Spring/ Summer trends…

Part 2: Seventies trends and the colour of the year!

The seventies are back! The wide collar made a surprise comeback on the runways for spring 2020 along with platforms, crochet and bell bottom trousers! Floaty dresses and blue denim are as popular as ever and we have some great fabric and pattern suggestions for you if this is a trend that appeals…

I love the mix of fabrics and textures we saw on the runway. Trimmings are a great way of adding a 1970s twist to a garment, faux leather bias binding and lurex elastic give a luxe edge to any outfit. 

Here is our fabric and trim edit so you can get the look!

Some great pattern options to get these looks would be…

Adrienne Blouse- Friday Pattern Company

Simplicity – Tunic dress 8551

Simplicity – Vintage style faux wrap 8013

Megan Nielsen – Sudley Blouse & Dress Sewing Pattern

The Joan Trousers – Friday Pattern Company

Tilly and the Buttons – Jessa Trousers and Shorts Sewing Pattern

Or, why not try a a bit of upcycling… The denim trend this year is for patchwork, bleached and mix and match styles, this could easily be replicated by ucycling some old jeans from your wardrobe or the local charity shop using scraps of denim to create a tiered maxi skirt…

Will you be making any 1970’s inspired pieces for your wardrobe this year? Or perhaps just a nod to the trend with some denim and vintage trimmings? I’m definitely all over this one and wish I had kept the bell bottoms I made at Art college…

 

 

Debbie x

Winter florals

Maria's stunning blouse project!

You don’t need to have been following my work for too long or know me too well to be aware of my love for florals fabrics. Another strong favourite of mine, regarding fabrics, is dobby cotton lawn. So, yes, this fabric went straight into my “must have” list.

Ivory ditsy floral dobby cotton

Lovely as it looks, I thought a few ruffles would add some charm. Also, the fabric is lightweight and, for that reason, perfect to add ruffles without being too bulky.

Bearing in mind the fabric, I choose the pattern Mome by p&m patterns. This pattern has quite a few options and I went with ruffles, long sleeves with ruffles in size 34 graded to 36 at the hips. I believe the blouse would still fit nicely if made in a straight size 34, however I am not so sure if it was still comfortable to dress and undress.

The pattern has an option to make a waist tie and I made it. However, I made it completely removable so that, the blouse can be more versatile. I like it both ways and the fabric work well in both styles. This way I will get more use out of it.

Although the pattern includes four collar options, I did not make any of those. I wanted a ruffle, that was for sure, but the option included in the pattern also has a collar stand and I was looking for a more relaxed look so, I simply omitted the collar stand and added the ruffle to the neckline and used the bias to finish.

Summarizing, the Ivory Ditsy Floral Dobby Cotton Lawn worked a charm for this type of blouse. But it would work equally well in other styles and I would definitely make more blouses for myself or my girls or even a summer dress. However, if making a dress I would, most likely, wear a cami slip under, as it is a bit see through. But no doubt it would look absolutely gorgeous!

I have been wearing the blouse already and can assure you the fabric is lovely to wear.

Thank you, Samantha Claridge Studio, for the fabric and you for reading.

Happy sewing,

Maria x

Spring/ Summer trends!

Part 1: Polka dots and white dresses...

How long is January?! (I know it’s only 31 days but man it feels longer!)

It’s definitely that time of year when I’m dreaming of warmer weather and if you are anything like me, already planning my summer wardrobe!

I’ve been checking out the trends for Spring/ Summer to give me a bit of inspiration for my makes this year, they include; 90’s minimal, summer leather (?!) suits, shorts, jungle prints, the seventies, waistcoats and neon. Two of my favourite trends are polka dots and white dresses! 

In this weeks trend post I’m going to show you some of the trends, fabrics and patterns you could use to get the look yourself…

The ex-fashion student in me loves looking at the extravagant designs from the catwalk, but, they are not always the most wearable! But I think what we can take from these images is that volume is king and a mixture of large and small polka dots gives a really impactful look!

We have some lovely polka dots in stock at the moment…

Not sure about a whole polka dot look but want to give a nod to the trend or just add a flash of pattern to your latest make? Take a look at our fabulous range of trimmings!

