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‘Turn Heads’ Dress!

How many heads do you see? Don’t you just love this Fabric? The print is a bit quirky with loads of colour so it’s a multi-combinable dress. This is my kinda fabric.

I wasn’t sure what to make, but I was sure I had to have it. It is a medium weight fabric and very easy to sew. It’s made from 100 percent cotton fibres and as stated on the website it has a beautiful soft feel. Perfect for a dress. Decision made! I made this dress for the summer, but I can imagine wearing it in the fall or even winter when I combine it with a (black, blue, red or even green) blazer and tights.

When a print is as crazy fun as this you only need a simple dress. Like the Burda 6890 Simple Fitted Dresses. The pattern I used has a couple of darts and a seam around my waist. Can you see them? That’s what is great about this fabric, you can’t! The print is just perfect!

Overall the cutting, stitching, ironing and overlocking of the fabric went smooth.

The dress isn’t lined so for the finishing I used bias binding of the same fabric at the armholes, turned the seam in at the back and I used a facing at the neckline. All three finishing methods worked like a charm with this fabric.

I used fusible interfacing to reinforce the back seam (and the slit and seam at the bottom of the dress). Before stitching the facing at the back I pinned a little elastic loop for the button closure.

For the closure at the back I choose a green invisible zipper. I had other options too, they all matched.

For a nice finishing I topstitched the back, using the width of the presser foot as a guideline.

When topstitching the seam at the bottom of the dress I used this seam guide attached to my presser foot so I could stitch at exactly 5 cm.

So here is another dress done. The construction went really smooth due to the fact that this fabric is so easy to handle! In the beginning the fabric made me smile, now the dress makes me happy and I think some heads will turn….if only to take a second look at this fun fabric!

Thank you again for reading. And if you want to see more of my makes just hop on over to my Instagram. I’ll be back ;)

Love,

Marlies @madebyliesl

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Seren Dress In Viscose Challis

This fabric is an absolute beaut. It’s the softest Viscose Challis Fabric you could hope for with a distinct Clarice Cliff deco vibe.

I ordered three metres thinking I would make another 1970s wrap dress (see my Instagram for a grey leopard print viscose version), but in the interim I won a Tilly and the Buttons pattern of my choice. My eyes fell upon the Seren Dress  and that, folks, was that.

I’ve made a few Tilly patterns from the Stretch book, but nothing from the pattern range, so I was looking forward to the celebrated crystal clear instructions. For the most part I like to work with vintage patterns (a world where nothing is clear), so I thought it might be quite nice to have my hand held for a change.

In the stretch book I usually cut a 3, but my measurements fall between the 3 and 4 so I followed Tilly’s instructions and played it safe with the 4, on the understanding I could always take it in later on. I cut out for both sizes, and then simply folded the bits for the 3 under so if necessary I can use that size next time.

The pattern comes together quickly, but the point at which it tells you to try on the bodice for size is a tad premature. I’d read this elsewhere (anyone else love devouring reviews of patterns before kick-off?), so I sewed the entire bodice together, using an easy-to-unpick tacking stitch at the side seams  so I could fit it properly once assembled.

Sure enough, the side seams were out, so I took them in before overlocking the facings. Of course if I’d bothered to make a toile this would have been unnecessary… But leopards and spots and all that… I’ll know for next time.

On that note, if I make this again, I think I will shorten the straps a little and lengthen the bodice. I will also move the dart position so it angles up from the lower side. I like a good hoist of a bra and while the position of the dress’s straps cover the bra straps admirably, they do not hide the upper curve of the cup. The other option would be to redraft the bodice and facings into a Nina Lee Kew Dress-style sweetheart neck which would offer full bra coverage.

Having pondered possible alterations, the fit actually turned out to be pretty good. The rest of the dress came together quickly: one minute you’re tutting about fittings and unpicking, the next you’re suddenly at the point of hemming and wondering what all the fuss was about.

I did a little Instagram poll on what buttons to use: I started out with a dozen options and then whittled it down to 4, but just couldn’t decide. In the end it was a tie break between the yellow and pale turquoise. I let my husband have (the illusion of [ha ha!]) the casting vote and the yellow won.

