New Sewing Projects! Witch Hazel Halloween Pattern Collection

New! The fun, co-ordinating Witch Hazel Halloween Sewing Pattern Collection includes three easy-to-make sewing projects, perfect for beginners and beyond, which you can stitch up for the kids, just in time for Halloween. There are spooky-themed, fabric party bags, a trick-or-treat tote bag and a quilted table-topper mat that can be used year after year!

Halloween Party Set 1

You could use any Halloween themed fabric you like or even try solid fabrics, in oranges, greens and black! I used these fabulously spooky designs from the Witch Hazel collection, by October Afternoon, for Riley Blake Designs.

This collection is a great introduction to bag-making, patchwork and quilting. I’ve designed the projects so that they are easy to follow, with plenty of full-colour images to guide you from start to finish.

If you’d like to make these fun accessories, the pattern collection is available in my Etsy shop: The Witch Hazel Party Collection

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White Tree Fabrics – Jersey Fabric and Simple Sew 007 – Part 2

For my next top, made with the lovely jersey fabrics supplied by White Tree Fabrics, I did a bit of pattern hacking with the gorgeous Bella Dress pattern. This was a free pattern with a Love Sewing magazine issue, from Simple Sew patterns. I’ve been wanting to make the Bella Dress for ages but as I hardly ever wear dresses, I thought it would be great as a top. The blue-grey warm jersey from White Tree was the perfect fabric to use.

9070-11-3 Warm Jersey

The Bella Dress is a lovely flattering shape, which comes in at the waist and has back darts which give a wonderful shape. The sleeves are fluted which again gives a really nice shape and the neckline is a slouchy roll neck. I decided to trim the pattern just below the hips to make a long top and I straightened off the curve which goes over the hip, so that the top didn’t pull in at the bottom. I also made the next size up to what I would normally choose for this pattern as it’s a nice figure hugging dress and I wanted it to be a loose-fitting top.

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Making a top from the Bella Dress – free pattern giveaway from Love Sewing magazine

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Some tips on sewing with jersey fabrics: use a ball point or jersey needle in your sewing machine. Use a polyester (all-purpose) sewing thread, which has a little stretch and won’t break easily like cotton thread would. Remember to use a stretch-stitch and use an over-locking stitch to finish all the raw edges. I used my over-locker for the raw edges and main seams and I used my sewing machine for hemming. Don’t stretch the fabric as you sew it, unless your pattern specifically tells you to do so. Just gently guide it and let the feed dogs move it through.

If you want to try using this super-soft, two-way stretch, warm jersey fabric, visit White Tree Fabrics and save some money by using this exclusive discount code which White Tree have very kindly offered my readers: SUSIED

White Tree Fabrics – Jersey Fabrics and Vogue V8951 – Part 1

I was delighted to receive some beautiful jersey fabrics, from White Tree Fabrics, for my next dressmaking projects. I received a 2-way stretch, blue-grey warm jersey and a one-way stretch, purple Ponti Roma jersey fabric.

I was originally going to make two tops from the Vogue sewing pattern V8951, which I also got from White Tree Fabrics. However, I decided on making just one of them for now as I was also eager to make a different top from another pattern I already had. So I’ll do a separate post on that one and start with the lovely Ponti Roma fabric which I used to make View C from the Vogue pattern.

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View C from Vogue V8951 using Ponti Roma jersey fabric. I altered the back piece to make it the same length all round as the pattern has a very long back which I wasn’t keen on.

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The collar construction looks difficult but the instructions are quite clear. I even managed to add some decorative stretch stitching to it!

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The front view: I’d probably make the next size up next time as I feel it looks a little bit neat. Still lovely to wear though.

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The back view: I was happy with the fit around the back, so maybe I just needed to adjust the front bust area. Will try that next time. That’s what having four kids does to you, I suppose!