Clockwise from top left:

Spring set Spot Ribbon £5

Black Spotty Ruffle Trimming £2.50

Spotty bias binding £3

Elastic trimming gold dot £1.95

This next trend is going to be huge this summer…just remember not to have red wine or spag bol and you’ll be fine! Many a white shirt I have ruined this way!!

White dresses look fab with tan and black leather accessories and are a great way of keeping cool in the hot summer sun…

We’ve got some grogeous textures in stock which look great layered over brighter colours if pure white is not your thang…

Clockwise from top left:

White spot stretch mesh £3.85 per h/m

White leatherette flower lace £16 per h/m

Figo Lucky Charms Hands £7.25 per h/m

Daisy lace  £4.50 per h/m

 

What sewing pattern to choose…

Some pattern inspiration for you!

How about the following:

The Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Co. 

The Appleton dress by Cashmerette

Roscoe blouse and dress, True Bias sewing Patterns

Allie Olsen Highlands wrap dress

Sundress sewing pattern byt the Avid Seamstress

The Blouse by the Avid Seamstress

Next week I’ll be looking at  the Seventies trend and the colour of the year…blue!
 
Thanks for reading!
Debbie x

Handmade wardrobe 2020

My me-made sewing challenge

Hi Guys!

I’m Debbie, Sammy’s assistant and all round crafty person.

I am mummy to my gorgeous little girl Audrey and my two cheeky dogs, my husband let me take over the basement in our new home for all my sewing stuff… so he is the best 😉

Since I can remember I have always been crafting. From making Fimo jewellery as a child, to studying Womenswear at the London College of Fashion (and a fair bit in-between!). My work has appeared in Mollie Makes, Simply Sewing Magazine, Love Quilting as well as the Samantha Claridge Studio blog! I have sold my designs at craft shows across the South East and now am a freelance crafter…a dream come true!

 

I ran design label Duck & Duffel for 5 years (now Hila Studio) and made lots of lovely dresses and prints, designing my own fabric and illustrating. Then life got in the way as it often does and I had to get a day job, but I’m back freelancing now and working with Sammy, happy days!

But, despite having a degree in fashion and more than 20 years dress making expeirence I rarely use my skills to make clothes for myself…crazy huh!

I have just bought a new house with my husband and in an effort to spend less and shop more sustainably I am challenging myself to make myself some clothes this year.

To give you a bit of background…I love shopping, I mean LOVE it, in fact at some stages in my life you could definitely have called it a “problem”. I don’t know whether it was boredom and frustration during my twenties and early thirties when I didn’t work in a creative environment and felt like buying beautifful clothes helped me express my creative side, or, I just love buying pretty things, but I spent a lot of money on clothes and shopped nearly every day, buying things on a whim which ultimately ended up in the charity pile. I was always seeking out the next trend and giving it my spin but never feeling satisfied…I never had anything to wear despite having a wardrobe fit to burst!

As I’ve got older I’ve found my ‘style’ and it’s been this way for a number of years now, I know what works for me and my lifestyle and body shape and I’m keen to make some amazing pieces that I’ll get lots of wear out of and the satisfaction of having crafted them with my own hands.

My aim isn’t to replace everything in my wardrobe with handmade, as I have some amazing garments by indie designers in there, which I will cherish for years to come (that’s you Lucy and Yak and Dreamland Clothing!) But If I feel the urge to shop, instead I’ll think carefully about why I need a certain peice, how it will fit into my wardrobe and if I can make it! If I can’t make it I will aim to thrift it (I’ve just discovered a great charity shop down the road which colour codes and separates it’s clothes into categories…it’s Uh-mazing!). 

I’m going to document my journey on this blog. In the next post I’ll tell you about where I get my inspiration from and how I plan my makes…spolier alert I’ve just got a fresh Dressmaking journal from the Samantha Claridge Studio shop so that is going to be my new sewing best friend! I’ll also talk you through choosig fabric, the tools I use and of course show you what I make.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey and if there are any specific topics you would like me to cover then do leave a comment!

So until next time, here is my me-made rail below. So far it’s got two Indigo dresses on it because I love a smock dress and cute prints!

