My New Sewing Shop!

Hello everyone! Ages since I’ve been on here. I’ve had a really good excuse though and bring some exciting news. In August last year, I opened my own sewing shop (with workshop space)! Squeal!!!!! Still feels slightly surreal but I’m slowly but surely getting into the swing of being a shop owner; and absolutely loving the fact that I have oodles of space to spread out my sewing projects.

Space to Sew and Craft PenicuikSpace to Sew and Craft - Shop and sewing workspace

It’s taken a lot of planning and financial commitment to get to this stage. Having worked at home for many years, branching out into the big wide world was a very daunting prospect. But it was a decision that had to be made if I wanted to take my business forward.

The online sales of bag-making supplies, through my website SusieDDesigns were steadily increasing, which meant I was buying in and storing more stock than my home could cope with. I was also running out of space to work on the projects that I design and make for sewing magazines and my own patterns.Etsy Handmade Bags by Susan DunlopI knew I couldn’t afford to lease a shop on the high street, so my dreams of expansion were fruitless for a long time. However… we have small row of commercial units in our residential area and one had been sitting empty for ages. I had often passed it thinking it would be a great space for me. Well, after a year of passing it, I finally plucked up the courage and spoke to the owner. Luckily for me, it was affordable and I snapped it up like a shot. So, here I am. My new shop is called Space to Sew and Craft and it boasts a good-sized shop area and an equally good-sized work area. I have 3 large tables set up with sewing machines where I teach classes and workshops. Best of both worlds!


White Tree Fabrics Dressmaking Project – McCalls K3601

I joined the White Tree Fabrics blogging team a while back and, at long last, I have my first completed project to show off!

I chose some lovely Tilda fabrics and McCalls pattern K3601, both supplied by White Tree Fabrics, to make a kaftan-style top. This has also been the first thing I’ve made with my brand new overlocker, more about that in another post! So not only did I have a lovely new top to make, I could also make it on my new machine and hopefully end up with a professional looking piece of clothing.

I found this McCalls pattern quite easy to follow, but… it did take little while to get the collar right as it was slightly confusing as to how it would end up the right way around! Got there in the end though, I just needed to follow the instructions very carefully. You need to fold the outer edges of the collar section to wrong side and press, then pin it, wrong side up, to the front/back neckline, also wrong side up.

Showing the collar construction for McCalls K3601

After stitching around the neckline and the marked centre line, which is then cut to open the neckline slit, it’s turned to the right side of the front/back of top. Then pinned in place and topstitched around the edges.

Dressmaking - McCalls Pattern K3601 neck detail

The collar detail of McCalls pattern K3601

Due to my own mistake (rushing ahead) I ended up having to do set-in sleeves rather than the easier method of sewing the shoulder edges onto the front/back before sewing the sleeve and side seams. I’d already sewn the sleeve seams by the time I’d noticed and couldn’t be bothered unpicking. It worked out just fine though as they didn’t need any gathering to fit. They fitted into the armhole really well and I was so pleased (relieved!) with the result. I needed more practice with set-in sleeves anyway!! LOL

McCalls sewing pattern K3601

So here’s my finished top, ta da…

Finished Top McCalls pattern K3601

White Tree Fabrics have generously given me a special coupon code for readers to get a fantastic 20% discount and free postage on any orders. Visit to view their lovely range and use the code SUSIED when purchasing anything.

New Projects in Love Sewing Magazine Issue 5

Issue 5 Love Sewing Magazine

The latest issue of Love Sewing magazine will be on sale later this week and I’m excited to show you the two new projects that I’ve contributed for this issue. If you’re a subscriber, you may already have your copy! I’m delighted to be designing and writing for this fresh new publication from Practical Publishing. I have a pretty, purse frame clutch project in the main magazine and I have a zippered wallet project in the special supplement – the magazine comes with a free fat quarter of fabric, especially designed for Love Sewing by Kay Whittaker, and the supplement gives some ideas on how the fabric can be used. I was asked to design and make a project, using the Swallow Song fabric, and I came up with this really useful wallet tutorial. I wanted to show how versatile a fat quarter can be (teamed with a little bit of lining fabric).

