Closet Core Nettie hack with leopard print modal jersey

Alexa's slinky cowl neck top hack!

When I spotted these gorgeous leopard jerseys that Sammy had in I knew I wanted to make something with them.

When the jersey arrived, it was so lovely and soft and super slinky. I decided to make a Sew Over It cowl dress. However, on a previous attempt at this dress, I hadn’t loved how the body of the dress looked on me so I decided to merge it with the closet core nettie dress which is one of my favourites.

Turns out, this was a mistake! This jersey is a bit slinky for the nettie. Such a testament to matching the fabric to the pattern. However the slinky jersey works great for cowl neck so I cut the dress into a top and now I love it.

Despite being a seemingly straightforward project, I learnt a number of lessons while making it. The first was about paying attention to matching the fabric to pattern and the second was about changing my needle! I ordered these ballpoint needles to use with this project and it’s amazing how much smoother the sewing goes when you change your needle to an appropriate one. Anyone else guilty of rarely remembering to change their needle?

This really was a gorgeous fabric to work with and feels lovely to wear, I think I’m going to use one of the other colour ways to make a wrap dress.

All fabrics, trimmings and craft accessories are currently 50% off in our Summer Sale with code ss2021 at checkout!

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.

Cute and cosy kids gillet with sherpa fleece

My daughter loves a cosy little jacket to wear over her party clothes at this time of year. When I saw the sherpa fleece come in stock I knew this would make the perfect cosy little gillet!

I found a free pattern online fromThreadsewingschool.com and printed it off and followed the instructional video on their YouTUbe channel

This is a great stash-busting project too and a great one to sew with children as it’s a really simple tutorial to follow and then they can customise the gillet with patches, badges, applique or embroidery! This is a reversible pattern too so a really versatile fun and quick project.

I printed off the pattern and made it using the sherpa fleece and star print cotton for a festive feel…

Once you have cut the pattern pieces out you stitch together the shoulder seams of both the main fabric and lining fabric. Then pin the main fabric and lining fabric together with right sides together. Stitch around the armholes, neckline and bottom of the back piece leave your side seams open. Once you have sewn around the armholes and neckline, and back, clip your curves and turn through to the right side.

Now, pin the sides seams of your main fabric, right sides together, and sew. Do this on the other side. Then close the gap in the lining at the side seams using a slip stitch.

The full instructional video is on their YouTube Channel and the project probably only takes an hour or so.

A patchwork version of this would be lovely and a great way of using your offcuts!

 

 

Alison’s cosy winter makes with fleece and sherpa fabric

#scdesignteam Cosy winter makes

 
 
 
My last project for the SCDT falls under the title of ‘cosy’ and, boy, this one is certainly that! There are so many lovely, snuggly fabrics available on www.samanthaclaridgestudio.com right now that it was almost too hard to choose! But now that the weather is turning that bit more chilly it seemed sensible to make a scarf of some description. I had a look through Pinterest for some inspiration and decided on a double sided infinity scarf using the grey sherpa fur and the pink cuddle fleece.
 
 
 
 
However…
 
…when it arrived my daughter took one look at it and claimed the pink fleece as her own! So now I had to sacrifice my plans and make her a scarf and, since I had some leftover, a matching headband/ear warmer. Both of these I drafted myself using her measurements to make sure the headband was a snug fit and the scarf went around more than once. This fleece doesn’t have any stretch to it and has a tendency of shifting when stitching in a certain direction but with a lot of pins it will reluctantly behave. 
 
Just look at my gorgeous girl! She loves her matching set and I think it will be a staple this winter!
 
 
With the grey sherpa I found a tutorial for an infinity scarf and set about cutting two long strips 9 inches by the full width of the fabric (60in). This one has a stretch to it but is easy to sew, just watch out for the incredible amounts of fluff that will cover you, your table, sewing machine and floor during and after cutting!
 
I was first to try it on but hot on my heals was my son who has since claimed it as his own! He loves anything snuggly and would permanently live in fleece given the chance!
 
 
Both of these fabrics are so soft and luxurious, and perfect for these kinds of projects. Thanks so much, Sammy, for making my kids dreams come true!!!

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

DIY quilted scissor pouch

I love making useful items for gift giving around this time of year. I wanted to come up with a project for the blog that was sewing themed and would be a great present for a crafty friend…
introducing the DIY scissor pouch!

What you need for this project:

Paper

Pen

Ruler

Scissors – plus the pair you want to make the pouch for!

