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

Closet Case Patterns – Clare coat

I’ve wanted to make a coat for a while, mostly to challenge myself, but also because I’ve got a couple of coats which have seen better days! But this particular coat has been quite the undertaking – but then I knew it would be and the understanding was that I would take my time with it because there are so many techniques that I hadn’t done before… but more of that later.
 
For my next project for the Samantha Claridge Studio Design Team I wanted to make the Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat since I’d had the pattern hanging around for about six months! I’d also been looking at the fuchsia wool mix coating on the website and thought that the pairing would work beautifully. And, of course, back in December it was the perfect time of year to make a wool coat! I needed 3m of the coating and 2m of a lining and chose a silver polyester lining from the website.
The wool is washable so the first thing I did was put that and the lining in a 30 degree wash. The wool came out totally uncreased but the lining needed a good press and I found throughout the project that the lining creased easily and regularly needed ironing. I was careful not to use too much heat on the wool just in case, which didn’t help with the seams. It also took on an orange tinge when too hot but this faded with cooling.
 
Before I started I did some research on the coat and found a few references to it being tight across the back. The sizing put me in the 14 range but I decided to size up because of these concerns – and I’m glad I did. The size across the hip is fine but the shoulders would have been tight if I wanted to wear a thick jumper underneath.
 
I’m not one to trace the pattern pieces, I just go ahead and cut them out.  And for this project I’m glad I did because there were 9 pieces of main coat to cut out, 6 pieces of lining and 12 pieces of interfacing, 27 in total… phew! That little lot took me long enough, but then I had another hour and a half standing at the ironing board fusing the interfacing to the shell pieces and I am generally NOT a person who irons! Had I not been so excited about my new coat I might have given up at the first hurdle! But on I went since the first few steps were relatively simple and this filled me with confidence. 
 
As I said earlier, there were a few techniques in the construction of this coat that I’d never done before, and this was one of the reasons I wanted to make it, to try and challenge myself. 
Never have I ever…
 
* worked with wool
* made a two piece sleeve
* lined a garment
* used the bagging out technique
 
I must admit, every time I put the coat to one side I found it increasingly hard to come back to. As it got further along I became more and more daunted at the prospect of finishing it. My brain was telling me that the next steps were difficult so I kept putting it off, when in fact all of it was a series of relatively simple tasks, it’s just there was a lot of them! I found the sew along on the Closet Case website really useful, especially in the latter stages. With hindsight I think a tailors ham or clapper might have been useful for the sleeves but I made do. 
 
But finish it, I did! And since the fabric was gifted I kinda had to!!! But I do really love it and the colour… oh boy, all the heart eyes!!! The thing that drew me to the pattern was the collar. It’s a real statement piece and I’m looking forward to wearing it with pride!
 
The giant poppers were from Amazon, 12 for about £5, and are about 1″ in diameter.
 
 
Thank you so, so, sew much to Samantha for agreeing to this project and letting me have this beautiful fabric and the time to do it justice. Everyone should have a coat in this colour – it induces all the happy feels and makes the dreariest of days significantly brighter!
 
 

Simplicity bag project

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all keeping well and are able to distract yourselves from the mad world we find ourselves in. I normally live and work in London but decided to decamp to my parents’ house for the duration and luckily brought my sewing machine with me, so have been finding some escapism in that every evening.

I decided on this project before any dreams of a holiday were dashed, so I’ll just have to enjoy my new toiletries bag from home.

I fancied making something that wasn’t clothes and have had this pattern in my stash for years – I think I bought it in my first year of sewing. It’s described as a jewellery roll in the pattern but it’s quite big – I never take that much jewellery away with me – so I think it’s better used for toiletries. I though it would be a nice, easy project but it was actually quite time consuming. I’ve never quilted anything before and that was quite a long process, so I can’t imagine quilting a whole, bed-sized quilt! Quilters of the world, respect! But I had my trusty walking foot which was essential and made the process a lot easier.

