Christmas Crafting! Festive stocking filler purse

Festive purse

We love a quick little sewing project for when you have 5 mins and want to get a quick fix or want to make a handmade gift that doesn’t take too long.

Our quick purse tutorial is perfect for a stocking filler or a unique thoughtful teacher present or secret Santa. It’s a great one for kids or beginners too!

We’ve designed a curved purse but you could easily make this square or oblong, the process is the same.

We used some of the festive fabric we have in stock here

For this project you will need:

Printed out purse template (below)

Main fabric

Lining fabric

7″ zip

Basic sewing kit

Scissors

Step one

Use our template to cut out 2 pieces of main fabric and two of lining fabric.

Step two

Place the zip face down on the right side of the main fabric so the top of the zip lines up with the top edge of the fabric

Step three

Place a lining piece right side down on to the zip so the zip is sandwiched between the main fabric and the lining fabric and pin in place

Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine stitch in place through all the layers.

Open it out, press and then do the same with the other side

Step four

Press both sides and topstitch either side of the zip if you want.

Now open the zip to the halfway point, this is a very important step to help you turn the purse through once it stitched.

Step five

Take the two pieces of main fabric and pin together right sides facing. Do the same with the lining fabric and then stitch all the way around leaving a 2.5″ gap in the lining fabric, at the bottom curved edge, to turn the purse through.

Step six

Turn the purse through the gap you left in the lining and make sure you poke out all the corners,  then stitch the gap closed and give it a final press!

We hope you like our Christmassy projects and we can’t wait to see what you make! Tag us on Instagram if you do make any of these projects or anything with our fabrics!
#samanthaclaridgestudio

Christmas Crafting! Fabric napkins

Re-usable fabric napkins with mitred corners

Fabric napkins look so fancy on the dining table and it’s lovely to have some special table wear for Christmas…or any festive holiday.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you a technique for making mitred corners which gives a fantastic finish and looks really professional.

This works on any woven fabric and would be great if you have some linen off cuts or an old table cloth you can cut up! We love a bit of upcycling!

You can make these any size but I made my squares 16″ x 16″.

You can shop our Christmas fabrics here

For this project you will need:

Cotton or linen fabric I used a mixture of cotton from the shop which are all in the sale

Scissors or a rotary cutter

Ruler

Fabric pen 

Sewing machine

Step one

Decide how many napkins you want and cut that number of squares each measuring 16″ x 16″

Press a 1″ hem all round your napkin square. Use a ruler to make sure you get a precise 1″ hem and folding the fabric in wrong sides facing.

You can play with the proportions of your hem if you want and make it bigger or smaller, but I think a 1″ hem looks neat and modern.

Step two

Take your fabric pen and make a mark at the point that your folded hem corners meet on the wrong side of the fabric and do this on every corner

Step three

Press a 1/4″ hem around all four edges with your iron. 

Step four

Now we need to make a 2″ mark in from each outer corner of the fabric and draw a line matching them up, the dot you made should sit just above this line.

The reason we make a 2″ mark is that this is double the measurement of the hem we pressed in step one. If you make your hem larger than 1″ you will need to adjust this measurement accordingly doubling it.

Step five

Fold your corner with the right sides together and match up the marks you just made. Your fabric will make a point.

Step six

Flip back the 1/4″ crease and then stitch on the line you drew following it to the edge of the fabric. Do the same for each corner.

Step seven

Cut the excess off at about 1/4″

Step eight

Flatten out the seam with your fingers, this will give us a nice flat corner.

Step nine

Flip the corner to the right side. Poke the corners out carefully, you can use something pointy to help. Do this on all four corners and give it a press. It’s exciting to see the neat corners at this point!

Step ten

Edgestich all around the napkin hem approx 1/4″ away from the fold with a longer stitch length ( I set mine at 3 on my Janome) and a matching or contrasting thread depending on what you fancy!

Keep your needle down in the fabric when you go around the corners and turn the fabric keeping your line as straight as possible.

