SALE – Sewing Indie Month Pattern Bundle 1

Hello Sew Independent Readers! My name is Mari, designer and owner of Seamster Sewing Patterns. Donna, the founder of Sew Independent, decided to step back from this site so I took over.

I’m incredibly excited to be running Sew Independent because it’s the perfect home for Sewing Indie Month (SIM). SIM is a month-long celebration of indie sewing patterns that I started last year. And it’s going to be even bigger this year when it fully kicks off in September.


We’re starting the celebrations a little early though by throwing a huge sale. From today, August 3rd, until next Wednesday August 12th you can buy a bundle of 10 sewing patterns from different indie designers for as little as $3.80 per pattern! What makes this insanely discounted sale even more exciting is that 20% of proceeds go to charity!

The way the sale works is that you get to decide how much you pay, starting with a minimum of $25. Paying the minimum will get you a great wardrobe building pack of 5 patterns. The more you pay though, the more patterns you’ll get, with up to 10 patterns for as little as $38!

International Folk Art Alliance

Of course you can pay over those minimums, and when you hear about the charity you’ll be supporting you may very well want to! The charity is the International Folk Art Alliance, which means you’ll get to help artisans from around the world create sustainable livelihoods through education and by giving them access to exhibition opportunities. Through the International Folk Art Alliance’s efforts, artists from around the world have been able to build schools and feed their local villages, find shelter from abuse, and recover their ability to support themselves and their families after the destruction of war.

With your generosity you’ll get to help makers from around the world and even those in your own backyards (us, the pattern makers!) create sustainable livelihoods. And because we appreciate your support, the 10 people who spend the most will receive a free bonus reward- printed copy shop versions of the patterns mailed to them anywhere in the world!

By now I’m sure your fingers are itching to start sewing!


If you spend $25 or more you’ll get the following patterns:

  • Sutton Blouse by True Bias
  • Cressida Skirt by Jennifer Lauren Vintage Patterns
  • Sugar Plum Dress by Lolita Patterns
  • Mississippi Ave Dress & Top by Sew House Seven
  • Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

If you spend $32 or more you’ll receive the previous 5 patterns and the:

  • Cookie Blouson by Waffle Patterns
  • Bonnel Dress by Dixie DIY

And if you spend $38 or more you’ll get all of the above patterns plus the:

  • Melissa Dress, Blouse & Skirt by Muse Patterns
  • the NEW Saltbox Top by Blueprints for Sewing
  • the NEW Sorrel Dress & Top by Seamster Sewing Patterns

That’s almost $100 off the full retail cost of $132.61! Because making a sewing pattern is so work intensive, we designers can only sell our patterns for such a low price when they’re bought in bulk- just like with Groupon. Chances are you’ll never again see these patterns offered at such rockbottom prices. We just couldn’t keep the lights on in our studios if we regularly offered such big discounts. So take advantage of this deal while you can!

This is a great way to try out a bunch of different designers. Plus, you’ll be able to get the brand new Saltbox from Blueprints for Sewing and the Sorrel Dress & Top from Seamster Sewing Patterns before the designers even start carrying them in their own shops. That’s right! During the bundle sale you won’t be able to buy these brand new patterns anywhere else.

Are you as excited as I am?! Head over to the new Sew Independent shop to support your fellow home sewers and artisans from around the world. Remember, the sale only lasts until August 12th!

so …. sew independent?

Fri, 11 Oct 2013 22:49:31 +0000

I went looking for a website that had a complete list of all the Independent fashion pattern designers that are around at the moment and their sewing patterns.

I wanted to be able to look at the patterns and see how other people have made it.

I also want to see what new patterns are being released and what patterns are hot right now without scouring dozens of blogs for that information.

I couldn’t find a site with all of these things – so I decided to create one.

Welcome to Sew Independent.

Sewing Independent

Sun, 13 Oct 2013 04:09:51 +0000

Over the past few years the number of independent pattern designers has significantly increased.

Up until recently the only sewing patterns that were readily available were those that you bought at your local chain fabric and haberdashery stores. Those patterns were generally from the larger pattern companies which can provide large scale distribution. These are referred to as the Big 4 and include Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue.