I used the lovely rainbow fabric (now out of stock but this is also lovely)  with a pink contrast cotton (similar here )with the pockets made from this mesh and clear PVC 

 

I did enjoy seeing it come together, and it was fairly easy once I got my head around how it was constructed. You quilt the main body and top and bottom pockets, and then sew the middle pockets and zips together separately. Then you attach them all at the end and bind around the edges.

It was a bit tricky to sew by the end as it gets quite thick with all the layers and on my machine you can’t adjust the presser foot height, but we got there in the end. I foolishly cut my bias binding too narrow so it was quite hard to attach, but it’s fine if you don’t look too closely!

I’m really happy with the finished object and will definitely be using it to keep my toiletries organised. I also added a cute Kylie and the Machine label so everyone knows I made it (though I’d probably tell them first anyway)! I might try to add a popper too to keep it closed when it’s rolled up. There are plenty of other items in the pattern set but I’m not sure I have the patience to make a whole bag!

 

What have you been making while you’re stuck at home?

 

 

My handmade wardrobe – saving a sewing fail!

We’ve all been there…got excited about a new pattern, ordered the perfect fabric and made it up while dreaming of when and where you are going to wear this brand new me-made dress…then the disappointment when you try it on and it just doesn’t quite look right! URGH!!
 
One of my make nine this year was the McCall’s M7590…
I chose to make this in plaid from the shop…
 
I happily started cutting. When I got to the straps I felt that were too thin…but I’d already sewn the bodice together and understitched so I couldn’t be bothered to un-pick it all! I added the full skirt (it’s huge and so long…bearing in mind I’m 5″8, I’d have taken a good few inches off it) The dress swamped me, I’m not sure if it was the fullness of the gathers or the way the pattern lay on the bodice but it was not good, the proportions of this were just off on me…I didn’t even take any pics as I was so disappointed!
 
I don’t know about you but when I have a sewing fail it really knocks my sewjo and I just left it on my dressmaker dummy for about a month not knowing what to do with it. I thought about cutting it up and making something for my little one but I loved the fabric so much and was determined to have a dress from it. About a week ago I made myself a #hinterland dress (pattern from Sew Liberated) ina gorgeous rusty linen mix fabric and it came together so easily and was so flattering I had the idea to cut up this McCall’s dress and see If I had enough fabric left over to make a bodice to add to the full skirt.
 
Luckily I had about a metre left, just enough to get a bodice front and back and some short sleeves.
So I cut away the bodice from the skirt (which I had so carefully hand stitched the lining in place…wahhhh!)
 
Then I also cut the placket off the front of the skirt as it was just too full, that reduced some of the bulk but I still had a fully made up skirt with pockets ready to add to a new bodice…very happy! I took a few inches off the skirt at the top and re-gathered it, ready to attach to the new hinterland bodice.
 
It worked so well and I’ve worn this dress out on a (Social distancing) stroll with my sis in law already! It’s so comfy and just my style! I’m so glad I managed to rescue this one. I think I’ll try the McCalls pattern again but make some adjustments next time. I think it needs a lighter weight fabric (my bad) and thicker straps and it will be a lovely summer dress…I’ll keep you posted!
 
Who else has had any fails recently, did you manage to rescue them? I think with the amount of sewing I’ve been doing some of it is bound to go wrong!
 
Debbie x

Meet our #scdesignteam members! An Interview with our Design Team

With the Great British Sewing Bee in full flow we thought it would be fun for you to get to know some of our #scdesignteam a little better! So, over the next few months we are going to be sharing some fun facts and insights into their sewing habits and inspiration!

This week we meet Rudy, AKA @roodlesrunique if you don’t alreday follow her on Instagram head over a give her a follow!

Hi! My name is Rudy Boddington and I’m from Peterborough. By day I work for the fire service looking after all their software, by night I’m a guide leader and in between I sew! My Social media is @RoodlesRunique on facebook, instagram and pinterest and my blog is now over at www.runique.co.uk

When did you start sewing?

