jaycotts.co.uk - Sewing Supplies

£1.50 p&p

Free for orders over £25


I have been longing to tell you about my fantastic new embroidery machine !
The week before last I drove down to Chester to visit Jaycotts and to look at this  machine. I have to be honest I have never in my life used an embroidery machine before so I was doubly excited and keen to see how it would work.

Do have a look at my embroidery machine on this link Brother Innov-is NV 800E

This is the machine. It is an embroidery only machine. There are some which do "normal" sewing as well as embroidery, but well, this one is perfect for my needs, and is exactly what I wanted. I prefer things which have a specific function rather than something which tries to do everything.
There are some things to consider when purchasing any machine, including an embroidery machine and I would strongly advise you going to Jaycotts to try a few out.  If you can't do that then do give them a call on 01244 394099 because they will discuss the different options with you before you make your decision.
Of course you should be looking at a machine which YOU find easy to use, is reliable and value for money. It makes good sense therefore to buy your machine from somewhere reputable like Jaycotts.
Other things to consider are
The embroidery area needs to be large because as you become more proficient you are in danger of outgrowing the machine inside of a year if you limit yourself to a small embroidery area.
This machine comes with built in designs but I would definitely chose a machine with  a USB port so that you can download additional designs - and there are plenty of free ones in the internet. I have just found lots on Pinterest.
You need a machine which is easy to thread, how many times have people told me that they hate their machine because it is hard to thread! Choose one which is easy to thread and which comes with a good quality needle threader, it will save hours of frustration and time. You may be changing thread several times for each design so this is important. I have a preference for all Brother machines in this respect.
You need to see if the machine has a colour touch screen which is clear and easy to use.
And finally you need to choose a machine which has on screen editing so that you can build up a picture using more than one design and add lettering and so on so that your embroidery becomes personal to you.

I highly recommend Jaycotts for all your sewing needs but in this respect they display and demonstrate a wide variety of embroidery machines which means that you can see them in action before you make your purchase You are also welcome to return for advice and demonstrations anytime. Plus a great bonus is that they offer regular in- depth tuition sessions with the lovely Melanie who is  Brother UK's sewing guru.
In case you need any further incentive to purchase your machine from Jaycotts they have been selling Embroidery machines since they were first released in the UK over 20 years ago. They are therefore very experienced not just in sales, but the aftercare, service and maintenance is terrific. They will keep your beautiful new machine performing perfectly for many years to come. I can testify to that because a Brother Machine I purchased  from Jaycotts over 15 years ago is still in constant use by one of my pupils and she loves it just as much as I did.
So, having been a customer  of Jaycotts for many years, well before I became their blogger,  I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending them to you.

On Thursday I was given a one hour delivery slot first thing in the morning and bang on time the delivery man rang my bell. I really appreciate a tight time slot don't you, I hate waiting in all day wondering what time the delivery will come and not daring to pop out just in case.
I don't know about you but I am one of those people who if they get something new just has to use it immediately. If I buy new shoes for example I will come out of the shop wearing them! I can't help it, I get terribly excited at having anything new, particularly if it is something to do with sewing!
It was the same with my parcels. I just had to open the boxes the second they arrived.

A problem I had to consider, albeit a nice problem, was where was I going to put my new embroidery machine
I have a Horn cabinet ( mine is the NOVA) and Jaycotts told me that Horn make an insert to enable the cabinet to be used for cutting out, or in this case to make space for an additional machine. I have to admit I had no idea that such a product existed. If you are interested then ring Jaycotts on 01244 394099 and they will be able to tell you what is available for your cabinet.
If you are choosing a new cabinet for yourself then the same considerations for choosing a machine matter here too, so always choose the size which you can grow into and will suit your future needs. Click on this link to view the Horn range.
Horn Sewing Cabinets   more products such as the insert are available on request.

You can see from this photograph that I now have a massive work space!

The machine does come with various accessories but there are some additional essentials which you need to purchase too.
You need embroidery needles, these needles have enlarged eyes which helps to stop friction which in turn causes the embroidery thread to fray and snap. Don't forget to change your needle frequently! Machine embroidery needles 
You will need embroidery stabiliser. You need to put this behind the area which you are embroidering  Embroidery stabiliser
There are other stabilisers  on this link Stabiliser
I suggest that you buy a small selection because they have different purposes. You need a general tear away stabiliser which adheres to the back of your fabric and as the name suggests it tears off after you have finished embroidering. There is a water soluble stabiliser which is useful to put on top of the embroidery area in addition to the stabiliser below to enable you to embroider towels, velvet, leather and lots of other fabrics.
You need a Bobbin thread too, Brother Bobbin thread this one is suitable for Brother machines, if you have a different machine there are other makes available
Bobbin thread 
It sounds complicated but once you see your machine it all makes perfect sense. The fabric has to sit tightly in the embroidery frame and it needs to be backed with a Stabiliser to support the stitching and to prevent damage to the fabric.

The most exciting accessory purchase in my opinion is choosing your threads. The machine gives you the option of changing their recommended colours but you still need as large a selection as you can afford. Please note that you can use a good quality sewing thread such as Gutterman but it will not have the sheen which embroidery thread gives. Brother have  individual bobbins of embroidery thread , available at Jaycotts, but in addition the boxes of Brother Embroidery threads which Jaycotts sell offer good value for money and would make a great gift Brother Embroidery Threads

There are other brands of embroidery thread on this link Embroidery and other threads. There is a massive choice of colours and effects.

The embroidery frame has a removable grid which you use to help you to position your chosen design on the correct part of your fabric.

Once I had unpacked everything I immediately plugged the machine in and got the instruction manual out. Within minutes I had started to embroider my first design! I have to say this, please do not be daunted by these machines. You get good tuition if you want to take advantage of it but the instructions are very easy to follow and if you take it step by step as I did you too will be embroidering away within minutes! I do advise  you to take up the offer of having tuition, these are expensive machines and in time you will want to do more and more such as positioning designs, mirroring, continuous borders etc, and I always feel that it is easier if somebody shows me how to do something as I remember it better rather than just referring to a book.

I did a short video so that  you can see how mesmerising the process is!  The display tells you which colour of thread to put in your machine and stitches everything required in that colour, then it tells you which colour to thread next. Other than keeping an eye on it you can just sit back and relax and watch a miracle happens before your very eyes - that's what I thought anyway. The machine tells you if your bobbin thread runs out or if  your top thread snaps. How wonderful is that!

An hour or so later I had produced my very first ever piece of embroidery. Stunning isn't it!

I am going to show you around the rest of my sewing room which also doubles as my son's bedroom when he comes home to stay. I do not go in it when he is in residence so if I want to do some sewing I really don't mind adjourning to the dining table - I am always delighted to have Matthew home.

This is where my sewing machine and overlocker store away when not in use. The Horn cabinets are amazing because the machine effortlessly glides into position when I need to use it.
My sewing machine is the Bernina 350PE, see it here 
 Bernina 350PE it is extremely reliable and hard working
My overlocker is the Brother 3034D Brother 3034D Overlocker and I love it!
Underneath the overlocker shelf is a large drawer where I store the overlocker foot pedal and overlock thread.

This is how the machine looks when it is raised to the sewing position. There is a flat bed option or this position for free arm sewing which is useful for sewing sleeves and so on. These cabinets are truly amazing!

The door of my Horn cabinet holds threads, scissors, pins, clips, seam rippers, rulers, marker pens,chalk,  and everything else I could possibly need when sewing . Oh and Tailors hand cream. I also keep a notebook where I make notes for my blog posts
I do constantly change my equipment round when I clean the cabinet or get new tools to test and blog about.

One of my very favourite sewing machine accessories is my walking foot. I love it so much that I hardly ever take it off the machine. It is invaluable for sewing stretch or slippery fabrics and they are available for most machines. This is the one for my Bernina  Walking foot for the Bernina range

The top of the Horn cabinet has this recessed storage area where i keep the spare feet for my sewing machine and overlocker There are lots of machine feet available at Jaycotts so do take a look at this link Machine feet, all brands 
I also store spare bobbins and sewing needles here plus all the tools and accessories which came with the machines

On the opposite side of the room is have a sewing machine which I use if I am giving a lesson or a demonstration. It is normally stored in a carry bag by the way. It is the Brother Innov-is 15 Mine is pink but the later model is now white as it has been upgraded. It is a brilliant machine and has a lot of functions. It is also easy to carry around
Sat in front of the machine are the bobbins and spare feet etc for this machine which again normally live in the carry case.
Underneath are boxes of patterns, a few books and a couple of boxes of lace and trimmings.
I keep a few sewing magazines here too together with my machine manuals which I refer to constantly.

Next to that is a shelf unit for fabrics _ the rolls of fabric are tucked down the side. In the boxes I store linings , interfacings and smaller pieces of what I consider to be useful fabrics for patchwork and so on

Next to that is a wardrobe for out of season clothes. The tins on top store buttons, poppers and general habberdashery findings , shoulder pads and other interesting things
I keep a diagram of machine feet and a list of the stitches my Bernina does on the cupboard door. I do love to be organised!

