‘Sew Over It’ Penny dress with Ruby Star Society Fabric

Lisa's cotton dress with piping...

Hi there!

Wow it feels like forever since I was last here.  I hope you are all well and managing to stay safe in these weird, unexpected times and are finding happiness and relaxation in your sewing adventures.  I know for me, it’s a bit up and down and sometimes I’m struggling to even think about sewing.  Partly because I’d over indulged during lockdown and gained a bit of the old weight so I didn’t feel like making pretty clothes for myself and partly due to the stresses of owning a business that isn’t yet allowed to open.

However when Sammy gave us the go ahead to start blogging again I knew I needed to get my act together and start making for me again.  I’d already started the healthy eating and lost almost a stone so felt a new dress would definitely be a celebration.

When I saw the Ruby Star Alma Faces fabric I almost immediately fell in love.  I was torn between the mustard and the one I chose.  Sammy had also posted over on Instagram the red button lips that I chose to use and I thought they’d be perfect as this month’s theme was fastenings.

 I initially thought it was black and white from the pictures so figured a pop of red with the buttons would work well with it and opted to make a fabric belt in red to accompany the buttons, however it is in fact navy blue and off white.  Not to worry though as I think it works pretty well with the navy and cream too.

I had a bit of a think and decided that I’d make myself the Penny Dress by Sew Over It London.  Now, if you follow me over on Instagram (you can find me on @sewlastminutelisa if you fancy a look) you’ll know that I’ve made 3 of these previously for my mum but not actually made any for myself. 

The fabric is only 43” (about 110 cm) wide and the pattern called for 140cm wide so I knew that I would have to take some of the volume out of the skirt.  I knew this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem so decided to go for it.   It has taken quite a bit out of the bottom of the skirt and made it more of an A line looking skirt rather than the fullness of a circle skirt.  However I really like it.

I felt like the belt might be a bit on the plain side so opted to have a play with the ribbon stitches on my Pfaff Performance Icon and jazz the red fabric belt up a little.  Now, if you’ve not seen these stitches before they are amazing.  It’s like plaiting ribbon.  You have the option to use 1, 2 or 3 ribbons with a combination of different stitches to hold them in place.  This is the first time I’ve had a project that I could really use it on and I have to say I’m really happy with how it turned out.  My only tip is to make sure you use stabiliser underneath the decorative stitches on your machine!

I managed to find a bit of red piping in my stash so decided to add this to the shoulder epaulettes to give a pop of colour in that area and add a bit of interest.  I simply pinned it as instructed in the pattern but wedged the piping in between the seam allowances and it was sewn together using my zipper foot and by moving the needle right across to the left of the zipper foot it enable me to get up close to the piping.

Again, my Pfaff always performs when it comes to doing buttonholes (except when its user error lol J) and it didn’t disappoint this time either.  I was a bit concerned with the shape of the buttons however, once they’d been pushed through the holes a couple of times they were fine.  I always make sure to use Fray Check whenever I’m doing buttonholes just to make sure there’s no fraying once I’m done.

Now, the hubby never really comments on the stuff I make unless I specifically ask his opinion (which, let’s be honest with 2 girls living at home, does his opinion really count? Lol!) However, he was quite taken with this little number and made sure to tell me how much he liked it and that it looked so professional so I’m taking this one as a definite win! 🙂

I wore this dress almost as soon as it was finished and have to say it was so so comfortable.  The fabric felt lovely against my skin (certain fabrics irritate my skin nowadays) and it was a dream to wash and press.  Overall I’m giving this one 10/10 – can you tell I’m gushing now :).  I’ve had so many compliments about the dress and the fabric when I’ve been out and about in it, it makes me feel great to wear it.

Let me know what projects you’ve been working on using this fabric!  I’d love to see them!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and looking forward to seeing you again next month!

Take care, until next time

Lisa  x

@sewlastminutelisa

Autumnal Quincy dress made with Figo Fabrics terrazzo print

Hey folks! Hope things are getting back to some normality; can you believe we are in August already?! So my next project for Samantha Claridge Studio have to had a Autumnal feel to it so of course I went to one of my favourite indie sewing pattern company – Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

Not sure if you have seen my recent makes but I seem to be making is by Jennifer’s gorgeous modern yet vintage vibes so of course I had to stick my current streak.

I had the Quincy Dress in my stash for only a month and when I came across the beautiful Figo Perfect Day Terrazzo in Black and just screamed at me… yes a lot of things just scream at me and that’s how I roll.

Shop Figo fabrics here

So the dress calls for 4 buttons and saw that Sammy stocked the cutest sewing themed buttons, I knew I had to use them.

