Fabric Friday Reviews: The Sewist Fabric Shop

Happy Friday everyone! What a week it has been; ups, downs and everything in between but here we are another friday and of course another Fabric Friday review. This week we are talking about The Sewist Fabric Shop a lovely little online fabric boutique with a gorgeous selection that I got the chance to explore this week. I was led here as part of my quest to find affordable McElroy fabrics and I was not disappointed in what I found!

The Sewist Fabric Shop

The Sewist Fabric Shop is run by the lovely Han and demonstrates a small but wide ranging selection of high quality dressmaking fabrics. While choice is still slightly limited, effort has been put in to make sure there are still a range of woven and knit fabrics available and I like the way the colours have been chosen what feels like seasonally. The shop right now exhibits a beautiful autumn palette and going through the knit section just makes me want to buy sweatshirting and make something cosy! Most of the fabrics are plain which is quite refreshing to see as most shops focus on patterns but it would be nice to see one or two feature fabrics. That being said new fabrics are added regularly and the beautiful Lady McElroy fabric I bought is patterned so it may be the selection I’m looking at on the site currently is plainer. and the fabrics themselves are sold by the half metre, priced on the medium to high end of the scale with a minimum of £8 per metre up to £14/15 per metre.

Delivery was a little on the slow side however we are still in a pandemic so it doesn’t bother me too much. The packaging was lovely, my fabric came carefully folded in a large letter sized cardboard box, wrapped in tissue with a branded card. No handwritten note but a nice branded card with their shop and social media details and I do like that my fabric came with a label attached explaining the length and fabric qualities etc. The website is good, very user friendly and I love the ability to filter and reorder the fabrics on the subpages. Equally I like the presence of the fabric types underneath the woven/knit subdivision, its a nice piece of user-friendly design. The one thing that frustrated me somewhat as I speed bought my fabric on my phone is that I had to create an account rather than having the option to check out as a guest. That ia little thing but I don’t like having to create an account because its just another password to forget and reset however it didn’t mar my purchasing experience and its nice being able to look back on exactly what you ordered!

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 6/10
  • Cost – 7/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 7/10
  • Ease of Use – 8/10
  • Ease of Payment – 6/10

Overall Score: 6.8/10

The Sewist Fabric Shop is a wonderful new discovery from me and honestly its earned a spot on my list just for having such good selection of high quality plain fabrics, something I often struggle to find! The purchasing experience was positive and I know Han is constantly making improvements and adjustments to the site which I love to see because it demonstrates a level of care and attention to the actual customer journey as well as the stock. I’m thoroughly looking forward to buying from here again, now to plan something cosy I can make with that sweatshirting…

5 Top Tips For Using PDF Patterns

Happy Thursday everybody! Today is the last day of my annual leave so I’m sat on the sofa doing some life admin and watching the Bourne Supremacy and I’m about to assemble my Helen’s Closet Luna Tank pattern. If anything that last few days have made me realise that I really need some proper annual leave to just do nothing! However it has given me the chance to start on a very big project as well as film a few YouTube bits and reflect on a part of sewing I had never engaged with prior to this year which is PDF patterns.

Initially I thought that PDF patterns were irritating because you have to print and assemble them at home however as I’ve started sewing more often and more complex garments I’ve realised that if there is one thing I hate more than assembling PDF patterns its tracing from pattern sheets. Now tracing from pattern sheets with multiple patterns is fine, its one of those necessary evils but tracing from a tissue paper pattern is a step too far and honestly I’m starting to prefer if not outright love PDFs. I know there are lots of people out there who have never used a PDF pattern so today I’ve going to take five minutes to explain why they are awesome and give you five quick tips on using them to make your PDF pattern life simple.

1. Cut Off The Corners

This is a trick I picked up on instagram and I honestly cannot remember for the life of me where I saw it first but whoever first thought of it, you are a stone cold genius. One of the most frustrating aspects of PDF pattern assembly is cutting off the margin edges of each page and trying to line them up perfectly. However 99% of the time there is a rectangle around the pattern itself to indicate what is pattern and what is just page. So if you just neatly clip the corners of each page you can then overlap the pages and line up the external rectangle et voila! One pattern constructed in half the time and its a lot easier to tape because you aren’t trying to tape two raw edges together. Haven’t tried it before? Try it now and thank me later.

