Hi-Lo top

Alison's fabulous summer cover up!

 
For my second project for the Samantha Claridge Studio blog (previously Sew Crafty Design Team) I thought I’d go for a garment this time and chose the Pattern Emporium Make it Happen Hi-lo top. I won this pattern back in March when it was released and I’ve been itching to make it ever since, but it’s not particularly UK winter appropriate (PE is an Australian brand)! But I figured that if I wait for a sunny day I could be waiting a long time! Turns out we’ve had a few good ones lately!

First off, I would absolutely recommend this company. I love this pattern and most Pattern Emporium patterns I’ve seen have multiple options which is great as it gives you so much variety for different styles. This top comes in three different lengths, two different back versions, 3 sleeve options, two neckline heights and two front lengths… phew! I went for the high neck, one piece back, maxi length with dolman sleeves and regular front length. This required 2.5 metres of woven fabric so I chose the blush leopard stretch cotton because, well, I couldn’t resist an animal print!

The pattern consists of two pieces with an additional sleeve overlay and a piece for making the neck binding. Simple!
 
The fabric washed and ironed well. Being cotton it cut like butter! It’s not a heavy cotton and it has a decent drape to it. It’s also got a sight sateen-like sheen to it which makes it feel lovely but I wouldn’t describe it as a ‘stretch’ fabric as it’s only got 3% elastane and this doesn’t really give it any stretch just a little bit of give.
 

The instructions are brilliant and the top came together really quickly, in only a couple of hours, and most of that was spent at the ironing board doing the bound neckline and turning up the miles of hemline! But the fabric was beautiful to sew and did what it was told when ironed! I would have liked to finish the insides with french seams but the seam allowance was only 1cm so I just zig zagged the exposed seams to neaten them up. My only negative comment about that pattern was that there was a fair amount of fabric waste because of the way the main pieces were cut on the fold, but I’ve obviously saved the remnants and can probably piece together something for my daughter at a later date.

Please excuse the windy day photos! I love the finished look, it feels a bit ‘extra’ with it being so long and flowy – I’ve even had a few comments in the school playground! And the fabric helps! I’m really looking forward to wearing it when we get some warmer weather but in the mean time I might make a couple more!

Jenny’s updated underwear!

Jenny's new undies!

I did a bit of spring cleaning recently and had a bit of a clear out of my underwear drawer. You know those ones you keep because they’re mega comfy but actually really ugly? The ones you’ll ‘diet back in to’? The ones you bought because they were really pretty but somehow give you 4 bum cheeks where they cut in? I threw them all out. As it turns out, that didn’t leave me with many cute pairs of knickers so for my next SC Design Team make I decided to make myself so new ones!

My go-to pattern for knickers is the Acacia pattern from Megan Neilsen. This pattern is a freebie if you sign up for her newsletter, but if you would prefer not to subscribe you can purchase the pattern for £7.50. The pattern is for a low rise bikini cut knicker and gives instructions for 3 different elastic application techniques. It’s also a quick and easy sew. I cut a size Large based on measurements but I’ve altered my pattern slightly for a little less coverage on my butt to be a slightly more flattering shape for my body.

I wanted to make a few pairs of undies so I ordered half a metre of 6 different fabrics! I ordered a red spotted stretch mesh and matching jersey, a neon orange and turquoise floral stretch lace and neon jersey and a white stretch lace, as well as coordinating fold over elastic.

The spotted red mesh is really lovely, great stretch and good recovery too. The jersey is a good weight with enough stretch for undies, but I think would be really nice for t-shirts too. I chose a pinky red colour fold over elastic, and while it’s not quite a perfect match, it compliments the cherry red of the mesh nicely!

The orange and turquoise stretch lace was nice to sew with – the grey and turquoise floral design helps tone down some of the ‘orange-ness’ of the neon and I think could actually be really wearable as a layered pencil skirt or even a dress over a slip. I chose a grey fold over elastic for this pair as I wanted again to help tone down the bright neon of the jersey. The jersey is very vivid but it’s great quality. Neon orange isn’t typically a colour I can wear as I’m quite fair but I think you can get away with most wild prints and colours in undies and pyjamas!

The white stretch lace is so pretty, but doesn’t have quite as much stretch and recovery as the other ones I chose. As I’d chosen to use fold over elastic, I think the recovery issue won’t be a problem as the elastic will keep them where they’re supposed to be! The green and purple design is so pretty, and because this is a bit more of a delicate look I used the lace for the front and the back as well as the outer layer of the gusset. I used a scrap of white cotton jersey for the gusset lining as it’s always best to have natural fibres in delicate areas.

