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!

Customer Make – the Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern

Delighted to hear from a customer recently who used the Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern to make this gorgeous version:

SusieDDesigns - Sophie Nappy Bag sewing patternSusieDDesigns - Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern - the zipperSusieDDesigns - Sophie Nappy Bag sewing pattern - the interior pockets

“I love your pdf (sewing pattern) very much. So user friendly. Easy instruction to follow, though looks complicated.” Junita Satibi

Thank you so much for sharing your lovely bag, Junita. I love the cute fabrics too!

If you’d like to have a go at making the Sophie Nappy bag it’s available in my Etsy Shop or in my UK website at www.susieddesigns.co.uk

Customer Make: the Barcelona Satchel sewing pattern

Another fabulous make by one of my customers to show you. Sharon has made the Barcelona Satchel. When she took it into to work, she had requests to make some for her work colleagues! I’m not surprised, she’s made such a lovely job of it. The forals work so well with the polka dots, don’t you think?

Barcelona Satchel made by Sharon 1a

Barcelona Satchel made by Sharon 2a

“Just finished the Barcelona Bag, love it, brought it into work and now have requests for more! Thanks so much for the pattern. The Barcelona says Advanced, which worried me a little as I think I am intermediate at best, but I found it quite straightforward, it came together very logically!” Sharon.

If you’d like to have a go at making the Barcelona Satchel yourself, it’s available from my online shop, SusieDDesigns, as a PDF pattern, or get it as a printed pattern which includes full-size tissue pattern pieces.

Barcelona Satchel

March issue of Sewing World Magazine

I’m delighted to have a new project and an article published in this month’s issue of Sewing World magazine.

March 2015 Sewing World MagazineMy new project is a modern, zippered makeup pouch which I made with lovely yellow and grey fabrics from the Comma collection by Zen Chic for Moda Fabrics. There’s an image of it on the front cover!

Zippered Pouch by Susan Dunlop in Sewing World MagazineThe article that I’ve written for this issue is all about how I became a project designer for the magazine and what work is involved to design and write the project. I hope that my article will inspire other would be project contributors as the magazine is always on the look out for fresh, modern ideas. Give it a go! It’s fun and very rewarding.

Article in Sewing World magazine - how to be a project contributorWhat else is this month’s issue?

TECHNIQUES & FEATURES:

  • Knits Know-How – Part 5 PLUS pyjama bottoms to make
  • Pattern of the Month – Simplicity 1615
  • Fabric Showcase – Trees
  • Masterclass – Sewing Skills – Facings
  • From Concept to Publication – The Creative World of a Project Designer
  • Sewing World 20th Birthday Competition
  • Seeing Stripes – Blazers for Henley Regatta
  • We Meet…Nanette Regan

PROJECTS:

  • Citrus Pop! Zingy lap quilt
  • Henny Penny! Decorative hen
  • Super Sponge Bag – Classy toiletry holdall
  • Bandana Bib – Bibs for dribblers
  • Kingly Cord – Contrast panel Liberty cord dress
  • Get Organised! – Cath Kidston® hanging tidy
  • Easter Booty! – Easter bags to fill
  • Easter Brooches – Embellishments for your bags
  • Knotty Pinny! – Girls’ pinny dress
  • Green Fingers! – Garden tote
  • Dine in Style – Table runner

The Lotta Tote featured in Love Sewing Magazine

The Lotta Tote in Love Sewing Magazine

So pleased to have another project featured in this month’s issue of Love Sewing Magazine. This is my Lotta Tote, made with statement fabrics from Lotta Jansdotter in bright pink, black and white. I’ve used cut-out metal handles to compliment this design.

Issue 10 cover image Love Sewing magazine

Issue 10 is packed full of exciting sewing projects to get your pins stuck into. What’s more, to celebrate the return of The Great British Sewing Bee, Love Sewing is excited to bring every reader an exclusive Great British Sewing Bee Fat Quarter!  Inside the magazine there’s lots of great ideas for using your free fabric, top tips from Sewing Bee contestants and a free blouse pattern designed by the Great British Sewing Bee Team!

Great British Sewing Bee the contestants

You’ll find fun ideas for using your free fat quarter, all with step by step photos and instructions!

Two in One Skirt Pattern!

With every copy of Issue 10 you will also receive a great versatile skirt pattern.  You can choose between a tie waist skirt and a wiggle skirt!  Or why not sew both – another great pattern from Simple Sew exclusively designed for Love Sewing.

Enjoy!

New Sewing Projects in issue 6 of Love Sewing magazine

The new issue 6 of Love Sewing magazine is out now! I am delighted to have contributed the Autumn Woods Shoulder Bag and the Halloween Party Set. I’m so excited to see these in the magazine! I hope you like them and if you have the magazine, I hope you enjoy making them too.

Issue 6 Love Sewing Magazine

Autumn Woods Shoulder Bag by Susan Dunlop in Love Sewing Magazine

Halloween Party Set by Susan Dunlop in Love Sewing Magazine

This month’s free cover pattern is the Eva, a wiggle dress designed for Love Sewing by Eliza M, a British independent company specialising in easy-to-sew paper patterns based on authentic designs from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. You’ll also find the following in this month’s issue –

  • 5 Free patterns & bonus template sheet.
  • 55 makes & ideas with 7 projects to sew and wear Alison Smith’s dressmaking tips Magic Makes!
  • Red Riding Hood cape
  • Halloween party projects
  • Great Gifts
  • Luxury pyjamas, purses, bags & more
  • Bonus toy pattern
  • Christmas sewing starts here!
  • Mini-makes: Fast-Sew style you’ll love!
  • Debbie Shore’s Guide to Easy Quilting Eco Sewing: How to Buy Green
  • Save 30% on Eliza M patterns
  • Expert Tips
  • Quick fixes
  • Step-by-step instructions

Bag-making Tutorial: How to Topstitch a Bag Opening

I always topstitch around the top, opening edges of any bag I make and I instruct this in my sewing patterns as it makes such a difference to the finish. The topstitching gives a neat, professional finish to a handmade bag as well as being functional, in that it keeps the lining in place and stops the stop edge from being all floppy and going out of shape.

