Faux sherpa fur on-trend tote bag

I loved making faux fur bags back in the ’90s and I’m not mad that the trend is back if I’m honest! They are a fun accessory and are also warm and cosy to hold…comfort is my jam these days!

I’ve put together a simple DIY mixing the black and cream sherpa fur, so let’s get started!

First, start by cutting out two panels of cream fur measuring 10″ x 13″ and then one of black also 10″ x 13″.

Stitch them all together with the right sides facing so that the black panel is in between the two cream panels.

Next, fold this long piece in half and stitch down each side. Create a boxed corner measuring 4″ across. Pin and stitch in place and trim away the point.

Next Cut a lining piece measuring 13″ x 29″. Fold this in half and stitch down each side but remember to leave a gap of about 20cm in one of the sides…I forgot to do this then had to unpick it, gah! (Do as I say not as I do!!)

Box the corners in the same way as you did for the main bag piece.

Next, Cut two lengths of contrast fur measuring 7″ x 30″ but you can make these longer/ shorter depending on your needs! Stitch down the length with right sides together and turn through. Pin these to the bag front and back equidistant from the bag edges.. Tack in place.

Now we are going to place the main bag inside the lining with the right sides facing (wrong side of the lining facing out towards you. and pin all around the top. Stitch in place, pull the tote through the gap you left in the lining (see why that’s so key now!), and Voila!

A trendy, cosy tote perfect for this season! This would make a great Christmas pressie and is super easy to customise with some internal pockets or playing with the size and proportion!

What do you think? Is this trend for you or just too wild?!

DIY Christmas baubles made with felt!

We love a quick and satisfying project. They make a nice palate cleanser between bigger sewing projects and are a great way of using up fabric scraps too!

I thought I’d get a head start on our Christmas decs and make some fun bright baubles for the tree using some of our felt sheets, hotfix fabric and pom pom makers! Want to know how I did it…read on!

I used a roll of packing tape as a circular template and cut two circles of felt for each bauble.

I then used craft punches to punch out shapes from our hotfix fabric (you can do this by hand if you don’t have a craft punch)

The hotfix irons onto the felt nicely, but I used a piece of fabric as a pressing cloth to ensure I didn’t scorch the felt. Then have fun with cutting some creative shapes and designs! layered up circles and scalloped edges look really good.

I decided to go for fun bright colours and star and rainbow motifs!

I layered up felt and glued it with a glue gun (you could add stitching though which would also look great!) Add the second circle as your backing and start stitching around the bauble with a blanket stitch and some embroidery thread. Leave a gap to stuff it with some toy stuffing or fabric offcuts.

I then added some pom poms to the top of the bauble with a few stitches and some pretty ribbon or twine to hang them from the tree!

These are a super easy and fun craft. These would be a great little activity to do with kids over half term and would also make fabulous tags for really fancy gift wrap!

If you make these we would love to see them! Give us a tag on social media #samanthaclaridgestudio

Shop the materials here::

Craft felt

Hotfix fabric

Pom Pom Maker

Embroidery thread

Sewing a vintage 1970s pattern with Watercolour sunset blurr

 
 
 
To start this post, I should say that I love viscose, I love to wear it, I love the way it moves and drapes and I love that it often comes in great colours and prints. So I was really excited when Sammy got all these viscose fabrics in. I picked this super pastel rainbow fabric to work with and raided my pattern stash for a suitable pattern.

Now one thing I should say is that I do not always love sewing with viscose as it can be a slippery sucker! This one is less slippery than some and did not slide around when I was cutting it out but did shift when sewing, extensive pinning was needed and a walking foot might have helped. However, I’m a lazy sewist and extra steps are not my bag. I did not use a walking foot or reinforce the zipper or really make any allowances for the fabric at all and despite this I think the dress turned out well, which should indicate that it’s a pretty forgiving fabric.

I picked this 1970s pattern, which I had been wanting to try out for a while. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have realised that I’m a bit obsessed with 70s pattern and style and this fabric seems to fit with the 70s vibe. I love the psychedelic vibes and was excited about floating around in this. However, since summer appears to have forgotten us here in London, I need to work out how to style it for autumn. Black tights are not going to cut it with this rainbow so if you have any ideas, please let me know!

 

I’m off to plan some autumn makes now!

Daisy print statement ruffle bag

Our shelves are full of beautiful bright and joyful cotton florals at the moment and whilst we know these are fabulous for dresses, shirts, PJs, etc I wanted to explore some other projects we can make with them to inspire and maybe spark an idea. Smaller projects are quick and satisfying and they can be a great way to use up scraps…then you can co-ordinate your dress and your bag! 

