My handmade wardrobe – saving a sewing fail!

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

Vintage pattern and a Teddy Coat!

A Vintage Pattern, a Bit of History and a Busy Unpicker!

 

 

 

I found this lovely pattern in a local charity shop a few months ago, it is dated 1976, the pattern was unopened and uncut. I was a teenager in 1976 and the pictures reminded me of styles I used to wear but they also seem to have a timeless look to them. 

A Little Bit of History

I did some research into Maudella patterns and was very interested to find out that they were originally Bradford based. As I live on the northern outskirts of Bradford it seemed as if this pattern had to be made.

The Maudella pattern company was founded by Maude Eleanor Dunsford in 1937 and they were released until the 1980s. Maude started the company in her attic in Fagley in Bradford and became a success in years of austerity when clothes were often made at home. She later moved to Chapel Street in Little Germany in central Bradford with her husband Sydney as manager. She had a particular talent for taking the latest trends from fashionable designers and translating them into patterns which made them affordable for the ordinary woman. The company was sold to Simplicity in the early 1980s when the couple’s son Ernest retired. 

I felt I could put a modern spin on this design by making it in the lovely grey teddy fleece from Samantha Claridge Studio. Searching my stash, I found this grey jersey to make a cosy lining. 

I searched again and found a piece of lining for the sleeves as I thought that the jersey might be tricky for slipping the coat on and off. For a touch of contrast I found this small piece of mustard print cotton also from Samantha, just enough to line the hood, the pockets and the end of the sleeves.

So far so good! 

 

I realised that as it is a Magyar style coat, I would have to add a seam between the body of the lining and the sleeve lining. This was not a problem, but it is where a problem started!

The coat came together nicely as did the lining; the issue was when I tried to put the two together! I put the facings in but they didn’t match up, so I thought that I had them wrong way round and unpicked them, teddy fleece is the devil to unpick! I put the facings in again the opposite way around, same problem, back to the unpicker! 

After several online conversations I finally realised what I had done. In working out my added seam between the sleeve and body lining I had cut the coat lining the same shape as the outer coat-there was no way the lining and facings were ever going to fit together!

 

So………. what to do? I considered recutting the linings to shape but this was tricky as the garment was so nearly assembled. I decided to get rid of the facings completely and just make a turning on the centre front. This worked out neatly and was much easier as the facings, even if everything had been cut correctly, would have been very bulky in the teddy fleece. I don’t think anyone but me (and now all the readers of this blog!) would know that the construction is anything but planned.

I am now delighted with my finished coat and before confinement to the house with social distancing it had been worn several times. I will definitely make this pattern again but next time I will remember to cut my lining correctly!

DIY rope necklace with Rico Macrame rope!

We’ve been having fun playing with the new Rico Cotton macrame Cords which come in six beautiful colours, we used peach for this tutorial.
We made a Macrame wall hanging using one of the new in metal macrame rings (read the tutorial here) and here is our second DIY for you, a fabulous knotted statement necklace…
To get started:

 

Measure out 3 metres of rope and fold in half then in half again.

Starting with the centre of the rope, fold over to make a loop, then make a pretzel shape. After this take the tail of the rope on the right hand side of the pretzel and loop under the left hand side as shown

Next, thread the cord over and under the pretzel as shown and carefully tighten, making sure it’s centred.

This will be the shape we will be repeating throughout this turorial.

Repeat the process and make another knot on the right hand side of your first one…

Then flip the necklcae over and repeat the knot again!

You can now add a clasp or piece of ribbon for tying it around your neck!
 
 
We hope you enjoy this tutorial and tag us if you give it a go #sccrafty
 
You can purchase the macrame cord to give this a go here!

Mint stars towelling dressing gown

Named Clothing Lahja Dressing gown

Hi there!

I know I know I’ve been M.I.A for a short while but hopefully I’m back into the swing of things now.  I hope you’re sitting comfortably and have grabbed a cuppa because there’s a few things going on in this blog!

