Debbie’s handmade wardrobe series – March update

How is everyone doing? What a strange month it has been! I never ever thought we would be in this situation. The upside is I’ve had more time for sewing and it really is helping to give my days purpose…think my make 9 will be more like a make 30 at this rate! 

I feel very lucky to have a hobby which gives me so much joy and distracts me from reality for a few hours a day and it’s making me want to try some new crafts while we have this time in self isolation. On my list is knitting, crochet and Macrame! Sammy has just uploaded some gorgeous macrame cord to the shop so once I’ve decided what colours I want I’m going to buy some and give it a go. There are loads of instructional videos on You Tube and also one on the blog here.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you an update on where I am with my handmade wardrobe so far…

I’m making myself a summer dress with the McCall’s M7950 (view C) With this lovely plaid cotton

I’ve made the bodice and have started on the patch pockets. I’m a little worried that the straps are too long so I might need to adjust them and shorten them, but it’s a fully lined bodice so I’m not quite ready to unpick it all just yet! I’m sort of whishing I’d made view D now which are simple tie straps which you can adjust yourself…next time!

I’m hoping this dress will look good with a t-shirt or long sleeve top underneath so I can get some wear out of it in the colder months too!

I’ve also made a True Bias Shelby dress which I’m really really pleased with. It’s a priness seam playsuit/dress. I made View C which is the playsuit version and it’s going to be super handy in the summer at saving my modesty when I’m riding my bike!

I love a polka dot so this Georgette fabric would work beautifully.

I couldn’t help but give it a real 90’s twist and add these adorable daisy buttons! At only £2 for a set of 5 you can’t go wrong! I wore this last night on ‘Date night’ (in the house with my husband and a bottle of red wine!) and I felt so comfy but also like I’d made an effort so I would highly recommend this pattern and i’ll be making a few more!

 

I also made the Fennel Fanncy pack with the Flower Market Fabric from A Beautiful Mess

I’ll go into more detail in my dedicated post about this but I found it a really fiddly make and made a few mistakes with this one! It hasn’t put me off making more though, I think maybe I rushed it a little so next time I’ll take it slower, sometimes you just have days where everything goes wrong!! I love the result though, it’s the cutest little bum bag and wll be great on dog walks to store a few treats and poo bags! Who else has made this project?

That’s it for now! What are you sewing at the moment? Are you finding time to sew? 

Stay safe everyone and sending lots of love to you all. I love this fabulous sewing community and it’s really keeping me going at the moment.

The dogs are enjoyng the sunshine which is a bonus too!

Debbie x

Carol’s Closet Case Ginger jeans with stretch cord

Ginger Jeans review

Hey there, hope you’re doing okay? #sewingkeepsmesane is certainly relevant right now!

I know I’m really late to the game with my first ever pair of Closet Case Ginger jeans, but I must admit to being a bit nervous of making jeans. I kept thinking, I don’t need to make my own I can just buy the ones I want, I’ll make all the pretty things and leave jeans to the experts!

Well, I’m so pleased I finally bit the bullet as I absolutely love my custom fit Gingers and I’m sure you will too!

For my first pair of Gingers I chose this lovely soft stretch cord from the Samantha Claridge Studio, I confess to loving corduroy its so soft and cosy, just perfect for these colder months!

I ordered the black cord along with a matching colour of Gutermann sew all thread, its so great to order the thread along with your fabric. Sammy chooses the best matching colour and sends it along with your fabric delivery, how great is that!!

I recently made a pair of Carolyn Pyjamas in size 18 and the trousers are a perfect fit, so I cut my Ginger jeans in a size 18. Well they are supposed to be skinny and there is no way the 18 was skinny fit on me!

So, I unpicked and cut down to a size 16, this was still too big, so I enlarged the seam allowance from the 5/8” up to ¾ and that was much better.

The Closet case sew along is really great, even as a seasoned dress maker I found it really helpful and informative, so I’d definitely recommend it at least for the first attempt at jeans!

I had a few attempts at pocket placement, my final version is actually the third attempt, but do you know what I really enjoyed making these, it was so satisfying working towards the best fit, I never once got fed up.

 It was so satisfying, and I really love my Ginger Jeans, this cord is so soft and the stretch makes them so comfy, they are real secret pyjamas!!

Thanks for reading!

Easter wreath DIY with ric rac flowers

Rudy's fun Easter craft!

The spring weather is finally starting to arrive and I am loving all the lovely spring flowers popping up everywhere. I thought I would make a nice Easter wreath for the door as we always have one for Christmas but never Easter.

