Rainbow leopard print Mimi G shirt

The perfect fun summer shirt

 
 
Hello again!
I’m back with another project, and one which I think should bring a smile to anyone’s face! I mean, just look at this fabric, it’s the perfect combo of rainbow and animal print, right up my alley!

Shop rainbow leopard print here! 

This time around I had trouble choosing a project so I went to my pattern box and searched for ideas. The pattern I settled on was S8889, a Mimi G for Simplicity shirt with a hi-lo front and hidden button placket. This way I could go for any number of the amazing cottons that Sammy has in stock. 
 
This cotton is the perfect weight for this shirt. For some reason I thought the animal print would be larger but I love how the dainty nature of it tones down the rainbow. 

I prewashed the fabric, obviously, and it shrunk by 1.5cm but I knew I had more than enough for the project, in fact, with some clever pattern placement, I ended up getting the whole shirt out of just over 1m. I didn’t consider stripe placement because there were too many pieces including plackets which I’d never done before but I think it worked out well in the end. I did make the effort to match the breast pocket and I’m so pleased, it’s practically invisible!!!

Construction was relatively straight forward, and made easier because the fabric wasn’t a shifty viscose! I lengthened the front by 5cms and I think I could do with lengthening it a bit more! The deep hem facing worked well and I love the shape it gives. The sleeves and collar went in well and the instructions for the button placket were good – only once did I have cause to scratch my head! Over all it was a really pleasant project to sew!
This shirt makes me smile whenever I look at it, and I love that in my clothes! So go make a rainbow shirt for your wardrobe right now!!!
 
Thanks Sammy for the beautiful fabric!

This style shirt would also work brilliantly in any of our other funky prints…

Shop here

Closet Core Nettie hack with leopard print modal jersey

Alexa's slinky cowl neck top hack!

When I spotted these gorgeous leopard jerseys that Sammy had in I knew I wanted to make something with them.

When the jersey arrived, it was so lovely and soft and super slinky. I decided to make a Sew Over It cowl dress. However, on a previous attempt at this dress, I hadn’t loved how the body of the dress looked on me so I decided to merge it with the closet core nettie dress which is one of my favourites.

Turns out, this was a mistake! This jersey is a bit slinky for the nettie. Such a testament to matching the fabric to the pattern. However the slinky jersey works great for cowl neck so I cut the dress into a top and now I love it.

Despite being a seemingly straightforward project, I learnt a number of lessons while making it. The first was about paying attention to matching the fabric to pattern and the second was about changing my needle! I ordered these ballpoint needles to use with this project and it’s amazing how much smoother the sewing goes when you change your needle to an appropriate one. Anyone else guilty of rarely remembering to change their needle?

This really was a gorgeous fabric to work with and feels lovely to wear, I think I’m going to use one of the other colour ways to make a wrap dress.

All fabrics, trimmings and craft accessories are currently 50% off in our Summer Sale with code ss2021 at checkout!

Carol’s hacked Stella hoodie with cosy mink jogging fabric

Carol's cosy hoodie!

 

Hey there all you lovely makers, I’m so thrilled to be ready to share my latest make with you!

When I saw this cosy Mink jogging fabric on the Samantha Claridge website, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it!! It was listed as fleece backed jogging, and it’s so cosy and warm. It washed beautifully and although Sammy had this listed as a second quality due to some creases which she had worried wouldn’t come out in the laundering, the creases have now disappeared, and the fabric is perfect!! 

I’m sure I’m not alone in having noticed so many people wearing cosy hoodies and sweat tops!? Maybe it’s because we’ve all spent so long over the last year craving homely comforts and warm comfy clothes?

Anyhow, I really wanted to make a super cosy hoodie and based it loosely on the Tilly and the Buttons Stella hoodie.

I decided to size up and make it a bit boxier by straightening the sides, instead of going with the more fitted lines of the traditional Stella, as I have noticed that many of the hoodies on the marketplace are squarer and boxier.

Once I’d cut the fabric and sewn it up, I decided to start making a few small tweaks, is it just me who decides to change things when a garment is almost finished??

