The Party Wear Blog Series - The Luxury Lace Yoke Top

By Lauren Guthrie

For the final week in my party wear blog series I want to show you how adding a touch of lace to your projects can make them even more extra special so this post is all about the.....


I really love contrast panels in garments so I've chosen the Named Patterns Koko Top. It's main body is designed for jersey fabric, with a front and back yoke panel, a scope neck line and and a subtle ruffle capped sleeve. 

You could opt for a lace yoke panel or go for some colour blocking and replace it with another jersey fabric instead. 

The neckline is quite high which I think is nice as it shows off more lace, but you could lower it slightly at the front if you wished. 

I love the contrasting panels as it adds a different detail to the top. 

It's also really comfy to wear as it's not figure hugging or plenty room for slight expansion over the festive season! 

I think this top looks great paired up with smart jeans or trousers for a smart causal party look. 

I used this lovely sliver grey slubbed jersey which has a subtle texture to it and I paired it with this light silver grey lace


These lace and jersey combos would also work really well. 

I love this soft muted pink colours together - the jersey is the pale pink slub with lacy dusky pink circles

Or for more of a contrast you could go for the pewter grey slubbed jersey with the sliver lace

Or the grey and pink pebbles with with the muted grey viscose spandex lace

All of these fabrics have 15% off for the next week (ends midnight Thursday 3rd Dec) along with the Named Koko Pattern. No code needed - just click on any highlighted text to see the fabric and pattern listing

As the lace is made from polyester its fine to wash at 30 degrees. The slub jersey tends to shrink a bit in length and gain in width after the first wash so PRE WASH it first! 

  • When cutting out the lace, look for the pattern repeat and decide what part of the design you would like to be at the centre front and the centre back - this is where you should make the fold in your fabric to cut the yoke pieces out. 

  • I like to cut finer jersey like the slubbed one I used with a rotary cutter and cutting mat. Make sure you read the instructions with the Koko pattern first as you'll need to add on seam allowances. For jersey fabric like this I'd recommend adding on a 1cm seam allowance. 

  • I found that the arm holes were a bit big for me - which could be partly due to the stretch recovery of the jersey so I found I needed to take the top in a bit at the side seams - then it was fine. I also added a bit of seam tape interfacing just to help stabilise it a bit too and prevent further gaping out. 
  • Just treat the lace like normal fabric - the one I used doesn't really have any stretch but some of the others do. If your using a lace with a bit of a stretch just be careful not to pull on it while your sewing - same thing you would do when sewing with jersey. 
  • Remember to use a ball point needle for jersey fabrics when sewing to avoid little holes appearing at the seams. 

I hope you all have lots of fun partying over the festive season in some gorgeous outfits! We still have tickets left for our Christmas Party Night next week - Thursday 3rd December!

Included in the £4 ticket price is mulled wine, mince pies and festive treats, a present from Santa, entry into the super duper sewing themed raffle (when you were a handmade party outfit) and store wide discounts! Just pop in to get your ticket or give the shop a call! 

The Party Wear Blog Series - The Silky Sleeveless Top

By Lauren Guthrie

For this weeks Party Wear Blog Series I want to talk you my top tips for how to use silk to make a really simple but really lovely top.

Using a luxury fabric like silk to make a garment can give it a totally different edge. If you are new to working with this type of fabric, or slippery fabrics in general then picking a simple project like this sleeveless camisole is a great place to start.

I’ve chosen the Grainline Patterns Tiny Pocket Tank which is really simple with just a front and back bodice, bust darts, a scooped neckline and a dipped hem.

I added pin tucks to mine in the same way that I added them to my simple sleeveless top – you can see my full tutorial of how to do it in this link.

This fabric is so soft and lovely! As the design is quite loose fitting at the waist and hips it is important to use a light weight fabric with a lot of movement and drape.
I’ve got a thing about pin tucks too – there is something so satisfying about them!

Silk is also really warm to wear so its a great layering piece for chillier nights! 

You could dress it down with a pair of skinny jeans or trousers and leave it loose to float around. 

Or dress it up with the velveteen pencil skirt I showed you last week – it looks great tucked in as it blouses over the top. 

I used this beautiful plain cream silk fabric that is so so soft. 