You might remember I made a ruffle bag a few posts back with some chambray denim. I saw a beautiful round version on Pinterest and really wanted to add that to my collection! This would also be lovely in gingham…just sayin’

I marked out a circle that had a 37cm diameter and then cut across the top of the circle at the 30cm mark to give it a flat shape that will form the top opening of the bag. I then cut the following using this process:

2 x main fabric

2 x lining

2 x lightweight wadding

2 x fusible interfacing

I fused the interfacing to the main fabric then place the wadding onto the back and basted around the edge.

I then cut a strip measuring 130cm x 13cm ( I had to piece this together as I only had a metre of fabric.

Fold over the strip right sides facing and sew down each end. Turn through and press then run two rows of gathering stitch along the raw edge and gather until it fits the bag leaving a gap of about 3cm from the top of the bag. 

Pin the ruffle facing in towards the bag so the frill is sandwiched between the main bag pieces with right sides facing. Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance. Turn through and remove the gathering stitches.

Now add two handles (you can make them out of the same fabric but I had some twill tape which worked well) Cut two lengths, measuring 65cm each and pin them to the top of the bag approx 2.5cm from each end.

Stitch your lining pieces together around the curved edge leaving a gap in one side of about 20cm, this is so you can turn the bag through.

Pop the main bag into the lining (lining still wrong sides out) making sure the handles are tucked in and stitch all the way around the top opening of the bag. Turn it through and stitch the gap in the lining closed. Give it all a press and you are done!

The wadding adds some body to the cotton lawn which is very lightweight, and makes a really lovely quality bag! I took it to the shops straight away and it was the perfect size for all my essentials…I’ll be making a face mask with the scraps to match!

What do you think? You could obviously make this without the ruffle and it would be lovely in faux fur or leather for the Autumn/ Winter!

Debbie x

Sewhouse 7 Montavilla dress in viscose

Hey there

How are you all?  Hope there’s plenty of sewing happening in your world.  I don’t know about you but all this chilly wet weather isn’t conducive to encouraging me to be sewing up nice summery garments.  I’m usually away (pre Covid times of course) during August somewhere warm and sunny and often wondering if I’m leaving behind the best of the British weather.  It almost had me fooled last year when we were lucky enough to have lots of sunshine and warmth.  However, this year I’m not so sure!!

Anyway in an effort to cling onto the dreams of summer and lots of sunshine (can you tell I’m desparately trying to avoid sewing up wintery projects in August!!!), when Sammy asked me to choose something from her website for my next Design Team Project I opted for some of the 100% viscose.  After my usual indecisiveness over fabric colours, I opted for the teal and white colourway and have to say it is truly beautiful to work with.  It washed and dried great, no colour runs or bobbling.  Ironing was an absolute breeze!  It pressed beautifully.  I did use the clapper as I usually do when pressing seams but I’m pretty sure it didn’t really need it.  After searching through my patterns I decided it would make a lovely Sew House Seven Montavilla Dress.  I’ve had this pattern for quite a while now but never quite got round to making it.

Once I got the dress cut out, it started to come together really quickly and had some really good and new to me techniques.  I spent ages looking for the frill pattern piece only to find there isn’t one….its created by making a shoulder dart on the back and front bodice.  I thought this was genius idea and love the shoulder detail.  The neckline is self bound and I have to say the fabric is so buttery soft at times I had problems feeling it between my fingers.  

The pockets on the side panel and the piece of elastic at the top of that side panels make a really nice feature too.

I followed the instructions to the letter and didn’t make any changes to the pattern despite wondering if I should add some length due to my height (I’m 5’10”) but I tried it on before hemming and was pleased with the length as it was.

I was really impressed with the instructions for this pattern especially for the mitred corners on the hem and I’ll definitely use this technique where possible on future makes as it gives a really nice neat finish.  Those splits on the sides are just the perfect size.  Just enough leg pops out as you walk and I think it makes the dress look really feminine.

I started a new job back in July temporarily whilst waiting patiently for our business to restart after being badly affected by Covid and after 20 years of working for ourselves and learning a new job, I’m finding it quite stressful right now so I found this make really therapeutic as a result of the fabric choice and pattern itself with its cheeky little techniques.  I’d say the only tricky part was the belt.  Despite having the Prym tube turners, I still managed to get it stuck inside itself.  Luckily, Mia (my youngest) was around and kindly offered to sort the belt for me whilst I cracked on with sewing other parts.

