Top five pyjama patterns for Christmas

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Pyjamas. Pretty much my favourite item of clothing throughout the winter months. So whether you’d like to make a pair to see you through to spring, or some for a (very lucky) friend or family member, here’s my shortlist of pyjama patterns to try.

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In order of difficulty:

  1. Simplicity 2290 (pictured above). Possibly the easiest pattern in the sewisphere, Simplicity 2290 doesn’t technically bill itself as pyjamas, more as ‘lounge pants’. But in a soft cotton flannel they’re cosy, comfy and pretty much perfect for lounging or sleeping. The pattern is suitable for wovens or knits, although it doesn’t include a top so you’ll need to supply your own T-shirt. Sizes include children’s (roughly age 5+) up to adults with 49″ hips.
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I’ve made Simplicity 2290 three times so far and they’re all still in rotation.

2. Oliver + S children’s knit pyjamas.

This is more of a hack than an off-the-shelf pattern but I actually prefer the look of these to Oliver + S’s official pyjama patterns. The link takes you to a post on the Oliver + S blog, which shows you how to addd cuffs to children’s knit patterns. So if you start off with the Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt and Playtime leggings, you can then add cuffs to create perfect pyjamas for the small people in your life. Oliver + S Patterns are beautifully drafted with clear instructions, so as long as you’ve sewn with knits before then you shouldn’t have any problems running these up in time for 25 December. Sizes 6m-4 years and 5-12 years. Alternatively, you could use the tutorial to hack any long-sleeved T-shirt and leggings patterns you have (for children or adults), adding cuffs to create super-dooper pyjamas.

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Ottobre magazine is a good source of children’s knit pyjama patterns – like these

3. Tilly and the Buttons Fifi pyjamas.

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I tried this pattern earlier this year, and although it’s not a straightforward sew, I think it definitely falls into the intermediate category because the instructions are so clear and well explained. Designed with summer lounging in mind, this camisole and shorts set works well in cotton lawn or voile, but you could also try silk for added ooh-la-la. Sized for up to 47″ hips.

4. and 5. Lisette for Butterick B6296 and Closet Case Files Carolyn Pyjamas

Try as I might, I really couldn’t separate these two. They’re so similar in my mind – traditional button-up pyjamas with collar, pockets, elasticated waistband and piping with options for shorts and short-sleeves.

You can copy Liesl Gibson’s own version of B6296 in Liberty lawn, and I love Allie J’s double gauze version of Carolyn in which she replaces the piping with ric rac.

Neither of these patterns is a quick make, what with all that piping to do. And they’re both pretty fabric hungry at around 4m of fabric for the long-sleeved, long-legged option so you’ll be investing some serious time and money in your perfect pyjamas. But they will probably remain your perfect pyjamas for years to come.

Have you sewn any or all of these patterns? And are you making pyjamas for anyone for Christmas?

Red rush

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The weather’s turned frosty here in the Midlands this week…

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Mr Wardrobe took this shot looking towards the Malvern Hills

…which means it must be time to psych myself up for Christmas.

I loved Christmas as a child. My birthday’s in early December, so Christmas kicked off straight after that, and it was a huge festival of family, friends, presents and parties topped off with a side order of chocolates, decorations and cracking TV.

As a carefree twenty-something, Christmas was always action-packed up until 24 December, and then I retreated home to my parents’ house for R&R. Even after three days of falling asleep on the sofa, there was always plenty of quality time for my hobbies (including sewing) before gearing up again for New Year’s Eve.

Since starting a family of my own, I’ll be honest: I don’t look forward to it quite as much. These days, December begins not with a birthday party so much as the purchase of a new anti-wrinkle cream. Then there’s a flurry of organising to be done: presents, cards, food, decorations, travel arrangements and social stuff – although sadly there aren’t usually any occasions that demand a fabulous dress. When Christmas finally arrives, I no longer get lie-ins or long afternoons to knit in front of The Wizard of Oz. And when NYE comes round, you’ll probably find me sloping off to bed at about 10:30, muttering that I’m ‘too old to stay up till midnight’.

So this year I need an injection of joy in my Christmas season. And that means red. I pulled these fabrics from my stash this afternoon and I’m trying to decide how I could combine them into a cheery Christmassy make that’ll get worn well into the New Year.