Gingham (Samantha Claridge Studio -now sold out) But you could also use this plaid

Figo Treehouse Zig Zag 

I promise I’ve only got one more smock dress planned…but that might change 😉

Leave me a comment if you are also going to be making more for yourself this year, I’d love to give you a follow and see what you are making!

Debs x

Jersey Binding Tutorial

Finishing edges with jersey...

This post shows two uses for the Jersey Folded Binding which is available in the shop in a variety of colours. 
 
This is a great way to neatly finish the edges of garments made from stable knit fabrics, or could also be used to bind craft projects such as quilts in the same way as woven binding. It has a slight stretch but wouldn’t be suitable for very stretchy jersey fabrics or on areas of a garment which need to stretch a lot, such as tight neck openings.
 
The first way I used this binding was to finish the neck of a dress I made for my Christmas party. It had a high front neck but low back so didn’t need to stretch for me to get it on and off.
To start with, sew your garment as you normally would; you can do this step at the end or once the should seams have been sewn together, before constructing the rest of the garment.
 
Measure your neck opening and cut a piece of binding slightly longer than the opening. Mine overlapped by a few inches.
 
Pin or clip the binding to the outside of your garment with right sides together and edges aligned. Don’t stretch the binding at all while you do this or it’ll be too tight to turn under! I used wonder clips to attach it as I prefer them to pins. Trust me, if you get some you won’t regret it!
 
 
 

Using a narrow zigzag stitch or other stretch stitch, sew along the fold closest to the edge of the fabric. You could overlock this but it would add some bulk under the binding. Leave an inch or two of loose binding at the start and sew all the way around until you meet your stitching again. Backstitch or tie off ends to secure.

 

Bring your two loose ends right sides together and sew along the width of the binding where your stitching ends. I used a straight stitch here to help it lie flat when finished. Trim the excess fabric and press open.

Turn the binding to the wrong side and tuck under the other folded side of the binding. Press to help it lie flat and clip or pin to secure. 

Go back to your machine and stitch down using a zigzag, stretch stitch or twin needle. Backstitch or tie off your ends to secure and you’re done!

The other way I used this binding was to hem a dress. It had ended up a bit short and I wanted to avoid losing any more length by turning up and sewing so I used the binding and it worked really well.
 
Once again, measure the length of the hem and cut a piece of binding slightly longer. Pin or clip it right sides together with edges aligned, leaving an inch or two loose on either end. Don’t stretch the binding at all or it won’t turn under easily! (Ask me how I know this 😛 )

Sew using a zigzag, stretch stitch or overlocker, starting an inch or two from the end of the binding, and sew all the way around until you meet your stitching again. Backstitch or tie off your ends to secure.

With right sides together, sew across the width of the binding. Trim the excess and press open.
 

Turn the binding to the wrong side, press then clip or pin. Stitch using a zigzag, stretch stitch or twin needle.

Ta da! This is a really nice, neat way to do a hem but not one I’ve tried before so I’m glad it worked well. (Obviously black binding would have been better than navy but no one will notice 😀 )
 
I hope this is useful and gives you an idea of how you can finish your knit projects in a slightly different way! See you soon for another post!

Bubble satin review

Satin blouse project

Hey everyone, I’m so pleased to be back on the Samantha Claridge studio blog today.

I’m delighted to tell you all about this beautiful satin!

I’ve owned the Named clothing, book “Breaking the pattern” for a while and really like the Sade blouse pattern. When I saw this fabric on the website, I was very keen to make a version of the Sade with it.

I must admit I did have some reservations before I ordered this from Sammy. I have worked before with super slippery fabrics, and was a little concerned that this would be one of those.

                                                                                                                                                         

Sammy is always happy to send swatches of fabric out, she’s very passionate about the fabrics she sells and is very keen to make sure her bloggers and customers alike are happy with their fabric choices. So quickly she popped a piece of this in the post to me.

As you can see, I wasn’t put off, after I’d seen and handled it. In fact, quite the opposite, I basically had to have this in my wardrobe!

It cut and sewed beautifully. I put the basic principles into practise. I used a new rotary cutter blade and cut the pieces singly. It cut just fine and didn’t slip over itself at all, I think the “bubble” texture actually made it grip to itself, not slip around at all and when I sewed it, it behaved really well too.

I used a fine point needle and pinned in the seam allowances.