This plain navy silk would also look lovely. It has a little bit more body that then cream one, but I think with the tucks it would be perfect! Or for something brighter we have a really limited amount of this gorgeous magenta waves fabric - it's such a bright and vibrant colour! 


Or if you like the thought of a silky style top but are quite new to this type of fabric then these polyester fabrics have beautiful drape as well. Polyester can be a bit more tricky to control with pressing so the tucks might be more challenging in this fabric, but it would still work really well for the regular version of the Tiny Pocket Tank. 

We've got a really lovely navy and plum chirimen polyester and a fun Black and Blue Small Leopard Print peach skin fabric


If you fancy having your own version of a silky sleeveless top, all of these fabrics are on special offer for the next week (until midnight Thursday 26th Nov 2015). The silks have 15% off and the polyesters have 10% off! The Grainline Tiny Pocket Tank also has 10% off too! No code is needed - just click on any of the highlighted text to see the listing for the fabric and pattern. 

For silk fabrics I would recommend hand washing them in cold to luke warm water with mild hand washing detergent. Just gently move the fabric around in the water. Then gently rinse and squeeze out the water. Lay it out flat between a towel and press down on it to take out further excess water and leave to dry as flat as possible over a clothes dryer.

  • I can’t lie, sewing with silk is tricky but I like a challenge, and its good to push yourself sometimes.  You will have to take measures to stop the fabric from slipping all over the place.
  • Lay your fabric out on top of a piece of tissue paper with the fold needed to cut out your pieces and gently put tension on it across the warp and weft to make sure that it is lying square to the straight grain.


  • Put another piece of tissue paper on top so that your fabric is sandwiched in the middle and then place your pattern piece on top and pin as normal.

  • When you cut out, cut through the tissue paper too. Don’t worry about your scissors, the tissue is so fine and the chance of you doing this regular basis to cause any blunting is small. I can recommend a really good scissor sharpener if you think you’ll run into problems.

  • Use French Seams - it gives a much nicer finish on the inside as the fabric can't really take the weight of zig zags or overlocking. 
  • When you come to sew you’ll need to have tissue paper underneath the fabric, so you’ll stitch though the tissue as well. I used a size 60 needle when I sewed my seams and stay stitching and found that even with such a fine needle the fabric was still being pushed into the plate of the machine.
  • Having that tissue paper underneath gives a bit of support to the fabric and it will stitch much better.

  • Just use the scraps of tissue paper that were left over from when you cut the fabric out.
  • I found that having smaller bits that I could just slip under the fabric as it was about to be stitched was best for sewing curves and the armholes. The sewing machine area did look like a cat had attacked it and shredded the tissue – but it was all for a good cause!
  • The stitching will make a perforated line in the tissue that can be easily torn. Apply pressure with one finger/hand close to the stitch line and tear the tissue with the other. That way it won't put strain on the stitches. 

  • When you come to do the pin tucks, I found it easier to press the centre line in and then measure my tucks from there using the little notches you'll have along the neck line. 

  • Then for subsequent pin tucks, use the previous pin tuck as a guide to getting the next one straight and press it before sewing it. 

  • I used binding made from the same fabric as anything else with silk is going to be too heavy. I found it really hard to keep the binding even so instead of top stitching it on at the end I hand stitched it to the seam allowance on the inside so that no stitching was visible.

A top like this is a great basic to have and perfect for pairing up with other garments or for layering. The silk is tricky but totally worth the effort! 

Happy Sewing! 

The Party Wear Blog Series - The Smooth Velveteen Skirt

By Lauren Guthrie

This week’s Party Wear Series Post is all about having the Ultimate versatile skirt that you can pair up with lots of tops for a dressed up night out with the girls or a special festive date night. 

To glam the skirt up a bit I’ve chosen to feature it in Velveteen Fabric!

Velveteen is like an imitation of velvet and is made from cotton  - whereas velvet is usually made from linen and mohair silk or wool.  It has more body than velvet which lends itself well to this style of skirt.

For my skirt I’ve chosen the Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt.

This is such a classic design with a fitted high waistline and kick pleat at the back.

The darts are really long and almost straight at the top before they taper out. It give’s a fantastic flattering shape over the waist and hips.

