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Sewing Bee part 2 - Pattern Hacking

Sewing Bee Part 2: Pattern Hacking

Part 1: Tools of the Trade | Part 2: Pattern Hacking | Part 3: Interfacing | | Part 4: Fastenings After part 1, your sewing studio should be fully equipped and we are ready to move on to the interesting part – designing and making clothes! To make clothes there are two ways of starting: draping on a […]

Pattern Cutting Simple Shapes - A Skirt

Simple Shapes Pattern Cutting: Skirt

I have been teaching pattern cutting for a number of years, but have a particular interest in pattern cutting using simple geometric shapes. One of my students brought in a skirt for me to look at, this is my ‘simple shapes’ version. The basic tools required are a set square or pattern master plus a […]

How to make your own Overlay Dress

10 Dresses: Overlay Dress

The Overlay Dress (or Shelf Dress) , is a version of a shift dress that has become very popular on the high street over the past few years. Because it’s such a “new” style there isn’t a history so say. But it could be argued that 2012 was the year for this dress. Many young […]

How to make a Shift Dress by William Gee

10 Dresses: Shift Dress

Next up in the series, the shift dress. The shift dress has a long history. Depending on who you ask, the history will either start in the 1920s as a flipper dress or in the 1960s as Audrey Hepburn’s signature Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress designed by none other than Hubert de Givenchy. I love shift […]

How to make a Maxi Dress at William Gee

10 Dresses: Maxi Dress

Next on the list, the Maxi dress. When I think 70’s fashion I instantly think of two things: jumpsuits and maxi dresses. As the swinging 60’s drew to a close and a new subculture began it’s rise, the hems of dresses went from mini to maxi! However, it potentially wasn’t the right time for the […]

10 Dresses for the Festive Period: Slip Dress

10 Dresses: Slip Dress

It’s officially under 4 weeks to the big day, Black Friday madness has been and gone, the weather is getting colder and the Coca Cola advert has been spotted. Yes that’s right it’s the end of November. Where has this month gone? If you want to take shelter from the hustle and bustle on the high street […]

10 Dresses for the Festive Season - Dress 1

10 Dresses: Bardot Dress

Hi everyone, I’m Andrea and in the run up to the festive season I’m going to show you some quick win dresses that you can make to wear to any social event you have planned in the coming weeks. The dresses will get progressively harder, either the fabric or pattern or both. But I hope […]

What is the best type of bias binding?

Versus: Ready to use – or – Homemade Bias Binding?

I haven’t used bias binding on my cushion projects for a while, so I thought it was time to give it a go when I started working on a set of autumn cushions. You can use it as the stand-out feature of your craft project or as a subtle finishing touch. That little strip of […]

Rouleau Loops

Rouleau Loops – not as tricky as you might think!

Rouleau Loops are the perfect way to add an elegant finishing touch to special occasion and everyday dressmaking projects, something a bit more special than standard machined buttonholes! I love these versatile little loops and use them all the time as a closure for fabric covered buttons and also when creating dramatic corset backed ballgowns. […]

Sewing Curves

Sewing Curves: How do you sew yours?

When I used to look at buying a new sewing machine, the number of stitches per minute was always important to me – well, the quicker the machine stitched, the faster I could make stuff. Or so I thought. I have upgraded my sewing machine twice in the last 3 years and have only just […]

Pressing Matters - iron

Pressing Matters…

I hate ironing. No, I really hate ironing. The iron spends more time in the cupboard than in use but my OLD iron, the one my husband used for years during his art degree, sits permanently on the side ready for use. Not for ironing use, for pressing use. They’re the same aren’t they? Thankfully not! Everyone […]

Seamless Seams

Seamless Stitching – Seams too good to be true!

