Back to school – DIY Project bag tutorial!

I can’t believe we are thinking about back to school already…it’s been such a bizarre year! Back to school may mean the return to school for your kids, you if you are a teacher or nursery carer or just marking the start of the Autumn and a new begininng!

When it comes to Autumn I get excted about the prospect of cosy evenings snuggled up with a hot drink doing some mindful stitching or making some new garments with more of a winter feel.

This year it’s also going to be about getting organised and trying to get back into some sort of routine. 

 

I’ve been scouting Pinterest for a useful bag to store projects or for my daughter to use for school (PE kit etc) and have found some really gorgeous drawstring cotton bags. I’ve adapated the design slightly and come up with a good sized bag perfect for carrying a few craft bits, knittong, make-up, school stuff or just for your wallet keys, face mask etc! It’s an adaptable pattern and could also be used for a lunch bag with some wipe clean fabric.

This works brillaintly in the Rico cotton canvas in Rose   but would also work brilliantly with quilting cotton….a little patchwork one would be fabulous! I’ll definitely be making a few more of these!

You will need:

1/2 metre fabric for lining and main body of bag. I used the same fabric for both but you could make the top drawstring part of the bag from a contrast fabric.

1/4m iron on interfacing (I used a heavy weight one as I wanted a very structured bag but be mindful this created very thick layers to work with whilst sewing!) 

28″ of 25mm webbing or similar

64″ cotton cord

Scissors

Cut the fabric as per the template below and use a 1cm seam allowance unless otherwise instructed…

Step 1.

Pin outer bag fabric with right sides together and stitch along long bottom edge. Press seam open.

Step 2.

Press interfacing to wrong side of outer bag fabric. the interfacing is slightly smaller than the main fabric

Step 3.

Once you have ironed on the interfacing, fold this piece in half with right sides together and stitch down each short side.

Step 4.

Now we are going to make some box corners. Pinch the corners making sure the seam line down the side of the bag matches with the fold line along the bottom .

Step 5.

Measure 2″ up from the point and mark a line across the corner. Pin in place and stitch across this line and trim the excess away. Repeat for the side.

Step 6.

That is your outher bag ready for the rest of construction! Give the seams a little press and marvel at those box corners…so very satisfying!

Step 7.

Take your two pieces of webbing and pin to the outer bag 3″ in from each side seam on both the front and the back and stitch in place using a small 0.5cm seam allowance.

Step 8.

Now to prepare the lining. Fold the lining piece in half with right sides together and stitch down each short side, leave a gap of 3″ in one of the side seams, this is where we will turn our bag through later!

Step 9.

Prepare the box corners in the same way you did for the outer bag in steps 4 & 5. You don’t need to turn the lining right side out as it will be attached to the main bag as it is.

Step 10.

To make the top drawstring part of the bag. Fold each piece of bag top fabric in half length ways with wrong sides together and give them a good press with a hot iron

Step 11.

Pin the two top pices together with right sides facing and at each short end mark a 1″ point either side of the centre crease you ironed into the fabric in step 10. This will become the channel for the rope later. Stitch down both sides leaving this 2″ gap open on each end.

Step 12.

Press the seams open and top stitch down each side of the seam you have just sewn, close to the edge, to make a neat opening for the cord to go through.

Step 13.

Fold the channel in half with wrong sides together and the raw edges meeting and press.

Step 14.

Mark a line 1″ from the top fold (where the holes for the cord are) and stitch all the way round, this will be the channel for the cord.

Step 15.

Now we are going to attach the channel we just made to the main bag. With right sides together pin the cord channel to the bag making sure to match the side seams. Stitch al the way around.

Step 16.

Now to add the lining! Pop the bag inside the lining, right sides together and pin the raw edges. stitch all the way around using a 1.5cm seam allowance.

Step 17.

Turn the bag through the hole we left on the lining. Stitch the gap closed. Give it a press and then top stitch all the way around the bag just below the handles to hold the layers neatly together.

Step 18.