Some tips on sewing with jersey fabrics: use a ball point or jersey needle in your sewing machine. Use a polyester (all-purpose) sewing thread, which has a little stretch and won’t break easily like cotton thread would. Remember to use a stretch-stitch and use an over-locking stitch to finish all the raw edges. I used my over-locker for the raw edges and main seams and I used my sewing machine for hemming. Don’t stretch the fabric as you sew it, unless your pattern specifically tells you to do so. Just gently guide it and let the feed dogs move it through. If you’ve never sewn with jersey before, Ponti Roma is a good choice to start with as it is quite a tight knit without too much stretch.

If you want to have a go at making this top and trying out Ponti Roma fabric, visit White Tree Fabrics and save some money by using this exclusive discount code which White Tree have very kindly offered my readers: SUSIED

White Tree Fabrics Dressmaking Project – McCalls K3601

I joined the White Tree Fabrics blogging team a while back and, at long last, I have my first completed project to show off!

I chose some lovely Tilda fabrics and McCalls pattern K3601, both supplied by White Tree Fabrics, to make a kaftan-style top. This has also been the first thing I’ve made with my brand new overlocker, more about that in another post! So not only did I have a lovely new top to make, I could also make it on my new machine and hopefully end up with a professional looking piece of clothing.

I found this McCalls pattern quite easy to follow, but… it did take little while to get the collar right as it was slightly confusing as to how it would end up the right way around! Got there in the end though, I just needed to follow the instructions very carefully. You need to fold the outer edges of the collar section to wrong side and press, then pin it, wrong side up, to the front/back neckline, also wrong side up.

Showing the collar construction for McCalls K3601

After stitching around the neckline and the marked centre line, which is then cut to open the neckline slit, it’s turned to the right side of the front/back of top. Then pinned in place and topstitched around the edges.

Dressmaking - McCalls Pattern K3601 neck detail

The collar detail of McCalls pattern K3601

Due to my own mistake (rushing ahead) I ended up having to do set-in sleeves rather than the easier method of sewing the shoulder edges onto the front/back before sewing the sleeve and side seams. I’d already sewn the sleeve seams by the time I’d noticed and couldn’t be bothered unpicking. It worked out just fine though as they didn’t need any gathering to fit. They fitted into the armhole really well and I was so pleased (relieved!) with the result. I needed more practice with set-in sleeves anyway!! LOL

McCalls sewing pattern K3601

So here’s my finished top, ta da…

Finished Top McCalls pattern K3601

White Tree Fabrics have generously given me a special coupon code for readers to get a fantastic 20% discount and free postage on any orders. Visit www.whitetreefabrics.com to view their lovely range and use the code SUSIED when purchasing anything.

Cuckoo’s Calling – New Fabrics from Dashwood Studio

Look what arrived recently! A fabric bundle from Dashwood’s new collection, Cuckoo’s Calling by Bethan Janine. I was delighted to be asked by Creative Director, David Sweet, to make a couple of my purse frame pouches using these gorgeous new fabrics for an upcoming Dashwood open day.

Cuckoos Calling by Bethan Janine for Dashwood Studio

Cuckoo’s Calling is Bethan’s second collection for Dashwood Studio. Cuckoo’s Calling is bright and fun and inspired by Bethan’s Grandmother’s cuckoo clock, pretty meadow flowers and little leaves she drew whilst on her holidays.

Such a lovely collection, I’m looking forward to making some purses with these. The fabrics should be arriving in stores now, so go get them! What do you think you’d make from these fabrics?

Update: here’s some new purses I’ve made with these gorgeous fabrics.

Handmade Purses by Susan Dunlop for Dashwood Studio

Fly Away: The New Fabric Collection from Dashwood Studio

Look what’s just arrived from Dashwood Studio! A lovely fat quarter bundle of the new Fly Away fabric collection by Phyllida Coronéo, available from retailers in September.

Fly Away by Phyllida Coroneo for Dashwood Studio

Phyllida’s second collection for Dashwood Studio, Fly Away, is a whimsical, nature inspired collection but this time in lime greens, cornflower blues, greys and mint greens.

David Sweet, the Creative Director at Dashwood, has invited me to make something with the Fly Away fabrics for an upcoming showcase of this new collection and I eagerly accepted. I’m going to be making some of my purse frame clutches, as these designs fit in perfectly with the romantic look of Fly Away. I’ll post some images once I’ve made them.

