New Craft Shop on the Block

Online craft shops are growing in popularity, not just because they are a quick and easy way to buy handmade crafts as well as craft supplies, but also as a marketplace to sell handmade with love goods.

Nathalie Marran is a business woman pioneering the way for South Africans to be able to reach a worldwide market through her online craft site – uniquely designed for South African small, handmade business and craft shops to be able to reach a larger worldwide audience.

It is free for store owners to sign up and upload their products to sell. Her concept is to try bridge the gap that so many South African’s have experienced trying to sell their products online, making the process easier for the vendors.

As a special launch offer for small businesses, she is offering all new vendors, who sign up before the end of August 2020, the opportunity to win advertising space on banners on both the Facebook Page for NonStopCraft, as well as the Home Page of the website – an opportunity that will no doubt help any small business.

If you are a South African Vendor CLICK HERE to sign up now to take advantage of this opportunity or if you are interested in supporting these small businesses, CLICK HERE to shop now

The classic print that’s HOT now!

What’s HOT right now in fashion? Prints, especially bold, yet classic prints like Houndstooth. Here at Sew You Magazine we are HUGE fans of this timeless print.

Not only is houndstooth HOT for the coming fashion season, but so is “Print on Print”… in otherwords, let’s double up on that print before stepping out that door!

How best to make the most of this print…

The most stylish way to wear this print is by having a matching top and bottom… let’s start by looking at the bottom!

The top voted pair of bottoms for 2020 is by far ladies super comfortable leggings. I am such a huge fan of these, and my favourite sewing pattern is the Ladies 10 step leggings sewing pattern by Boo Le Heart. It comes in 3 different lengths and is really quick and easy to make with only 5 seams – this sewing pattern is really an investment for you for your “Me Made” wardrobe… CLICK HERE to get yours now

So what’s styling on the top?

The ideal top right now is a 3/4 sleeve t-shirt that is really ideal for the upcoming “in-between” seasons of Autumn and Spring. Boo Le heart has the best fitting raglan shirt that is perfect for the job with its 3/4 sleeve. Together these two patterns are perfect for the ultimate look for the next few months.

And of course the best way to finish off this entire style is by adding an amazing pair of shoes, and I found the most beautiful shoes imaginable. To finish off this look, I am investing in this pair of Houndstooth Heels by AngeCatDesigns, in my heart I truly feel that these are my fashion investment of the decade…

Sewing Lounge-wear

These past few months we really discovered what an essential skill sewing is. In fact, if anything, it can help to save lives – quite literally. However, I think right now there are many of us who just can’t face the idea of sitting down to sew yet another facemask, so what projects can we take on next?

A new wardrobe of course. A few years ago, if you had asked me, I would never has thought that pandemic, or “end of the world” type of fashion, would be me spending the day in my jammies, or the most comfy outfit I could throw on for the day, but in truth that is exactly what has happened… for most of us.

So much so, that there has been an increase in demand for lounge wear. Here are my top 5 favourite sewing patterns for the outfits I have worn the most over the past few months.

  • The Shirt Dress

I love this sewing pattern. A few years ago, I used the pattern for this shirt dress, to sew myself a satin version to wear as sleepwear. During lockdown, this became the number one item I wore, and had to sew more for myself.

During business calls it can be easily mistaken as an actual “professional” shirt, I can quickly throw on a belt to make it look more formal, and of course, it’s super comfy to lounge about the house in… and to even sleep in.

  • Ladies Track Pants

Really easy to make, and super comfy, this brand new Ladies Track Pants sewing pattern, makes the perfect addition to a lounge-wear set. It compliments the shirt dress so well. I made my lounge wear bottoms out of trilobal, but I see no reason why not to make them out of a matching satin.

  • Extra Length Hoodie

Here in the Southern Hemisphere we have gone into one of the coldest winters we have had for quite a while. Being under lockdown means that staying warm has been just as important as being comfortable. I have practically been living in my favorite extra length, fleece hoodie, along with leggings – “stylish” enough to be able to pop out to the store for a few essentials, and yet warm and comfy enough to veg out at home.