I have a mannequin, yes I know she is just wearing a frilly underskirt but there is a reason for it I  promise!  Jaycotts have a lovely supply of dress forms. I use mine all the time and I am forever changing her measurements! Dress forms 
My chair is also by HORN Horn hobby chair  I spend many hours sewing and to me it is essential to have a good chair to sit on and to support my back. Plus it just swings found without moving it when i want to use my overlocker.

I cut out on the dining table and so I store cutting equipment, tracing paper, tape measures and so on in a basket - purely to make it easier to take into the next room.
That's my son's bed the basket is sat on, just to reassure him that it is still there!

Again this is me being organised, I fasten my pattern instructions to a trouser hanger so that they are easily accessible to refer to.
I also keep a list of the fabrics and notions I am using for my current garment to make it easier to write my blog post later.

This is the view from my sewing room window - right over the rooftops. The shoreline is in the distance and on a clear day I can see the hills of the Lake District. I love  watching the birds fly past and occasionally the Red Arrows will fly past, always exciting to see them!

I do always tidy up when I have finished sewing. Look at how beautifully neat the Horn cabinet is when it is shut! That's my pink waste bin. The most annoying thing is that there always seems to be mess around it, never actually in it. I guess my aim is not as good as it used to be.

I keep a good selection of sewing thread colours on the wall , just so that they are easily accessible. Gutterman is a great brand but I also keep a stock of cheaper threads too.

The whole point of this blog post is to introduce you to my beautiful new embroidery machine. If you want something new or different then seriously consider one .
I have a project planned already and have found out how to download additional patterns from the internet. This fabulous machine is opening up a whole new world of sewing for me and i am very excited at the possibilities. I know that I need a little extra tuition as there are one or two things I am not totally sure of yet, but that is why I love Jaycotts so much - there is tuition available and nothing is ever too much trouble.

I know that Jaycotts will quickly become your first port of call for your sewing needs. If you have not already done so,  sign up for their newsletter where you will be the first to hear of special offers and promotions and will be able to read my blog too. Sign up on this page Email newsletter 

The contact for Jaycotts is here Contact Jaycotts The address, email contact form and telephone number are all on this page

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post, do let me know if you decide to purchase an embroidery machine , you won't regret it!

I am always willing to answer your sewing queries and so do not hesitate to contact me at any time.There is a contact form on my blog.




Everybody needs a suit in their wardrobe, not just to be worn for very special occasions but to be worn whenever you feel like dressing up a little. A suit is smart and elegant and can take you anywhere. Dress it up for a wedding with a beautiful blouse and heels and maybe gloves, or wear it for a shopping trip with flat shoes or boots. You can't go wrong!
I seem to have been wearing trousers for months now and I long to get into skirts again, so this is my spring suit, it is in a slightly warmer fabric and I can wear it with tights and boots. i am not keeping it for any special occasion, I am just going to wear it for me.

It is not obvious from the photograph but the fabric is beautiful. it is a cream boucle with a sparkling gold thread woven through.
The lining is a gold satin, and the buttons are antique hand made French glass decorated with Gold.

 The jacket and skirt patterns  are available from Jaycotts.co.uk and are by Butterick
The lined jacket can be purchased on this link  Jacket pattern 
And the skirt is also from Jaycotts Skirt pattern 

The fabric is from Abakhan fabrics. If you have been to Abakhan before then you will know that there are in addition to rolls of fabric, lots of bins containing every fabric imaginable. I found two pieces of this Wool Boucle in the coating section so it is definitely worth a drive out to one  of their many stores. There are some similar fabrics online though Wool blend Boucle 
Choose whatever fabrics YOU like in colours you know suit you.
The lining is also from Abakhan. I chose a plain silky satin fabric in Gold. Gold satin 
I would not recommend using a cheap lining for a suit as it is going to be in your wardrobe for a very long time and it is well worth paying that little bit more for a good quality lining.
The buttons are from The Swagman's Daughter , and I guarantee you will be tempted to make a purchase or two  once you look at her website. The Swagman's Daughter

The skirt
 As always this tutorial is meant to complement the pattern instructions, so you need to keep your instructions handy. My blog posts describe how I made the garment and may suggest different methods of construction or clarify certain parts.
The first step into select your size. Please note that your pattern size will not be the same as your commercial ready-to-wear size, so you need to take your measurements and write them down. Use these to select the correct pattern size. You will find garment measurements in the pattern instructions or sometimes on the tissue pattern itself.
You also need to make a toille or a test garment. When making a lined garment I use the lining as a toille. A lot of women skip this step, but my advice to you is don't. If you are making a lined garment you can use the lining as a toille or if a dress or top you could use some cheaper fabric and make a wearable toille. I do this a lot and end up wearing my test garments a lot!
Select your size allowing extra at the sides. Pin and tack the darts and the side seams and then try the lining on. Make any adjustments necessary and take the lining apart, making sure that you make a note of the new sewing lines with tailors chalk.

You can see that I needed to make quite a big adjustment to the width of the skirt. You may also want to make the skirt more fitted, so make these adjustments too.

Here is a warning. Boucle frays away to nothing, especially a loose weave boucle such as this one. So, cut out your pattern larger than the pattern and mark the seam lines with tailors tacks. Then overlock each piece straight away. If you do not have an overlocker then use a zigzag stitch. It is not normally necessary to overlock the seams of a lined garment but if your  fabric is fraying then take this step as soon as you have cut the pieces out.
Sew the darts an the skirt and the lining and sew the lining together at the sides and the back up to the dot where the zipper ends. Press.
Sew the darts in the skirt and then stitch the centre back seam up to the dot where the zip ends.

A tip, if your zip is too long it can easily be trimmed so long as you sew over the end a few times to stop the zip pull coming off at the end.

Using a regular zipper foot insert your zip, follow your pattern instructions if you are not sure how to do it.

I did not have enough fabric to make a waist band and as the skirt is lined a facing is not necessary.
To make the waist I ironed on seam tape on the top of the skirt and right sides together stitched the lining to the skirt all the way round the top, finishing sewing  5/8" away from the edge. Keeping the lining free where it will be stitched to the zip tape. I understitched all the way round too.

On a lighter fabric you may need to add grosgrain ribbon or Petersham to support the waist. This skirt does not need it.

Press the skirt at the waist and tack all the way round. Turn in the opening in the lining and slip stitch it to the zipper tape. Add a hook and eye to the top.

 Top stitch the waist.which will provide a neat edge. On this picture the waist is just tacked and the hem is unfinished

Turn the hem up and using a herringbone stitch catch the hem In place making sure that no stitches show on the right side.
These are some of the tools which I use  constantly. They are all from Jaycotts
I like a magnetic pin cushion best Magnetic pin cushion as they are so easy to use . The pins which I like best are these neon ones, I had an accident a couple of years ago and needed surgery to remove a pin from my foot, these can be easily seen anywhere!! Neon pins
These are my very favourite scissors for small jobs. I just love them, Fiskars scissors and seam ripper

The best tool I have found for measuring hems is this measuring tool from Clover  it is a sliding guage and has so many uses Sliding guage
This is the tool I used to measure the hems on the skirt and jacket.
The lining on the skirt can be machine sewed. The lining on the skirt is much longer than it appears on the photograph.
Give the skirt a good press using a pressing cloth

The Jacket 

The jacket is not too difficult to make. Choose your pattern size as we did for the skirt and make up the lining first as a toille. Overlock each piece as soon as it is cut out to prevent it from fraying too much.

You need to stabilise the shoulders so use some iron on seam tape. This will stop the shoulders from stretching. Available from Jaycotts Seam tape you only need to apply it to the back of the front, not both.

Also iron on some lightweight  interfacing along the fronts. This is because the fabric frays a lot and it will help to prevent that from happening. In this instance a light or medium weight iron on interfacing will be fine Interfacing

Sew the darts, the centre back seam, the side seams and the shoulder seams.

Make up the collar next, using iron on interfacing on the under collar. When it comes to trimming the collar before it is turned the right way out don't clip the fabric around the curves because it will just fray. On a firmer fabric do ignore this bit and follow the pattern instructions. Trim the interfacing back to the seam lines and layer the seams but don't get too close to the stitching. Trim the corners, again don't go near the stitching line. Turn right sides out and press using a damp pressing cloth. Stitch the edges together and baste it to the neckline matching the notches.

This is  the basic shell of the jacket without the collar. The sleeves have been inserted and interfacing pressed onto the wrong side near where the hem will be.

 This is the lining with interfacing attached to the facing.

Right sides together stitch the lining into the jacket shell. Follow the pattern instructions here. Trim the interfacing right back to the stitching lines. Understitch as far as you can and then press using a pressing cloth

Measure the buttonholes, an odd number always looks best. I love this tool from Jaycotts, not many places stock them outside of the UK by the way!  It is a Simplex guage and is useful not only for measuring buttonholes but for pleats and many other things too. Simplex guage
Follow your sewing machine instructions to make your buttonholes and sew buttons on to correspond.
Stitch the hem up exactly as we did the skirt and then slip stitch the lining in place. Your stitches need to be invisible. Don't pull the lining it needs to form a small pleat so that when you made wearing it there is movement otherwise the lining could tear.
Finish the sleeves in exactly the same way 

This is the finished suit. I actually left the skirt hem until I had finished the jacket because I wanted to ensure that the skirt length looks good with the jacket.

