Window check viscose faux jumpsuit

Hi you lovely lot, Debbie here!

I’m still on my journey to create my handmade wardrobe. It started a year ago during lockdown 1.0 and it been a really interesting year in terms of growth with my sewing, figuring out my style, and focussing on pieces I need. 

I’ve always loved dresses. Dressmaking for myself has not really been something I’ve really ever done though would you believe! I much preferred making for other people, my shop and doing projects for magazines etc. During last spring/ summer I thought I’d make a few pretty dresses in anticipation of the end of lockdown…little did we all know how long that would take to come and we are still a little way off a year later!

I fell into the trap of wanting to sew all the latest patterns…and there have been loads released in the last year! I’m at the point now where I really know what suits me, what I’ll actually get wear out of and not to get sucked into the newest pattern without really considering how it would fit into my wardrobe…that’s not to say there won’t be some rouge additions…sometimes you just cant help fall for that pretty pattern right?!

 

When I saw this Window grid viscose arrive in the shop I knew it would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. My initial idea was to make a dress…but I have loads of dresses so maybe a jumpsuit? 

I’ve seen loads of sewists on Instagram make matching trousers/ skirts and tops and style them like a one-piece and let’s face it jumpsuits can be a pain when you need the loo!

I’ve worn my Style Arc Bob Pants in denim to death since I made them a few months ago so knew a new pair would be a great use of this gorgeous soft viscose and chose to pair it with an Ogden Cami for a really summery comfy outfit.

This black colourway is now out of stock but you can buy the blue version here!

This would work with any cotton or viscose though as both of these patterns are designed for woven fabrics.

Both of these patterns are super quick to make, once cut out they probably took me just over an hour each to whip up!

Now I’ve got two really wearable pieces to add to my me-made wardrobe which will mix and match with my t-shirts, jeans and jumpers. You could even layer a body under the Ogden cami if it’s a bit chilly.

These would also make fabulous Pajamas!

I’ll definitely make these again…a velvet set for winter would be divine!

Are you dress obsessed like me or do you prefer separates?

Below are some other fabrics I think would work fabulously for this set… 

Debbie x

 

Fabric suggestions:

The Nina Lee London Spring dress in mustard double gauze fabric

Alexa's floaty summer dress

 

 

This project feels like a bit of a design collaboration!

I had ordered this gorgeous double gauze with a totally different project in mind and then Sally posted this photo (below) with the latest Simply Sewing Magazine and my sewing (and weekend) plans suddenly changed! 

The @NinaLeeLondon Spring dress on the cover of the magazine just felt like such a good match for the double gauze. Double gauze feels like such a floaty summer material and this one is just a bit more opaque and maybe slightly thicker than other double gauzes that I have worked with which has the advantage of meaning that it isn’t at all transparent. 

Sammy currently has these beautiful double gauze fabrics in stock as well as some remnants of the mustard double gauze…

The pattern is really speedy and comes together easily. I am 173cm tall and felt that it looked like it would be way too short. As I have a long torso, I added 5cm to the bodice. I think the bodice is supposed to end above the waist so I’ve probably added a bit much length there. I like where the hem lands though, just above my knee, so overall adding 5cm has worked! 

The only challenge with sewing double gauze is whether or not to press as it ‘grows’ as the crinkles iron out. In addition, the gold printing on this fabric did not like being near the iron! I used a pressing cloth and only ironed where necessary, basically on the neckline and cuffs. 

This feels like such a good dress for floating around in the sunshine that I hope we’re going to get soon! The double gauze is so comfy to wear, so for those of you looking to upgrade from lounge wear, this is the way to go! Happy sewing!

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

A handmade cosy Christmas Jumper

Lisa's embroidered Christmas jumper!

 

 

Hi Again

Long-time no see.  I’ve not been quite “with it” what with all this Covid and our business being in furlough I’ve not really felt up to being committed to sewing/blogging. 

However, I couldn’t resist joining in this month what with it being Christmas Jumper as the theme! 