  • Ladies Leggings

Even top fashion magazines have been punting leggings as the “Must Have” Fashion item for your wardrobe – straight after those face masks of course. They are super versatile and always in style. Need to workout at home, wear leggings. Need to quickly pop out for supplies, wear leggings. Need to veg out on the couch, wear leggings. Need to do household chores – wear those super comfy leggings, and of course, need to take an afternoon nap, do it in a pair of leggings. And these look really great with the extra length hoodie too.

  • Wine glass coasters

Okay, so it’s not for the wardrobe (unless you found yourself drink wine while hiding in it), but let’s face it, for a few of us a glass of wine a day was just what we needed to help us to hold it altogether – especially on those really challenging days (you know which ones I’m talking about).

At the beginning of lockdown I made a few of these coasters out of my fabric stash, and they have become one of the most used items in my home over the past few months. So how did I make them?

To make the pattern, I found my favorite wine glass, and used its base to trace out a circle on a piece of paper. I then added an additional allowance around the edge of 1.5cm (5/8″).

I found a great, sturdy fabric and cut out two circles. One of the circles I cut down the center into two halves. I finished off all the edges with an overlocker / serger stitch.

Then with wrong sides of fabric facing, I stitch the two half circle pieces onto the bottom whole circle – stitching about 0.5cm (1/8″) from the edge – and just like that my wine glass coaster was complete. It slips on easily onto the base of my wine glass, and works wonders, and I feel it’s one of those “must have” goodies for all my wine drinking friends… so I have started to make a few sets to gift out for birthdays and of course, Christmas.

From the team at Sew You Magazine, we wish you good health and good fortune during these tough times.

Stay Safe, and if possible, stay home and sew!


Editor in Chief

Our Collector’s Edition

This January we launched our fifth issue, and our very first Bridal Issue, what’s more is it represents an entire year’s worth of magazine issues.

That’s right, our next issue which is coming out in April, will be our birthday issue, and we will officially be going for more than a year! How exciting is that?!

To celebrate, we have launched a book compiled of all the best parts of our first 5 issues which can be ordered as a paperback! Get your copy now, it’s over 200 pages of all things sewing and includes the instructions for the 12 FREE sewing patterns we launched last year.

And if you order the softcover version (Click on the above image), you can order the kindle version for FREE! Click on the image below to get your kindle copy NOW!

Basic Sewing Machine Maintenance

Your sewing machine is the tool you will use, and that you need in order to create something beautiful… just as an artist needs his brushes to paint and bring his vision to life, your sewing machine will help you to bring your work to life.

Show your machine love and respect, as any good seamstress will tell you, during the tough moments in big projects, they often talk to their machines. “Sweet talk” to them that is. Encouraging them and coaxing them to go on… just a few more stitches and this project is done. Telling your machine “we can do this together” and if need be, promising your machine a good cleaning, or a service after the project is done… and of course keeping that promise.

This may sound a bit silly at first, but there is very good reason for this. As you work with your machine more and more on all your new and exciting sewing projects, just like when you drive your car for many years, your sewing machine will eventually feel like it becomes an extension of yourself, and showing it the appreciation of the value it will give you over the years will go a very long way.

Regularly cleaning your sewing machine (preferably after each sewing project) and having your machine serviced regularly – whether it’s a small one you perform yourself, or if you take it to a professional, will ensure the longevity of your machine.

My little Finesse is well over 20 years old, and she’s still going strong (admittedly though she’s due for a professional service), though I am certain that the care I give her is one of the reasons she has lasted so long… and I have really put her to work creating numerous sewing projects, including a good few bridal gowns.

Basic Maintenance

Use your cleaning brushes

All new sewing machines come with at least one new brush to help with the cleaning and maintenance of your sewing machine. I recommend popping down to your haberdashery and getting one or two more with different thicknesses and lengths to help you to really “get into” your machine. Keep an extra one aside just for applying oil (please see point #4) – and if you can have a really soft bristled paint brush or make up brush, this is just to give your machine a “once over” once you have removed most of the lint and dust with your other brushes. The softer brush helps to pick up the finer pieces of dirt your other brushes may have missed.

