Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Big Simplicity Blog Meet Up 2016

So in my last post I told you Aimee at Wrong Doll and I had plans to meet up with the lovely Shauni at Magnificent Thread this month for a rummage through Abakhan Manchester and a day of talking all things stitch. Turns out, the date we'd all saved in our diary was the same day the Big Simplicity Blog Meet Up was happening... Also in Manchester! What a coincidence eh? Having seen some snaps from last years London meetup it was exciting to think that we were going to get in on the action.

The day involved sewing demos from May Martin (former presenter of the Great British Sewing Bee) in person, as well as a Q&A session to solve any of our pesky sewing problems.

I scribbled down a lot of tips- So here's a round up:

*When sewing jersey on the overlocker- The 'Differential Feed' setting can help prevent your fabric stretching out and going wobbly. There are two sets of teeth- changing the differential feed changes the speed of these feet. The higher the number the faster the feet are going. The lower the number the fabric will stretch out more. For example 0.5 would stretch out the fabric- making it ideal for floaty hems. A setting of 1.5 would not stretch out the fabric- therefore much better for side seams etc.

*Walking feet- also good for using on jerseys when using a regular sewing machine. It is important the feed of the walking foot matches up with the feed on the sewing machine. A normal foot can clamp too tightly on the top layer of fabric making it shift as you sew. Walking feet therefore are also good for using on checks.

*TIPS FOR MAKING STRAPS- Make a long chain on the overlocker. Encase through the centre of the strap tube as you sew. Pull the chain to turn the strap. The chain inside the strap then adds stability and stops the strap stretching out. Nice one! If you're not using an overlocker you can also achieve success by catching the end of a piece of cord and using that to turn the strap.

*'Stitch and Tear' paper exists- Sew with fabric as a stabiliser then tear it off when your seam is sewn.

*Use card to flatten the foot on the machine when climbing bulk

*Using a jersey stabiliser in shoulder seams will stop the jersey from stretching (catch this in the seam on the overlocker, or sew straight through on the sewing machine)

*Hollow back pattern adjustments
-- Consider using 2 pairs of darts in the back instead of making existing darts chunkier.
-- It could be possible you need to take some length from the front of the pattern but not the back

*When notching- try to notch outwards so the pattern can be let out if needed

*Simflex Sewing Gauge is a thing! It stretches out so you can mark button holes equally. Looks awesome and I want one!

*Stitching sleeves without gathering
-- Match underarm seams/notches
-- Work over your hand to get a curve- bubble between the pins to allow ease
-- Only pin on the fitting line
-- Turn right sides out and adjust pins where necessary

*Sewing with leather/pleather
-- A piece of scotch tape on the bottom of the foot can help it glide over the fabric
-- Use the right needles- a Sharp Leather 80 should do the trick

(Me big fat head on front row!)

Phew! We covered lots! Aside from May Martin's workshop, there was also lots of CAKE (cake for brunch, cake for lunch, yes please), and lots of chatter with other bloggers. I was surprised to find a few people knew me from my blog which was a confidence booster I'll tell ya! Oooh yes, and how could I forget- there were goodie bags FULL of stuff! I got my hands on quite a few freebie patterns and the latest issues of Love Sewing and Sew Magazine. There are SO many things I want to make that my head was spinning by the time we finally reached Abakhan!

Thanks to Simplicity for such a great event. I learned loads and it was great to feel part of something... Also a great way to celebrate two years sewing for me!


Currently listening to: The Window Cleaner, Purson
Location: Merchant Rooms, Manchester


  1. Ahh gosh, you and Aimee got so many of May's tips down! So glad someone did - I'll never make sense of my scribbles. Great round up :) lets do it again soon! Xx

  2. they are brilliant tips you gleaned.... thank you so much for sharing them