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Breaking the Pattern - The Solina Jumpsuit

Being an avid fan of Named Patterns, I couldn’t have been more excited, when Vicki from Minerva kindly asked me to join the small team of seamstresses to sew pieces from the new pattern book “Breaking the Pattern”. 

I’ve made quite a few much loved garments from their patterns over the year, like the Gemma sweater, Paola turtle neck or the Inari Tee dress, to name a few. They are all staples in my wardrobe and they are so timeless, I love wearing them over and over again - or whip up a new piece.

I’ve always worked with their pdf patterns, so the book was extra special for me. I really enjoyed browsing through the 20 patterns and pattern altering ideas. The book is made really well with good explanations and great pictures an illustrations. The patterns are also well thought out, very esay to trace and they have a nice place to be kept in the back of the book.

As the festive season is coming closer and closer, I chose a pattern for an outfit that would work well for a Christmas or New Years Eve party, the Solina Jumpsuit - in my current favourite pattern: leopard. 

I really like a jumpsuit - it´s a flattering, stylish and easy-to-wear outfit. And on top  - most comfortable! It is flattering, because of its silhouette, it automatically defines your waist, stylish because you can easily dress it up or down and it makes life easy with no time spend on thinking what to combine. That said, the additional benefit of a jumpsuit is the possibility to add interesting accessories, which gives the option to to wear it for a multitude of occasions.

My choice of fabric is a beautiful soft Crepe Fabric, that is really nice to wear, doesn’t wrinkle and has a great drape. I especially love this taupe Leopard print, it has a nice muted color and can be combined well with a bright color or more elegant with black. It does come in a brown color as well, which is a bit more flamboyant, I think.

The Solina jumpsuit has only 10 pattern pieces and comes together very easy. I believe the most challenging parts would be the invisible zipper (even though that´s actually the easiest zipper to put in once you get the hang of it) and the facing. 

I quite love the slit trousers detail - it really make the piece stand out and sexy without showing too much. You can decide how high you want the slits to be - from office to date night its is all possible and up to your personal style.

As I choose a very light fabric, I decided to omit the pockets because anything in them would show very clearly anyways. If I had chosen a medium weight fabric, pockets would definitely have been added, no doubt. Pockets make any garment so much better, don’t you think?

For my version, I made a size 1, it runs a bit bigger, so that worked well for me. As the booked is called “Breaking the Pattern”, I decided to change up the shoulders and back a bit. The shoulders of my Solina jumpsuit are about 4 cm narrower and as I wanted a garment to wear to a festive occasion, I changed it up to a “V” for the back neckline instead of the high-necked original version. 

The other change I made is the length of the slits in the trousers - mine are a bit longer, about 10 cm, than in the pattern. I wanted to complete the outfit with some over-knee boots and needed the length therefore. 

I decided to skip the belt that originally come with the pattern, as it would not have stood out enough due to the pattern of the fabric. I wanted a black belt to highlight the waist and thus also make the legs look longer. 

Other than that, I stayed with the original pattern and must say, I really look forward to wearing it at the next occasion. 

Unlike the dress, the jumpsuit has short sleeves only, but a short jacket or the Paola turtle neck from their pattern collection could easily be combined with it and make it a bit warmer or more office suitable. 

The book really offers lot of wonderful patterns and great ideas to combine and change or “break” the pattern, which makes it really a great staple in any pattern collection. It also opens the mind to re-think patterns and truly create a wardrobe that totally “you-nique”. 
Thanks for reading,
Nic @ crfted
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The Posh Frock in Satin and Lace

Hello sewing friends, my name is Mary, on Instagram I am @marythimble. This is my first time writing a blog for Minerva so I hope you like it. I am really glad to be here. My passion is sewing and I love talking about it too! 

As we buy more and more online now I find it can be really helpful seeing fabrics made up and hearing how they perform. For this review I chose Satin Fabric and Lace Fabric, two fabrics I would not usually choose. 

Let’s face it, they don’t really fit into an everyday lifestyle, not the sort of thing to put the bins out in or even wear to the supermarket! However, we all need a chance to feel a bit special now and again and this is just a little touch of luxury. Maybe as party season is in full swing or some friends had just gone to a ball, but posh frocks were on my mind, so I decided to rustle one up! Just as an aside, I grew up in the 70s and always think of Barbara Good desperately wanting a Posh Frock in the Good Life. Since then a formal dress has always been a Posh Frock. So here is my very own Posh Frock!

