Have you being privy to our bolt end collection?! All our bolt ends are 15% off the full price of the fabric so it's worth you keeping an eye on it! You will find a range of sizes, some smaller than others, as we don't like to create fabric waste. If you've ever spotted something in our mountain of bolt ends, loved the design but wondered what to make with it, I'm here with some helpful ideas, sorted in a range of fabric piece sizes. This is specifically for knit bolt ends; I'll do a separate blog post for wovens. In the ideas, I've tried to include as many free patterns so that you can give them a bash risk free. You're welcome!
Don't forget that for any free patterns available to print on A0/Copyshop, we can print them for you if you don't fancy sticking loads of A4 sheets together. You can do this here
Bralettes are a good introduction into underwear making, as you don't need as much hardware as a fully fledged bra! The Hyacinth Bralette by Ohh LuLu ranges from a 32" bust up to a 47" bust & is a quick and easy sew, perfect for adventurous beginners with some experience with sewing knits. A cotton jersey or interlock would work for this plus you would need some elastics, sliders & lace trims, but bra fastenings aren't necessary for this.
If you've never made your own undies then why not?! - they take up relatively small amounts of fabric & can be made to exactly how like them to fit & if you've tried the bralette above you & you've got some leftovers, you can make them all match matchy!
My personal favourites are the Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants above which is a free pattern to MN Newsletter subscribers. These are low rise bikini cut featuring a fully enclosed gusset a comfortable fit and ample coverage fitting up to a 58" hip. The instructions include three different elastic insertion methods, perfect for beginners to learn new skills or experienced sewers to whip up quickly. We've also got the Tilly & the Buttons Iris Knickers available if you wanted a paper pattern and also the very popular Waves & Wild Wonder Undies, if you're more of a PDF fan.
Baby's & Children's Clothes
Since becoming a grandma I've rediscovered the joys of sewing for children & babies & how little fabric you need to make them something. I've also discovered that you need to sew quickly as the little monkeys grow fast! We have recently started stocking Waves & Wild sewing patterns, which are PDF only but we can also print off for you. If you wanted to have a go at trying them first for free, the Amber Vest, Lunar T-Shirt & Lightning Leggings are all free to download & are suitable for Newborns right up to age 12 .Depending on the age of the child, you will need very little cotton jersey. You can make up to age 12 months for the full length leggings but they come in capri & short lengths too. The vest can be made up to age 7 with with just half a metre.
This a fun way of using up smaller scraps of fabric, the Ellie & Mac School Cool pattern is designed for knits for dolls sized 15" & 18" & has 3 sleeve options. You can make your little one a dolls dress to match her own, as Ellie & Mac also have the same pattern for children from the age 12 months to age 14 (not free).
These Beanies from Made for Mermaids come in 4 sizes from baby to adults & require 4 way stretch & has a cuff which can be done in a contrast fabric. There's also an option to make them lined & fully reversible keeping your head extra toasty! (They can also be made in a fleece but you will need to size up)
Did you know you can sew your own socks? Ellie & Mac have a free sock pattern here. It includes sizes for kids & adults & is the perfect opportunity to create a unique gift with some snazzy designs. (You can of course make them for yourself). You'll need a jersey with around 50% & 4 way stretch. Any more than 50% stretch & they might fall down!
If you've managed to score a bolt end that's a metre or more, than there's obviously going to be a lot more options for you. Keep in mind that the width of fabric is key here, as is the size that you'll be sewing! And obviously any of the ideas above can be applied to the larger pieces too; you may be able to get the entire free Waves & Wild trio as a matching set for a small child out of a metre if you're canny!
Vests, camis, tank tops, whatever you want to call them, you know the ones I mean - sleeveless T-shirts that can only be worn in Yorkshire on that one day in August before it starts chucking it down again, but are great for your jollies though! There's tonnes of free patterns out there for them, including the ever popular Helen's closet Luna tank, which is a bit different because of its swingy design & curved hemline.
The pattern comes in 2 lengths & fits up to a 60" bust. You can get the cropped version out of a metre up to a 56" bust, providing the fabric is 150cm wide. (You'll need about 1.6 metres for the largest size of the longer length though). Recommended for 4-way stretch knits with at least 20% stretch horizontally and vertically & works best in a lightweight knit fabric with plenty of drape like bamboo jersey, rayon jersey, modal jersey or lightweight cotton jersey.
While you're in the holiday mood why not whip up some shorts to wear with your vest. These shorts from Life Sew Savory are also great for sleeping in or just lounging around as they'll be really comfy. The free pattern can be made using a woven too, just make them a size bigger. There are instructions to lengthen them to whatever length that you prefer.
For something a bit smarter, how about a pencil skirt? Sew House 7 brought out the Elemental Skirt last year. It's a slim, high waist pencil skirt with a hidden elastic waistband and has two hem options; above the knee & midi. Designed for knits with around 50% stretch, it goes up to a 65" hip. You'll need 1.1 metres for the shorter length & 1.2 metres for the midi for up to a 55" hip but up to 2 metres for the 65" hip short version & 2.2 metres for the midi.
And finally, how about a bit of colour blocking? This can be applied to almost any project but the Free Friday Pattern Sunday V Neck Raglan Tee lends itself particularly well to colour-blocking. They've even broken down the component parts so that you can easily see how much you need for the body, sleeves & neck binding.
It's a relatively easy-sew, gender neutral t-shirt designed for knit fabrics with at least 25% stretch & goes up to a size 60" chest. The bodice requires between 80cm to just over a metre with around half a metre for the sleeves, depending on the size that you sew.
You can of course colour block the cuffs, neckbands & hem bands of any knit garment or go wild & divide the sleeves & bodice up (don't forget to add seam allowances if you decide to do this!)
So that should give you some good ideas to get started with. If you haven't delved into our bolt end collection yet, then you can find them here and make sure you bookmark the page as new ones are added all the time!
That's it from me for now but I'll be back later with ideas for using up woven bolt ends. If you have a favourite project you like to make with smaller pieces of fabric, then don't keep them to yourself - let us know by commenting below!