Cosmos bralette workshop with Create.Hobby


Afternoon has partnered up with the lovely Create.Hobby in to bring you a fun, approachable bra-making experience. The Cosmos bralette is the perfect sewing pattern for beginners looking to make their own underwear. It features gently shaped cups, a soft underbust elastic and adjustable straps – perfect for soft, everyday support. 

If you've ever wanted to learn how to make your own bra, this is the workshop for you!

Join Create.Hobby for a morning of creativity at their charming studio in Observatory. Their awesome facilitators will take you through each step of making the Cosmos bralette, and will also show you how to make a pair of knickers to match!


Date: Saturday, 26 May 2018
Time: 9:00–13:30
Venue: Create.Hobby studio, 142 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town
Cost: The workshop costs R550. For an additional R360, you get a printed Cosmos bralette pattern by Afternoon, and all the materials you need. (Alternatively, Create.Hobby will send you a fabric list and you can bring your own.)


Please email to secure your spot! Check out their Facebook event for more details.

Sewing and Self-Love


One of the beautiful things that sewing can do is help you fall in love with you. This month, as we celebrate love in its many forms, here are 5 reasons to fall in love with sewing... and then yourself. 

1. You're okay

No, really, you are. Learning to sew gives you the strength and perspective to know that you're okay the way you are. You make the rules. Fabric and thread will bend to your will. Space for bum! Room for thighs! It's pretty empowering stuff.

Sewing your own clothes means that you don't need to fit anyone else's idea of size or beauty because you determine that for yourself.

2. You can do it

Sewing awakens you to your own capabilities. Trying something you find intimidating (like making your very first dress!) makes you that little bit braver. It gives you the guts to just go for it. Sure, you might make mistakes but we can learn from those. There really is nothing to fear about failure. 

3. Perfect is over-rated

Sewing teaches you to embrace imperfection. Sometimes I make something doesn't fit well, or looks shit on the inside, or seems less accomplished than a shop-bought dress. But I know that it will be better next time. Believe me, we are all our worst critics. Don't be too hard on yourself.

4. You do you, boo

Sewing celebrates our diversity. It gives you the tools and confidence to build your own, totally one-of-a-kind wardrobe that fully represents who you are. And there is nothing quite like being able to say Damn straight, I made it myself!

5. Show you care

Right now, clothing is made for a throw-away culture. The love and effort that goes into making your own clothes sensitises you to the process of creation. It truly makes you appreciate what you wear everyday, and the people that sat at the machine to make it. I really think that there is little more valuable than seeing your place in the world, and realising that you really can make a difference, no matter how small.




Fern sewalong: sewing the cuffs

Finishing touches

You're almost there! Our Fern shorts just need a little finessing before we can show them off! Today we're going through how to hand stitch the waistband and finish the hems with a lovely cuff. We'll end off by whipping up a quick belt for the waist.


Handstitching the waistband

Fold the waistband in half lengthwise, toward the inside of the shorts. Fold the seam allowance to the inside along the zip edges. Pin in place to keep your fold stable while you work. 


Now you have pinned a neat and tidy zip edge, but we still need to attend to the raw edge of the waistband all along the inside of the shorts. Fold the raw edge up towards the inside of the waistband, so that it's hidden inside the top of the shorts. Pin in place. 

Attach the waistband to the shorts using slip stitch. To slip stitch, catch the fabric of the waistband with a tiny, tiny stitch, then catch the fabric of the shorts repeatedly until secure. Be careful that your stitches don't show through on the right side!

Now for the cuffs!

Turn your shorts inside out. Fold your hem to the inside along the marked cuff fold line. Note that you make the fold on this line. In other words, don't just bring the edge of your hem up to meet the line. Sew in place. 


Turn your shorts right way around. Now, cuff the hem up by 3cm. Ta-da! 


