Pansies Cotton poplin and the perfect Autumn shirt dress

This might be the perfect Autumn shirt dress!

We had some gorgeous cotton poplins delivered a few months ago and I was itching to get going with a sample to show how gorgeous they are…this has surpassed my hopes! The drape is fantastic for a poplin…no crispiness, and the colours are so vibrant!

I wanted to make a shirt dress with a slight nod to the seventies, with a big pointy collar and mini skirt so I used the Tilly and the Buttons Lyra shirt dress pattern to create this look.

I added a bit of length to the collar points and also sandwiched some cotton lace trim between the two collar pieces before stitching them together. I’m loving using trims like this at the moment! There are loads of lovely trims in stock perfect for adding to collars…just sayin’!

It’s going to be an Autumn/ Winter staple layered up with cardi’s, jumpers and tights! Take a look at the fabulous range of florals in stock -they won’t disappoint!

Lyra shirt dress made with Pansies cotton poplin £12 p/m

Faux sherpa fur on-trend tote bag

I loved making faux fur bags back in the ’90s and I’m not mad that the trend is back if I’m honest! They are a fun accessory and are also warm and cosy to hold…comfort is my jam these days!

I’ve put together a simple DIY mixing the black and cream sherpa fur, so let’s get started!

First, start by cutting out two panels of cream fur measuring 10″ x 13″ and then one of black also 10″ x 13″.

Stitch them all together with the right sides facing so that the black panel is in between the two cream panels.

Next, fold this long piece in half and stitch down each side. Create a boxed corner measuring 4″ across. Pin and stitch in place and trim away the point.

Next Cut a lining piece measuring 13″ x 29″. Fold this in half and stitch down each side but remember to leave a gap of about 20cm in one of the sides…I forgot to do this then had to unpick it, gah! (Do as I say not as I do!!)

Box the corners in the same way as you did for the main bag piece.

Next, Cut two lengths of contrast fur measuring 7″ x 30″ but you can make these longer/ shorter depending on your needs! Stitch down the length with right sides together and turn through. Pin these to the bag front and back equidistant from the bag edges.. Tack in place.

Now we are going to place the main bag inside the lining with the right sides facing (wrong side of the lining facing out towards you. and pin all around the top. Stitch in place, pull the tote through the gap you left in the lining (see why that’s so key now!), and Voila!

A trendy, cosy tote perfect for this season! This would make a great Christmas pressie and is super easy to customise with some internal pockets or playing with the size and proportion!

What do you think? Is this trend for you or just too wild?!

DIY Christmas baubles made with felt!

We love a quick and satisfying project. They make a nice palate cleanser between bigger sewing projects and are a great way of using up fabric scraps too!

I thought I’d get a head start on our Christmas decs and make some fun bright baubles for the tree using some of our felt sheets, hotfix fabric and pom pom makers! Want to know how I did it…read on!

I used a roll of packing tape as a circular template and cut two circles of felt for each bauble.

I then used craft punches to punch out shapes from our hotfix fabric (you can do this by hand if you don’t have a craft punch)

The hotfix irons onto the felt nicely, but I used a piece of fabric as a pressing cloth to ensure I didn’t scorch the felt. Then have fun with cutting some creative shapes and designs! layered up circles and scalloped edges look really good.

I decided to go for fun bright colours and star and rainbow motifs!

I layered up felt and glued it with a glue gun (you could add stitching though which would also look great!) Add the second circle as your backing and start stitching around the bauble with a blanket stitch and some embroidery thread. Leave a gap to stuff it with some toy stuffing or fabric offcuts.

I then added some pom poms to the top of the bauble with a few stitches and some pretty ribbon or twine to hang them from the tree!

These are a super easy and fun craft. These would be a great little activity to do with kids over half term and would also make fabulous tags for really fancy gift wrap!

If you make these we would love to see them! Give us a tag on social media #samanthaclaridgestudio

Shop the materials here::

Craft felt

Hotfix fabric

Pom Pom Maker

Embroidery thread

Sewing a vintage 1970s pattern with Watercolour sunset blurr

 
 
 
To start this post, I should say that I love viscose, I love to wear it, I love the way it moves and drapes and I love that it often comes in great colours and prints. So I was really excited when Sammy got all these viscose fabrics in. I picked this super pastel rainbow fabric to work with and raided my pattern stash for a suitable pattern.

