Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 14th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone, I'm here today to show you the Nina Lee Southbank Sweater Dress (version 1) that I have made using this gorgeous pewter grey Crushed Velour Fabric from Minerva Crafts.
As with all dressmaking projects it's crucial to prewash your fabric, this step is even more crucial with knit fabrics, I did a lot of research before I even touched this fabric and found on the Minerva Crafts fabric glossary that velour has a progressive shrinkage, meaning that you could wash and dry it once and it'll still shrink when you wash the finished garment, so keeping that in mind I washed it in warm water and dried it at a regular heat twice. You definitely need to test wash a sample before you wash the full piece, I washed it on a delicate setting and then dried it on something similar and both times when it was dry there was A LOT of fluff in the dryer filter, the fabric doesn't look any different, there are no naked patches or anything so I'm guessing these were just loose fibres but still be careful with your washing settings and make sure you clean out your filters etc afterwards!!
I did loads of research for this fabric and in a lot of the things I read it said that certain knit fabrics shouldn't be cut on the fold and that it's more accurate when you cut on single layers, I decided to spend the extra time on it and to go for accuracy, so I traced out any pattern pieces that were supposed to be on the fold and made them full size, the sleeves and the pockets for this particular pattern are supposed to be cut with the fabric on a double layer so you get the mirror image pair, because I decided to cut with a single layer of fabric I had to flip these pattern pieces over once I had cut one out (or two for the pockets), so the back of the paper was facing upwards to get my mirror image pieces. This fabric is great because you get the luxurious feel of the velour, without having to worry about how you place the pattern pieces, because the nap doesn't really have a direction you don't have to make sure they're all going the right way, I still laid all my pieces out in the same direction but it's really not as important, I brushed my hand over it loads of times and could never see a difference plus with the collar, cuffs and the hem band you fold the pieces in half and I couldn't tell which side was supposed the be the "right" way up.
For the actual cutting out I used a rotary cutter, it was so quick and easy to do, I used my homemade pattern weights to keep the pattern pieces in place on the fabric while I just whizzed around the edges with my cutter. I actually used two different rotary cutters a 45mm one and a 28mm one, the smaller one made it easier to go around the curves of the armhole, necklines and the pockets and the larger one just sped up the straighter edges, the fabric behaved great while I was cutting it, I was a little bit concerned about it stretching or moving but it stayed completely still the whole time, I made sure both of the cutters had fresh blades in them too to reduce the risk of dragging and snags (please note... If you're using a rotary cutter then you definitely need to put a self-healing cutting mat underneath the fabric). You could use pins to keep the pattern pieces in place and scissors to cut but this fabric is quite stretchy (it has about a 20% stretch) and the scissors will lift the fabric and could distort the shapes... It's honestly your choice and whatever you feel comfortable with will work, you just have to be careful, take your time and pay attention to what you're doing, you should also bear in mind that ballpoint pins are your friends with this fabric, any other pin will most likely snag and could leave holes which will grow, you can use regular pins in the seam allowance but you really do have to be careful, in all honesty ballpoint pins are the best option and with them you don't have to worry about holes either!
Before I even touched the cut pieces I tested all my machine settings out on scraps of the fabric, I changed the tension, stitch length, differential feed, presser foot pressure etc, basically I played around with any setting on my sewing machine and overlocker that could change the way the fabric feeds through until I found the perfect combination and then I wrote them down in my dressmaking journal. I also tested out my iron settings and found that the best way to press it is to put it right side down on a fluffy towel to protect the pile and when you need the seam to really stay put a bit of steam works wonders, as always test on a scrap first though, what worked with my iron might not work with yours.
Much like the pins you want to make sure you're using a ballpoint or stretch needle, you might need a few of them on hand because the pile of the fabric can blunt the needle quicker and you will also want a few different sizes too because even though the fabric doesn't feel particularly thick, when you start sewing it together the layers soon add up and the pile makes it feel a lot plumper too, I also found it easier to use a slightly larger needle when I was stabilising the shoulder seams with the clear elastic, the needle that I was using was the perfect size for the fabric but it was struggling to pierce the elastic which meant I was getting skipped stitches. I was a bit scared that this fabric would move around a lot, but once the pieces are right sides together about to be sewn they kind of stick together because of the pile and you only need a couple of pins, I also used a walking foot to lessen the risk of the fabric moving at different speeds once I started sewing which worked a treat.
