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!

Lulu Cardigan by Pattern Scout in leopard print ponte roma

Sally's me made knit cardi

Hey All! Sally here aka The Yorkshire Sewist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here is my completed Lulu!

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

Happy Sewing!

Sally x

Bottle green bellissima jersey top

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Sewing!

Sally x

Meet our #scdesignteam an interview with @Chatterstitch

This week we chat to Carol AKA @chatterstitch about her sewing journey, what inspires her and what her future sewing plans are…

 

In my real life my name is Carol (with no e) as my Dad forgot when he registered me! I’m Mum to two and Grandma to one! I live in the beautiful county of Yorkshire about half an hour from the sea!

When did you start sewing?

 I started Sewing when I was probably about 10! Which is quite a few years ago!

What do you like about sewing?

I love looking at beautiful fabrics then taking them and shaping them into clothes I can wear, every item is unique to me.

What is your favourite ever make?

What-ever I made last! So, at the moment my Summit Pack made from your Figo fabrics!

What inspires your makes?

Fabrics, I see a fabric I love and then have to find the perfect pattern to use it with!

How do you keep track of all your ideas?

I love to use my Sew Crafty Journal!

What are your favourite fabrics to work with?

Natural fabrics, usually with a small discrete pattern or a plain gorgeous colour!

What other sewing bloggers do you follow/ find inspiring?

My daughter (@sewstainability inspires me all the time) particularly around sustainable makes.

Also @sunnydayz06 as she’s an amazing @sewover50 maker and @victorialucerne her images are fab.

Where do you sew?

I’m very lucky to have my very own room to sew in, the good thing is nobody complains if I make a mess and leave it to come back to, I can just sew for 10 minutes if that’s all I’ve got!

What is your favourite sewing tool and why?

I love my Janome machines, I have a complete set Computerised machine, overlocker and coverstitch (all Janome)

What would be your dream project?

A red carpet gown!

What are your sewing plans for this year?

My son is getting married later this year and I’m planning on making my Mother of the Groom outfit this year so watch this space!

Next time we chat with @lastminutelisa!

Closet Case Patterns – Clare coat

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

Meet our #scdesignteam members! An Interview with our Design Team – #missmaker

This week we chat to Clare Blackmore-Davies about her sewing journey!

Clare runs sewing classes from her beautiful sewing room in Hampshire.

She has now also started a You Tube Channel where she does fab sewing tutorials and upcycling projects! So head over and give her a follow!

www.missmaker.co.uk

When did you start sewing?

I was 7 years old when my Grandmother bought me my first sewing machine

What do you like about sewing?

How you can lose yourself in it, the problem solving and challenges the excitement and satisfaction of getting that perfect fit and spot on pattern matching, I could go on and on and on and on……..

What is your favourite ever make?

So many, the dress with the full circle rainbow panel hidden away under meters and meters of black chiffon, my design team Jade Jacket from last year. In truth it is always the one I am working on at the moment, as it is still so full of options and possibilities and is a journey I can enjoy.

What inspires your makes?

I find inspiration everywhere, I always get excited when I find something that makes me think ‘how did they do that?’ so I can set about working it out. I think above all my makes always have to raise the game, develop my sewing and have a fair few challenges I can get my teeth into.

How do you keep track of all your ideas?

Maker Journals are fab to get sketches and designs down on paper, notebooks and scraps of paper which then get stuck in to notebooks, anything goes really. I sometimes take photos and write notes and sketches on my phone so I can go back to ideas later too.

What are your favourite fabrics to work with?

It’s funny, I find it is always the fabrics you hate to work with that give you the most satisfaction and pleasure and the best finished item, maybe its my passion for a challenge! The fabric I love to work with is jersey as it can give you a quick make fix and is so versatile.

What other sewing bloggers do you follow/ find inspiring?