The Fabrics

I chose turquoise satin and royal blue Chantilly lace to give a little contrast. The satin is crepe backed satin; however, as I think it is double sided you could also call it satin backed crepe! The backing gave it much more stability to work with and also more structure. This made it easy to use and sew and great for the final weight of the dress, giving it a little body but still hanging and draping as you would want a satin to. It was an unexpected bonus as I had been thinking I would have to line the dress and work out how to stabilise the fabric during sewing (spray starch was my fiendish plot!) 

The lace has a lovely soft feel to it and a subtle repeat with no obvious centre point. I decided to showcase both fabrics, so only used the lace for the body and sleeves, so the satin could show itself off in the skirt. They contrast well together with the sheen of the satin being a feature through the lace but still highlighting the delicate lace and then shining in all its glory for the skirt! 

I used a walking foot to avoid any slips or wobbles and fine pins and needle to be sure not to snag the fabric.

The Pattern

I chose New Look 6262 view C. The only modification I made was to shorten the bodice by one inch and lengthen the skirt by one inch. At 5 foot 3 inches this is fairly standard for me. View C is designed for an over layer fabric such as lace so was ideal for my plan. The instructions include how to sew the layers together. I thought the lace might be fiddly or wobbly to cut so I laid my cut satin pattern pieces face up and placed the lace over each of them. I could then see the lines to cut through the lace and also check it’s placement. I then pinned well and cut each piece. I could then leave the pins in place to sew the edges together within the seam allowance immediately.

When I made the skirt I followed the instructions for the other views without the lace overskirt. This pattern calls for an invisible zip. Now, I actually feel like a sewing queen when I put one in, but I know they can be tricky especially with matching the waist seam. With the contrasting fabrics at the waist it would have screamed if they were not perfectly aligned. I sewed one side of the zip as normal and then swapped my invisible zip foot for a regular zipper foot. I then closed the zip and carefully worked out where the waist should meet. At this point I sewed a few stitches through the zipper tape and seam allowance to secure it. I then sewed the entire length of the zip in place, again only on the tape and seam allowance. Finally I swapped my foot to the invisible foot and sewed the zip in securely. Definitely worth the extra few minutes. To illustrate what I did I have used a cream zip fir the picture, not my final colour zip! 

Finally I used a blind hem for my sleeves and hem as I wanted to keep the overall appearance smooth with as little visible stitching as possible.

I hope you’ll agree this is definitely a Posh Frock. I am so pleased to be party ready now. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m just off to reply to all my party and ball invitations as well as the odd Ascot date and a European royal wedding! I hear even Kate and Meghan are both asking for the Mary Dress!

Do join me on Instagram for more sewing makes and fun!

Thanks for reading,

Mary @marythimble

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Grainline Studio Art Gallery Knit Makes

Hello! We’re back again and this time we’re both sewing with some fabulous Art Gallery Jersey Knit Fabric. Strangely, despite sewing countless times with jersey for our boys, this is the first time that both Sofia and I have actually used it to make something for ourselves – so we were super excited!

Unintentionally, we both decided to use Grainline Studio Patterns for this challenge. Sofia went for a Linden Sweatshirt Pattern, choosing version B (the t-shirt version) and I went against the fabric recommendations and picked the Farrow Dress Pattern, as it had been sitting in my downloads waiting to be made for an age!

The Linden has been positively showcased on a regular basis on social media, and it didn’t disappoint. The pattern is very versatile; it can be styled up or down and suits Sofia’s style down to the ground. It was her first time sewing using a Grainline Studio pattern and she found the pattern really straightforward to use. With easy to follow instructions and clear diagrams, it’s a good entry point for those using jersey or knit fabric for the first time. The only mistake she made (probably due to sleep deprivation rather than anything else), was with the collar. Having rushed to finish the top, she forgot to distribute the fabric evenly along the neckline, making one side more gathered than the other, but rectified this easily with more careful pinning and easing the fabric through the overlocker more evenly.