So, after trying it on I decided that where the hood fitted onto the neckline, I would prefer it to overlap slightly. With the original version the hood just touched at the centre front and irritatingly the overlocked edge kept popping up and that was annoying me, it just stuck out like a sore thumb. So, I unpicked about 8cms each side of the centre front and just gently stretched the sides of the hood, until they overlapped at the front, then I restitched it!!

I also decided that at the normal length it was not square and boxy enough for the look I was going for so I chopped about 6 inches off the bottom and folded the removed section in half before reattaching it as a band. I obviously had to reduce the length of the band in order to pull the bottom in slightly so I decided to cut straight through the centre front and after folding in half I overlapped at the middle, giving a cute little curved wrapped band, I think it’s rather cute!!

Now I know its mid-April and in theory the weather should be warming up in the UK, but its flipping freezing here in Yorkshire right now, and as we are now just emerging from a National lockdown and meeting outside is the order of the day, I know I’m going to be super warm and toasty outside in my fabulously cosy hoodie!!

I think if I’d not made my Stella hoodie the fleece backed jogging would have made a fabulous pair of joggers, maybe the Hudson’s or even the Stella Joggers from Tilly and the Buttons.

I really hope you like what I made and if you’d like to see more of my makes track me down @Chatterstitch on IG, that’s all for now, stay safe and keep chatting and stitching Carol x

 

The Nina Lee London Spring dress in mustard double gauze fabric

Alexa's floaty summer dress

 

 

This project feels like a bit of a design collaboration!

I had ordered this gorgeous double gauze with a totally different project in mind and then Sally posted this photo (below) with the latest Simply Sewing Magazine and my sewing (and weekend) plans suddenly changed! 

The @NinaLeeLondon Spring dress on the cover of the magazine just felt like such a good match for the double gauze. Double gauze feels like such a floaty summer material and this one is just a bit more opaque and maybe slightly thicker than other double gauzes that I have worked with which has the advantage of meaning that it isn’t at all transparent. 

Sammy currently has these beautiful double gauze fabrics in stock as well as some remnants of the mustard double gauze…

The pattern is really speedy and comes together easily. I am 173cm tall and felt that it looked like it would be way too short. As I have a long torso, I added 5cm to the bodice. I think the bodice is supposed to end above the waist so I’ve probably added a bit much length there. I like where the hem lands though, just above my knee, so overall adding 5cm has worked! 

The only challenge with sewing double gauze is whether or not to press as it ‘grows’ as the crinkles iron out. In addition, the gold printing on this fabric did not like being near the iron! I used a pressing cloth and only ironed where necessary, basically on the neckline and cuffs. 

This feels like such a good dress for floating around in the sunshine that I hope we’re going to get soon! The double gauze is so comfy to wear, so for those of you looking to upgrade from lounge wear, this is the way to go! Happy sewing!

Style Arc Blaire Shirtdress in red and black check cotton twill fabric

#scdesignteam Alison's perfect shirt dress

 
 
 
Hi there, so I’m back with my first blog post of 2021 and, after a slow start to the year, my sewjo is back up and running again!
 
Sammy has recently had quite a few new fabrics arrive into the shop and lucky us for getting the pick of the bunch! Something I’ve been wanting to make for a while now is the Style Arc Blaire Shirt Dress and when I saw this lovely red and black check cotton twill I couldn’t resist. 
 
 

 

 

 

 

It is so soft and almost has a brushed cotton feel to it. It’s light and drapey and washes and irons well. 

Red and Black 1.5″ Gingham cotton twill

£4.45 per half metre

So I’ve made the shirt version a couple of times. Generally it’s not difficult but, if you’ve sewn any Style Arc patterns before, you’ll know they’re stingy with the instructions and they also skip steps like how to best sew a curved hem and stay-stitching necklines, which in this case is vital. I had to use the instructions again as the dress is constructed slightly different to the shirt. The top comes together very easily and quickly. The bottom half is almost entirely constructed before attaching it to the top. I was eager to try out this pocket design but now that it’s finished I’ve realised that the bottom of the pocket bag is very low. If I pop my phone in there it’s banging around my knees! They’re a great design feature but I’m not sure they’ll get used that much!

Then the top is sewn to the bottom and the button plackets are added before the collar. Attaching the collar is always a little challenging with this pattern as the fabric at the back neckline needs easing in (not that they mention this in the instructions!). This time I decided to leave the collar off and stick with the collar stand. I hand stitched the inside of the collar on to keep it neat and tidy. This might be the most beautiful collar I’ve ever sewn!
 