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Sorry, the elephants were meant to be in focus.

The solid is a wool crepe, probably just enough for a flared skirt. The two patterned fabrics are both quilting cottons, so they might be handy for facings or pocket linings. I’m thinking perhaps a Hollyburn skirt? If it gets made in time for Christmas Day that’ll be a small miracle, given the size of my queue. But if not, it should bring me some joy in the dark days of January and February, and it’ll probably get worn next Christmas instead. Bring it on!

Are you full of the joys of advent, or are you also feeling a teensy bit Bah Humbug this year?

And what will you sew between now and Christmas, especially if you’re not making a party dress?

 

How to choose fabric for your first handmade garment

[This post is part of a series on learning to sew, Starting to Sew.]

Some of things I’ve made with cotton – definitely the most straightforward fabric to sew with.

I love this bit. I really do. There’s such a world of possibilities out there and it’s the moment when you get to steer your project away from frumpy pattern envelope photos (yes, Simplicity, I’m looking at you) and towards the fabrics and colours you love.

If you’ve never sewn a garment before (no, cushions don’t count), then there’s only one fibre you should use for your first project: cotton.

Why 100% cotton?

Cotton is strong, stable, washable and comes in a huge range of prints and colours. It has a clear lengthwise grain, it presses easily and it’s not stretchy. And it’s not usually particularly expensive. All these factors make it one of the simplest fabrics to cut and sew garments with: you won’t need any special equipment for cotton – unlike silk or wool.

Cotton can also be blended with other fibres like polyester, to create fabrics that don’t crease and are easier to wash and dry. Although these are definitely useful benefits, and polycotton is often very cheap, it does mean it’ll be harder to press your fabric. That means you’ll struggle to get neat seam finishes, casings and hems. So unless you really, really loathe ironing, I’d suggest you start on something that’s 100% cotton, and move on to a polycotton for version two if you want to.

Which type of cotton?

Cotton fibres can be woven (or knitted) into a multitude of different fabrics, so you’ll need to choose one that’s easy to work with and suitable for the garment you’re making. If you’re not sure what to make as your first garment, you might like to read this post first. The first thing you should do is check out the fabrics recommended by the pattern designer – they’ll be listed on the back of the envelope, or early on in the instructions if you’re using a pdf pattern. Very thin and very thick fabrics present their own challenges, so you’ll probably want to avoid these to begin with. Similarly, you should avoid anything with a nap (a one-way weave) like corduroy.

If you’ve chosen to make a skirt, you’ll probably want use either cotton lawn, cotton poplin, cotton chambray or cotton twill (including mid-lightweight denim). If you’re making pyjama bottoms, you might opt for cotton flannel for winter, or cotton lawn for summer.

What about quilting cotton?

Quilting cotton is just that – cotton designed for quilting. So although it comes in thousands of colours and prints, and it’s more widely available than other fabrics, it’s not always suitable for garments. (I once made some PJ shorts in a quilting cotton and they’re really uncomfortable next to the skin.) If you’re making a flared skirt, it might be suitable, but it wouldn’t have enough drape for a blouse, for example. For more info on sewing garments with quilting cotton, read this post from Tilly and the Buttons.

So much choice!

If you can, try to choose your fabric at a shop rather than online. Staff in fabric shops are usually really knowledgable and can direct you to the right materials faster than you find them yourself. Take your pattern with you and ask for advice. Or get them to help you unroll the fabric from the bolt so you can hold it up against your face in the mirror/drape it round you. This will help you decide whether it suits you, and see how it’ll behave as a garment.

If you do buy online, you can always contact the seller with questions. Read the description of the fabric carefully, and if you’re spending what seems like a lot of money, then always ask for/buy a fabric sample first. Cut lengths of fabric can’t be returned unless they’re faulty.

Pick out something you love and buy 0.5m more than the pattern says you need so you can play around with it and practise your stitches.

Prints v solids

There are two schools of thought on this:

  1. You should stick with solids because then you don’t have to worry about matching the pattern up at the seamlines, or pattern placement (making sure you don’t end up with circles around your nipples, for example)
  2. You should choose a print because it’ll distract the eye from any wonky stitching or fitting issues.

So I’m not going to tell you what to do here. Go with your favourite.

