All You Need To Sew...
We've written this blog due to an overwhelming majority on our Instagram poll on whether or not you'd like to some pattern recommendations to be able to create your own wool skirts. This is the post that kicked it all off, we're in love with in and it's ever so classy! Fabric used: Teal & Steel Herringbone from our bespoke Heart of Huddersfield collection).
Have you ever made a pencil skirt? This classic feminine wardrobe staple which has been a fashion favourite since the 1950s can be made in a variety of stable fabrics and is suitable for all seasons depending on your fabric choices. An ideal choice for a beginner, make this wardrobe staple in a light / medium weight closely woven wool fabric (such as our Yorkshire Tweeds and any of the Herringbone wools from Fabworks' bespoke Heart of Huddersfield collection.)
Generally wool pencil skirts are lined, this will give you ease of wear and a soft smooth feel inside and thus stopping any wool fibres rubbing against your skin. The lining part of a skirt is really quite simple and it doesn’t usually have to be stitched into the zip. Lining fabrics suitable for these makes here
A wool pencil skirt will suit most body shapes and most fashion styles, and of course is made at different lengths to suit anyone. Dress your classic pencil skirt up or down, wear it with your smartest shoes and a stylish shirt or blouse to the office, or team with your thick winter tights and classic boots and a wool jumper / roll neck top and you have a smart casual outfit that you can wear whilst out shopping or sightseeing on a city break. By creating your own skirt it is made specifically to your body shape you will soon have a garment that you will be so proud of and can return to year after year. One of the first tailor made garments I made for myself was a pencil skirt. When you are happy with the fit, you will be confident enough to make different styles and lengths (and even ones with back vent styles too).
You can easily draft a simple pencil skirt pattern for yourself, it’s basically three, slightly tapered rectangles, rounded at the hips, with darts front and back, to achieve the shape to accommodate your body. YouTube has lots of tutorials available, however we have a handy list of alternative commercial patterns to try yourself;
Butterick B5466: 6 easy sew skirts with options for sewn on waistband, faced waistline, fabric belt and panelled styles.
Simplicity 8652: A basic pencil skirt with options to create more styles, this pattern has a sewn-on waistband, front and back darts, options to create a mock wrap front with side vent opening, pleated back vents (two options) mock-tab detail pockets.
Sew Over It’s Ultimate Pencil Skirt: This pattern is a super stylish fitted, high-waisted pencil skirt with a kick-pleat at the back for ease of movement. You can shorten this skirt to above the knee and so to avoid the necessity for a back vent or pleat and just widen the hem slightly. A concealed zip is an attainable stage in the sewing process of this skirt rather than a more difficult invisible zip.
Style Arc’s Sarah Pencil Skirt: Another classic pencil skirt suitable for most shapes. This pattern is for woven fabrics and features a facing type waistline, with simple kick pleat and moderately tapered hemline.
Style Arc’s Agatha: A classic pencil skirt with optional feature hemline detail, which can be made in a coordinating or contrasting fabric and has the back split for ease of movement. This will look amazing made in any of the Heart of Huddersfield herringbone wools.
If you are a regular visitor to our website you will probably be aware of our numerous blog posts that are designed to inspire and inform - we hope that they do inspire you to crack on with new projects, as well as comment back to us about your experiences using our wonderful fabrics. A few months ago we published our original suiting blog which is lengthy and informative and definitely worth a read. We already know that we have changed the minds of many customers when it comes to suiting fabrics, so we thought that now was time for an update, with some new helpful pattern suggestions that are ideal for the transition from winter into spring, as well as simple layering up techniques too, all using suiting fabrics!
Instagram users may be familiar with Shaunimagnifique, a sewing blogger who recently shared a fabulous jumpsuit she had made using a fine Italian designer worsted suiting. We spotted it straight away and loved it. Although the fabric wasn’t from Fabworks, this superb fabric is so similar to our huge range of Italian suiting. We think the; Fibre Mood – Leah Jumpsuit is ideal for wearing right now (January-March), layered with a cotton roll neck top and winter boots!
For jumpsuit and trouser lovers, how about a really retro and super practical boiler suit? The Intrepid Boiler Suit from Alice and Co Patterns is a zip fronted classic boiler suit with belt casing and various patch pocket options. Make this fab boiler suit in one of our suiting fabrics and dress up with a smart pair of shoes or ankle boots, matching belt and funky jewellery and you have a totally different style to your usual denim jump/ boiler suit. This will take you from the office to a night out with friends.
For a fabulous unlined coat and skirt suit, look no further than Vogue V1646. This fabulous pattern consists of a stylish unlined, collarless coat with raglan sleeves, large lined patch pockets and super smart top-stitch details to the seams. Team this up with it’s matching softly draped gored skirt with raised waistline, and slimming top-stitch details to the yoke and facing. This pattern will really showcase the elegant drape of a fine worsted suiting fabrics.