I started dressmaking with the determination to master knit fabrics, I am by no stretch of the imagination a "Master of Knits" yet, this is only my 5th dressmaking project ever after all, but after making this I feel like I'm on the right track. I absolutely love this sweater dress, it's so comfy, the fabric just feels amazing and the best bit? IT HAS POCKETS!!!!! It feels like such a decadent and luxurious make but in reality it's just a really cozy jumper which means I can wear it when I'm lying around the house reading and watching tv, or I can dress it up with a chunky feature belt, or even dress it down with leggings and boots, it's just so versatile the possibilities are pretty endless. I never thought I'd work with velour knit but now that I have I definitely would again, I can't even tell you how easy it was to work with, if you're wanting to use a fabric that's a bit different, that has a little touch of luxury then this is the fabric for you.
Thanks for reading guys and gals, I hope to be back with some more projects soon :)
Lily @ Just A Lil Bit Crafty
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 14th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was attracted to the Robert Kaufman Manchester Cotton as it came in such a rainbow of colours; twenty in total, ranging from a lovely grey to a bright orange named Tangerine. Something for everyone's colour palate. I chose the shade 'pomegranate', essentially a beautiful pinky red colour, though probably more pink than I had anticipated. I wanted something that pushed the comfort zone on my colour choices as I have been quite muted in my wardrobe recently and this fabric review really felt like a chance to try something new. Mix it up a bit.
When I received the fabric the first thing I noticed was that it isn't a flat cotton fabric, instead it has some lovely texture to it. It has some slightly slubby raised parts on the fabric that make it look more rustic than it actually is and reminded me of linen. I like it when plain fabrics have something more about them, it brings them to life, makes them feel different and makes them just a little more special in my eyes.
The fabric is of a medium weight, has good drape for a cotton and doesn't feel too structured meaning it would work well with a variety of patterns from jumpsuits (thinking the in the folds popular free pattern), tops, dresses and skirts (almost did the Amy Nicole Patti pocket skirt in this fabric which I think would be divine).
I chose to make a skirt having not made one in such a long time and feeling like there was a definite hole in the skirt section of my wardrobe....basically I don't own any I like that much anymore. After lots of thought I chose the Brumby Skirt from Megan Nielsen. I have admired a number of versions of this pattern on social media and the one thing that always pulls me back to it is the huge pockets. So pretty and so much space in those beauties. Time to take the plunge and have a go.
Overall this pattern is really easy to make up. Not too many pieces, simple, well thought out instructions and some nice topstitching details along the way. I did make one mistake and sewed the back waistband pieces on the wrong way but it fits my waist perfectly and actually means it curves less than intended which seems to work on my shape so will make the same 'mistake' on my next one! I opted for an invisible zip as I wanted to plunder my stash rather than buy an exposed one as per the instructions and I like the clean finish at the back. I also hand hemmed the skirt rather than stitch it on the machine as I prefer this technique.
During the sewing process the fabric was a pleasure to cut out and sew with, it pressed well and I think this skirt turned out looking pretty awesome if I do say so!! It’s gone in to regular rotation and I had already worn it twice and washed it before photographing! I think it will fare well over multiple washings and it feels like it will get nicely worn in with time and use. Overall I highly recommend this fabric and hope you enjoy sewing with it as much as I did.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 14th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Dearest Readers, thank you for stopping by.
I am Anna from AnnaBodewigVintage. Today I would love to share with you my first attempt in cross-stitching.
I have done simple backstitch embroidery before on handmade garments, so this was a completely new crafting adventure for me.
Despite needing a long time to finish my little embroidery projects I enjoyed the process.
I picked smaller projects and simple embroidery patterns which I would recommend other beginners to do as well. No matter what your new crafting field might be. Smaller projects help you to stay motivated and don’t overwhelm you. As a result, you will be most likely keep crafting even if you encounter hardships. Keep up and try to learn something new every day. Every step takes you closer to your goal how small it may be.
If you are new to embroidery like me, you might wonder what you need for a first project.
I would recommend embroidery fabric, an embroidery hoop, embroidery needles (in my case cross-stich needles) and 6 strand embroidery floss. For the floss I used the new ‘jumbo’ size pack Prism 6 Strand Embroider Floss which I loved working with.
The package contains 105 skeins, 79 solid skeins and 26 variegated skeins. It also contains 12 bobbins which are super helpful to store leftover floss and includes a free friendship bracelet instruction with illustrations to make it very simple to follow.
It would also be great for scrapbooking, which I want to start soon, and I will use them in my album too.
Now to my first project which is a present for a dear friend of mine.
