Sewhouse 7 Montavilla dress in viscose

Hey there

How are you all?  Hope there’s plenty of sewing happening in your world.  I don’t know about you but all this chilly wet weather isn’t conducive to encouraging me to be sewing up nice summery garments.  I’m usually away (pre Covid times of course) during August somewhere warm and sunny and often wondering if I’m leaving behind the best of the British weather.  It almost had me fooled last year when we were lucky enough to have lots of sunshine and warmth.  However, this year I’m not so sure!!

Anyway in an effort to cling onto the dreams of summer and lots of sunshine (can you tell I’m desparately trying to avoid sewing up wintery projects in August!!!), when Sammy asked me to choose something from her website for my next Design Team Project I opted for some of the 100% viscose.  After my usual indecisiveness over fabric colours, I opted for the teal and white colourway and have to say it is truly beautiful to work with.  It washed and dried great, no colour runs or bobbling.  Ironing was an absolute breeze!  It pressed beautifully.  I did use the clapper as I usually do when pressing seams but I’m pretty sure it didn’t really need it.  After searching through my patterns I decided it would make a lovely Sew House Seven Montavilla Dress.  I’ve had this pattern for quite a while now but never quite got round to making it.

Once I got the dress cut out, it started to come together really quickly and had some really good and new to me techniques.  I spent ages looking for the frill pattern piece only to find there isn’t one….its created by making a shoulder dart on the back and front bodice.  I thought this was genius idea and love the shoulder detail.  The neckline is self bound and I have to say the fabric is so buttery soft at times I had problems feeling it between my fingers.  

The pockets on the side panel and the piece of elastic at the top of that side panels make a really nice feature too.

I followed the instructions to the letter and didn’t make any changes to the pattern despite wondering if I should add some length due to my height (I’m 5’10”) but I tried it on before hemming and was pleased with the length as it was.

I was really impressed with the instructions for this pattern especially for the mitred corners on the hem and I’ll definitely use this technique where possible on future makes as it gives a really nice neat finish.  Those splits on the sides are just the perfect size.  Just enough leg pops out as you walk and I think it makes the dress look really feminine.

I started a new job back in July temporarily whilst waiting patiently for our business to restart after being badly affected by Covid and after 20 years of working for ourselves and learning a new job, I’m finding it quite stressful right now so I found this make really therapeutic as a result of the fabric choice and pattern itself with its cheeky little techniques.  I’d say the only tricky part was the belt.  Despite having the Prym tube turners, I still managed to get it stuck inside itself.  Luckily, Mia (my youngest) was around and kindly offered to sort the belt for me whilst I cracked on with sewing other parts.

I was super excited to wear this dress and had big plans to wear it for a meal with my bestie only to put it on and drop foundation on it whilst getting ready to go out!  I wouldn’t mind but it’s the first time I’ve worn foundation in 18 months!!!! I was so annoyed so I had to put it on the back burner for another time.  Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long and on A Level results day we took Mia out for a meal to celebrate her grades so took the opportunity to wear it then and get photos for this blog post.

I have to say the fabric is absolutely delightful against my skin.  Its super soft and light and airy.  I definitely chose the right project for the fabric and felt great wearing it.  I will definitely be making more versions of this dress.

I highly recommend this fabric….would it be really wrong to have every colourway??  I really can’t say enough how gorgeous this fabric is.  Yes….you really do need some!

Hope you like the project I chose for this lovely fabric.  

Until next time…. happy sewing!

Lisa

@sewlastminutelisa

A denim chambray Zadie jumpsuit

Alsion in her zadie jumpsuit in denim chambray from Samantha Claridge Studio

Alison's new favourite pattern!

 
 
 
Well hello there! What a year it’s been so far! Aside from what has dominated the news for the last 6 months (lets not dwell on that) I have decided that 2020 shall be remembered as ‘the year I got on the Zadie bandwagon’!!!
 
