Posted in Projects on Thursday the 21st March 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
It’s Liz here from Liz Sews. I’m happy to be back and sharing a project using Minerva’s poly Crepe De Chine Fabric in the Emerald colorway. This fabric really has the most gorgeous drape and subtle sheen to it. I could see it making a fabulous blouse, and with 37 colors to choose from your sure to find something that peaks your fancy. I however decided I wanted to make something a little more showy and chose McCall’s 7154 from there archive collection for this project.
I keep putting this pattern on hold for various reasons, mostly I think I was scared. I decided this was the perfect time to take the plunge and sew up this dress before committing to 7 yds of silk! On the McCall’s blog they suggest a fabric that just falls into a puddle for this dress and this crepe de chine does just that. When the package arrived it looked absurdly small, it’s because this fabric is like water and feels like air wear. I was expecting it to be a little trickier to cut out than it was behaving a bit more stable than first impressions would have you believe.
You’ll notice I made some design changes to the pattern to make it suit my body type better. First off (and the simplest change) was to remove the blousy effect from the bodice. I just don’t like having any extra fabric around my waist, I think this only looks good on more boy-ish or athletic figures popular in the 1930s. To do this all use need to do is cut doubles of the lining and omit the overlay piece. The lining already has a bust and waist dart built in for shaping and would make it easier if you need to do a FBA. Next I attempted to remove the hip ruching (with limited success). If I make this dress again I might add that detail back in because I think it would make fitting the skirt a little more forgiving.
Word of warning, this dress requires a lot of hand stitching (at least compared to how much I normally do). The thin fabric made it difficult to tell if I was going through one layer or all the layers so I am afraid I have little bits of stitching showing through on the right side in some places. I love the triangle cut out details on the front and back neckline but if I had it to do over again I would interface the area so help keep a crisp geometric shape.
I love the piecing on the skirt that gives this dress the iconic art deco vibe. The bias-cut side panels drape elegantly off the hips. I did have a bit of an issue with the center swag detail. I ironed it copiously to try and get everything to lay flat but ultimately, I think my attempt at redrafting the hip gathers is what did me it. Also during this ironing session, I managed to get a slight water mark on the fabric. Since it’s a polyester I am hoping a quick trip through the washing machine will take care of that but it’s something to keep in mind when using this fabric.
All in all I learned a lot from making this dress and I certainly have gained a better understanding of the construction before the next time I attempt it. Other than adding the hip gathers back in the only other change I would be to move the zipper to the side for cleaner lines in the back. Now all I need is a party to wear it to!
Thanks for reading,
Liz @ Liz Sews
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 21st March 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
This project really tested my resilience and for me, it was a lesson in choosing the correct project for the fabric. I had big dreams of sewing up some wide legged dungarees for my daughter and thought that the Faux Stretch Suede Fabric would be perfect for doing this as I’d used some in the past that had a firm hand. However, when the fabric arrived it was much lighter and drapier that I had envisioned. It had a soft handle and a smooth texture; a really lovely feel, but far too lightweight for dungarees. Just look at the lovely drape.
I purchased some Knit Interfacing to accommodate the stretch in the fabric fused it to the wrong side of the fabric. If you have never used stretch interfacing it is fantastic. It allows the fabric to stretch but still gives it stability, I often use in on fine non-stretch wovens too. Due to the fibre content, this fabric presses the best with a press cloth. I just used a piece of cotton for this and I found that the fabric pressed well and the seams were lovely and flat.
As this has a knit base you don’t really need to worry about neatening seam allowances as they won’t fray. It also has two good sides so would be perfect for patterns where you see both sides of the fabric. This fabric is quite dense and needs careful use of pins and needles. Pins do mark, so I just made sure that mine went into the seam allowance. I had to use the finest of my pins as the thicker ones struggle to go through the fabric. It’s also worth trying your sewing machine needle and stitch on some offcuts before starting sewing. I used a regular straight stitch and found it worked well. My regular needle ended up skipping a few stitches so I swapped to a stretch needle and sewed a little slower than I usually do, especially when sewing with the stretch to avoid further skipped stitches.
It was at this point I should have trusted my instinct and changed the pattern, but no! I decided to forge ahead and franken patterned some dungarees using the wide-legged version of the cigarette pant form Gertie Sews Vintage Casual and the bib part of the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dress. I had checked the pattern and it all fit together really well.
I made up the trouser section and fitted it to my daughter. The fit was good and if these had been trousers they would have looked great. I carried on with the bib and straps, all matched well and looking ok, but once I tried it on my daughter the length in the body was just too short (no one wants a camel toe!!!!). At this point, it was time for a Tim Gunn “Make it work” moment and I undid the inseam and created a skirt. I also let out the sides at the hip to give a little more booty room.