 The back seams of the jacket and the skirt form a continuous line

The gold lining looks perfect against the cream and picks up the gold thread running through the fabric

It's a very retro style don't you agree? Keeping the skirt length to just above the knee stops it from looking dated though.

This is perfect to wear on bright dry days when there is still a nip in the air . And the colour choice gives lots of options for tops to wear with it.

For this post I chose to wear a pussy bow blouse which I made a while ago. The link to the post is here Pussy bow blouse this post also discusses how to use a walking foot which is an essential addition to your sewing supplies when you are stitching very fine fabrics.

Thank you for reading this post I hope that you will send me your comments.

#sew #sewer #sewingblog #suit #jacket #skirt #suit #boucle #sewing #dressmaking #tailoring 

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 2/17/2017 08:56:00 pm


A pretty lingerie bag to give or keep 

I have made a lot of lingerie recently and I thought that it would be really nice to have a lingerie bag to keep them in. It is nice to put your night slip in during the day and they are useful to take on holiday too, they look really pretty sat on your bed.

They are not difficult to make and take very little fabric. They can be made any size you want and you could even make a small one for handkerchiefs. They make wonderful gifts too.
This is my lingerie case sat on my bed. I only ever buy or make Egyptian cotton bedding and always in white. I add lace trimmings to sheets and pillowcases and always add my initial. I therefore get the quality I enjoy at a good price  and can personalise it to suit my own taste.

The inside of the lingerie case has a pocket to hold your lingerie safely. My case measures approximately 14" across by around 9" deep, you can make yours whatever size you like.

The idea came from this book " The secrets of sewing Lingerie" by Katherine Sheers and Laura Stanford.

It is easier if you cut out a half moon shape, wider than it is long, out of tracing paper. Use this pattern to cut out (all on the fold ) one main piece, one lining piece and one in wadding. For the pocket you need to cut out another piece but take a good half an inch off the depth by folding over the straight edge.

To make the pocket I simply folded over the starting edge and placed this new edge on the fold of the fabric.

Fold the pocket in half, wrong sides together, and stitch it onto the lining within the seam allowance all the way round the curved edge.

Make a ribbon loop and stitch it with the loop facing inwards to the centre of the top.
Then place the lining and the outer fabric right sides together and stitch together , sandwiching the loop between the layers and leaving a gap at the side to enable you  turn the bag the right way out. Clip all the way round the curved edges.
Turn right sides out and push all the edges with a point turner so that the seam lies at the edge. press.

Roll the wadding up and insert it into the case pushing it right into the edges. Slip stitch the gap closed and then machine stitch some narrow lace all the way around the edge.
I put my initial on a lot of things and I am going to quilt it onto my case. Don't forget that it needs to go on the half without the pocket!
The easiest way I have found to do it is to trace my initial into a piece of tear away stabiliser and to stick it in place with temporary glue.

Then using a narrow satin stitch and a wide for applique foot I stitch over the lines until my initial is formed. You could do it freehand if you are confident at it.
This bit of quilting also serves to hold the wadding in place. The stabiliser tears off easily after you have finished sewing.

The initial is in a colour which coordinates with my fabric, you could do it in a contrast or even a metallic thread. I always use this particular style of initial, it has become a sort of trademark over the years.

I added a bow to the front where the loop is attached. And I then stitched a button on the other side to close the bag.

This is the inside of the bag, there is plenty of room for a weekends worth of lingerie.

This is the button and loop closure.

I used the same viscose  fabric that I made my slip in the previous post in. It is in a printed viscose  details are on my previous blog post Pretty in Pink Lingerie 
But you could also use a polycotton Budget dress fabrics. Or a silk or satin if your budget runs to it . This crushed satin is beautiful Crushed satin  Do use something which appeals to you and choose an acetate or silk lining to coordinate there are plenty of colours  to choose from here Lining fabric

This is the slip in the same fabric as the lingerie bag which also coordinates with the lace trim and embroidered initial on my bed linen

Another item I make for myself and my son is a laundry bag. Again, useful to take on holiday if you have the weight spare.
They are simply made out of two  squares of fabric joined together with French seems. I added lace to the top edge .

You will need to add a channel to thread the drawstring through. I stitched ribbon a few inches from the top leaving the sides open to thread running through.
Thread ribbon or cord twice through the casing and join the ends together. Pull loops out through the gaps in the casing and this will pull the bag closed.

This is my understated but elegant bed linen with its added cotton lace trim and embroidered initial.

All in all these are extremely useful items for yourself or to be given as gifts. You can have them made in an evening and add a touch of luxury to your boudoir.

I hope that you have enjoyed my lingerie posts. The post where I made the green slip can be found in this link Lace dress and lingerie 

Do show me your makes and let me know if you made a lingerie bag for yourself or maybe for Mother's day as a gift for your mother.

Happy sewing


There are many Lingerie patterns around and lots of people seem to be wanting to try them but are scared to even start. The problem is they look fiddly and the list of haberdashery seems daunting. However if you look again at the instructions you will reconsider . It really is not that difficult to achieve amazing results.

 This is my collection in Pink. I made a slip out of Viscose cut on the bias, a Bra and two pairs of pants.
The fabric requirements are as follows,
Viscose fabric for the slip, on my previous post I made the slip out of Jersey fabric and lace, the link to the post is Green Lace dress, slip and Bra do hop over to this post and read it as it will help you with these garments too.
The viscose fabric and the cotton jersey for the pants were from MinervaCrafts Viscose dress fabric  and Cotton jersey fabric
The stretch laces, elastics  powenet and stretch mesh were from my own stash, but they are widely available. Minerva Crafts stock them too.
The bra findings are from Jaycotts.co.uk Click on the links below to view them and to place your order
Bra underwires
Bra fasteners
Bra accessories
Shoulder strap elastic
Simplicity Underwired Bra and panties pattern 
Butterick slip and panties pattern

You will need various stretch laces to match your fabric and elastic as specified on your pattern.
You will also need underwire casing and matching thread.

Before you start to make your bra take your measurements accurately. There are guides on the best way to do this in the pattern instructions. I would strongly recommend you making a practise garment before you cut into your lace fabric. So, take an old bra and remove the strap rings and sliders, and the back fasters and the underwires. Then make up a practise garment using these odds and ends and a T-shirt you do not want any more and some inexpensive elastic. Do exactly the same for the panties. This will enable you to both test the fit and to practise making these garments if you have never done this sort of sewing before.

It's important that you use the correct fabrics when making a bra. For the underband I used a double layer of stretch scalloped edge lace and powernet. Stick these two layers together with a temporary glue and make them up as one. You will need some stretch mesh for the back.
You also need a ball point needle for your sewing machine These needles slip between the fibres of the fabric, pushing them aside without damaging them, and are available from Jaycotts Ball point and stretch sewing machine needles 

As usual on my blog posts I am giving you additional information and tips which are used alongside your pattern instructions, so keep them handy alongside this post.
Start off by cutting your scalloped edge lace. Cut the underband and cups out carefully making sure that you place the scalloped edge along the top of the cups and that the pattern matches on each cup. The design should also be centered on the underband.

Using fine pins , Jaycotts sell ball point pins and they also sell very fine pins used for fine fabrics and lace. Either is suitable.Ball point pins and bridal,/ lace pins
This is the cups being pinned together before sewing. Use a fine zig zag stitch throughout and when the instructions say "press" what they mean is use your fingers to smooth out the seam and press it open or to one side. Please do not let an iron anywhere near these fabrics!

There are guides and measurements in the pattern to enable you to cut the elastic to the correct length. Usually it will need to be stretched slightly so sew a couple of stitches to start and then stitch the rest of the elastic in place stretching it slightly as you go. This will gather the cups in to make them fit to your body.

For a subtle difference in shades I lined the cups in a purple powernet and the rest of the garment is made in a bright pink.

You will notice that the front band uses the scalloped edge of the lace to full effect, so when you stitch the back on you will need to place it so that there is enough fabric at the bottom for you to turn it under to form a neat hem.
This is also a good time to check the width of your backup fastener and make adjustments as necessary so that it fits perfectly.
The elastic is stitched on the right side of the fabric with the plush side to the inside and the decorative edge pointing downwards. When you turn the elastic to the inside you will top stitch on the right side of the garment leaving the decorative edge showing. The soft (plush) side will then be next to your skin.

You now need to stitch the underwire cover in place. Finger press the seam towards the cup and using a straight machine stitch sew top and bottom as close to the edge as you can possibly get. Insert your underwires and  stitch the ends closed firmly and then stich the casing close to the stitching to enclose the wires.

This is  the bra front showing the careful placement of the design on the lace.

These are the underwires being pushed into the casing.

