Sustainable kitchen roll!


Plastic free July ideas!

 
 
 
After starting plastic free July I realised my house has a serious disinfectant wipe habit! We use them for loads of things around the house and having dog’s means there is always a mess somewhere to clear up! I started to think of a way around this and came up with reusable kitchen roll!

I used a meter and a half of cotton and a meter of towelling from Samantha Claridge Studio. The towelling is the softest thing ever, I’m sure it’s softer than my bath towels! It would be perfect for baby bibs and such things as it would be lovely and soft near their skin. Below is how I made it, its super easy and hopefully something you’d like to do too.

1.     First thing I did was a little maths. I measured my current kitchen roll and each piece was 8” square. This seemed like a good size for me and the fabric was 55” wide which meant I got just under 7 sets. I just made the last one ¼ of an inch smaller but you wouldn’t notice on the roll.

2.     I then cut the cotton and the towelling into 8” squares.

3.     Once cut I paired them up with one of each and stitched a diagonal across the middle of each square keeping the two pieces together.

4.     Then I overlocked around the edge of each piece.

This could be your finishing point but I wanted mine to go on the roll like kitchen roll does.

 

  1. I then attached the prim poppers to each side so I could attach them on the roll. You need to attach them as you go along to make sure you alternate the way the poppers are attached or you won’t get the cotton all facing the same way. I have a feeling once I have washed this my husband won’t sit and re-popper them so will end up using the basket for clean ones too! Watch this space…

I also made a little box for the dirty ones to go in once they are used so that I can wash them all together. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube on how to make a fabric basket, I switched mine from wadding to stiff interfacing which made the side of the basket more box like which I thought would be perfect for throwing all my cloths into.

Hopefully this will reduce our need for more plastic around the kitchen but definitely perfect for spills and mopping up as the towels are super absorbent!

Plastic free July!

Design team member Rudy is taking part in Plastic free July!

Are you like me trying to do plastic free July? It’s super hard! You can’t buy anything convenient! It has made me so much more organised, especially with packing my own lunch to take to the office…

To assist with this I decided to make some beeswax wraps. I picked out some awesome printed fabric from Sew Crafty, rainbow for me (obviously!) and the black for my husband because he is boring and wouldn’t take my rainbow ones to his office ha ha! I got half a meter of each which has left me with plenty spare. Wraps are said to last about 6 months, where you can re wax them or start again. These fabrics are perfect for it as they are pure cottons which don’t react when heated up in the oven, I would be wary of using polycottons as I’m not sure how they would react in the heat.

 

I set about my research for the best recipe for the wraps, which apparently was much more complicated than I had intended. Some recipes call for pine resin, coconut oil, jojoba oil and bees wax, others call for a variation of the above so I decided to look a little deeper.

Pine resin is a) expensive! And b) not very good for humans to ingest. I was wondering why this seems to be a key ingredient in most the wraps recipe but came to the conclusion you aren’t actually eating the food wrap, but as my food was going to be very close I decided not to risk it.

Coconut oil is readily available and I already had some in the cupboard, though when you use it on your wraps it makes everything a bit slimy! I did variations to see the best recipe and I think I will omit coconut oil now. Whilst it helps with the bendiness of the wraps I feel like the oil is coming off on my hands every time I touch it.

 

Jojoba oil is expensive too but something I’d probably use more often as a carrier for other essential oils etc. I bought the one from Holland and Barret but I’m sure any health food shop would have something similar. The jojoba oil has disinfecting properties which helps keep them clean and fresh for the next batch of food.

Bees wax is easily bought from lots of places. I bought mine from Ebay. I made sure it was food grade pellets which are easier to melt when you put them under heat. As this is the key ingredient you can’t really do without this one but if you wanted you could just use beeswax as I think this works really well also.

So there’s some background into my research I’d love to know if you have anything else to add to help with the wraps?

