jaycotts.co.uk - Sewing Supplies

First Class Shipping £1.50

Free for orders over £25



I have wanted to make myself a cheery raincoat for a very long time but just could not find a pattern. In the end , determined to have my raincoat, I did some rather major alterations to an ordinary coat pattern. The pattern has princess seams which would have spoiled the rather beautiful pattern,  so they needed eliminating,  as did some of the shaping because I wanted a straight style. Do you want to make one too? There are some things you need to bear in mind,  but it's not that difficult I promise.

This is the finished coat.  I used a ripstop fabric in a very colorfully print called Ellies. I purchased it from WhiteTreeFabrics.com but do sadly this was the last piece. However I never like to dictate to you exactly what fabric you should use, we all have very different tastes. What you  need to look out for though is a RIP-STOP fabric or a showerproofed cotton. For the linings I chose a firm shot taffeta. With the raincoat outer being quite firm it called for a stiffer lining than normal. I chose a darker colour than my  main  fabric.

And yes, the rather cute 60s style fabric does have elephant's on it!

This is the pattern, it is Mccalls M7058 and you can buy it from jaycotts.co.uk  by clicking on this link  Mccalls M7058 at Jaycotts.co.uk 
It is a lovely pattern with lots of variations to choose from. I wanted the style which has the hood, and as I bought the last of this roll of fabric there was only enough to make the mid-length version. Which was what I wanted anyway!

These are the front pattern pieces. To take advantage of the pattern on my fabric, and to eliminate some of the seams I needed to create one front piece. The back is the same,  it is also princess seamed and this too needs amending. I also wanted my coat to be loose fitting and it was prudent to get rid of the shaping at the waist too.
Above are the pattern pieces as they began life.
I am not going to ruin my pattern,  they are expensive and I will want to use it again so I traced it off onto tracing paper, available from Jaycotts.co.uk    You can buy it here:-   Dressmakers tracing paper

One thing I must mention is that you cannot put pins into this fabric or it will leave holes. Instead when cutting out you should use pattern weights, I make my money banks earn their pennies, but if you want proper ones they are available on this link Pattern weights  you also only get one chance at sewing your seams too so I strongly advise making a toille. You can however pin WITH IN the seam allowance, but this fabric is not easy to pin.
I have eliminated the curves on the princess seams and put the two fronts next to each other.  At the top there will be a triangle where the pattern will not meet. This will form a dart.

If you look closely you will see at the top of this front piece there is a notch cut out. This is what used to be a princess seam and is now a dart. The back will be exactly the same but the dart will be narrower.

I now have two,front pieces instead of four and one back piece instead of three. To make it easier I draw around these pieces on the lining with tailors chalk. Transferring all pattern markings. The centre back needs a pleat for movement , this is normal on most lined patterns, so place the coat back about one inch from the fold of the fabric and pin the pleat into place. Linings can look pretty much the same on both sides so to avoid confusion I place a small piece of masking tape on the back of each piece with the piece number on it.

This is the back lining all marked to and ready to be cut. Cut out your back, sleeves and hood linings now.
The front lining needs special attention. You will need to cut the front facing out of the main fabric and the rest from lining so bear this in mind when you are cutting the lining out. You will therefore have to eliminate the princess seam and form a dart here too, so that it matches the coat front.
Don't worry if it sounds complicated it will all make sense what the pattern is in front of you.

Now you are ready to stitch the darts and sew the shoulder seams. You might be wondering how on earth you will get the seams flat. Firstly you can press this type of fabric,  but ONLY with a cooler iron over a pressing cloth. I use a linen cloth as linen withstands high temperatures without burning.
On the shoulders I pressed the seam flat and then pressed it towards the back and top stitched with a long machine stitch.
You must always use a new needle when starting any project, this one will blunt your needle quickly so you may need to use two. You should always have a selection of sewing machine needles in your personal stock, you not only need different sizes from very fine to the heavyweight one I used to sew this fabric,  but you will also need needles for stretch fabrics and a twin needle is very useful when  top stitching hems as it gives the appearance of having used a coverstitch machine. Take a look at the different types of sewing needles available from Jaycotts and then look at the fabrics in your stash. Have you got the correct needle for each of your fabrics!  If not you can order your supplies here Sewing machine needles were you aware that there were so many different types?

I wanted to add patch pockets at the front. I tried the garment on, fastened together at the side seams with masking tape and put a another strip of masking tape to mark the top,of each pocket. Make sure that each side is equal.
Then you will have to have patience because you need to match the pattern on your pocket exactly to that on the coat. So, take a larger square of fabric which roughly looks as though it will match and move it around until you find the exact match, cut it out to the right side. You can iether make a lined or non lined pocket, it depends on your personal choice and your fabric to be honest. Please take your time with this bit, it can be frustrating but it will be totally worth every angui

This is the pocket sewn in place. Perfectly matched I might add!

The best way to sew slippery fabrics is with a walking foot. The one I use is especially for my Bernina 350PE Bernina walking foot there are walking feet for most machines so please telephone jaycotts.co.uk for advice on the correct one for your machine. Contact details at the end of this blog post .A walking foot does just that,  it rises and falls in a walking movement lifting the foot off the fabric very briefly to enable the lower feed dogs to move the fabric without having to fight against pressure from an ordinary machine foot. If you do not have one then try a Teflon foot and see if that glides over the fa ric easily.  PS if your money banks are empty then put some sticky tape on the base of your normal presser foot, cutting the centre hole out , it's only a temporary measure but it works.

Stitch the side seams next.and press and top stitch them as before.

Sew the hood together and press the seam open using a sleeve roll. Do the same with the lining. Right sides together stitch all the way around the front of the hood. Turn right sides out. press.  Top stitch.  Baste the bottom together inside the seam line and attach it to the coat neckline,  matching notches. You can pin it within the seam allowance here.