This project was super easy but amazingly effective and I’ll try and explain it as well as I can so you can re-create it if you’d like.

First I bought a foam wreath base and gathered all my materials. I’m using the Rudy Star society fabric as my base so I ordered half a meter of this along with a selection of different ricrac’s from Sammys amazing collection.

I decided I wanted the rugged edges of the fabric to show and give it the shabby chic feel, so instead of cutting my fabric strips I ripped it along the grainline, giving it a lovely fluffy edge. I ripped three strips of 15cm to cover my 25cm wreath base. I pinned one end into the polystyrene and started wrapping so that each strip overlapped about half of the previous strip. Once that strip was finished I pinned it and then pinned a new strip on top and continued the process. Once all the strips were wrapped around I took all the pins out and it held everything together as I had wrapped it very tight. I used a little hot glue to fasten the final strip down, and make sure the others would stay where they were supposed to I used a tiny dob of glue on any exposed edges along the back.

Then on to the ricrac flowers, these give varying results depending on what size ricrac you use so my suggestion is get a bunch and try it out to see what you like best. I found how to do this on pinterest and it is super easy! 

First cut your ricrac into two lengths. I have used 1m for each flower so about 50cm each run. Then you need to weave it together, like in this picture, so that you get the wiggles on both sides then sew it all the way down the middle. Then all you need to do is coil it up around itself, and either hand sew it together at the bottom or I used hot glue in a zig zag fashion to keep all the pieces together. Once is ricrac is all coiled, cooled and secure you can then start to turn back some of the wiggles to make the petals. This is more effective with the larger ricrac so bare that in mind when you are selecting.

For comparisons the white and fuchsia flowers are made from jumbo ricrac. The violet is 13mm and a wider wiggle. The light pink is 12mm. The silver is 9mm. The yellow was the most fiddly at only 4mm, and to be honest I gave up because it was making my brain hurt!

I then glued all the flowers onto the wreath with the hot glue, and sat back and enjoyed my creation! 

 

This was a super quick project which would be great to do with kids or for a quick project on your own. I think these flowers would look brilliant as hair clips and button holes I’d love to do more with these and see where else I can use them.

Floral Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Pinafore Dress

The dress that should have been a top!

 

 

This make is a tale of inspiration and indecision! 

I had in mind a sort of sports lux sweatshirt- apparently that is an actual thing as I learnt from a girl at the hairdressers! She was wearing a sort of cross between a blouse and a sweatshirt made from a lovely woven print but with ribbed cuffs, hem band and neckband. I came home from the hairdressers with a new haircut and full of enthusiasm to recreate this garment. I was immediately attracted to the colours and patterns in this cotton on the Samantha Claridge Studio website. I searched further and found a perfectly coordinating Merchant and Mills ribbing.

Beautiful, however this is where things started to go wrong!

In my enthusiasm and hurry to get on with the project I hadn’t read the fabric description in detail. This lovely fabric is a much heavier weight stretch cotton, gorgeous but not for the project I had planned (reminder to self-read carefully, check and if unsure order a sample which Samantha is always happy to send!)

So……… I have this beautiful fabric-what do I do?

I spent several days stressing, looking at patterns, googling, searching Pinterest and asking for ideas on sewing sites. The morning after a sleepless night spent thinking about this fabric, I knew I had to make a decision. Suddenly I knew what I wanted to do and that was to make a reliable Tilly Cleo Pinafore.

I’ve made 3 Cleo’s previously, a rust corduroy, an indigo denim and a black and grey polka dot velvet but not a floral so this would be completely different.

After so much indecision suddenly this floral pinafore was the thing I wanted most in the world and so I made a start straight away. 

I find Cleo suits my body shape as I don’t have a very defined waist and so I struggle with the lovely vintage style waisted dresses. With Cleo being narrower at the waist it gives a nice illusion of shape.

The first thing I discovered was that the direction of most stretch with this fabric is lengthways rather than widthways. However, this was not an issue as the fabric is so wide and Cleo doesn’t take a great deal of fabric so it was easy to cut it out across the fabric.

The Cleo pattern always goes together nicely and this time was no exception. 

I thought I had a set of dungaree clips but when I looked more closely I found I had the clips but no buttons. Luckily I had some fabric covered buttons in my stash that I bought a couple of years ago at the Hebden Bridge rag market and the colours toned perfectly so it was a great opportunity to use them.

 

After a false start I’m pleased with the result and I have enough fabric left to experiment with some kind of garment using my ribbing. The sports lux blouse is still in my head but next time I will pay more attention to the fabric description!


See you next month! 
Kathrine x

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 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

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! 

 

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

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!