Gingham dreams!

Vintage style ruffle dress project...

 
I have been dreaming of giant gingham for a long time. I’m not sure what started it but I thought it would be a super cute dress when I found the perfect fabric. When I saw this fabric on Samantha Claridge online I knew it was for me, but I NEVER sew dull fabrics especially not black fabrics! After I wrestled with myself a little while I settle on the black and white gingham because I thought I could spice it up a bit with the pattern I used.

I planned on making the Jennifer Lauren handmade Mayberry dress so thought I would use awesome big buttons, but when the fabric arrived I knew I had to reconsider. The fabric arrived with a much thicker texture than I was expecting. It’s got a lovely linen feel to it but with a bit most structure, and less wrinkles too! I thought I would find a dress with a big full skirt and make something really vintage but with the checks being directional I wasn’t sure how that would make my shape look.

Then I saw the Alice & co free pattern in partnership with the V&A. It’s a pattern based on one of Mary Quants dresses to celebrate the exhibition on at the moment at the V&A. The fabric was perfect for the ruffles making them stand up around the neck and fluff out at the elbows, so I made a decision!

This project has almost turned into a zero waste one too! I cut out all my pieces and realised I didn’t have enough fabric to make the skirt three times the width so only made it twice. The only fabric I had left was a small section big enough for pockets, maybe on this dress in the future!

 

The checks made making the pleats super easy as I just used the squares as reference folding the over neatly. I’ve never pleated so much before, and the instructions tell you how to use a form to measure your pleats, which sounded terrifying so I was glad I had the squares already there to use. I had to top stitch the sleeve ruffles down as they were so fluffy they were flouncing in the wrong direction but I think that says more about my elbows than the fabric..! ha!

This fabric is super easy to wash and wear too as I was worried the linen feel would leave it wrinkly. Luckily I washed it and just hug it to dry and didn’t have to do any more to it. The pleats stayed lovely and the bodice didn’t crease so it’s perfect for perhaps packing in a bag or wearing all day and still looking smart at the end of the day!

 

I recently wore this dress to our new nephews christening, and I got lots of compliments. The wrap over front is very flattering on me and the smallest part of the waist hits me just at the right point. I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern and just made it as it was which was perfect for me. It has a fully lines bodice too, which made it feel even fancier, but helped it come together surprisingly easily!

 

Whilst this dress isn’t the vintage era I’d normally gravitate towards (normally 40’s and 50’s) I think it was a perfect pairing to this fabric and made me a lovely outfit for the christening which I can now wear again and again to the office and know I’ll be smart and comfy!

Costa Tote

Handy Tote!

This month I thought I’d give my wardrobe a break and make the Helen’s Closet Costa Tote. This is a pattern she released recently which you can get for free if you sign up to her newsletter. It is a lined, reversible tote bag with large pockets and shoulder straps, and there’s nothing I like more than a big bag to hold all my ‘essentials’, you know, purse, phone, wet wipes, kids toys, emergency snacks! 

I thought I’d use this beautiful cotton denim chambray  for the outside and line it with a bright rainbow triangles cotton. Then I had the idea to embellish the pockets with a bit of embroidery because, well, why not??!! 
 
When I received my fabric I couldn’t believe how soft they both were. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with chambray before but, oh my goodness, I’ll definitely be using it again! It’s sooooo smooth and buttery to touch and drapes wonderfully. I can see a button down shirt dress in this! And the triangles cotton was also beautiful, I just loved the colours and could see this as a Kalle shirt!
Anyhoo, it wasn’t long before the fabric was cut out and I was thinking about starting my embroidery. I chose colours to compliment the lining and took inspiration from an image I’d seen on Pinterest, but mostly doodled my own design. 
 
I wasn’t sure how to transfer my design onto the fabric. I thought a fabric pencil wouldn’t give me a crisp enough line and I didn’t have any transfer paper to hand. I’m sure there are lots of ways to do it but I went with a plain old biro! I embroidered outside of the lines so you can’t see them.
 
See that little yellow button below? Well I decided I didn’t like it so I unpicked it and used a different technique.
 
I think I need to clarify here that I am clearly not an expert in hand embroidery! That’s plain to see! It’s not as neat as I’d like but I wasn’t going to rip it all out and start again! The whole piece took me a couple of evenings to complete and once that was done I could start constructing the bag. 
 

The instructions are brilliant, just what you’d expect from Helen’s Closet. I tweaked my bag slightly as I decided to line the pockets to protect the back of the embroidery. I also put a small pocket on the inside. It all came together in a  couple of hours and is a really sturdy bag, deep with good sized pockets, and what seamstress doesn’t like a pocket, right??!! I’ve already used it loads and think I’ll be making a few more of these as gifts.