Before you cut

The fabric shop should tell you the washing instructions for your material. Even if they don’t, always plonk your cotton fabric in the washing machine (on its own, in case the colour runs) and give it at least one wash and dry before you cut into it – using the same programme as you plan to use for the finished garment.

Staystitching: why, when and how

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When you’re working with woven fabrics (as opposed to stretchy fabrics like jersey) you’ll sometimes find cut curved edges are prone to stretching out if you handle them a lot.

Sometimes that’s OK – if those edges will later be gathered up, like a sleeve cap; or if those edges will need to be stretched to attach them to something larger. But for some pattern pieces, such as a neckline, you don’t want any stretching. Staystitching is a simple way to prevent this so that you don’t end up with a gaping neckline.

And if you’re making something that’s cut on the bias, like the Fifi pyjamas I made recently, you might want to staystitch bias cut edges to prevent them stretching as you sew the seams. Check your pattern instructions so you know which edges might need staystitching – Tilly and the Buttons has a great guide to sewing on the bias for Fifi.

I’ve just cut out the pieces for a man’s shirt in cotton chambray, and the shirt fronts and back yoke pieces that form the neckline all have curved edges where they’ll be attached to the collar. There are lots of things to do on these pieces (sew the yoke seam, put on a pocket, attach the sleeves and sew the side seams) before I finally join them to the collar, so I’m going to staystitch these pieces to stop them stretching out while I do those steps. On this pattern, you stretch the collar to fit, so I’m only going to staystitch the shirt fronts and back yokes, and not the collar.

So how and when do we staystitch?

The pattern I’m using (the Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt) doesn’t mention staystitching until it’s time to apply the collar, but having had problems with a stretched neckline on the initial toile, I know I should do this step earlier. My current sewing manual of choice says:

Curved areas that require extra handling should be staystitched. This acts as a guideline for clipping and joining a curved edge to the other edges, as well as prevents stretching. Staystitch in the direction of the grain 1/8″ (3mm) away from the seamline in the seam allowance, using the regular machine-stitch length suited to your fabric.

Vogue Sewing revised and updated (2006 edition)

And the instructions for staystitching the collar of the New Look 6000 dress, which has a 5/8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance, recommend:

Stitch 1/2″ (1.3cm) from cut edge, in direction of arrows.

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So I’ve already cut out the pieces, transferred the pattern markings and applied my interfacing. This is the best point at which to do the staystitching – before I handle the pieces any further and they begin to stretch.

I’m going to use a 2.6mm straight stitch and stitch just within the 1/4″ seam allowance. It doesn’t matter whether you staystitch from the right side or the wrong side. I’m stitching from the shoulder towards the centre back and then from both shoulders towards the centre back, meeting in the middle.

Guide the fabric very, very gently through the machine so that you don’t accidentally stretch it as you go. To stop the very corner of the fabric from getting trapped in the feed dogs, you might prefer to start 1cm or so from the edge and then come back and staystitch that initial centimetre from the other side if needed.

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And that’s it. We’re done. Begone, gaping necklines and ill-fitting collars.

Wardrobe singletons: pleated lace skirt

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Can you help me find a partner for this skirt?

What are wardrobe singletons? It’s the name I give to the clothes lurking at the back of my wardrobe that don’t pair with anything else. I love them, but I never wear them. I have a handful of RTW and me-made garments like this and I’d like to sew something to wear them with. The question is, what?

This RTW green pleated lace skirt from REISS is the one I most want to sew a partner for. It’s been in my wardrobe for nearly four years and I think it’s only been worn twice. I paid more than I’d wanted to for a skirt at the time so it really bugs me every time I see it hanging there, all alone. It’s a pale ferny green colour (honestly) and has a great knee-length swish about it.

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So, what would you recommend I sew to go with it? I’ve been browsing Pinterest and generated a few styling ideas:

As you can see, I’ve collected a lot of knitwear ideas, but would it also work with a simple T-shirt, a cap-sleeved blouse or just the right jacket?

So far, I’m considering:

  • The Seamwork Elmira cardigan for a dressier look
  • Or Seamwork’s Astoria sweatshirt for a more relaxed feel
  • A Sewaholic scoop-neck Renfrew t-shirt in grey marl

All pattern, fabric and styling suggestions welcome – let’s get this skirt a date in 2017!