Main fabric – Treehouse Flying Squirrels by Figo Fabric (pictured below)

Lining fabric –Flower Market Spots cream by ABM  (pictured below)

Batting

Zip (the length of your scissors)

Swivel clip (optional)

Step One:

Lay your chosen scissors onto a piece of paper and leaving a couple of centimetres around the scissors mark a diagonal line.

I have the Fiskars Amplify scissors which are quite big so my height and width measured approx 15.5cm x 30cm for reference.

 

Step Two:

Use something curved to round off the two bottom corners of the pouch template.

Step Three:

Use your template to cut 2 each of main fabric, lining, and batting. The batting I used was an offcut from a quilt I made and is fairly light weight.

Step Four:

Take a piece of main fabric and batting and quilt them together. I did a simple grid pattern with the lines approx 2cm apart and on a diagonal angle but you can do this however you wish or skip this step altogether if you want.

Do the same for the other piece of main fabric and batting and now you have two complete outer pieces.

Step Five:

Now to add the zip! Place the zip face down on one of the main quilted pieces which should be right side up. Then layer on the lining facing down on the zip and stitch in place using a zipper foot.

Step Six:

Repeat step 5 for the opposite side of the zip and then open out both sides, press, and topstitch through all the layers on each side of the zip.

My zip was much longer than the zipper pouch so at this point I trimmed off the excess zip.

Step Seven:

This is an optional step but it makes a handy carrier for the pouch.

Measure a 3″ x 3″ square of fabric. Press a fold down the centre, then open ut and of each side into the centre and press. Topstitch 5mm down each side of the tab and then add on a swivel clip, pin it in place for the next step.

Step Eight:

Add the tab to the right side of the pouch approx 1″ down from the zip and pin/ clip in place

 

Step Nine:

Open your zip to the halfway point and then open out the layers of the pouch. Pin together the two lining pieces right sides facing and do the same with the main pieces right sides facing.

Stitch all the way around leaving a gap of about 3″ in the lining fabric to pull the pouch through after it’s stitched.

Step Ten:

Clip all the curved edges and then pull the pouch through to the right sides. 

Step Eleven:

Carefully poke out all the corners and give it a press then stitch the opening in the lining closed.

Et Voila!

This project is a great stash buster, would make a lovely gift, and would work in all types of woven fabric, you could even try making a faux leather one and omit the lining for a really quick make!

We hope you love this and if you do make one please tag us so we can share it!

Debbie x

#samanthaclaridgestudio

Christmas Crafting! Festive stocking filler purse

Festive purse

We love a quick little sewing project for when you have 5 mins and want to get a quick fix or want to make a handmade gift that doesn’t take too long.

Our quick purse tutorial is perfect for a stocking filler or a unique thoughtful teacher present or secret Santa. It’s a great one for kids or beginners too!

We’ve designed a curved purse but you could easily make this square or oblong, the process is the same.

We used some of the festive fabric we have in stock here

For this project you will need:

Printed out purse template (below)

Main fabric

Lining fabric

7″ zip

Basic sewing kit

Scissors

Step one

Use our template to cut out 2 pieces of main fabric and two of lining fabric.

Step two

Place the zip face down on the right side of the main fabric so the top of the zip lines up with the top edge of the fabric

Step three

Place a lining piece right side down on to the zip so the zip is sandwiched between the main fabric and the lining fabric and pin in place

Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine stitch in place through all the layers.

Open it out, press and then do the same with the other side

Step four

Press both sides and topstitch either side of the zip if you want.

Now open the zip to the halfway point, this is a very important step to help you turn the purse through once it stitched.

Step five

Take the two pieces of main fabric and pin together right sides facing. Do the same with the lining fabric and then stitch all the way around leaving a 2.5″ gap in the lining fabric, at the bottom curved edge, to turn the purse through.

Step six

Turn the purse through the gap you left in the lining and make sure you poke out all the corners,  then stitch the gap closed and give it a final press!

We hope you like our Christmassy projects and we can’t wait to see what you make! Tag us on Instagram if you do make any of these projects or anything with our fabrics!
#samanthaclaridgestudio

Christmas Crafting! Fabric napkins

Re-usable fabric napkins with mitred corners

Fabric napkins look so fancy on the dining table and it’s lovely to have some special table wear for Christmas…or any festive holiday.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you a technique for making mitred corners which gives a fantastic finish and looks really professional.

This works on any woven fabric and would be great if you have some linen off cuts or an old table cloth you can cut up! We love a bit of upcycling!

You can make these any size but I made my squares 16″ x 16″.