As usual my DT Project always come well packaged and my Cat had to inspect on what sewing goodies had arrived too.

Upon reading the sizing chart and with my previous few makes I knew the size 14 with D Cup would be ah ok, don’t you just love a Sewing Pattern with separate Cup sizes so no need to do FBA, Yas!

Even with the fabric being 43” wide I was able to get the most out of the fabric with pattern tetris as I like to call it and had enough fabric left over to make myself a matchy matchy mask since this is the new normal.

Know I don’t about you other experienced sewers but sometimes I just need that bit of help of getting my bust darts to be straight so I ended up using my frixiion pen and drawing the lines on for easy and precise sewing.

As always I like to be prepared so I wound my bobbins full and made sure I had the necessary tools at my disposal so no routing through my sewing boxes.

The pattern called for ribbon or bias binding to make the drawstring so with the Bias binding that was delivered I pressed it with an iron so that the long edges met and sewn it along that edge.

As with any project that requires buttonholes, I always do I test on a scrap piece just to make the buttonhole is sewed properly.

I really like the cleanness of the seams on the inside when stitching the yoke and when attaching the front part of the bodice as it nicely hidden away and of course the topstitching too.

Don’t you just love it when you sew in the sleeves that the seams match up perfectly! I tell you for a fact it’s a rarity even with the amount of careful pinning involved it doesn’t always work.

It sews up really quick and before you know it you are onto the buttonholes. I always mark where they need to be and be quite accurate on where the buttonholes are starting too.

Of course you need snacks to keep you going when hand sewing right?

Then before I knew I was sewing the drawstring channel and the hemming the skirt which I finished by using a double fold hem, which is my preferred way of finishing hems as it gives it a little more added weight to the hem to sit right.

 

Here is my newly sewn Quincy whilst out and about and of course with my matchy matchy face mask.

Does anyone else make matching face masks to their makes too?

Happy Sewing!

Sally

 

Neonatal bonding squares – made with fat quarters

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I want to sew, but haven’t got the concentration to make anything. I want to do something with my hands but haven’t got the patience or energy to pay attention to instructions or tricky techniques. Well now I’ve found the perfect remedy!

I saw on Instagram a while back that the charity embrace_esh was appealing for bonding squares, which are used by parents with babies in the neonatal unit at East Surrey Hospital. They are given in pairs; one square is kept by the parents and the other is given to the baby, then after a while they are swapped over so they can get used to each other’s smell, which helps them to bond.

The second best thing about these squares (of course helping families to bond is #1) is that you can use all those fat quarters and remnants you have lying around – they’re only 20cm square so they don’t take much fabric at all.

For my first squares I decided to use these lovely fat quarters  as they had a nice mix of baby-appropriate colours and patterns. They’re a lovely quality cotton so should feel nice against the skin.

The process of making them was really simple:

  1. Cut squares 22x22cm (I used a rotary cutter and quilting ruler as it’s much quicker than scissors). I cut pairs of squares so that the fabrics would match for the parents and baby, but I’m not sure if that’s obligatory.
  2. Right sides together, sew around the edge with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a gap for turning.
  3. Trim the corners and turn right sides out.
  4. Press and top stitch around the edge.
  5. Send them off to charity and enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling!

 

I will definitely be saving my cotton remnants and fat quarters for more squares as they’re always needed. I don’t know of any other charities collecting bonding squares but you could try getting in touch with your local hospital if you’d like to donate some locally. A word of warning though, these are addictive! They’re the perfect quick sew and a great use of cute fabrics.

For more information on supporting Embrace_esh and the Neonatal Unit at East Surrey Hospital give them a follow on Instagram and visit their Just Giving page

Sally’s Asteria Dress project with peonie print stretch cotton

Hi Everyone! 

Hope you’re all well in the current climate we are all living in, hat a strange place it is isn’t it?

For my next Project for Samantha Claridge Studio I wanted something summery to brighten up my days and when I saw this fabric it fitted the bill perfectly! It’s called Peonie Print Stretch Cotton and it’s a Medium weight cotton fabric with viscose and 3% elastane so it can work with an array of patterns that needs a bit of give from trousers to dresses and anything else you fancy inbetween.

 

Now I did decide to make a tried and tested Hawthorn Dress by Colette Patterns but when Jenifer Lauren Handmade brought out the Asteria Dress it was just destiny. Come on how doesn’t love a vintage inspired dress with pockets!

I’m finally getting on top on my health conditions, even managing to lose some of the medication weight and its finally showing in my makes so I ended up making a size 14 with no adjustments.

The fab thing about this fabric too as its extra wide so I was able to double fold my fabric when it came to cutting out the bodice so I wasn’t wasting any fabric.