Does your wardrobe have any singletons lurking at the back? I’d love to know what things you struggle to match with anything else or how you’ve successfully paired off trickier pieces.

 

The stash diet: progress update

p1130982After it dawned on me that my stash was gradually expanding I decided in late September to sew up some of the £200 or so of fabric that’s languishing in my sewing space. Critically, I also pledged not to buy any more fabric until at least January 2017.

So how’s it working out at the halfway point?

So far, so good. I think. I’ve completed the Fifi pyjama set for which I’ve had both fabric and pattern since July. Next, I’m going to tackle a Fairfield shirt for Mr Wardrobe using the gorgeous dark grey/blue chambray pictured above that I bought from Eme in Ilkley back in August.

The hardest part has been not snapping up new fabric. To grow my sewing shop map, I try to visit a fabric shop each time I go to anther town. So since September I’ve visited Guthrie & Ghani, Barry’s and Birmingham Rag Market at #sewbrum; and the luxe-denim fest that is Cloth House in Soho, London. My inbox is also regularly deluged with new stock from online stores and, most tempting of all, info on sales and discount codes.

The news this week that the cost of imported goods, including fabric, is likely to rise in the UK next year almost tipped me over the edge into some impulse purchases. But for now at least, I’m staying strong, and well away from the remnants bin.

How about you? Are you trying to reduce your stash, or does it keep on growing?

Finished Fifi pyjamas

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I’m really pleased with the finish on this make. It uses french seams, which helps to make everything look neat on the inside. But also I made fewer mistakes than I usually do, so I only had to unpick one seam – possibly a new record for me.

The fabric

It’s Liberty Tana lawn that I bought in their summer sale, contrasting with the purple satin polyester bias binding that I found at Birmingham’s rag market during the Sewbrum meet-up in September. I love this colour combination, and the cotton lawn was perfectly behaved making it easy to sew and press the french seams. I’m itching to hunt down some more tana lawn to make another set, but that might have to wait until I’ve sewn my stash.

The pattern

This is the first time I’ve used a Tilly and the Buttons pattern, and I have mixed feelings about it. I loved the robust packaging, the clear instructions with colour photos, and the design. All of these are better than you’d get with a Big 4 pattern, and better even than some of the other indie designers I’ve tried up to now. It cost £14, so I guess you’d hope so.

I didn’t get along so well with the sizing and the fitting. Firstly, there was no information on the pattern or in the instructions about the standard back waist length or waist to hip distance. (Seriously: indie designers, this is one way in which the Big 4 still have one up on you – please can you put more info about the finished length or body measurements into your patterns?)

So I measured the pattern as best I could, added one inch in length to the camisole, and two inches to the crotch depth in the shorts. These are the same alterations I’d make to almost any sewing pattern, Big 4 or indie. The shorts came out about right, but the camisole was still on the short side.

The other problem area was – surprise surprise – the bust. I chose a size 4 + a 3″ FBA but on reflection I wish I’d made the size 5 + a 1-2″ FBA. It’s ended up a little tight along the seam under the bust (I wear a 34 bra band) and the FBA I made to the cups (using the TATB tutorial) has added too much room side-side and not enough top-bottom.

Halterneck hack

Possibly because of these fitting niggles, I could not find a way to make the straps sit neatly on my shoulders without my boobs disappearing into my armpits. After two sessions of stabbing myself in the back with pins trying to get it right, I decided to go off-pattern and convert it into a halterneck instead. Boob issue solved – hurrah! (Let’s just hope it’s comfortable to sleep in.)

As other sewists have suggested, this pattern would make a really great gift for a sister or a much-loved friend. With the bias-cut camisole and some precision stitching needed it’s not one I’d recommend to absolute beginners, but if you’re an ‘advanced beginner’ or beyond you’ll find it a very satisfying make.

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Flared lower ribs adjustment

50s_sundress707If you have this fitting issue, then this is the post for you. Or perhaps you sew for someone who needs this alteration? Or maybe you’ve never realised until now that there’s a name for that niggly tight area of the bodice midway between your bra band and your waist?

If you have flared lower ribs then basically your lower ribs stick out more than the average person’s. This has its upsides:

  • if you become pregnant, you’re less likely to be uncomfortable, or to go up a bra band size
  • your strapless bras won’t fall down
  • there’s always plenty of room for your lungs!