Fifteen buttons (for the midi length) is a lot. When it came to trying it on at the end I realised I could get it on without undoing the top two buttons or any of the buttons below the waist and hips… so I’m wondering if on my next attempt I could just sew the buttons over the placket and dispense with the holes. I also think you could stop the buttons a little higher; you could easily lose the last three and still be decent. Lazy, moi?!

Although the pattern recommends stay stitching the side seams of the skirt (because they fall on the bias), my hem still dropped a good inch at the sides and had to be levelled. It made me wonder if the metres of thread used to stay stitch was really worth the bother. Or maybe it would have dropped to the Earth's core if I hadn’t bothered. Who knows?!

I made a couple of on-the-fly changes to the finishing methods. The pattern instructs stitching in the ditch for the final step of the waistband attachment. I’m pretty sure the viscose would have distorted had I stitched from the outside, so I hand stitched it on the inside instead.

Similarly, the pattern advises the hem to be simply turned-up and top stitched, making the fold-up visible at the edge of the front opening. Instead I opened up the placket at the ends and folded the hem up into that so that the placket opening remains neat at the visible edge. I then hand stitched the hem for an invisible finish.

Once the hem was levelled and sewn this dress was straight on and off to the beautiful Calke Abbey and its many dilapidated green doors. Excuse the creasing in the pictures, I couldn’t wait to take it for a wander and, with the British summer being as sketchy and unpredictable as it is, the ironing had to wait.

Thanks for reading

Ruth @grinlowsews

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70's Inspired Maxi Dress: Vogue 9184

Hello everyone! My name is Lucy and I blog about my sewing adventures at myloveaffairwithsewing.com. I also post my sewing projects on Instagram @myloveaffairwithsewing. I was both honored and thrilled when Minerva invited me to become a member of their Minerva Maker Team. So here I am with my first blog post for Minerva.

I was instantly drawn to this Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric when I saw it. The print is described as being 70's inspired which is exactly what I had been looking for to sew the maxi version of Vogue 9184. Besides finding a vibrant print, my goal was to find fabric that had some body and could hold the shape of the dress without flopping around too much or being too stiff. The website provided a description of the fabric as well as a video. This was very helpful as the video was able to give me a better idea of the scale of the print as well as how the fabric “moved”. When I received the fabric I was pleased to see that the colors were as I expected. The fabric washed beautifully and was easy to work with. The fiber content is 97% cotton and 3% Spandex. Gotta love a woven cotton fabric with a little stretch to it.

I have made the shorter version of this dress a couple of times so I knew it would fit well without any modifications. I chose to line the dress down to the top of the side slit. The pattern does not call for lining and uses bias tape to finish the armscye. I omitted the bias tape and sewed the lining to the dress right sides together at the armscye. I then turned the lining to the inside and understitched it in place. The fabric is opaque and has enough weight not to require lining but I like to line most of my sewing projects. I think the finished garment hangs better and in the case of dresses or skirts, they don’t crease as much from sitting.

The patterns calls for two side slits. I don’t like the way a maxi dress with two side slits looks when I am seated. It always feels awkward and looks like the front of the dress doesn’t know where to go. I chose to only make one side slit which I lowered by 9 inches. The modified slit provides plenty of walking ease.

I lengthened the dress by 2 inches and made a 1 inch hem. I’m 5’7” and I like my maxi dresses to be below my ankles. In my opinion maxis dresses that hit right at my ankle look like they shrunk in the wash. I see this a lot in ready-to-wear and have never liked it.

If you plan on making this dress I recommend figuring out how much fabric you need based on the pattern pieces NOT the pattern envelope recommendations. I made a size 8 and have about 1 yard leftover using 59" wide fabric. In this case it was not a bad thing because I have enough fabric leftover to make an A-line skirt. I think this is perfect for a simple skirt. Stay tuned for round two of this fabric.

I consider this dress a sewing success. I wanted a “summer- cocktail- sipping” kind of dress and I got it.

Happy sewing!

Lucy @myloveaffairwithsewing

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Kielo Wrap Dress - Dandelion Cotton Jersey

Welcome to my review of this beautiful Jersey Fabric with dandelions & hearts in shades of grey.  It is a medium weight cotton/polyester knit fabric with 4% elastane and although described as grey, with a dark grey pattern, it hints at a tinge of brown marl rather than the classic grey marl that is popular.  However, the shades are lovely and a great contrast for the overall pattern.  I love dandelions and have wanted to make a dress in such a fabric for ages. The ones I had viewed appeared more suitable for lounge wear or pyjamas, but this fabric is more elegant.