You can shop our Christmas fabrics here

For this project you will need:

Cotton or linen fabric I used a mixture of cotton from the shop which are all in the sale

Scissors or a rotary cutter

Ruler

Fabric pen 

Sewing machine

Step one

Decide how many napkins you want and cut that number of squares each measuring 16″ x 16″

Press a 1″ hem all round your napkin square. Use a ruler to make sure you get a precise 1″ hem and folding the fabric in wrong sides facing.

You can play with the proportions of your hem if you want and make it bigger or smaller, but I think a 1″ hem looks neat and modern.

Step two

Take your fabric pen and make a mark at the point that your folded hem corners meet on the wrong side of the fabric and do this on every corner

Step three

Press a 1/4″ hem around all four edges with your iron. 

Step four

Now we need to make a 2″ mark in from each outer corner of the fabric and draw a line matching them up, the dot you made should sit just above this line.

The reason we make a 2″ mark is that this is double the measurement of the hem we pressed in step one. If you make your hem larger than 1″ you will need to adjust this measurement accordingly doubling it.

Step five

Fold your corner with the right sides together and match up the marks you just made. Your fabric will make a point.

Step six

Flip back the 1/4″ crease and then stitch on the line you drew following it to the edge of the fabric. Do the same for each corner.

Step seven

Cut the excess off at about 1/4″

Step eight

Flatten out the seam with your fingers, this will give us a nice flat corner.

Step nine

Flip the corner to the right side. Poke the corners out carefully, you can use something pointy to help. Do this on all four corners and give it a press. It’s exciting to see the neat corners at this point!

Step ten

Edgestich all around the napkin hem approx 1/4″ away from the fold with a longer stitch length ( I set mine at 3 on my Janome) and a matching or contrasting thread depending on what you fancy!

Keep your needle down in the fabric when you go around the corners and turn the fabric keeping your line as straight as possible.

Et Voila! These take a little time but it’s so worth it for the fancy finish!
A set of these would make a lovely gift and is a great way of using up fabric scraps or old sheets/ pillowcases too! You could even whip up a tablecloth now you have this technique in your stable!

Christmas Crafting! Re-usable gift bags

Easy drawstring gift bag DIY

We are officially on the countdown to Christmas here at Samantha Claridge HQ…we’ve got to have something to look forward to haven’t we! 

What better way to spend our spare time over lockdown than some mindful, relaxing sewing and crafting. I am going to make some handmade gifts this year but we really are keeping gifts to a minimum this Chrimbo, everyone is stretched money wise and over the top consumption and needless spending just doesn’t seem appropriate this year. I’ve been enjoying making my own clothes this year which has lead to me shopping less and really the thought of buying something that I could potentially make just seems unnecessary, how about you? 

I’ve designed 4 easy tutorials that are Christmas appropriate, but really these would work all year round depending on fabric choice, and are great for using up scraps of fabric. I’ll be popping them on the blog over the next couple of weeks so you’ve got plenty of time to make them before Christmas.

The first project is for reusable drawstring bags which can be made in any size, used year after year, and are much more sustainable for wrapping pressies in! This is a very simple DIY suitable for a beginner..this would also be great to do with kids under supervision.

You can use a festive-themed fabric (as I have done and you can buy it here) or a plain calico or hessian would work really well jazzed up with some pretty ribbon or ric rac…the creative possibilities are endless!

For this project you will need:

Fabric  12″ x 28″ ( I used Jingle polar bears which is now only £2.33 per half metre)

Ribbon or cord for the drawstring approx 26″ long ( I used glitter ribbon)

Scissors

Sewing machine

Step one

Hem the two long edges of the fabric strip. I did this using my overlocker and a narrow 1/4″ hem but if you don’t have an overlocker you could either use a zig zag stitch or simply fold the hem twice, press and stitch. 

Step two

Fold the short end in by 1/4″, press the fold then fold over again by another 1/4″, press then fold down by 1″ and press.

Top stitch close to the edge of the folded hem.

Repeat this process for the other end of the fabric.

This process creates the channels you will thread your ribbon or cord through for the drawstring.

Step three

Fold the fabric in half with right sides together and stitch down the side seams starting below the top channels for the drawstrings you made leaving them open.

Step four

Finally, attach a safety pin to one end of your ribbon or drawstring and thread this through the top channel of your bag and tie in a knot at one end…et Voila!

Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the following tutorials…an easy bottle bag, coin purse, and festive fabric napkins which we hope you will love
Let us know if there are any other DIYs you would like us to feature!