A handmade denim chambray plum dress and matching ruffle tote bag

Did you see this month’s Mollie Makes magazine? The free pattern was the Cocowawa Crafts Plum dress which I have had my eye on for a while now, its the perfect combination of oversized but cute and the ruffle detail on the sleeve adds a fun touch!

I’ve been wanting to add a light weight denim dress to my wardrobe for a few years…taken me long enough to get round to it I know! The medium denim chambray is the perfect summer hue and it’s got wonderful drape so it was the perfect choice for this project. You can find it here

I’ve been coveting this gorgeous daisy trim since it came in stock but was unsure what I would use it for…until now! I picked up a metre thinking it would be nice to have some scattered daisies on the dress, but my plans changed once I had made the dress as I like how plain it is  and know I’ll get more wear out of it as a plain denim staple piece.

so…I made the cutest bag and added the daisies to that instead!

Want to know how I made this bag? Check back to the blog tomorrow for the full tutorial!

Debbie x

Window check viscose faux jumpsuit

Hi you lovely lot, Debbie here!

I’m still on my journey to create my handmade wardrobe. It started a year ago during lockdown 1.0 and it been a really interesting year in terms of growth with my sewing, figuring out my style, and focussing on pieces I need. 

I’ve always loved dresses. Dressmaking for myself has not really been something I’ve really ever done though would you believe! I much preferred making for other people, my shop and doing projects for magazines etc. During last spring/ summer I thought I’d make a few pretty dresses in anticipation of the end of lockdown…little did we all know how long that would take to come and we are still a little way off a year later!

I fell into the trap of wanting to sew all the latest patterns…and there have been loads released in the last year! I’m at the point now where I really know what suits me, what I’ll actually get wear out of and not to get sucked into the newest pattern without really considering how it would fit into my wardrobe…that’s not to say there won’t be some rouge additions…sometimes you just cant help fall for that pretty pattern right?!

 

When I saw this Window grid viscose arrive in the shop I knew it would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. My initial idea was to make a dress…but I have loads of dresses so maybe a jumpsuit? 

I’ve seen loads of sewists on Instagram make matching trousers/ skirts and tops and style them like a one-piece and let’s face it jumpsuits can be a pain when you need the loo!

I’ve worn my Style Arc Bob Pants in denim to death since I made them a few months ago so knew a new pair would be a great use of this gorgeous soft viscose and chose to pair it with an Ogden Cami for a really summery comfy outfit.

This black colourway is now out of stock but you can buy the blue version here!

This would work with any cotton or viscose though as both of these patterns are designed for woven fabrics.

Both of these patterns are super quick to make, once cut out they probably took me just over an hour each to whip up!

Now I’ve got two really wearable pieces to add to my me-made wardrobe which will mix and match with my t-shirts, jeans and jumpers. You could even layer a body under the Ogden cami if it’s a bit chilly.

These would also make fabulous Pajamas!

I’ll definitely make these again…a velvet set for winter would be divine!

Are you dress obsessed like me or do you prefer separates?

Below are some other fabrics I think would work fabulously for this set… 

Debbie x

 

Fabric suggestions:

Carol’s hacked Stella hoodie with cosy mink jogging fabric

Carol's cosy hoodie!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nina Lee Bakerloo dress with Cowboy boots print cotton fabric

If you haven’t heard about the brand new sewing pattern from Nina Lee then where have you been!

The Bakerloo dress and blouse is a beautiful statement pattern which comes in sizes 6-28. It’s suitable for all sorts of woven fabrics and the possibilities for customisation are endless!

Admittedly it’s not the pattern for everyone but I love this girly retro style and Nina Lee herself has actually done a hack of this omitting the giant oversized collar, so if that’s not your jam then you still might be interested in the pattern.

It’s a lovely smock dress style with a keyhole and button closure at the back so no zip (always a win in my book!) It has balloon sleeves with gathered cuffs and the dress version has pockets!

I’ve made this dress in a viscose already but was keen to make a fun cotton version and as soon as I saw this incredibly fun Cowboy Boot fabric come in stock I had to snap some up for this project…it’s going to be the perfect Summer dress!

As I usually do, I used my Samantha Claridge Studio Sewing journal to plan this special project. I decided to make a contrast ruffle for the dress and went with just plain off-white cotton I had in my stash. I’ve also seen a few versions of this dress on Instagram with ricrac added to the collar and decided it would be a great way to break up the pattern. I used giant ricrac in a contrast colour and I’m so happy with how it looks! I made the collar and then added the ricrac before I attached the colour to the dress for a neat finish.

This fabric was an absolute dream to work with. It washed well and has a really great amount of drape considering it’s 100% cotton.  

Changes I made to the pattern:

I shortened the sleeves and added shirring to the cuffs in place of an elastic channel as the pattern directs as I love shirring and it’s fairly easy.

I also shortened the length of the dress by approx 4″ as it was hitting my knee and I prefer skirts just above or below. other than that the pattern needed no adjustments and I cut a size 12 which is my usual size.

