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Pattern reviews

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.




Paper Pieced Heart Cushions

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Paper piecing divides opinion here at Brighton Sewing Centre.  Some of us are fans, others frown at the thought of the technique.  Our samples whizz, Melinda, is one of the former and loves playing around with paper piecing (if you pop in, ask her about her stitched pigeons!).  

We wanted to make something with a Valentines Day theme, that was an alternative to traditional cutesy hearts.


A few weeks ago we were talking about making a jewel block, and Nicole mentioned a block she had seen on Pinterest.  The Gemology block is designed by Sarah Rose Quilts, and available to buy on Etsy as a downloadable pattern for £2.02.  The templates it comes with are for 6in and 8in finished blocks.  However, we wanted to turn our jewel into a heart, so Melinda worked her magic and adapted the pattern.  


Firstly the top was re-drafted so the jewel became a heart.  Then the whole block was resized so it would fit an 18in square cushion pad.


The cushions are made from Kona Cottons in a cold and warm colour way, and the background is Charcoal.  


Happy Valentines x



Trail Tote - by Anna Graham

Wednesday, 4 February 2015


This free fab bag pattern caught our eye recently, thank you Robert Kaufman! So when our delivery of Doe, by Carolyn Friedlander arrived we got straight to work...



Two patterns...each using Doe

The pattern is from Anna Graham of Noodlehead, who is known for designing good looking functional bags and quilts.  This one is no exception.  We made the larger bag first, and it is a really good size - perfect for phone, diary, keys, small make up bag, notebook and pen, tissues, you can also fit an old iPad 2 in it comfortably without looking bulky.  The straps are adjustable, so you can move it to a length you are happy with.

We then made the smaller version using in the blue square, swirls tan and crosshatch mustard fabrics.  We made this pattern about 1cm bigger than the pattern (all the way around) as we wanted to be able to fit a purse and notebook in it so it could be used as an everyday bag.



Difficulty level

The pattern is described as "Experienced Intermediate" and we would agree with that.

The design is finished to a really good durable standard, lined with fusible cotton canvas, piping round the sides and a zip pocket.  This makes it a good project for those of you who  are comfortable with sewing tote bags, but want to push your skills a little further. 

Our favourite makes are those that look like you have bought them in an upmarket shop - and this project fits into this category.  Just get ready for your friends to ask you to make them one!


You can find more pictures of the pattern here.

Fabric used - Doe by Carolyn Friedlander



Double Gauze Baby Sleeping Bag

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

We have been having a play with our new double gauze fabric!



About the fabric

Double gauze has quietly been becoming more popular with sewists over the last few years.  In case you have never come across it, the fabric is suitable for a wide range of uses, including clothing, crafts and quilts.  

It is constructed from two layers of gauze (a light, open weave fabric), however the layers are joined at regular intervals, so you use it like one piece of fabric, and it is not as transparent as one layer would be. In the photo below you can see where the thread joins the layers.



We have two prints in stock at the moment, both made in Japan by Sevenberry.  

Aqua car print

Fruit Print



The sleeping bag

Double gauze is very soft and the weave means it is light weight which makes it ideal for making clothing and accessories for babies.

The pattern for this sleeping bag was downloaded from the Burda website here and was just 99 cents.  Melinda made it from double gauze and linen, with a piece of cotton wadding in between.  It is lightly quilted, so has a lovely drape to it.  It was very easy and quick  to make, and we think the mixture of fabrics would make it a useful and luxurious present for new parents.


Burda 148 - Baby Sleeping Bag


Inner fabric - car double gauze 
Outer fabric - Kaufman Essex linen in aqua
Thread, bias binding, button and cotton wadding from stock


Baby Coat

Tuesday, 27 January 2015


When we were browsing the Burda website after making the baby sleeping bag, we came across this lovely quilted jacket.  We were attracted to this pattern as it looks like something new parents would love to receive, and it looked so cosy.


It is a downloadable pattern, and cost just $5.99.  The pattern covers five sizes,  from age 6 months to 2 years so if you are making for a baby, you will be able to make more of these as they grow, and the seasons change.


What we used

The pattern suggested using sweatshirt material for the outside, and brushed cotton for the lining, however a quick peek outside the window made us feel we wanted to make something a bit warmer.  We chose a Kaufman shetland flannel for the outside, and a lovely retro poodle print for the lining.  The traditional weave on the outside contrasted really well with the slightly kitsch lining - and there is nothing more lovely than a pretty lining?!



Another little alteration we made was that we quilted the lining and the wadding, but did not quilt through to the front of the jacket.  This flannel has more body to it that the suggested sweatshirt fabric, so felt structurally it didn't need it, and that the herringbone didn't need any more texture or pattern on it.


Easy to make 

Despite the way it looks, the coast was very easy to make.  Once the pieces are together, the front and the hood are just finished off with binding. We used our linen effect one to add to the texture of the flannel, however this coat would also be lovely in spring made in bright colours with our gingham bias binding.



We choose buttons to match the herringbone fabric, but the black on the back makes them pop.  They are faux - so no buttonholes to sew, and the popper fastenings mean the coat is easy to get on and off. 



Pattern used 
Burda quilted baby coat 143

Fabric used 

Outer fabric - Shetland flannel herringbone
Lining - Aunt Grace Poodles
Bias Binding - Linen look - coral



Jersey Infinity Scarf

Monday, 19 January 2015


Infinity scarves have been around for a while, but with the temperature rapidly dropping this weekend, we have been prompted to have a go.  In store we have quite a few different knit fabrics, and liked the idea of using them to make a scarf to take us from winter to spring.


There are quite a few tutorials on the internet, but we used this one from Simplicity and found it so easy we made three!


Oliver + s school days jacket - pattern review

Tuesday, 12 March 2013  |  Nicole
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This unisex, hooded jacket and coat pattern from Oliver + S handles the elements as either a raincoat or a winter jacket.

This coat pattern features patch pockets and a choice of duffle closure details. It has an optional removable quilted lining and can be made with or without sleeves for additional warmth.

Buy the pattern

The pattern

  • Lovely quality paper which made tracing off the size I required very easy, as I do like to re-use my patterns, especially children's ones as they have a habit of growing!!
  • Easy to use clear instructions
  • Also a bonus detachable lining.

Working with the polyurethane laminate

  • This fabric isn't particularly easy to pin so I weighted down the pattern and used a mat and rotary cutter to cut it out (naughty but great!)
  • Using a walking foot made the fabric a dream to sew and I used regular needles and Gutermann sew-all thread which worked well.
  • As the polyurethane can't be ironed from the sticky side I used a sew-in interfacing when needed.
  • Top tip - when sewing seams, position the needle about 1cm in from the edge to give the walking foot a chance to grip the fabric, then reverse to secure the seam.

Fabric we used
The new polyurethane laminate is really lovely to sew and so soft to wear.

Michael Miller - polyurethane laminate - dumb dot
Michael Miller - polyurethane laminate - ta dot pink

Sorry to say that we're out of the lovely dinosaur lining but we have a great selection of dotty fabric!