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Interview with Toni from Make it Perfect

One of the most exciting things for me about One Thimble Issue 3 was including our first ladies-wear pattern – the Daisy Chain Pattern by Toni from Make it Perfect.  I find it so satisfying and liberating to make clothing for myself and it felt like a massive leap forward to have such a fabulous ladies dress pattern in One Thimble!

Picture Toni Coward has been sewing for over 20 years and started her business, Make It Perfect in 2008.Her aim is to create hip, fresh and funky sewing patterns which are geared towards the new generation of younger sewers and stylish fabrics on the market today.

Toni contributed the Daisy Chain Dress Pattern to Issue 3.  Be sure to visit her website & blog for lots more Make It Perfect goodness!

What, where or who inspires you?
I usually find inspiration when I am not looking for it! And then it comes in waves…because of our technological world I am always inspired by things I see online, but I’m loving Instagram at the moment, and all of the wonderfully creative people I meet there. Things usually have to be quiet and orderly for me to feel inspiration, I don’t work very well in a messy, crazy environment.

What is your favourite haby item?
As much as I detest using it, I would have to say my stitch unpicker! It’s never good when you have to use it but trying to unpick stitches without an unpicker is not fun!

Do you have a  favourite pattern you have created? If so which and why?
Ooh, this one is tricky because I’m always saying that “this” pattern is my favourite!! My favourite women’s pattern at the moment is the Poppy Tunic. It is so comfortable to wear and great for layering. I like it because I feel dressed up without having to think too hard about it! My favourite girl’s patterns are Sprout and Zip-It. And for boys, the Hero Vest and Long Boards – I have 3 boys and these are the two patterns that get used over and over again.

Do you have any tips for balancing family life, building a new home with business?
It always takes a lot of thought, effort and reassessing to achieve a good balance. I have always made a point of making sure that family always comes first. Because of this, most of my Make It Perfect work happens during day time naps and when the kids are in bed at night – resulting in lots of late nights!! My Make It Perfect “work” doesn’t actually feel like work though, so designing, sewing and writing patterns is actually my reward at the end of the day! As soon as Make It Perfect starts to feel like a chore, I set it aside and do something else. I try really hard to keep it fun and enjoyable or else I lose motivation and I don’t don’t I could  write a pattern well without enjoying myself.  I am also lucky to have a supportive husband who works from home so it’s always helpful to have another adult around. It writing, it sounds like it all happens easily, but it really is a juggling act and something that I am continually trying to get my head around every day. As for building the new house – lucky again that my husband is an architect so he does most of the hard/stressful jobs that come with building a house and I just get to focus on the fun design aspects!!

Picture Tell me about “Make it Perfect” the book
I was approached by Penguin Publishing in the beginning of 2009 and offered a book contract. It was something that I hadn’t even thought about doing previously and was really shocked by the phone call (and all I could think about as we were talking was that the stir-fry I was cooking for dinner was going to go soggy!) It was a long process – about 18 months from that first phone call until the book was released for sale, and in that time I gave birth to my third (thankfully super happy) baby and managed to put together 21 patterns for women’s and children’s clothing. It was a busy 18 months, and a lot more involved than I thought it would be but I’m grateful for the opportunity, and hey – I can say I’ve published a book now! The book is starting to become hard to come by because it was released almost 4 years ago, but you can still find it at some craft and book stores and I sell signed copies online here.

Make it Perfect Daisy Chain Ladies Dress Pattern from One Thimble Sewing e-zine Issue 3 You can purchase Toni’s pattern for the Daisy Chain Dress as a single pattern or visit Toni’s website to find out more about her other patterns HERE
or Purchase Issue 3 which contains this pattern
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Teaching your Children to Sew

Today we have a guest Blogger.  Paisley Hansen who you can find here talks about teaching your children to sew!  Issue 4 of One Thimble includes a pattern by Jody from Jody’s Craft Creations which is an excellent project for teaching your kids to sew!

Best Ways to Teach Children to Sew

If sewing happens to be one of your very favorite pastimes, chances are nothing would make you happier than if your children also made a hobby out of sewing. Whether your child is already interested, or you think he or she would be interested, teaching him or her will be easier than you think if you employ these tips.

Buy Some Supplies
Before you start teaching you kids how to sew, you’re going to want to purchase some supplies first. Your focus should be on getting a good pattern book. Ideally, the pattern book should be appropriate for your child’s age, but any pattern book should do as long as the patterns are easy. Choose pattern books that are likely to entice your child. For example, your daughter might love the idea of sewing a slip-on dress.

After you’ve chosen the pattern book, you can purchase thread and fabric. Since your child’s first few creations aren’t likely to be very good, don’t waste your money on expensive material. Instead, opt for the cheap fleece fabric.

Purchase the rest of the required notions, such as elastic, fasteners, and Velcro. Try to go for ribbon ties, snaps, and Velcro instead of buttons and zippers, which tend to be difficult to deal with for beginners. If the pattern your child wants to do calls for plastic, it would be best to buy a little more plastic than required to make room for most likely inevitable mistakes.

The Sewing Machine
Believe it or not, but there is no need to purchase a special sewing machine just for your child. This should be music to your ears, because you won’t have had wasted much money if your child turns out not to like sewing, or he or she grows tired of it in the future.

All you need to do is make the sewing machine accessible to your child. Place the sewing machine on a table that stands low enough that it will allow your child’s feet to reach the pedal. Once your child is comfortably seated in front of the sewing machine, run thorough the basics with him on operating the sewing machine.

