Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 19th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 19th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
My first post on the Minerva Crafts Blog, how exciting! I’ve been working with their gorgeous pale blue Animal Print Jersey Fabric and I decided to make the Ruska dress from the new Breaking the Pattern book by Named Clothing.
This is my second attempt at making this pattern, the first time I decided to use some scuba satin from my stash to make a t-shirt version, and pretty much everything under the sun went wrong and I ended up with something that just wasn’t wearable. But I loved the pattern and really wanted to try it again so when I saw this fabric I knew it would be a much better choice, and I was right.
The pattern is pretty simple to follow and has several variations including a plain dress, a t-shirt and the knot dress. The basic knot dress is short sleeved, with the length being above the knee. That isn’t really my style so I decided to use the longer length and sleeve from the plain dress variation. This made the dress a mid calf length and has a lovely split detail on either side. Having short legs I decided to shorten the openings of the slit slightly so it wasn’t too high up on the leg.
I haven’t got the most experience of working with jersey knit fabric so it took me a few evenings to put the dress together. But for someone used to sewing with this type of fabric you could easily whip one up in an afternoon. I used just under 2m of fabric for this dress, but you could probably squeeze it out of a slightly smaller piece if you were doing the shorter length.
Apart from the fabric you don’t really need much else for this make. I used Gütermann thread colour 143 and found it the perfect match. And the pattern also calls for a short bit of Stabilising Tape for the shoulders. Or you can use a thin piece of ribbon like I did which I had left over from a previous project. If you’re using ribbon you just want to make sure that it doesn't have a stretch as you’re using it to stop the shoulder seams from warping shape.
Pale blue isn’t usually a colour I wear, but I saw this fabric and fell in love - anything with animal print on send my way! What I love about this fabric is its super soft and snuggly so great for colder weather which works really well with the double layer front of the knot dress. But I think the colour is also really fresh and would work great in spring time too. I’m all for pieces that transition through the seasons so it will get loads of wear from me! It’s a lovely small and easy to wear print, and its the type of print that you don’t need to worry about pattern matching which makes things a whole lot easier!
I love the little details of this dress, the slit being one of them, but also the centre front seam. I think this is a lovely subtle touch that just adds something a little extra. If you wanted to really emphasise it a bit of top stitching would look fab. To finish the dress off I wanted to create my own little label. So using a scrap bit of fabric from my stash I cut out a long rectangle piece about two inches wide. I then drew out a little design on the strip, just above half way - for me I chose my initials LH, and simply hand embroidered over the design. I stitched up three sides with the right sides together then turned it right way out and attached it by hand to the inside back of the dress.
I was super proud of this make when it was finished so I decided to put it through the ultimate test of a day at work. I’m a photographer so no two days are ever the same. I need comfortable clothing but also need to look smart. My day was filled with lugging camera gear around, a photoshoot, filming and some admin and my dress stayed looking fab all day, barely creasing and was so comfortable to wear - I just wanted to stroke the fabric all day!
Jersey knit is definitely the perfect fabric for this make and Minerva crafts has so many to choose from! The dress is so versatile that it would look great in any fabric - plain or patterned. I also think this fabric would make really comfy loungewear or a cosy jumper.
Can’t wait to start planning my next make from the Breaking The Pattern book!
If you want to follow along with any of my makes, find me on Instagram @lucyhannahmakes
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 19th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
I thought I’d sew a trickier fabric for my make this month so I opted for a Velour Jersey Fabric with a floral design. When it arrived I was so pleased because it’s the most lovely slippery smooth fabric and the design is gorgeous, albeit quite a bit bigger than I expected. I’d initially planned to make a dirndl-style skirt from The Maker’s Atelier magazine but after the fabric arrived I decided I’d feel it was too bulky around my waist and hips. This is purely a personal choice because I knew the sheen on the fabric would accentuate my tummy, which I’m quite self-conscious of, as well as the pleats. This isn’t a reflection on the suitability of the fabric for the pattern, quite the reverse, but it wasn’t going to be right for me.