I was super excited to wear this dress and had big plans to wear it for a meal with my bestie only to put it on and drop foundation on it whilst getting ready to go out!  I wouldn’t mind but it’s the first time I’ve worn foundation in 18 months!!!! I was so annoyed so I had to put it on the back burner for another time.  Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long and on A Level results day we took Mia out for a meal to celebrate her grades so took the opportunity to wear it then and get photos for this blog post.

I have to say the fabric is absolutely delightful against my skin.  Its super soft and light and airy.  I definitely chose the right project for the fabric and felt great wearing it.  I will definitely be making more versions of this dress.

I highly recommend this fabric….would it be really wrong to have every colourway??  I really can’t say enough how gorgeous this fabric is.  Yes….you really do need some!

Hope you like the project I chose for this lovely fabric.  

Until next time…. happy sewing!

Lisa

@sewlastminutelisa

Black Daisy Cotton Lawn Statement Collar Dress

Big collars are everywhere and, although it’s probably a bit of a marmite trend, I for one am loving it!

My love affair with this trend started with the Nina Lee Bakerloo dress, but I started seeing these slightly lowered neckline dresses with big collars and I was in love! 

I looked through all my patterns to see how I could hack this trend and then I stumbled across a post by Coolstitches on Instagram and she used the Viki Sews Sharon dress pattern to achieve this look.

Viki Sews is a Russian pattern company and therefore most of their pattern is written in Russian (they are now launching some in English). It wasn’t the construction I struggled with though it was the sizing so watch out for that, as you purchase one size using the sizing guide. My waist is large compared to my bust and hips but going by my waist measurements but me in a size far too large so you are better going off your bust and grading out.

When Sammy got some daisy cotton lawns in stock I knew it would make the prettiest dress and a bit different from the gingham versions that are all over the high street/ sewing community right now.

I wanted to add either a ruffle or some lace to the collar to make it stand out and decided on the cotton lace trim. Any of the trims that Sammy has in stock would look fabulous, just pin it in between the collar pieces before stitching it together. 

I omitted the waist darts in the front and back bodice and shortedened the bodice by about 3″…I probably wouldn’t make it this short next time (oh yes there will be more of these dresses in my life!) I then used the Tilly button Indigo skirt pattern and added a short ruffle of 7″ to the bottom. I love mixing and matching patterns, it’s such a great way to get a bespoke look!

This is very lightweight soft cotton and I thought it might need lining but actually, it doesn’t. It’s the perfect summer fabric and would make really comfy pajamas or a lovely summery shirt. It comes in a sage green and lilac colourway too…

Do you like daisy print? Check out the fabric section as there are loads of gorgeous new fabrics in stock!

Debbie x

Stationery DIYs with our fabrics and paper!

Why buy when you can DIY!

With the Summer holiday’s in full flow and the Autumn term starting in a month we thought it would be fun to come up with a few easy peasy DIYs to upcycle and breathe new life into plain stationery. 

First up is covered notebooks. This is so simple it really doesn’t require a tutorial. Simply cut a piece of fabric that is 2cm larger than your notebook all the way around and stick the fabric to the front smoothing out the fabric, then do the same for the back. Cut triangles off the corners of the fabric, a slit at the spine and glue the sides and bottom down!

This is great for using up scraps and offcuts of fabric or why not treat yourself to half a metre of one of our new floral fabrics and cover a few notebooks and folders!

We’ve got some gorgeous bright fun prints in stock including tigers, flowers, and naked ladies…oh my!

Shop our cotton fabrics here

Instead of chucking your tin cans in the recycling why not make them into handy pen holders?! We used the Rico Tropical Spring Hot Foil Paper and Card pad. It contains 15 sheets of paper and card perfect for loads of fun craft projects.

Simply measure the depth of the can and cut a strip of paper the right length.  Wrap it around the can and secure it in place with glue or double-sided tape. This is a great project for kids and a good way to make coordinating storage for their bedroom while keeping all their pens in one place…for a little while anyway!

Check out our range of paper packs here

Another great use for offcuts of paper/ card magazines or our amazing paper packs (see what I did there…wink!) is some simple DIY Bookmarks, we used to make these as pressies for our parents when we were kids…I’ll be using this one for my planner!

We hope you all have a fab Summer and we look forward to seeing your makes over on Instagram! Don’t forget to tag us #samanthaclaridgestudio

Double Gauze Inspiration

Double gauze is the perfect summer fabric, it’s breathable, comfy, soft, and cool. It’s made from two layers of gauze that are tacked together at regular intervals with little stitches that are undetectable from the right side of the fabric. Soft, airy, and slightly crinkled for a casual look it’s perfect for more unstructured clothing items like smock dresses and loose trousers and makes fabulous kids and baby clothes because of its natural properties.