Add the cord drawstring by thread through one of the pieces starting at one end (I used a safety pin to help puch it through) then do the same on the other side of the bag and tie both ends in a knot.

There you have it! This is a really great make…we can’t wait to see yours! If you do give this a go make sure to tag us on instagram using #sccrafty

Bottle green bellissima jersey top

Sally's Somerset top and trying a new colour...

 

I don’t know about you guys but I always seem to stick with one colour when it comes to tops, mine seems to be navy but when it came to my next project for Samantha Claridge Studio, I thought I would be a bit daring!

So I chose the delightful Bottle Green Bellissima Jersey with 2 way stretch and it’s so soft with wonderful drape. 

I used my sewing planner to make sure I wrote down what size I made and for future reference so I can remember if I made any adjustments as I do have a terrible memory at times!

With this beautiful fabric being 60” wide I was able to get my top cut out on the double fold to save on how much fabric I used.

As always, I tried my stitch lengths on a scrap bit of my fabric to make sure I got the tension right as nothing worse than popped seams whilst wearing!

This pattern calls for either tape or iron on edge tape  to stabilise the shoulder seams to help them not to stretch out and  the Viliene Seam Tape I’ve used here does the job brilliantly and it’s a steal a £1 for 3m.

The construction of this top was really easy and the instructions were clear. I love using a twin needle to top stitch, it finishes off a garment really nicely.

The only part of the construction that blagged my head was using shirring elastic to gather, which I haven’t done before but again the instructions were clear and was able to do this easily!

Of course my sewing assistant was at hand at times hahaha!

Here is the finished top, modelled by moi in my newly decorated bedroom

The only adjustments I made was to use the ¾ sleeve instead of the full length sleeve as I do have short arms and this fitted perfectly and made a straight size 16.

Happy Sewing!

Sally x

Sally’s Asteria Dress project with peonie print stretch cotton

Hi Everyone! 

Hope you’re all well in the current climate we are all living in, hat a strange place it is isn’t it?

For my next Project for Samantha Claridge Studio I wanted something summery to brighten up my days and when I saw this fabric it fitted the bill perfectly! It’s called Peonie Print Stretch Cotton and it’s a Medium weight cotton fabric with viscose and 3% elastane so it can work with an array of patterns that needs a bit of give from trousers to dresses and anything else you fancy inbetween.

 

Now I did decide to make a tried and tested Hawthorn Dress by Colette Patterns but when Jenifer Lauren Handmade brought out the Asteria Dress it was just destiny. Come on how doesn’t love a vintage inspired dress with pockets!

I’m finally getting on top on my health conditions, even managing to lose some of the medication weight and its finally showing in my makes so I ended up making a size 14 with no adjustments.

The fab thing about this fabric too as its extra wide so I was able to double fold my fabric when it came to cutting out the bodice so I wasn’t wasting any fabric.

Phew, all cut out, it was handy to having my sewing planner to tick off the pieces I cut and made sure I didn’t forget anything!

Now when I start sewing I always need a good cup of coffee to keep me going, this one was a cherry bakewell flavoured coffee

This Dress came together really quickly and love the facing that is used in this pattern as it gets the square neckline down to a T!

Before I stitched in the ditch of my facing to the bodice I put in quite an apt label as I do have a man mog that likes to assist in my sewing adventures… well, sit on everything that I need at the time!

The instructions called for the sleeves to be set in, personally I hate this method so I went against the grain and put them in flat before sewing up the side seams.

Then onto the pockets and skirt pieces and before I knew it I had the dress made! Also remembering to grade my seams down before finishing them which made quite a mess hahaha!

So here is my finished dress and I totally love it! It’s so summery and just the right amount of vintage style yet modern and the waist ties cinch it in really well.

I even managed to get some Alfresco sewing out in the garden which is a bonus! Does anyone else do this?

Happy Sewing!