Purse Frame Clutch by Susan Dunlop for Love Sewing magazineSummer Purse

Fat quarter wallet pattern by Susan Dunlop Love Sewing magazineZippered Wallet

I’m still very much involved with writing for Sewing World magazine, which I’ve contributed to now for the past two years. However, I’m really enjoying the opportunity of also contributing to a couple of other magazines too. They both have their different style, features and projects and they are both equally enjoyable sewing magazines to read and learn from. I’ll have more new upcoming projects and articles later on in the year (and all throughout next year), with both Love Sewing and Sewing World, and in an upcoming issue of the new Quilt Now magazine! Look out for my Halloween projects in next month’s issue of Love Sewing

Hope you like all these new projects.

New Sewing Patterns, Fabrics and Bag-making Supplies!

Hi all, just back from holiday, refreshed and ready for ‘work’ again. I’ve been busy revamping my website at and delighted to announce the arrival of some fab new products I’ll be offering, alongside my bag-making sewing patterns.

My fabric remnants and scrap bags are going down a storm and so I’ll be adding more of these often as I always accrue a large amount of them. To add to my little fabric department, I’m delighted to have taken stock of some exciting new fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics. I’m selling these in 1/4 metre increments, ideal if you just want fat quarters at reasonable prices. Just a small collection so far but I’ll be adding more designs very soon.

Art Gallery Fabrics available from SusieDDesigns

Also new in stock, I’m pleased to be offering a selection of modern dressmaking patterns from Serendipity Studio. These patterns are so lovely and offer different variations to suit your style.

Now in stock… Bag-making supplies! In response to customer demand, I’m now stocking all the components and interfacings I use for my sewing patterns – slim magnetic snaps, swivel hook snaps, D-rings, rectangular rings, belt slides, side-release buckles, purse frames, plastic bag bases, velcro, zips, riveted snaps, vario snap pliers, Vilene stabilisers…

Metal Hardware for Bagmaking



All That Jazz! A Ukulele Case from Robert Kaufman’s New Fabrics

I was so excited to receive some advance samples of the new All That Jazz fabrics by Fabrice De Villeneuve for Robert Kaufman Fabrics! These are the most amazing designs and the minute I saw them I knew I had to design and make some musical instrument cases with them.Here’s a few of my favourites from the new collection…

All That Jazz from Robert Kaufman Fabrics

All That Jazz from Robert Kaufman Fabrics …and this is my first ukulele soft-cover case… (get the sewing pattern here and here)

Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (1)Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (2)Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (3)

I enjoyed making this so much and will be making another I think from the red fabric. I’ve added enough padding to protect the instrument, including a carry handle and a useful pocket on the front of the case. I will be releasing this as a sewing pattern very soon, watch this space! I’ll also be working on some more instrument cases/covers over the coming months. What other instruments would you like to see a sewing pattern for?

Update: get the pattern now from my Etsy shop here or in my UK shop here.

New Retail Stockists for my Printed Sewing Patterns

Printed Sewing Patterns for bag-making by Susan Dunlop of SusieDDesigns

Printed patterns now available from retail establishments.

I’m absolutely delighted to announce 5 new UK stockists of my printed sewing patterns. If you can, I’d highly recommend a visit to these lovely fabric and haberdashery establishments:

Millie Moon Haberdashery

Millie Moon Haberdashery in Frome, Wells and Keynsham.

Millie Moon – 24-25 Catherine Hill, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BY Tel: 01373 464650 Millie Moon also has shops at 14a Broad Street, Wells, Somerset and 32 Temple Street, Keynsham, Bristol Website:

New Forest Fabrics in Southampton

New Forest Fabrics in Southampton

New Forest Fabrics – 14 Shamrock Way, Hythe Marina, Southampton SO45 6DY Tel: 02381 783 386 Website:

Sew Simple Norfolk

Sew Simple Norfolk

Sew Simple (Norfolk) Ltd – Unit 17, Taverham Nursery and Country Shopping Centre, Fir Covert Road, Taverham, Norwich, Norfolk NR8 6HT Tel: 01603 262 870 Website:

Sally's Sewing Box in Princes Risborough

Sally’s Sewing Box in Princes Risborough

Sally’s Sewing Box – 65 High Street, Princes Risborough, Bucks, HP27 0AE Tel: 01844 345 753 Website:

Thistle Quilting in Peebles

Thistle Quilting in Peebles

Thistle Quilting – 34 High Street, Peebles, The Scottish Borders EH45 8SF Tel: 01721 724 111 Website:


New Printed Patterns in Stock

I’m delighted to let you know that I have four new additions to the printed patterns collection – the Retro Handbag, the Tri-fold Wallet, the Barcelona Satchel and the Millie Nappy Bag. To celebrate, here’s a discount code which will give you 10% off the new printed patterns from the SusieDDesigns’ website: WPB612 which is valid until 30th June 2014.

