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

Handmade quilted coat/ quilted jacket made with Figo fabrics

I’m sure you’ve all seen the wonderful quilted coat trend that has been all over social media for the last year. A US-based company called Psychic outlaw started making them from thrifted quilts and then lots were popping up that were made from scratch. I was keen to make my own as I do love quilting (I’m no expert and my lines can be a little wobbly but that’s half the charm right?!).

I’d been wanting to make something with the Figo Fabrics Moonlit Voyage range for a while and this seemed like the perfect project to showcase this fabulous range!

Some of this range is now sold out but there are still some gorgeous options over in the shop

Taking on a project like this is a labour of love, as so much work goes into each stage, but I was at a point in the year and my sewing when I was looking for a slow sewing project that I could pick up and put down as and when the mood took me…

I started my journey by stalking the #quiltedjacket hashtag on Instagram and was really inspired by Buried Diamond who made her coat from leftover scraps from other projects throughout the year and also Suzy Quilts who uses a sort of ombre technique when organising her colours…I knew this was the technique for me! I’ve been loving rust and ochre colours so wanted to incorporate these into my coat and I had some scraps of ramie linen left from other projects as well as some Ikat fabric that I knew would tie the darker colours from the Figo Fabrics in really well.

Sticking to a colour palette is a great way to get a pulled-together look…but equally these jackets work with a more haphazard pairing of fabrics and colours and look so darn charming!

As this type of coat/ jacket is so busy with pattern it’s a good idea to use a simple shape coat as your base. I went with the Wiksten Haori as I’ve made a few and know it works really well and is super cosy and a bit oversized!

 

 

I started out by cutting about a million(ha!) 4″ x 4″ squares and then playing with the layout using the pattern pieces from the jacket as a base.

I always use a size M for me when making Haori jackets…I’m a size 12 for reference.

I had read somewhere that when making quilted jackets it’s advisable to make the quilt ‘top’ bigger than your pattern pieces as it can shrink once quilted plus you need to think about seam allowance for each square. My back pieces ended up being 10 squares wide by 7 squares high.

I used a backing and quilted in a grid pattern. In hindsight I wish I’d not used a backing and used it as traditional lining separately as you end up with unfinished seams on the inside. You could bind these seams for a really fancy finish. I ended up just overlocking them.

 

Once I had all my quilted pieces I laid the pattern peices on top and cut them out. I then overlocked around each edge. I decided to adapt the pocket and make it curved As I thought It would look good as a contrast to all the squares. I then bound the edges of the pockets and stitched them onto the jacket fronts. When you make the pockets on the Haori according to the pattern you line them and turn them through but as I had raw edges from the quilting and using a backing fabric I knew that binding was the best option for me. I was still keen to pattern match (very unlike me!) so I made sure I used the same fabrics as the body of the jacket where the pocket placement was to match it up nicely.

 

The jacket comes together very quickly and before I knew it I was making the collar! 

 

I went with a block colour for the collar (some left over ikat fabric from another project) as I knew this would give the jacket a nice balance and before sewing it in place I bias bound the whole of the bottom of the coat with black binding.

Once the quilting was done the jacket came together in a few hours, the Haori pattern is really speedy and easy and would be fantastic for a beginner as there are no fastenings.  It’s definitely something I’d like to do again and I might make a mini one for my daughter as I have plenty of squares left! This is such a great stash buster too and the options are endless in terms of sizes of your quilting pieces, colourways, shapes etc…it’s really a wonderful project to undertake and you will end up with a truly unique jacket. There are plenty of hacks for the haori jacket too including making the collar narrower and different length options, I just like the length of this one for the winter months, but, a quilted coat in some bright colours would be fabulous for the spring/ summer…

This is going to keep me nice and cosy for the next couple of months!

What do you think, would you give this a go?

Debbie x

DIY quilted scissor pouch

I love making useful items for gift giving around this time of year. I wanted to come up with a project for the blog that was sewing themed and would be a great present for a crafty friend…
introducing the DIY scissor pouch!

What you need for this project:

Paper

Pen

Ruler

Scissors – plus the pair you want to make the pouch for!

Main fabric – Treehouse Flying Squirrels by Figo Fabric (pictured below)

Lining fabric –Flower Market Spots cream by ABM  (pictured below)

Batting

Zip (the length of your scissors)

Swivel clip (optional)

Step One:

Lay your chosen scissors onto a piece of paper and leaving a couple of centimetres around the scissors mark a diagonal line.

I have the Fiskars Amplify scissors which are quite big so my height and width measured approx 15.5cm x 30cm for reference.

 

Step Two:

Use something curved to round off the two bottom corners of the pouch template.

Step Three:

Use your template to cut 2 each of main fabric, lining, and batting. The batting I used was an offcut from a quilt I made and is fairly light weight.

Step Four:

Take a piece of main fabric and batting and quilt them together. I did a simple grid pattern with the lines approx 2cm apart and on a diagonal angle but you can do this however you wish or skip this step altogether if you want.

Do the same for the other piece of main fabric and batting and now you have two complete outer pieces.

Step Five:

Now to add the zip! Place the zip face down on one of the main quilted pieces which should be right side up. Then layer on the lining facing down on the zip and stitch in place using a zipper foot.

Step Six:

Repeat step 5 for the opposite side of the zip and then open out both sides, press, and topstitch through all the layers on each side of the zip.

My zip was much longer than the zipper pouch so at this point I trimmed off the excess zip.

Step Seven:

This is an optional step but it makes a handy carrier for the pouch.

Measure a 3″ x 3″ square of fabric. Press a fold down the centre, then open ut and of each side into the centre and press. Topstitch 5mm down each side of the tab and then add on a swivel clip, pin it in place for the next step.

Step Eight:

Add the tab to the right side of the pouch approx 1″ down from the zip and pin/ clip in place

 

Step Nine:

Open your zip to the halfway point and then open out the layers of the pouch. Pin together the two lining pieces right sides facing and do the same with the main pieces right sides facing.

Stitch all the way around leaving a gap of about 3″ in the lining fabric to pull the pouch through after it’s stitched.

Step Ten:

Clip all the curved edges and then pull the pouch through to the right sides. 

Step Eleven:

Carefully poke out all the corners and give it a press then stitch the opening in the lining closed.

Et Voila!

This project is a great stash buster, would make a lovely gift, and would work in all types of woven fabric, you could even try making a faux leather one and omit the lining for a really quick make!

We hope you love this and if you do make one please tag us so we can share it!

Debbie x

#samanthaclaridgestudio

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!