I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas jumper eh?  

I searched through Sammy’s website looking for some fleece backed sweatshirt when I inadvertently stumbled upon this grey melange winter knit fabric.  OH MY GOSH!!! Is almost all I can say about it?  This fabric is absolutely divine.  It’s super soft, sews together and handles beautifully, and is so so cosy.  

I immediately got it in the pre-wash as I usually do with my fabrics upon arrival.   That way whenever you get the urge to sew something, the fabrics all washed and ready to go straight from the cupboard.  I was a bit wary of washing this with it being a knit however it washed beautifully.  I didn’t peg it on the line as I was worried it might pull it down and out of shape with the pegs as it is quite weighty.  Apart from anything else, it’s usually raining where I live!!  Instead, I draped it over my airing stand in front of the radiator and in all fairness it didn’t take long at all to dry even though it was folded.  

I originally thought I might use my Cricut to cut out some festive vinyl and apply that to the jumper but decided to don the big girl pants and use the embroidery machine to do an embroidered image instead.  Ok you got me sussed….I was scared to embroider it in case I messed it up.  They can be temperamental things and fussy about fabric/stabiliser/threads etc but my word when they all run smoothly they are so satisfying.

One of the websites where I buy my embroidery designs from decided to have a sale just at the right time and so I indulged in this lovely little daschund pulling a sleigh.  I opted for the largest size they did with the intention that it would be ideal for the front of a jumper or could also be used to embroider onto some cotton and be used as a cushion.  You got to love a cute little sausage dog right?

I decided against hooping the fabric just in case the hoop pulled the fabric out of shape or left any sort of imprint so I floated it on top.  I did a small sample of embroidery on one of the left over scraps of fabric before I did this on my actual jumper front to check the stabiliser would be ok.  I opted for Stiffy cut away on the reverse with it being quite a dense design and water soluble on the front to stop the stitches from sinking into the fabric.  After I had embroidered the front panel I had to wash out the stabiliser and did this by hand just using warm water so there may be a tad left in atm but this will come out in the proper wash.  Despite washing it twice there is still no bobbling on the fabric and it’s as good as when it arrived which I’m super happy about.

After much umming and ahhing I decided I would make the new Tilly and the Buttons pattern, Billie Jumper/Dress as everything about this pattern I absolutely love.  I mean those sleeves are just gorgeous and bang on trend right now.  The amount of tops I’ve seen on TV that are similar is unbelievable.   Now, I have quite a few Tilly patterns and they are all really well drafted and the instructions are clear enough that even a complete beginner sewist could follow them.  This one is no different.  The jumper itself was constructed mainly using the over locker for the seams although I did tack the neckband and cuffs on using my regular sewing machine first.  I made a straight size 5 and I am happy with the fit.  It took under a couple of hours to stitch together so it’s a fairly quick make too.

 

I’m usually so last minute with everything that I normally end up buying a Christmas jumper from the likes of Asda and Tesco and end up with whatever they have left (M & S have usually sold out of the one I want especially after Lorraine wears them on her program lol) but not this year and never again now I know how easy it is to have something so different to what’s in the shops.  

I’m super happy with how this jumper turned out.  The fabric is just divine and I highly recommend grabbing some whilst it’s in stock!  I’m hoping Sammy can lay her hands on more of this fabric in different colourways as I think it will be a super seller ☺

After taking these pics for my blog post I took off the jumper and despite it being too big, Mia had it straight on and was very reluctant to give it back!!!  She’s given me instructions that I must quickly buy more before it sells out ☺  Safe to say this fabric went down well at our house!

Wishing you all a happy Christmas

Keep Sewing & Stay safe

See you in 2021

Lisa xx

@sewlastminutelisa

Handmade Christmas cards and tags

Christmas papercrafting!

Hi all, I’m back again with another blog post but wait for it… this one doesn’t involve sewing! I know! Shocked faces all around! But Sam doesn’t just sell fabrics you know! The website is a true treasure trove of crafty potential! So this time I got one of her paper and card packs to make some Christmas cards and tags… yes people, hold on tight we’re getting festive!
 
