Children’s wear with the Riley Blake saltwater collection…
I can’t quite believe that I am part of the Sew Crafty design team; such an exciting opportunity that I cannot wait to get stuck in…So what is my first project I hear you ask?
I have never done anything like this before and I was a bit overwhelmed, to begin with as I had so many ideas and things I wanted to try.
Then I came across this pattern that I have had stashed away for a while and decided to give Children’s clothing a go and in true Natalie style, I did the toile in a Disney fabric I had lying around and a pillowcase. This helped me to understand the bodice pattern and work out the best way to understitch the small size.
Sew Crafty has a wealth of cotton fabric to choose from but as soon as I saw Riley Blake Saltwater collection, I knew that the mint & multicoloured turtle fabrics were going to look gorgeous. I decided on using the mint as the main fabric as it’s my favourite colour and also too much white on a toddler dress is never a good idea…especially when my toddler is involved. The multicolour turtles’ contrast fabric livens it up and makes it a more fun summer party dress than an occasion dress.
The bodice was much easier to make the second time around and I just love the effect of the fabrics with the lining peeping through– the cotton is a little heavier than the pillowcase I used with the toile so holds itself so much better with no need for interfacing.
As the skirt is not lined; I wanted to make it look neater and as I don’t own an overlocker (yet) I decided to do French seams for the first time and oh boy I am so glad I did as it just makes it look so pretty and totally finished without raw edges fraying and on show.
Also, check out my pattern matching! I was so chuffed with this as I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out … with the type of pattern, it wouldn’t have particularly mattered but I think the added detail of it matches just makes it much more of a finished project and more professional looking.
I also decided to roll the hem twice for the same reason and it didn’t take too much length away and I think sits perfectly on my 2-year-old. I used the 2-year-old sizing and it has worked a treat – I had to take a bit in on the bodice when I attached the zip otherwise it was a little baggy but all in all a very good size and a lovely addition to her summer wardrobe.
For my first Design Team make, I wanted to fill a gap in my wardrobe that was definitely more a ‘want’ than a ‘need’. I’ve been hankering after a lightweight summer robe for throwing over pyjamas in the warmer months and when I spotted this viscose print in the Sew Crafty shop, I knew it would make a brilliant robe.
The viscose is a very bold print which typically is not my normal style, but when it comes to nightwear and loungewear I think anything goes! It’s a classic combination of black and white stripes and florals (who doesn’t love a bit of pattern clashing from time to time?!), but the scale of the floral design makes this fabric look quite fresh and modern rather than twee. I think my favourite flower in the print is the beautiful pinky-red poppy!
Despite picking this fabric quickly, it took me ages to choose a robe pattern. I felt like the big 4 pattern companies either offered ‘comfy and cosy’ or ‘lingerie’ and I wanted something that fell somewhere in the middle of the 2 options that I could just chuck on when it’s a hot evening. We have a great charity shop near me that has a large haberdashery section and I found this great vintage 1950s housecoat pattern that looked like just the thing. I did modify the pattern, I took 12 inches out of the skirt section – apparently, women in the fifties were built like Amazons, and I, most definitely, am not at just 5’ 3”! I also took about 4 inches from the sleeve to make it bracelet length so I don’t always have to roll my sleeves up to do anything, and instead of easing in the sleeve head I gathered the fabric to give the shoulder a more vintage look.
To complement the floral viscose I’d chosen from Sew Crafty, I used a cheap and cheerful black viscose from my local market for the roll collar and belt, but the floral is better quality. It’s got a great drape (for swishing around the house like a Hollywood starlet) but as it’s viscose it can be chucked in the wash over and over again without doing too much harm to it (because I am not a Hollywood starlet and have to do my own laundry).
The print on this is big but it doesn’t seem to repeat in any obvious way so I didn’t bother to pattern match as I think when a print is this striking it’s easier to get away with. As the black stripe runs horizontal to the selvage I chose to focus on lining that up for the pockets and pinned all the pieces in the same direction.
