Handmade Christmas pajamas in a fabric gift bag

Alexa's handmade Christmas!

Since everyone has been spending more time in pyjamas this year, I thought that pyjamas would make great Christmas gifts for my nearest and dearest. My favourite patterns for pyjamas are the Sew Over It Ultimate Pyjama bottoms with the Sew House 7 Toaster sweater. These are both great and really straightforward patterns, and not more complicated than I can deal with in the midst of a global pandemic.

I picked the gorgeous organic leopard print jersey for the Toaster sweater and some pink Figo wishbone quilting cotton for the bottoms (the cotton is on sale, just saying…). These were both quality fabrics that sewed up beautifully. For two completely unmatched fabrics, they go together beautifully!

These were meant for my sister for Christmas but she is impatient and refused to wait! However, she has fed back that they are her favourite ever pyjamas and super snuggly, so at least I know that these will be a winner as Christmas gifts. 

I love giving gifts in bags that can go on being used afterward, either to gift next year’s presents or for laundry or shoe bags, or whatever else people might want. I made this one from some Dashwood Christmas tree cotton that I’ve been eyeing up for ages and a gorgeous velvet ribbon. This is a super basic square bag that I’ve stitched a channel into at the top for the ribbon. The bag is the perfect size for a pair of pajamas and some fancy tea, which is what everyone I know is getting for Christmas!

Happy gifting all!

Christmas Crafting! Re-usable gift bags

Easy drawstring gift bag DIY

We are officially on the countdown to Christmas here at Samantha Claridge HQ…we’ve got to have something to look forward to haven’t we! 

What better way to spend our spare time over lockdown than some mindful, relaxing sewing and crafting. I am going to make some handmade gifts this year but we really are keeping gifts to a minimum this Chrimbo, everyone is stretched money wise and over the top consumption and needless spending just doesn’t seem appropriate this year. I’ve been enjoying making my own clothes this year which has lead to me shopping less and really the thought of buying something that I could potentially make just seems unnecessary, how about you? 

I’ve designed 4 easy tutorials that are Christmas appropriate, but really these would work all year round depending on fabric choice, and are great for using up scraps of fabric. I’ll be popping them on the blog over the next couple of weeks so you’ve got plenty of time to make them before Christmas.

The first project is for reusable drawstring bags which can be made in any size, used year after year, and are much more sustainable for wrapping pressies in! This is a very simple DIY suitable for a beginner..this would also be great to do with kids under supervision.

You can use a festive-themed fabric (as I have done and you can buy it here) or a plain calico or hessian would work really well jazzed up with some pretty ribbon or ric rac…the creative possibilities are endless!

For this project you will need:

Fabric  12″ x 28″ ( I used Jingle polar bears which is now only £2.33 per half metre)

Ribbon or cord for the drawstring approx 26″ long ( I used glitter ribbon)

Scissors

Sewing machine

Step one

Hem the two long edges of the fabric strip. I did this using my overlocker and a narrow 1/4″ hem but if you don’t have an overlocker you could either use a zig zag stitch or simply fold the hem twice, press and stitch. 

Step two

Fold the short end in by 1/4″, press the fold then fold over again by another 1/4″, press then fold down by 1″ and press.

Top stitch close to the edge of the folded hem.

Repeat this process for the other end of the fabric.

This process creates the channels you will thread your ribbon or cord through for the drawstring.

Step three

Fold the fabric in half with right sides together and stitch down the side seams starting below the top channels for the drawstrings you made leaving them open.

Step four

Finally, attach a safety pin to one end of your ribbon or drawstring and thread this through the top channel of your bag and tie in a knot at one end…et Voila!

Over the next couple of weeks, we will share the following tutorials…an easy bottle bag, coin purse, and festive fabric napkins which we hope you will love
Let us know if there are any other DIYs you would like us to feature!

New In Dressmaking fabrics!