Now one thing I should say is that I do not always love sewing with viscose as it can be a slippery sucker! This one is less slippery than some and did not slide around when I was cutting it out but did shift when sewing, extensive pinning was needed and a walking foot might have helped. However, I’m a lazy sewist and extra steps are not my bag. I did not use a walking foot or reinforce the zipper or really make any allowances for the fabric at all and despite this I think the dress turned out well, which should indicate that it’s a pretty forgiving fabric.

I picked this 1970s pattern, which I had been wanting to try out for a while. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have realised that I’m a bit obsessed with 70s pattern and style and this fabric seems to fit with the 70s vibe. I love the psychedelic vibes and was excited about floating around in this. However, since summer appears to have forgotten us here in London, I need to work out how to style it for autumn. Black tights are not going to cut it with this rainbow so if you have any ideas, please let me know!

 

I’m off to plan some autumn makes now!

Daisy print statement ruffle bag

Our shelves are full of beautiful bright and joyful cotton florals at the moment and whilst we know these are fabulous for dresses, shirts, PJs, etc I wanted to explore some other projects we can make with them to inspire and maybe spark an idea. Smaller projects are quick and satisfying and they can be a great way to use up scraps…then you can co-ordinate your dress and your bag! 

You might remember I made a ruffle bag a few posts back with some chambray denim. I saw a beautiful round version on Pinterest and really wanted to add that to my collection! This would also be lovely in gingham…just sayin’

I marked out a circle that had a 37cm diameter and then cut across the top of the circle at the 30cm mark to give it a flat shape that will form the top opening of the bag. I then cut the following using this process:

2 x main fabric

2 x lining

2 x lightweight wadding

2 x fusible interfacing

I fused the interfacing to the main fabric then place the wadding onto the back and basted around the edge.

I then cut a strip measuring 130cm x 13cm ( I had to piece this together as I only had a metre of fabric.

Fold over the strip right sides facing and sew down each end. Turn through and press then run two rows of gathering stitch along the raw edge and gather until it fits the bag leaving a gap of about 3cm from the top of the bag. 

Pin the ruffle facing in towards the bag so the frill is sandwiched between the main bag pieces with right sides facing. Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance. Turn through and remove the gathering stitches.

Now add two handles (you can make them out of the same fabric but I had some twill tape which worked well) Cut two lengths, measuring 65cm each and pin them to the top of the bag approx 2.5cm from each end.

Stitch your lining pieces together around the curved edge leaving a gap in one side of about 20cm, this is so you can turn the bag through.

Pop the main bag into the lining (lining still wrong sides out) making sure the handles are tucked in and stitch all the way around the top opening of the bag. Turn it through and stitch the gap in the lining closed. Give it all a press and you are done!

The wadding adds some body to the cotton lawn which is very lightweight, and makes a really lovely quality bag! I took it to the shops straight away and it was the perfect size for all my essentials…I’ll be making a face mask with the scraps to match!

What do you think? You could obviously make this without the ruffle and it would be lovely in faux fur or leather for the Autumn/ Winter!

Debbie x

Sewhouse 7 Montavilla dress in viscose

Hey there

How are you all?  Hope there’s plenty of sewing happening in your world.  I don’t know about you but all this chilly wet weather isn’t conducive to encouraging me to be sewing up nice summery garments.  I’m usually away (pre Covid times of course) during August somewhere warm and sunny and often wondering if I’m leaving behind the best of the British weather.  It almost had me fooled last year when we were lucky enough to have lots of sunshine and warmth.  However, this year I’m not so sure!!

