Alexa @almostahippy and her perfect blouse!

The perfect blouse!
 

Last year I participated in #thegreatbigpatternswap and received the Bea blouse. I made one up in a cotton lawn and it has been in such regular rotation in my wardrobe since then that I had been thinking for a while that another one would be a good idea. When I spotted the new viscose that Sewcrafty shop had in store, it felt like the perfect combo.

I picked this gorgeous burnt orange colourway and I was a bit apprehensive about how bright it would be but when it arrived it was a gorgeous saturated deep orange colour and not too ‘florescent tabard’ colour which I had been a bit worried about.

I really love viscose to wear but it can be a pain to sew and it creases like crazy. However, this one is not too shifty to cut out and sew with. I overlocked everything as I’ve been caught out with viscose fraying through seams before and was not taking any chances! However, it didn’t seem like this one wanted to fray too badly.

The Bea blouse comes together really speedily and the instructions are good. On my last Bea blouse I had added about 5cm in length and it still doesn’t stay tucked in so for this version I added about another 10cm-this may have been overkill but at least now it’s not going anywhere and I can wear it over things as well.

I’m really pleased with my new top and think it’ll be such a good all year round piece as I can layer it but also wear it in summer as viscose is such a lovely cool fabric. I may have to pull out the iron every so often as it really does crease though!

Alexa

Marsha @sew_on_a_journey makes a beautiful summer dress

The Butterick B6205

It’s the 1st of June and the sun is out. I sit here in the coffee shop with my husband with a pot of herbal tea and red velvet cake as a treat, as we wait for our daughters to finish their drama lessons. I am so excited to be sharing my first ever blog post.

I have been up since 6 am this Saturday morning whilst everyone else sleeps, so I can get the ironing done and get breakfast ready before we all dash off to drama lessons. I am a busy mum with three girls and my time is limited. My sewing style reflects my busy life, I don’t always have time for more detailed makes. I’m a store brought jeans kind of girl, teamed with me made tops as my mum daytime wardrobe. However as soon as the sun comes out, I love to wear me-made floaty dresses.

When I was asked to be on the design team for the Sew Crafty Shop, I wanted to use this as a way to show my sewing journey as a busy mum and how I still manage to create an on-trend wardrobe without too much time on the sewing machine. I love patterns that give you instant gratification.

I found the Butterick B6205 dress pattern on the Sew Crafty Shop Website and it was love at first sight. The pattern even states it’s easy and fast!

With three different dress lengths to choose from, elasticated waistband and neckline, shoulder ties and wait…. I haven’t told you the best part, IT HAS POCKETS!

I will confess I am a bit of a cotton viscose hoarder! I love how it drapes and it’s perfect for summer makes. When I came across the Black Floral Print Viscose, I knew it would be perfect for the look I wanted to create. I wanted a dress that would suit evening and daytime wear, for summer holidays or when the British weather is nice. When the fabric arrived, it was a lot sheerer then I expected. As the bodice is lined, that wasn’t going to be a problem, but I couldn’t have a see-through skirt on the school run now could I. After speaking with Samantha about what was in stock to line my dress, I went with the Regular Black Viscose.  

I made a toile from a viscose fabric I already had. From here I noticed a few things I could change. Having a contrast fabric as the lining instead of the same main fabric would draw more attention to the shoulders.        

I decided that since I was using the plain black viscose as the skirt lining, why not use this as the bodice lining as well.

I wanted a very floaty dress and went for option A with the curved hem. When taking the lining into consideration, I didn’t want the dress to lose the floaty drape that my toile dress had. I decided that not hemming the skirt lining to the same length as the main skirt was best.it would then create that slight sheer look at the bottom. I cut the skirt lining with a straight hem just above where the skirt curved hem starts to dip. As there weren’t any instructions for lining the skirt, I used the basic methods I have picked up over the years. I followed the instructions for the main skirt to construct the lining but didn’t add pockets to the lining. I hemmed the lining before pinning it to the inside of the main skirt and using my sewing machine to baste them together.

When making my toile of the dress I noticed that the instructions of the pattern, as clear and easy as they may be to follow, they are missing a few basic finishing steps that make the garment more professionally made.