I settled instead on a pattern hack of the River Dress from Megan Nielsen. It’s a super-simple raglan sleeved dress and top with the interesting option of wearing it either way round-it has a V neck and a scoop and no darts so you can choose which is the front and which is the back [people will think it’s a different dress each time!] It’s suitable for stretch and woven fabrics too, and has in-seam pockets if you want them so a really versatile pattern which I’ve made once already.
Because the velour lends itself to a more ‘special’ outfit, and I wanted to use the maximum amount of fabric I’ve been provided with, I lengthened the sleeves to full-length and also the skirt as much as possible. This wasn’t difficult because the pattern pieces are all straight to start with so it’s just a case of adding the extra.
There are a few things to bear in mind with velour (or velvet, corduroy and velveteen for that matter). They all have a ’pile’ which is a raised surface which can usually be brushed in one direction or another, this often results in it shading or looking a different colour depending on which direction you’re looking at it. The effect can be so marked as to make the fabric look like two completely different colours even though you know it’s all the same. (FYI satin often does this too) This isn’t going to be a problem if you cut all your pattern pieces going the same way.
Next, fabrics with a pile can be easily marked by pins so always pin the pattern to the fabric within the seam allowance. Personally I’m really not a fan of pattern weights and I definitely wouldn’t use weights for this because they are liable to shift about on this fabric.
These fabrics can be folded and cut on the double, just lay them up carefully keeping the selvedges even and the fold shouldn’t be twisting. I always use the edge of the table as a visual marker and lay the selvedges against it closest to me. If you’re in any doubt, or the pattern instructs it, then cut on the single making sure you cut pairs of everything that requires it.
You may notice the pattern seems to ‘creep’ a bit on the fabric, this is because of the pile underneath. Smooth the pattern gently with your hand in one direction to keep wrinkles to a minimum, don’t over do it though as you could be there all day pinning and re-pinning.
My fabric had a one-way design so there was only one way for me to cut it out which simplified things.
When it comes to sewing a fabric with pile you may find the top layer wants to creep further along as you sew ending up with the top layer pushed further than the under layer. Tacking may not be your favourite thing but this is definitely a good time to do it. If you have a walking foot attachment for your machine use that, my Pfaff Ambition 2.0 has a built-in walking foot which has been invaluable for fabrics like this.
The ‘River’ dress and top is a very simple make, after sewing the raglan sleeves the neck band goes on [make sure you cut the correct neckband as there are different ones for stretch and woven fabrics]
I had decided to give my dress some additional features by using elastic inside casings to create a cuff and also under the bust. I used a wide ready-made bias binding for this casing but, in order not to damage the pile of the fabric which will be facing down towards the feed dogs, I placed a sheet of tissue paper under the fabric between the presser foot and the feed dogs. Sew through the fabric and the tissue and then tear it away when you’re done, this will hopefully protect the pile and stop it being marked or crushed.
I sewed the bias on with the sleeves open and flat so I could see exactly where I was sewing it stopping just short of the seam on each side. This is because when I sewed up the sleeve seams I could slot the elastic through the casing, adjust it and stitch it. Also, I hemmed the sleeves using the rolled hem finish on my overlocker.
When I first sewed the bias on for the under-bust gathering unfortunately I put it on too low for my liking so I had to take it all off and move it up. This meant there were a few marks on the cloth where I’d unpicked but I rubbed gently with my nail to smooth the marks as best I could. It isn’t too visible now and I hope they will wash out eventually.
I left a split up one side of the skirt which I stitched down and then used the twin needle for the hem itself.
Fabrics like velour and velvet need a bit of careful handling but they aren’t impossible. When it comes to pressing most of us don’t have special pin-boards for the purpose so I suggest you use an offcut of the velour as a pressing cloth, or a hand towel or similar would probably work pretty well too, basically you’re trying to avoid crushing the pile.
This is a lovely fabric and I’m really pleased with the finished dress which I think is a bit special.
Thanks for reading,
Sue @ Susan Young Sewing
OK, OK, I know it’s probably too soon to be getting excited about spring, but the New Year is here, and I have already set my mind to sewing for Spring. I only really started making wearable clothes well into summer last year, so aside from a few Maxi Dresses, most of the me made clothes in my wardrobe are cosy winter knits. As such, I have decided to be really prepared and start on my Spring/Summer wardrobe now.
