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!

Cosy Makes…

Autumn jersey knit project

Hey there, its Chatterstitch here back on the blog for the Samantha Claridge Studio, to tell you all about my latest design team make!

For my September blog post I asked Sammy for some of this gorgeous French Terry backed Jersey in mint. I don’t think you can fully appreciate the colour of this fabric just from my images, it really is lovely. The mint is the most delicate shade!

I don’t know about you but as the summer slips into autumn my mind is turning to cosy makes and I thought this jersey would be absolutely gorgeous made into a Tilly and the Buttons Coco top.

I have made the Coco before but only as the dress, which I love. But as I always seem to reach for jeans and skirts, so I really wanted to make this into a snuggly top which I could pair with my favourite jeans or a denim skirt over soft tights and my favourite leather boots.

 

The French Terry backed Jersey in Mint is a generous 150cm wide so great value for money, and the fabric composition is 95% cotton with 5% elastane so has great recovery whist being almost completely natural fibres so warm, but breathable!

As soon as my fabric arrived, I popped it through the wash at 30°C and dried it on the washing line.

Then once dry I quickly pressed it and cut my Coco out.

The Tilly and the Buttons Coco, like all the Tilly patterns is great and it makes up super quickly, this actually took me only an afternoon!

The only alteration I made to the standard instructions was to half interface the funnel neck.   I find this helps to keep the neck up a bit more than normal, as it does tend to flop about when not interfaced.

I really love my Coco made from this French terry backed jersey it’s so soft and warm and the colour is absolutely lovely. I can honestly see this being in constant rotation through the autumn and winter!

I think if I had not chosen to make my Coco then it would have made great joggers or a cardigan. Maybe the Kinder or Blackwood cardi.

It would also make great children’s wear, or maybe a nice cosy hoody??

 

That’s all for now, I really hope you like my Coco, I know I do!
Till next time, keep Chatting and Stitching, Carol 

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.
 

Transitional dungarees

Romy's summer to Autumn overalls...

When I was deciding what to make for my July blog post I thought it’d be good to make something that would suit the indecisive British weather where it can often be cool and hot in the same week.

I then experienced 42 degrees on a trip to Paris followed by torrential thunderstorms and 18 degree weather back in the UK! 

Luckily my July make is pretty versatile so I’ll be able to wear it all through the unpredictable summer and into autumn.

I recently purchased the Helen’s Closet Yanta Overalls after seeing versions popping up on Instagram. I probably wouldn’t have chosen it a couple of years ago but this summer I’ve been really into jumpsuits and trousers and thought it looked really comfy. I had seen the Indigo Chambray Denim on the website and thought that would make a lovely, light version and after checking with Sam that it was the right weight, I decided to go ahead with it. 

The package arrived wrapped up very nicely as usual and after prewashing and cutting out my pattern I started sewing. I even remembered to wind an extra bobbin at the beginning as I always end up running out mid-seam and swearing at my machine.
 
I chose to make a size 16 as this fitted my measurements, and I thought it was better to go big and take it in than for it to be too tight around my hips and not be able to sit down. The pattern gives you information on how to adjust the fit depending on your size and how to solve common fitting issues, which is helpful. 

 

 

I overlocked the inside seams to keep it neat and the bib is enclosed with a facing so looks very tidy on the inside. I am always looking for opportunities to use scraps from my stash so went with this sweet shop print for the facing. It’s not exactly subtle and you can see a peek of it from the outside but it makes me happy when I see it so I don’t care!

The construction was fairly simple, if a little time consuming and fiddly with the topstitching and making pockets. I decided just to go with the chest pocket for simplicity but there are also front and back hip height pockets included. I attached the chest pocket upside down as I wasn’t sold on the triangle top style on the pattern, and think I prefer it that way.

I was planning on making the straps longer and tying them in a knot as it’s a look I’ve seen quite a lot with RTW jumpsuits, but when I found these two buttons in my stash I thought it would be a shame not to use them. I think they came in a mixed button bag from the Sewing Weekender; it’s always satisfying to find the perfect buttons in my stash, especially when they’re quite unusual.

The finished overalls did end up being too loose at the waist for my liking. I have a small waist compared to my hips so think having that area too wide doesn’t flatter my shape. I ended up taking 10cm off the waist and grading out at the hips, then tapering the legs down to the ankle and am happy with the fit. I foolishly didn’t add a side zip as I thought I could wriggle it on easily enough, but it is a bit snug and the side seams have started to pull slightly as it’s a lightweight fabric, so next time I’ll definitely add one. 

I haven’t actually hemmed the trousers yet as I couldn’t decide between a normal hem and the turn up look that many people have gone with, but think I prefer the plain hem I’ve gone for here. I was tempted to turn it into a playsuit for warmer weather but think I’ll get more wear out of it like this, especially paired with a long sleeved t-shirt in cooler months.
 
I’d definitely recommend this fabric for a light jumpsuit or trousers; it’s really cool and comfortable on warmer days and enough coverage for breezy weather, and sews up really easily. 
 

The cutest little booties!

Adorable animal baby shoes

 
 
So many of my friends are having babies at the moment, which means I have started to explore sewing for kids which was never something that interested me before. However, like anything miniature, kids clothes can be super cute!
A few months back I came across this pattern from Twig
and Tale and just thought they were so adorable, I had to buy it.

 

 

 

One of the great things about making clothes for little people is that they are great scrap busters,
they use hardly any fabric. However, I used making these as an excuse to use bits of the super lovely
quilting cottons that Samantha has in stock. I used a cotton and steel one for the soles and a lovely
floral Dashwood cotton for the body and some scraps for face and lining. There are loads of different
animal options for these shoes but I decided to make the bunny version and how cute are they?

