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Happy Holidays 2021!

Hello, my lovely sewing friends!

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support this year, not just to us but for all the small family-run sewing businesses everywhere. We are truly grateful and humbled by the kindness shown by the sewing community.

Our family business started as just me in the kitchen working at Granny’s table. I never had a grand plan or any idea where it would take me. I just knew I needed a change because what I was doing wasn’t working for me. And here we are, 7 years later! 

We’ve poured our heart and soul into our business over the past 7 years and it means so much to have your support along this journey with us.

2021 has been a rollercoaster of emotions for us all, but we hope you all have the chance to spend the festive season with family or friends staying safe and well. 

We have many exciting projects coming up next year and look forward to sharing those with you and hopefully, this means many more shows in 2022. 

Until then, my friends, we wish you a peaceful Christmas & New Year.

So this was a scheduled post that didn’t post when it was supposed to!

We will be posting orders out again on 4th January but PDF patterns and gift cards are available immediately for that last minute gift!

CHRISTMAS POST | Orders placed before 5pm on Sunday will be posted on Monday – Royal Mail’s last recommended posting date for the UK – but please note there are delays with the service and we cannot guarantee Christmas delivery.

OPENING HOURS | We will be enjoying the festivities as a family over the Christmas and New Year period so there will be a very reduced customer and pattern support service during this time. I’ll be checking on things every few days but please be a little patient.

As always,  you can email us at and I’ll get back to you after I finish all the Quality Streets!

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The Mrs M. Gift Guide Edit!


Christmas is my favourite time of year, it’s hard not to be merry with so many fairy lights around. As it is the season of giving I have pulled together some of my all-time favourite Maven pieces in the form of a gift guide!

Kicking off our gift guide is our French Dart Shift! I would recommend any one of our delightful patterns for any seamstress as they are easy to follow with detailed instructions. However, given that this particular pattern is a forever favourite of our customers the French Dart Shift is straight to the top of our gift guide! She is a delightful shift dress with flattering french darts, a staple for all seasons. Check out the full listing here to see her in all her glory.. and don’t forget to check out the tutorials that are available so you can see the versatility for yourself and see why it is such a customer favourite! Shop the French Dart Shift… 


Next up on my edit, is another great gift for any creative friends or family… the beautifully detailed glass-headed pins by Tulip Hiroshima. Tulip Hiroshima needles and pins are produced in Hiroshima, Japan where needle-making has long been one of its major industries. These high-quality needles are a blend of traditional techniques that have been handed down through generations and modern cutting-edge technology, resulting in the perfect needle. They pierce fabric smoothly and are beautifully flexible. Each delightfully boxed phial contains 20 fine pins with a glass head in shades of lilac and soft green, representing cherry blossoms. These pins are a good choice for thin fabric and for detailed work. The glass heads are heat resistant. A fine present for friends and family – or you! Take a look at these beautiful pins here


This next item is one of my all-time favourite tools, it’s my trusty clapper – that’s why it’s next up on my Maven gift guide! What is a clapper you ask?! Pressing your garments properly is an essential part of sewing to achieve a professional finish. These traditional Tailor’s Clapper, point & seam pressers are hand made in the UK by a local craftsperson from Tulipwood and are the perfect addition to your pressing tools. Especially useful for the making of jeans, tailoring, coats, quilting to aid with the flattening of a bulky seam or lumpy collar as well as for general dressmaking when a sharp, crisp edge is desired. For more information the clapper, click here!


Next up on my gift edit, has to be some fabric! I’ve chosen the lovely Nani Iro Jardin II double gauze, perfect for a Wendy smock which whilst is toasty layered over roll neck t-shirts, I can’t help but lust over summer days wafting around in a joy dress. However you end up wearing this gorgeous print, I can wholeheartedly recommend this print for friends, family (and yourself of course!)

Next on my gift guide, is another pattern! With the Christmas season approaching cosiness is obviously of the highest importance… which is why the next gift in my edit is the Simone Set. A comfy two-piece pyjama set for those nights you manage to snuggle in at home or create a faux jumpsuit in a bold matching print for those festive nights out.  Click to shop our wonderful Simone and how incredibly versatile she can be! 


