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Sewing activewear on the Brother Innov-is F420 with Fiona Parker

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If, like me, you're attempting to get into a new-year exercise routine, you might be intrigued by the idea of sewing your own activewear, and once you've got the hang of sewing knits there's nothing to stop you doing so. It can be a lot of fun working with fabrics and techniques you might not need when sewing everyday clothing and you don't even need an overlocker. I've sewn a fair bit of it in the past but desperately needed some warmer leggings to encourage me to get running on cold winter mornings.


I resorted to an old favourite pattern to make these; the Pacific Leggings from Sewaholic. I have about three pairs of these that have been going strong for a couple of years. I love the seam lines and the shape of the waistband sits really comfortably, plus they have the practical bonus of a zip pocket at the rear. My other pairs are great for summer running and carry me through into slightly chillier weather, but I needed a pair for frosty mornings so chose this lov…

Dealer Focus: Threads, Minehead

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In this edition of Dealer Focus, we explore Threads in Minehead, West Somerset, a classic, family-run seaside sewing shop with an unbeatable inventory!

Sewing supplies and machines near Somerset and Devon Threads fabric, wool and haberdashery shop is a family-run business located in the seaside town of Minehead on the West Somerset coast, bordering North Devon. With a family background of needlecraft, Jackie took over the existing business and in three years has developed Threads to what it is today, remaining true to the principles of a traditional haberdashery despite offering everything the modern needleworker needs, all in one place.

Our aim is to encourage and inspire needlecrafters and we offer a full range of workshops and classes for all ages and abilities. We try to keep up to date with all the latest trends in needlecrafts and are constantly expanding our range of stock and selection of workshops on offer.

A diverse range of sewing products  Jackie’s passion is patchwork is …

Dealer Focus: Backstitch, near Cambridge

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In the first article of our new Dealer Focus series, we hear from Backstitch in Cambridge about their transition from the web to a shop, fantastically independent location and the huge range of classes they have on offer for budding sewists!

A growing independent haberdasher Backstitch was started online nine years ago. We started with some quilting cotton and a few dress patterns, after discovering a dearth of modern fabric available online in the UK. After four years we moved into bricks and mortar premises at our current location at Burwash Manor and will be having our fifth birthday party there in March! The landscape of craft sewing has really changed over nine years with plenty of interest developing, but although you can now hunt out modern haberdasheries, they really are still gems that need to be found and treasured.

An unbeatable range of sewing products Our Brother range consists of sewing machines, overlockers and accessories. We’re quite a new dealer and we are very excit…

Sewing a faux suede Ulysses Trench coat with Fiona Parker

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I fell in love with the Ulysses Trench when it was released by Victory Patterns months ago, and for some reason couldn't get the idea out of my head of making it up in faux suede! It has taken me quite some time to get around to making it; partly because I had trouble finding the fabric I wanted, but mainly because my fears over working with such a different fabric took a while to overcome!

I tried sewing a suede skirt years ago, not long after starting sewing, and it's safe to say it was a complete disaster. I was similarly expecting hours of playing around on the machine trying to get it to neatly sew more than one layer at a time, but thanks to my new Brother Innov-is F420 my fears were unfounded!


I spent a long time looking for the fabric, as I wanted weightier non-stretch suede instead of the stretchier variety. I had in my mind that I was looking for a berry or rust colour, but couldn't find it anywhere, even after ordering samples online. I ended up being quite take…

Creating a yoga mat bag with Little Button Diaries

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Our New Year’s resolution (along with drink more water, which makes the list every year and never seems to happen!) is to join a yoga class. We have always loved yoga, but we tend to do it at home in our PJs rather than with other people, so, we decided to sew a lovely bright yoga mat bag to motivate us to go. This is such a simple project - the jersey fabric means you don’t have to be so precise with the measurements as it will all stretch to fit!
You will need: 1 half-metre jersey fabric 1 quarter-metre contrasting jersey fabric 1-metre matching strap (4cm width) 1-metre matching cord Wooden toggle
This tutorial uses a half-inch seam allowance, unless stated.
Step one Measure the circumference of your rolled-up yoga mat and add 1 inch to the measurement. Then measure the length of the rolled-up mat and add 3 inches to this measurement – note these down.


Step two Cut out a rectangle from the main jersey fabric to these measurements. Fold the fabric in half lengthways and make marks 3 …

Angie Lawrence illuminates the Luminaire

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What’s that coming up the lane? It’s my lovely-jubbly Brother XP1 Luminaire – or Lumi-Loo as she will come to be known. I live in a fairly remote area, so my delivery guy had to put the extremely large and heavy box on to a trolley and trudge up the lane to my house.Fortunately he was also sweet enough to lug it into the house for me.
Once unpacked and set up in my sewing room, I simply could not decide what to do first – so many new and exciting features to choose from! Should I explore the new quilting fills in Design Centre or sew out one of the many new designs (including Disney!)? Perhaps I should take look at the new projector feature which makes placement of designs a breeze? Maybe I should sew out a huge design on the giant, new hoop?

In the end, I decided to explore Design Centre and one of the new designs that particularly intrigued me; the patchwork applique set (image to the left). These are all such beautiful patterns – just imagine how fantastic a quilt made of just these …