2. Use Pattern Weights

There are few things more frustrating in the world that carefully lining up you pattern pieces, extending your seletope only to find one of the pieces has somehow moved out of line. Now apologies if this sounds obvious but I genuinely didn’t think about it until the other day, use pattern weights to the fixe the pages in place then tape and move on. It makes everything so much simpler and while its more effort to get your pattern weights out it cuts down the frustration that seems to be so synonymous with PDF patterns.

3. Have A Printing Day

If like me you don’t have a dedicated sewing room or office space with all your equipment laid out then chances are you are getting out your printer just to print your PDF patterns. In this case it can be hard to work up the motivation when just buying the pattern means you have it physically. My top tip in this case is to have a printing day, if you can save up a few PDF patterns then put on a movie, get your printer out and print them all in one go. If you want to you can even assemble them at the same time but if you’re anything like me one of the biggest hurdles is just getting them printed out.

4. Check If There Are Layers

These days pattern designers are putting more and more effort into their PDF versions and many patterns now have a layers function. This means that you can isolate down just your size and print that, making cutting out a pattern with over ten sizes on the sheet a lot easier from the get go. Just a note, if you are a MAC user then you will need to use Adobe as preview doesn’t work.

5. Get It Printed Professionally!

Sometimes you may not feel like assembling a PDF pattern when its over 50 pages which is completely fair. This is why there are wonderful people out there who will do it all for you! If it’s a big or complex pattern I just pay for it to be copy shop printed. I use Natasha from Pattern Printing Girl who can be found on instagram and facebook who is cheap and speedy! There are also businesses such as The Foldline or NetPrinter who will print and send to you just be aware that some printers may have a minimum order of A0 sheets.

Three A0 Pages for my TATB Eden Coat!

One of the fantastic aspects of PDF patterns to me is that you always have the original meaning you can print it and cut it out as many times as you want without ruining the original. Plus you can grade between sizes so easily, you can even draw all over it if you need to, it gives you the freedom to make as many mistakes, edits or adjustments as you need. While there absolutely is a place for paper patterns and I do love the pattern envelopes sometimes its nice to have the pure freedom of cutting into a pattern and not having to worry.

Do you have other tips for working with PDF patterns? Let me know in the comments below!

Fabric Friday Reviews: Felicity Fabrics

Hello everyone and apologies for another belated Friday blog! I wrote this last Friday but my laptop was being a little temperamental so here we are on a bright cold Monday afternoon and I’m going to tell you all about the wonderful Felicity Fabrics. Yet another recommendation from Tamlyn of Sewn on the Tyne, this shop is one I’ve followed since I first started my instagram. I have always liked Felicity Fabrics’ stock choices but found them a little out of my price range so they were very much on my wishlist! That is until they had a 24 hour sale on their brand new fabrics and I was able to FINALLY get hold of some of the ‘Dotty About Dots’ Lady McElroy Viscose in Bottle Green, a fabric I’ve been eyeing up for around 6 months now. My fabric is destined to become a TATB Lotta Dress so that will be very exciting when I have time to sew it up. Now, on to the review!

Felicity Fabrics

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://felicityfabrics.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery and Patterns
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre

Felicity Fabrics is run by a mother daughter duo with a family history of sewing and from the moment your parcel arrives you can tell that this enterprise is personal to them. The fabric is carefully wrapped in tissue paper and sent in a proper branded cardboard box and then there is also a little envelope inside with a fabric swatch with all the fabric details handwritten on the back as well as a handwritten note from Felicity Fabrics! Honestly I could not get over the delivery, which is why they have scored the first ever 10 in this area on the blog!

The fabrics themselves are all good quality and there is a nice range of patterned and plain fabrics. The fabric selection shows evidence of being curated, not necessarily to a colour palette, but to a similar mood which I like. Equally there is a small but good range of fabric types including some Ochre Waffle that I would love to get my hands on! There is also a good range of patterns and haberdashery available and a nice remnants section. The fabric is priced mid-range with a few more expensive pieces in the mix and their remnants section has good sized pieces.