The final dress looks good and it’s met with the seal of approval from my daughter as she hasn’t stopped wearing it since I made it. This has been a lesson for me in choosing the right type of garment for the fabric. This fabric really would look amazing a less structured style.
Tips for sewing with this slinky faux stretch suede.
Use a press cloth - this presses really well with a cloth but could melt without.
Use a microtex or stretch needle. Sew slowly and carefully to avoid skipped stitches, the interfacing helped here.
Use knit interfacing.
I avoided using the overlocker at I thought that the edging would show through when pressed and I was right. The edges don’t really need to be finished with this fabric anyway.
This fabric has about 30% stretch and is fluid and drapey - choose a pattern that reflects these qualities and you will end up with a great make.
This has been a learning experience for me. I think I need to practise a little more slow sewing and even some slow thinking before jumping headlong into a project, but I'm guessing we’ve all been there right?
Until next time
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 20th March 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello, I’m Adelle, I am on a mission to create a handmade wardrobe. I’m excited to be reviewing this Plum Florenza Crepe Fabric from Minerva.
In recent times I have begun to embrace the plains. When I first began dressmaking I was firmly in the pattern fabric camp. Walking into a fabric shop I would head straight for the pattern fabrics, but in recent times I have found myself living plain fabrics more. It allows me the show off the dress pattern more, and also it’s filled some gaps in my me-made wardrobe when wearing separates.
I was very lucky to be allowed by Minerva to choose the fabric for my next product review from their immense range. And with my pattern choice in mind I settled on this florenza crepe dress fabric in the warm plum colour. Minerva has 51 colour ways for this fabric and it was a difficult descision to settle on which colour for my project. I’ve been loving the warm autumnal colours this season, so I went with the plum colourway. This polyester crepe is a light to medium weight fabric with lots of drape. It’s very soft and has a smooth finish.
Sew Over It recently released a new ebook ‘My Capsule Wardrobe: Work to Weekend’ and the Kate dress will be a perfect work outfit. It has a fitted bodice with a collar for a chic smart look. The skirt is in several panel pieces and has slits to allow the skirt the flow.
It is an intermediate pattern as it contains a hidden button placket and a collar with a collar stand. With this in mind, I first made up the shirt version in some cotton lawn. There are parts to the pattern that requires some thnking, but the instructions are simple to follow accompanied with clear photographs. The pattern notches are particularly important so don’t forget those!
The dress requires quite a bit of fabric, almost 4 m for a size 12 version. I made up the size 10 version with a few adjustments to the bust darts which appear to be quite high. It was a project that I broke down into small manageable steps. First making the button placket, then adding the collar, and then adding the skirt.
The fabric did have a tendency to pucker so I increased my stitch length slightly and took time to press with a cool iron. I think next time I would use my walking foot attachment to give more stability.
The dress has front buttons but contains a side invisible zip. I admit that sewing buttonholes fill me with dread. No matter how many times I practise they go wrong on my project. This time I was lucky! However you could get away with sewing up the front and adding fake buttons because with the long zip you can still get it on and off .
One improvement I would like to see to the Sew Over It patterns is to include the pattern reference letters in the instructions. I had labelled my pieces A,B,C etc but these aren’t refrenced so I had to keep referring back to the start to work out which piece was needed
The Finished Dress:
Putting on this dress I do feel like I’ve stepped out a 1950s post war moment. And I actually love that look. The bodice fits beautifully after making adjustments to the bust dart. I love the hidden button placket and I feel with each shirt I make my collars are becoming neater.
One part I was a little disappointed with was the slits. They just clapped open exposing the inside and my overlocked edges. I sewed all the dress panel seams up and I think even with a heavier weight fabric I would do the same.
Thank you Minerva for letting me choose this project. It’s going to feature in my winter work wardrobe quite a lot.
I’ve finally joined the secret pajamas club and could not be more thrilled with my first Moneta dress by Colette Patterns. I paired this simple pattern with Minerva’s Deluxe Viscose Jersey Fabric and wow is it soft!
I washed and dried my fabric right away and was happy with how well it faired, no pilling like I sometimes have with other lower quality fabrics. The Moneta dress is a .pdf pattern, but I had purchased it ahead of time and sent it off to a .pdf printer. I was able to get to work right away.