It is intended to be a wall decoration in her sewing space. She made something similar for my birthday and I hang it in my sewing space. I like the idea to have my hoop art in her sewing space as well. We live far apart and can not sew together but still we met because of our sewing passion. It may be not the friendship bracelet I intended to make but it is not too far of either.
The cross-stitching is combined with simple backstitching and I used pearls to give it an 3D effect. The metallic floss was not included in the package, but I think it added a nice touch. The patterns had to be sewing related of course.
The second project is this little shamrock. I want to embroider a dress hemline with plenty of shamrocks soon. Doing this without practicing it in the first hand would be out of character for me. I am very fond of this shamrock and already started to embroider this pattern on a handkerchief. Again, I combined cross-stitching with backstitches for outlining.
My third project was this little American football player. It was a present for my dearest husband. It took me 4 hours to complete even though it is so tiny. I had to do a lot of backstitches additional to the cross-stitches. For an 3D effect I bought this super cute football shank button.
My needlework is now in a picture frame on his bureau.
I am very happy I started cross-stitching and can not wait to continue my embroidery adventure. It is so relaxing and rewarding.
Hopefully I could encourage you to try embroidery out for yourselves.
Anna @ AnnaBodewigVintage
I love Sew Over It Patterns. Now, I know you’re probably thinking ‘duh, so does everyone in the sewing community,’ but I feel like it can’t be said enough. Their designs are classic silhouettes that lend themselves to so many different looks and variations and their blocks fit me so well that I never have to make any alterations. There is a reason that searching one of their pattern #’s on Instagram will pull up 100's of search results. Sew Over It patterns are tried and tested and they’re super fun to sew.
I have been tackling some weird and wonderful projects in the last few months that have really stretched my skills but also tested my patience. A couple of recent makes didn’t turn out as well as I’d have liked, and it really knocked my confidence in my sewing ability. Determined not to lose my sew-jo, and inspired by all the gorgeous printed crepes on Minerva’s site I wanted to take a break from tricky fabrics and fiddly fastenings and make something quick and easy that I would enjoy making and wearing straight away.
I’ve had the Sew Over It Lizzie skirt on my PDF pattern wish list for quite some time now. One of my favourite Autumn looks is a cosy jumper paired with a printed, pleated skirt, and when I saw this super-cute, illustrated fox-print Crepe Fabric on Minerva’s website I thought that the pattern/fabric combination was a match made in makers’ heaven.
I have nothing but good things to say about the crepe from Minerva. This is my third or fourth time using it in various different prints, and it is such a dream to sew with! If you’ve never worked with drapey materials before, their crepes are a great place to start. This fabric didn’t fray, or slip around, it washes well, doesn’t need ironing AND it is fantastic value for money. As this print was directional, I opted for three metres, but if I was better gifted at pattern tetras, I could definitely get away with two.
I initially purchased a peach-coloured acetate lining fabric (from Minerva’s extensive selection) to go underneath the fox fabric because I wanted to finish my skirt beautifully and ensure that it wasn’t too see-through. I always feel a bit nervous about adding a lining, but the fact that the pattern includes very clear instructions to insert one was very encouraging and I was all for giving it a go.
However, I quickly realised that the pleats lend the skirt an added level of opacity so there was no danger of accidentally flashing my undies. Also, the addition of pockets (hooray!) meant that the skirt puffed out slightly over my hips and top of my thighs. This added to its swishy-ness, but I know that if I was to add a lining fabric then it would have added extra bulk in a place where I definitely don’t need it!
I wanted to really take my time with this pattern and enjoy getting it right. I assembled my PDF and cut out my fabric on a Friday evening after work and then spent a lovely lazy Saturday afternoon making my Lizzie whilst catching up on the High Low and Love to Sew podcasts. The result was a beautiful skirt that I know will get lots of wear, made out of a fabric that makes me smile every time I look at it.
I finished my skirt just in time for the Sew Over It Autumn party where I sipped cocktails with other sewists at their scrumptious store in Islington and Lizzie got her debut twirling in the handmade fashion show. I felt great, and looked very on brand!
Thanks again to Minerva for giving me the opportunity to product try this fabric and giving me back my confidence in making clothes!
