Papercrafting for Xmas Part 2!

Paper garland making

This Christmas project is inspired by these beautiful paper garlands that I saved on Pinterest…it’s nice to actually be making something that I’ve saved…finally!  

Once again I’m reaching for the Rico Confetti paper pack! If you havent seen I already wrote a gift bag tutorial perfect for all your xmas gifting! Read here

These paper packs are so versatile and such good value for the quanitity and quality of the card. I think I’m going to make gift tags with any remaining card and string them with gold ribbon 🙂

This is so simple it doent really need any sort of tutorial but I would recommend buying yourself a good paper punch! I got my from a well known craft store and it’s a 2″ punch…I’m tempted to buy a star shaped one too!

You could always cut these by hand…or do different shapes. Triangles would work well…or just random shapes!

Layer 2 or 3 of the circles on top of each other and stitch together on your machine back to back in one long line with a regular straight stitch making sure you leave a nice long length of thread at either end so you can string it up!

Once they are stitched together simply un-fold each set of circles to give a 3D effect!

I love how simple but effective this is! It’s a lovely way of using up paper scraps too. 

Tag us on #scblog if you make one. We’d love to see your take on this fun craft!

Papercrafting for Xmas!

DIY gift bags with Rico papers

Not your traditional Christmas colour combo I know, but anything with gold counts right? When I saw this pack of Rico papers and card in their confetti design  I knew I wanted a modern theme for my decs and wrapping this Chrimbo…and I wanted to get started right away!

This simple craft will add the extra wow factor to your xmas gifts! It’s really simple and you can make them any size. The Rico pads are A4 and this makes an (approx) A5 size bag.

All you need:

One sheet of paper

Glue/ washi tape

Hole punch

String/ ribbon

Fold the short edges of the paper to the middle, over-lapping by 2cm and glue them together.

Fold up the bottom…the bigger the fold the bigger the bottom of the bag

Fold the sides in flat creating two triangles

Fold the top and bottom in towards eachother so they meet in the middle 

Tape in placeusing washit tape or clear tape depending what you like! Then push the sides out creating your bag!

Now you can fill your bag with goodles…this is great for jewellery, homemade sweets and cookies…or the best gift, sewing accessories!!

Punch a hole in the top and thread through some string or ribbon. I also made a gift tag with some matching card from the Rico paper pad.

I’ve made about a tonne of these with any bit of paper I can find in my house…it’s addicitve let me tell you!! Tag us if you make some using #scblog and take a look at our gorgeous range of Rico Papers and xmas trimmings …trust me it’s way more fun that buying normal xmas wrap!

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.

Selfless Sewing

Back to school skirt!

Hi again

I’m back refreshed after the summer break and head full of sewing plans for the coming months.  Okay, my head works faster than my sewing I admit but hey who cares, you have to plan right??

My September make is actually a selfless sew as it’s for my youngest daughter, Mia.  Completely inspired on a shopping trip prior to her going back to school in the 6th Form as she is now able to wear her own clothes so, you know, obviously everything has to be bang “on trend” (rolls eyes!!).  I’d actually been eyeing up this fabric on Sammy’s website but there was only a metre left and I wasn’t sure if that would be enough for a skirt for myself so I put it to the back of my mind.  Then, on said shopping trip, Mia picked up a skirt in almost identical colour but they didn’t have her size! Cue mum to the rescue me thinks!!

 I pitched the idea of the Tilly and the Buttons Ness Skirt which was almost exactly the same as what she was looking at and even though the pattern needed more than a metre I was pretty confident I’d manage with a metre for Mia’s skirt as she’s happy to wear them a lot shorter than I am!.  I opted to make the mini version.

She seemed totally on board with my idea so I quickly messaged Sam and asked for 1m of the Rose Cord (now out of stock but available in Green, brown and yellow) and also ½ metre of the Figo Rolleken Sketch Squares for the pocket bags.  I also chose the “match my thread” option and I’m not sure how many people have used this option but wow it’s a game changer. No more thinking it might match…. it blooming well does….perfectly!  That perfect in fact that it was hard to see the thread when I inevitably needed to use my best friend, the unpicker!

When the fabric arrived oh my word it was just so soft and lovely.  I couldn’t wait to get started on it. It actually comes together quite quickly and is a pleasant make.  Both the cord and cotton fabrics pre washed and pressed beautifully although I was careful when pressing on the front of the cord.  I didn’t want any marks and I’m happy to report pressing didn’t leave any! I struggled to find a zip in the exact same colour as the cord but fortunately due to the fly it’s not visible so I settled for as near as I could get which is just a shade lighter but as it matches the pocket bags, I’m not too upset with it.

