Helen’s Closet Pona Jacket

Rudy's Pona Jacket

You know when a new pattern comes out, from a designer you LOVE and you are desperate to try it?

This is the tale of the Pona jacket by Helens closet…

I bought the pattern right away without a thought in the world as to what fabric I would make it out of! I had thought maybe a denim one at first or a bright coloured solid one but off I went on a hunt for my fabric.

I came across this Suedette from Samantha Claridge Studio and immediately knew that THIS was going to be my Pona jacket. The suedette making it perfect for a spring jacket which is when I tend to wear jackets more as ever other time I’m in cardis and coats!

 

I cut out a straight 18 in the jacket as there is a lot of ease in the pattern and I didn’t want it to look overly big. My measurements could have fit into a size 16 of the finished garment measurements but I thought I wouldn’t risk it and made a straight 18. I did however before cutting the sleeves make sure it wasn’t going to be too tight as there is nothing worse that tight arms on a jacket.

I decided on the short version because I thought it would look quite rock chick and cut at just below my waist to look great with jeans, and dresses!
I cut out the pieces on holiday with a little help from my Murphy dog as usual, terrible pattern weight! I wished I’d brought my cutting mat a rotary cutter though because the fabric is quite ‘sticky’ in that it sticks to itself a lot so cutting it with scissors was quite a task.

Suedette is a mean sew, I mention earlier about it sticking to itself it’s quite like sewing with brushed cotton, but I had to be thankful I wasn’t contending with stretch as well!

I used black interfacing as well with this project, I’m usually of the camp ‘ach no one will see the insides’ but I thought I wanted the jacket to last and last so I did everything properly this time.
I love the gold sparkle on this fabric and even when I was sewing in low lights in the evening it still had the spectacular feel to it. Also the benefit of suedette is you don’t need to worry about finishing a lot of the edges either because it’s not going to fray. I also use the wrong side of the fabric to make contrasting cuffs and pocket tops, which I think gives it a cool look.

I have some spare pieces of fabric I salvaged from my pattern tetris and I think I am going to make a clutch bag to match. This fabric would be an amazing bag as it has a hard wearing feel to it. It does however have quite a bit of drape so it was also make a great mini skirt or something like that. It’s not my style and I’d never wear it but now I’m dreaming of making a matching wiggle skirt and making a very 80’s feel suit!

I love how the jacket turned out, and can see myself throwing this over the top of loads of outfits for a bit of warmth and some extra style!

Debbie’s handmade wardrobe series

Thrifting and up-cycling

As well as handmaking some key peices for my wardrobe this year I’m also thrifting and up-cycling.  That way I can get my dose of retail therapy with craft thrown in for an extra treat, whilst also remaining ethical and sustainable…phew!

I love button down shirts, they just have that cool look that elevates any outfit and are so versatile; you can layer them , roll up the sleeves, tuck them in, wear them open with a graphic tee under…just a great wardrobe staple. 

I saw this green/ khaki one in my local Charity shop and picked it up for about £4 I think…It still had a tag in so it’s basically brand new!

We have some really cute iron-on motifs in the shop at the moment. I grabbed these ones but was tempted by the cupcakes too!

I thought the greens in the motifs would tie in really nicely with the green of the shirt…

I played around with the placememt…

But, decided I definitely wanted them on the collar. I ironed them in place using a scrap of cotton as a pressing cloth. The shirt was very long so I also decided to crop it (not too short mind!). I might leave the edges raw for a grungy look…or I might overlock and hem it, I haven’t decided yet!

This was such a quick and easy up-cycle and now I have a funky shirt to wear this weekend and a light jacket for the summer! Let us know if you give this a go, it would be a great project for kids clothes and also a great way to cover up the odd hole or tear in your clothes too!

Debbie x

Debbie’s Handmade Wardrobe 2020: February

How I plan my makes...

I’m really enjoying the planning process this year. I’ve been doing lots of Instagram stalking of my fave makers, fabrics and patterns and I’ve managed to narrow my key projects to the following nine (which also includes something for my other half and my daughter too)

I thought setting myself the #makenine2020 challenge would be a great way of keeping track of my ideas and setting realistic goals.

This is not to say I won’t be making more than this…or multiples (I’m already cutting out my second Kalle as we speak!) But it’s my kicking off point and the things I really want to make this year. None of them are massively ground breaking but they are great wardrobe staples for me and I’m so excited to get going…that’s what it’s all about isn’t it!

Top row from left to right:

The Kalle shirt – I’ve already made this version in blue and now I’m making this in the Pink anagram Ruby Star fabrics -eek!

McCall’s M7889 I’m using the  black plaid for this and View B

The Ilford jacket -I’m going to make this for my husband, I haven’t started looking for the fabric for this one yet but think it will work well in a cotton canvas

Middle row:

Fennel Fanny pack -I’m going to make this in the ABM Flower market fabrics which will be such a great summer bag!

The Myosotis dress by Deer and Doe in a nice denim cotton chambray 

I live in dungarees and pinafores wherever possible, I actually don’t have a plain black pinafore so I’m going to make the Cleo in black with white top stitching to make it a bit edgy!

Bottom Row:

I’m going to make some more clothes for my daughter this year. This McCall’s M7829 top and dress combo is so cute and right up her street, she likes matching me so no doubt you’ll see some matchy matchy dresses from us!