I’ve dabbled with paper crafts in the past and I like clean, modern designs so when I saw this pack of greens, reds and monochromes with gold and silver foil I couldn’t help but see them as some very funky Christmas cards. What I’ve got here for you is a little tutorial on how to make your own using this pack of papers and some basic supplies which you can easily find on your high street or already in your craft cupboard. So let’s dive in!

First we have what might be my favourite card in the set and I’m calling it ‘Golden Stag’! I used a square card blank, two of the paper designs, some peel-offs and a glittery gold stag which was in a pack from The Works. I cut out a square of each paper just slightly smaller than the card then I cut them in half diagonally. One of each of these triangles got glued to the card and I used a gold strip from a peel-off sheet to cover the seam. I put the gold stag topper in the middle and finished it off with a peel-off greeting. How cute is this?! Very simple and quick.

Next up is this ‘bauble’ wreath card which I made using four different papers and a circle template. I started by covering the card with a green square, again, just slightly smaller than the card. I cut out all my circles and places them on to check the layout, then I glued them on in a circle. I finished it with a ribbon and a peel-off greeting.
 

Here we have another bauble themed card. For this one you need a card blank, 3 circles in different papers, string or ribbon, gold pen and greeting. I used three different foiled papers which I thought looked great together and cut out my circles. I stuck them down with foam pads to raise them a little but glue would be fine. I used green ribbon for the bauble string (although I was originally planning on twine) and stuck a little gold paper square to the top of each bauble. I drew a gold box around the edge and added a greeting at the bottom. And it’s done – clean and festive!

Now this one might not be for everyone but I couldn’t help but use this monochrome paper for a tree themed card. This paper has silver foil accents amongst the white, black and grey and I simply used the triangular shapes to cut out three different sizes of triangles or trees. I glued the large to the centre of a square card blank then used foam pads to stick the two others down on top. Then I added silver stars from a pack from The Works. I drew a silver line around the edge of the card and finished it off with a black glittery greeting. This one is super modern, but I love it!

For my final card I used a piece of A5 green card folded in half. I cut out a triangle from the spotted paper and then cut it horizontally into strips which were glued to the card front. I used some thin silver ribbon, made into a bow, to top the tree and I randomly placed some silver gems which were the same size as the dots on the paper. I put a greeting at the bottom and more gems in the corners and, voila, another one finished!

I also made some tags with some scraps of the papers by cutting out simple boxes, triangles and circles to make presents, trees and baubles. I think I made the circle template from drawing around the lid of a glue stick. Again, a really simple and effective idea.

 

The problem is once I’d started I couldn’t stop! So I also made a paper bauble from 6 circles of card. I have a circle punch but you can draw around a glass or something similar and make your own template. I then folded them in half and glued one half to another and so on. I finished by glueing the string down the centre before glueing the last circles together.

This simple heart is made with two different papers and a bit of string. I cut two lengths of each paper 22 x 2cm and 2 other lengths of each in 13 x 2cm. I stuck two different designs of paper together to make 2 long and 2 short and then layered them long, short, short, long. Hold one end and fold the outside pairs into the middle and staple. 

I hope you’ve found some inspiration here and will give it a go yourself. These are absolutely gorgeous quality papers and I have plenty left for more crafty goodness, both Christmas and otherwise! For all of these projects I wanted the paper designs to be the focal point. I’ve kept them super simple, which may not be for everyone, but you can easily jazz them up as you fancy, just have a play!
 
Thanks Sammy for the card and paper pack, I really enjoyed prepping for this post! Roll on Christmas!
 
 

Autumn Wilder Gown with only 2m of fabric!

Now that we are rapidly heaing into Autumn/ Winter I’m looking to add some versatlie dresses to my me-made wardrobe that can be layered with knitwear and worn with boots or trainers.