We’ve had some lovely new fabrics arrive at Samantha Claridge HQ, perfect for the change of weather and to start off your Autumn/ Winter wardrobe! From viscose to jersey, cotton poplin to rayon jersey, and some stretch lace too!

Below we’ve paired each fabric to a pattern to give you a little sewing inspiration! Please leave your suggestions for pattern pairings in the comments below, we’d love to know what you would make with these beauties!

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Tilly and the Buttons – Lotta dress

Fibre Mood – Franca

Fibre Mood  – Mindy

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Simplicity – S8738

McCalls  – M7983

Pipe Dream Patterns – The Tara Basic

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

McCalls – M7864

Simplicity – 8707

Style Arc – Kitt Knit dress

What’s your favourite fabric and what would you make?

DIY Statement fabric headband

Hairbands and hair accessories are still a huge trend this winter and they are super easy to make with fabric scraps!
In this DIY I will show you a simple way of making a knotted fabric hairband. I used the Ruby Star Society fabric in Spark Mustard  (which is half price in our sale
You could also embellish your hairband with beads or pearls for a fabulous party look and these would also make great stocking fillers!

You will need:

A plain hairband ( I got mine a few years ago from eBay)

A strip of fabric

Glue gun or fabric glue, if you don’t want to use glue you can hand stitch instead.

Basic sewing kit

Lets get started!

Step 1

Cut a rectangle of fabric measuring 21” x 7”. Fold fabric in half right sides together and sew down the long edge leaving a gap of 2” in the middle (to turn through)

Step 2

Press the strip so the seam is in the centre and then sew the short edges

Step 3

Turn through the opening you left when sewing and press

Step 4

Place the hairband in the middle of the fabric strip and tie a knot.

Step 5

Arrange the knot so you are happy with it and that is nice and centred making sure the rest of the fabric reaches the ends of the hairband.

Step 6

Fold in and hot glue the bottom sides down starting one side and folding over the other side.

Let us know if you make this hairband, we love seeing your makes!

Autumn /Winter fashion trends

Blimey, it’s suddenly got cold! I’m sat typing this with a long sleeved top, cardigan and my me-made Haori jacket on and I’m still freezing!

But, despite being tool cold it’s a lovely sunny day and I’m excited to start planning my Autumn/ Winter makes and add some useful staples to my wardrobe. I made lots of lovely dresses this summer and want to make sure that I can wear these items through the winter months too paired with chunky knits, cosy coats and practical shirts.

I’ve been looking at high street trends to get some ideas and as always Instagram and other makers are a massive source of inspiration.

Here are a few of my favorite Autumn/ Winter trends and some fabric and pattern pairings to get the look for yourself…

Velvet…

Velvet tops are always a Winter winner, they look luxurious, are great for social events …probably less relevant this Winter, unfortunately, but sometimes it’s still nice to be fancy at home! It can be dressed up or down easily with denim and is lovely and cosy!

Some patterns we would recommend are:

Pinnacle Top/ Sweater by Papercut Patterns

The Ilford Jacket – Friday Pattern Company ( I made one in velvet earlier this year and left off the buttons so it’s like a fancy cardi!)

Cashmerette – Dartmouth top (great for a stretch velvet)

Corduroy…

Cord is back in again…in fact, I don’t think it went away! Such a warm and versatile fabric. Perfect for menswear…I’m definitely planning on doing more un-selfish sewing and making a few things for my husband!

Again, the Ilford Jacket is great as it’s unisex 

I would also recommend the following:

Mimi G Jean Jacket Simplicity 8845

Simplicity 8475

Thread Theory Designs – Fairfield Button-up shirt

Luxe fabrics…

Simple elastic waist midi skirts are really easy to make and made with a luxe fabric are perfect for Autumn/ Winter teamed with a band tee and chunky boots.

We’ve got some lovely plisse fabrics and chiffons in stock so you can get the look.