The popularity of DIY and the huge online sewing community created a new market place for alternative pattern producers. Home sewers wanted patterns that were different, they were looking for something new and were more than willing to support the community.

Independent designers saw the need. Smaller companies could promote, create and distribute their patterns with little outlay. Patterns are generally sold as a printed pattern or distributed electronically as a PDF for you to print at home.

Independent designers can often provide a more personal support system than the larger companies can. Pattern instructions are often easier to follow and most designers generally provide sewing tips and tutorials, as well as sew alongs on their blogs.

So what is an independent designer.

Let’s start with what is not. To begin with, calling the major companies the “Big 4″ is not entirely correct. It is really the Big 2. Vogue, Butterick, McCalls and Kwik sew belong to the McCall Pattern Company . Simplicty, New Look and Burda Style are part of the Simplicity Creative Group.

To make it easy on me and for the purpose of this blog. I am going to class pretty much anything that is not produced by the above companies as Independent.

And if we want to get technical, an independent business generally refers to a company that is privately owned. “Independent” is frequently used to distinguish smaller companies from corporate chains and conglomerates.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of independent designers out there. Here at Sew Independent I am going to focus on fashion designers of adult apparel. No crafts, toys, quilts, accessories or kids clothes.

Designers that will be included will need to have at least 3 appropriate patterns, have a web presence and sell their patterns online (either printed or distributed digitally).

This will be a fun journey … welcome aboard and enjoy the ride.

There is an exception to every rule

Wed, 16 Oct 2013 03:24:35 +0000

There are some very clever designers out there that I would class as independent but have their patterns published by one of the larger companies.

Gertie and her blog for better sewing has no less that 6 patterns published by Butterick.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

Her 2012 book “Gertie’s new book for better sewing” also includes 10 of her patterns with an additional 13 variations. It is hugely successful and includes information about couture techniques, pattern customisation and fitting. She is currently in the midst of writing her second book which many are eagerly awaiting the release of – myself included!.

Oliver + S is probably both the most popular and successful independent pattern company of childrens patterns.

Liesl Gibson has also released a line of womens clothing under the brand Lisette for Simplcity.

I have purchased a few of these patterns and have had great succes with them.

Just recently Leisl has released a new range of womens digital patterns that are now available in the Oliver + S shop under the brand Leisl + co.

Every Day skirt 

Every Day skirt

Late Lunch Tunic  

Late Lunch Tunic

Weekend getaway blouse or tunic

Weekend getaway blouse or tunic

I can’t wait to see these patterns sewn. They look fantastic.

Sew Cake – Red Velvet

Sat, 19 Oct 2013 20:15:54 +0000

As part of Frocktober on The Monthly Stitch I decided I needed to make a new dress. For my first ever make for “Sew Independent” I chose the Red Velvet dress by Cake Patterns.

Craft Schmaft!

Craft Schmaft!

Over the weekend I am helping Claire from Craft Schmaft at the Brisbane craft and quilt fair at the exhibition centre.

The pattern arrived on Thursday and I gave myself unrealistic goal to have it done by Saturday.

Steph C from Cake Patterns has been doing demonstrations at the show all week and I wanted to wear it so I could show it off.

I chose to make the “A” bust size bodice to reduce the amount of fabric under the sleeve. Steph has details on her blog about lengthening the toso. I added 3″ to the torso, however only 1.5″ would have been sufficient. The weight of the skirt does drag the fabric down.

A quick and dirty fix of folding the excess fabric at the bust seam made the dress wearable on the day!

Cake patterns stray from the traditional forms of pattern measurement. They use the high bust measurement to determine the main size. Individual pattern pieces are then created uniquely by marking on the pattern to join your measurements. For example my pattern was a 35 bust and 32 waist. The waist piece I created for my pattern then fitted into the appropriate bodice and skirt pieces. There was a little bit of fiddling but nothing too difficult to figure out.

There is a Red Velvet Sew Along starting on Nov 11. The sew along will be 10 sessions over a 2 week period that will cover all of the stages of making the dress.

In black the dress is a little boring, but it is very easy to dress up with accessories. For whatever reason I dont think this dress is very flattering on me. The neckline is possible too high; I think it makes me look busty and instead of accentuating my tiny waist it draws attention to my larger hips.

