A blog about sewing by www.sewing-online.com

We Have Sewing Machine Cabinets At Sale Prices!

We Have Sewing Machine Cabinets At Sale Prices!

Have you always wanted a purpose-built sewing machine cabinet to use with your beloved sewing machine? If the answer is yes then now is the time to treat yourself as we currently have a sale on all the sewing machine cabinets on our site!! Yes some of them are still quite a big investment but with savings to be made this is the time you could get away with treating yourself. Just think of the fabric you could buy for your stash with the money you are saving :-)


In this post I will talk about just 5 of the cabinets we stock but there are more to be seen in our online sewing store. Here is the link to the rest of them - http://sewing-online.com/equipment/sewing__machine_cabinets/

All of the cabinets featured in today’s post are made by Arrow Sewing cabinets.


This sturdy sewing machine table offers freearm and flatbed sewing with an adjustable platform. It has steel locking legs which give the table a sturdy base but they fold up neatly for easy storage. It has a tough melamine surface which is mar-resistant. This will accommodate sewing machines no larger then 44.5cm (17 ½”) wide x 18.8 cm (7 3/8”) deep. This is currently on sale for £99.99


This Shirley cabinet has cute, vintage styling and will look amazing in your sewing nook / room. It offers freearm and flatbed sewing with an adjustable platform to accommodate different heights of machines. This cabinet has four drawers so you will have plenty of storage space for your sewing essentials. This will accommodate sewing machines no bigger than 11” (27.94 cm) front to back, 17” (43.18cm) left to right. Here is a list of sewing machines that we know will not fit in this cabinet.  This is currently on offer for £175.00.


This adorable cabinet is one that your sewing friends will be super envious of! It has a durable design with composite construction and a vinyl laminate.  It has two drawers and beneath them are two large storage spaces. This has a simple 2-position mechanism which allows you to sew flatbed or free arm at any height and in any position you want. The cabinet will accommodate machines up to 24.1cm (9-1/2”) front to back by 47cm (18-1/2”) wide. This is currently on offer for £225.00.


This cabinet has all the features of a larger cabinet but in a reduced size.The airlift will move your sewing machine up and down like an elevator into 3 sewing positions: free arm, flatbed and storage of the machine. It has four drawers which offers plenty of storage for your sewing essentials and there are two fold out leaves so that you can have a large work surface for all your projects. This also comes with a universal insert to fit most sewing machines creating a flush sewing surface. A custom insert can be ordered separately to accommodate a specific machine. This cabinet will accommodate sewing machines which are 12-9/16” (31.09 cm) front to back (deep) by 18-7/8” (47.94 cm)left to right (wide) by 13-1/8” (33.33 cm) tall. Here is a list of sewing machines that will not fit on this cabinet. This is currently on offer for £349.99.


This is the ultimate sewing machine cabinet! It has a quilt leaf at the back of the cabinet so that when you sew delicate quilts you don’t have to have the quilt drop to the floor, instead it can lay on the work surface behind the machine. This features a vertical air-lift design to move your sewing machine up and down.The cabinet will accommodate machines up to 24.1cm (9 1/2”) front to back by 47cm (18 1/2”) wide by 33.3cm (13 1/8”) tall. This is currently on offer for £599.99.


If you do decide to buy yourself a fancy, new sewing machine cabinet then I would love to see a photo of it when it’s all set up in your sewing room. You could tweet me a picture to @sewing_online or post it on my facebook wall - www.facebook.com/sewingonline

It’s time for a lot of the kids to start back at school this week so I am sure lots of you are looking forward to having a little bit more sewing time on your hands! :-)  If you are looking for any back to school crafting bargains then take a look here.

Best wishes, Kim

Can You Help ‘I Am Super Capes’ By Sewing Capes For Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town?

Can You Help ‘I Am Super Capes’ By Sewing Capes For Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town?

Hi everyone. Today I want to introduce you to a very special lady. Her name is Claudia Beard and she is the lady behind ‘I Am Super capes’.  She dedicates all her spare time to sewing superhero capes for children who are ill and in need, both in this country and abroad.


Claudia started this venture back in November 2013 after the devastating typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. At first her and a friend collected supplies to be sent over to the Philippines and they managed to fill over 350 boxes with medical supplies, clothing, baby goods, tents etc by contacting people they knew and asking them to help. The boxes were sent out via the Bath based charity ‘Mercy In Action UK’. Once the boxes had all been sent out Claudia decided that she still wanted to do more to help.

She decided that she would like to do something to help the children who had lost parents because of the typhoon. She knew that what they had been through was heart-breaking and she felt that she wanted to try and bring a smile to their faces and hope into their lives. This was when her idea of making superhero capes for them came about.


Claudia was inspired by a lady called Robyn from the USA who was making superhero capes for ill children in hospital. Reading the inspirational story of how TinySuperHeroes brightened up kid’s lives by making them capes really inspired Claudia to do the same and start up ‘I Am Super capes’.

"Every child deserves to be a Superhero, no matter who they are, where they live, whatever they are going through.  Every child deserves the right to be a child, to have some time to be able to get away from the hardships and stress of the situation/environment they are in.

That is why I Am Super capes was born.  We are wanting to send capes to these children.  To help light up their imaginations, to give them a moment of respite from what is around them.  To give them the POWER to be children!”

I myself am inspired by Claudia and her vision of bringing smiles to kid’s faces by sending them their very own superhero cape and that is why I asked her if I could write today’s post all about what she is doing.  I would love it if any of you reading this could help Claudia with ‘I Am Super capes’, even if it is only in a small way such as retweeting one of her tweets or in a much bigger way such as sending her your spare fabric or even better, by getting involved in the cape making by volunteering your time and spending it sewing capes for children who need them.