Suck don’t blow

Growing up, I often saw my mother cleaning her sewing machine. Very dutifully she would take her brushes, sweep out the excess lint and thread from her machine, and blow away any of the excess.

Naturally I followed her example and cleaned my machine in the same way, until I found out the hard way that it was a big NO NO!

Chances are that when you are blowing away that excess lint and dust, you are actually blowing it deeper into your machine. Over time this will cause a build up of dust and lint around the motor as well as other necessary moving parts of your sewing machine that your brushes and regular cleaning simply don’t reach.

The result is that your machine will eventually begin to struggle to work properly, and you can quite literally blow your sewing machine’s motor or cause some serious damage.

The best thing to do is to grab your vacuum cleaner – remove any loose parts from your machine such as thread and the bobbin holder, and vacuum all the excess dirt out of your machine. This will leave your machine in a much healthier and cleaner state.

A loose screw

Your sewing machine will come with a small screwdriver (sometimes two of different sizes). These are not just handy in changing the various feet on your machine, but also in the maintenance of your machine.

The first place you should get started is in removing the needle plate. While you sew a lot of dust, lint and broken threads get trapped under there. So grab your hand screw driver and carefully remove it. Use your cleaning brushes to get as much of the dirt out as possible, and finish off with a good vacuum.

Make sure you remove the bobbin holder, as well as the section that holds in the bobbin and clean out this area with your brushes.

You will notice when you are cleaning that there is a lot of oil in this section of the machines, it’s essential to protecting the parts that are there, and making sure that they continue to run smoothly. If the oil or parts looks particularly dirty, use a rage to try and clean up as much of it as possible. When you are done, if you need to drop one or two drops of oil over these parts before putting the needle plate back into position.

Try not to apply the oil directly to your machine, rather keep a cleaning brush aside especially for the oil, drop the oil onto its bristles, and then use this to spread the oily love around your machine’s components. But before you oil, read the next step!

Don’t over oil

The general rule here is, if you’re not sure if you need to oil, will then don’t. Most sewing machines come with a small bottle of machine oil, if not it is available at local haberdasheries and fabric shops. Although it is essential for the running of your machine, it is not necessary to oil your machine every time you perform a minor maintenance. To be very honest I have NEVER oiled my machine ever. Not even once. It actually isn’t essential to oil your machine regularly, in fact most modern and digital machines should never be oiled at home, but only by a professional during a “big” service.

This is one of those cases where too much of a good thing, can actually turn out to be a bad thing.

Sew a rag

This is primarily to make sure that if you have oiled your machine, that the rag absorbs any unwanted excess oil before you start your new project. Secondly it will catch any small amounts of dirt and lint your thread will pick up that your brushing and vacuuming managed to miss.

So a good few rows until you are certain that your machine is clean and won’t transfer any unnecessary dirt to your latest sewing project is all that is necessary.

Inside and out

Don’t forget to clean the outside of your machine too, and don’t be afraid to use a little soap and water to get her looking like new (or a good anti-static polish and cloth).

Starting a new sewing project with a clean sewing machine, is like starting a long trip after have your car has been to the carwash – you feel better about your journey ahead.

Happy Sewing!

OH NO! Did you forget?

Twas the night before Christmas… and perhaps you forgot, and only just remembered to get a gift for that special someone in your life. But fear not, we have some really great ideas just for you…

Idea #1:

Of course we feel this is one of the best gifts you could possible give – an annual subscription to Sew You! Magazine. It’s digital, so you can pop online and get it now! CLICK HERE to do just that, and give the gift of sewing enjoyment that will last for an entire year!

Idea #2:

Downloadable sewing patterns! That’s right, another great gift you can purchase within minutes without leaving the comfort of your own home. CLICK HERE to view the beautiful rang of digital patterns from Boo Le Heart Sewing Patterns.

Or perhaps knitting is a more suited gift idea… why not try Vee’s Kits for her array of downloadable knitting patterns. CLICK HERE to view them now!