Phew, all cut out, it was handy to having my sewing planner to tick off the pieces I cut and made sure I didn’t forget anything!

Now when I start sewing I always need a good cup of coffee to keep me going, this one was a cherry bakewell flavoured coffee

This Dress came together really quickly and love the facing that is used in this pattern as it gets the square neckline down to a T!

Before I stitched in the ditch of my facing to the bodice I put in quite an apt label as I do have a man mog that likes to assist in my sewing adventures… well, sit on everything that I need at the time!

The instructions called for the sleeves to be set in, personally I hate this method so I went against the grain and put them in flat before sewing up the side seams.

Then onto the pockets and skirt pieces and before I knew it I had the dress made! Also remembering to grade my seams down before finishing them which made quite a mess hahaha!

So here is my finished dress and I totally love it! It’s so summery and just the right amount of vintage style yet modern and the waist ties cinch it in really well.

I even managed to get some Alfresco sewing out in the garden which is a bonus! Does anyone else do this?

Happy Sewing!

Sally x 



New fabrics in stock!

We’ve had some beautiful new fabrics in this week and some old faves re-stocked!

From viscose crepe to on-trend ginghams we have got your summer and Autumn sewing covered!

These fabulous viscose crepes are £8.50 p/m and 140cm wide. They would make a beautiful blouse, dress or jumpsuit. We’ve put together a selection of patterns we think would be perfect for showing off this gorgeous print…

Clockwise from left:

Fibremood –  Norma Blouse

Friday Pattern Company – Adrianna Blouse

Friday Pattern Company – The Hilo Dress

Gingham is huge again this summer. Giving us all the picnic vibes our new pinks and purples in these yummy pastel shades are perfect for girly summer dresses!

From £3.50 per half metre it’s a great fabric to experiment with.

We scoured Pinterest for some gingham inspiration. Mixing and matching scale and colours give a really modern feel to this vintage inspired fabric…

Stripes are always in! We’ve got two new cotton poplins and a re-stock of the linen mix stripes that have been very popular…

Stripes are a great choice for shirts and skirts. playing with stripe directions also gives a modern feel.

Below are a few ideas to get you inspired!

We’ve also had some gorgeous super soft leopard print double gauze in. It has a soft grey/ blue background. Double gauze is very simply, two layers of fine gauze that are woven together at regular intervals with little stab stitches which are undetectable from the right side of the fabric. A fabulous textile for adult and children’s clothes. This is £7.50 per metre and 130cm wide.

Self-drafted Shashiko jeans project

Shashiko jeans by @missmaker

 

 

So, a pair of self-draft jeans had been on my hit list for quite a while. As always with my Samantha Claridge Design Team projects, I try and ensure I stretch myself and cover new ground, really making the most of the opportunities these projects allow. These things take time of course and setting time aside had been proving difficult with a couple of big personal projects at the start of this year

Just for good measure, (cos nothing should be too easy!) I had added a couple of other elements to the project too. As well as additional pockets and a curved back yoke design, I had repaired a pair of old jeans with a bit of Sashiko mending (the art of applying small regular reinforcing stitches in patterns and designs that decorate and make a feature of the mended area) and really wanted to make this a feature of the jeans I was going to make for SCDT. 

The lining fabric I had chosen was so pretty I did not want it hidden away inside so I knew it needed to feature on the outside. To ensure this the front pockets would have piping and the back and extra pockets would have details in the lining fabric. The Sashiko stitching would frame panels of the lining fabric supported inside by extra layers of denim to make them as hard wearing as they were pretty 

To ensure this plan came together I turned to my dress making journal to ensure I had all the elements buttoned down before moving forward with the drafting. A few sketches and notes later and I was ready to start. 

The first step was to get into the workshop and dust off my City & Guilds Trouser drafting module notes. It had been a fair while since I had looked at these. I did this module with the fabulous Wendy Ward (@thatwendywardat MIY Workshops down in Brighton almost ten years ago. She is now up in Sheffield running Sew in the City and her patterns and books are definitely worth a look.    

I always want to make the most out of time spent on projects so in drafting these jeans I was also road testing notes and an instruction booklet I had written for an upcoming trouser drafting course. With a few tweaks along the way both the notes and draft pattern all came together very nicely and I soon had a basic toile to begin fitting and styling.  

Trying on the first toile revealed that I didn’t need quite as much ease around hips and waist, a slightly shorter crotch depth (balanced further towards the front), a bit more room around the knees and an increased angle on the centre back seam as I have a bit of a sway back 

I wanted a snug toile as I knew the denim had a small amount of stretch to it and having made a number of pairs of jeans before I knew they would relax further with wear.  