Sofia chose the Cubist Perception Stretch Jersey, a bold black and white illustrated fabric that worked perfectly with the simplicity of the Linden cut. A top tip for this make is to pay attention to your finishes; clean and neat topstitching can really make a big difference in achieving a professional finish.

Sofia has already had several comments about her top, many asking her where it was bought! A pretty good testament to how well the fabric and pattern work together!

My fabric choice for the Farrow Dress was the En Route Gravel and to be honest I probably wouldn’t pair these two together again (a clear lesson to follow the fabric recommendations on the pattern!). The fabric is a dream to work with, so lovely and soft, and a great weight too that created a lovely subtle drape, however I felt it didn’t compliment certain elements of the make.

The dress pattern was easy to follow but I fell short whilst doing the facings on the sleeves and neck. They required fusible interfacing which eliminated any stretch, making it tricky to attach to the armholes or neckline without gathering. I ended up removing the fusible interfacing which meant that the fit was better, but the internal finish wasn’t as good as it could have been. I also decided against putting a hook and eye at the top of the neck because I didn’t want it to pull given the stretchy nature of the fabric. To fit in with my style, I levelled out the back hem on the dress so that it was a similar length to the front which looked much better on me!

Overall we were both really pleased with our Grainline makes and the opportunity to use Art Gallery Fabrics (if you want to sew with knits, they’re one of the best). Sofia is already planning a long sleeve version of the Linden and I’d definitely love to make a long sleeve winter version of the Farrow, but next time with my fabric choice, I’ll listen to the experts...

See you next time, and if you want to find out more about our makes, check out our Instagram.

Sofia and Leanne xxx

The Bristol Stitchery

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New Look 6373 Microfibre Dress

Have you ever started a project and questioned every decision made along the way wondering if you will like the end product? I know I can't be the only one, so maybe you will relate to today's post. I started off with a particular project in mind, but I made modifications along the way that changed the final product. I guess that is what I love about sewing. You may use patterns as a guideline, but in the end you are the designer and your garment is unique. 
If you're anything like me, you either have a library of unused patterns or beautiful fabrics but you don't know what to make. Today I will be sharing what I made with this Floral Microfibre Fabric available in three vibrant colors. Make sure to check out the options and maybe you'll get inspired to dust off your patterns and sew up something pretty!
Upon receiving the fabric from Minerva Crafts, I couldn't decide what to make. However, this floral fabric has a good drape and is lightweight, which is  perfect for a skirt or dress to be worn this Summer. Not knowing what pattern to choose from, I surveyed my Instagram friends and the majority voted on New Look Dress & Jumpsuit Pattern 6373 View C. Well, I initially made View C, but after I finished the garment, I didn't like the dress on my particular body type. I really liked the bodice and the back of the dress, however, the skirt was too close to my body and I felt a bit restricted. It was then I realized, I needed a "flowy" skirt that would allow the fabric to drape on my body.
I must admit I was a bit nervous about working with this fabric as my past experiences with lightweight fabrics have not been good. However, this fabric was a dream to sew with. Perhaps it is that now that I have a couple of years of sewing experience, I know to use the proper needles and thread. A couple of years ago, I used a universal needle for everything and wondered why my fabric was getting caught in the feed dogs. I know I can't be the only one, right? At first, I wasn't sure how to feel about the fabric. I showed it to my friend and she did not like it at all. Sometimes it's good to get opinions from your friends, but remember, don't judge a book by its cover or rather a fabric. You may be pleasantly surprised once the fabric comes alive and you see what you have made. What grew on me was the vibrant blue and orange colors of the fabric. As I mentioned, I didn't have any problems and even used my serger to finish the edges. 
New Look 6373 was a relatively easy pattern to sew. The majority of patterns I have sewn have been PDF patterns so I have to switch gears in my brain to understand commercial patterns. The only changes I made to the pattern were the shoulder straps and I also  added a gathered skirt to the bodice to give it a more "flowy" look and fit. I used the length of the shoulder straps, but instead I made 4 straps (instead of two). I then attached them to the bodice, but I made them to be tie on shoulder straps. This was a decision I made in the moment because the straps were not sitting properly on my shoulders. I do think the tie on shoulder straps gives the dress a more casual and relaxed look. If you prefer to keep the original design, it may be helpful to baste the straps first and try the dress on to make sure you like the fit. 
For the skirt, I measured my waist circumference and cut two pieces. I then sewed the side seams together to create a very wide skirt. I then gathered the skirt to fit the top bodice and added 1/2 " elastic to the skirt. Finally, I attached the skirt to the bodice encasing the elastic so it was not visible. At this point, I was winging every step and was hoping for a decent wearable garment. 
The final outcome is a flowy knee length dress perfect for a summer day. Whatever you decide to make, remember to have fun and don't be too harsh on yourself. Have fun sewing! 
Thanks for reading,
Diana @ mysewingroots
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Breaking the Pattern - The Solina Dress

