Hello, everyone! Thanks Marika for inviting me to write a guest post. I'm excited to be featured here today!
I'll tell you all about my pattern line and my background, and how I got started in my business. Then I'll end with some thoughts on which of my patterns are best for beginners plus some ideas to make them easier to sew.
I'm Tasia, and I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Before starting Sewaholic Patterns, I worked in the fashion industry. I spent eight years working at the same company, learning about clothing manufacturing, production and design, and analyzing what sells and figuring out why. As the company got bigger, my job became more technical and less design-oriented. So I started blogging about sewing as a creative outlet. All my life I have loved sewing, and it was fun to get back into it and chat with other sewing bloggers around the world.
When I was suddenly laid off from my job with no notice, I took what I learned from the fashion industry and decided to start my own business. It was scary at the time, but I'm so glad that I took the risk!
My patterns are designed for pear shaped women, who are smaller on top and larger on the bottom, with a small waist. That doesn't mean that you can't sew these patterns if you're not, of course you can! Most patterns require a little adjusting to get the fit perfect for you. I would suggest making a muslin or test garment first, before cutting into your real fabric.
The patterns are written with plenty of images in instructions. I wanted to make them relatively easy and enjoyable to sew, using factory-style sewing techniques where it makes sense. All of the patterns are named for Vancouver place names, which makes it neat if you ever come to visit Canada! They're printed on recycled paper, which was important to me to reduce waste and be kinder to the environment. On the pattern envelope, there are illustrations on front but with a smartphone, you can scan the code on the back to see images of real garments. This made sure that the covers didn't look dated or old-fashioned, and also that people weren't put off by my fabric choice. It's easy to imagine the garments in your own favourite colours this way!
Out of all my patterns, the best one for beginners is the Hollyburn Skirt. The instructions are written with extra tips and diagrams to help you construct this skirt, as well as reasons explaining why we're doing a certain technique. Not only are the instructions thorough, but the pattern is easy to fit. It fits the waistline and flares over the hips, so you only need to fit your waistline! There are pockets, but they're very easy pockets to sew. Even the skirt is cut with the grain going down the middle of each skirt panel, so there isn't a lot of bias at the hemline. (Bias at the hemline can cause ripply hems and make them harder to sew neatly.)
To make the Hollyburn skirt easier to sew, choose a medium weight woven fabric. If the fabric is too light, it will be a little more challenging, but something with a little more structure will sew up nicely. Something like a denim weight, or a cotton twill, would work well and make a great everyday skirt. Stay away from stripes or plaids, because it takes extra work to line up the striped lines and that might be frustrating when you're beginning to sew! There are little details on each version of the skirt, but for your first version you might want to skip the waist tabs or belt loops, just to get comfortable with the fit of the skirt. Once you've made it once, the second (and third and fourth) version will seem very quick!
The Lonsdale Dress is an easy summer sundress pattern. It looks complicated, with the knot in the front, but it's actually quite simple! The bodice and straps are cut in one long piece, the piece knots in front and extends across the back as the shoulder straps. It will all make sense when you try it, or when you read through the instructions! Because the straps tie in the back, it's easy to adjust them to fit your body once the dress is complete. The dress uses the same fabric for the lining and the main fabric, so you don't need to worry about sewing with slippery lining fabrics. It's a little more complicated than the Hollyburn skirt, because of the bodice, but it's not too challenging and sews up quickly.
If you are new to sewing knit fabrics, or have tried sewing with knits and had trouble, try the Renfrew Top pattern! This is the best selling pattern of the line. It makes sewing with knits easy! Instead of hems, the cuffs and lower hemline are finished with fabric bands. This makes it easy to sew and creates a professional finish. Knits are stretchy and comfortable to wear, and this is a good pattern to get you comfortable sewing with fabric that stretches.
To make the Renfrew Top easier to sew, stay away from striped fabrics. They look great but you will have to line up the stripe lines at the side seams which takes time. If you must use a striped fabric, pick one with narrow stripes so it won't be as obvious if they don't match. Look for knit fabrics that are stable and not too drapey or slippery. To test the fabric, stretch it in your hands and see how quickly it springs back. Cotton jersey knits work well, so do double-knits and ponte knits. Avoid clingy, slippery polyester knits, these will move around as you try to sew the seams which can be frustrating! When sewing seams in cotton fabrics, the layers will stick together and not slip apart, this will make it easier. Of all the views, View B with the V neck is the hardest. Choose View A with the scoop neck, or View C with the cowl neck for your first project.
The newest pattern, the Tofino Pants, is a great comfy pyjama pant pattern! It's fairly easy to sew, except for making your own piping. That might be a little challenging if you're a beginner! You can easily replace the fabric piping with pre-made piping, or lace or other trim. That would make these pants even simpler to make. Also, choose a cotton flannel or cotton shirting, something that is not going to slip around as you sew. Skip plaids or stripes so you don't have to match the pattern at the seamlines. The elastic waistline is easy to adjust to fit you, and there is a fabric tie belt to pull the waistline smaller if you need it.
There are lots of tips and tutorials on the Sewaholic blog, so if you are stuck, take a look to see if we've talked about how to solve the problem already! Now is the perfect time to learn to sew. The internet is full of useful information on blogs and websites to help you out.
Thanks for reading and thank you Marika for featuring me here today! Happy sewing, everyone!