Florals!

I’m a big lover of bold prints and textures within my wardrobe, but I always feel like theres one type of print missing- floral. There are some absolutely gorgeous floral prints out there but I’ve never felt like they were quite me, they always seem to bit a bit too delicate or girly, or never quite the right style of floral to fit alongside my other prints.

So I got super excited when I came across this Figo Promenade Vases Cotton it’s the perfect mix of unusual, boldness and floral – right up my street.

This print is probably something that is more traditionally used for home furnishings. I imagine that  a lovely cushion or a roman blind would look great in this fabric. It’s 100% cotton and while its not overly stiff it isn’t as drapey as the likes of a cotton lawn, but it has a lovely soft texture – a button up shirt would work really well in this fabric!

I decided to use the Fibre Mood Violet dress as a starting point for my make. It’s a lovely simple dress but a bit loose fitting for my style, so I used the pattern to make a top. I cut the pattern just below the hip and decided to shorten the sleeves to make it lovely and summery. (Yes I know the weather is getting colder but I’ve never been one for sewing seasonally haha!) I’ve found that it’s a really versatile shape top, and it looks great dressed up or down. I french seamed the top, which I tend to always do when working with cotton, so its nice and neat on the inside and will hopefully last a long time. The fabric is really easy to work with and wasn’t too bulky which made french seaming really simple. It’s quite a simple shape top so even with french seams it comes together quite quickly.

It’s the second time I’ve made this pattern so there were a few adjustments to the instructions I made. I didn’t interface the neckline facing as I found last time I made it, it seemed to make the facing a bit too bulky to sit flat and with the Figo Cotton already having a decent weight I didn’t think it needed it. Also instead of under stitching the facing I decided to top stitch the neckline because who doesn’t love a bit of topstitching detail?!

I’m really pleased with this top and I love the print! The vase details are so unique and the little touches of yellow flowers are so cute! There’s a lovely selection of Figo cotton on the website at the moment. The Promenade and Rolleken collections are my favourite!

Selfless Sewing

Back to school skirt!

Hi again

I’m back refreshed after the summer break and head full of sewing plans for the coming months.  Okay, my head works faster than my sewing I admit but hey who cares, you have to plan right??

My September make is actually a selfless sew as it’s for my youngest daughter, Mia.  Completely inspired on a shopping trip prior to her going back to school in the 6th Form as she is now able to wear her own clothes so, you know, obviously everything has to be bang “on trend” (rolls eyes!!).  I’d actually been eyeing up this fabric on Sammy’s website but there was only a metre left and I wasn’t sure if that would be enough for a skirt for myself so I put it to the back of my mind.  Then, on said shopping trip, Mia picked up a skirt in almost identical colour but they didn’t have her size! Cue mum to the rescue me thinks!!

 I pitched the idea of the Tilly and the Buttons Ness Skirt which was almost exactly the same as what she was looking at and even though the pattern needed more than a metre I was pretty confident I’d manage with a metre for Mia’s skirt as she’s happy to wear them a lot shorter than I am!.  I opted to make the mini version.

She seemed totally on board with my idea so I quickly messaged Sam and asked for 1m of the Rose Cord (now out of stock but available in Green, brown and yellow) and also ½ metre of the Figo Rolleken Sketch Squares for the pocket bags.  I also chose the “match my thread” option and I’m not sure how many people have used this option but wow it’s a game changer. No more thinking it might match…. it blooming well does….perfectly!  That perfect in fact that it was hard to see the thread when I inevitably needed to use my best friend, the unpicker!

When the fabric arrived oh my word it was just so soft and lovely.  I couldn’t wait to get started on it. It actually comes together quite quickly and is a pleasant make.  Both the cord and cotton fabrics pre washed and pressed beautifully although I was careful when pressing on the front of the cord.  I didn’t want any marks and I’m happy to report pressing didn’t leave any! I struggled to find a zip in the exact same colour as the cord but fortunately due to the fly it’s not visible so I settled for as near as I could get which is just a shade lighter but as it matches the pocket bags, I’m not too upset with it.

I had toyed with the idea of using poppers instead of the button and buttonhole (don’t ask me why but I always hold my breath when doing buttonholes!  Unjustified too as I’ve never had any problems doing buttonholes on my Pfaff!) but decided after doing a couple of test buttonholes on a scrap of fabric that I would bite the bullet and put a proper jeans button on them.  I knew in my stash I had some with a cute little rose gold star in the middle and Mia being a fan of almost anything rose gold, knew she’d love it! As I usually do, I put fray check on the buttonhole and once this had dried I opened it up using my Clover buttonhole chisel.  This makes life so much easier than trying to do it with the unpicker and scissors. Definitely worth investing in if you don’t already own one!.