I used a zigzag stitch to attach the fold over elastic, going slowly to make sure I didn’t miss any raw edges, as even though none of these fabrics fray I wanted the raw edges to be neatly enclosed in the elastic. I pre-washed all 6 fabrics and didn’t notice any shrinkage but would recommend that you use a colour catcher for pre-washing the red jersey as it gave up a little bit of colour. 

As this pattern uses very little fabric it’s a great scrap buster – I’ve got plenty of fabric left over to make at least 6 more pairs in various combinations. A little bit of a good fabric can go a long way!

Summer Lingerie

Sally makes some Evie La Luve lingerie...

Can you believe that we are already half way through the year?! Scary or what!

This month’s make is some pretty summer lingerie. Don’t know about you guys but I can’t sleep in the buff I still need something on me… I’m one of them that need the duvet on me but have half my body out of it in the summer and I don’t wanna scar my children for life! Hahaha!

I have the fabulous patterns from Evie La Luve of the Crop Top and Honey Panties which I thought would be ideal… plenty of coverage yet pretty!

 

 

 

 

So after reading through the Samantha Claridge Studio site, where they have some lovely scuba, lace and lingerie findings, I finally settled on the Flora Scuba, Coral Lace. To give the crop top an edgy vibe I went for the Sport Plush Back Elastic which is just lush so soft yet sturdy!

On making both these patterns you do need plenty of Fold Over Elastic so I order 5m and that was just enough to cover them both so if you read the instructions and it states what amount you need always go for an extra metre to be on the safe side.

Also with me adding some Lace to the sides of the Crop Top I needed thread to match so I ended up with an array of threads to make sure I had the right colour match on which part I was constructing the lingerie.

So as you all know, my health hasn’t been on top form and weight has come on quite quickly but thankfully Evielaluve patterns accommodate to size 45” bust and 48” hips on the panties. I graded out a size bigger for the hips as unfortunately they were just out of the sizing bracket but the Top I cut out a size 2XL. So thankfully I had my Sew Crafty Planner at the ready to keep all my notes handy.

I’ve not made a Crop Top before, so I aired on the side of caution and made a toile beforehand, which I am very glad I did as the front needed an extra bit of boob coverage, the top itself to be lengthen by a couple of inches also as my 34FF girls was wanting to escape underneath the top and the straps needed shorting by an inch.

With them adjustments made onto the pattern pieces, I went out to cutting them out of the lovely scuba and lace along with the panties too. I added a layer of Power Mesh to the Top too for a bit more support.

So when constructing the Crop Top I cut out a piece of lace just big enough of the opening and sewn in place and the placed the layer of power mesh and basted in place using a 05.cm Seam Allowance.

 

 

 

 

Construction came together really quick and once you know how to fold over elastic to finish the edges you can soon sew these two in no time.

Also my Man Mog Raylan was at my side whilst sewing and keeping an eye that I didn’t make a mistake.

These are a right pretty pair… if I do say so myself and as Lisa (fellow DT member) mentioned they look like they were bought from Calvin Klein! 

So here are the finished pair, sorry folks I’m not putting myself on the internet just in a crop top and panties for no one hahaha!

Steph’s Peasant dress

Steph shares with us her peasant dress project and why it's so important to her...

Over the last few years I have developed more of an affinity for trousers or leggings than dresses, largely due to my changing body shape, but the need for abdominal surgery very soon has made me realise i need more dresses in my life…

 

 

After years of pain and hideous symptoms I was recently diagnosed with Endometriosis of the womb and bowel, and at the end of July I will be having major surgery to remove my womb, ovaries and a small portion of my bowel. This means a lot of resting, recovering, and – much to my horror – no jeans or leggings for several weeks as they’ll rub on my scars and stitches. 

Now don’t get me wrong – i love dresses. Just not on me. I’m short and dumpy, and incredibly conscious of my legs and stomach, and there are only a few styles of dress that really suit me. A dress shopping trip left me feeling anxious, frumpy and deeply uncomfortable, so I knew the only way to solve this was with something me-made.

As I was glancing through Samantha Claridge Studio’s incredible array of fabrics (which is very much a regular pastime, even when I dont have a project in mind!) a beautiful pale blue viscose with a pink and white floral print caught my eye and I knew that it would be absolutely perfect for something light and floaty. I have always loved peasant dresses and tops, and they fit the bill for what I’d need post-surgery: empire line, nice and loose, and should be cool and comfortable in the summer heat.