We have put together some inspiration for what to make with this lovely cloth…

Dresses

Loose smock and wrap-style dresses are the perfect choice for this soft drapey fabric type. We would recommend the following patterns:

Roseclair Dress – Cashmerette

McCalls M7969

Flor dress and top – Bella Loves Patterns

Indigo dress – Tilly and the buttons

 

Trousers

We are all about the secret pyjamas! These soft and comfy trousers are perfect for work and play!

Pattern Recommendations:

Chandler trousers and shorts – Untitled Thoughts

Bob pants – Style Arc

Barry Pants – Style Arc

Georgie Trousers – Fieldwork Patterns

 

 

Tops

From shirred bodices to loose fit blouses double gauze is the perfect casual but chic fabric.

Shirred tops are easy to make once you get the technique. there are lots of free tutorials on You Tube or you could try the By Hand London DIY.

Other top pattern recommendations are:

Selina woven top – Style Arc 

McCalls M8202

ZW cropped shirt – Birgitta Helmersson

March Top and Dress – Helens Closet

 

Jumpsuits

Jumpsuits are perfect for an office look while dungarees are their casual cousin! A soft double gauze is the perfect pairing for this smart/ casual summer look.

Why not try:

Zadie jumpsuit – Paper Theory Patterns

Jazz jumpsuit (pictured middle) -Ready to sew

Leo Dungarees (pictured above left) – By Hand London

McCall Dress and Jumpsuit M81865

 

What we have in stock!

We’ve got five beautiful double gauze fabrics in stock currently from a flecked gold to a bold leopard print…what would you make?!

Shop Here

Look out for Debbie’s next blog post where she talks about her M7969 It’s the perfect Summer into Autumn dress…

Also don’t miss Alexa’s blog post about her beautiful summer dress made from Double Gauze!

Read here

Kielo wrap dress in leopard print modal jersey

Lisa's summer wrap dress

Hi Again


Hope you’re all doing well and have lots of exciting sewing plans for the summer.

I’ve had a bit of a lull in my sewing for a number of reasons really. Hopefully, though this is the start of my sewjo returning. It’s a bit of a strange one really as I know sewing helps my mental health but sometimes finding the energy to actually do some sewing is just isn’t there. Anyway enough of the
ramblings go grab a cuppa and have a read about this absolutely gorgeously soft fabric.

When Sammy asked for projects recently I figured this would give me the motivation I needed to actually get on a do something productive. It was just the ticket when I spotted the lush pink animal print jersey on her website. I’m a sucker for an animal print I don’t know about you guys? Anyway, this jersey comes in a few colourways and I have to say I dithered over the other colourways before settling on the pink. The colours in this fabric are so cheery and vibrant. The colours didn’t fade either in the wash.

Shop modal jersey here

When the fabric arrived I got it washed straight away.  It washed and dried beautifully.  I under estimated just exactly how soft the fabric would be.  I’d already decided when browsing the website that it would make the perfect Named Clothing Kielo dress.  I’ve previously made this dress and feel really comfortable in it.  It is quite fabric hungry mind you.  

I’ve had jersey fabric previously that has curled at the edges when you’re cutting it out and been generally just a right pain in the butt but this didn’t curl at the ends or anything.  It pressed really nice too when I was putting in the bust darts and was just a general dream to sew with.  I used the ballpoint needles that Sammy very kindly provided with my fabric which made sewing the fabric easy.  I always make sure to use the recommended needles for whatever fabric I’m using as this does stop any mishaps.  

The dress came together really quickly and mostly on the over locker.  I have the Prym turners and they made turning the waist ties super easy to turn.   I used my Babylock Coverstitch to hem the neckline, armholes and hem of the skirt.  It did the trick perfectly and gave a professional finish.

 I wore the dress today for the first time as I’ve been waiting for some suitable weather to get the photographs and OH MY DAYSSSSSSS it was bloomin delicious against my skin.  It almost felt like I wasn’t wearing any clothes it was that soft.  I can definitely see me having to have the other colourways now I know how soft it is!  It’s a fab one that can be worn with either shoes/sandals for a dressier look or trainers for a more casual look.  I know this one will be a well loved item in my wardrobe.  

I definitely think this fabric would look amazing in a range of items.  I’ve got my eye on one of the other colourways for a jumpsuit hopefully sometime this year ☺.

Anyway I’ll stop drivelling on now so you can pop over to the website and browse the fabric for yourselves 😉 (not corrupting you in any way of course ☺)

Until next time, take care and happy sewing!

Lisa

@sewlastminutelisa

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?