Archive | Sewing RSS feed for this section

Tutorial: Patchwork Rainbow Cloud wall hanging

Earlier this week we posted the images of our Great British Summer Outing shop display and as promised, here is the tutorial for how to make the patchwork cloud that features in it.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

I have to admit, when I was making this I was just kind of making it up as I went along! As this is a project you can make in any size I have not given and exact measurements.

What you will need:
A plain grey fabric for the background and the backing. (I used Manchester Yarn Dyes – Steel)
Long strips of fabric in rainbow colours (skinny quarters of Kona Cotton Solids work great for this)
Co-ordinating thread
Wadding or Toy Filling (whichever you prefer)
General sewing supplies

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

1. Draw your shape out on a piece of paper making sure it is about half an inch larger than you want the finished cloud to be to allow for seam allowances.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

2. Cut out your shape. This is now your template.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

3. Draw 8 evenly spaced lines out to mark out where your rainbow stripes will go.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

4. Cut out long strips of the coloured fabrics twice as wide as the rainbow stripes, plus 1 inch. Don’t worry too much about the length, just make sure they are a bit longer than the lines you have drawn on your template. Then iron these strips in half longways. This automatically finished one of their edges.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

5. Find matching threads for each of your colours. (It is up to you how fussy you want to be about how well they match).

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

6. One at a time, layer your stripes by overlapping them in ‘rainbow order’. You are aiming for the visible parts of the stripes to be the same width as the lines you drew on the template.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

7. Top stitch them together 1/4inch from the fold of the top piece. I used the 1/4inch seam foot on my machine to help with this.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

8. You should end up with a block of coloured stripes with a neat fold at one side and raw edges at the other.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

9. Cut half of your main cloud front fabric in half diagonally so you have a piece for either side of the cloud. (Make sure you leave enough for the backing). Overlap the bottom side of the rainbow over the corresponding diagonal main cloud front piece.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

10. Top stitch 1/4inch from the fold to join them.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

11. Place the raw edge of the rainbow right sides together with the other corresponding diagonal side of the main cloud fabric. Stitch with a 1/2inch seam and press the seam towards the cloud.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

12. Your should now have something that looks something like this…

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

13. Place your paper cloud template on top and pin it down.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

14. Cut around your template to get your final shape.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

15. Cut out a second cloud shape from your cloud backing fabric. Place your cloud backing and cloud front right sides together and pin. Sew all the way around with a 1/2inch seam allowance leaving a gap for turning and stuffing. You will need to pivot at the corners.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

16. Clip the curves and snip into the troughs and turn right sides out. Press.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

17. Fill with toy stuffing or wadding and sew up the gap. You can also top stitch around the whole shape if you like or even quilt it.

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

18.You can then hang up your cloud with invisible thread if you wish or use it as something else… a cushion perhaps?

Patchwork Cloud Tutorial

The sun and the raindrops are made simply by cutting out two of each shape, placing them right sides together, sewing around them leaving a gap and then turning to the right side and finishing. Easy!

We would love to see your versions of our rainbow cloud. Share your makes with #thevillagehaberdashery.

Comments { 1 }

Top tips: Sewing with PVC and laminated fabrics!

We just love the super cool PVC fabrics we have in stock at the moment but sometimes they can be a little tricky to work with as they don’t respond in the same way uncoated fabrics do. We have put together these 13 top tips for you to conquer those laminated fabrics and make something amazing!

13 tips for sewing with laminated fabrics

1. Think about the project you want to use your laminated fabric for. Bear in mind that it will not be machine washable. Also it is best to stick to reasonably simple shapes as it doesn’t always work well with lots of curves because it has no drape.

laminated fabrics

2. Use a new sharp needle. Size 12 or 14 will be fine but if you find it is struggling try a Jeans needle. It is always best to test on a scrap of the laminated fabric first.

3. Normal sewing thread is fine. No need to use an extra strong thread. We recommend Gutermann Sew All thread.

Sew all threads

4. Lengthen your stitch length. About 3mm long should work. If the stitch length is too short the needle will create too many holes in the fabric and this could weaken your seam. A longer stitch length also helps to avoid puckers. You may however find you will need to decrease the length a little for any tight curves.

Stitch Length

5. NEVER iron on the coated side of the fabric! A cool iron on the reverse side will be fine but make sure it does not touch the front for even a second (it makes a mess of your fabric and your iron!). Finger pressing the seams with this fabric is sufficient for these fabrics. Also a pattern will usually require to top stitch the seams which will help hold them in place too. If you do need to get rid of wrinkles a cool setting on your hair dryer should to help ease them out! Always try to store your fabrics in a way that they will not get creased. Rolling is a good option here.

