Watercolour Rainbow Rocks Viscose meets the Myosotis dress

Have you seen the fabulous new viscose prints we have in stock? From rainbow watercolours to galaxy and marble prints these new vibrant dressmaking fabrics have us all in a spin!

Debbie immediately snapped up the Rainbow Rocks Viscose print and whipped up a wardrobe fave…the Deer and Doe Myosotis dress with a few hacks!)

She chose Hemline self-covered buttons to use up the leftover scraps from the dress and to give a professional finish. They are a little fiddly but well worth the effort as you can see!

Debbie omitted the collar on the Myosotis dress and replaced it with a new curbed front and self-drafted facing.

Added waist ties, some extra volume to the sleeve, 3 rows of shirring with some Gutermann shirring elastic, and a little ruffle hem to finish it off…its’ the perfect bright and breezy summer dress…and of course it has pockets!

What would you make with these fun and bold prints?

Window check viscose faux jumpsuit

Hi you lovely lot, Debbie here!

I’m still on my journey to create my handmade wardrobe. It started a year ago during lockdown 1.0 and it been a really interesting year in terms of growth with my sewing, figuring out my style, and focussing on pieces I need. 

I’ve always loved dresses. Dressmaking for myself has not really been something I’ve really ever done though would you believe! I much preferred making for other people, my shop and doing projects for magazines etc. During last spring/ summer I thought I’d make a few pretty dresses in anticipation of the end of lockdown…little did we all know how long that would take to come and we are still a little way off a year later!

I fell into the trap of wanting to sew all the latest patterns…and there have been loads released in the last year! I’m at the point now where I really know what suits me, what I’ll actually get wear out of and not to get sucked into the newest pattern without really considering how it would fit into my wardrobe…that’s not to say there won’t be some rouge additions…sometimes you just cant help fall for that pretty pattern right?!

 

When I saw this Window grid viscose arrive in the shop I knew it would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. My initial idea was to make a dress…but I have loads of dresses so maybe a jumpsuit? 

I’ve seen loads of sewists on Instagram make matching trousers/ skirts and tops and style them like a one-piece and let’s face it jumpsuits can be a pain when you need the loo!

I’ve worn my Style Arc Bob Pants in denim to death since I made them a few months ago so knew a new pair would be a great use of this gorgeous soft viscose and chose to pair it with an Ogden Cami for a really summery comfy outfit.

This black colourway is now out of stock but you can buy the blue version here!

This would work with any cotton or viscose though as both of these patterns are designed for woven fabrics.

Both of these patterns are super quick to make, once cut out they probably took me just over an hour each to whip up!

Now I’ve got two really wearable pieces to add to my me-made wardrobe which will mix and match with my t-shirts, jeans and jumpers. You could even layer a body under the Ogden cami if it’s a bit chilly.

These would also make fabulous Pajamas!

I’ll definitely make these again…a velvet set for winter would be divine!

Are you dress obsessed like me or do you prefer separates?

Below are some other fabrics I think would work fabulously for this set… 

Debbie x

 

Fabric suggestions:

The Nina Lee London Spring dress in mustard double gauze fabric

Alexa's floaty summer dress

 

 

This project feels like a bit of a design collaboration!

I had ordered this gorgeous double gauze with a totally different project in mind and then Sally posted this photo (below) with the latest Simply Sewing Magazine and my sewing (and weekend) plans suddenly changed! 

The @NinaLeeLondon Spring dress on the cover of the magazine just felt like such a good match for the double gauze. Double gauze feels like such a floaty summer material and this one is just a bit more opaque and maybe slightly thicker than other double gauzes that I have worked with which has the advantage of meaning that it isn’t at all transparent. 

Sammy currently has these beautiful double gauze fabrics in stock as well as some remnants of the mustard double gauze…

The pattern is really speedy and comes together easily. I am 173cm tall and felt that it looked like it would be way too short. As I have a long torso, I added 5cm to the bodice. I think the bodice is supposed to end above the waist so I’ve probably added a bit much length there. I like where the hem lands though, just above my knee, so overall adding 5cm has worked! 

The only challenge with sewing double gauze is whether or not to press as it ‘grows’ as the crinkles iron out. In addition, the gold printing on this fabric did not like being near the iron! I used a pressing cloth and only ironed where necessary, basically on the neckline and cuffs. 

This feels like such a good dress for floating around in the sunshine that I hope we’re going to get soon! The double gauze is so comfy to wear, so for those of you looking to upgrade from lounge wear, this is the way to go! Happy sewing!

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.

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

Christmas Crafting! Re-usable bottle gift bag

10 Minute reversible fabric bottle bag!

Gifting wine or a bottle of something yummy this year? Forget about buying gift bags that are hard to recycle and make a quick and festive fabric bag that will add something extra special to your gift and can be re-used for years to come! I love the idea of this bottle bag doing the rounds between family and friends!