Stitch in the ditch at the side seams. This should be enough to hold the cuffs in place for most crisp trouser fabrics. If you're working with something a little softer, you may want to sew all the away around the edge to make sure the cuffs stay up. 


Making the belt

Join the belt pieces on the short end.

Now fold the belt piece in half lengthwise, pinning it together. 


Sew close to the edge of the fabric to maximise the width of your belt. Leave a gap in your stitching in the middle of the belt before you continue to the end. 


Turn each side of the belt right side out. I like to use the head of a knitting needle for this bit, as it prevents the risk of poking a hole in your work!


Close the gap in the belt with a few slip stitches. 


Before you can use your belt, you just need to attach the remaining end of the belt loops. Double fold them on the top to hide the raw edges and run a line of stitches across the top to attach.



You made it! I hope you had a wonderful time making your Fern shorts. Please show us what you've made on InstagramTwitter or Facebook using the hashtags #fernsewalong, #fernshorts, #sewingfern and #afternoonpatterns


Fern sewalong: setting the waistband and zip

Setting the waistband and invisible zip

Today we are putting in those ever-feared invisible zips! If you missed the last post, have a look at how we sewed the side seams of our shorts.



Iron your fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the waistband piece. While the iron's hot, press your waistband in half lengthwise (use the notch as a guide), so that it folds easily to the inside of the shorts later.


Match the waistband to the top edge of the shorts, right sides together. Pin and stitch in place.


Press your seam allowances up onto the inside of the waistband.


Setting a zip along a pocket looks a bit hairy, but I promise it's not all that bad! Use your invisible zip foot for this bit. It has two grooves in the bottom of the foot to accommodate the zip teeth. This makes it much easier to sew very close the the zip teeth, making for a truly invisible finish. 

Place your zip face down onto the left hand side of the back of the shorts. (Remember your seam allowance!) Notice that the zip is placed halfway up the waistband piece – the top of the zip lines up with the notch at lengthwise crease we ironed into the waistband. The remaining half of the waistband piece will be folded to the inside to neatly cover all raw edges.


Insert your invisible zip foot into your machine and move the needle so that it lines up to the far left. On my machine, the needle can be moved by adjusting the stitch width. 


Guide the zip teeth into the left hand groove of the zip foot. The zip teeth tend to roll inward, so open them up a bit with your fingernail. Adjust the position of the needle to make sure you're going to be sewing close to the zip teeth. (Not too close though, you don't want to catch the plastic teeth in any of your stitches!)

Sew from the top of the zip right down toward the bottom. The end of the zip is bulky, so it will stop you from reaching all the way, but go as far as you can. 

Now, place the remaining zip tape face down along the edge of the shorts front.


Move the needle back to the centre position. Guide the zip teeth into the right hand groove of the zip foot and sew once again from top to bottom. Now you can test out your fabulous invisible zip!

Turn the shorts inside-out and match the side seams together beneath the zip. Pinch the zip end out of the way, and sew from where your stitch line ends at the bottom of the zip, right down to the hem.


I like to use a regular zip foot for this part, because the shape of the foot lets you get nice and close to the zip so that your stitches line up accurately.



Well done! Try on your shorts and celebrate! Next time, we'll look at those cuffs, and do a spot of hand sewing to finish the inside of the waistband.

Remember to share with us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook using the hashtags #fernsewalong, #fernshorts, #sewingfern and #afternoonpatterns

Fern sewalong: sewing the seams

Sewing your seams

Welcome back to the Fern sewalong! Let's pick up where we left off.



Now to get these Fern shorts looking a bit more three dimensional!

Match the left front and left back shorts pieces together, with the right sides of the fabric facing. Notice that a tiny bit of the right side of the shorts is just visible under the pocket. That's okay, it's just because of the way we've sewed the pockets on. That part will get caught in the seam allowance and won't cause any trouble!


Sew the length of the side seam. Then pin and sew the inside leg seam.


For the other side of the shorts, sew ONLY the inside leg seam. We're going to set a side zip later. 