This is the hood sewn in place. Make your sleeves by stitching the dart and sewing the underarm seam.  Run a long basting stitch along the sleeve head just as you would normally do. Ease into place,  it will,  go, be patient, 

You now have the basics of the coat, minus the lining. Make up the lining by stitching the shoulder and side seams. Press. Just leave the back pleat pinned for now because you need to try the lining out to make sure it fits inside the coat exactly. Once you have made any alterations and are happy with the fit stitch about three InChester down from the neckline and about four inches up from the bottom.  Press the pleat to one side on the reverse.
Right sides together and hood tucked inside stitch all the way around the neck, the sides and the hem. Make sure that the lining is loose and does not pull the coat out of shape, you will need to push the hem lining up slightly from the bottom of the coat.
Pull the lining through one armhole. Baste the lining to the coat around the armhole within the seam allowance

This is what you should now have in front of you. By the way if your fabric is wrinkly,  put it into a got tumble dryer for a couple of minutes hangmitmup,immediately  and the fabric will soften and the creases drop, out!

I inserted very thin shoulder pads just to smooth the shoulder line out. Insert these now if you are using them.

Turn up the sleeve hem to the required length and top stitch.

Fold the hem back down and attach the bottom of the sleeve lining to it. Pull it through to the inside.
Your inside sleeve edge will now look like this.

Pin and hand sew the sleeve lining onto the armhole.  Press using a cool iron and a pressing cloth.
Top stitch all around the coat,  stitching in the ditch at the back of the hood. I top  stitched the hem twice half an inch apart  so that the lining would not fall down 

Now it comes to fastenings.  If you have never used Non sew poppers before then don't be afraid to use them, although I would practise first.there is a huge selection on this page,  Non sew press studs
I also recommend that you use these pliers Pliers for non sew poppers etc as they make the job so much easier. 
Mark the position accurately with a ruler and a disappearing pen. I did all the top ones first then measured carefully to ensure that the lower part of the press studs matched. A final press and a tumble in the tumble dryer and it's all ready for some rain.

The coat is very loose fitting and casual which is exactly the look I was after.

I chose silver poppers which do not detract from the fabric,  as if anything could!

Thank you for reading this post I hope that you will be tempted to have a go at Pattern hacking, it's great fun and it means that you become your own designer too!

Best wishes



patchwork and quilting workshops

At our city-centre store in the heart of Chester our successful workshop programme offers courses in quilting (from beginner through to advanced), lessons in rag doll and figure making, tutorials on how to make unusual handbags, and much else besides, ranging from one-day to two- or three-day sessions. Courses take place in the workshop at the back of the store.

Now using the latest Brother F420 sewing machines which are already proving a great hit ! For more details of workshops and courses available at Liberty Bell in Chester just visit www.liberty-bell.co.uk

Brother F420 sewing machines in action!





 Jaycotts are proud to support Christi's Stitches

Sewing Workshops and Courses held at Gladstones Library in Hawarden

Learn to sew or improve your sewing skills with me, Christi Bendle, in my relaxed, sociable and practical workshops and courses. I teach sewing skills by helping you to make an item from start to finish for you to take home. I cover a range of abilities from how to use a sewing machine to producing your own made-to-measure garments.

brother Innovis sewing machine used for sewing workshopsThere's a wide range of courses to choose from and all using the excellent Brother Innov-is 55 Sewing Machines which are a pleasure to use and perform brilliantly                                                       For more information and details of current and upcoming courses and workshops visit christisstitches.com





sew saturday 2016 at jaycotts

On display in our Chester Store there's a great range of our most popular sewing machines, overlockers and embroidery machines plus a superb selection of Horn Cabinets including: the Horn Calypso, Eclipse, Gemini, Hi Lo and the Maxi hobby table and of course a wide selection of threads, notions, habby and machine accessories.

The store is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm                        Closed Bank Holidays.


Unit D2, Chester Trade Park
Bumpers LaneChester,  CH1 4LT
Tel: 01244 394099


From Chester City Centre travelling down towards Sealand Road passing Chester Race Course on your left.
After approx ¼ of a mile get into the left lane at the traffic lights by Tesco Supermarket and turn left into Bumpers Lane.

Continue along Bumpers Lane for approx 200yds looking out for Plumbase and 
Betta Bedrooms on your right.

Turn right by Plumbase: you will now see Screwfix - we are located just behind Screwfix.


I was thrilled and a bit amazed to be given this fabulous length of Librty Tana Lawn which Abakhan.co.uk are selling at a fantastic price . For details of the fabrics in this range go to Liberty Tana Lawn from Abakhan.co.uk the fabric I used is listed below.




The fabric is rather extravagant for loungewear but then again why not? I wanted pj's which look like they should be a man's pair, and so decided that they should also be loose fitting.





The fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn , Seth Rankine Blue from Abakhan.co.uk.  available to buy on this link here Liberty Tana Lawn from Abakhan.co.uk But do look at their other fabrics too! This fabric is £12.95 a metre and you need four metres for women's pyjamas.  This is an extremely good price. There are a lot of designs in this range, your only problem will be in choosing your favourite. 

the pattern is SIMLICITY 1504 FROM Jaycotts.co.uk Simplicity1504 at Jaycotts.co.uk  This is a multi sized patern with thankfully seperate pattern pieces for childens, teens and adult sizes.




With any fabric wash and iron it before cutting out and then inspect it for flaws. Even the most expensive fabric may have a tiny flaw somewhere and it is better to examine the fabric before cutting into it and marking any flaws that you find with tailors chalk. When you think about it,  fabric is produced in such vast quantities that it would be almost impossible for every single inch to be perfect throughout the run.I found this tiny flaw on the selvedge.