Dress lovers fear not, there are a host of stylish and practical dress patterns which will look fabulous made in suiting fabric too.
The Assembly Line - Box Pleat Dress; this simple but stylish dress pops easily over the head thanks to a boat neckline (so no awkward fasteners), boasts an A-line shape, with a deep box pleat in the centre back which creates a roomy and elegant fit. Side splits at the hemline, wide sleeves and inseam pockets add to the stylish practicality. This dress is ideal for layering with a roll neck top, and your thick winter tights, in the chilly months.
Homer & Howells - Cissy Dress. This dress is another simple pop-over style with roomy boat neck, simple boxy bodice with fabulous box pleated skirt and in seam pockets.
Sew Different’s Tulip Dress and Everyday Chic Dress has a range of easy make dresses which look fabulous made in our suitings, both are super popular at Fabworks Mill Shop because of their simple style and easy to follow instructions. There are lots of add-ons and pattern hacks on the Sew Different website which are all worth considering for expanding your sewing repertoire.
Sew Me Something’s - Ursula Dress is a loose-fitting pleated skirt with a cross-over bodice type of pinafore dress. This classic shape can be made in heavier wools, denims and corduroys, however for a versatile make you can smarten up with a shirt and wear to work or dress down with a casual, plain black T-shirt try it in a suiting fabrics for fantastic results.
For smarter or dressier styles which will showcase the premium qualities of suiting fabrics, take a look at;
Vogue V9266; this stylish ensemble features a fitted shift dress with a raised neckline and feature darts which run from the front neck edge to the upper bustline. Waist darts add further figure enhancement and a slim silhouette which teams perfectly with the accompanying Bolero Jacket, which is lined and features a neat shawl collar and cross-over fastening. The neat streamlined silhouette of this dress suit is ideal for making up in one of our fabulous Italian worsteds. The Coral Rose - Fine Stretch Suiting will look stunning, perfect for a spring wedding!
Vogue Dress V9326 will really emphasises the drape quality of these fabulous wool worsteds. This pattern is a superbly elegant coat dress with full circular skirt and cinched waist which has a simple ‘grown on’ sleeved bodice, featuring a neat shawl collar.
Dare to be different by making a fabulous colour-blocked dress, with our range of coordinating plain suiting fabrics in bright to jewel tones. The Vogue Dress V1555 is a semi-fitted shift dress with fabulous front and back colour blocked insert details. This lined dress has a simple shape with boat neck and ¾ length sleeves. Choose either of the Superfine Twill Worsteds (in Prussian Blue, Winter Plum or Spice) for the ultimate power dress which will fill you with confidence! Perfect for A/W work-wear or dinner parties.
Saving the best till last, a special mention for a close friend of Fabworks, Wendy Ward; prominent sewist, author and sewing teacher. We have just received our copy of her latest book - Sewing Basics for Every Body that is available from January 14th 2020 onwards. Like all Wendy’s books this one is jampacked with versatile patterns suitable for quite literally every body and of course includes all the hints tips and instructions you will need to make them.
The Harper Pants is a fabulous pattern that has various options for creating either super smart pleated-front trousers, or ones with clever pleated & narrowed hemlines (to create a more harem style).
The Rowan Shirt is a classic shirt pattern with a multitude of pattern hacks to suit different styles. We love the shirtdress with bib front which will look amazing made in contrasting suiting fabrics.
Finally; a superb jumpsuit- the Kim Jumpsuit, which can be made with different styling options, for versatility. This is a wardrobe staple that will look amazing in a suiting fabric and is perfect for dressing up or dressing down.
So… here we have given you some new ideas for what to make with our suiting fabrics, if you aren’t a convert yet, head over to our suiting blog and you’ll be armed with all you need to know as well as a handy list of inspirational pattern ideas too! It goes without saying that suiting fabrics are what they say on the tin. They are designed to be tailored, but tailored doesn’t mean boring suit jacket and plain trousers. Tailored means tailored exactly to your liking whether it is casual & relaxed or smart & sophisticated. Suitings are so versatile you’ll wonder why you’ve not tried them before. Use the fabric to suit your needs! (pun intended).
We’ve put together some of our favourite suiting fabrics in a specially selected collection, including the ones that are mentioned in this article and many others, that we think know are super for all sorts of feminine style and that you will love!
Fabworks Online manager George’s thoughts on the service that Fabworks provides & the dreaded Black Friday/Cyber Monday craze and why & to whom we're giving back.
It’s that time of year when people go crazy, almost desperate in their attempts to barge their way to the front of the queue in the hope of finding a bargain. Who can get something for nothing and tell everyone in the following days, weeks & months just how much of a bargain it was… At Fabworks, we’re not ones to jump on the bandwagon, if anything we want to be different. That’s why we sew our own clothes, so that they aren’t the same as everyone else’s! Here’s our story and why we are somewhat boycotting but also partly joining in with BFCM this year.