New Dressmaking Project with White Tree Fabrics

I’m delighted to have joined the ‘Blog Team’ for WhiteTree Fabrics. I’m so proud to be a part of this new team of bloggers/sewists, who have the privilege of trying out some of the fantastic sewing products and dressmaking fabrics available from WhiteTree Fabrics.

Blog Team for White Tree FabricsSo what’s it all about? Well, in their own words:

“White Tree fabrics are proud to be working with some truly inspirational people, all of who are enthusiastic bloggers who love sewing, fabrics, crafting and creating their own wardrobe. They also happen to be very talented!

Some of our bloggers are fairly new to the world of sewing, bringing their fresh ideas to the team, while others have a wealth of experience, skills and knowledge to offer and share. We’re hoping that whatever stage our bloggers are at, their creations, ideas and sewing projects give you lots of inspiration and information, as well as a good idea of what you can achieve when you have some great fabric and the right crafting tools. Seeing a photograph of a dressmaking material is one thing, watching it transform into a garment is another! This is where we hope to share the creative process with our customers and creative online community.”

WhiteTree Fabrics' Blog Team

WhiteTree Fabrics’ Blog Team

The range of sewing essentials, patterns and fabrics on the newly revamped website at www.whitetreefabrics.com is so appealing. I ended up taking a note of quite a few new dressmaking projects I’d like to attempt and fabrics which I’d like to use. I managed to whittle my list down to choosing some lovely co-ordinating Tilda fabrics in Martine Bluegrey and Jane Blue Grey. I chose a McCall’s Kwik Sew pattern, K3601 – Pull-over Tops. I think this will make a really nice staple addition to my wardrobe and it doesn’t look too difficult to make. (she says!!!)

K3601 McCalls Sewing Pattern – Pull-over Tops

K3601 McCalls Sewing Pattern – Pull-over Tops

 

Lisa, at WhiteTree Fabrics, sent my parcel containing the gorgeous Tilda fabrics and interfacing, with the pattern and even the sewing thread to follow. Everything I need! How amazing is that! I can’t wait to get started! Now, I just need to make some time for it! I’ll let you know how I get on with making this lovely top.

Tilda Fabrics from WhiteTree Fabrics

New Sewing Patterns, Fabrics and Bag-making Supplies!

Hi all, just back from holiday, refreshed and ready for ‘work’ again. I’ve been busy revamping my website at www.susieddesigns.co.uk and delighted to announce the arrival of some fab new products I’ll be offering, alongside my bag-making sewing patterns.

My fabric remnants and scrap bags are going down a storm and so I’ll be adding more of these often as I always accrue a large amount of them. To add to my little fabric department, I’m delighted to have taken stock of some exciting new fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics. I’m selling these in 1/4 metre increments, ideal if you just want fat quarters at reasonable prices. Just a small collection so far but I’ll be adding more designs very soon.

Art Gallery Fabrics available from SusieDDesigns

Also new in stock, I’m pleased to be offering a selection of modern dressmaking patterns from Serendipity Studio. These patterns are so lovely and offer different variations to suit your style.

Now in stock… Bag-making supplies! In response to customer demand, I’m now stocking all the components and interfacings I use for my sewing patterns – slim magnetic snaps, swivel hook snaps, D-rings, rectangular rings, belt slides, side-release buckles, purse frames, plastic bag bases, velcro, zips, riveted snaps, vario snap pliers, Vilene stabilisers…

Metal Hardware for Bagmaking

 

 

Dashwood Studio’s Open Day Photos including my Laundry Bag

As mentioned in a previous post, Dashwood Studio celebrated their 1st birthday recently and enjoyed a successful open day, featuring their awesome fabric collections. They created a fabulous kitchen set-up which included the laundry bag I’d been asked to make for it. This is one the photos that was taken on the day…

Retro Orchard Laundry Bag at Dashwood Studio Open Day

“Drawstring bags are a straightforward make and we love how this one combines four of the prints in a simple and stylish way. We also like how two coloured cords have been used as the drawstrings. Sometimes the little details make it.” – Dashwood Studio