There are many stunning pictures online of the Kielo Wrap Dress by Named Clothing and I thought it was about time I made one to see what all the fuss is about & I can honestly say this won’t be my last Kielo.  I had very recently purchased the paper pattern and was pleased that I now had my perfect fabric to make the dress.  Many sites offer PDF downloads of the dress but Minerva stock the copy print paper pattern which is what I prefer to use.  Many printer companies now also offer printing for sewing patterns and can be found by doing a simple search online.  My instructions were in PDF and easily accessed on my phone or iPad.

There are only 3 pattern pieces to the design, and 2 pieces are huge as they incorporate the wrap section.  Layout is dependent on the pattern direction and will require more fabric if the pattern is directional – for this fabric this wasn’t an issue.  There are back waist darts and upper bust darts and the pattern is clearly marked.  As it is a multi-size pattern, I highlighted the size I needed for ease and opted for size 14.  I usually need to grade up a size at the hips but went for a straight 14 due to the position of the wrap.  I had also read that some sewers found the armholes to be too big, so I paper fitted the pattern prior to cutting just to check the size.  My final adjustment was to shorten the dress to just below the knee.

Whilst googling for sewing reviews I found a great tip from Rumana, The Little Pomegranate, about inserting a phone pocket into one side of the wrap and, of course, we all love pockets.  This was really simple – just a traced outline of the phone and the pocket pieces added to one of the wrap sections about 10cm in from the front edge, then sewn with the side seam.

I had no issues sewing the fabric due to its medium weight and there was only minimal curling of the edges.  The darts were easy to create and lay nicely after a good iron. More often than not I use a damp baby muslin cloth when ironing new seams as I have accidentally scorched a couple of fabrics – luckily only on small sections and not the final garment.

To finish the neck and armholes the pattern states to fold over a small hem and top stitch, however, there is the risk of it not lying flat and so I chose to make a binding.  This was attached right sides together, sewn, folded to the inside and stitched in the ditch from the right side.  The fabric was very forgiving and didn’t twist and I’m really pleased with the finished result.

I’m now converted and can understand the hype around the Kielo Wrap Dress – a simple, yet effective garment made all the more special with this gorgeous Dandelion Cotton Jersey fabric.

Of course, no review is complete without the star of the show – the secret pocket :)

Thank you to Minerva for the opportunity to review this lovely fabric and to everyone for reading.

Helen @JustSewHelen

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Papercut Patterns Moana Dress

Hello, crafty friends!  This is Victoria here, and I'm delighted to be sharing my very first make on the Minerva Blog.  I often turn to these posts for inspiration and feel so lucky to be a new member of this amazing team.  

The fabric.

I chose a beautiful, floral Cotton Poplin Fabric in mid-blue (Delph).  It really is beautiful.  It has a lovely handle to it and feels quite like a cotton lawn.  It doesn't seem to wrinkle very easily either - I'd had this dress on for a full day out in York and two train journeys by the time we stopped for photos.  It presses very well and goes through the sewing machine like a dream.  I mean, what's not to love?  Again, I don't usually sew with cottons or poplin, but in the spirit of experimentation, I just thought I'd have a go.  I'm so pleased I did!

The pattern.

I chose to make the Papercut Moana Dress, which I have had my eye on for a while.  I always loved the idea of this dress, but was unsure whether it would suit my body shape.  I am very curvy so loose fitting garments can be hit and miss.  I've been trying to experiment a bit with my sewing recently, so I decided to go for it.  Anyway, life is too short to worry too much about whether things suit you, right?  I can't fault the pattern instructions at all.  They were very easy to follow and well structured.  Papercut have categorised Moana as an intermediate pattern and I would say that is realistic. If you were to follow the instructions to the letter (which I didn't - more on that in a minute) you would have to insert a zip, and there is also a narrow curved hem and the burrito method to contend with, so there are some nice 'next steps' techniques for improvers.  

Any pattern hacks?