Coming to the end of our edit now, this next one has been added based on the sheer joy we see this tool bring to our customers at the show when they discover it for the first time. Pattern Notchers! Pattern notchers are the professional way to mark notches on your pattern and my goodness, they do look good. I promise. With a smooth action clipping motion, notch your pattern neatly and accurately. Keeping your pattern paper tidy so that you can keep on making your pattern for many years to come! Check out our pattern notchers here… 


And finally on my merry Maven gift guide is our brand new kit! Our delightful tie kit contains all the notions needed to create a beautiful handmade tie. We have used the traditional making methods to ensure your tie will be of premium quality and be a stand-out present of 2021! Either by giving the gift of creativity for someone to make their own tie or lovingly creating one for them, the choice is yours! The Warwick Tie Kit and Pattern is now available for pre-order to be delivered in time for Christmas. Check out the Warwick Tie Kit here… 

I can’t wait to see who has some Maven under the tree this year!

Best Wishes,  


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The Knitting & Stitching Show 2021

Hello, sewing friends!

We have some very exciting news to share. We will be at The Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, London – our first show for 2 years! You’ll find us in The Textile Gallery on stand TGD25. I say ‘us’ because I’ll be sharing a stand with Mr.M – James Tailoring – so there will be lots of eco-haberdashery & fabrics alongside our sewing patterns.

Complimentary tickets
The show runs from Thursday 7th October – Sunday 10th October and we have 3 pairs of complimentary tickets to give away – but please do note the following terms and conditions!

  • There is a £6 fee for Thursday, Friday and Saturday – but free on Sunday!
  • Valid from 11am
  • You will need to validate your ticket pre-entry (either online in advance or at the Box Office)
  • A £2.50 transaction fee
  • Knitting & Stitching Show details can be found HERE

To Enter the Draw

If you’d like the chance to win a pair of tickets just head on over to our Instagram Knit & Stitch post and leave a comment by 6pm (GMT) on Friday 17th September to be entered into the draw.
We will be picking 3 winners at random from the comments. We are really looking forward to seeing you all in actual real life!!!

And we will be bringing along some extra JOY to the show!

We know many of you have been patiently waiting for them …

We will be bringing The Joy Dress & The Simone Set along in paper! Hurrah! They’ll be available on the website right after the show.

Competition Terms & Conditions
Entry only by Instagram. Tickets will be drawn on Friday 17th September at 6pm GMT. Names will be drawn at random. One pair of tickets will be posted to each of the 3 winners.

Good luck!

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The French Dart | Creating Panels by Jen Hogg – part 1

I was delighted when this gorgeous French Dart by Jen Hogg popped up on the Maven instagram feed. So, I approached Jen and asked her if she would share all the details of her marvellous French Dart Hack and she kindly has!

The panelling idea is such a clever idea to show off a printed fabric – we all know how much I love a Nani Iro print – or to create smaller pattern pieces which are perfect for using up those scraps and odd bits of leftover cloth. Enjoy part 1, it’s full of ideas and inspiration and part 2 of this post can be found here.

PAID POST | This article was  written by Jen Hogg after I saw her French Dart Hack on Instagram. I have paid Jen for her time, skills and effort, but all opinions are her own.


Version 1 – the toile

I really like this pattern. In fact I’ve made it 4 times, so far. The first was a toile to check my standard pattern adjustments for my broad back and square shoulders. It was in yellow gingham sold as cotton, and it worked really well, except that I don’t suit yellow. So I had the bright idea of dying it teal, thinking that I’d end up with a lovely teal / turquoise gingham. Only of course it wasn’t cotton after all, the dye didn’t take, and the whole thing ended up in recycling. Can you tell I’m still a little bit bitter?

Version 2 – needlecord, with in-seam pockets

But it did confirm that my adjustments were good so I quickly made another in needlecord. My only hack was to add in-seam pockets. The method I used is my absolute favourite, I’ve seen it called a couture method, and it’s how you add a pocket beside an invisible zip because the whole construction is on the front of the garment. Click here for details.


Version 3 – Nani Iro, front panels with pockets


Next up, I had some lovely Nani Iro fabric from Minerva, in a black brush stroke with a wide silver border. The obvious thing to do would have been to use the border along the bottom of the dress, but it felt a wee bit formal for me, especially given that I was making it in lockdown when anything more than joggie bottoms feels formal.

I decided to divide the front of my French Dart into panels, and to use the border in different ways on each. This technique would also work really well for using up small pieces of fabric.

