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!

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 😊  

Cosy Winterwear…

My snuggly Southbank Sweater Dress

Hey there again!

Hope you’re all getting plenty of sewing time in.

The weather has took a sudden drop in temperature up here and we are having some heavy frost and lots of threats of the dreaded white stuff! I’m not looking forward to that let me tell you! With this in mind I decided that I needed to update my wardrobe and make some more snuggly Southbank Sweater Dresses as they’re so easy and comfortable to wear and fabric dependent can easily be dressed up or dressed down. I have made this pattern a few times before however it was a couple of years ago now and they have been, well, let’s just say well loved, so I was due a few more worthy of going out in public! I had to make a smaller size this time as my previous versions were 2 sizes bigger. The only thing I’d forgot to note anywhere on my records was that I’d  lengthened the skirt on those which meant I got quite a surprise to find that this one was much shorter!! Once the hem band was on I didn’t think it was that indecent so left it as it was. Had it been much too short I would have just used the pattern piece and made a deeper band.

As soon as I spotted this leopard print on Sammy’s website I knew it’d make the perfect outfit for all
occasions. I have used Ponte before however this one is so much softer than ones I’ve previously
used. It’s a beautifully soft ponte roma and despite my efforts to capture the exact colour I just
cannot get the colour to come through true on a photograph. It’s not your usual brown/beige tones
it’s more of a grey/blue/green. It is a really beautiful colour.

As usual I prewashed the fabric as soon as it arrived and it washed and dried beautifully needing minimal pressing.
For anyone who hasn’t made this popular pattern (although I’m not sure that there’s many people left out there who haven’t) it comes together very quickly and I completed all of this on my Babylock overlocker. I think all in all from cutting out the fabric to finishing the dress it was only a couple of
hours.

I’ve worn this dress out a couple of times now and had so many compliments and people “stroking” as they can’t believe how soft it is.

I am definitely not done with this pattern yet and have already spotted a couple more fabrics on Sammy’s website that I have my eye on for more Southbanks. I may even leave off the neck band for mething a little different too. I think the fabric would make a fab little cardigan too if you’re not a fan of the sweater dress.

If you’ve got this far, thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

Until next time, happy sewing!

Lisa
@sewlastminutelisa

Party time!

My festive dress

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.

 

See you next month.

 

Lisa

@sewlastminuteLisa

Cosy up…

Hot Fix sweater!

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 on Instagram and then watching a bit on YouTube recently 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…… 

Gingham dreams!

Vintage style ruffle dress project...

 
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!

Costa Tote

Handy Tote!

This month I thought I’d give my wardrobe a break and make the Helen’s Closet Costa Tote. This is a pattern she released recently which you can get for free if you sign up to her newsletter. It is a lined, reversible tote bag with large pockets and shoulder straps, and there’s nothing I like more than a big bag to hold all my ‘essentials’, you know, purse, phone, wet wipes, kids toys, emergency snacks! 

I thought I’d use this beautiful cotton denim chambray  for the outside and line it with a bright rainbow triangles cotton. Then I had the idea to embellish the pockets with a bit of embroidery because, well, why not??!! 
 
When I received my fabric I couldn’t believe how soft they both were. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with chambray before but, oh my goodness, I’ll definitely be using it again! It’s sooooo smooth and buttery to touch and drapes wonderfully. I can see a button down shirt dress in this! And the triangles cotton was also beautiful, I just loved the colours and could see this as a Kalle shirt!
Anyhoo, it wasn’t long before the fabric was cut out and I was thinking about starting my embroidery. I chose colours to compliment the lining and took inspiration from an image I’d seen on Pinterest, but mostly doodled my own design. 
 
I wasn’t sure how to transfer my design onto the fabric. I thought a fabric pencil wouldn’t give me a crisp enough line and I didn’t have any transfer paper to hand. I’m sure there are lots of ways to do it but I went with a plain old biro! I embroidered outside of the lines so you can’t see them.
 
See that little yellow button below? Well I decided I didn’t like it so I unpicked it and used a different technique.
 
I think I need to clarify here that I am clearly not an expert in hand embroidery! That’s plain to see! It’s not as neat as I’d like but I wasn’t going to rip it all out and start again! The whole piece took me a couple of evenings to complete and once that was done I could start constructing the bag. 
 

The instructions are brilliant, just what you’d expect from Helen’s Closet. I tweaked my bag slightly as I decided to line the pockets to protect the back of the embroidery. I also put a small pocket on the inside. It all came together in a  couple of hours and is a really sturdy bag, deep with good sized pockets, and what seamstress doesn’t like a pocket, right??!! I’ve already used it loads and think I’ll be making a few more of these as gifts.

Florals!

I’m a big lover of bold prints and textures within my wardrobe, but I always feel like theres one type of print missing- floral. There are some absolutely gorgeous floral prints out there but I’ve never felt like they were quite me, they always seem to bit a bit too delicate or girly, or never quite the right style of floral to fit alongside my other prints.

So I got super excited when I came across this Figo Promenade Vases Cotton it’s the perfect mix of unusual, boldness and floral – right up my street.

This print is probably something that is more traditionally used for home furnishings. I imagine that  a lovely cushion or a roman blind would look great in this fabric. It’s 100% cotton and while its not overly stiff it isn’t as drapey as the likes of a cotton lawn, but it has a lovely soft texture – a button up shirt would work really well in this fabric!

I decided to use the Fibre Mood Violet dress as a starting point for my make. It’s a lovely simple dress but a bit loose fitting for my style, so I used the pattern to make a top. I cut the pattern just below the hip and decided to shorten the sleeves to make it lovely and summery. (Yes I know the weather is getting colder but I’ve never been one for sewing seasonally haha!) I’ve found that it’s a really versatile shape top, and it looks great dressed up or down. I french seamed the top, which I tend to always do when working with cotton, so its nice and neat on the inside and will hopefully last a long time. The fabric is really easy to work with and wasn’t too bulky which made french seaming really simple. It’s quite a simple shape top so even with french seams it comes together quite quickly.

It’s the second time I’ve made this pattern so there were a few adjustments to the instructions I made. I didn’t interface the neckline facing as I found last time I made it, it seemed to make the facing a bit too bulky to sit flat and with the Figo Cotton already having a decent weight I didn’t think it needed it. Also instead of under stitching the facing I decided to top stitch the neckline because who doesn’t love a bit of topstitching detail?!

I’m really pleased with this top and I love the print! The vase details are so unique and the little touches of yellow flowers are so cute! There’s a lovely selection of Figo cotton on the website at the moment. The Promenade and Rolleken collections are my favourite!