6. Use an easy glide pressure foot and needle plate. You may find that the right side of the fabric is getting stuck to your pressure foot and needle plate as you are stitching. There are special pressure feet and needle plates available that help to stop the right side of coated fabric. These are made of a ‘non-stick’ material called Teflon which will help your fabric glide through easily. However if you do not want to buy one of these a piece of masking tape over your normal needle plate (avoiding the feed dogs) and on the bottom of the standard pressure foot should do the trick!

7. No need to finish the edges. Happy days! The coating on these fabrics will stop any fraying so you do not need worry about finishing the edges. You could cut with pinking shears if you wanted a more fancy finish however!

8. Never use pins. Pins will leave permanent holes in your beautiful fabrics. Wonder clips are your best friend here as they do not leave any marks and hold the fabric really steady. Paper clips and bulldog clips also work but may leave some marks on the fabric.

9. Remember not to use pins when cutting out. Use pattern weights and a rotary cutter to cut out, or tracing paper and a tracing wheel to transfer the pattern. Alternatively draw round your pattern pieces and then cut. Just choose the method that works best for you.

10. Sticky tape can be super helpful. Magic Scotch Tape is great for holding pieces like patch pockets in place while you stitch. This just peels off afterwards and should not leave a residue on the fabric (always test a piece first and remove as soon as possible afterwards).

11. Double sided tape is also good for holding together openings in seams. This does not need to be removed as you won’t be able to see it once the seam gap is stitched up!

12. Waterproof the seams. If you are making something like a raincoat you will want to be sure to waterproof the seams so no rain seeps through. A ‘seam sealing tape’ will work well here and is super easy to use.

13. Check twice stitch once. Once the needle punctures the fabric that hole is permanent!

I really hope these tips have given you more confidence to work with these fab fabrics. Don’t forget to show us your makes with #thevillagehaberdashery !

Comments { 7 }

A close up on our ‘Great British Summer Outing’ vignette

As we all know, here in Britain the weather isn’t totally reliable and if it isn’t raining, wait a bit and it probably will rain! However, nothing stops us going out what ever the weather and having a good summer family outing. This vignette is inspired by days out when I was little, usually dressed up in a raincoat or dungarees and always with my welly boots on!

Three Girls

Our young Mum is wearing the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress in Cotton/Spandex Denim Buxton.

Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

This is such a simply pattern to make and is super easy to personalise. I have stitched one of The Make Arcade’s Mini Cross Stitch Kits onto the front pocket for this one, but you could sew on some fabric patches, do some freehand embroidery, or even add some intentional distressed parts to the fabric if you like. Dungaree buckles and Jean buttons work so well on this dress.

Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

I had really good fun with the top stitching on the pockets!

Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

Our littlest girl is dressed just like Mum with her dungaree dress. The pattern is the Two Stitches Frankie pattern and is so cute!

Two Stitches Frankie Dress


Two Stitches Frankie Dress

I couldn’t resist adding the Unicorn Mini Cross Stitch to her front pocket.

Two Stitches Frankie Dress

The shape of the skirt is just perfect and the elastic section at the back means fitting is very easy.

Two Stitches Frankie Dress

I have replaced the bulky dungaree buckles with little flower buttons for a more dainty look.

Two Stitches Frankie Dress

Our other little one is very cozy in her Amy Butler – Little Splashes Hooded Raincoat. Fabric is the adorable Magical Summer Unicorn in Mint and Gold PVC. Keep an eye out for a top tips for sewing with PVC fabric post coming soon.

Amy Butler Little Splashes Raincoat

Amy Butler Little Splashes Raincoat

The coat is lined in brushed cotton to make it extra snuggly!

Amy Butler Little Splashes Raincoat

I just love the pleated pockets with the little flaps.

Amy Butler Little Splashes Raincoat

Amy Butler Little Splashes Raincoat

Hanging above in the shop we have the Great British Summer weather cloud! Rain + Sun = Rainbow!

Rainbow Cloud

The coloured fabrics are all Kona Cotton Solids and the cloud is Manchester Yarn Dyes in Steel. We will have a tutorial for how to make this on The Daily Stitch in the next week or so.

Rainbow Cloud

We hope you enjoyed reading all about our ‘Great British Summer Outing’ vignette and are having a fantastic summer time… even when it is excellent weather for ducks!


Rain boots

What are you making to wear out and about this summer? Tag your makes with #thevillagehaberdashery. Happy Sewing!


Comments { 0 }

Our favourite resources for sewing with double gauze!

