Anyone else always dropping pins while sewing or is that just me?
I decided one rainy afternoon to make a little pincushion that I could wear on my wrist to stop the inevitable pin drop and save my poor toes from further pain! The FIGO fabrics terrazzo collection has been calling me since is first landed in the shop so this was a nice quick, satisfying project to use up a small amount!
Children’s wear with the Riley Blake saltwater collection…
I can’t quite believe that I am part of the Sew Crafty design team; such an exciting opportunity that I cannot wait to get stuck in…So what is my first project I hear you ask?
I have never done anything like this before and I was a bit overwhelmed, to begin with as I had so many ideas and things I wanted to try.
Then I came across this pattern that I have had stashed away for a while and decided to give Children’s clothing a go and in true Natalie style, I did the toile in a Disney fabric I had lying around and a pillowcase. This helped me to understand the bodice pattern and work out the best way to understitch the small size.
Sew Crafty has a wealth of cotton fabric to choose from but as soon as I saw Riley Blake Saltwater collection, I knew that the mint & multicoloured turtle fabrics were going to look gorgeous. I decided on using the mint as the main fabric as it’s my favourite colour and also too much white on a toddler dress is never a good idea…especially when my toddler is involved. The multicolour turtles’ contrast fabric livens it up and makes it a more fun summer party dress than an occasion dress.
The bodice was much easier to make the second time around and I just love the effect of the fabrics with the lining peeping through– the cotton is a little heavier than the pillowcase I used with the toile so holds itself so much better with no need for interfacing.
As the skirt is not lined; I wanted to make it look neater and as I don’t own an overlocker (yet) I decided to do French seams for the first time and oh boy I am so glad I did as it just makes it look so pretty and totally finished without raw edges fraying and on show.
Also, check out my pattern matching! I was so chuffed with this as I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out … with the type of pattern, it wouldn’t have particularly mattered but I think the added detail of it matches just makes it much more of a finished project and more professional looking.
I also decided to roll the hem twice for the same reason and it didn’t take too much length away and I think sits perfectly on my 2-year-old. I used the 2-year-old sizing and it has worked a treat – I had to take a bit in on the bodice when I attached the zip otherwise it was a little baggy but all in all a very good size and a lovely addition to her summer wardrobe.
For my first Design Team make, I wanted to fill a gap in my wardrobe that was definitely more a ‘want’ than a ‘need’. I’ve been hankering after a lightweight summer robe for throwing over pyjamas in the warmer months and when I spotted this viscose print in the Sew Crafty shop, I knew it would make a brilliant robe.
The viscose is a very bold print which typically is not my normal style, but when it comes to nightwear and loungewear I think anything goes! It’s a classic combination of black and white stripes and florals (who doesn’t love a bit of pattern clashing from time to time?!), but the scale of the floral design makes this fabric look quite fresh and modern rather than twee. I think my favourite flower in the print is the beautiful pinky-red poppy!
Despite picking this fabric quickly, it took me ages to choose a robe pattern. I felt like the big 4 pattern companies either offered ‘comfy and cosy’ or ‘lingerie’ and I wanted something that fell somewhere in the middle of the 2 options that I could just chuck on when it’s a hot evening. We have a great charity shop near me that has a large haberdashery section and I found this great vintage 1950s housecoat pattern that looked like just the thing. I did modify the pattern, I took 12 inches out of the skirt section – apparently, women in the fifties were built like Amazons, and I, most definitely, am not at just 5’ 3”! I also took about 4 inches from the sleeve to make it bracelet length so I don’t always have to roll my sleeves up to do anything, and instead of easing in the sleeve head I gathered the fabric to give the shoulder a more vintage look.
To complement the floral viscose I’d chosen from Sew Crafty, I used a cheap and cheerful black viscose from my local market for the roll collar and belt, but the floral is better quality. It’s got a great drape (for swishing around the house like a Hollywood starlet) but as it’s viscose it can be chucked in the wash over and over again without doing too much harm to it (because I am not a Hollywood starlet and have to do my own laundry).