Now, this month when I was searching Sammy’s website my 16 year old was sat with me looking through the fabrics.  Now it’s fair to say she does have her own Pfaff Sewing Machine is an A level textile student too so it’s not unnatural for her to take an interest in the fabrics I choose.  Anyways, scrolling through and she spotted the white terry with mint stars and immediately I could see her eyes light up and brain was full steam ahead!! “oh mum do you remember when we were little and we all had matching pink towelling dressing gowns”  you can see where this is going right?? Sooooo, being the selfless sewist I am, I said I would request this fabric and would make her the Named Clothing Lahja Dressing Gown which would be a good replica for the one she’d had when she was about 4 yrs old!  Her thoughts are that she it would be the perfect dressing gown now it’s coming up to spring time for slipping on after her shower and lounging in.

Anyway, once the fabric arrived I got it straight into the washing machine and pre washed it as I usually do with any new fabric.  I always want to be sure it’s not going to shrink once I’ve put the work in making a garment! The fabric, as is usual with Sammy’s fabrics washed and dried perfectly and the towelling was so fluffy and snuggly.  She couldn’t wait for me to get started and continuously spoke about it until I did lol!

I promptly got the fabric cut out and have to say it came together very quickly.  I did most of the seams on the overlocker only using the sewing machine to attach the pockets, collar and belt loops.  It’s the first time I have used towelling to sew with and it was much easier than I was thinking. The pattern recommended 3m of the fabric which was probably a little too much really.  If I’d have used their pattern layout I could probably have made do with 2.75m however with a little bit more tweaking, I managed to get the whole dressing gown out of 2.5m. To personalise it a little for her I embroidered her initials in matching mint green embroidery thread to the stars on the fabric.  She’s really pleased with it and says it feels luxurious like you’d get at a Spa! I’m happy with that comment so I’m gonna take it and run with it ☺

Now there was method in my madness as I felt it was really wasteful to leave a chunk of fabric with a strip cut out for the belt and I’m so glad I played pattern tetris as it left me with enough fabric to make her a little wrap towel which will be ideal for the beach or after coming out of the swimming pool.  The only thing I needed to do to give me enough fabric to make this was make the belt slightly narrower and by slightly, I mean literally 2cm maximum!!  

Mia had been shopping with her friends recently and had seen one of these in one of the high street shops and her immediate thought was we could probably just stick some Velcro on a towel!  See, she’s definitely her mum’s girl!! I’ve trained her well lol!!

With the remaining fabric, I squared off the edges with the overlocker and made sure it was long enough to wrap around her without her flashing anyone should she not be wearing anything underneath it.  I put a 2” hem on the top and bottom and 1” hem on the sides. I pinned where I needed the Velcro should be attached and searched my stash to see if I had any. Luckily I found a piece which was just long enough to cut into sections to attach to the towelling wrap and voila the wrap was finished.  

Even after getting these two projects out of the 3m, there was still enough left for me to make her some matching reusable make up wipes.  Holy moly I’ve never seen a girl go through so many cotton wool pads! I’ve been promising I was going to make her some for ages and never got round to it so now she has everything she needs and it all matches ☺ .  

If only I could put out takes in these blog posts lol!!  When we were taking the photos for the blog, as Mia sat on her bed she let out an almighty scream ……. “mummmmmm have you left a pin in here, something just stuck in my leg!” Oopsie, it had a white glass head and I didn’t see it!  Now it was wedged inside the hem with just the needle bit poking through! I had to unpick a couple of stitches to get the little blighter out! Note to self…..make sure not to use same coloured glass head pins as the fabric! Ha-ha!!!

I definitely my next project needs to be some selfish sewing!  What do you think??

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog post and look forward to making my next one for you!

Until next time, 

Happy Sewing

 

Lisa xx

@sewlastminutelisa

Self-drafted Shashiko jeans project

Shashiko jeans by @missmaker

 

 

So, a pair of self-draft jeans had been on my hit list for quite a while. As always with my Samantha Claridge Design Team projects, I try and ensure I stretch myself and cover new ground, really making the most of the opportunities these projects allow. These things take time of course and setting time aside had been proving difficult with a couple of big personal projects at the start of this year

Just for good measure, (cos nothing should be too easy!) I had added a couple of other elements to the project too. As well as additional pockets and a curved back yoke design, I had repaired a pair of old jeans with a bit of Sashiko mending (the art of applying small regular reinforcing stitches in patterns and designs that decorate and make a feature of the mended area) and really wanted to make this a feature of the jeans I was going to make for SCDT. 