Turn the left shorts leg right side out. Match the right sides of the left shorts leg with the right shorts leg, all the way along the curvature of the crotch seam. Pin together and sew as one continuous seam.



One more small thing before we wrap up for the day! Fold your belt loop piece in half lengthwise, right sides together. Sew up the longest side as close the edge as possible. 

Use a loop turner to turn the loop right side out.


Press the loop flat with your iron and sew two lines of top stitching, very close to the edges.  


Snip into four equal pieces, then match each loop with the darts on the top edge of the shorts. Pin and baste in place. 



Nicely done! We'll be attaching our waistbands next. If you want to go back and catch up on what you might have missed, see what we did last time when we sewed the pockets.

It would be awesome to see your progress! Share with us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook using the hashtags #fernsewalong, #sewingfern, #fernshorts and #afternoonpatterns

Fern sewalong: sewing the pockets

Getting started and setting your pockets

Now we get to sewing! If you haven't sewn in a while and would like a quick reminder on how to wind your bobbin and thread up your machine, have a look at our YouTube videos below.



Sew the darts on the front and back shorts pieces. Start at the top edge and gently taper your stitching to a point for a neat finish. 


Once you're done, press the darts towards the side seams. 



Start with your shorts front piece facing up. Then, place the pocket piece right side down onto the shorts front. 


Sew in place, then flip to the inside and press. 

Place the hip yoke pocket in front of you, right side facing up. Match the shorts front with the placement line, essentially covering the shaded area that was on the pattern piece. Make sure the pocket pieces line up with each other on the reverse!




Sew all the way around the pocket pieces to join. You can see here that I have overlocked the edges to finish them. If you have an overlocker, you can do the same, otherwise a zig-zag stitch to stop fraying works just as well!


You'll notice that the top of the pocket where it meets the waistline is still a bit flappy. This will get resolved later when we set the waistband. But for now, baste the pocket in place. I like to do this with a line of large hand-tacking in a contrasting colour, so it's easy to spot and remove later.



There's little I love more than great, deep pockets. And now you're sorted! Next week, we'll move on to stitching the side seams and making our belt loops.

Remember, you can share your progress with us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook using the hashtags #fernsewalong #fernshorts #sewingfern and #afternoonpatterns

Running behind? Catch up with what happened last time when we cut out our pieces.

Fern sewalong: let's cut out!

Laying out and cutting out your pattern

Welcome to the next installment of the Fern shorts sewalong. Last time, we recapped our sewing bits and bobs, and cut out our paper pattern pieces. Now to put scissors to fabric! Let's dig in. 



The pattern instructions call for you to match the selvedge edges of your fabric and fold in half, with the right sides facing in. The selvedge edges of your fabric look like tightly woven bands running down the sides. Sometimes, the name of the fabric or designer is printed in the selvedge. Either way, they're pretty easy to spot because they are finished and they don't fray.


Match the selvedges and fold your piece of fabric in half. The right side (the "correct" side) of the fabric should face inwards. It's usually quite obvious and easy to identify the right side, especially on printed fabrics. But of course there are tricky exceptions. This silk is one of them! In this case, I like to look at the selvedge for clues: the tiny holes in the selvedge are usually raised on the right side of the fabric, and flat on the wrong side. If it still seems vague, don't worry about it – just choose a side and stick with it!



Place your paper pattern pieces onto your fabric, following the diagram in your booklet according to the width of your fabric (150 cm/60" or 115 cm/45" wide). Note especially that the waistband piece is cut on a fold.


As you place and pin your pieces, pay attention to the grainline marking on each piece. On woven fabrics, the grainline is the thread that runs parallel to the selvedge edge. The fabric is the strongest along this line and offers the least amount of stretch. It is important to make sure that the grainline on your pattern pieces run parallel to the grainline to your fabric. Ever had a t-shirt that just twisted weirdly around your body no matter what you did? Yup. Funky grainline matching. 