 The quality is divine, so soft and drapey its delightful against my skin.

The fabric feels like luxury itself; I cannot believe the quality of this for its price tag, for a very reasonably priced fabric the quality, colour and feel of this bubble satin is mind blowing. I absolutely love my Sade blouse but if I’d not made this, the satin would have been gorgeous made up into a beautiful dress or luxurious night attire (think luxury robe or slip) or lingerie (so sexy)!

 

So that’s all from me for now, till next time keep chatting and stitching, Carol 😊

Guide to…

Sewing Machine Needles

Whether you are just starting out on your sewing journey or have been sewing for while we thought we’d write a quick and easy guide about how to choose the right needle for the job!

So, lets get started…

Machine needles:

  • Most brands of machine needles will fit any domestic sewing machine. When you are looking at needles their sizes (ie. 90/14 or 80/12) refers to the thickness of the needle and therefore which fabric they should be used on. The lower the number the finer the needle and the finer the fabric you will sew with that needle. 
 
  • There are different needles for different types of fabrics too. Jeans needles are especially for working with Denim and densely woven fabrics, Ballpoint needles can be used for jersey fabrics, but also for silk. Stretch needles are for use with Lycra or swimwear fabrics and quilting needles are designed to go through lots of layers at once. Try and stick to using the right needle for the right job. 
 
  • We advise that you mark up your needles so you know which are which when they are out of their packets. I use nail polish, but you can use coloured sharpies. The sizes are written on the needles but it is so tiny it can be hard to read. 
 
  • If you have put a specialist needle in,  remove it when you have finished the job and put it back in the packet so you don’t forget which needle is in your machine. 
I hope that was helpful. Let us know what other guides you would find useful!

Clementine skirt!

Carol's star wardrobe basic...

Hey, you guys I’m back on the Samantha Claridge Studio Blog today to talk to you all about this lovely cord!

It’s so soft, and lovely to touch and wear. I’ve made the Clementine “Made in Denim” skirt before but really wanted to make one in this olive-green cord (olive green now out of stock). It’s super soft and has a great stretch. This is due to its 3% spandex content; this means it’s really easy to wear and doesn’t get stretched out when you sit down in it for a while.

As usual I prewashed my fabric and line dried before I began, it washed and pressed beautifully.

It’s a great idea to lay a second section of cord face down on top of the garment sections whilst pressing, this stops the nap being flattened. Also be mindful when using cord to make sure that all your pattern pieces are cut in the same direction due to the nap of the fabric.

I really wanted to personalise the top stitching with this make and drafted a little motif which I’d love to share with you.

I free hand copied my sewing shears onto paper, which I then cut out and stuck to my pocket with 505 spray.

Then I stitched around the template with top stitch thread in a contrast colour.

I tried two different colours out, a dark grey which I really liked (but I was a little concerned that might be a bit too understated) then a second one in a lovely rust colour. But when I compared them both together, I reverted back to my original choice.

That was it, decision made, and I completed the rest of the top stitching in that colour. The cord made up beautifully and I chose to make my skirt up at just below knee length. I think this is going to be perfect through the winter with some cosy tights and boots. 

If I’d not chosen to make my corduroy into a classic jean skirt, I think it would be gorgeous made into some dungarees or trousers, maybe the Ash or Ginger jeans, or even children’s wear. It is certainly soft enough for the most delicate of skin!

 That’s all for now till next time keep chatting and stitching Carol 😊  

DIY Ukulele case!

@lucyhannahmakes ...a Ukulele case!

For a while I’ve wanted to get my niece a Ukulele for Christmas. She loves music and when she visits me, she’ll spend most of the time playing on the piano or guitar with my husband, so a musical gift seemed like a no-brainer. But…she’s 2! And I’m sure you know 2 year olds can be a little rough, so I loved the idea of making some sort of padded case to protect the Uke a little bit. I wasn’t completely sure how you go about making a case like that but when I saw this gorgeous Ruby Star Record Fabric I knew I had to try!

