outique Unique Designs PDF Sewing Patterns


Welcome to our blog


We are hoping to cover a variety of sewing topics on our new blog. Our main focus has been designing PDF Sewing Patterns. We have a varied range and will still be adding to it.


Thank you for stopping by, we hope it has been useful.

By boutiqueuniquedesigns, Sep 30 2017 06:26PM

What Sewing Pattern Do I Buy?
What Sewing Pattern Do I Buy?

Even when you have been sewing a while, choosing and buying a pattern can either be a bit daunting; or you may randomly buy any pattern that takes your fancy and have a huge collection most of which you have never used but like the look of. When it comes to choosing a pattern to make up there are several questions you should ask yourself.

What skill level have I reached?

Would I consider myself to be a beginner?

Have I developed into a competent sewer?

Am I now an expert sewer who could tackle just about anything?

A lot of published patterns state on them that they are easy or beginner patterns these generally have a lot less pieces, rely on a relaxed fit and quite often don't have a zip. At the other end of the scale you are moving into territory where zips, invisible zips, darts, collars and plackets begin to appear. There is a whole other language to sewing and on a mainstream pattern such as Simplicity, New Look, Burda, Butterick or McCall's you will come across this. To learn what these terms mean you could either go on a course, buy a book of comprehensive sewing terms and techniques or go on YouTube where there is a wealth of free tuition available.

What do I want to wear this for?

What do I see myself making this for?

A smart outfit for work, or maybe something special for an event, or do I just want to have a go at something I can relax in?

Something smart or special doesn't have to be a complicated and elaborate pattern, sometimes the simplest style in a quality fabric can make a bold statement. For leisurewear, you can get some great patterns that have multiple garments in them so look for value for money and lots of choice.

What style do I want?

So you've decided what you want to make and what it is going to be worn for, but what actual style do you go for?

When I first started sewing the bottom of my wardrobe soon filled up with things that although well made didn't look the same on me as they did on the model on the front of the envelope. I wasn't being realistic with my expectations, the models are immensely tall and skinny and I was a slightly chubby teenager. To find styles that suit you look in your wardrobe, what do you love to wear, what gets complimented whenever you wear it. This is a good starting point. Another great thing to do is to go clothes shopping but instead of buying try loads on. Take a trustworthy friend with you and explain that you are trying to work out what styles suit you the best.

What about fit?

There can be confusion with pattern sizes, before you commit to buying check whether the sizing on the pattern is UK sizing USA sizing or European sizing. Then check that the pattern covers your size some come in multiple sizes but they are split into groups e.g. 8-14 then 16-20 then 22-26 so you need to be sure your size is there. Also look out for petite versions of patterns and plus size versions. Once you have bought the pattern you may need to make adjustments to it for a good fit, this is a whole other area we will cover in a post dedicated to pattern adjustments.

Which fabrics?

Your pattern will have a lot of suggestions on it regarding fabric and notions. Notions are all the bits and bobs that you need in addition to the fabric, such as buttons or a zip, thread, elastic, fasteners and such like. The fabric suggestions are very important because the designer will have designed with the characteristics of the fabric in mind.

A woven fabric is the most stable fabric to use it doesn't stretch or give and the pattern will have allowed for this.

A knit fabric is softer and more relaxed it generally drapes well and is often used for 'easy' patterns.

Stretch fabrics as the description suggests contain lycra or elastine that allow it to stretch. You can have a two way stretch fabric which will stretch either up and down or across the fabric but not both. A four way stretch will stretch up and down and across. For the best results stick to the fabric suggested on the pattern.

Do I really need to buy a sewing pattern?

So do you really need a pattern? Patterns can cost anything up to £12 or £13 if money is tight that might be the fabric money and there are ways around this. You could make your own pattern from an old favourite you loved but has had its day. Cut along all the seams and draw around the pieces, add a seam allowance and hey presto you have a pattern that fits in a style you like. Another way is to venture into the world of indie patterns makers. Indie pattern makers publish their patterns independently of the big pattern companies and sometimes they are free. To find indie patterns the best platforms are Etsy and Craftsy. The patterns are PDF patterns that you download and print off yourself. One word of warning Indie pattern makers are not regulated in any way, anyone can publish a pattern, so quality is not guaranteed so check reviews before you commit to fabric and start sewing.

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By boutiqueuniquedesigns, Sep 6 2017 04:54PM

Be a Have a go Hero!

When it comes to sewing and crafting are you a have a go hero? Do you have an idea, get the kit together and just have a go? A lot of people are put off by the myths about sewing that there is one special unquestionable technique for everything. They feel discouraged before they start if they don't know 'the right way' to do something. A lot of people are put off even starting to sew because they think you have to buy so many specialised items. The cost of setting up before they even look at fabric or a pattern put's them off even having a go.

I belong to many sewing related forums partly because I can often give help and advice based on half a century of sewing both for myself and commercially as a bridal wear designer. I've tackled just about everything and currently am half of Boutique Unique Designs designing bags. The other reason is I just love to see what people are making, basically I'm a bit nosy. But amongst the many forums there are two noticeable threads, There is a sense of friendship and support among contributors and someone will always have an answer to your questions. I applaud all the people who take the time to give guidance to 'newbies' and encourage them, but whilst well intentioned some advice can make things seem too complicated and more difficult than they need to be.