Anyway in an effort to cling onto the dreams of summer and lots of sunshine (can you tell I’m desparately trying to avoid sewing up wintery projects in August!!!), when Sammy asked me to choose something from her website for my next Design Team Project I opted for some of the 100% viscose.  After my usual indecisiveness over fabric colours, I opted for the teal and white colourway and have to say it is truly beautiful to work with.  It washed and dried great, no colour runs or bobbling.  Ironing was an absolute breeze!  It pressed beautifully.  I did use the clapper as I usually do when pressing seams but I’m pretty sure it didn’t really need it.  After searching through my patterns I decided it would make a lovely Sew House Seven Montavilla Dress.  I’ve had this pattern for quite a while now but never quite got round to making it.

Once I got the dress cut out, it started to come together really quickly and had some really good and new to me techniques.  I spent ages looking for the frill pattern piece only to find there isn’t one….its created by making a shoulder dart on the back and front bodice.  I thought this was genius idea and love the shoulder detail.  The neckline is self bound and I have to say the fabric is so buttery soft at times I had problems feeling it between my fingers.  

The pockets on the side panel and the piece of elastic at the top of that side panels make a really nice feature too.

I followed the instructions to the letter and didn’t make any changes to the pattern despite wondering if I should add some length due to my height (I’m 5’10”) but I tried it on before hemming and was pleased with the length as it was.

I was really impressed with the instructions for this pattern especially for the mitred corners on the hem and I’ll definitely use this technique where possible on future makes as it gives a really nice neat finish.  Those splits on the sides are just the perfect size.  Just enough leg pops out as you walk and I think it makes the dress look really feminine.

I started a new job back in July temporarily whilst waiting patiently for our business to restart after being badly affected by Covid and after 20 years of working for ourselves and learning a new job, I’m finding it quite stressful right now so I found this make really therapeutic as a result of the fabric choice and pattern itself with its cheeky little techniques.  I’d say the only tricky part was the belt.  Despite having the Prym tube turners, I still managed to get it stuck inside itself.  Luckily, Mia (my youngest) was around and kindly offered to sort the belt for me whilst I cracked on with sewing other parts.

I was super excited to wear this dress and had big plans to wear it for a meal with my bestie only to put it on and drop foundation on it whilst getting ready to go out!  I wouldn’t mind but it’s the first time I’ve worn foundation in 18 months!!!! I was so annoyed so I had to put it on the back burner for another time.  Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long and on A Level results day we took Mia out for a meal to celebrate her grades so took the opportunity to wear it then and get photos for this blog post.

I have to say the fabric is absolutely delightful against my skin.  Its super soft and light and airy.  I definitely chose the right project for the fabric and felt great wearing it.  I will definitely be making more versions of this dress.

I highly recommend this fabric….would it be really wrong to have every colourway??  I really can’t say enough how gorgeous this fabric is.  Yes….you really do need some!

Hope you like the project I chose for this lovely fabric.  

Until next time…. happy sewing!

Lisa

@sewlastminutelisa

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

 

Tiger print Hey Day Dungarees for kids

I love a bold print, they are fun, frivolous, and give me total spring-summer vibes!

As soon as I saw this brand new print come in I knew that it would make a fabulous dress, shirt or overalls. 

As well as the Tiger print fabric, Sammy also got in some other really fun prints which you can shop here

I made my daughter a pair of the Waves and Wild (Was Made By Jack’s Mum) Hey Day Dungarees for Christmas and I’ve been itching to make some lightweight cotton ones for her as it’s a really easy make and comes together really quickly…plus there is a nice amount of topstitching…I love topstitching!

I’ve been sewing a lot with drapey fabric like viscose and crepe lately so I’d forgotten how brilliant cotton is to work with…it doesn’t shift around and it presses like a dream so you always get a nice crisp finish.

This Tiger stars cotton was perfect for this project, it is just the right weight for a spring/ summer outfit and great for running around in, whether you are a kid to an adult!! The fabric washes well and is lovely and breathable.

Audrey loves her new dunga’s! She’s requested some more for the summer as she is convinced she will live in them…I’m sure she will!

I’m also working on a Nina Lee Bakerloo dress with one of the other new fabrics…I can’t wait to show you as it’s a really bold fun look…I just hope I’m brave enough to pull it off!

What sewing plans do you have for Spring? Will you be trying out any of our fun new cotton prints?

Debbie x