Et Voila! These take a little time but it’s so worth it for the fancy finish!
A set of these would make a lovely gift and is a great way of using up fabric scraps or old sheets/ pillowcases too! You could even whip up a tablecloth now you have this technique in your stable!

Handmade Christmas pajamas in a fabric gift bag

Alexa's handmade Christmas!

Since everyone has been spending more time in pyjamas this year, I thought that pyjamas would make great Christmas gifts for my nearest and dearest. My favourite patterns for pyjamas are the Sew Over It Ultimate Pyjama bottoms with the Sew House 7 Toaster sweater. These are both great and really straightforward patterns, and not more complicated than I can deal with in the midst of a global pandemic.

I picked the gorgeous organic leopard print jersey for the Toaster sweater and some pink Figo wishbone quilting cotton for the bottoms (the cotton is on sale, just saying…). These were both quality fabrics that sewed up beautifully. For two completely unmatched fabrics, they go together beautifully!

These were meant for my sister for Christmas but she is impatient and refused to wait! However, she has fed back that they are her favourite ever pyjamas and super snuggly, so at least I know that these will be a winner as Christmas gifts. 

I love giving gifts in bags that can go on being used afterward, either to gift next year’s presents or for laundry or shoe bags, or whatever else people might want. I made this one from some Dashwood Christmas tree cotton that I’ve been eyeing up for ages and a gorgeous velvet ribbon. This is a super basic square bag that I’ve stitched a channel into at the top for the ribbon. The bag is the perfect size for a pair of pajamas and some fancy tea, which is what everyone I know is getting for Christmas!

Happy gifting all!

Christmas Crafting! Re-usable bottle gift bag

10 Minute reversible fabric bottle bag!

Gifting wine or a bottle of something yummy this year? Forget about buying gift bags that are hard to recycle and make a quick and festive fabric bag that will add something extra special to your gift and can be re-used for years to come! I love the idea of this bottle bag doing the rounds between family and friends!

I used this penguin print matched with a black and white star print fabric for a fun look but raid your stash and get creative…you could use a plain fabric and jazz it up with some fun trimmings, make a patchwork version or use metallic fabric for some extra sparkly goodness!

If you are interested in some other sustainable ways of wrapping gifts you should also check out Christine Leech’s new book ‘Zero Waste Gift Wrap’

“Embrace zero waste living with this collection of sustainable gift wrap solutions including furoshiki, the traditional Japanese technique of fabric knotting. What could be nicer than receiving a present AND the beautiful scarf it’s wrapped in!
Whether you use a vintage silk scarf or create your own fabric with patchwork, piecing and dyeing techniques, or reuse unwanted items to make quirky gift wraps – this collection is packed full of ideas for reducing waste.”

 

For this project you will need:

Outer fabric – 12″ x 16″

Lining fabric – 12″ x 16″

16″ piece of ribbon or string to tie the bag

 

Step one

Fold each piece of fabric right sides together longways so that each piece measures 6 x 16 inches. Then sew down the long raw edge and the bottom raw (making an L-shape) using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Step two

Next, we are going to ‘box’ the corners on each side of the bottom of the bag. With the sewn fabric still right sides together use both hands to pinch and pull apart the corner. As you pull the fabric will begin to form a little peak with the corner point at the top and the seam lines running down the middle of the front and back. Align these side and bottom seams. Place a pin in it to hold it together and measure 1.5″ down from the point and mark a line and stitch. Do the same for the other side and the lining.

Step three

Clip off the excess on the corners making sure you don’t cut your stitching. Do this on both the main fabric and the lining.

Step four

Now turn the main fabric right side out and keep the lining inside out.

Step five

Iron a 1cm hem on both bags, ironing the hem inwards on the main fabric and outwards on the lining so when you put the lining inside the main fabric bag the hems are facing.