Seam allowance of 15 mm (0.6") is accounted for on the Fern shorts pattern. So you can cut along the edge of the paper pattern. 


Once you've cut your waistband piece, remember to cut another one out of your fusible interfacing.



Using tailor's chalk or a dressmaker's pen, transfer your pattern markings. This includes all dart markings, placement lines and notches. I'm old fashioned and like to do this with chalk.



That's all for now, next time we will start stitching our Ferns.

Want to show us how you're getting along? Share with us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook using the hashtags #fernsewalong #fernshorts #sewingfern and #afternoonpatterns

New here? Have a look at the first Fern sewalong session: Welcome and introduction to the basics

Fern sewalong: welcome!

Welcome and introduction to the basics

For the rest of September, we'll be going through each step involved in making the Fern shorts from start to finish. I'll be posting lots of pictures and more in-depth explanation, so I hope it will inspire you to sew confidently!



Let's go over your sewing stash, to make sure you have everything on hand before we delve in:

  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric scissors
  • Dressmaking pins
  • Tailor's chalk or fabric marker
  • Sewing thread (make sure it matches the fabric you've chosen!)
  • Measuring tape
  • Loop turner
  • A big table for laying out your pattern and cutting (I find a clean floor to be just fine if you're short on a good table)


Here's what you'll need for the shorts.

Trouser fabric with some body – 1,4 m (1.5 yds) of 1,5 m wide fabric, or 1,8 m (2 yds) of 1,15 m (45") wide fabric

For a soft and casual pair of Fern shorts, go for a textured linen, soft denim or printed cotton lawn. If you're making a pair for winter wear with stockings, the Fern shorts also sew up beautifully in suiting, flannel or even bouclé! Just go to the shop and browse around. When you see and touch the different kinds of fabric, you will know what will feel good on. 

Once you've found a fabric you love, don't forget to prewash it. Most natural fibres shrink in the first wash, so it's always a good idea to give your fabric a spin before it gets snipped! 

For this sewalong, I'll be making the Fern shorts in this bold silk I bought when I was on holiday in Sri Lanka. The gold is shot with black, so you really see the opulence when it catches the light. Shimmery summery shorts (say that 10 times, fast) here we come!


A 25 cm (10") invisible zip

Invisible zips look different from regular zips that we're used to seeing on jeans or bags. The teeth of the zip are concealed so that the zip can be inserted into the seam of a garment without being seen.


Invisible zip foot for your sewing machine 

This nifty little foot makes it easy to sew an invisible zip! While it's not strictly necessary, it does make it much easier, so I do recommend investing in this little guy. 



Afternoon uses an alphabetised sizing chart. I feel that too many people are focused on what size they are, when really what's important is that you love what you're wearing and you're comfortable in it. Bear in mind that many people will fall across one or two sizes, so choose your size based on your largest measurement. For example, if your bum fits a size C but your waist is closer to a size B, rather use size C. You can always nip it in!



Now to print and collate our patterns! The Fern Shorts come with the option to print onto A4 or Letter size paper. When you print, please select "actual size", "scale to 100%" or "turn off scaling". This is a very important step so that your sewing pattern is printed at the correct size.

Once you have printed out your pattern, measure the test square to double check that it's come out right. If you're all clear, you can get to cutting!

Snip along the frames and assemble the pieces row by row, matching A1 to A1, A2 to A2 and so on, keeping in mind that A is the top row, B is the second, etc. Once they're all in order, tape the pieces together, cut your size out and you're ready to start stitching. 



We've laid some solid ground work for the next stage of our dressmaking adventure. See you back here soon for more!

In the meantime, share your progress with us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook with the hashtags #fernsewalong #fernshorts #sewingfern and #afternoonpatterns



It's never too late to join! Pop on over to the online shop here or on Etsy and pick one up. 