I’m really proud to have contributed to their special day. Here’s some more delightful makes from other designers…

dining tableapronsausage dog

All That Jazz! A Ukulele Case from Robert Kaufman’s New Fabrics

I was so excited to receive some advance samples of the new All That Jazz fabrics by Fabrice De Villeneuve for Robert Kaufman Fabrics! These are the most amazing designs and the minute I saw them I knew I had to design and make some musical instrument cases with them.Here’s a few of my favourites from the new collection…

All That Jazz from Robert Kaufman Fabrics

All That Jazz from Robert Kaufman Fabrics …and this is my first ukulele soft-cover case… (get the sewing pattern here and here)

Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (1)Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (2)Ukulele Soft Cover Case Handmade by Susan Dunlop (3)

I enjoyed making this so much and will be making another I think from the red fabric. I’ve added enough padding to protect the instrument, including a carry handle and a useful pocket on the front of the case. I will be releasing this as a sewing pattern very soon, watch this space! I’ll also be working on some more instrument cases/covers over the coming months. What other instruments would you like to see a sewing pattern for?

Update: get the pattern now from my Etsy shop here or in my UK shop here.

Made with Dashwood Studio fabrics – Retro Orchard by Wendy Kendall

I recently received a bundle of the new fabric collection Retro Orchard, by the talented Wendy Kendall for Dashwood Studio. I absolutely adore this new collection! It’s vibrant, modern and I just love the combination of fruits and floral motifs. Dashwood is holding a big open day for their trade customers and I was really pleased to be asked to make something for the display they’re creating. It’s going to be a kitchen setting, so I’ve made this modern laundry bag for the event:

Retro Orchard Laundry Bag by Susan Dunlop of SusieDDesigns

Handmade Laundry Bag made with Retro Orchard

Retro Orchard is Wendy’s 2nd collection for Dashwood. It combines bold graph fruit motifs with fun pattern fills. The contemporary palette makes the collection perfect for use in both the modern kitchen and junior apparel. Wendy’s first collection for Dashwood, was Petite Street – which I used to design one of my modern nappy bag sewing patterns.

Retro Orchard Laundry Bag handmade by Susan Dunlop of SusieDDesigns

Dashwood Studio is celebrating it’s upcoming first year anniversary and continues to go from strength to strength. The studio now has eight signature collections to it’s name, as well as a range of 4 novelty prints and a collection of 18 Flurry print colour co-ordinates.

Dashwood Competition

Dashwood is planning a big competition at the end of June to co-inside with their birthday. Each day they’ll give away something ‘Made with Dashwood’ from each collection they’ve released, plus a grand prize bundle for one lucky winner from all the entries they receive!

Details of the competition will be announced very soon, so follow Dashwood on Bloglovin’ or Facebook to be the first to hear.

Fabric Remnants Now Available From My Shop for Quilting and Sewing Projects

I’ve added a brand new section to my website, offering fabric remnants and scrap bags. All the fabrics are new/unused pieces from the designer collections which I use during the course of my bag making and general sewing. There are large pieces of about 1 metre, 1/2 metres (or 1/2 yards), fat quarters and scrap bags on offer. The scrap bags are full of good sized pieces, perfect for patchwork and small-medium sized sewing projects. All the fabric packs have free UK postage. Check out the new fabric listings often as they will change regularly, depending on what I have available at the time. Here’s a wee preview of some of the fabrics on offer.

250g (8.75oz) scrap bag of Comma by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda

250g (8.75oz) scrap bag of Comma by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda

Large remnants (1/2 yard and some smaller pieces) of Indian Summer by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs

Large remnants (1/2 yard and some smaller pieces) of Indian Summer by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake Designs

280g (10oz) bag of good sized pieces of A Fun Day in The Jungle from Marcus Fabrics

280g (10oz) fabric scrap bag, full of A Fun Day in The Jungle from Marcus Fabrics

2 x 1/2 yards of Amy Butler's fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection

2 x 1/2 yards of Amy Butler’s fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection

New Look Sewing Pattern 6356 – a new top and some sewing tips thrown in!