Website is well branded if a bit slow but otherwise functionality is good. They’ve considered what people want and given it to them (the ideal website). The one thing I would highlight is that their phone interface is quite hard to order fabric on, I didn’t have the option to increase the the number of units I wanted on my phone I just had to keep adding 1 to my bag until I had enough. Not a huge problem but just little irritating. Felicity fabrics also have a wonderful blog full of guest bloggers, its such an inspiring space and I love looking through. The only thing I would like to see on the blog is blog headers showing the person in their garment, useful if you’re not familiar with the pattern in use.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 8/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 10/10
  • Ease of Use – 7/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.8/10

Felicity Fabrics have got the little details down, Tamlyn described their fabric deliveries as like receiving a present and its true, the box, the little sealed envelope, the wrapping; it makes buying fabric feel like a real occasion. While my bank balance won’t allow me to shop there regularly Felicity Fabrics have earned a top spot on my favourite lists and I’m very very impressed and I will definitely be returning.

Sewing Project: Super Cosy 2 Hour Pyjamas

Hello lovely readers! Those of you who live in the UK will have noticed that it has become significantly colder in the last weeks and as our heating is pretty dreadful I have shifted my sewing focus towards knits, jersey and cosy clothes. Pretty much everything I’ve made since the start of October has been made in a stretch knit or jersey, so much so that I’ve just left the ballpoint needle on the machine.

Project Details

  • Pattern: Simplicity 1563A
  • Trousers: Pink Floral Jersey, Sew Sew Sew
  • Notions: Already Owned
Step 1: Pattern Cutting

As this project was designed to be self-care sewing I wanted to to make sure that every step of the way was simple and didn’t require any extra thought. I actually did this pattern cutting at around 11:30pm so I just grabbed my travel guides as pattern weights and got cutting.

Step 2: Sew The Long Leg Seams & Place One Leg In The Other

Let me start by saying that this jersey is an absolute dream to sew, heavy but soft with a good amount of stretch, it absolutely flew through the machine. I made sure to stitch these seams with a zig-zag and then I double stitched in the seam allowance with a straight stitch. to ensure the jersey can stretch easily with sleep movement. Sew each leg together from the ankle-hem all the way up to the crotch. Then place one leg inside the other, right sides together, and sew up the crotch seam to create your trousers. Press Open the crotch seam and reinforce if necessary. I have chosen not to reinforce the crotch seam because I didn’t feel like I needed it but I may still do it in the future. I want to see how they wear.

Step 3: Create The Waistband Channel And Insert The Elastic

Honestly I did this step almost completely by eye. I’ve made this pattern four times now and I know how much space I like in the waist and hip area. I sewed the waistband with a wide zigzag as well to make sure the elastic can move with the fabric then inserted very wide band elastic and made it to my upper hip/low waist measurement and then took half an inch off to make sure they fit snugly and don’t move in my sleep. One of the wonderful things about making clothes just for me is that I can work to my own tastes. Once the elastic was inserted I double stitched the waistband with a straight stitch underneath my zigzag to reinforce it.

Step 4: Hem The Trousers

Create a simple double hem to the length you require and stitch in place. I made a large cuff because the pattern is for somebody 4/5 inches taller than I am! They are still too long for me but I really like to have them a little long so my feet stay warm in bed. I stitched the cuff with a straight stitch to fix the length in place and voila! One pair of extremely snug pyjamas. I ran up an incredibly quick tank top in a remnant of viscose jersey. I just sewed the side and top seams and then stabilised the neckline. Nice and easy and they are possibly the most comfortable pyjamas I’ve ever owned!

Why was this project so important?

I don’t normally put this bit at the end of a project blog but I wanted to say a word for selfish sewing. Do it. Sew something for yourself, especially if you commercially sew for others. Take a moment to think about something you want, you really want. Whether thats a garment you need or something you’ve always wanted to buy or you just need some time to yourself, sew something for exclusively for you. I’m having a stressful time at the moment with a full time job, a part-time degree, teaching yoga twice a week, driving lessons and sewing is the only thing giving me time to just breathe. These pyjamas took me less than an hour but they might be my favourite make because they are only for me and for the house. They are officially my self-care pyjamas because we all need those clothes that help us relax. Now I’m going to slip into my cosy pyjamas and get into bed with a good crime book!

