Handmade Christmas cards and tags

Christmas papercrafting!

Hi all, I’m back again with another blog post but wait for it… this one doesn’t involve sewing! I know! Shocked faces all around! But Sam doesn’t just sell fabrics you know! The website is a true treasure trove of crafty potential! So this time I got one of her paper and card packs to make some Christmas cards and tags… yes people, hold on tight we’re getting festive!
 
I’ve dabbled with paper crafts in the past and I like clean, modern designs so when I saw this pack of greens, reds and monochromes with gold and silver foil I couldn’t help but see them as some very funky Christmas cards. What I’ve got here for you is a little tutorial on how to make your own using this pack of papers and some basic supplies which you can easily find on your high street or already in your craft cupboard. So let’s dive in!

First we have what might be my favourite card in the set and I’m calling it ‘Golden Stag’! I used a square card blank, two of the paper designs, some peel-offs and a glittery gold stag which was in a pack from The Works. I cut out a square of each paper just slightly smaller than the card then I cut them in half diagonally. One of each of these triangles got glued to the card and I used a gold strip from a peel-off sheet to cover the seam. I put the gold stag topper in the middle and finished it off with a peel-off greeting. How cute is this?! Very simple and quick.

Next up is this ‘bauble’ wreath card which I made using four different papers and a circle template. I started by covering the card with a green square, again, just slightly smaller than the card. I cut out all my circles and places them on to check the layout, then I glued them on in a circle. I finished it with a ribbon and a peel-off greeting.
 

Here we have another bauble themed card. For this one you need a card blank, 3 circles in different papers, string or ribbon, gold pen and greeting. I used three different foiled papers which I thought looked great together and cut out my circles. I stuck them down with foam pads to raise them a little but glue would be fine. I used green ribbon for the bauble string (although I was originally planning on twine) and stuck a little gold paper square to the top of each bauble. I drew a gold box around the edge and added a greeting at the bottom. And it’s done – clean and festive!

Now this one might not be for everyone but I couldn’t help but use this monochrome paper for a tree themed card. This paper has silver foil accents amongst the white, black and grey and I simply used the triangular shapes to cut out three different sizes of triangles or trees. I glued the large to the centre of a square card blank then used foam pads to stick the two others down on top. Then I added silver stars from a pack from The Works. I drew a silver line around the edge of the card and finished it off with a black glittery greeting. This one is super modern, but I love it!

For my final card I used a piece of A5 green card folded in half. I cut out a triangle from the spotted paper and then cut it horizontally into strips which were glued to the card front. I used some thin silver ribbon, made into a bow, to top the tree and I randomly placed some silver gems which were the same size as the dots on the paper. I put a greeting at the bottom and more gems in the corners and, voila, another one finished!

I also made some tags with some scraps of the papers by cutting out simple boxes, triangles and circles to make presents, trees and baubles. I think I made the circle template from drawing around the lid of a glue stick. Again, a really simple and effective idea.

 

The problem is once I’d started I couldn’t stop! So I also made a paper bauble from 6 circles of card. I have a circle punch but you can draw around a glass or something similar and make your own template. I then folded them in half and glued one half to another and so on. I finished by glueing the string down the centre before glueing the last circles together.

This simple heart is made with two different papers and a bit of string. I cut two lengths of each paper 22 x 2cm and 2 other lengths of each in 13 x 2cm. I stuck two different designs of paper together to make 2 long and 2 short and then layered them long, short, short, long. Hold one end and fold the outside pairs into the middle and staple. 

I hope you’ve found some inspiration here and will give it a go yourself. These are absolutely gorgeous quality papers and I have plenty left for more crafty goodness, both Christmas and otherwise! For all of these projects I wanted the paper designs to be the focal point. I’ve kept them super simple, which may not be for everyone, but you can easily jazz them up as you fancy, just have a play!
 
Thanks Sammy for the card and paper pack, I really enjoyed prepping for this post! Roll on Christmas!
 
 

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

Autumn Wilder Gown with only 2m of fabric!

Now that we are rapidly heaing into Autumn/ Winter I’m looking to add some versatlie dresses to my me-made wardrobe that can be layered with knitwear and worn with boots or trainers.