I had toyed with the idea of using poppers instead of the button and buttonhole (don’t ask me why but I always hold my breath when doing buttonholes!  Unjustified too as I’ve never had any problems doing buttonholes on my Pfaff!) but decided after doing a couple of test buttonholes on a scrap of fabric that I would bite the bullet and put a proper jeans button on them.  I knew in my stash I had some with a cute little rose gold star in the middle and Mia being a fan of almost anything rose gold, knew she’d love it! As I usually do, I put fray check on the buttonhole and once this had dried I opened it up using my Clover buttonhole chisel.  This makes life so much easier than trying to do it with the unpicker and scissors. Definitely worth investing in if you don’t already own one!.

I made a size 8 and it fit her perfectly without any alterations.  I would have loved to have gone to town on the pockets doing a bit of embroidery or fancy top stitching but, you know, kids eh!!  Maybe I’ll make another one for me where I can go a little bit more wild.

Whilst sewing up this skirt, I was dreaming up a pair of trousers a bit like maybe the Closet Case Ginger Jeans or Megan Nielson Ash/Dawn in some of this gorgeous cord fabric.  I reckon whatever you make in this cord will look absolutely fab. Gorgeous colour and fab quality. I’d highly recommend getting your little mitts on some to wear this autumn/winter!

It’s safe to say that Mia loves her new skirt as its on trend with what’s in the shops at the minute right down to the fabric and style and even better that unlike the shop bought ones, it fits perfectly everywhere rather than hips or waist not both!  I can see more cord purchases coming on!.

Thanks for reading!

Happy stitching

Lisa x

@sewlastminuteLisa

Cosy Makes…

Autumn jersey knit project

Hey there, its Chatterstitch here back on the blog for the Samantha Claridge Studio, to tell you all about my latest design team make!

For my September blog post I asked Sammy for some of this gorgeous French Terry backed Jersey in mint. I don’t think you can fully appreciate the colour of this fabric just from my images, it really is lovely. The mint is the most delicate shade!

I don’t know about you but as the summer slips into autumn my mind is turning to cosy makes and I thought this jersey would be absolutely gorgeous made into a Tilly and the Buttons Coco top.

I have made the Coco before but only as the dress, which I love. But as I always seem to reach for jeans and skirts, so I really wanted to make this into a snuggly top which I could pair with my favourite jeans or a denim skirt over soft tights and my favourite leather boots.

 

The French Terry backed Jersey in Mint is a generous 150cm wide so great value for money, and the fabric composition is 95% cotton with 5% elastane so has great recovery whist being almost completely natural fibres so warm, but breathable!

As soon as my fabric arrived, I popped it through the wash at 30°C and dried it on the washing line.

Then once dry I quickly pressed it and cut my Coco out.

The Tilly and the Buttons Coco, like all the Tilly patterns is great and it makes up super quickly, this actually took me only an afternoon!

The only alteration I made to the standard instructions was to half interface the funnel neck.   I find this helps to keep the neck up a bit more than normal, as it does tend to flop about when not interfaced.

I really love my Coco made from this French terry backed jersey it’s so soft and warm and the colour is absolutely lovely. I can honestly see this being in constant rotation through the autumn and winter!

I think if I had not chosen to make my Coco then it would have made great joggers or a cardigan. Maybe the Kinder or Blackwood cardi.

It would also make great children’s wear, or maybe a nice cosy hoody??

 

That’s all for now, I really hope you like my Coco, I know I do!
Till next time, keep Chatting and Stitching, Carol 

Fat Quarter Project…

Modern quilt wall hanging...

I’ve had the Figo Fabrics Lucky Charms and Perfect Day Terrazzo in my stash for a couple of months now and have been looking for the perfect sewing project for them. I already blogged a little pin cushion tutorial (read it here!) with part of the white Terrazzo fabric (and still had enough left for this project too…what a win!) A few weeks back I came accross a crochet wall hanging on Pinterest that jumped out at me for it’s geometric design (it sparked all the joy!) I thought it would translate perfectly into a quilt project…so here it is!

I used my trusty cutting mat and rotary cutter plus my handy cutting square which I used to cut my blocks (I simply cut round as it gives nice size block for this project)

I plotted out the pattern…below 

I worked out how many triangles I would need of each colour way and cut out the squares, then cut them in half diagonally and matched them up with their partner! I then laid out the whole quilt and stitched it up row by row, pressing the seams open as I went for a crisp finish.

I used the crosses cotton in grey to back it with as I had it in my stash and it goes nicely with the FIGO Fabrics.

I simply overlocked the two layers together (probably not the proper way to do it but I love using my overlocker as it gives quick and neat results…very satisfying!

I made my own binding out of the left over bits of fabric and I’m so pleased I did as it really ties the whole quilt together so nicely.

I stitched the binding to the back first…then realised I should have done it the other way round so unpicked it (I hadn’t done too much thankfully…no-one likes un-picking lets face it!) and then I stitched the binding to the front then folded it to the back and hand stitched it down.