You will find that the back closures open to enable you to push the bra backs inside them to cover the raw edges. Do stitch twice - You do not want the whole thing falling apart during wear!
Follow the instructions on the pattern for fitting the straps.

This is the finished front of the bra, I finished it off with a tiny bow handstitched to the centre front.

This is the back showing the ensembled straps, the back elastic with its decorative edge and the back fastening.
Beautiful don't you think? And VERY expensive to buy in the shops!
The panties 
Making panties is so simple and so quick. Both patterns contain instructions and I made a pair from each.

I made a pair to match the bra first with powenet and lace for the front and cotton jersey for the back. I used the Simplicity pattern as for the bra

For the second pair I used the Butterick pattern and made them in the cotton jersey and stretch lace. Both pairs are made up the same .

Stitch the centre seam and press it open. The gusset must be cut from cotton jersey. Just stitch it in place along the edges, inside the seam allowance then  place your strestch lace along the side edges and zig zag it in place without stretching it. Trim the excess fabric away under the lace.

Once the sides are completed stitch the side seam with a French seam. That is -  stitch wrong sides together, trim the seam and turn the garment the other way out. Stitch the seam again this time on the inside of the garment.
I added a pink stretch lace to the top for contrast. There is no need for any additional elastic. These will be made in far less than an hour and you can get many pairs out of one small piece of fabric and oddments of stretch lace, making them extremely worthwhile to make .

 That's two pair of exceedingly comfortable panties made for next to nothing!

The slip

The slip needs to be cut in the bias if you are not using jersey fabric and the cup needs to be lined with powernet for support. Glue the layers together as before

If you are not sure how to find the bias fold your fabric as above , the true bias is where the fold is and you need to place your fabric pieces on this fold line.this gives the garment plenty of stretch and drape

Just like we made the black and green slip in my previous blog post we need to attach elastic along the top of the cups. Then join them together centre front neatening the seam.

Overlock or hem the top edge of  front skirt and the bottom of the bra top.
Add stretch lace to the top of the skirt on the right side and then to the bottom of the bra again on the right side.
Finish the back by hemming the top and stitching on some elastic -  there is a guide to the length needed in the pattern.

Join the side seams with a French seam for neatness and comfort.

Add straps, again the full instructions are in this post Green lace dress and lingerie

I did not add lace to the bottom of this slip. Instead I made a narrow rolled hem using a rolled hem foot for my machine . I used my Brother machine for this as I have a rolled hem foot for it, you can purchase one here (other brands are available) Brother Rolled. Hem machine foot
You could do a narrow rolled hem on your overlocker instead or a narrow top-stitched hem.

This is the finished slip and isn't it pretty? I like these to wear when wandering around  in hotel rooms, they are useful under dresses or as nightwear. The powernet under the cup and the elasticated lace under the bust gives plenty of support. The pattern tells you to use rigid fabric or lace for the straps but I prefer bra straps.

This is the back showing the decorative edge of the  lingerie lace I used along the top.

These are the finished Bra and panties and I must say that I am delighted with them. I never thought that it would be such an achievable project or that the finished garments would be so beautiful.

I really hope that you are inspired to make yourself at least one set of beautiful lingerie. It is something really special to know that not only did you make your dress but you made the matching and perfectly fitting underwear too! 
The contact details for Jaycotts are here Contact Jaycotts they are very happy to help you with your questions about their machines and tools.
Thank you for reading this post 
Happy lingerie sewing 


I seem to be drawn to lace. I have quite a lot of beautiful lace fabrics in my stash but never seem to use it. One of my favourite pieces is this beautiful green lace fabric which I used to make a dress with. Because it is so sheer it needed either a lining or an underslip. I decided on an underslip in the end as an introduction to Bra making , this slip has a bra top and is very 1950s in style. Continuing with the vintage look I also made a retro style bra which I will talk you through too. These two additional pieces will enable me to wear the dress with the slip underneath, or if I wear the bra underneath I will be able to wear it as a tunic with trousers.

The lace dress.
The dress worn with the underslip and without a belt. It is a lovely loose style perfect for the evening  on holiday.

The pattern for the dress and tunic is Simplicity 8216 pattern at Jaycotts There are two lengths and I chose the longer one which sits just on my knee.
The fabric is a beautiful Emerald green lace which has a pretty edge which I am going to utilise has much as possible.

When cutting out the back and front I wanted the scalloped edge to sit at the hem so i took care to position the hem exactly on the edging, matching the pattern at the sides too.
I also positioned the back yoke and the sleeves along the scallops . Do make sure that your sleeves are the correct length before cutting out.

You will need to trim the selvedge with some sharp scissors to get the lovely pretty lace edging to your edges. This is also conveniently removing the need to hem the garment!

The back yoke also features the lace scallops. After gathering the back topstitch the yoke which needs to be pinned over the back piece, following the design on the lace and using a narrow zig zag stitch.

You can see that I have pinned the yoke to the  back on the right side of the fabric , this is so that I can follow the edging pattern carefully. After the seam has been sewn use your overlocker to neaten the inside seam.

The back of the dress worn with a wide belt , this shows the scalloped edging in the back yoke and on the hem and sleeves.

My overlocker is the Brother 1034 D Brother overlocker and it is brilliant. It is a good  price and easy to thread and use.
Have you ever used your overlocker only to be disappointed that the seam is puckered or gathered?  This could well happen when you are sewing fine or loose weave fabrics like lace or jersey.
There are a number of things you can do to  prevent this from happening. This particular machine has Differential feed which we can use to good effect here
An overlocker has two sets of feed dogs under the presser foot which move the fabric through the machine.The differential feed controls the movement of both the front and the rear feed dog.

The differential feed control button is the one on the left of the picture above. When it is set at 1 the the feed dogs are moving at the same rate.When you turn the dial to below 1 then the front feed dogs move slower than the rear ones which stretches the fabric as it sews. This is what will stop the fabric from puckering as it is being sewn.
If you turn the differential feed dial to a number greater than 1 the opposite will happen and the front feed dogs move quicker than the back gathering the fabric as it sews, this is useful when sewing jersey fabrics which ripple as they are sewn.
In this case I needed to turn the dial below 1 which helped the problem of my fabric gathering as it was being sewn. Do not be afraid to experiment with your sewing machine or overlocker and do not forget that Jaycotts include after care with their tremendous customer service and will be only too happy to answer your questions.

If your machine does not have differential feed then another option to try is adjusting the pressure foot pressure. The dial for this  is at the top o f my machine and it is normally set at 2, so lowering it would reduce the pressure and help to stop the fabric from puckering. Be careful not to loosen the pressure too much or youcould end upmwith skipped stitches.
If you are still having problems then try some tear away stabiliser under your fabric but be sure to check that your machine is threaded correctly and that you have new needles in it before you do anything else. A blunt needle and an incorrectly threaded machine are the most common reasons for your machine not sewing properly.

The dress is easy to put together. Just side seams and sleeves.Using the scalloped selvedge has eliminated the need to finish the sleeves and hem. For the neckline I used a piece of the selvedge to cover the raw edges as I did not want facings to spoil the sheer fabric. I started to hand sew lace around the neckline too.

This is the top all finished. I just love the colour. I decided that I wanted  the lace to just knot at the front so i hand stitched it in place.

The Bra-slip

Because the dress is so sheer I will need something to wear under it. I did not want to line it as I still wanted to retain as much of the sheer effect as possible. I came across this slip pattern by Gertie for Butterick , you can buy it on this link Butterick B 6031
It is for a Bra slip as as well as a camisole and panties and I thought that the slip would be a great introduction to making Bras.

I will be doing more lingerie in my next blog and will go into more detail on how to make bras and panties then.
You will need some soft stretch jersey fabric for the slip, some stretch laces and either ready made bra straps or bra strap elastic and lingerie sliders and rings. You will find everything you need in this section on Jaycotts web site, including the  patterns.
Bra accessories and patterns 
Cut out the main slip parts in your Jersey with the most stretch going across the body.

Cut out the cups in Jersey too, and mark the darts with tailors chalk on the wrong sides.
It is imperative that you choose the correct cup size. There is a guide on the pattern instructions to shown you how to take the measurements needed to determine what size you are. Please don't guess or go by your normal bra size. Nothing is worse than putting a lot of work into making something only to find that it does not fit. If in any doubt make a toille of the cups and try them on.

Cut out the cups in lace too. I use a temporary fabric adhesive to stick the two layers together whilst I sew them.

Stitch your darts and cut out stretch lace according  to your size, pin and stitch it in place. Each size requires a different length of elastic which is clearly printed on the pattern - there are pattern pieces included for guides for cutting out elastics and lace edges  You will need to sew the lace edging on with a small zig zag stitch. There  is also elastic to be stitched on which will need stretching slightly as you go.

This is the bra top made up by having the centre front stitched and neatened, the darts stitched and neatened, and the lace edging and elastic sewn on.
This is a brilliant introduction to making a  Bra, so if you would like to have a go at making one then I would like to suggest that you start with this pattern, as there is no under band or fasteners to worry about.