Quite honestly I have a bone to pick with all of you for not convincing me to try this pattern earlier! I truly believe that, along with the Kielo wrap dress, this is a garment that suits everyone. I don’t think I’ve seen a dodgy one yet!
My first go at this pattern was out of a 100% cotton wax print and, of course, it sewed up beautifully. It’s such a comfy jumpsuit that I immediately decided I needed many more in my wardrobe to take me through all seasons! So for my second version I thought the sleeved option in a nice mid-weight chambray in a neutral colour would be wonderful for the Autumn. I was gifted 3m of this beautiful fabric from Samantha Claridge Studio and I knew it was going to be perfect for the job as I’d used it before on the Costa Tote a few posts back. Obviously I washed it at 30 degrees first and gave it a good iron before cutting it out.
 
I started making this a couple of weeks ago on one of the hottest days of the year! I could barely sit at my machine for 10 minutes without breaking into a sweat and forget about getting the iron out! I did what I could in small stints and, fortunately, this is a simple make which comes together very easily. I did make a silly boob early on though as I wasn’t paying much attention to the instructions so attached the pocket without sewing up the bottom of the bag… hey ho, easily fixed! And that will teach me!
 
 
I modified the pattern by tapering the legs as I’m not sure the wide leg style suits me. I did this by using the Made By Jacks Mum Hey Day Dungarees as a guide for the shape of the legs.
 
All in all this project was a pleasure to sew. The fabric is a dream to work with, is so soft and behaves well. It frays a little but I overlocked the edges to tidy them up. The reverse is a lighter shade of blue which looks great when the sleeves/hems are rolled up. I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this and it can be styled up in a few different ways. 
 
Guess what I want to make now… a Zadie dress hack! Have you hacked the Zadie? Let me know!
 
Laters,
Ali x

Spring/ Summer 2020 Trends Vol 2

Part 2: Seventies trends and the colour of the year!

The seventies are back! The wide collar made a surprise comeback on the runways for spring 2020 along with platforms, crochet and bell bottom trousers! Floaty dresses and blue denim are as popular as ever and we have some great fabric and pattern suggestions for you if this is a trend that appeals…

I love the mix of fabrics and textures we saw on the runway. Trimmings are a great way of adding a 1970s twist to a garment, faux leather bias binding and lurex elastic give a luxe edge to any outfit. 

Here is our fabric and trim edit so you can get the look!

Some great pattern options to get these looks would be…

Adrienne Blouse- Friday Pattern Company

Simplicity – Tunic dress 8551

Simplicity – Vintage style faux wrap 8013

Megan Nielsen – Sudley Blouse & Dress Sewing Pattern

The Joan Trousers – Friday Pattern Company

Tilly and the Buttons – Jessa Trousers and Shorts Sewing Pattern

Or, why not try a a bit of upcycling… The denim trend this year is for patchwork, bleached and mix and match styles, this could easily be replicated by ucycling some old jeans from your wardrobe or the local charity shop using scraps of denim to create a tiered maxi skirt…

Will you be making any 1970’s inspired pieces for your wardrobe this year? Or perhaps just a nod to the trend with some denim and vintage trimmings? I’m definitely all over this one and wish I had kept the bell bottoms I made at Art college…

 

 

Debbie x

DIY circle bag

Romy's perfect cross body bag!

 
 
Back in the summer I saw a bag for sale on the high street that I really liked. I prefer to have a handbag with a cross body strap and it has to be big enough to fit all my paraphernalia so I was tempted by this one, but at nearly £40 it was a bit pricey.

 

 

So I left it and thought I’d check if it went in the sale, but within a few weeks I found the Everyday Circular Bag on The Makerist for the grand price of $2 (on sale). 

The pattern is pretty much identical to the high street one, so I snapped it up and set about making my first bag!

I used half a metre of the leatherette fabric in black, and got some lobster clips and a zip from eBay. 

 

 

 

Other notions I needed were a leather needle (I used size 100), a walking foot, heavy duty polyester thread (though I used normal thread in the bobbin to reduce bulk) and some wonder clips to keep the pieces together. You can’t really use pins as the holes will permanently mark the fabric. On one occasion I had forgotten my clips and had to make do with hair clips, though they worked pretty well!