My method is as below:

1.     Cut the fabric to you desired size, and overlock the edges or pinking shear them whatever you have available to make sure the fabric doesn’t fray. If you are making them into pouches sew the sides together at this point as the wax will soak into multiple layers.

2.     Use an old baking tray and line it with greaseproof paper. If you get wax on your baking try you probably don’t want to use it for food again so bare that in mind when selecting the tools.

3.     Heat the oven up, I did mine at about 180’c

4.     Lay your items out on the tray, if your wraps are too big for the tray don’t worry the wax will seep through layers so fold them over.

5.     Sprinkle the beeswax over the fabric. I probably use too much as there is wax deposits on the outside of my fabrics so use it sparingly.

6.     Put in the oven for about 2-3 minutes, or until all the wax has melted.

7.     When you take them out the over sprinkle a few drops of jojoba oil over the fabric while it cools.

8.     Leave it on the tray until it is cool. If you are making pouches or layered items it’s worth separating the layers whilst it is still warm so it doesn’t stick together too much.

I hope this is helpful and you have many more picnics to follows!  I even made some to replace the cling film i use in the fridge, for when i have leftover in a bowl or need to cover over some fruit so it doesn’t go dry. The wax lets it mold around things.

See you next time!

70s vibes!

Rachel's fabulous 70's inspired dress

For my second make for the sew crafty blog I was immediately drawn to this stunning 70’s chiffon over in the Sew Crafty Shop, having not worked with chiffon much in my sewing journey, I knew this fabric would need careful handling but also which pattern would show off this amazing print to its fullest, Vogue V9253. I have made a version of this pattern before but don’t let the extremely low cut front neckline put you off, its very easy to alter it to make you feel less exposed!

This pattern was released by Vogue a couple of years ago and is one of their easy makes, the pattern consists of a front and back bodice with grown on sleeves and a front and back skirt,  the caftan design with waist ties can be made knee or maxi length and features pleats in the front bodice and skirt, an invisible back zipper and ties which are stitched into the back seam and tie at the front, it comes in sizes XS though to XL and I cut the size S, I lengthened the bodice by an inch but apart from that made no other adjustments to the base pattern. Due to the design of the pattern pieces, this pattern is very fabric hungry and I needed almost 4m of fabric to create this dress.

For this version I omitted the stitched in ties and created a separate belt that was detachable. I also partially lined the bodice with some ivory lining fabric from my stash, and created a short underskirt as chiffon by its very design tends to be fairly sheer. I chose to sew a narrow hem which gave me the opportunity to practice this sewing technique and finishes the dress off perfectly.

 

This chiffon is fairly sturdy to work with but to make it even easier to handle, I sprayed it with spray starch first, this is a great tip for working with floaty fabrics and washes out easily.

With some left over fabric I created an additional headband to complete the 70’s vibe and I absolutely love the result, it’s totally ‘Margot’ from the good life and perfect for swishing in and swanning around the garden with a glass of something.

 

As always, thanks to the Sew Crafty Team for gifting this fabric to me.

 

The Margot Playsuit

Lisa makes the perfect summer playsuit

Hi Again

I’m back this month with my favourite summer playsuit.  It’s the Margo Playsuit from Sewladida Vintage. This is actually my 3rd of this pattern that I have made however it’s the first time I’ve used lace.

Browsing online recently and I came across a RTW dress in bright yellow lace that I really really liked.  Now, obviously as a sewist, I wouldn’t dream of buying a dress would I? (Well not at the price they were trying to charge anyway!)  ;). I did have some reservations about the yellow as it’s really vibrant and I definitely wouldn’t have chosen anything this daring before I started sewing my own!  I then started to wonder whether the yellow dress would get much wear what with the iffy weather in this country but knew that this would be perfect for my holidays!

 

 

 

Anyway after much procrastinating (did I tell you I’m queen of procrastination and my old neighbour nick named me Last Minute Lisa ☺) I decided the Margo would be perfect for the lace.  So I made my wish list and chose the yellow crepe to line the lace with and the lace for the outer.