The Sewing Process
Some things you want to make sure you explain are that he or she should thread the bobbin with a thread that is the same color as the top threat. Take the time to show your child how to thread needles and the best position for their hands while they’re sewing. Tell them which stitch and tension is best for the job and why.

Have your child cut his or her own material once you’ve explained why the fabric and material have to be bigger than the clothes to allow room to sew. Allow your child to iron the fabric flat, which will make the process of ironing easier for your child.

Finally, show your child how to sew one section, and then let him or her take over once you think he or she has gotten the hang of it. Check your child’s progress every few minutes.

Once your child is finished with their product, go over the mistakes he or she made and tell her how to fix it. Of course, be gentle when discussing these mistakes, especially if your child tends to have a very negative response to criticism. Be very supportive of your child’s mistakes and help him or her learn from it. Don’t forget to highlight the things he or she did well.

As you can see, teaching your children how to sew isn’t even close to as difficult as it may sound. Just keep your child’s age in mind when purchasing patterns and materials, and your child should be well on his or her way to becoming a very successful sewer. While your child most likely won’t be very good at first, don’t let that frustrate you or your child, as he or she will see improvements soon enough.

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Issue 4 Line-up

I have been absolutely bursting to share the line up for Issue 4 with you! Check out the talent!!! This issue is going to be huge!!!!
Picture I’ll be showing you all the patterns they’ve contributed over the next week or so, but for now be sure to check out their websites to find out more about them!

Horris & Deedle
Jody’s Crafty Creations
Ainslee Fox Boutique Patterns
Little Moo Designs
Stitched by Crystal
Rabbit Rabbit Creations
Ric-Rac & Retro
Boo! Designs
Gracious Threads

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Sewing 101 – Hack your way to better projects

Today we have a guest Blogger.  Paisley Hansen who you can find here talks about some tricks to improve your sewing!

Sewing 101: Hack Your Way to Better Projects

Sewing, like any skill, requires practice to master. Although you may not be able to jump in and create fashions ready for the runway on your first day, there are some tricks that can make even your novice projects something to be proud of.

Choosing Fabric
Cotton and fleece fabrics are some of the easiest to work with. Cotton comes in light-, medium- and heavy-weights so you can use it for everything from a light summer dress to a simple quilt. Fleece doesn’t unravel and works well for blankets, jackets, scarves and anything else requiring a heavy but soft fabric.

  • Pull a few feet of fabric off the bolt and feel the texture and check the drape to ensure it will work well for the project you have in mind.
  • When buying fleece by the yard, verify that the color reaches all the way to the selvage and the dye is consistent throughout the yardage.
  • Beware pattern fabric if you are piecing together a more complicated item. It can be difficult to match up pattern lines when you are first starting out. Instead, choose a solid color or a non-repetitive pattern, such as flowers, and skip the fancy chevrons and stripes for now.

Getting Started Tips and Tricks

You have your fabric but you aren’t quite ready to sew, yet. The fabric and your machine need a little TLC so they both perform smoothly. Taking the time to prepare both helps you avoid some of the common frustrations that plague the novice.

  •  Getting the thread on the needle sometimes poses the greatest challenge to any sewing project. If you don’t have a nifty needle threader available, try spritzing the end of the thread with hairspray. It stiffens the thread so it’s easier to stab it through the tiny needle hole.
  • Pins are a vital part of any sewing project because they keep your fabric in place until it passes through the machine. Insert the pins perpendicular to the fabric edge instead of placing them parallel. Your sewing machine needle easily passes over them instead of hitting and bending the pin, or worse, breaking the needle.
  • Prepare your fabric ahead of time! Most new nonsynthetic fabrics require washing and preshrinking, otherwise your project will come out of it’s first wash smaller and misshapen. Run a simple basting stitch around the edges so it doesn’t unravel first. After washing, iron it well so wrinkles don’t mess with your measurements.

Notions, Trims and Extras
A bit of bias tape that provides a clean edge without a hem, or some decorative stitching to add pizazz can make your beginner projects look like the work of a seasoned pro. A few tips can help you pull off these maneuvers without ruining your project.

  • Unfold your bias tape and line it up so the edge of the fabric is even with the center fold of the tape. Sew the tape in place and then fold it over the edge before topstitching it completely in place. Any uneven stitches end up on the back side of the project, and your clean stitches are on the front.
  • Button holes can frustrate the beginner, and it doesn’t help that each machine performs this task differently. Read the directions and practice on scrap fabric before making the real thing. If buttonholes still seam out of your league for now, use a hook-and-loop tape closure and sew decorative buttons on by hand.
  • Don’t forget interfacing. This thin material goes on the inside of the fabric to give it some weight. A bit of interfacing can keep your buttons from sagging on a thin cotton fabric, or help stabilize a bit of embroidery or applique.
  • Avoid going overboard with the decorative stitches. Once again, practice all the stitches on your machine on scrap fabric first. Each stitch may require a tension adjustment before it looks correct, so practice on the same weight and type of fabric so you can verify the tension is right.


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A Stardust Bonus

I was speaking to a friend recently about hemming tricks and hem guides and I realised that some people may not have noticed this little bonus that Laura from Ellie Inspired included with her Stardust pattern in Issue 3 or known what to do with it.  So here’s a super quick guide to using a hem guide.

1. Print out the hem guide on card stock.
2. Cut along the outside solid lines.
3. Lay your garment with the wrong side facing up.
4. Put the hem guide on top.
5. Fold the garment over the top until the edge matches the appropriate hem guide line.
6. Iron.
7. Stitch your hem as normal.



If you love this idea but you prefer to use a different hem depth never fear, you can make your own hem guide for different hem lengths by ruling lines on a piece of card stock.

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