Peasant dresses are actually fairly simple to make without a premade pattern, and i have seen many really lovely ones that are actually just made from 4 rectangles (2 large ones for the back and front, and 2 smaller ones for the sleeves). The magic ingredient to this dress is in fact basic elastic.

I used just plain white narrow elastic in the neckline and under the bust to draw in all the excess fabric and create a nice silhouette. I also added a bit of elastic in the sleeves to make them a little puffier at the top. The end result was the first dress I have actually loved and felt utterly comfortable wearing in YEARS. The fabric is so soft and feminine, and the big floaty sleeves give the dress that little bit extra drama. I loved it so much I even wore it to a friends wedding and I was very proud when people asked me where i got such a beautiful dress that i was able to say ‘I made it myself’.

Whilst this dress started out as a need for a post-surgery outfit, I think it will become a wardrobe staple of mine for quite some time to come. Who knows – maybe this might just be the start of a new love for wearing dresses. 

Faux jumpsuit!


Kathrine shares her jumpsuit plans

 
 
This summer, jumpsuits seem to be everywhere both ready to wear versions and sewing patterns are all over social media. Last summer I failed with a couple of versions, so I decided for my June #scdesignteam project to try a faux jumpsuit consisting of a top and matching trousers. 

 

 

For the top I decided to use New Look 6464 and for the trousers my old trusty New Look 6160. I had seen a blue stripe ready to wear jumpsuit on the high street, so I was thrilled to find the perfect blue stripe fabric in the Samantha Claridge Studio shop. 

 

 

 

 

I decided to cut the top on the bias so that I could have a chevron design with the stripes, this required some careful stripe matching, lots of pins and tacking.

 

 

 

I was struggling to get a neat hem around the curve of the neckline, so I dug in my stash and came up with this floral bias binding-I do like those pretty hidden details.

The pattern called for a ribbon fastening but instead I decided to make a fastening from the fabric. The photo here shows my first try on, there were a few alterations to come. I liked the fit and shape at the front but despite having made a toile in a different fabric which seemed ok I wasn’t happy with the back. I think the bias cut was to blame, I had a lot of excess fabric across the top of the back and it stuck out and didn’t give a flattering shape. I put it on Madeline (my tailors dummy or body double as my OH calls her!) but then resorted to putting it on and giving my OH the pins. He then videoed it for me and kept pinning until I was happy, these OHs can be useful.

 

The trousers were simpler as it’s a pattern I’ve made many times. The only change was that I had planned full length trousers but when I tried them on I wasn’t sure. I pinned one leg to a cropped length and was deliberating in front of the mirror when my 20-year-old son appeared. His definite verdict was cropped was better and more trendy-20-year-old students can be useful too! I think I wish I’d cut the pockets on the bias too to tie in with the top, but I’d already finished when I had that thought. Look at the stripe matching too, you almost don’t know they’re there.

So, the finished garments……… they don’t do what I want them to do which is look like a jumpsuit. Apparently as I’ve learned from another 20-year-old co-ords are very fashionable, to me they’re just too matchy, matchy. However, I’ve worn the top with plain linen trousers and the trousers with a plain white top and I like them both-just no jumpsuit yet!

Summer Time Separates

@missmaker shows us her summer wardrobe staples!

 
 
You may recognise this georgeous fabric from my previous project, this soft drapy cotton viscose from www.samanthaclaridgestudio.com was too beautiful! I just couldn’t tuck it away as a coat lining so I used a small amount for the yoke of the Jade jacket lining and saved the rest for a rather more summery project…

My basic idea was to cut a half circle skirt so the grain of the skirt would run across the bias and drape beautifully with lots of movement. I wanted a full length skirt so measure from my waist to floor then added 4cm to play with. My hip measurement divided by Pi (3.14 – back to school days!) gave me the diameter circle I would need, and as I wanted a half circle I used that as the radius for the waistline instead. To make the very most of the fabric I had to then spread this half circle to give me a slightly flatter curve

I also had some fantastic pale grey cuffing with a coral, pink and white stripe (also available at Sew Crafty) which I though would work perfectly as a comfy waistband, I joined the back seam and sewed the cuffing to the top, marking quarters and stretching the cuffng between to give me a stretchy waistband that still sat beautifully flat with subtle gathers when topstitched with a small zigzag.

A small rolled hem was all that was then needed to complete the skirt, so quick and easy I can see a couple more of these being whizzed up before summer is out!

Then is was on to the top half. I have a New Look pattern (6095) that I have made about 10 different variations of so far.