See you guys next time x

Fabric Friday Review: Sew Anonymous

Good Morning Everybody! Welcome to a belated Fabric Friday, I didn’t have time to write this blog yesterday as my first MA Essay is due on Monday so my focus has been elsewhere. However! This week I wanted to focus on a brand new sewing shop that is only a month old and is taking the sewing community by storm. I am of course talking about the wonderful Sew Anonymous.

Sew Anonymous

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.sewanonymous.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery and Patterns
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/4 metre (prices per metre)

Sew Anonymous is run by a well known member of the sewing community and stocks fabric, patterns and haberdashery items. Although the selection of products is currently fairly small it is growing by the day. It has to be said that the initial selection wasn’t really my sort of fabric however then I discovered the simply glorious tab that displays fabrics available for pre-order! Let me start by saying that I love this option. Its a great way to help makers plan their future garments and the range of pre-order fabrics on offer from Sew Anonymous is excellent. I managed to get my hands on some Tilly And The Buttons Jumbo Polka Dot Black Jersey which I have wanted for ages and is normally sold out! I got my pre-order in on the opening weekend and now I am just deciding on the pattern. One aspect which i would like to see introduced in the future would be to add a fabric classification menu which I’m sure will become a necessity as their stock and range increases because I definitely shop by fabric type rather than by design. As I say, the range of fabrics is currently expanding at a rate of knots and every time I look there is something new and beautiful! I would say that their stock includes far more feature fabrics than basics but this is an understandable choice in a new supplier as the feature fabrics really draw people in.

In terms of cost I would say they are mid-range, slightly more expensive than the suppliers I normally use but the fabrics are good quality so I don’t mind. I used the discount code for the opening weekend because my fabric was £12 a metre. I know TATB is organic jersey so a justifiable cost but definitely not something I could afford normally so the discount code was much appreciated. Speaking of cost there is one strange aspect to their pricing vs buying quantities, although fabric is priced by the metre(yay!) it is sold by fat quarter. Now this could be because I’m not someone who uses fat quarters often but I found this confusing. Mind you its not extra effort for me to put multiples of 4 in the order box instead of 1 but it definitely took me a minute to figure out how much I needed to buy! It has to be said however the fact they show the prices in metres makes me extremely happy because I absolutely hate it when shops price in terms of fat quarters, its just so much extra maths. There is also a fab range of patterns, haberdashery items, sewing fits and threads. With the pattern in particular there is also a fab infographic that shows you how to find your body measurements and where to measure which I thought showed a really good sense of what their customers need from them. You all know there’s nothing I love more than a shop where I can get everything I need for a project at the same time! Delivery starts at £3 and was very speedy, I also really liked the spotty post bag my fabric arrived in, its a nice touch.

On to the website itself. Now there are a few things that really irritated me about the website however I’m not going to be too harsh because its only just been set-up and most websites take a couple of months to really bed in and settle. In terms of design, I LOVE the branding. It’s strong, recognisable and there has clearly been a great deal of thought put into the brand personality and how they will interact with their consumers. However the website itself has quite a slow loading speed, I’ve tested it on multiple browsers and networks to make sure it wasn’t my laptop. I think the issue is that the photo file sizes are too large so the data load time is quite long, particularly on a phone. It is improving as the website ages but I would recommend compressing the photos further as this will massively improve the load time on the landing pages regardless. My only other gripe with the website is that the main menu is arranged in a really strange order. The home option is in the middle and there are a lot of options on the menu making it a little visually confusing. This might just be me but its worth considering the order of necessity with the main menu to streamline it and make it a little more user friendly. Other than that the fabric photography is excellent, it would be nice to have bit of description with each fabric but its really the photography that is key and they do display a helpful little infographic to talk you through fabric weights which I found useful.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 6/10
  • Cost – 7/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 7/10
  • Ease of Use – 6/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 6.8/10

Sew Anonymous have certainly started with a bang! They’ve got a great instagram and do well to engage with other makers online. I’m excited to get sewing with my fabric and I’m sure I will be purchasing fabric and patterns from them in the future. Good luck with your journey Sew Anonymous, I can’t wait to see where you go!