I used this penguin print matched with a black and white star print fabric for a fun look but raid your stash and get creative…you could use a plain fabric and jazz it up with some fun trimmings, make a patchwork version or use metallic fabric for some extra sparkly goodness!

If you are interested in some other sustainable ways of wrapping gifts you should also check out Christine Leech’s new book ‘Zero Waste Gift Wrap’

“Embrace zero waste living with this collection of sustainable gift wrap solutions including furoshiki, the traditional Japanese technique of fabric knotting. What could be nicer than receiving a present AND the beautiful scarf it’s wrapped in!
Whether you use a vintage silk scarf or create your own fabric with patchwork, piecing and dyeing techniques, or reuse unwanted items to make quirky gift wraps – this collection is packed full of ideas for reducing waste.”

 

For this project you will need:

Outer fabric – 12″ x 16″

Lining fabric – 12″ x 16″

16″ piece of ribbon or string to tie the bag

 

Step one

Fold each piece of fabric right sides together longways so that each piece measures 6 x 16 inches. Then sew down the long raw edge and the bottom raw (making an L-shape) using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Step two

Next, we are going to ‘box’ the corners on each side of the bottom of the bag. With the sewn fabric still right sides together use both hands to pinch and pull apart the corner. As you pull the fabric will begin to form a little peak with the corner point at the top and the seam lines running down the middle of the front and back. Align these side and bottom seams. Place a pin in it to hold it together and measure 1.5″ down from the point and mark a line and stitch. Do the same for the other side and the lining.

Step three

Clip off the excess on the corners making sure you don’t cut your stitching. Do this on both the main fabric and the lining.

Step four

Now turn the main fabric right side out and keep the lining inside out.

Step five

Iron a 1cm hem on both bags, ironing the hem inwards on the main fabric and outwards on the lining so when you put the lining inside the main fabric bag the hems are facing.

Step six

Place the inner fabric bag inside the outer fabric bag making sure the seams match up. Pin around the top and topstitch in place using a 1/4″ seam

Now all you need to do is give it a press, pop a bottle inside and tie it up with some pretty ribbon!
We hope you enjoyed this quick fun tutorial! Next time it’s fancy festive fabric napkins!

Autumn /Winter fashion trends

Blimey, it’s suddenly got cold! I’m sat typing this with a long sleeved top, cardigan and my me-made Haori jacket on and I’m still freezing!

But, despite being tool cold it’s a lovely sunny day and I’m excited to start planning my Autumn/ Winter makes and add some useful staples to my wardrobe. I made lots of lovely dresses this summer and want to make sure that I can wear these items through the winter months too paired with chunky knits, cosy coats and practical shirts.

I’ve been looking at high street trends to get some ideas and as always Instagram and other makers are a massive source of inspiration.

Here are a few of my favorite Autumn/ Winter trends and some fabric and pattern pairings to get the look for yourself…

Velvet…

Velvet tops are always a Winter winner, they look luxurious, are great for social events …probably less relevant this Winter, unfortunately, but sometimes it’s still nice to be fancy at home! It can be dressed up or down easily with denim and is lovely and cosy!

Some patterns we would recommend are:

Pinnacle Top/ Sweater by Papercut Patterns

The Ilford Jacket – Friday Pattern Company ( I made one in velvet earlier this year and left off the buttons so it’s like a fancy cardi!)

Cashmerette – Dartmouth top (great for a stretch velvet)

Corduroy…

Cord is back in again…in fact, I don’t think it went away! Such a warm and versatile fabric. Perfect for menswear…I’m definitely planning on doing more un-selfish sewing and making a few things for my husband!

Again, the Ilford Jacket is great as it’s unisex 

I would also recommend the following:

Mimi G Jean Jacket Simplicity 8845

Simplicity 8475

Thread Theory Designs – Fairfield Button-up shirt

Luxe fabrics…

Simple elastic waist midi skirts are really easy to make and made with a luxe fabric are perfect for Autumn/ Winter teamed with a band tee and chunky boots.

We’ve got some lovely plisse fabrics and chiffons in stock so you can get the look.

Patterns to try:

Sew Liberated Gypsum skirt

Sewaholic easy skirt pattern

Also, have a look on You Tube for a free tutorial! All you need is some fabric, a sewing machine and elastic for the waistband.

Shop the pleated sparkling jersey here

Coat fabrics…

I’ve made a Wiksten Haori already for Autumn (Which is fabulous by the way and I would totally recommend making one in denim or quilting cotton for a lighter transitional jacket) but think I’ll need something a bit more substantial for Winter. 

Checks, teddy and borg are all in again. The trend for oversized coats and chore style coats is big for Winter and we’ve got some lovely wool mix and teddy coating in stock.