 

 

When it arrived it did not disappoint!  It was just as gorgeous as it was on the picture on the Sew Crafty Website.  I quickly got it pre washed and dried and set to work. I got to say the fabric washed and ironed beautifully.   Looking at the fabric it is scalloped on both selvedge edges so I decided that I would trim off the edge just leaving the scallop so this would then form the hem of my shorts.

I started to cut out and realised that because its stretch lace it was gonna be a slippery little fella but tacked it into place using long basting stitches on the diagonal and this worked really well.

The first thing to do is the shorts and they came together very quickly.  Once the shorts were done I knew I was gonna love this suit. To reduce the bulk in the seam allowance I trimmed away the lace between the crepe.

I decided that for the bodice I would treat the crepe as the bodice lining as per instructions rather than try and fit another lining in as well.  I made sure to under stitch as much as I could wherever possible to stop the crepe from rolling to the front side and this worked really well.

I opted for the lemon invisible zip and I was relieved that it went in first time and lined up just right.  Whenever I put in an invisible zip into a garment with a waistline seam, to try and get it lined up when I get to the second side I zip up the garment and I use my tailors chalk to put a mark on the zip at the waist seam line then all I need to do is line it up with the waist seam and (fingers crossed) it lines up perfectly.   I generally tack the zip in then zip the garment up to check my cross points. Once I’m happy they match I go ahead and stitch it in.

 

 

 

And as you can see it lines up

All that was left then was to wait for a day when the sun decided to come out so that I could get some nice sunny photos to go with my lovely jumpsuit.  Well fortunately this weekend we got a day!! I wore this jumpsuit out to go shopping then went to our local reservoir for pictures. I got so many compliments whilst I was wearing it.  I definitely think it’s going to be a fab holiday outfit for my imminent trip to Mexico.

Hope this has inspired you to try something that you wouldn’t usually wear whether it’s a fabric choice or garment.
Until next time, happy sewing ☺
Lisa x
* This fabric was gifted to me for my monthly Sew Crafty Design Team project however all opinions are my own and honest.

Romy’s floral jacket project

Romy shows us her floral summer jacket

I’ve been sewing for nearly 4 years now and love sharing my makes on Instagram, but there’s only so much you can write in a photo caption, so I’m very excited to be blogging properly for the first time!  

I spent ages trawling the Sew Crafty website; I tend to buy fabrics without a plan and keep them in my (rather large) stash until I find a pattern I want to make, but as I had to pick a project fairly quickly I decided to go with a pattern I had wanted to make for ages and find some fabric that would work.  Enter the Joy Jacket by Chalk and Notch patterns.  I bought this last year as I wanted to branch into making outerwear, but just hadn’t got round to it.  They recommend a tencel or viscose fabric as it’s meant to be quite a light and drapey jacket, but the Navy Floral Scubahad already caught my eye and I thought it would work well for this pattern.  

 
 
When the fabric arrived I almost wished I was making an elegant dress or skirt as it was so pretty but stuck to my original plan as I don’t have many occasions to wear fancy dresses.  I chose a plain navy viscose for the lining so that it would feel soft and cool against bare skin, as I’m planning on this being a summer evening type jacket.  The only other notions I needed were a zip and some interfacing from my stash, as I decided against adding any hardware or drawstrings for simplicity.  The pattern calls for stretch interfacing but I went with a regular lightweight one as the fabric doesn’t need to stretch to fit and that worked fine.
 
Navy scuba fabric samanthaclaridge studio fabric shop
 
 
 
I spread the cutting out over a few evenings as there are A LOT of pattern pieces and I didn’t want to rush and make a mistake.  I’d planned to pattern match the pockets but didn’t have quite enough fabric, but I don’t think it matters as the print is quite big and doesn’t have an obvious repeat.  The instructions call for stay stitching around the neck hole but I used iron on stay tape instead as it’s quicker, and that worked fine.
I decided to follow the sew-along instructions as I find it easier with a photo of each step, and they’ve even put little videos in when there’s a complicated bit, which really helped.  The way the pockets are sewn did confuse me a bit, as they’re not bagged out like I had expected.  I think next time I would try and do that as the way they recommend leaves you with raw edges inside the pocket.  It’s not noticeable and probably won’t bother me but I think it would give the pockets a neater finish.
 