The next step is to sew stretch lace to the top of the front slip, and then joining it to the bra top matching the notches The fabric underneath the lace is cut away leaving a sheer panel just underneath the cups.
To make the back of the slip follow the pattern instructions to sew the elastic and straps in place. The instructions are very easy to follow so I am not going to repeat them here, if you do not understand any of them though then please do not hesitate to ask me for clarification.

The front part of my straps are made from a rigid lace, attached to a ring.

The elastic part of the strap is threaded through the ring too and stitched firmly in place by hand. You need to add adjusters so that you can alter the length of the straps. The instructions for fitting the adjusters are on the pattern instructions.

To finish off which the side seams  I used my overlocker, and I adjusted the differential feed to below 1 to stop the fabric from puckering.
I then attached stretch lace to the bottom of the slip all the way round using a narrow zig zag stitch. I did not add the slit at the side front as it would show through my lace dress.

This is such a useful garment and I will be making more. It is typical of those worn in the 1950s and 60's. It can be worn under a sheer dress, under a dress for an extra layer to make a skirt hang better and  for night wear too. It has so many uses!

This is the slip shown underneath the dress. In this picture I am still debating on where I want the lace trim at the neckline to go.

The Bra
To enable me to wear the dress as a tunic with trousers and a wide belt I wanted to make a matching Bra, although I could have made the camisole included in the slip pattern.
For the bra itself I am using this pattern by Kwik Sew which you can find in the link above

You need various specialised fabrics and elastics, all detailed on the pattern envalope. I am not going to go into too much detail in this blog post as I am going to be covering bra making in another blog post.
This is another retro design and not the style  I usually wear, however I have heard good reports of how comfortable this is to wear and it will be useful as I will be making a lot more vintage style clothes this year.
The cups are cut out in  both my green lace fabric and nylon tricot. The under band is cut out in powernet. These supplies can be bought from places such as Minerva Crafts. MinervaCrafts
You also need various sizes of lingerie elastic and the findings for the straps and back fastening.
The pattern is brilliant, each size is printed separately so there is no guesswork when it comes to cutting out.

I made the cups first, again, do measure yourself carefully so that you cut out the correct size. I used my fabric glue as before to stick the cup layers of tricot and lace together.
You make up one side, then the other and then join them at the centre front .Then the back elastic and straps are then  added.

The elastic around the bottom is made specifically for this purpose and has a really soft side which goes next to the body. It is sewn on using a narrow zig zag or triple stretch zig zag.
This design doesn't have underwires, but the wider band holds it in place well and as I was told it is extremely comfortable to wear.
This is perhaps not a style we would choose at first sight but I am convinced enough to want to make more to wear in the summer underneath my retro dresses.

My next blog will go into much more detail on bra making and we will make a camisole and panties too.
There are a lot of sheer fabrics around at the moment so do have a look round and make yourself a lovely special garment and then go  to town by making the beautiful lingerie to wear with it.

This is the dress worn as a tunic with slim trousers, heels and a wide belt. It is vey different and very wearable.

The belt pulls the waist in giving a very flattering look. This belt is made from very wide elastic and really does pull you in

My last picture is of me looking out of my kitchen window at the rain outside, and longing for warmer weather then I can go out wearing this!

Happy sewing
Angela x
This is how I made my beautiful lace pintucked blouse and how I wear it without looking too "girly" 

If you don't have a pair of leather trousers do go and try some on right now, they are an effort to get into I admit, well my skinny ones are , but they are the most comfortable thing ever. I love lace but for me it needs to look edgy rather than girly, so this pretty blouse will be worn with my leather pants and upcycled leather biker jacket. I will show you how I blinged my jacket later.

To give you a view of what we are going to make this is the front whilst It is being worn. The shape is very flattering with a fitted waist and lots of pintucks to create shape.
I must stress that if you do not want to do pintucks then gathers are quite acceptable, but do at least try them
This is what you need

  • Butterick Pattern from Jaycotts.co.uk on the link here Butterick B6133
  • A pintuck foot for your machine. Do take advice as to which one is suitable for your own machine. The link here shows which are available but do contact Jaycotts and they will guide you to the right one if you are not sure Pintuck foot
  • A twin needle Twin needle
  • Some fabric. I used Broidery Anglaise from MinervaCrafts Broidery Anglaise but you could equally use a cotton lawn.
  • Lace trimmings, whatever you fancy. Minerva has a good stock. Like Jaycotts I have shopped with MinervaCrafts for more years than I can remember!

The pintuck foot has grooves in the base which when used with a twin needle, the two rows of stitches pinch the fabric together to form a tiny pleat. There is an instruction leaflet with the foot if you need some help. You will probably need to tighten your upper tension a bit to get a more pronounced tuck, but please don't mess with your bobbin tension, you will regret it.

I do suggest that you practice before you start on the actual garment. It is easy to do and quickly becomes addictive! It is however time consuming so decide before you start how much of the garment you are going to work your pintucks on. I made two versions of this blouse. This white one has pintucks everywhere the pattern said to gather. It took me two days to complete them all. But I also made a black version and just pintucked the front yoke.

Have you ever wondered what the hole is for in the centre of the base plate of your sewing machine? I didn't know either until  Alex Jaycott explained!
It can be used to make beautiful corded pintucks!
If you look closely you can see piping cord going in through the front and up through the hole in the base plate. It is easy to do, just refer to your machine manual if you are not sure how to remove the base plate ( tip, this is a good opportunity to get a brush out and remove any lint accumulated around the bobbin area )

You will need some piping cord. This is where I became inventive. I discovered that the thinnest size of piping cord I have,size 00, was still too thick. However it did unravel easily and when I split it into three, each strand was perfect! Other options if you cannot find exactly what you need  include crochet cotton or six strand embroidery thread.

You need to work a sample of the pintucks , I suggest an inch, in order to calculate how much you need to do on each pattern piece. This is necessary because pintucks take less fabric than gathers. It was easy in the end, I worked out that if I created pintucks along the entire edge of the pattern piece it would fit perfectly. (If you are doing gathers just follow the pattern markings and gather within the notches)
Before you do anything though run a line of tacking stitches where you want each pintuck to stop.

This is my first few corded pintucks, beautiful don't you think?

The pattern instructions are easy to follow so once you have pintucked or gathered each piece then follow the making up instructions in the pattern envalope.

I added cotton lace to the waist stitching it all the way round before inserting the sleeves.
I also added lace to the sleeve band, for this version I made long sleeves

This is the back ready to have the side seams sewn. Once you have done that insert the sleeves , add the facing, and then overlock the bottom edge. I put lace all round the bottom edge, tacking and then topstitching in place on the right side of the garment.

These are the buttons I eventually found to go on my blouse. I did struggle to find a pure white button I admit. These are glass and very very old.

I have an interesting story for you. I was  button hunting when I came accross this lady The Swagman's Daughter
Long story, but she cleared out some warehouses in Malta and came across one particular building..

Inside this old building near to Valetta,there is a dark room right at the back .It had been locked up since the 1950s and when it was opened up it was found to be full of boxes of very old buttons , hundreds of them, from the 1920s and 1930s from France, Italy, Germany, and Bakelite ones from the UK. There are other things too so do look at the web site . It is a real treasure trove and the best thing is there is so much stock that most of the boxes have not been opened yet!

I have bought a few I have to admit. The ones I chose for this blouse are made from white glass with a tiny gold circle painted on. They are irregular and incredibly beautiful, obviously hand made.

So now we come to marking the buttonholes. It is ever so simple if you are lucky enough to have one of these gadgets. Simflex guage it makes measuring buttonholes (and pleats) an absolute dream. Do treat yourself if you do not have one
You also need a marker pen Marker pens   - just put a tiny dot where you want the buttonholes to end, close to the edge of the garment, on the right side for women.

You can just about see the tiny dots marking the place where I want my buttonholes to finish. You can also see the lace edging around the bottom.

There are other tools you can use to measure your buttonholes if you do not have a simflex guage. This sliding guage is another of my favourite tools Sliding guage  you do need some sort of measuring tooling your work box so choose ones you know you will enjoy using

I have a confession, when I don't feel like sitting in my sewing room I sit at my dining table and use this lovely machine.this particular model  has now been upgraded to this one Brother innov-is 15 which is equally lovely . It is a delight to use and is perfect for anybody who needs a machine with all the necessary functions at a good price. It is a machine which grows with you as you become a more experienced sewer and I love it.

I have a further confession, I always use this machine whenever I want to make buttonholes. It comes with this foot and all you do is clip it in place, insert your button, turn a dial to select a buttonhole and that's it!  You can see where the button has been placed, the machine automatically sews the perfect buttonhole to fit! Marvellous.

This machine makes the most delightful buttonholes ever and as I said whenever I want to make them out this machine comes. I have never had a poor result. I also take this machine with me whenever i am giving a lesson or attending an event etc
Before you make one single buttonhole on your garment you must do a trial one first, mimic your actual garment by using two layers of fabric with interfacing in between. Don't skip this step, you need to make sure it is exactly the right size for your button.

Once the buttonholes are made and cut with sharp scissors pin the edges closed and one by one start to sew your buttons on. You need to use double thread which has been waxed for strength.

