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Well hello again!

I’ve been working on my next PDF sewing pattern The French Dart Shift, a lovely tunic pattern that was called Rachel until 10 minutes ago. Then I thought to check to see if are there any other Rachel sewing patterns. YEP, of course there are! So name changed and I’m hoping to release her into the wild very soon!

In preparation for her launch, I’ve been preparing all the tutorials and working away on the Maker Instructions. The joy of making digital patterns is that I can include a feature called LAYERS.

Layers is great, it means you can toggle sizes on and off and only print the size (or sizes) you want. I know, it’s really quite splendid!

I didn’t include this function on my first two releases,  the Apron and the Smock, as they are only available in small, medium and large sizes. The Rachel French Dart Shift, however, has a full size range from a UK 8 to UK 18. That is a lot of information and a lot of lines, using layers will help simplify what you’re looking at.

So how does it work? Well, want to make a size 16 tunic?  ‘Hide’ the other sizes and just print that one size 16. Or, are you between a size 10 and 12? Turn off the rest and just print the two you want, easy to blend the sizes now. 

No more pick a line, and hope you’re cutting the correct one for your size, there only is your size. And, as a little added bonus, only printing the size you want saves ink too!

Oh yeah, like I said, layers is a great feature!

So you’re convinced LAYERS is amazing, so here’ s how to use the layers feature:

(Not convinced? You can just leave them all on and carry on as usual and print the full range of sizes)

Open up your layered pattern and make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.



On the left you can see a menu, look for the LAYERS icon. It looks like 3 diamonds (or sheets of paper, I can’t decide) on top of each other.



Click the LAYERS icon to open and a panel will fly out, showing two options. The first bar is for the Maker Instructions (the instructions have NO layers) and the second bar is for the PATTERN.

CLICK the + icon on the PATTERN HEADER BAR to release the DROP DOWN MENU.


TA-DA! All the layers are listed so you can easily select your size(s). To toggle the layers on and off, just click the eyeball icon next to each layer name.



Leave the eyeball ON to print a layer, eyeball OFF to hide a layer. Now you see it, now you don’t!

You can see two layers are locked, the pocket layer and the tiling layer that contains pattern and the print test square information relevant to every size, you really don’t want to turn those off by mistake.

TOP TIP: Before you print, just double-check you have everything you want to print selected because the only thing worse than a pattern with lots of lines, is a pattern without any lines!

So there you go, all the benefits of a layered pattern in one little post! Enjoy!



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The How to Gather Fabric Tutorial



I’ve always avoided sewing garments that had lots of gathering, it seemed like such a lot of work. But with my next pattern release, The Wendy Artisan Smock, I couldn’t really escape it as the whole neckline is gathered and then bound – talk about facing your sewing demons – I’ve now made so many samples, that gathering necklines has actually become quite therapeutic!

So anyway, there is always more than one way to stitch anything, but this is my straightforward method for how to gather fabric using a sewing machine.

Maven Patterns - gathering tutorial

Set your stitch length to the LONGEST possible stitch length for your machine.

You need to stitch 2 rows in the seam allowance, parallel to each other, the first about 3mm from the edge of the fabric. These MUST NOT CROSS each other! Leave long ends to the threads.

Maven Patterns - gathering tutorial

In the case of The Wendy Smock, we’re gathering a neckline that is to be finished with binding, so it’s quite a long run of gathering. I found the best way to manage this was to work in sections (front, back and shoulders), stopping and the restarting at each seam. If your run of gathering is too long, the threads break – trust me, that can be just a little bit annoying.

Pull up the two long threads that are facing you (ignore the ones at the back) and gently slide the fabric along until gathers form, you can work from both ends.

Maven Patterns - gathering tutorial Continue pulling up the threads until your fabric is gathered to the correct measurement, then wrap the excess fabric temporarily around a pin to hold. Continue along the neckline until it’s all gathered.

Maven Patterns - gathering tutorial

Double check your gathering is pulled up to the correct measurements, try your Wendy Smock Top on and see if it sits right on you. More gathers will make a smaller neckline and less will make a wider neckline, remember to make a note of the new measurements if you change them! When you are happy tie the threads securely together to fix them – you could stitch them in place by hand if you prefer, especially if you are not finishing your garment now.
Maven Patterns - gathering tutorial Then all you need to do is make sure all your gathering is spread evenly before you finish your neckline. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to set your machine BACK to normal stitch length, it’s not like I’d forget to do something like that…

Happy sewing!