The fabric sewed up really easily.  I used a stretch needle and walking foot to make sure the stitching looked neat, and I’d definitely recommend that because my machine struggled a bit to feed the fabric when I used a regular foot.  I sewed the main jacket seams with a zigzag stitch but as it’s quite a relaxed fit you could probably use a straight stitch.  As it’s a scuba it wasn’t the easiest fabric to press, but using quilting clips and topstitching where recommended really helped to keep the fabric flat and looking neat.  You could also overlock the seams to help with stretch if you were making something more fitted.
 
I have to share a tip I saw recently on Facebook that I used when making the hanging loop.  It’s a godsend if you ever make rouleau loops and need to turn them easily.  
Step 1: Sew your loop with right sides together and trim excess.
Step 2: Push a drinking straw down inside the loop.
Step 3: Using a wooden skewer, push the end of the fabric down inside the straw and keep pushing until it’s fully turned through.
Step 4: Admire your finished loop!
 
You can thank me later 😉
 
The rest of the jacket came together fairly easily.  I like how the insides are neatly lined and finished with facings so that you don’t have any raw edges showing.  
 
It also has a lovely V detail on the front which gives it a bit more interest.
 
I’m definitely going to make another, probably in a plain fabric so I can pair it with more things.  This one has already had a trip out to walk the dog in the evening, between the seemingly constant rain showers we’re having, and was really comfortable and nice to wear.
 
 
 

That’s all folks, see you soon for the next one!

Sew Crafty is becoming Samantha Claridge Studio

sew-crafty-online-is-now-samantha-claridge-studio

You may have noticed some changes around here, especially if you came here after looking for Sew Crafty Online. Well after 15 years as Sew Crafty, we have decided to change our name to Samantha Claridge Studio.

There are lots of reasons why Sew Crafty didn’t feel right any more but the most compelling one was that when we decided to change the name back in 2005, after two years of running it in the name it came with, we were a small local shop, with no plans to go online. It didn’t matter that there was a company in the States with the same name and there weren’t a million small businesses with the name either, we were the only Sew Crafty in Berkshire, and that was great.

In the past 10 years or so since going online and the world being linked by social media that way it is now, the name ‘Sew Crafty’ has become less and less unique.

I thought it was about time the shop had a name that was as unique as the collection of products that I stock, I always have and will aim to only carry fabric and supplies that I would use in my own sewing room. So, Samantha Claridge Studio seemed to be the perfect name to take the business in to its 18th year.

Obviously, our Gorgeous group of makers are still very much onboard and are now members of the Samantha Claridge Studio Design Team. You will be able to see all their projects here first and shop the fabrics and supplies they have used in their projects from their blog posts.

With a new name came the opportunity to create a brand-new website, something we have been wanting to do for a really long time. Hopefully this will become our dream home in the internet, it has functionality and gives us options that we have never had before which means we can offer you the best service possible.

We will still be sending out a fortnightly newsletter with all the newest fabric arrivals, special offers and discounts. If you want to sign up head to the home page and fill in the form to get on the list. Of course you can still follow us on Instagram too @samanthaclaridgestudio.

We have some fun new features for all of you that choose to sign into an account when you shop with us. There is now a dedicated account area where you can view your Wishlist, past orders, available coupons and gift certificates. It is also where you can keep a track of any downloadable products that you purchase and edit any personal details.

As you can imagine, this is quite a big deal for us and has been something that we have been working on for a really long time. I am so happy that I can finally share it with all of you.

Thank you for your continued support.