About 4 years ago, after my husband didn’t know what to buy me for christmas so randomly bought me a sewing machine on black friday amazon deals!

What do you like about sewing?

I like the mindfulness aspect, where you need to be in the moment concentrating without life sneaking in and adding stress. Also, I like how you can take a flat piece of fabric and make something amazing 3d items, especially for me to wear!

What is your favourite ever make?

I think that would be my world map quilt. I had the idea from a geometric work image and I cut all the sections with different fabrics. It was a gift for a friend who was going to uni after travelling, but I regret gifting it! ha!

What inspires your makes?

A lot of the time it’s inspired by vintage looks, and a lot that I see on Instagram. I’m a big fan of bold prints and colours, so if I can make something no-one else will wear I take that as a win!

How do you keep track of all your ideas?

I’ve started using trello recently, and i’ve listed all the patterns I own on it. When I see someone’s version of the pattern, I put the link on the trello page for me to reference later.

What are your favourite fabrics to work with?

I’m a big fan of wearing jersey, so Ii like to sew with that so that it’s a comfy make. But I like to sew with the stability of cottons because they do as they are told, and stay where they are supposed to!

What other sewing bloggers do you follow/ find inspiring?

I have a whatsapp group with JennyStitch and SewInTheGarden and we inspire each other often when we see new patterns and when we are sewing things at home. I don’t follow any particular big bloggers as I like to see what everyones up to so follow lots of different people.

Where do you sew?

I am very lucky to have a sewing room. I painted it pink so that my husband wouldn’t put a claim on it, but I have so much stuff in there and my machines appear to be breeding that I’m saving up for a garden office/shed so that I can move everything out there and have some cutting space.

What is your favourite sewing tool and why?

My ergonomic unpicker, because i’m always unpicking and it makes it so much easier and less painful.

What would be your dream project?

At the moment I keep dreaming of the new Gertie charm patterns coat that she’s released! I’ve never made a coat so I think it may be a little out of reach at the moment till I have tried sewing with wool!

What are your sewing plans for this year?

2020 is going to be the year of the bra! I’m booking on a bra sewing course for may and i’m dreaming of a perfectly fitting bra pattern that I can use over and over!

Next time we chat with Clare Blackmore-Davies AKA @missmaker

Mint stars towelling dressing gown

Named Clothing Lahja Dressing gown

Hi there!

I know I know I’ve been M.I.A for a short while but hopefully I’m back into the swing of things now.  I hope you’re sitting comfortably and have grabbed a cuppa because there’s a few things going on in this blog!

Now, this month when I was searching Sammy’s website my 16 year old was sat with me looking through the fabrics.  Now it’s fair to say she does have her own Pfaff Sewing Machine is an A level textile student too so it’s not unnatural for her to take an interest in the fabrics I choose.  Anyways, scrolling through and she spotted the white terry with mint stars and immediately I could see her eyes light up and brain was full steam ahead!! “oh mum do you remember when we were little and we all had matching pink towelling dressing gowns”  you can see where this is going right?? Sooooo, being the selfless sewist I am, I said I would request this fabric and would make her the Named Clothing Lahja Dressing Gown which would be a good replica for the one she’d had when she was about 4 yrs old!  Her thoughts are that she it would be the perfect dressing gown now it’s coming up to spring time for slipping on after her shower and lounging in.

Anyway, once the fabric arrived I got it straight into the washing machine and pre washed it as I usually do with any new fabric.  I always want to be sure it’s not going to shrink once I’ve put the work in making a garment! The fabric, as is usual with Sammy’s fabrics washed and dried perfectly and the towelling was so fluffy and snuggly.  She couldn’t wait for me to get started and continuously spoke about it until I did lol!