I’m not sure if he knew this, or it was just a coincidence, but my husband bought me the New Look 6446 Jumpsuit pattern from Minerva for Christmas and I had already ordered the Coral Linen Look Stripe Suiting Fabric as my next Minerva Crafts Blog project! The two were so well suited!
Before I get into the make, I wanted to share a little tip of mine for working with tissue patterns. If, like me, you are reluctant to cut out your size, in case you may need another size in future, and yet you also loathe tracing tissue patterns, you can give this one a try! Now hopefully you iron tissue patterns before using them anyway? If not, you definitely should, as you will notice they often have very fine creases in, that together can throw your cutting out by quite a bit! Cut around the largest size pieces, either neatly, or just roughly around the outside, then iron each piece as you normally would, and then fold under all of the straight lines and press them down. Once you have done the straight lines, do the best you can to fold under and press the curves, you may find you want to make a few small snips in the paper to help here, or just ease them around as much as you can.
When it comes to cutting out, you can pin the paper to the fabric, cut along the straight lines and just slowly ease around the curves as you cut. Hopefully the pic below will show you exactly what I mean!
Now I want to take a moment to talk about the fabric, because it has a really unique texture, which you can only really see by looking at the close up photos. Don’t be misled by the name into thinking it’s a thick heavy suiting fabric, as it is definitely not. It’s light and airy, and perfect for a nice pair of wide leg trousers, or culottes, or of course a jumpsuit! In fact I think I may live in this outfit on my upcoming summer holiday!
I really enjoyed making this pattern! The fabric was so easy to work with, it just didn’t cause me any issues at all, except for the fact that I didn’t quite have enough of it! Having ordered the fabric before having the pattern I thought 2 metres would be enough, especially as it’s quite wide (58 inches!). Foolishly, I didn’t set out all of the pieces on to the fabric before starting to cut, I just took a bit of a guesstimate that it would be fine. I did not take into account the fact that I needed to cut a lining out, and that the pocket bags are quite big! Obviously, I could have used a different fabric for my lining, but a rummage in my stash pulled up zero results, and I was far too impatient to order more.
I ended up sewing together the biggest pieces of scrap that I had to make the pocket bags and lining, and then cutting the main bodice piece with the stipes running horizontally. On reflection I am actually really glad that I did this with the bodice, otherwise it would have driven me mad that the stripes didn’t line up on the trousers, the bodice and the top front band, because let’s face it I’d have never had the patience (or enough fabric) to pattern match!
Where I did resist my urges to sew sew sew, on this one, and showed a little patience was with the zip. I took the time to hand baste the zip in place, and I am very pleased with the results! This was by far the most invisible, invisible zip that I’ve ever sewn in!
This must have had quite some effect on me as I was also patient enough to hand sew the lining! I do not usually enjoy hand sewing at all. In fact, I am just not very good at it! But as I didn’t have a matching thread, I was not going to risk stitching in the ditch on the waist seam!
After a quick hem, all that was left to do was to take some snaps! Taking photos is always hard this time of year with such bad natural light coming in, so after my usual landing mirror selfie, I decided to brave the cold (and the strange looks from my neighbours and head outside for some pics! See if you can spot the difference in the next two photos!
Yep, with and without the waistband! I think it looks great either way! I hope that you agree! I am definitely thinking about a bold floral dress version of this pattern for the summer!
Posted in Projects on Monday the 18th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, my name is Nicoletta and this is my first blog post for Minerva Crafts Creative Team. I am very happy to be here and review one of their products.
I had the pleasure to try this Deluxe Viscose Jersey Knit Fabric in black. Its composition is 92% Viscose, 8% Spandex. Once the fabric arrived I was not disappointed at all. The quality is extremely good and it drapes beautifully.
At the beginning I wanted to make the Tuuli dress by Named Clothing, but the drapey characteristic of the viscose made me change my mind. I have decided then to make the Lou Box Dress Number 2 by SewDIY, to create the perfect (at least for me) little black dress, just in time for the holiday’s season.
I prewashed the fabric at 30ºC, even if you can wash it up to 40ºC and there was not shrinkage at all.
