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

Papercrafting for Xmas Part 2!

Paper garland making

This Christmas project is inspired by these beautiful paper garlands that I saved on Pinterest…it’s nice to actually be making something that I’ve saved…finally!  

Once again I’m reaching for the Rico Confetti paper pack! If you havent seen I already wrote a gift bag tutorial perfect for all your xmas gifting! Read here

These paper packs are so versatile and such good value for the quanitity and quality of the card. I think I’m going to make gift tags with any remaining card and string them with gold ribbon 🙂

This is so simple it doent really need any sort of tutorial but I would recommend buying yourself a good paper punch! I got my from a well known craft store and it’s a 2″ punch…I’m tempted to buy a star shaped one too!

You could always cut these by hand…or do different shapes. Triangles would work well…or just random shapes!

Layer 2 or 3 of the circles on top of each other and stitch together on your machine back to back in one long line with a regular straight stitch making sure you leave a nice long length of thread at either end so you can string it up!

Once they are stitched together simply un-fold each set of circles to give a 3D effect!

I love how simple but effective this is! It’s a lovely way of using up paper scraps too. 

Tag us on #scblog if you make one. We’d love to see your take on this fun craft!

Papercrafting for Xmas!

DIY gift bags with Rico papers

Not your traditional Christmas colour combo I know, but anything with gold counts right? When I saw this pack of Rico papers and card in their confetti design  I knew I wanted a modern theme for my decs and wrapping this Chrimbo…and I wanted to get started right away!

This simple craft will add the extra wow factor to your xmas gifts! It’s really simple and you can make them any size. The Rico pads are A4 and this makes an (approx) A5 size bag.

All you need:

One sheet of paper

Glue/ washi tape

Hole punch

String/ ribbon

Fold the short edges of the paper to the middle, over-lapping by 2cm and glue them together.

Fold up the bottom…the bigger the fold the bigger the bottom of the bag

Fold the sides in flat creating two triangles

Fold the top and bottom in towards eachother so they meet in the middle 

Tape in placeusing washit tape or clear tape depending what you like! Then push the sides out creating your bag!

Now you can fill your bag with goodles…this is great for jewellery, homemade sweets and cookies…or the best gift, sewing accessories!!

Punch a hole in the top and thread through some string or ribbon. I also made a gift tag with some matching card from the Rico paper pad.

I’ve made about a tonne of these with any bit of paper I can find in my house…it’s addicitve let me tell you!! Tag us if you make some using #scblog and take a look at our gorgeous range of Rico Papers and xmas trimmings …trust me it’s way more fun that buying normal xmas wrap!

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…… 

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!

Selfless Sewing

Back to school skirt!

Hi again

I’m back refreshed after the summer break and head full of sewing plans for the coming months.  Okay, my head works faster than my sewing I admit but hey who cares, you have to plan right??

My September make is actually a selfless sew as it’s for my youngest daughter, Mia.  Completely inspired on a shopping trip prior to her going back to school in the 6th Form as she is now able to wear her own clothes so, you know, obviously everything has to be bang “on trend” (rolls eyes!!).  I’d actually been eyeing up this fabric on Sammy’s website but there was only a metre left and I wasn’t sure if that would be enough for a skirt for myself so I put it to the back of my mind.  Then, on said shopping trip, Mia picked up a skirt in almost identical colour but they didn’t have her size! Cue mum to the rescue me thinks!!

 I pitched the idea of the Tilly and the Buttons Ness Skirt which was almost exactly the same as what she was looking at and even though the pattern needed more than a metre I was pretty confident I’d manage with a metre for Mia’s skirt as she’s happy to wear them a lot shorter than I am!.  I opted to make the mini version.

She seemed totally on board with my idea so I quickly messaged Sam and asked for 1m of the Rose Cord (now out of stock but available in Green, brown and yellow) and also ½ metre of the Figo Rolleken Sketch Squares for the pocket bags.  I also chose the “match my thread” option and I’m not sure how many people have used this option but wow it’s a game changer. No more thinking it might match…. it blooming well does….perfectly!  That perfect in fact that it was hard to see the thread when I inevitably needed to use my best friend, the unpicker!

When the fabric arrived oh my word it was just so soft and lovely.  I couldn’t wait to get started on it. It actually comes together quite quickly and is a pleasant make.  Both the cord and cotton fabrics pre washed and pressed beautifully although I was careful when pressing on the front of the cord.  I didn’t want any marks and I’m happy to report pressing didn’t leave any! I struggled to find a zip in the exact same colour as the cord but fortunately due to the fly it’s not visible so I settled for as near as I could get which is just a shade lighter but as it matches the pocket bags, I’m not too upset with it.