Currently she is on a mission to sew 600 superhero capes to send to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town in December. If you would like to sew some capes for her then please get in touch with Claudia by using the details in the photo below.


If instead you would prefer to send her some of your spare fabric then she would be very grateful for your kindness. You can post fabric to Claudia Beard, I Am Super capes, Bourne View, Bourne Fields, Twyford, SO21 1NY.

Please take a moment to follow ‘I Am Super capes’ over on twitter and facebook . It would be absolutely amazing if you could also share on your own social media accounts and blogs that she is looking for people to kindly sew capes or send in spare fabric to her. Thanks so much everybody.


If you sew for charity or for a good cause and would like to be considered for a feature on this blog then please get in touch with me via twitter or facebook.

Comprehensive List Of Birth Record Cross Stitch Kits To Celebrate A New Baby Being Born

Comprehensive List Of Birth Record Cross Stitch Kits To Celebrate A New Baby Being Born

Hi everybody. Today I have compiled a huge list of Birth Record Cross Stitch Kits that we have for sale in our online sewing shop. When I started the post I thought we had a fair few kits to choose from but after going through the stock listings on the website it seems we sell an amazing amount of different designs….73 different kits to be precise! :-)

It is such a lovely gesture to stitch a birth record for a new born baby. It will be treasured forever and I’m sure it will be displayed proudly on the nursery wall. Instead of framing the finished design you could always sew it onto a baby blanket instead and then the new little baby can snuggle up beneath your handiwork.

Fingers crossed that if you are in the market for a birth record cross stitch kit that we sell the one you are looking for.

Here is a collage photo of 11 of my favourites (The kits shown in the collage are numbers 21, 63, 8, 71, 59, 18, 68, 31, 48, 55 and 47 ) and in the bullet point list below you can see links to all 73 of the kits. 


  1. About Boys by Dimensions
  2. Gift From God by Dimensions 
  3. About Girls by Dimensions
  4. Baby Princess by Dimensions
  5. Cuddly Bear by Dimensions 
  6. Toy Shelf by Dimensions
  7. A Gift Of Love by Dimensions
  8. Alphabet by Dimensions
  9. Pet Friends by Dimensions
  10. Royalty by Vervaco
  11. Sheep by Vervaco
  12. A Star Is Born by Dimensions
  13. Baby Blocks by Dimensions
  14. Baby Squares by Dimensions
  15. Baby Express by Dimensions
  16. Baby Drawers by Dimensions
  17. Sweet Baby by Backyard
  18. Happi Backyard by Dimensions
  19. Birth Record For Baby by Dimensions
  20. Sweet Dreams by Dimensions
  21. Baby With Teddy by Vervaco
  22. Sleeping With Teddy by Vervaco
  23. Teddies In Garden by Vervaco
  24. Pooh And Friends by Vervaco
  25. Zoo Alphabet by Dimensions
  26. So Sweet by Dimensions
  27. Little Sports by Dimensions 
  28. Baby’s Friends by Dimensions
  29. God Gave Us by Dimensions
  30. Baby Hugs - Savannah by Dimensions
  31. Happi Transport by Dimensions
  32. Barn Babies by Dimensions
  33. Train by Dimensions
  34. Twinkle Twinkle by Dimensions
  35. Noahs Ark by Vervaco
  36. Hands by Vervaco
  37. Booties by Vervaco
  38. Clowns by Vervaco
  39. Feet by Vervaco 
  40. New Arrival by Vervaco
  41. Teddy by Vervaco
  42. Teddy On Clouds by Vervaco
  43. Baby With Teddy by Vervaco
  44. Sleeping Baby by Vervaco
  45. Baby Bottle - Pink by Vervaco
  46. Zoo Animals by Vervaco
  47. Holding Tight by Vervaco
  48. Farmyard Animals by Vervaco
  49. Animal Train by Vervaco
  50. Stork And Pram by Vervaco
  51. Teddy And Blanket by Vervaco
  52. Animal Fun by Vervaco
  53. Funny Bus by Vervaco
  54. Cuddle Teddy by Vervaco
  55. Caravan Trip by Vervaco
  56. Treehouse by Vervaco
  57. Hello Kitty by Vervaco
  58. Birds by Vervaco
  59. Hello Kitty Birth Record by Vervaco
  60. Kitten by Vervaco
  61. Balloon Teddy by Vervaco
  62. Animal Cheer by Vervaco
  63. Fire Engine by Vervaco
  64. Clown Delight by Vervaco
  65. Owl by Vervaco
  66. Baby Booties by Vervaco
  67. Tractor by Vervaco
  68. Gnomes by Vervaco
  69. Circus by Vervaco
  70. Sheep by Vervaco
  71. Lickle Ted Sleeping by DMC
  72. Bootees by DMC
  73. Ten Tiny Toes Sampler by DMC

Hope you all have a fantastic week.

Best wishes, Kim

Top Fashion Icons Of The 20th Century

Top Fashion Icons Of The 20th Century

Today I have a guest post for you all. It is about the top fashion icons of the 20th Century.


From models and actresses through to designers and singers, the world of fashion has no end of shortages. As fashion has evolved over the years we still find that many dressmakers, designers and stylish crafters look to previous styles to find inspiration and influence. Here at Sewing Online, we now take a look back at some of the most memorable fashion icons of the 20th century and determine who left lasting impressions that still survive to this day.

Audrey Hepburn


Audrey Hepburn is probably one of the most celebrated fashion icons of this century and became famous for her elegant style and fragile beauty which has since become synonymous with 20th century Hollywood glamour fashion.

After coming to prominence after her Best Actress Oscar win for her onscreen role in the film Roman Holiday she went on to define the notorious Little Black Dress (LBD) in her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s wearing iconic fashions defined by Hurbert De Givenchy which catapulted her to success and saw her being featured on many fashion front pages during the 50s.