Sometimes I get a bit overwhelmed by all the new patterns being released, then a pattern crops up which inspires you and instantly jumps to the top of your sewing queue. I’ve been on the look out for simple patterns which I can sew in small doses while the baby is sleeping, but which also create an impact in my wardrobe so the Sew Over It Lucia fit the bill perfectly. I already had the pattern printed and ready to go when I was asked to test this Soft Touch Jersey Fabric. The pattern needs a jersey with good drape so that the frill falls properly, and this jersey fits the bill nicely. I chose the colour wine (there are loads of colour options) and decided to use the wrong side of the fabric which is slightly more matt.
I constructed this top mostly on my overlocker. I do have a cone of red overlocking thread, but not a whole set of 4. My top tip if you don’t want to buy or store lots of cones of thread in colours that you use less often is to save empty thread spools and use them to wind thread on to.
You can use the bobbin winder of your sewing machine to help wind the thread. I keep a bobbin separate with a little double-sided tape on the top which I can stick a threat spool onto. You want to make sure you don’t use this bobbin in your machine though because it might all get a bit gummy.
If you have an overlocker, it is worth getting to grips with all the settings, not just the basic 4 thread overlock. I love using mine to create neat and tidy rolled hems. It is a perfect lightweight finish for the frill.
This pattern has just 3 pieces, a sleeve, front/back and the frill. The front and back are identical so I used a little piece of ribbon to denote the back of mine so that all the seams are pressed the right way.
This top can be worn off the shoulder, but I prefer it pulled up a little higher onto the shoulder. I shortened the sleeve to elbow length and worked out how long I wanted the neckline elastic to be to give the effect that I wanted. I tried the top on a few times before I was happy that it was right.
All in all, I’m really happy with this top. The fabric is a good match for the pattern and is a really affordable option at £3.99/m. It drapes well, and actually presses ok on a cool iron setting, despite being a polyester.
I chose my size based on the bust measurement because the pattern is less fitted in the waist and hip. It is actually a pretty practical option with baby because I can wear a nursing cami underneath and it is really easy to lift up the Lucia top to feed. The fabric has a bit of lycra in, so it is super stretchy. I think this will be an option that I can keep reaching for now in the summer and the colour makes it a great option into the autumn too.
Solid colours are so easy to mix and match in your wardrobe so I hope I’ve inspired you to give this pattern or fabric a go.
Naomi of Naomi Sews
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 13th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I am Anna from AnnaBodewigVintage.com. Today I would love to share with you my fun little Christmas stocking project.
The pattern I used is McCalls 2991 which is available on Minerva Crafts and highly recommended for beginners.
The pattern features several adorable and fun to craft stockings in different sizes and various cuffs.
It also offers you designs you can use to cut out felt embellishments for your cute socks. Another remarkable point is that the pattern suggests you use felt remnants for this crafts project. A fact that I love.
All in all, you can go wild with this pattern and do whatever your heart desires or in the spirit of Christmas what your loved ones would love to receive. My friends get special gothic stockings this year filled with their favourite chocolate. Something you just can not buy or at least something I have never seen before.
The pattern may suggest you use felt but of course you can use fabrics as well which I did.
The Fabric I chose for his sewing project is from Timeless Treasures and called Skeletons Glow in The Dark Poplin which is the best Quilting Fabric I ever hold in my hands. You can buy it at Minerva Crafts too. It glows wonderfully in the dark and it has a super soft feeling against your skin. I just loved the feeling on my hands while working with it.
The fibres are high quality and greatly woven. The print is very detailed and clean. Even though it is a quilting fabric I would love to make a dress with it since the fabric is so soft and drapes amazingly.
As a point of reference for you, from one metre of fabric I could sew 4 large stockings (view E).
This is the Fur Trim I used for two of my four stockings. It is so fluffy and soft. Cheap fur trims are scratchy, so working with this trim showed its high quality. I am very much surprised how amazing this fur trim is for such a low price and I will use it again for a future project.
I used black lace remnants for the other two stockings since these are intended for lady friends who love lace as much as I do. I can not stress enough how much remnants you can use for this crafts project.
I will make many more stockings this year even though Christmas preparations are always a busy affair. But this was such a fun and fast project. I made the four stockings in under an hour which is amazing, and it is still a very personal me made present.
I sure had a lot of fun and my dearest friends will be delighted to receive these gothic stockings for their ‘Nightmare before Christmas’ themed Christmas party.
Happy sewing and a wonderful Christmas time to all of you,
Anna @ Anna Bodewig Vintage
Posted in Projects on Monday the 12th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I chose the Adele, which had been a free pattern with Simply Sewing magazine earlier in the year, because the kimono sleeve, pleat-top skirt and pockets really appealed to me. It’s intended for woven fabrics and I’d picked a knit but by using a few simple techniques it worked just fine.