Samantha

Cute wrist pin cushion DIY!

Anyone else always dropping pins while sewing or is that just me?

I decided one rainy afternoon to make a little pincushion that I could wear on my wrist to stop the inevitable pin drop and save my poor toes from further pain! The FIGO fabrics terrazzo collection has been calling me since is first landed in the shop so this was a nice quick, satisfying project to use up a small amount!

It’s very easy so here we go…

You will need

  • Fabric ( I used the FIGO Terrazzo cotton)
  • Leather or pleather or thick felt
  • Elastic
  • Toy stuffing
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

Step 1

Cut out 2 circles in your main fabric (approx 10cm in diameter) and an oval shape in a thick fabric (leather is ideal…it’s just to protect your wrist when you stick the pins in the cushion!)…

Step 2

Measure out a piece of elastic to fit comfortably around your wrist…

Step 3

Pin the elastic to one of the circles of fabric, fabric right side up

Step 4

Sandwich your elastic between both pieces of fabric right sides together and stitch around the outside leaving a gap for you to turn it through

Step 5

Cut notches around the edge to give a smoother edge when you turn it through…

Step 6

Turn right side out and stuff with some toy filling, then slip stitch the hole closed

Step 7

Stitch the leather or pleather patch to the underside of the pincushion

Et Voila!

Let us know if you make one and share on Instagram using the hashtag #showcrafty

See you next time!

Natalie @natalieywhite shares her adorable #SCdesignteam project!

Children’s wear with the Riley Blake saltwater collection…

 

 

I can’t quite believe that I am part of the Sew Crafty design team; such an exciting opportunity that I cannot wait to get stuck in…So what is my first project I hear you ask?

I have never done anything like this before and I was a bit overwhelmed, to begin with as I had so many ideas and things I wanted to try.

Then I came across this pattern that I have had stashed away for a while and decided to give Children’s clothing a go and in true Natalie style, I did the toile in a Disney fabric I had lying around and a pillowcase. This helped me to understand the bodice pattern and work out the best way to understitch the small size.

Sew Crafty have a wealth of cotton fabric to choose from but as soon as I saw Riley Blake Saltwater collection, I knew that the mint & multicoloured turtle fabrics were going to look gorgeous. I decided on using the mint as the main fabric as its my favourite colour and also too much white on a toddler dress is never a good idea…especially when my toddler is involved. The multicolour turtles contrast fabric livens it up and make it a more fun summer party dress than an occasion dress.

The bodice was much easier to make the second time around and I just love the affect of the fabrics with the lining peeping through– the cotton is a little heavier than the pillowcase I used with the toile so holds itself so much better with no need for interfacing. 

As the skirt is not lined; I wanted to make it look neater and as I don’t own an overlocker (yet) I decided to do French seams for the first time and oh boy I am so glad I did as it just makes it look so pretty and totally finished without raw edges fraying and on show. 

Also check out my pattern matching! I was so chuffed with this as I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out … with the type of pattern it wouldn’t have particularly mattered but I think the added detail of it matches just makes it much more of a finished project and more professional looking. 

I also decided to roll the hem twice for the same reason and it didn’t take too much length away and I think sits perfectly on my 2 year old. I used the 2 year old sizing and it has worked a treat – I had to take a bit in on the bodice when I attached the zip otherwise it was a little baggy but all in all a very good size and a lovely addition to her summer wardrobe.

Jenny @jennystitched makes a fancy robe

For my first Design Team make, I wanted to fill a gap in my wardrobe that was definitely more a ‘want’ than a ‘need’. I’ve been hankering after a lightweight summer robe for throwing over pyjamas in the warmer months and when I spotted this viscose print in the Sew Crafty shop, I knew it would make a brilliant robe. 

The viscose is a very bold print which typically is not my normal style, but when it comes to nightwear and loungewear I think anything goes! It’s a classic combination of black and white stripes and florals (who doesn’t love a bit of pattern clashing from time to time?!), but the scale of the floral design makes this fabric look quite fresh and modern rather than twee. I think my favourite flower in the print is the beautiful pinky-red poppy!