When sewing the side seams of the main bodice and the lining together, the instructions don’t ask you to press the seams open. By pressing these seams, this will allow them to sit better once you sew the two bodices together.

The one thing about making my own clothes is I pride myself on being able to have skills to finish the inside of the garment like a store-bought one. The pattern lacked any instructions on finishing the side seams of the skirt or the pockets. I went ahead and used my overlocker before I started any construction of the garment and serged the skirt seams and when the pockets were sewed in, I used my pinking shears so the pockets wouldn’t fray.

 

I love the outcome of the dress. It will be a great summer basic to layer up with a cardigan when the weather isn’t great and dress up and down for evening and daywear as I wanted. I can see me on holiday in Turkey in August wearing this sitting with my kids in the evening enjoying a cocktail. The drape of the curved hem is perfect and I am glad I didn’t make the lining hem the same length.

 

I will be making this dress again; the construction and cutting are easy enough to get this made in a few hours so will be great for those last-minute holiday makes. I will go for the maxi dress option next time and maybe look at what a faux button trim down the bodice centre front would look like. I could see this fabric making amazing maxi dresses, summer blouses and on-trend summer PJ shorts and cotton vest-style PJ tops. It was a dream to work with.

The sun is out, I am off to take my dress for a spin!

Marsha

Cosplay project with Steph @stitchitmama

Jester Lavorre Cosplay Bodice

 

I’ve always loved the idea of cosplay and I’ve admired many cosplayers for their amazing creations and attention to detail. But when you’re a bit bigger than the ‘ideal’ size for most characters it tends to feel very much like something you can only look at and not participate in.

Enter Critical Role –  a weekly Twitch and YouTube stream of a group of friends playing Dungeons And Dragons who just happen to be popular voice actors. The CR fandom has produced some incredible cosplay pieces, including one of my absolute favourite characters – Jester Lavorre. The loveable ‘little blue tiefling’ cleric is played by Laura Bailey, and she has inspired a wide range of people to replicate her – even down to her love of pastries and her ‘Spiritual Weapon’ in the form of a gigantic lollypop!

Official Jester artwork by Ari @ornerine

The great thing about the Critical Role characters is that, although there are official character portraits, there is a degree of interpretation and artistic license in how they are portrayed. The CR fan base is well known for being diverse and supportive, so I figured it was a good place for me to dip my toe in the cosplay waters!

Jester’s outfit has many layers and elements, but for this Design Team Project, I decided to focus on her leather bodice. I used a metre of brown leatherette and decided to line it with brown polycotton to ensure it wasn’t too thick and heavy. I used pinking shears to clip all the seams to reduce as much bulk as possible.

I couldn’t actually find a pattern I liked, so I used a fairly unconventional approach I had seen several cosplayers recommend – cling film! I wrapped my torso in several layers making sure it sat properly on my curves, then drew the shape and seam lines onto the cling film with a marker. Once I was happy I cut the pieces out and laid them flat to create my pattern pieces, which were the perfect shape for my body. The great thing about the leatherette is that it has some stretch to it so it is much more forgiving than you’d think and very comfortable to wear! It was a lot easier to sew than I was expecting, though topstitching was a bit more tricky as it kept sticking to the presser foot. To remedy this I put a layer of plain white tissue paper on top of the leatherette and set the sewing machine to a slower speed so I could ensure I was keeping my lines as neat as possible. If you’re going to do this have some tweezers to hand – when you rip off the tissue paper little bits can remain in the stitches and it can take a good few minutes to remove them all!

For the finishing touches, I added brass jeans rivets to the straps and front panel. This was another element that was a lot simpler than I had previously thought – I assumed you needed a special tool to attach the rivets but all I needed was a hammer!

When I began this project I was concerned I had bitten off more than I could chew, but working with the leatherette and the hardware was no problem at all, and I am proud that I have begun my first cosplay piece on a good foot.

See you next time!

Steph

Lisa @lisa_loynes sews Posh PJs!

Hi lovely sewing peeps…

 

I am so pleased to be on the Sew Crafty Design Team along with a great bunch of talented sewists some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in real life too!