For reference, my measurements are bust 36″ waist 31″ hips 42″

I can’t wait until the Summer when I can show off this dress and have a good old twirl around in the sunshine 🙂

Have you made this pattern yet? What would you make with this fabulous Cowboy boot fabric?

Debbie x

 

 

Debbie’s Shirred dress with olive floral fabric

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably seen all the hype around the shirred dress trend this summer.

By Hand London did a fabulous tutorial on drafting your own which is on their Instagram and I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a few months now.

As soon as we got this beautiful olive floral viscose in stock I knew it would make a gorgeous Autumn dress and thought I would give the shirred dress a go. It does not disappoint! It’s so easy as there are no real fit issues, this dress will fit any shape or size and can expand while your wearing it which is always a plus in my book!

As I always do when planning a make, I stalk the hashtag first! #bhlshirreddress has plenty of inspiration but I also had a look on Pinterest to see if there were any other good ideas for styling, length and sleeve details and found the following inspiring images…

I’ve made plenty of midi dresses this year so wanted to add a short dress that I can wear with boots and tights into the winter.

This is the gorgeous fabric below which actually has more of a green base than ochre…it’s beautiful!

There are a few others in stock if this is not your colour which would work fabulously for this project.

The fabric I used is a lovely drapey viscose but you can use lightweight cotton (like this gingham) too which would give the sleeves a lot more drama and structure.

You will need:

2m- 3m of fabric (depending on how long you want your dress to be)

Shirring Elastic

Elastic for your sleeve head approx 12mm

Sewing kit

I started by measuring my bust and adding half again to get the measurement for the top of the dress…this was not far off the full with of the fabric 150cm so I  simply used the width of the fabric and the length of 31″ 

Then I cut 2 rectangles for the sleeves measuring approx 20″ long by 24″ wide.

You will need a few bobbins hand-wound with shirring elastic, there are plenty of good tutorials on You Tube if you have trouble getting the shirring to work but I found it worked no problem with a stitch setting of 3 or 3.5.

Make a tube with your main body of fabric and finish the seams. Hem the top of the dress and then you can start shirring the bodice ( I started about 3cm down from the top of the hemmed dress). The By Hand London tutorial gets you shirring the dress flat and then joining the side seams after but I found going round and round in one go in a spiral with a gap of 1cm per row was quicker and easier. I had to change the bobbin about 4 times so keep an eye on your bobbin…nothing worse than stitching nothing!!

I did about 9″ of shirring to get a babydoll dress effect but you could lengthen this depending on how you want your dress to sit.

To make the sleeves I stitched the edges together, finished the seams, and hemmed the top leaving a gap for the elastic. Measure two pieces of 1cm elastic to fit snuggly around your underarm and shoulder and then thread this through the channel in the sleeve. Sew the ends of the elastic closed and sew the gap in the hem closed.

I decided to do 6 rows of shirring on the cuff, in the same way, I shirred the bodice.

To attach the sleeves, pop the dress on (or on a dressmakers dummy ) and pin the sleeves to the underarms with the right sides of the top of the sleeves and the top of the dress facing. Stitch in place with a straight stitch. I stitched the sleeves on with approx 5″ of stitching.

Hem your dress and make yourself a matching mask…because have you even sewn a dress this year if you haven’t made a matching mask?!

I love how this turned out and already have another two planned! The fabric was a dream to work with and the colour is beautiful, not something I would normally go for but I was surprised how it suited my skin tone, I think because the cool pink and blue flowers are warmed up by the olive background.

Have you made a shirred dress or top…would you give this trend a go?

Debbie x

New In Dressmaking fabrics!

We’ve had some lovely new fabrics arrive at Samantha Claridge HQ, perfect for the change of weather and to start off your Autumn/ Winter wardrobe! From viscose to jersey, cotton poplin to rayon jersey, and some stretch lace too!

Below we’ve paired each fabric to a pattern to give you a little sewing inspiration! Please leave your suggestions for pattern pairings in the comments below, we’d love to know what you would make with these beauties!

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Tilly and the Buttons – Lotta dress

Fibre Mood – Franca

Fibre Mood  – Mindy

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Simplicity – S8738

McCalls  – M7983

Pipe Dream Patterns – The Tara Basic

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

McCalls – M7864

Simplicity – 8707

Style Arc – Kitt Knit dress

What’s your favourite fabric and what would you make?

DIY Statement fabric headband

Hairbands and hair accessories are still a huge trend this winter and they are super easy to make with fabric scraps!
In this DIY I will show you a simple way of making a knotted fabric hairband. I used the Ruby Star Society fabric in Spark Mustard  (which is half price in our sale
You could also embellish your hairband with beads or pearls for a fabulous party look and these would also make great stocking fillers!

You will need:

A plain hairband ( I got mine a few years ago from eBay)

A strip of fabric

Glue gun or fabric glue, if you don’t want to use glue you can hand stitch instead.

Basic sewing kit

Lets get started!