But there are downsides too:

  • your ribs can look bony even when you’re a healthy weight
  • boned or corseted RTW dresses (think bridalwear) can be seriously uncomfortable
  • it can be tricky getting the lower bodice of your handmade garments to fit, even once you’ve mastered bust adjustments.

It’s something that caused me problems when I made the halterneck 50s-style sundress in the picture above, and I ran into this adjustment again this week while sewing the camisole from the Fifi lounge set by Tilly and the Buttons. It’s oddly tight on me below the bust, even though the design is bias cut and curves outwards at that point. Yet there’s plenty of room at the waist…

If you’re altering a standard bodice with bust and waist darts, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. First, make any length alterations you need, and any alterations to the bodice at or above the bust point.
  2. Try on your toile, and mark on it where your rib cage ends. Compare this with the position of the top of the waist darts.
  3. Re-draw the waist darts, finishing 3/4″ below the bottom of your rib cage. Pin or baste in the new darts, and try on again to check the fit.
  4. If your revised darts now look weirdly short and fat, you might need to divide each one into two, or you could take a slightly larger seam allowance at the bottom of the side seam (on the front piece only)
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Here the dart on the right is the same width as the original, but the point is lower. This gives more room for your ribcage but keeps the waist measurement the same.

For a princess-seamed bodice, rejoice. You can add extra room for your ribs at just the right point (on the front princess seams only) without tweaking anything else.

For a bodice that’s flat-fronted with no darts or adjustable points, such as a knit top, you could grade out to a larger size below the bust. Otherwise, you’ll probably need to go up a size, at least on the front, and then downsize other areas like the waist, back or bust to fit you. And if you’re already grading between sizes on your bodice, look carefully at where you begin and end the grading – just shifting this might help you get around the problem altogether.

If you’d rather get around the whole problem, then the following patterns use pleats or gathers rather than darts to create shaping between bust and waist. That means you don’t have to worry too much about how far up the shaping extends. Others are available of course, but I’ve actually shelled out real money for these three. Interestingly, they’re all from the Big 4.

1. My favourite wedding guest dress pattern Vogue 8446 – (my first version is still in my alterations pile before it’s fit to blog about). I love this style on anyone whose figure isn’t straight up and down. The bodice is pleated with no front darts. Sadly now out of print (noooo!), but you could create something similar with Threadcount 1613 if you can get past the hideous satin version on the envelope.

2. Lisette for Butterick B6168. Another classy offering from Liesl Gibson. This one’s slightly high-waisted, so it may not end up being for me, but I love the way the bodice pleats are joined to the waistband detail.

3. New Look 6000 – a real blogosphere TNT from . Views A, B and C all use an asymmetrical gather on one side of the waist rather than traditional darts. Again, this is such a great detail to have in a dress (go with a solid rather than a print to make it stand out), with the added bonus that you don’t have to faff around wondering if your front darts are too pointy, too long or too wide.

Have you got an obscure fitting issue that you struggle with? And did everything suddenly fall into place once you cracked it?

Press Gang

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Do you enjoy ironing? How about pressing? (What’s the difference, I hear you ask?!)

In sewing, pressing means applying heat and/or steam to your fabric during construction.

If you’re working with a natural fibre, especially a fabric like wool that responds really well to pressing, you can use your iron to shape and mould the garment to your satisfaction.

I’m not a natural with an iron, so I’ve gathered up some of my favourite pressing tips and tutorials to help anyone else who struggles to get to grips with this part of the process.

Before you cut out

So you’ve pre-washed your fabric  and line dried it and now it’s all creased, possibly stretched off grain, and you’re starting to wish you hadn’t bothered.

Try: Pressing the unfolded fabric on your cutting surface (using an old towel underneath it). Start near the selvedges and get them straight and crease-free first, then carefully iron the middle part without dragging the fabric if you can. Next, fold it in half where you think the centre is and press all the way up to the fold but not on top of it.

Try: Pressing paper patterns using a cool, dry iron (empty the reservoir and turn the steam function off) so they’re exactly the shape they were intended to be when you come to cut out.

If you really love pressing enormous pieces of yardage, you might also enjoy this in-depth piece by David Page Coffin for Seamwork.

Applying fusible interfacing

Straight after cutting out, you’ll want to interface any pieces that are going to be under strain, or that need stiffening: typically facings, plackets, waistbands, collars and cuffs.