We love cotton double gauze because it is floaty and soft, lending itself to both special garments and beautiful quilts.

Double Gauze

In recent years double gauze gone from something you can only find in highly-coveted Japanese fabric collections (perhaps you’ve heard the name Nani Iro?) to being produced by some of the biggest quilting fabric manufacturers in the industry (perhaps you’ve heard of Cotton and Steel?)

Nani Iro Double Gauze

But it’s still new to many of our customers and every time we share a picture on Instagram, we get questions! We have a few favourite resources to share and we wanted to put them all in one place to give you the courage and inspiration to try double gauze if you haven’t already.

Parallels double gauze

First, start by watching this video by Cotton and Steel. They produced it when they launched their first double gauze collection a couple of years ago. It has sewing tips and suggestions and is going to make you want to get started straight away! Sorry – it’s driving me crazy but I can’t get this video to centre!!

Next, check our our own blog post Tips for dressmaking with double gauze by Jenni Smith. It’s extremely comprehensive and you’ll get to see more pics of the cute Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress Jenni made with our double gauze!

Tips for dressmaking with double gauze

Finally, Colette Patterns did a blog post on double gauze with even more information, plus lots of cute pattern ideas too.

Colette Double Gauze

Are you inspired? Yes? You can find our current selection of double gauze (and we add new prints all the time!) right here.

Comments { 0 }

Makers for Grenfell and Quilts for Grenfell Tower

I’m a little late in posting about this, but I wanted to help spread the word about a couple of really wonderful things happening in our community in response to the devastating Grenfell Tower fire.

Makers for Grenfell

Portia at Makery organised this fundraiser and on her blog she outlined a number of ways you, as a maker and human, can contribute, including a raffle. More than £4000 has been raised to date (check out the JustGiving page here) and she is evaluating charities to direct the funds to. For our small part, we’ve contributed a complete fat quarter bundle of Wonderland by Rifle Paper Co. to the raffle and you can buy a ticket until 31 July. There are zillions of other great prizes if you need further motivation!

Quilts for Grenfell Tower

There is also a really wonderful group of 1000+ strong quilters on the Quilt for Grenfell Tower Facebook group that are facilitating quilt donations and quilt making for Grenfell survivors. We are serving as a collection point for quilt donations Updated: contact the Facebook group if you have a quilt to donate! We are offering free studio time for anyone making a quilt for this project. If you want to get involved or make a donation, please get in touch with the Facebook group. You can also contact the London Modern Quilt Guild for more information if you’d like to help sew the blocks together at an upcoming sew day at our shop.

Comments { 0 }

Spotlight on: Marking tools

We have a number of great fabric marking tools in stock, but which one to choose?! Here is a quick round-up to help you decide.

Sewing marking tools at This Village Haberdashery

Good old fashioned Tailor’s Chalk

This is a hard chalk that is perfect for making crisp lines on fabric. It is most popular with tailors and dressmakers as it gives an accurate line to follow. We have two to choose from, either a set of three different colours or the beautiful Merchant and Mills chalk.

Tailors chalk

Tailor's Chalk

Water Soluble Pencil or Pen

These are very popular for embroidery projects to draw out your design on the fabric before stitching. Also handy for quick and easy pattern labelling/marking as you can just write like you would on paper. As it says in the name, it disappears with water… easy!

Water Soluble Pencil

Water Soluble Pen

Chaco Liner Pens

The modern day tailor’s chalk! This little pen is filled with loose chalk and has a rollerball on the end to distribute the chalk as you roll it along the fabric. It works very well when drawing straight lines with rulers as the fine point can get right up close to the side.

Chaco pens

FriXion Pens

“But these are for paper?” I hear you cry. They are excellent for fabric too! Their best feature is that they disappear when ironed over… magic! Perfect for short term temporary marks.

Frixion Pens

Hera Marker

This cool little gadget leaves a temporary crease which can be seen on both the front and back of your fabric without leaving any residue… super discrete! It is particularly popular with quilters to mark patchwork piece before stitching and can also be used to finger press seams.

Hera marker

Tracing Wheel (blunt edges) and Carbon Paper

This is used for tracing paper patterns onto your fabric. Super useful and means you don’t have to cut into your precious pattern!

Tracing wheel and carbon paper

Tracing Wheel (serrated edges)

Similar to the above but this tracing wheel has sharp spikes to leave a trail of tiny holes in the fabric. It is mainly used for thicker fabrics and you don’t need to use any carbon paper.

Serrated edge tracing wheel

You can buy all of our marking tools online here, or in person at our West Hampstead Shop!



Comments { 0 }

Let’s all wear…food!