Sammy asked us to put together a wishlist of fabric and haberdashery and a plan of what we would make.  I quickly got to work browsing the online shop. It was a gorgeous sunny morning and I was sat having coffee dreaming of sitting outside on a balcony somewhere hot whilst drinking it in luxury pyjamas.  Then it hit me….I would make said pyjamas for my first project! I chose to make the Nina Lee London Piccadilly Pjs in a gorgeously soft white cotton dobby. Now….anyone who knows me will know that white and I are a definite no-no!  I’m way too clumsy for coffee in white pyjamas however it was in my head so I went with it and I’m sooo glad I did! I trimmed them with mint green bias binding which I added a fancy lace edge stitch from my machine in a slightly deeper turquoise embroidery thread and little bow-shaped mint green buttons.

I had previously made these and they were a little on the large side so decided to size down with this pair.  Other than sizing down the only other change I made was to use the pocket piece from the Closet Case Carolyn Pyjamas.

I tested a little of the bias with the lace edge to see if would work.  I gotta admit, I’m not one to make things easy for myself, I decided to go ahead with my plan.  After all, they were gonna be pure luxury right? I hadn’t anticipated how long it would take as I had to wash out the stabiliser and leave it to dry before I could do anything with it.   I set to work and cut all the pieces of bias for each pattern piece, placed the water-soluble stabiliser under it as the machine basically stitches onto the stabiliser then when it’s washed out leaves your lacy edge.  Voila!!

As I’d changed the pocket pieces I had a bit more room to play with so decided to use the embroidery machine to do some fancy motifs on the pockets to match the buttons.  I’ve never embroidered onto dobby fabric before but it worked out just perfectly.

Construction was pretty straight forward and once I got started they progressed relatively quickly.  I made sure to use plenty of pins around the sleeve head and arm. I didn’t want any mishaps at this late stage!

Now, it was time to put the buttonholes in and buttons on.  I hear lots of people saying they have issues with their machine “not liking” buttonholes but I’ve never had any issues whatsoever with any of my Pfaff machines.  I always use the buttonhole gauge to get the placement of my buttons precise. This pattern calls for 6 buttons but I only had 5 so decided to rework them to fit.  I ended up only using 4. I started by finding the buttonhole that would sit where the full bust is as I wanted to make sure that there was no gaping and put a pin in it.

Once all the buttonholes were in place I put on Fray Check.  I use this on all my makes as I feel the buttonholes look neater if this is used.  Once this had dried I used my buttonhole chisel (another invaluable item in my sewing room after a disaster using my un-picker for opening buttonholes!!)

I decided at this point that a fully elastic waistband would be adequate as so skipped the tie waist as per the pattern.  I made the waistband pieces as the pattern but attached the waistband, folded it over then stitched around leaving a gap to thread the elastic through using a safety pin.  This worked out just fine and I was glad I’d done this. All that was left was to attach the label so that I put them on the right way round! I always attach a post-it note to the front or back until I’ve attached a garment label as sometimes it can get a bit confusing which way round they go.

All that remained to do was sit in my chair with a glass of something bubbly in the sunshine to take piccies for my blogpost.  

I am super happy with how they turned out and my fabric choice.  The cotton dobby washed, ironed and sewed like an absolute dream and it is so perfectly white.   These really did turn out to be my luxury pyjamas. If you fancy making yourself some, Sew Crafty has this dobby in a few different colourways on their website.  

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.

See you next month!

Lisa

@lisa__loynes

Kathrine @paws_prints_and_patterns shows us her Sew Different Longline jacket…

The Sew Different Long Line Jacket

 

Back on a cold Monday morning in March, I had a lovely surprise when I found out that I’d won a Sew Different pattern in the So Visible Challenge run by @Sewover50 …

I browsed the Sew Different website and chose the lovely Long Line Jacket pattern. 

This wasn’t a pattern label I was previously familiar with and so it was great to find out that Laura is a fellow Yorkshire girl. The pattern arrived a few days later, beautifully presented, and I started to make plans.