I decided to give the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company a go. It’s been such a popular pattern in the sewing comminty but I wasn’t sure it was quite my style earlier this year, but I’ve seen some great styling of it lately and I thought it would probably be a useful pattern for the Autumn/ Winter months so I gave it a try and wasn’t disappointed!

 

Anyone who has made the Wilder Gown knows it comes together really quickly, but it can be quite fabric hungry so I wanted to see If I could squeeze a mini version out of 2m of fabric…I only went and did it…and with hacked full sleeves too!

I don’t know about you but I have a few bits of 2M fabric in my stash and not quite sure what to do with them so this hack is a great one to get the look of a gathered smock dress but maximising fabric use

This is how I did it!..

Firstly, picking a wide fabric is key to squeezing this dress out of 2M! I used the black and white pea spot georgette which is 150cm wide along with some black velvet ribbon for the neck tie for added prettiness and saving time and fabric!

 

If polka dots arent your thing Sammy has some other beautiful fabrics that would work brilliantly, these are all 150cm wide and have beautiful drape so are perfet for the Wilder Gown…

From left to right:

Navy flower garden viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Autumn floral print viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Ochre crinkle Georgette £3.50 per 0.5m

Aubergine Georgette £4.75 per 0.5m

 

So, onto construction!

I cut the top as instructed and then used the width of the fabric to make one long skirt panel, this is obviously narrower than the pattern and makes for a slightly less full skirt. I then cut two narrower strips for the bottom ruffle and stitched them together end to end.

I wanted a full sleeve that I could add a shirred cuff to so I used th slash and spread method on the sleeve and cut 2 on the fold using the whole width of the fabric.

This pattern gives you the option to make a neck tie with matching fabric or use ribbon. I chose velvet ribbon for two reasons, firstly it saves on fabric! and secondly I thought a neck tie in this polka dot print would be too much and the velvet ribbon breaks it up a bit and adds a touch of luxury!

Georgette is a fairly ‘bouncy’ fabric and doesn’t take well to pressing so I opted to top stitch the waist seam and ruffle seam. This is a feature that is used in the Myosotis dress and I’ve adpoted for a few of my dresses now…It helps to keep the seams flat and I love a bit of top stitching, it’s so satisfying!

I shirred the cuff of the sleeves 1.5″ up from the hem of the cuff to add some volume which is oh so popular at the moment and I have to say I’m loving it! 

I’m so pleased I managed this mini dress hack with just 2m of fabric and the outcome is lovely! Next time I would add pockets though! This should see me through the winter months with tights, boots and a biker jacket!

Would you give this a go? What are you making for the change of season?

Julia pocket top in leopard print

@aliivens makes a cosy jumper

For this months theme of ‘knitwear’ I chose this lovely leopard print ponte* because, ya know, I’d live in leopard print if I could!

It’s beautifully soft and who doesn’t love the idea of a project that is going to be easy to sew but super comfy when it’s finished!

*This fabric is now sold out but there are lots of other lovely jersey knits in stock here

I chose to make the Julia Pocket Top by Sew Me Something. I’ve made this top four times before, including once for my sister, and I know it’s a great pattern and a quick and simple make. The integrated pockets on the front are quite genius and you get a different look depending on the fabric you make it with. I got version 1, which is a clean, long-sleeved top with a simple neck band, out of 1.5m and I knew this would be a boxy top so I cut the width of the smallest size but kept the sleeve and neckline of the size 14.
 

The fabric was pre washed at 30 degrees and ironed with a medium heat prior to cutting, not that it really needed it! I did wonder at one point if I should be using my walking foot but this fabric went smoothly through both my sewing machine and overlocker. It took approximately 90 minutes to make up and that included having to rethread one of the loopers on my overlocker when it ran out!

I love the oversized look of this design. I think this will be a great option for throwing over my running gear when the weather gets a little cooler. Looking at it now, I wonder if the neckband should have been a little smaller… I might go back and change that later (probably not though!).
 
That’s all I have to say about this make. A quick and easy one, perfect for autumn and lovely and comfy. Thanks Sammy for this gorgeous fabric!

