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!

Debbie’s Shirred dress with olive floral fabric

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably seen all the hype around the shirred dress trend this summer.

By Hand London did a fabulous tutorial on drafting your own which is on their Instagram and I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a few months now.

As soon as we got this beautiful olive floral viscose in stock I knew it would make a gorgeous Autumn dress and thought I would give the shirred dress a go. It does not disappoint! It’s so easy as there are no real fit issues, this dress will fit any shape or size and can expand while your wearing it which is always a plus in my book!

As I always do when planning a make, I stalk the hashtag first! #bhlshirreddress has plenty of inspiration but I also had a look on Pinterest to see if there were any other good ideas for styling, length and sleeve details and found the following inspiring images…

I’ve made plenty of midi dresses this year so wanted to add a short dress that I can wear with boots and tights into the winter.

This is the gorgeous fabric below which actually has more of a green base than ochre…it’s beautiful!

There are a few others in stock if this is not your colour which would work fabulously for this project.

The fabric I used is a lovely drapey viscose but you can use lightweight cotton (like this gingham) too which would give the sleeves a lot more drama and structure.

You will need:

2m- 3m of fabric (depending on how long you want your dress to be)

Shirring Elastic

Elastic for your sleeve head approx 12mm

Sewing kit

I started by measuring my bust and adding half again to get the measurement for the top of the dress…this was not far off the full with of the fabric 150cm so I  simply used the width of the fabric and the length of 31″ 

Then I cut 2 rectangles for the sleeves measuring approx 20″ long by 24″ wide.

You will need a few bobbins hand-wound with shirring elastic, there are plenty of good tutorials on You Tube if you have trouble getting the shirring to work but I found it worked no problem with a stitch setting of 3 or 3.5.

Make a tube with your main body of fabric and finish the seams. Hem the top of the dress and then you can start shirring the bodice ( I started about 3cm down from the top of the hemmed dress). The By Hand London tutorial gets you shirring the dress flat and then joining the side seams after but I found going round and round in one go in a spiral with a gap of 1cm per row was quicker and easier. I had to change the bobbin about 4 times so keep an eye on your bobbin…nothing worse than stitching nothing!!

I did about 9″ of shirring to get a babydoll dress effect but you could lengthen this depending on how you want your dress to sit.

To make the sleeves I stitched the edges together, finished the seams, and hemmed the top leaving a gap for the elastic. Measure two pieces of 1cm elastic to fit snuggly around your underarm and shoulder and then thread this through the channel in the sleeve. Sew the ends of the elastic closed and sew the gap in the hem closed.

I decided to do 6 rows of shirring on the cuff, in the same way, I shirred the bodice.

To attach the sleeves, pop the dress on (or on a dressmakers dummy ) and pin the sleeves to the underarms with the right sides of the top of the sleeves and the top of the dress facing. Stitch in place with a straight stitch. I stitched the sleeves on with approx 5″ of stitching.

Hem your dress and make yourself a matching mask…because have you even sewn a dress this year if you haven’t made a matching mask?!

I love how this turned out and already have another two planned! The fabric was a dream to work with and the colour is beautiful, not something I would normally go for but I was surprised how it suited my skin tone, I think because the cool pink and blue flowers are warmed up by the olive background.

Have you made a shirred dress or top…would you give this trend a go?

Debbie x

How to upcycle fabric scraps into a quilted tote

With sustainability at the forefront of our minds it’s really important to think of ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. Using our fabric offcuts is a small way we can reduce waste and landfill and make something beautiful that we can use for years to come.

As sewists we all have a few (bags of) fabric scraps! 

I’ve been using lots of Ruby Star Society fabrics this year for various projects and collected every little scrap to be used at some point. 

I was going to make a scrappy quilt or cushion cover with all the off cuts, but then I changed my mind and actually a decent sized tote bag would be more…handy!

I cut up all my bits of fabric and just randomly sewed them up just enjoying the process and not really planning how it would look. That’s the thing with scraps they tend to be haphazard!

I used some left over batting from another quilt project and some larger pieces of fabric from my stash for a lining. My pieces ended up measuring approx 14″ x 13″. I used my machine to stitch some quilting lines throughout the bag pieces. I then stitched the sides and bottom on the bag together.

I made box corners on the inside at 2.5″ up from the corner, trimmed them and turned the bag right sides through. At this point you can bind your unfinished edges if your machine can cope with the layers. I finished the top edge of the bag with bias binding which I turned to the inside of the bag and top stitched.

I had some faux leather bag handles in my stash which were just the perfect match and stitched them on with some strong thread.

I love how this bag looks, it will be perfect for popping to the shops or for a sewing project bag and the fabrics are so fun! I can’t imagine throwing away such gorgeous fabrics, my scrap bag is still growing and I may tackle a quilted jacket at some point!

How do you use your scraps?

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!