 

 

 

I’ve made these for an 18 month old and since at 18 months the baby will probably be mobile, I used
this liquid latex product to add grip to the soles. I had never heard of this kind of product before but
it’s really clever. You just draw it on to a bit of fabric and leave to dry and it creates a textured non-
slip surface. I followed the pattern on the fabric with the liquid. You really don’t need much.

Thanks to Samantha Claridge Studios for the fabric and supplies which were gifted to me, all opinions are my own.
I hope the baby likes her new shoes!

Tinny Dress

The prettiest of summer dresses!

 
 
 
One of my daughter’s favourite thing to wear, particularly during summer time is, undoubtedly, twirling dress. Who can blame her, really? So girly, pretty and fun.

The last twirling dress I made her, she complained it was too hot. Having the bodice lined and bearing in mind that it would mostly be used during summer holiday in Portugal, the fabric couldn’t be too heavy. The Sevenberry Yarn Dyed cotton worked perfectly. It has a good weight and as you can see twirls beautifully but it is not too heavy and of course, being cotton, it is breathable.

 

 

For the collar and sash I used the white dobby cotton lawn. Not only makes a lovely contrast, in colour and texture, but also being a cotton lawn is lighter weight and for that reason perfect for the collar. The sash is not part of the pattern and I did not attach it to the dress as she might prefer not to wear it, depending on the occasion.

 

 

The pattern I used for the dress is one that I’ve used before to make classic dresses for my girls, the Tinny Dress by StraightGrain. This pattern offers a variety of options but to fulfil M’s request I made circle skirt option, with slim peter pan collar, regular bodice and sleeveless

 

 

Regarding the size, I made a size 8 for height with size 6 for width. I believe it worked perfectly as it is not too tight at the chest and waist area but it is not to baggy either

 

 

In conclusion, the fabric worked beautifully for this project, it has a lovely pink colour not too bright, good weight and feels nice against the skin (this is an important aspect for my daughter). I can say for sure that I have a very happy girl.

Thank you Samantha Claridge Studio for the supplies and you for reading.
 
Happy sewing,
Maria x

 

Leopard print obsession!

Lucy Hannah's Leopard print pinafore...

Anyone who knows me knows I’m *slightly* obsessed with leopard print. I wear something leopard print every day and have done for the best part of ten years. I have so many leopard print clothes and shoes that I’m often head to toe in the print, but I love it! So much so, that it creeps into my job – I’m a wedding photographer and even my website is covered in leopard print. So of course when I saw this leopard print needlecord on the Samantha Claridge Studio website I HAD TO HAVE IT!

 

 

Needlecord isn’t something I’d really worked with before, I think stuck in my head was that 70s heavy, chunky corduroy which I was never a fan of. But Needlecord is thankfully its lighter, more subtle relative. It’s one of those fabrics that has a lovely velvety texture and I could sit and stroke it all day. It’s got a nice weight to it, but it isn’t too heavy and I think it makes a great fabric for a more transitional wardrobe. I love to wear the majority of my clothes all year round so I prefer things that are lightweight so I can wear them by themselves in the sun, and layer them in the winter – this is definitely a great fabric for that.

The first pattern that sprung to mind when I saw the fabric was the Utu Pinafore by Named Clothing, and I didn’t even bother to think of alternatives because…leopard print and a pinafore – what more could you want?! The Utu pinafore is a pattern that I’ve made before, it was my first make out of the Breaking The Patten book, I made it using a lightweight denim and it gets so much wear in my wardrobe I knew I’d wear another one just as much. I’m not the biggest fan of skirts and dresses too high above my knee without tights, and as I wanted to be able to wear the dress all year round I lengthened it by a couple of inches. I also raised the neckline just a little bit so I could wear it by itself – I’m thinking its a great dress for date nights on cooler summer evenings.

 

The first time I made the Utu pinafore I skipped the buttons and opted for a zip down the front which gave a lovely asymmetric effect. This time I wanted to add buttons but still wanted to have an asymmetric feel so opted to only add the functional buttons. I wanted to make the most of the fabric so I decided to try the Hemline Self Cover Buttons. I went with the 22mm ones which come in a set of 5 so the perfect amount for one row of buttons. I’d never used self cover buttons before but I liked that these didn’t need a special tool or anything and they looked quite simple so I thought I’d give them a go. At the back of the packet is a template you can cut your fabric around so you’re using the perfect amount and you literally just have to clip the two sides together. I struggled a bit at first to clip the shank and the back button together but once I figured it out it was really simple and quick – by the time I covered my fifth button I was a pro! I love the matching buttons and how you get an almost invisible button effect.

 

 

 

I used 2 meters of the needlecord for the pinafore, so at £4.50 per 1/2 meter, it’s a really affordable project. The pattern does call for lining the pinafore but I didn’t line the first one I made, so I didn’t line this one either. I just added a facing to the front pieces so the button holes had a bit more stability. If you did want to line the pinafore the Sew Crafty shop has a great selection of lining fabrics.

 

 

 

The leopard print needlecord was a really nice fabric to work with. I love those projects where you know your sewing machine will breeze through it and you can just enjoy the make instead of it being bit of a stressful process. A bold print on a dress isn’t always for everyone, but you can grab some lovely plain needlecord in the Sew crafty shop too! I think this corn colour needlecord is my favourite of the plains, but theres about six lovely colours to choose from.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so excited to wear this dress, and I’m kind of now really fancying the idea of leopard print needle cord jeans so I might have to get my hands on some more of it!

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!