Mentha Jacket (Chaqueta Mentha) : Guest Sewing Pattern Review

Hello sewing friends!  Suzy, of @sewing_in_spain on Instagram, here.  The lovely Sarah has invited me to take over her blog today to tell you about this jacket; the new pattern release (and sewing class) from Lara Sanner –  I’m taking part in the Mentha Jacket blog tour to give my thoughts – with a Spanish translation – and show my version of this clever pattern!

¡Hola amigas costureras! Soy Suzy y podéis encontrarme en Instagram en @sewing_in_spain Hoy, la encantadora Sara me ha invitado a su blog para hablaros de esta chaqueta, ya que formo parte del Blog Tour de la chaqueta Mentha para enseñarle a más costureras y costureros este increíble patrón, el patrón Mentha.

If you want to try to make a jacket, but feel it could be overwhelming, this could be just the pattern for you!  The Mentha jacket – that’s Peppermint in English – is a fresh approach to a jacket making; it has some lovely design features – inseam pockets at the front; funnel neckline; splayed front and cute overlapped cuffs.  However, the folks at Lara Sanner have given a lot of thought to demystifying the tailoring process; the design is simpler than it looks! There are no lapels or traditional collar and the clever raglan sleeve design means no sleeves to set in. Here is the line drawing of the pattern…..see what I mean about the fabulous sleeve seams?

Si queréis probar a coser una chaqueta, pero quizás os sentís un poco intimidados, este es el patrón ideal para vosotras. La chaqueta Mentha es un buen acercamiento a la confección de chaquetas de sastre. Tiene algunos detalles increíbles – bolsillos en la parte delantera, cuello chimenea, delantero abierto y que cruza y unos bonitos puños superpuestos. Sin embargo, el equipo de Lara Sanner https://thesewingrecipe.com/ han pensado mucho para poder desmitificar el proceso de confeccionar una chaqueta de sastre y hacerlo más sencillo. El diseño es más simple de lo que parece – sin solapas o el tradicional cuello y con un ingenioso diseño con mangas ranglán, lo que significa que no hay que montar mangas tradicionales. Aquí os dejo el dibujo técnico del patrón, ¿veis las maravillosas costuras ranglán de las mangas?

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Sewing A lined lace tulle version of the Black Beauty Bra! View B

Hi! You may have seen that I’ve recently sewn two versions of View A of the Black Beauty Bra (by Emerald Erin) which were made using duoplex fabric and intended as ‘everyday’ wear bras. (You can see that post HERE). It was no exaggeration to say the experience revolutionised the way I feel about sewing my own lingerie – it took the fear out of the process and resulted in two really wearable – and comfortably supportive – bras! The confidence I gained made me look at View B of the pattern – the lace and fully lined version with classic picot elastic finishings.

lace lined bra sewing pattern tutorial
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Sew with your Cricut : How to Convert and Upload PDF and Paper Sewing Patterns into Design Space

I’ve written a couple of posts recently about my new Cricut ‘Maker’ machine (an intro / overview HERE and a guide to tools HERE) but perhaps this may be the one most useful for us sewists; how to upload sewing patterns into Cricut’s design software ‘Design Space’ so that the machine can cut pattern pieces out for you! I’ve had a good play with this; not only did I want to upload some of the PDF patterns I already had saved in my computer drive, but also to upload paper patterns. So this is what I aim to demonstrate in this Post, breaking it down into hopefully digestible stages with graphics to illustrate.

The ‘Black Beauty Bra’ by Emerald Erin – pattern cut out using my Cricut Maker!

I started using my Cricut in my sewing by customising fabric, cushion covers and tops with iron-on vinyl – which is enormous fun! But I quickly progressed to wanting to use my Cricut more particularly for sewing itself – there are loads of ‘ready to make’ little sewing patterns available in Cricut Access, ranging from bags and totes, pin cushions, dolls clothes, soft toys, quilts and more from a range of designers, including Simplicity…

A small sample of ‘ready to make’ sewing patterns in Cricut Access

For my first project, I decided to make a pay-for pattern in Cricut Access; a quilted, zippered pouch to store a tablet as a birthday gift for my Mother-in-Law…(and yes I personalised the inside with a message cut using Iron-on Vinyl!)

Moving on from that, I started to think about how I could upload some of the sewing patterns I already owned, both PDF and Paper, which took me down the route we’re now about to travel together! As I’ve broken this down step-by-step with illustrations, it might seem a lot at first glance but in the actual doing, it’s quick and relatively simple!