By the way,please watch this video Sewing Tools and Parkinsons 
 because if you have some sort of disability, or know somebody who does you may find it useful.




The pattern calls for optional piping, I  never buy it as it is simplicity itself to make.All you need do is cut strips of fabric on the bias and insert some piping cord of whatever thickness you prefer down the middle, fold the ends together and stitch as close to the piping cord as  you can get with your ordinary zipper foot. 




All you need do then is to stitch it to your chosen fabric piece, again using your zipper foot. I decided at first to pipe around the pocket, but didn't like it so took it off again. I thought that it distracted from the rather lovely fabric.




I did however decide to go with the man's PJ look and add a touch of piping around the outside of the collar.  To do that sandwich the covered piping between the collar pieces, right sides together, stitch using your zipper foot. Most machines do come with a zipper foot but if you do not have one then contact Jaycotts and ask them for one to fit your machine Contact Jaycotts.co.uk




The pattern instructions are very clear and easy to follow, so you should have no problem in stitching the shoulder seams and  attaching the facing and the collar .

The collar is stitched to the neckline except for  between the dots where the collar part on top is folded back away from the sewing machine and hand stitched down later. This provides a very neat finish to the inside of the garment. 




The back part of the collar has been folded in and top stitched by machine very close to the edge.

Have you ever visited Abakhan.co.uk?  I love going there because they sell fabrics to suit all budgets. They have lots of branches including the main and the best one at Mostyn, you will find a list of stores here Locations of Abakhan.co.uk stores



You should now have something which looks like this - ignore the bit of piping on the pocket, I didn't like it so took it off and made a plain pocket - matching the pattern of course!



When it came to making up the sleeves  (it's far easier to insert them before stitching the side seams ) I added a touch of my piping between the sleeve and the sleeve band in the same way as before



To insert a sleeve, overlock or otherwise neaten the shoulder seam and then taking your sleeve run a row of gathering stitches between the notches, these can then be used to gently ease the sleeve into the armhole. You should  have a very smooth sleeve with no gathers or puckers. If you do, then it is better to unpick and start again.  We all own seam rippers you know!




The machine I am using to make this PJ set is the Bernina 350PE and it is an absolute joy to sew with, I totally love it. See it here, Bernina 350PE there is a review of it on this blog. If you are unsure which machine is right for your needs and budget then give Jaycotts a call, the contact details are above.



To continue all we need do now is to stitch the side seam from the sleeve edge to the bottom of the jacket, then overlock the edges. Do make sure that the underarm seam matches. 




To make the sleeve bands, just stitch and press the bands at the side seam to form a tube. Fold in half wrong sides together.  Press.




Then stitch the band to the sleeve right sides together , overlock and press open using a sleeve board.



That's the top almost complete. You now need to decide on your hem depth. I chose one and a half inches.  The choice is purely personal. Before you do anything though overlock the entire hem.




Stitch the facing to the garment at your chosen hem depth, right sides together.clip the corner. Turn right sides out using a point turner and press



Measure your hem , pin and press in place 

I use the measuring guide on my sewing machine to do top stitching so that it is even all the way round. If you do not have one then stick a piece of tape to your machine measuring the exact distance from the needle to the point where you want the top stitching to go



Make sure that everything is even and pin the front together down the centre front just to check. This will help with the buttonhole placement.




Pin the buttonhole guide to the front of the top  (right front for ladies) And using a chalk pencil mark the buttonholes.



Even better, is this Simflex gauge which you set to measure exactly where each button should go. This is definately on my wish list!  Buy it here Simflex guage




Once each buttonhole is marked set up your machine according to your manual and do a test buttonhole on a spare piece of fabric with interfacing in place to mimic the actual garment.

Once you are happy with the choice of buttonhole and the length then go ahead and stitch them into your garment




This is the automatic buttonhole foot on my Bernina, yours may look very different to mine, remember that odd numbers of buttons always look better than even numbers.

I did not put a button at the neck line as I know I will never fasten it.




Carefully cut your buttonholes with sharp, pointed scissors, I hear of "accidents" with stitch rippers almost every day! You will need a good quality thread  some beeswax to strengthen the thread.




Pin the jacket together matching the centre front line and making sure that the fronts match. Using your chalk pencil mark the placing of the buttons and stitch them on with your waxed thread.


The pyjama bottoms 





These are so easy to make . I mark the back kf each fabric piece with a small piece of masking tape if the fsbric is similar on both sides, anything to make life easier.

Stitch a pocket to each ftoser side and press the seam .



Join the centre fronts and centre backs and overlock the edges. Join the side seams , stopping sewing at the top dot at the top of the pocket and start stitching again at the bottom dot overlock the edges. Stitch around the pockets and overlock the pocket edges too. 

Then stitch the inside seam going right round from the bottom of one leg to the bottom of the other. The pattern instructions are brilliant although my construction method  is slightly different.

Stitch the cuffs onto the legs in the same way that you attached the cuffs to the jacket. I did not use any piping.



Stitch the waistband pieces together at the sides leaving an opening between the dots to allow elastic to be threaded through..Fold the waistband in half and pin to the top of the trousers, right sides together.



The overlocker I use is the Brother 3034D,  Brother 3034D overlocker I find it easy to use and easy to thread. One tip, when you first get your machine take a photograph of the factory settings to refer to if you ever need to put the tension back to normal. Sometimes people struggle with getting the tension correct but check first that the needles are bot blunt, that it is threaded correctly (I start again) and that you have good quality thread. If that does not solve your problem - and it often does, then refer to your manual at the troubleshooting section. If you still have a problem then if you Voight it from Jaycotts do give them a call and they will offer advice.



