Sewing With Sequins

how to sew with sequins


Do you ever sew outside your comfort zone? I recently decided to take my own sewing experiences one step further by enrolling for a sequin embroidery workshop with the Royal School of Needlework, hosted at the Bath Fashion Museum. And if that’s not a sentence to make you swoon, I don’t know what else to write.

But I’ll try. 😉

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The Maker’s Atelier Magazine, Autumn/Winter 18

velvet press board

Meet my beloved velvet press board, scooped up for me from a car boot sale. I barely use it but love owning it. A bit like this brass tape measure, I bought myself from the same car boot sale (different day, same venue).

What can I say? I loves me a car boot sale.

brass tape measure

I wouldn’t actually use this tape measure in my dressmaking. Woven tapes become stretched and distorted with age. But I enjoy owning it.

The Maker’s Atelier second quarterly magazine release (kindly gifted to me) inspired me to dig these items out. The theme is velvet, and what a sumptuous production this magazine is. I defy you not to utter gasps of delight as you turn the thick, snow-white pages.

makers atelier magazine autumn winter 18

makers atelier magazine velvet skirt

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Button Band Tip

how to sew a button band

I am currently sewing a blouse that asks you to attach a button band to a pre-hemmed front pattern piece. Above, you can see where the base of the button band meets the hem of the blouse front.

Whenever you have a junction like this, you want the two sections to meet up closely and accurately, so that there’s no ‘jump’ in the hem’s line.

Over the years, I’ve discovered a trick when attaching two sections like this – I end my row of stitching just short of the finish line. Can you see below, the little gape?

button band detail

sewing a button band

That little bit of leverage allows you to adjust and tweak the way the fabric sits, when you flip the rear of the button band over and sew it down. This, in turn allows you a smooth and accurate meeting point along the hem. Job done.

Sometimes, sewing is about knowing when not to sew. Sometimes, it’s the empty spaces that count! Do you have any tips like this, learnt from trial and error?

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How To Commission A 1940s Wedding Dress

1940s wedding dress

You know, I’d almost be tempted to get married, just to wear a wedding dress like Juliet’s. It’s definitely a dress, rather than a gown. And that’s what I love about this wedding outfit – it’s so grown up.

If you’ve read a bestselling novel or even gone to the cinema over the past few years, it’s likely you’ve enjoyed the talent of a Juliet Mushens client. Juliet is a literary agent known for her laser eye, immaculate taste and editorial skills. She also has excellent taste in dresses, as evidenced by this once-in-a-lifetime commission from Maggie Cooke.

Juliet kindly agreed to tell us in her own words the story of a dress that truly took my breath away…

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Sewing In A Dystopian Dust Bowl (And Other Words I Never Thought I’d Write)

sewing outside summer

Soooo. Summer. Shall we talk about it?


Or as a friend wrote to me today, ‘I find sleeping at night with no clothes and no covers strangely discomforting rather than liberating!’ No kidding. I mean, we’re British. We don’t do flesh – not of the naked kind.

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Sew Yourself Kind

sewing kindness

I’ve been mulling kindness lately. To me, this photo represents:

  • Sewing gifts made to me
  • Sewing gifts I have failed to make (baby quilt, I am looking at you!)
  • Sewing gifts from me to me (the best kind?)
  • Gifts yet to be handed over
  • Secondhand gifts
  • Gifts that have nothing to do with sewing but make me happy

Kindness is contagious, we all know that. It’s also good for our minds and bodies, releasing all sorts of chemicals such as serotonin, endorphins and oxycodone.

Making makes us kinder. Actually, I think I stole that theory from Almond Rock, but it’s a great theory. There’s all sorts of evidence, from sewalongs to grief quilts, to sewing a wedding dress for your best friend, to the fabulous Knitted Knockers that a reader brought my attention to.

Do you use sewing to show kindness, or has anyone gifted kindness to you with a needle and thread? I’d love to hear.

I need to be kind to myself with some more sewing. I miss sewing right now!

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How To Sew With Fringe & Giveaway


ogden cami & culottes

I met up with a couple of friends recently, and one of them wore a pair of really cool fringed trousers from & Other Stories. I wanted a pair and left my friends with a promise I’d make some.

Here they are! But you try photographing black silk. Even better, try photographing a black dog sat beside some black silk. Welcome to the vortex, friends! This photo makes me laugh so much.

black dog black silk

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Waistcoat Wednesday


Well, in a few hours from now we’ll know one way or another. If England is through to the finals. Do you have your beer in the fridge and sewing machine wheeled in front of the telly?

Whatever the outcome, the team’s manager, Gareth Southgate has proved himself heroic. The world’s in love with his humble yet powerful leadership – and his waistcoats!

If this has inspired you to sew a waistcoat, the 70s were the waistcoat decade. The above is a Woman’s Realm pattern. It’s not dated, but by those haircuts I’m going with 1970s. Agreed?

Of course, we can go much farther back than that – take this Vogue 1950s pattern for a man’s waistcoat. How debonair.

vogue waistcoat

I shan’t claim that all waistcoat patterns shall have you brimming with inspiration. Shudder…

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Naked Sewing

kimono close up

Phewee! It’s a heat wave and no mistake. Right now, lifting a little finger involves breaking out in a profound sweat. I applaud anyone who’s managing to sew. Are you down to your underwear yet?

I’m not above sewing in my bra and knickers – either because of the heat or constant trying on of a work in progress. Sometimes the constant rigmarole of climbing back into my day clothes feels like one step too many, especially when I know I’ll be wriggling back into a dress in a moment.

Why bother getting changed? Why not just sew in my knickers?

I have heard of sewing injuries to delicate parts of the body, but am glad to report that hasn’t happened to me – yet.

And sewing classes don’t guarantee modesty. I’ve changed in toilet cubicles, in front of the mirror, in an office and – my proudest moment yet – before a bay window as the light was fading and the sewing class was lit up like a beacon!

Do you indulge in naked sewing and when have you been most shameless?

Disclaimer: No eyeballs were scarred in the writing of this blog post. I kept my clothes on.

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Farewell, Ernest Wright & Son

ernest wright scissors studio

‘That’s modern technology for you,’ I overheard a man say, as I walked past the confetti in the gutter.

I was on my way to the closing down sale of Ernest Wright & Son.

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