Holiday Projects and a New Sun Skirt

By Lauren Guthrie

With a wee break to the States with my family only a week away, I’ve been getting together some projects that I can take with me to work on ‘sans sewing machine’.

In the past I’ve been quite ambitious with what I’ll actually get done project wise on holiday but there is always the flight to crack on with things and some of my projects will be useful once I get there so I’m hoping that will be motivation to get it finished.

First up is the picnic blanket that I started making in our new Introduction to Patchwork workshop with Sheila. It’s a rail fence block and when combined in a certain orientation it gives a chevron effect, which I love! I’ve been working on quilting it bit by bit – it's far to much to do in one sitting for me.

I doubled the blocks I made in the workshop then used my walking foot to follow the chevron pattern using 3 different colours of thread. Now in the lighter sections I’m using the free machine embroidery foot on my machine with the feed dogs down to outline and highlight the flowers, again using the 3 different colours of threads.

I’ve been quilting it with regular muslin at the back as I’m going to use a waterproof fabric on the back. I was worried about quilting through that fabric as dampness might leak through the holes created by the stitches.

My plan is to then bring the waterproof fabric from the back to the front to make a border, which I’ll then hand sew in place – that’s the bit I’ll finish off on holiday!

If you fancy learning how to make your own patchwork top join Shelia this Saturday morning for a 3 hour introductory workshop to help you get to grips with using the rotary cutter and piecing section together! It’s so much fun!! Booking details are right here!

I know its going to be super hot when I get there so I’ve made up a really simple gathered skirt with an elastic waistband using some of the beautiful nani iro double gauze fabric. I've lined it with some ivory cotton lawn but it's still so light and breezy! I’ve just got the hem to hand sew and as much as I’d love to sit outside in this glorious weather we’ve been having and finish it off, I know I’ll have time to do it once I get there.

If you fancy making your own it’s really easy! I used 1.5 x my wait measurement and a 1” deep strong elastic. My top tip to make sure the fabric stays evenly gathered around the skirt is to sew it in place.

Make sure the fabric is distributed evenly around the elastic, pin in place and then sew 2-3 lines in the elastic with a straight stitch, making sure you pull and tension the elastic as you do.

My other work in progress that I was hoping to have finished by now is my peacock eyes cardigan. I’ve almost finished the left hand button band and only have the sleeves to do. I’ve been tempted to just make the sleeves short so I can start wearing it but I really want it to last into the winter even though it's cotton so I’ll power on and hopefully the sleeves won’t take too long.

The last project I’m going to take with me is the hexy delight that I started literally years ago.  I naively wanted to make a whole quilt/blanked but the hexagons are too small and it takes forever so I’ve lost patience and will now make it into a cushion cover. I just need to quilt it first and wanted to do it by hand so I’ll get that layered up with some wadding and muslin and hopefully get a good head start on that.

I've used lots of different liberty scraps that I've collected from projects and from a scrap pack I bought ages ago too. I just love all the colours together!

I’ve also got a new top planned with this really lovely polycotton embroidered eyelet fabric which will need a bit of hand sewing so the grand plan is to get that together before I go and finish it off when I’m there too – that might be a bit optimistic though!

Do you guys plan to take things on holiday? Or am I just being a bit of a work horse?

Completed Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse and New Workshop

By Lauren Guthrie

It’s not that often that I make the same garment twice but I really love the simplicity of the Sewaholic Belcarra Blouse, and it’s generally just a great basic pattern to have.

Do you ever find a fabric you love so much that it’s hard to cut into it for fear of breaking it up too much or spoiling it?
I get that a lot! And therefore really like garments that are simple and allow you to just enjoy the gorgeousness of a fabric.

That’s what happened when I made my second Belcarra. I totally fell in love with the Nani Iro fabric - especially the rainbow stones design - the colours, the shapes of the pattern, the lightness of the fabric, everything! I knew I had to have something made of it.

The Belcarra seemed perfect, I wear tops most of the time and the shape of if would really allow for minimal break up of the print.

It is defiantly my most favourite top at the moment! So summery and light!

I went for version A – so no pocket, no tucks and no turn back at the cuff on the sleeve – just really simple.

The last time I made the top it ended up a bit too long for me and also a bit wide at the hips so I altered the pattern this time before I cut out to be more economical with the fabric.

I managed to squeeze it out in just over a meter but I wouldn’t recommend that, especially if you are new to dressmaking. It meant I have to cut out each of the four shoulder/sleeve sections individually instead of two at a time as normal. I also just used bias binding I already had instead of making the bias strip as given in the pattern. It all worked out in the end though.

I’ve worn it loads of time already! Have you got any simple basic patterns that you made again and again?

If you fancy making another one with me we are running a Belcarra Workshop on Saturday 16th August! Booking details right here! 

Learn to Sew with Lauren - My Book is Almost Here!

By Lauren Guthrie

Fancy learning how to sew, brush up on the basics or develop your sewing skills further?

Then my debut book is for you and I’m so excited to be able to share a first look at the front cover with you….

Learn to Sew with Lauren – From first stitches to personalized projects will be published by Mitchell Beazley on Monday 1st September!

When planning what to include in the book, I knew I wanted to show everyone how easy it can be to make and sew really lovely personalized things to wear, have in your home or give as a gift.
I love experimenting with fabric and trimmings, playing around and figuring out how everything can come together to make something really special. I want to inspire others to get that same sense of satisfaction and achievement that I get from sewing. 

Learn to Sew first takes you though a range of techniques with clear full colour photographs that are really easy to use as a reference when completing the projects in the book, or from elsewhere.

The 20 step-by-step projects covering garments, homewares and bags and accessories, are divided into four sections which gradually increase in complexity taking you from ‘Beginners - Easy Peasy’ through ‘Moving On’, ‘Next Steps’ and finally ‘Improvers – More Tricky’, allowing for growth in confidence and proficiency.  Each project has more than one variation to the design, fabric or embellishment featuring the distinctive touches that I love to bring to anything I make. Once you have mastered the basic technique, you can fashion endless, stunning alternatives to your own preferences.

The range of projects means that whether you are learning for scratch, brushing up on techniques or confident to tackle more involved dressmaking projects, you’ll find something to inspire you.

I let you in on my secrets and tips into finding the best materials, approaching this dilemma in a practical manner, from testing the fabric against your body (could you potentially see the entire pattern in the garment?) to checking the drape (holding the fabric aloft and seeing how the material falls). The basics of sewing are conveyed in a no-nonsense, chatty tone ensuring all baffling, technical jargon is demystified.

Full-sized pattern sheets are also included and can be adapted to suit your own style.

The book is now available to pre-order on Amazon or if you fancy getting your hands on a special edition, signed copy, only available from moi stay tuned! 

Save the date!

On Saturday 6th September I am planning a special launch day in the shop.

  • Come along and get lots of help and guidance on sewing in a make and take workshop in the studio.
  • Find lots of inspiring ideas while you browse the projects from the book in real life
  • Have the chance to pick up one of the limited edition books that have an extra special gift (I’ll tell you more about that later!)
  • I’ll be more than happy to sign the book for you too – I’d love to meet you!

I’ll fill you in on more specific details and how you can reserve your place on the workshop and what’s so special about the limited edition books very soon – I promise!

Watch out for lots of sneaky peaks and what the experience of writing the book was like over the next month too….