Originally I imagined the jacket in dark indigo denim with contrasting pocket linings. However, when I found some gorgeous turquoise denim in the Sew Crafty shop, I could immediately see it with contrast in mustard yellow. The Figo lucky charms wishbone print was perfect.

I had my colours analysed years ago and turquoise was one of the colours I should apparently wear next to my face – so I expect lots of compliments when wearing my jacket!

My fabrics and threads arrived a few days later all beautifully packaged. I was ready to start…

The make…

The pattern itself is great to make. It has clear instructions, it is well-drafted and it comes together very nicely.

I would say that someone fairly new to sewing could manage this pattern as long as they follow the instructions carefully.

There are some interesting shapes and details which give the jacket a lovely finish. I especially love how the mitred corners look on the inside.

One of the corners gave me an issue (isn’t there always one?) but I think that was due to the slight stretch in the denim which meant that my cutting hadn’t been quite accurate enough. Perhaps my rotary cutter would’ve been better however I’m just healing a cut on my finger from a rotary accident so the cutter has been put away in shame for a while. Ouch.

I decided to use a Hong Kong finish on my inside seams. Hidden details please me and I think its nice when you hang a jacket over a chair if the inside also looks pretty.

I struggled to get the collar neat on the inside but after several attempts and quite a lot of unpicking, I’m happy with it. I also decided to add a facing to finish the bottom of the sleeves using the mustard contrast. This is just a little flash of hidden colour and provides a nice neat edge to the cuffs.

The photos were modelled in my garden just wearing the jeans and sandals I was already in but I’ve now worn the jacket on several both smart and casual occasions.

What’s next…

I’m all ready now planning further versions of the jacket, including a longer length one for the winter.

A lining would be easy but then I wouldn’t be able to have my pretty seams!

Can’t wait to get stuck into my next project!

Kathrine

Maria @apinchofsewing makes a beautiful summer blouse

Today Maria from @apinchfsewing

talks us through her choice of garment for the Sew Crafty Design Team project

Statement sleeves are definitely trendy and I really like the way they add a lovely detail to a garment!

I’ve had the Roho blouse by Coffee and Thread since it was released, but didn’t managed to make it until now! Even though the pattern offers a short sleeve option, more adequate to the warm weather that will hopefully soon arrive! My favourite is the long sleeve. There is also an option with the elasticised front but, as I wanted to showcase the beautiful fabric I opted for the non-elastic front. I think you’ll agree it was a good decision!

I made a size 2 according to my bust measurements. As the blouse is loosely fitted at the hips, I haven’t worried about that measurement, otherwise, I would have to grade a little.

The raglan sleeves have a shoulder pleat and elastic wrist that help shape and achieve this lovely effect. I also like that the neckline has facings, which I think looks neater than with bias, especially with this kind of fabric.

I chose to use the Pink and Lemon Blossom Print Viscose from Sew Crafty Online and it’s absolutely beautiful. The print, the colours and… the drape is dreamy.

I do adore a fabric with a lovely drape, even if that means that extra pins have to be used or that I have to be more careful sewing as it was the case with this fabric but, it was worth it. On the bright side of working with this fabric, it irons really well and hemming or making the elastic case wasn’t difficult.

The fabric, matching thread and elastic used in this project were provided by Sew Crafty Online but the opinion is my own and I can tell you that I am genuinely pleased with all the supplies. But you can see for yourself how gorgeous the fabric is and how perfect it is for projects that require fabric with some drape.

Thank you Sew Crafty Online for the supplies and you for reading.

Happy sewing,

Maria x

Carol’s @chatterstitch Kalle shirt with our Sevenberry Cotton

Hi there, I’ve got a little blog post to share with you
all about this gorgeous yarn-dyed cotton!

I saw this Sevenberry cotton on the Sew Crafty website and fell in love! It’s the perfect classic denim shirt colour, and when it arrived I was so not disappointed. The fabric has a lovely weight and structure and it’s perfect for so many on-trend garments right now.

I always pre-wash my fabric before cutting into it. I once neglected this stage and my gorgeous dress shrank the first time, I laundered it. So as soon as I received this, I popped it in my washing machine at 40 °C and then line dried. I absolutely love the nature of pure cotton, the way it washes and irons. So crisp and clean.  I couldn’t wait to get started and chose to make a Kalle Shirtdress from Closet case patterns.