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for since they announced it – it’s the new sewing pattern book from Named!

The Finnish sisters Saara and Laura have spent the year working on and creating their first book. It’s full of gorgeous patterns taking you from the simplest of projects up to the more advanced. If you’re familiar with their style – think classic with a twist – then you won’t be disappointed with what they’ve come up with!

I decided that my first (of what will probably be many makes) from the book would be the Solina dress! I’ve got a real penchant for long dresses at the moment and this one really tickled my fancy!

The Solina pattern comes in three variations – a maxi length dress, top and a jumpsuit. I chose to make the maxi length dress. The pattern features a mandarin collar, long sleeves and a centre front leg split. It also has an interesting tie detail inserted into a pleat in the front of the dress and around the cuffs.

I chose a gorgeous John Kaldor Crepe Fabric in mustard yellow with has a large-ish scale floral design over it for this project. The pattern ideally needs something with a bit of drape to it and this one was perfect for it.

The dress was faster to sew up than I’d expected! Just half a day of sewing let me achieve this little gem.

The pattern is beautifully drafted and went together easily. I made one adjustment to the pattern and that was to shorten the bodice length by an inch. Apart from that I sewed it exactly as instructed!

The instructions are laid out in a very similar way to the individual Named patterns which extra little tutorials inserted here and there which target specific skills. This particular project teaches skills like setting in sleeves and collars with a highlight on invisible zips.

It needs a bit of a press. I hadn’t realised how wrinkled it was until I’d photographed it! Serves me right for being too eager to wear it!!

It’s an interesting design, right? Simple, with elements that you’ve seen before, but never in this combination. I love how the waist ties draw the eye in to my narrowest part. I think the fun yellow print keeps the dress light and fun despite the fact it’s quite covered up.

The only thing now is that I can’t quite decide on how to wear my hair with it!

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Operation Christmas Jumper

Hello!

We all know ‘Christmas is coming!’ and I’ve been lucky to be selected among the crafters to work on some Christmas projects for the Minerva Crafts blog this year.

Welcome ‘Operation Christmas Jumper’. I’ve been thinking of making one for ages. Being let loose on the Minerva Crafts online shop can be a little daunting as there are a lot of lovely products which makes choosing what to get a bit difficult at times. But it gets easier once you have a plan. Mine was to find the supplies for a Christmas jumper. This narrowed my search and my task became a lot more simpler. Which means it did not take me long to settle on a Vogue ladies top pattern and 3m of Christmas themed fabric.

For my make I chose the red and blue Christmas Jersey Fabric and plain red Cotton Spandex Jersey Fabric to make views B and C of Marci Titlon’s Vogue 9057 Pattern.

Once I got the fabric, and having a better look at the pattern, I decided I prefer the sleeve option from View D and E. I cut all my pieces in a size M. But there was still a lot of fabric left. This became a challenge for me with the objective to cut another top (View E). I was OK with the bodice pieces. But, I did struggle with the sleeves. Inspired by the pattern envelope, I tried to use as much as possible the leftovers to cut them, this is how I ended up with modified sleeves, one red and one pieced together from the two fabrics. Who said the sleeves have to be the same?

And believe it or not, I still had some pieces of fabric that were big enough to be used in something else. I thought it would be fun to have matching knickers as well as minimising the amount of fabric to throw away (I donate my unusable pieces to charity to be recycled). I managed to cut two pairs of Meghan Nielsen Acacia. So ended up with 3 tops and 2 knickers. Not bad for 3 m of fabric!