 

 

The bag came together fairly easily, although I did have some head scratching due to some mistakes in the pattern. For example, it asks you to cut 2 gusset pieces, but you actually only need 1. The instructions also refer to a Bag Side piece, but this is called the gusset on the pattern piece, so I was looking around for an extra piece that didn’t exist! There is a video to accompany the instructions which is useful, although it doesn’t show the making of the straps and this is the part I had trouble with, as my pieces seemed to look wider than theirs. I’m still not sure why this was but I muddled through and just trimmed an inch off the strap piece to make it fit the lobster clips.

 

 

 

 

 

The fabric sewed well and looks nice and professional with the topstitching:

 

 

 

 

 

You can lightly press the fabric on the wrong side which helps to remove any creases, but you can’t iron the right side or you’ll have a melty mess. I just finger pressed any folds and topstitched to help them lay flat. The trickiest part was sewing in the side pieces as you have to ease the circle in, but with plenty of clips and patience it worked out in the end.

 

 

 

 

I also decided to hack the pattern a little bit to add an inside pocket for my phone so it’s not rattling around inside. The stitching for this is covered by the outside pocket so doesn’t show:

Overall I’m pleased with my bargain, high street-inspired bag, although in hindsight some interfacing would have helped it to hold its shape, as it’s not quite stiff enough. The instructions bizarrely tell you to topstitch each side piece once inserted, which I did for the first piece, but for the second it’s physically impossible as the zip hole isn’t big enough. Another argument for pattern testing! I might try sticking down the seam allowance inside to help stiffen the shape, but might just have to live with it for this one and remember to interface next time. I also decided to lengthen the strap as it was quite short, but this is personal preference.

This fabric is great for bag making and could be used for other accessories too, like purses, toiletries bags and luggage tags. 

That’s all for now, see you again soon for another project!

Project Tote!

Steph's shopping bag/ project tote!

Autumn is my favourite time of year. It heralds the return of blankets and cosy hoodies, Halloween and of course my annual pilgrimage to Alexandra Palace for the Knitting and Stitching Show. My mother-in-law and I have been going for several years and in the last couple of years we have also been joined by my best friend. It’s become a tradition of ours to wear something handmade to the Show – whether it be a dress, a pin badge or a necklace, so when it was time to choose my latest Design Team Project i knew it had to a new bag to take with me to the show! 

I decided to use the Noodlehead Trail Tote as my base pattern for this bag – its a fabulous pattern on the Robert Kaufman website, and its totally free to download! I had made one of the smaller sized totes so i knew it was a fairly simple pattern but had lots of potential for customisation. I have a lot of projects on the go and I tend to keep each one in a bag to keep all the bits and tools in one place, so i knew that this bag could double up as a brilliant project tote with the addition of one of my favourite things – POCKETS!

The original Noodlehead tote pattern has a small zip pocket included in the pattern but i knew that wasn’t  going to be enough for me (plus i’m not a huge fan of installing that kind of zip), so i did a little modifying and added pockets on the outside of both the front and the back of the bag.

Whilst i was scanning through the Samantha Claridge Studio website the utterly adorable Food Truck cotton range caught my eye, and as soon as i saw there was a donut print i knew i had to use it for my tote! I used both the pink and the blue version of the print and decided to use a little bit of the Sweet Bee blender in mint to break up the pattern a little. I chose a bias binding in the same mint colour too finish it all off. 

For the main part of the bag I used the large Noodlehead pattern piece but made it slightly wider (to accommodate more fabric purchases!). I used the pink Food Truck donut print cotton for the outside, and the blue for the inside and the outer pockets. I attached a band of the Sweet Bee blender at the top and use the bias binding on top of the pockets to give a little colour contrast.

With the addition of the strap my new shopping/project tote bag was ready to go! I can confirm that the inside of the bag holds several fabric purchases and a couple of quilting projects, whilst the outer pockets are super helpful for storing threads, scissors, tape measures and acrylic quilting templates. Unfortunately for my bank account, Samantha Claridge Studio has more super cute Food Truck range prints that are just calling out to be made into totes so there may just be a couple more of this bag pattern on my cutting table very soon.