Cosy up…

Hot Fix sweater!

So I’ve made a lot of coats recently but what cold days, when the sun is shining, really need is a nice chunky sweater with a cosy neckline. something that can be thrown on over anything from dashing to the gym gear to school run jeans.  
I have also been seeing a fair bit of hot fix vinyl popping up on Instagram and then watching a bit on YouTube recently and really fancied having a play myself…… so the idea for the Hot Fix Sweater came about.  

I put together my shopping list: lovely snuggly fleecy back Jersey in this beautiful dusty pink, teamed with some sporty stretch mesh and Hot Fix Vinyl in black flock and rose gold glitter, obvs used Samantha Claridge’s fantastic thread match service too. Extra bits needed came from my workshop, black zip, black eyelets, black cord and cord stops all reclaimed or accumulated from charity shop finds and old pieces of clothing.   

My starting point for this make was a tried and tested raglan sweatshirt pattern, (McCall’s M6992 cut in a size 14). I now have 4 tops from this pattern, all with sleeve hack variations.   

I wanted four separate bands along the arms plus cuffs. Originally I envisaged having the black mesh as a single layer but with the difference in fabric weight I though it better to layer the mesh over the jersey sections I had cut out. The couple of centimetres lost by cutting and re-joining the sections was easily made up by cutting a slightly deeper cuff section.  

The thin neck band I replaced with a deep band about 14cm deep, leaving the right front arm seam open to about 2/3 of the way down to accommodate the zip I wanted to insert. I attached the neckband simply by cutting it slightly longer than needed then trimming to size once it was on.  

The hemline on the original pattern runs straight round but I quite fancied the idea of a stepped hem so I needed a facing for both front and back hems and these needed to go on before the side seams were sewn. I drafted a little sample to check the turning and how the top stitching and internal finish would turn out before extending the hemline at the back of the sweater to be 10cm lower than the front.  

One more thing to note about the construction of this sweater is that I actually went old school and did the whole thing on my sewing machine, zig zag 1.5/1.5 for the seams, overcasting 2.5/5.0 to neaten the edges, top stitching length 4.  

The reason for this is that my trusty overlocker has for some reason stopped slicing and started chewing anything thicker than a light cotton. ‘Change the blade’ I hear you cry…. Yup, I’ll do that just as soon as I can undo the screw that holds the blade on, it appears to have been welded into place circa 1745 when this overlocker was made!!! Then to find a replacement…. Hey ho, that’s a job for another day…… 

Anyhoo! I digress, back to this lovely sweater. So we have had a chat about what I did and the changes I made to the pattern, now let’s look at the how. 

I started by cutting out all the sweater pieces in the pink jersey, sleeves were cut out in full to be sectioned up later, neck band was cut out longer than needed to be sized up later. Originally I cut out the cuffs according to the pattern but when I decided to re-join the sectioned sleeves instead of inserting the mesh panels I cut a second set a little longer.  

 

I sectioned the sleeves by cutting through both sleeves at the same time (this ensured they were matched symmetrically), sectioning them into four by making three cuts. Working down from the neckline I made one slightly arced cut at roughly where the shoulder would be, another cut straight across about 14cm further down and the third cut was 14cm up from the cuff. I cut a sports mesh shape to match the 14cm sections, and overlayed them before re-joining the seams. I only used about a 0.5cm seam allowance when re-joining them so only lost 3cm from the sleeve length over all and added this back to the cuff to give the same final sleeve length. I top stitched each join to make sure the joins would lay nice and flat and were not too bouncy.  

Next I had a play with the hot fix vinyl. I knew I wanted to use the markings on my sewing machine as a loose reference so created arrows in black flock and lengthening ‘stitches’ in rose gold glitter.  

I worked out that it would be easiest to apply the hot fix vinyl while all pieces were still flat so that was the next job. Glittery stitches went on to the front and back of one sleeve running up from the cuff. An arrow was positioned on the opposite sleeve pointing out from the neckline toward the shoulder and two arrows were positioned pointing inward on the front waistline (I later added a gold glitter section to the end of the waist arrows once the side seams were sewn) 

Once all the vinyl details were in place the sleeves were held in place with clips then sewn together. For this kind of bouncy fabric I find clips a little better to hold the layers together. 

Before the side seams were sewn I went back to my hem sample and attached the front and back hem facings.

Then the side seams running right from cuff to hem were brought together.  

I attached the neck band around the neckline, the zip was next inserted into the front sleeve seam and topstitched into place. Before folding in the top of the neck line (by a nice chunky 4cm) I hammered in an eyelet at each side of the zip top, I popped a small square of jersey attached with fabric glue to stabilise and thicken the area behind where the eyelets were going in. This worked well and they are still in place. I finally top stitched the neck band and folded in and topstitched the hem facings before giving them all a good press. 

I am so chuffed with the overall look of this sweater and can see it being worn constantly this winter, I’ll also be thinking about more projects with hot fix vinyl as now I’ve seen how easy it is I’d love to flex my wings a bit with more complex shapes, lettering and layering…… 

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.

