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!!
This make is a tale of inspiration and indecision!
I had in mind a sort of sports lux sweatshirt- apparently that is an actual thing as I learnt from a girl at the hairdressers! She was wearing a sort of cross between a blouse and a sweatshirt made from a lovely woven print but with ribbed cuffs, hem band and neckband. I came home from the hairdressers with a new haircut and full of enthusiasm to recreate this garment. I was immediately attracted to the colours and patterns in this cotton on the Samantha Claridge Studio website. I searched further and found a perfectly coordinating Merchant and Mills ribbing.
Beautiful, however this is where things started to go wrong!
In my enthusiasm and hurry to get on with the project I hadn’t read the fabric description in detail. This lovely fabric is a much heavier weight stretch cotton, gorgeous but not for the project I had planned (reminder to self-read carefully, check and if unsure order a sample which Samantha is always happy to send!)
So……… I have this beautiful fabric-what do I do?
I spent several days stressing, looking at patterns, googling, searching Pinterest and asking for ideas on sewing sites. The morning after a sleepless night spent thinking about this fabric, I knew I had to make a decision. Suddenly I knew what I wanted to do and that was to make a reliable Tilly Cleo Pinafore.
I’ve made 3 Cleo’s previously, a rust corduroy, an indigo denim and a black and grey polka dot velvet but not a floral so this would be completely different.
After so much indecision suddenly this floral pinafore was the thing I wanted most in the world and so I made a start straight away.
I find Cleo suits my body shape as I don’t have a very defined waist and so I struggle with the lovely vintage style waisted dresses. With Cleo being narrower at the waist it gives a nice illusion of shape.
The first thing I discovered was that the direction of most stretch with this fabric is lengthways rather than widthways. However, this was not an issue as the fabric is so wide and Cleo doesn’t take a great deal of fabric so it was easy to cut it out across the fabric.
The Cleo pattern always goes together nicely and this time was no exception.
I thought I had a set of dungaree clips but when I looked more closely I found I had the clips but no buttons. Luckily I had some fabric covered buttons in my stash that I bought a couple of years ago at the Hebden Bridge rag market and the colours toned perfectly so it was a great opportunity to use them.
After a false start I’m pleased with the result and I have enough fabric left to experiment with some kind of garment using my ribbing. The sports lux blouse is still in my head but next time I will pay more attention to the fabric description!
You know when a new pattern comes out, from a designer you LOVE and you are desperate to try it?
This is the tale of the Pona jacket by Helens closet…
I bought the pattern right away without a thought in the world as to what fabric I would make it out of! I had thought maybe a denim one at first or a bright coloured solid one but off I went on a hunt for my fabric.
I came across this Suedette from Samantha Claridge Studio and immediately knew that THIS was going to be my Pona jacket. The suedette making it perfect for a spring jacket which is when I tend to wear jackets more as ever other time I’m in cardis and coats!
I cut out a straight 18 in the jacket as there is a lot of ease in the pattern and I didn’t want it to look overly big. My measurements could have fit into a size 16 of the finished garment measurements but I thought I wouldn’t risk it and made a straight 18. I did however before cutting the sleeves make sure it wasn’t going to be too tight as there is nothing worse that tight arms on a jacket.
I decided on the short version because I thought it would look quite rock chick and cut at just below my waist to look great with jeans, and dresses! I cut out the pieces on holiday with a little help from my Murphy dog as usual, terrible pattern weight! I wished I’d brought my cutting mat a rotary cutter though because the fabric is quite ‘sticky’ in that it sticks to itself a lot so cutting it with scissors was quite a task.
Suedette is a mean sew, I mention earlier about it sticking to itself it’s quite like sewing with brushed cotton, but I had to be thankful I wasn’t contending with stretch as well!