Off-screen Hepburn was often seen wearing full, waist cinching skirts, knotted scarves around her neck and ballet pumps, which are wardrobe staples for most women of today.  

The actress often kept things simple, and never really followed fashion trends, which is what made her such an iconic figure, although colours were often plain, she was seen in bolder brighter colours – accessories were always subtle.

Tip - To recreate Hepburn’s iconic look consider using ribbon to clinch dresses at the waist for that more feminine look and if working from a dressmaking pattern opt for a dressmakers dummy that will help you create a more accurate finish and help you see how your outfit is progressing as you make it.

Kate Moss


There are very few things in fashion that have longevity but Kate Moss is the anomaly having chimed her style with the changing times, since her first appearance on the catwalks in the 1990s. Her image is completely omnipresent from her off-screen paparazzi shots through to her model advertising campaigns for make-up right through to her own self-designed clothing range at Topshop.

Having appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine more than 20 times in her career, a discussion about fashion icons wouldn’t be complete without her. From shorts and wellington boots in her more casual appearances through to sequined slip dresses to showcase her signature party lifestyle.

Tip - Kate Moss is a firm advocate of dressing for her shape and with her great legs, is often seen wearing mini dresses and skirts, don’t be afraid of creating an outfit in black.



Twiggy, also known as Lesley Hornby, was the World’s first supermodel at just 17-years-old, and came to prominence in the late 60’s. Initially known for her skinny build and boyish looks she propelled miniskirts, bee hives and spider eyelashes into 1960s fashion.

Her phases of fashion were brief, bare and daring which made her a trendsetter and all started with ‘the mini’ and ‘shift dress’ looks. Seen in dresses and skirts that hit around six and seven inches above the knee, she provoked scandal which eventually turned into an excellent marketing campaign for fashion designer Mary Quant and saw ‘the mini’ spread.

The shift dress, which she often wore with an exaggerated collar, was designed in pastels and showcased her incredibly slim frame perfectly while letting her legs take centre stage.

Tip – A lot of Twiggy’s looks were block colours so attempt to keep things simple.  Add trims where necessary for a little more appeal. Be liberal and brave with your designs.

Princess Diana


As much as Princess Diana was known for her public compassion, kindness and demure approach her dress and fashion sense was often watched closely by the press and public. From a young princess first in the limelight her style was romantic and modest but as her confidence grew in the public eye her style developed into a more elegant and thought out fashion. She had the ability to represent the fashion, age and size of her mass following unlike any royal before her.

The Princess embraced everything from the shoulder pads and cinched waists of the 80’s, represented in her feminine suits, right through to ruffled blouses and dress trims of the 90’s and even created her very own version of the LBD. Princess Diana worked with many of Britain’s leading fashion houses to create some of the most iconic styles including Catherine Walker and Bruce Oldfield.

Tip - Diana may have created iconic looks but she did everything in moderation so don’t be too flamboyant. Look to current fashions and trends and see how you can make them different.  Take a look at some of our dressmaking patterns.

Elizabeth Taylor


A silver screen beauty and style icon, Elizabeth Taylor was a picture perfect fashion icon; she redefined the classic Hollywood look in the 40s but remained a close focus for fashion inspirations until her death in 2011.

From diamonds, luxurious fabrics and various hair styles, Taylor was the epitome of risqué with plunging necklines and thin straps ready to slip off her shoulders. While she mainly kept to evolved fashions she always opted for bolder twists opting for luxurious accessories such as fur and velvet wraps.

Tip – Consider diamante accessories or pairing a simple feminine design with lace or faux fur trimming for that more glamorous finish.

Victoria Beckham


From a Spice Girl renowned for her LBD as Posh Spice through to her fashion designer status today, Victoria Beckham has become a household name in fashion and is known for understated elegance both on street and on the catwalk. After setting many trends and experimenting with numerous hairstyles and clothing reinventions, she now favours a more iconic, pristine and body contouring look which adheres more to a classic style status than fashion trends.

However, her looks still make her a fashion chameleon with many of her styles being adopted by people of all ages.  Inclusive of the LBD, many of her iconic looks are very feminine and include pencil dresses, short dresses to showcase her legs and minimalistic colours and simplicity.

Tip – If you want to mix colours, think less is more. Opt for haberdashery accessories like gold beading or bolder coloured and bigger buttons.


These are our picks of the top fashion icons of the 20th century, is there any that you think we’ve missed?

Whether you are just starting out in dressmaking or looking to modify some of your existing clothes from your wardrobe then our online store at Sewing Online holds a world of possibilities for creating and customising.

Should you need any help or advice then please contact our team today who will be more than happy to assist.

Be Inspired By This Corner Shop Where Everything Is Made From Felt!

Be Inspired By This Corner Shop Where Everything Is Made From Felt!

Now I know you all love to be inspired and this humble little corner shop in East London will do just that.  It is a one-of-a-kind corner shop that is run by artist Lucy Sparrow. The things for sale in her corner shop are a bit more expensive than your regular corner shop though. For example a pint of milk costs a whopping £20! However…it’s well and truly worth it. Do you know why it’s worth it? Because it has been hand-crafted by Lucy herself. The pint of milk is in fact sewn from felt and embellished with fabric paints so that it resembles a real carton of milk.  The shop doesn’t only have dairy products though, you’ll also find packets of biscuits, cereals, frozen foods , sweets, vegetables and more. You name it….Lucy had handmade it in felt!


The Cornershop is an art installation and it will be at 19 Wellington Row, Bethnal Green, London, E2 7BB until the 31st August 2014. It is open everyday from 10am until 7pm. Sadly I live too far away to go and visit but if you live closer please do go and take a look. It is a unique shop that any crafty person would love to visit.

