Jazz up your wardrobe!

What better way to jazz up your wardrobe or home this season than with some glitzy trims!

 

We all have that stash of trims and ribbons at home that we bought because they were oh so pretty but that havent seen the light of day! So, here is some crafty DIY inspo for you…

Why not add to a jumper, dress or t-shirt to give it a festive make over…make some cute braces for a little (or not so little one!) jazz up an old cushion or add to balloons for some New Year sparkle to remember!

If you give any of these a try please tag us on Instagram #scsblog…we’d love to see what you make!

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!

Crafty stocking fillers!

Stuck for gift ideas for your crafty friends or kids? Look no further… From stationery to accessories, craft kits and tools of the trade, we’ve got you covered… we even sell gift vouchers!

Here are some of our faves currently in stock…and of course we have plenty of fabric too!

We hope this has given you a few ideas!

Want to give these gifts in an actual Christmas Stocking? We have a fun tutorial coming soon…keep your eyes peeled

What’s on the High Street

Party dress inspiration...

Party season is upon us and the high street is full of luxurious textures and colours with velvets and sparkle back once again!
We’ve picked a few of our favourite party wear trends and paired them with fabrics we have in stock so you can have the perfect me-made frock!
From left to right:

 

Jazz up a simple dress pattern with this lurex jersey! This would be fabulous in the Burda 6829

Lace calls for a simple shape to highlight the beautiful fabric, the New Look – NL6540 shift dress is spot on!

This Plisse style cocktail pleat jersey would look equaly fabulous as a midi skirt or long culottes! try the Simplicity 1069 

Leopard print taffeta jacquard  and the Tilly and the buttons Etta are a match made in heaven!

We’d love to see what you make! Tag your Xmas party makes with our fabrics on Instgram #scblog
 
Dont forget…
All our patterns are currently £2 in the Sale! (exc. the Colette patterns which are £3…bargain!) Shop here

Party time!

My festive dress

This month I was feeling quite festive for some reason so when it came to choosing fabric for my October make there was only one option for me…. a festive dress.   After browsing Sammy’s website, I opted for the Luxury Textured Lurex Jersey. Now, I was slightly concerned that I may look like a Christmas Turkey as it is quite foiled but never one to let that put me off I ordered it anyway!  I don’t know about you but I certainly feel like there are no boundaries now I sew my own clothes. I’d never dream of going into a store and buying something in this sort of fabric. When it arrived I was super pleased. It was lovely and soft not a hint of “plastic” or cheap fabric.  It was lovely. It was straight into the washer for the pre wash however I was a bit concerned how something like this would wash and was worried that the foil might “break”. I washed it on 30 degrees and have to say it washed beautifully. It was exactly the same when it came out of the washer as when it went in

I’d already decided that it was going to be a Sewhouse 7 Bridgetown Dress.  For those who aren’t ofay with this pattern, you can wear it either way around.  The wrap is designed to be worn at the back or front with an elasticated waist. I had made this pattern before in a woven fabric and wore it with the cross at the back but decided to size down for this version with it being a jersey fabric and I intended wearing it with the cross at the front. As soon as I started cutting out the fabric I knew I was gonna love it when it was finished and I was right.  You can see from the pictures of it sitting on my work table how much it shimmers. Well, in real life it’s even better!

The fabric was a dream to sew.  It wasn’t too slippery when sewing either.  I used ballpoint needles as it is stretch and these worked perfectly.  I didn’t get any snagging or fine pulls using these needles. I finished the seams after sewing them on my regular sewing machine by overlocking them however it didn’t fray so no worries if you don’t have an over locker.  

I ordered 2.5m with a view to doing the longer version however when it came I decided to make View B which finishes just above the knee.  Then it hit me. Rather than stash the remainder until I could come up with another project to fit the remaining fabric, I decided that I would make my daughter a top to wear with jeans or high waisted trousers for going out in.  Another plus is that two of my girls are the same size so this will no doubt be shared! I had the perfect pattern and had made it previously in viscose for the summer holidays. The pattern is Simplicity 8654. It’s a great little pattern and these tops are so on trend this season as is this type of fabric.

Added bonus is the top comes together really quickly.  I made this top in about 1 hour. I felt like I’d won the game given that I’d made a dress and a top out of 2.5m of fabric with only scraps left.  Small things please me

This fabric would also make a fabulous batwing jumper to dress with jeans or a pencil skirt and I’m already thinking of ordering more.   Is it wrong to have the same fabric but different garments I wonder? It isn’t a thick fabric it is quite lightweight however not at all see through. Perfect dressy fabric and will take you to any event whether it’s at the festive time of year or not!  I can’t wait for the next occasion I can wear it out. I did want photographs with a Christmas tree in the background however hubby objected to the Christmas tree going up first week in November!! So for now here is myself and Mia wearing our garments in matching fabrics.  

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I’d love to see your makes in this fabric.

 

See you next month.

 

Lisa

@sewlastminuteLisa

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…… 

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.  

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.

Florals!

I’m a big lover of bold prints and textures within my wardrobe, but I always feel like theres one type of print missing- floral. There are some absolutely gorgeous floral prints out there but I’ve never felt like they were quite me, they always seem to bit a bit too delicate or girly, or never quite the right style of floral to fit alongside my other prints.

So I got super excited when I came across this Figo Promenade Vases Cotton it’s the perfect mix of unusual, boldness and floral – right up my street.

This print is probably something that is more traditionally used for home furnishings. I imagine that  a lovely cushion or a roman blind would look great in this fabric. It’s 100% cotton and while its not overly stiff it isn’t as drapey as the likes of a cotton lawn, but it has a lovely soft texture – a button up shirt would work really well in this fabric!

I decided to use the Fibre Mood Violet dress as a starting point for my make. It’s a lovely simple dress but a bit loose fitting for my style, so I used the pattern to make a top. I cut the pattern just below the hip and decided to shorten the sleeves to make it lovely and summery. (Yes I know the weather is getting colder but I’ve never been one for sewing seasonally haha!) I’ve found that it’s a really versatile shape top, and it looks great dressed up or down. I french seamed the top, which I tend to always do when working with cotton, so its nice and neat on the inside and will hopefully last a long time. The fabric is really easy to work with and wasn’t too bulky which made french seaming really simple. It’s quite a simple shape top so even with french seams it comes together quite quickly.

It’s the second time I’ve made this pattern so there were a few adjustments to the instructions I made. I didn’t interface the neckline facing as I found last time I made it, it seemed to make the facing a bit too bulky to sit flat and with the Figo Cotton already having a decent weight I didn’t think it needed it. Also instead of under stitching the facing I decided to top stitch the neckline because who doesn’t love a bit of topstitching detail?!

I’m really pleased with this top and I love the print! The vase details are so unique and the little touches of yellow flowers are so cute! There’s a lovely selection of Figo cotton on the website at the moment. The Promenade and Rolleken collections are my favourite!