Sewing Must Haves: Beginner

Starting a new hobby can be very exciting, especially when you have to go and buy all your bits and bobs. When you are starting a new craft or hobby, it can be difficult to know exactly what you need to get started. In this post I have listed all the things I believe a beginner would need to get started sewing!

Remember, starting a craft can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be, make sure to shop around to find the best prices. All the items I have listed can be found on amazon, but they could also be found in your local Poundland or Dealz.

Hand Sewing Kit


I’m sure everyone has seen one of these before, I always remember my mam having a little set like this. These sets are perfect for beginners because it has all the little bits you need, pins, needles, a measuring tape, thread etc. They are great to get you started and are generally very affordable. This particular set is from Amazon and is currently priced at £4.99/€5.80, check it out here.

How To Sew Book


How to books are great for learning different sewing techniques, for example how to hem a pair of trousers or sew on a button! The illustrated guides are clear and easy to follow. These books are brilliant and they are very reasonable, this one is priced at £7.99/€9.99, you can read more about it here. If buying books isn’t your thing, check out YouTube videos for tutorials on hand sewing, trust me there are loads!

Storage Boxes

Although they aren’t a MUST have, they are nice to have! There is nothing better than building your own sewing kit, filling it with all your own sewing bits! There are so many different sewing kits available and in so many designs. This box is available on Amazon for £18.01/€21.00, they also come in different colours, which you can see here. Remember you don’t have to spend a fortune on a storage box, my sewing box is a purple plastic box with a tray and clear lid, its nothing fancy!

Basic Thread


In the little sewing kits you do get small spools of thread, but a lot of the time they aren’t great and only do for practicing or emergency fixes. I would definitely recommend buying a few basic colours of the Gutermann thread, this thread is great for machines as well as hand sewing and it is great quality! You can pick up 100m spools for around €2.35 in any haberdashery shop, or you could get a multi pack on Amazon for £10.37/€12.00, here.

Fabric Scissors


In my eyes scissors are one of the most important things for any sewer! If you are going to be working with fabric, you will want a good pair of fabric scissors. There is nothing more annoying than trying to cut fabric with cheap blunt scissors! I always say, if you want to invest in something, invest in a very good pair of scissors! For a beginner, I would just recommend getting a pair of affordable fabric scissors, until you are 100% sure you want to continue the craft. Amazon have a huge range of fabric scissors and these ones are £4.99/€5.99, here.

For Fashion Design

I have added a small section for people who want to start doing some Fashion Design. As a beginner I would recommend starting off with some design sketching. Develop your own style of design drawing, build up a collection of sketches and then move on to making one a reality!

Sketch pad


A sketch pad is always a good start, this way you can keep all your designs together, these little pads are very easy to find, they are in almost every Poundland or Dealz! I love working on an A3 size as I can design more on one page and I can do line ups of my designs.



I feel like this is an obvious one, but not everyone likes to draw in pencil, so when I say pencils, I just mean any drawing medium, work with that you love! I love to design with mechanical pencils and fine pens, other people love to work with markers, pen, chalk, or even ink! I HIGHLY recommend trying out loads of different mediums, you might surprise yourself!



These are my go to for adding colour to my design sketches. They are expensive, but they work so well. You can buy them individually from Art & Hobby for around €3.50. If you are not sure about them, I would recommend picking up one in a flesh shade and using it for the skin tone on your sketch model. If you like them after, I would recommend getting the multi packs, and build up a little collection for doing your design sketches. These are £20.73/€23.99 on Amazon, here.

I hope you found this guide helpful, I will do two more posts on this subject, for intermediate sewers and for established sewers, so stay tuned if you want to see them!

If you can think of anything I didn’t don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.

Thank you so much for reading!



DIY Make-Up Bag!

I am always complaining I can’t find a makeup bag big enough to fit all of my makeup and palettes, so I decided to design and make my own!

I wanted a bag that could fit all my palettes as well as keep all of my brushes together, making it much easier for traveling!

Here is a tutorial on how to make the bag as well as the patterns, which are linked below. Alongside them, you will also find a link to my YouTube video of this tutorial!





Bag Pattern : HERE

If you would prefer to watch the tutorial check it out here!

Thank you so much for reading!





My Birthday Wish List 2018

Another year brings another Birthday Wish List post! My birthday is right around the corner so I decided to put together a list of things I would love to get!

