Style Arc Blaire Shirtdress in red and black check cotton twill fabric

#scdesignteam Alison's perfect shirt dress

 
 
 
Hi there, so I’m back with my first blog post of 2021 and, after a slow start to the year, my sewjo is back up and running again!
 
Sammy has recently had quite a few new fabrics arrive into the shop and lucky us for getting the pick of the bunch! Something I’ve been wanting to make for a while now is the Style Arc Blaire Shirt Dress and when I saw this lovely red and black check cotton twill I couldn’t resist. 
 
 

 

 

 

 

It is so soft and almost has a brushed cotton feel to it. It’s light and drapey and washes and irons well. 

Red and Black 1.5″ Gingham cotton twill

£4.45 per half metre

So I’ve made the shirt version a couple of times. Generally it’s not difficult but, if you’ve sewn any Style Arc patterns before, you’ll know they’re stingy with the instructions and they also skip steps like how to best sew a curved hem and stay-stitching necklines, which in this case is vital. I had to use the instructions again as the dress is constructed slightly different to the shirt. The top comes together very easily and quickly. The bottom half is almost entirely constructed before attaching it to the top. I was eager to try out this pocket design but now that it’s finished I’ve realised that the bottom of the pocket bag is very low. If I pop my phone in there it’s banging around my knees! They’re a great design feature but I’m not sure they’ll get used that much!

Then the top is sewn to the bottom and the button plackets are added before the collar. Attaching the collar is always a little challenging with this pattern as the fabric at the back neckline needs easing in (not that they mention this in the instructions!). This time I decided to leave the collar off and stick with the collar stand. I hand stitched the inside of the collar on to keep it neat and tidy. This might be the most beautiful collar I’ve ever sewn!
 
 
I used a Change Maker label in the back and how cool does that look?! These are available from the shop and all profits from sales go to a monthly nominated charity with an emphasis on tackling social and environmental injustice.
 
I should have picked some buttons from Sam’s shop but when I ordered the fabric I totally forgot. She has a huge selection of fantastic buttons but in the end, I ordered a bag of simple black ones from Amazon.
 
 

Now then… I think we need to address the elephant in the room… pattern matching. Let’s just say I tried! I know I didn’t do a great job but I really did try, promise! What I’ve realised is that it would have been better to cut it out on the flat so I could see where all the checks are lining up, but I didn’t. I just tried to fold it so everything was straight and then cut on the fold. I’m lazy. Let’s move on…

Overall I love this, it’s such an easy wear both layered up in the cooler months and on it’s own in the summer. Special thanks to my son for taking the photos and not noticing for the entire shot that I’d put a hair clip on my sleeve! Thanks for the fabric, Sammy, I know I’m gonna get a lot of wear out of this one!
 
 
Fabric gifted in return for a blog post. Buttons and label purchased.

Nina Lee Bakerloo dress with Cowboy boots print cotton fabric

If you haven’t heard about the brand new sewing pattern from Nina Lee then where have you been!

The Bakerloo dress and blouse is a beautiful statement pattern which comes in sizes 6-28. It’s suitable for all sorts of woven fabrics and the possibilities for customisation are endless!

Admittedly it’s not the pattern for everyone but I love this girly retro style and Nina Lee herself has actually done a hack of this omitting the giant oversized collar, so if that’s not your jam then you still might be interested in the pattern.

It’s a lovely smock dress style with a keyhole and button closure at the back so no zip (always a win in my book!) It has balloon sleeves with gathered cuffs and the dress version has pockets!

I’ve made this dress in a viscose already but was keen to make a fun cotton version and as soon as I saw this incredibly fun Cowboy Boot fabric come in stock I had to snap some up for this project…it’s going to be the perfect Summer dress!

As I usually do, I used my Samantha Claridge Studio Sewing journal to plan this special project. I decided to make a contrast ruffle for the dress and went with just plain off-white cotton I had in my stash. I’ve also seen a few versions of this dress on Instagram with ricrac added to the collar and decided it would be a great way to break up the pattern. I used giant ricrac in a contrast colour and I’m so happy with how it looks! I made the collar and then added the ricrac before I attached the colour to the dress for a neat finish.

This fabric was an absolute dream to work with. It washed well and has a really great amount of drape considering it’s 100% cotton.  

Changes I made to the pattern:

I shortened the sleeves and added shirring to the cuffs in place of an elastic channel as the pattern directs as I love shirring and it’s fairly easy.

I also shortened the length of the dress by approx 4″ as it was hitting my knee and I prefer skirts just above or below. other than that the pattern needed no adjustments and I cut a size 12 which is my usual size.

For reference, my measurements are bust 36″ waist 31″ hips 42″

I can’t wait until the Summer when I can show off this dress and have a good old twirl around in the sunshine 🙂

Have you made this pattern yet? What would you make with this fabulous Cowboy boot fabric?