Step 1

Cut a rectangle of fabric measuring 21” x 7”. Fold fabric in half right sides together and sew down the long edge leaving a gap of 2” in the middle (to turn through)

Step 2

Press the strip so the seam is in the centre and then sew the short edges

Step 3

Turn through the opening you left when sewing and press

Step 4

Place the hairband in the middle of the fabric strip and tie a knot.

Step 5

Arrange the knot so you are happy with it and that is nice and centred making sure the rest of the fabric reaches the ends of the hairband.

Step 6

Fold in and hot glue the bottom sides down starting one side and folding over the other side.

Let us know if you make this hairband, we love seeing your makes!

Trimmings inspiration

I’m always drawn to sparkly, pretty trims but rarely use them. I think that’s because traditionally trims are used on occasion wear and I don’t have many ‘occasions’ to go to – ha!

We’ve got so many beautiful trims in stock and I am keen to try and find more ways to use them which are a ‘everyday’ friendly. With my fashion backgroud I naturally love looking at Pinterest for dressmaking inspiration and at beautiful embelished clothes so here are a few ways to dress them down!

We have just had some gorgeous daisy trim in two sizes delivered. I love the idea of cutting the individual daisy’s off the chain and adding them to a plain dress for a retro feel. This dress by Miss Patina uses this trim both on the collar edge and individually on the flower print on the actual dress to highlight the daisy print…so lovely!!

Adding some lace trim to the sleeves of an old t-shirt or vest top is a great way of jazzing up an old top that would otherwise end up in the charity bag…

Sew on or iron on motifs are a great way of giving new life to an old shirt and can add a feminine look to an upcycled men’s shirt…

Lace trims added to simple t-shirts are a great every day look. They smarten up a plain tee for work and look a bit more put together with jeans and simple sandals…

I hope this has give you a bit of inspiration for your latest make or upcycle!
 
Do you like trims, have you added any to makes this year or do you feel it’s more a partywear thing?

 

Next time I’ll talk about all the bling!

 

Debbie x

Planning my pastel gingham dress of dreams!

As soon as Sammy uploaded these new gingham cottons to the shop I was all over them like a rash! I’ve always loved gingham and these pastel colours are so happy, summery and pretty and I want to make all my dresses out of them!

My first instinct was to make a Tilly and the Buttons Seren dress with tie straps and patch pockets using a mixture of these two pastel beauties…and to be honest that’s probably exactly what I will do…but I also started searching Instagram and Pinterest for more inspiration and came across some amazing dresses that would also work brilliantly. So here is my run down of the best gingham styles to replicate this summer…

The dress on the left with it’s square neckline and slit detail sleeves reminded me of the By Hand London Jenna dress. This pattern could easily be hacked to omit the back zip and instead create a full placket at the front and lengthen the skirt.

The middle picture with its shirt style top and tierred skirt could be replicated with the McCall’s M7351 by adding a frill to the front bodice and using four tiers of fabric to create the skirt.

The simple sundress on the far right is a classic way to use gingham and looks so pretty paired with a beaded bag and some strappy sandals. You could get this look using the Avid Seamstress Sundress pattern

I absoloutely love the combination of a few different ginghams to create a fun modern look and will probably make myself a (another) Sew Liberated Hinterland dress or a By Hand London Hannah dress out of gingham for the winter but perhaps in a darker colour.

Whatever style I go for though, I know I’ll have a fun dress, perfect for picnics and sunny days out as gingham never goes out of style!

…and I’ll definitely be making myself a matching bag to go with it too!

Do you love gingham or does it give you school summer dress vibes? 

What would you make?

I’ll keep you posted with my make…better get to it before the summer is gone!

Debbie x

New fabrics in stock!

We’ve had some beautiful new fabrics in this week and some old faves re-stocked!

From viscose crepe to on-trend ginghams we have got your summer and Autumn sewing covered!

These fabulous viscose crepes are £8.50 p/m and 140cm wide. They would make a beautiful blouse, dress or jumpsuit. We’ve put together a selection of patterns we think would be perfect for showing off this gorgeous print…

Clockwise from left:

Fibremood –  Norma Blouse

Friday Pattern Company – Adrianna Blouse

Friday Pattern Company – The Hilo Dress

Gingham is huge again this summer. Giving us all the picnic vibes our new pinks and purples in these yummy pastel shades are perfect for girly summer dresses!

From £3.50 per half metre it’s a great fabric to experiment with.

We scoured Pinterest for some gingham inspiration. Mixing and matching scale and colours give a really modern feel to this vintage inspired fabric…

Stripes are always in! We’ve got two new cotton poplins and a re-stock of the linen mix stripes that have been very popular…

Stripes are a great choice for shirts and skirts. playing with stripe directions also gives a modern feel.

Below are a few ideas to get you inspired!

We’ve also had some gorgeous super soft leopard print double gauze in. It has a soft grey/ blue background. 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. A fabulous textile for adult and children’s clothes. This is £7.50 per metre and 130cm wide.