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Free Christmas Gift Wrapping Service

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a Maker this Christmas?

So it’s probably a bit early, but in an effort to make Christmas a little easier this year – and to get ahead of the inevitable Christmas postal rush…

We are offering a free gift-wrapping service!

Share some sewing joy this Christmas!

Find the perfect gift for your lovely Maker, a sewing tool, a pattern, maybe a little bit of haberdashery or a few buttons, perhaps some fabric to add to the stash….and we’ll wrap your carefully chosen gift in spotty Kraft wrapping paper and paper raffia ribbon (so it can easily be recycled!) for FREE! You can even include a short personal message, which I’ll hand write on a gift tag for you. 

To add gift wrapping to your order |

  • Once you’re at the checkout page simply add a note of GIFT WRAPPING PLEASE! in the ORDER NOTES box (you’ll find it at the bottom of the page after the Billing and Shipping address sections).
  • Don’t forget to include your message (short messages of around 10 words please!) if you’d like me to write something for you or write BLANK CARD PLEASE! if you prefer. 
  • *You don’t have to use shouty capitals, just make it clear!

Send the gift straight to the recipient |

  • You can even have the gift posted straight to the lucky Maker.
  • During checkout just enter their name and address in the ‘delivery’ section. 

The small print! |

  • One gift tag and message per order.
  • We will usually wrap products individually, however if you buy many small items we may wrap these together as one item.
  • This is a free service and occasionally we may not be possible to wrap products.
  • Offer lasts until 25th December, or until I run out of paper!

MOST IMPORTANTLY |

Please order early if you want delivery in time for Christmas.

I will post all orders promptly but I cannot guarantee delivery dates. As you can imagine this year has put the postal system under extreme stresses and there have, at times, been severe delays due to the pandemic so, what I’m trying to say is…this isn’t the year to leave it until the last minute! 

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The Wendy Smock | the frilled dress hack

WENDY SMOCK HACK | I did a little hacking of our Wendy Smock pattern and, if I do say so myself, made a rather splendid dress! 

This was actually a salvage job from a previously failed hack and that poor thing has lain, neglected, in the pile of doom all lockdown. But then the sun came out and the UK got hot. And nothing fits anymore (I’m talking body and mood, here! hello menopause, lockdown and well…cake and beer) so I needed a new plan. And voila…she’s now a cool frilled hem dress that’s perfect for the heat!

There’s no actual tutorial just these ramblings…it really is just a case of making our Wendy pattern longer and attaching a frill, but check out our French Dart Frill Sleeve Hack tutorial if you are looking for a little more in the way of detail – it’s exactly the same process just on a different scale.

You’ll need to make a few decisions |

  • how long you’d like your dress
  • how deep you’d like your frill
  • how full you’ll like your frill
  • I’ve included my measurements as a guide but I’m only 5’2″ so bear that in mind. This dress finishes about 5″ above my ankles so adjust to your height/needs/desires! 

PATTERN |

First up: lengthen the bodice pattern.

  • overall length – frill depth = amount to add + seam allowances

I added about 5cm extra to the length of the bodice patterns and added 1cm SA to attach the frill. Please remember I am short! And keep in mind we are still going to add more length with the frill. Don’t over-complicate this bit, I literally just extended the side seams and added on the extra length. Do take the time to check your side seams are the same length and that they will create a smooth hemline when you join them.

FRILL | I didn’t actually make a pattern I just chalked it straight on my fabric as the frill is just made up of 2 rectangles, one for the front one for the back.

DEPTH | You’ll need to decide how deep and how full you would like your frill to be.

I made my frill to finish 33cm deep and added 1cm SA to attach to the body and 2cm hem allowance so I could turn it twice and have a cleanly finished hem, so I cut the rectangle 36cm deep.

WIDTH | The width of your pattern will dictate how gathered your frill is. I decided on a gathering ratio of 2:1. That just means whatever the hem width of the front or back panel is, I doubled it for the frill width. My front had a hem width of 65cm; 65cm x 2 = 130cm + 1cm each end for the seam allowance = my rectangle was cut 132cm wide.

You can change the ratio to suit you and your fabric, a bit more or a bit less gathering to work with the amount of fabric you have will be fine! If you are short of fabric you can join several rectangles together to make your frill.  I just made the same size for the front and back panels as they weren’t very different in size and I was very short of fabric!

GRAINLINE | I cut the frill across the piece of fabric so it is on the same grain line as the bodice. If you have a plain fabric you can cut the frill with the longest length parallel to the selvedge, but be aware if you have a printed fabric it may look odd. 

CONSTRUCTION | remember to press everything as you sew.

It’s all very straight forward – make your Wendy as usual and when you get to the hemming stage, just stick a frill on the bottom!

  • Run gathering stitches across the top of each rectangle. I did 2 rows, but do 3 if you prefer, and I gathered each rectangle in 2 sections so I could gather half a rectangle at a time to make it more manageable. 
  • With right sides of the fabric together, join the frills at the side seam. Neaten and press seams open.
  • Hem the frill.
  • Attach frill to the body with a 1cm seam allowance. Neaten the seam together and press upwards away from the frill.
  • Waft around the house/park/shop at whatever is this week’s acceptably social distance.
  • If you need a little more frill info see our French Dart Frill Sleeve Hack tutorial as the method is the same.
  • I decided later to run my dress in a little at the sides and our High Neck Smock tutorial has instructions to help you!

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted a couple of other differences. I used a wider elastic, 2.5cm wide, at the cuff and I can confirm it’s quite comfy! And the neckline of this Wendy is different too as I have elasticated her rather than finished with the usual binding. This was actually the first method I tried out for Wendy at the toile stage many moons ago before settling on the binding method, but I think that will need to be a whole different tutorial!

