Creating a sewing room

Create a sewing room: supplies and furniture

I am very fortunate that I've been able to set aside a room in my house for my sewing and knitting. I know my actual sewing has been neglected whilst I moved house and have been busy putting this together instead. A lot of measuring and research was needed as well so I've put together a full list of all supplies in case any might be useful to you, along with why I selected them. You'll probably be unsurprised to find that Ikea features heavily.... I really did look around a lot elsewhere, but they were the best value to be honest.

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Colette Wren / McCalls M7531 Franken pattern

Colette Wren / McCalls M7531

Recently, I'm a big fan of knit dresses. Not slinky viscose drapey knits, but sturdy fabrics that can hold structure as well as having that bit of stretch. Basically I'm after secret pyjamas that look smart enough for work. Since lockdowns, finding the kind of work wear I need has also been more difficult, with a lot more floaty looks rather than tailoring about. Handily, learning to sew means I can make my own dresses in any style I like so I've been setting about adding to this wardrobe area. You will have seen last year's dress that I used suiting fabric for. This time, I went for a nice thick ponte, to head for that secret pyjama feel. As it happened (as often happens actually), major deviations were required due to problems encountered. My sewing fortune was in though as I think I've needed up with a far better outcome than I would have done if I followed the original pattern just on its own.

Interesting as well to compare commercial and independent label patterns in one project.

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How to sew an Advent Calendar

How to sew an Advent Calendar

I've wanted to make one of these for a while now and have been looking around for a design that I liked. I wanted to find one that was quite traditional and liked the colours in this panel, especially the gold accents. As part of the Minerva Makers brand ambassador programme I was able to pick this panel and what I've written here is a bit of a tutorial if you happen across a panel as well.

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Nina Lee Mayfair Dress in Art Gallery Jersey

Nina Lee Mayfair Dress in Art Gallery Fabric Jersey

When I find that a project gets worn repeatedly, I do tend to make a few versions. I have two Nina Lee Mayfair dresses already, both made in quite a slinky jersey fabric. As a result, I wear them a lot in summer. They are comfortable due to the fact that they aren't fitted, relying on a belt for shaping and I like the collar feature which looks nice with hair up. It was only a matter of time before I tried different fabrics!

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Colour block knit dress - Kwik Sew K4111

Colour block knit dress - Kwik Sew K4111

This is not my first K4111 rodeo, and yet, this version is quite different to my previous two and featured another set of alterations. It's one of those things in sewing that even if you are using the same pattern, and same 'type' of fabric (in this case knit or jersey), it doesn't always work in the same way. For me, it's a good things as all my versions look quite different and adds variety to my wardrobe. This was the first dressmaking project I had taken on in quite a while and I enjoyed the creative process around it, part problem solving and part design choice.

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Knitting fail - Ribbed Tee



If I have a make that ends up as a bit of a fail, it doesn't often end up here, mainly because it never made it to a point that I can photograph it. In this case, I made such a huge error that I completely finished this one and it was only when I put it on that I realised it was way too big. All the pieces were seamed together, and the ends were woven in. The only thing it needed was blocking, and generally that makes things bigger, so this really is it. If this was a sewn item, I'd be able to unpick the seams and take it in, or add dart and bodge it to a satisfactory outcome. Knitting is not that generous. Seeing as it's rare that things get this far, I thought I should write a bit about it, as we all have those times that things just don't go well. I even caught a photograph - not one of my best but there it is!

In fact, this is the second project that this yarn has been frogged from.

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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