Straight out the packet the pattern comes up much longer than my version. I shortened it by a good 4-5 inches by using the shorten/lengthen lines marked in the pattern. I wanted it come just above the knee whereas before it was going to end mid-calf.

I love how simple this skirt is and made in the velveteen fabric it is one of the comfiest things that I have made recently.
The structure of the fabric works perfectly with this design  - it would work as equally well with an A-line style skirt as the shape would be held perfectly.


You could choose to make a feature of the high waistline by tucking in a simple camisole top and let it blouse over the top.
Or let the top drape over for a more relaxed look.


It also works well with the sequin top that I showed you last week for a really glam night out.

I’ve got three absolutely gorgeous Velveteen’s for you to choose from. They are all cotton and spandex mix (96% Cotton, 4% Spandex) which means the fabric has a nice amount of stretch and give for a fitted garment like this.
I made mine using this lovely soft and muted mauve colour.

Or you could go for classic black or muted grey.


All these fabrics and the Ultimate Pencil Skirt Pattern have 10% off for the next week (valid until Thursday 19th Novemver 2015 at midnight). Just click on the highlighted text above to see the listing and add it to your bag - the discount has already been applied so no code is needed! 

Due to the texture of the pile on the fabric it can be easy to squash the fibres which can then reflect the light differently and be really noticable. I've given some tips on how to steam and gently press the fabric below which are really important as you can't iron it like normal. 

When you need to clean or wash your skirt some people say dry clean only.

Others say to soak it in soapy water and gently rinse without squeezing the fabric too much, then squeeze (don't ring) out the water and lay it flat to dry on a towel, then steam. When I come to wash mine I'll probably use this method.

Others say that you can wash it, afterall it is just made from cotton and spandex. I washed a test section in the washing machine (didn't have enough time to pre-wash for this skirt!) and it did get some creases in it that were still a little bit noticable after I'd steamed but it didn't shrink at all. I think the key here is to use a delicate cycle and take it out of the washing machine as soon as it's finished. Don't let it sit wet in the drum at all. Then shake it out and hang up to dry (you could attach ribbons to the side seams like you get on RTW clothes) or hang over a clothes rail over a towel - so that the pile isn't squashed. 

Either way, between washes you can use a clothes brush to help restore the pile and clean off any hairs or marks. 

  • Velveteen has a nap, which means that if you brush it in one direction it feels smooth and the other direction it will feel soft. Depending on what way the fabric is brushed will also affect the colour of the fabric as the light will catch it in a different way.
  • For this fabric, its better if the you cut the garment out so that when you brush down the garment it will feel rough and when you brush up it will feel smooth. This means that the colour will look a lot richer while you are wearing it.
  • As the surface of velveteen is almost like lots of tiny little hairs or bristles when you put the fabric right sides together it can have a tendency to slip and move. So you need to PIN, PIN, PIN! I have to admit sometimes I don’t pin every single seam when I’m sewing for speed but I would highly recommend it here.
  • You could use a walking foot if you have one but I didn’t use one for mine and it was all ok.
  • Sew seams in same direction as the nap where possible – so start at the bottom hem and sew towards the waist line. This will make sure that all seams are treated the same way and any slight slippage due to the nap will be equal around the garment.
  • Don’t press hard when pressing seams and use a scrap piece of velveteen underneath if pressing from the wrong side and on top if pressing from the right side of the fabric. This will stop the little hairs or bristles from getting squashed and looking flat.
  • Make sure you have plenty of water in your iron so that it gives out good steam and almost hover above the back of the fabric to iron it so that you steam it, rather than pressing hard on it.
  • Any top stitching that you do will really stand out on the fabric so I would recommend doing an invisible catch stitch to sew the hem for a cleaner finish.
  • Check the skirt length on the pattern before cutting out and adjust the pattern beforehand. Straight out the packet the skirt was going to come mid calf for me - but I wanted it just above me knee. Using the shorten/lengthen line on the pattern I adjusted it before cutting out the fabric. This way it didn't affect the shaping of the kick pleat at the back. 

This is another strong favourite from the Party Wear Series for me. I think its the spandex in the fabric - so much ability to move and stretch during all that festive indulgence! 

Happy Sewing!