Cut a piece of soft one inch wide elastic a bit larger than your own measurement. These pants sit BELOW the waist so don't be alarmed at the length!

Thread it through with a safety pin, securing the end to stop it from pulling straight through.



Try the pants on and make any adjustments necessary and then join the elastic securely.




Hand stitch the gap closed. Press.




Mark where the ties will go on the front. Make up the ties as in the instructions and stitch them in place 



The ties just add a pretty finishing touch.



I appreciate that you may not want to spend a lot of money on fabric for pj's even though this Liberty fabric is such good value.

Alternatives are many although I do suggest a cotton fabric for comfort. The cottons at Abakhan.co.uk start at very reasonable prices Cotton fabrics from Abakhan.co.uk starting at around £4 per metre.

There are some nice Christmas prints just arrived if you want to make the children some christmassy  pj's too, they start at around £3 a metre.Cotton mix fabrics


Finally I made a rather tongue in cheek video of the pj's,  and yes, I do always go to bed in  make up, doesn't everybody?? And I sort of forgot which side the pocket was on! Hope it gives you a giggle anyway 


Thank you very much Abakhan.co.uk for your very generous gift and of course thank you too Jaycotts.co.uk for all your help and support and for letting me use your wonderful machines and sewing tools.


I would love to see pictures of your pj's! 


Happy sewing





Horn Furniture have a price increase that comes in to effect next week, this is due to the falling pound.
With some of the most popular models like the Horn Eclipse due to go by a whopping £120 now is the time to get your order placed and beat the price rise !
For more details and to place your order on click here call us on 01244 394099 or visit our Chester store where you can see a selection of Horn Cabinets, Tables and Hobby Chairs.
The horn eclipse beat the price rise and save £120

This is a fantastic opportunity to make your daughter a dress and at the same time she can make an identical one for her doll. This is a lovely pattern from Ellie May Designs for Kwik Sew It is available from Jaycotts.co.uk KWIK SEW K221



The pattern is fresh and modern and includes some very easy to do applique flowers on both the girls and the dolls dresses.

The largest size for the dress is to fit age 10, and it takes 1m of 152cm wide fabric in the main colour plus 1/2 m of contrast. Plus you will need scraps of fabric for the appliques. The dolls dress takes 1/2 metre of fabric in the main colour plus 1/2m in the contrast,  plus scraps for applique.

For fabrics that are of fantastic quality go to Threadheadfabrics.co.uk Threadheadfabrics.co.uk and look at the fabulous designs she sells. I am not going to tell you what colours to use,  that is purely personal,  you can use prints, striped or spotted for the main fabric with iether a plain cotton or a subtle print for the contrast. That is the wonderful thing about sewing, each garment is tailored to your exact requirements. 




After you have pre-shrunk and ironed your fabric take the pattern out of the envalope and run through the instructions before you do anything else.I love the "technical stuff to read for optimum sucess" section which I do urge you to take time to readnot.   It tells you how to choose the correct pattern size and which pattern pieces you need for each design. It also gives cutting layouts which is important if you are to fit all the pattern pieces on to your fabric the right way up with no wastage!



The pattern instructions are virtually the same for the girls and the dolls dress, so I am just going to help your young lady to make her dolls dress. Dont forget that if she does not have a sewing machine my earlier blog post How to read a pattern and how to Hand sew will be really helpful as it shows how to execute some basic hand stitches.

So, after you have cut out your fabric, using the pattern instructions to guide you,stitch a length of ribbon to match your contrast fabric down the centre front of the dress.



To make the applique flowers take a small piece of a fabric which contrasts with your other fabrics and iron some lightweight fusible interfacing to the back of it. Then cut out your three flower shapes carefully.




Applique is easy and fun to do so please don't be daunted by it. If you really honestly don't feel ready for it yet then you can purchase Guipure lace trim which you can either snip individual flowers off or even run a length of it all the way down the centre of your ribbon trim. You can also purchase flower shaped buttons.




Inside your great value sewing box from jaycotts.co.uk Sewing box and contents you will find some fusible hemming web.

Measure the position of each flower, and take a tiny amount of fusible web, place it on the spot where the centre of the flower is to be placed and press it on carefully with a hot iron. You may need help here. This will make it easier to sew the applique in place without it moving around. 




I have measured where I want the applique flowers to go and i hae ironed them in place.  Please make sure that you use only a tiny piece of fusible hemming and that it does not extend beyond the flower itself or it will stick to your iron and could spoil your fabric.




For this project I am using the Brother Innov-is 10A from Jaycotts.co.uk,  see it here Brother Innov-is 10A This is one of Jaycotts best selling sewing machines, and no wonder as it is reliable, easy to use and has all the functions you need . It also comes in at a very reasonable price.

Whatever machine you are using refer to your manual and choose one of the stitches recommended for applique.  For this machine the instructions are on page 68. Test the stitch on a spare piece of fabric first and adjust the stitch length and width to get the best effect. I shortened both the stitch width and length.




Then slowly and carefully stitch all the way around each flower shape. The interfacing together with the type of stich will stop the fabric from fraying.

Go right round each piece,  pivoting at the inside of each petal.




The instructions tell you to sew a small button to the centre of each flower, but as I already have some guipure lace trim I snipped off three small flowers and stitched them by hand to the centre of each applique. I chose different colours, you could make them all the same if you wanted to.



Now that the front is decorated stitch the front to the backs at the shoulders right sides together and overedge or zigzag the seam.

You will need bias binding to finish off the armholes. You can buy bias binding ready made but I always feel that the quality is inferior to hand made. So fold your fabric on the bias - that is,  if you were to cut out a true square of fabric,  the bias runs diagonally from corner to corner. Find the bias of your fabric and cut out a strip about one inch wide.