Once dried it up, I cut immediately the dress. The pattern is beginner friendly and the pattern pieces are few. So the 2.50m were more than enough. According to the chart, I have chosen to cut a size XS-S, without any modification.
The fit is quite generous and I think I could have go down one size, as, by the way, Beth suggests in the pattern instructions for knit fabric. Keep in mind if you will use a knit fabric or make a test before. Anyway I am usually for oversized clothes, in particular at the top, so I like as it is.
I was really surprised by the easiness of the fabric while sewing: even if the fabric is lightweight and stretchy, I had no difficulty at all to make the dress using my serger.
The only little modification from the original pattern is a bigger waistband casing, since I have used 3cm elastic.
Thank for reading and I hope to be back again soon!
Nicoletta @ Stitch and Cappuccino
Posted in Projects on Monday the 18th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
With the temperature dropping outside now is the perfect time to try this Coating Fabric from Minerva. The fabric is truly meant for dark cold days, it is so gorgeous and heavy in a lovely rusty maroon colour. Before it arrived, I spent some time sketching out what I had in mind to create, I thought the exquisite Dior 1947 New Look silhouette would be perfect for this sumptuous wool acrylic mix.
I looked online for a suitable pattern but alas I couldn’t find anything like what I had envisioned so I went about creating a pattern from scratch. Now I say from scratch that’s a big lie, having looked on Pinterest there are a good few tutorials that recommend simply cutting around a coat you already have, which is so easy!
Firstly, I started with the bodice, cutting two pieces as you normally would with a dress and then cutting the front piece in half to make the coat opening. This fabric frays when you cut it, but if you ensure you’re binding your seams it soon looks nice and tidy.
Once I’d sewn together the coat bodice I went about creating the sleeves. Now if you have ever sauntered over to my Instagram page you will know I’m a great lover of a dramatic sleeve. So, I cut out the biggest balloon sleeves I could with my cats Ada and Inca darting all over the fabric as I did.
Attaching my fantastically dramatic sleeves was a lot easier than I anticipated with the thickness of this fabric, I didn’t think my Janome machine would play nice, but once I’d pinned and added in some essential pleating to make the sleeves sit just right my machine went over the layers like a treat.
I added some lapels to the bodice, which I created using long narrow pieces of the fabric sewing them inside out and then pulling them the right way out before attaching to the shoulder seams.
Now for the tricky part the lower part/skirt of my coat - as I said I wanted a truly 1950s huge skirt for this coat, I wear a lot of full skirts and dresses day to day, so it is nice to keep the glamourous shape when wearing outerwear as well. I initially had six segments for the skirt I hemmed and sewed them altogether then looked at the size of the nipped in bodice and thought what am I doing? All this fabric isn’t going to fit. Side note plan, plan, I tend to just go for things when creativity hits and this isn’t always the best approach.
I unpicked the sixth section of the skirt - oh my beloved un-picker, it’s my trusty assistant next to my cats of course. I added pleating throughout all the skirt fabric to ensure I got the full effect I wanted. Now the amount of fabric I had for the skirt and how thick this fabric is I ended up having to hand sew the entire skirt as the fabric was way too thick for me to fit under my sewing foot. However, I really am partial to hand sewing when you’ve spent hours at the machine you can get cosy on the sofa and try and move quick enough with your thread, so the cat doesn’t chew it with each movement!
If time wasn’t an issue I would obviously line the coat, something I should hopefully get round to, but for my first attempt with coating fabric I don’t think it turned out too badly and thanks so much to Minerva for keeping me toasty this Winter.
Thanks for reading,
There is nothing better than that cosy feeling. I’m one of those people that’s cold pretty much all of the time. Hold my hand anytime in the year and you’d think I’d just come back from the Arctic! Cold hands, warm heart, right?
The fabric: Lady McElroy Brushed Aztec Jersey Fabric
I chose this beautiful fabric knowing it was sure to keep me snuggly warm. A heavy wool/polyester/mohair mix, I figured it’d be perfect.
On arrival, the colour of the fabric is more muted than that on the website photo. However, bring it into the light and the colour becomes more vibrant.
I pre-washed the fabric and laid it out flat to dry which didn’t take long at all. The right side of the fabric has a lovely texture to it where as the wrong side is slightly smoother.
