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GBSB Tuesday Tutorial! Sewing in miniature & working with slippery fabrics

If you loved last night’s Sewing Bee as much as we did, then it’s time to switch on the sewing machine, choose your favourite Simplicity pint sized patterns and start measuring your children , ready for their new handmade wardrobe!

In this week’s GBSB Tuesday Tutorial, Simplicity’s sewing expert – Julie Bonnar- shares her top tips for sewing for little ones…



Sewing in miniature

Sewing for children can be great fun and it’s a chance to perfect your sewing skills and make a garment in miniature.

Here’s 3 quick tips for making for the kids:

  1. Pick soft fabrics that are durable, don’t crease and can stand up to constant washing. Fabrics like stretch knits and 100 per cent cottons are ideal.


  1. Choose sewing patterns with the simple closures. Avoid small buttons and go for press-studs and zips.


  1. Use a 4mm twin needle or small zigzag stitch on seams so that they stand up to wear and tear.





3 of my favourite Simplicity patterns to sew:

Simplicity 2383 – Pillowcase dressing redefined

Simplicity 8101 – Dottie Angel’s quirky styling for children

Simplicity 1572  – bedtime bliss including easy peasy onesie




Working with slippery fabrics

Slipper fabrics visual


It wasn’t only miniature sewing that the Sewing Bee contestants had to face. Week 2 also saw the return of slippery satin and chiffon, with judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant asking the contestants to transform an adult bridesmaid dress into a wearable garment.

Do you break out in a sweat when thinking about sewing with silks and other weightless fabrics? Then here are some tips to help you get to grips with slippery fabrics:

  • Lightly spray fabrics with a starch spray to temporary stiffen the fabric. This will help the fabric stay rigid while cutting out and sewing.


  • Use silk pins (or glass-head pins). These work best as they are very sharp and won’t snag the fabric. This type of fabric marks easily so pin in the seam allowance to avoid.


  • Use serrated scissors to grip the fabric when you’re cutting several layers out at a time. Choose a pair with blunted ends as this helps you from snagging the fabric when cutting too. Rotary cutters and self healing mats work well too.


  • Before stitching, place tissue paper between your fabric and the sewing machine throat plate, this will stop any lightweight fabric from getting chewed up by your sewing machine!


  • Slippery fabrics have a tendency to fray. Try stabilising the seams with a fusible lightweight interface. This technique also works on the smaller pattern pieces such as collars and neckline facings that also require interfacing. Do this before cutting out and see what a difference it makes.


  • Use a walking or Teflon foot to help the fabric glide through the sewing machine and prevent unwanted puckering.


  • Always press shiny fabrics such as silk and satins on the wrong side with a pressing cloth to protect the fabric from scorching.


If you want to master new skills alongside your favourite Sewing Bee contestants, then remember to head over to the Simplicity blog each Tuesday.