The fabric sewed up nicely and I finished the insides on my overlocker. I used a black Guterman thread for all the seams and the hem. Viscose can be quite slippy when pinning and cutting out so I would recommend cutting on a slightly grippy surface like a carpet if you can as this will help prevent any shifting around whilst you cut and avoid any funny shaped pieces! You can also use a starch spray to help make the pieces more stable as this will wash straight out again. I prewashed the fabric on a 30 degree with a colour catcher sheet setting and there wasn’t much shrinkage or colour bleed.
I feel very glam when wearing this – anything that elevates a pair of tired old pyjamas into an elegant lounging outfit is a winner!
Last year we decorated our daughter’s bedroom, mostly because we were forced to since she’d already started peeling the wallpaper off the walls around her cot! So we carried on, stripped the walls and painted the whole room white. She already had some decorations in the room which were blue and pink and I figured at some point we’d paint a wall one of these colours but she would choose which (spoiler alert – she’s leaning towards pink!). A few months ago she got her ‘big girl’ bed which is a mid sleeper which helps to make the most of the space in her very tiny room. But since then I’ve been wondering how I can add to the existing decorations by sewing a few items of storage. I’ve been collecting ideas on my Pinterest board for a while and chose to make some fabric trays, storage pods and some bunting to decorate under her bed. From the Sew Crafty website, I chose three colours of their star cotton to make these items. The colours are fantastic and being 100% cotton they iron and cut beautifully.
For the fabric trays, I cut two A4 pieces for each tray and lined them with batting to give more structure. I’ve made them quite deep so her hair accessories and jewellery are easily stored.
The storage pods were made from a tutorial by Sewing 4 Free and were very easy to put together. I like the way they are easy to access her toys but I think they could be bigger. I might make some more but double the size but for now, these are perfect for things like here small collections of lego.
I drafted a small triangle template for the bunting, cut 14 pairs and, once sewn, attached these together with 3m of pink bias binding from the site. I think these might be my favourite, they’re so striking, and who doesn’t love a bit of bunting, right?!
The space underneath her bed is really coming together now and when her bedroom is tidy it’s a nice space to be in. I’d like to get her a small desk and chair to go under there but I think that will come when we sort out the rest of her bedroom furniture. For now, she’s happy with it!
Hammers at the ready for this one! Not sure I have ever put so much hardware into one project but I’ve got to admit I’m now quite addicted! Putting together a really beautifully matched set of snaps, zip, toggles, elastic cord (gold!!!) and eyelets has really lifted this jacket and I know I’m going to be grabbing it every cool summer evening or nippy winter morning.
A total coating of Scotch Guard once complete will mean I’m totally shower proof. If I had had enough to spare I’d have made a snap-on hood, but I used every mm of the 1.5m of beautiful Jade denim from www.sewcraftyshop.couk for this project with some very nifty pattern placement to get all I needed from the fabric.
The base and starting point of this jacket was a shirt pattern I have made three or four times already (and love the fit). I always grab a pattern that is close to what I want as my starting point, there is no point in re-inventing the wheel and drafting from scratch if the basic shape of what you want is already in your pattern stash.
I wanted a traditional denim jacket look with a bit of military/bomber/utility mashed in, so we have the traditional yoke and shaped panels front and back but then the collar, zip, snaps panel, shaped hem and pockets shimmied their way in to create the overall look.
The first part of the process was to split the shirt panels. At the front, I threw the dart away from the side seam and into the vertical seam. The seams at back and front were curved to give shape at the waist but a slightly broader fit across the shoulders, so even the chunkiest of jumpers could be accommodated on especially chilly days.
The collar was a total ‘off-piste’ adventure, I brought together the button panel, collar stand and collar into one continuous shape, curved toward the shoulder line and cut on the fold so it could be joined as one single piece. The front centre panels and front yoke were curved to mirror the collar shaping so the front of the jacket all worked together to give a nice line whether the collar is up or down.
I was a good girl, I made a toile…… and I can’t stress enough what a good practice this is when you are making major changes to an existing pattern.
The amount you learn about the whole balance of the garment and how your changes have a knock-on effect for other elements of the pattern is fantastic. I went to town and even put the pockets and epaulettes in place to check their sizing and position before taking my scissors to the denim (as I mentioned earlier re-cutting any element of the pattern was a no-no as I had no excess fabric!)