There are also going to be sewing classes offered at certain times - so well worth going to those. I am not sure how much they cost but you can find out more about them by emailing Lucy on sewyoursoul@gmail.com or calling her on 07779 971521. Here is a link to the sewing workshop timetable - http://sewyoursoul.co.uk/2014/08/05/sewing-workshop-timetable-at-the-cornershop/  I love the sound of the ‘Sewing Pick and Mix Sweets’ class! Yummy! Just a shame you can’t eat them.

To find out more about The Cornershop please visit The Cornershop Blog or Lucy’s personal website  ‘Sew Your Soul’. You can also follow her on twitter - @sewyoursoul

If hearing about Lucy’s felt cornershop has inspired you to get sewing then please stop by our website and buy some felt to start creating with. The 10 piece pack of felt is just £3.06 but we do have lots more to choose from over on our site.

I think one of my past blog posts will inspire you - ‘Comprehensive List Of Yummy Felt Food Sewing Tutorials’.


Hope you have a wonderful week.

Best wishes, Kim

'Oh I Do Like To Sew With Seaside Fabrics!'

'Oh I Do Like To Sew With Seaside Fabrics!'

The sun is shining and holiday time is here. What better fabric to stitch those summer sewing projects with than our Seaside Fabrics from Makower UK.

These fabrics are from a few different Makower collections. Together they all combine to create wonderful seaside imagery that you can showcase in your beach themed sewing projects. Maybe you might like to make a Nautical Patchwork Quilt? If so, over on the Makower website you will find full instructions for a beautiful quilt. You can see a photo of it further down this blog post.


Another project that I think is stunning is this Beach Hut Mini Art Quilt from the Quilt Routes blog. I think the Makower Sand Dunes fabric would be perfect for this!

Here are the Makower UK ‘Seaside Themed’ fabrics and Berisfords ‘Beach Themed’ ribbons that we have available to buy :-

Nautical Stripe Fabric - Nautical Collection

Nautical Fish Fabric - Nautical Collection

Nautical Anchors Fabric - Nautical Collection

Nautical Beach Huts Fabric - Nautical Collection

Nautical Yachts Fabric - Nautical Collection

Coastal Montage Fabric - Coastal Collection

Seagulls Fabric - Coastal Collection

Coastal Houses Fabric - Coastal collection

Planks Fabric- Coastal Collection

Coastal Icons Ground Fabric - Coastal Collection

Maritime Sand Dunes Fabric - Landscapes Collection

Spraytime Fabric - Available in various blue hues (These are not pictured in the collage above)

Waves Fabric - (This is not pictured in the collage above)

Deck Chair Stripe Fabric - Available in various colours (These are not pictured in the collage above)

Deck Chair-Style Striped Ribbon - (This is not pictured in the collage above)

Deck Chair Print Ribbon - (This is not pictured in the collage above)

Beach Hut Print Ribbon - (This is not pictured in the collage above)


I have found some more lovely seaside themed sewing projects for you all. Hope you all love them! :-)

One last link…it’s not a sewing one though - instead it’s a baking one -  I just couldn’t resist sharing it! It is a recipe and tutorial for making a sandcastle cake! It looks so realistic. It is from the ‘Living Well Spending Less’ website.


Hope you all have a fun week and that you get the chance to go to the seaside. If not you know you can always order a little bit of seaside loveliness from our Sewing-Online website and we’ll get your fabric orders out to you asap.

Best wishes, Kim

Lots Of Free Sewing Patterns For Women’s Dresses

Lots Of Free Sewing Patterns For Women’s Dresses

Hi everyone. Before I give you all those sought after links to free sewing patterns for dresses - can I just remind you that our summer sale finishes on the 25th July 2014.  Only 2 days to go! You can see some of the highlights of the sale in this blog post but the best way to find the bargains is to pop over to our website and have a browse. :-)  We have offers on sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery and craft products.  


So back to today’s topic….I know how much you all love to sew dresses and as you know we sell hundreds of sewing patterns for dresses which our customers love (take a look at the creations Karen from Willowears has made with them) but sometimes you don’t want to pay for a pattern and wait for it to arrive in the post - instead you want a freebie that you can print out straight away at home. That is what I am dedicating today’s blog post to …. free dress sewing patterns from around the web. 

As I’m sure you’ll guess the variety of free dress patterns available doesn’t compare to the vast scale of pattern company dress patterns which you can buy but all the same you are sure to find a free pattern that you’ll love to sew. When the occasion arrives that you would like to buy a sewing pattern for a particular style of dress then we’d love to see you shopping over at Sewing-Online - we stock sewing patterns from Simplicity, Butterick, Vogue, Kwik Sew and McCalls.

Here are all the patterns…Happy Sewing!

Links To Lots Of Free Dress Patterns  - So Sew Easy

25 Free Women’s Dress Patterns - Craft Habit

264 Free Dress Patterns - Sewing Support

10 Free Sundress Sewing Patterns - Premeditated Leftovers - Naturally Frugal Living

Tons Of Free Sewing Pattern Links On This Pin Board By Deby Coles

Colourblocked T-shirt Dress - Sew Petite Gal

The Coffee Date Dress - The Selfish Seamstress


Summer Bias Dress Tutorial - Melly Sews

The Audrey Dress - The Selfish Seamstress

The English Tutor Dress - The Selfish Seamstress

DIY Floor Length Infinity Dress  - Diary Of A Mad Crafter 

Wrap Dress Pattern - So Sew Easy

Ballet Dress - Crafter Hours

Cabana Dress - I Heart Jenny’s Art

Simple Sew ‘Brigitte’ Dress Pattern

If you would like to download any of the following free sewing patterns from BurdaStyle and Craftsy you will need to register for a free account. I’ve done this and the process of getting the patterns is very simple. :-)

Hope Wrap Dress - By Erdronen on BurdaStyle

Danielle Dress - BurdaStyle

Mila Dress - BurdaStyle

Mini Dress With Shirred Bodice - BurdaStyle

Wrap Dress - BurdaStyle

Gathered Sleeve Tee Dress - BurdaStyle

Draft-It-Yourself One Shoulder Dress - BurdaStyle


The Allie Dress - Made With Hugs And Kisses On Craftsy  - This is My Absolute Favourite!