Fabric Friday Reviews: Lamazi Fabrics

Hi everyone, somehow its Friday already and here we are again with our Online Fabric Shop review. This week we are talking about Lamazi Fabrics! I had had my eye on Lamazi Fabrics for a while but they rose to the top of my list after a suggestion from Tamlyn @sewnonthetyne who is one of their bloggers as well as a friend through instagram. After watching Tamlyn’s fabric haul video and seeing the fabrics she bought I thought I would take a peak at the website and before you know it I’d bought a two metres of rib knit fabric for an unspecified project… however it does give me the chance to feature them on the blog! So on we go.

Lamazi Fabrics

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://lamazifabrics.com
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery and Patterns
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre

Lamazi fabrics is an online sewing supplies boutique that stocks a fantastic range of fabrics, patterns and notions. The range of fabrics is impressive with a good mix of stretch and woven fabrics. If anything I find their dropdown tab for fabrics quite overwhelming, it may be best to list the brands second and lead with the fabric types. My first fabric purchase from them was the coral pink stretch knit in the picture above which is gorgeous quality and Im so excited to use it! I would say their fabrics are a little on the expensive side so I went shopping in the sale section which has got some great bargains in there. The owners have a passion for designers fabrics and this really comes across in their fabric choices.They wouldn’t be my default purely based on cost however I would say that Lamazi Fabrics is a great one-stop shop to get your fabric, pattern and notions in one go.

The website itself is well designed a little busy to the eye but easy to use and the purchasing journey was simple and efficient which is all you can ask really. I was so impressed with the speed of delivery and the fact that delivery is completely FREE! Incredible. The fabric arrives packaged carefully and mine arrived tied up in a black ribbon with the note enclosed which I thought was a nice little touch. As I mentioned, you do get a little personalised note which I thought was really sweet. I do keep all the personalised notes I receive from fabric suppliers as i think they are a lovely way to support the buyers sewing journey. Their social media engagement is excellent, plus they didn’t mind when I spaced them with fabric unboxing videos which I always put up on my story. I also really like their blog, its got posts from lots of fantastic makers and I find it a really inspiring space.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 8/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 9/10
  • Ease of Use – 7/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.6/10

Lamazi Fabrics is a great one-stop shop to get your fabric, pattern and notions in one go. Their fabric is a little costly but the makers have a clear vision of what fabrics they want to stock and why. They have got some fab sustainable fabrics and I like the way they feature all of their products equally. It really feels like somewhere with principles and ideals where I am engaging with their vision when I buy from them. I’m excited to get started on my next make using their gorgeous fabric and I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m buying from them again!

Anticipate Your Wardrobe Needs To Give Up Fast Fashion

I want to take a moment to reflect on my three months without fast fashion and my new relationship with my wardrobe. I’m surprised that I don’t miss shopping but this could be because I haven’t actually been into a shop yet so the temptation hasn’t been strong. Honestly I actually feel liberated, no pangs of regret after spending too much, no more constant emails and a much more comfortable relationship with my body. Now I can make clothes that fit me and not have to rely on whether or not my body type is in fashion to buy jeans. Another wonderful side effect of this process has been the appreciation its given me of my existing wardrobe. I have gone through my full wardrobe to remind myself what pieces make my heart soar and which ones I make me feel frumpy. Its also given me time to consider my style and what I genuinely like wearing, the gaps in my wardrobe and the garments I’ve always wanted.

A great example of this analysis is my recent foray into making tops. I have plenty of shirts and going-out tops but very few standard day to day tops and t-shirts. I saw the gap and decided to fix it! The result? My Gwen Batwing Top, my Amaya Shirt, my boxy blouse and I’ve even made a couple of Shell Tops from GBSB, check out my vlog sew-a-long here! It can be hard to identify the gaps especially as the gaps generally match the garments you hate buying. The joy of sewing however is that we can craft our own versions of garments we hate buying. For example, I don’t buy tops very often because I find sizing difficult. With a 10inch difference between my bust and my waist there are very few RTW tops I can buy comfortably however when I sew I can adjust all the measurements in a garment as required and make something for my body type. So how do you hunt down those wardrobe weak spots?

