Yummy Christmas Ribbons Now in Stock!

We wanted to share a few pics of our new range of Christmas ribbons…


They are all £1.50 per reel and each reel hold 3mtrs of ribbon (except the twine, where you get 10mtrs!) – get planning!

Click here to view in store

  

 

 

  

 

Don’t forget to share all your seasonal makes with us via Instagram #printstopolkadots or Facebook at printstopolkadots – we love sharing your inspirational makes.

 

What is a Sloper or Pattern Block and How Will Making One Help Me?


If you love dressmaking but wish you had the confidence to ‘go off pattern’ to:

  • make alterations for a better fit
  • add or remove pockets, zips etc.. or change features such as waistband style
  • merge two or more of your favourite patterns
  • upcycle much-loved garments
  • make your own designs

then learning how to make your own pattern slopers will really empower you.

All designers, high street or boutique, start their garments with industry standard slopers or pattern blocks.  There are blocks/slopers for each element of dressmaking, skirts, dresses, tops, sleeves, trousers, even underwear!

Slopers or blocks look just like regular pattern pieces, but instead of popping out of an envelope ready to use, they are created by taking a person’s measurements and applying a set of rules to create the pattern pieces.


A pattern maker will take, say a skirt block, and will then start to play, adding or taking away length and width, adding pocket details, waistbands, lining, fasteners etc…  The finished garment will often look nothing like the original sloper but without the sloper much of the design process would be guess work/trial and error – a more stressful and costly process than need be if a sloper was used.

If you plan on making your finished pattern in a range of sizes this really is impossible without a sloper as changes in sloper size tell you how much your pattern needs to grow or shrink by for each size and in each direction.

If you are a home sewer with no aspirations to create your own patterns you may feel this is a step too far and that you would prefer to buy ready-made patterns and let someone else do this work for you.  But we would urge you to reconsider.

Making your own pattern sloper or block is a really empowering thing to do for two main reasons:

  1. Once you have made a sloper or block you can use this to create a large range of ‘standard’ garments that really do fit you properly – in the case of a skirt, once you have the sloper finished, you simply follow a set of detailed instructions to turn that sloper into a pencil, a line, circle or panelled skirt etc…
  2. When you make a garment using a sloper you learn a lot about what different elements of a garment do – what is ease, where darts should be and whether you can risk moving them, how easy it is to change a waistband and what making a change will mean for the other pattern pieces.

Some people never go back to using commercial patterns after making a sloper, others use the knowledge they have gained from the process to amend commercial patterns to suit their shape or style, either way, learning how to make a garment using a sloper can only be a positive and empowering thing!

Getting Started….

Join us on our Pattern Making Basics – Making a Skirt Without a Pattern course.  We will make a sloper on paper and then sew a practice piece to check for fit, make any alterations to your pattern piece and then use this to make a skirt pattern in a style of your choice – you can then choose to take your pattern home to make up or join us for a third week to get your skirt started – click here for further details!

If you are not local and can’t find a class near you, consider using Youtube, take up a Craftsy course to help you get started, or go it alone with a text book – we recommend using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting books – she has ones for women’s clothing, men’s and children.

They aren’t cheap, but if you look around you can often pick up a copy second hand, and if you consider how many patterns you can create from the one book they are incredibly good value!


 

 

 

 

Sewing School Events This Summer!

Join us this summer and learn a new skill or two at our Witney based Sewing School!

If you would have loved to complete one of our main sewing courses but the dates never worked or you just can’t wait until September to get going then our Summer Sewing School offer may be just what you need!

We are offering big discounts on one to one rates for all our regular courses over the summer, you just need to complete your course by midnight on 3rd September, and if our existing courses don’t quite work for you, you can even opt to book a one to one at the reduced rate of just £15 per hour!

Click here to view the full range of courses or email us at printstopolkadots@hotmail.co.uk to discuss dates/your needs further.


14 Ideas for Sewing Projects Using Chalk Cloth


We were deep in discussion about what you can make with Chalk Cloth at our fabric pop up shop in Witney on Saturday and I resolved to bring the best ideas to everyone via a blog post, so here it is!

Table Mats

There are lots of free tutorials for table mats on the internet, here are a couple of our favourites….

This one has a border pulled over from the front rather than separate binding around the edges, plus that all important pocket for the chalk.

Image result for chalk cloth ideas

This version has ‘proper’ bound edges…


Reusable, Personalisable, Wrapping Paper!

black%2Bpaper%2Band%2Bchalk%2Bwrapping.jpg

Add Wipe Clean Labels To Fabric Baskets

You could sew these into place, or use heat n bond ultra to add adhesive to the back of the chalk cloth and iron them into place.

Set of 4 - Linen with Chalk Cloth Fabric - Fabric Basket Organizer Storage Bin Containers on Etsy, $75.00

Chalk Cloth Embroidery Hoops

This is such a simple but clever idea!  Hang around the house and garden, adding your own personal messages, or use as signage at a craft fair.

DIY Chalkboard Embroidery Hoop Signs

Make a Fun Table Runner

As chalk cloth does not fray, you can simply cut to size and use straight away!

Image result for chalk cloth ideas

Reminder or Reward Chart

Easy School Hacks

Chalk Cloth Sew and No-Sew Versions of Bunting

Whole punch in the top corners of the bunting triangles and thread piping cord or string through the holes!

Image result for chalk cloth bunting

Simply cut your triangles and then sew into our bunting tape – the fabric won’t fray and has some weight to it, so no need to add a backing 🙂


Why not try a different shape for your flags?