With my list of fit changes updated on the toile, the toile tried on again to triple check and then the changes transferred to the pattern, I was then ready to start creating new lines and panels for the curved yoke back, front pockets, fly extension, waist band and back pocket size and position.  

Drawing directly on to the updated toile with a friction pen I could mark and erase as many times as I liked to get just the look and proportion I wanted for these different elements. I was then able to trace these new lines to create new pattern pieces I needed, adding back in seam allowances where needed. 

I will now let you in to a little secret, before cutting my pattern pieces from my denim and lining I made a point of totally mistreating my fabric 

I do this before making up any everyday clothes these days. Both lining and denim went through a 40 degree wash then into the tumble dryer. This way I knew the worst that could happened already had!  

(When I first got a tumble dryer a couple of years ago I got carried away and left my perfectly fitted ginger jeans in a wash AND dry cycle without thinking, but that’s another story, you’ll have to check out my insta and facebook feeds to find out how that got fixed!)  

The thing I love about making jeans is that the process all seems totally backwards. Every final detail, every little finishing touch, all has to be thought about and executed before anything really starts to come together. Pockets are painstakingly folded and pressed with top stitching and decorative details added, belt loops are created, front pockets are constructed and piped, the fly is inserted, back panels, yoke and pockets are all attached and topstitched. This all happens before either of the inside or outside leg seams are sewn.

For these jeans there was even more detail to add at this point, as I decided it would be far easier to add all the Sashiko detailing before either of these seams were brought together. After searching out some inspiration on Pinterest I decided on a circular design flaring off into gentle swirls around the lining fabric inserts and rows of parallel stitches across the back of one leg.  

It took a little while to complete this part of the process but it was quite nice to get consumed by a bit of slow stitching for a while, and with all the other details already in place I knew once it was done the finished jeans were not far from completion.  

So, the inside leg is sewn and top stitched, the outside seams were tacking stitched on the machine before a final try on to get that perfect fit. Hardly a tweak was needed, just a little graded increase in the seam allowance between hip and waist to take account of the denim’s stretch. With the side seems set it was on with the waist band. I don’t know why but this is the bit that daunts me most, maybe because that’s when everything is set in stone?

Finally…… lots and lots of belt loops!

 

I can’t stand jeans that skimp on belt loops and you end up with your belt over the top of the waistband, especially at centre back.  

For these jeans I added a total of 8 belt loops and made a feature of the centre back ones, angling them away from each other and extending them down to the yoke seam.  

There are still a couple of tweaks I would make to this pattern (I find my self-drafts are eternally a work in progress as I am quite self critical). But all in all these summer jeans have turned out to be the relaxed fit I wanted with a level of detail and individualisation that really set them apart.  

Fennel Fanny pack review- with A Beautiful Mess fabrics

Bum Bags are back in a big way…and I for one am grateful! I love them for gigs, festivals and dog walking, so I can be hands free but access my phone/ keys/ money/ poo bags really quickly if I need! I also feel safer with my valuables where I can see them!

So when I saw the Fennel Fanny pack all over Instagram I was keen to give it a go. 

It’s a downloadable pattern from Sarkirsten.com and it’s only $12! So I bought it and printed it off, then the hard part was deciding on fabric…

I went with the ABM Flower Market range but decided in the end to use the Succulents green fabric for the inside and out, I just love that sage green and thought it would go perfectly with the pink hardware I bought…so summery and fun!

I made a few mistakes and got myself in a pickle while making this I’m not going to lie! I thought the instructions for the side tabs could have been slightly clearer as I managed to put them in upside down the first time! I also found stitching round the corners of the bum bag a real pain…but that’s probably because I mis-read the pattern instructions fo the front of the bag…this picture shows that I somehow left the top of the bag above the zip too big…not sure how that happened but I trimmed it down and carried on!

The finished result, however, is incredibly pleasing and I can see how this bag is an addictive make! It would be a fabulous gift for a friend and you easily make a whole bacth of these up for Christmas pressies! Hey, why not start on them now and get ahead of the game!

I’ll definitely be making more and will remember my mistakes from the first time…that’s how you learn right?!

Who else has made one? What did you think of the process?

Just a heads up, there will be a discount code in this weeks Newsletter so make sure you are signed up to recieve this, you can do this on the homepage…scroll to the bottom!

Debbie’s handmade wardrobe series – March update

How is everyone doing? What a strange month it has been! I never ever thought we would be in this situation. The upside is I’ve had more time for sewing and it really is helping to give my days purpose…think my make 9 will be more like a make 30 at this rate! 