New Printed Patterns by SusieDDesigns

New patterns – Retro Handbag, Tri-fold Wallet, Barcelona Satchel, Millie Nappy Bag

It’s an exciting moment whenever I see one of my patterns in print as I’m so used to producing my downloadable patterns. It’s really nice to have some as physical patterns too! The new printed editions are bright, vibrant and full of colour. If you know my design style, you’ll know that I love to use fun, vibrant, modern fabrics to make my bags and accessories. I also strive to make my designs easy-to-follow and great fun to make. I wanted all of this to be reflected in the printed patterns – creating a sense of anticipation, excitement and inspiration.

Contents of the Tri-fold Wallet printed pattern by SusieDDesigns

There are now eight designs available from the printed patterns range, all of which are available to order from my website SusieDDesigns. I’ve also put together some great mult-buy pattern packs, which offer a saving on the individual prices.

New Stockist: I’m pleased to let you know that Thistle Quilting, situated in Peebles, The Scottish Borders, is now stocking some of my printed patterns. Run by owner Lynda, Thistle Quilting is such a lovely wee shop about half way along the High Street (no.34). Definitely worth a visit, if you’re in town or passing through!

Thistle Quilting, Peebles, The Scottish Borders

Thistle Quilting, Peebles, The Scottish Borders

Where to get Vilene Interfacing Products in the UK

I have written a few posts now on using interfacing for bag making – Using Interfacing and Interlining When Making Bags and More on Using Interfacing and Interlining in Bag Making. I’ve been asked many times where to buy Vilene products. Due to popular demand I’m now stocking Vilene products at


I won’t say much more about using the actual interfacings here, please see the previous posts above, but I will sing the praises again of Vilene products. They really are an excellent choice and well worth spending a little extra money to get the quality that Vilene provides (really, I should be getting commission from them!) You will not regret trying Vilene, I promise! I will say though, that the USA equivalent to Vilene is Pellon products, which are also very good to use in bag making but mostly just available in the USA. If you’re here in the UK though, I highly recommend Vilene which is widely available here.


Vilene S13 sew-in interfacingThe products I like to use for my bag-making are:

Vilene H250 (Pellon equivalent 808 Craft Fuse) – a medium-weight fusible non-woven interfacing.

Vilene F220 (Pellon equivalent ES114 Easy Shaper) – a light-weight fusible, non-woven interfacing.

Vilene G700 (Pellon equivalent SF101 Shape-flex Woven) – a medium-weight fusible, woven cotton interfacing (my favourite! I’ll have this in stock soon)

Vilene H630 and Vilene H640 (Pellon equivalent 987F Fusible Fleece and TP971F Fusible Thermolam) – low / medium / high loft fusible fleece.

Vilene M12 and Vilene S13 (Pellon equivalent 930 Sew-in / Pellon 40 and Pellon 50) – medium and heavy-weight sew-in interfacing / interlining.

Fabric Remnants Now Available From My Shop for Quilting and Sewing Projects

I’ve added a brand new section to my website, offering fabric remnants and scrap bags. All the fabrics are new/unused pieces from the designer collections which I use during the course of my bag making and general sewing. There are large pieces of about 1 metre, 1/2 metres (or 1/2 yards), fat quarters and scrap bags on offer. The scrap bags are full of good sized pieces, perfect for patchwork and small-medium sized sewing projects. All the fabric packs have free UK postage. Check out the new fabric listings often as they will change regularly, depending on what I have available at the time. Here’s a wee preview of some of the fabrics on offer.

250g (8.75oz) scrap bag of Comma by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda

250g (8.75oz) scrap bag of Comma by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda

Large remnants (1/2 yard and some smaller pieces) of Indian Summer by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs

Large remnants (1/2 yard and some smaller pieces) of Indian Summer by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs

280g (10oz) bag of good sized pieces of A Fun Day in The Jungle from Marcus Fabrics

280g (10oz) fabric scrap bag, full of A Fun Day in The Jungle from Marcus Fabrics

2 x 1/2 yards of Amy Butler's fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection

2 x 1/2 yards of Amy Butler’s fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection