Style Arc Blaire Shirtdress in red and black check cotton twill fabric

#scdesignteam Alison's perfect shirt dress

 
 
 
Hi there, so I’m back with my first blog post of 2021 and, after a slow start to the year, my sewjo is back up and running again!
 
Sammy has recently had quite a few new fabrics arrive into the shop and lucky us for getting the pick of the bunch! Something I’ve been wanting to make for a while now is the Style Arc Blaire Shirt Dress and when I saw this lovely red and black check cotton twill I couldn’t resist. 
 
 

 

 

 

 

It is so soft and almost has a brushed cotton feel to it. It’s light and drapey and washes and irons well. 

Red and Black 1.5″ Gingham cotton twill

£4.45 per half metre

So I’ve made the shirt version a couple of times. Generally it’s not difficult but, if you’ve sewn any Style Arc patterns before, you’ll know they’re stingy with the instructions and they also skip steps like how to best sew a curved hem and stay-stitching necklines, which in this case is vital. I had to use the instructions again as the dress is constructed slightly different to the shirt. The top comes together very easily and quickly. The bottom half is almost entirely constructed before attaching it to the top. I was eager to try out this pocket design but now that it’s finished I’ve realised that the bottom of the pocket bag is very low. If I pop my phone in there it’s banging around my knees! They’re a great design feature but I’m not sure they’ll get used that much!

Then the top is sewn to the bottom and the button plackets are added before the collar. Attaching the collar is always a little challenging with this pattern as the fabric at the back neckline needs easing in (not that they mention this in the instructions!). This time I decided to leave the collar off and stick with the collar stand. I hand stitched the inside of the collar on to keep it neat and tidy. This might be the most beautiful collar I’ve ever sewn!
 
 
I used a Change Maker label in the back and how cool does that look?! These are available from the shop and all profits from sales go to a monthly nominated charity with an emphasis on tackling social and environmental injustice.
 
I should have picked some buttons from Sam’s shop but when I ordered the fabric I totally forgot. She has a huge selection of fantastic buttons but in the end, I ordered a bag of simple black ones from Amazon.
 
 

Now then… I think we need to address the elephant in the room… pattern matching. Let’s just say I tried! I know I didn’t do a great job but I really did try, promise! What I’ve realised is that it would have been better to cut it out on the flat so I could see where all the checks are lining up, but I didn’t. I just tried to fold it so everything was straight and then cut on the fold. I’m lazy. Let’s move on…

Overall I love this, it’s such an easy wear both layered up in the cooler months and on it’s own in the summer. Special thanks to my son for taking the photos and not noticing for the entire shot that I’d put a hair clip on my sleeve! Thanks for the fabric, Sammy, I know I’m gonna get a lot of wear out of this one!
 
 
Fabric gifted in return for a blog post. Buttons and label purchased.

Nina Lee Bakerloo dress with Cowboy boots print cotton fabric

If you haven’t heard about the brand new sewing pattern from Nina Lee then where have you been!

The Bakerloo dress and blouse is a beautiful statement pattern which comes in sizes 6-28. It’s suitable for all sorts of woven fabrics and the possibilities for customisation are endless!

Admittedly it’s not the pattern for everyone but I love this girly retro style and Nina Lee herself has actually done a hack of this omitting the giant oversized collar, so if that’s not your jam then you still might be interested in the pattern.

It’s a lovely smock dress style with a keyhole and button closure at the back so no zip (always a win in my book!) It has balloon sleeves with gathered cuffs and the dress version has pockets!

I’ve made this dress in a viscose already but was keen to make a fun cotton version and as soon as I saw this incredibly fun Cowboy Boot fabric come in stock I had to snap some up for this project…it’s going to be the perfect Summer dress!

As I usually do, I used my Samantha Claridge Studio Sewing journal to plan this special project. I decided to make a contrast ruffle for the dress and went with just plain off-white cotton I had in my stash. I’ve also seen a few versions of this dress on Instagram with ricrac added to the collar and decided it would be a great way to break up the pattern. I used giant ricrac in a contrast colour and I’m so happy with how it looks! I made the collar and then added the ricrac before I attached the colour to the dress for a neat finish.

This fabric was an absolute dream to work with. It washed well and has a really great amount of drape considering it’s 100% cotton.  

Changes I made to the pattern:

I shortened the sleeves and added shirring to the cuffs in place of an elastic channel as the pattern directs as I love shirring and it’s fairly easy.

I also shortened the length of the dress by approx 4″ as it was hitting my knee and I prefer skirts just above or below. other than that the pattern needed no adjustments and I cut a size 12 which is my usual size.

For reference, my measurements are bust 36″ waist 31″ hips 42″

I can’t wait until the Summer when I can show off this dress and have a good old twirl around in the sunshine 🙂

Have you made this pattern yet? What would you make with this fabulous Cowboy boot fabric?

Debbie x

 

 

Tiger print Hey Day Dungarees for kids

I love a bold print, they are fun, frivolous, and give me total spring-summer vibes!

As soon as I saw this brand new print come in I knew that it would make a fabulous dress, shirt or overalls. 

As well as the Tiger print fabric, Sammy also got in some other really fun prints which you can shop here

I made my daughter a pair of the Waves and Wild (Was Made By Jack’s Mum) Hey Day Dungarees for Christmas and I’ve been itching to make some lightweight cotton ones for her as it’s a really easy make and comes together really quickly…plus there is a nice amount of topstitching…I love topstitching!

I’ve been sewing a lot with drapey fabric like viscose and crepe lately so I’d forgotten how brilliant cotton is to work with…it doesn’t shift around and it presses like a dream so you always get a nice crisp finish.

This Tiger stars cotton was perfect for this project, it is just the right weight for a spring/ summer outfit and great for running around in, whether you are a kid to an adult!! The fabric washes well and is lovely and breathable.

Audrey loves her new dunga’s! She’s requested some more for the summer as she is convinced she will live in them…I’m sure she will!

I’m also working on a Nina Lee Bakerloo dress with one of the other new fabrics…I can’t wait to show you as it’s a really bold fun look…I just hope I’m brave enough to pull it off!

What sewing plans do you have for Spring? Will you be trying out any of our fun new cotton prints?

Debbie x

NEW IN! Fun prints and spring brights

Spring is (nearly) here and I’m super excited to share some brand new fabrics perfect for some sunny makes!

 

SQUEE! These new cottons are just so much fun! They are perfect for making shirts, dresses, and Pyjamas.

We love the bright hues in the cowboy boot print…pink and green should definitely be seen!

The fried eggs are so much fun and would make a fabulous bucket hat!

Stuck for ideas for what to make? Check out our Spring inspiration below!

It will come as no surprise to you that celestial themes are always a YES from me! 

How about a cute pair of dungarees like the ones Debbie made with the Tiger Stars cotton! This is the Waves and Wild (formally Made By Jack’s Mum) Hey Day Dungaree pattern and it’s a great one for beginners. (head over to their newly branded site for downloadable PDF patterns)

Gingham and Seersucker are a no-brainer for the warmer months so I’ve added some classics to the shop which would be perfect for dresses and shirts…

What are your favourite spring/ summer fabrics? are you tempted by the brights or favor a classic colour palette?

Whatever you choose we are sure you will love them as much as we do! We are uploading some really lovely double gauze, viscose jersey, and canvas over the next week or so so keep those eyes peeled!

Happy Shopping!

Handmade quilted coat/ quilted jacket made with Figo fabrics

I’m sure you’ve all seen the wonderful quilted coat trend that has been all over social media for the last year. A US-based company called Psychic outlaw started making them from thrifted quilts and then lots were popping up that were made from scratch. I was keen to make my own as I do love quilting (I’m no expert and my lines can be a little wobbly but that’s half the charm right?!).

I’d been wanting to make something with the Figo Fabrics Moonlit Voyage range for a while and this seemed like the perfect project to showcase this fabulous range!

Some of this range is now sold out but there are still some gorgeous options over in the shop

Taking on a project like this is a labour of love, as so much work goes into each stage, but I was at a point in the year and my sewing when I was looking for a slow sewing project that I could pick up and put down as and when the mood took me…

I started my journey by stalking the #quiltedjacket hashtag on Instagram and was really inspired by Buried Diamond who made her coat from leftover scraps from other projects throughout the year and also Suzy Quilts who uses a sort of ombre technique when organising her colours…I knew this was the technique for me! I’ve been loving rust and ochre colours so wanted to incorporate these into my coat and I had some scraps of ramie linen left from other projects as well as some Ikat fabric that I knew would tie the darker colours from the Figo Fabrics in really well.

Sticking to a colour palette is a great way to get a pulled-together look…but equally these jackets work with a more haphazard pairing of fabrics and colours and look so darn charming!

As this type of coat/ jacket is so busy with pattern it’s a good idea to use a simple shape coat as your base. I went with the Wiksten Haori as I’ve made a few and know it works really well and is super cosy and a bit oversized!

 

 

I started out by cutting about a million(ha!) 4″ x 4″ squares and then playing with the layout using the pattern pieces from the jacket as a base.

I always use a size M for me when making Haori jackets…I’m a size 12 for reference.

I had read somewhere that when making quilted jackets it’s advisable to make the quilt ‘top’ bigger than your pattern pieces as it can shrink once quilted plus you need to think about seam allowance for each square. My back pieces ended up being 10 squares wide by 7 squares high.

I used a backing and quilted in a grid pattern. In hindsight I wish I’d not used a backing and used it as traditional lining separately as you end up with unfinished seams on the inside. You could bind these seams for a really fancy finish. I ended up just overlocking them.

 

Once I had all my quilted pieces I laid the pattern peices on top and cut them out. I then overlocked around each edge. I decided to adapt the pocket and make it curved As I thought It would look good as a contrast to all the squares. I then bound the edges of the pockets and stitched them onto the jacket fronts. When you make the pockets on the Haori according to the pattern you line them and turn them through but as I had raw edges from the quilting and using a backing fabric I knew that binding was the best option for me. I was still keen to pattern match (very unlike me!) so I made sure I used the same fabrics as the body of the jacket where the pocket placement was to match it up nicely.

 

The jacket comes together very quickly and before I knew it I was making the collar! 

 

I went with a block colour for the collar (some left over ikat fabric from another project) as I knew this would give the jacket a nice balance and before sewing it in place I bias bound the whole of the bottom of the coat with black binding.

Once the quilting was done the jacket came together in a few hours, the Haori pattern is really speedy and easy and would be fantastic for a beginner as there are no fastenings.  It’s definitely something I’d like to do again and I might make a mini one for my daughter as I have plenty of squares left! This is such a great stash buster too and the options are endless in terms of sizes of your quilting pieces, colourways, shapes etc…it’s really a wonderful project to undertake and you will end up with a truly unique jacket. There are plenty of hacks for the haori jacket too including making the collar narrower and different length options, I just like the length of this one for the winter months, but, a quilted coat in some bright colours would be fabulous for the spring/ summer…

This is going to keep me nice and cosy for the next couple of months!

What do you think, would you give this a go?

Debbie x

Cute and cosy kids gillet with sherpa fleece

My daughter loves a cosy little jacket to wear over her party clothes at this time of year. When I saw the sherpa fleece come in stock I knew this would make the perfect cosy little gillet!

I found a free pattern online fromThreadsewingschool.com and printed it off and followed the instructional video on their YouTUbe channel

This is a great stash-busting project too and a great one to sew with children as it’s a really simple tutorial to follow and then they can customise the gillet with patches, badges, applique or embroidery! This is a reversible pattern too so a really versatile fun and quick project.

I printed off the pattern and made it using the sherpa fleece and star print cotton for a festive feel…

Once you have cut the pattern pieces out you stitch together the shoulder seams of both the main fabric and lining fabric. Then pin the main fabric and lining fabric together with right sides together. Stitch around the armholes, neckline and bottom of the back piece leave your side seams open. Once you have sewn around the armholes and neckline, and back, clip your curves and turn through to the right side.

Now, pin the sides seams of your main fabric, right sides together, and sew. Do this on the other side. Then close the gap in the lining at the side seams using a slip stitch.

The full instructional video is on their YouTube Channel and the project probably only takes an hour or so.

A patchwork version of this would be lovely and a great way of using your offcuts!

 

 

Alison’s cosy winter makes with fleece and sherpa fabric

#scdesignteam Cosy winter makes

 
 
 
My last project for the SCDT falls under the title of ‘cosy’ and, boy, this one is certainly that! There are so many lovely, snuggly fabrics available on www.samanthaclaridgestudio.com right now that it was almost too hard to choose! But now that the weather is turning that bit more chilly it seemed sensible to make a scarf of some description. I had a look through Pinterest for some inspiration and decided on a double sided infinity scarf using the grey sherpa fur and the pink cuddle fleece.
 
 
 
 
However…
 
…when it arrived my daughter took one look at it and claimed the pink fleece as her own! So now I had to sacrifice my plans and make her a scarf and, since I had some leftover, a matching headband/ear warmer. Both of these I drafted myself using her measurements to make sure the headband was a snug fit and the scarf went around more than once. This fleece doesn’t have any stretch to it and has a tendency of shifting when stitching in a certain direction but with a lot of pins it will reluctantly behave. 
 
Just look at my gorgeous girl! She loves her matching set and I think it will be a staple this winter!
 
 
With the grey sherpa I found a tutorial for an infinity scarf and set about cutting two long strips 9 inches by the full width of the fabric (60in). This one has a stretch to it but is easy to sew, just watch out for the incredible amounts of fluff that will cover you, your table, sewing machine and floor during and after cutting!
 
I was first to try it on but hot on my heals was my son who has since claimed it as his own! He loves anything snuggly and would permanently live in fleece given the chance!
 
 
Both of these fabrics are so soft and luxurious, and perfect for these kinds of projects. Thanks so much, Sammy, for making my kids dreams come true!!!

Festive handmade fabric baubles

Slow sewing with Rudy... Christmas baubles!

When trawling the usual Pinterest Christmas boards this bauble came up and I thought it would be a perfect sofa sewing project!

I have been really enjoying sewing sat watching telly sewing my badges onto my Guide blanket and thought this would be the next project to do without much thinking while watching Christmas films!

I thought it would be a great opportunity to test out using my Brother Scan and Cut to cut out all the circles as I knew I’d need lots of them! 

Fabrics used in this project:

Sweet Bee Sweet Blooms Pink Spot

Sweet Bee blenders Pea

Sweet Bee Shades of Grey Flowers

Sweet Bee Blenders Ice Blue

These are currently half price in the cotton sale!

What you’ll need is:

20 middle colour 2″ circles

20 other colour 2″ circles this can be mixed with multiple fabrics

20 1.75 inch circles in medium weight interfacing

20 1.75″ inch circle in iron in batting or felt

Hand sewing thread and needle

Wonder clips are also useful.

If you are using a digital die cutter to cut the fabric, I used freezer paper but please refer to your machine makers on how to cut fabrics. Using Freezer paper, I created a fabric sandwich of fabric wide enough for two circles wide and 5 down. This allowed me to cut the circles in the middle of the mat as I found if you cut too closely to the edge the machine chews up the paper and fabric. It was useful to have a little extra freezer paper either side of the sandwich to create a good seal. I even used the cutter for my interfacing as I stuck the shiny side to the mat and it meant it easily pulled off. The batting I had to cut by hand, and it looks nowhere near as neat! ha!

If you aren’t using a die cutter to cut your fabric you could use a cookie cutter to give you your uniform shape and draw around it giving you your cut-out lines.

Once you have your circles all cut out, iron the interfacing onto the inside circles. The reason the interfacing is slightly smaller is to give you space to hem but it won’t matter if they are the same size. On each of your inside circles cut a small slit for you to pull your circles ride side out once you have sewn them. You can then iron your batting of felt to the outside fabrics. 

You then sew all your circles up, right sides together and then turn them right sides out. 

Iron all the circles nice and flat to make them easier to sew together. You then will be best to mark an equilateral triangle onto your circles to show you where to sew or you will end up with a non-circular bauble. 

With your inside together sew each circle together along one of your triangle lines. You should end up with 3 circles attached. Keep attaching them till you have 5 attached together with the star in the middle. Keep adding your circles till you’ve used all 20 up. You can stuff it with stuffing if you want to give it a firmer shape, but I haven’t on this one. 

Creating some Hygge with pom poms!

Cosy cushions for the win!

 

 

This month’s blog theme was winter. I don’t know about the rest of you but bearing in mind how rough this year has been, I’m ready to hibernate and get properly hygge. Cue some sofa time, lots of tea and a Christmas tree. 

If I’m going to be spending lots more time on my sofa, I fancied some new cushions to brighten up my days. I took some inspiration from some of these high street versions…

 

Every time Sammy posts about these Pom-Pom strings I swear I’m going use them in a project, they’re so much fun. I then ran with the pom-pom theme and used the Clover Pom-Pom makers to make  lots of Pom-poms. 

 

I made these simple zipped cushions using white upholstery fabric from my stash and some zippers. I had forgotten how good it feels to make a project like this, I have been focusing on clothes for so long. However, trimming these cushions was the fun part. Personally I think the Pom-Pom overload makes for some super cute cushions. As well as pom-poms I used these linen ribbons for the pink cushions.

