Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Wee Bit of Market Research...

Happy Sunday guys! I hope everyone has had a relaxing and peaceful day and is ready for Monday tomorrow. This coming week is my final week at work before I start Uni, I can't believe how quickly it's come round! It's feeling quite bittersweet right now...

I'll get right to it now then. As I've mentioned before on this blog, and if you've read my little "Support Me" tab, you'll know that I've been toying with the idea of opening up an online shop for a while now, but have had a few things holding me back. 
I've quickly come to realise however, that during my PGCE year the  chance of managing to fit in part time work is slim, and so I will need to find new and innovative ways to top up my student loan. As sewing is my passion and my main hobby, I can't think of anything better than making beautiful things for other people, whilst having some downtime for studying by doing what I love.

So essentially, I'm doing a bit of market research to help get this underway, please feel free to share it with your family and friends! If you enter your email address at the end of the survey you may be lucky enough to get a cheeky wee surprise when the store is launched! (basically a discount).

The survey is here...

If you have any questions or suggestions you can get me on here, @SewTravelled on Twitter, @SewWellTravelled on Instagram, or via

Enjoy! Much love, Kat xx

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Self-Drafted | The "Days of Yore" Skirt

A few weeks ago... or months ago, I forget, I hit the Fabbadashery with my boyfriend. It was only right that he experienced my happy place first hand. I think it's fair to say that he didn't really get it but did resolve to make a picnic blanket; out of checked cotton material straight from the bolt. So no sewing really, just buying a metre of fabric. He didn't buy it in the end when I threatened to teach him how to use a sewing machine.
ANYWAY, the darling that he is bought me a couple of metres of this beauty. In true Kat style I didn't have any plans for it but I'm damn chuffed with how it's turned out!

The fabric, for some reason, reminds me of that episode of Friends where Rachel buys a ton of furniture from Pottery Barn and convinces Phoebe that it's genuinely from "the days of Yore".

This skirt is 100% self drafted, no hacking at all. I started by measuring my waist, hips and the length from my waist to where I wanted it to end. I added four inches to my waist then divided that total by four to make the front and back skirt pattern pieces, one on a fold and one not. I also measured the distance between my waist and hips to make sure when I was drawing out the flare of the skirt it skimmed my hips nicely. I also made it three-ish longer at the back and curved the hem, which I'm also very happy with. Generally I'm just really happy about this skirt. I also added quite a wide waistband and a centre back zip. And here it is!!!
I look silly when I pose.
Totally not photoshopped to
make me look slimmer....

In all honesty, I'm immensely proud of how far my sewing and dressmaking skills have come, to think that six months ago I'd sat down with my first pattern and called for my mum for help, and now I am designing, drafting and creating my own clothes! What even.

Anyway, you know the drill guys, til next time...
Kat xx

Sunday, 9 August 2015

How To 'Get Into' Sewing and Dressmaking...

Often when I post links to my blog online, usually on Facebook, or when I flaunt my creations around the office, I'm asked how I got into dressmaking. I hear all too often from people who have always wanted to make their own clothes, but just don't feel 'clever' enough, or don't know where to start, or a bad experience in A-Level Textiles class put them off for life. It's like dressmaking is some secret skill that you don't just 'pick up', and that you have to have all the knowledge in the world before you can even start.
I have to admit... I was the same. For years I had been wishing that I knew how to make my own clothes, that I could just do it, but I was afraid to start. But really, since starting sewing again nearly a year ago I've discovered that the only skills you really need to get started are patience and perseverance.
'Scuse the face, I was tired.

Back in January of this year I "picked up" dressmaking. In that I'd finished my quilt and a couple of little projects and decided to myself "right, now I'm going to make a dress". I'd bought my first sewing magazine with a free pattern, and figured I'd just buy the fabric and make the dress.
I've been luckier than some with starting as dressmaking is in my blood. My Grandmother made clothes for M&S, and then taught my mother who spent the 70s and 80s making her own clothes. My mum had recently bought a new sewing machine, and as I am currently living at home I was able to borrow it. For the most part I was stubborn and refused guidance throughout the first dress, but my mum was on hand to help me figure out the most basic skills in sewing which I lacked. That dress took about a month or two to finish, but I still wear it now...
So I thought I'd run down my six top tips for starting this brilliant hobby, I hope they help you eliminate the fear and just go for it!