Tilly and the Buttons: Nora ‘hack’
I had 2 metres of the jersey to work with and with the composition I felt it really had to be an outerwear garment. Lucky for me, I spotted Tilly’s (Tilly and the Buttons)Nora hack. Having sewn Nora before, I knew I loved the boxy, oversized style. Nora, as a cardigan in wool could only end well. So I set about redrawing the pattern slightly as shown by Tilly on her blog. This was a simple enough process and didn’t take long at all. I felt rather clever actually, pulling it off!
Cutting out the pieces
The fabric cut well and didn’t shift at all. I managed to place my pieces strategically to get the best of the Aztec pattern. As the wool is heavy I didn’t interface any of the lining pieces.
I set up my machine with a jersey needle and went with a contrasting navy cotton. As the fabric was a stretch jersey and didn’t need to be pulled over the body, I used a regular straight stitch. Following Tilly’s hack instructions with the original instruction at hand, stitching was straightforward. I overlocked my seam allowances and popped in a little tag which just so happened to coordinate perfectly with the fabric.
I top stitched the lining around the front opening and the hem with a 3.5mm stitch length going slowly around the bulk shoulder seam and the corners.
The only addition to the hack I made was to stitch in the ditch at the shoulder. To help keep the facing in place.
When I sewed my Nora top I took a lot of length off of the sleeves as it was simply too long for me and I knew that if I left it like so, I’d probably never wear it. With the hack, I simply pressed the sleeve up 7cm and tucked it back into itself, creating a 3.5 cm hem. Using the blind hem method, I hand stitched them in place.
I love how it turned out and toasty warm it is too. Being able to sew a new pattern that I didn’t need to spend money on was great. Hacks are the way forward and a real confidence booster.
If I made another, now that I have the confidence to go it alone I’d probably add a button panel to the front. Perhaps a collar? As the pattern is so giving you could probably get away with sewing it up with a woven. Now there’s a challenge.
This would look amazing over a little black dress and boots or simply jean shorts and a top. I went with jeans and boots (so very me) and man it feels good.
Thanks for reading,
Poplin is the fabric of spring. Depending on where you live it might be hard to think about draping yourself in crisp cotton poplin dresses when all you want to do is wrap up in a blanket, but stay with me. Once flowers start sprouting from the ground and you can finally kiss your winter coat goodbye for the season, you’ll want to have some of this poplin on hand for all of your spring and summer makes.
When the lovely team at Minerva Crafts offered this gorgeous 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric to review, I was so thrilled. I’ve long been obsessed with this particular color of red, and just this year have started to sew with this. It’s the perfect red: just a little bit of orange in it, so that it’s not too in-your-face red, but still so bold, fresh, and happy. Some might call it persimmon or poppy, but I call it J.Crew red because I have about 5 different items from J.Crew all in this exact shade. So when I saw it on the Minerva Crafts website, I knew it was meant to be.
And when this lovely cotton poplin came along, it was a perfect match!
Note: To make the straps on this dress, just double the number of straps you cut out, and 2X the length of the strap pattern piece. Then just make the straps as usual, and add them in as usual. And bonus: no need to worry about whether the straps are the right length when fitting, because you can always retie and re-adjust!
This cotton has such a lovely crisp hand, and is so stable to work with. That full circle skirt truly lives up to its name in this fabric: it’s so swishy and voluminous! I wore it to church and a winery and got dozens of compliments and many “where did you get that?!” questions. And of course, my favorite answer always is, “thanks, I made it!”.
This fabric was wide enough that I could fold it opposite the grain (think hamburger instead of a hot dog) to get enough for the full circle skirt. And I still have enough of this fabric left over to make a bright summery top, further rounding out my beloved J.Crew Red collection.
This cotton poplin comes in so many gorgeous colors, and I can just imagine a rainbow bright Spring/Summer wardrobe in a lovely coordinating palate.
What would you make with this poplin? I think it’s so well suited for summer dresses, but would also work great for button downs (men’s and women’s), full skirts, box tops, or even wide legged pants! I might just use the last bit of this fabric for matchy-matchy baby clothes.