I used black interfacing as well with this project, I’m usually of the camp ‘ach no one will see the insides’ but I thought I wanted the jacket to last and last so I did everything properly this time. I love the gold sparkle on this fabric and even when I was sewing in low lights in the evening it still had the spectacular feel to it. Also the benefit of suedette is you don’t need to worry about finishing a lot of the edges either because it’s not going to fray. I also use the wrong side of the fabric to make contrasting cuffs and pocket tops, which I think gives it a cool look.
I have some spare pieces of fabric I salvaged from my pattern tetris and I think I am going to make a clutch bag to match. This fabric would be an amazing bag as it has a hard wearing feel to it. It does however have quite a bit of drape so it was also make a great mini skirt or something like that. It’s not my style and I’d never wear it but now I’m dreaming of making a matching wiggle skirt and making a very 80’s feel suit!
I love how the jacket turned out, and can see myself throwing this over the top of loads of outfits for a bit of warmth and some extra style!
As well as handmaking some key peices for my wardrobe this year I’m also thrifting and up-cycling. That way I can get my dose of retail therapy with craft thrown in for an extra treat, whilst also remaining ethical and sustainable…phew!
I love button down shirts, they just have that cool look that elevates any outfit and are so versatile; you can layer them , roll up the sleeves, tuck them in, wear them open with a graphic tee under…just a great wardrobe staple.
I saw this green/ khaki one in my local Charity shop and picked it up for about £4 I think…It still had a tag in so it’s basically brand new!
We have some really cute iron-on motifs in the shop at the moment. I grabbed these ones but was tempted by the cupcakes too!
I thought the greens in the motifs would tie in really nicely with the green of the shirt…
I played around with the placememt…
But, decided I definitely wanted them on the collar. I ironed them in place using a scrap of cotton as a pressing cloth. The shirt was very long so I also decided to crop it (not too short mind!). I might leave the edges raw for a grungy look…or I might overlock and hem it, I haven’t decided yet!
This was such a quick and easy up-cycle and now I have a funky shirt to wear this weekend and a light jacket for the summer! Let us know if you give this a go, it would be a great project for kids clothes and also a great way to cover up the odd hole or tear in your clothes too!
I’m really enjoying the planning process this year. I’ve been doing lots of Instagram stalking of my fave makers, fabrics and patterns and I’ve managed to narrow my key projects to the following nine (which also includes something for my other half and my daughter too)
I thought setting myself the #makenine2020 challenge would be a great way of keeping track of my ideas and setting realistic goals.
This is not to say I won’t be making more than this…or multiples (I’m already cutting out my second Kalle as we speak!) But it’s my kicking off point and the things I really want to make this year. None of them are massively ground breaking but they are great wardrobe staples for me and I’m so excited to get going…that’s what it’s all about isn’t it!
Top row from left to right:
The Kalle shirt – I’ve already made this version in blue and now I’m making this in the Pink anagram Ruby Star fabrics -eek!
McCall’s M7889 I’m using the black plaid for this and View B
The Ilford jacket -I’m going to make this for my husband, I haven’t started looking for the fabric for this one yet but think it will work well in a cotton canvas
Fennel Fanny pack -I’m going to make this in the ABM Flower market fabrics which will be such a great summer bag!
I live in dungarees and pinafores wherever possible, I actually don’t have a plain black pinafore so I’m going to make the Cleo in black with white top stitching to make it a bit edgy!
I’m going to make some more clothes for my daughter this year. This McCall’s M7829 top and dress combo is so cute and right up her street, she likes matching me so no doubt you’ll see some matchy matchy dresses from us!
Another sundress (McCall’s M7950)..I love dresses so much and I reckon I can layer this with a t-shirt too for those chiller days. This would be great in a gingham, plaid or chambray. I haven’t decided yet.
Finally, the indigo dress I made with Figo Treehouses fabric…this wasn’t the first and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last!!
I’m also documenting all my makes in the #scdressmaking journal. It’s great because you can pop fabric samples in and jot down all your design ideas too. I’d highly recommend it if you always have a million ideas in your head!