1. Your First Pattern Should Be A Real Challenge
I've read a lot of these kinds of articles where dressmakers recommend picking something simple so that you don't lose confidence by making mistakes. I disagree, we learn by making mistakes and picking something difficult in the first instance will make everything else seem more manageable and logical.
My first dress, the one picture above involved a bodice with princess seams, darts, set in sleeves, front facing, a zip and then a full skirt. The princess seams baffled me, but from that I learnt about 'easing in', which also taught me in turn that dressmaking is not just shoving two pieces of fabric together and sewing. The front facing was a totally different notion to me, it was something I didn't even know existed, and we still don't talk about zips... Though I have a zipper foot now, so life's a bit easier. Tip 1 (a) - get a zipper foot.

2. Get A Book.
If you live in Britain, you'll know that The Works is a gold mine for cut price books, and because of how popular sewing is becoming they currently have a much more comprehensive craft section than ever before. I got this one for about £4 I think, but if you don't have access to this shop you can easily get one online and it's worth investing. It'll become your bible. Don't forget that a quick Google search will also answer most questions too, and there are plenty of sewing tutorial YouTube videos. 

3.  Just Do It.
No, I am not sponsored by Nike, but the sentiment in their tagline works here. A lot of the time the problem with doing something is getting started, and so we put it off longer and longer and it never gets done, that dress never gets made, and we are left with the never knowing of how that dress might have looked. Find a local fabric shop, or look online at a website such as Minerva Crafts, pick something you fall in love with and just start. Though I recommend cotton, stretch fabric is a nightmare and will make you hit things this early on.

4. No Machine? No Problem!
Bertha has now been upgraded
but is still loved.
Using your bible (see tip 2) take the time to learn some basic hand stitches - running stitch, back stitch, slip stitch. Sure, I love my machine, I love rarely having to hand sew anything and I love the power old Bertha 2 gives me;  but it's not VITAL. My mum hand sews everything and more often than not it looks just as, if not even more professional. If you're adamant on getting a machine but are lacking the funds see if you can borrow one from a friend or a family member, or find a cheaper model online to get you started, but don't let not having one hold you back. After all, they didn't use machines in the days of Yore.
ALSO - fun fact! Even though I sewed the patches to their fleece components, the patches and bias of my t-shirt quilt were all sewn by hand.

5. Get the Right Tools.
You needn't spend a fortune, but getting the basics is key to success and preventing crisis'. Make sure you have the following tools in your stash, and preferably a pretty box to keep them in...
A seam ripper - for those welcomed mistakes (or learning curves as I prefer to call them)
Fabric scissors - NOT FOR PAPER.
Paper scissors - NOT FOR FABRIC.
Hand sewing needles - for practice. You can get these at most supermarkets.
Pins - good quality ones please, if they're not sharp enough they'll damage your lovely cotton. And then you'll cry.
Tailors chalk or pen - for marking darts and other bits. If you wanna go upmarket you can get a tracing wheel too, but I'd always have tailors chalk as a back up.
A tape measure - to measure yourself, and others, and random things just for fun.
A selection of threads - get a bunch of your favourite colours, and also black and white ones, you always need a back up.
A pin cushion - or EVEN BETTER! Make one! You are a crafter now after all.

6. Be Brave.
My first dress, and I sat there staring at
all this for a good amount of time.
OK, it sounds like an odd thing to need to be brave about, but it really can be a little daunting when you cut out all the pattern pieces and lay out the fabric, having never seen a lay plan before, never mind used one. The key is to take it one step at a time and follow the instructions. Remember that you're meant to be having fun, you wanted to do this, make whatever you did. Taking things slowly and bit by bit will allow you to learn and not get overwhelmed. And remember, if it doesn't work out the way you planned that's ok, no one's first dress/project is in any way perfect!