(I don’t mean let’s all have a massive food fight!) We have so many fun food related prints in stock at the moment just waiting to be stitched up into some amazing outfits. Here are a few ideas to work up your appetite!

This super cute strawberry print from Sevenberry would make the most adorable Geranium Dress! (I actually have some stashed myself to do just this!)

How about an Oliver + S – Art Museum Vest in this fun banana print (also by Sevenberry) for all those little monkeys out there!

A super sweet and simple sew with more Strawberries… the Two Stitches Frida Dress and Swing Top would work great with this quilting cotton from Riley Blake. (And it’s in the sale too!!!)

The most perfect Seersucker with Pineapples to make a summer dress…. the Christine Haynes Lottie Dress perhaps?

The Grainline Studios’ Willow Tank would be perfect in this cute apple print from Cotton + Steel.

And finally… Cocktails! Dressed up with the Sew Over It Eve Dress, or could be more casual with the Closet Case Patterns – Kalle.

Don’t forget to share your food outfits with #thevillagehaberdashery we can’t wait to see what you make!

Comments { 0 }

Top tips: Pattern matching stripes and plaids!

So you have found the perfect sewing pattern, and you have found the most perfect plaid or striped fabric but you are dreading getting all those lovely lines to match up! These fabrics are such a popular choice at the moment and look so good, don’t be put off by the pattern matching. Here are our top tips for matching those lines!

how to pattern match stripes and plaids

1.  Make any sizing alterations to the pattern and test with a muslin first. Once the pieces have been cut out any alterations will ‘mess up’ all your hard work with the matching! Always make a muslin!

2. Decide what falls in the centre of the garment. Depending on the type of plaid/stripe you will need to make decisions on which way up you want the pattern to be and which ‘line’ falls in the centre. As a general rule, it is best to place the most dominant colour or the one you want to be featured in the centre of the garment.

3. Make sure that your pattern is running in the same direction for all the pieces you cut. Sometimes plaids can look different when placed different ways up. Unless you are creating a contrasting section, you will want all your pieces to be placed in the same direction on the fabric.

4. Never cut on the fold! Most of the time stripes and plaids turn out slightly uneven and it is so difficult to get the pattern to sit straight when you can only see half of it. Lay your pattern piece on the fabric and draw around it in a water soluble pen, pencil or tailors chalk and then flip it over to do the other side. This way you will be able to get it perfectly in line.

5. Always mark the reverse of your pattern pieces. Sometimes it is not always clear which is the right and wrong side of a striped or plaid fabric and there is nothing more frustrating than spending all that time lining up your pieces to then not be able to work out which way up you intended them to be! It is also a good idea to mark the top/bottom of any square or rectangular pieces.

6. Prioritise the matching on a garment as follows: front and back, sides and shoulders. Seams that run down the front and back of a garment are the most noticeable so match these first. Then look at the side seams and shoulders which are not quite as essential.

7. Don’t be afraid to draw on your paper pattern pieces. This can help a lot. Once you have one piece ready, draw the pattern lines to help line up the next piece. Also adding the seam lines to your pattern pieces can help you to see which line/section of the print you need to be matching too.

8. Use the bias to create contrasts. Sometimes it is good to break the pattern up a little with a bias section. Turn your pieces so they sit diagonally on the fabric like we did with the waistband and pockets on our Sylvie Dress.

9. Take your time when cutting out. This is the most important step in the pattern matching process. Make a mistake here and you will be kicking yourself further down the line! Find a time to cut out your pieces when you can really concentrate without interruption and your results will be top!

10. Use plenty of pins to match up that pattern before sewing. You don’t want to spend hours getting all your pieces cut out to then rush the sewing bit! Pin each line together before sewing and take it slow on the machine. A walking / even feed foot may help with thicker fabrics to stop them shifting about.

I really hope these tips have given you more confidence to work with these amazing fabrics. As long as you take your time and really think about the placement you will be pattern matching like a pro in no time!

Don’t forget to show us your ace pattern matching with #thevillagehaberdashery

Comments { 2 }

Let’s get to know Lisa Falconer and The Avid Seamstress!

We are so happy to be now stocking the beautiful patterns by The Avid Seamstress and we invited the lovely Lisa Falconer to join us for a quick Q&A so you could find out all about her pattern company. You may recognise Lisa from her This is a Sewing Machine classes at our West Hampstead shop.

Lisa Falconer The Avid Seamstress

Tell us about The Avid Seamstress!

We’re a London based pattern company dedicated to helping modern women enjoy the art of sewing. With a dedication to producing quality products with easy-to-follow instructions, we strive to bring together a community of women to empower and inspire each other through sewing.