So, what are your plans this year and are you also documenting them? We’d love to hear about them! I’ll be reporting back soo with an update on my #makenine2020 !
I’m Debbie, Sammy’s assistant and all round crafty person.
I am mummy to my gorgeous little girl Audrey and my two cheeky dogs, my husband let me take over the basement in our new home for all my sewing stuff… so he is the best 😉
Since I can remember I have always been crafting. From making Fimo jewellery as a child, to studying Womenswear at the London College of Fashion (and a fair bit in-between!). My work has appeared in Mollie Makes, Simply Sewing Magazine, Love Quilting as well as the Samantha Claridge Studio blog! I have sold my designs at craft shows across the South East and now am a freelance crafter…a dream come true!
I ran design label Duck & Duffel for 5 years (now Hila Studio) and made lots of lovely dresses and prints, designing my own fabric and illustrating. Then life got in the way as it often does and I had to get a day job, but I’m back freelancing now and working with Sammy, happy days!
But, despite having a degree in fashion and more than 20 years dress making expeirence I rarely use my skills to make clothes for myself…crazy huh!
I have just bought a new house with my husband and in an effort to spend less and shop more sustainably I am challenging myself to make myself some clothes this year.
To give you a bit of background…I love shopping, I mean LOVE it, in fact at some stages in my life you could definitely have called it a “problem”. I don’t know whether it was boredom and frustration during my twenties and early thirties when I didn’t work in a creative environment and felt like buying beautifful clothes helped me express my creative side, or, I just love buying pretty things, but I spent a lot of money on clothes and shopped nearly every day, buying things on a whim which ultimately ended up in the charity pile. I was always seeking out the next trend and giving it my spin but never feeling satisfied…I never had anything to wear despite having a wardrobe fit to burst!
As I’ve got older I’ve found my ‘style’ and it’s been this way for a number of years now, I know what works for me and my lifestyle and body shape and I’m keen to make some amazing pieces that I’ll get lots of wear out of and the satisfaction of having crafted them with my own hands.
My aim isn’t to replace everything in my wardrobe with handmade, as I have some amazing garments by indie designers in there, which I will cherish for years to come (that’s you Lucy and Yak and Dreamland Clothing!) But If I feel the urge to shop, instead I’ll think carefully about why I need a certain peice, how it will fit into my wardrobe and if I can make it! If I can’t make it I will aim to thrift it (I’ve just discovered a great charity shop down the road which colour codes and separates it’s clothes into categories…it’s Uh-mazing!).
I’m going to document my journey on this blog. In the next post I’ll tell you about where I get my inspiration from and how I plan my makes…spolier alert I’ve just got a fresh Dressmaking journal from the Samantha Claridge Studio shop so that is going to be my new sewing best friend! I’ll also talk you through choosig fabric, the tools I use and of course show you what I make.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey and if there are any specific topics you would like me to cover then do leave a comment!
So until next time, here is my me-made rail below. So far it’s got two Indigo dresses on it because I love a smock dress and cute prints!
Gingham (Samantha Claridge Studio -now sold out) But you could also use this plaid
One of the biggest reasons so many of us craft as much as we do, is to give. To pass on our heartfelt creations to the ones we love. Having a lovingly made project on the go constantly is a part of who we are, and knowing what and who we’re making it for just makes us work even harder to create something beautiful and full of love. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I don’t know about you, but sometimes I run out of people to make for. I’m a hobbyist so not interested in making en masse and selling on Etsy, but I would love to find a new outlet and reason for the amount I craft.
Hopefully I have stumbled upon the answer! Did you know there are charities, all around the world, whose main donations consist of handmade items that are craved by those in need. Hopefully one or more of these options sounds right for you. Let us know if you make anything and who you’re sending it to by telling us on social media – @sewcraftyshop – and using the hashtag #showcrafty x
This wonderful worldwide initiative helps get adorable dresses to children in places around the world where they would normally never even dream of getting something to cute and just for them. With a great guide on how to make the simplest but best dresses, the types of fabric to use, and where to send your dress to locally to you – there are ambassadors world wide – as well as how to start your own Dress a Girl event and tons of photos of the kids looking adorable, this site just pulls on the creative heart strings and is something anyone can take part in.