I like using these little clips for holding the binding in place while I hand stitch so I don’t get pricked when the quilt is in my lap!

So here it is!
 
This project would work brilliantly with any fabrics as long as you have a dark and a light in there for the contrast.
 

Tag us if you make one! #scstudioblog

Autumn wardrobe staple

The Jamie Cardigan

So, you know when you find yourself down an Instagram rabbit hole and come across a pattern or garment and you think it immediately has to go to the top of your sewing list?! Well this is what happened to me a couple of months ago! I found the Ready to Sew Jamie Cardigan and fell in love! I love the slouchy style and, of course, the big pockets, and I think it’s something that could be dressed up or down. Despite my self imposed pattern purchasing ban I decided I just had to have this cardigan in readiness for the autumn and  spent some of my birthday pennies on it. I’ve also been keeping my eye on this amazing giant leopard print jersey – we all know how I feel about animal print, now, don’t we?! So when it came to choosing my next #scdesignteam project it was as if the stars had aligned!

The cardigan comes in two options – view 1 is hip length with long sleeves and patch pockets and view 2 falls at the waist with slightly shorter sleeves. They are quite economical with fabric with the longer version only taking 1.5m so this was the one I decided to go for to make the most of my fabric. 

Jamie cardigan pattern

I was very excited to use my new overlocker skills and constructed the majority of the cardi on the overlocker. This made it super quick to make. The pockets aren’t very neatly sewn on as the machine struggled at the corners with the multiple layers of fabric, but nobody will notice that except me. There were a couple of parts that slowed me down, one was the gathering of the sleeves to attach the cuff. For some reason my long straight stitch just wouldn’t gather in this fabric so I ended up removing it and hand sewing my gathering stitch which worked absolutely fine in the end. And the button holes were a bit of a nightmare because the thread kept breaking half way through and I had to unpick the whole thing and start again… at least three times! 

But despite these issues I absolutely love it and need to make the short version now! The fabric is gorgeous and soft and the perfect weight for the kind of project. And it’s quite a statement piece in this fabric! And that just makes me love it more! Nothing like a bit of leopard print to jazz up a pair on jeans! The day I took these photos it was 26 degrees outside, but two weeks before on my rainy summer hols in Cornwall it was a lovely cover up in the evenings when it got a little chilly. Initially it seemed a bit odd to be making this in August but I think it’s going to be the first thing I reach for whenever I want an extra layer.
 

Green Jersey Ruska Tunic

A wardrobe staple with Lucy Hannah...

One of the sewing books I’m obsessed with at the moment is Named Clothing ‘breaking the Pattern’. I got it for Christmas and I’ve made so many things out of it this year! The Ruska pattern is my go-to for t-shirts at the moment, but one variation of the pattern I hadn’t tried yet was the Tunic dress. I want to build up a selection of clothes that are comfy for working from home in, but also look nice if I need to jump on a Skype call. So I figured the Ruska Tunic paired with a lovely jersey could be just what I’m looking for.

Samantha Claridge Studio has so many lovely jersey fabrics on the website and i couldn’t resist the Bottle Green Bellissima Jersey It’s such a lovely colour! When I was ordering I took advantage of the thread matching service, it’s always a worry when ordering fabric online that you’ll choose a thread based on a photo but it won’t be quite right against your fabric when you get it, but the thread matching service makes it easy. The thread I got was a perfect match! The Bellissima jersey itself is a beautiful fabric. I got so excited when I opened my parcel and got my hands on the fabric. It’s super soft, such great quality and has a lovely drape. It’s softness would make it great for children’s wear or loungewear.

 

The Ruska tunic is a much looser fitted garment than the style I normally go of so I made a toile out of some jersey I had in my stash, and it seemed to fit fine, so I went right ahead and cut it out of my bottle green jersey. I chose the medium length sleeve, and accidentally sewed the side seams of the tunic before I’d attached the sleeves so just sewed them as set in sleeves which worked fine. I love a bit of top stitching so finished the neckline off with a row of stitches. I like the added detail it gives and I find necklines sit a bit better for me when they’re topstitched. I used a twin needle to hem the tunic and sleeves – and this is where having the right colour thread really makes your garments look well made.

Once it was finished I felt like the split up the front of the tunic was a bit high for me so I closed the opening by about 2 inches with a zigzag stitch. My husband wasn’t too sure about the dress at first, he’s used to seeing me in prints so I think a solid colour and the fact it was looser than my normal style kind of put him off. I had a little wobble at first when he didn’t like it ( I thought it was lovely!) and I ended up taking about 2 inches off the waist, and actually, he was right. With a bit more shape to the waist it’s much more me!

The Bellissima Jersey was an absolute treat to work with. It was easy to cut and sew so it made the project really quick. It’s a lovely texture against the skin and has kept it’s softness after washing. I need to think up some more ideas for the other colours now! The mustard version is gorgeous!