The print on this is big but it doesn’t seem to repeat in any obvious way so I didn’t bother to pattern match as I think when a print is this striking it’s easier to get away with. As the black stripe runs horizontal to the selvage I chose to focus on lining that up for the pockets and pinned all the pieces in the same direction.
The fabric sewed up nicely and I finished the insides on my overlocker. I used a black Guterman thread for all the seams and the hem. Viscose can be quite slippy when pinning and cutting out so I would recommend cutting on a slightly grippy surface like a carpet if you can as this will help prevent any shifting around whilst you cut and avoid any funny shaped pieces! You can also use a starch spray to help make the pieces more stable as this will wash straight out again. I prewashed the fabric on a 30 degree with a colour catcher sheet setting and there wasn’t much shrinkage or colour bleed.
I feel very glam when wearing this – anything that elevates a pair of tired old pyjamas into an elegant lounging outfit is a winner!
Last year we decorated our daughter’s bedroom, mostly because we were forced to since she’d already started peeling the wallpaper off the walls around her cot! So we carried on, stripped the walls and painted the whole room white. She already had some decorations in the room which were blue and pink and I figured at some point we’d paint a wall one of these colours but she would choose which (spoiler alert – she’s leaning towards pink!). A few months ago she got her ‘big girl’ bed which is a mid sleeper which helps to make the most of the space in her very tiny room. But since then I’ve been wondering how I can add to the existing decorations by sewing a few items of storage. I’ve been collecting ideas on my Pinterest board for a while and chose to make some fabric trays, storage pods and some bunting to decorate under her bed. From the Sew Crafty website, I chose three colours of their star cotton to make these items. The colours are fantastic and being 100% cotton they iron and cut beautifully.
For the fabric trays, I cut two A4 pieces for each tray and lined them with batting to give more structure. I’ve made them quite deep so her hair accessories and jewellery are easily stored.
The storage pods were made from a tutorial by Sewing 4 Free and were very easy to put together. I like the way they are easy to access her toys but I think they could be bigger. I might make some more but double the size but for now, these are perfect for things like here small collections of lego.
I drafted a small triangle template for the bunting, cut 14 pairs and, once sewn, attached these together with 3m of pink bias binding from the site. I think these might be my favourite, they’re so striking, and who doesn’t love a bit of bunting, right?!
The space underneath her bed is really coming together now and when her bedroom is tidy it’s a nice space to be in. I’d like to get her a small desk and chair to go under there but I think that will come when we sort out the rest of her bedroom furniture. For now, she’s happy with it!
Hammers at the ready for this one! Not sure I have ever put so much hardware into one project but I’ve got to admit I’m now quite addicted! Putting together a really beautifully matched set of snaps, zip, toggles, elastic cord (gold!!!) and eyelets has really lifted this jacket and I know I’m going to be grabbing it every cool summer evening or nippy winter morning.
A total coating of Scotch Guard once complete will mean I’m totally shower proof. If I had had enough to spare I’d have made a snap-on hood, but I used every mm of the 1.5m of beautiful Jade denim from www.sewcraftyshop.couk for this project with some very nifty pattern placement to get all I needed from the fabric.
The base and starting point of this jacket was a shirt pattern I have made three or four times already (and love the fit). I always grab a pattern that is close to what I want as my starting point, there is no point in re-inventing the wheel and drafting from scratch if the basic shape of what you want is already in your pattern stash.
I wanted a traditional denim jacket look with a bit of military/bomber/utility mashed in, so we have the traditional yoke and shaped panels front and back but then the collar, zip, snaps panel, shaped hem and pockets shimmied their way in to create the overall look.
The first part of the process was to split the shirt panels. At the front, I threw the dart away from the side seam and into the vertical seam. The seams at back and front were curved to give shape at the waist but a slightly broader fit across the shoulders, so even the chunkiest of jumpers could be accommodated on especially chilly days.
The collar was a total ‘off-piste’ adventure, I brought together the button panel, collar stand and collar into one continuous shape, curved toward the shoulder line and cut on the fold so it could be joined as one single piece. The front centre panels and front yoke were curved to mirror the collar shaping so the front of the jacket all worked together to give a nice line whether the collar is up or down.
