I spent quite a while dithering over what to make with this Denim Fabric. When I first ordered it I had a denim jacket in mind however when the fabric arrived it wasn’t what I was expecting colour wise. I thought it would be much darker and more like a traditional denim. However, in reality it was fairly light and the weave of it reminded me much more of a chambray. The reverse of the fabric is flocked and I wasn’t sure about this as it makes the fabric quite sturdy.
As I always do now, I pre washed the fabric on a 30 degree quick wash. However despite the cool wash temperature the fabric seems to have gone “furry” on the denim side. I have tried to capture this on the photo and I’m sure you will see what I mean.
In the end I decided that it might make a nice Carnaby Dress by Nina Lee London so went ahead and cut out the pattern. I had been meaning to try this pattern and have had it in my stash for quite a while waiting for the right fabric! Does anyone else do this? I seem to do it fairly frequently!!
Anyway I got to work cutting out the fabric which cut very nicely and didn’t fray. As usual I marked on the darts by using cotton tacks and then once they are in place I then used my chalk pen and ruler to draw the dart lines on.
The joints on the shoulder seams felt quite thick once the neck facing was attached. I trimmed the seams to half the original seam allowance. I opted not to finish the seams as the fabric didn’t fray. The neckline sat pretty flat despite the thickness and I clipped into the curves to aid this. I did understitch as I always do with any facings as I feel it keeps it neat and prevents the facings rolling to the outside of the garment.
Even though there was no real need to finish the seams for any reason except for neatness and a more professional finish, I decided to finish them using my overlocker and have to say it overlocked pretty neatly despite the thickness of the fabric. I pressed open my seams using my trusty clapper as I generally do with most seams nowadays. The only issue I had was trying to gather the sleeve. I ended up making a pleat in each side of the shoulder and to be honest it didn’t spoil the look of the dress in any way. The pleats stay put due to the thickness of the fabric too so win win!!
I decided that when it came to hemming the sleeves and the bottom hem I would try out one of my fancy stitches on my Pfaff Performance Icon. I just thought that it would add interest to what is a relatively plain dress. The stitches worked out well as the fabric is stiff enough not to need any stabiliser. I just used a normal cotton for this but a rayon or metallic cotton could be used for a different look. Overall I was pleased and will no doubt use this technique again on other projects.
I decided that I wouldn’t put a zip in as per the pattern in favour of a tie strap. I simply made a buttonhole on each side of the back opening. The Pfaff went through the layers of fabric without any problem and it made a nice neat buttonhole. I simply measured how long I wanted the tie to be and cut a rectangle out of the same fabric as I had used for my pocket bags which was out of my scrap stash and just a blue striped cotton leftover from a dress I had previously made in the summer. I applied fray check to the buttonholes (I always use this when doing buttonholes) and left it to dry. Once it had dried I used both my seam ripper and scissors to split the buttonhole (I have since invested in a buttonhole chisel as I may have had a few accidents with the seam ripper in the past!).
I wore the dress to go on a walk one chilly morning round a local reservoir and have to say I was suitably warm!. I think the fabric was a perfect match for the pattern I chose but shall be interested to see how much more it softens with washing.
Hope you found this review helpful.
Thanks for reading,
Hey everyone, I’m back on the Minerva blog to talk to you about this Scuba Twill Fabric!
This deliciousness basically has appearance of a woven twill, but with the comfort and stretch of a Scuba!
So, the best of both worlds really!
I must admit when I first ordered this I had planned on making it into a jacket, but once I'd felt its softness and saw the drape I knew it was destined to be a “next to the skin, kinda thing”
I chose the “Grey” but to be honest, it’s so much more! It’s got a really rich hue, almost with a lilac tinge, with much more depth of colour than just a regular grey. This Scuba actually comes in six colourways and they are all so nice. As well as the grey, I also particularly like the Navy Blue and Rose Pink, colour ways.
As is normal for me, I checked the laundry instructions on the Minerva website when this first arrived and then proceeded to wash at 40 degrees. I always pre-wash, if you don’t I really suggest that you should. Having made one thing without pre-washing, to then wash after Ive worn, only to find its shrunk in the wash and be too small is really distressing, ask me how I know?
The upper and lower sides of the fabric are quite distinct and might look really good in that jacket with folded back cuffs!? Oh well maybe next time ha-ha!
As the fabric is a fabulous 60 inches wide, its such good value for money, and I managed to get the front and back of my dress out of just the width!
Anyway, I digress! I cut and made my scuba twill, into a Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress as it’s such a classic shape I knew it would be perfect for this fabric, very sharp in a work environment but also perfect to dress up with accessories for a more casual or dressy occasion.
The fibre content is 95% polyester with 5% spandex which means that its super easy to wear, wash and iron. The fabric has a good feel and is really stable, although it does have good four way stretch. It didn’t stretch too much when cutting or sewing and certainly didn’t fray as it is a knit not a woven, I would definitely say this is certainly suitable for a beginner to use.