As some of you may know I am saving for a house, so I haven’t really been able to afford to spend a lot on money on myself! The items in this list are things I would love to be able to get but are just not a priority right now!

My Birthday Wish List 2018!

Jeffree Star Calabasas

I recently went through my collection of lipsticks and noticed a lot of them had started to go off, so I decided to throw most of them out. During Fall and Winter I love to wear dark pink and wine shades so I think this would be a perfect replacement for the ones I threw out!

Jeffree Star Mannequin

When I am going to work I always do a subtle makeup look and I always wear a nude lipstick. By the time lunch time comes around my lipstick is gone and my make up doesn’t look right. I thought it would be a good idea to invest in a Jeffree Star liquid lip, because they do not budge!!

Pattern Magic Collection!



If you are new to my blog you may not know that I am a fully qualified Fashion Designer! I have been trying to build a nice collection of fashion based books, from style to construction. I have become really interested in fabric manipulation, which led me to find these books on Amazon! They are definitively a must have for my collection!

Draping Book



In college we only got to touch on the subject of draping, which was unfortunate because I found it to be a great way to get creative and to come up with designs! I am interested in learning more and I found this book on Amazon, which looks quite good! Again fitting into my book collection nicely!!

Tom Ford Black Orchid


Black Orchid has been my fall winter scent for a while, but unfortunately I ran out! I was so devastated when I realised it was gone, because let’s be honest it’s not the most affordable bottle of perfume! I don’t expect people to buy this for me birthday, but I thought I would add it to the list, seen as it is a ‘Wish’ list!

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus


Again this is another item I do not expect to get! My current phone is the Samsung Galaxy S5 and it is dying a death! It has gotten so slow and no matter what I do it will not get any faster! Even the predictive text has given up, it has started to predict the words multiple times, one after the other! There There There, Was Was Was! As you can imagine its been tough sending messages!

That is all for my wish list this year!

It’s hard to believe its been another year, but that is what they say, once you get older time just seems to fly!

When is your birthday? and what is on your list? Leave me a comment and let me know, I’d love to see what everyone else is hoping for!

Thank you for reading!



How To Draft A Pattern For Shorts

In this post I am going to show you how to draft a pair of short blocks using the skirt block I showed you how to make in one of my previous posts!

This post is part of my Fashion Design series, in this series I will show you how to make your own patterns for making clothing.

For this post all you need is your skirt pattern which I will link here!

So lets get started… Continue reading “How To Draft A Pattern For Shorts”

How To Use Bias Binding

Bias Binding is a strip of fabric cut diagonally, it is generally used for covering raw edges on fabric, but can also be used as decoration on clothing!

Knowing how to work with Bias Binding is a huge benefit as a designer or as a crafter! If you don’t have the use of an over locker, binding will be a great option for you to have, as it is quick, easy and very effective! Continue reading “How To Use Bias Binding”

How To Make A Bodice Block!

Today’s post is the second post in my new Design Diary series! In my last post I showed you how to draft your own skirt block, and today I am going to show you how to draft your own bodice block!

This bodice block can be used to create many kinds of tops, from t-shirts to peplums!

Like the last post I have linked a downloadable file of this step by step guide which you can have for free to help you when making your own block! Continue reading “How To Make A Bodice Block!”

How To Make A Skirt Pattern/Block

Growing up I always wanted to know how to make my own clothes! This led me to study Fashion Design in college!

I’m very passionate about design and decided it would be fun to teach others how to make their own clothes, so I set up a new YouTube channel. This channel will be solely dedicated to Fashion Design and construction! Continue reading “How To Make A Skirt Pattern/Block”

My Top 5 Fashion Designers!

While studying Fashion Design in college I was inspired and influenced by many great designers, but there are 5 who really stuck out to me, and who I felt a connection with, not only on their design level but their life stories!!

Alexander McQueen


McQueen was one of the first designers I fell in love with, his work inspired me to pursue my dream of being a designer! I loved his sharp and keen eye for detail! I love anything dark and Gothic, although I don’t dress that way, it is how I like to design and it is where I find most of my inspiration!