Patterns to try:

Sew Liberated Gypsum skirt

Sewaholic easy skirt pattern

Also, have a look on You Tube for a free tutorial! All you need is some fabric, a sewing machine and elastic for the waistband.

Shop the pleated sparkling jersey here

Coat fabrics…

I’ve made a Wiksten Haori already for Autumn (Which is fabulous by the way and I would totally recommend making one in denim or quilting cotton for a lighter transitional jacket) but think I’ll need something a bit more substantial for Winter. 

Checks, teddy and borg are all in again. The trend for oversized coats and chore style coats is big for Winter and we’ve got some lovely wool mix and teddy coating in stock.

Here are a few great patterns you could try pairing with our fabric range:

Stacker Jacket – Papercut Patterns

Sapporo Coat – Papercut Patterns

The Coat – The Avid Seamstress

Opium Coat – Deer and Doe

Cascade Duffle Coat – Grainline Studio

Let us know what your sewing plans are for Autumn/ Winter.

 

What key pieces will you be adding to your wardrobe this season?

How to upcycle fabric scraps into a quilted tote

With sustainability at the forefront of our minds it’s really important to think of ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. Using our fabric offcuts is a small way we can reduce waste and landfill and make something beautiful that we can use for years to come.

As sewists we all have a few (bags of) fabric scraps! 

I’ve been using lots of Ruby Star Society fabrics this year for various projects and collected every little scrap to be used at some point. 

I was going to make a scrappy quilt or cushion cover with all the off cuts, but then I changed my mind and actually a decent sized tote bag would be more…handy!

I cut up all my bits of fabric and just randomly sewed them up just enjoying the process and not really planning how it would look. That’s the thing with scraps they tend to be haphazard!

I used some left over batting from another quilt project and some larger pieces of fabric from my stash for a lining. My pieces ended up measuring approx 14″ x 13″. I used my machine to stitch some quilting lines throughout the bag pieces. I then stitched the sides and bottom on the bag together.

I made box corners on the inside at 2.5″ up from the corner, trimmed them and turned the bag right sides through. At this point you can bind your unfinished edges if your machine can cope with the layers. I finished the top edge of the bag with bias binding which I turned to the inside of the bag and top stitched.

I had some faux leather bag handles in my stash which were just the perfect match and stitched them on with some strong thread.

I love how this bag looks, it will be perfect for popping to the shops or for a sewing project bag and the fabrics are so fun! I can’t imagine throwing away such gorgeous fabrics, my scrap bag is still growing and I may tackle a quilted jacket at some point!

How do you use your scraps?

Trimmings inspiration

I’m always drawn to sparkly, pretty trims but rarely use them. I think that’s because traditionally trims are used on occasion wear and I don’t have many ‘occasions’ to go to – ha!

We’ve got so many beautiful trims in stock and I am keen to try and find more ways to use them which are a ‘everyday’ friendly. With my fashion backgroud I naturally love looking at Pinterest for dressmaking inspiration and at beautiful embelished clothes so here are a few ways to dress them down!

We have just had some gorgeous daisy trim in two sizes delivered. I love the idea of cutting the individual daisy’s off the chain and adding them to a plain dress for a retro feel. This dress by Miss Patina uses this trim both on the collar edge and individually on the flower print on the actual dress to highlight the daisy print…so lovely!!

Adding some lace trim to the sleeves of an old t-shirt or vest top is a great way of jazzing up an old top that would otherwise end up in the charity bag…

Sew on or iron on motifs are a great way of giving new life to an old shirt and can add a feminine look to an upcycled men’s shirt…

Lace trims added to simple t-shirts are a great every day look. They smarten up a plain tee for work and look a bit more put together with jeans and simple sandals…

I hope this has give you a bit of inspiration for your latest make or upcycle!
 
Do you like trims, have you added any to makes this year or do you feel it’s more a partywear thing?

 

Next time I’ll talk about all the bling!