 
I used a Change Maker label in the back and how cool does that look?! These are available from the shop and all profits from sales go to a monthly nominated charity with an emphasis on tackling social and environmental injustice.
 
I should have picked some buttons from Sam’s shop but when I ordered the fabric I totally forgot. She has a huge selection of fantastic buttons but in the end, I ordered a bag of simple black ones from Amazon.
 
 

Now then… I think we need to address the elephant in the room… pattern matching. Let’s just say I tried! I know I didn’t do a great job but I really did try, promise! What I’ve realised is that it would have been better to cut it out on the flat so I could see where all the checks are lining up, but I didn’t. I just tried to fold it so everything was straight and then cut on the fold. I’m lazy. Let’s move on…

Overall I love this, it’s such an easy wear both layered up in the cooler months and on it’s own in the summer. Special thanks to my son for taking the photos and not noticing for the entire shot that I’d put a hair clip on my sleeve! Thanks for the fabric, Sammy, I know I’m gonna get a lot of wear out of this one!
 
 
Fabric gifted in return for a blog post. Buttons and label purchased.

Alison’s cosy winter makes with fleece and sherpa fabric

#scdesignteam Cosy winter makes

 
 
 
My last project for the SCDT falls under the title of ‘cosy’ and, boy, this one is certainly that! There are so many lovely, snuggly fabrics available on www.samanthaclaridgestudio.com right now that it was almost too hard to choose! But now that the weather is turning that bit more chilly it seemed sensible to make a scarf of some description. I had a look through Pinterest for some inspiration and decided on a double sided infinity scarf using the grey sherpa fur and the pink cuddle fleece.
 
 
 
 
However…
 
…when it arrived my daughter took one look at it and claimed the pink fleece as her own! So now I had to sacrifice my plans and make her a scarf and, since I had some leftover, a matching headband/ear warmer. Both of these I drafted myself using her measurements to make sure the headband was a snug fit and the scarf went around more than once. This fleece doesn’t have any stretch to it and has a tendency of shifting when stitching in a certain direction but with a lot of pins it will reluctantly behave. 
 
Just look at my gorgeous girl! She loves her matching set and I think it will be a staple this winter!
 
 
With the grey sherpa I found a tutorial for an infinity scarf and set about cutting two long strips 9 inches by the full width of the fabric (60in). This one has a stretch to it but is easy to sew, just watch out for the incredible amounts of fluff that will cover you, your table, sewing machine and floor during and after cutting!
 
I was first to try it on but hot on my heals was my son who has since claimed it as his own! He loves anything snuggly and would permanently live in fleece given the chance!
 
 
Both of these fabrics are so soft and luxurious, and perfect for these kinds of projects. Thanks so much, Sammy, for making my kids dreams come true!!!

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. 

A handmade cosy Christmas Jumper

Lisa's embroidered Christmas jumper!

 

 

Hi Again

Long-time no see.  I’ve not been quite “with it” what with all this Covid and our business being in furlough I’ve not really felt up to being committed to sewing/blogging. 

However, I couldn’t resist joining in this month what with it being Christmas Jumper as the theme! 

I mean, who doesn’t love a Christmas jumper eh?  

I searched through Sammy’s website looking for some fleece backed sweatshirt when I inadvertently stumbled upon this grey melange winter knit fabric.  OH MY GOSH!!! Is almost all I can say about it?  This fabric is absolutely divine.  It’s super soft, sews together and handles beautifully, and is so so cosy.  

I immediately got it in the pre-wash as I usually do with my fabrics upon arrival.   That way whenever you get the urge to sew something, the fabrics all washed and ready to go straight from the cupboard.  I was a bit wary of washing this with it being a knit however it washed beautifully.  I didn’t peg it on the line as I was worried it might pull it down and out of shape with the pegs as it is quite weighty.  Apart from anything else, it’s usually raining where I live!!  Instead, I draped it over my airing stand in front of the radiator and in all fairness it didn’t take long at all to dry even though it was folded.  