You can see how pretty these buttons look, they are very delicate against all the lace. I used eight in all.

This is the back view of the finished garment

And the side view

This is a version I made with short sleeves and a lace bow on the front. 

 This is my old leather bomber jacket, which I do wear a lot when I am going out in the evenings.
I added a diamanté zip and some studs to the front, it is quite old and battered but the leather is so soft after years of wear.

There is a lot more diamanté and embroidery and studs at the back. It is really easy to add embellishments to an old garment and means you will wear it and not have it stuck in the back of your wardrobe.

Next time I am staying with lace and talking overlockers when I will be making a lace dress with  lingerie to wear under it in the form of a jersey underslip.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, if so please let me have some feedback, it is always appreciated.
Angela x 


Continuing my determination to have a whole wardrobe of coats to choose from I made yet another one this time with a zipper closure.
This one was not the easiest garment to make but I will explain why as we go along.
The machines and tools are from Jaycotts.co.uk and the fabric is from MinervaCrafts. The pattern is Simplicity 1254.

I love coats and I wanted a choice to wear instead of just having one for best and one for cold winter days shopping. So I have made several.
This time I wanted to explore making a coat with a zipper. The last two coats I made have included poppers - note I have not been using buttons and buttonholes.

The pattern is Simplicity, buy it here from Jaycotts.co.uk Simplicity 1254
The metal open end zipper is also from Jaycotts Brass open end zipper You do need to choose a substantial zip and a metal one is better in this instance.
The material I chose was from MinervaCrafts but sadly it is now sold out. However I had a lot of problems making up this design because the fabric was far too heavy and pulled the garment out of shape making construction and fitting difficult.
It also frays a lot and I wished that I had overlocked every piece before making up, this would also have helped to keep the pieces in shape.
Better choices would be a lighter weight suiting, take a look at the fabrics in this section there are lots of choices Suitings
Or a needlecord, again there are a lot of choices here Needlecord The pattern envelope has other choices but just make sure that you do not choose a fabric which is too heavy. If in doubt give MinervaCrafts a ring and they will help you to choose the best fabric for this pattern, contact details below.

On a heavy fabric with a raised pattern you need to use Tailors Tacks to mark the position of matching points, darts and all other markings. For this you need to use an actual tacking thread .Tacking thread is pure cotton and stays put until you pull it out.
Tacking thread  once you have used the real thing you will never make tailors tacks with ordinary sewing cotton again.
You will need a selection of pins. For this project you need longer glass headed pins so that you can see them easily see the choice here  Pins
I prefer a magnetic pin cushion Magnetic pin cushion  Both available from Jaycotts on the links shown.

Another product I love are these Wonder Clips they are fabulous for holding thick fabrics together whilst you sew. Wonder Clips They are fairly expensive, but you can purchase small packs, they last for ages and ages and have so many uses you will wonder how you managed to live without them.

These are my Tailors Tacks being divided so that the markings are seen in both parts of the fabric. By the way these are fabulous scissors. they are small and pointed and have a built in seam ripper.Take a look Fiskars scissors  in fact take a look at the Fiskars range available from Jaycotts, it includes a scissor sharpener which I do recommend as I use it myself to sharpen my Fiskars scissor collection. Fiskars scissor range. I also use the soft grip scissors and I you can look at those too in  the same link.

The only time I used a vanishing marker pen Marker pens was to mark the zip and fold line positions on the interfacing .
I use a woven iron on interfacing as it supports the weight of a fabric and gives a nice smooth finish to tailored or semi-tailored garments . At one time i would hand sew woven interfacings into garments by hand and it took weeks. I do think that the traditional methods are fabulous and I still have some of my hand tailored garments but I just don't have the itinerary of other ability to do it any more. This interfacing is the best compromise I have come across.

My advice to you is to follow the pattern instructions to the letter because although the pattern claims to be easy I found it rather challenging.
The other problem was that because my fabric was too heavy it pulled the coat down reducing the width at the bust and waist. this became evident when I came to fix the lining in place.
Please if you do make this coat in a heavy fabric then do not hang it up on a coat hanger or a tailors dummy until you have put the lining in. It WILL stretch out of shape it you do. It is better to lay it flat somewhere.

This is the coat before the collar goes in. The lining is already in place but not affixed at the neckline yet. Can you see that the fabric is fraying already?
I am now ready  to put the collar in which was easy enough to join together. I used a medium weight non woven interfacing in the collar because I wanted to retain some softness and in any case I could not afford the extra weight which the woven interfacing would have given me.
This is where the pattern becomes tricky!

Read through the instructions a couple of times until you understand them fully. It does make sense once you start to insert the collar, but at first it all seems confusing.
It seemed odd inserting the lining at the sides and sleeves and leaving the top and bottom open, but I soon realised that there was no other way to put the collar in.

I had a few fitting issues mainly I feel because of the weight of the fabric plus interfacing plus lining was just too much, I wished I had chosen a simpler pattern for this fabric .The skirt has a bit of width to it and it has several panels which were all starting to fray the more I worked with it. The weight pulled the coat down and narrowed the bust point so I needed to make some adjustments. Note, had I clipped into the seams at the notches instead of using tailor tacks I would not have been able to let the seams out!
When I was cutting the lining out I added extra at the back anyway - I always add extra ease to the back of a jacket or coat and form a pleat  so that the lining does not pull during wear. I was glad of this extra fabric!

So, after much pondering, re-cutting , re-stitching and a few tears of frustration, not to mention a day shoved to the back of a cupboard out of site I finally got it together!

I actually think it is a fabulous coat. The huge collar - which fastens with a large popper adds interest and cocoons the neck in cold wintry weather.
I did remove some fullness from the skirt but it still swings out which again I love.

The fastener is a zipper and it was very easy to insert so no buttonholes to make
All in all, eventually I am really happy with this coat. I have to admit I found it a huge challenge but perseverance paid off.

Now then what on earth am I going to make with this huge pile of the same fabric? The bottom piece is the reverse side which I quite like. Any ideas???

Thank you to Jaycotts.co.uk  for my machines, tools and accessories. Contact them here for any questions or for advice on their products.Contact Jaycotts

Thank you to Minerva Crafts for the fabric. Please contact them here and they will advise you on the best fabric for your garment  Minerva Crafts

I hope that the three coats I have made so far will inspire you to make one (at least one!) For yourself. Think of the saving compared to shop bought and also, nobody else will own one quite like yours
Angela x

I wanted to show you how to make some very easy Christmas decorations and table accessories.
These are perfect for you to sew with your children as no special skills are needed for any of these.

 These are some of the items which I am going to show you how to make

You will need a pattern . This one is by Simplicity - available here : Simplicity 8035 There are other simple toy pattern's in the range so do take a look.
You will need some felt pieces in assorted colours,  I bought mine from Minerva Fabrics. There are plenty of colour choices plus some sparkly ones. I used sparkly felt in white, green and black as well as other plain colours. You choose which ones you like best, there are no Rules!

When making the smaller ornaments I found it easier to photocopy the pieces and to cut them out in thin card so that I could then draw around them on the wrong side of the felt to make cutting out easier.
I am starting with the stars which I think are really cute, and I am using white felt which has a sparkle all over it.
Cut the felt shapes out and mark the position for the eyes and the mouth. You will need to embroider the mouth with a back stitch or a stem stitch. The eyes are safety eyes and are available from MinervaCrafts you will need various sizes according to which decorations you are making. The sizes are included on the back of the pattern envelope
The cheeks are made by colouring them with a soft red pencil. Once you have done the features sew two stars together with a blanket stitch, or even  a straight stitch or to be honest any stitch you fancy so long as it is small. Enclose a hanging thread at the top. This can be ribbon or string or a thick embroidery thread as I used. Remember to leave a gap so that you can stuff it.

You need some toy stuffing, pull it apart a bit to get rid of the lumps and push it gently into the shape using a chopstick or something similar so that the stuffing gets right into the corner's.
Then sew up the gap and  sew on a felt bow, which is just a small rectangle of felt gathered in the middle and sewn on by hand .

I made the large star too, you will find it fiddly to sew up the gap where you put the stuffing inside on a machine so iether sew it by hand or use your normal zipper foot. Please take care that your chosen stitch  is not too wide though or you will break your needle.

This is the start of my Star family.

The gingerbread man is slightly trickier, but to make it easier I cut out the body, head, legs and arms all in one piece. Make it up the same as you did the stars, stitching the frosting on the head on before joining the two bodies together. After you have finished sewing ,glue the arm and leg bands in place, Holding them with clips.
Cut out the holly in green felt and stitch it on along with a tiny red pom pom. He also needs a felt bow tie which you make exactly the same as the bows in the stars. For the buttons you could glue on tiny felt circles or just make a dot with an indelible ink pen.

The stars and the gingerbread man are having fun playing with the machines at Jaycotts.co.uk

The other toys in this pattern are all made the same way. The Yeti is made from some fur fabric but if you do not have any use some cuddle fleece or similar.