I promptly got the fabric cut out and have to say it came together very quickly.  I did most of the seams on the overlocker only using the sewing machine to attach the pockets, collar and belt loops.  It’s the first time I have used towelling to sew with and it was much easier than I was thinking. The pattern recommended 3m of the fabric which was probably a little too much really.  If I’d have used their pattern layout I could probably have made do with 2.75m however with a little bit more tweaking, I managed to get the whole dressing gown out of 2.5m. To personalise it a little for her I embroidered her initials in matching mint green embroidery thread to the stars on the fabric.  She’s really pleased with it and says it feels luxurious like you’d get at a Spa! I’m happy with that comment so I’m gonna take it and run with it ☺

Now there was method in my madness as I felt it was really wasteful to leave a chunk of fabric with a strip cut out for the belt and I’m so glad I played pattern tetris as it left me with enough fabric to make her a little wrap towel which will be ideal for the beach or after coming out of the swimming pool.  The only thing I needed to do to give me enough fabric to make this was make the belt slightly narrower and by slightly, I mean literally 2cm maximum!!  

Mia had been shopping with her friends recently and had seen one of these in one of the high street shops and her immediate thought was we could probably just stick some Velcro on a towel!  See, she’s definitely her mum’s girl!! I’ve trained her well lol!!

With the remaining fabric, I squared off the edges with the overlocker and made sure it was long enough to wrap around her without her flashing anyone should she not be wearing anything underneath it.  I put a 2” hem on the top and bottom and 1” hem on the sides. I pinned where I needed the Velcro should be attached and searched my stash to see if I had any. Luckily I found a piece which was just long enough to cut into sections to attach to the towelling wrap and voila the wrap was finished.  

Even after getting these two projects out of the 3m, there was still enough left for me to make her some matching reusable make up wipes.  Holy moly I’ve never seen a girl go through so many cotton wool pads! I’ve been promising I was going to make her some for ages and never got round to it so now she has everything she needs and it all matches ☺ .  

If only I could put out takes in these blog posts lol!!  When we were taking the photos for the blog, as Mia sat on her bed she let out an almighty scream ……. “mummmmmm have you left a pin in here, something just stuck in my leg!” Oopsie, it had a white glass head and I didn’t see it!  Now it was wedged inside the hem with just the needle bit poking through! I had to unpick a couple of stitches to get the little blighter out! Note to self…..make sure not to use same coloured glass head pins as the fabric! Ha-ha!!!

I definitely my next project needs to be some selfish sewing!  What do you think??

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog post and look forward to making my next one for you!

Until next time, 

Happy Sewing

 

Lisa xx

@sewlastminutelisa

Self-drafted Shashiko jeans project

Shashiko jeans by @missmaker

 

 

So, a pair of self-draft jeans had been on my hit list for quite a while. As always with my Samantha Claridge Design Team projects, I try and ensure I stretch myself and cover new ground, really making the most of the opportunities these projects allow. These things take time of course and setting time aside had been proving difficult with a couple of big personal projects at the start of this year

Just for good measure, (cos nothing should be too easy!) I had added a couple of other elements to the project too. As well as additional pockets and a curved back yoke design, I had repaired a pair of old jeans with a bit of Sashiko mending (the art of applying small regular reinforcing stitches in patterns and designs that decorate and make a feature of the mended area) and really wanted to make this a feature of the jeans I was going to make for SCDT. 

The lining fabric I had chosen was so pretty I did not want it hidden away inside so I knew it needed to feature on the outside. To ensure this the front pockets would have piping and the back and extra pockets would have details in the lining fabric. The Sashiko stitching would frame panels of the lining fabric supported inside by extra layers of denim to make them as hard wearing as they were pretty 

To ensure this plan came together I turned to my dress making journal to ensure I had all the elements buttoned down before moving forward with the drafting. A few sketches and notes later and I was ready to start. 

The first step was to get into the workshop and dust off my City & Guilds Trouser drafting module notes. It had been a fair while since I had looked at these. I did this module with the fabulous Wendy Ward (@thatwendywardat MIY Workshops down in Brighton almost ten years ago. She is now up in Sheffield running Sew in the City and her patterns and books are definitely worth a look.    