Slightly controversial answer but being a busy mum of two, with a husband who works long hours and a business to run I just don’t have time to read blogs and if I do get the chance to read for pleasure it will be a good book I reach for instead. I’m more of an Instagram, pinterest, google images, etc. girl, things I can flick through in fleeting quiet moments but can be put down easily. On occasion I’ll read through blogs if they have come up in a search when I am researching for work or a special make of my own.

Where do you sew?

I have a fab workshop where I teach, a workroom in the back garden but I actually do most of my sewing at the kitchen table! In the workshop I’ll be teaching so everyone else is sewing but not me! My workroom in the garden is a bit too chilly in the winter and if I am very honest has become too cluttered with other house and garden bits and bobs for it to be the calm working space it was meant to be. Now that both the kids are at school my beautiful kitchen with the radio on low is my happy place and where I feel most creative.

What is your favourite sewing tool and why?

The toile. When you have the time, the improvement in fit you get by including this step in your process is amazing. You can really make the garment your own and at this stage you can guarantee I’ll be adding a few little details of my own.

What would be your dream project?

Might sound mad but I’d love to get a commission for a cosplay or serious fancy dress outfit, something crazy and off the wall that involved shapes and foam and layers and using dyes and airbrushing and anything else you can throw into the mix. Something totally of the wall and totally original. As I get more time to work I’d love to develop a side of the business that had that direction.

What are your sewing plans for this year?

I have a serious evening gown to get together by the end of February so that is eclipsing any thoughts of other sewing right now, sample fabrics are on the way, 1st toile is started and the final touches are still forming and flexing as I develop the idea as I go along. One thing is for sure, it needs to be a stunner.

Once the big make is done, other plans for the year are to get another pair of Ginger Jeans made, some additions to my summer holiday wardrobe and a secret make for someone special…….

Next time we chat with Carol AKA @chatterstitch

Romy’s Jersey Binding Tutorial

Finishing edges with jersey...

This post shows two uses for the Jersey Folded Binding which is available in the shop in a variety of colours. 
 
This is a great way to neatly finish the edges of garments made from stable knit fabrics, or could also be used to bind craft projects such as quilts in the same way as woven binding. It has a slight stretch but wouldn’t be suitable for very stretchy jersey fabrics or on areas of a garment which need to stretch a lot, such as tight neck openings.
 
The first way I used this binding was to finish the neck of a dress I made for my Christmas party. It had a high front neck but low back so didn’t need to stretch for me to get it on and off.
To start with, sew your garment as you normally would; you can do this step at the end or once the should seams have been sewn together, before constructing the rest of the garment.
 
Measure your neck opening and cut a piece of binding slightly longer than the opening. Mine overlapped by a few inches.
 
Pin or clip the binding to the outside of your garment with right sides together and edges aligned. Don’t stretch the binding at all while you do this or it’ll be too tight to turn under! I used wonder clips to attach it as I prefer them to pins. Trust me, if you get some you won’t regret it!
 
 
 

Using a narrow zigzag stitch or other stretch stitch, sew along the fold closest to the edge of the fabric. You could overlock this but it would add some bulk under the binding. Leave an inch or two of loose binding at the start and sew all the way around until you meet your stitching again. Backstitch or tie off ends to secure.

 

Bring your two loose ends right sides together and sew along the width of the binding where your stitching ends. I used a straight stitch here to help it lie flat when finished. Trim the excess fabric and press open.

Turn the binding to the wrong side and tuck under the other folded side of the binding. Press to help it lie flat and clip or pin to secure. 

Go back to your machine and stitch down using a zigzag, stretch stitch or twin needle. Backstitch or tie off your ends to secure and you’re done!

The other way I used this binding was to hem a dress. It had ended up a bit short and I wanted to avoid losing any more length by turning up and sewing so I used the binding and it worked really well.
 
Once again, measure the length of the hem and cut a piece of binding slightly longer. Pin or clip it right sides together with edges aligned, leaving an inch or two loose on either end. Don’t stretch the binding at all or it won’t turn under easily! (Ask me how I know this 😛 )

Sew using a zigzag, stretch stitch or overlocker, starting an inch or two from the end of the binding, and sew all the way around until you meet your stitching again. Backstitch or tie off your ends to secure.