I worked on all three tops at the same time and most of the construction took place on the overlocker/serger. Because I knew I was using the overlocker/serger for the construction I reduced the seam allowance to 0.5 cm from 1.5 cm. With most of my knitted fabric projects I stabilised the shoulder seam with iron on bias tape.

I finished off the neckline with a double needle to keep it flat. Also, this gives the top a professional finish look.

Hems were also finished with the double needle. But, to make my life easier, I prepped the hems before I constructing the side seams on all tops. I did this by marking the hem with water erasable pen, pressing into place and then pining it.

Once the tops were ready, I made the knickers. They were done in no time. I used some elastic with a picot edge I had in my stash, enough for both pairs. I think all in all they were made in about 3 hours from cutting to finished items.

Among the three tops I made my most favourite is the one I did not initially plan, view D with modified sleeves. I know they are not the typical jumper design.

I did not shorten the original sleeve (view D/E) I used with View B, so the sleeve looks a little longer on me and not the 3/4 sleeve it was intended.

And if the Christmasy print feels too much, you can layer it up with view C.

Please note that the tops look longer on me because I did not shorten the pattern above the bust area as I usually do with Vogue patterns. I like them to be a bit longer which means I will get away with wearing leggings with them as well.

Happy Holidays!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. And please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts and/or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.

Simona

Sewing Adventures in the Attick

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Lucky Dip Fabric Bundles Review

I’m beyond thrilled to be writing my first ever blog for Minerva – and what an array of delights I have to tell you about!

With all the goodies on offer at Minerva, I’ll admit to being a bit spoiled for choice, so I plumped to review a range of Lucky Dip Fabric Bundles. If you’re not familiar with the lucky dip bags, they’re a random selection of remnants and roll ends, and they’re available in a range of colours and designs. I opted for the polka dot, stripe and stretch fabric choices – the first two because I love love love them, and the knits because, as a newbie sewist, I’m just getting into sewing with jerseys and wanted some practice.

I must admit to being a little worried that the pieces I received would be too small for me to make anything useful and I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t the case at all. My goodie bags contained large pieces of fabric, most of which were over a metre in length - and because jerseys are normally 60” wide you get even more bang for your buck with the stretch fabric bundle!

Here’s what I got in my goodie bags:

Stripes: two pieces of stripey silk of around 60cms, and a over a metre piece of black, white and silver striped ponte roma.

Spots: A metre each of black sequin and red and white polka dots (very Minnie Mouse!)

Stretch: A metre of black wet-look stretch fabric which would be perfect for leggings, and a really large piece of this stunning floral fabric. I’ve already worked out I can get a little playsuit out of this one!

I decided my first make should be a cami top from the very elegant turquoise silky fabric.

I really love the True Bias Ogden Cami Pattern but I didn’t have that pattern to hand, so I decided to borrow the bodice part from this New Look Jumpsuit Pattern which I’ve had on my to-make list for a while.  

It’s a simple pattern with bust darts and neck facings. I’ll admit that trying to squeeze the pattern pieces onto my 60cm remnant was something of a challenge (and I sadly had to forgo the lovely flounce) but I persisted with my pattern tetris, and was rewarded with this beauty which is just the ticket for hot summer nights.

The construction was beautifully simple, and to be honest the cutting out took longer than the actual sewing! As ever with commercial patterns, keep an eye on the amount of ease and try and go by the finished garment measurements to make sure you get the right fit for you. According to the pattern I should have cut a size 16 but I’m not keen on such a loose fit so I cut my standard 12 which fitted well.

I finished the hem off with a pretty decorative leaf stitch to complement the aqua stripes.

I’m really pleased with how my cami top turned out, and over the moon that I managed to get it out of such a tiny remnant. It’s definitely a pattern I’ll be using again next time I have an odd half-metre of fabric left (and if you follow me on instagram @thecamdenstitch you can see the full jumpsuit I made a couple of weeks later!)

My next project was to try my hand at sewing knits, and this striped ponte roma was ideal. It’s an interesting fabric because it has a silver lurex thread running through one side, but on the flip side it’s just black and white stripes. I decided I’d get more wear out of the non-sparkly side which must be a sign that I’m growing old and boring!