I was a good girl, I made a toile…… and I can’t stress enough what a good practice this is when you are making major changes to an existing pattern.
The amount you learn about the whole balance of the garment and how your changes have a knock-on effect for other elements of the pattern is fantastic. I went to town and even put the pockets and epaulettes in place to check their sizing and position before taking my scissors to the denim (as I mentioned earlier re-cutting any element of the pattern was a no-no as I had no excess fabric!)
The lining on this jacket is extra special and has a couple of nice little features. Firstly, there is a shaped phone pocket that sits to the left-hand side of the lining and snuggles in under the arm. This idea actually came from my brother who was grumbling one day that his phone always ruined the line of his jacket when he put it in the inside breast pocket and “why couldn’t they tuck it under the arm?”
Hey presto – the nifty, line preserving, angled, inside pocket was born!! I was a bit nervous about tucking a welt pocket diagonally into the lining, but with a bit of stay stitching and using both the denim and flower lining fabric for welts, I ended up with both a pretty and stable pocket opening.
The lining also has this beautiful floral fabric across the yoke. As soon as I saw this fabric I fell in love with it and knew I did not want to use all I had been given by the lovelies at Sew Crafty and hide it away inside the jacket. It was also so beautifully lightweight I knew the areas of stress at the hem and under the arms were going to need something a little more robust.
So, after a rummage in the workshop I unearthed about three meters of taupe linen mix that I had picked up in charity shop ages ago (fabric Womble alert!! I once went to a funeral and still managed to come home with some fabric, so there you go!)
When I laid it all out together it was a match made in heaven, but please don’t fret about the floral fabric lying dormant for too long, I had intended to add colour stripe cuffing (another new product in the sew crafty store) to this jacket, but once it had all come together I felt (a very rare feeling for me!) that less is more. So the stripy cuffing and floral fabric will be making an appearance in my next SCDT project, watch this space….!
The lining follows the outer pattern completely, the collar was cut twice from the denim and I popped a reinforcing semi-circular panel at the back of the neck to take the hanging loop and a lovely big label as I am too chuffed to hide my light under a bushel on this make!!
The exterior of this jacket has been topstitched into next week! Luckily I have made my own jeans a couple of times already, so making sure all rows of topstitching had been meticulously added during the construction process was something I was well prepared for. I opted against a twin needle as 1. I didn’t have one that had a wide enough separation between the needles and 2. I had corners to turn in some places, which never goes well with a twin needle!!
This project has been so totally and utterly enjoyable from start to finish and I am so pleased with the results. It involves everything I love about making your own clothes: beautiful finishing, total uniqueness, attention to detail and perfect fit.
This Jacket will be worn and worn which, at the end of the day, is what you do with clothes you love!
I tried to get the thread to match the best I could and of course, I don’t do the ordinary and went for a lighter colour zip.
Just how cute does your bundle of goodies arrive too, I love little attention to details like this!
So before I cut out my pattern pieces, I checked my measurements and I fell in-between the 14 and 16. So I started at size 14 for shoulders and bust and graded to the 16 for the waist and hips.
Rather than cutting into the good stuff straight away, I made a toile of the bodice out of an old bedsheet and with disbelief it was a perfect fit, no alterations needed!!
With the sun shining, I brought my sewing supplies to the garden and cut out my pattern pieces, nothing better than sunshine and sewing!
Don’t know about you guys but sometimes I just can’t get a straight line for my darts so I still now even mark my dart placements using Tailor’s Chalk.
As always, since I am vertically challenged (aka short!) I had to shorten my zip. So I measured down from the top towards the bottom to my preferred length which is 16”. I then marked the spot with a pin as this is where the new bottom stopper will be.
I then heated up a metal knife on my Gas hob and then carefully placed the knife onto the plastic teeth to melt it.
Then I trimmed off the excess zip and there we go a zip that fits me!
Also whilst I was altering my zip, to help with the install of the invisible zip, later on, I gently ease the teeth with my iron (on low Setting as we don’t want to melt it!) to be more accessible and to get a closer stitch line the first time.