Sally x 



Meet our #scdesignteam an interview with @Chatterstitch

This week we chat to Carol AKA @chatterstitch about her sewing journey, what inspires her and what her future sewing plans are…

 

In my real life my name is Carol (with no e) as my Dad forgot when he registered me! I’m Mum to two and Grandma to one! I live in the beautiful county of Yorkshire about half an hour from the sea!

When did you start sewing?

 I started Sewing when I was probably about 10! Which is quite a few years ago!

What do you like about sewing?

I love looking at beautiful fabrics then taking them and shaping them into clothes I can wear, every item is unique to me.

What is your favourite ever make?

What-ever I made last! So, at the moment my Summit Pack made from your Figo fabrics!

What inspires your makes?

Fabrics, I see a fabric I love and then have to find the perfect pattern to use it with!

How do you keep track of all your ideas?

I love to use my Sew Crafty Journal!

What are your favourite fabrics to work with?

Natural fabrics, usually with a small discrete pattern or a plain gorgeous colour!

What other sewing bloggers do you follow/ find inspiring?

My daughter (@sewstainability inspires me all the time) particularly around sustainable makes.

Also @sunnydayz06 as she’s an amazing @sewover50 maker and @victorialucerne her images are fab.

Where do you sew?

I’m very lucky to have my very own room to sew in, the good thing is nobody complains if I make a mess and leave it to come back to, I can just sew for 10 minutes if that’s all I’ve got!

What is your favourite sewing tool and why?

I love my Janome machines, I have a complete set Computerised machine, overlocker and coverstitch (all Janome)

What would be your dream project?

A red carpet gown!

What are your sewing plans for this year?

My son is getting married later this year and I’m planning on making my Mother of the Groom outfit this year so watch this space!

Next time we chat with @lastminutelisa!

Planning my pastel gingham dress of dreams!

As soon as Sammy uploaded these new gingham cottons to the shop I was all over them like a rash! I’ve always loved gingham and these pastel colours are so happy, summery and pretty and I want to make all my dresses out of them!

My first instinct was to make a Tilly and the Buttons Seren dress with tie straps and patch pockets using a mixture of these two pastel beauties…and to be honest that’s probably exactly what I will do…but I also started searching Instagram and Pinterest for more inspiration and came across some amazing dresses that would also work brilliantly. So here is my run down of the best gingham styles to replicate this summer…

The dress on the left with it’s square neckline and slit detail sleeves reminded me of the By Hand London Jenna dress. This pattern could easily be hacked to omit the back zip and instead create a full placket at the front and lengthen the skirt.

The middle picture with its shirt style top and tierred skirt could be replicated with the McCall’s M7351 by adding a frill to the front bodice and using four tiers of fabric to create the skirt.

The simple sundress on the far right is a classic way to use gingham and looks so pretty paired with a beaded bag and some strappy sandals. You could get this look using the Avid Seamstress Sundress pattern

I absoloutely love the combination of a few different ginghams to create a fun modern look and will probably make myself a (another) Sew Liberated Hinterland dress or a By Hand London Hannah dress out of gingham for the winter but perhaps in a darker colour.

Whatever style I go for though, I know I’ll have a fun dress, perfect for picnics and sunny days out as gingham never goes out of style!

…and I’ll definitely be making myself a matching bag to go with it too!

Do you love gingham or does it give you school summer dress vibes? 

What would you make?

I’ll keep you posted with my make…better get to it before the summer is gone!

Debbie x

New fabrics in stock!

We’ve had some beautiful new fabrics in this week and some old faves re-stocked!

From viscose crepe to on-trend ginghams we have got your summer and Autumn sewing covered!

These fabulous viscose crepes are £8.50 p/m and 140cm wide. They would make a beautiful blouse, dress or jumpsuit. We’ve put together a selection of patterns we think would be perfect for showing off this gorgeous print…

Clockwise from left:

Fibremood –  Norma Blouse

Friday Pattern Company – Adrianna Blouse

Friday Pattern Company – The Hilo Dress

Gingham is huge again this summer. Giving us all the picnic vibes our new pinks and purples in these yummy pastel shades are perfect for girly summer dresses!