Step six

Place the inner fabric bag inside the outer fabric bag making sure the seams match up. Pin around the top and topstitch in place using a 1/4″ seam

Now all you need to do is give it a press, pop a bottle inside and tie it up with some pretty ribbon!
We hope you enjoyed this quick fun tutorial! Next time it’s fancy festive fabric napkins!

Christmas crafting -handmade felt decorations

Back so soon I hear you cry! Well if you don’t know me you won’t understand my love for all things Christmas and when I saw there were festive projects on our upcoming blog themes list I jumped at the chance! 
 
And, once again, I’m not sewing! What’s wrong with me?! Well, it’s actually been quite refreshing getting crafty again with different materials. In my last post I used papers and this time I’ve gone for felt. Sammy has a few different selections of felt packs in different colour-ways and, while I’d have loved to go ‘neon Christmas’ I decided traditional would be better! 

In this pack of 7 sheets, you get two dark greens, one lime green, one mint, two reds (slightly different shades) and a burgundy, all complementary colours, perfect for festive makes. They’re not super thick but that makes them fine for all of the projects I made. And again, I’ve got some tutorials for you to have a go at home.

So let’s start with something simple, a holly decoration. I prepared myself two different sizes of holly template and cut out two of the bigger size in dark green and two smaller in lime green. I cut small red circles for the berrys. I used some matching lime green embroidery floss to sew a line of running stitch down the middle of one large and one small leaf. I then attached them together using red floss and adding the berrys and a hanger. Simple! 
 

Next up is this trio of baubles which I just love! I used the burgundy, rich red and dark green felts and cut out two each of three bauble templates which I drew out myself on some card. Then I took some embroidery floss in greens, reds and gold to sew on simple designs. I put the two layers together and sewed around the outside leaving a small hole to put some stuffing in (if you don’t have stuffing you could cut up some scraps of felt into small pieces or just leave this out entirely) then I closed up the gap. I added a piece of string to hang it and there you have it! 

Now this one is a little more time consuming but, I think, worth the time. Just gather your supplies and sit in front of the telly one evening. I’m not sure what to call this bauble but I was inspired by similar ones I’ve seen on Pinterest. You’ll need 8 circles, I used 4 dark green, 2 lime green and 2 mint along with a needle and thread. I stacked them up and sewed a line down the middle through all layers (this would have been better done on a sewing machine but worked ok by hand). Now sit it in front of you and pick up one left piece and one right. Bring them together and sew at the edge in the centre to connect them, finishing with a knot to secure. Now take the next piece on one side and connect it to one of the pieces you’ve just sewn which is next to it but this time above and below the original knot. As you go around you will alternate between one and two connecting points and your end result should be something like this. It’s not difficult, I promise!
If my instructions are not clear I’m sure a quick search on Pinterest will help you find step-by-step instructions with pictures.

And I don’t know why but I think this one might be my favourite! And it’s super quick, there’s even a time lapse video on my Instagram (@Aliivens) if you fancy checking it out! All you need for this one are a selection of small strips 3cm x 1.5cm and a needle and thread – a great one for using up scrappy bits of felt. Fold a piece of felt in half and put your threaded needle through the centre of the square, pushing it down the thread but not off the end. Repeat this until your heart’s content! But I think I did about 30 pieces, then tied the ends of thread to form a hoop and add a ribbon to hang. Done! You could add a bow or mini bells, whatever you fancy, but I like it simple.

Then, because I had some felt left over (and nobody was stopping me), I made a wreath with some twigs shaped into a small circle and I knotted on strips of felt and matching ribbon from Hobbycraft. Again, you could go crazy with this one, adding sparkly bits, bells, berrys, pom poms etc but I kept it clean. Not a glue stick in sight! How much easier can you get?!

I hope you liked these ideas. I quite like giving people who I wouldn’t buy gifts for a handmade tree ornament with their Christmas cards, it’s just a special little gesture. A few years ago I crocheted quite a few sprouts adorned with googly eyes to give out! But I love these projects and think the rich colours would make them really stand out on a tree. Now I can’t wait to get mine up and decorate it with my new me-mades!
 
