Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A is for Applique


Image is from
The term ‘appliqué’ comes from the French verb ‘appliquer’ which literally translated means ‘to put things on’. In sewing terms it means applying one layer of fabric or other material onto another. Appliqué is popular in both quilting and clothing. There are a few different techniques that can be used, the main 2 involve folding the edges under and either attaching the 2 pieces by stitching a straight stitch around the edge a couple millimetres from the edge or by satin stitching over the edge all the way around. 

Appliqué is a great technique for bringing depth or texture to a project, or for covering up holes or stains on fabrics. It is best to start with simple shapes; you can always practice on scraps of material to get used to sewing around the shape before doing it for real.

Sites such as and E-how have information about the different appliqué techniques and links to sites you can visit for further information. You can choose from lots of free appliqué patterns on My personal favourites are the birds (as pictured above).

A-Z of Sewing

I've decide it would be a great blog feature to write an A to Z of sewing - with a sewing term/technique for each letter.  I planned out the whole alphabet myself then realised I was going to take an awful lot of time to write them all up so I thought it would be nice to get some guest bloggers on board. 

So if anyone would like to contribute please drop me an e-mail on  The criteria is 200 words plus, not self promotional although you can include a link to your site but not a whole post about how great your business is and ideally images and links to sites where people can get more information.  It only needs to be a brieft summary/introduction although if you'd like to make it a project or tutorial, or an indepth article that would also be great.

Everyone who contributes can include a line or 2 about their business as well as links to their site/blog/shop under the post.

A-I  are taken already and a few random letters after that. Although I'm writing B so if anyone wants that feel free!  I'm going to put one on per week so you've got plenty of time to write something, especially for the latter letters.  So please join in and help us create an alphabet of sewing.

New competition - Make your own bundle

Create your own fabric bundle

This week we have teamed up with the wonderful Fabric Loft to offer you the chance to create your own fabric bundle from the gorgeous fabrics on their site.

Do you ever find that you see a great bundle of fabrics but there's always one you wouldn't really use?   Well with The Fabric Loft you can create your own perfect combination.  If you are picked as a winner the fabrics will be sent out to you.

View full terms and conditions here:

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Some summer makes

If any of you are like me you will probably be totally unprepared for this heatwave we are experiencing.  I was half expecting to rain half the summer and now we're approaching 30 degrees!  So presuming you may not have the money to go and buy a new summer wardrobe I thought I would find a few useful tutorials for you to get you kitted out for the summer.

Sun Hat

First off a sun hat is an absolute must in this weather, and it's really difficult to find a nice one at a reasonable price.  This tutorial from Just Chic shows you how to make a sun hat from a couple of pillow cases, or you can use less than a yard of your own material and some interfacing to make it:

If you want some tips on using interfacing then look here.

This tutorial on Indietutes is for a great sun hat for kids (pictured on the left), but could also be adapted to make a sun hat for adults too:

Summer Dress

Now what about a light summer dress? This link will take you to a quick and simple tutorial for a summer dress.   We do of course have a great tutorial on our site for making a shirt dress from a man's shirt we do love refashioning!  Also there is a great pattern for a Tulip dress or skirt in the current issue of Sew Hip. 

If you're thinking for your kids there is a lovely reversible dress tutorial on this blog so you get 2 dresses for the work of one.  Always good!

If you're looking for a quick fix have a look at this genius video tutorial on how to make a maxi dress from a length of cloth - a complete no sew option less than 2 minutes long.


There are tens of thousands of tutorials for skirt making, if not more.  If you are searching for skirt tutorials you need to be pretty precise about what style of skirt you are looking for.  A few of my favourite are this ruffle skirt (pictured on the left) created from a couple of men's t-shirts (back to the refashioning again!).

This wrap skirt tutorial on Sew Mama Sew gives a really good quide on drafting a pattern to make a skirt.  

If you've ever wondered what to do with your bloke's old work shirts then this circle skirt tutorial is an absolute must.  Who would have thought men's shirts could look so good?

Beach Bag

Last and not least you're going to need a nice roomy beach bag to carry all those new clothes to the beach in.  Peronally I love this tote bag tutorial or this reversible beach bag tutorial looks pretty easy to follow even for someone new to bag making.

Hope these tutorials help get you equipped for the summer.  Enjoy it whilst it lasts...

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Focus on.....