I decided to use this Beginner’s McCall’s Pattern. The pattern has a few options to choose from but I went for the simple boat neck version.

Again, it was a bit of a challenge fitting my pattern pieces on the fabric, which was made even tougher by the stripes…I don’t like to make life easy for myself! I cut a size medium, which came up much too big. The loose fit actually works OK with the ponte but if I wanted a close-fitting t-shirt next time I’d size down to an XS.

The top was simple enough to put together using a combination of my sewing machine stretch stitch and my overlocker. Everything was going swimmingly until it came to the neck facings. Now to be fair to the pattern manufacturers this style is designed for a lighter weight jersey rather than a ponte, but despite me clipping, pressing and understitching the life out of the thing I could NOT get the facings to lie flat.

After a stressful half hour I decided to improvise. I removed the facings and cut two bands of fabric, one for the front and one for the back neckline. I folded each one double and overlocked the raw edges to the front and back of the neckline.

Then I grabbed my trusty snap set and added four snaps to the each side of the collar. I went for my favourite colour – egg-yolk yellow!

The finished top has a collar that can be worn up in a faux funnel neck style, or down to emphasise the boat neck. They say necessity is the mother of invention and I’m delighted I came across this little workaround – I love my funky top (and matching boots!)

Overall I loved the variety of the lucky dip fabric bundles. I’ve been following the #sewingleftovers hashtag on instagram and have been really inspired by other makers to be creative with small amounts of fabric – and hopefully these couple of projects will inspire you, too!

If you enjoyed this blog, follow me on instagram @thecamdenstitch or visit my blog at thecamdenstitch.

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Butterick ‘Walk-Away Dress’ 4790 (Retro 1952)

I was beyond excited to review these two amazing products for Minerva Crafts. The Butterick ’walk-away’ dress Sewing Pattern is a sewing classic that I was really looking forward to making, and seeing if the finished product could be as chic as it was quick.  After hearing about the ‘walk-away’ dress for the first time a few years ago, and then so often since in sewing circles, I was looking forward to putting the 1952 advert slogan to the test…
“Start it after breakfast… and walk-away in it for luncheon!”
The fabric I was using for this dress was the enchanting Cotton Lawn Fabric, from the new fabric collection by Lisa Comfort. The collection was launched in March this year and I was in awe of these designs when they came out; they’re so delicate and floral with the most beautiful selection of background colours (mint, lilac, coral…). The feminine patterns, I feel, have a slight nod to vintage but without dictating in any way how they should be worn – the patterns would suit any style, vintage or modern. The cotton itself is super soft and has a beautiful drape to it. I pre-washed it on 30 degrees and of course it was very crinkled but ironed out no problem. I was over the moon when I had the opportunity to use the Elderflower Press design in coral for this make and was eager to see the design in the full skirt of the walk-away dress.
I chose to make version B of the dress (as far as I can see, the only difference being A uses 2 larger decorative buttons at the front and B uses 3 smaller buttons). The dress is made up of only 3 pattern pieces so the prep work was really quick luckily, because I always get impatient cutting out when I want to start sewing! Next was the darts and then attaching the pieces together – I don’t think I’ve ever had a garment come together so quickly and I loved it!
To compliment my coral fabric I chose a contrasting white bias binding. I did have some vintage binding in a matching pink but decided to stay true to the original pattern illustration and went with the contrasting choice. For my buttons I used 3 big marble green buttons that found in a charity shop. They were bigger than the pattern recommends using (mine are ¾”) and ideally I think you would choose slightly smaller ones to suit the size of the waist ‘meeting point’, but the green was too much of a perfect match not to use.
I had two minor issues with the fit of the dress. The first was that the side-top of the front wrap piece (under the arms) gapes slightly after I’ve been wearing it for a while. When I first put it on it sits flat against my ribcage but I think the weight (not that it is heavy to wear) of the skirt must pull it back slightly and cause the gape. To counter this when I make it again I will cut the front ‘meeting point’ at a slight angle (so it’s narrower at the top corner edge) and then the front buttons should sit flush against my body and keep the hourglass silhouette the dress is intending to create.
The second was not so much a fit issue than just personal preference. The dress is designed to have a fairly wide neckline however, now seeing it on, I would prefer it to be slightly narrower and higher all round. It’s not a major change and certainly won’t stop me wearing this dress but it’s just something I will bear in mind for next time.
One tiny tip that may help (or maybe I was just being silly at the time!), is that if you get confused about which back corner the button loop of bias binding goes on then check the picture on the envelope back – it marks it more clearly than the instructions do! I sewed it on the wrong side first, but it was easily remedied by cutting it off, neatening and then creating a new loop from a separate pieces of binding and sewing on it separately (rather than it being an extension of the binding around the dress edges). This is located on the edge of the front piece, which meets behind your back and beneath the full skirt, so it’s not seen when you’re wearing it.
I made my dress over two separate days but in total it did only take me a couple of hours, so I’m pleased to report that I would have been able to wear it ‘to luncheon!’ I’m really happy with the final dress, very vintage and very ladylike! The waist fastening is different to any of my other dresses or handmade clothes and I love the authenticity of it. The style isn’t suggestive of any one season so I can imagine making a few versions of this for different times of year – cheesecloth or linen for a relaxed summer dress and maybe a brocade for a winter party dress.
Overall I’m thrilled with the dress – the fabric looks as beautiful as ever and the pattern has gone into my ‘favourites’ pile for many more uses. Bring on next weekend so I can wear it out and about!
Thank you for reading – happy sewing!
Rebecca
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Breaking the Pattern - Hila’s Halla Coat