Rainbow stripe cotton shirtdress

Alexa's Sew Over It Alex Shirt dress

Hi All! After a bit of a break, I’m back with the Samantha Claridge design team and here to provide you with a very vibrant return.   

This summer I’ve been fully embracing my love of colour and pattern and it’s been great. So for my first project back with the Samantha Claridge design team, I wanted to make something that fit this bill. With this in mind, this rainbow striped cotton basically screamed ‘pick me’ at me!

I have a number of Sew Over It Alex shirts, from their capsule wardrobe e-book, in steady rotation in my wardrobe. I love a shirtdress but the only one of the Alex shirtdresses I made was too big and long and I just didn’t love it and ended up donating it to a friend. I thought that it might be time to revisit it.

This Robert Kaufman cotton is a gorgeous weight and was dreamy to cut out and sew. I had fun playing with the stripes on the yoke and collar. I cut out some sleeves but thought that a dress this bright is really going to be worn mainly in the sunshine so decided against adding them. I think this works really well as a sleeveless dress though.

Embracing the kitch-ness of my outfit, I used these super cute heart buttons. I was a little concerned that due to the unusual shape, they would open unexpectedly but I have had no problems with them.

It’s a shame the weather has taken a decidedly autumnal turn so I’m not sure how much wear I’ll get out of this dress this year. However, if pride festivities return next year, I have my outfit sorted!

Sienna jacket in Rico blush leaves canvas

 

Wow how is it September so soon?

 

As Keats once penned in his Ode to Autumn. “Tis the season of Mists and mellow fruitfulness”

I just love the Autumn, as the too hot days of summer start to slip away I begin to think of what’s yet to come, boots and tights and warm coats! But before that is needed, we get to move gently through cooler days.

I have really wanted to make the Sienna Maker Jacket by Closet Core patterns for ages. I didn’t list my “make nine” on Instagram this year as I get too distracted by all the lovely new patterns and rarely stick to it. But if I had, this pattern would definitely have featured on it!

I think it’s a perfect jacket for the coming autumn, especially in this lovely Rico Fabrics 100% cotton canvas.

This colourway is now out of stock but it’s available in green, polka dot and star print. Click here to shop Rico canvas

Not too heavy, just perfect for those cool mornings, walking to work. But light enough that if it should warm up during the day, I’ll still be comfortable on my walk home!

I chose to make view C for my Sienna in a straight size 12 and although I wasn’t sure which style to make initially, I think the boxy style of view C really suits the nature of the canvas.

The Sienna is described as “a chic utility jacket inspired by vintage French workwear. Designed for hard-wearing use by makers and artists, it functions as both stylish outerwear and a highly practical layer for use inside the studio”

The canvas is a generous 140cm width and when it arrived, I gave it a quick 30° wash and line dried it. I doubt I’ll need to wash it, but you never know and if I do, I certainly would hate it if my lovely jacket were to shrink on its first trip around the washing machine! The fabric is a kind of dusky pink with black leaves which seem to tumble all over the surface, some solid black and some not quite solid, a bit vague in nature. Perfect autumn leaves.

The surface texture is quite coarse in appearance so perfect for “chic work wear!” I chose to add a Black Guetermann thread for top stitching, which really shows off the buttonholes, placket and patch pockets.

I just love the crisp notched collar which can be worn buttoned at the neck. The features of the optional sleeve pockets and a back-button placket are just so different to any other jacket pattern that its instantly recognisable. I really think as the canvas gradually ages, this jacket will just get better and better, I absolutely love it!

Although, I must say though one thing perturbs me! The pattern and so my jacket, button on the wrong side (the man’s side) I realised this before I came to add the buttons and buttonholes, but chose to go along with it anyway!

I think as its meant to be work wear, it’s a unisex design feature and although it feels a bit strange to undo and do-up buttons on the wrong side, I’m sure I’ll get used to it as I’m planning on wearing this all the time!

I really hope you love my pink canvas Sienna as much as I do. Which is a lot!!

Till next time keep chatting and stitching! @Chatterstitch aka Carol 😉

Lulu Cardigan by Pattern Scout in leopard print ponte roma

Sally's me made knit cardi

Hey All! Sally here aka The Yorkshire Sewist.

