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!

Carol’s Closet Case Ginger jeans with stretch cord

Ginger Jeans review

Hey there, hope you’re doing okay? #sewingkeepsmesane is certainly relevant right now!

I know I’m really late to the game with my first ever pair of Closet Case Ginger jeans, but I must admit to being a bit nervous of making jeans. I kept thinking, I don’t need to make my own I can just buy the ones I want, I’ll make all the pretty things and leave jeans to the experts!

Well, I’m so pleased I finally bit the bullet as I absolutely love my custom fit Gingers and I’m sure you will too!

For my first pair of Gingers I chose this lovely soft stretch cord from the Samantha Claridge Studio, I confess to loving corduroy its so soft and cosy, just perfect for these colder months!

I ordered the black cord along with a matching colour of Gutermann sew all thread, its so great to order the thread along with your fabric. Sammy chooses the best matching colour and sends it along with your fabric delivery, how great is that!!

I recently made a pair of Carolyn Pyjamas in size 18 and the trousers are a perfect fit, so I cut my Ginger jeans in a size 18. Well they are supposed to be skinny and there is no way the 18 was skinny fit on me!

So, I unpicked and cut down to a size 16, this was still too big, so I enlarged the seam allowance from the 5/8” up to ¾ and that was much better.

The Closet case sew along is really great, even as a seasoned dress maker I found it really helpful and informative, so I’d definitely recommend it at least for the first attempt at jeans!

I had a few attempts at pocket placement, my final version is actually the third attempt, but do you know what I really enjoyed making these, it was so satisfying working towards the best fit, I never once got fed up.

 It was so satisfying, and I really love my Ginger Jeans, this cord is so soft and the stretch makes them so comfy, they are real secret pyjamas!!

Thanks for reading!

New fabrics have arrived!

New in this week – Gorgeous Rico Double gauze fabrics with gold flecks!

Double gauze is very simply, two layers of fine gauze that are woven together at regular intervals with little stab stitches which are undetectable from the right side of the fabric. 

There is a huge trend for hippy style floaty gauzy dresses this spring/ summer. These new double gauze fabrics will be perfect to get the look!

Some sewing pattern suggestions would be:

The Wilder Gown (Friday Pattern Co.)

McCalls M8087

Butterick B6559

New Look 6498

The double gauze is £6.75 per half metre and we have a thread matching service you an take advantage of to make sure you get the perfect match!

More new fabrics to come!

Easter wreath DIY with ric rac flowers

Rudy's fun Easter craft!

The spring weather is finally starting to arrive and I am loving all the lovely spring flowers popping up everywhere. I thought I would make a nice Easter wreath for the door as we always have one for Christmas but never Easter.

This project was super easy but amazingly effective and I’ll try and explain it as well as I can so you can re-create it if you’d like.

First I bought a foam wreath base and gathered all my materials. I’m using the Rudy Star society fabric as my base so I ordered half a meter of this along with a selection of different ricrac’s from Sammys amazing collection.

I decided I wanted the rugged edges of the fabric to show and give it the shabby chic feel, so instead of cutting my fabric strips I ripped it along the grainline, giving it a lovely fluffy edge. I ripped three strips of 15cm to cover my 25cm wreath base. I pinned one end into the polystyrene and started wrapping so that each strip overlapped about half of the previous strip. Once that strip was finished I pinned it and then pinned a new strip on top and continued the process. Once all the strips were wrapped around I took all the pins out and it held everything together as I had wrapped it very tight. I used a little hot glue to fasten the final strip down, and make sure the others would stay where they were supposed to I used a tiny dob of glue on any exposed edges along the back.

Then on to the ricrac flowers, these give varying results depending on what size ricrac you use so my suggestion is get a bunch and try it out to see what you like best. I found how to do this on pinterest and it is super easy! 

First cut your ricrac into two lengths. I have used 1m for each flower so about 50cm each run. Then you need to weave it together, like in this picture, so that you get the wiggles on both sides then sew it all the way down the middle. Then all you need to do is coil it up around itself, and either hand sew it together at the bottom or I used hot glue in a zig zag fashion to keep all the pieces together. Once is ricrac is all coiled, cooled and secure you can then start to turn back some of the wiggles to make the petals. This is more effective with the larger ricrac so bare that in mind when you are selecting.

For comparisons the white and fuchsia flowers are made from jumbo ricrac. The violet is 13mm and a wider wiggle. The light pink is 12mm. The silver is 9mm. The yellow was the most fiddly at only 4mm, and to be honest I gave up because it was making my brain hurt!

I then glued all the flowers onto the wreath with the hot glue, and sat back and enjoyed my creation! 

 

This was a super quick project which would be great to do with kids or for a quick project on your own. I think these flowers would look brilliant as hair clips and button holes I’d love to do more with these and see where else I can use them.

DIY re-usable make-up pads…a great gift idea!

This project is great for the environment and your fabric stash! Plus, this is such a great gift.

It hardly requires a tutorial as it’s a very simple make, but here are  few steps to get you going…I also made a rectangular face pad to use with face wash.

You’ll need the following:

Simply draw around your circular template onto your towelling and cotton to make as many circles as you like. Pin a cotton one to th toweling one and overlock around the edge (or zig zag if you don’t have an overlock machine).

I also made an face cloth and this was just a rectangle of cotton and one of towelling, right sides facig stitch them together leaving a gap to turn through, turn through and top stitch around the edge!

Giving these as a gift in a beautiful storage jar is a really lovely, thoughful present and only takes 30 mins!
What are you giving your Mum this Mother’s Day?!

Fashion: Get the look with our fabrics! The spring shift dress

 
Are you always seeing lovely things in the shops and thinking ” I could make that” ? Us too!
So, with that in mind, our series on Instagram called ‘Get the Look’ will give you some ideas of how to translate high street trends with fabrics we have in stock in the Samantha Claridge Studio shop!

 

Quilting cottons are just for quilting! They make the most wonderful crisp summer dresses. These brand new fabrics by FIGO from the Moonlit Voyage collection would be perfect to get this look…

Top right clockwise:

Figo Moonlit Voyage -Blue

Figo Moonlit Voyage – Houses

Figo Moonlit Voyage – Sea

Why not try this look with the following patterns and whip up a gorgeous new dress for work or your summer hols!

You can even make yourself a matching bag with New Look 6095!