The lining on this jacket is extra special and has a couple of nice little features. Firstly, there is a shaped phone pocket that sits to the left-hand side of the lining and snuggles in under the arm. This idea actually came from my brother who was grumbling one day that his phone always ruined the line of his jacket when he put it in the inside breast pocket and “why couldn’t they tuck it under the arm?”
Hey presto – the nifty, line preserving, angled, inside pocket was born!! I was a bit nervous about tucking a welt pocket diagonally into the lining, but with a bit of stay stitching and using both the denim and flower lining fabric for welts, I ended up with both a pretty and stable pocket opening.
The lining also has this beautiful floral fabric across the yoke. As soon as I saw this fabric I fell in love with it and knew I did not want to use all I had been given by the lovelies at Sew Crafty and hide it away inside the jacket. It was also so beautifully lightweight I knew the areas of stress at the hem and under the arms were going to need something a little more robust.
So, after a rummage in the workshop I unearthed about three meters of taupe linen mix that I had picked up in charity shop ages ago (fabric Womble alert!! I once went to a funeral and still managed to come home with some fabric, so there you go!)
When I laid it all out together it was a match made in heaven, but please don’t fret about the floral fabric lying dormant for too long, I had intended to add colour stripe cuffing (another new product in the sew crafty store) to this jacket, but once it had all come together I felt (a very rare feeling for me!) that less is more. So the stripy cuffing and floral fabric will be making an appearance in my next SCDT project, watch this space….!
The lining follows the outer pattern completely, the collar was cut twice from the denim and I popped a reinforcing semi-circular panel at the back of the neck to take the hanging loop and a lovely big label as I am too chuffed to hide my light under a bushel on this make!!
The exterior of this jacket has been topstitched into next week! Luckily I have made my own jeans a couple of times already, so making sure all rows of topstitching had been meticulously added during the construction process was something I was well prepared for. I opted against a twin needle as 1. I didn’t have one that had a wide enough separation between the needles and 2. I had corners to turn in some places, which never goes well with a twin needle!!
This project has been so totally and utterly enjoyable from start to finish and I am so pleased with the results. It involves everything I love about making your own clothes: beautiful finishing, total uniqueness, attention to detail and perfect fit.
This Jacket will be worn and worn which, at the end of the day, is what you do with clothes you love!
I love making gifts for other people, especially my nieces – children’s things are so fun to sew.
One of my nieces has just turned two and in the summer they’ll be moving from down south back up to our hometown of Liverpool, so I wanted to make something that was a belated birthday present/moving in gift.
I had the idea to make a wall banner for my niece’s room and when I saw the Sevenberry Yarn Dyed Cotton I knew it would make a great base. It’s a chambray style cotton, is nice and lightweight and has a lovely natural texture. I love the selection of colours for this cotton as they are all quite subtle and fab neutral shades of greens, pinks and blues. I went with the pale blue.
I wanted to choose another fabric that I could use to make some sort of decoration on the wall banner and as my niece loves rainbows the Remix Stripes Cotton was the obvious choice for me! As I’d went with a quite pale blue for the main fabric, I went with the more pastel-toned Remix Spring Stripes and I think they work perfectly together
My first idea for the wall banner was to make the letter I out of the striped cotton and use the Sevenberry cotton to form the main shape of the banner. I then thought about using the stripe as a little frill around the edge of the banner, but, when I got the fabric delivered I fell even more in love with the Remix Stripes cotton and I just didn’t think that a frill would do it justice – it just wouldn’t show off the lovely colours enough. So I decided against a frill and thought about what I loved when I was little and one thing I loved to do was change things around in my bedroom. I was always drawing little doodles of how I could move furniture around or colours that would look better on the wall, I probably drove my mum mad, but I loved it. And I thought that my niece might like something that she can change in her room when she fancies it, so I thought what if I make the banner reversible!
I drew out the design I had in mind for the front and the back to try and get a rough idea of the sort of size to make it. I decided on making a rainbow on one side of the banner to really make the most of the Remix Spring Stripes cotton, and the letter I on the other side. After drawing my designs out I figured that I wanted to make the banner roughly 50cm long and proportionately about 36cm seemed right for the width. I then played around with some paper to decide on the style and size of the letter and once I was happy to cut it all out. For me, the simpler and neater option was to cut lots of pieces out and sew them up like you would a quilt, rather than cut out a solid letter and appliqué it on.