Put it face down on the ironing board and fold the long edges to the centre and press. There you have it, hand made bias binding, it is so much simpler than going to the shop to buy some!




Stretching the bias binding a little pin and stitch it along the crease line nearest to you all along the armhole. Press the seam towards the binding. Fold it in half and pin. Top stitch close to the edge of the binding catching all the layers.




This is how the finished edge should look. You may if you prefer fold the entire binding to the inside and have none of it showing, it is entirely your choice.



This is the top stitching being done. It will hold the binding in place.



Now it comes to fitting the yoke and I am afraid that you will have to change your thread colour too.  This takes seconds on this particular machine, the drop in bobbin is so easy to use and the automatic needle threader saves frustration over threading the needle by hand.




Join the side seams on both the yoke and the yoke facing by stitching the backs to the front. Press the seams open




You now need to attach the wider edge of the yoke to the top of the dress. Start pinning, keeping the edges together and matching the shoulder seams. It will seem like the two pieces will never fit together  but do not worry, be patient , it will fit together I promise! I would also tack the pieces together before machine stitching as it holds it in place better than pins. Take care not to get any tucks in the underside or the facing will look very amateurish. If you do make a mistake, take your seam ripper and unpick the stitches you are not happy with and do it again.


The diagram in the instruction leaflet gives very clear instructions.  I always keep my instructions to hand so that I can refer to them often.



Press the seam up,towards the yoke.

Take the facing and stitch a narrow hem along the widest edge.Press.



Pin the yoke facing to the yoke right sides together and stitch together around the neckline. Clip the seam, and press it open.

Fold the yoke in half along the seam line and pin the facing down



Top stitch close to the yoke edge catching in all layers.





Stitch the side seams and the back seam up to the marking. Turn in a very narrow hem on the back openings. Overedge stitch or zigzag stitch the seams.

Turn up a narrow hem along the bottom of the dress and turn it up again forming a double hem. Press checking that it is even and top stitch in place.



The instructions tell you to fasten the back with velcro, and that is fine but I love to use non sew poppers.  These are the ones I used Non sew poppers from Jaycotts.co.uk.  they come in all colours and sizes. They do come with a tool to attach them with but I like to use these metal pliers  Pliers for non sew poppers and rivets they are again from jaycotts.co.uk.  

The non sew poppers can be used for almost any project where you would otherwise use a button. They can also be used purely for decoration. They are great for closing bags too.





This is the back of the dress showing the poppers in place. If this doll is for a very young child then do make sure that they are firmly attached or consider using the velcro instead. 



The dress looks amazing and would look fantastic made for your child too. It is a very easy style to make and wear and would look great in lots of other colour combinations. 



I am certain that you could be creative and make different appliques instead of the flowers and stitch them on in a different design. A row of smaller flowers would look good around the hem or around the yoke for example 



This is a dress which is easy both for an adult and a young person to make so do have a go and personalise it to suit you.

I look forward to seeing your photographs iether here or in Twitter.  You can contact me there on @sewingangela 


Happy mother and daughter sewing time


Angela. Xx

In this post I will be making a really easy wrap skirt, perfect for the summer holidays and also a simple sleeveless top using the all in one facing method for a really neat finish. I will also be demonstrating some of the functions of the Brother Innov-is 10A from jaycotts.co.uk which is one of their best selling machines.

This post is suitable for total beginners.

I set out to make a simple wrap skirt to cover my legs from the hot sun in Corfu and ended up making a top as well because there was so much fabric left over
Skirt and top combinations always work well on holiday as you can build many outfits from them. The skirt is a great cover up when you come off the beach and I found that the top looked fantastic with white crop pants.

This is the machine I used to make this outfit, I do highly recommend it for value and for versatility. It is a machine that is not daunting for a beginner yet can grow with you with the addition of a few accessories and different feet.
The Brother Innov-is 10A from jaycotts.co.uk.  telephone them on 01244 394 099 for the current best price or use the contact form for any enquiries HERE

The pattern I used is Kwik Sew 2954 from jaycotts.co.uk  which is very easy to sew and suitable for anybody new to sewing. The pattern is straightforward and the instructions easy to follow. There are long and short versions. 

When you purchase a pattern always look at the back of the pattern envalope as it will tell you exactly what type of fabric the design works well with and the amount needed. It also tells you what else you need, for example interfacing, buttons and so on. This design fastens with a tie at the waist and all that you need apart from the fabric is some medium weight iron on interfacing for the waistband. This is what I used Vilene iron on interfacing Please, never buy cheap interfacing,  it is just not worth it. You only need a small amount so a metre or so will last a long time.
I chose a Viscose dress fabric from MinervaCrafts.com  I am not going to tell you which design you should use,  because there is plenty to choose from on the link, so do  choose something YOU like - we all have different tastes and sewing a garment is personal to you. MinervaCrafts.com have an amazing selection of fabrics to choose from at all prices and the only problem you will have is restricting yourself to just one length!

Before you do anything else wash and iron your fabric just in case it shrinks after you have made it up and then gather together your sewing machine manual, the pattern instructions and a notebook and pen. I always  make notes in a book when I am making a garment for a blog post to help me to write it up later, but I also make notes on the pattern instructions as reminders  when I come to use the pattern again. Dont be afraid to write on your pattern pieces and instructions.

The pattern instructions give clear instructions on the cutting out process, but there are a couple of things I do not agree with and would never do.For example it tells you to mark notches on your fabric by making little cuts into your seam allowance. Please don't,  it is very bad practise. Always cut outwards around the notches in case you need to pinch a bit of seam allowance for extra room or in case your fabric frays. Cutting notches into the seam allowance weakens the fabric at that point
Another thing I am against is the use of marker pens,  they sometimes do not disappear as claimed and can spoil a garment. I always use iether tailors tacks or tailors chalk to mark darts, dots, centre back  and so on
They do have one good idea and that is to use a small piece of masking tape to stick on the back of each fabric piece to write on which piece it is. For a beginner this is a useful trick.
So, mark and stitch your darts, pressing them towards the back then stitch the sides to the back.