I omitted the exposed zip, in favour of ties.  This was not deliberate.  My sister and I went to a caravan for a sewing weekend, I forgot the zip, and so the idea of ties was hatched.  I managed to not get any photographs of this process (sorry!), but it is a fairly easy modification to make.  I will write up how I did this and add it at the bottom of this post.  Other than that, I pretty much followed the instructions in the pattern.  

Any other modifications?

Yes, quite a few, but they were my own fault.  I can never really be bothered to make a toile of garments (so much to sew, so little time!) and with patterns like this I often risk cutting the size based on my bust measurement, which can lead to problems because my everywhere else is significantly smaller than my bust.  I know that I should stop being so lazy and re-draft patterns with a full bust adjustment and make toiles.  But no.  I'm too impatient, and I simply had to dive straight in.  I cut the size small, based on my bust measurement (37 inches) and went from there.  It wasn't until I had constructed pretty much the whole thing that I tried it on and realised there were two big fit issues.  The armhole was too big, which I half expected, and the bodice was too long, which meant that lovely frill fell in a really odd place.  Cue lots of unpicking (and a fair amount of cursing).  A couple of hours later, I had managed to combat both of these issues by taking the shoulder seams in by an inch and adding an additional dart in the front armholes, just below the collarbone.  I'm fairly pleased with the fit now, considering how slap dash I was.  The moral of the story: if you have a full bust and you know fit may be an issue, it genuinely is quicker to just make a toile.  There was only one Kylie and the Machine label I could use for this dress - the perfect finishing touch!

Top tip.

I hemmed the frill before I attached it to the bodice because I thought it would be easier.  I also overlocked the bottom edge at 5 mm and used the stitching as a guide for turning up the hem - way easier than using the seam gauge!

What's the verdict?

I really do love the dress, and now that I know what alterations I need to make I can see myself making more.  The fabric is nice and summery and I've heard we have a heatwave coming.  I can see myself making some Moana tops as well - It would work well in a variety of fabrics and doesn't require anywhere near as much yardage as the dress.  The only thing I would do differently next time is add the zip.  Although I like the ties, I wonder whether they have altered the shape of the back slightly.  It's no matter, though - I just love that frill and I think I need some more in my wardrobe.  

Swapping the zip for ties.

Leave the back seam fully open and make two ties.  

To make my ties, I used the pattern piece from the Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Pattern, but you could make them as long or as wide as you like.  Just remember that, whatever size you want your ties to be, you will need to double the width and add seam allowance on all sides.  Fold the tie pieces right sides together, long edges matching.  Sew two sides, leaving one short edge open for turning.  Trim the seam allowances, clip the corners, turn both straps out and give them a good press.  

Pin the facing to the bodice, right sides together, all the way around, making sure you match any notches - the back facing should sit around half way up the back bodice.  Sandwich the straps between the back facing and bodice on each side, matching the raw edges.  I placed my straps around 1.5 cm down from the top - the seam allowance for the pattern is 1 cm, so this allowed me 5 mm of wiggle room.  Stitch all the way around the facing, from the bottom corner of one side of the back, over the strap, pivot around the corner, sew all around the neckline, pivot again, sew over the other strap and continue to the end of the facing on the opposite side. 

Trim and snip into the neckline, as normal, trim the corners and finish the centre back seams.  Turn it all out and give it all a good press and you should have functional ties!  

Then you can go ahead and place your back pieces right sides together and close the back seam, stitching to where the back facing starts.

Et voila!  

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to catch you again soon with another Minerva make!

Happy sewing!

Victoria @pocketforsweets

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High-Waisted Cigarette Pants: Simplicity 8655

Hi Minerva Crafters. My name is Q, and I'm back on the Minerva blog today to share my new favorite make. These vintage high-waisted cigarette pants are amazing and turned out better than expected. Initially, I wanted to make a dress, but I think the pants were a better choice. I'm always happy when I can add new items to my wardrobe, but pants for work are at the top of my must-have list.

Pattern:

To create these pants, I used Mimi G Style for Simplicity 8655 view B. This pattern not only offers high-waisted slim fitting pants but high-waisted bell bottoms with a side zipper, and a tie front top. I made the slim fit pants but cannot wait to make this pattern again in the bell bottoms. My favorite part about these pants is the continuous tuck that gives it a vintage look. If you are interested in making these pants, I recommend following along with Mimi Goodwin’s YouTube video. I prefer to watch the video instead of reading the instructions. She tends to give a few additional tips in the video. Besides adding the zipper and sewing the continuous tuck, the pattern was quick to complete.

