Friday, 10 February 2012

Plookiss Folksy Shop Now Open

I now have a Folksy shop.  Please stop by and browse my items and your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Organising Electronic Patterns

Currently I have 277MB of patterns stored on my PC and I’m sure this number will keep growing, I knew it was time I should start to think about how I would organise them.  I do use folders which separate my patterns e.g. Home Decor items and Dress Making, which segment further e.g. tops, dresses, accessories etc. This still wasn’t clear enough for me to see what I had.

The Solution

I have created a database to use to store patterns which is available  on open source for you to use for private use only. This software is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

Pattern Catalogue User Guide

This simple database will record  pattern information from those commercially brought patterns to PDF versions stored on a PC.

Data Input

It is a simple form which uses some drop down menus which allows you to choose from a selection of options. The drop down options are available for Pattern Company Name and Pattern Type.

The text boxes allow you to write your own data.

Adding Document Links

To add a location where the document is stored click on the Browse for File button.

A box will pop up and search for the file you want to link to at this location.

After clicking OK in the pop up box the file will be displayed on the record.

Opening the Link

Click on the link in the Location of PDF box the document will open in a separate window.

Adding Photos

To add a photo click the Browse for Photo button.

A box will pop up which will allow you to search your computer documents and select the photo to be placed. Click OK to accept.

After clicking OK the picture will now be visible on the record.

Finding Data

Click on the Find button at the top of the page and it will bring up a find search box to be able to search through the database.


Click on the Save button at the top of the database to save the record.

Closing Database

When your done adding in the information click the Close button at the top and this will also save the data entry and close the database.

Download the Software

Visit Pattern Catalogue  & User Guide  to download the software and the user guide which available in PDF format.

To make the software free to download I have used DropBox, which is a great free application for sharing or backing up your PC Files. (Please note: you do not need to sign up to download the software.)

Please comment below if you have downloaded this software and let me know what you think about it. It is also free for you to make changes to the categories as you wish.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Sewing Pattern Catalogue Database

I have a collection of different patterns which I have either brought second-hand off eBay to patterns that are available on the Internet and believe me, there are a lot out there. With my current skill level I have a lot to learn and a lot of these patterns I have are still too advanced, which currently scare me and I have filed for future use. I guess you can say I may have a slight addiction now with pattern collection and I need to do something about organising them.

Organising Paper Patterns

I keep my paper patterns stored in magazine racks in my sewing room.

I find zippy bags to keep them dust free.

These A4 size zippy bags are ideal for patterns that have been traced and cut. With the separate compartments I can keep the cut pattern pieces together with the original pattern.

For patterns I’ve seen on the Internet I have printed these out and stored them in lever arch files. For some great ideas on storing your sewing patterns visit Pattern Review where KarmenG shares her storing tips. Also there are handy tips on About Sewing too.

My next blog entry I will reveal my Pattern Catalogue software which I have created to store information for both paper patterns and electronic copies. You will be able to download your very own copy and use for free for private use only. Please leave a comment as I will be very interested in how you have found using this software.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Inserting Neck Pieces

This is part of the Skill Bite section of the Simplicity Dress 3833 series. If you have missed any of the series please visit the Introduction page, where you will find all of the previous links.

The Neck Piece

This is the neck piece that I stitched together and added the interfacing to, as shown in my previous blog entry Interfacing.

Line up the notches to the notches on the top of the bodice and with the right sides of the fabric together, pin in place.

This is the back view of the neck piece that has been pinned in place.

And the front view.

Using a ⅝ inch seam allowance stitch around the top of the neck piece.

The back view of the neck piece now stitched to the bodice.

And the front view.

Understitch the neck piece, this is to stop the lining rolling over the fabric. A great video can be found on You Tube by Senseabilitypatterns where she explains clearly how to do understitching.