Faux Wrap Dress with Flutter Sleeves - CraftHabit Designs On Craftsy

Simple Wrap Dress Pattern - CraftHabit Designs On Craftsy

Maria Dress Pattern - On The Cutting Floor On Craftsy

Mom’s Raglan Dress - Serger Pepper On Craftsy

Pam Dress - On The Cutting Floor On Craftsy

Tricia Dress - On The Cutting Floor On Craftsy

Brasilia Dress - House Of Pinheiro On Craftsy

Easy Summer Dress - So Sew Easy On Craftsy

The Beach Dress Tutorial - On The Cutting Floor On Craftsy 

Two Become One Dress - So Sew Easy On Craftsy


Wear Everywhere Easy Knit Dress - So Sew Easy On Craftsy

Little Black dress - So Sew Easy On Craftsy

60s Kimono Sleeve Straight Dress - Mixy Mitzy On Craftsy

RaglanTurtleneck & Fishtail Bias Skirt - Mixy Mitzy On Craftsy

The Project Peggy Dress - The Sewing Lab Patterns On Craftsy

High Cut Sun Dress - Frocks & Frolics On Craftsy

Faith’s 15 Minute Dress - Design Fixation On Craftsy

Vintage Frock / Flapper Dress Circa 1927 - Sew Craftfully Patterns On Craftsy

Triangle Maxi Dress - Craftsy Blog On Craftsy

I hope you all enjoy sewing with the free patterns that are available from around the web. If you do decide to make something using one of those wonderful patterns then I’d love it if you would consider sharing a photo of your creation with us on our facebook page or tagging us on twitter. I’d love to see what you make.


If after sewing yourself a few dresses you decide that dressmaking is your new passion they you might want to consider investing in a dressmakers dummy. If that is the case then please be sure to pay a visit to the dress form section of our website. We stocks all sorts of mannequins to suit every budget.  The dressmaking dummy in the above photo is the Sew Simple Dressmakers Dummy by Adjustoform. It is a popular choice with our customers.

Have a wonderful week and you shall all hear from me again at the weekend when I will have another blog post for you.

Best wishes, Kim

20th Century History Of Fashion Trends

20th Century History Of Fashion Trends

Hi everybody. Today I have a guest post for you all about the evolution of 20th century fashion.

History, politics, economics and popular culture all have a dramatic impact on the fluctuation of fashion trends and styles. When you are embarking on a new dressmaking project or looking to craft your own furnishings, then, you will want to ensure that you are not only using the correct materials but also keeping to current trends and looking to them for inspiration irrespective of whether you want to construct a contemporary or classic article of attire or decor.

At Sewing Online, we aim to supply you with a diverse variety of materials and equipment to enable you to be as creative as possible and produce designs which are not only beautiful but allow you to be imaginative and innovative too.

With the revival of vintage fashions, furnishings and novelty objects many designers and crafters are looking to the 20th century for their designs. Fashion during this time saw hemlines rise and fall each decade and the unstable economy often meant that there were many sacrifices in material being made which left designers to use their creativity and produce innovative in clothing from mixing and matching to using different variations of fabrics.

In a world where we are inundated with advances on the runway and popular fads like bell-bottom trousers and ripped jeans, we at Sewing Online have brought you our timeline of men and women’s 20th century fashion.

1900s – 1920s

Contrasts can be seen between rich and flamboyant designs before the Great War which then turned to more practical garments.


This period marked the appearance of, Haute Couture a Parisian movement meaning ‘high fashion’, which saw a rise in custom made clothing for women of higher classes which highlighted the silhouettes of the mature and full-figured bodies with S-shaped corsets thrusting the chest outwards and hips back creating a feminine curve. Skirts were often fitted on top which were fluted towards the hem.


As the end of the 1910s grew closer glimpses of ankle were revealed and the appearance of dresses of narrower and straighter angles appeared as designer Paul Poiret liberated women from the confines of a corset.  This also meant form fitted gowns with high waists and long tunic jackets accentuating the waist appeared with frilly blouses creating a softer emphasis on the bust. 


Three piece suits including jackets with high smaller lapels were worn by men of the 1900s and were often complemented with bowler hats. While some men wore their collars turned down it was a popular trend to starch collars so they stood pointing upwards. Modern knotted ties became more popular as the decade drew to a close. The Great War loomed as 1920 approached which saw men being photographed adorning military uniforms as opposed to upcoming fashion trends.



1920s – 1940s

The 1920s marked the modern era of fashion for the 20th century meaning liberation as well as overseas influences as a result of WW1.


As women liberated themselves from restrictive clothing for the first time – more comfortable styles appeared on the fashion market. Women were seen sporting shorter knee length skirts and lower waistlines and often wore cloche style hats – this became known as the flapper era, where women wanted to minimise their hips and emphasise a boyish look. The hourglass figure didn’t return until the Great Depression of the 1930s forced more traditional designs of dress to return where waistlines reappeared and longer skirts – difficult times called for more conservative attire where women had to wear more practical clothing as they worked harder at home.


Dressmakers began adding fabric, trimmings or fur to their old 1920s skirts to make them longer while cutting collars to create a cleaner finish.