Thanks Sammy for the lovely felt. Happy Christmas, everyone! (OK, too early…)

Christmas Crafting! Re-usable gift bags

Easy drawstring gift bag DIY

We are officially on the countdown to Christmas here at Samantha Claridge HQ…we’ve got to have something to look forward to haven’t we! 

What better way to spend our spare time over lockdown than some mindful, relaxing sewing and crafting. I am going to make some handmade gifts this year but we really are keeping gifts to a minimum this Chrimbo, everyone is stretched money wise and over the top consumption and needless spending just doesn’t seem appropriate this year. I’ve been enjoying making my own clothes this year which has lead to me shopping less and really the thought of buying something that I could potentially make just seems unnecessary, how about you? 

I’ve designed 4 easy tutorials that are Christmas appropriate, but really these would work all year round depending on fabric choice, and are great for using up scraps of fabric. I’ll be popping them on the blog over the next couple of weeks so you’ve got plenty of time to make them before Christmas.

The first project is for reusable drawstring bags which can be made in any size, used year after year, and are much more sustainable for wrapping pressies in! This is a very simple DIY suitable for a beginner..this would also be great to do with kids under supervision.

You can use a festive-themed fabric (as I have done and you can buy it here) or a plain calico or hessian would work really well jazzed up with some pretty ribbon or ric rac…the creative possibilities are endless!

For this project you will need:

Fabric  12″ x 28″ ( I used Jingle polar bears which is now only £2.33 per half metre)

Ribbon or cord for the drawstring approx 26″ long ( I used glitter ribbon)

Scissors

Sewing machine

Step one

Hem the two long edges of the fabric strip. I did this using my overlocker and a narrow 1/4″ hem but if you don’t have an overlocker you could either use a zig zag stitch or simply fold the hem twice, press and stitch. 

Step two

Fold the short end in by 1/4″, press the fold then fold over again by another 1/4″, press then fold down by 1″ and press.

Top stitch close to the edge of the folded hem.

Repeat this process for the other end of the fabric.

This process creates the channels you will thread your ribbon or cord through for the drawstring.

Step three

Fold the fabric in half with right sides together and stitch down the side seams starting below the top channels for the drawstrings you made leaving them open.

Step four

Finally, attach a safety pin to one end of your ribbon or drawstring and thread this through the top channel of your bag and tie in a knot at one end…et Voila!

Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the following tutorials…an easy bottle bag, coin purse, and festive fabric napkins which we hope you will love
Let us know if there are any other DIYs you would like us to feature!

Handmade Christmas cards and tags

Christmas papercrafting!

Hi all, I’m back again with another blog post but wait for it… this one doesn’t involve sewing! I know! Shocked faces all around! But Sam doesn’t just sell fabrics you know! The website is a true treasure trove of crafty potential! So this time I got one of her paper and card packs to make some Christmas cards and tags… yes people, hold on tight we’re getting festive!
 
I’ve dabbled with paper crafts in the past and I like clean, modern designs so when I saw this pack of greens, reds and monochromes with gold and silver foil I couldn’t help but see them as some very funky Christmas cards. What I’ve got here for you is a little tutorial on how to make your own using this pack of papers and some basic supplies which you can easily find on your high street or already in your craft cupboard. So let’s dive in!

First we have what might be my favourite card in the set and I’m calling it ‘Golden Stag’! I used a square card blank, two of the paper designs, some peel-offs and a glittery gold stag which was in a pack from The Works. I cut out a square of each paper just slightly smaller than the card then I cut them in half diagonally. One of each of these triangles got glued to the card and I used a gold strip from a peel-off sheet to cover the seam. I put the gold stag topper in the middle and finished it off with a peel-off greeting. How cute is this?! Very simple and quick.

Next up is this ‘bauble’ wreath card which I made using four different papers and a circle template. I started by covering the card with a green square, again, just slightly smaller than the card. I cut out all my circles and places them on to check the layout, then I glued them on in a circle. I finished it with a ribbon and a peel-off greeting.
 