I am not going to use my overlocker on this garment ( its at home actually) instead I am going to use the overcast function on the sewing machine itself. Most modern machines have this facility although you may need to purchase a special foot.
If you have never used your sewing machine to overedge seams then please refer to your manual for settings. Even though I have been sewing for a number of years I still keep my manual handy and love experimenting with the various functions.
For this particular machine turn to page 52 and 53 and attach the overedge foot G.

To overedge the seam you need to first trim it. Then attach the foot to the machine and select your stitch which is very easy to do on this particular machine,  you just turn the dial to stitch 5 or 6 depending on the thickness of your fabric. Test it out on a piece or spare fabric because you can adjust the stitch width or length if necessary.
Then line up the fabric with the edge of the fabric against the guide on the presser foot , lower the presser foot lever and slowly start to sew.
Make sure that the stitches come right to the very edge of the fabric.
Neaten both side seams and press towards the back of the garment

Attach your interfacing to the waistband pieces then join them together at the side seams. Trim and press the seams open.

Hem the bottom edge of the waistband

I wanted to tell you about this great value Sewing box and contents from Jaycotts.co.uk it contains everything a sewing beginner needs.  You need something to keep your sewing equipment in and this would also make a great gift.

You need to use tailors chalk and a ruler to mark a line one inch in on both ends of the waistband next.

Attach the waistband to the skirt matching all notches and seams. Trim the seam and press it open.
There is a process called "understitching"which holds facings in place with no visible stitches on the right side of the garment. To do understitching on this garment sew the seam allowance  onto the waistband as close to the seam as possible. This row of stitches will only be seen on the reverse of the skirt.

Then fold the waistband over and press it flat.

Make the ties, one long,money short by stitching your 5/8"seam along one short edge and pivoting at the corner stitch the long edge. Trim the seam and turn right sides out using the rounded end of a pencil, making sure to push the corners square. Press.

Pin the ties to the skirt  with the short tie on the right of the skirt, and the longer left tie on the left side of the skirt. Follow the pattern instructions if you are not sure how to position the ties. Stich the ties in place along the line marked earlier.

 You now need to cut close to those lines removing an inch of waistband and tie, but DO NOT cut the skirt itself.

Measure an inch in all along the skirt fronts, press and fold the raw edges under. Press again and top stitch close to the edge.

The pattern tells you that you can leave the ties to wrap around your body as they are or to make a buttonhole to thread the tie through. This is a great opportunity to try out your buttonhole foot, and makes for a neater finish to the skirt.

Turn to the page in your manual which tells you how to use the buttonhole foot specific to your machine. For this machine you will find the instructions on pages 56 and 57. Attach the foot to your machine,  pull down the buttonhole lever and open the button guide to its longest position. Select buttonhole stitch  #14.

Practise on a spare piece of fabric and make sure the tie fits through it easily, mark the position of the buttonhole one inch from the left side of the skirt and sew it carefully. Cut the buttonhole open with great care using sharp pointed scissors.
This is what it should look like with the tie threaded through. If you are a total  beginner then patterned fabric which has a simple print not requiring much matching is a great option as tiny mistakes (we all make them) do not show as much.
Top stitch the top and bottom of the waist

The tie threads through the buttonhole and then ties in a bow at the side holding the skirt securely in place.

Finish the hem in exactly the same way as you did the sides, and give the whole thing a good press.

There are plenty of shell top patterns, this is similar to the self drafted one I use. Every year I make a few of these tops for holidays, they cost next to nothing and are quick to sew.

Stitch your darts and then join the front to the back at the shoulders and do the same with the facing. Please note that the facings should be interfaced but I was away from home and had run out!
Pin the facing to the top, right sides together all along the neck edge and sleeve edges.

Trim the seam allowance and clip the curves. Press.

Then attach a safety pin to the bottom of a back piece and thread it through the chanel created at the shoulder. Do the same on the other side.press the shoulders making sure that the seams are flat.

Mark where the back  opening starts and stitch the centre back seam to that point. Stich the facing together to that point too. Neaten the centre back seam. Neaten the edge of the facing 
Right sides together,  stitch down from the centre back neckline to the centre back seam. Turn the whole thing the right way out and press. 
Join the side seams in one operation by folding the facing up and stitching from the top of the facing to the hem.
Please note that I lengthened my top by four inches and so I marked a point where I wanted vents to go at the sides and stitched down to those points. I wanted a longer top so that I could tuck it in to wear with the skirt or wear it loose with pants.

Stich a ribbon  button loop and self covered button to the top of the back.
If you have done vents as I did then measure the seam allowance and press and fold just as we did on the skirt fronts and hem, stitching close to the seam edge. Turn up the hem in the same way.

This is the back of the top where the button and button loop were attached

And this is the front. This method of sewing an all in one facing is easy to master on most sleeveless dresses and tops and I always use it when I can.

The top and skirt are so versatile for holidays especially when weight limits are so tight.

This is the top worn with jeans,  although you cannot see them!

And these pictures show the whole outfit worn together.

I am very fond of MinervaCrafts.com so do look at their web site, they sell quality fabrics to suit all budgets and the customer service is excellent.