The lining fabric I had chosen was so pretty I did not want it hidden away inside so I knew it needed to feature on the outside. To ensure this the front pockets would have piping and the back and extra pockets would have details in the lining fabric. The Sashiko stitching would frame panels of the lining fabric supported inside by extra layers of denim to make them as hard wearing as they were pretty 

To ensure this plan came together I turned to my dress making journal to ensure I had all the elements buttoned down before moving forward with the drafting. A few sketches and notes later and I was ready to start. 

The first step was to get into the workshop and dust off my City & Guilds Trouser drafting module notes. It had been a fair while since I had looked at these. I did this module with the fabulous Wendy Ward (@thatwendywardat MIY Workshops down in Brighton almost ten years ago. She is now up in Sheffield running Sew in the City and her patterns and books are definitely worth a look.    

I always want to make the most out of time spent on projects so in drafting these jeans I was also road testing notes and an instruction booklet I had written for an upcoming trouser drafting course. With a few tweaks along the way both the notes and draft pattern all came together very nicely and I soon had a basic toile to begin fitting and styling.  

Trying on the first toile revealed that I didn’t need quite as much ease around hips and waist, a slightly shorter crotch depth (balanced further towards the front), a bit more room around the knees and an increased angle on the centre back seam as I have a bit of a sway back 

I wanted a snug toile as I knew the denim had a small amount of stretch to it and having made a number of pairs of jeans before I knew they would relax further with wear.  

With my list of fit changes updated on the toile, the toile tried on again to triple check and then the changes transferred to the pattern, I was then ready to start creating new lines and panels for the curved yoke back, front pockets, fly extension, waist band and back pocket size and position.  

Drawing directly on to the updated toile with a friction pen I could mark and erase as many times as I liked to get just the look and proportion I wanted for these different elements. I was then able to trace these new lines to create new pattern pieces I needed, adding back in seam allowances where needed. 

I will now let you in to a little secret, before cutting my pattern pieces from my denim and lining I made a point of totally mistreating my fabric 

I do this before making up any everyday clothes these days. Both lining and denim went through a 40 degree wash then into the tumble dryer. This way I knew the worst that could happened already had!  

(When I first got a tumble dryer a couple of years ago I got carried away and left my perfectly fitted ginger jeans in a wash AND dry cycle without thinking, but that’s another story, you’ll have to check out my insta and facebook feeds to find out how that got fixed!)  

The thing I love about making jeans is that the process all seems totally backwards. Every final detail, every little finishing touch, all has to be thought about and executed before anything really starts to come together. Pockets are painstakingly folded and pressed with top stitching and decorative details added, belt loops are created, front pockets are constructed and piped, the fly is inserted, back panels, yoke and pockets are all attached and topstitched. This all happens before either of the inside or outside leg seams are sewn.

For these jeans there was even more detail to add at this point, as I decided it would be far easier to add all the Sashiko detailing before either of these seams were brought together. After searching out some inspiration on Pinterest I decided on a circular design flaring off into gentle swirls around the lining fabric inserts and rows of parallel stitches across the back of one leg.  

It took a little while to complete this part of the process but it was quite nice to get consumed by a bit of slow stitching for a while, and with all the other details already in place I knew once it was done the finished jeans were not far from completion.  

So, the inside leg is sewn and top stitched, the outside seams were tacking stitched on the machine before a final try on to get that perfect fit. Hardly a tweak was needed, just a little graded increase in the seam allowance between hip and waist to take account of the denim’s stretch. With the side seems set it was on with the waist band. I don’t know why but this is the bit that daunts me most, maybe because that’s when everything is set in stone?

Finally…… lots and lots of belt loops!

 

I can’t stand jeans that skimp on belt loops and you end up with your belt over the top of the waistband, especially at centre back.  

For these jeans I added a total of 8 belt loops and made a feature of the centre back ones, angling them away from each other and extending them down to the yoke seam.  