I always lay up and cut my fabric carefully (I was a sample cutter for a high-end bridal designer and old habits die hard) Jersey needs a bit of extra care to ensure that you haven’t stretched or twisted it out of shape whilst laying it up so take your time. I always think it’s best to cut out on the biggest flat space you have available to you, even if that’s the floor, so that you don’t keep moving the fabric around while you’re cutting (this is also a reason why I’m not a fan of rotary cutters because you have to have a cutting mat underneath). The Tiny Dancer print is a one-way design so make sure you keep everything going the same way.
Once I’d cut everything out I stabilised any edges that might stretch and go wavy. You could just stay-stitch but I used some narrow iron-on stabilising tape specifically for the purpose. [or you could cut narrow strips of iron-on Vilene yourself instead] In addition to the neck edges I taped where the zip was going too, to stop any chance of stretching, and the edges of the pockets on the front skirt as well.
After attaching the neck facing I trimmed down the seam allowance to about 5mm and snipped carefully so that it turned more smoothly and then I under-stitched close to the seam through all layers on the facing side. This helps it to turn to the inside more crisply.
I changed the order of making a bit at this point because instead of making up the whole skirt and attaching it to the made up bodice I left the side seams open and just attached the back skirt pieces, leaving the centre back seam open. Next I inserted the invisible zip and this is a lot easier if the seam isn’t sewn together first.
From then on it was just a case of attaching the made up front skirt to the front bodice and sewing up the side seams. All that remains is to sew up the hem and the sleeve cuffs which I did with a twin needle, although this isn’t essential.
This Art Gallery fabric is very good quality and I think looks really nice made up into this style. Like any jersey or knit it curls a little at the edges when it’s cut so just be careful when you’re handling the pieces before they are safely sewn together. I used a ballpoint needle to prevent laddering, a microtex needle would do the job as well, or needles labelled jersey or stretch.
Thank you Minerva for providing me with this lovely fabric, there are several designs in the range available.
I look forward to sharing my next Minerva make with you very soon.
Posted in Projects on Monday the 12th November 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
When Minerva Crafts offered up their new Art Gallery Fabrics Color Master Boxes for review I jumped at the chance. One of my favourite designers, Katarina Roccella designs for Art Gallery fabrics so I purposely chose the grey box because it had several of her prints. Also a lot of Art Gallery Fabrics prints tend to be quite floral which isn’t really my thing where as the grey box only had one floral print.
If you haven’t used Art Gallery Fabrics before their slogan is ‘feel the difference’ because they have a higher thread count than most quilting fabrics, giving the fabric a softer silkier feel. The benefit of buying a Colour Master box is all the fabrics work perfectly together. They are chosen from across Art Gallery Fabrics’ ranges based upon colour. There are several different colour boxes available and you can get Half Yard Boxes or Fat Quarter Boxes. You could use it to fill a hole in your stash, or to do a patchwork project. I decided to make a patchwork cushion with mine.
I had an Oblong Cushion Pad that was 18 inches wide by 14 inches high. I wanted to use all the the prints in the box so I decided on a plus sign cushion. I did a little maths to work out what sizes I needed to cut. I wanted my squares to be 2 inches – when finished – so there would be 9 squares across by 7 squares tall.
If you’d like to make one the measurements you need are:
2.5 inches for single blocks
7 inches for long blocks across the middle of the crosses
4.5 inches for double blocks at the edge/in the corners
I cut a 2.5 inch strip off each fat quarter, cut a 7 inch piece of that for the centre of the plus signs and then cut the rest into 2.5 inch pieces.
I laid the pieces out on my cutting table. After I’d made the main crosses I realised I needed some double blocks for around the edge (partial crosses) so I cut an extra strip off 2 of the fat quarters to cut them (4.5 inches long).
Once it was all laid out I stitched up 1 row at a time. I then pressed all the seams and then joined the rows. I wanted to quilt the cushion front so I added an offcut of wadding to the back and free motion quilted a meander design all over it.
I made a simple envelope back for the cushion using the left overs of 2 of the fat quarters from the box. Put my cushion inside then it was all done.
In hindsight looking at the finished cushion it probably needed more than 1 colour to get more contrast between the plus signs so they stand out more. But I’ll just call this a low volume plus cushion. The colours do work well together, I just picked the wrong design for such a muted, low contrast palette.
Thanks for reading,
Fiona @ The Sewing Directory