This month I was feeling quite festive for some reason so when it came to choosing fabric for my October make there was only one option for me…. a festive dress. After browsing Sammy’s website, I opted for the Luxury Textured Lurex Jersey. Now, I was slightly concerned that I may look like a Christmas Turkey as it is quite foiled but never one to let that put me off I ordered it anyway! I don’t know about you but I certainly feel like there are no boundaries now I sew my own clothes. I’d never dream of going into a store and buying something in this sort of fabric. When it arrived I was super pleased. It was lovely and soft not a hint of “plastic” or cheap fabric. It was lovely. It was straight into the washer for the pre wash however I was a bit concerned how something like this would wash and was worried that the foil might “break”. I washed it on 30 degrees and have to say it washed beautifully. It was exactly the same when it came out of the washer as when it went in
I’d already decided that it was going to be a Sewhouse 7 Bridgetown Dress. For those who aren’t ofay with this pattern, you can wear it either way around. The wrap is designed to be worn at the back or front with an elasticated waist. I had made this pattern before in a woven fabric and wore it with the cross at the back but decided to size down for this version with it being a jersey fabric and I intended wearing it with the cross at the front. As soon as I started cutting out the fabric I knew I was gonna love it when it was finished and I was right. You can see from the pictures of it sitting on my work table how much it shimmers. Well, in real life it’s even better!
The fabric was a dream to sew. It wasn’t too slippery when sewing either. I used ballpoint needles as it is stretch and these worked perfectly. I didn’t get any snagging or fine pulls using these needles. I finished the seams after sewing them on my regular sewing machine by overlocking them however it didn’t fray so no worries if you don’t have an over locker.
I ordered 2.5m with a view to doing the longer version however when it came I decided to make View B which finishes just above the knee. Then it hit me. Rather than stash the remainder until I could come up with another project to fit the remaining fabric, I decided that I would make my daughter a top to wear with jeans or high waisted trousers for going out in. Another plus is that two of my girls are the same size so this will no doubt be shared! I had the perfect pattern and had made it previously in viscose for the summer holidays. The pattern is Simplicity 8654. It’s a great little pattern and these tops are so on trend this season as is this type of fabric.
Added bonus is the top comes together really quickly. I made this top in about 1 hour. I felt like I’d won the game given that I’d made a dress and a top out of 2.5m of fabric with only scraps left. Small things please me ☺
This fabric would also make a fabulous batwing jumper to dress with jeans or a pencil skirt and I’m already thinking of ordering more. Is it wrong to have the same fabric but different garments I wonder? It isn’t a thick fabric it is quite lightweight however not at all see through. Perfect dressy fabric and will take you to any event whether it’s at the festive time of year or not! I can’t wait for the next occasion I can wear it out. I did want photographs with a Christmas tree in the background however hubby objected to the Christmas tree going up first week in November!! So for now here is myself and Mia wearing our garments in matching fabrics.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I’d love to see your makes in this fabric.
So I’ve made a lot of coats recently but what cold days, when the sun is shining, really need is a nice chunky sweater with a cosy neckline. something that can be thrown on over anything from ‘dashing to the gym’ gear to ‘school run’ jeans.
I have also been seeing a fair bit of hot fix vinyl popping up onInstagramand then watching a bit on YouTuberecently and really fancied having a play myself…… so the idea for the Hot Fix Sweater came about.
I put together my shopping list: lovely snuggly fleecy back Jersey in this beautiful dusty pink, teamed with some sporty stretch mesh and Hot Fix Vinyl in black flock and rose gold glitter, obvs used Samantha Claridge’s fantastic thread match service too. Extra bits needed came from my workshop, black zip, black eyelets, black cord and cord stops all reclaimed or accumulated from charity shop finds and old pieces of clothing.
My starting point for this make was a tried and tested raglan sweatshirt pattern, (McCall’s M6992 cut in a size 14). I now have 4 tops from this pattern, all with sleeve hack variations.
I wanted four separate bands along the arms plus cuffs. Originally I envisaged having the black mesh as a single layer but with the difference in fabric weight I though it better to layer the mesh over the jersey sections I had cut out. The couple of centimetres lost by cutting and re-joining the sections was easily made up by cutting a slightly deeper cuff section.
The thin neck band I replaced with a deep band about 14cm deep, leaving the right front arm seam open to about 2/3 of the way down to accommodate the zip I wanted to insert. I attached the neckband simply by cutting it slightly longer than needed then trimming to size once it was on.
The hemline on the original pattern runs straight round but I quite fancied the idea of a stepped hem so I needed a facing for both front and back hems and these needed to go on before the side seams were sewn. I drafted a little sample to check the turning and how the top stitching and internal finish would turn out before extending the hemline at the back of the sweater to be 10cm lower than the front.
One more thing to note about the construction of this sweater is that I actually went old school and did the whole thing on my sewing machine, zig zag 1.5/1.5 for the seams, overcasting 2.5/5.0 to neaten the edges, top stitching length 4.