Tuck in the neck piece using your fingers and press with an iron.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


This is part of the Skill Bite section of the Simplicity Dress 3833 series. If you have missed any of the series please visit the Introduction page, where you will find all of the previous links.

What is interfacing?

There are two types of interfacing on the market, sew-in and iron-on. I will be mainly working with the iron-on type. Iron-on Interfacing is a type of material which is rough on one side (this contains the glue) and smooth on the other. It is mainly white or black in colour, the white being used for light coloured fabric and the black for darker colours. Interfacing also comes in a variety of thicknesses. As a rule, the lighter weight is used for delicate fabric and the heavier weight for heavier fabric. When buying interfacing it will be found on rolls and sold by the metre or yard in your local fabric store.

Why use Interfacing?

If you look at your clothes in more details you will feel where interfacing is used. Its to strengthen button holes, make collars and cuffs stiffer and used anywhere to add body to a garment.

Using Interfacing

For my Simplicity Dress I needed to use interfacing for the neck pieces.

Firstly I cut out the amount required using the pattern template. Then I put the interfacing on top of the fabric pieces.

This pattern piece is the front of the neck.

Using a hot iron and a pressing cloth I fused the interfacing to the fabric.

I repeated this process for the back pieces of the neck.

I attached the back pieces to the front of the neck using a 1/4” seam allowance.

I pressed open the seams using a hot iron.

I measured a 1/4” seam allowance on the pieces and stitched the sides together.

The markings made it easier for me to follow when I came to sewing.

This is the finished piece.

In my next blog entry I will explain how I inserted this piece into the neck on the garment.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


This is part of the Skill Bite section of the Simplicity Dress 3833 series. If you have missed any of the series please visit the Introduction page, where you will find all of the previous links.

Different Zips

There are many different types of zips out on the market, including invisible zips, zips with plastic or metal teeth and nylon zips.  They also come in a wide variety of colours and sizes, don’t worry too much about if the zip is too long - they are very easy to make shorter.

Inserting Zips

A while ago I made a Hobo Shoulder Bag where I explained in detail how to attach a zip and also to make one shorter, please visit my previous entry to see how I do them.
Here are the steps to inserting a zip simplified:
  • On the position where the zip will be placed use a baste stitch to make a seam
  • Press seam open
  • Line up the zip
  • Stitch the zip in place
  • Unpick basting

As I used a standard zip on the back of the dress it can be seen, if I had used an invisible one it would not be easy to see. The zip has not been finished at the top as I want to get it out easily for using on the final dress.

Useful Resources

If you prefer learning from watching videos I recommend Angela Kane’s Make Your Own Clothes. In particular, part 5 and 6 covers inserting invisible zips.
For  a quick tutorial on inserting zips visit YCMTTV video on How to Install a Zipper.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


This is part of the Skill Bite section of the Simplicity Dress 3833 series. If you have missed any of the series please visit the Introduction page, where you will find all of the previous links.

What are Darts?

In the simplest terms sewing darts are used to shape a garment. You will find darts on tops, sleeves and skirts- anywhere that shape will be needed.

Sewing with Darts

This is a bodice pattern piece with a dart marking at the bottom.

When I see darts on sewing patterns they remind me of triangles.

To transfer the markings onto your fabric, please visit my previous blog entry on Transferring Pattern Markings.

Pinch the dart using your fingers to join the ends of the lines together, remember to match the dots on either side of the fabric.

When pinning the fold keep the pins horizontal.

Stitch the dart using a sewing machine, always sew from the raw edges of the fabric to the centre of the dart. Back stitch at the start of the dart and when nearly at the end of the dart change the stitch length to a shorter one. Never back stitch at the end, and leave enough thread to be able to tie a double knot. Darts are always finished this way to stop puckering.

Press the dart using a tailors ham to assist with shaping, always press the way it was sewn.

A pressed dart.

This is how the dart looks on the garment.

For a video tutorial on sewing darts visit The Craft Channel on YouTube.