I’d seen a few rough guides of how to make guitar cases on Pinterest but everyone seemed to pretty much make it up as they were going along, depending on the instrument they were making a case for. But basically you needed to draw around the instrument as guide. As well as the main fabric, I wanted to line the case so I chose the lovely patterned peachy Figo Treehouse fabric  which is a lovely contrast. I figured a long zip would be the easiest way to get the ukulele in and out of the case, so I used this peach 56cm zip to match the fabric.

I started by drawing around the Ukulele and added on a few centimetres all the way around so there was a little wiggle room as well as about 1cm seam allowance. To make the case padded I used this iron on fusible fleece . It was a really quick and easy way to pad the case out, and to make it easier getting all the layers through the sewing machine when putting the case together I cut the wading fabric slightly smaller than the main fabric.

This project took a bit more maths than I was first expecting. As well as measuring the depth of the ukulele, I also needed to measure all the way around to get the length for the side panel. I took off the length of the zip from the measurement for the main side piece, then cut two other pieces the length of the zip and half as deep as the ukulele to attach to either side of the zip.

I decided to just pad the main fabric rather than the lining too so it wasn’t too bulky. To add a bit of detail I thought it would be nice to do a bit of quilting on the padded pieces. I jumped straight in to quilting using the edge of the machine foot as a guide to keep my stitch lines straight. Using the machine foot as a guide meant the quilted lines were quite close together so it took a fair chunk of time to finish (next time I quilt something I’ll use something bigger as a guide!). But I think the narrow diagonal lines of stitching work really nice with the small print of the fabric.

I sewed all the pieces together, remembering to leave the zip open a little so I could turn the case back the right way. Then attached the lining by hand along the edge of the zip. I decided to make a handle out of the lining fabric to give a nice bit of contrast to the outside of the case, and hand sewed that on.

 

I’m really pleased with the result. I absolutely love the record fabric. And the fusible fleece is definitely my new favourite way to quilt as the wadding stays in the right place while you stitch. I probably should have added on even more wiggle room as it is quite snug when zipping the Ukulele in the case, but it does fit. My husband has decided he’d now like a case for his own ukulele as well as 3 of his guitars, so I’m sure I’ll be a pro at making them soon! Haha! 😂🙈

Cosy Winterwear…

My snuggly Southbank Sweater Dress

Hey there again!

Hope you’re all getting plenty of sewing time in.

The weather has took a sudden drop in temperature up here and we are having some heavy frost and lots of threats of the dreaded white stuff! I’m not looking forward to that let me tell you! With this in mind I decided that I needed to update my wardrobe and make some more snuggly Southbank Sweater Dresses as they’re so easy and comfortable to wear and fabric dependent can easily be dressed up or dressed down. I have made this pattern a few times before however it was a couple of years ago now and they have been, well, let’s just say well loved, so I was due a few more worthy of going out in public! I had to make a smaller size this time as my previous versions were 2 sizes bigger. The only thing I’d forgot to note anywhere on my records was that I’d  lengthened the skirt on those which meant I got quite a surprise to find that this one was much shorter!! Once the hem band was on I didn’t think it was that indecent so left it as it was. Had it been much too short I would have just used the pattern piece and made a deeper band.

As soon as I spotted this leopard print on Sammy’s website I knew it’d make the perfect outfit for all
occasions. I have used Ponte before however this one is so much softer than ones I’ve previously
used. It’s a beautifully soft ponte roma and despite my efforts to capture the exact colour I just
cannot get the colour to come through true on a photograph. It’s not your usual brown/beige tones
it’s more of a grey/blue/green. It is a really beautiful colour.

As usual I prewashed the fabric as soon as it arrived and it washed and dried beautifully needing minimal pressing.
For anyone who hasn’t made this popular pattern (although I’m not sure that there’s many people left out there who haven’t) it comes together very quickly and I completed all of this on my Babylock overlocker. I think all in all from cutting out the fabric to finishing the dress it was only a couple of
hours.

I’ve worn this dress out a couple of times now and had so many compliments and people “stroking” as they can’t believe how soft it is.

I am definitely not done with this pattern yet and have already spotted a couple more fabrics on Sammy’s website that I have my eye on for more Southbanks. I may even leave off the neck band for mething a little different too. I think the fabric would make a fab little cardigan too if you’re not a fan of the sweater dress.

If you’ve got this far, thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

Until next time, happy sewing!

Lisa
@sewlastminutelisa