There are a couple of pointers worth mentioning before we get started with the tutorial :

  • You are limited to the size of pattern your Cricut machine is able to cut – its standard cutting mats are 12″ x 12″ and the larger are 12″ x 24″ so any pattern piece will need to fit within that framework – lingerie for example.
  • Getting your Cricut to cut patterns is ideal when a) you’ve a lot of identical pieces to cut which need to be accurate (e.g. quilts) or if you’re working with a shifty fabric or weeny pattern pieces that can prove tricky to cut manually – bras, I’m looking at you! Of course, you don’t need to upload entire patterns; say, if your making a shirt in something like a shifty rayon/viscose – I can see myself uploading just the collar and cuff pieces, or any piece where cutting accuracy is both pivotal and tricky, and letting the Cricut cut those to avoid any warping and shifting of the fabric in the process.
  • Uploading a sewing pattern into Cricut Design Space also enables you to resize and otherwise alter your pattern pieces prior to cutting out.

Ok, enough already – let’s get started on getting your PDF and paper patterns uploaded!

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Finally! Sewing my own Lingerie : the Black Beauty Bra Review

I am so happy to be writing this post as it’s been such a long time coming! I first starting banging on about sewing my own bras back in my 2017MakeNine list (which is a perfect example of why I’ve stopped making these lists!) Why has it taken me so long? A couple of reasons, confusion being one – fear definitely being the second.

black beauty bra

If this is you, let me attempt to talk you out of that, hopefully convincing you that there really is nothing to fear – whilst I try to simplify any confusion you may have with regard to the seeming myriad of different elastics and supplies you might think you need. But first…

Why Sew Your Own Bras?

Why did I so desperately want to sew my own bras? It wasn’t about design choice for me, or even about accomplishing new sewing skills – which, of course, are both extremely valid reasons! It was because wearing bras tended to make me, what I term, ‘Brangry’ (Bra = Angry)! I would wrestle my way out of any bra I was wearing the nano-second I walked through the front door. I wouldn’t even stop in my tracks to do it; I’d end up tossing said bra over whatever I was passing as I furiously whipped it off. Family and visiting friends were accustomed to finding bras discarded in a Brangry fit over the back of dining chairs, in the fruit bowl (it was otherwise empty!), down the back of the sofa – even in the shoe rack! No matter what size bra, no matter what style, no matter whether I’d had it professionally fitted or not – I hated wearing bras – they were uncomfortable to the point they’d make me seriously agitated.

I’d long suspected its partly down to my shape – I’m a DD cup on a relatively narrow petite frame. Bra straps would constantly fall off my shoulders (tightening them didn’t help). My boobs are also quite bottom heavy – 90% of shop-bought bras would squish and flatten my boobs in the lower cup so they’d end up overspilling in the top cup – even if it was ‘technically’ the right size. If I sized up, they’d fit in the bottom cup and then gape in the top. I could go on and on…suffice to say my loathing of bras goes a long way to explaining why I tended to live in PJs when at home!

Black Beauty Bra sewing pattern review Sew Sarah Smith

Are you noticing the past tense I’ve been using? Oh yes, things have very definitely changed – I’ve gone from stark raving Brangry to being very Brappy. (I’ll let you work that one out 😉 ) So, here’s why…

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Tips for Sewing Stretch Velvet – my Party Appleton Wrap Dress!

I’ve made my party dress for this year! I really wanted something that was warm and comfortable yet sufficiently glam – for me, this meant a shimmer stretch velvet and a long-sleeved wrap dress to pair with long boots.

I’ve long since decided to try and get more use out of the patterns I own and like, rather than constantly buying new ones. I’ve made the Appleton wrap dress by Cashmerette before (see HERE) so I knew it was a) quick to sew, b) really comfortable and c) had a really secure wrap front. Making repeats of the same pattern is also a really interesting way to show how different a pattern can look depending on the fabric you make it in! My first version was made for Summer, with short sleeves and in a lighter-weight knit. This iteration is full on Winter plush!

If you’re interested in this particular fabric, read on, I have a 20% discount code on your entire order from the supplier (Patterns & Plains)

But first, let’s talk construction. Sewing stretch velvet is not particularly difficult but I did utilise a particular method of hemming the dress to ensure it came out sharp and even …

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