I first started sewing with a needle, thread, an old pillowcase and my mum's kitchen scissors - oh and my Barbie, she was the model. Today if I wanted to start sewing and asked for advice I would have a list as long as my arm and possibly adding up to several hundred pounds. Yes there are some fantastic and clever things you can buy but you don't need them to start off, you may decide in time you don't need them at all.

1. What do I need?

An entry level machine can be bought for between £70 and £80 something like the Brother LS14 (other machines are available in this price range) A basic machine like this will enable you to do all the things you need to do to construct clothing or craft items. You could also get a reconditioned bargain at your local sewing machine shop. The only other items of equipment you need are a good pair of scissors an iron and an ironing board, some pins and needles. You don't need to buy specialist scissors straight away but you may want to in time. Your sewing scissors are for sewing an should not be used for any other purpose so that they stay sharp.

2. Do I need a pattern?

No not always. Sewing patterns can cost anything up to £10 but they are regularly on sale for half price if you are patient. You can also get indie patterns on Craftsy and some of them are free. When you are buying your first pattern look for one that says 'easy sew' or 'beginner' and to get value for money more than one item in it. OR Have a go at making your own from an old favourite that's had its day. Just cut along the seams and use it as a pattern remembering to add 1/2" seam allowance and hems where necessary.

3. Do I need to trace my bought pattern?

No you can but you don't have to. There is a modern myth now that you should trace your bought pattern off in the size you want and yes there is a case for this. If you are going to be making multiple sizes or multiple copies if the same garment it will preserve the original pattern. BUT if you are only making for yourself no you don't need to trace your pattern it is time consuming and unnecessary. Either cut the pattern out on the biggest size and fold the edges in to the size you want or if you are confident it will fit and your weight is not going to fluctuate too much cut out the size you need.

4. Do I need to wash my fabric?

Not necessarily. There are two reasons people wash their fabric before cutting out their garment. Firstly to get rid of any chemicals leftover from the production of the fabric. Secondly in case it shrinks. If you have spent hours making something and the first time you wash it, it shrinks and no longer fits you it will be a big letdown. It's personal choice I fall into the don't bother camp especially if you are making craft items that are unlikely to be washed, and luckily I have never had a garment shrink on its first wash.

5. Do I need special machine needles?

No not really. The manufacturer of your machine will have supplied a set of needles with your machine and they will vary in size. The general rule is the thicker the fabric the thicker the needle so a size 12 needle would be good on chiffon or fine silk anything thin, a size 16 for denim or canvas, generally thicker fabrics. I find a size 16 needle is a good one to have for most general sewing. The only other needle you might want for fabric garment making would be a ball point needle. These are designed for knit fabrics such as Jersey and the ball point pushes between the threads as you sew rather than piercing them and weakening the fabric. Some of the fabrics will benefit from using one such as Scuba, Spandex and Lycra. Having said that I have often sewn knitted fabrics with an ordinary needle and not noticed any damage so I would say get a scrap of your fabric and have a go.

6. Are stretch fabrics really hard to sew?

No, they are not and the beauty of stretch fabrics is the drape and an ease of fit because of the stretch in them. There are a lot of myths around sewing stretch fabrics e.g. you need a special needle, you need a walking foot, you need to have a stitch on your machine especially for knits. These things aren't always necessary but all will work and if it works for you, it's the right way for you. Most knits including jersey can be sewn with an ordinary needle and an ordinary foot with a small zigzag stitch of 2 length and 2 width. Get an old T-shirt and have a go. The key thing to remember is the stretch, don't pull or push the fabric through the machine pin it evenly and take the pins out as you sew. Never ever sew over pins you can break a needle and it may fly at your face.

Have a go at things. For a lot of things there are different approaches what matters is what works for you, nobody is right and nobody is wrong if there is a successful outcome. What matters is that you had a go and made something and during that process you learned something. So be a have a go hero and send us a picture of your makes to info@boutiqueuniquedesigns.com

By boutiqueuniquedesigns, Aug 6 2017 06:15PM

Scavenge and Save Build up your sewing stash the thrifty way
Scavenge and Save Build up your sewing stash the thrifty way

Recycling or up-cycling is all the rage but what the trendsetters forget is that hard up mums have been doing this for years extending the lives of their children's clothes by turning up and letting down hems or making one thing out of another. 

Do a mental inventory of your home what do you have that is made of fabric but either past it's use or out of favour. Off the top of my head I have a single duvet cover with felt pen on one side, a pair of curtains from our old house that don't fit any of the windows here and a gathered full-length cotton skirt that makes me look like a circus tent! Take another look at these items and you can see I have several yards of useful fabric that I can use to make other things. 

Re use old curtains or keep any eye out for sales.
Re use old curtains or keep any eye out for sales.

