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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

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The Beginners Sewing summit 2021

We are teaching at the 2021 Beginner Sewing Summit, which is our first ever online sewing class! Come and sew an easy midi skirt with myself and Eve, it’s a great beginner project or take a look at one of the other classes – there are over 40 to choose from! Best of all the classes are FREE to watch May 3rd- 7th, you could learn the basics and new skills while completing fun projects like fashion, home decor, and cute accessories.

CLASS DESCRIPTION | In this class you will learn to make a simple jersey midi-skirt with an elasticated waistband.

You will learn how to take your measurements, cut your fabric and create an easy to wear skirt to fit you and that you’ll love wearing. As sewing with knits can sometimes be a bit daunting, we’ll talk you through the whole process!

All of this information is in the class video but we thought it would be nice to have somewhere to refer to!


Any knit fabric! We recommend using a cotton or modal knit fabric with at least a 5% elastane content. The elastane will help your skirt retain its shape.


The skirt doesn’t need a pattern! It’s just a rectangle that we can mark directly on the fabric and cut. The amount of fabric to buy will be based on your overall length of the skirt.

  • For simplicity we’ve used inches in the video but have added metric conversions below (we’ve rounded them up to make sensible measurements rather than exact conversions!)
  • SIDE SEAM ALLOWANCES | INCHES: we have allowed ½” seam allowance to join the side seams (so add 1″ seam allowances extra to width). METRIC: if you are team metric allow 1.5cm to join the side seams (so add 3cm seam allowances extra to width).

To work out your fabric requirement follow the guides below.

The amount of fabric to buy will be based on your overall length of the skirt plus some allowances.

When purchasing your fabric it’s a good idea to purchase extra fabric to allow room for cutting out and any shrinkage as you will need to prewash your fabric before before you begin.

LENGTH: Take your ideal skirt length and add 5″ (13cm)  to calculate the length of your fabric required. Not sure how long you want your skirt? Measure something you already own or allow a little extra and it can always be cut to length later.

WIDTH: Take your hip measurement, at your widest part, and add 1″ (3cm) for seam allowances to calculate the width of your rectangle.

  • For example – if you have a 40″ hip – you will need 1 rectangle measuring 41″ wide (40″ + 1″ seam allowance).
  • And in metric – 105cm wide rectangle (102cm wide + 3cm seam allowances)


Not covered in the video but…should your hip measurement be more than the width of your fabric you will need to cut 2 rectangles so buy twice the skirt length. Your skirt will have 2 side seams, just use the same method we describe in the video to join your seams. As you have 2 seams that’ll give you the option to have a split in each seam or on just one seam, whichever you prefer! The formula to calculate the width of each of  your rectangles will be – half your full hip measurement and add 1″ (3cm) extra as seam allowances.

  • For example – if you have a 66″ hip – you will need 2 rectangles measuring 34″ wide (33″ + 1″ seam allowance).
  • And in metric – if you have a 168cm hip – 87cm wide rectangle (84cm wide + 3cm seam allowances)

You will also need |

  • Polyester sewing thread.
  • Ballpoint, stretch or jersey machine needle.
  • 1″ (2.5cm) wide elastic – enough to wrap around your waist with an overlap (any width between ¾″ – 1½” (2-4 cm) will be fine if you have it in your stash!)
  • Safety pin
  • Marking tool – chalk or fabric pen
  • Ruler
  • Plus, the usual sewing equipment – sewing machine, scissors, tape measure, pins, iron

Looking for some tips on sewing with knit fabrics? Check out our tutorial here!

Best of all the classes are all FREE to watch May 3rd- 7th. The free pass will allow you access during the live event and each day’s classes will be live for 24 hours and with an option for a VIP All Access Pass ($59) that includes all the classes for one year. Click the link below to register for free!

AD/AFFILIATE LINK: If you decide to purchase the All-access pass (a year’s access to the classes) through our link, we receive a commission. Thank you!

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e-Gift Cards

We have the perfect solution to finding a gift for your favourite Maker!

Our new gift vouchers!

A Maven e-gift card makes a delightful gift for your sewing friends. They can choose from our range of printed sewing patterns*, kits, fabric, sewing tools and haberdashery, and you can be sure that they will have a gift they love!

The gift vouchers are digital so nothing is posted (an excellent idea, due to all the current postal days). A unique voucher code will be generated and you can have the voucher emailed to yourself and you could print it and pop it inside their Christmas card or forward the email to your sewing buddy yourself. There is also the option to add a message and select the email to be sent directly to your sewing friend. You can even send it on a specified date for a special occasion. Sewing isn’t just for Christmas, you know!

They are available from as little as £10, balances can be carried forward so there is no need to spend it all in one go and are valid for a year from the date of purchase, giving plenty of time to find that something special!

(*Please note our digital PDF patterns are not included as they are sold through our Etsy shop)& you can find a lovely selection of gift ideas here…