New fabrics such as metallic lame were a popular choice for evening wear in addition to synthetic rayon although silk was the most popular choice for luxurious design houses.



Two contrasting periods adorn the 20s to 40s of the 20th century, tradition and post war. Fabric was something of a luxury to returning soldiers which meant that the former military jackets and Victorian suits were replaced with narrow cut lounge suits with pointed collars which were always turned down.

Colours were often neutral with lighter shades of cream symbolising wealth. Single breasted jackets were adorned with double breasted vest waistcoats which are trends often used by contemporary designers Hackett and Ralph Lauren to date.

Pinstripes were popular among the elite as the decades progressed as were anchored ties and wide legged trousers often referred to as the ‘Oxford Bags’

The working class often wore cloth caps and plainly patterned or colour cotton modern knot ties.

1940s – 1960s

Mood and economy affected the fashion of these two decades as uniformity of clothing was embraced by people who had to work with clothing they already owned in the midst of WW2.


Fabric shortages as a result of the war meant there were fewer pleats in skirts and blouses and almost no trimmings. As many men and women were already wearing uniforms accessories became among the most important ways to customise clothing, from ribbon right through to tall flowery hats and platform sandals.

Those who could afford clothing wore knee length straight skirts and jackets with padded shoulders. Buttons were often restricted to just three per item of clothing, meaning jackets offered more minimalistic designs.


At the close of the war, fashion designer Christian Dior bolted the fashion world into a new look with a return to femininity with dresses styled with curvaceous busts, small waistlines and long skirts made of excess fabric which twirled.  His creations meant new bras had to be created to lift the bustline and petticoats were often worn to keep skirts full, cardigans became all the rage and women starting making their own cocktail dresses with luxurious fabrics that they had missed.



Men’s fashions still revolved around suit designs, whether it was a military suit or three piece suit. Post war, 1945 saw men leaving the armed forces issued with a ‘de-mob’ suit which consisted of a shirt, tie, double breasted jacket and loose fitting trousers, later on grey flannel material lounge suits were of the trend for the 1940s man particularly when worn with a shirt, tie and pocket handkerchief.  

As fashion trends progressed it became fashionably acceptable for men to be seen wearing tweed or check jackets or cotton with mis-matching trousers complemented by open collared shirts for more casual attire.

Teenage boys started to dress differently after being inspired by American icons that wore leather jackets and jeans and pointed shoes.

1960s – 1980s

A youth explosion began in the 60s and 70s which completely overhauled fashion as it was seen in the early twentieth century as rebellions against systematic styles of dress were created.



Bell bottoms, short miniskirts and hot pants were no longer shocking items for women to wear and became increasingly popular making it, by the 1970s, very difficult to tell what was in fashion and what wasn’t. It was a time of social change with the arrival of ‘free love’ and the Beatles, women were adopting an anything goes approach to fashion. – Although conservative designs did make it to the catwalks in the 1970s, choice meant creativity - merging conservative tailored jackets with miniskirts.

The back end of the 1960s saw experimentations with the hippy movement over from America. Fashion houses experimented with colour and textures of material including tweed, chiffon and PVC.


These two decades saw the most dramatic turn of events for men’s fashion, while previously tailor-made clothing of plain and sombre materials was almost compulsory colourful new elements were being incorporated and experimentation was encouraged. Collarless jackets appeared with slim fitting trousers and boots.

Along with the arrival of ‘hippy’ vibrant printed shirts appeared, and no longer were men afraid of frills. Toward the end of the 60s wider legged trousers were being worn by men with every aspect of men’s clothing from shirt cuffs through to lapels took on hyperbolic dimensions of width.


1980s – 1999

Colour, textures and decorative garments such as a sequins arrived on the scene during these two decades allowing further creativity and versatility. Loose clothing was particularly of the time and involved a lot of heavy mis-matching.


The 1980s saw the arrival of eye-provoking and bold designs with the arrival of shoulder pads, to make shoulders look bigger and broader and sequined blouses, tops and saris as statement pieces allowing room for more customisations and creativity.

Black and Gold Sequined Dress - 1980's Vintage

Miniskirts also saw a revival and were often seen worn by women as day wear as well as evening attire, sometimes with leg warmers for a bit of warmth, while ripped or stonewashed jeans, which were heavily influenced by the grunge music movement, were opted for as more comfortable, causal options with less of a focus on femininity.

As the 90s approached street wear became heavily popular with neon shades of fluorescent shades a big hit being worn with leggings, oversized sweaters, fur jackets and trousers, thanks to the likes of the rising hip-hop advance over in America. Music had a heavy influence over fashion as youths aimed to replicate their music icons, pop stars like Madonna created their own images designed to shock and inspire. Fishnet gloves, lots of lycra, leather and polyester made for excellent materials during these two decades.


These two decades hold some rather iconic images for men’s fashion particularly when the word shell suit is mentioned –  tracksuits made from the non-breathable material, polyester, making them useless for athletic purposes but perfect for bold, bright and for some, hideous prints.


The 80s did however bring the leather jackets which were often worn with pushed back sleeves, shirts were also as bright and colourful as the previous decade as were casual slogan t-shirts which were often worn under smart jackets to make a fashion statement.

The term, ‘the looser the cooler’ became a handy slogan for men wearing baggy trouser in the 1990s, particularly with the arrival of the infamous parachute pants promoted by MC Hammer - hyperbolic trousers made from rip-stop nylon which were compared to parachute materials. These often had neon or bold prints which were eye-catching and rather impractical.

Baggy or high-waisted overall denims became popular in the 90s and are still worn today and can be seen in the numerous Levi styles that are available to this day.


Whether you are looking to create your own revival, customise a piece of clothing to make it reminiscent of a particular time period or design your own pieces then sewing-online have a vast collection of haberdashery items that can facilitate. From dress making mannequins through to ribbons and beads you will find all your needs in one place at competitive prices…get sewing today!