This dress was sewn up in no time at all, as always I finished my seams before I started to sew just to speed up the process and plus saves bringing one machine up at a time. To remember where my notches were, I just placed a pin for reference.
As always I have my Man Mog at hand as my Sewing Assistant!
As I’ve previously made the Silk Cami and the way you sew the straps together is great and is visually pleasing.
So the long part was letting the dress hang to make sure the circle skirt dropped and there was no uneven hem. Also, where did I think it was a good idea to double hem a full circle skirt?! It took absolutely ages! It does look good though!
Then I slipped stitch the shoulder straps, so a bit of hand sewing thrown in too!
Here’s a view of it before putting on.
So here you folks my swishy nautical dress whilst I was at Teesidecreatives, a very nice Sewing weekend break with fellow teamie Carol, her daughter Vicky and Becca.
Florals are a huge trend this SS19. We’ve picked a few catwalk gems from the designers and paired them with our own fabrics to give you a bit of sewing inspiration for your own handmade summer wardrobe!
This blog post is the perfect blog for the crazy ‘summer’ weather we have been having recently! I have made the Helens Closet Blackwood cardigan which has been in my to-do list for a long time. I bought it when it first launched as I wear a lot of cardigans in my day to day wardrobe, basically I don’t have a winter wardrobe just summer dresses and cardigans! This cardi comes in two lengths and I picked view B which is the longer length.
I used the beautiful mint coloured French terry jersey from Sew Crafty Online. The weight of this fabric is perfect for a cardi for the cooler summer evenings but also to keep you warm enough in the office when the air con wars start, it can’t be just my office, right? The loopback fabric would be brilliant for any relaxed jersey clothing, even baby clothes, as it is so super soft on the outside but the loop gives it a bit extra structure and warmth. The fabric washes really well too, sometimes jersey can go a bit bobbly after washing but this survives really well. Also, added bonus, my furbabies hair doesn’t appear to stick to it in some magically amazing way so if you’re a dog lover this is the fabric for you! J I think it would make a great Linden sweatshirt or Tilly and the Buttons Stella set.
I also was lucky enough to use the amazing rainbow ribbing as my cuffs. This is super easy to use as you don’t have to fold it over and just attach it like you would a normal cuff. I think this gives this cardi which could have been quite plain a nice pop of fun! Though I didn’t think through white being on the cuffs as that’s generally the bit I end up dunking in my food or something to that effect haha! The cuffs would be great for the bottom of trousers too as you cut the length you need for the pattern on a roll and you have plenty for multiple makes, so you could have matching cuffs for all the family.
I made this pattern without any adjustments but I omitted the pockets. I felt if I decided I wanted to add the pockets I could do this afterwards and I wasn’t sure my arms would be long enough for pockets on the full-length version. The pattern is super easy to make up and only has a few pattern pieces, I like that about Helen’s closets patterns. The neck and bottom bands give it a lovely finish too all in one piece around the back which means no fiddly hems which are perfect for the jersey. I made the whole thing on my overlocker, the only bit I did on my normal machine was sewing the cuffs together as I wasn’t 100% sure where they needed to join and it’s easier to unpick sewing machine than overlocker!
I think this will get a lot of wear all year round and will be perfect for throwing in my handbag just in case it gets chilly. I hope you like it as much as me!
I love making gifts for other people, especially my nieces – children’s things are so fun to sew.
One of my nieces has just turned two and in the summer they’ll be moving from down south back up to our hometown of Liverpool, so I wanted to make something that was a belated birthday present/moving in gift.
I had the idea to make a wall banner for my niece’s room and when I saw the Sevenberry Yarn Dyed Cotton I knew it would make a great base. It’s a chambray style cotton, is nice and lightweight and has a lovely natural texture. I love the selection of colours for this cotton as they are all quite subtle and fab neutral shades of greens, pinks and blues. I went with the pale blue.