The instructions estimated the pattern would take three hours to complete and I was up for the challenge, so I set my cell phone timer and got to work. I chose style three, the ¾ length sleeve option. I was trucking right along until I needed to hem the sleeves and the neckline. I was using my newest sewing machine, the Husqvarna Viking 400, and decided to take the time to learn how to use a twin needle with this machine. I had a few tension issues and ultimately decided to use Heat-n-Bond soft stretch lite fusible web adhesive and was able to achieve a much more polished look; one I was happy with.
One other difficulty I ran into making this dress was when I reached the instruction about cutting elastic. It wasn’t clear to me how long to cut my elastic and I cut it too long, ultimately making the skirt too large to add to the top. After ripping the seam and elastic out I realized that the elastic should be the length of the circumference of the torso portion of the top. Adding the skirt portion back onto the top portion went much more smoothly the second time!
I ended up taking an extra hour or so making this dress, adding stay-tape in the shoulder seams and understitching and stabilizing the pockets, as well as experimenting with my new sewing machine. I’m really happy with this make and will definitely make it again. When I do I will likely add a neckband and shorten the top about an inch so the waistline hits at my natural wait. I may shorten the length of the skirt too. And I can’t say enough about how much I love this viscose jersey knit which was a dream to sew with and launder, plus a wardrobe staple color. I’m dreaming about my next Moneta dress in a soft heathered gray for my Easter dress.
Time estimated: 4-5 hours
Fabric used: Deluxe Viscose Jersey Fabric in Franch navy, 92% Viscose, 8% Spandex
Care instructions: machine wash cold, tumble dry low
Cost to make dress:
pattern - $14
.pdf printing - $5
Fabric - $15 value
*used existing thread and fusible web
TOTAL VALUE: $34
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably know that episode one of Alice-May versus the Sew Over It Camille Jumpsuit was not without its trials and tribulations, so it may surprise you that when the opportunity arose to make one for my first Minerva Crafts blog post I jumped at it. Nope, I’m not sure what I was thinking either, but I really wanted to nail the fit issues on this one and make my dream power suit.
My first jumpsuit looks great when it is fresh off the ironing board but the instant you breathe it creases so much you might as well have rolled down a hill through a few small forests in it. It also has no give in the hips and the sleeves are so tight you can forget getting anything down from the top couple of shelves at the supermarket. I felt like both of these issues weren’t to do with the pattern but were to do with the fabric I had chosen so I wanted to make it again in a crepe fabric with slight stretch.
This Lady McElroy Stretch Crepe Fabric in the most beautifully obnoxious shade of royal blue was perfect for the job. I’m a big fan of colours which stand out on a rainy day amongst all the black and grey. A good primary colour has the ability to put a smile on my face no matter how blue I’m feeling (pun intended).
The fabric has a right and a wrong side that wouldn’t be noticeable to any non-sewist looking at it. I’m not sure which is technically the ‘wrong’ side but I put the more textured side next to my skin as I preferred the look of the less textured side. I was a little concerned that the texture would be itchy on my sensitive skin but I can confirm that I have been wearing it all day at work (with a bandeau to make the neckline safe for work) and haven’t had any issues.
Once I had chosen to go with a stretch crepe to fix the sleeves issue I decided to make a few extra adjustments.
Lengthened the sleeves to full-length to combat those pesky cold wrists
Shortened the trousers by 3 inches
Lowered the neckline by an inch
Used the method of finishing that the Eve dress does – ironing stay tape to the wrong side, folding it over and topstitching in place. I did this as the fabric is quite thick and springy and I didn’t want to have to battle with facing poking out every time I wore it.
The pattern is relatively straightforward but it does have a lot of steps so be prepared for an involved make if you choose this pattern. I skipped the pockets this time as I knew I’d only be wearing it for evening and at work where I don’t need pockets. Also, last time I did this pattern the pockets were a source of immense frustration as the way they described how to insert them was unnecessarily complicated.
Overall, I am happy with how my jumpsuit turned out. In hindsight I definitely should have made a toile before sewing the bodice as it would have made the process a lot smoother! The neckline which I thought would only be an inch lower turned out to reach right down to my navel… so I had to unpick the waistband and redo it. Even after that the neckline was still too low so I had to hand stitch it up.
The weight of the crepe really suits this pattern as the trousers have excellent shhwiiiing and it doesn’t cling. Even though this pattern doesn’t recommend stretch fabric I definitely would recommend it. In this blue that superman himself would be jealous of I got my power suit in the end!
Thanks for reading,
Alice-May @ thestitchedit
Hey Minerva makers!
Did you know that the collective noun for swans in flight is a wedge of swans? I love silly facts like that and I kind of love that the folds of the Kielo dress mirror that wedge shape! Am I thinking about this too closely? Probably!
