Friends, have you heard? There's a brand new, British pattern company on the scene - a heartening sign that domestic-stitching is still going strong, if not gaining popularity! Simple Sew design and print their patterns in the UK using a British pattern printing company and they offer all customers an email support service and UK customers free postage!
Their designs are contemporary fun, flirty (as is the artwork) and mixing and matching their patterns could result in a pretty cute capsule wardrobe I reckon. There's definitely a By Hand London feel to some of them, but that's no bad thing in my book. So if you fancy the chance to get your hands on a Simple Sew pattern, look out for a giveaway on their Twitter and Facebook pages on Christmas Eve!
Typically, when Claire contacted me about trying out a Simple Sew pattern I chose The 'Pretty' dress which isn't yet available. My second choice was the Peter Pan Collar Blouse because, well, I love collars and back buttons. I was a little apprehensive about the lack of bust shaping on this pattern, but it actually hangs remarkably well and I'm really, really happy with the end result!
As a whole, this pattern is ridiculously easy to sew up with just three pieces and no darts or zips. And if you have a one-step buttonhole function on your sewing machine, you really are laughing! The only time consuming thing is making bias binding, but you can always cheat and buy that if you're feeling lazy ;o)
I 'graded' the pattern across three different sizes -10 for the neck and shoulders, 12 for the armholes and bodice (up to the waist) and 14 down to the hips. Doing this eliminated my usual neck-gaping issues and has allowed much needed room for my hips and posterior. In fact, I probably could have gotten away a 12 for the entire bodice, but I love how roomy and floaty this has turned out. Despite the lack of shaping, I still don't feel like I'm wearing a tent. Odd, but true...unless you guys disagree entirely of course!
What I liked about using a Simple Sew pattern
The pattern came in a tidy little envelop with great artwork...seriously, I want the entire outfit and hair people! Very cool! It's printed on what I would call 'sturdy' tissue paper, which is so much easier to work with than the usual super-flimsy stuff. It feels like it can take a whole lot of manhandling, pinning, annotating...you name it.
I think my favourite touch has got to be the nifty little pattern piece tags, which you can cut out and pin to your fabric pieces to keep track of them. I've not seen this before, but it's a clever idea, especially if you're working on a more challenging pattern and/or with fabric that's hard to mark.
Suggestions for improvement
I can't speak for all Simple Sew patterns of course, but it's only natural that there would be a little room for improvement, especially with beginners in mind. Mainly it's really small things like the cutting lines being very similar and the fact that a shorten/lengthen line isn't included in case adjustments are necessary. The pattern also didn't require you to interface your button plackets which I found odd - I went with it though and it turned out fine so maybe it's not strictly necessary?!?
I think the biggest stumbling block for beginners could be the instructions - there are lots of useful diagrams, but the written instructions do assume a certain level of knowledge. For example they mention French seams and bias binding, but no hints on how to do/make either. Fear not though, for the good people at Simple Sew have big plans for online tutorials (which will also feature contributions from fellow bloggers) and as I mentioned above, they offer email support to those who need it.
Next up, a couple of detailed close-ups. I really love the collar on this blouse, especially the shape at the back. Do you like my fabric by the way? I stash-busted the whole blouse - the animal print a cheap polyester I've had for a couple of years, the collar a viscose blend and the buttons I received from a swap. Originally I picked out black buttons, but I think the cherry red is much more fun!
I know you're all thinking about the elephant in the room - the chilly and dreary weather we're experiencing. Well, until Spring/Summer I actually intend on layering this baby up like so...
...which is exactly how I wore it at a cheeky little get-together in London today with Rachel (House of Pinheiro), Tania (Sew It Anyway), Louise, and our guest of honour all the way from California, Erin (Miss Crayola Creepy)!
Just moments before we drooled all over Shaukat's extensive Liberty range!
I don't think poor Erin had ever experienced so much rain in her life! It's alright for some, isn't it?