I don’t know about you guys but I lack me made cardigans in my wardrobe and when I came across the Lulu Cardigan by Pattern Scout via my fellow blogger Carol, I had to make it!

I fell in love with the peplum style of this and thought it would make a cute addition to my many dresses.

The Pattern calls for Medium to heavyweight knit fabric, such as double knit, ponte or scuba knit. So I had a look through Sammy’s shop and came across this fabulous Leopard Ponte Roma Jersey MP5125PE (which is unfortunately is out of stock at the moment but others available here) I knew I had to have it!

Now, I’ve not sewn much with jersey and buttonholes, so for a change I went for these beautiful heart shaped snaps that would set this cardigan off a treat.

As with Sammy’s parcels they come beautifully packaged and had all my materials at hand to make a start with my project.

I do quite like taping PDF Patterns together and with this cardi with different cup sizes it was really good to let you know which pages needed to be printed rather than wasting half a tree!

Armed with my Sewing Journal I was able to make sure I noted any adjustments and made sure I cut all out all the required pattern pieces.

According to my measurements I went for Size 12 and D Cup and was taking a risk by not toiling this! I made the usual adjustment by taking 1.5” off the sleeve length.

I used my frixion pen for pattern markings as it is easier to use on jersey fabric.

The pattern asked for a strip of knit interfacing for where the buttonholes/snaps go but I had some Vilene Knit stabiliser tape which was just the right width and used that instead and worked a treat.

This was a really quick sew to say I had to make the peplum and gather with dental floss, it makes gathering so much easier as you set your sewing machine to a wide zig stitch and place the floss in the middle so that the needle on your machine goes either side of it. Make sure you leave an inch or so at the start and end of where you want the gathering stitiching. Then all you do is pull and it just glides! So much easier than using two rows of stitching as I can never gather that way!

But with ‘cheating’ with snaps it made the whole process a lot easier and no getting angry at Mr Singer for not chewing up the fabric, he has a nasty habit of that when it comes to jerseys but this was great to sew with.

Of course no memade garment is complete without adding in a label. I used this one by CraftyPinUp and the gold glitter and black just suits it so well.

Oh aye not forgetting the copious amounts of topstitching involved but it was well worth the effort as the end result just looks so professional. As usual I tested out the stitch length to make sure I had it at the right tension.

So here is my completed Lulu!

Head over to Sammy’s Instagram stories to see the cardi in action!

Happy Sewing!

Sally x

A denim chambray Zadie jumpsuit

Alsion in her zadie jumpsuit in denim chambray from Samantha Claridge Studio

Alison's new favourite pattern!

 
 
 
Well hello there! What a year it’s been so far! Aside from what has dominated the news for the last 6 months (lets not dwell on that) I have decided that 2020 shall be remembered as ‘the year I got on the Zadie bandwagon’!!!
 
Quite honestly I have a bone to pick with all of you for not convincing me to try this pattern earlier! I truly believe that, along with the Kielo wrap dress, this is a garment that suits everyone. I don’t think I’ve seen a dodgy one yet!
My first go at this pattern was out of a 100% cotton wax print and, of course, it sewed up beautifully. It’s such a comfy jumpsuit that I immediately decided I needed many more in my wardrobe to take me through all seasons! So for my second version I thought the sleeved option in a nice mid-weight chambray in a neutral colour would be wonderful for the Autumn. I was gifted 3m of this beautiful fabric from Samantha Claridge Studio and I knew it was going to be perfect for the job as I’d used it before on the Costa Tote a few posts back. Obviously I washed it at 30 degrees first and gave it a good iron before cutting it out.
 
I started making this a couple of weeks ago on one of the hottest days of the year! I could barely sit at my machine for 10 minutes without breaking into a sweat and forget about getting the iron out! I did what I could in small stints and, fortunately, this is a simple make which comes together very easily. I did make a silly boob early on though as I wasn’t paying much attention to the instructions so attached the pocket without sewing up the bottom of the bag… hey ho, easily fixed! And that will teach me!
 