Overall the Red Velvet dress is very wearable and comfortable. Mine is made in a fairly stable black merino knit. The neckline is not too low, the sleeves are not to tight and the skirt is not too short. A good wardrobe basic.

Sewing with quilt fabric

Fri, 25 Oct 2013 01:40:36 +0000

When I first started sewing, my projects were toys, bags and simple quilts. Most of these were made from quilters cotton in fabulous prints.

Toys, quilts and bags I made  and blogged on Creative Controller Toys, quilts and bags I made  and blogged on Creative Controller

Then when it came to sewing clothes I wanted to continue to use this fabric because I was comfortable with it. I knew where to buy it at the right price and I was experienced with how to cut and sew it.

My wardrobe is full of dresses, tops and skirts that I have made from quilters cotton.

I have made no less than 4 Colette Sorbettos from quilters cotton and at least 3 skirts using the A-line pattern from Sew What! Skirts.

My favourite item is my red Colette Crepe dress. The fabric I used was from the Oliver & S city weekend range. Unfortunately it no longer fits me (it’s too big!) but I can’t bear to get rid of it.

When sewing with quilt fabric you need to pick the right pattern. Quilters cotton is slighty heavier and doesn’t have as much drape as normal dress making cotton.

Some popular fabric designers have also released sewing patterns for women’s clothing that are created with their fabric in mind. Designers include Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner and Sis Boom.

Pattern company Serendipity Studio has just released its new fall pattern line that includes a wrap dress, a denim style jacket and a maxi skirt. All of these would be great in a bright or bold quilting cotton. Perfect if you have a favourite fabric that you want to make something special to wear with it.

Have a look at my Pinterest board – using quilting cottons for more ideas and inspiration.

Sewing Shorts for Summer

Thu, 07 Nov 2013 06:58:24 +0000

Yesterday Deer and Doe released their new Chataigne shorts pattern.

The shorts have an invisible side zip with two variations. The high waisted version sports a scalloped hem and the regular waist one has cuffs.

I have some beautiful fabric just waiting to be a new pair of shorts. I am just having trouble deciding which pair I am going to make.

Including Chataigne, I found 10 pairs of shorts patterns (from Independent designers) that were more than just the straight legged, elastic waisted variety. But if that is what you are after then Sewholics Tofino pants are perfect.

The options are:

Papercut Patterns – Rite of Spring Shorts

Dixie DIY – Movies in the Park Shorts

Salme Sewing PatternsShorts with Side Zipper and Paper Bag Waist Shorts

Grainline Studio – Maritime Shorts

Deer and Doe – Chaigne Shorts

Pattern Runway – Scallop Hem Shorts

Megan Nielsen – Tania Culottes

Colette – Iris

Sewaholic – Thurlow


I have collected some good inspiration on my pinterest board of these shorts that I will continue to add to.

Do you know another good shorts pattern that should be on my list?

A skirt from two books – The Monthly Stitch

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 03:46:32 +0000

I was inspired by this post by Sarai from Colette wearing a cirlce skirt with a leotard. I thought I might like to give it a go.

So I combine that want with the theme for The Monthly Stitch, Sewing from a book – and I used two.

To create the skirt I used Nicole Mallalieu’s “You Sew Girl” book and followed the formula to create a half cirlce skirt. For the wasit band I used the instructions for the ‘Tis the season skirt from Sew What skirts.

The fabric is from Susies stash trash. It is frightfully bright.

I folded the fabric as per Nicoles instructions. Using the formula I marked a semi cirlce from the top point. Then using a tape measure I marked an arc from this line for the length of the skirt.

Fold, measure and cut - Simple!

Fold, measure and cut – Simple!

I got my calculations wrong (or the formula is incorrect) because the top of my skirt was WAYYYY bigger than my waist. But there was no turning back so I begrudgingly persisted and desiced to lightly gather the fabric to fit into the waistband.

Of course because I had kind of lost interested I made a half arsed effort with the gathering which turned out lop sided and uneven. What I should have done was sew two rows of basting stitches to gather; marked the waist band and skirt; divided both into quarters and adjusted the gathers accordingly. But I didn’t.