3 Steps To Finding Your Wardrobe Weak Spots

  1. Look At Your Wardrobe – Seriously just get all your clothes out and go through them. What do you love? And crucially, what do actually you wear? Is there anything you want to wear but have nothing to go with it? Write it all down.
  2. Look At Your Bookmarks/Saved Links – This step is important as its the clothes that we lust over online and save and wait for that we really want. Sometimes we bookmark aspirational things that we would love but can’t afford. Again write down what types fo clothes you’ve bookmarked and then think about WHY you want those clothes? For me I often bookmark things that are much more expensive that I really want. It used to make me feel bad but now its just sewing inspiration!
  3. Consider Your Purchasing Habits – Think back to your last few shopping trips, what did you buy? What do you hate buying? The things we hate buying tend to be the things we need. For example, I hate buying and wearing trousers other than skinny jeans and tight leggings therefore I have no other trousers at all. Now I probably should take a foray into other types of trousers but its too disheartening in the shops as they ever fit my leg length or dimensions. Therefore they are a great candidate for me to make.

Hopefully these tips will help you find the weak spots in your wardrobe and then work to fill them either with high quality products or me made garments. For me it is all me-made garments but I recognise not everyone is looking to give up fashion completely. In terms of fighting the urge to shop I find planning my makes helps a lot. I’ve made a pattern wishlist and now I get the same rush of excitement when I buy a new pattern or finish a new garment. Giving up fast fashion isn’t always easy but you’ve got to start somewhere and auditing your clothes is never a bad idea.

Fabric Friday Reviews: The Makers Merchant

Happy Friday Everyone! It’s officially October now (somehow?!) and I have taken my first foray into stretch knits and cosy makes. My companion on this journey was a stunning light grey marl stretch knit from The Makers Merchant. My first purchase from them and I am thoroughly impressed! I would definitely like to revisit them for more fabric purchases in the future and I may explore their haberdashery for the hardware necessary for my Eden Coat.

The Makers Merchant

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://themakersmerchant.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery and Crafts
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre

Formerly Loubodu Fabrics, The Makers Merchant has expanded from just fabrics to a one stop shop for all of your sewing needs. There is a great fabric section, a fab haberdashery and a great pattern section as well. The team have clearly worked hard to create the kind of sewing shop we all wish was just down the road!

They have a wonderful range of fabrics and have a particularly good selection of jerseys, stretch and cosy knits. Fabric is sold by the half metre and while there is a fab selection, I’m not a big fan of their categorisation as you have to choose whether you want to look at plain or patterned fabrics before you can select a fabric type. I think its a case of personal preference in that it depends how you shop for fabric. Personally I don’t often know whether I want plain or patterned fabric until I get there, I prefer to see all the wool or all the kersey on offer and select from there. That being said their selection is very good, clearly curated but not too narrow. In terms of cost they are fairly affordable and do have a good range of prices to suit most pockets. There are cheaper suppliers out there but there are also more expensive ones, The Makers Merchant sit comfortably in the middle as a good allrounder. They do some excellent sales and I would definitely recommend them to beginners, especially if you are looking for your first stretch fabric project as their stretch fabric in particular is often cheaper than other suppliers and they have a good range. Delivery was very affordable at £2.50 for standard posting and was extremely speedy, although when it arrived there was no card or note from the supplier. Not necessary of course and doesn’t damage the experience but its always nice to get one in terms of purchase emotion and brand engagement.

It has to be said in terms of creative design I’m a big fan of the rebrand, I think its a better name and the logo is slick. The fabric photography is excellent and the aesthetic is pristine, the website looks gorgeous. However. There are some significant functionality issues. In terms of the parent site map, I don’t think there are sub pages for each section or if there are then the links in the menu are broken as when I tried to go to the haberdashery pages and look at fastenings I was unable to and it kept directing me back to the homepage, I was also unable to access the About page for the same reason. If there are no subpages that fine but then you shouldn’t be able to click on the subheading e.g. fastenings. Equally their FAQs are almost entirely focussed on the brand change and contain no practical consumer information about deliveries or refunds etc. In some ways I actually found their website worked a lot better on my phone however the payment window wouldn’t load properly so I did end up having to transfer to my laptop and pay in the desktop version.This may be a case of bedding in a new website and fixing but i think it should be addressed as its irritating especially when the actual products they sell are so good.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 8/10
  • Cost – 7/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 6/10
  • Ease of Payment – 5/10