I sewed most of the dress up on my overlocker (as I’m fortunate to own one) but it also sewed beautifully on my regular machine with the aid of my walking foot. As you can see in this picture.
I do appreciate that the purchase of a walking foot is quite expensive, but it does make sewing knits much easier if you don’t own an overlocker or a cover stitch machine. But at about £40 for a genuine Janome branded one, (other brands are available!) it’s definitely a lot less expensive than an overlocker and cover stitch machine! (once again, ask me how I know?) and I would definitely recommend one, they take all that apprehension away from sewing that hem!!
I am really pleased with the dress now it’s finished. If I want to pack this to take on a business trip I can be assured that it won’t crease much and will be perfectly okay to wear after being on a hanger in the bathroom while I take my shower. The spandex content will also ensure that its super comfy to wear, so that I can wear it all day without feeling like I can’t wait to get home at the end of the day.
I also think this will look just as great in heels and tights, as it does in boots, so totally appropriate to go from the office to the evening effortlessly.
Equally as useful for casual daytime wear.
I can see me getting lots use out of this Coco, and I’m also planning makes in the other (Rose Pink and Navy Blue) colours too.
Happy sewing guys!
This Wool Blend Coating Fabric is described on the Minerva crafts website as heavy, so when it arrived I didn’t expect the fabric to be as soft and drapey as it was. I’m absolutely certain it will be very warm and cosy, but the fabric caught me totally by surprise!
Although it does recommend hand washing the fabric, I have not washed it at all.
I don’t believe it’s a garment which I will need to clean often and I think that washing may change the structure by washing out the sizing. When this gets dirty I will have it dry cleaned.
When I first requested this, and it arrived, I had plans to make a Twig and Tale Trailblazer.
I don’t know whether you are familiar with the pattern but it’s a gilet with a central zip, optional wind flap and shoulder patches. Very much the “country attire” waist coat. I chose this pattern as I definitely envisioned this green wool blend check, as giving me a garment, which looked like it would fit in a Joules store, but without the associated price tag and which would fit me better than any ready to wear purchase.
However, after I ordered it and it arrived I suddenly became very concerned that I had absolutely no idea how to pattern match the plaids and if I didn’t do this well enough, my beautiful gilet would look like a total dog’s dinner!!
Oh damn, I really set myself up for the fall sometimes. Oh well nothing ventured, nothing gained!
So, I spent a little time researching how to do this online and the general consensus was, start by drawing a horizontal line across from the underarms as that’s the common denominator front and back. Then match up the verticals from there!!
Yeah sounds complicated right??
Actually, although I procrastinated over this for a couple of weeks. Basically doubting my ability to create a usable garment and also worrying that I hadn’t ordered sufficient fabric to effectively match the plaid. However the generous 60inch width meant that I had nothing to fear and I had more than enough!
I drew on the seam allowances onto each pattern piece so that I could over lap them to the seam line. Using my Seams Right Tool.
From what I had read online it is advisable to not cut pieces on the fold, so as you can see in this image I traced the back piece and taped
Once I got properly stuck in and worked methodically through each step, it was remarkably easy, I did only spend a little time working on this each day as I wanted to be sure I wasn’t going to make any silly mistakes.
It is closed by a bottle green Chunky Zip (purchased from Minerva) an absolute bargain at less than £3.
Thanks for reading,
I was selected to review this pattern by Athina Kakou and so wanted to absolutely do the pattern justice! I saw this Jersey Fabric at Minerva and just thought it’d be perfect. It is a grey/black animal print jersey knit fabric which is so on trend at the moment. It is 58” wide and an incredible £6.99/m. I only needed 2m for this pattern and so it made for a very reasonable cardi.
The best thing about this pattern is it can pretty much be sewn entirely on the overlocker if you own one! It is so quick to make. It literally took me a couple of hours from start to finish! You start off by sewing the shoulder seams and then the sleeves in. You then sew the side seams so, very quickly you have this…a shell of a cardigan!
Once you have sewn the main sections of the cardigan, all that remains is the hemband, the neck binding and the cuffs. Now, for the more seasoned sewists out there, you will know that this doesn’t take too much time at all! For the beginners, the hard work is done. These next sections are more about precision and so you may need to take your time.
To attach the hemband and cuffs you need to ensure that the notches are met (hemband) and that the cuffs have been equally spread along the cuff of the cardigan. This ensures that the cardigan hold its shape well.
Once you have sewn the hemband onto the cardigan, you can then topstitch the seam allowance down, this helps the band to lay nice and flat. The same goes for the neck binding, once sewn in, topstitch all the way around to secure it in place.