Both pieces of cotton sew up really nicely, the last few projects my sewing machine has seen have been silky fabrics so it was lovely to work with a fabric that was simple to sew. I used a pale blue thread from the Iris collection which was great quality. Sew Crafty is fab when you’re planning a project because there are so many different things on the website, you really can get everything you need.
On the backside of the banner, I used the stripe fabric diagonally to give the effect of a rainbow. I found some Happy Fabric HappyFlock in Lemon which I had in my stash and created some sunshine as a little extra touch. I used two of the offcuts of the Sevenberry yarn to make tabs to thread some dowel through to hang the banner up. I sewed the front and back right sides together and left an opening of a few inches along one side. Because the cotton is so lightweight it was super quick to turn them out the right way, hand sew the opening shut and give a quick press.
I picked up some bakers twine from the Sew Crafty website too as I thought it would be perfect for hanging the banner. It’s got a little fleck of colour running through it ( I went for the Aqua one) and because its a twine its got a good strength to it. I think I might make up a few pom-poms from the leftovers and stick them either side of the dowel for some extra fun.
I thought I was really organised because I had a piece of dowel that would be great for the project, however, I couldn’t find my saw to cut it down to the right length, so I had to photograph it with it’s super long, haha oops!
Overall I’m pretty pleased with the project. It was a quick make and I think it looks fab hanging on the wall. After I finished it I did realise that somehow I’d cut the top of the I one or two stripes longer than the bottom, but oh well, I still love it and handmade isn’t about always being perfect, right?! It’s going to look great in my niece’s room and with it being cotton it’s super easy to wash, so even if it gets grubby from a two-year-old, it should be pretty durable.
I’ve always loved the idea of cosplay and I’ve admired many cosplayers for their amazing creations and attention to detail. But when you’re a bit bigger than the ‘ideal’ size for most characters it tends to feel very much like something you can only look at and not participate in.
Enter Critical Role – a weekly Twitch and YouTube stream of a group of friends playing Dungeons And Dragons who just happen to be popular voice actors. The CR fandom has produced some incredible cosplay pieces, including one of my absolute favourite characters – Jester Lavorre. The loveable ‘little blue tiefling’ cleric is played by Laura Bailey, and she has inspired a wide range of people to replicate her – even down to her love of pastries and her ‘Spiritual Weapon’ in the form of a gigantic lollypop!
Official Jester artwork by Ari @ornerine
The great thing about the Critical Role characters is that, although there are official character portraits, there is a degree of interpretation and artistic license in how they are portrayed. The CR fan base is well known for being diverse and supportive, so I figured it was a good place for me to dip my toe in the cosplay waters!
Jester’s outfit has many layers and elements, but for this Design Team Project, I decided to focus on her leather bodice. I used a metre of brown leatherette and decided to line it with brown polycotton to ensure it wasn’t too thick and heavy. I used pinking shears to clip all the seams to reduce as much bulk as possible.
I couldn’t actually find a pattern I liked, so I used a fairly unconventional approach I had seen several cosplayers recommend – cling film! I wrapped my torso in several layers making sure it sat properly on my curves, then drew the shape and seam lines onto the cling film with a marker. Once I was happy I cut the pieces out and laid them flat to create my pattern pieces, which were the perfect shape for my body. The great thing about the leatherette is that it has some stretch to it so it is much more forgiving than you’d think and very comfortable to wear! It was a lot easier to sew than I was expecting, though topstitching was a bit more tricky as it kept sticking to the presser foot. To remedy this I put a layer of plain white tissue paper on top of the leatherette and set the sewing machine to a slower speed so I could ensure I was keeping my lines as neat as possible. If you’re going to do this have some tweezers to hand – when you rip off the tissue paper little bits can remain in the stitches and it can take a good few minutes to remove them all!
For the finishing touches, I added brass jeans rivets to the straps and front panel. This was another element that was a lot simpler than I had previously thought – I assumed you needed a special tool to attach the rivets but all I needed was a hammer!
