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FreeSpirit - Tula Pink - all stars - frog

FreeSpirit - Tula Pink - all stars - owl

FreeSpirit - Tula Pink - all stars - raccoon

FreeSpirit - Tula Pink - all stars - squirrel

Lotta Jansdotter - lemmikki - dots - green

Lotta Jansdotter - lemmikki - flowers - dark grey


Oliver + S Playtime Tunic and Leggings

Thursday, 12 March 2015



The lovely Melinda has been busy making up some more lovely samples for the shop.  If you come into the shop, or follow the blog, it is no secret that we absolutely love the Oliver + S range of children's clothing patterns.  The designs are stylish and smart, but very wearable.  The Playtime Dress, Tunic and Leggings pattern is a great example of this.  It looks really comfortable and easy to wear, and we thought it is very suitable for the changeable Spring weather.


Fabrics Used
The dress or tunic can be made in woven fabrics, such as quilting cotton and linen, however we went with the jersey option.  The fabric we used was the Little Darling stripe in red and pink

As the top was a stripe fabric, we decided to have some fun with the leggings, and used our funky birds fabric.

Both fabrics are 95% cotton/5% spandex.  
Please note, when using any knit fabric we recommend pre-washing it before use.



Pattern Review

The first thing we thought about the pattern is that it is a very good buy.  You get three items of clothing from it, and they are easy to adapt to where they are to be worn.  For example, our version uses jersey and so is suitable for wearing at weekends (or to nursery for younger children), but a woven dress with the optional mock Peter Pan collar would be smart enough for an event. 

The pattern was quick and easy to make up, however it has been graded by Oliver + S as being a level 2 (of 4).  The main aspect we think can be a little tricky is sewing with knit fabric, so remember to use a ballpoint needle and the correct stitch settings on your sewing machine.


The pattern comes in two sizes: 6m to 4 years, and age 5 to 12.  It is £14.95, and available from our website here.




Best Foot Forward - Overedge Foot

2 CommentsMonday, 2 March 2015

The Overedge Foot

This week on the blog we are looking at the overedge foot - also known as an overcast foot (this links to Janome cat B/C foot).


What is it used for?

This foot is used to finish seams neatly, and to stop them fraying.  When used with the right stitch it gives a similar look to a finish sewn on an overlocker.  
To use the foot, line up the edge of your fabric with the guide on the side of the foot.  Select the correct stitch on your machine, and sew.   The stitches are made over the brushes, and this stops the fabric from curling, as can happen when you zig zag along the edge of fabric.
You can use a zig zag stitch, or an overcasting stitch with this foot - refer to your sewing machine manual for the correct one for your machine.


How does it fit on?

It snaps on, so is easy and quick to change - no need to get the screwdriver out.


How much is it?

The Janome foot costs £15.  

Before ordering a foot, make sure you know whether you need category A or B/C as they are slightly different (although the same price).  The category corresponds with whether the bobbin is a top or front loading, so if you can give us your machine model number, or even describe it, we can match you with the right one.


Any other info...

Some other manufacturers make these feet with a metal pin, instead of brushes.  These feet work in exactly the same way.After placing the foot on your machine, test the stitch by using the hand wheel.  This means you can check the stitch is where you want it to be, and the needle is not going to hit the foot, and so break.  

Janome have a video showing the foot being used on their website here.


See the overedge foot here

New Patchwork Class Dates

Thursday, 26 February 2015



Hello - Liz here, I'm the tutor on the Sunday patchwork classes at Brighton Sewing Centre.  We have just added some new dates, so thought I would write a little about the classes to give you an idea of what to expect if you fancy coming along.


The classes run from 11am till 3pm, so give you a little Sunday lie in, and time to head into town for a roast dinner after!  I always start with an introduction, and bring in a variety of my beginners quilts, and current work in progress to show.  Everyone in the group then decides what they are working on.  I have patterns which can be followed to make up projects such as cushions and baby quilts.  Alternatively students bring along a work in progress, or a sketch or idea that we develop.


The four hours fly by, and once the group is busy sewing I make tea and coffee.  We don't stop for lunch, so I suggest students bring lunch with them, or can pop out - the class is very relaxed.


The Sunday sessions provide a good introduction to patchwork, or a chance to get in some uninterrupted sewing in a friendly environment.


The dates for the Summer are:







The cost is £25 per session, and the class size is limited to 6.  The workshop is equipped with sewing machines, however if you want to bring along your own one then that is fine.


Classes fill up quickly, so if you see they are full add you name to the waiting list and we will call if another date is added.  


If you have any questions, do leave a comment here or contact the shop.

Thanks for reading!


Wild Field collection

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

You may recognise the style of the Wild Field collection, as it is designed by Dinara Mirtalipova who designed the quirky Swim Team range of fabric that we wrote about on here
last summer.
Wild horses galloping across a summer meadow and wind blowing through your hair as you witness the beauty and color of the fields; these are the images brought to mind by the beautiful new collection.  
Windham Fabrics have a free pattern that uses Wild Field on their website here.
This unique and modern collection is available instore and on the website now.

To read more about Dinara Mirtalipova visit her website.

Best Foot Forward - The Ultraglide Foot

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


The Ultraglide foot 


This week we are looking at the Janome Ultraglide foot (this links to cat A foot).  


What is it used for?

When stitching "sticky" fabrics such as vinyl, suede and leather, a standard foot can drag causing skipped stitches and a wonky line of stitching.  The ultraglide foot is made from a special material that makes it easy to sew these fabrics, as they glide under the foot.  
This foot is particularly popular with bag makers. 


How does it fit on?

It snaps on, so is easy and quick to change - no need to get the screwdriver out.


How much is it?