If you are using an overlocker as I was, I do recommend basting the binding on the sewing machine at your start point, this is because the fabric is quite thick at this point and the overlocker can sometimes move the fabric around and you end up with uneven edges!
Once this is completed and you have topstitched all the way around, all that remains is to make the belt. There is an option to make belt loops as well, which I did but I preferred the look of the cardigan without them. The belt is long enough to be tied twice and so holds itself in place.
So, all in all a very quick make! It is also an excellent pattern if you are a beginner as the instructions are clear and concise and there is also a sew along tutorial should you need to refer to it.
The fabric I used really compliments this pattern, I think it really livens up a plain outfit but is smart enough to be able to wear to work! I also like it dressed down with a pair of jeans and little cami top. The cardigan can also be made in a variety of fabrics, ponte roma, jersey knit and medium/heavy cotton jersey. Minerva stock some amazing fabric options that would be suitable for the Nikki cardigan. Why not pop this pattern on your winter list and browse the jersey section on their website to select your perfect fabric!!! I can guarantee you’ll be spoilt for choice!!!
Emma AKA @thezipperfoot
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 20th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 19th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone! Its Liz here of Liz Sews. Today I have for you a fun cape that makes me feel like I’m just a pipe away from being Sherlock Homes.
For this project I used Minerva’s Wool Blend Coating Fabric Green. Originally, I was thinking of making a much more structured pea coat with this fabric but once it arrived I just could not shake the image in my mind of a cape. The Big 4 pattern companies have a surprisingly large number of Cape Sewing Patterns to choose from. I ended up going with View B from Simplicty 8263 because who doesn’t need a detachable fur collar, we only live once!
I picked this pattern because it was a relatively simple construction that would allow me to focus on matching all those lines in the plaid. There are four panels across the front and 3 in the back and I think I did a pretty good job of making sure everything lined up. The side seams to come together at a point but I couldn’t figure out any way around that. I felt it was more important to have the fabric lines running parallel to the ground.
I didn’t pre-wash my fabric because I seldom clean coats so on the off chance I need to get it dry cleaned is not so bad. I will say that this fabric loved to fray. After constructing the first half of the front I went back in and overlocked all my pieces before further assembly. There is nothing worse than a rapidly disappearing seam allowance. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with the fabric it’s just the nature of the beast for that chunky woven look.
For the button tab in the back I decided to cut in on the bias to add some visual interest. Now that I am looking at it I think that was a mistake. I might redo the button tab and try to pattern match it into the back, so it fades away. The tab is completely non-functional, so I may even remove it completely.
For the interior of this cape I looked at several options, but this red Bemberg lining just called to me. I thought it brought out the subtle maroon stripe running vertically in the fabric and it also gives me all the Christmas time vibes. The lining is bagged, you stitch along the top, sides, and bottom and the turn it out though the arm holes. The lining is then hand sewn to the shell around the arm slits to finish. The lining feels so luxurious next to the skin but it does make the cape prone to just slipping off my shoulders. I’ve ordered a leather clasp to sit just under the collar, but it hasn’t arrived yet and I just couldn’t wait to share this with you!
Speaking of collars….I found the thread bare fur caplet in a rummage sale held by my local quilt guild several years ago. It’s been sitting in my stash ever since for the perfect project to give it a new lease on life. I think it’s perfect for this cape. I cut the collar out a little larger then the pattern suggest just because I liked the look of the exaggerated fur collar. Rather than following the pattern instructions for finishing the detachable collar I looked to how the original fur was finished instead and followed suit. I sewed some grosgrain ribbon along the perimeter of the collar on the right side and then hand stitched it down to the inside which worked perfectly.
The collar attaches to the cape with a series of buttons along the neckline, so you can quickly change the look when you aren’t feeling so “extra”.
I am so pleased with how this cape turned out, though its so unique I don’t think I’ll be needing to make another one any time soon. If you're looking for a garment to make for someone this would be an excellent choice since it requires very little fitting and offers a lot of pizzazz.
Till next time,
Liz @ Liz Sews
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 19th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi Sewing Fairies,
Today on the Minerva Blog is this beautiful Rapture Stretch Crepe Fabric. I love the colours of light blue against my skin tone so I was very excited to receive this fabric! This is a great price for fabric at £13.99 a metre, especially for a special occasion dress.
The feel of this fabric is beautiful, it has a lovely feel to it and the drape on the fabric. It also has 2% elastane in the fabric so gives it a little stretch which is perfect!...especially if the dress is being worn out for dinner so there is plenty of room!
I wanted to make a dress that I felt feminine in, plus that was a style that could be worn dressed down in sandals for beach walks with Ted (our dog!) or heels for a date night with the Mr. As you can see, Ted loved the dress as he gate crashed the photoshoot! He seems to have decided my sewing room is his bedroom as even though we said no animals upstairs he seems much happier there while I’m sewing away in the evenings after work. Although he’s usually getting covered in threads or finds it ok to sleep on my fabric!