From £3.50 per half metre it’s a great fabric to experiment with.

We scoured Pinterest for some gingham inspiration. Mixing and matching scale and colours give a really modern feel to this vintage inspired fabric…

Stripes are always in! We’ve got two new cotton poplins and a re-stock of the linen mix stripes that have been very popular…

Stripes are a great choice for shirts and skirts. playing with stripe directions also gives a modern feel.

Below are a few ideas to get you inspired!

We’ve also had some gorgeous super soft leopard print double gauze in. It has a soft grey/ blue background. Double gauze is very simply, two layers of fine gauze that are woven together at regular intervals with little stab stitches which are undetectable from the right side of the fabric. A fabulous textile for adult and children’s clothes. This is £7.50 per metre and 130cm wide.

Closet Case Patterns – Clare coat

I’ve wanted to make a coat for a while, mostly to challenge myself, but also because I’ve got a couple of coats which have seen better days! But this particular coat has been quite the undertaking – but then I knew it would be and the understanding was that I would take my time with it because there are so many techniques that I hadn’t done before… but more of that later.
 
For my next project for the Samantha Claridge Studio Design Team I wanted to make the Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat since I’d had the pattern hanging around for about six months! I’d also been looking at the fuchsia wool mix coating on the website and thought that the pairing would work beautifully. And, of course, back in December it was the perfect time of year to make a wool coat! I needed 3m of the coating and 2m of a lining and chose a silver polyester lining from the website.
The wool is washable so the first thing I did was put that and the lining in a 30 degree wash. The wool came out totally uncreased but the lining needed a good press and I found throughout the project that the lining creased easily and regularly needed ironing. I was careful not to use too much heat on the wool just in case, which didn’t help with the seams. It also took on an orange tinge when too hot but this faded with cooling.
 
Before I started I did some research on the coat and found a few references to it being tight across the back. The sizing put me in the 14 range but I decided to size up because of these concerns – and I’m glad I did. The size across the hip is fine but the shoulders would have been tight if I wanted to wear a thick jumper underneath.
 
I’m not one to trace the pattern pieces, I just go ahead and cut them out.  And for this project I’m glad I did because there were 9 pieces of main coat to cut out, 6 pieces of lining and 12 pieces of interfacing, 27 in total… phew! That little lot took me long enough, but then I had another hour and a half standing at the ironing board fusing the interfacing to the shell pieces and I am generally NOT a person who irons! Had I not been so excited about my new coat I might have given up at the first hurdle! But on I went since the first few steps were relatively simple and this filled me with confidence. 
 
As I said earlier, there were a few techniques in the construction of this coat that I’d never done before, and this was one of the reasons I wanted to make it, to try and challenge myself. 
Never have I ever…
 
* worked with wool
* made a two piece sleeve
* lined a garment
* used the bagging out technique
 
I must admit, every time I put the coat to one side I found it increasingly hard to come back to. As it got further along I became more and more daunted at the prospect of finishing it. My brain was telling me that the next steps were difficult so I kept putting it off, when in fact all of it was a series of relatively simple tasks, it’s just there was a lot of them! I found the sew along on the Closet Case website really useful, especially in the latter stages. With hindsight I think a tailors ham or clapper might have been useful for the sleeves but I made do. 
 
But finish it, I did! And since the fabric was gifted I kinda had to!!! But I do really love it and the colour… oh boy, all the heart eyes!!! The thing that drew me to the pattern was the collar. It’s a real statement piece and I’m looking forward to wearing it with pride!
 
The giant poppers were from Amazon, 12 for about £5, and are about 1″ in diameter.
 
 
Thank you so, so, sew much to Samantha for agreeing to this project and letting me have this beautiful fabric and the time to do it justice. Everyone should have a coat in this colour – it induces all the happy feels and makes the dreariest of days significantly brighter!
 
 

Simplicity bag project

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all keeping well and are able to distract yourselves from the mad world we find ourselves in. I normally live and work in London but decided to decamp to my parents’ house for the duration and luckily brought my sewing machine with me, so have been finding some escapism in that every evening.

