Rainbow stripe cotton shirtdress

Alexa's Sew Over It Alex Shirt dress

Hi All! After a bit of a break, I’m back with the Samantha Claridge design team and here to provide you with a very vibrant return.   

This summer I’ve been fully embracing my love of colour and pattern and it’s been great. So for my first project back with the Samantha Claridge design team, I wanted to make something that fit this bill. With this in mind, this rainbow striped cotton basically screamed ‘pick me’ at me!

I have a number of Sew Over It Alex shirts, from their capsule wardrobe e-book, in steady rotation in my wardrobe. I love a shirtdress but the only one of the Alex shirtdresses I made was too big and long and I just didn’t love it and ended up donating it to a friend. I thought that it might be time to revisit it.

This Robert Kaufman cotton is a gorgeous weight and was dreamy to cut out and sew. I had fun playing with the stripes on the yoke and collar. I cut out some sleeves but thought that a dress this bright is really going to be worn mainly in the sunshine so decided against adding them. I think this works really well as a sleeveless dress though.

Embracing the kitch-ness of my outfit, I used these super cute heart buttons. I was a little concerned that due to the unusual shape, they would open unexpectedly but I have had no problems with them.

It’s a shame the weather has taken a decidedly autumnal turn so I’m not sure how much wear I’ll get out of this dress this year. However, if pride festivities return next year, I have my outfit sorted!

Lulu Cardigan by Pattern Scout in leopard print ponte roma

Sally's me made knit cardi

Hey All! Sally here aka The Yorkshire Sewist.

I don’t know about you guys but I lack me made cardigans in my wardrobe and when I came across the Lulu Cardigan by Pattern Scout via my fellow blogger Carol, I had to make it!

I fell in love with the peplum style of this and thought it would make a cute addition to my many dresses.

The Pattern calls for Medium to heavyweight knit fabric, such as double knit, ponte or scuba knit. So I had a look through Sammy’s shop and came across this fabulous Leopard Ponte Roma Jersey MP5125PE (which is unfortunately is out of stock at the moment but others available here) I knew I had to have it!

Now, I’ve not sewn much with jersey and buttonholes, so for a change I went for these beautiful heart shaped snaps that would set this cardigan off a treat.

As with Sammy’s parcels they come beautifully packaged and had all my materials at hand to make a start with my project.

I do quite like taping PDF Patterns together and with this cardi with different cup sizes it was really good to let you know which pages needed to be printed rather than wasting half a tree!

Armed with my Sewing Journal I was able to make sure I noted any adjustments and made sure I cut all out all the required pattern pieces.

According to my measurements I went for Size 12 and D Cup and was taking a risk by not toiling this! I made the usual adjustment by taking 1.5” off the sleeve length.

I used my frixion pen for pattern markings as it is easier to use on jersey fabric.

The pattern asked for a strip of knit interfacing for where the buttonholes/snaps go but I had some Vilene Knit stabiliser tape which was just the right width and used that instead and worked a treat.

This was a really quick sew to say I had to make the peplum and gather with dental floss, it makes gathering so much easier as you set your sewing machine to a wide zig stitch and place the floss in the middle so that the needle on your machine goes either side of it. Make sure you leave an inch or so at the start and end of where you want the gathering stitiching. Then all you do is pull and it just glides! So much easier than using two rows of stitching as I can never gather that way!

But with ‘cheating’ with snaps it made the whole process a lot easier and no getting angry at Mr Singer for not chewing up the fabric, he has a nasty habit of that when it comes to jerseys but this was great to sew with.

Of course no memade garment is complete without adding in a label. I used this one by CraftyPinUp and the gold glitter and black just suits it so well.

Oh aye not forgetting the copious amounts of topstitching involved but it was well worth the effort as the end result just looks so professional. As usual I tested out the stitch length to make sure I had it at the right tension.

So here is my completed Lulu!

Head over to Sammy’s Instagram stories to see the cardi in action!

Happy Sewing!

Sally x

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

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

Pink and lilac gingham Seren dress

As soon as I laid eyes on the pink and lilac gingham fabrics that Sammy newly stocked a couple of months ago, I knew I needed a picnic blanket dress of dreams!

Gingham is very much my jam but i’ve always stuck to safe old black and white…a classic. But, these colours filled me with so much joy I quickly snapped up 1.5 metres of each planning some kind of mash up of both colours. This is really great quality cotton, it’s soft and brilliant to work with.

 

 

(I talk about my plans and inspiration in another blog post so I won’t go into too much detail but there were a few pictures on Pinterest that inspired me…  read my gingham plans post here)

I loved the idea of a button down dress that was fitted at the waist and so i thought a Seren Dress (Tilly and the Buttons) hack with tie detail straps would be perfect!

 

Instead of cutting the bodice back and skirt on the fold I cut the pieces individually and stitched them together so the skirt is pink and purple on the back and the front and the top is the same…rather like a battenberg cake!

I used these gorgeous four holed enamel buttons to top off this sugar coated dress! They come in four different sizes and pink or black options…I’ll definitely be using the black ones at the earliest opportunity!

I’m still considering adding some big patch pockets to the skirt front and making a matching bag…better get on that before the summer is gone!

 

Do you love gingham? What would you make with this pretty cotton?
 
Debbie x

Bottle green bellissima jersey top

Sally's Somerset top and trying a new colour...

 

I don’t know about you guys but I always seem to stick with one colour when it comes to tops, mine seems to be navy but when it came to my next project for Samantha Claridge Studio, I thought I would be a bit daring!

So I chose the delightful Bottle Green Bellissima Jersey with 2 way stretch and it’s so soft with wonderful drape. 

I used my sewing planner to make sure I wrote down what size I made and for future reference so I can remember if I made any adjustments as I do have a terrible memory at times!

With this beautiful fabric being 60” wide I was able to get my top cut out on the double fold to save on how much fabric I used.

As always, I tried my stitch lengths on a scrap bit of my fabric to make sure I got the tension right as nothing worse than popped seams whilst wearing!

This pattern calls for either tape or iron on edge tape  to stabilise the shoulder seams to help them not to stretch out and  the Viliene Seam Tape I’ve used here does the job brilliantly and it’s a steal a £1 for 3m.

The construction of this top was really easy and the instructions were clear. I love using a twin needle to top stitch, it finishes off a garment really nicely.

The only part of the construction that blagged my head was using shirring elastic to gather, which I haven’t done before but again the instructions were clear and was able to do this easily!

Of course my sewing assistant was at hand at times hahaha!

Here is the finished top, modelled by moi in my newly decorated bedroom

The only adjustments I made was to use the ¾ sleeve instead of the full length sleeve as I do have short arms and this fitted perfectly and made a straight size 16.

Happy Sewing!

Sally x

Closet Case Patterns – Clare coat

I’ve wanted to make a coat for a while, mostly to challenge myself, but also because I’ve got a couple of coats which have seen better days! But this particular coat has been quite the undertaking – but then I knew it would be and the understanding was that I would take my time with it because there are so many techniques that I hadn’t done before… but more of that later.
 
For my next project for the Samantha Claridge Studio Design Team I wanted to make the Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat since I’d had the pattern hanging around for about six months! I’d also been looking at the fuchsia wool mix coating on the website and thought that the pairing would work beautifully. And, of course, back in December it was the perfect time of year to make a wool coat! I needed 3m of the coating and 2m of a lining and chose a silver polyester lining from the website.
The wool is washable so the first thing I did was put that and the lining in a 30 degree wash. The wool came out totally uncreased but the lining needed a good press and I found throughout the project that the lining creased easily and regularly needed ironing. I was careful not to use too much heat on the wool just in case, which didn’t help with the seams. It also took on an orange tinge when too hot but this faded with cooling.
 
Before I started I did some research on the coat and found a few references to it being tight across the back. The sizing put me in the 14 range but I decided to size up because of these concerns – and I’m glad I did. The size across the hip is fine but the shoulders would have been tight if I wanted to wear a thick jumper underneath.
 
