to piece my neck/hem band together because I accidentally cut through my only continuous strip of fabric. Don’t judge. We’ve all been there 😉 In any case, when you look at the underarm/side seam you can see that the bottom section (the one that I extended and was essentially at a right angle) now hangs more or less vertically with a light curve. That my friends is the magic of sewing with knits. They will forgive you pretty much anything. Including turning a 90 degree angle into a 180 degree angle!

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And hey presto! A longline Brightside Shrug. Simple!


Massive thank you to Portia for a brilliant post. I love this version of the Brightside shrug and would never have imagined that this was what she would come up with. And that little tip of trying out pattern adaptations on the miniature pattern pieces – stroke of genius Portia!! I obviously will have to be trying one of these versions for myself now too. What do you think? Inspired to have a go?

You can get your copy of the pattern in printed paper form here or as a pdf download here and to encourage you to get hacking your own version, enter the code “makerybrightsidehack” when you checkout to get 15% off your order until Tuesday 29th March.

Happy hacking!!

The Brightside Shrug Reviewed by SoZo

You may know Zoe Edwards as author of the popular SoZo What do You Know blog and creator of the annual MeMadeMay sewing extravaganza. MIY Workshop students will also know her as the teacher of my Saturday classes.

When Zoe started teaching at MIY Workshop she asked if she could make the Brightside shrug and write a review of it. Obviously I was more than happy to let her loose on my patterns! Here’s her oh-so-wearable end result:

Brightside shrug by sozowhatdoyouknowPhoto © Zoe Edwards

Read her full review of the pattern here and like me, be super impressed at Zoe’s thriftiness…..

If you’re inspired by Zoe to have a go yourself, the Brightside Shrug is available in print, as a PDF pattern and a complete making kit in the MIY Collection shop.