It’s a well known joke among quilters and those that love them that it’s an addiction. We’ve all got multiple quilts or beginnings of quilts surrounded by fabric, and here’s a new reason to finish! Inspired by the 2012 Olympics, A Gift of Quilts sources charities and hospices around the world that are in dire need of something warm and homemade to make people suffering feel better and loved. Head over to their website to see the list of “Who Wants What” and how you can get involved! http://www.agiftofquilts.co.uk/
This brilliant organisation collects handmade anythings and sells them to raise money for Medicins sans Frontiers/Doctors without borders. It has a few criteria like the gift must be made by you, recently and be in good quality. But other than that the world is your oyster. Check out what other work they do and how you can get involved on their website now. http://www.made4aid.org/
This lovely charity have a book they send out to schools and community groups explaining the importance of speaking out if they are being bullied. They have an adorable mascot called Percy the Pigeon who helps! The charity need volunteers to knit a Percy, following the pattern on their website, and send it in to be used during talks, and let’s children know they are not alone. Knit your own Percy with the pattern on the Are you being bullied? website now! http://areyoubeingbullied.com/
Another knitting one! The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Children’s Fund (RN&RMCF), the only charity dedicated to supporting children whose parents work for the Naval Services, is looking for knitters to volunteer their time and their spare wool to create small dolls for the charity. All the patterns, info inc materials needed are on the website – these dolls are so so sweet! Get involved on their website now. http://rnrmchildrensfund.org.uk/
Craftivism as a concept isn’t new, but this website is certainly a breath of fresh air. Learn what you can do to bring craft into making a difference, a quiet creative protest for things that matter. With a whole heap of creative project ideas, you can get lost in this website and its inspiring ideas for weeks! Learn what you can do to make a difference with your craft, bit by bit, it’s all important. Something a bit different here but we love it! Learn more at https://craftivist-collective.com
This organisation encourages people to make sweet syringe driver bags for people who need to carry them around with them. Usually those in palliative care or cancer fighters. They also need small personal effects bags and small ring pouches for when belongings need to be safely returned to loved ones after someones passing. This is such a kind and unheard of idea, to me anyway, and a lovely way to give back and make someones day a little easier. Find the detailed patterns and info on how to get involved on the Making for Charity website now. http://www.makingforcharity.co.uk/
Animals need donations too! The Snuggles Project is a totally beautiful idea to connect crafters with lonely shelter animals that just need a snuggle. Make Snuggles following their patterns (knitting, crochet, sew, no-sew, toys etc), find a local shelter on their list, using the kitten symbol to show they a re participating, and send your donations in! Even if your local shelter isn’t involved yet (but lots are) let them know about it and become a part of a wonderful movement. Ah my heart. http://www.snugglesproject.org/
9. Love for the Elderly & The Forgotten Ones : International Card Exchange for the Elderly
It’s been so wonderful researching this post, and this one is great to end on. Create beautiful cards and letters to be sent to people who may never receive another card again. Let them know they are thought of and loved. Wish them a Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas. You don’t know how much one thought, one handmade keepsake, can really mean to those lonely and often forgotten members of society.
Lion Brand have this fantastic search form on their website. Type in the sort of charity craft you’re into, where you are and BOOM! Lots of needy charities just waiting for your goodies. http://www.lionbrand.com/charityConnection.html
Let us know if you know of ANY other fabulous charities gagging for our crafty donations, or if you already donate, and they’re not on this list, let us know who to! And next time you’re about to send something off, tag us on social media using @sewcraftyshop and #showcrafty so we can be extra proud of you.