Focus on... Sew Curvy & bonus giveaway

As featured in Sew magazine this month Sew Curvy Corsetry is a great website selling corset supplies and kits to inspire you to have a go at making your own fully boned, Victorian style corset. Who doesn’t love that hourglass figure created by a corset, holding you in in all the right places! The website also contains a great tips and tutorials section covering subjects such as ‘How to Insert a Busk’, ‘How to Bind a Corset’ and ‘How to Use Spiral Bones’. There are some great photos in the inspiration section of the site, from celebrities wearing corsets to corsets made by famous designers.

The kits are great value, starting at just £39.00, making it cheaper by far to make a good quality bespoke corset, than to buy one in the shops. All of their complete corset kits come boxed and include: a pattern, coutil fabric, metal boning, lacing cord, twill tape, metal eyelets, and a busk closure in the appropriate size. Plus you can’t fail to love their logo (right).

Visit their site at


This giveaway has now ended.

Win 4 x £20 vouchers for Abakhan

Abakhan Fabrics, Hobby and Home

As most of you know Abakhan Fabrics, Hobby and Home are a great company offering a range of fabrics, patterns, notions, trimmings, books, dvds and more for crafters and sewers. They are kindly offering 4 lucky winners £20 of prizes from their store.

In order to enter you just have to tell us what you would spend £20 on in their store. You can view their great range on their website If you're lucky enough to win you will be sent whatever you chose, up to the value of £20.

For full details and terms and conditions please visit:

Friday, 18 June 2010

Focus on.....

Focus On....

Ray Stitch are an online haberdashery boutique. They have a great range of everything a sewer could want or need: fabrics, ribbons, buttons, trims, books, patterns and even wool for the knitters amongst you. Two things really stand out to me about their site, firstly their huge range every category is jam packed with choice, secondly is the photography, great clear photos often artistic and very pleasing on the eye. These two things mean you can spend hours browsing their site without even noticing the time passing!

Tying into a couple of our articles on The Sewing Directory about ethical fashion/ethical fabrics one thing Ray Stitch stock that makes them different from many online stores is their great range of organic fabric. Not only do they have several types – jersey, plain cotton, printed cotton but they have a range of colours and prints. The organic fabrics are at great prices too making it easier to produce ethical clothing. I personally love the Cloud 9 organic fabric with the birds on as pictured to the right. Plus they have just started offering fat quarter bundles for the quilters amongst you, starting with a great bundle of Cloud 9 fabrics.
I also love the way that at the bottom of the page they showcase items made with the fabrics on the page, clothing, cushions, bags, giving you inspiration as to what to use the fabrics for.

Find out more by visiting their website here:

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Coats Crafts Competition

This week Coats Crafts, the Uk’s largest needlecraft suppliers, have kindly donated an amazing box set of 56 x 100m threads in every colour you could need. In order to win this wonderful prize we want you to answer the following question:

What is your favourite project on the Coats Crafts website?

You can find the Coats Crafts website here:  You can choose any project as your favourite; it does not have to be a sewing one. We know most crafters enjoy a range of crafts.

You can give your answer using the entry form here or let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages, or on Coat’s Facebook and Twitter pages or here on our blog.

Terms and Conditions

Friends/family/employees of The Sewing Directory and Coats Crafts are excluded. Only 1 entry allowed per person. The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. Prizes will only be posted within the UK. All entries must be received by 6pm on Tuesday 22nd June 2010.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Fan Photos

I just got a new sewing machine this week from Ann at Suffolk Sewing School and after a few hours of trial and error managed to knock up a little bag.  Pictures of both the machine and bag below:
But the bag I made has completely been put to shame by some of the amazing things that have been uploaded to our fan photos album on our Facebook page:
I've decided to show you a few of them below, along with links to the maker's site/shop where applicable in case you want to see more/purchase the items.  If there isn't a link then please visit out Facebook page and you can comment beneath the photo to ask the maker more about it.

First up is this great octopus (called Orson) by Loop Da Loop - or Not only does the octopus look great but I love the pose too.

I love the fabric on these cushions by Sweet Cotton Threads - - and they also do a great range of memo boards too.
This Pull Pull bunny comforter by Konstantina Samara is perfect for young children.  My son used to love anything with little tags on them and these cute bunnies are a lot cheaper than buying 'taggie' toys in the shops.  You can view her full range of hand made lovelies in her Etsy shop:

I fell madly in love with this gorgeous dress by Costume Queen

What about these? Ideal for kids.  Made by Emma Owen who takes commissions through her facebook page: 

Plus there's always room to fit in a quirky sock monster.  The one below was made by Debbie McEwen.