Modification:

Surprisingly, I did not make a lot of adjustments to the fit. I cut a size 12 and only adjusted the waist by a ½ inch. The pants also have back pockets, but I opted not to add them to the pants. However, I did consider adding buttons to the front of the pants. I'm still thinking about it; I think it would elevate the pants.

Fabric:

Initially, I wanted to make high-waisted paper bag pants. However, once I received the fabric, I completely changed my mind. Since the Elona Stretch Suiting Fabric is made up of 10 % spandex, I did not want to use a non-stretch pattern. After a little research, I found simplicity 8655 in my stash and knew it would work the best. I typically sew neutral colors, but I am in love with this green fabric. It is out of my comfort zone, but I like that!

If you are looking for a quality suiting fabric, I recommend checking out this medium-weight fabric. It is available in multiple colors, and they are all amazing! I wanted to make a blazer dress in addition to the pants. However, I don't think I have enough fabric. I may use the rest to create high-waisted shorts!

Style:

I styled my pants with my pink loose fitting blazer, cream spaghetti strap top, and my trusty beige pumps. The final look ended up working out better than I expected. I knew I wanted something pink to soften up the look, but I didn’t have time to make a new top. I stood in the closet for about 10 mins changing before choosing the blazer.

I enjoyed sewing my new pants and cannot wait to create a few more in different fabrics. Thanks, Minerva for the beautiful fabric and thank you for reading. Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Q!

@Moore_2q_style

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Faux Wrap Flora Dress

Hello Lovely Makers! Thanks for stopping by. I am super excited to share my makes with you on Minerva Blog. What inspires you to hand make? For this post, my inspiration came from the need of a faux wrap dress. Wrap dresses are so classic and complement so many body figures, but I have this crazy fear that my wrap dress gets unwrapped. Can you imagine the embarrassment?

I stumbled on By Hand London’s Flora Dress on my quest of finding a secure wrap dress pattern without a tie. The bodice of variation one has the look of a wrap dress and the garment is securely enclosed with an invisible zip at the back. Woohoo!

I picked out this lovely navy blue floral Cotton Lawn Fabric from Minerva. The fabric is light but not sheer so it is perfect for hot weather. It hardly wrinkled and has a soft drape to make the dress flowy and beautiful. I was able to take it straight from the dryer to cutting table without needing ironing. Can you tell I am in love with this fabric? Thank you Daniel K. for cutting and mailing it to me in the US!

I find sewing so liberating because you can make a garment completely one-of-a-kind. You choose the variations, the fabric, and making modifications to fit you perfectly. The modifications I made to Flora were shortening the bodice, added extra stabilization, added pockets, and sandwiched the zipper with lining and outer shell.

I cut a straight size US 8 (UK12). I am 5 feet (152 cm) tall so I shortened .5 inches (1.27cm) off the front and back bodice shoulder straps.

How do you make a party dress more functional? Add pockets! There was enough fabric to add a pocket on each side. I just used another inseam pocket pattern from my stash.

The most important part of making the Flora bodice is stabilizing the neckline. The faux wrap bodice is cut on a bias and will stretch out if not stabilized. The direction says to stay stitch the neckline, but I sewed a line of stay tape to ensure the neckline is super stabilized.

The Flora Dress also has two skirt variations. I decided on the pleated circle skirt and popped two inseam pockets at the side seams of the skirt. Yay, pockets!

Overall, the directions were clear and easy to follow. I only veered off at the part of attaching the bodice to the skirt because I wanted to have a neater finish on the zipper. The direction calls to stitch all the bodice layers while attaching it to the skirt. I knew this method would leave an exposed zipper inside the garment. I wanted the outer fabric and lining to sandwich the zipper to hide the zipper tape and to make it more comfortable to wear on a hot day.

To get a neat zipper finish, first, I stitched all the layers of the front bodice to the skirt. Then, I stitch the skirt to the bodice shell and leave the lining free. Next, I attached the invisible zipper on the bodice shell. It required a little more work, but it was worth it.

I turned the back bodice right sides together, pinned, and stitched along the center back seam using a regular zipper foot. I repeated on the other side.