I feel very lucky to have a hobby which gives me so much joy and distracts me from reality for a few hours a day and it’s making me want to try some new crafts while we have this time in self isolation. On my list is knitting, crochet and Macrame! Sammy has just uploaded some gorgeous macrame cord to the shop so once I’ve decided what colours I want I’m going to buy some and give it a go. There are loads of instructional videos on You Tube and also one on the blog here.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you an update on where I am with my handmade wardrobe so far…

I’m making myself a summer dress with the McCall’s M7950 (view C) With this lovely plaid cotton

I’ve made the bodice and have started on the patch pockets. I’m a little worried that the straps are too long so I might need to adjust them and shorten them, but it’s a fully lined bodice so I’m not quite ready to unpick it all just yet! I’m sort of whishing I’d made view D now which are simple tie straps which you can adjust yourself…next time!

I’m hoping this dress will look good with a t-shirt or long sleeve top underneath so I can get some wear out of it in the colder months too!

I’ve also made a True Bias Shelby dress which I’m really really pleased with. It’s a princess seam playsuit/dress. I made View C which is the playsuit version and it’s going to be super handy in the summer at saving my modesty when I’m riding my bike!

I love a polka dot so this Georgette fabric would work beautifully.

I couldn’t help but give it a real 90’s twist and add these adorable daisy buttons! At only £2 for a set of 5, you can’t go wrong! I wore this last night on ‘Date night’ (in the house with my husband and a bottle of red wine!) and I felt so comfy but also like I’d made an effort so I would highly recommend this pattern and i’ll be making a few more!

I also made the Fennel Fanny pack with the Flower Market Fabric from A Beautiful Mess

I’ll go into more detail in my dedicated post about this but I found it a really fiddly make and made a few mistakes with this one! It hasn’t put me off making more though, I think maybe I rushed it a little so next time I’ll take it slower, sometimes you just have days where everything goes wrong!! I love the result though, it’s the cutest little bum bag and wll be great on dog walks to store a few treats and poo bags! Who else has made this project?

That’s it for now! What are you sewing at the moment? Are you finding time to sew? 

Stay safe everyone and sending lots of love to you all. I love this fabulous sewing community and it’s really keeping me going at the moment.

The dogs are enjoyng the sunshine which is a bonus too!

Debbie x

New fabrics have arrived!

New in this week – Gorgeous Rico Double gauze fabrics with gold flecks!

Double gauze is very simply, two layers of fine gauze that are woven together at regular intervals with little stab stitches which are undetectable from the right side of the fabric. 

There is a huge trend for hippy style floaty gauzy dresses this spring/ summer. These new double gauze fabrics will be perfect to get the look!

Some sewing pattern suggestions would be:

The Wilder Gown (Friday Pattern Co.)

McCalls M8087

Butterick B6559

New Look 6498

The double gauze is £6.75 per half metre and we have a thread matching service you an take advantage of to make sure you get the perfect match!

More new fabrics to come!

Maria’s Winter Floral Blouse

Maria's stunning blouse project!

You don’t need to have been following my work for too long or know me too well to be aware of my love for florals fabrics. Another strong favourite of mine, regarding fabrics, is dobby cotton lawn. So, yes, this fabric went straight into my “must have” list.

Ivory ditsy floral dobby cotton

Lovely as it looks, I thought a few ruffles would add some charm. Also, the fabric is lightweight and, for that reason, perfect to add ruffles without being too bulky.

Bearing in mind the fabric, I choose the pattern Mome by p&m patterns. This pattern has quite a few options and I went with ruffles, long sleeves with ruffles in size 34 graded to 36 at the hips. I believe the blouse would still fit nicely if made in a straight size 34, however I am not so sure if it was still comfortable to dress and undress.

The pattern has an option to make a waist tie and I made it. However, I made it completely removable so that, the blouse can be more versatile. I like it both ways and the fabric work well in both styles. This way I will get more use out of it.

Although the pattern includes four collar options, I did not make any of those. I wanted a ruffle, that was for sure, but the option included in the pattern also has a collar stand and I was looking for a more relaxed look so, I simply omitted the collar stand and added the ruffle to the neckline and used the bias to finish.

Summarizing, the Ivory Ditsy Floral Dobby Cotton Lawn worked a charm for this type of blouse. But it would work equally well in other styles and I would definitely make more blouses for myself or my girls or even a summer dress. However, if making a dress I would, most likely, wear a cami slip under, as it is a bit see through. But no doubt it would look absolutely gorgeous!

I have been wearing the blouse already and can assure you the fabric is lovely to wear.

Thank you, Samantha Claridge Studio, for the fabric and you for reading.

Happy sewing,

Maria x