A global field guide to shopping, style and hidden gems
est. 2007

You Ask, Birdy Answers: Sew-your-own patterns

The best bit about writing a blog is reading all the feedback, and there has been lots to read recently, especially in response to my post about the slow fashion trend. Here's what a wee birdy called le bug had to say:

“I think the slowest of slow fashion would be if I made my own clothes … know any good sewing pattern shops/online shops?”

Kudos to you for going down the make-your-own route, le bug! I’m always super-impressed by crafty people who dig out the old Singer and knock up a skirt on a rainy afternoon. There are actually some excellent online sources for patterns, as well as some good starting points for absolute beginners (like me). Here’s a list of my very favourite online sew-your-owns and other crafty sources:

1. Built by Wendy
Wendy Mullin (of Built by Wendy) is a New York-based fashion designer who’s designed a line of home sewing patterns for Simplicity called Built by YOU. I really love the simple smock and frock pattern, which has variable sleeve and length options. I know a few birdies who have tried and tested Wendy’s patterns, and give them a big thumbs-up (but warn that they tend to be a bit on the small size).

Il_fullxfull.41563266
2. Paintergirl’s Knicker Making Kit

Pop artist Gemma Jones (aka Paintergirl) has recently launched her own knicker-making kit, which has been selling like hot pants on her Etsy shop. The pattern shows how to make your own customised pair of knickers from an old t-shirt – the ultimate in make-do and mend! The pattern has been trialled by some 20-odd Kaotic Kraft Kuties who have reportedly gone on to “run, dance, make-out and pick up wearing them.” Nice one.

3. Burda Style
It mightn’t sound overly sexy, but Burda Style is actually an amazing resource with a plethora of free patterns, sewing how-tos and a supportive online sewing community. Check out this sweet and simple shift.

ScooterBabe2 4. Sublime Stitching
OK, so this isn’t so much about making an entire outfit, but these too-cute embroidery patterns
will make you some lovely embellishments. They’re a snip at US$3.50,
and can be used to decorate everything from t-shirts to tea-towels.
Check out the vital organs kit
and stitch some ovaries on to your undies. Chain stitch has never
looked so sexy! Great DIY Xmas gift ideas, too. (Londoners can also
pick up Sublime Stitching patterns at the V&A Museum shop.)

5. Sew Mama Sew
Another good resource for fabric and patterns, Sew Mama Sew features some excellent options for babies and kids, like Oliver & S patterns for toddlers. I also like the fabric messenger bag pattern, which would look good in a strong Marimekko print (although IKEA has an excellent range of retro Scandi-style fabrics at the moment, a snip at £1.59/metre).

2845778256_f626fc9de8_b
6. The Make Lounge

Sewing novices in London can learn the basics with a workshop at The Make Lounge in Islington. I like the sound of the Survival Sewing workshop, which teaches basic hand-sewing skills so you can tackle your own repairs and take up hems and cuffs. Handy stuff. Check out the upcoming workshops, which include fun projects like making a leather cinch belt and Japanese-style stitched journals.

The Make Lounge
49-51 Barnsbury Street
London N1 1TP
Tel. 020 7609 0275
Nearest tube: Angel

Click here for a Wee Birdy map.

  • http://www.katiejean.wordpress.com Katie Trott

    I love the whole idea about the Make Lounge. Sounds great! I’ll have to check out burda too!

  • http://likklegirl.blogspot.com the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things

    I love “You Ask, Birdy Answers”! More more more, please. Maybe I should send in some questions. xx

  • le bug

    You’re the best Top Bird! Thanks for answering my question. I didn’t know where to start…now I will be checking out those pattern sites which have some nice modern designs (I remember searching through the Simplicity pattern books with Mum as a girl). I quite like the thought of doing embroidery too (after I progress with my knitting!). The kits on Sublime Stitching would be a good place to start. Love the quirky knickers kit idea too by the way Paintergirl!

  • http://blog.themakelounge.com jennifer | themakelounge

    Thanks for the nice mention. BTW, we also run knicker-making workshops. ;)

  • http://www.hellolucky.co.uk kelly

    Thanks for posting these ideas. I will definitely have to check out the Make Lounge. I have all these visions of fabulous frocks in my head…but alas, no skills! I’ll tackle a hem first.

  • http://dressedandpressed.blogspot.com Dressed and Pressed

    Brilliant, I’d love to do more sewing but my sewing machine is cureently mutinying (is that ever a real word?) The other thing I want to do soon is find myself a good (and hopefully not too expensive) seamstress.

  • http://www.weebirdy.com Top Bird

    Katie – I’ve been meaning to go to a Make Lounge workshop for ages. I’ll report back when I’ve been.
    Likkle Girl – Yes, please!
    Le bug – I just need someone to teach my basic embroidery stitches. It would be good to have a class with those kits!
    Jennifer – I’ll have to check out the knicker-making workshop. Sounds fun!
    Kelly – I’m with you – a hem is as good a start as any!
    Dressed – I’m going to look into good seamstresses, too!xx

  • http://loopsandstitches.blogspot.com/ Simone

    Just found your blog… nice nice nice!

  • http://makedostyle.blogspot.com Make Do Style

    Brilliant information – top draw top bird!

  • http://profile.typekey.com/paisleystclaire/ Paisley St Claire

    This is a great post! I love the idea of that Make Lounge.