Some pretty summer bunting by Mary Fogg, please see her Facebook page to see her full range

Last but by no means least, who could fail to love this adorable tatty cat by Alison Reynolds.  Please see her blog: to view her other creations.

It is amzing how talented and creative all our fans are.  If you like their work then please comment below to let them know, or view the fan photo album on Facebook and comment on the individual pictures.  Have you made anything you'd like to share?  Just load up one of the current fan photos on Facebook, click 'see more' on the top left and it will bring up and option for you to add your own photo.

If you'd like to share a tutorial for something you have made then please e-mail

Friday, 11 June 2010

Focus on.....

Focus on....Angelic Folk

Angelic Folk offer bespoke children’s clothing. Each fabric is only bought in small quantities meaning that each item is unique. You can also personalise the clothing further by adding embroidery or appliqué.

The idea was conceived when the founders were seeking a way to raise funds for the National Autistic Society (NAS). 20% of all profits from sales are donated to the NAS each year.

The range includes baby clothes, bibs and shoes, toddler clothing and boys and girls clothing from dresses to coats. Quality hard to find fabrics, even designer fabrics are used including Cath Kidston fabrics. Items can also be made to commission as well.

So you can do your bit for charity as well as dressing your child in stunning clothing. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Win a fabric pack from Patch Fabrics

Patch Fabrics - Inspiration competition


This week’s prizes are 2 lovely inspiration packs from Patch Fabrics. These inspiration packs consist of 2 fat quarters of designer fabrics plus matching ribbons and trimmings to inspire you to create!

Competition Question

In order to enter we want to know which inspiration pack would you like to win and what would you make with it?

How to enter

You can enter in a variety of ways, you can post a comment on Patch Fabrics Facebook page or The Sewing Directory’s Facebook page, you can Tweet your response (@Patchfabrics or @sewingdirectory), you can post it here on our blog or Patch’s blog or finally use the entry form here on the site. Only 1 entry per person.

Terms & Conditions

Friends/family/employees of The Sewing Directory and Patch Fabrics are excluded. Only 1 entry per person. There will be 2 separate winners. Prizes will only be posted within the UK. Our 2 favorite project ideas will be chosen as winners. Should the winner’s chosen pack be out of stock we will contact you to select an alternative pack. All entries must be received by 6pm on Tuesday 15th June 2010.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Amendment to Father's day competition

We have decided to add an alternative prize to the Father's day competition.  Should you win you can either have the embroidered picture as shown in the previous post about the competition, or a £20 gift voucher for Never Forget to choose your own father's day gift.

Have a look through their site - to see what you could use the voucher for.

To enter please comment below to complete this sentence:

My dad is special because....

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Focus on.....

Focus on....

The Fabric Loft is a new online shop that specialises in contemporary fabrics. They stock a great range of designs including Amy Butler, Michael Miller and Tanya Whelan. You can search by designer, by fabric type or by motif/fabric design. Our personal favourite is the hedgehog fabric by Michael Miller. They seek to provide designers and creative crafters with fashionable and affordable high quality cottons with a friendly and helpful service.

They also offer a great range of bundles for quilters, priced £9-£10 you get 4 fat quarters of quality fabrics. You can also see what fabrics they will be stocking soon so you can start saving for that perfect fabric. They have a select range of patterns that perfectly complement their fabrics. What’s more their site is easy to navigate and looks great. Check it out now:

The Fabric Loft are offering an exclusive 10% discounts for readers of our blog and site.  Just enter the code FIONA10% at the checkout to get 10% off your order (valid until end of July).  So there's no excuse not to shop!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Father's day competition

This week we have teamed up with Never Forget again for a personalised father's day prize.  Never Forget will turn a picture of your choice into an embroidery, which you could either frame, turn into a cushion or integrate into a quilt.

Alternatively you can opt to have a £20 gift voucher for and choose your own father's day gift.

 In order to enter we have created a special Facebook page for entries. We want you to complete the sentence below:

My dad is special because....

Our favourite entry will win the prize.

If you are not on Facebook then you can either leave your answer below or on Never Forget's blog -

One entry per person, all entries to be received by 6pm on Tuesday 8th June 2010.
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