There are three options with this pattern, a long shirtdress which falls at the knee a cropped version which is high-low with the front is at waist height. But as I’m a bit rounder in the middle than I’d like to be, I chose to make the mid-length. This gives sufficient coverage to allow the wearer to be unselfconscious, as it disguises the midriff! There is actually an exact double of my denim Kalle on the Closet case website, so I knew the look what I was aiming for.

If you’ve never made a shirt or shirt dress, I can strongly recommend the Kalle. Or even if you don’t like the pattern, you should still check out the Kalle sew along anyway as it’s so informative! Their simple collar tutorial is brilliant.

Although I’ve made collars before their manner of achieving a super crisp point is without rival!

As you sew up one of the short sides of the collar you insert a thread just before you turn, then turn and wrap the thread around the needle at the point of the collar (so you catch one stitch) Once you have stitched right round you can then use that thread to pull the collar point out!

The sew-along also gives a step by step Burrito yolk!

This is some kind of sorcery!

I’m really in love with my new Kalle shirtdress as I’m sure you can see! And the yarn-dyed cotton was the perfect fabric to make it in! The fabric is super, just gorgeous weight and quality, and it comes in five delicious colours!

As well as crisp shirts it would also be lovely made into a summer skirt or dress, I think it would make fabulous box pleats as the cotton holds creases so beautifully! Or, even lightweight Lander pants!

But as for my Kalle, I’m certainly going to get loads of wear from this throughout the summer, and as its natural fabric, it will keep me cool and fresh. Then once the seasons start to change, I’m planning on wearing a long-sleeved tee underneath.

What will you make?? ☺

Carol

Welcome to the new Samantha Claridge Studio Design team 2019!

Once again our call for talented sewing enthusiasts has been answered and we are pleased to welcome our new Samantha Claridge Studio Design team for 2019!

This wonderful team of designers will be creating projects and tutorials with our products to inspire you to get your make on. Each week we will link up their posts here and share their projects on Instagram, so make sure you are following us @sewcraftyshop and check out the #scdesignteam to keep up with all the team’s creations.

So here they are! Why not give them a follow and check out their blogs!…

Hello, I’m Jenny, I’ve been sewing for more than 20 years in various forms. I trained as a costume maker and nowadays I sew most of my own wardrobe and enjoy any sort of hand sewing I can do on the sofa!

Follow Jenny’s Blog – https://jennystitched.wordpress.com
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Sewist, psychologist, Londoner, traveller.  Alexa loves making clothes, particularly using her vintage patterns. She’s a little obsessed by 70s patterns and is currently trying not to drown under her fabric stash.

Follow Alexa over on her blog now: almostahippy.blogspot.com

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Hi! My name is Ali and I live in Birmingham with my hubby and two gorgeous kiddy winks. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really got into sewing. And over the last 30 something years, I’ve been crafty in general! I’ll have a go at most things but it seems crochet, embroidery and paper crafts have stuck with me alongside the sewing. I like making clothes for my family as well as incorporating my crafts into my home décor.

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Hi there, I’m Carol
although most people will know me as Chatterstitch!! Although I’m a scientist by day I’m a sewist by night. I chose this Instagram and blog name as it really is what I’m all about!! Just chatting and stitching! Although I have sewn since I was a girl (3rd gen) I’ve recently found a new enthusiasm as I’m really loving the social media and indie pattern side. I’m so excited to be part of the sew crafty design team and I can’t wait to share my makes with you all!

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Clare has been running Miss Maker for 6 years and juggles her time between looking after two little people; endless crafting, dressmaking and interiors projects of her own; providing an ever-expanding range of sewing and craft courses; creating easy to use patterns for small projects; freelance craft writing and creating individual fabric commissions.