Mrs M x

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How to make patch pockets perfectly – every time!

 | How to make patch pockets perfectly EVERY time! |

One of the tricks I learnt after first leaving college (when I was still just a lowly Design Room assistant) was how to make patch pockets perfectly EVERY time – even when they have curved bottoms! I worked with some great sample machinists, who showed me this little trick. Of course, they let me do it wrong a few times before revealing the easiest way in the world.

If you have downloaded The Maria Wrap Apron PDF pattern, or the as-yet-soon-to-be-released Wendy Artisan Smock Pattern (exciting…more to be revealed later!) you will already have seen the pattern piece labelled POCKET FORMER with the instruction to cut in card only – this is the same shape as your patch pocket pattern piece but WITHOUT THE SEAM ALLOWANCE and ladies that is the trick – just press your pocket AROUND a piece of card cut to the correct shape!

If you are using a pattern from another designer and don’t have a pocket former pattern piece – fear not! Just trace off your patch pocket pattern piece (or print an extra – oh, the joys of PDF patterns) and cut off ALL the seam allowances to follow along, but do remember to keep the original pocket pattern.

A MRS MAVEN TOP TIP: This is the same method that I used to ‘card’ my design patterns ready to send off to the factories for mass production. So feel free to card the whole pattern if it’s one you use a lot, it’ll last forever!! 


If you are looking for a little help to make and stitch your pockets on The Maria Apron or The Wendy Smock, we have another patch pocket tutorial here.

To make a pocket former template in card you will need:

  • One patch pocket FORMER pattern piece (or a pattern WITHOUT seam allowances)
  • A piece of card bigger than the pattern piece, a cereal box is good.
  • Stapler ( and a stapler extractor is useful)
  • Ruler, paper scissors and pencil

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven PatternsTake your POCKET FORMER PATTERN PIECE and fold in half. Take your piece of card and fold in half scoring the fold flat – I use the handle of my scissors.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Place together, make sure the folded edges of both are aligning or your card template will be the wrong size later! Staple to hold in place.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Use the ruler and trace around the outside edge, taking care that you make a right angle at that centre fold line or you’ll get an odd pointy shape in the centre when you cut out the template.Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven PatternsCut out carefully. Because you are cutting it out while folded you know both side are going to be symmetrical.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Un-staple and remember to write which pattern it belongs to!

So now what do you do with it?

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Lay your card pocket former template on your pocket and press the seam allowance all the way around. You’ll get a smooth matching curve on EVERY pocket you make.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Oh Look they match…how delightful!! Now all you need to do is stitch them on!

Need a little help bagging out your pocket corner, or doing the reinforcement stitch? Check out our other PATCH POCKET TUTORIAL here.

Happy Sewing!

Mrs M x

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The Maria Wrap Apron – PDF Sewing Pattern

Maven Patterns The Maria Wrap Apron web3

The Maria Wrap Apron – PDF Sewing Pattern by Maven Patterns

Maven Patterns The Maria Wrap Apron

At last…an action shot of The Maria Wrap Apron in her natural surroundings.

She was named after my very lovely and creative friend Maria, who is a textile artist – you can see her work here. The apron was created following a conversation with Maria and another friend Miss Kitty about garments that are missing from our lives, a Japanese style makers apron was needed for creating and for messy print work in the Design Studio. That conversation grew and evolved and now, as a result, I’m naming all of my patterns after the very inspiring ladies I’ve been lucky to meet along my journey,  but I’ll tell you more about them another day.

Maven Patterns The Maria Wrap Apron

This is the full back pinafore dress version (version B), with a tie fastening on the side. You’ll need to wear something under her – perhaps leggings, I’m quite keen on wearing her with my jeans. She looks great with a skinny t-shirt underneath – the styling makes her quite low on the sides so that is more of a necessity than a suggestion!

So, just a little recap …The Maria wrap Apron by Maven Patterns. Perfect for a day in the studio, as a dress, she is great for a day of (fabric) shopping, perfect as a practical apron for one’s domestic duties. And, honestly, there really isn’t a better apron to wear while staring wistfully at the kitchen wall…