I made a size 8 and it fit her perfectly without any alterations.  I would have loved to have gone to town on the pockets doing a bit of embroidery or fancy top stitching but, you know, kids eh!!  Maybe I’ll make another one for me where I can go a little bit more wild.

Whilst sewing up this skirt, I was dreaming up a pair of trousers a bit like maybe the Closet Case Ginger Jeans or Megan Nielson Ash/Dawn in some of this gorgeous cord fabric.  I reckon whatever you make in this cord will look absolutely fab. Gorgeous colour and fab quality. I’d highly recommend getting your little mitts on some to wear this autumn/winter!

It’s safe to say that Mia loves her new skirt as its on trend with what’s in the shops at the minute right down to the fabric and style and even better that unlike the shop bought ones, it fits perfectly everywhere rather than hips or waist not both!  I can see more cord purchases coming on!.

Thanks for reading!

Happy stitching

Lisa x

@sewlastminuteLisa

An Autumn Tunic

Kathrine's Autumn tunic

As soon as I saw this gorgeous jersey on Samantha’s site, I knew I had to make something from it. I toyed with various ideas but finally decided on a tunic for Autumn. I like the Tilly and the Buttons Coco but really wanted a straighter silhouette, I also like the details of the Coco Wawa Chestnut but find the shape a bit boxy.

I decided to try this pattern which came free with one of the sewing magazines as I wanted a simple shape to allow the fabric to take centre stage. Sam found me some lovely copper ribbon to tone with the bees and the detail on the flowers.

I decided on view C which has a longer back than front, but I lengthened the sleeves as my arms are always cold in autumn/winter!

The pattern came together easily, the only alteration I made was to shorten the back slightly so that there is less of a difference between the back and the front. I used my overlocker for main seams and my regular machine for hems, bias binding and top stitching. The fabric is soft to touch but holds its shape and doesn’t stretch out at all. 

I cut the back with a centre back seam as I wanted to incorporate a tie detail at the top. I love the way the copper ribbon looks against the fabric. 

I have tried the tunic on with several garments; jeans, navy trousers, culottes, a short denim skirt and a longer pencil skirt. I think it’s going to get a lot of wear as the weather gets cooler.

Just landed!!

New In! Ruby Star Society Fabrics...

These gorgoues prints by Ruby Star Society have just arrived at Samantha Claridge Studio this week! We are so excited! 

 

With their definite nod to the 1980’s and the winning colour combination we are dying to get started on a project with these! Keep your eyes peeled for some fun makes…

The question is…how do you pick just one! 

 

100% cotton and 110cm wide £7.25 per half metre

One of each for me please! Well done Ruby Star Society…this collection is totally amazing!

Pram Liner

Summer holiday project!

Do you ever feel in a sewing rut, where you can’t face doing ANOTHER dart or hem anything? Sometimes you need a simple kickstarter project, just like this one was for me. 

In this months blog I made a pram liner for my best friend who was going on holiday! The pram she uses for taking away has always been great as it folds small and had a fleecy liner with a muff to keep little Thomas warm, but this time they were going somewhere warm on holiday! The pram without the liner had a funky wipe clean base, which is great for keeping it clean and free from toddler mess but not so great if you want to keep said toddler cool and calm.

I decided to help out with this predicament and make a new cotton liner for the pram keeping him cool but also putting some fun into the pram with the great patterned fabric available at Samantha Claridge Studios. I chose this jungle print fabric with is 100% cotton so perfect for what I needed it to be. My friend kindly lent me the fleece liner as well so that I could copy the placement for straps also.

I laid the fabric out and cut round the fleece liner giving me an oblong shape, and made sure I marked where all the strap holes were. I cut out some wadding to be the same size and sandwiched it with the two pieces of cotton. I used my quilting pins to keep the sandwich together whilst I created the strap holes.

To do this I marked the length and width the needed to be and used a very small zig zag. I turned my feed dogs off and made sure I had a good handle of the fabric with my quilting gloves (they are actually builders gloves but they are extra grippy!) I went round each strap location creating a giant button whole which I could cut out to allow the strap and buckles to poke through.

Once all the button holes were completed I overlocked all around the edges. I will bind the edges of this when she gets back from holiday with bias binding but I ran out of time before she flew, typical Rudy always last minute sewing!

My friend said it was perfect for holiday as the 100% cotton kept Thomas cool and it kept the moisture away from his skin, stopping him from getting uncomfortable and grumpy.