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The Somerset | neck alteration tutorial

The Somerset t-shirt has a very elegant and lovely bateau neckline and we don’t want anything to disrupt the clean line.

But, one of the fitting issues you may come across with a slash neck t-shirt is a baggy neckline. The neckline doesn’t sit quite flat – it’s that annoying little bumpy gape you can see. There can be a few different reasons why this happens, we are all different shapes and sizes so sometimes we do have to adjust to fit. I’ve found that this is more common on the back neckline but it could be an issue on the front neckline too.

Before we jump straight into the pattern alteration, let’s just make sure it’s the alteration you need.

DON’T STRETCH THE NECKLINE | First of all, make sure you are not stretching the neckline as you press and topstitch. 

FABRIC & BOOBS | Before you adjust the neckline just take a look at how your t-shirt fits your bust. If it is too tight the t-shirt doesn’t sit where it should and instead works its way upwards and forcing the neckline to sit too high on the body and it then it can’t sit flat. A telltale sign of this is you keep wanting to tug your t-shirt down.

I have found fabric plays a part in how my t-shirts fit – a very soft lycra bamboo jersey gives me no problems, fitting nice and flat across the neckline. The stripey sample, however, is made in a much firmer cotton lycra knit that doesn’t relax as much over my boobage and therefore my t-shirt travels upwards with a little wear, giving me a baggy back neck. I should actually do an FBA but I probably won’t – next time I’ll grade between the sizes and go up a size for my bust while keeping neckline and shoulders my usual size. 

If your Somerset t-shirt is generally too big across the shoulders and neckline, you may be better to choose a smaller size for your shoulder area and to blend between sizes.

THE NECKLINE IS TOO BIG |

You’ve decided the neckline is indeed too big for you. Excellent! I have a pattern alteration fix for that! 

GOOD TO KNOW | I have used one of my original toiles for the photos in this tutorial, so it is only stitched with a normal straight stitch rather than twin needled. I’ve actually worn it quite a bit and it’s been washed and abused like any other of my t-shirts and that stitching has held up perfectly. It is also quite likely the cat slept on it immediately before photos were taken.

EQUIPMENT |

  • Copy of the back pattern (or the ability to re-print)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sticky tape
  • Tape measure
  • Paper scissors
  • Pattern paper

PREPARE YOUR PATTERN | First, as always with any pattern alteration, trace off your pattern. This gives you the opportunity to preserve your original and the chance to start again if things go horribly wrong! 

Mark all the seam allowances/stitch lines on the pattern to make your life easier.

TOILE | Pop on your toile/offending garment and pin the excess fabric at the neckline a little way back from each shoulder.

  • Use chalk or an extra pin to remark the ‘dart’ so the neckline can lay flat.
  • It’s unlikely that the two ‘darts’ you’ve pinned are of an equal amount and in the same position along the neckline. Unless you have a pronounced difference in your shoulders we just need to even them out.
  • Measure them both and find the TOTAL amount to be removed. 
  • We will be altering half a pattern so DIVIDE the total amount by 2. In this example, I need to remove 4cm in total from the back neckline, so 2cm is to be removed from the actual pattern.
  • It’s the same idea for the position of the ‘dart’ – just split the difference. If you have pinned one at 7cm and one at 5cm from the shoulder – split the difference and use 6cm.

TRANSFER TO PATTERN | 

  • Transfer the marking from your garment to your pattern.
  • Measure the amount to be reduced on the FOLDLINE of the neckline, not on the outside edge.
  • This will give you 2 points on the neckline – A & B
  • Find the midway point between A & B.
  • Draw a line from that midpoint to intersect with the armhole stitchline. This is point C.

DRAW AN ACTUAL DART |

  • Join A to C & B to C
  • You are really just taking a dart out of your pattern to reduce the length of the back neck with the pointy end of the dart (point C) finishing on the stitchline, not the cut outside edge of the pattern. This will keep the armhole length the same so the sleeve will still fit!

CUT |

  • Cut along line A and stop at point C.
  • Make a snip from the outside edge of the pattern in the seam allowance towards point C stopping at the stitchline, leaving a small hinge of paper.
  • Point C will be the pivot point.

CLOSE THE DART |

  • Using the hinge at point C as a pivot point, close the dart up so the excess is removed and tape the pattern together. 
  • Nearly there now,  but you can see we now have a stagger at the neck and the armhole has a bit of a pointy shape.

SMOOTH |

  • Redraw a smooth curve at the neckline to even out that staggered line.
  • Smooth the armhole lines too and fill in the seam allowance by taping some paper behind it.
  • TIP | If you find your armhole shape has become too distorted it may be because you are trying to remove too much from the pattern in one place. Try spreading this alteration over 2 places rather than one. Or check your sizing as you may be better using the neckline of a smaller size and blending it with your body size.
  • That’s it – you’re finished!

 

 

 

 

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#BeKind

Maven Patterns The Maria Wrap Apron

Ok. So I haven’t really thought this post through but in the face of the Coronavirus the best thing to do, it seems, is to be kind and wash your hands. With this in mind, we (the family Maven) have decided this weekend (14th & 15th March 2020) to donate 50% of any sales of The Maria Apron PDF pattern to Shelter.

This is a tiny thing, my sales aren’t huge, and we often think the tiny things don’t matter, that they won’t make a difference, that WE can’t make a difference. But they do, it all counts.

So do what you can, carry on supporting your fav small businesses, smile at people, be kind, share the loo roll if you have a stash of it, ring someone to check they’re ok, buy a pattern.

The tiny things? They will all add up and they do matter.

Buy The Maria Apron PDF pattern

Click here to donate directly to Shelter