It was then I decided that I wasn’t going to ever wear this skirt. It became a muslin and a learning tool. I practiced with the button hole feature on my new machine and also tried to sew a button on with it too with little success. The first time the needle got stuck in the button and the second time I cracked it!

And really the only good thing about the back of the skirt is the invisible zipper. It was simple to insert because the way the fabric is folded, both sides of the centre back seam are selvedges.

The less appealing features The less appealing features

Will I make this skirt again? Probably not. I like the idea of it and even though this was a bad attempt, this style of skirt just doesn’t suit me. I have a small waist and larger hips and this style really emphasises the latter.

Adele dress by Violette Field Threads

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 06:44:13 +0000

I made my daughter the Adelle dress from Violette Field Threads,  This fabric has been taunting me in my stash for a while now. I bought it from the Fabric Store and have not been to sure on how to use it. The stripe was quite obviously off grain. Not on the bias but just off enough to be annoying.

A decision had to be made – cut on grain or stripes across the body? Then how was I going to match the stripes. I gave up, put the pattern pieces on the fabric (on the grain) and just CUT IT! Didn’t even bother to try and match the stripes and just hoped for the best.

Adele is a simple child’s t-shirt dress with a few extra details that make it special. The back of the dress is made in two pieces to create a ruffle across the lower back. An additional square of fabric is gathered and added to the top of that to create the look of a bustle.

My girl is 8 and so I made the biggest size. I only had 1.5m of fabric. The ruffles were cut creatively to make the best use of what I had. The top one is a few pieces of scraps creatively joined to form the pattern piece.

The neckline, sleeves and hem are faced with 1cm knit stay tape then folded and stitched down using a twin needle.

The only mod I made was omitting the centre gather on the sleeves.

A simple dress, that is easy to make. The ruffles make it just that little bit more special.

Fabric shopping in Kyoto

Sun, 24 Nov 2013 22:02:56 +0000

At the end of last month my husband and I took our kids to Japan. We got a rail pass and traveled by Shinkansen Tokyo-Kyoto-Nagoya and back to Tokyo over 8 days. It was a whirl wind trip.

Not wanting to drag my family fabric shopping in every port, I limited it to 3 stores in Kyoto that are located close together. I have traveled to Kyoto before and knew that these stores were worth the wait.

Hobbyra Hobbyre occupies a small portion of the the Takashimaya department store on the 6th floor. It sells kits and small hand work items. Lots of Sashiko, stitching, cross stitch, embroidery, but also small bags, purses and other smaller sewing projects. There was also a small range of knitting and crochet supplies.  

You name your craft and they had something beautiful for you to make. They also stock a small range of fabrics by the bolt, soft wools, luxe cottons and lots of liberty. All slightly out of my price range.

On the other side of Shijo street there are two Nomura tailor stores.

The smaller store located in the Taramaci arcade stocks a large variety of sewing kits, precut fabric and notions. There are dozens of made up samples around the store for inspiration. There is also a variety of fabrics available on the bolt. I picked up a snap purse kit for my daughter as well as a 1/2m of some fabulous double sided linen.

The main Nomura tailor store is located on the northern side of Shijo-Dori between Fuyacho-dori and Gokomachi-dori 

I ventured back to this shop by myself one evening after dinner – sending hubby back to the hotel with the kids.

This place is jam packed with fabric – displayed beautifully. Large swatches of fabric hang from the walls. Gouped by fabric type, divided into ranges and all colors displayed together. It is visually stimulating. The swatches are large pieces that you can touch, feel the drape and the fabric texture without having to unroll a bolt to make a mess.

I was so overwhelmed but had a goal. Some lightweight floral cotton for an Archer and cotton/ linen for matching shorts. As I was heading to the cutting table I noticed the stairs. On closer inspection I found I was on the bottom of 3 floors!

The 2nd floor was full of wintery fabrics – suiting, wools and heavy knits. I popped my head into the third floor to find crafting supplies.

I love this fabric store. The selection and quality of fabric is outstanding and I thought the prices were very reasonable.
I have lots of fabric regrets and wish I had bought more. Next time.