I’m not one to trace the pattern pieces, I just go ahead and cut them out.  And for this project I’m glad I did because there were 9 pieces of main coat to cut out, 6 pieces of lining and 12 pieces of interfacing, 27 in total… phew! That little lot took me long enough, but then I had another hour and a half standing at the ironing board fusing the interfacing to the shell pieces and I am generally NOT a person who irons! Had I not been so excited about my new coat I might have given up at the first hurdle! But on I went since the first few steps were relatively simple and this filled me with confidence. 
 
As I said earlier, there were a few techniques in the construction of this coat that I’d never done before, and this was one of the reasons I wanted to make it, to try and challenge myself. 
Never have I ever…
 
* worked with wool
* made a two piece sleeve
* lined a garment
* used the bagging out technique
 
I must admit, every time I put the coat to one side I found it increasingly hard to come back to. As it got further along I became more and more daunted at the prospect of finishing it. My brain was telling me that the next steps were difficult so I kept putting it off, when in fact all of it was a series of relatively simple tasks, it’s just there was a lot of them! I found the sew along on the Closet Case website really useful, especially in the latter stages. With hindsight I think a tailors ham or clapper might have been useful for the sleeves but I made do. 
 
But finish it, I did! And since the fabric was gifted I kinda had to!!! But I do really love it and the colour… oh boy, all the heart eyes!!! The thing that drew me to the pattern was the collar. It’s a real statement piece and I’m looking forward to wearing it with pride!
 
The giant poppers were from Amazon, 12 for about £5, and are about 1″ in diameter.
 
 
Thank you so, so, sew much to Samantha for agreeing to this project and letting me have this beautiful fabric and the time to do it justice. Everyone should have a coat in this colour – it induces all the happy feels and makes the dreariest of days significantly brighter!
 
 

Simplicity bag project

Hello everyone!

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 used the lovely rainbow fabric (now out of stock but this is also lovely)  with a pink contrast cotton (similar here )with the pockets made from this mesh and clear PVC 

 

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?

 

 

My handmade wardrobe – saving a sewing fail!

We’ve all been there…got excited about a new pattern, ordered the perfect fabric and made it up while dreaming of when and where you are going to wear this brand new me-made dress…then the disappointment when you try it on and it just doesn’t quite look right! URGH!!
 
One of my make nine this year was the McCall’s M7590…
I chose to make this in plaid from the shop…
 
I happily started cutting. When I got to the straps I felt that were too thin…but I’d already sewn the bodice together and understitched so I couldn’t be bothered to un-pick it all! I added the full skirt (it’s huge and so long…bearing in mind I’m 5″8, I’d have taken a good few inches off it) The dress swamped me, I’m not sure if it was the fullness of the gathers or the way the pattern lay on the bodice but it was not good, the proportions of this were just off on me…I didn’t even take any pics as I was so disappointed!
 
I don’t know about you but when I have a sewing fail it really knocks my sewjo and I just left it on my dressmaker dummy for about a month not knowing what to do with it. I thought about cutting it up and making something for my little one but I loved the fabric so much and was determined to have a dress from it. About a week ago I made myself a #hinterland dress (pattern from Sew Liberated) ina gorgeous rusty linen mix fabric and it came together so easily and was so flattering I had the idea to cut up this McCall’s dress and see If I had enough fabric left over to make a bodice to add to the full skirt.
 
Luckily I had about a metre left, just enough to get a bodice front and back and some short sleeves.
So I cut away the bodice from the skirt (which I had so carefully hand stitched the lining in place…wahhhh!)
 
Then I also cut the placket off the front of the skirt as it was just too full, that reduced some of the bulk but I still had a fully made up skirt with pockets ready to add to a new bodice…very happy! I took a few inches off the skirt at the top and re-gathered it, ready to attach to the new hinterland bodice.
 
It worked so well and I’ve worn this dress out on a (Social distancing) stroll with my sis in law already! It’s so comfy and just my style! I’m so glad I managed to rescue this one. I think I’ll try the McCalls pattern again but make some adjustments next time. I think it needs a lighter weight fabric (my bad) and thicker straps and it will be a lovely summer dress…I’ll keep you posted!
 
Who else has had any fails recently, did you manage to rescue them? I think with the amount of sewing I’ve been doing some of it is bound to go wrong!
 
Debbie x