You will notice a Christmas tree sat among the ornaments. There is no pattern for him, but he is easy to make too. I will show you how to make more decorations.

 If you are good at drawing then draw some other Christmas shapes into thin card and cut them out. Hearts are also a good choice as are snowmen.
I made two Christmas trees, one is stuffed and has features made from safety eyes and an embroidered mouth.

The other tree and the stockings are made by simply stitching two felt shapes together and decorating in your own style.
You will find that these wonder clips are so much better than trying to hold two pieces of felt together with pins. They come in various quantities and sizes Clover Wonder Clips I love them and use them as much as possible in place of pins.

When you sew your tree decorations together it is nice to use a metallic thread or a variegated thread. For the metallic threads you will need to use a metallic needle , they have an elongated eye which helps prevent the thread from shredding.  Machine needles for metallic thread
For some of my decorations i used a variegated thread Variegated thread  and used some fine ricrac as a hanging thread.
I also used various colours of Gutterman Sulky metallic thread when I was making them which add extra glitter to your project.

I make plenty of these stockings every year, and I put sweets inside them (the top is left open) Some go on my tree but I also hang them on drawer handles. They are always popular with both expected and unexpected guests of all ages.

These are two Christmas trees, one has a face and is made in the same way as the stars.The other is made by stitching two tree shapes together with a metallic thread and sandwiching a hanging loop between them The felt has a glitter pattern all over it.

Nobody says that decorations have to be red or green, these glitter sparkled black stars are lovely. You could use whatever colour matches your decor. My friend has pink and purple on her little girls own special tree.

These are some of my decorations finished and ready for the tree.
I made some blue stockings too and trimmed them with gold stitching and gold braid

Another is trimmed with lace and sequin stars. These are just to give you ideas, you will have plenty of your own.
Now to make some table wear.
I bought a large length of this red and white Christmas fabric from Abakhan Fabrics, 
Minerva Craft also sell a good range of Christmas fabrics 

First I made a tree skirt.
To make it I did it the old way by drawing a circle on the back of my fabric with a pencil tied to a string.
You need to then slit it up to the centre and cut out another circle to go around the tree.
I finished the edges off by using my Bernina sewing machine with an overedge foot attached.The Bernina 350PE This is a fabulous machine, do take a look at it on Jaycotts web site.
The reindeer is featured in my previous blog post and you can read it here How to sew your own gifts

In my opinion I do not see the point of spending a great deal of money on Christmas table cloths . If I were hosting an important dinner it would be different, but for a family get together I like a cheerful tablecloth and napkins. Let's face it, I don't want to have to even think about red wine or gravy skills - which are going to happen!
First make sure that your fabric is wide enough for your table. Cut a length which overhangs a few inches but not so much that it is easy to pull off, you don't want somebody becoming tangled in a large tablecloth no matter how lovely they look. We are talking practical here.

Lay the fabric on the table and make sure it is the correct size. Trim it a bit more if you feel it is too large.

To make it easier to sew on my overlocker I cut the corners off to make the ends rounded. Cut the first corner until you are happy with the shape and then cut the other three corners to match.

Cut some squares for napkins and round the corners off too, it just makes them that bit different. I like to make plenty of napkins, at least two per person because they do get grubby and if you serve a tea or a supper later in the day then you will need them again. I serve sandwiches and cake in the early evening and set the coffee table instead of the dining table, so I also made a tablecloth to cover my coffee table, I left the corners square.

The reason I cut rounded corners on my table cloths is because I wanted to make it easy to use my overlocker, having no corners to deal with meant that I could literally whizz through finishing everything in less than an hour.
I got my overlocker manual out because I wanted to use a narrow rolled hem finish and I always like to have the manual handy to refer to. It's good to remind myself exactly what my machines are capable of so I am constantly referring to the manuals.

This fabulous machine is the Brother 1034D Brother 1034D overlocker  The Rolled hem finish involves removing the stitch finger and stitching with just three threads instead of four. It is very easy to set the machine to do this and it makes a really lovely narrow overlock stitch which I use a lot.

This is what the rolled hem finish looks like . If you do not have an overlocker then use a overedge foot on your sewing machine or fold under a double hem and top stitch.if you are doing a hem this way then you may want to keep the corners square.

This is my finished tablecloth and napkins. I tied ribbons around the napkins for added decoration.

You can see them closer in this photograph.

This is my coffee table with the smaller cloth covering it.

 I am extremely pleased with my hand made Christmas. You can of course make all the decorations in the pattern and decorate your tree exclusively with your own makes.
This is a project which does not take long and which you can get the children involved with. The decorations could be glued together with a PVA craft glue so long as any young children are properly supervised of course.

Thank you for reading this post, I hope you will have a happy time doing your Christmas sewing.




Do not be put off by making your own coat. It really is very easy if you follow a few simple tips. What is it that puts you off most? usually people say buttonholes.Well, this coat uses sew on poppers, so what could be simpler than that? a future post will feature a coat which fastens with a chunky metal zip.

This is a very warm wool blend fabrics which I picked up in one of the bargain bins but do have a look at their online store as they have lots of fabrics to choose from. Wool tweed is easy to sew, and very forgiving for beginners so it is a good choice.

If you are new to sewing then I would choose something without a definite pattern on it so that you need not worry about pattern matching.

This is the finished coat

The pattern is Vogue  Vogue 8933 It is fairly straightforward, the only time you need to take care is when it comes to attaching the facing at the back, but we will come to that later.
Pre shrink your fabric with plenty of steam from a hot iron and a pressing cloth. leave to dry.

Patterns seem to have the actual measurements (which is the wearing ease allowed for each size) printed on the actual pattern these days so before you even reach for a pair of scissors search through the pattern sheets until  you find something which looks like the above picture. The actual measurement together with the guide on the pattern envelope will help you to decide which size is best for you

It is necessary to transfer all the pattern markings onto the fabric and with thick fabrics the best way to do this is to use tailors tacks It is available here Guttermann Tacking thread it is very cheap and because it is made from 100% cotton, which is rough to the touch, it stays in place until you remove it.

You will need a new sewing machine needle for your machine sewing machine needles I would recommend a 14 or even a 16 depending on the thickness of your fabric.
You will also need some woven interfacing woven interfacing It  is important to use the correct interfacing so  that the weight of the fabric is supported.These days iron on interfacing is available which.makes life easier. When I was at college my fingers used to bleed because we had to use a prick stitch to attach the interfacing and to mould the fabric into something three dimensional. 

prepare  the shoulder darts by stitching long the marks made earlier with your tailors tacks.

stay stitch the corners where marked and clip diagonally right up to the stitches.

The pattern instructions are very clear at explaining how to stitch the shoulder seams so follow them exactly.

When it comes to stitching the pockets in place I prefer to use a cotton fabric instead of lining fabric for the back of the pocket - unless I am using satin of course! Cotton is stronger than taffeta lining and I want strength in my pockets! for that same reason I stitch the  pocket bag twice for strength.
Once the pockets are in place stitch the side seams

when cutting out your lining you need to form a pleat at the centre back for wearing ease.A lining which is snug will split in wear.so position your back lining pattern piece ( whch  in this pattern is the back  pattern piece) one inch away from the fold ofthe fabric.press the fold in place . Then stitch along the fold-line for about four inches starting at the top. leave the bottom  to see later how much ease you need.

Press, do not iron the interfacing onto the front facings.Use a hot iron and a damp cloth always - never press directly onto fabric when using wool. Keep the iron in one place lifting it and moving to the next spot without sliding the iron
join the facing to the side lining .press ( Press every  seam as you go is the rule for this project)
Then stitch the dart as before. This is the  only difficult part of the pattern so take your time and if you want to you can stitch it in sections. This is where you will appreciate all the tailors tacks you put in earlier.
stitch the side seams in the lining.

We now need to join the lining to the outer shell. Starting at the top pin together. marking the turning points with an erasable pen to make sure that the corners are neat continue pinning the sides.
when you are satisfied stitch from one front right round the top and down the other side.Again you ma do this in stages if you prefer.Starting with the top edge

Trim the interfacing away from the edge as close to the stitching as you possibly can. Then trim and grade (layer) the seams to get rid of as much bulk as possible. Trim the corners off and clip into the curves. Press and use clips to hold the edges together. I love these Wonder clips instead of pins Clover Wonder clips they come in various sizes and quantities and are indispensable for any sewing job. Do try them!

This is the coat so far. Sleeves next! In preparation hand stitch the lining to the coat around the armholes within the seam allowances
Stitch the sleeve and lining seams and run a basting stitch along the top of each sleeve and lining piece so that they can be eased into place.

To stabilise the sleeve edge I like to use some iron on seam stabiliser along the seam line but this is optional. This is the product Seam tape interfacing It gives a clean edge to sleeves and hems.