Here are a few great patterns you could try pairing with our fabric range:

Stacker Jacket – Papercut Patterns

Sapporo Coat – Papercut Patterns

The Coat – The Avid Seamstress

Opium Coat – Deer and Doe

Cascade Duffle Coat – Grainline Studio

Let us know what your sewing plans are for Autumn/ Winter.

 

What key pieces will you be adding to your wardrobe this season?

How to upcycle fabric scraps into a quilted tote

With sustainability at the forefront of our minds it’s really important to think of ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. Using our fabric offcuts is a small way we can reduce waste and landfill and make something beautiful that we can use for years to come.

As sewists we all have a few (bags of) fabric scraps! 

I’ve been using lots of Ruby Star Society fabrics this year for various projects and collected every little scrap to be used at some point. 

I was going to make a scrappy quilt or cushion cover with all the off cuts, but then I changed my mind and actually a decent sized tote bag would be more…handy!

I cut up all my bits of fabric and just randomly sewed them up just enjoying the process and not really planning how it would look. That’s the thing with scraps they tend to be haphazard!

I used some left over batting from another quilt project and some larger pieces of fabric from my stash for a lining. My pieces ended up measuring approx 14″ x 13″. I used my machine to stitch some quilting lines throughout the bag pieces. I then stitched the sides and bottom on the bag together.

I made box corners on the inside at 2.5″ up from the corner, trimmed them and turned the bag right sides through. At this point you can bind your unfinished edges if your machine can cope with the layers. I finished the top edge of the bag with bias binding which I turned to the inside of the bag and top stitched.

I had some faux leather bag handles in my stash which were just the perfect match and stitched them on with some strong thread.

I love how this bag looks, it will be perfect for popping to the shops or for a sewing project bag and the fabrics are so fun! I can’t imagine throwing away such gorgeous fabrics, my scrap bag is still growing and I may tackle a quilted jacket at some point!

How do you use your scraps?

Autumn Wilder Gown with only 2m of fabric!

Now that we are rapidly heaing into Autumn/ Winter I’m looking to add some versatlie dresses to my me-made wardrobe that can be layered with knitwear and worn with boots or trainers.

I decided to give the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company a go. It’s been such a popular pattern in the sewing comminty but I wasn’t sure it was quite my style earlier this year, but I’ve seen some great styling of it lately and I thought it would probably be a useful pattern for the Autumn/ Winter months so I gave it a try and wasn’t disappointed!

 

Anyone who has made the Wilder Gown knows it comes together really quickly, but it can be quite fabric hungry so I wanted to see If I could squeeze a mini version out of 2m of fabric…I only went and did it…and with hacked full sleeves too!

I don’t know about you but I have a few bits of 2M fabric in my stash and not quite sure what to do with them so this hack is a great one to get the look of a gathered smock dress but maximising fabric use

This is how I did it!..

Firstly, picking a wide fabric is key to squeezing this dress out of 2M! I used the black and white pea spot georgette which is 150cm wide along with some black velvet ribbon for the neck tie for added prettiness and saving time and fabric!

 

If polka dots arent your thing Sammy has some other beautiful fabrics that would work brilliantly, these are all 150cm wide and have beautiful drape so are perfet for the Wilder Gown…

From left to right:

Navy flower garden viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Autumn floral print viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Ochre crinkle Georgette £3.50 per 0.5m

Aubergine Georgette £4.75 per 0.5m

 

So, onto construction!

I cut the top as instructed and then used the width of the fabric to make one long skirt panel, this is obviously narrower than the pattern and makes for a slightly less full skirt. I then cut two narrower strips for the bottom ruffle and stitched them together end to end.

I wanted a full sleeve that I could add a shirred cuff to so I used th slash and spread method on the sleeve and cut 2 on the fold using the whole width of the fabric.

This pattern gives you the option to make a neck tie with matching fabric or use ribbon. I chose velvet ribbon for two reasons, firstly it saves on fabric! and secondly I thought a neck tie in this polka dot print would be too much and the velvet ribbon breaks it up a bit and adds a touch of luxury!

Georgette is a fairly ‘bouncy’ fabric and doesn’t take well to pressing so I opted to top stitch the waist seam and ruffle seam. This is a feature that is used in the Myosotis dress and I’ve adpoted for a few of my dresses now…It helps to keep the seams flat and I love a bit of top stitching, it’s so satisfying!

I shirred the cuff of the sleeves 1.5″ up from the hem of the cuff to add some volume which is oh so popular at the moment and I have to say I’m loving it! 

I’m so pleased I managed this mini dress hack with just 2m of fabric and the outcome is lovely! Next time I would add pockets though! This should see me through the winter months with tights, boots and a biker jacket!

Would you give this a go? What are you making for the change of season?