Debbie x

 

 

Tiger print Hey Day Dungarees for kids

I love a bold print, they are fun, frivolous, and give me total spring-summer vibes!

As soon as I saw this brand new print come in I knew that it would make a fabulous dress, shirt or overalls. 

As well as the Tiger print fabric, Sammy also got in some other really fun prints which you can shop here

I made my daughter a pair of the Waves and Wild (Was Made By Jack’s Mum) Hey Day Dungarees for Christmas and I’ve been itching to make some lightweight cotton ones for her as it’s a really easy make and comes together really quickly…plus there is a nice amount of topstitching…I love topstitching!

I’ve been sewing a lot with drapey fabric like viscose and crepe lately so I’d forgotten how brilliant cotton is to work with…it doesn’t shift around and it presses like a dream so you always get a nice crisp finish.

This Tiger stars cotton was perfect for this project, it is just the right weight for a spring/ summer outfit and great for running around in, whether you are a kid to an adult!! The fabric washes well and is lovely and breathable.

Audrey loves her new dunga’s! She’s requested some more for the summer as she is convinced she will live in them…I’m sure she will!

I’m also working on a Nina Lee Bakerloo dress with one of the other new fabrics…I can’t wait to show you as it’s a really bold fun look…I just hope I’m brave enough to pull it off!

What sewing plans do you have for Spring? Will you be trying out any of our fun new cotton prints?

Debbie x

NEW IN! Fun prints and spring brights

Spring is (nearly) here and I’m super excited to share some brand new fabrics perfect for some sunny makes!

 

SQUEE! These new cottons are just so much fun! They are perfect for making shirts, dresses, and Pyjamas.

We love the bright hues in the cowboy boot print…pink and green should definitely be seen!

The fried eggs are so much fun and would make a fabulous bucket hat!

Stuck for ideas for what to make? Check out our Spring inspiration below!

It will come as no surprise to you that celestial themes are always a YES from me! 

How about a cute pair of dungarees like the ones Debbie made with the Tiger Stars cotton! This is the Waves and Wild (formally Made By Jack’s Mum) Hey Day Dungaree pattern and it’s a great one for beginners. (head over to their newly branded site for downloadable PDF patterns)

Gingham and Seersucker are a no-brainer for the warmer months so I’ve added some classics to the shop which would be perfect for dresses and shirts…

What are your favourite spring/ summer fabrics? are you tempted by the brights or favor a classic colour palette?

Whatever you choose we are sure you will love them as much as we do! We are uploading some really lovely double gauze, viscose jersey, and canvas over the next week or so so keep those eyes peeled!

Happy Shopping!

New In Dressmaking fabrics!

We’ve had some lovely new fabrics arrive at Samantha Claridge HQ, perfect for the change of weather and to start off your Autumn/ Winter wardrobe! From viscose to jersey, cotton poplin to rayon jersey, and some stretch lace too!

Below we’ve paired each fabric to a pattern to give you a little sewing inspiration! Please leave your suggestions for pattern pairings in the comments below, we’d love to know what you would make with these beauties!

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Tilly and the Buttons – Lotta dress

Fibre Mood – Franca

Fibre Mood  – Mindy

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Simplicity – S8738

McCalls  – M7983

Pipe Dream Patterns – The Tara Basic

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

McCalls – M7864

Simplicity – 8707

Style Arc – Kitt Knit dress

What’s your favourite fabric and what would you make?

Trimmings inspiration

I’m always drawn to sparkly, pretty trims but rarely use them. I think that’s because traditionally trims are used on occasion wear and I don’t have many ‘occasions’ to go to – ha!

We’ve got so many beautiful trims in stock and I am keen to try and find more ways to use them which are a ‘everyday’ friendly. With my fashion backgroud I naturally love looking at Pinterest for dressmaking inspiration and at beautiful embelished clothes so here are a few ways to dress them down!

We have just had some gorgeous daisy trim in two sizes delivered. I love the idea of cutting the individual daisy’s off the chain and adding them to a plain dress for a retro feel. This dress by Miss Patina uses this trim both on the collar edge and individually on the flower print on the actual dress to highlight the daisy print…so lovely!!

Adding some lace trim to the sleeves of an old t-shirt or vest top is a great way of jazzing up an old top that would otherwise end up in the charity bag…

Sew on or iron on motifs are a great way of giving new life to an old shirt and can add a feminine look to an upcycled men’s shirt…

Lace trims added to simple t-shirts are a great every day look. They smarten up a plain tee for work and look a bit more put together with jeans and simple sandals…

I hope this has give you a bit of inspiration for your latest make or upcycle!
 
Do you like trims, have you added any to makes this year or do you feel it’s more a partywear thing?

 

Next time I’ll talk about all the bling!

 

Debbie x

A denim chambray Zadie jumpsuit

Alsion in her zadie jumpsuit in denim chambray from Samantha Claridge Studio

Alison's new favourite pattern!