Overall Score: 6.8/10

The Makers Merchant is a great shop that gives the online sewist a bit of everything and I can only imagine how nice the physical shop is! Their delivery is speedy and the service excellent. The only thing that bothers me about The Makers Merchant is some of the functionality of the website and the sitemap. The website has a few glitches and the payment interface sometimes struggles on a phone however it’s well worth persevering as the actual fabric and products they stock are of excellent quality and the range of affordable quality fabrics is superb.

Fabric Friday Reviews: The New Craft House

I heard the name of the NewCraftHouse long before I started this blog or my instagram account. I saw their summer party through a friends instagram and was instantly intrigued by them. This year actually, in February 2020, I was lucky enough to attend a bra-making workshop led by Rosie and thats when I really understood what the NewCraftHouse is about, it brings together sewists from all walks of life to learn something new together. They are all about individuality and variety and nothing shows that more than their fabric selection.

The New Craft House

The dress I made with my New Craft House Fabric!
  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: http://thenewcrafthouse.com
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery and Workshops
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre

The New Craft House is based near Bethnal Green tube station in East London and the vibe as soon as you go is so welcoming and friendly. They have their rolls of deadstock to one side in racks and then workshop tables with sewing machines spread through the room. It’s bright, friendly and welcoming. Clearly a lot of work has gone into ensuring that the website has the same vibe. It has a clean fresh look that is impressive on a laptop as well as usable on a phone. They sell their fabrics in half metre increments and it is free delivery over £60, otherwise delivery costs £3.50/£4 using Royal Mail. The interface is user friendly although I would like to see the shop option further up the menu bar but thats just personal preference. They have a good variety of payment options and have definitely expanded their functionality since my first visit to their website last year.

On to the fabrics themselves. The New Craft House are almost unique in the sense that they buy from the designers directly rather than from wholesalers which means they get limited amounts of high quality fabrics and they don’t always know what they are going to get. This works well for them, it has the feel of a pick’n’mix in that there is just a huge mix of fabrics and it isn’t necessarily a curated or coordinated collection as in other fabric shops. I’ve marked them down a little for range because although stye do have a wonderful range of fabrics at any one time I don’t think its necessarily very reliable. It does however allow them to retain their quirky individuality and makes them a fantastic place to find one-off fabrics for that special project. What I would say however is that because they don’t always know what fabrics they are getting there is occasionally some uncertainty on fabric types meaning that its not always the easiest to tell what you are getting online. To counter this they do tend to show all the fabrics on their instagram story so you can get a sense of their weight and movement which I really like. They have a wide range in terms of price but I would say they are about mid-range and they do have a fairly good remnants section.

Due to the range of fabrics and the unreliability of the selection I wouldn’t recommend the New Craft House as a first fabric shop for beginners as I think you nee to have a slightly better understanding of fabric properties before you dive into their selection. I made the mistake of getting so wrapped up in the quality and the range that I ended up buying fabric that was entirely unsuitable for the pattern I was using however it was absolutely gorgeous and I do not regret the purchase in the slightest! I only regret not pre-washing the fabric as that garment has now shrunk so much that I can’t wear it. They are a fantastic shop but for me they are more special occasion sewing than everyday makes.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 7/10
  • Cost – 7/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 7/10
  • Ease of Use – 8/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.4/10

The NewCraftHouse is full to the brim with personality and this comes both from the co-owners Rosie and Hannah but also from the fabrics themselves. They stock deadstock like many other shops but the variety of fabrics is unusual and always inspiring. Shopping there has something of a market feel because there is no dependable stock level so you have to grab it while you can but the flip side of that is their variety of fabrics is constantly changing so you are sure to find something you like at some point. While I wouldn’t recommend them as a standard fabric shop for a beginner, they are a fantastic shop for intermediate/advanced sewists who understand to find the fabric for THAT special project you’ve been thinking about.