I want to say a huge a thank you to Jaycotts.co.uk and to MinervaCrafts.com for the trouble you went to to get me a sewing machine,  patterns and fabrics sent over to Corfu. This is why I highly recommend them, their customer service really does go way beyond normal 
Thank you very much indeed Alex and Vicki, what you did for me was amazing and I am forever grateful. 
 Angela x 

We are going to make Annie a more casual outfit of trendy flared trousers and a short sleeved shirt. Both are easy to make but will demonstrate perfectly how you would make an adult garment as we will be using a lot of the same processes. Making dolls clothes is a great way to learn to sew for any age as the garments are small enough to be completed in one go.



This is Annie wearing her new outfit. The fabrics are from Threadheadfabrics.co.uk as before. Thread Head has put together some special bundles of fabric at a really good price and can be ordered on the link here Long quarter bundles they really are value for money and are a very good quality fabric.

The pattern is Kwik Sew 2878 from jaycotts.co.uk as before.




The sewing machine I am using for this blog is the Brother Innov-is 10A.  I highly recommend this machine because it is of a very high quality, lovely to look at and is extremely easy to use.  Throughout this post we will be exploring some of its functions. This machine is suitable for beginners of any age but it is a machine which you can grow into as you become more confident with its functions. To view the machine on Jaycotts.co.uk web site, take a look at this link, and when you order one don't forget to ask what the best current price is. Delivery is worldwide too.

Full details of this value for money machine cane be found here, Brother Innov-is 10A from jaycotts.co.uk






To get started with using the machine you will need the quick start guide leaflet which explains step by step how to thread the machine and how to wind the bobbin. The instructions are very easy to follow and the machine easy to thread so don't just guess ag how it threads, do it correctly by following the instructions step by step. This way you can be certain  that the machine will work first time. It is very important that you do take care when threading the machine and will avoid getting stressed because it does not sew correctly.




Once you have threaded it and stitched a test row,then get your instruction manual out and play around with the various stitches . If you look at chapter 2 in the manual, on page 39 it shows clearly how to select each stitch. This is a very easy machine to use I promise you. By the way it threads needles automatically which is bliss!



We are going to make the Shirt which is view A together with the flared pants, so first of all select your pattern pieces and press your fabric.

I am making the short sleeved shirt, but if you prefer the long sleeved version the process is exactly the same.



Cut out all your pattern pieces  and put them to one side.





Just as we would make an adult shirt, certain parts of this shirt need interfacing. You will need small pieces of a lightweight interfacing, do buy a good quality one , and follow the pattern instructions foe Shirt view A to cut the pieces out. Carefully iron them on to the fronts and the collar. Press the front facing in and press the collar in half as shown.


Following a pattern is very easy but it does require a little practise, so do persevere.




This is the interfaced collar and shirt fronts.the shirt fronts have been pressed to the inside.


Using your sewing machine select your stitch, I chose a basic sewing stitch, number 2 which is shown in the Manuel on page 53. Pin the fronts to the back at the shoulders right sides,together.  Carefully measure 1/4" seam allowance and stitch the shoulder seams. When you start and finish a seam secure the stitching so that it does not come undone by pressing the reverse button to do a couple of reinforcing stitches. Page 45 of your manual shows how to do this.



Once you have sewn your seam you will need to neaten the edges. Now is a good time to experiment with the various stitches on your machine. Again referring to your manual and using a spare scrap of fabric have a go at using the utility over casting stitches on page 51. Experiment with changing ths stich length and width too. When you feel comfortable make a note of the stitch you like best and use it to finish the shoulder seams.





This is an example of a zigzag stitch I used when making this garment.it is a fairly short stitch, 2,  set at an average with, 3.5





Stitch the collar down the sides, right sides together,  clip the corner carefully as on the pattern instructions , fold in half, press.

This is great practise at following a pattern by the way!

Overedge the facing in the fronts of the shirt

Stitch the collar in place and press. Top stitch all around the front up and around the collar and back down the other side. Choose a longer straight stitch and keep the stitches close to the edge.



Now it is time for the sleeves. On an adult garment you would finish the sleeve edges later,  but because this is a small garment it is far easier to do it now. So overedge the sleeves, turn them up by 1/4"and top stitch.



TIP - If you add a row of long stitches to the top of the sleeve you will find it easier to ease the sleeve into the armhole.

Right sides together pin and  stitch the sleeve into the armhole. Press and overedge the seam.




Pin the side seams together from the  sleeve edge to the bottom of the shirt. Stich and overedge the seams. Press.

Overedge the hem and press the hem allowance up. Top stitch the hem.



Put the shirt on your doll to check the fit and mark the position of the buttons. I am using poppers, the details of which can be found in my precious blog post as I used them when making the dress. It is ok to mark the position of the poppers with a pencil dot as it will not be seen once the poppers are in place.



This is the popper kit, it has everything you need in the pack including a tool to fix them on with. There is a great selection of colours available, don't forget to choose small ones for this garment.  Non sew poppers

Once the popera are in place then give the shirt a press and it is ready to wear.  Dont forget to cut off all loose threads.



The trousers are simple to make with just four pieces all the same. When you cut the pieces out try to match the pattern if you can, but don't get too hung up about it, whilst we are still learning about sewing..

Lets start by placing two fronts and two backs right side together and sewing the centre front and back seams.don't forget to neaten the seam edges.



Let's take a look at the machine a bit more. You will notice that there is a pull down accessory box which will hold your spare feet, screwdrivers and other accessories.



The machine has a drop in bobbin which is very easy to use as you can see easily what you are doing.



The storage box slides off to enable you to sew narrow tubes such as sleeves etc. It is a good idea to keep your manual close at hand when you are sewing as I promise you will constantly discover new things about it!



Stitch the side seams and then neaten the hem just as you did when making the shirt. Pin and stitch the remaining seam by starting at the bottom of one trouser leg and sewing right round to the bottom of the other leg. Neaten the seam.




The pattern instructions tell you how to cut a piece of elastic to fit the trousers waist



Stitch it together to make a circle and mark it into equal quarters. These markers match up the centre front, back and side seams.