Once you’ve pushed the lining down into the outer bag (pull-through and turn-out method which I’ll elaborate more on in another post) use your fingers to roll the top edges to get the seam sitting neatly at the top edge, or just inside the interior. Keeping any handles and tabs in the correct upright positions, place the bag opening over the narrow edge of your ironing board if it will fit (or place a tailor’s ham or rolled up towel inside the opening). Carefully press the bag’s top edges, all around the opening, adjusting the edge as necessary as you go around it to ensure the seam sits neatly at the top. It’s a good idea to use a pressing cloth, so as not to leave any marks on the fabric. Once you’re happy with the neatness of the bag opening, it’s time to topstitch it.

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 1

Remove the sewing table to reveal the free-arm (narrower sewing table) and place the bag opening over it. The right side of the bag should be uppermost. Start at a side seam, sinking the needle directly into the seam joining. Pull the threads out to the back to ensure there’s no slack. Adjust the stitch length to 3 or 3.5 – the thickness of the layers require a longer stitch and it looks nicer as well. Line up the edge of the bag with the correct seam allowance. I usually use a 1/4” seam here. Stitch a couple of stitches forward and then back-stitch a couple before going forward again, to secure the stitching. Carry on around the bag opening, ensuring you keep any handles, tabs or flaps out to the right and straight so that they don’t get caught up in the stitching. When you stitch over any thicker areas, which have the ends of the tabs or handles inside the top edge, increase the stitch length slightly to cope with the thicker layers and to keep a consistent finished stitch length.

Tip: Use a matching thread, if you’re new to topstitching, (just a slightly darker shade than the fabric) this way it won’t show up any flaws in the stitching too much. Once you get confident with the topstitching, try using contrasting threads which really show up against the fabric as it adds a lovely decorative feature.

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 2

Once you’ve stitched all around the bag opening, and come back to the seam you started at, stop right on the seam and back-stitch a few stitches before going forward to stop at the seam again. Remove from the machine and very carefully snip off the excess threads as close to the fabric as possible.

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 3

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 4

How to Topstitch a Bag Opening 5

Learn more bag making techniques with my easy-to-follow patterns at www.susieddesigns.co.uk and on Etsy

New Sewing Book Update

So exciting, received a very important parcel last week! The page proofs for my new upcoming book with Martingale & Co. publishers! This is the first time I’ve seen any of the photography for the book – the publishers being in USA and me here in the UK, I’ve been kind of in the dark about things like that. I’ve also seen the finalised front cover and agreed on the book title. At last it’s all coming together. I’m so eager to tell you all about it and show you the projects but I’m not allowed to yet. Not too long now though, until I can make the big reveal. So looking forward to that! For the sake of imagery, here’s a sneak peak of the parcel contents…

SAMSUNG CSCI now have to go through it all with a very fine toothed comb (as they say!) and pick up any errors and note any changes to be made. It’s quite weird reading back all my words from like well over a year ago and seeing all these fantastic images of my projects. I’ll keep you posted over the next few months, it’s due to be available in the shops early 2015.

New Sewing Magazines, New Projects on The Way!

Many of you will know that I’ve been writing for Sewing World magazine for a few years now. Whilst I’ll be continuing writing new technique features and bag making projects for this fab magazine (I love it so much!), I’m delighted to let you know that you’ll soon also find my project contributions in the new magazines Love Sewing and Quilt Now!

Love Sewing magazine and Quilt Now magazine

Love Sewing magazine recently showcased my new printed sewing patterns with a full-page feature. This was absolutely fantastic for getting the word out about the new patterns, which I’m really pleased to say are proving to be popular through my own website and shop stockists. The response has been wonderful and I’ve just sent off second and third orders to some of these shops. Here’s the feature:

SusieDDesigns Printed Patterns feature in Love Sewing Magazine

Watch out for some of my new projects coming up in the next few issues of Love Sewing. Here’s a wee sneak peak of some of the fabrics I’ve used for them.

MichaelMiller-FabricPack-PetalPinwheels

I’m also working on a project for an upcoming issue of Quilt Now magazine, which is a great new mag for patchwork and quilting enthusiasts. Again, here’s a wee sneak peek of the fabrics I’m using:

Fabrics for a new project for Quilt Now magazine

Watch this space, to see what I’ve made with these gorgeous fabrics and the upcoming issues the projects will be featured in!

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 www.susieddesigns.co.uk 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

 

 

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: http://milliemoonshop.co.uk

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: http://www.newforestfabrics.co.uk

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: http://www.sewsimpleonline.co.uk

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: http://www.sallyssewingbox.co.uk

Thistle Quilting in Peebles

Thistle Quilting in Peebles

Thistle Quilting – 34 High Street, Peebles, The Scottish Borders EH45 8SF Tel: 01721 724 111 Website: http://www.thistlequilting.co.uk

 

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