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Wardrobe Builder

We probably all have a few wardrobe heros (sorry, not sorry for the gratuitous pic of Chris Hemsworth as Thor loosely under the banner of hero!); they don't come to mind straight away when you think about your clothes but they are the everyday articles that you reach for automatically. They fit, they go with anything, they make you feel good. They are probably in neutral shades...greys, black, white, denim blues, maybe a nautical stripe. Thor likes to wear his red cape with everything!

It's lovely to make a flowery sundress or a statement skirt - but you won't get the 'wear it till it falls apart' or 'I'm sad it doesn't fit me anymore' feeling from these items in the same way as a much loved t-shirt or sweatshirt.

I've been thinking a lot about the value we get from our clothes - prompted by the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh. I highly recommend the film'True Cost' (I watched it on Netflix but am sure it's probably available elsewhere). I'm not going to preach about what we should and shouldn't be buying - I am no saint myself, but it did really make me think about whether I need to make or buy another top in that latest must have fabric / design. If I'm more mindful about my makes then it's got to be good news for the planet and for my purse.

So who are these wardrobe heros? I guess they will be different for everyone. For me they would include a cosy sweatshirt (probably grey), classic t-shirt (black is a must have) and maybe a breton stripe top too (I firmly believe that navy and white stripes are 'a neutral'!). I also love denim. Whilst I have a lovely collection of dresses, skirts and trousers and beautiful patterned fabrics - more often that not, I reach for my jeans, denim skirt / shorts or denim blue dress as a base for my outfit.

I am introducing some new sewing classes over the next couple of months to help you to make these unsung heros. The items you produce will be worn again and again and hopefully make you feel proud every time you put them on. The success of these garments starts with great fabric - the right fabric for the job. I will share my knowledge and experience of fabric buying and point you in the direction of the best suppliers that I've come across (in terms of quality, price and ethics).

I'm going to start with the humble sweatshirt and follow with the breton top. You can see straightaway the infinite variety that you can create with a simple pattern both in terms of how you style it and the fabric you use. I do think that Jean Paul Gaultier (bottom left) may have gone a little far in styling his!!

The Sweatshirt Class is on Friday May 11th and starts at 10am and The Breton Tee Class is the following Friday (May 18th) also at 10am. If you are interested in either class please email me on and I will book you a space and let you have more info. Or you can head over to the Book Online tab on the website. Each class costs £35 and will include a pattern for you to take away. You will need to provide your own material and I will give you more information about this when you book. You will be learning about dropped sleeves for the breton top and raglan sleeves for the sweatshirt - two great techniques to add to your repertoire. You will also learn about sewing jersey with a regular sewing machine and the use of ribbing for cuffs, collars and waistband if desired.

I highly recommend that you have a look on the Discovery Knitting website for fabric (especially high quality breton stripes made in the UK). Their minimum order is 2m (out of which you can get a long sleeved breton top with some leftover for trims on future makes). The website is Please note that this company is a recent discovery of mine and I receive no benefit for recommending. I also recommend The Cheap Shop in Tiptree who have a rapidly expanding section of jersey and sweatshirting fabrics for sale (again a personal recommendation only).

Pleae do get in touch if you have any questions about these classes or any others. I am always happy to run a class for a minimum of two people - so if you would like to join me at another time, please do let me know and I will do my best to offer another time to suit.

Happy sewing,



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