Then, I turned the bodice right side out and now the zipper is neatly sandwiched between the outer shell and lining. Ta-da!

I really enjoyed the process of this project. The fabric was pleasant to handle and the pattern was clear and gave me enough leeway to make my own modifications. I love how my Flora Dress turned out.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Flora Dress from By Hand London. Variation 1 with a straight pleated circle skirt.

Fabric: 3 meters (including bodice lining) Fabric must be at least 56” wide

Notions: 22 inches of invisible zipper, matching thread, and hook and eye

Modification: Shortening the bodice. Added inseam pockets.

Fit: Perfect

Did the finish garment look like the advertised pattern? Yes

Things to consider: Make sure to stabilize the neckline!!

Would I make it again? Absolutely!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I’d love to see your makes! Please share your makes by tagging @minervacrafts or #MinervaMakes.

Happy handmade!

Love,

Karen @inspired.chick

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A Cool, Blue Suki Robe

I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to visit Japan for two weeks and upon returning home, I wanted to create something that would remind me of the beauty I saw there. I had already chosen the Lady McElroy Lena Microfibre Crepe Fabric in Smokey Blue before leaving, as I was drawn to the softly glowing pink and blue colors and I had originally planned to make a skirt or a light wrap dress with it.

However, upon returning home and finding it in my mailbox, my plans changed. The elegant designs in darker colors contrasting against a lighter background reminded me very much of the Japanese prints and art I’d seen. The herons reminded me of those I’d been able to observe – especially the one that perched right next to us in Kyoto one day and very much wanted to steal our lunch!

In the end, I decided to make the Suki Robe by Helen’s Closet. I had already made this pattern once before as a secret gift to my dearest childhood friend upon the birth of her first child and the details of the pattern had me smitten. I especially love the shape and its nod to the classical silhouette of a kimono.

Due to my change of plans, I didn’t have enough fabric to cut out all of the pattern pieces, but I did have some black polyester fabric in my fabric stash of about the same weight. I’m quite pleased with the way the sleeve cuffs and the belt look with the main fabric and I think it works!

I made the View B version in a size XS. This fabric was a bit of a challenge to work with though it doesn’t slip and slide like a chiffon would and it has a bit of give. It self-heals around pin-holes or unpicked seams, but it tends to ripple around the seam lines and no amount of pressing can make it lay smoothly! I would recommend using a slight zig-zag stitch in order to compensate for the tenacious bit of mechanical stretch this fabric has.

I am in love with the finishing details of this pattern. Helen provides instructions for different finishing options for the neckband and the sleeve cuffs. I opted for the enclosed seam allowances because neat insides make me happy. Another great detail is the tie on the inside, which keeps the robe from gaping open. There’s even instructions to insert a little loop for hangers and hooks!

I also decided to use French seams on the inside of the garment as this fabric does fray quite easily and I wanted the garment to be as durable as possible.

This robe has become an indispensable part of my wardrobe. Not only do I feel glamorous and feminine wearing it, but it also provides welcome coverage on lazy mornings when I don’t want to get dressed for the day. Or watering the plants on my little Parisian terrace or having breakfast on a visit to see my boyfriend’s family.

I even took it with me recently on a work trip to Seoul and it was especially useful when I stayed a few nights in a traditional Korean hanok house and had to cross a central courtyard to reach the ladies’ room! Bonus: it has nice, deep pockets ;)

Thank you for reading!

Sarah @sarah__naomi_

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Simplicity 8338 Airtex Running Top

This year I’ve started running again after an 8 year break! It has been so good for my strength, energy levels, confidence and mental health after a tricky start to the year.

My sewing has, of course, followed along with this, and I’ve really enjoyed starting to sew more activewear. 

When I saw this Airtex Knit Fabric, I thought it would be fun to try it out and see how it could be used. The holes were a little bigger than I expected, but that just added to the fun of the challenge!

I considered all sorts of options, including a carrier for a gym ball, but eventually decided on Simplicity 8338. It includes a variety of racer back tank tops/ vests that are loose fitting, fairly quick to make and very comfortable to wear. I chose to make view A, the simplest option, an A-line vest with racer back and bindings around the neckline and armholes.