Despite picking this fabric quickly, it took me ages to choose a robe pattern. I felt like the big 4 pattern companies either offered ‘comfy and cosy’ or ‘lingerie’ and I wanted something that fell somewhere in the middle of the 2 options that I could just chuck on when it’s a hot evening. We have a great charity shop near me that has a large haberdashery section and I found this great vintage 1950s housecoat pattern that looked like just the thing. I did modify the pattern, I took 12 inches out of the skirt section – apparently, women in the fifties were built like Amazons, and I, most definitely, am not at just 5’ 3”! I also took about 4 inches from the sleeve to make it bracelet length so I don’t always have to roll my sleeves up to do anything, and instead of easing in the sleeve head I gathered the fabric to give the shoulder a more vintage look.

To complement the floral viscose I’d chosen from Sew Crafty, I used a cheap and cheerful black viscose from my local market for the roll collar and belt, but the floral is better quality. It’s got a great drape (for swishing around the house like a Hollywood starlet) but as it’s viscose it can be chucked in the wash over and over again without doing too much harm to it (because I am not a Hollywood starlet and have to do my own laundry).

The print on this is big but it doesn’t seem to repeat in any obvious way so I didn’t bother to pattern match as I think when a print is this striking it’s easier to get away with. As the black stripe runs horizontal to the selvage I chose to focus on lining that up for the pockets and pinned all the pieces in the same direction.

The fabric sewed up nicely and I finished the insides on my overlocker. I used a black Guterman thread for all the seams and the hem. Viscose can be quite slippy when pinning and cutting out so I would recommend cutting on a slightly grippy surface like a carpet if you can as this will help prevent any shifting around whilst you cut and avoid any funny shaped pieces! You can also use a starch spray to help make the pieces more stable as this will wash straight out again. I prewashed the fabric on a 30 degree with a colour catcher sheet setting and there wasn’t much shrinkage or colour bleed.

I feel very glam when wearing this – anything that elevates a pair of tired old pyjamas into an elegant lounging outfit is a winner!

Jenny

Alison @aliivens clever storage solutions!

Beautiful storage for a kids room!
 
Last year we decorated our daughter’s bedroom, mostly because we were forced to since she’d already started peeling the wallpaper off the walls around her cot! So we carried on, stripped the walls and painted the whole room white.

She already had some decorations in the room which were blue and pink and I figured at some point we’d paint a wall one of these colours but she would choose which (spoiler alert – she’s leaning towards pink!). A few months ago she got her ‘big girl’ bed which is a mid sleeper which helps to make the most of the space in her very tiny room. But since then I’ve been wondering how I can add to the existing decorations by sewing a few items of storage. I’ve been collecting ideas on my Pinterest board for a while and chose to make some fabric trays, storage pods and some bunting to decorate under her bed. From the Sew Crafty website, I chose three colours of their star cotton to make these items. The colours are fantastic and being 100% cotton they iron and cut beautifully.

For the fabric trays, I cut two A4 pieces for each tray and lined them with batting to give more structure. I’ve made them quite deep so her hair accessories and jewellery are easily stored.

The storage pods were made from a tutorial by Sewing 4 Free and were very easy to put together. I like the way they are easy to access her toys but I think they could be bigger. I might make some more but double the size but for now, these are perfect for things like here small collections of lego.

I drafted a small triangle template for the bunting, cut 14 pairs and, once sewn, attached these together with 3m of pink bias binding from the site. I think these might be my favourite, they’re so striking, and who doesn’t love a bit of bunting, right?!

The space underneath her bed is really coming together now and when her bedroom is tidy it’s a nice space to be in. I’d like to get her a small desk and chair to go under there but I think that will come when we sort out the rest of her bedroom furniture. For now, she’s happy with it!

Alison