Try: Trim the interfacing so it’s slightly smaller than the corresponding pattern piece (usually you effectively trim off the seam allowances). Place the sticky side on top of the wrong side of your pattern piece and press it without your iron (without moving the iron around) for 8 seconds. And did you know you can add more than one layer of interfacing if you want to?

If you’re slovenly like me, and can’t always be bothered to cut out interfacing pieces exactly or trim off the seam allowances, you may want to invest in a sheet of oven liner or Teflon of some kind to prevent you glueing everything to your ironing board cover.

If you find this part of the process boring (hello coat-making!), you could always brighten up your ironing board with a new, homemade cover using this tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons.

After sewing a seam

Try: This is a three-step process, believe it or not. First, press the seam as sewn – lay it on your ironing board just as it was under the machine and press down on the stitches with your iron. Apparently this helps the stitches meld into your fabric.

(If you’re pressing a curved seam, grab your tailor’s ham now.) If the pattern says to press the seams open/to one side, do that from the wrong side. Then turn your fabric over and repeat from the right side.

This helpful piece from So Sew Easy includes advice on tailor’s hams, seam rolls and a press cloths.

Other ways to improve your pressing:

Buy a properly hot and steamy iron. My upgrade to a more powerful £50 model with a Teflon soleplate and much more steam has made pressing almost pleasurable. Almost, I said.

Turn the temperature and the steam up as high as you can without singeing. Test on a scrap first, obvs, and you may be able to go even hotter if you use a press cloth.

Upgrade your ironing board cover to something cotton, linen or canvas with a bit of grip to it to stop everything sliding around (rather than the shiny metallic ones they often come with).

Buy or make a tailor’s ham. If you don’t want to spend on a seam roll as well, you can always use a tightly rolled up towel.

If you want to do lots of tailoring, you could consider investing in a seam clapper. I don’t have one, but lots of people swear by them. Karen from Did You Make That? has created a short video so you can see her seam clapper in action.

If you’re making something that needs pressing into shape (lots of curved pieces and darts), don’t choose polyester fabric. It doesn’t respond well to pressing.

Can anyone tell me:

How do you press open tiny seam allowances without burning your fingers? I’m currently make a Fifi set by Tilly and the Buttons, which uses french seams. The instructions say: sew a 1/4″ seam with WST, trim the seam allowances by half (to 1/8″) and then press them open. How is this possible with real human fingers? Do I need a mini iron?

What’s your top pressing tip? And have you ever burnt a hole in a home-made garment?

Is knitting really booming?

knitting_parlour_closingI was dismayed to learn this week that my local yarn shop is closing down.

There are other places you can buy yarn in Malvern – there’s The Wool Shack, and several other local shops do sell bits and pieces of wool. But The Knitting Parlour‘s my favourite.

I only started knitting a year ago, and I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent there browsing through pattern books and investigating all the different yarns. There’s something special about squidging yarn in your hands, isn’t there?

Sadly, the shop isn’t closing because the owner is retiring, but because she isn’t making enough money to sustain her business. I’m not exactly a prolific knitter so I don’t buy a lot, but I prefer to knit with real wool and I’ll willingly spend £5 on 50g of soft merino wool. So when you account for rent, rates, staff costs, taxes at a rough guess, the shop probably needs something like 1,000 customers like me to sustain a livelihood for its owner, Jackie.

For beginners, local brick-and-mortar shops are vital: you can see and touch the wool; you can buy just a little to get started; you can get advice from experienced staff; and there are often classes and social sessions to help you improve. If you keep visiting, they can become a place to meet other people who share your interests and, especially if they’re independent, they can help to revitalise a whole high street.

So while I love the way that online knit kit retailers like Wool and the Gang, and Stitch and Story have shaken up knitting to appeal to a younger, hipper set, I would hate for them to squeeze out local yarn shops altogether. Is knitting really booming, or is it just that the same people are knitting different things?

It’s Sew Saturday this weekend (15 October), so let’s pledge to visit our local fabric shops, yarn shops and haberdasheries this week and ensure that they’ll still be there when we need them.

If you’ve got a fantastic fabric shop or wonderful wool shop near you, I’d love to know what you like best about it, and how you go about supporting them.