McQueen got his inspiration from a lot of places, but one I loved the most was the Salem Witch Trials, he had found out he was distantly related to Elizabeth How, a woman accused of witch craft during that period and he decided to use this as his inspiration for his 2007 A/W Ready To Wear collection! Sadly McQueen is no longer with us, but his work is continued on by Sarah Burton and I still feel his style is there, it is slightly different but it still has that McQueen feel!

Zac Posen


I discovered Posen on Pinterest a while back, I was looking at evening wear dresses and my face hit the floor when I seen one of his gowns. Straight away I knew I was going to love this designer and I did! His gowns are amazingly constructed and the structure he uses in his designs is so fresh and different from other designers!

He designs gowns that really enhance the female figure, which I find beautiful! During a design project in college, I let his design style influence me, I ended up designing a dress which had a structural element to the bodice. I was told by my tutors that it wasn’t going to work, but I was determined to make it work! I work on it for a while and I did it, I made the dress!

Gareth Pugh


When I seen Pugh’s work for the first time I was blown away, I loved how dark his work was but I also loved how he wasn’t afraid to go outside the box!

His collections never failed to impress me and each time I look at his work I feel inspired and motivated to stay true to who I am as a designer! Pugh experiments with different materials, different shapes and forms, he doesn’t stick to the traditional and that is why I like his work!

Jeremy Scott (Moschino)


I have always loved Moschino, but after watching Jeremy Scott: The People’s Designer on Netflix, I learned just how much work Scott put in to be where he is today! I find his story so inspiring and motivational, Iv doubted myself so many times (still do) but seeing how he came up from rejection and proved that he had what it took to be a designer.

Although his style isn’t the same as mine, I cant help but feel some major love for his designs, they are different and fun and also quite nostalgic!!(Barbie Collection)

Donatella Versace (Versace)


Versace has also been a long time love of mine, but I didn’t know much about its background. That was until I watched House of Versace I was fascinated by the story and felt the film was done so well! I had a whole new-found respect for Donatella, she had been through hell and came back fighting and stronger than ever!

I’m forever repeating myself, but she is so inspiring, I struggled a lot in college (A story for another post) but after watching this film it actually did give me a little kick, and I knew I could get through it! It is very interesting how other people’s story’s can have such an impact on our own life’s, especially when it is someone you have never met!

Who is your favourite designer?

Thank you for reading!

Love, Tanya



The Design Diary: Testing Dress #2

It has been a while since I done one of these posts! Honestly I hit a wall with the collection and didn’t feel like my designs were going anywhere. I took a break but now I feel like I am starting to get somewhere!

New Samples

To get back into the design process, I went back over my research and started to do new samples, hoping they would drive new ideas!


When I was in college I was introduced to this amazing water-soluble material! It is used as a fabric stabilizer, or to create your own motifs, which is what I had planned to do!


Using the shape of the Titanic museum I came up with simple stitch designs. To create these I simply sewed back and forth on the machine using different colour treads.


I haven’t rinsed the samples yet as I wanted to make a few more on the sample piece to save the material as it is not cheap! When I am dissolving the samples I will photograph the entire process and insert it in the next post!


I planned to hand sew these onto a finished garment as a texture detail, I was thinking of a nude stretch mesh fabric, but I am keeping my options open until I have a final design for the garment!

Design Sketching

After looking over my research I began to do new sketches for the next garment.


I had sketched up a rough idea for the collection and I really liked the 2 dresses in the middle, but I only liked elements from them. I decided to redesign them by mixing the elements together.


I liked the idea of a straight skirt with a train at the back, and the deep v-neck bodice. I wanted to keep the drape detail from the previous designs so I decided to add them to the neckline. I do want to test out a few necklines with different weights of fabric, for example stiffening some Satin.

Toiling Dress #2

Once I had picked the design I began to work on the patterns to toile the dress!


I was very happy with the first toile attempt! The shape is exactly what I wanted and the draped bodice is perfect!


The only change that would need to be made is the length, it is too short for a standard height model.


I am in love with the train, but I would like to make it longer, but for this collection I think it would be best kept at a small size.


This dress I would love to make in a stretch satin, this would give the dress some weight and give the train a better drape! I need to stiffen some satin to see if it would hold the structure on the neckline, hopefully it will work as I really like the satin fabric!

Pricing Process

Pricing is a very important part of creating a collection, this information is used if you are selling into retail or simply selling for yourself! Pricing includes a lot of things from the fabric, to tread and to your labour cost!