 

Debbie x

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

‘Sew Over It’ Penny dress with Ruby Star Society Fabric

Lisa's cotton dress with piping...

Hi there!

Wow it feels like forever since I was last here.  I hope you are all well and managing to stay safe in these weird, unexpected times and are finding happiness and relaxation in your sewing adventures.  I know for me, it’s a bit up and down and sometimes I’m struggling to even think about sewing.  Partly because I’d over indulged during lockdown and gained a bit of the old weight so I didn’t feel like making pretty clothes for myself and partly due to the stresses of owning a business that isn’t yet allowed to open.

However when Sammy gave us the go ahead to start blogging again I knew I needed to get my act together and start making for me again.  I’d already started the healthy eating and lost almost a stone so felt a new dress would definitely be a celebration.

When I saw the Ruby Star Alma Faces fabric I almost immediately fell in love.  I was torn between the mustard and the one I chose.  Sammy had also posted over on Instagram the red button lips that I chose to use and I thought they’d be perfect as this month’s theme was fastenings.

 I initially thought it was black and white from the pictures so figured a pop of red with the buttons would work well with it and opted to make a fabric belt in red to accompany the buttons, however it is in fact navy blue and off white.  Not to worry though as I think it works pretty well with the navy and cream too.

I had a bit of a think and decided that I’d make myself the Penny Dress by Sew Over It London.  Now, if you follow me over on Instagram (you can find me on @sewlastminutelisa if you fancy a look) you’ll know that I’ve made 3 of these previously for my mum but not actually made any for myself. 

The fabric is only 43” (about 110 cm) wide and the pattern called for 140cm wide so I knew that I would have to take some of the volume out of the skirt.  I knew this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem so decided to go for it.   It has taken quite a bit out of the bottom of the skirt and made it more of an A line looking skirt rather than the fullness of a circle skirt.  However I really like it.

I felt like the belt might be a bit on the plain side so opted to have a play with the ribbon stitches on my Pfaff Performance Icon and jazz the red fabric belt up a little.  Now, if you’ve not seen these stitches before they are amazing.  It’s like plaiting ribbon.  You have the option to use 1, 2 or 3 ribbons with a combination of different stitches to hold them in place.  This is the first time I’ve had a project that I could really use it on and I have to say I’m really happy with how it turned out.  My only tip is to make sure you use stabiliser underneath the decorative stitches on your machine!

I managed to find a bit of red piping in my stash so decided to add this to the shoulder epaulettes to give a pop of colour in that area and add a bit of interest.  I simply pinned it as instructed in the pattern but wedged the piping in between the seam allowances and it was sewn together using my zipper foot and by moving the needle right across to the left of the zipper foot it enable me to get up close to the piping.

Again, my Pfaff always performs when it comes to doing buttonholes (except when its user error lol J) and it didn’t disappoint this time either.  I was a bit concerned with the shape of the buttons however, once they’d been pushed through the holes a couple of times they were fine.  I always make sure to use Fray Check whenever I’m doing buttonholes just to make sure there’s no fraying once I’m done.

Now, the hubby never really comments on the stuff I make unless I specifically ask his opinion (which, let’s be honest with 2 girls living at home, does his opinion really count? Lol!) However, he was quite taken with this little number and made sure to tell me how much he liked it and that it looked so professional so I’m taking this one as a definite win! 🙂

I wore this dress almost as soon as it was finished and have to say it was so so comfortable.  The fabric felt lovely against my skin (certain fabrics irritate my skin nowadays) and it was a dream to wash and press.  Overall I’m giving this one 10/10 – can you tell I’m gushing now :).  I’ve had so many compliments about the dress and the fabric when I’ve been out and about in it, it makes me feel great to wear it.

Let me know what projects you’ve been working on using this fabric!  I’d love to see them!  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and looking forward to seeing you again next month!

Take care, until next time

Lisa  x

@sewlastminutelisa