The foot costs £15.  

Before ordering a foot, make sure you know whether you need category A or B/C as they are slightly different (although the same price).  The category corresponds with whether the bobbin is a top or front loading, so if you can give us your machine model number, or even describe it, we can match you with the right one.


Any other info...

When you first buy the foot, try it out on scrap fabric.  

Using a larger stitch length when sewing will help the fabric flow under the foot and make it easier when sewing through fabric such as leather which can be thick (remember to use the correct needle too).
If you have ever unpicked stitching through pvc or leather, you will know that the needle leaves holes, so do use a teflon foot from the start of your project.  You also cannot pin through this fabric, so our tip is to use paper clips to hold the pieces together.


Here is a short video Janome have produced that shows the foot.

Best Foot Forward - The Even Feed Foot

Thursday, 19 February 2015


The Even Feed Foot

Welcome to week 4 of our blog posts about sewing machine feet.  Today we are looking at the even feed foot (affectionately known as the walking foot) (this links to Janome cat A foot).


What is it used for?

A standard presser foot puts pressure on the fabric, whilst the feed dogs underneath draw the fabric through under the foot.  A walking foot is different, as it has a set of feed dogs built into the foot, so the two sets of teeth (top and bottom) take the fabric through the sewing machine evenly.  This makes sewing stretchy or slippery fabrics much easier as it stops them distorting and puckering.
The foot is also very popular with quilters, as it is excellent for machine quilting, when you are sewing through three layers of fabric.


How does it fit on?

You need to get the screwdriver out to fit the walking foot, and make sure the lever is above the needle screw. 
When you buy the foot, you will see a piece of metal in the box.  This is a guide that can be used to make a line of stitching parallel to the another.  
Janome have a video of how to fit the foot, and use the guide, on their website here.


How much is it?

The Janome foot costs £42.  

Before ordering a foot, make sure you know whether you need category A or B/C as they are slightly different (although the same price).  The category corresponds with whether the bobbin is a top or front loading, so if you can give us your machine model number, or even describe it, we can match you with the right one.


Any other info...

This is not a standard foot, and only comes with some of our quilting machines, or with the additional quilters set that you can buy to go with your sewing machine.
Some of our higher end Janome machines come with a build in dual feed function.

See the Even Feed Foot

Sewing Machines - Old vs New

Wednesday, 18 February 2015



One of the perks of servicing and repairing sewing machines, is that we get to see so many different types.  It is always interesting chatting to customers who bring in older machines and hear their stories; it was a wedding present 40 years ago, I got it for my 21st Birthday, it was handed down from a grandmother, it was found at a car boot sale...  

When they are bought in, we often get asked whether the owner should upgrade to a newer machine, and in most instances, after a service, the answer is no.  If the machine works and does everything you want it to, then there is no reason to.  However, if you would like some of the newer functions such as needle up/down, or a lighter machine to carry to classes, then it can be a good idea to buy a new machine.

Old Machines




  • they are generally cheaper to buy
  • many of the machines sew a lovely straight stitch
  • the way they are built means you can clean and oil them easily
  • the tension is easy to adjust, and so they are good for sewing with thicker threads
  • lots of the machines are made of metal, and so built to last
  • the hand crank machines are very good to use with children, as they can control the speed easier than with a foot control.  
  • they can also be used in the garden for summer sewing, as they don't need to be plugged in.
  • the machines look stylish.  My 1918 Singer had some fairy lights round it at Christmas!




  • the machines can be really heavy, not easy to transport to classes, or even around the house.
  • buying new feet for them can be tricky, and for lots of the machines not many types of feet were made.
  • lots of older machines only do a straight stitch.
  • if you buy a second hand machine as it is inexpensive, it is likely you will need to get it serviced, so you have to add this to the cost.
  • it may not have a manual, so you will need to find one online
  • if you do not know where the machine has come from, you do not know its history. It maybe that it was used in a school for 30 years, and so is feeling a little frail, and won't give you the best results.


New Machines





  • you can have confidence it will work straight out of the box.
  • most come with an over edge stitch, which is better for neatening seams than a zig zag.
  • many have a speed control facility, which is good for sewing with children, or if you are new to sewing.
  • they can be easier and cheaper to fix as the parts are still being made
  • it will come with a manual, and there will be Youtube videos to help you get started
  • many of them are light, so easy to transport and take to classes
  • new machines come with a warranty, so you can have confidence you will have a working machine
  • some modern machines are very good looking.  We like the DKS100 and the Bernina 380 is very nice.




  • sewing machines can be expensive.
  • some new machines are not as well made, so be careful before you buy, and shop from a reputable specialist retailer.
  • many now only come with a dust cover, so you need to buy a bag or keep it in the box between use.

Whichever machine you have, or are planning to buy, do remember...

  • change the needle often
  • use good quality thread
  • clean your machine regularly, and make sure it is covered when not in use to protect it from dust.

Black & White

1 CommentTuesday, 17 February 2015

Last week we received the sophisticated new collection from Robert Kaufman, designed by, Jennifer Sampou.  The monochrome prints (the collection is called "Black and White") are inspired by nature and feature motifs such as feathers and birds.


Jennifer has had a long career in print design, studying at the FIT in New York and University of Vermont, before working for Laura Ashley in the late 1980s.  In 1989,  she became creative director for P&B textiles, at what must have been a very exciting time in the development of the quilting industry as we know it today.  She founded Studio Sampou in 1996.

We love this gorgeous quilt designed by Better Off Thread for Robert Kaufman using the Black & White collection. You can download the free pattern here

For more inspiration on projects to make with Black & White, check out the photos from the blog hop

To find out more about Jennifer Sampou, and her work, visit her website.



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