I decided to give the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company a go. It’s been such a popular pattern in the sewing comminty but I wasn’t sure it was quite my style earlier this year, but I’ve seen some great styling of it lately and I thought it would probably be a useful pattern for the Autumn/ Winter months so I gave it a try and wasn’t disappointed!

 

Anyone who has made the Wilder Gown knows it comes together really quickly, but it can be quite fabric hungry so I wanted to see If I could squeeze a mini version out of 2m of fabric…I only went and did it…and with hacked full sleeves too!

I don’t know about you but I have a few bits of 2M fabric in my stash and not quite sure what to do with them so this hack is a great one to get the look of a gathered smock dress but maximising fabric use

This is how I did it!..

Firstly, picking a wide fabric is key to squeezing this dress out of 2M! I used the black and white pea spot georgette which is 150cm wide along with some black velvet ribbon for the neck tie for added prettiness and saving time and fabric!

 

If polka dots arent your thing Sammy has some other beautiful fabrics that would work brilliantly, these are all 150cm wide and have beautiful drape so are perfet for the Wilder Gown…

From left to right:

Navy flower garden viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Autumn floral print viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Ochre crinkle Georgette £3.50 per 0.5m

Aubergine Georgette £4.75 per 0.5m

 

So, onto construction!

I cut the top as instructed and then used the width of the fabric to make one long skirt panel, this is obviously narrower than the pattern and makes for a slightly less full skirt. I then cut two narrower strips for the bottom ruffle and stitched them together end to end.

I wanted a full sleeve that I could add a shirred cuff to so I used th slash and spread method on the sleeve and cut 2 on the fold using the whole width of the fabric.

This pattern gives you the option to make a neck tie with matching fabric or use ribbon. I chose velvet ribbon for two reasons, firstly it saves on fabric! and secondly I thought a neck tie in this polka dot print would be too much and the velvet ribbon breaks it up a bit and adds a touch of luxury!

Georgette is a fairly ‘bouncy’ fabric and doesn’t take well to pressing so I opted to top stitch the waist seam and ruffle seam. This is a feature that is used in the Myosotis dress and I’ve adpoted for a few of my dresses now…It helps to keep the seams flat and I love a bit of top stitching, it’s so satisfying!

I shirred the cuff of the sleeves 1.5″ up from the hem of the cuff to add some volume which is oh so popular at the moment and I have to say I’m loving it! 

I’m so pleased I managed this mini dress hack with just 2m of fabric and the outcome is lovely! Next time I would add pockets though! This should see me through the winter months with tights, boots and a biker jacket!

Would you give this a go? What are you making for the change of season?

Julia pocket top in leopard print

@aliivens makes a cosy jumper

For this months theme of ‘knitwear’ I chose this lovely leopard print ponte* because, ya know, I’d live in leopard print if I could!

It’s beautifully soft and who doesn’t love the idea of a project that is going to be easy to sew but super comfy when it’s finished!

*This fabric is now sold out but there are lots of other lovely jersey knits in stock here

I chose to make the Julia Pocket Top by Sew Me Something. I’ve made this top four times before, including once for my sister, and I know it’s a great pattern and a quick and simple make. The integrated pockets on the front are quite genius and you get a different look depending on the fabric you make it with. I got version 1, which is a clean, long-sleeved top with a simple neck band, out of 1.5m and I knew this would be a boxy top so I cut the width of the smallest size but kept the sleeve and neckline of the size 14.
 

The fabric was pre washed at 30 degrees and ironed with a medium heat prior to cutting, not that it really needed it! I did wonder at one point if I should be using my walking foot but this fabric went smoothly through both my sewing machine and overlocker. It took approximately 90 minutes to make up and that included having to rethread one of the loopers on my overlocker when it ran out!

I love the oversized look of this design. I think this will be a great option for throwing over my running gear when the weather gets a little cooler. Looking at it now, I wonder if the neckband should have been a little smaller… I might go back and change that later (probably not though!).
 
That’s all I have to say about this make. A quick and easy one, perfect for autumn and lovely and comfy. Thanks Sammy for this gorgeous fabric!

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