 
 
 
Well hello there! What a year it’s been so far! Aside from what has dominated the news for the last 6 months (lets not dwell on that) I have decided that 2020 shall be remembered as ‘the year I got on the Zadie bandwagon’!!!
 
Quite honestly I have a bone to pick with all of you for not convincing me to try this pattern earlier! I truly believe that, along with the Kielo wrap dress, this is a garment that suits everyone. I don’t think I’ve seen a dodgy one yet!
My first go at this pattern was out of a 100% cotton wax print and, of course, it sewed up beautifully. It’s such a comfy jumpsuit that I immediately decided I needed many more in my wardrobe to take me through all seasons! So for my second version I thought the sleeved option in a nice mid-weight chambray in a neutral colour would be wonderful for the Autumn. I was gifted 3m of this beautiful fabric from Samantha Claridge Studio and I knew it was going to be perfect for the job as I’d used it before on the Costa Tote a few posts back. Obviously I washed it at 30 degrees first and gave it a good iron before cutting it out.
 
I started making this a couple of weeks ago on one of the hottest days of the year! I could barely sit at my machine for 10 minutes without breaking into a sweat and forget about getting the iron out! I did what I could in small stints and, fortunately, this is a simple make which comes together very easily. I did make a silly boob early on though as I wasn’t paying much attention to the instructions so attached the pocket without sewing up the bottom of the bag… hey ho, easily fixed! And that will teach me!
 
 
I modified the pattern by tapering the legs as I’m not sure the wide leg style suits me. I did this by using the Made By Jacks Mum Hey Day Dungarees as a guide for the shape of the legs.
 
All in all this project was a pleasure to sew. The fabric is a dream to work with, is so soft and behaves well. It frays a little but I overlocked the edges to tidy them up. The reverse is a lighter shade of blue which looks great when the sleeves/hems are rolled up. I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this and it can be styled up in a few different ways. 
 
Guess what I want to make now… a Zadie dress hack! Have you hacked the Zadie? Let me know!
 
Laters,
Ali x

Pink and lilac gingham Seren dress

As soon as I laid eyes on the pink and lilac gingham fabrics that Sammy newly stocked a couple of months ago, I knew I needed a picnic blanket dress of dreams!

Gingham is very much my jam but i’ve always stuck to safe old black and white…a classic. But, these colours filled me with so much joy I quickly snapped up 1.5 metres of each planning some kind of mash up of both colours. This is really great quality cotton, it’s soft and brilliant to work with.

 

 

(I talk about my plans and inspiration in another blog post so I won’t go into too much detail but there were a few pictures on Pinterest that inspired me…  read my gingham plans post here)

I loved the idea of a button down dress that was fitted at the waist and so i thought a Seren Dress (Tilly and the Buttons) hack with tie detail straps would be perfect!

 

Instead of cutting the bodice back and skirt on the fold I cut the pieces individually and stitched them together so the skirt is pink and purple on the back and the front and the top is the same…rather like a battenberg cake!

I used these gorgeous four holed enamel buttons to top off this sugar coated dress! They come in four different sizes and pink or black options…I’ll definitely be using the black ones at the earliest opportunity!

I’m still considering adding some big patch pockets to the skirt front and making a matching bag…better get on that before the summer is gone!

 

Do you love gingham? What would you make with this pretty cotton?
 
Debbie x

Planning my pastel gingham dress of dreams!

As soon as Sammy uploaded these new gingham cottons to the shop I was all over them like a rash! I’ve always loved gingham and these pastel colours are so happy, summery and pretty and I want to make all my dresses out of them!

My first instinct was to make a Tilly and the Buttons Seren dress with tie straps and patch pockets using a mixture of these two pastel beauties…and to be honest that’s probably exactly what I will do…but I also started searching Instagram and Pinterest for more inspiration and came across some amazing dresses that would also work brilliantly. So here is my run down of the best gingham styles to replicate this summer…

The dress on the left with it’s square neckline and slit detail sleeves reminded me of the By Hand London Jenna dress. This pattern could easily be hacked to omit the back zip and instead create a full placket at the front and lengthen the skirt.

The middle picture with its shirt style top and tierred skirt could be replicated with the McCall’s M7351 by adding a frill to the front bodice and using four tiers of fabric to create the skirt.

The simple sundress on the far right is a classic way to use gingham and looks so pretty paired with a beaded bag and some strappy sandals. You could get this look using the Avid Seamstress Sundress pattern

I absoloutely love the combination of a few different ginghams to create a fun modern look and will probably make myself a (another) Sew Liberated Hinterland dress or a By Hand London Hannah dress out of gingham for the winter but perhaps in a darker colour.

Whatever style I go for though, I know I’ll have a fun dress, perfect for picnics and sunny days out as gingham never goes out of style!

…and I’ll definitely be making myself a matching bag to go with it too!

Do you love gingham or does it give you school summer dress vibes? 

What would you make?

I’ll keep you posted with my make…better get to it before the summer is gone!

Debbie x