Tag Archives: handmade

Ten New Year resolutions for better sewing results

Whatever your level of sewing ability here are ten helpful hints for the New Year to take your sewing and dressmaking forward into 2015.

1. Keep your workspace clean and tidy

If it’s been a while since you cleaned up your work surface, picked up all of the pins and dusted under the sewing machine, then maybe its time for an early spring-clean. Get into the habit of putting everything away after each project and then starting a fresh with each new one.

Sewing Avenue
Sewing Avenue


2. Get your sewing machine and serger/over locker serviced regularly

Find your local machine service shop and book in for an annual overhaul, just like you do with your car, this way things should run smoother making sewing on your machine much more enjoyable.

3. Make sure you have the right tools for the job

Get kitted out. If your equipment is old and damaged then it might be time to upgrade. Get nice sharp scissors and a tape measure with both metric and imperial numbers. You could also treat yourself to a new machine foot or two so you can tackle new and more advanced techniques like a concealed zipper foot or one for piping.

Sewing Avenue
Sewing Machine Feet


4. Finish off all those unfinished projects

Make a considered effort to complete any sewing you haven’t got around to finishing off. Maybe you just need to get a hem stitched up or the buttonholes put into a shirt. Use this New Year and a new start to get it all done and start afresh.

Sewing Avenue
Sewing Avenue


5. Don’t buy any more fabric

Well not for a while anyway. Sort out what you have in your fabric collection, l bet you have some gorgeous gems hidden away that have been forgotten about. Make the decision to be kind to your wallet and use what you have before adding to the pile. I know that this will be hard because I can’t walk past a fabric shop without going in.

6. Know your measurements

When sewing clothing it is important to know your measurements, or those of the person you are making the garment for, it ensure a good fit. Make sure you have the correct size pattern and don’t be afraid to make alterations to it to make it fit your body size and shape. Take your measurements regularly; don’t assume you are always the same size.

Body Measurements - Sewing Avenue
Body Measurements – Sewing Avenue


7. Improve your skills or learn a new one

No one knows it all. It can be fun to educate your self a little. There are plenty of resources out there on the Internet blog sites and you tube. Bookshops are full of guides and instructional manuals and if you can stretch to it you could sign up to a sewing course, many community centres and colleges offer day and evening classes at reasonable rates. You may also meet like-minded people to share your sewing exploits with.

8. Don’t cut sewing corners

Give your projects the proper time and attention they deserve. After all you have paid out good money for the pattern and the fabric and thread etc. Plan before you start, if you know time is an issue then come back to it when you can between your other commitments, don’t spoil your efforts by working when tired or making do with the wrong colour lining.

9. Wear what you make

If you have a wardrobe/closet full of garments you have made but they never see the light of day, then its time to change that. 2015 is the year you can start wearing your creations. You have invested your time, money and effort into these clothes; this leads on to the last of our New Year resolutions

10. Be proud of your efforts

Wear your hand made couture with pride. You will never walk into a room and have that embarrassing situation where two of you are in the same dress. You will be unique and individual. Boast about your efforts and enjoy the compliments.


Happy sewing year.

Happy New Year

Do you love cruise wear?

Chanel cruise ready to wear collection 2014-15

The magic of the fashion show. From the first time I saw the Chanel cruise ready to wear 2014-15 show, I knew I would be inspired by it to create a garment or two of my own, suitable to wear in my every day world. Lets face it even the glamorous ready to wear collections from the famous fashion houses would need a very special occasion to wear them at. Most of us can only dream of living the celebrity lifestyle but what’s wrong with wanting a bit of glamour and excitement to make the everyday more exciting.

I think every image from this 2014-15 show appealed to me, loved how all the models had their legs covered to keep out the cold, living in the northern hemisphere I can appreciate this. Oh, maybe it was for culturally sensitive reasons!! It was nice to see different the trousers/pants with tunics which women of all ages and sizes can comfortably wear, so easy to move about in but elegant and smart at the same time. I am defiantly going to make some trouser tunic sets this year for both work and leisure.

What could be more useful in your wardrobe though than a shirt? So I chose a couple of the Chanel official images as my starting point I’ve pinned them here & here .

And this is a picture of the fabric inspiration here….


I happened to have a piece of fabric in my own stash box left over from a previous project, just enough to use with the white cotton shirting, I’m sure the Chanel shirts are made from the finest silk.
I played around with a few ideas and made a quick sketch as usual, always useful for explaining what you are intending to make or reminding yourself where you are going with a garment, of course things can be changed, nothing is made until its finished. I used a tried and tested (tnt) shirt pattern, which I manipulated a bit for length and sleeve design.

Cruise Wear Shirt Sketch - Sewing Avenue
Cruise Wear Shirt Sketch – Sewing Avenue

The woven pink fabric, which is silk, kept wanting to fray at the edges and unravel itself so I decided to overclock/serge the edges and sewed it up using regular seams not flat felled seams, which I generally prefer on a shirt. When I’m sewing together a shirt I follow a set working order so regardless of the fabric or design changes I know where I am and what to do next.

Sewing Avenue -  Top Stitching
Sewing Avenue – Top Stitching

Here a couple of photos of the finished shirt, I tried different ways of styling it but it was not quite right so I unpicked the collar and removed it. I’ve kept it though and looking back on the photos, I may be tempted to put it back on again.

Sewing Avenue - Cruise Wear Shirt
Sewing Avenue – Cruise Wear Shirt


Cruise Wear Shirt
Cruise Wear Shirt

What do you think?

Does it look better with or without the collar and how do you get on sewing your own shirts? If you don’t make your own shirts, why not?