Check out Miss Maker on her website and blog now: www.missmaker.co.uk

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I’m Sally aka the Yorkshire Sewist I’m also the joint organiser of Sew Up North – a sewing meet up in Leeds. Wife to my childhood sweetheart and Mama to 2 boys and a man mog. My day job is an Activities Coordinator for a Learning Disabilities home and it’s so rewarding. I’ve been sewing for nearly 5 years now and never looked back, must admit though I am a selfish sewer!
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Hi, I’m Kathrine, self-confessed sewing addict and dog lover! I’m a mum of four children and grandma to two granddaughters. 3 years ago, I made a huge life decision to leave my job as a Primary School Head Teacher and this has allowed me to live life in my
way and to follow my passions. I have been sewing for as long as I can remember, I was taught by my gran over 50 years ago sitting by her side using her old Singer machine.

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Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a 45-year-old married mum to 3 girls. I live out in the countryside in a little village between Sheffield and Huddersfield. I started sewing when 2 of my girls did competitive figure skating and ice dancing just so I was able to make their practice clothes. This soon progressed to me making their competition dresses too. As they got older and GCSE’s were looming they decided that they wanted to quit skating to concentrate on their education. I missed sewing and it had become a passion so I started to make clothing for myself, the girls and my mum. I found Instagram and the sewing community and have met some lovely people, some I have had the pleasure of meeting in real life too! As I write this I’m only active on Instagram and am currently trying to pluck up the courage to start a blog. I am Looking forward to getting to know more of you lovely sewists out there!

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I’m Lucy a photographer by day and crafter by night, based in Liverpool. I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember(thanks to my mum) and sew everything from cross stitch patterns, cushions & bits for the house, to clothes. I used to mainly alter ready to wear clothes but got back into dressmaking in the last year as a way to switch off from a busy work schedule. I’m loving making a me-made wardrobe for me and my husband, and love making gifts for my niece’s.
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I’m Maria and in a past lifetime, I worked at an industrial hazardous waste management company. After changing my life completely, sewing appeared in my life and slowly but surely it becomes a big part of it and more than just a hobby. I started sewing for my girls and sometime later for myself. One of the things I like the most in sewing is a neat finishing and a beautiful garment inside and out. Also, I like the fact that there is always something new to learn.
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I’m Marsha, 36 and a mum to three girls. I have been sewing on and off since I was 16. Moving to Britain from Australia when I was 19 and have only got back into sewing 7 years ago. I love sewing for myself and my kids.

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Hi! I’m Natalie and I am 33 years old. I live in Maidenhead with my husband and 2-Year-Old Daughter. I used to sew as a child; bought a sewing machine about 5 years ago to make a patchwork quilt but then only took it up again about 6 months ago and can’t stop! My little girl and making presents for people is where I usually end up with my sewing but now looking to make things for myself. I love all crafts; I have been doing Scrapbooking and card making since I was at university and I have a rather serious obsession for all things Disney which has found its way into my sewing 🙂 I cant wait to get started as part of the design team and learn from these amazing sewing experts!

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Hello! My name is Romy and I live in Coventry. I’ve been sewing for around 3 and a half years and love making clothes with cute prints you wouldn’t find in the shops.  My favourite garments to sew are fit and flare dresses and jersey tops.  I’m really looking forward to trying new fabrics and patterns for the Sew Crafty blog!

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Rudy got her sewing machine for Christmas 2014 and has taught herself to sew in the following months. She professes to still be very much a beginner but loves to sew clothes, to quilt, and to do papercrafts. She loves to experiment with new techniques and keeping herself learning.

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I’m Rachel a stitchy obsessive from Yorkshire, I live with my husband, son and mammoth fabric stash that is out of control. I’ve been sewing for 5 years now and although primarily a dressmaker has just ventured into bag making too which is a whole new world of haberdashery items to drool over. In my non-sewing time, I’m a nurse practitioner, trying to balance a busy workload, being a mum and wife and a love of running along with finding time with my sewing machine is always a challenge!

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My name is Steph, I am a busy mama, sewer, designer and all-round geek girl! I love to design and sew unique toys and dolls, cute clothing (particularly kids clothing) and I am now dipping my toe into the waters of cosplay! if I’m not at my sewing machine there’s a good chance I’m working on my digital illustration or planning my next D&D campaign.
Check out Stphs new Blog: www.stephwalker.wixsite.com/dungeonmama     ( much more content very soon!)