We have all had times in our lives when money is tight for whatever reason and quite often this is when people start to learn to sew, but fabrics can be expensive especially if you want something really nice. If you look around we are surrounded by items made from fabric. Curtains, table linen, bedding, clothing it's all fabric. 

Duvets can be made into pillow cases and even lightweight summer dresses
Duvets can be made into pillow cases and even lightweight summer dresses

Many years ago, as a young mum I became a fabric scavenger my most memorable transformation was using my wedding dress to make a christening gown for my daughter creating a valued heirloom with huge meaning. It became a habit that before anything was thrown away, or sent to the charity shop or for recycling I asked myself these questions:

Do I like the fabric it is made of? What else could I use it for? Is there anything else on this I could use, zip, buttons, buckles, elastic?

Keep buttons from old clothes which you are going to throw away
Keep buttons from old clothes which you are going to throw away

Then I would sit and dismantle where necessary removing buttons, zips and trims and unpicking where gathered or pleated to make a flat piece of fabric that I could add to my stash. Old curtains are brilliant for making cushions and bags where it is an advantage to have a firmer fabric and an item that isn't going to be constantly in the washing machine. The duvet cover I could re-cut the unstained pieces into pillow cases, but it could also be made into a nightdress, blouse or use as lining on a project. The skirt when unpicked would provide at least three metres of fabric which could be made into a more flattering skirt, child's dress or any number of crafting and quilting projects.

So, if you want to save money become a fabric scavenger and if you haven't anything at home now charity shops sell curtains bedding and clothing that you could reuse for less than the cost of a metre of fabric.

Check out our pattern range for a variety of new projects.

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Photos used from Freepik Artists - Mrsiraphol, Kaboompics & Javi_indy

By boutiqueuniquedesigns, Aug 2 2017 05:38PM

Sewing Decision Maker
Sewing Decision Maker

A quick bit of fun for anyone else who sometimes struggles to choose what to do next. I've had days where I just can't decide which project I'm going to do, but I know I want to make something.

So I made a decision maker. Simply print off the printable, cut it out, and stick the tabs together to make a cube.

Download the Decison Maker Printable Here

The options on it are as follows:

1. Work in Progress

These are usually lingering around. For whatever reason they have been temporarily put to one side waiting for their day to shine. If this comes up its time to stop procrastinating and get one finished.

2. Old Reliable

Favourite patterns which you know you can make and get a good result. You just want to sew something nice without too much hassle.

3. Something New

New patterns which have been waiting in the wings, saved to your pinterest board, tucked neatly in a box ready to go. Venture into new territory and give one of your new patterns a go.

Sewing Decision Maker Printable
Sewing Decision Maker Printable

4. Scraptastic

They're building up, they're beautiful and shiny, hoarded away like a dragon guarding treasure. Get them out and find one of your scrap busting projects to show them off in all their glory. Search online for scrap busting projects. See some of my favourite scrap busters on this previous post.

5. Upcycle

Be ecofriendly and thrifty and upcycle an unused fabric item into something you. Whether it is a top that doesn't fit right, turn a dress into a skirt, a pillowcase into a girls summer dress, find something lying around that could be given a new lease of life.

6. Random Gift

Special Holidays and Birthdays are scattered throughout the year. Get a head start and make some nice gifts to stash away for special occasions. Or give a friend or relative a nice surprise with a random hand made gift.

Download the Decison Maker Printable Here

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By boutiqueuniquedesigns, Jul 26 2017 04:18PM

Lurking in your fabric stash are probably some treasured scraps from previous projects. I find it hard to throw them away, because sometimes you get lucky and that perfect piece just fits your pattern piece.

Fabric Scraps Stash
Fabric Scraps Stash

I love little projects which give me the chance to use these precious scraps. From mug rugs to zipper pouches, wire wraps and little purses.

Always Keep the Scraps
Always Keep the Scraps

The patterns used in the above photo are as follows:

Sew4Home - Italiano Kitchen Mama Apron Free

Boutique Unique - Snap On Pin Cushion $2.00

Sew4Home - Neck Pillows Free

Craftsy - Headphone Wraps Free

Some of our patterns are scrap friendly and we have highlighted this on their pattern page.

Scrap Friendly Projects
Scrap Friendly Projects

The Dotty Folder has small pattern pieces for the pencil pockets and slip pockets on the inside.

Dotty Folder PDF Sewing Pattern
Dotty Folder PDF Sewing Pattern

The Grab and Go Wristlet is a small bag which can feature some of your favourite leftovers.

Grab and Go PDF Sewing Pattern
Grab and Go PDF Sewing Pattern

The Nicky Clutch uses small pieces and has the attractive bow feature which can show off a fabric design.

Nicky Clutch PDF Sewing Pattern
Nicky Clutch PDF Sewing Pattern

Snap On Pin Cushion uses small pattern pieces and also gives you the opportunity to use up some fancy trim scraps.

Pin Cushion PDF Sewing Pattern
Pin Cushion PDF Sewing Pattern

The Alice Bag is a patchworked bag and is perfect for using up all those tasty bits and bobs.

Alice PDF Sewing Pattern
Alice PDF Sewing Pattern

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