Here we have another bauble themed card. For this one you need a card blank, 3 circles in different papers, string or ribbon, gold pen and greeting. I used three different foiled papers which I thought looked great together and cut out my circles. I stuck them down with foam pads to raise them a little but glue would be fine. I used green ribbon for the bauble string (although I was originally planning on twine) and stuck a little gold paper square to the top of each bauble. I drew a gold box around the edge and added a greeting at the bottom. And it’s done – clean and festive!

Now this one might not be for everyone but I couldn’t help but use this monochrome paper for a tree themed card. This paper has silver foil accents amongst the white, black and grey and I simply used the triangular shapes to cut out three different sizes of triangles or trees. I glued the large to the centre of a square card blank then used foam pads to stick the two others down on top. Then I added silver stars from a pack from The Works. I drew a silver line around the edge of the card and finished it off with a black glittery greeting. This one is super modern, but I love it!

For my final card I used a piece of A5 green card folded in half. I cut out a triangle from the spotted paper and then cut it horizontally into strips which were glued to the card front. I used some thin silver ribbon, made into a bow, to top the tree and I randomly placed some silver gems which were the same size as the dots on the paper. I put a greeting at the bottom and more gems in the corners and, voila, another one finished!

I also made some tags with some scraps of the papers by cutting out simple boxes, triangles and circles to make presents, trees and baubles. I think I made the circle template from drawing around the lid of a glue stick. Again, a really simple and effective idea.

 

The problem is once I’d started I couldn’t stop! So I also made a paper bauble from 6 circles of card. I have a circle punch but you can draw around a glass or something similar and make your own template. I then folded them in half and glued one half to another and so on. I finished by glueing the string down the centre before glueing the last circles together.

This simple heart is made with two different papers and a bit of string. I cut two lengths of each paper 22 x 2cm and 2 other lengths of each in 13 x 2cm. I stuck two different designs of paper together to make 2 long and 2 short and then layered them long, short, short, long. Hold one end and fold the outside pairs into the middle and staple. 

I hope you’ve found some inspiration here and will give it a go yourself. These are absolutely gorgeous quality papers and I have plenty left for more crafty goodness, both Christmas and otherwise! For all of these projects I wanted the paper designs to be the focal point. I’ve kept them super simple, which may not be for everyone, but you can easily jazz them up as you fancy, just have a play!
 
Thanks Sammy for the card and paper pack, I really enjoyed prepping for this post! Roll on Christmas!
 
 

Debbie’s Shirred dress with olive floral fabric

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably seen all the hype around the shirred dress trend this summer.

By Hand London did a fabulous tutorial on drafting your own which is on their Instagram and I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a few months now.

As soon as we got this beautiful olive floral viscose in stock I knew it would make a gorgeous Autumn dress and thought I would give the shirred dress a go. It does not disappoint! It’s so easy as there are no real fit issues, this dress will fit any shape or size and can expand while your wearing it which is always a plus in my book!

As I always do when planning a make, I stalk the hashtag first! #bhlshirreddress has plenty of inspiration but I also had a look on Pinterest to see if there were any other good ideas for styling, length and sleeve details and found the following inspiring images…

I’ve made plenty of midi dresses this year so wanted to add a short dress that I can wear with boots and tights into the winter.

This is the gorgeous fabric below which actually has more of a green base than ochre…it’s beautiful!

There are a few others in stock if this is not your colour which would work fabulously for this project.

The fabric I used is a lovely drapey viscose but you can use lightweight cotton (like this gingham) too which would give the sleeves a lot more drama and structure.

You will need:

2m- 3m of fabric (depending on how long you want your dress to be)

Shirring Elastic

Elastic for your sleeve head approx 12mm

Sewing kit

I started by measuring my bust and adding half again to get the measurement for the top of the dress…this was not far off the full with of the fabric 150cm so I  simply used the width of the fabric and the length of 31″ 

Then I cut 2 rectangles for the sleeves measuring approx 20″ long by 24″ wide.