The reason for this is that my trusty overlocker has for some reason stopped slicing and started chewing anything thicker than a light cotton. ‘Change the blade’ I hear you cry…. Yup, I’ll do that just as soon as I can undo the screw that holds the blade on, it appears to have been welded into place circa 1745 when this overlocker was made!!! Then to find a replacement…. Hey ho, that’s a job for another day……
Anyhoo! I digress, back to this lovely sweater. So we have had a chat about what I did and the changes I made to the pattern, now let’s look at the how.
I started by cutting out all the sweater pieces in the pink jersey, sleeves were cut out in full to be sectioned up later, neck band was cut out longer than needed to be sized up later. Originally I cut out the cuffs according to the pattern but when I decided to re-join the sectioned sleeves instead of inserting the mesh panels I cut a second set a little longer.
I sectioned the sleeves by cutting through both sleeves at the same time (this ensured they were matched symmetrically), sectioning them into four by making three cuts.Working down from the neckline I made one slightly arced cut at roughly where the shoulder would be, another cut straight across about 14cm further down and the third cut was 14cm up from the cuff. I cut a sports mesh shape to match the 14cm sections, and overlayed them before re-joining the seams. I only used about a 0.5cm seam allowance when re-joining them so only lost 3cm from the sleeve length over all and added this back to the cuff to give the same final sleeve length. I top stitched each join to make sure the joins would lay nice and flat and were not too bouncy.
Next I had a play with the hot fix vinyl. I knew I wanted to use the markings on my sewing machine as a loose reference so created arrows in black flock and lengthening ‘stitches’ in rose gold glitter.
I worked out that it would be easiest to apply the hot fix vinyl while all pieces were still flat so that was the next job. Glittery stitches went on to the front and back of one sleeve running up from the cuff. An arrow was positioned on the opposite sleeve pointing out from the neckline toward the shoulder and two arrows were positioned pointing inward on the front waistline (I later added a gold glitter section to the end of the waist arrows once the side seams were sewn)
Once all the vinyl details were in place the sleeves were held in place with clips then sewn together. For this kind of bouncy fabric I find clips a little better to hold the layers together.
Before the side seams were sewn I went back to my hem sample and attached the front and back hem facings.
Then the side seams running right from cuff to hem were brought together.
I attached the neck band around the neckline, the zip was next inserted into the front sleeve seam and topstitched into place. Before folding in the top of the neck line (by a nice chunky 4cm) I hammered in an eyelet at each side of the zip top, I popped a small square of jersey attached with fabric glue to stabilise and thicken the area behind where the eyelets were going in. This worked well and they are still in place. I finally top stitched the neck band and folded in and topstitched the hem facings before giving them all a good press.
I am so chuffed with the overall look of this sweater and can see it being worn constantly this winter, I’ll also be thinking about more projects with hot fix vinyl as now I’ve seen how easy it is I’d love to flex my wings a bit with more complex shapes, lettering and layering……
I have been dreaming of giant gingham for a long time. I’m not sure what started it but I thought it would be a super cute dress when I found the perfect fabric. When I saw this fabric on Samantha Claridge online I knew it was for me, but I NEVER sew dull fabrics especially not black fabrics! After I wrestled with myself a little while I settle on the black and white gingham because I thought I could spice it up a bit with the pattern I used.
I planned on making the Jennifer Lauren handmade Mayberry dress so thought I would use awesome big buttons, but when the fabric arrived I knew I had to reconsider. The fabric arrived with a much thicker texture than I was expecting. It’s got a lovely linen feel to it but with a bit most structure, and less wrinkles too! I thought I would find a dress with a big full skirt and make something really vintage but with the checks being directional I wasn’t sure how that would make my shape look.
Then I saw the Alice & co free pattern in partnership with the V&A. It’s a pattern based on one of Mary Quants dresses to celebrate the exhibition on at the moment at the V&A. The fabric was perfect for the ruffles making them stand up around the neck and fluff out at the elbows, so I made a decision!
This project has almost turned into a zero waste one too! I cut out all my pieces and realised I didn’t have enough fabric to make the skirt three times the width so only made it twice. The only fabric I had left was a small section big enough for pockets, maybe on this dress in the future!
The checks made making the pleats super easy as I just used the squares as reference folding the over neatly. I’ve never pleated so much before, and the instructions tell you how to use a form to measure your pleats, which sounded terrifying so I was glad I had the squares already there to use. I had to top stitch the sleeve ruffles down as they were so fluffy they were flouncing in the wrong direction but I think that says more about my elbows than the fabric..! ha!
This fabric is super easy to wash and wear too as I was worried the linen feel would leave it wrinkly. Luckily I washed it and just hug it to dry and didn’t have to do any more to it. The pleats stayed lovely and the bodice didn’t crease so it’s perfect for perhaps packing in a bag or wearing all day and still looking smart at the end of the day!
I recently wore this dress to our new nephews christening, and I got lots of compliments. The wrap over front is very flattering on me and the smallest part of the waist hits me just at the right point. I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern and just made it as it was which was perfect for me. It has a fully lines bodice too, which made it feel even fancier, but helped it come together surprisingly easily!
Whilst this dress isn’t the vintage era I’d normally gravitate towards (normally 40’s and 50’s) I think it was a perfect pairing to this fabric and made me a lovely outfit for the christening which I can now wear again and again to the office and know I’ll be smart and comfy!
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.