Stitch the sleeves in place, using the basting threads to ease the sleeve  in place evenly. Machine carefully and press.Try on and insert shoulder pads if you are using them . These are set in shoulder pads, if your pattern has a raglan sleeve there are different ones to use , but in this pattern we need
Set in shoulder pads  Tack them loosely but firmly in place so that they do not move in wear.
Pin the sleeve  lining in place and slipstitch it to the coat lining

Machine stitch the bottom  corners along the seam line and using your blind hem foot . They are available for most machines, Bind stitch foot Give jaycotts a call to find the one for your machine
stitch the sleeve hems as well.
Turn up the lining hems pushing them away from the edge so that the lining s slightly loose and does not pull in any way. Slip stitch neatly in lace.

Using the tailors tack markers, checking first that  they still line up correctly, sew large poppers to the coat making sure that no stitches show on the right side.
You need at least 15mm sized poppers sew in poppers
check for loose threads, give it a final press and be proud of all the money you have just saved by making your own wonderful coat!

This stye is very different with the asymmetrical line throughout. The poppers - you can use buttons instead if you want to, or non - sew poppers. The whole point of sewing is that  you make the garment your own.
The design called for hooks and eyes to hold the collar together but I did not use them as i knew I would never wear the collar fastened up - it is too large for my frame, but add them if you like the look.

This is my selfie taken whilst writing this blog. Thankyou for reading it. I hope that I have inspired you to make your very own coat.

Happy sewing

Angela xx

#sewangelicthreads #jaycotts #coat #woolfabric #sewingblog #Vogue #sew #imadeit 

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 11/19/2016 08:24:00 pm



I have been asked many times to write this blog post and I kept putting it off. It is not easy to write but if it helps anybody then that makes me very happy.

The tools and equipment featured are all from jaycotts and I will give you the links as we go along. Please note that the products featured are suitable for use no matter what your disability, be it arthritis or poor eyesight.

This is me with my father and brothers.

Firstly, what is Parkinson's?

There is no set pattern as to how long Parkinson's takes to progress or the age it starts or indeed the symptoms as  It varies from person to person. I have had young onset Parkinson's for around 20 years and at the moment there are signs that it is deteriorating. This is normal as it is degenerative and incurable.

The disease is very complex and it affects the whole body.

It is a neurological disease caused by the part of the brain which produces dopamine dying. Dopamine controls motor and non motor functions and so the effect of the lack of this chemical causes a lot of changes to your body and how it works.

At the beginning it affects one side or the body, the right in my case, but eventually affects both sides. I have a tremor which worsens when I am under stress or tired, or even when somebody notices it. It affects movement which becomes slower and often my face freezes giving me a blank expression. That makes people think I am disinterested and can cause arguments! I find it very difficult to swallow and my coordination is poor. Walking is also difficult, there is a specific Parkinson's gait which you may have noticed, and I am in constant pain in my legs and hands.my digestion is also very poor. I get a lot if muscle cramps which are extremely painful and often the muscles in my feet and hands will contract making the fingers and toes bend backwards.

Non-motor symptoms include anxiety, depression, insomnia and many more.


So, that is roughly what Parkinson's is, although this is only a brief description, there are many more symptoms.

For more information go to Parkinson's uk


My mother Joan who died recently following complications from her Parkinson's

Although it does not run in families my mother had it too.




This is something I made earlier, my son Matthew who is a SHO in a hospital. I am incredibly proud of him, hmm, he is sat in my "electric" chair doing my crossword!





This is what I mean about lack of coordination and poor hand control. This was probably the very last time I attempted to bake a cake. It takes far too long to tidy up afterwards.

Now, let me show you some of the tools I now use to help me to continue with my sewing. It is vital when diagnosed with something totally life changing such as Parkinson's that you continue to do the things that you love. I understand that it takes time to come to terms with a diagnosis, and that you need time to mourn and cry, but it is just as important for you to realise that life goes on despite it. Sure you will need to think of new ways of doing things but it is not impossible, besides I like a challenge!

Let me show you the tools that I use to make sure that I do not miss out on the thing I love doing most - sewing. I will include a link to each product so that you do not struggle to find it in the web site.



I find non sew poppers and the tools to attach them with totally indispensable at times and I use them a lot when my hands are bad and I don't want to sew buttons on. They are great anyway, on some garments I deliberately choose them instead of buttons and buttonholes , like my rain coat for example.

There is a great range of colours and sizes so take a look through this section where you will find poppers and tools Non sew poppers and tools They are great fun, and easy to attach too.


A collection of gadget's




These wonder clips have to be my favourite. They totally do away with using pins.  I use them instead instead of pinning and they can be whipped off your seam quickly whilst sewing, they are easy to find up if you drop them too. I really cannot praise these enough. they come in different sizes too. Wonder clips

When  cutting out you could use patterns weights. Jaycotts sell them - or make your own. I use my collection of piggy banks.





If you still want to stick with pins then I recommend a magnetic pin cushion, it makes less work if you accidentally knock it over. A magnet for collecting pins off the floor is a must too. Magnetic pin cushion. And  Horseshoe magnet By the way glass headed pins are much easier to use than ordinary straight pins.



The large black scissors are the best I have ever used.They are Fiskars and are brilliant for arthritic or painful hands as they are spring loaded and soft grip. Fiskars soft grip scissors the smaller pair are also by Fiskars. By moving the little catch they become seam rippers. They are also very easy to use for sore hands Scissors/seam ripper




Another nifty gadget is this quilters ruler handle





It's not just for rulers! And it is not just for quilters



It makes easy work of using a ruler or template or indeed a lot of other things which you need to hold in place. Ruler handle



All of these tools are soft grip and are by Prym. They are kind on the hands.

Pictured above are the seam ripper, point turner and thread snippers and can all be found in this link. Prym Sewing tools

I do find them easy to hold being ergonomically designed they fit easily in the hand.




Also on Jaycotts web site you will find such things as these fantastic easy to use soft thimbles , and there are needle threaders for hand and machine needles. They all make sewing much easier.




A magnifying glass is essential in my opinion. The one on the web site is now red instead of this clear one, they sit in your chest when in use and you will wonder what you did without one.useful for needle threading, sewing, reading patterns and a million other uses. Prym magnifying glass



Something you may not have considered is this attachment for your sewing machine.It is a knee lifter and you push it to one side with your knee and it lifts the presser foot so that your hands do not have to move to a different position.  I love it. it is dependent on your Sewing table being at the right height but now that I have my Horn cabinet and hobby chair I am able to use it constantly as it is just at the right height for me. They do come as standard with a lot of machines, for more information contact Jaycotts on 01244 394099 and they will be able to tell you it there is one suitable for your machine.

Just remember that if you are using it with your Horn Sewing cabinet to remove it before putting your machine away.



The next item I use a lot of is this wonder tape. It sticks seams together and zips in place, without them  moving whilst you sew them. It is a brilliant product. If you find pinning zips and facings and so on in place then this is the product for you. There are also temporary spray on adhesives which do have a great use,but for me wonder tape is the most wonderfully useful product -ever. This is it, Prym Wonder tape it is basically a thin double sided tape for fabric. And yes It does disappear in washing.



I just had to mention my Horn Sewing cabinet and matching chair , see the range here, Horn Sewing furniture

This has revolutionised my sewing as everything is in one place and I just swivel my chair from sewing machine to overlooker and back again. There is a full review on this blog so do take a closer look.Horn NOVA review



I was interested when I was looking through patterns to see that pattern houses such as simplicity are realising that there are people who use wheelchairs and walking frames and I was really impressed with the patterns and the foresight to produce them. This pattern for example is for some extremely useful and attractive accessories for wheelchairs and walkers. Simplicity pattern I think it is great to see patterns like this, so it you know anybody who uses either of them, do make them something as a gift -it will certainly be appreciated.





There is another pattern too which I think is very pretty for a lady,  Walker accessories



It is a hard fact to face but adults often need clothing protectors. We don't want to discuss it do we? However it is fact. It you have such a guest coming for a meal over Christmas then why not make everybody a festive garment to wear? That alleviates any embarrassment and actually adds a touch of fun to the occasion. You can bling them up as much as you like! Clothing protectors



If you have a disability you will understand the need to be able to carry on doing the things you love. With one or two adaptions it is possible to carry on.

It is not a subject we like talking about is it. Mostly I do not look disabled so people are surprised when I cannot get out of bed for a couple of days or wonder why I cannot walk very far. If my face freezes and becomes blank they think I am disinterested in them.

It can be a lonely place, so do ask questions, take an interest, ask now you can help. Just because we never ask for help does not mean we do not need it!


I hope that you find something of use in this blog post.

I want to thank the following for their unending support and encouragement



The fabulous Jaycott family at  Jaycotts.co.uk who go to endless amounts of time, trouble and expense for me.Thank you.

To Minerva crafts for endless supplies of fabric, for supporting me, encouraging me and believing in me.Thank you

To Abakhan fabrics for your generosity and kindness. Thank you.

To The King of publicity!Tweetmaster  for your generous publicity, telling me off occasionally and for your support and encouragement. Thank you.


Lastly to my son Matthew for being utterly brilliant. Sorry for spending most of  your inheritance recently, but look on the bright side you have some nice furniture when you come home......


Thanks everybody,






#simplicity #disability # Parkinson's #sewingblog #sewingbee ##sewcialist #isew


1 2 3 6 Next »