There are still a couple of tweaks I would make to this pattern (I find my self-drafts are eternally a work in progress as I am quite self critical). But all in all these summer jeans have turned out to be the relaxed fit I wanted with a level of detail and individualisation that really set them apart.  

Fennel Fanny pack review- with A Beautiful Mess fabrics

Bum Bags are back in a big way…and I for one am grateful! I love them for gigs, festivals and dog walking, so I can be hands free but access my phone/ keys/ money/ poo bags really quickly if I need! I also feel safer with my valuables where I can see them!

So when I saw the Fennel Fanny pack all over Instagram I was keen to give it a go. 

It’s a downloadable pattern from Sarkirsten.com and it’s only $12! So I bought it and printed it off, then the hard part was deciding on fabric…

I went with the ABM Flower Market range but decided in the end to use the Succulents green fabric for the inside and out, I just love that sage green and thought it would go perfectly with the pink hardware I bought…so summery and fun!

I made a few mistakes and got myself in a pickle while making this I’m not going to lie! I thought the instructions for the side tabs could have been slightly clearer as I managed to put them in upside down the first time! I also found stitching round the corners of the bum bag a real pain…but that’s probably because I mis-read the pattern instructions fo the front of the bag…this picture shows that I somehow left the top of the bag above the zip too big…not sure how that happened but I trimmed it down and carried on!

The finished result, however, is incredibly pleasing and I can see how this bag is an addictive make! It would be a fabulous gift for a friend and you easily make a whole bacth of these up for Christmas pressies! Hey, why not start on them now and get ahead of the game!

I’ll definitely be making more and will remember my mistakes from the first time…that’s how you learn right?!

Who else has made one? What did you think of the process?

Just a heads up, there will be a discount code in this weeks Newsletter so make sure you are signed up to recieve this, you can do this on the homepage…scroll to the bottom!

How to make a Macrame wall hanging

Macrame is back and we are LOVING it! 

This textile craft based on knotting strings in patterns can be used to make bags, wall hangings, jewellery and plant hangers.

We’ve just had some beautiful Macrame cords and metal hoops delivered, you can find them in the New In section of the shop. So give this cheap and easy craft a go!

Below is a little tutorial to get you started…

Step 1.

I started with one 25m ball of cord and a 20cm hoop in brass. I love the cmbination of this peach cord witht he brass ring 🙂

Firstly cut 9  x 1m strands of cord

Step 2.

Take your first piece of cord, find the middle of the rope. attach to hoop with a larks head knot

Step 3.

Make sure the rope is underneath the hoop and attach with a double half hitch knot.

Step 4.

Then attached a rope either side 

Step 5.

Taking the inner strand wither side create a square knot

Step 6.

Start your knot approx 1.5″ down from the top of the hoop.

Step 7.

Attach the ends to the side of your hoop as in Step 3

Step 8.

Taking the outer strands and create a reverse square knot then attach the ends to the hoop as before

Step 9.

Repeat all steps adding the remaining rope and reversing the square knot each time until you have used all 9 cord stands.  Then trim the ends to form a point.

Et voila!

Ideas with Washi Tape – 5 fun crafts to make…

We’ve probably all got a few rolls of washi tape in our crafting stash. It’s great for wrapping gifts and sticking up those fun motivational postcards you get with your fabric orders 😉

But, what else can you use these pretty rolls for? Well, we’ve scoured Pinterest and found 5 fun projects you could try this weekend!

 

Clockwise from top left…

Organise your charger cables by covering the cords with washi tape and allocating a designt o each erson in your household…great for stopping those pesky arguments about whose cable is whose!

Decorate plain white envelopes by trimming the edges with washi tape

Jazz up tea lights with a strip of tape…so cute!

Organise your keys and make them easy to spot in your bag with some bright tape on the ends

Why not DIY yourself a new phone case with strips of washi inside a clear case…

 
 
We have the Rico Paper Poetry set of washi tapes in stock so why not give these fun crafts a go. These projects would be great to do with the kids too, minimal mess, lots of fun…this definitely counts as an Art lesson!

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 princess 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 Fanny 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!