When I began this project I was concerned I had bitten off more than I could chew, but working with the leatherette and the hardware was no problem at all, and I am proud that I have begun my first cosplay piece on a good foot.
Macrame is so hot right now and we’re totally addicted. There’s some fantastic macrame kits out there, but to get started why not grab any yarn, string, thick thread or twine you have lying around and try some of these gorgeous designs. Or why not pick up our Lucky Dip Embroidery Thread bag to get you started. We’ve packed 20 threads in this bargain bag. The threads are usually 95p each, but this bag comes in at just £9.50! Perfect for beginners, or your next macrame party! This is a thing. Is this a thing? I might make this a thing.
1. Simply Braided
Lets start at the beginning. Here is the basic Macrame knot. Once mastered can be the base for thousands of designs and patterns. Click the image to head to icreativeideas.com’s tutorial.
2. The Next Step
This looks tricky but is actually a lot simpler than it looks, I think it actually looks super impressive! Its literally just knotting 2 threads next to each other, together, 2 at a time. See, super simple. The creativity comes in the colours you choose, and the pattern. Click the image for the Pin I found this on, which shows the step by step images.
Working with this principal, and these rainbow colours because, what could be better, why not try this slightly more detailed pattern by the dolls at Macrame School. Click the image to go to their YouTube tutorial and try it yourself. Again, its a lot simpler than it looks! And so fun!
4. Go Glam
This super glamorous and dainty design is the natural next step. You’ll have made 100 bracelets for yourself, so now you’ll want to start making some as gifts, or maybe to sell at a craft fair? Learning different patterns like this is a great tool to your belt. Picking softer colours and neater thread for something like this works wonders. Click the image to go to another Macrame School tutorial video.
6. Master the Tension
There are a million ways to create the tension needed to make nice tight bracelets. Here are just a few of our tried and tested favourites.
7. Put your heart on your sleeve (wrist)
Its time to add embellishments! Start with this simple heart then the world is your oyster! This shouldn’t be hard now you’ve mastered the basics. You’ll be sticking these hearts on everything! Click the image for the tutorial.
8. Graduate Up
Time to try a necklace? Use your skills to create a “chain” with your favourite macrame style, then add a gorgeous precious stone, rock or memorable trinket to the bottom by learning how to make a quick bespoke net. The beauty of this is you don’t have to dig out perfect beads with holes in them, you can literally turn anything, OK maybe not the cat, but close to anything, into a necklace pendant! Click the image for the tutorial from Quiet Lion Creations.
You could also try wrapping the pieces with this tutorial from Ecocrafts.
Or go back to bracelets and pop a net in one of them instead with this tutorial from True Blue Me and You.
9. Have a Hoot!
Confident? Why not make your OWN charm? I am so in love with this owl design. Its gorgeous. Who wouldn’t love receiving this for their birthday? Wear this out and you’ll get tons of comments and questions. Click the image for another video from Macrame School – they really are the best.
10. Get Creative!
Look on Pinterest for inspiration, and use your new skills to make something incredible and unique! Maybe something like these incredible creations by the amazing Lesh Loom. I’m in love! Have fun guys! If you delve into macrame, especially if you use any of our bits, then let us know on social by using #showcrafty or tagging us @sewcraftyshop!
This is such an awesome idea! Its pretty clear how you make this. You can design your own images to go in the slots or download a ready made printable from BakaThom for just $3 now!
6. Ood Ski Mask
This is so creepy but so awesome! Even if you have no intention of going skiing, this NEEDS to be made! 🙂 Check out the FREE crochet pattern on the Ravelry right now!
7. Another one thats pretty clear how to make it from the image – we just think its so cute! We found this particular idea from YouQueen.com.
8. Crochet Gloves
Just because I’m more of a crocheter than a knitter I had to include these to finish off the full set of Tardis winter wear – I’ll be trying these tonight! 🙂
9. Tardis Quilt
This was available ready made and OOAK from Etsy – but if you’re ambitious this could be quite a fun project from the collection of blue fabric everywhere you go, to piecing it all together and enjoying the final piece. So gorgeous.
10. Tardis Pumps
And finally – aren’t these fabulous? Follow the how-to here. Enjoy!