Our Big Summer Sale Is Now On! Sewing, Craft And Knitting Bargains To Be Had!

Our Big Summer Sale Is Now On! Sewing, Craft And Knitting Bargains To Be Had!

Hi everyone, it is SALE time here at Sewing-Online! We have reductions all across the site and there are some real bargains to be had.  Today I am going to highlight just a small selection of the many offers but to see all of them please visit www.sewing-online.com.



As you can see there are some great deals on our products but to see even more July sale prices please head on over to our website www.sewing-online.com.

Our Big Summer Sale ends July 25th, while stocks last, so make sure you place your orders asap to avoid the disappointed of items being sold out. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact the sales team on sales@sewing-online.com or phone them on 0115 987 4422.


We look forward to you shopping with us.

I hope you all have a great week. Fingers crossed the sun will start shining so we can all get outside, relax in the garden and enjoy our summer.

Best wishes, Kim

History of Dressmakers

History of Dressmakers

Today I have an interesting guest blog post to share with you all. It is all about the history of dressmakers.

At Sewing Online we provide sewing equipment for both the amateur sewer who enjoys the craft as a hobby, and the professional dressmaker.

Although dressmaking in one form or another has been taking place for hundreds of years, its recognition as a true art form and complex skill became most apparent at the beginning of the 20th Century. This recognition is still very much alive today, most notably in the form of television programs such as The Great British Sewing Bee that have inspired a new generation of avid sewers.

Over the course of the late 19th and early 20thcentury specific designers stood out and have become iconic figures in fashion for the rest of time. Have a look at our timeline of some of the world’s most notable dressmakers:

Elizabeth Keckley (1818-1907)

Although she may not be a household name like some other designers, we begin with Elizabeth Keckley who used her skills as a dressmaker to make a living for herself after escaping slavery. Born a slave in Virginia 1818, she bought her freedom for $1200 in 1855, and earned a living working as a dressmaker. She moved to Washington where she found success designing dresses for the wives of the most established politicians in the country. Her designs were a lot more conservative than the traditional style of the day; she chose not to use lots of lace and ribbon but instead focused on making a flattering streamlined shape. Keckley worked for Mary Todd Lincoln (wife of Abraham) and over the years the two women were said to have formed a close bond. Their relationship went beyond that of a traditional dressmaker and Keckley became something of a confidante for Mrs Lincoln. However, the relationship soured when Keckley sold a book about her time with the Lincolns; a betrayal in the eyes of Mrs Lincoln.


(Photo courtesy of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries)

Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895)

Although he was born in Lincolnshire, Worth became a worldwide name when he made his mark in French fashion. After marrying a model whom he met while working in a shop, he starting making dresses for her and they were soon noticed by other women who wanted copies for themselves. Encouraged by his local success, he eventually opened his own business with a partner and retailed his designs. He is considered the founder of Haute Couture with his love of luxurious materials. He removed the frills on dresses that were popular at the time and replaced them with smoother, simple outlines that flattered the feminine shape. He also decided against the tradition of allowing the customer to determine how they wanted their clothes to look. Instead he would present his dresses in fashion shows four times per year then allow women to choose the design they liked and the colours they wanted them in, and then he would tailor the dress specifically to their figure.


(Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Frederick_Worth)

Madeleine Vionnet (1876-1975)

French designer Madeleine Vionnet is known for her graceful Grecian-style dresses and for being the first designer to use the “bias cut” (a technique of dressmaking used to exploit the stretch or diagonal direction of fabric so that it accentuates body lines and curves).  Her family had very little money when she was growing up so she took an apprenticeship as a seamstress when she was 11, moved to London to work as a seamstress at 18, before inventing the bias cut which made her the master of haute couture in the 1930s. Interestingly, Vionnet never actually sketched her dresses. Instead she would begin by pinning material to a model with a plan only visible inside her head. Her figure-hugging, slinky designs were worn by the likes of Jean Harlow, and Christian Dior even went so far as to say that “no one [had] ever carried the art of dressmaking further than Vionnet”


(Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Vionnet)

Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

Listed as one of the most influential people of all time, Chanel has transcended time after revolutionising women’s fashion in the early 20th Century. She lost her mother at an early age and as placed into an orphanage by her father. She was taught how to sew by the nuns who ran the orphanage; the skill that would go on to shape her life[i]. Her fashion career started with one shop retailing hats and then expanded this to three. In 1910 Chanel’s first clothing collection was panned in Europe but she found success in America when Hollywood stars including Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly were taken by her boxy cardigan suits and unique style. She is widely credited with introducing the “little black dress”, a staple piece commonly considered a “must have” for all women. Chanel continued to design clothes until she died at the age of 87.


(Photo courtesy of

Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972)

Like Coco Chanel, Balenciaga began work as a tailor when he was 12, most likely influenced by his mother who worked as a seamstress. He was formally trained in tailoring when one of his wealthier clients sent him to Madrid. Balenciaga enjoyed exceptional success in Spain where even the Royal family frequently wore his designs. During the Spanish Civil War however he was forced to move to Paris where he became a huge name in Haute Couture with his wide-skirted Infanta and embroidered dresses. His designs were usually based on fashions from previous centuries that he would update for his modern audiences, such as the 17th Century pendant for small waists and large, blooming skirts. In the 1950s he designed the sack dress and chemise dress which unlike other fashions of the time did not feature a clear waistline for an hour glass silhouette, but instead were considered flattering for the way they fell away from the body.


(Photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristobal_Balenciaga)

Christian Dior (1905-1957)

Born to a wealthy family and with a passion for painting, his father bought him a paint gallery where he could showcase his work when Dior was a young man. Unfortunately his father lost his money, the gallery closed, and Dior went to work with designer Robert Piguet. The following year war broke out and Dior served as an officer in the French army in 1942. He founded the House of Dior after the war, in 1946, with the help of wealthy textile manufacturer Marcel Boussac. Their first collection featured the “New Look Style” that gave women an obvious hour glass silhouette by padding out the shoulders, pulling in the waist, and padding the hips.  It was an instant success primarily due to the relief that women found in his luxurious, decadent designs that contrasted tremendously with the restricted, plain clothes that women had become used to over the course of the war. It was the flamboyancy of Dior’s clothes that re-established Paris as the fashion capital of the world after World War II.


(Photo courtesy of www.colognereality.com/christian-dior.html)

Pierre Balmain (1914-1982)

Pierre Balmain was a French designer who founded the global fashion house Balmain which is known for its highly sophisticated clothing lines. Balmain was born in Saint Jean de Maurienne, France in 1914. After studying at the school of Architecture for one year, he left to work as a sketcher for the fashion house Robert Piguet in 1934. He designed long dresses that were slim at the waist and bloomed out towards the bottom and once described dressmaking as “the architecture of movement”. He worked as a designer for various people before establishing Maison Balmain, a couture house, in 1945. His designs were popular with Royals across Asia, Hollywood stars, and the wealthy upper classes. His pieces were often chosen by aristocratic brides while his extravagant ball gowns were regularly showcased across the world. He believed that “good fashion is evolution not revolution”; he wanted to improve on what had gone before in the fashion world and not just make a name for himself. His outfits were worn by many of the most famous fashion icons in the world such as Katharine Hepburn and Vivien Leigh.


(Photo courtesy of www.colognereality.com/pierre-balmain.html)

Jean Muir (1928-1995)

Born in London to Scottish parents, Muir first noticed that she had a flair for art and design while she was at school. She left school at 17 to work at a Solicitors’ office and after working here for a few years she got a job in the stockroom of Liberty & Co. Her ability to design clothes was quickly noticed by the management which meant that she was promoted and her role changed from being stock-focused to more design-orientated. After moving to Jaeger, she designed clothes for them and was soon spotted by David Barnes who manufactured jersey dresses for the mass market. Together they worked on creating couture-style pieces that were buyable for a mass audience. Her clothes stood out because of their minimalist look in a 1960s world that was obsessed with bright colours and geometric shapes.

  She was considered a groundbreaking, rule-breaking designer as she drew from classic pieces to create modern trends with lots of embellishments that had not been imagined before.


(Photo courtesy of www.jeanmuir.info)

Jean Paul Gaultier (1952-present)

His mother and father were a bookmaker and a cashier but Gaultier spent a lot of his early life with his grandmother for whom he sketched his own designs. At 18 Gautier sent some of his sketches to various well-known couture designers and in 1970 he became an assistant to Pierre Cardin, an established fashion designer. Later he moved to Jacques Esterel and Patou where he met various people in the fashion industry before releasing his first collection in 1976. His style is a mixture of playful streetwear and more formal couture. He likes to challenge expectations and trends in both his designs and his catwalks which are often modelled by tattooed models or those who do not share the conventional lightweight, skinny body shape. Furthermore, his designs often subvert gender stereotypes to create unusual looks that don’t sit comfortably with traditional fashion. One of his most memorable designs is Madonna’s infamous cone bra which has engraved Gaultier’s name in pop history as well as fashion.


(Photo courtesy of www.decoenligne.fr/65_jean-paul-gaultier)

David Emanuel (1952-present)

You might recognise him for his contribution to “I’m a Celebrity…” rather than fashion but David Emanuel and his ex-wife Elizabeth are two of the most successful dressmakers of all time. According to his website “his signature style is low-key understated chic, with a touch of glamour”.  David started as an assistant to the royal designer Hardy Amies before starting his own fashion label, Emmanuel, in 1977 along with his wife. Together they designed hugely successful couture dresses. Their finest hour came in 1981 when they were asked to design the wedding dress of Princess Diana who had long been an admirer of their designs; a dress that would ultimately be seen by over 700 million people. As well as Princess Diana, Emanuel has also dressed Hollywood Royalty including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Madonna, and Elizabeth Taylor.


(Photo courtesy of www.tvrage.com/person/id-127632/David+Emanuel )

Naeem Khan (1958-present)

Originally from Mumbai, India, Naeem Khan is a modern designer of clothes that have been modelled by the likes of Beyoncė and Eva Longoria. His grandfather started an embroidery and fabric business in the 1930s and growing up Khan was always surrounded by fashion, material, tailoring, and design. He gained an apprenticeship with Halston, a successful designer, when he was just 20 and had the chance to work with the likes of Andy Warhol who still inspires his work today. One of the reasons that Khan’s work is admired is that he successfully merges together East and West. He often used the traditional patterns of India and the Far East with Western shapes such as long, low-cut, flowing dresses.


(Photo courtesy of www.zimbio.com)

Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

(Lee) Alexander McQueen is one of the most famous names in modern fashion history. He was born in London and left school when he was 16 to complete an internship at traditional tailors Gieves & Hawkes. At 21 he went to Milan to work for Romeo Gigli as a design assistant. He later returned to London to complete a Masters in Fashion Design at Saint Martin’s. His MA collection was bought by Isabella Blow. Like Gautier, McQueen liked to challenge expectations and subvert the norm which was how he warned a reputation for being a “bad boy” designer. His fashion shows were a performance as much as representation of the clothes he had designed; they were often described as emotional, intense, and passionate. McQueen died in 2010 surrounded by reports of a suspected suicide although these reports were never actually confirmed. He had an incredibly successful career; named British designer of the year in 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2003 amongst many other rewards.


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