Book Review

I have a fondness for Named Sewing Patterns. Their Dakota dress was one of the first indie patterns I dared to buy when I had just started sewing. I sewed it for a competition that was judged by Saara and Laura in October 2014. Though I didn’t win, I felt a thrill knowing that they had actually seen and read my post about their pattern. When I got the chance to be a part of the book launch in conjunction with Minerva Crafts, wild horses couldn’t have kept me away.

Breaking the Pattern

The book comes with a collection of 20 garments that range in difficulty from beginners right through to advanced/expert level. And the advanced designs are really quite a challenge – which I love. The designs are original and fresh in keeping with Named pattern collections over the years.

But the core and novelty of this book is the philosophy that runs through the book. You get a sense that Saara and Laura really do want you to start with the basics but encourage the user to literally break the pattern – to go your own way and take what they designed to another dimension – your own dimension. The book is littered with suggestions for how you might want to break the pattern. Even a seasoned seamstress like me found some new ideas to try. This, in a nutshell is what’s at the heart of “Breaking the Pattern: A Modern Way to Sew”.

Halla Coat

I was attracted to this cocoon style coat because it looks so oversized and comfortable – like a housecoat but one I can wear outside.

The pattern has a whopping 20 plus pattern pieces – no wonder it’s the last pattern in the book :) I traced size 3 based on my body measurements. The book provides finished garments measurements as well. The patterns sheets are well labelled and tracing them was no hardship. They are well spaced and uncluttered. The instructions are well written and I found them understandable. Some of the more complex techniques like lining the coat had detailed photo accompaniments.

My Halla Coat

Allow me to introduce my bright colour winter coat. I wanted to rethink the idea that a coat always has to be neutral. I love the super saturated hues of this coat – even on an overcast day I was feeling bright and sunny. The fabric is this 100% Boiled Wool. It is very similar to double faced wool in that the difference between the sides is so very subtle. The edges do not fray due to the fulling process it undergoes which makes it a dense, warm and durable fabric that is resistant to water and wind. It is indeed very cosy.

The colours are incredibly vibrant – I opted to use a contrast red for the faux lapel, collar and belt. The design lines give plenty of opportunity to colour block for a show stopping effect.

Being wool, it has some stretch to it so I stabilised (as per instructions) all the the sleeve and neck curves using a woven fusible. A luxury coat like this deserved the best and woven fusible is top notch. I also interfaced the hems with a knit fusible to give them a crisp edge.

Details

When it comes to manipulating fabric, there really is nothing like wool. Give it a good steam and tailors clapper and you can make it take any shape. I am particularly proud of the sleeve/shoulder area. I eased the sleeve into place, inserted sleeve head and shoulder pad. The finished result is a sharply tailored coat. The details also add to its luxurious feel; the nickel coat loop and the oversized fasteners.