I wanted to choose another fabric that I could use to make some sort of decoration on the wall banner and as my niece loves rainbows the Remix Stripes Cotton was the obvious choice for me! As I’d went with a quite pale blue for the main fabric, I went with the more pastel-toned Remix Spring Stripes and I think they work perfectly together
My first idea for the wall banner was to make the letter I out of the striped cotton and use the Sevenberry cotton to form the main shape of the banner. I then thought about using the stripe as a little frill around the edge of the banner, but, when I got the fabric delivered I fell even more in love with the Remix Stripes cotton and I just didn’t think that a frill would do it justice – it just wouldn’t show off the lovely colours enough. So I decided against a frill and thought about what I loved when I was little and one thing I loved to do was change things around in my bedroom. I was always drawing little doodles of how I could move furniture around or colours that would look better on the wall, I probably drove my mum mad, but I loved it. And I thought that my niece might like something that she can change in her room when she fancies it, so I thought what if I make the banner reversible!
I drew out the design I had in mind for the front and the back to try and get a rough idea of the sort of size to make it. I decided on making a rainbow on one side of the banner to really make the most of the Remix Spring Stripes cotton, and the letter I on the other side. After drawing my designs out I figured that I wanted to make the banner roughly 50cm long and proportionately about 36cm seemed right for the width. I then played around with some paper to decide on the style and size of the letter and once I was happy to cut it all out. For me, the simpler and neater option was to cut lots of pieces out and sew them up like you would a quilt, rather than cut out a solid letter and appliqué it on.
Both pieces of cotton sew up really nicely, the last few projects my sewing machine has seen have been silky fabrics so it was lovely to work with a fabric that was simple to sew. I used a pale blue thread from the Iris collection which was great quality. Sew Crafty is fab when you’re planning a project because there are so many different things on the website, you really can get everything you need.
On the backside of the banner, I used the stripe fabric diagonally to give the effect of a rainbow. I found some Happy Fabric HappyFlock in Lemon which I had in my stash and created some sunshine as a little extra touch. I used two of the offcuts of the Sevenberry yarn to make tabs to thread some dowel through to hang the banner up. I sewed the front and back right sides together and left an opening of a few inches along one side. Because the cotton is so lightweight it was super quick to turn them out the right way, hand sew the opening shut and give a quick press.
I picked up some bakers twine from the Sew Crafty website too as I thought it would be perfect for hanging the banner. It’s got a little fleck of colour running through it ( I went for the Aqua one) and because its a twine its got a good strength to it. I think I might make up a few pom-poms from the leftovers and stick them either side of the dowel for some extra fun.
I thought I was really organised because I had a piece of dowel that would be great for the project, however, I couldn’t find my saw to cut it down to the right length, so I had to photograph it with it’s super long, haha oops!
Overall I’m pretty pleased with the project. It was a quick make and I think it looks fab hanging on the wall. After I finished it I did realise that somehow I’d cut the top of the I one or two stripes longer than the bottom, but oh well, I still love it and handmade isn’t about always being perfect, right?! It’s going to look great in my niece’s room and with it being cotton it’s super easy to wash, so even if it gets grubby from a two-year-old, it should be pretty durable.
Last year I participated in #thegreatbigpatternswap and received the Bea blouse. I made one up in a cotton lawn and it has been in such regular rotation in my wardrobe since then that I had been thinking for a while that another one would be a good idea. When I spotted the new viscose that Sewcrafty shop had in store, it felt like the perfect combo.
I picked this gorgeous burnt orange colourway and I was a bit apprehensive about how bright it would be but when it arrived it was a gorgeous saturated deep orange colour and not too ‘florescent tabard’ colour which I had been a bit worried about.
I really love viscose to wear but it can be a pain to sew and it creases like crazy. However, this one is not too shifty to cut out and sew with. I overlocked everything as I’ve been caught out with viscose fraying through seams before and was not taking any chances! However, it didn’t seem like this one wanted to fray too badly.
The Bea blouse comes together really speedily and the instructions are good. On my last Bea blouse I had added about 5cm in length and it still doesn’t stay tucked in so for this version I added about another 10cm-this may have been overkill but at least now it’s not going anywhere and I can wear it over things as well.
I’m really pleased with my new top and think it’ll be such a good all year round piece as I can layer it but also wear it in summer as viscose is such a lovely cool fabric. I may have to pull out the iron every so often as it really does crease though!