I always want to make the most out of time spent on projects so in drafting these jeans I was also road testing notes and an instruction booklet I had written for an upcoming trouser drafting course. With a few tweaks along the way both the notes and draft pattern all came together very nicely and I soon had a basic toile to begin fitting and styling.  

Trying on the first toile revealed that I didn’t need quite as much ease around hips and waist, a slightly shorter crotch depth (balanced further towards the front), a bit more room around the knees and an increased angle on the centre back seam as I have a bit of a sway back 

I wanted a snug toile as I knew the denim had a small amount of stretch to it and having made a number of pairs of jeans before I knew they would relax further with wear.  

With my list of fit changes updated on the toile, the toile tried on again to triple check and then the changes transferred to the pattern, I was then ready to start creating new lines and panels for the curved yoke back, front pockets, fly extension, waist band and back pocket size and position.  

Drawing directly on to the updated toile with a friction pen I could mark and erase as many times as I liked to get just the look and proportion I wanted for these different elements. I was then able to trace these new lines to create new pattern pieces I needed, adding back in seam allowances where needed. 

I will now let you in to a little secret, before cutting my pattern pieces from my denim and lining I made a point of totally mistreating my fabric 

I do this before making up any everyday clothes these days. Both lining and denim went through a 40 degree wash then into the tumble dryer. This way I knew the worst that could happened already had!  

(When I first got a tumble dryer a couple of years ago I got carried away and left my perfectly fitted ginger jeans in a wash AND dry cycle without thinking, but that’s another story, you’ll have to check out my insta and facebook feeds to find out how that got fixed!)  

The thing I love about making jeans is that the process all seems totally backwards. Every final detail, every little finishing touch, all has to be thought about and executed before anything really starts to come together. Pockets are painstakingly folded and pressed with top stitching and decorative details added, belt loops are created, front pockets are constructed and piped, the fly is inserted, back panels, yoke and pockets are all attached and topstitched. This all happens before either of the inside or outside leg seams are sewn.

For these jeans there was even more detail to add at this point, as I decided it would be far easier to add all the Sashiko detailing before either of these seams were brought together. After searching out some inspiration on Pinterest I decided on a circular design flaring off into gentle swirls around the lining fabric inserts and rows of parallel stitches across the back of one leg.  

It took a little while to complete this part of the process but it was quite nice to get consumed by a bit of slow stitching for a while, and with all the other details already in place I knew once it was done the finished jeans were not far from completion.  

So, the inside leg is sewn and top stitched, the outside seams were tacking stitched on the machine before a final try on to get that perfect fit. Hardly a tweak was needed, just a little graded increase in the seam allowance between hip and waist to take account of the denim’s stretch. With the side seems set it was on with the waist band. I don’t know why but this is the bit that daunts me most, maybe because that’s when everything is set in stone?

Finally…… lots and lots of belt loops!

 

I can’t stand jeans that skimp on belt loops and you end up with your belt over the top of the waistband, especially at centre back.  

For these jeans I added a total of 8 belt loops and made a feature of the centre back ones, angling them away from each other and extending them down to the yoke seam.  

There are still a couple of tweaks I would make to this pattern (I find my self-drafts are eternally a work in progress as I am quite self critical). But all in all these summer jeans have turned out to be the relaxed fit I wanted with a level of detail and individualisation that really set them apart.  

Fennel Fanny pack review- with A Beautiful Mess fabrics

Bum Bags are back in a big way…and I for one am grateful! I love them for gigs, festivals and dog walking, so I can be hands free but access my phone/ keys/ money/ poo bags really quickly if I need! I also feel safer with my valuables where I can see them!

So when I saw the Fennel Fanny pack all over Instagram I was keen to give it a go. 

It’s a downloadable pattern from Sarkirsten.com and it’s only $12! So I bought it and printed it off, then the hard part was deciding on fabric…

I went with the ABM Flower Market range but decided in the end to use the Succulents green fabric for the inside and out, I just love that sage green and thought it would go perfectly with the pink hardware I bought…so summery and fun!