I decided to choose the 6380 sweetheart neckline dress Sewing Pattern by Gertie for Butterick.
The sleeves on the pattern looked like they could be a bit restrictive for a good dancing dress (this fabric is definitely an amazing swishy dancing dress fabric!!) so I raided my pattern stash and found my copy of the simple sew pattern Sienna Dress. I have already got a version of this dress so I knew I loved the sleeve style. I used the sleeves from View B to add into the dress instead of the sleeves from the original pattern. I attempted a rolled hem on the sleeve and in most places, it has worked but in parts it looks like it is curling up slightly! I am hoping another good press will sort that out. I used the shoulder seam mark on the sleeve to match up with the shoulder seam then stitched it in.
I folded over the fabric around the arm hole, pinned this to the main fabric arm hole making sure the sleeve was not caught up in the pins. I then top stitched around the sleeve. In an ideal world where there is 1000’s of hours in the day I should have hand sewed the sleeves in place but I think it looks ok and it is nice and secure for dancing and moving around.
This fabric was very slippery to cut out but with plenty of pins I managed to get it all cut out and ready to sew. The crepe fabric does fray quite badly so I would advise using an over-locker where possible. I had never used this pattern before but it was only the skirt that I eventually needed to use the over-locker for as the bodice is lined.
The bust is gathered so it has plenty of room for slightly larger busted ladies! I am small busted so I was slightly concerned that it would be too much fabric over the bust but once I used the little strips of fabric to pull in the neckline of the dress it changed the shape completely and I loved the style straight away.
I decided to go for a completely different fabric to line the dress, in my vast fabric stash I found this gorgeous strawberry thief fabric that is a cotton lawn. This was a good choice as it gave it a bit of structure and the birds matched the outer fabric. I love a pretty lining of an outfit as I feel its just as important to get the inside as pretty as the outside!
I love this dress and I can’t wait to wear it on my next date night with the Mr…or just a nice walk along the beach but I think I will have to wait until the summer for that.
Thanks for viewing! Hope you have lots of fun sewing!
Sew Tanni xXx
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 19th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hey there! I’m Andrew, and boy have I got a treat for you today! When I saw this Fur Backed Jersey Fabric I fell in love with it straight away.
Of course it arrived promptly and as soon as I got my hands on it I wasn’t disappointed. The jersey side is soft and warm… and then… the other side… is a beautifully soft and snuggly short pile faux fur! As much as I knew I wanted this fabric, I hadn’t really decided what I’d make from it. A hoodie was the perfect choice I thought, with a zip up so the fur could be seen inside.
I kept the jersey sides facing each other while I cut the pattern out (I used the Huey Hoodie pattern from freesewing.org) the fur sides would have slipped around too much. And I kept my walking foot firmly in place! It wasn’t too tricky to sew with, but it can slip around a bit if you’re not careful. I used plenty of pins, clips where necessary and kept to a slow to medium speed while sewing.
I used some tape behind the pockets as the fabric is pretty stretchy. This gets hidden behind the seam allowance and will stop the pockets from going baggy. I got a nice chunky zip which I basted in to one side first. I marked the hem, pockets, hood-seam and top with chalk and used these marks to baste in the other side.
I also found some super-chunky ribbing which wasn’t cheap but matches the luxury of the main fabric.
I didn’t use a facing, instead I hand sewed cotton tape all the way up behind the zip, around the hood and back down the other side of the zip! This was more handsewing than I had done for a long time, but gave such a nice finish, I’m starting to learn to love handsewing!
I had enough fabric left to make something else and was really tempted to make drawstring trousers - so I had a full ‘arctic-ready-leisure-set’! - but in all reality, it would probably only be cold enough to wear it a few days of the winter. So I opted for another top. I wanted something that would show off both sides of the fabric and chose the men’s sweater pattern from the Ottobre Magazine - Family Edition. This top has little yokes on the shoulders where I could show off the furry side. This also got me thinking that I should try to make this top reversible, so I tested a few seam finishes.
It’s hard to see the difference here, but the tidiest option seemed to be the one on the right: I stitched the seam with a 2mm x 2mm zigzag stitch then used the lightning stitch to catch the seams on the furry side underneath. This all took much more time than simply overlocking the whole thing together, and I’m not convinced it’s been 100% successful.
I’m actually contemplating using a herringbone or fagotting stitch over the centre of the seams, like a coverstitch (which I don’t have!)
I’ll run a few tests first to see how it looks.
But for the meantime I’m over the moon with my new tops.
So if you’re after something warm, soft and snuggly, I highly recommend this fabric! And if you’d like to keep tabs on my sewing journey you can find me on Instagram as @sewandrew or at www.sewandrew.com Thanks for reading!
Posted in Projects on Friday the 18th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod