Faux sherpa fur on-trend tote bag

I loved making faux fur bags back in the ’90s and I’m not mad that the trend is back if I’m honest! They are a fun accessory and are also warm and cosy to hold…comfort is my jam these days!

I’ve put together a simple DIY mixing the black and cream sherpa fur, so let’s get started!

First, start by cutting out two panels of cream fur measuring 10″ x 13″ and then one of black also 10″ x 13″.

Stitch them all together with the right sides facing so that the black panel is in between the two cream panels.

Next, fold this long piece in half and stitch down each side. Create a boxed corner measuring 4″ across. Pin and stitch in place and trim away the point.

Next Cut a lining piece measuring 13″ x 29″. Fold this in half and stitch down each side but remember to leave a gap of about 20cm in one of the sides…I forgot to do this then had to unpick it, gah! (Do as I say not as I do!!)

Box the corners in the same way as you did for the main bag piece.

Next, Cut two lengths of contrast fur measuring 7″ x 30″ but you can make these longer/ shorter depending on your needs! Stitch down the length with right sides together and turn through. Pin these to the bag front and back equidistant from the bag edges.. Tack in place.

Now we are going to place the main bag inside the lining with the right sides facing (wrong side of the lining facing out towards you. and pin all around the top. Stitch in place, pull the tote through the gap you left in the lining (see why that’s so key now!), and Voila!

A trendy, cosy tote perfect for this season! This would make a great Christmas pressie and is super easy to customise with some internal pockets or playing with the size and proportion!

What do you think? Is this trend for you or just too wild?!

Sewing a vintage 1970s pattern with Watercolour sunset blurr

 
 
 
To start this post, I should say that I love viscose, I love to wear it, I love the way it moves and drapes and I love that it often comes in great colours and prints. So I was really excited when Sammy got all these viscose fabrics in. I picked this super pastel rainbow fabric to work with and raided my pattern stash for a suitable pattern.

Now one thing I should say is that I do not always love sewing with viscose as it can be a slippery sucker! This one is less slippery than some and did not slide around when I was cutting it out but did shift when sewing, extensive pinning was needed and a walking foot might have helped. However, I’m a lazy sewist and extra steps are not my bag. I did not use a walking foot or reinforce the zipper or really make any allowances for the fabric at all and despite this I think the dress turned out well, which should indicate that it’s a pretty forgiving fabric.

I picked this 1970s pattern, which I had been wanting to try out for a while. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have realised that I’m a bit obsessed with 70s pattern and style and this fabric seems to fit with the 70s vibe. I love the psychedelic vibes and was excited about floating around in this. However, since summer appears to have forgotten us here in London, I need to work out how to style it for autumn. Black tights are not going to cut it with this rainbow so if you have any ideas, please let me know!

 

I’m off to plan some autumn makes now!

Daisy print statement ruffle bag

Our shelves are full of beautiful bright and joyful cotton florals at the moment and whilst we know these are fabulous for dresses, shirts, PJs, etc I wanted to explore some other projects we can make with them to inspire and maybe spark an idea. Smaller projects are quick and satisfying and they can be a great way to use up scraps…then you can co-ordinate your dress and your bag! 

You might remember I made a ruffle bag a few posts back with some chambray denim. I saw a beautiful round version on Pinterest and really wanted to add that to my collection! This would also be lovely in gingham…just sayin’

I marked out a circle that had a 37cm diameter and then cut across the top of the circle at the 30cm mark to give it a flat shape that will form the top opening of the bag. I then cut the following using this process:

2 x main fabric

2 x lining

2 x lightweight wadding

2 x fusible interfacing

I fused the interfacing to the main fabric then place the wadding onto the back and basted around the edge.

I then cut a strip measuring 130cm x 13cm ( I had to piece this together as I only had a metre of fabric.

Fold over the strip right sides facing and sew down each end. Turn through and press then run two rows of gathering stitch along the raw edge and gather until it fits the bag leaving a gap of about 3cm from the top of the bag. 

Pin the ruffle facing in towards the bag so the frill is sandwiched between the main bag pieces with right sides facing. Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance. Turn through and remove the gathering stitches.

Now add two handles (you can make them out of the same fabric but I had some twill tape which worked well) Cut two lengths, measuring 65cm each and pin them to the top of the bag approx 2.5cm from each end.

Stitch your lining pieces together around the curved edge leaving a gap in one side of about 20cm, this is so you can turn the bag through.

Pop the main bag into the lining (lining still wrong sides out) making sure the handles are tucked in and stitch all the way around the top opening of the bag. Turn it through and stitch the gap in the lining closed. Give it all a press and you are done!

The wadding adds some body to the cotton lawn which is very lightweight, and makes a really lovely quality bag! I took it to the shops straight away and it was the perfect size for all my essentials…I’ll be making a face mask with the scraps to match!

What do you think? You could obviously make this without the ruffle and it would be lovely in faux fur or leather for the Autumn/ Winter!

Debbie x

Festive handmade fabric baubles

Slow sewing with Rudy... Christmas baubles!

When trawling the usual Pinterest Christmas boards this bauble came up and I thought it would be a perfect sofa sewing project!

I have been really enjoying sewing sat watching telly sewing my badges onto my Guide blanket and thought this would be the next project to do without much thinking while watching Christmas films!

I thought it would be a great opportunity to test out using my Brother Scan and Cut to cut out all the circles as I knew I’d need lots of them! 

Fabrics used in this project:

Sweet Bee Sweet Blooms Pink Spot

Sweet Bee blenders Pea

Sweet Bee Shades of Grey Flowers

Sweet Bee Blenders Ice Blue

These are currently half price in the cotton sale!

What you’ll need is:

20 middle colour 2″ circles

20 other colour 2″ circles this can be mixed with multiple fabrics

20 1.75 inch circles in medium weight interfacing

20 1.75″ inch circle in iron in batting or felt

Hand sewing thread and needle

Wonder clips are also useful.

If you are using a digital die cutter to cut the fabric, I used freezer paper but please refer to your machine makers on how to cut fabrics. Using Freezer paper, I created a fabric sandwich of fabric wide enough for two circles wide and 5 down. This allowed me to cut the circles in the middle of the mat as I found if you cut too closely to the edge the machine chews up the paper and fabric. It was useful to have a little extra freezer paper either side of the sandwich to create a good seal. I even used the cutter for my interfacing as I stuck the shiny side to the mat and it meant it easily pulled off. The batting I had to cut by hand, and it looks nowhere near as neat! ha!

If you aren’t using a die cutter to cut your fabric you could use a cookie cutter to give you your uniform shape and draw around it giving you your cut-out lines.

Once you have your circles all cut out, iron the interfacing onto the inside circles. The reason the interfacing is slightly smaller is to give you space to hem but it won’t matter if they are the same size. On each of your inside circles cut a small slit for you to pull your circles ride side out once you have sewn them. You can then iron your batting of felt to the outside fabrics. 

You then sew all your circles up, right sides together and then turn them right sides out. 

Iron all the circles nice and flat to make them easier to sew together. You then will be best to mark an equilateral triangle onto your circles to show you where to sew or you will end up with a non-circular bauble. 

With your inside together sew each circle together along one of your triangle lines. You should end up with 3 circles attached. Keep attaching them till you have 5 attached together with the star in the middle. Keep adding your circles till you’ve used all 20 up. You can stuff it with stuffing if you want to give it a firmer shape, but I haven’t on this one. 

Christmas crafting -handmade felt decorations

Back so soon I hear you cry! Well if you don’t know me you won’t understand my love for all things Christmas and when I saw there were festive projects on our upcoming blog themes list I jumped at the chance! 
 
And, once again, I’m not sewing! What’s wrong with me?! Well, it’s actually been quite refreshing getting crafty again with different materials. In my last post I used papers and this time I’ve gone for felt. Sammy has a few different selections of felt packs in different colour-ways and, while I’d have loved to go ‘neon Christmas’ I decided traditional would be better! 

In this pack of 7 sheets, you get two dark greens, one lime green, one mint, two reds (slightly different shades) and a burgundy, all complementary colours, perfect for festive makes. They’re not super thick but that makes them fine for all of the projects I made. And again, I’ve got some tutorials for you to have a go at home.