Also, if you have a little bit of this fabric left, it’s just the right weight for quilting, or other scrapbusting like bag linings, hair accessories (bows and bow ties!), or even a lovely men’s tie! Make your mate a matching tie, make your kids matching clothes and you’ll have a lovely family outfit, all from one gorgeous fabric.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 17th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
As we’re now into the winter months here in Ohio, a winter coat is an absolute must-have! Over the past couple of years, I have wanted to sew a winter coat and even picked up the pattern I used for this coat, but have not gotten around to making one. I was excited to use this black wool blend Coating Fabric to make this coat. It was the perfect material, and I loved the herringbone detail woven into the wool!
For my jacket, I used the Simplicity Pattern 8262, by Leanne Marshall. This pattern includes a lined coat or jacket and features a double shawl collar. This coat pattern is truly unique and is sure to stand out in your wardrobe!
There are two different pattern options for this winter coat:
- Peplum coat (hits right below the knees)
- Peplum jacket (hits at the hips)
What You Need to Make the Simplicity 8262 Coat Version A
(If you’re adding a hood - purchase the higher amount listed below);
- Version A Main Coat Fabric (4 - 4.25 yards or 3.75 - 4 meters (60”) / 5.25 - 5.50 or 4.75 - 5 meters (45”))
- Version A Coat Lining Fabric (3.5 - 3.75 yards or 3 - 3.25 meters)
- Version A Interfacing (3 yards or 2.75 meters)
- Patterm Simplicity 8262
- Matching Sewing Thread
- Hook and Eye OR One Medium Snap
- 4 Toggles
- Round Polyester Cord (Optional)
Sewing Instructions and Modifications for the Peplum Coat
The design and layout of the instructions for this Simplicity pattern follow the same format that all Simplicity patterns follow. The instructions book provides a glossary and general instructions notes, cutting layout and detailed instructions for the two pattern options. Overall, the instructions were easy to understand and follow along. I loved the pattern as is and the only major adjustment I made was to add a hood to the coat instead of a second shawl collar. This small change makes it more practical for me to wear every day.
How to Add a Hood to Your Simplicity 8262 Coat
To make your hood, you will need to layout your upper hood pattern piece along with another pattern piece that is either handmade or borrowed from another pattern. To make my hood, I used the hood piece from Hey June’s Halifax hoodie pattern. You can use any hood pattern piece, or you can trace one using clothing you already own.
Cut out 2 hood pieces ( 1 - main coat fabric, 1 - lining fabric)
Cut the outer edge of your lining to be .5 - 1 inch smaller than your main fabric.
Pin your coat fabric to the lining, with right sides together, and sew
Turn the hood right side out
Fold over the edge of the hood, so your outer fabric is shown from the outside of your hood
Stitch along the edge of the two seams (.5 - 1 inch) to secure the lining in place.
Attach the hood to your jacket/coat by following the rest of the steps for the upper collar piece
How to Add a Toggle To Your Simplicity Coat
There are so many options when it comes to adding a Toggle Closure to your coat.
First Option: Attach and hand sew Premade Toggles to your coat.
Second Option:Sew your own and match the base of your toggle piece with the fabric from your coat. To do this, you will need to follow these simple instructions:
1. Cut out the base of your toggle from your coat fabric and lining fabric
2. Cut out your desired length of Round Polyester Cord in 8 pieces. Add your toggle to 4 of the polyester cord pieces.
3. Pin your polyester cord to your coat fabric and add a baste stitch
Sizing & Adjustments to the Simplicity 8262 Pattern
This pattern runs very small. Thankfully, I checked the sizing measurements before I started to cut out the jacket! I am normally a size 4, but I cut out and sewed a 12 in this jacket. So, this is something to keep in mind when you go to purchase the pattern and pick between the two options (sizes 4-12 and 14-22). I will say, that I ended up bringing in the waist a little bit with my toggles to create a more fitted look, but overall the size 12 fit me perfectly in the shoulders and chest.
Overall, I love how this jacket turned out and am very happy I waited for the right fabric to use! And the few times I have worn it out, I have already received compliments! This coat can easily be styled and wear to work, holiday events, formal gatherings and more. I am excited to finally have a me-made coat that I can wear during the cold winter months.
Thanks for reading,
Kelsey @ Seamlined Living