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!

A/W 2019 Fashion Trends…

Autumn winter trends fashion fabric

With the weather starting to turn (how the heck did that happen!!) we have been planning our Autumn/ Winter makes over here at Samantha Claridge Studio HQ! 

I’ve just bought the brand new Tilly and the Buttons Indigo smock pattern and am planning on making a few dresses to see me through the colder months with tights and a cosy cardi, and Sammy is planning some makes with the incredible organic jersey’s we have in stock.

As an ex-fashion design student I love seeing what new trends are emerging every season, even if I don’t particulary choose to follow them. Autumn/ Winter has always been one of my fave seasons in terms of fashion as the colours tend to get richer and fabrics softer and more sumptious! 

I had a little browse of some of the trends emerging for Autumn/ Winter and have picked a few corkers along with some of our current stock of fabric to hopefully inspire your winter wardrobe…

 

*Pictures coutesey of Glamour Magazine

Florals...

Florals are still a huge trend for Autumn/ Winter so some of your summer makes will be able to transition through the colder seasons with the additon of some cosy tights and winter woolens!

Some of our favouriite florals in stock are…

Ruffles

Ruffles add such drama to any outfit. You could add them to a jacket or skirt for a nod to this fun trend! We have some lovely floaty fabrics in stock perfect for making a ruffled dress or skirt, perfect for party season…

Plaids/ Tartan

Checks are such a classic winter look! I love it for it’s grungy vibes…Vivienne Westwood was a huge influence of mine when I was at University in the late 90s.

It’s a lovely fabric for shirts and coats depending on the weight. We have a few new fabrics in which are perfect for this trend…

Corduroy

Corduroy has grown in popularity over the last few years, a versatile and warm fabric it’s great for dungarees, dresses, trousers and coats. This season designers have been focussing on suits…I love this idea, how about you?

So that’s a breif run down of a few of my favourite trends for the season, which ones do you think you’ll be following/ adapting to suit your personal style? We’d love to know in the comments below!

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!

Summer holiday make!

Lisa's perfect holiday top!

 
 
Hi again
It’s time for a new blog post, and as I write this one I’m currently 40,000ft flying over Miami!  I’ve got to admit this is a good distraction as I’m not the happiest flyer!! Grab yourself a cuppa and have a nosey what I’ve been up to and my thoughts on the fabric and pattern.

 When I got the email to choose my fabric for July for the #scdesignteam project, again I had difficulty choosing from all of the fabulous fabrics that Sammy stocks on the website.  Much dithering and I eventually decided to go for one of the white lace fabrics with a plan to make a top aware that I didn’t have much time before I left for our holiday to complete a more intricate make.  I decided to do the #cufftop pattern (by The Assembly Line) which seems to be quite popular on my Instagram feed at the minute. I admit that when it first surfaced I wasn’t overly taken with it. In fact I didn’t like it at all. But the more that have appeared the more its “grown” on me.  

White jupiter lace

When the fabric arrived I got it straight into the pre wash and it washed and dried lovely in no time.  It’s a very crisp white with good detailing. I’ve been anchoring after a white shirt for a while and this was going to be ideal.

 

White Jupiter Lave £4.50 per half mtr

I motored on full steam ahead without thoroughly reading the instructions in typical Lisa stylee!  Well what I hadn’t realised was that there was an option to miss out the centre seam on the front and back which, had I read them, I would definitely have done for this top as I feel that the lace is enough to speak volumes on its own without the need for added detailing.  Anyway too late as it was cut out and ready to sew together so seams it was! It’s quite a quick an easy make so didn’t take long at all. It was important though with this fabric to get the lace straight as it has vertical lines running through it.  

As you can see from the photos you can only just see the join in the front and the topstitching as it gets lost in the pattern which is another reason I would have cut it on the fold rather than having central seams.  The sleeves have 2” wide elastic encased at the hem, which Sammy sent with my order and I have to say it’s a lovely quality elastic. Not hard and stiff like some elastics out there.

I shortened the length by about 4” and I think its quite a nice length especially if the bottom half you are wearing it with is relatively high waisted too.  I plan on wearing mine lots whilst on holiday as it’ll be perfect with #MNflintshorts or my spotty #MNflintpants. I was slightly worried about how see through the lace would be and whether I would feel too exposed but I think because it isn’t the same lace all over it doesn’t seem as revealing as I first thought it might.  I do however plan on making a nice bralette to wear under it too so will see which I like best.

 

 

 

 

Overall I’m super happy with how this top turned out and think this lace works perfectly with it.  Whilst I was choosing this lace I noticed another, the Daisy Lace so maybe I might need to make another 😉

Hope you enjoy reading and maybe it might give you a nudge to visit Samantha Claridge Studio and have a peek for yourselves to see what gorgeous fabrics are available.
Happy summer
Lisa
@sewlastminutelisa

This fabric was gifted to me as part of my #scdesignteam project however all opinions are honest and my own.