My First Instagram Fabric Swap

Hello everybody and Happy Friday! The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that two weeks ago, for the first time since I started this blog, there was no fabric shop review last week! Last week I featured the wonderful Sewing At Number 51 so go check that out that blog post if you’re interested. In fact two weeks ago I wanted to write about my experiences taking part in my very first instagram fabric swap however all the fabric hadn’t arrived and then I got quite ridiculously busy so today you join me for a slightly different Fabric Friday!

I want to start by saying that this was an incredibly fun community experience that I am really glad I took part in however I will freely admit initially I had no idea what was going on or how to get involved. This blog post therefore will be half review of my experiences and half guide to beginner instagram sewers who want to get involved in the next one. I’m not sure how regular they are, this one was part of the #sewyourselfsustainable challenge with New Craft House but I’m sure there are quite a few across the year. So, what did I swap and what did I get?

Fabrics I Swapped:

  • Navy Gingham (1m)
  • Red Floral Cotton (>1m)
  • Navy Star Cotton (>2m)
  • Black Floral Cotton (>1m)

Sadly no one claimed my fluffy monster fabric but if anyone wants it you’re more than welcome! its incredibly long but only about 40cm wide so not ideal but still very much available.

Fabrics I Received:

  • Green Stretch Velvet
  • Peach Viscose Jersey
  • Rust Triple Crepe
  • Navy Textured Jersey

The swap was a wonderful experience, it was so lovely to connect with other makers and take part in a big community event. Normally I am too shy or unprepared to take part in these however now I actually have fabric stash and whats more its growing rapidly so I thought it was a great time to take part. It was wonderful to be able to swap out enormous remnants from where I’d just bought too much fabric for one make or I just couldn’t think how to use. There isn’t the pressure of having to take money or pay., it was just a nice swap event plus I got some fabrics I’ve always wanted to work with but didn’t have the financial confidence in my sewing skills to buy.

So to finish off I wanted to share my top tips for taking part in fabric swaps.

  1. If There’s A Hashtag Follow It! – This helps straight away. Not only does it mean you can keep up to date with whats going on, it also massively increases the range of makers and accounts you can find and interact with. More accounts means more fabric options!
  2. Don’t Be Scared To Get Involved – Most people will post fabrics on their grid and some people will talk through them properly on their story. Don’t be scared to respond to a story or comment on the grid post and ask if fabrics are still available. When I started I knew there was a swapping element but I didn’t know how to introduce it into conversation because I have a British awkwardness that knows no bounds. So if you’re nervous just say something along the following, ‘Is that *insert fabric here* still free? I’ve put my fabrics up so let me know if there is anything you would like to swap.’ Something along those lines. The reason I put a literal sentence is because there are some wonderful but rather shy makers out there who wanted to get involved so if you’re nervous thats how you start the conversation!
  3. Get Your Remnants Ready First – This is a key step. Before you start looking at all the gorgeous fabrics that people want to swap, get all of your fabric out and I mean ALL, and figure out what you’re going to use, what you have plans for and what you just aren’t going to use. One of the big sources for my remnants was fabric from early makes because stupidly I actually followed the instructions and bought the amount of the fabric the pattern suggested. *Spoiler Alert* I always need about half a metre less than the fabric tells me is absolutely compulsory. Maybe I’m good at laying pattern pieces and maybe I’m just short.
  4. Plan What You’re Going To Post In – This sounds silly but normally these happen over the weekend and most people post on the Monday and Tuesday so just remember than once you have successfully swapped your fabrics you will need two things; 1. the address of the person your posting and 2. something to put your fabric in. You ideally want this to be pretty cost neutral apart from the cost of posting itself so have a hunt around for envelopes or if you’re starting to plan now save the post bags your fabric is sent in originally as they are ideal.
  5. Don’t Go Crazy – This is just a little reminder that you aren’t buying fabric here you are swapping so presumably you will get the same number of fabrics as you have swapped so remember you can’t have everything! Be discerning, pick fabrics you can’t normally access or want to work with, a lot of people actually specify fabrics they are interested in in their grid post. Just remember, have a great time, take part and don’t go mad!