First off, Fabworks isn’t a discount store. We rarely reduce the price of fabrics, less often do we actually have a sale. What does a sale actually mean… Products that can’t be sold, products that aren’t worth their price, products that people don’t want, bad mistakes from the buying team, a trick to lure in customers? At Fabworks we sell good quality products at good quality prices. We sell for what we can afford to sell for, not what the rest of the industry is selling for. We don't tend to compare ourselves to others, we set our own benchmarks and yes, there is such a thing as a bargain! I know for a fact that our fleece-backed sweatshirting is superb quality, but it’s £10 per metre so often sniffed at even though it's 2m wide and the only 'repeatable' fabric that we stock. You win some, you lose some.
As you may know Fabworks specialises in wools and we think that our ‘wool game’ is strong, in terms of quality and affordability we put on a good show. In the Mill Shop and Online we also specialise in the other not-so-common essentials such as sewing expertise & advice for all customers, concise fabric descriptions, attention to fine details, honest social media posts, a good range of product photos, inspiring displays, a regularly updated sewing blog and opening the mill shop on Saturdays – something that is difficult to juggle for the family (where most staff are parents with children at home, too).
We are constantly striving to give back, it’s our duty to make customers happy, whether it be to make more fabrics accessible, send a package with the most specific and trivial delivery instructions, stay open a bit later for one far-flung customer who’s running late en route to the mill shop. We are an honest hard-working team. Everyone gets on, when the going gets tough we all pile in together, we are friends outside of work, we support each other emotionally and we share a life at Fabworks. Fabworks is more than just a 9-5 job and it’s testament to the fact that we have part-time staff that have worked with us for 7,8,9 & 10 years.
It must be reiterated that Fabworks is a family-run business. Gil, George & now Leo are all here 5 & 6 days a week, every week. We want you to feel good about recommending Fabworks to a friend, we want you to be happy to deal with Fabworks, to share your makes and inspire others, to use our online facility as a research tool, we are here to give something back to you, too. Selling 2m of jersey fabric for £3/m isn’t a great money spinner but it keeps that sewing project going, it helps to remedy a recent trauma, it slows down fast fashion, and it’s rewarding! We have heard of so many fabric and haberdashery shops closing in recent months. Are business owners feeling pressured into reducing prices until things are simply unaffordable? Is their catchment area too small? Is everyone just buying online and saving the petrol? This industry needs to thrive in order to continue and we’re constantly trying to encourage that. This is part of the reason why we’re joining in the BFCM this year, we feel it our duty to give something back! As well as that added sense of pressure of what is expected, so we’re putting our own spin on things…
Today we present to you Fabworks’ BRIGHT FRIDAY; a day where we acknowledge and give back to you, not a razzmatazz of slashed prices and false advertising.
In order to be able to carry out Fabworks’ BRIGHT FRIDAY we conducted a poll on our Instagram story so that you could tell us exactly what you wanted, rather than us forcing something down your throat just because in the last weekend in November it’s ok to do so. In the poll there were 4 separate options, all of which had a yes/no answer. The highest yes percentage would be carried through to Friday.
Here are the 4 options from the poll + results:
|FREE UK shipping for orders over £35.00 (normally £70.00)||81% YES|
|Reduced price scarves & throws||48% YES|
|6 Fabric of The Month style fabrics||89% YES|
|Continue the free lining + thread offer with wool fabrics||73% YES|
6 Fabric of The Months style fabrics WINS!
So here we have created a mini collection of 6 Fabric of The Month style fabrics that will automatically knock 40% off when you enter the discount code: BRIGHTFRIDAY at the checkout. (Note that the fabrics will state their original RRP until the code is applied). May it be pointed out that the option of 'nothing whatsoever' was also available but only one person was that way inclined out of our 1100+ engaged audience.
Here’s the catch! As we’re making a point of giving something back to you, the BRIGHT FRIDAY offer will only apply to Fabworks customers who have purchased more than once through Fabworks Online (2 orders or more). So make sure you either login using the same account as normal, or use the same email address (if you do not have an account) prior to entering the code. If you are unsure just send me an email here (with your full name, email address & shipping address) and I will quickly confirm whether or not you qualify.
As the free UK shipping came a close second in the poll and more than 80% voted in favour, we have halved the price of shipping for ALL customers at Fabworks Online this weekend too. UK mainland shipping (exc. Northern Ireland, Highlands & Islands) is now £2.49 instead of £4.99
This is our own Fabworks way of running alongside the bandwagon but not getting on. BRIGHT FRIDAY is here for you, not to appeal to the masses. Offer ends: Monday 2nd November at 11:59pm
All 6 Fabric of The Month style fabrics are also available to buy at Fabworks Mill Shop Friday 29, Saturday 30th & Monday 2nd
Happy sewing & thanks for being part of our journey so far.