I love the pattern on this fabric too, it’s perfect for children’s makes as it has lots of different animals for them to spot out and the repetitions means the pattern is busy enough for you not to notice spills and stains!

Fat Quarter Project…

Modern quilt wall hanging...

I’ve had the Figo Fabrics Lucky Charms and Perfect Day Terrazzo in my stash for a couple of months now and have been looking for the perfect sewing project for them. I already blogged a little pin cushion tutorial (read it here!) with part of the white Terrazzo fabric (and still had enough left for this project too…what a win!) A few weeks back I came accross a crochet wall hanging on Pinterest that jumped out at me for it’s geometric design (it sparked all the joy!) I thought it would translate perfectly into a quilt project…so here it is!

I used my trusty cutting mat and rotary cutter plus my handy cutting square which I used to cut my blocks (I simply cut round as it gives nice size block for this project)

I plotted out the pattern…below 

I worked out how many triangles I would need of each colour way and cut out the squares, then cut them in half diagonally and matched them up with their partner! I then laid out the whole quilt and stitched it up row by row, pressing the seams open as I went for a crisp finish.

I used the crosses cotton in grey to back it with as I had it in my stash and it goes nicely with the FIGO Fabrics.

I simply overlocked the two layers together (probably not the proper way to do it but I love using my overlocker as it gives quick and neat results…very satisfying!

I made my own binding out of the left over bits of fabric and I’m so pleased I did as it really ties the whole quilt together so nicely.

I stitched the binding to the back first…then realised I should have done it the other way round so unpicked it (I hadn’t done too much thankfully…no-one likes un-picking lets face it!) and then I stitched the binding to the front then folded it to the back and hand stitched it down.

I like using these little clips for holding the binding in place while I hand stitch so I don’t get pricked when the quilt is in my lap!

So here it is!
 
This project would work brilliantly with any fabrics as long as you have a dark and a light in there for the contrast.
 

Tag us if you make one! #scstudioblog

Trimming inspo

Looking for a quick and easy way to jazz up an old T-shirt or add a fun element to a tired dress? Why not add some Ric rac? It’s a fun and easy trimming which has a lovely vintage vibe but can also be made to look modern if used in the right way! We love the Navy blue dress above trimmed with jumbo white ric rac, this would be a great way to revive and old outfit.

Or how about adding it to homewear like cushions, blinds and lampshades…

It’s such a versatlie trimming and comes in so many colours and sizes…what would you do with it?

Autumn wardrobe staple

The Jamie Cardigan

So, you know when you find yourself down an Instagram rabbit hole and come across a pattern or garment and you think it immediately has to go to the top of your sewing list?! Well this is what happened to me a couple of months ago! I found the Ready to Sew Jamie Cardigan and fell in love! I love the slouchy style and, of course, the big pockets, and I think it’s something that could be dressed up or down. Despite my self imposed pattern purchasing ban I decided I just had to have this cardigan in readiness for the autumn and  spent some of my birthday pennies on it. I’ve also been keeping my eye on this amazing giant leopard print jersey – we all know how I feel about animal print, now, don’t we?! So when it came to choosing my next #scdesignteam project it was as if the stars had aligned!

The cardigan comes in two options – view 1 is hip length with long sleeves and patch pockets and view 2 falls at the waist with slightly shorter sleeves. They are quite economical with fabric with the longer version only taking 1.5m so this was the one I decided to go for to make the most of my fabric. 

Jamie cardigan pattern

I was very excited to use my new overlocker skills and constructed the majority of the cardi on the overlocker. This made it super quick to make. The pockets aren’t very neatly sewn on as the machine struggled at the corners with the multiple layers of fabric, but nobody will notice that except me. There were a couple of parts that slowed me down, one was the gathering of the sleeves to attach the cuff. For some reason my long straight stitch just wouldn’t gather in this fabric so I ended up removing it and hand sewing my gathering stitch which worked absolutely fine in the end. And the button holes were a bit of a nightmare because the thread kept breaking half way through and I had to unpick the whole thing and start again… at least three times! 

But despite these issues I absolutely love it and need to make the short version now! The fabric is gorgeous and soft and the perfect weight for the kind of project. And it’s quite a statement piece in this fabric! And that just makes me love it more! Nothing like a bit of leopard print to jazz up a pair on jeans! The day I took these photos it was 26 degrees outside, but two weeks before on my rainy summer hols in Cornwall it was a lovely cover up in the evenings when it got a little chilly. Initially it seemed a bit odd to be making this in August but I think it’s going to be the first thing I reach for whenever I want an extra layer.