You will need a few bobbins hand-wound with shirring elastic, there are plenty of good tutorials on You Tube if you have trouble getting the shirring to work but I found it worked no problem with a stitch setting of 3 or 3.5.

Make a tube with your main body of fabric and finish the seams. Hem the top of the dress and then you can start shirring the bodice ( I started about 3cm down from the top of the hemmed dress). The By Hand London tutorial gets you shirring the dress flat and then joining the side seams after but I found going round and round in one go in a spiral with a gap of 1cm per row was quicker and easier. I had to change the bobbin about 4 times so keep an eye on your bobbin…nothing worse than stitching nothing!!

I did about 9″ of shirring to get a babydoll dress effect but you could lengthen this depending on how you want your dress to sit.

To make the sleeves I stitched the edges together, finished the seams, and hemmed the top leaving a gap for the elastic. Measure two pieces of 1cm elastic to fit snuggly around your underarm and shoulder and then thread this through the channel in the sleeve. Sew the ends of the elastic closed and sew the gap in the hem closed.

I decided to do 6 rows of shirring on the cuff, in the same way, I shirred the bodice.

To attach the sleeves, pop the dress on (or on a dressmakers dummy ) and pin the sleeves to the underarms with the right sides of the top of the sleeves and the top of the dress facing. Stitch in place with a straight stitch. I stitched the sleeves on with approx 5″ of stitching.

Hem your dress and make yourself a matching mask…because have you even sewn a dress this year if you haven’t made a matching mask?!

I love how this turned out and already have another two planned! The fabric was a dream to work with and the colour is beautiful, not something I would normally go for but I was surprised how it suited my skin tone, I think because the cool pink and blue flowers are warmed up by the olive background.

Have you made a shirred dress or top…would you give this trend a go?

Debbie x

New In Dressmaking fabrics!

We’ve had some lovely new fabrics arrive at Samantha Claridge HQ, perfect for the change of weather and to start off your Autumn/ Winter wardrobe! From viscose to jersey, cotton poplin to rayon jersey, and some stretch lace too!

Below we’ve paired each fabric to a pattern to give you a little sewing inspiration! Please leave your suggestions for pattern pairings in the comments below, we’d love to know what you would make with these beauties!

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Tilly and the Buttons – Lotta dress

Fibre Mood – Franca

Fibre Mood  – Mindy

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Simplicity – S8738

McCalls  – M7983

Pipe Dream Patterns – The Tara Basic

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

McCalls – M7864

Simplicity – 8707

Style Arc – Kitt Knit dress

What’s your favourite fabric and what would you make?

DIY Statement fabric headband

Hairbands and hair accessories are still a huge trend this winter and they are super easy to make with fabric scraps!
In this DIY I will show you a simple way of making a knotted fabric hairband. I used the Ruby Star Society fabric in Spark Mustard  (which is half price in our sale
You could also embellish your hairband with beads or pearls for a fabulous party look and these would also make great stocking fillers!

You will need:

A plain hairband ( I got mine a few years ago from eBay)

A strip of fabric

Glue gun or fabric glue, if you don’t want to use glue you can hand stitch instead.

Basic sewing kit

Lets get started!

Step 1

Cut a rectangle of fabric measuring 21” x 7”. Fold fabric in half right sides together and sew down the long edge leaving a gap of 2” in the middle (to turn through)

Step 2

Press the strip so the seam is in the centre and then sew the short edges

Step 3

Turn through the opening you left when sewing and press

Step 4

Place the hairband in the middle of the fabric strip and tie a knot.

Step 5

Arrange the knot so you are happy with it and that is nice and centred making sure the rest of the fabric reaches the ends of the hairband.

Step 6

Fold in and hot glue the bottom sides down starting one side and folding over the other side.

Let us know if you make this hairband, we love seeing your makes!