With right sides together, sew across the width of the binding. Trim the excess and press open.
 

Turn the binding to the wrong side, press then clip or pin. Stitch using a zigzag, stretch stitch or twin needle.

Ta da! This is a really nice, neat way to do a hem but not one I’ve tried before so I’m glad it worked well. (Obviously black binding would have been better than navy but no one will notice 😀 )
 
I hope this is useful and gives you an idea of how you can finish your knit projects in a slightly different way! See you soon for another post!

Carol’s Bubble Satin Review

Satin blouse project

Hey everyone, I’m so pleased to be back on the Samantha Claridge studio blog today.

I’m delighted to tell you all about this beautiful satin!

I’ve owned the Named clothing, book “Breaking the pattern” for a while and really like the Sade blouse pattern. When I saw this fabric on the website, I was very keen to make a version of the Sade with it.

I must admit I did have some reservations before I ordered this from Sammy. I have worked before with super slippery fabrics, and was a little concerned that this would be one of those.

                                                                                                                                                         

Sammy is always happy to send swatches of fabric out, she’s very passionate about the fabrics she sells and is very keen to make sure her bloggers and customers alike are happy with their fabric choices. So quickly she popped a piece of this in the post to me.

As you can see, I wasn’t put off, after I’d seen and handled it. In fact, quite the opposite, I basically had to have this in my wardrobe!

It cut and sewed beautifully. I put the basic principles into practise. I used a new rotary cutter blade and cut the pieces singly. It cut just fine and didn’t slip over itself at all, I think the “bubble” texture actually made it grip to itself, not slip around at all and when I sewed it, it behaved really well too.

I used a fine point needle and pinned in the seam allowances.

 The quality is divine, so soft and drapey its delightful against my skin.

The fabric feels like luxury itself; I cannot believe the quality of this for its price tag, for a very reasonably priced fabric the quality, colour and feel of this bubble satin is mind blowing. I absolutely love my Sade blouse but if I’d not made this, the satin would have been gorgeous made up into a beautiful dress or luxurious night attire (think luxury robe or slip) or lingerie (so sexy)!

 

So that’s all from me for now, till next time keep chatting and stitching, Carol 😊

Carol’s Corduroy Clementine Skirt

Carol's star wardrobe basic...

Hey, you guys I’m back on the Samantha Claridge Studio Blog today to talk to you all about this lovely cord!

It’s so soft, and lovely to touch and wear. I’ve made the Clementine “Made in Denim” skirt before but really wanted to make one in this olive-green cord (olive green now out of stock). It’s super soft and has a great stretch. This is due to its 3% spandex content; this means it’s really easy to wear and doesn’t get stretched out when you sit down in it for a while.

As usual I prewashed my fabric and line dried before I began, it washed and pressed beautifully.

It’s a great idea to lay a second section of cord face down on top of the garment sections whilst pressing, this stops the nap being flattened. Also be mindful when using cord to make sure that all your pattern pieces are cut in the same direction due to the nap of the fabric.

I really wanted to personalise the top stitching with this make and drafted a little motif which I’d love to share with you.

I free hand copied my sewing shears onto paper, which I then cut out and stuck to my pocket with 505 spray.

Then I stitched around the template with top stitch thread in a contrast colour.

I tried two different colours out, a dark grey which I really liked (but I was a little concerned that might be a bit too understated) then a second one in a lovely rust colour. But when I compared them both together, I reverted back to my original choice.

That was it, decision made, and I completed the rest of the top stitching in that colour. The cord made up beautifully and I chose to make my skirt up at just below knee length. I think this is going to be perfect through the winter with some cosy tights and boots. 

If I’d not chosen to make my corduroy into a classic jean skirt, I think it would be gorgeous made into some dungarees or trousers, maybe the Ash or Ginger jeans, or even children’s wear. It is certainly soft enough for the most delicate of skin!

 That’s all for now till next time keep chatting and stitching Carol 😊