Monthly Archives: July 2015

A newsy blog post for July

It’s been a little while since I posted a news-y update, so I reckoned I’d indulge in talking about me, me, Meee (or, at least, Sewabaloo, Sewabaloo, SEWABALOO!) for a few minutes this week.

We’ve been really very busy behind the scenes at Sewabaloo Towers.  Pattern #2 (the shirt dress pattern) has been thoroughly tested by our completely brilliant team of pattern testers, pattern #3 is in development, and Pattern #1 (the animal costumes) is now being revisited using the pattern testers’ feedback, to make sure that only the very best product will be offered when we’re ready to sell.  All this is happening all at the same time – I know, totally nuts!

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Book Review: Playful

I came across this beautiful book in the V&A museum in London last week, and just had to have it.  I’m a sucker for beautiful crafting books.  Rather than keep it all to myself I thought I might share some of the loveliness contained within with you, too, in the form a review.

PlayfulIt’s called Playful and is written by Merrilee Liddiard with wonderful photography by Nicole Hill Gerulat. Published by Stewart Tabori & Chang in 2014, it retails at £15.99, US $24.95, CAN $27.95.

This is a collection of projects to make for or with your children and includes sewn toys, some basic woodworked toys and painting / crafting projects, all with a feel of Scandi-chic about them and beautifully photographed in soft, natural lighting.

In the idyllic-sounding story of her formative years, Liddiard tells us how her parents were always making and creating for her and her eight siblings, and how she developed a love for creating.

“When you set the stage for the art of play in your home and learning environment, you are opening up a very special world for your little ones.” she says.  Bravo, well said, say I.

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Pre-washing – how necessary is it? Really?

I know how you feel.  You’re excited, you have an exciting new pattern and gorgeous new fabric and you just want to get the scissors into it all, and launch at the sewing machine, and glory in the noise and the pins and the thread, and listen to your favourite CD  or audio book while everybody else is out of the way and/or asleep, and just sew.

Whether you’re a new or a seasoned sewer, this is your special time when you can really breathe freely, loosen up your shoulders and relax into creativity, chaos and construction.  You really don’t want to delay it for the sake of Extra Laundry.

What’s all this fuss over pre-washing anyway?  Do I have to?

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5 Seam Finishes Every New Sewer Should Know

When I first started sewing garments it didn’t occur to me that I needed to do anything to the inside of my seams to keep them from fraying or to finish them nicely and neatly.  As long as it fitted (more or less) and it was tidy enough on the outside I was thrilled, proud of my clever sewing and a more than a bit chuffed with myself.

An unfinished, unpressed seam. Look at it, flapping about and fraying without so much as a by-your-leave. We can tame that. I’ll show you how.

The more I sewed, the more my skills developed, and my standards changed.  Now I find myself to be quite a fussy sewer and I would never dream of leaving my seams unfinished.

Well, practically never.  If the seams are enclosed within a lining and will never be exposed it isn’t always necessary to finish them (unless it’s to keep a very fray-prone fabric from unraveling out of sight and eventually undoing your seams.)


There are a few things I would urge a new sewer to pay special care to, and finishing your seams properly is definitely one of them.  It will make your work look neat and professional both inside and out, and will, depending on the method you choose, reinforce and strengthen your seams.

The 5 seam finishes that I believe every new sewer should be aware of are set out below.  With the exception of the Overlocked Seam which requires an overlocker, they are easy techniques which will immediately lift your sewing and make your finished garments look so much more impressive.

  1. Zigzag stitch
  2. Pinked Seam
  3. Bias Binding
  4. French Seams
  5. Overlocked Seams

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