I have become a little obsessed with making pom-poms. It’s seriously addictive! These pom-pom makers make it super easy and it’s so much fun. It’s also a great way to use up leftover bits of yarn (or the ton of other peoples leftovers that I ordered from eBay). This is definitely the best lock down hobby!  They’re going to turn up everywhere for a little while…

A handmade cosy Christmas Jumper

Lisa's embroidered Christmas jumper!

 

 

Hi Again

Long-time no see.  I’ve not been quite “with it” what with all this Covid and our business being in furlough I’ve not really felt up to being committed to sewing/blogging. 

However, I couldn’t resist joining in this month what with it being Christmas Jumper as the theme! 

I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas jumper eh?  

I searched through Sammy’s website looking for some fleece backed sweatshirt when I inadvertently stumbled upon this grey melange winter knit fabric.  OH MY GOSH!!! Is almost all I can say about it?  This fabric is absolutely divine.  It’s super soft, sews together and handles beautifully, and is so so cosy.  

I immediately got it in the pre-wash as I usually do with my fabrics upon arrival.   That way whenever you get the urge to sew something, the fabrics all washed and ready to go straight from the cupboard.  I was a bit wary of washing this with it being a knit however it washed beautifully.  I didn’t peg it on the line as I was worried it might pull it down and out of shape with the pegs as it is quite weighty.  Apart from anything else, it’s usually raining where I live!!  Instead, I draped it over my airing stand in front of the radiator and in all fairness it didn’t take long at all to dry even though it was folded.  

I originally thought I might use my Cricut to cut out some festive vinyl and apply that to the jumper but decided to don the big girl pants and use the embroidery machine to do an embroidered image instead.  Ok you got me sussed….I was scared to embroider it in case I messed it up.  They can be temperamental things and fussy about fabric/stabiliser/threads etc but my word when they all run smoothly they are so satisfying.

One of the websites where I buy my embroidery designs from decided to have a sale just at the right time and so I indulged in this lovely little daschund pulling a sleigh.  I opted for the largest size they did with the intention that it would be ideal for the front of a jumper or could also be used to embroider onto some cotton and be used as a cushion.  You got to love a cute little sausage dog right?

I decided against hooping the fabric just in case the hoop pulled the fabric out of shape or left any sort of imprint so I floated it on top.  I did a small sample of embroidery on one of the left over scraps of fabric before I did this on my actual jumper front to check the stabiliser would be ok.  I opted for Stiffy cut away on the reverse with it being quite a dense design and water soluble on the front to stop the stitches from sinking into the fabric.  After I had embroidered the front panel I had to wash out the stabiliser and did this by hand just using warm water so there may be a tad left in atm but this will come out in the proper wash.  Despite washing it twice there is still no bobbling on the fabric and it’s as good as when it arrived which I’m super happy about.

After much umming and ahhing I decided I would make the new Tilly and the Buttons pattern, Billie Jumper/Dress as everything about this pattern I absolutely love.  I mean those sleeves are just gorgeous and bang on trend right now.  The amount of tops I’ve seen on TV that are similar is unbelievable.   Now, I have quite a few Tilly patterns and they are all really well drafted and the instructions are clear enough that even a complete beginner sewist could follow them.  This one is no different.  The jumper itself was constructed mainly using the over locker for the seams although I did tack the neckband and cuffs on using my regular sewing machine first.  I made a straight size 5 and I am happy with the fit.  It took under a couple of hours to stitch together so it’s a fairly quick make too.

 

I’m usually so last minute with everything that I normally end up buying a Christmas jumper from the likes of Asda and Tesco and end up with whatever they have left (M & S have usually sold out of the one I want especially after Lorraine wears them on her program lol) but not this year and never again now I know how easy it is to have something so different to what’s in the shops.  

I’m super happy with how this jumper turned out.  The fabric is just divine and I highly recommend grabbing some whilst it’s in stock!  I’m hoping Sammy can lay her hands on more of this fabric in different colourways as I think it will be a super seller ☺

After taking these pics for my blog post I took off the jumper and despite it being too big, Mia had it straight on and was very reluctant to give it back!!!  She’s given me instructions that I must quickly buy more before it sells out ☺  Safe to say this fabric went down well at our house!

Wishing you all a happy Christmas

Keep Sewing & Stay safe

See you in 2021

Lisa xx

@sewlastminutelisa