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Keep your eyes peeled for the project blog posts to come, they are corkers! 

Sammy’s Top Sewing Tips Vol.1

I have gathered together some of my favourite sewing tips for you today, I love learning new sewing tips and tricks, they can make the time sat at your machine or rumageing through your stash so much more relaxing and enjoyable. Some may be obvious or seem like common sense and others are true light bulb moments, but whichever they are for you I hope you enjoy them and put them to use in your own creative pursuits.

Threads:

  • If you’re not sure which colour to use on a jazzy fabric try and stick to the most dominant colour or the colour of the background. If there isn’t an obvious choice go for the darkest colour, it will always show less that a lighter thread.
  • The same theory applies when trying to match a thread colour in general, if you can’t find a perfect match go a shade darker as it will show less.
  • Threads will always look darker on the reel than off it as a single strand. Guttermann threads have a little magic trick to help, their bottoms are loose so you can twist them to free the thread loose to check it against your fabric.

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. 

Tricky fabrics:

  • If you are sewing with waxed fabric or pvc, leatherette or anything sticky you will need a Teflon foot to get a smooth stitch. Not go one of those? Dive into a drawer and use some trusty Scotch magic tape (the one that is slightly misty) to cover the bottom of your normal foot. It is a great alternative until you can get a hold of the real thing. 
  • Sewing jersey or anything stretchy or slippery? Sandwich your fabric with tissue paper to get an even stitch. Or use scraps of interfacing which you can then remove by tearing away when you have finished.
  • Tack, tack, tack. It may seem laborious but it will be worth it in the end.
Patterns:
  • Taken your measurements but still unsure which size to cut out from your pattern sheet? Take a garment similar to the one you want to make that you like the fit of and lay it over the pattern pieces. This will give you a good idea of whether you are on the right track with sizing.
  • If you are working with tricky chiffon or jersey fabrics try cutting out your pattern with a rotary cutter and mat. It stops the fabric from moving around as much as when you use scissors. 

Scissors:

  • Always keep your best scissors for cutting only fabric, cutting paper (even pattern tissue) will blunt them faster. Also avoid using them on beaded or sequin fabrics unless you remove the embellishments from your seam edges first. Avoid wired edge ribbon too.
  • Don’t waste your money on cheap scissors, especially pinking shears. Generally speaking you get what you pay for with scissors. A good pair, well looked after should last you a lifetime. 

Thats it for this round, but I would love to know any of  your top tips for sewing. Is there anything else you need or want to know more about? let us know in the comments and check out some of our other tips and quick guide posts by searching ‘tips’ in the search bar. 

Sammy x

ANTHROPOLOGIE INSPIRED CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Anthropologie is one of my absolute favourite places to visit, both in-store and online. I always love flicking through their mailshots and like most of you, wish I could afford to buy everything! However just occasionally I see things and think, ‘Whoa I could totally make that for half the price’ and have the fun of making it myself along the way. This years Christmas decoration collection was the perfect example and I thought I would share what I ended up making.

Pom Pom Wreath
I absolutely love this pompom wreath, I love the textures and the soft colours but I could not justify the price tag! I used a mixture of soft wools and my trusty Clover pompom maker to recreate this lovely door wreath for my own home. I simply hot glued the pompoms I made onto a cardboard ring I cut from a box and hung it with some sparkly ribbon. 

Monogram decorations
How beautiful are these beaded initial decorations, I love them, but not all the colours were to my taste so I used my felt and bead stash to recreate the letters I wanted in the colours that matched my scheme. I simply drew and cut out the letters from felt then stitched around with embroidery thread before stuffing them to make them rounded. To embellish I just jumped into my bead boxes and used some yummy bugle beads and sparkles. You could easily replace this step with some glue if you didn’t want to sew all the beads in place.

Pom Pom garland
This garland was a no brainer, I just used the leftover pompoms from my wreath and joined them together to make a garland to string in my tree, or maybe on our stairway? 
Do you have any favourite Anthropologie ‘hacks’ or inspired tutorials? If you do, link them up in the comments so we can all go and take a look and get inspired.

Lots of love
Sammy xxx