Chalk Cloth Bunting 1

Chalk Cloth Labels

writing on the chalk labels

Table Centre Piece For Weddings or Planter with Space for Your House Number!

Image result for chalk cloth labels

Noughts and Crosses Playmat!

Image result for chalk cloth play mat

Large Play Mat

Why not put a car mat or dolls house layout on the other side?

Follow the link to this tutorial for lots of great tips for sewing with chalk cloth!

10 Sewing Tips for Using Chalkboard Fabric by Nancy Zieman

Lunch Bag

Blackboard/Chalk Cloth Lunchbag

Applique Cushion Covers

freebie win giveaway

Feeling inspired?  Click here to buy your chalk cloth today!

 

 

Learn Pattern Making Basics Here in Oxfordshire!

We are very excited to announce the arrival of our latest dressmaking sewing course here in Witney in Oxfordshire.

On our Pattern Making Basics course we will draft slopers (pattern blocks) for a skirt and then use those slopers to create made to measure patterns for one of a range of skirt patterns.

It is hard to convey how empowering pattern drafting can be.  Once you have created one block you will be raring to go…

  • creating trouser, bodice and dress blocks.
  • looking at sewing patterns with a fresh eye, unafraid to make changes before sewing.
  • recreating your much loved fav. garments by deconstructing them in your mind and drafting your own patterns – even making improvements along the way!
  • upcycling old clothes and finds in charity shops.
  • Altering new clothes for a better fit.


“The process of creating a sloper teaches you so much about your own shape, the function of  the various parts of the pattern and the impact changes will have – you will never look at a sewing pattern in the same way again, and will never have looked so good in your clothes!”

 

 

 

Sewcial – A Sewing SOS


SEWCIAL DEFINITION:
(pronounced social)
A group of friendly folk coming together to start or complete sewing projects, which have often, but not always, been hidden at the bottom of a drawer!

If you have a project you have started but can’t move on with, or if you are looking to start something but need some support to get going, why not join us at one of our Summer Sewcial Sessions.

We will be on hand to help you out and point you in the right direction with your sewing projects and dilemmas, bring a pattern or project, or some scraps from your stash and perfect a technique or two that have been troubling you, zips, button holes or bias tape etc…

Sessions run from 7pm to 9.30pm, drop in at a time to suit 🙂

Booking is essential – Every Thursday from 29th June to 20th July – Book as many sessions as you need!

http://www.printstopolkadots.co.uk/gb/sewing-school—sewical-sessions—helping-you-get-those-projects-finished

These Fabric Lanterns Could Be the New Bunting!

With Chelsea Flower show in full swing, the sun out and a lazy bank holiday on the way we couldn’t resist these gorgeous fabric lanterns from Melly and Me….


String them up along fairy lights for a truly magical effect – those ones with the battery pack at the end (they sell them in our local Poundstretchers quite cheaply) and they are perfect for the garden.

Who knows, they might become the new bunting!

Buy in store (click here) and you can pick up all the interfacing you need with one extra click 🙂

Great Free Sewing Tutorials for Fathers Day Gifts


With just a few weeks until the big day we thought we would bring you a round up of our favourite free sewing tutorials for dads!

Mens Pajama Shorts

This project includes a free pattern download to make Bermuda length shorts with proper pockets!

http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/mans-wallet-project/ Man's Wallet Tutorial - perfect for Father's Day:

A great way to make use of the smaller pieces of fabric in your stash!  Don’t forget to check out our range of interfacing for this project, and if you don’t have your fabric yet, why not check out our roll ends.

Business Card Wallet Scrap Buster Project

Another great stash buster!  Dig out prints you know your man will like and get sewing.


Cut up all those jeans he won’t throw away but should, and turn them into a really robust picnic blanket!


For all those long journey’s and nights up with the kids why not make a neck pillow.


Whether its medication for a trip away or a mini first aid kit for the car, one of these funky zipper pouches is sure to come in handy.

Father’s Day Tie | Purl Soho

The classic Fathers Day gift – a tie!


Whether your man is a dab hand in the kitchen or strictly a bbq king – an apron will always come in handy!

Dad's Travel Bag, a free tutorial on polkadotchair.com

This travel bag has a distinctly manly feel – perfect for the traveller or gym bunny.


What about a tablet or phone stand?

How To Make Denim Jeans Smart Phone Charging Station

This is a really cute upcycling project for those old jeans!  Get rid of all those wires draped over your kitchen worktop or bedroom floor!


And finally a versatile duffle bag – perfect for weekend’s away or the gym!

And you thought it was difficult to find things to sew for men!

 

 

 

Pressing Board Make Over Time

We have been busy recovering our Sewing School pressing boards this morning and they look lovely!

The fabric on the top board is Riley Blake’s Sweet Orchard in Pink, the next one is Dashwood’s double border print from the Birdsong range and the last one, the most practical being a dark colour, is Dashwood Studio’s Cotton Candy Floral on Blue fabric – all available in store.

If you are asking what a pressing board is, or want to know how to make one, click here for our tutorial – you will wonder how you ever managed without one!



Beautifully Crafted Sewing Patterns for Childrens Clothes

This week we are excited to be launching Two Stitches sewing patterns for babies and children’s clothes in store.

Two Stitches is an independent pattern design company based on the south coast of England, specialising in classic garments with a modern twist.

We love their children’s clothes patterns and are sure you will too!


Each pattern in printed on brown paper, thicker than tissue paper, with lines that are easier to see when tracing pieces.

Instructions include illustrations for all the key steps for when the words just don’t sink in 🙂

View in store today by clicking here…