IMG_0143-2Take a closer look here: CostingSheet

To make the pricing process easier I created a pricing sheet, which will allow me to simply fill in all the information, which can then be all added up at the end to give my final cost of the garment.

Final Notes

Now that I am finally on a roll again, I am going to work hard to finalise the collection. Once everything is finalised I can then start making the garments and getting the model to try all of them on, to ensure they all fit her perfectly.

Once everything is done my most favourite part can begin, which is the photoshoot!!

Thank you for reading!

Love Tanya


The Design Diary: Finalising Outfit #1

Over the past week and a bit I have been working hard to finalize the first outfit of the collection, and low and behold I have finally done just that!!🎉🎉

Toiling The Design


I have designed a few bodice ideas already and now I want to toile them to make sure they will work before making the final decision.

The first toile worked out exactly as planned, I’m really happy with the open back and I think it will work well with the piped fabric, which you will see again in a moment.

This toile didn’t work out as expected. The open back didn’t have the right shape, and didn’t sit well on the mannequin. I was inspired by the silhouette of the Titanic museum building, with the unusual angles. I thought it would work well with the surface detailing but I think the first sample will look better.

I definitely love these two together! The bodice goes really well with the skirt, mainly because there isn’t a lot going on.

Although they don’t look bad together, I feel like the shaped back works much better than the sharp angles. The shaped back also has a better flow with the skirt.

Fabric Manipulation


In the last TDD post I talked about how much I loved working with fabric, especially when it involves manipulating it and trying to create something new and different. The image above is the sample I made using piping and I decided this was going to be the surface detail for the final bodice.

Now that I corrected some of the problems with the bodice pattern, it is time to make the fabric and then cut out the patterns.

Making The Fabric


For the bodice I decided to make it in 100% cotton in a baby pink colour. I made the fabric by binding to layers with yarn. The above picture is a progress image from my Instagram: this_is_tanya_


Here you can see what the fabric looks like once it is ironed together. As you can see it bubbled a little and it doesn’t give he full effect I’m looking for. This is why I like to do a top stitch along the piping, it helps it to stand out even more!


Here I tested the top stitch using a white tread, it actually works pretty well as the pink is quite pale.


I also tried it out using a dark purple to see if it would create a nice contrast, but I didn’t like as it cheapened the over all look of the fabric.

The Final Top


Here is the final top! As you can see I decided to go with the white tread for the top stitch and I think it worked out very well!


As you may also notice the piping doesn’t match up at all the seams and this is purposely done as I didn’t want it all to look together. I wanted to create a similar look to the design of the building of the Titanic Museum in Belfast.


The open back was inspired by the shapes and curves of the wood paneling on board the Titanic ship. The bodice isn’t 100% done yet as it needs to be lined and a zip needs to be put in.


I am very happy with the surface detail on the top, it is so simple but yet very effective and will look really nice against a simple plain skirt!

Outfit One


I have to say I am over the moon with this outfit, it took a lot of time to get to where I am, but it was worth it!


Now I need to buy the fabric for the skirt and finish lining the bodice.


I am also thinking of retesting the skirt, the reason being I ran out of fabric and had to join two pieces together, so it isn’t exactly perfect. The last thing I need is to make the skirt in the good fabric, only to find a problem!😂😂

More Fabric Swatches


I took a trip to Dublin recently and decided to have a little peek in the fabric shop. I ended up finding some AMAZING fabrics, so I asked for a few swatches and this is what I got.😂😂


This fabric is quite thick and perfect for the A/W time, it also has this interesting texture. I think it could work well for a skirt or maybe even an evening coat.


This sample is a pale lavender stretch satin, and I fell in love with it straight away! I am also considering making the first skirt in this fabric, even though I have already picked a fabric for it! 😣😂


Both of these fabrics are pretty much the same, just a different colour. I was considering these for one of the dresses I plan to make, but I will have to wait and see if the fabric will suit the design of the dress first.


Lining Patterns


I am currently working on the lining for the top, this should be all finished for Part 11!!

Now that Outfit one is finally sorted it is time to started sketching for the next outfit. I was hoping to have the sketches done for this post but I spent most of the time making the bodice.

What do you think of outfit 1? Is it something you would wear?

Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page to see some behind the scenes of coming posts!😉😉 Link Here

Thank you for reading,

Love Tanya