I had toyed with the idea of using poppers instead of the button and buttonhole (don’t ask me why but I always hold my breath when doing buttonholes!  Unjustified too as I’ve never had any problems doing buttonholes on my Pfaff!) but decided after doing a couple of test buttonholes on a scrap of fabric that I would bite the bullet and put a proper jeans button on them.  I knew in my stash I had some with a cute little rose gold star in the middle and Mia being a fan of almost anything rose gold, knew she’d love it! As I usually do, I put fray check on the buttonhole and once this had dried I opened it up using my Clover buttonhole chisel.  This makes life so much easier than trying to do it with the unpicker and scissors. Definitely worth investing in if you don’t already own one!.

I made a size 8 and it fit her perfectly without any alterations.  I would have loved to have gone to town on the pockets doing a bit of embroidery or fancy top stitching but, you know, kids eh!!  Maybe I’ll make another one for me where I can go a little bit more wild.

Whilst sewing up this skirt, I was dreaming up a pair of trousers a bit like maybe the Closet Case Ginger Jeans or Megan Nielson Ash/Dawn in some of this gorgeous cord fabric.  I reckon whatever you make in this cord will look absolutely fab. Gorgeous colour and fab quality. I’d highly recommend getting your little mitts on some to wear this autumn/winter!

It’s safe to say that Mia loves her new skirt as its on trend with what’s in the shops at the minute right down to the fabric and style and even better that unlike the shop bought ones, it fits perfectly everywhere rather than hips or waist not both!  I can see more cord purchases coming on!.

Thanks for reading!

Happy stitching

Lisa x

@sewlastminuteLisa

An Autumn Tunic

Kathrine's Autumn tunic

As soon as I saw this gorgeous jersey on Samantha’s site, I knew I had to make something from it. I toyed with various ideas but finally decided on a tunic for Autumn. I like the Tilly and the Buttons Coco but really wanted a straighter silhouette, I also like the details of the Coco Wawa Chestnut but find the shape a bit boxy.

I decided to try this pattern which came free with one of the sewing magazines as I wanted a simple shape to allow the fabric to take centre stage. Sam found me some lovely copper ribbon to tone with the bees and the detail on the flowers.

I decided on view C which has a longer back than front, but I lengthened the sleeves as my arms are always cold in autumn/winter!

The pattern came together easily, the only alteration I made was to shorten the back slightly so that there is less of a difference between the back and the front. I used my overlocker for main seams and my regular machine for hems, bias binding and top stitching. The fabric is soft to touch but holds its shape and doesn’t stretch out at all. 

I cut the back with a centre back seam as I wanted to incorporate a tie detail at the top. I love the way the copper ribbon looks against the fabric. 

I have tried the tunic on with several garments; jeans, navy trousers, culottes, a short denim skirt and a longer pencil skirt. I think it’s going to get a lot of wear as the weather gets cooler.

Pram Liner

Summer holiday project!

Do you ever feel in a sewing rut, where you can’t face doing ANOTHER dart or hem anything? Sometimes you need a simple kickstarter project, just like this one was for me. 

In this months blog I made a pram liner for my best friend who was going on holiday! The pram she uses for taking away has always been great as it folds small and had a fleecy liner with a muff to keep little Thomas warm, but this time they were going somewhere warm on holiday! The pram without the liner had a funky wipe clean base, which is great for keeping it clean and free from toddler mess but not so great if you want to keep said toddler cool and calm.

I decided to help out with this predicament and make a new cotton liner for the pram keeping him cool but also putting some fun into the pram with the great patterned fabric available at Samantha Claridge Studios. I chose this jungle print fabric with is 100% cotton so perfect for what I needed it to be. My friend kindly lent me the fleece liner as well so that I could copy the placement for straps also.

I laid the fabric out and cut round the fleece liner giving me an oblong shape, and made sure I marked where all the strap holes were. I cut out some wadding to be the same size and sandwiched it with the two pieces of cotton. I used my quilting pins to keep the sandwich together whilst I created the strap holes.

To do this I marked the length and width the needed to be and used a very small zig zag. I turned my feed dogs off and made sure I had a good handle of the fabric with my quilting gloves (they are actually builders gloves but they are extra grippy!) I went round each strap location creating a giant button whole which I could cut out to allow the strap and buckles to poke through.

Once all the button holes were completed I overlocked all around the edges. I will bind the edges of this when she gets back from holiday with bias binding but I ran out of time before she flew, typical Rudy always last minute sewing!

My friend said it was perfect for holiday as the 100% cotton kept Thomas cool and it kept the moisture away from his skin, stopping him from getting uncomfortable and grumpy.

I love the pattern on this fabric too, it’s perfect for children’s makes as it has lots of different animals for them to spot out and the repetitions means the pattern is busy enough for you not to notice spills and stains!