I wanted to keep the dart, because it’s so lush, and of course I wanted to add pockets. This time I thought I’d add them on the front of the dress, following the angle of the dart. I also decided to add quite a deep cuff to the pockets partly to add structure, but also to let me use the writing on the selvedge of the fabric.

Incidentally, this fabric is quite robust, allowing the pockets to keep their shape. If it was a softer fabric I’d have gone for in-seam pockets.

First of all, I traced my pattern piece and removed the seam allowances. By the way, the diagram is a rough sketch of the pattern piece – not to scale!

When you’re removing the seam allowance remember it varies, for example it’s narrower at the neck.


(first image)Next I divided the front into panels to suit my fabric. I decided to cut one piece above the bust, and to divide the lower part of the dress into three: one at each side and one in the centre. The side panels are wide enough to accommodate the whole of the dart, and also to add a decent sized pocket. The panels were only drawn in at this stage, I wanted to make sure I was happy with the look of the finished front before I started cutting the paper up.

(second image) Here’s the line of the pocket top. It’s parallel to the line of the dart once it’s sewn closed – to check that I literally closed the dart of the paper pattern.

Here are the panels separated. The neck and centre panels are going to be cut on the fold. (And yes, my cutting boards might be called well-used.)

Now I worked entirely on the two parts of the side panel.

First up, I added a pocket bag to the top part, which will form the back of the pocket. I made it long enough that I could reach the bottom of the pocket without stretching.

I then used that added-on section to draft the front pocket bag, shown here in yellow. I could have used the bottom panel itself to create the front, but I didn’t want to see the pocket bag stitching on the front of the dress so I decided to create it as a separate piece.

Here it is in real life with the seam allowances added back on.

These photos show the finished pocket, from outside the dress and inside. I used a scrap of Liberty lawn cotton for the front pocket bag.

The way I added the cuff was the same way I usually add bias binding:

  •  Interface the cuff
  • press the cuff in half and then press up the seam allowance on the front of the cuff
  • Pin the front pocket bag and the bottom panel with the right sides facing out (ie wrong sides together)
  • Lay the pocket bag / bottom panel so that the pocket bag is facing up. Line up the cuff with the pocket bag, right sides together. So now you have a sandwich: cuff – pocket bag – bottom panel.
  • Stitch through all three layers along the length of the pocket opening
  • Fold the cuff over to the front of the garment. This is where you’re glad you already pressed up that seam allowance – all you need to do is topstitch the cuff to the bottom panel.

Incidentally I didn’t bother cutting the cuff piece into the shape in the diagram. Instead I cut a piece of fabric longer than I needed, on the straight grain, and trimmed it after I’d sewing it in place. This let me make last minute adjustments to fully use the piece with the writing on.

Re-assembling the front of the dress

So, that’s the front pocket bag and cuff attached to the bottom panel. Next I sewed the bottom of the two pocket bag pieces together (I used a French seam for neatness and security). Then I added a line of stitching within the seam allowances at either side of the panel to keep everything in place.

And that’s the side panel reconstructed. All that’s left to do is to stitch the side panels to the centre panel, and then all three to the neck panel. The front is then fully put back together, complete with pockets, and the dress can be finished off per the pattern instructions.

Version 4 – cashmere top

I’ve also made the French Dart as a top, simply by chopping the pattern at hip height. Literally no other changes were required. This one is also made from cashmere surplus. I know, lucky!

I’ve not finished with this pattern. I have some lovely stretch wool, in a delicious shade of red, so I’m thinking a winter dress. I might alter the sleeves on that so they’re straight rather than gathered at the cuff, because I think the fabric will be too chunky to take the gather. I also think the pattern will look great in linen with short sleeves for the summer. Watch this space on Instagram!

Thanks so much Jen for such a great post! Part 2 can be read HERE!

We would love to see your French Darts! Old or new, share (or re-share!) them with us on Instagram Remember to tag us @MavenPatterns #FrenchDartMaven

All photos by Jen Hogg 

Jen Hogg lives in Glasgow with her husband and dog, and has two children at university. She now runs a small business selling the Jenerates sewing ruler and writes for a variety of magazines and blogs. A former solicitor, Jen reached the semi-final of The Great British Sewing Bee Series 5 (2019). In addition to sewing, she enjoys knitting, crochet and many other textile crafts, as well as silversmithing, photography and generally making things. You can follow Jen on Instagram and Facebook @jenerates, and at