So let’s start with something simple, a holly decoration. I prepared myself two different sizes of holly template and cut out two of the bigger size in dark green and two smaller in lime green. I cut small red circles for the berrys. I used some matching lime green embroidery floss to sew a line of running stitch down the middle of one large and one small leaf. I then attached them together using red floss and adding the berrys and a hanger. Simple! 
 

Next up is this trio of baubles which I just love! I used the burgundy, rich red and dark green felts and cut out two each of three bauble templates which I drew out myself on some card. Then I took some embroidery floss in greens, reds and gold to sew on simple designs. I put the two layers together and sewed around the outside leaving a small hole to put some stuffing in (if you don’t have stuffing you could cut up some scraps of felt into small pieces or just leave this out entirely) then I closed up the gap. I added a piece of string to hang it and there you have it! 

Now this one is a little more time consuming but, I think, worth the time. Just gather your supplies and sit in front of the telly one evening. I’m not sure what to call this bauble but I was inspired by similar ones I’ve seen on Pinterest. You’ll need 8 circles, I used 4 dark green, 2 lime green and 2 mint along with a needle and thread. I stacked them up and sewed a line down the middle through all layers (this would have been better done on a sewing machine but worked ok by hand). Now sit it in front of you and pick up one left piece and one right. Bring them together and sew at the edge in the centre to connect them, finishing with a knot to secure. Now take the next piece on one side and connect it to one of the pieces you’ve just sewn which is next to it but this time above and below the original knot. As you go around you will alternate between one and two connecting points and your end result should be something like this. It’s not difficult, I promise!
If my instructions are not clear I’m sure a quick search on Pinterest will help you find step-by-step instructions with pictures.

And I don’t know why but I think this one might be my favourite! And it’s super quick, there’s even a time lapse video on my Instagram (@Aliivens) if you fancy checking it out! All you need for this one are a selection of small strips 3cm x 1.5cm and a needle and thread – a great one for using up scrappy bits of felt. Fold a piece of felt in half and put your threaded needle through the centre of the square, pushing it down the thread but not off the end. Repeat this until your heart’s content! But I think I did about 30 pieces, then tied the ends of thread to form a hoop and add a ribbon to hang. Done! You could add a bow or mini bells, whatever you fancy, but I like it simple.

Then, because I had some felt left over (and nobody was stopping me), I made a wreath with some twigs shaped into a small circle and I knotted on strips of felt and matching ribbon from Hobbycraft. Again, you could go crazy with this one, adding sparkly bits, bells, berrys, pom poms etc but I kept it clean. Not a glue stick in sight! How much easier can you get?!

I hope you liked these ideas. I quite like giving people who I wouldn’t buy gifts for a handmade tree ornament with their Christmas cards, it’s just a special little gesture. A few years ago I crocheted quite a few sprouts adorned with googly eyes to give out! But I love these projects and think the rich colours would make them really stand out on a tree. Now I can’t wait to get mine up and decorate it with my new me-mades!
 
Thanks Sammy for the lovely felt. Happy Christmas, everyone! (OK, too early…)

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

DIY rope necklace with Rico Macrame rope!

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!

Self-drafted Shashiko jeans project

Shashiko jeans by @missmaker

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally…… lots and lots of belt loops!

 

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

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

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

Fennel Fanny pack review- with A Beautiful Mess fabrics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to make a Macrame wall hanging

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.

We’ve just had some beautiful Macrame cords and metal hoops delivered, you can find them in the New In section of the shop. So give this cheap and easy craft a go!

Below is a little tutorial to get you started…

Step 1.

I started with one 25m ball of cord and a 20cm hoop in brass. I love the cmbination of this peach cord witht he brass ring 🙂

Firstly cut 9  x 1m strands of cord

Step 2.

Take your first piece of cord, find the middle of the rope. attach to hoop with a larks head knot

Step 3.

Make sure the rope is underneath the hoop and attach with a double half hitch knot.

Step 4.

Then attached a rope either side 

Step 5.

Taking the inner strand wither side create a square knot

Step 6.

Start your knot approx 1.5″ down from the top of the hoop.

Step 7.

Attach the ends to the side of your hoop as in Step 3

Step 8.

Taking the outer strands and create a reverse square knot then attach the ends to the hoop as before

Step 9.

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.

Et voila!