I decided on this project before any dreams of a holiday were dashed, so I’ll just have to enjoy my new toiletries bag from home.

I fancied making something that wasn’t clothes and have had this pattern in my stash for years – I think I bought it in my first year of sewing. It’s described as a jewellery roll in the pattern but it’s quite big – I never take that much jewellery away with me – so I think it’s better used for toiletries. I though it would be a nice, easy project but it was actually quite time consuming. I’ve never quilted anything before and that was quite a long process, so I can’t imagine quilting a whole, bed-sized quilt! Quilters of the world, respect! But I had my trusty walking foot which was essential and made the process a lot easier.

I used the lovely rainbow fabric (now out of stock but this is also lovely)  with a pink contrast cotton (similar here )with the pockets made from this mesh and clear PVC 

 

I did enjoy seeing it come together, and it was fairly easy once I got my head around how it was constructed. You quilt the main body and top and bottom pockets, and then sew the middle pockets and zips together separately. Then you attach them all at the end and bind around the edges.

It was a bit tricky to sew by the end as it gets quite thick with all the layers and on my machine you can’t adjust the presser foot height, but we got there in the end. I foolishly cut my bias binding too narrow so it was quite hard to attach, but it’s fine if you don’t look too closely!

I’m really happy with the finished object and will definitely be using it to keep my toiletries organised. I also added a cute Kylie and the Machine label so everyone knows I made it (though I’d probably tell them first anyway)! I might try to add a popper too to keep it closed when it’s rolled up. There are plenty of other items in the pattern set but I’m not sure I have the patience to make a whole bag!

 

What have you been making while you’re stuck at home?

 

 

My handmade wardrobe – saving a sewing fail!

We’ve all been there…got excited about a new pattern, ordered the perfect fabric and made it up while dreaming of when and where you are going to wear this brand new me-made dress…then the disappointment when you try it on and it just doesn’t quite look right! URGH!!
 
One of my make nine this year was the McCall’s M7590…
I chose to make this in plaid from the shop…
 
I happily started cutting. When I got to the straps I felt that were too thin…but I’d already sewn the bodice together and understitched so I couldn’t be bothered to un-pick it all! I added the full skirt (it’s huge and so long…bearing in mind I’m 5″8, I’d have taken a good few inches off it) The dress swamped me, I’m not sure if it was the fullness of the gathers or the way the pattern lay on the bodice but it was not good, the proportions of this were just off on me…I didn’t even take any pics as I was so disappointed!
 
I don’t know about you but when I have a sewing fail it really knocks my sewjo and I just left it on my dressmaker dummy for about a month not knowing what to do with it. I thought about cutting it up and making something for my little one but I loved the fabric so much and was determined to have a dress from it. About a week ago I made myself a #hinterland dress (pattern from Sew Liberated) ina gorgeous rusty linen mix fabric and it came together so easily and was so flattering I had the idea to cut up this McCall’s dress and see If I had enough fabric left over to make a bodice to add to the full skirt.
 
Luckily I had about a metre left, just enough to get a bodice front and back and some short sleeves.
So I cut away the bodice from the skirt (which I had so carefully hand stitched the lining in place…wahhhh!)
 
Then I also cut the placket off the front of the skirt as it was just too full, that reduced some of the bulk but I still had a fully made up skirt with pockets ready to add to a new bodice…very happy! I took a few inches off the skirt at the top and re-gathered it, ready to attach to the new hinterland bodice.
 
It worked so well and I’ve worn this dress out on a (Social distancing) stroll with my sis in law already! It’s so comfy and just my style! I’m so glad I managed to rescue this one. I think I’ll try the McCalls pattern again but make some adjustments next time. I think it needs a lighter weight fabric (my bad) and thicker straps and it will be a lovely summer dress…I’ll keep you posted!
 
Who else has had any fails recently, did you manage to rescue them? I think with the amount of sewing I’ve been doing some of it is bound to go wrong!
 
Debbie x