My first top, finished at last! So, my lovely new Lady Valet dress form has been patiently standing in the corner, looking ever so pretty covered in the new fabric I’d got. I’m making some tops from Simplicity’s New Look pattern 6356, which has 5 nice variations for a ‘simple’ top and boasts that it’s an ‘easy2hour’ job! Hmmm, maybe for some but it’s been years since I’ve made any clothing items. It’s been all bags, bags and more bags…

The fabric I chose for this top is called Josephine by French General for Moda Fabrics. I adore old-fashioned style fabrics and this is just so lovely, with it’s deep red floral design on an oyster background.

Fabric - Josephine from French General for Moda Fabrics

Fabric – Josephine from French General for Moda Fabrics

I’d forgotten how vast clothing pattern sheets can be, I was a bit overwhelmed for a little while! So first of all I zig-zag stitched all the pieces to keep all the edges nice and neat. I stay-stitched the neckline (straight stitching within the seam allowance of the neckline to stop this edge from stretching) and stitched the bust darts. It really helped having a tailor’s ham here for pressing and shaping the bust darts. A new book I’d got recently – The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction by Christine Haynes – has a good section on pressing and shaping darts properly; such as pressing the dart on the wrong side first and then pressing it on the right side and shaping the tip of the dart around the ham. Another useful tip for sewing darts, to allow them to lay flat, is don’t back-stitch or tie a knot at the end of the dart; instead change the stitch length down to 1.0 as you approach the point and stitch off the end. Trim the excess threads off. The stitches are secure because of the tiny size and you’ll have no lumps and bumps!

Pressing darts using a tailor's ham

I’m glad I’ve inserted quite a few zips before, otherwise I think I would have struggled with the next bit. I strayed a bit from the instruction here though and did the zip in a slightly easier way. I used a long basting stitch to sew up the zip opening, pressed the seams open and laid the zip on top of the fabric’s wrong side with the zip face down. I lined up the teeth with the seam and pinned in place, stitched around the zip (I did a double row to reinforce) and then I used a seam ripper to remove the basting stitches. Yippee, a neatly installed zip!

Inserting a zip into a top

A zipper installed into back of top

Once I’d sewn the front and back pieces together, it was time to add the facing around the neck line. I was a little nervous about this bit as wasn’t sure if I’d get the under-stitching right. I ended up forgetting to turn the top right side out and began stitching the facing on the wrong way around! Out came the trusty seam-ripper. Try again! Got it right this time and, after pressing the facing (with the seam allowance pressed toward the facing), I did the under-stitching – short straight stitches all around the facing, staying really close to the seam line. Then the facing was pressed to the wrong side of the top and the neckline was pressed so that the under-stitching of the facing was just inside. Phew, did it!

Stitching facing around the neckline of top

Under stitching the neckline facing of a top

The neckline facing under stitched and finished

Front of neckline facing with under stitching

Now for setting in the sleeves, another little wobble here! I didn’t get the easing in exactly right as there’s a couple of little puckers but overall I was quite pleased. They’re not perfect but I’m happy with them and both sleeves look pretty even.

Setting a sleeve into a top

To finish off the top, I decided to stray from the instructions again and did a neat rolled hem around the sleeves and the bottom of the top – the narrow hem sewing machine foot is a fantastic accessory, makes it so easy to sew a barely-there seam; although it’s fiddly to get the fabric to go into the foot at first as you need to roll over the beginning edge and feed it into the slot. The pattern suggests slip-stitching the hems by hand but I prefer to stick to machine sewing where ever possible.

I really enjoyed making this top (took me most of the day though, where do they get 2 hours from?) and I have some fabric lined up for the next one, which I think I’ll do with either a rounded or squared neck this time. The pattern is quite easy to use and follow, once you get to grips with it, and I’ll definitely be using it again to make more. So here’s the finished top!

View C Top - New Look sewing pattern 6356

View C Top - New Look sewing pattern 6356

New Look Sewing Pattern 6355 - Back View