I “broke the pattern” by using contrasting fabrics and in seam pockets instead of patch pockets.

For lining fabric I used Art Gallery Fabrics 100% Rayon in coral red. The colour explodes with the slightest shimmer and lustre. It’s flowy with just the right amount of slip.

Stepping out in a colourful winter coat when the skies are dreary gray for days on end makes all the difference in my mood. It has become quite a staple in my wardrobe – I love this style.

Introducing some feel good shades of colour into your winter outerwear wardrobe couldn’t be easier with Halla’s modern city style design. If hot pink is a bit much for you, try a more subdued colour in a pattern or opt for a more muted colour – this boiled wool has a light blue and olive green that are particularly subtle. 

Breaking the Pattern is a bold, visionary book that offers a fresh look at sewing. What Saara and Laura are advocating for in this book is that you not just go beyond towards deeper learning by literally breaking the pattern, but to also enjoy the benefits of being able to do so. And in the process create some unique pieces for yourself.

Thanks for stopping by,

You can find me on my YouTube Channel or my blog saturdaynightstitch.

Hila

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Christmas with Art Gallery

Hello there crafters!
Today I bring joy. Christmas Joy! When Minerva Crafts proposed to do something holiday-oriented I've jumped to the opportunity and I knew exactly what I wanted to make.
For the past three years or so, I wanted to make handmade ornaments for my tree. And as many of us do, I procrastinated a little bit (cough, cough) and the project was postponed for next year, and then next year, and yeah….
I think we never plan with enough anticipation for Christmas, although we do actually have a whole year for it, right? I know you are the same as me (wink, wink).
But this time I’ve conquered. I picked out this beautiful Fabric from Art Gallery and thought…what would look great with ornaments? Why yes, my own matching garment of course. What else? So as soon as I received this buttery, smooth, soft fabric, I pulled one of my TNTs (tried and true) patterns and got to work.
The top I made is the Frankie top and dress from Tessuti, and the only modification I made is to make it a little narrower on the waist and hip. Because this pattern is designed for viscose jersey, which has drape, I figured that a cotton jersey would be better if the bodice was not as “flow-y”. I think it turned out exactly as I hoped, and I can see myself wearing this top on Christmas Eve and also any time of the year after that. A little tip when sewing with knits is that if it rolls up a bit, measure the grain line from the salvage instead of the rolling edge. That will make your job easier.
The print on the fabric is festive enough but also subtle, so it is extremely flattering and wearable in any season. The quality of the fabric is, as you would expect Art Gallery fabrics to be. Superb. High-end. Luxurious. You get my point. I think the stitching embeds in the fabric impeccably. Can you see my zig zag?
Now let me tell you all about the matching adorable ornaments! These little guys are ‘sew’ easy and quick to make. The first thing I did is to Google images of ornaments and I found this:
Then I just copied the shapes (you can trace them if you are not as confident) or simply use a cup as template to make a circle. Any shape will work because creativity has no limits or restrictions. Here is a close up of the measurements of each of the shapes I made. You can use them as a reference if you’d like.
So I sewed up the ornaments in two different ways. One way was to simply sew them right sides together and then turn them right side out. The other way was to sew them wrong sides together and leave the seam allowance raw. Since this is knit fabric, you don’t need to worry about the edges and the rustic look seems like a wonderful homemade style option, which in this case I enjoy very much.
For the stuffing, I’ve used my jersey scraps. At last, I found a great use for these! You can use woven scraps as well or, if you don’t have any, then there are options like this Toy Stuffing which will work even better than fabric scraps.
In order to be able to hang the ornaments, I sewed this 10mm Grosgrain Ribbon in a matching red colour, and if your ribbon sewing skills are not that neat, you can always use this Hot Glue Gun and add a bow on top of the messy stitching. A bow always fixes everything.
I cannot tell you how happy these make me feel when I look at them! I still have some more scraps from my Frankie top and I will convert them into more ornaments, but I think this is a great start for my handmade Christmas decoration. What do you think?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. You can see my makes on my Instagram @sewmanyfabrics and my vlog.
Happy sewing,
Fany
xoxo

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