I hope you are all keeping well and are able to distract yourselves from the mad world we find ourselves in. I normally live and work in London but decided to decamp to my parents’ house for the duration and luckily brought my sewing machine with me, so have been finding some escapism in that every evening.
I decided on this project before any dreams of a holiday were dashed, so I’ll just have to enjoy my new toiletries bag from home.
I fancied making something that wasn’t clothes and have had this pattern in my stash for years – I think I bought it in my first year of sewing. It’s described as a jewellery roll in the pattern but it’s quite big – I never take that much jewellery away with me – so I think it’s better used for toiletries. I though it would be a nice, easy project but it was actually quite time consuming. I’ve never quilted anything before and that was quite a long process, so I can’t imagine quilting a whole, bed-sized quilt! Quilters of the world, respect! But I had my trusty walking foot which was essential and made the process a lot easier.
I did enjoy seeing it come together, and it was fairly easy once I got my head around how it was constructed. You quilt the main body and top and bottom pockets, and then sew the middle pockets and zips together separately. Then you attach them all at the end and bind around the edges.
It was a bit tricky to sew by the end as it gets quite thick with all the layers and on my machine you can’t adjust the presser foot height, but we got there in the end. I foolishly cut my bias binding too narrow so it was quite hard to attach, but it’s fine if you don’t look too closely!
I’m really happy with the finished object and will definitely be using it to keep my toiletries organised. I also added a cute Kylie and the Machine label so everyone knows I made it (though I’d probably tell them first anyway)! I might try to add a popper too to keep it closed when it’s rolled up. There are plenty of other items in the pattern set but I’m not sure I have the patience to make a whole bag!
What have you been making while you’re stuck at home?
We’ve been having fun playing with the new Rico Cotton macrame Cords which come in six beautiful colours, we used peach for this tutorial.
We made a Macrame wall hanging using one of the new in metal macrame rings (read the tutorial here) and here is our second DIY for you, a fabulous knotted statement necklace…
To get started:
Measure out 3 metres of rope and fold in half then in half again.
Starting with the centre of the rope, fold over to make a loop, then make a pretzel shape. After this take the tail of the rope on the right hand side of the pretzel and loop under the left hand side as shown
Next, thread the cord over and under the pretzel as shown and carefully tighten, making sure it’s centred.
This will be the shape we will be repeating throughout this turorial.
Repeat the process and make another knot on the right hand side of your first one…
Then flip the necklcae over and repeat the knot again!
You can now add a clasp or piece of ribbon for tying it around your neck!
We hope you enjoy this tutorial and tag us if you give it a go #sccrafty
You can purchase the macrame cord to give this a go here!
Named Clothing Lahja Dressing gown
I know I know I’ve been M.I.A for a short while but hopefully I’m back into the swing of things now. I hope you’re sitting comfortably and have grabbed a cuppa because there’s a few things going on in this blog!
Now, this month when I was searching Sammy’s website my 16 year old was sat with me looking through the fabrics. Now it’s fair to say she does have her own Pfaff Sewing Machine is an A level textile student too so it’s not unnatural for her to take an interest in the fabrics I choose. Anyways, scrolling through and she spotted the white terry with mint stars and immediately I could see her eyes light up and brain was full steam ahead!! “oh mum do you remember when we were little and we all had matching pink towelling dressing gowns” you can see where this is going right?? Sooooo, being the selfless sewist I am, I said I would request this fabric and would make her the Named Clothing Lahja Dressing Gown which would be a good replica for the one she’d had when she was about 4 yrs old! Her thoughts are that she it would be the perfect dressing gown now it’s coming up to spring time for slipping on after her shower and lounging in.
Anyway, once the fabric arrived I got it straight into the washing machine and pre washed it as I usually do with any new fabric. I always want to be sure it’s not going to shrink once I’ve put the work in making a garment! The fabric, as is usual with Sammy’s fabrics washed and dried perfectly and the towelling was so fluffy and snuggly. She couldn’t wait for me to get started and continuously spoke about it until I did lol!
I promptly got the fabric cut out and have to say it came together very quickly. I did most of the seams on the overlocker only using the sewing machine to attach the pockets, collar and belt loops. It’s the first time I have used towelling to sew with and it was much easier than I was thinking. The pattern recommended 3m of the fabric which was probably a little too much really. If I’d have used their pattern layout I could probably have made do with 2.75m however with a little bit more tweaking, I managed to get the whole dressing gown out of 2.5m. To personalise it a little for her I embroidered her initials in matching mint green embroidery thread to the stars on the fabric. She’s really pleased with it and says it feels luxurious like you’d get at a Spa! I’m happy with that comment so I’m gonna take it and run with it ☺
Now there was method in my madness as I felt it was really wasteful to leave a chunk of fabric with a strip cut out for the belt and I’m so glad I played pattern tetris as it left me with enough fabric to make her a little wrap towel which will be ideal for the beach or after coming out of the swimming pool. The only thing I needed to do to give me enough fabric to make this was make the belt slightly narrower and by slightly, I mean literally 2cm maximum!!
Mia had been shopping with her friends recently and had seen one of these in one of the high street shops and her immediate thought was we could probably just stick some Velcro on a towel! See, she’s definitely her mum’s girl!! I’ve trained her well lol!!
With the remaining fabric, I squared off the edges with the overlocker and made sure it was long enough to wrap around her without her flashing anyone should she not be wearing anything underneath it. I put a 2” hem on the top and bottom and 1” hem on the sides. I pinned where I needed the Velcro should be attached and searched my stash to see if I had any. Luckily I found a piece which was just long enough to cut into sections to attach to the towelling wrap and voila the wrap was finished.
Even after getting these two projects out of the 3m, there was still enough left for me to make her some matching reusable make up wipes. Holy moly I’ve never seen a girl go through so many cotton wool pads! I’ve been promising I was going to make her some for ages and never got round to it so now she has everything she needs and it all matches ☺ .
If only I could put out takes in these blog posts lol!! When we were taking the photos for the blog, as Mia sat on her bed she let out an almighty scream ……. “mummmmmm have you left a pin in here, something just stuck in my leg!” Oopsie, it had a white glass head and I didn’t see it! Now it was wedged inside the hem with just the needle bit poking through! I had to unpick a couple of stitches to get the little blighter out! Note to self…..make sure not to use same coloured glass head pins as the fabric! Ha-ha!!!
I definitely my next project needs to be some selfish sewing! What do you think??
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog post and look forward to making my next one for you!
Until next time,
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 (@thatwendyward) at 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.
(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.
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!
Macrame is back and we are LOVING it!
This textile craft based on knotting strings in patterns can be used to make bags, wall hangings, jewellery and plant hangers.
Below is a little tutorial to get you started…
Take your first piece of cord, find the middle of the rope. attach to hoop with a larks head knot
Make sure the rope is underneath the hoop and attach with a double half hitch knot.
Then attached a rope either side
Taking the inner strand wither side create a square knot
Start your knot approx 1.5″ down from the top of the hoop.
Attach the ends to the side of your hoop as in Step 3
Taking the outer strands and create a reverse square knot then attach the ends to the hoop as before
Repeat all steps adding the remaining rope and reversing the square knot each time until you have used all 9 cord stands. Then trim the ends to form a point.
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!
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.)
New Look 6498
More new fabrics to come!