Describe the style of your garments in three words:

Versatile, multifunctional and understated.

Tell us about the woman you design for:

We design for the modern day woman who loves to create things that are beautiful. Age (and the trends that go with it) aren’t as important, so she wants timeless, quality patterns that she can put her own style into.

What body shapes work best with your patterns?

Our patterns are drafted on a B cup but our size range is 6-22 so you can adapt them accordingly.

Each pattern suits a different body shape:

The Day Dress has a fitted bodice which finishes on your waist and a gathered skirt so great for those wanting to accentuate their upper half. This is such a pretty dress!

The Sheath Dress is such a great pattern as it has a kimono sleeve so works with most bust sizes, the skirt has a pencil shape and you can decide if you want to put in the elasticated waist to nip you in at the waist. With minimal pieces to cut out this is a perfect beginner dress or those wanting to whip something up quickly!

The Raglan Adult Dress / Top is perfect for those that want a relaxed but gorgeous shape – it’s fitted around the neck/upper chest and then the dress flares out into an A-Line shape – perfect for those wanting nothing fitted around their waist but not look like they are wearing a sack!

Our new A-Line dress has a fitted bodice which sits on your high hip and has such a classically flattering silhouette. Featuring loose sleeves and sophisticated V-neckline, this garment will add timeless elegance to any wardrobe. A gorgeous full skirt with optional inner pockets makes this a beautiful day or evening dress.

We have a gorgeous new pattern that we have been working on for over a year! It’s called The Shift Dress and is so flattering! We’ve also changed our instructions with this dress, so they are now photographs instead of images! You are going to love it!

What should home dressmakers know about using your patterns?

Our patterns are designed to make sewing fun, we cover every step and guide you through the journey of making one of our garments. Our sewing patterns come in a gorgeous re-closable envelope to keep your lovely pattern pieces together once you have cut it out. Our instruction books are beautiful and will teach you new ways of sewing, such as our way of inserting an invisible zip! We include handy tips & hints cards to give you all the guidance you need.

We love sewing at The Avid Seamstress and find joy in empowering and inspiring women to create beautiful articles of clothing.

You can find out more about The Avid Seamstress on her website, follow her on Instagram and find The Avid Seamstress patterns in our shop here.

Comments { 0 }

Janome Spring 2017 Sewing with Style promotions!

This spring Janome have some amazing offers for you all! If you’re looking to buy your first sewing machine or you’re ready to upgrade, there is something for everyone at a great price!

Janome Sewing Machines

One of the best offers in the promotion is on the much desired Atelier 5 (also known as the model Great British Sewing Bee winner Charlotte uses!) You can save a massive £100 saving and you’ll get a free quilting kit worth £169 with your purchase. This is such a smart, elegant machine with loads of features – if you’ve been thinking about upgrading to the Atelier 5 you would be crazy not to grab one at such a great price!

Janome Atelier 5

There is a fantastic £70 saving on three of Janome’s computerised models – the Janome XL601, Janome DXL603 and Janome QXL605. You will also receive a free quilting kit worth £119 when you purchase one of these machines during the promotion.

If you have ever taken one of our classes or booked our studio you will have been using the Janome XL601. We are huge fans of the machines in this series because they are easy to use, packed with features and perfect for all levels of sewist, whether you want to focus on quilting or dressmaking or both!
Janome DXL603

Ready to treat yourself to a coverstitch machine? For that totally professional finish choose the CoverPro 2000CPX. This machine’s innovative design marries the convenience of a home sewing machine with the robustness of an industrial style cover hem machine. You can save £20 on this model during the promotion!

Janome Coverstitch 2000CPX

Janome also have a fabulous combo offer: throughout the promotion you can purchase the 8002DG Overlocker for only £99 (regular price is £199) when you purchase it together with our Sewing with Style promotional computerised models! This includes the the Janome XL601, Janome DXL603 and Janome QXL605 and the Atelier 5. Please contact us if you’d like to take advantage of this special offer.

Janome 8002DG

You’ll also find £30 savings on two great mechanical models – the Janome J2-34 and the robust Janome 423S. The 423S  is a solid metal-bodied machine with a great range of stitches and features. It is well loved in schools where reliability and robustness are essential. The J2-34 is one of the easiest machines to use and is packed with a superb selection of stitches and features.
Janome J3-24

Janome 423S

Don’t forget… If you buy a sewing machine from us you can book onto our This is a Sewing Machine Class for free!

The Janome Spring 2017 Sewing with Style promotions are available until 4th June! Happy Shopping!

Comments { 0 }