I made a few mistakes and got myself in a pickle while making this I’m not going to lie! I thought the instructions for the side tabs could have been slightly clearer as I managed to put them in upside down the first time! I also found stitching round the corners of the bum bag a real pain…but that’s probably because I mis-read the pattern instructions fo the front of the bag…this picture shows that I somehow left the top of the bag above the zip too big…not sure how that happened but I trimmed it down and carried on!

The finished result, however, is incredibly pleasing and I can see how this bag is an addictive make! It would be a fabulous gift for a friend and you easily make a whole bacth of these up for Christmas pressies! Hey, why not start on them now and get ahead of the game!

I’ll definitely be making more and will remember my mistakes from the first time…that’s how you learn right?!

Who else has made one? What did you think of the process?

Just a heads up, there will be a discount code in this weeks Newsletter so make sure you are signed up to recieve this, you can do this on the homepage…scroll to the bottom!

How to make a Macrame wall hanging

Macrame is back and we are LOVING it! 

This textile craft based on knotting strings in patterns can be used to make bags, wall hangings, jewellery and plant hangers.

We’ve just had some beautiful Macrame cords and metal hoops delivered, you can find them in the New In section of the shop. So give this cheap and easy craft a go!

Below is a little tutorial to get you started…

Step 1.

I started with one 25m ball of cord and a 20cm hoop in brass. I love the cmbination of this peach cord witht he brass ring 🙂

Firstly cut 9  x 1m strands of cord

Step 2.

Take your first piece of cord, find the middle of the rope. attach to hoop with a larks head knot

Step 3.

Make sure the rope is underneath the hoop and attach with a double half hitch knot.

Step 4.

Then attached a rope either side 

Step 5.

Taking the inner strand wither side create a square knot

Step 6.

Start your knot approx 1.5″ down from the top of the hoop.

Step 7.

Attach the ends to the side of your hoop as in Step 3

Step 8.

Taking the outer strands and create a reverse square knot then attach the ends to the hoop as before

Step 9.

Repeat all steps adding the remaining rope and reversing the square knot each time until you have used all 9 cord stands.  Then trim the ends to form a point.

Et voila!

Carol’s Closet Case Ginger jeans with stretch cord

Ginger Jeans review

Hey there, hope you’re doing okay? #sewingkeepsmesane is certainly relevant right now!

I know I’m really late to the game with my first ever pair of Closet Case Ginger jeans, but I must admit to being a bit nervous of making jeans. I kept thinking, I don’t need to make my own I can just buy the ones I want, I’ll make all the pretty things and leave jeans to the experts!

Well, I’m so pleased I finally bit the bullet as I absolutely love my custom fit Gingers and I’m sure you will too!

For my first pair of Gingers I chose this lovely soft stretch cord from the Samantha Claridge Studio, I confess to loving corduroy its so soft and cosy, just perfect for these colder months!

I ordered the black cord along with a matching colour of Gutermann sew all thread, its so great to order the thread along with your fabric. Sammy chooses the best matching colour and sends it along with your fabric delivery, how great is that!!

I recently made a pair of Carolyn Pyjamas in size 18 and the trousers are a perfect fit, so I cut my Ginger jeans in a size 18. Well they are supposed to be skinny and there is no way the 18 was skinny fit on me!

So, I unpicked and cut down to a size 16, this was still too big, so I enlarged the seam allowance from the 5/8” up to ¾ and that was much better.

The Closet case sew along is really great, even as a seasoned dress maker I found it really helpful and informative, so I’d definitely recommend it at least for the first attempt at jeans!

I had a few attempts at pocket placement, my final version is actually the third attempt, but do you know what I really enjoyed making these, it was so satisfying working towards the best fit, I never once got fed up.

 It was so satisfying, and I really love my Ginger Jeans, this cord is so soft and the stretch makes them so comfy, they are real secret pyjamas!!

Thanks for reading!