Your fabric is cut, your sewing machine is threaded…Now to actually sew with it! But wait – you MUST do a test of your sewing settings before letting yourself loose onto your lovely fabrics, or whatever it is you are sewing may be ruined at step one. Did you save your off-cuts when you cut out […]

contrast stitching or careful colour matching

Versus: Contrast Stitching – OR – Careful Colour Matching

A good thread choice can make all the difference. Sometimes it’s only there to hold everything together. But when you’ve got free rein, is it worth making that necessity into a feature? Christmas projects often send me into confusion. I love the fun side, all the over-the-top sparkly stuff. That said, simpler Scandinavian-style designs are just […]

Why tins make brilliant sewing gifts all year round

Why tins make brilliant sewing gifts all year round!

Seasonal, vintage and supermarket…Tins will never go out of fashion. If you’re reading this, the chances are you’re fashionable, and need to be organised. So where do you keep all your fashion design equipment and tools? Needles, pins, different-sized threads, bobbins, dressmaking scissors, small scissors, rotary cutter, rules and curves, ruler, tape and tape measures, […]


Versus: Turned Edge Appliqué – OR – Fuse and Run

When you want to add a lovely bit of appliqué to your project, do you turn the edges or iron on that fusible web and call it a day? My mantelpiece was looking a little tired last Christmas, so I figured it was time to treat my family to new stockings. After a spare-room-covering rummage […]


Fancy Fasteners? Look no further!

There are a vast array of ways to fasten clothes & bags. Fastenings range from simple press studs to hand sewn, bound buttonholes. When I was first teaching myself to sew, I had a sewing machine that did straight stitching and nothing else. It was great. But it meant I avoided buttonholes! I made a lovely […]

The importance of a calico toile

The Importance Of A Calico Toile

If you’re making products in fabrics (be it a dress, a makeup bag, or a simple pouch) – if the product is designed to fit a certain object or serve a certain purpose, it’s important to get into the habit of creating a mock up, more traditionally known as a Toile. Toiles are created from a cheap material […]

Scissors vs rotary blades

Rotary Cutters vs Scissors

With words of warnings from my husband and teens ringing in my ears, I bought a rotary cutter last year. They all cringed and warned me not to – I am clumsy, sometimes don’t concentrate wholly on what I’m doing, and the fear was having to rush me to Casualty needing stitches to stop fingers […]


Selvage: On the Straight and Narrow

You’ve bought some fabric, you’ve got your pattern pieces ready but you ask yourself what ‘straight grain’ means. Your pattern pieces have it all over them, with a big long arrow. When you buy your fabric, it is usually unrolled from what is often called a bolt of fabric. There are 2 edges that are […]

Plastic Fantastic!

I have recently returned from a fab holiday in Florida, a wonderful place with wonderful memories. But something puzzled me – there is very little visible recycling and the thing that struck me most was how many plastic carrier bags we acquired each time we went to the supermarket. The person on the till packs […]

No one will ever notice my sewing mistakes

Sewing mistakes no one will ever notice…

My Grandma used to say to me “measure twice, cut once” and of course I would smile at her, nod, and carry on hastily with my cutting out and sewing. Everyone makes mistakes sewing, no matter how long you’ve been at it. Only last week I sewed a bag together, muttering to myself that it seemed […]

Cutting fabric effectively

Cutting fabric effectively

One thing that students of all ages often find difficult is cutting fabric. So here is a short post on how to improve your fabric cutting abilities, because if you cut something out accurately, then it will be a LOT easier to put together accurately.  Buy the best quality scissors you can afford. William Gee […]

Sewing with tricky Fabrics

Sewing with tricky fabrics

We seem to have had a lot of courses running lately, where we have had to deal with sewing tricky fabrics. It pays to know how to deal with the fabrics you choose so that you still get a fantastic end result, so I thought I’d share some of the pitfalls and solutions we’ve been […]

5 Ways to Revamp an Old Jumper

So it’s winter. Like really winter. Cold, rain, wind, all that jazz. Chances are your daily uniform consists of jumpers, jumpers and more jumpers. I’m going to go out on a limb and say you are probably getting pretty tired of your current collection of jumpers. But what about that old one buried away that […]