Another sundress (McCall’s M7950)..I love dresses so much and I reckon I can layer this with a t-shirt too for those chiller days. This would be great in a gingham, plaid or chambray. I haven’t decided yet.

Finally, the indigo dress I made with Figo Treehouses fabric…this wasn’t the first and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last!!

I’m also documenting all my makes in the #scdressmaking journal. It’s great because you can pop fabric samples in and jot down all your design ideas too. I’d highly recommend it if you always have a million ideas in your head!

So, what are your plans this year and are you also documenting them? We’d love to hear about them! I’ll be reporting back soo with an update on my #makenine2020 !

Debbie x

Handmade Valentine’s Bow Tie Tutorial

A handmade gift is the best way to show that special someone how much they mean to you. With a few bits of fabric and an hour or two you can whip up a funky bow tie and make the perfect Valentines day gift (a great one for Father’s day too!)

Here’s what you need:

Main fabric -Quilting Cotton like Figo treehouse works brilliantly

Fusible interfacing

A set of 19mm bow tie clasps

Loop turner or chopstick

Matching thread

Basic sewing kit

Step 1:

Cut the following…

Main fabric;

2 x 25cm x 14cm

1 x 4cm x 8cm

1 x 5cm x 55cm

 

Interfacing;

2 x 25cm x 14cm

1 x 4cm x 8cm

Apply the iron on interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric

Step 2:

Take one the of the 25cm x 14 cm pieces and measure the centre point on each end. Fold the fabric to meet this middle point and press.

Step 3:

Fold the ends to meet in the middle and stitch down either side of the middle seam as close as possible to the raw edge.

Do the same with the other main bow tie piece and then with wrong sides facing each other, sandwich the two pieces together and stitch down the centre

Step 4:

Take the 4cm x 8cm piece and stitch down one end and one side, trimming the seams and turning through and pressing, this will be the centre of the bow.

 

 

Step 5:

Do the same with the long 5cm x 55cm piece (use a loop turner or chopstick to help push the fabric right sides out) this will make the bow tie strap

 

Step 6:

Now add the slider part of the clasp onto the raw end of the long neck strap, threading through, folding over and stitching down turning the raw edge under.

Step 7:

Attach the hook part onto the strap, hook facing out. Then thread the other end of the strap back though the slider part, this makes your adjustable strap!

 

Step 8:

Attach the last piece of the clasp to the other end of the strap and stitch down.

Step 9:

Now to finish the bow part. Pinch the centre then bring the top and bottom edges in to meet the middle hand stitch in place

Step 10:

Hand stitch the bow to the neck strap between the adjuster and the clasp

 

Step 11:

Take the small bow centre piece and wrap around the middle of the bow and strap  hand stitching in place at the back of the bow.

Tag us #scsmakes if you do make one, we’d love to see it!

Carols Summit Back Pack for Sew My Style 2020 #SMS20

The Summit pack...

Hey, you guys, I’m really excited to share my make with you all this time.

Its February and that means I’m leading Sew My Style this month!

If you aren’t aware of what this is, it’s an international sewing challenge, where each month discount codes are issued to makers who are signed up to the subscription list, for both the two chosen patterns that month. Then at the end of the month a winner is chosen at random from all the entries, so you don’t have to worry or feel excluded if you are not the most experienced maker. 

Anyway, my point is I’m leading, eek…and the lovely Sammy is this month’s sponsor! 

The winner of the February make will win a £50 voucher to spend in The Samantha Claridge Studio!

So, I really wanted to choose some fabrics to showcase the fabulous range on Sammy’s website!

I’ve coveted the delightful quilting cottons on Sammy’s site for such a long time. But as I’m not really a quilter I haven’t used them much so far! But the pattern I’m making for months sew my style is the Cloudsplitter Summit Pack which conveniently suggests quilting cotton for the inside and outsides. 

I had a really tough choice though, as I couldn’t decide whether to go for these really cheerful summery ones. Which I know would be amazing as a summer bag or a holiday bag.

Left: Ruby Star Society

Right: Sweet bee sweet blooms

Or whether to choose these Figo Lucky charms, in Denim and Charcoal, which eventually won me over.

I chose these two as I decided that in this colour palette I would get absolutely loads of wear from the bag. The colours will be really hard wearing and not look too grubby even if I’m using it every day to walk to work with.

I chose the main colour of the exterior in the denim blue with the charcoal as an accent…

The charcoal is also used for the gadget pocket and card slot inside so that gives a great contrast to the interior. I used a left-over piece from my stash for the inside as I’m all about using up what I’ve already got in the interest of stash busting and sustainability.

All in all, I’m absolutely thrilled with my Summit pack, the Figo fabrics look as fabulous as I hoped they would. 

That’s all for now, but why don’t you come and join me on sew my style this month, you could use the same Figo prints as me or maybe you’d like a summer bag!?

 

Follow Carol @chatterstitch on Instagram to see her #sms20 makes! 

 

Spring/ Summer 2020 Trends Vol 2

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

Maria’s Winter Floral Blouse

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 2020 trends Vol 1

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

Debbie’s Handmade Wardrobe 2020 January

My 2020 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

Romy’s 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!