 
I modified the pattern by tapering the legs as I’m not sure the wide leg style suits me. I did this by using the Made By Jacks Mum Hey Day Dungarees as a guide for the shape of the legs.
 
All in all this project was a pleasure to sew. The fabric is a dream to work with, is so soft and behaves well. It frays a little but I overlocked the edges to tidy them up. The reverse is a lighter shade of blue which looks great when the sleeves/hems are rolled up. I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this and it can be styled up in a few different ways. 
 
Guess what I want to make now… a Zadie dress hack! Have you hacked the Zadie? Let me know!
 
Laters,
Ali x

Bottle green bellissima jersey top

Sally's Somerset top and trying a new colour...

 

I don’t know about you guys but I always seem to stick with one colour when it comes to tops, mine seems to be navy but when it came to my next project for Samantha Claridge Studio, I thought I would be a bit daring!

So I chose the delightful Bottle Green Bellissima Jersey with 2 way stretch and it’s so soft with wonderful drape. 

I used my sewing planner to make sure I wrote down what size I made and for future reference so I can remember if I made any adjustments as I do have a terrible memory at times!

With this beautiful fabric being 60” wide I was able to get my top cut out on the double fold to save on how much fabric I used.

As always, I tried my stitch lengths on a scrap bit of my fabric to make sure I got the tension right as nothing worse than popped seams whilst wearing!

This pattern calls for either tape or iron on edge tape  to stabilise the shoulder seams to help them not to stretch out and  the Viliene Seam Tape I’ve used here does the job brilliantly and it’s a steal a £1 for 3m.

The construction of this top was really easy and the instructions were clear. I love using a twin needle to top stitch, it finishes off a garment really nicely.

The only part of the construction that blagged my head was using shirring elastic to gather, which I haven’t done before but again the instructions were clear and was able to do this easily!

Of course my sewing assistant was at hand at times hahaha!

Here is the finished top, modelled by moi in my newly decorated bedroom

The only adjustments I made was to use the ¾ sleeve instead of the full length sleeve as I do have short arms and this fitted perfectly and made a straight size 16.

Happy Sewing!

Sally x

Sally’s Asteria Dress project with peonie print stretch cotton

Hi Everyone! 

Hope you’re all well in the current climate we are all living in, hat a strange place it is isn’t it?

For my next Project for Samantha Claridge Studio I wanted something summery to brighten up my days and when I saw this fabric it fitted the bill perfectly! It’s called Peonie Print Stretch Cotton and it’s a Medium weight cotton fabric with viscose and 3% elastane so it can work with an array of patterns that needs a bit of give from trousers to dresses and anything else you fancy inbetween.

 

Now I did decide to make a tried and tested Hawthorn Dress by Colette Patterns but when Jenifer Lauren Handmade brought out the Asteria Dress it was just destiny. Come on how doesn’t love a vintage inspired dress with pockets!

I’m finally getting on top on my health conditions, even managing to lose some of the medication weight and its finally showing in my makes so I ended up making a size 14 with no adjustments.

The fab thing about this fabric too as its extra wide so I was able to double fold my fabric when it came to cutting out the bodice so I wasn’t wasting any fabric.

Phew, all cut out, it was handy to having my sewing planner to tick off the pieces I cut and made sure I didn’t forget anything!

Now when I start sewing I always need a good cup of coffee to keep me going, this one was a cherry bakewell flavoured coffee

This Dress came together really quickly and love the facing that is used in this pattern as it gets the square neckline down to a T!

Before I stitched in the ditch of my facing to the bodice I put in quite an apt label as I do have a man mog that likes to assist in my sewing adventures… well, sit on everything that I need at the time!

The instructions called for the sleeves to be set in, personally I hate this method so I went against the grain and put them in flat before sewing up the side seams.

Then onto the pockets and skirt pieces and before I knew it I had the dress made! Also remembering to grade my seams down before finishing them which made quite a mess hahaha!

So here is my finished dress and I totally love it! It’s so summery and just the right amount of vintage style yet modern and the waist ties cinch it in really well.

I even managed to get some Alfresco sewing out in the garden which is a bonus! Does anyone else do this?

Happy Sewing!

Sally x