Idea #3:

eBooks – quick, and easy, and thoughtful gifts. Who doesn’t love receiving a brand new book? CLICK HERE to view a range of sewing themed eBooks that can be ordered and delivered… even on Christmas Day!

Idea #4:

It might seem old school… but there’s nothing like a really thoughtful I.O.U for Christmas… why not something really amazing like an I.O.U to go on a fabric shopping spree. That way it’s a gift for you and the person you will take shopping with you!

Idea #5:

All of these gifts go really great with one thing… a Christmas Card of course! Why not visit MarranArt’s store – she sells downloadable cards (with envelopes) and gift bags and boxes too. Download, and print them ready to go in just the nick of time CLICK HERE to view her range now!


Holiday Sewing Tips

The holiday season is upon us, and for most of us this means that we finally get some time to get some sewing done… whether it’s handmade with love gifts, and new seasonal party outfit for ourselves, are just a way to keep busy and relieve some stress, now is a great time to get into the sewing room to get stuff done! The team at Sew You! Magazine have compiled a list of tips to help you along.

Tip #1:

A tidy space means a tidy mind. Although it may be difficult to find space to work, especially if you’re going away or don’t have a sewing room of your own at home, it is still quite important to have a space clean and cleared just for you, before you get started on a new sewing project. A busy and messy space not only makes it frustrating and difficult while you are trying to sew away, but it can also become quite distracting and may mean that you never get to complete your project… or worse, that you might never even get started.

Tip #2:

Use up those sewing scraps! If you’re like me, chances are quite high that you have a mountain of sewing scraps waiting for you to conquer it. This time of year gives us just the opportunity to clear it away. These can be used to create an assortment of small goodies, from Christmas tree ornaments to fabric backed gift tags (glue some colourful fabric scraps onto the back of cardboard, cut into shape and add a ribbon).

Tip #3:

Visit Pinterest! Looking for some really great holiday sewing crafts ideas? Pop onto Pinterest for plenty of ideas and to see what the rest of the world is getting up to, and join in on the fun!

Tip #4:

Get the kids involved. At this time of year, children are home and quite often bored, why not find some really easy beginner projects and get them involved and busy during their time at home. And if they’re busy, there’s more time for you to work on your projects too.

Tip #5:

Handmade gifts are the best! I love making and receiving handmade gifts, you can just feel the love that goes into them. Why not make a few stocking fillers for loved ones.

Find a few small, quick and easy projects, and before you know it, you will be spreading the love around!

Understanding Digital Sewing Patterns

We live in a digital world, so it’s hardly surprising when every aspect of our lives is influenced by it – and sewing patterns are no different.

Like most things digital, this makes our lives so much easier. Instead of hunting from fabric store to fabric store, we can simply pop online, make a quick search, purchase our sewing patterns and download them immediately for use.

These patterns usually work out to be more affordable as there are no production and postage costs.

With modern technology, we can even purchase them with our smart phones, and print the patterns wirelessly to our favourite printer.

Click on the image to watch the video on how to do just this…

sewing patterns 1

However, like all new territory, it can be a little scary. Today we want to show you how easy it is to print and assemble your favourite digital patterns.

Digital patterns are identical to ready-printed store bought patterns in every way, except for one. Instead of having large sheets of pattern tissue to cut up, you now print your patterns onto standard A4 / letter size pages – standard everyday paper in your home printer.

With every issue of Sew You! Magazine you will be receiving at least two free digital patterns that you will download in pdf format.

Each page will have markings on it to help you to assemble it quickly and easily – you literally line up the pages and use sellotape to keep them securely in place. Once you have assembled your large sheet, it’s business as usual by cutting out the pattern and starting your new project.

The best part of digital patterns – you can store them on your PC and print them as often as you need to. Which is fantastic, no more clutter (if you don’t want to keep your already printed and assembled pattern, simply place it in the recycling bin) and if you have friends and family who love your garment so much they want you to create it in their sizes – no problem! The only rule to remember when printing, is to ALWAYS set your printer to print “as in document” – don’t make it “fit to page” or you will find yourself struggling to make your pattern work.

Check out Boo Le Heart’s range of easy, fun digital sewing patterns…

etsy banner