Please share your first or most recent projects with me, or any tips you have for new starters on here, Twitter and Instagram, and I shall speak to you soon!

Much love,

Kat xx

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Scottish English Rose Dress

Morning all! 

A few weeks ago, right after the great teaching interview marathon of 2015 I sat down to make the Simple Sew English Tea Dress. 
Now this pattern was a tad traditional for me, but when I was looking at all my patterns it was the one which fit my fabric the best. The fabric, a beautiful red floral by Rose and Hubble which I picked up in the Fabbadashery's summer sale at £3.99 a metre had called to me. It's a little more floral than I usually go for but was just too stunning to say no to. 
The pattern itself was the easiest one I've done so far, no mistakes whatsoever apart from doing my zip too low, but it was my second concealed zip so it's ok. 
I'd say in total with the hours I put in it only took my about 5 to complete this one, and fit wise it is the best yet! 
I chose the capped sleeve option. There were three sleeve options in the pack, two with additional cuff options, but I decided it would be a little too much with the already busy fabric. 

And so here it is! My sewing machine thread was tangled when I was doing the hem, so whatever you do, don't look at the inside stitching (that's if you ever see me!) but from the outside its neat and pretty and that's enough for me :) 

And there it is! There are rumours of a heatwave coming next week, which is good as I'm on annual leave, hopefully we get one more blast of heat so I can legitimately wear this, as I'm not sure how well it would go with black tights and boots. 

What's the easiest thing you've made yet? And what do you think of this creation? 
Remember to subscribe here and on bloglovin' if you enjoy my sporadic creations and I shall speak to you soon! 
Much love,
Kat xx

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Life Changes

Guess who's back? Back again? Katharine's back, with a brand new career.


I'm really sorry, so so sorry. You see, after my last blog things got a little surreal and, for lack of a better word, insane. On the 15th July 2015 I accepted a conditional offer to the University of Leeds to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Primary) from this September. My interview was on the 14th... Insane. Mental. Surreal. I still can't quite believe it, but it's happening. I'm doing it. I've even resigned!

So that's why I haven't been blogging. I've been sewing, but not at the same rate as usual and have only finished two projects since I received that offer. Needless to say I have a lot of reading to do and revision prior to this intense year I've signed myself up for, but I am SO excited! I've finally found what I want to do with my life and it's ever so slightly overwhelming. I am still having many moments of grinning to myself thinking "I bloody well did it", still lusting after stationary, and planning on how to be a model student. Most of all though? I'm dedicated to getting every child in my class sewing. My classroom will be the craftiest classroom in the woooorld!

So for the next year I will still be sewing, and blogging when I can (probably more regularly than I do now as I am a procrastinator), but you will also be getting regular snippets of the life of a stressed out PGCE student. Stay tuned for my grey hairs and breakdowns!

Onto sewing news however, today I entered my first competition! are running their annual dressmaking competition, and this year it's the Walkaway Dress. I still haven't finished the one I am doing for myself yet, but I am confident I will get this one done. Entry fee is £17.99 and you get the pattern and the fabric in that price, it seems like a fun experience and I am too excited! You can buy the kit here:

I finished Simplicity 1608 for my mum, and an English Tea Dress for myself (full posts on these to follow). Mine and Danny's one year anniversary is this weekend also and I am trying to find something to make last minute for that.

For the first time in a long time I have a box full of fabric and nothing planned for them. In a way that's stressing me out, I want to wear the fabric, but I don't know in which way. Stay tuned and you will see!

That's all from me from today, regular dressmaking news will resume tomorrow and in a much more regular fashion. If you'd like more regular updates from me then follow me on twitter (@sewtravelled) and instagram (@sewwelltravelled) where I am ever so slightly more active at the moment.

Til tomorrow, much love.

Kat xx