Anyway, as soon as I saw this Lady McElroy Stretch Viscose Fabric I knew I wanted to make it into a Kielo Dress. It’s such a pretty shape and displays the fabric beautifully; I am also hoping that it can transition through the seasons quite nicely. I was tempted to make the sleeved version but I want to be able to wear this in summer so I decided to make it sleeveless and wear it with cardigans/jackets in the spring.
Named Patterns recommend a light and drapey fabric with a minimum 20% stretch and this fabric fits the bill perfectly! I don’t know about you but I always find it hard to find nice wovens with stretch – the sample Kielo on the packet is made of a stretch chiffon and I always think it looks so light and beautiful and floaty - I wanted to replicate that with this fabric. It has a really fluid drape, is completely opaque and not as lightweight as I had expected; it feels like beautiful quality. I was actually a bit nervous that the fabric wouldn’t have enough stretch so I sized up one size but I don’t think I really needed to.
I love the Kielo shape but I am not much of a maxi dress person so I do tend to shorten them (this is the third one I’ve made!). This time I folded the pattern up by 18 inches to take it from maxi length to just above the knee. Beware! It’s a good job I wanted a shortened version as the recommended fabric layout supplied in the pattern has you rotating the back pieces upside down to fit next to the front piece – no good if you have a directional print like this one!
If you’ve not made a Kielo before, the back is usually cut as two pieces with a centre back seam and there is a long dart running up and down each side. Because I knew the darts would ‘interrupt’ the swan pattern quite a bit, I chose to cut the back on the fold so that the print is somewhat preserved. This did mean there was a little less shaping in the back but because the ties cinch in the waist quite a bit I don’t really think it matters too much.
The pattern instructions give two options for finishing the arm and neckholes – they suggest that you can just turn them in and topstitch or they also give the option of binding them. I chose to bind them with some strips of self fabric I cut on the bias and I’m really pleased with the finished effect – it looks neat on the outside and beautiful on the inside! I also had no problems whatsoever making the straps – something I’ve struggled with in previous makes as I’ve had straps trying to twist while I am sewing them. To combat any potential twisting, I cut the strap pieces parallel to the selvedge and fully interface the straps with lightweight interfacing. Using this method they sew up beautifully and thanks to the interfacing they retain their flat shape while worn. I am really pleased with how crisp and beautiful the ties are in this version!
I absolutely love this dress, the Kielo is one of my favourite patterns and think it looks great in this fabric which was beautifully easy to work with and (unlike some viscoses) doesn’t want to crease! Hallelujah! In the ‘flying squirrel’ picture below, I had been wearing that dress all morning with the straps tied around me and you can see it’s not creased much!
As always, thank you to Minerva for the supplies and until next time, happy sewing!
Vicky @ Sewstainability
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 19th March 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
For my most recent make I went full on cosy! I love sweatshirt weather and though I mainly wear dresses, I can't resist throwing together a quick sweatshirt and the roomier the better around winter time to hide the excess hibernation cake! They are usually pretty quick to run up and I knew I wanted a quick and satisfying Sweater out of this lovely Fabric, which is a striped loose knit in Blush.
I have found that the perfect solution to this is the new Tilly and the Buttons Nora Top. I have made this several times and it has a real slouchy and relaxed silhouette and it is super quick to sew up. I have made the t-shirt version previously but for this I cut the version with the high neck, though I knew from the feel and drape of the fabric that this wouldn't sit upright but I wanted to embrace a relaxed look. I also chose the long sleeve option. I also made a high-low hem by having a shorter front then back hem. I needed a metre and a half to do this and I used pretty much all of the fabric.
The fabric really does have a loose knit and because of this it has it's pros and cons when it comes to working with it and wearing it.
Pros: it's super light and easy to manipulate, meaning stripe matching is super easy. It is really breathable to wear. It has a lovely drape to it.
Cons: it needs lots of weights when cutting as it moves around because it is so light. It needs a vest or something under it to be decent! I was more than happy with this look though and wore a white vest under my top.
The pattern did come together really quickly and I used my sewing machine to ensure that the stripes were lined up and used my overlocker to ensure that my seams had stretch and were finished. I chose to overlock first so I could use the seams to easily and neatly complete my stepped hem. The sleeves are set on the flat,which is always good news for me. They seemed very long though and I had to shorten them significantly!
I feel the colours in the stripes go really well together, I'm not usually one for wearing pink but the combination of colours meansu that it's not sickly pink and it goes with lots of different garments in my wardrobe. I can see this becoming a staple in my wardrobe. I'm pleased with my stripe matching and the relaxed style of it. It's perfect for walks on the beach and lazy winter days.
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ emmaandhermachine