Top 5 Sewing Gift Ideas

If you're reading this blog post, you've probably already watched my YouTube video which suggests 5 items which I would recommend as a gift for someone who sews. If you haven't seen the video you can check that out here.

I haven't been asked by anyone to promote these items, I just thought it would make a fun and helpful video.

1. Thimble Desk Tidy by Wild & Wolf
I got mine as a gift from a friend last Christmas but you can get one from Fred Aldous for £10.

2. Ditsy Rose Print Adjustoform
Again, mine was gifted to me last year by my fiance but you can get one from Amazon for £99.99.

3. Thread Rack
I got my first thread rack as a gift from my fiance last Christmas and have since bought myself a second because I find it so useful. This one holds 60 spools and can be found on Amazon for £16.99 (at the time I post this). You can find similar by searching "Thread Rack" or "Thread Holder" on Amazon or Ebay.

4. Paper Trimmer
I found this one at Staples for £9.59 or there are cheaper on Ebay for £5.99. I would recommend getting something more robust, over a cheaper version. Top tip is to make sure it will handle A4 paper, as there are some out there which are much larger and occasionally some that are smaller.

5. Dress Makers Paper (Tracing Paper)
I got mine from Jaycotts for £19.95 for 50 meters and I use it all the time. I've struggled to find a smaller quantity for such good value anywhere else. It's excellent for tracing as well as drafting or making adjustments. Jaycotts do free postage over £25 so it might be worth picking yourself up some machine needles or something while you're there.

If you've got any comments or questions, please pop over to the YouTube video and leave a comment.

September Sewing Plans
This month is going to be a jersey sewing bonanza! To hear more about what I’m planning to make you can come visit me on YouTube, or read on for the patterns and fabrics mentioned in the video, including links where available.
The Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet.
The Made to Measure Leggings Course by Zede and Mallory Donohue.

White t-shirt knit, mint t-shirt knit, navy ribbing and spotty t-shirt knit from Abakhans. I bought all these from their discount bins so don’t have a direct link.

 Blue ribbing and cotton jersey from B&M fabrics, Leeds. They don’t appear to sell online but I recommend a visit.

Cheap mustard ponte de roma from Ebay.

Blush pink jersey from Fabworks Mill Shop. I bought in person so I’m not sure if it’s on the website.

Rainbow cloud scuba from Fabric Styles.

Banana striped t-shirt knit from Barry’s in Birmingham.

Please feel free to follow me on Instagram if you're interested in more frequent sewing updates. What are your thoughts on sewing with knits?

Monetta Party

The Moneta Party happened on Instagram in February. I wasn’t going to join in because I’d not planned anything and I wasn’t in a rush to make the pattern. That was until I realised that the Sew Down Dewsbury meet up was on the same weekend and a lot of other sewists attending would all be wearing Monetas. So I downloaded the pattern and went in search of emergency jersey.

My local fabric shops are not great at stocking knits so it’s a little hit and miss with what you might find. I got hold of this green t-shirt material with dainty pink roses all over it. It isn’t something I would normally have picked but I didn’t have many other options. It is very nice and soft and drapes well. I keep finding myself wearing the dress and coming across the bolt of fabric in different shops!
I chose to do the peter pan style collar because I didn’t like the idea of just turning the neckline over, and I’d not had any experience with neck bands before (having made my plantains the month after the Moneta). This worked out really well and by some fluke I managed to get the centre of the collar perfectly aligned.
The method for gathering the skirt was much commented on in the Instagram and blogging world. I found it quite interesting and I’d like to try it again sometime. My skirt isn’t very evenly gathered but I think the busy print and casual feel of the dress disguise that somewhat. It will just take a bit more practice next time.

It has pockets! I love a good pocket so that’s a big plus. I’m not sure about where the waist line sits, it cuts right through my belly and exaggerates some tummy rolls sometimes which isn’t always flattering. I think next time I make it I will either raise slightly by about an inch or maybe even further and see what an empire line looks like.

What has surprised me is that even though I wasn’t overly enthusiastic on the pattern or fabric to begin with, I have found that I reach for this dress very often. I like that it’s comfortable like a t-shirt but is a bit prettier than that. I am looking forward to making another, perhaps for the autumn.

Plain Plantains

My go to outfit is jeans/trousers, a T-shirt and a jumper. Given that most of my T-shirts are minimum 4 years old and starting to show their wear pretty badly, I decided to invest some time in making some replacements.

I started with the Plantain T which is a free PDF pattern by Deer and Doe. I was drawn to it by its basic shape and the optional cute elbow patches.

I’ve made two so far, both from cheap jersey from the Abakhan fabric bins. The sun is so bright in these photos they look the same, but one is white and the other is much thinner pale green jersey. You can almost tell them apart from the way they drape.

I did a slight full bust adjustment using this easy method for no-darts fronts by Maria Denmark. I also graded out two sizes at the waist. I could have graded back in for the hips but I decided not to and kept the extra room.

I sewed the whole thing up on the over-locker which was slightly brave considering my lack of experience with knit garments. It made it a really quick make, completing both in the same week (I like to sew at a relaxed pace). 

The seam allowance in the pattern is 5/8”, but it’s really hard to gage that on the over locker. Because of this, my first attempt at the neck band went a bit awry (above). Altering the seam allowances down to 3/8” will make this much easier next time as I’ll be able to line the fabric up with the edge of the machine.

I cut a new band, trimmed the neckline to make it symmetrical again, and got it sewn on fine eventually as you can see from my second attempt above. My twin needling could with a little work, but I’ve already got some tips on how to improve that thanks to Instagram.

I really enjoyed making this pattern, I can’t wait to try the long sleeve version next. I'm also looking forward to trying the Ebony T-shirt by Closet Case Patterns because I have picked up a couple of very light weight drapey jerseys. I also want to try the Maria Denmark Kimono Tee pattern because I hear it's a good way of using up smaller amounts of left over fabric.

What is your favourite T-shirt staple?