The fit is fab and actually works perfectly without the zip in the back so I’ve taken to cutting the back as one piece for relaxed fit versions.

I wanted two separate items that came together beautifully as one when needed to, s, once I had the basic shape together I popped it on my dress form with the skirt and thought about the proprtions of the neckline and how bind and finish it.

I opted for a sleaveless look with simple fold over binding, a laced front created using a rectangular facing turned to the outside, topstitched and used button holes with a long rouleux threaded through them (I still might change this to a cord made with emroidery thread matched to the coral stripe of the cuffing but that’s for another day)

TOP TIP: The binding on this top used one of my go to techniques for a lightweight finish. Cut a strip of binding about 5cm wide from the fabric you are using, not on the bias as this is too stretchy but at about 25 degrees. Fold the whole thing in half and press. Place the binding on the wrong side and line up your three raw edges (two for the binding one from the neck or arm hole you are binding). Stitch round the whole thing (folding your ends neatly where they join) Trim the raw edges down to about 0.5cm, fold the entire binding to the outside. Top stitch into place.  Supr neat, super light and super strong for this kind of drapey fabric.

And there we go! Time for a try on. I have just got to decide which combo is my favourite now!!!

The Margot Playsuit

Lisa makes the perfect summer playsuit

Hi Again

I’m back this month with my favourite summer playsuit.  It’s the Margo Playsuit from Sewladida Vintage. This is actually my 3rd of this pattern that I have made however it’s the first time I’ve used lace.

Browsing online recently and I came across a RTW dress in bright yellow lace that I really really liked.  Now, obviously as a sewist, I wouldn’t dream of buying a dress would I? (Well not at the price they were trying to charge anyway!)  ;). I did have some reservations about the yellow as it’s really vibrant and I definitely wouldn’t have chosen anything this daring before I started sewing my own!  I then started to wonder whether the yellow dress would get much wear what with the iffy weather in this country but knew that this would be perfect for my holidays!

 

 

 

Anyway after much procrastinating (did I tell you I’m queen of procrastination and my old neighbour nick named me Last Minute Lisa ☺) I decided the Margo would be perfect for the lace.  So I made my wish list and chose the yellow crepe to line the lace with and the lace for the outer.

 

 

When it arrived it did not disappoint!  It was just as gorgeous as it was on the picture on the Sew Crafty Website.  I quickly got it pre washed and dried and set to work. I got to say the fabric washed and ironed beautifully.   Looking at the fabric it is scalloped on both selvedge edges so I decided that I would trim off the edge just leaving the scallop so this would then form the hem of my shorts.

I started to cut out and realised that because its stretch lace it was gonna be a slippery little fella but tacked it into place using long basting stitches on the diagonal and this worked really well.

The first thing to do is the shorts and they came together very quickly.  Once the shorts were done I knew I was gonna love this suit. To reduce the bulk in the seam allowance I trimmed away the lace between the crepe.

I decided that for the bodice I would treat the crepe as the bodice lining as per instructions rather than try and fit another lining in as well.  I made sure to under stitch as much as I could wherever possible to stop the crepe from rolling to the front side and this worked really well.

I opted for the lemon invisible zip and I was relieved that it went in first time and lined up just right.  Whenever I put in an invisible zip into a garment with a waistline seam, to try and get it lined up when I get to the second side I zip up the garment and I use my tailors chalk to put a mark on the zip at the waist seam line then all I need to do is line it up with the waist seam and (fingers crossed) it lines up perfectly.   I generally tack the zip in then zip the garment up to check my cross points. Once I’m happy they match I go ahead and stitch it in.

 

 

 

And as you can see it lines up

All that was left then was to wait for a day when the sun decided to come out so that I could get some nice sunny photos to go with my lovely jumpsuit.  Well fortunately this weekend we got a day!! I wore this jumpsuit out to go shopping then went to our local reservoir for pictures. I got so many compliments whilst I was wearing it.  I definitely think it’s going to be a fab holiday outfit for my imminent trip to Mexico.

Hope this has inspired you to try something that you wouldn’t usually wear whether it’s a fabric choice or garment.
Until next time, happy sewing ☺
Lisa x
* This fabric was gifted to me for my monthly Sew Crafty Design Team project however all opinions are my own and honest.

Natalie @natalieywhite shares her adorable #SCdesignteam project!

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 have 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 its 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 make 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 affect 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.

Jenny @jennystitched makes a fancy robe

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!

Jenny

Alison @aliivens clever storage solutions!

Beautiful storage for a kids room!
 
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!

Alison