The fabric behaved better than I expected and was easy both to cut and to sew. I cut the front and back panels from the airtex mesh and used a scrap of matching jersey (a sample kept from a project last year) to cut the bindings and a partial front lining for a little extra coverage:

The side and shoulder seams are overlocked together. For the binding, I experimented a little. First I joined each binding piece into a loop, overlocked one raw edge to each armhole and the neckline and pressed the binding to the underside of the fabric. Using my cover stitch machine and a two thread narrow stitch, I then topstitched the bindings in place.

Rather than trying to bind or turn and stitch the hem, I used a three thread narrow stitch on my overlocker to finish the raw edge (not that it would have frayed anyway, so it wasn’t strictly necessary).

Overall, I’m very happy with the result. The fabric was much easier to work with than I expected and it’s really good for wearing on warm days or for races. I tested it out in my first race a few weeks ago, and it was really comfortable and breezy!

Thanks for reading,

Eleanor @ nelnanandnora

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Twirling With Rayon

You know that infamous television food advert by a well-known UK department store with sumptuous, mouth-watering images and a voiceover that says “this is not just any trifle…”?  Well, I could practically hear that same voiceover saying “this is not just any rayon…this is Art Gallery Fabrics rayon”. Cue sumptuous, mouth-watering images and we are practically there with our very own fabric equivalent!

Art Gallery Fabrics are well-known for their super soft fabrics - they’ve even got their own #feelthedifference hashtag on Instagram to show how uniquely soft their fabrics are. This Rayon Fabric is no exception. La Floraison Dim is infused with gorgeously rich colours and blooming floral designs that will brighten up both your wardrobe and your day!

When dressmaking, it is important to pre-wash the fabric because it is likely to shrink and you definitely don’t want your garment shrinking after you’ve made it. A washing-line photo is optional, of course, but with fabric this beautiful it seems a shame not to photograph it at every opportunity.

As soon as I saw this fabric I knew exactly which pattern I wanted to make – the Sew Over It Doris Dress. With a fitted bodice and a skirt that floats as you twirl, the AGF rayon is a perfect fabric for creating your new summer dress!

Cutting rayon can be tricky because it is slippery but using a rotary cutter (and minding your fingers) will definitely help and also make sure you use lots and lots of sharp pins to hold everything in place.

I don’t have a cutting table so I tend to work on the floor but apparently this also means that both my sewing and I are fair game for my cat to climb on!

After a heated discussion with Misha (the giant fluffball) about which one of us would take ownership of the fabric (it was a close call but I won in the end!), sewing could begin! I took the sewing part nice and slowly because I am not experienced when sewing with rayon but it was nowhere near as difficult as I expected it to be and the final result is totally worth it! I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the pattern (although it is a pattern that would have been easy to grade between sizes if need be). It is definitely a very forgiving pattern because you can also use the back ties to cinch the waist in slightly if you’d like to or loosen it slightly if you want a looser fit. The dress has an invisible zip at the side and then buttons at the front (the buttons are more decorative than functional). My Grandma was called Doris and so I delved into my Grandma’s button tin to find buttons for this dress.

It added something personal and unique to this dress in a way which made it very special to me. It definitely felt fitting to use vintage buttons from Doris’ button tin on the 1950’s inspired Sew Over It Doris Dress.

With the dress finished (oddly enough, I found the hem the hardest part because it felt super fiddly doing a 5mm double hem on rayon)…it was time to get photos of the finished garment! It is fitted but not so fitted that I feel unable to move/eat/breathe. The fabric is so soft and light to wear which makes it the perfect summer dress but you could also pair it with super thick tights to wear it in the winter too (I love a versatile garment).

Rather than tying the belt tie at the back, I actually made it ever so slightly longer and used it to wrap around to the front and tie it there instead.

A photographer called Philippe Halsman used to ask people to jump when he took their photo because he believed you cannot hold onto your inhibitions when jumping. Well, the same is definitely true for twirling and the floaty skirt on the Doris Dress is just calling out to be twirled by the wearer!

It is truly a stunning fabric which both looks and feels amazing. It works beautifully with the Doris Dress pattern, vintage buttons…and twirling! I definitely can’t wait to make garments using this gorgeous Art Gallery Fabrics rayon and, of course, take more twirling photos!

Why not have a go at twirling in your rayons too?

Naomi x

@naomialicec

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