Stretching the elastic, and using a wide zig zag stitch sew the elastic onto the wrong side of the trousers top.



Finish the waist exactly as on the pattern  instructions . Press the trousers.



This is Annie's new causal outfit made and we have explored how to begin using a sewing machine.  If you do not have access to a machine these can still be made with hand sewing, so do not worry.

The headband is easy to make by sewing a tube of fabric, turning it right side out and stitching a small piece of elastic to the back. Why not make one for yourself?


I hope that you have enjoyed this post, I would really love to see more of your pictures so do show me what you have made.


Happy sewing,, Angela.

A jaycotts.co.uk How Do I do That  Post

I love the Eliza M WANDA dress and wear the short version a lot. I wanted a long dress for the summer and looked through my patterns and decided how lovely the Wanda would be if I made it into a long dress, so, here is how I did it. Along the way we are going to explore some basic pressing tools.

i made the right decision dont you think?It looks lovely long.

If you remember I have made the Wanda dress before and as the instructions are basically the same  I am not going to repeat them too much. You can find the blog post on this link  the Eliza M Wanda Dress

When deciding to alter a pattern you need to consider the pattern and if it suitable for what you want it to do.This dress has a fitted bodice but a gently  flared skirt and I worked out that it would turn out fine if I lengthened it. Please note though that I did try out the pattern hack on an old sheet first just to make sure that altering the skirt would work and for example if the skirt bottom would be wide enough to walk in, or did I need to add to the side seam as well

I took some pattern paper and fastened it to the bottom of my front and back skirt patterns..keeping my ruler level I marked 12" from the bottom of the old hem line making pencil marks every inch or so. It was easy then to join all these markings using a french Curve. Now that I had my new pattern I calculated that I would need less than a metre extra fabric to make the new design. Luckily I had just the right fabric in my stash!
Tracing paper is available from jaycotts.co.uk They also sell larger rolls if you do a lot of pattern alterations pattern tracing paper sheets 

when I placed my pattern pieces onto my fabric I decided that I would prefer to widen the bottom of the skirt a bit and marked a line  gradually extending to an inch from the side at the bottom edge. Dont forget that if you do this on both sides of the fronts and backs you are multiplying this inch by four giving you four inches of extra width around the bottom.
Take a look at all the marking and measuring tools Jaycotts sell Personally i prefer chalk in all its forms to marker pens as it is easily removed Measuring and marking tools 

making up the dress is now exactly the same as in the short version, so you may want to read that post in the link above.
have you noticed that there are a lot of curves in this design? In particular the shoulders have a very marked curve down towards the capped sleeve extension. In order to press this seam open you need to press the seam over a curve. A  sleeve roll is ideal for this sleeve roll I use mine a lot.

this is the sleeve roll placed under the shoulder seam to enable me to press the curved seam.
Another useful pressing tool is a Tailors Pressing ham Tailors pressing ham  you do not need to go out and purchase these immediately but i would definately start  adding a good selection of pressing tools to your collection of sewing accessories They really do make the difference between home-made and hand made so very obvious. If you press every seam every time you will notice a difference in the appearance of your work I guarantee

Another indispensable piece of equipment is a sleeve board,Sleeve board great not just for pressing sleeves without getting a line down the side, but for any small fiddly jobs. I use mine for dolls

 I also use it with my mini iron mini iron or mini steam iron mini steam iron   These are indispensable for pressing small areas especially when you do not want to get your large ironing board out.
Another thing you definately need is a selection of pressing cloths, When I was at college we had to shrink all our fabrics by hand before using them, the way we did this was to get a bowl of water and dip  a cotton cloth in it then wring it out as hard as possible, this was placed on the fabric with a dry linen cloth over it and pressed (not ironed) until the cotton fabric was dry. This was done allover the fabric then it was hung up to dry thoroughly. It took forever! I still use my linen cloth though because linen can withstand high temperatures and the fabric underneath it will not scorch
That's the reason for using a pressing cloth.to protect the fabric. You can purchase all sorts of pressing cloths these days even transparent silk ones which give a clear view of the fabric being pressed underneath. This is a great pressing cloth here, it withstands high temperatures and prevents damage to your fabric. pressing cloth

A tip for you is when you have to stitch into a point as in a sweetheart neckline put a pin at the very point where you need to pivot your stitching and set your machine with the needle in the down position.

You can also draw the seam allowance onto the interfacing with your chalk for total accuracy. This is my neckline i used my pinking  shears to trim the curves as I feel that it gives a nicer finish than just clipping into the curves . They are not cheap but will last a lifetime or  two and do really give a good clean turn  much better than clipping into the curves Pinking Shears

the bodice has an all in one facing. To make it stitch the front to the backs at the shoulders and at the sleeve edges. Clip (or better still Pink) the edges.Press with your sleeve roll or ham and to turn it right sides out put a large safety pin on the bottom of the back bodice and feed it through the opening pulling it right sides out,repeat on the other side and press. It sounds complicated but once you see it in action it will all become  clear I promise

for the waistband I found this fabric in my stash it has in it exactly the same colours as in my main fabric but with the green being prominent.

here is the finished dress, It s very relaxed and summery. I especially like the contrast waistband

And here are the two Wand dresses side by side.One long and one knee length. The pattern is available by clicking on this link Eliza M Wanda Pattern 
I hope that you have enjoyed this post.For enquiries or to order any of these products contact Jaycotts.co.uk  Contact Jaycotts There is an email contact form and also a telephone number for during office hours
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post
Explore Jaycotts.co.uk website for more ideass
Happy sewing

Posted By Blogger to SewAngelicThreads on 6/28/2016 08:18:00 am
1 2 3 5 Next »