Announcing the Fern shorts sewalong!

It's Fern fever over here at Afternoon HQ. Cape Town is just taking its first foray into spring. The chill is receding, the days are getting longer, and the blooms are out. So with the promise of sunshine to come, a pair of shorts seems the perfect order of the day!

For sewing friends in the northern hemisphere, never fear; the Fern shorts sew up beautifully in a toasty wool blend. It makes a lovely autumnal outfit with stockings and boots – as evidenced by our lovely pattern tester Elie from the ever-chilly Shetland (check out her Ferns on her blog). 

So, welcome to the Fern shorts sewalong, I hope you will have a lot of fun sewing with me this September!

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a sewalong, it's really quite simple: I'll be taking you through each step of sewing your Fern shorts from start to finish. I post lots of pictures and provide more in-depth explanation for each part of the process.

Join in! Just follow the steps and sew along with us. It would be great to see how your makes are taking shape, so please do share! Post on your blogs, show us what's going down on Facebook, tweet us, or Instagram those lovely pics! Our hashtags for this event are #afternoonpatterns, #fernsewalong, #fernshorts and #sewingfern

Here's the class schedule:

  1. Welcome and introduction to the basics
  2. Laying out and cutting out your pattern
  3. Getting started and sewing the pockets
  4. Sewing the seams and belt loops
  5. Attaching the waistband and setting your zip
  6. Stitch your cuffs and make the belt
  7. Share your Fern shorts!

Buy your pattern. You can get a Fern shorts sewing pattern in our online shop or over on Etsy. It comes as a PDF download (A4 or Letter) that you can print at home.

Get your fabric. Off to the shops with you! I'll be posting some inspiration pics over on Pinterest to get you inspired.

Also make sure you've got the basics covered. Sewing machine, fabric scissors, dressmaking pins, fabric marker or chalk, sewing thread, measuring tape and tracing paper are all integral to the process. Just read over your Fern booklet beforehand to familiarise yourself with everything you will need. 

If you have any questions, let me know! Pop me a mail, or comment below. See you next week!

Amy sewalong: finishing touches

Wrapping up

We have the solid basis of a skirt – but it just needs a little tidying up! Today we're going to finish the waistband to hide all the raw edges, and neatly take up the hem. Let's get started. 


Finishing the waistband

Fold half the waistband in toward the inside of the skirt. Fold the seam allowance in along the zip edges and pinch in place. You can pin at this stage, to keep your fold stable while you work. 

Using a slip stitch, attach the waistband to the zip tapes along the inside edge. To slip stitch, catch the fabric of the waistband with a tiny, tiny stitch, then catch the zip tape repeatedly until secure. Start slip stitching 15mm from the bottom edge of the waistband, moving up toward the top of the zip. 

Now you have a neat and tidy zip edge, but we can still see the raw edge of the waistband all along the inside of the skirt. 

Fold the raw edge of the waistband up, so that it's hidden inside the top of the skirt. Pin in place. 

Using a slip stitch once again, attach the waistband to the skirt. Be careful that your stitches don't show through on the right side of the skirt. I find it useful to stitch into the thicker, gathered areas of fabric around the seam of the waistband – it makes the hand stitching very stable and avoids visible stitches on the right side. 


Now for the hem!

Fold your hem up to the desired length and pin in place. I like the mid calf length on the Amy skirt, but you can really do as you wish!

I'm a little traditional and much prefer a hand sewn hem. I think it gives a lovely, neat finish; and there's something meditative about a spot of hand sewing! Slip stitch your hem in place, alternating one stitch in the hem allowance and one (tiny! almost invisible!) stitch in the garment fabric.


You made it! That wraps up this Amy skirt sewalong. I hope you had fun making your new skirt, learnt something in the process! Share your Amy skirts with us on InstagramTwitter or Facebook using the hashtags #amysewalong, #amyskirt, #sewingamy and #afternoonpatterns