I originally thought I might use my Cricut to cut out some festive vinyl and apply that to the jumper but decided to don the big girl pants and use the embroidery machine to do an embroidered image instead.  Ok you got me sussed….I was scared to embroider it in case I messed it up.  They can be temperamental things and fussy about fabric/stabiliser/threads etc but my word when they all run smoothly they are so satisfying.

One of the websites where I buy my embroidery designs from decided to have a sale just at the right time and so I indulged in this lovely little daschund pulling a sleigh.  I opted for the largest size they did with the intention that it would be ideal for the front of a jumper or could also be used to embroider onto some cotton and be used as a cushion.  You got to love a cute little sausage dog right?

I decided against hooping the fabric just in case the hoop pulled the fabric out of shape or left any sort of imprint so I floated it on top.  I did a small sample of embroidery on one of the left over scraps of fabric before I did this on my actual jumper front to check the stabiliser would be ok.  I opted for Stiffy cut away on the reverse with it being quite a dense design and water soluble on the front to stop the stitches from sinking into the fabric.  After I had embroidered the front panel I had to wash out the stabiliser and did this by hand just using warm water so there may be a tad left in atm but this will come out in the proper wash.  Despite washing it twice there is still no bobbling on the fabric and it’s as good as when it arrived which I’m super happy about.

After much umming and ahhing I decided I would make the new Tilly and the Buttons pattern, Billie Jumper/Dress as everything about this pattern I absolutely love.  I mean those sleeves are just gorgeous and bang on trend right now.  The amount of tops I’ve seen on TV that are similar is unbelievable.   Now, I have quite a few Tilly patterns and they are all really well drafted and the instructions are clear enough that even a complete beginner sewist could follow them.  This one is no different.  The jumper itself was constructed mainly using the over locker for the seams although I did tack the neckband and cuffs on using my regular sewing machine first.  I made a straight size 5 and I am happy with the fit.  It took under a couple of hours to stitch together so it’s a fairly quick make too.

 

I’m usually so last minute with everything that I normally end up buying a Christmas jumper from the likes of Asda and Tesco and end up with whatever they have left (M & S have usually sold out of the one I want especially after Lorraine wears them on her program lol) but not this year and never again now I know how easy it is to have something so different to what’s in the shops.  

I’m super happy with how this jumper turned out.  The fabric is just divine and I highly recommend grabbing some whilst it’s in stock!  I’m hoping Sammy can lay her hands on more of this fabric in different colourways as I think it will be a super seller ☺

After taking these pics for my blog post I took off the jumper and despite it being too big, Mia had it straight on and was very reluctant to give it back!!!  She’s given me instructions that I must quickly buy more before it sells out ☺  Safe to say this fabric went down well at our house!

Wishing you all a happy Christmas

Keep Sewing & Stay safe

See you in 2021

Lisa xx

@sewlastminutelisa

Julia pocket top in leopard print

@aliivens makes a cosy jumper

For this months theme of ‘knitwear’ I chose this lovely leopard print ponte* because, ya know, I’d live in leopard print if I could!

It’s beautifully soft and who doesn’t love the idea of a project that is going to be easy to sew but super comfy when it’s finished!

*This fabric is now sold out but there are lots of other lovely jersey knits in stock here

I chose to make the Julia Pocket Top by Sew Me Something. I’ve made this top four times before, including once for my sister, and I know it’s a great pattern and a quick and simple make. The integrated pockets on the front are quite genius and you get a different look depending on the fabric you make it with. I got version 1, which is a clean, long-sleeved top with a simple neck band, out of 1.5m and I knew this would be a boxy top so I cut the width of the smallest size but kept the sleeve and neckline of the size 14.
 

The fabric was pre washed at 30 degrees and ironed with a medium heat prior to cutting, not that it really needed it! I did wonder at one point if I should be using my walking foot but this fabric went smoothly through both my sewing machine and overlocker. It took approximately 90 minutes to make up and that included having to rethread one of the loopers on my overlocker when it ran out!

I love the oversized look of this design. I think this will be a great option for throwing over my running gear when the weather gets a little cooler. Looking at it now, I wonder if the neckband should have been a little smaller… I might go back and change that later (probably not though!).
 
That’s all I have to say about this make. A quick and easy one, perfect for autumn and lovely and comfy. Thanks Sammy for this gorgeous fabric!

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!