Tag Archives: Wendy Ward

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.

Customising: How to Print with Freezer Paper

printing with freezer paper

Here’s a quick and professional looking way to customise a shop bought t-shirt, using a freezer paper; brilliant stuff that’s been used by patchwork and quilters for years.

You will need:

freezer paper printing

  • a plain t-shirt
  • freezer paper (it’s made by Reynolds and is available from most big sewing supplies shops)
  • fabric paint (I’ve used Dylon fabric paints on my t-shirt, you could also use a fabric spray paint like the Marabu one in the picture, just make sure you choose an opaque paint if you want a bold graphic effect like my t-shirt)
  • a chopped up washing up sponge or a paintbrush
  • cutting mat
  • craft knife
  • pencil
  • a design for your stencil (or you can download my foxy face).

What to do:

1.how to print with freezer paperCut a piece of freezer paper to fit your stencil and to fit onto your t-shirt.

2.how to print with freezer paperPosition the stencil on the freezer paper and draw around it.

3.how to print with freezer paperCut the design from the freezer paper carefully using a craft knife or scalpel and a cutting mat to protect your work surface! TIP: be extra careful in the corners to make sure you don’t tear the paper.

4.how to print with freezer paperTake the shape of the fox’s head that you’ve cut out of the freezer paper and place it shiny side down in the position you want it to be on your t-shirt. Iron the paper and it will stick to your t-shirt. Move the iron slowly and be sure to go over all the edges and corners, but be careful not to scorch your t-shirt.

5.how to print with freezer paperSlide a couple of sheets of paper in between the layers of the t-shirt so that the paint doesn’t go all the way through both layers.

6.how to print with freezer paperUsing your washing up sponge gradually apply the fabric paint over the edges of the stencil. TIP: don’t put too much paint on the sponge at any one time or it will make big uneven splodges on your t-shirt and you may even drip it in the wrong place!

7.how to print with freezer paperLeave the paint to dry for a few hours before trying to remove the stencil.

8.how to print with freezer paperOnce the paint has dried remove the stencil carefully.

9.how to print with freezer paper

how to print with freezer paperIron the paint to set it and make it permanent. TIP: use some thin muslin over the top of your t-shirt – this enables you to use a hot iron without scorching your t-shirt and ensures no paint could find its way onto your iron!

10.how to print with freezer paperYour stenciled design is now fixed and permanent and your garment can be washed as normal.

If you don’t like the “reverse” or “negative” style of the stencil on my t-shirt, use the shape that was left behind when you cut out your stencil to get a “positive” image like this one:printing with freezer paper

Happy printing!

Find the first post in my Customising series here, it’s all about how to make and use Suffolk Puffs.

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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.

Shop Your Stash – Planning Your Makes

For the last 3 months I’ve been talking about how to use your leftover fabric scraps, organising and de-cluttering your fabric stash and how to pair your newly organised fabrics and patterns into winning combinations. The last of this mini series is all about planning your projects; to make best use of your time, to avoid stressful sewing and to improve your skills and knowledge.


OK, every project doesn’t have to be a battle to master a new technique; we all love to sew and often the most pleasure is to be had in just sailing through a project, feeling confident in what you’re doing and having everything go right. But occasionally it’s good to choose a project that is going to challenge you in some way and enable you to learn something new, even if it’s in just one aspect of that make: maybe it’s a fabric you haven’t sewn before, a fiddly detail that you always struggle with or a difficult garment to fit.

My first piece of advice is: tackle one challenge at a time! Don’t combine all those challenges into one garment – trying to tackle a tricky detail in a difficult fabric on a garment that might not be the best fit is a recipe for frustration and disaster.

My second piece of advice is: don’t try to learn something completely new with every project – practice makes perfect. I’ve encountered students in the past who as soon as I’ve taught them a new technique and they’ve tried it once, are all too keen to move onto the next one. You don’t collect new techniques, they’re not fully formed and perfected after doing them once, the process of learning new skills and techniques needs practice and you need to master each one until they become almost like second nature. Identify the bits you find most difficult and explore ways that work for you to make them easier – that might be extra tacking, chalking seamlines or simply just practicing on fabric samples until you’ve got it right.

Try and plan your makes with this advice in mind, so if you have a tricky fabric in your stash that you’re planning to use up and it will work equally well in 2 of your patterns, choose the pattern that either; you’ve made before, or is the least technically challenging for you.

It’s rewarding to use your hobby to develop your skills, it gives you a greater sense of satisfaction with your end results and you’re continually building on what you already have. I call this approach “Progressive Sewing”, I’ve written about it before in more depth here, but it’s basically an idea I took from my gym. The instructors in my gym like to encourage everyone’s training to be progressive which means regularly changing your exercise routine by adding new exercises and increasing the difficulty of existing ones. This pushes your body to increase in strength and fitness.

Here are some ideas for a progressive approach to sewing your own clothes that will build your skills and techniques.

how to plan your sewing


In the previous part of this series I went through some common fabrics and the styles of clothes they’re best suited to, this month we’re adding those all important fibres to the mix. Fibre content is important for knowing how the fabric will handle and most crucially – what it will be like to wear. From now on, when you’re shopping for fabric, make a note of the fibre content of the fabric (and the recommended washing instructions!)

Here’s a quick reference guide to the most common fibres, what they’ll be like to wear and what they’re best used for. Print off a copy so that you have it on hand when you’re fabric shopping.

fibre identification chart

Now you might not always know the fibre content of a fabric in your stash, you might buy fabric that isn’t labelled with a fibre content or you may want to check the fibre content of a fabric that you suspect might be mis-labelled. The only way to check fibre content accurately is to burn a bit of the fabric. CAUTION! Use a small piece of fabric, hold it with tweezers and do the test ideally outdoors or at least over a sink.

Here’s a table of what happens to the most common fibres when they’re burnt. Obviously fabrics made from a mix or blend of fibres can be more tricky to identify, but if you’re trying to check if the fabric you’ve been sold really is 100% cotton or really does contain some elastane or really is silk, this should help.

how to identify fibre content


We touched on planning in the 2nd part of this series; mainly talking about seasonal versus non-seasonal sewing and setting yourself realistic goals.

Heed this advice that I’ve personally learned the hard way and that I’ve experienced with lots of my students: don’t decide to make yourself something “special” to wear on the spur of the moment for an imminent event!!

It’s stressful, you’re unlikely to enjoy the process (even if you do enjoy the end result), you won’t learn much as you’ll be rushing rather than taking the time to do things well, you might make some bad fabric / pattern choices and end up wasting money and you might not be happy with the results.

If, however, you enjoy flying by the seat of your pants and have to sew to a deadline, choose a fabric that you know you can sew easily in a colour and print that you know you will wear and ideally choose a pattern that you’ve made before, don’t try to learn new techniques in a project with a tight deadline. Or if you do, don’t bring it to your sewing class!!!

Make a Roewood Jersey Skirt in Sheffield

jersey pencil skirt

Up North and want to take a class with me? Good news! There are still places available at my one day workshop at Running with Scissors on Sunday 4th June.

We’ll be making the Roewood jersey pencil skirt from my book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts”, ideal for newbie dressmakers and those fearful of sewing knits as I’ll be showing you how to sew stretch knit fabrics using just your regular sewing machine.

There are several ways to make this skirt so you’ll end up with a finished skirt completely unique to your own style to take away at the end of the day and a signed copy of my book to make more skirts.

Full details and booking info here.  Look forward to seeing you fellow Northerners!!