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Forget-Me-Not Hoodie

Spring is in the air – or that’s what I am telling myself as I am bundled up in front of my sewing machine with the heating cranked up high and 2 jumpers on! I have been sewing this gorgeous floral Jersey Fabric this week and it has got me in the mood for making all things floral and I refuse to let the weather hold me back!

This happy ditsy flowery jersey still caught my eye in the dead of winter and so the hunt for a kids transitional winter to spring pattern began. Not long into my search I came across Brindille and Twig which is a Denver based pattern company specialising in comfortable yet contemporary clothes. The range is all adorable and I quickly settled on the Hooded Raglan Sweatshirt which is one of their free patterns that you can instantly download from their website.

The fabric was just as pretty in real life as it was on the pictures on the Minerva Craft website. Being a nylon-based jersey it was more like a thin scuba and was lovely and stretchy but sprang back to shape really nicely. Cutting the fabric was a dream and there was no fraying or curling and I managed to get good crisp cuts and sharp corners and notches which I loved!

Because the fabric was thin and I really wanted the hoodie to be warm, I decided to underline the hoodie. I simply cut two of the front, back and sleeves and held sewed them while holding the two layers together as if they were one piece. The hood, pocket and cuffs were all either lined anyway or folded so didn’t need to add any thickness to these pieces. This did mean that I was working with four layers on most seams but although the fabric was a bit slippery, using lots of pins helped and I love that the inside of the hoodie is almost as pretty as the outside.

Although the pattern states that it is suitable for a sewing machine or an overlocker, the seam allowance is only 6mm which is tiny, especially when working with multiple layers of slippery fabric. Going slow and steady was the key. To stop the fabric fetting sucked down into the foot plate I found that sewing the seams from the middle to the end and turning the piece and sewing from the middle to the other end really helped. I used a narrow lightening bolt stretch stitch for all the seams and then did an overcast stitch to finish the edges since I don’t have an overlocker. This is a fairly new technique for me and it has helped me overcome my need for a serger. This was a bit time consuming but worked well and gave a much more professional finish than simply zigzagging the edges.

I am really happy with the finished hoodie. The fabric is perfect and I am glad I underlined it for this time of year. The pattern was easy to follow and very quick to make and could easily be modified. There are some lovely examples of it with contrasting hoods and pockets and bindings on the seams and I think when I make it again I will be a bit more adventurous.

I hope that you like this month’s project and are inspired to give it a try. Don’t be put off if you don’t have an overlocker – your sewing machine can do remarkable things with the right stitch and foot.

Thank you to Minerva for the beautiful fabric and inspiring me to make more.

Anna xx



Monochrome Animal Print Saraste Top

If you walk into any high street clothes shop, it's hard to ignore the fact that animal print is everywhere. I'm of a generation that remembers Bet Lynch in Coronation Street, and while I think leopard print looks fabulously vintage on lots of beautiful ladies, I can't help feeling I look more like a poor version of Bet than Jane Russell. So I tend to steer clear.

But when I got the opportunity to try this luscious Crepe Fabric I couldn't say no.

Being monochrome, it's not your average animal print. I think it looks a bit more modern. And as I can't quite pull of the pin up look, it's a bit more me.

The fabric itself is beautifully soft and drapey, just what you'd expect from a crepe. It's light, floaty and a joy to wear in an air conditioned office where the temperature can be stifling at times.

In keeping with the more modern take on leopard print, I wanted to make a suitably modern top. And it doesn't get much more modern than the patterns you can find in the Named Clothing Book Breaking the Pattern.

This is the company that brought us the game changing Kielo wrap dress. So I was happy to pre-order the book without really knowing what was in it. And when it arrived I wasn't disappointed.

The patterns aren't really my normal style, but I'm keen to develop my personal style a bit, and this book will be a great addition.

I thought the Saraste top looked like it would be perfect for this fabric.

The pattern itself is pretty simple to pull together. The front and back are each made up of 2 main pieces, with the ruffle running from front to back on each side.

This requires pretty good gathering skills, especially in a light fabric like this. I'm not going to lie and say I'm at the top of my gathering game, you can clearly say that isn't the case.

But I'm happy enough with it to have worn the top to work already. There's always room for improvement, so I'll keep working on it. But whilst it's not perfect, I didn't want to unpick it and run the risk of damaging this delicate fabric.

This fabric would be perfect for French seams, but I didn't use them. And it's just as well as I had some fit issues I wouldn't have been easily able to rectify if I'd used French seams.

I made this top on a new sewing machine that I'm just getting used to. I'm not trying to make excuses for errors, but I can't ignore it. Hopefully as we bond, my finishes will improve.

The fabric is something I would definitely consider using again. It's only the third time I've used a light fabric like this, but I keep going back for more. So I must like it.

And I would make the top again. The only thing I would change would be to only put the ruffle on the front. Why? Well, despite pressing several times, the ruffles on the rear sit out slightly more than I feel comfortable with. The advantage is that I kind of feel like a stegasaurus. And who doesn't love dinosaurs?

Thanks for reading,

Karen @ Doris Does Dress Up


A Sparkly Elliot Sweater

Today is my first ever blog post for the Minerva Crafts blog and I am so excited to be here! For those of you that don't know me yet, let me quickly introduce myself. I'm Sarah, and I've been sewing for most of my life having first picked up needle and thread over thirty years ago. I've been blogging over at Prairie Girl Knits since 2006 and I am pretty much obsessed with crafty pursuits whether it be sewing, knitting, spinning or playing with my newest crafty toy, a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. Now that I've introduced myself, let's get on with more pressing matters and the reason you're here reading this today!

I live in rural Southeastern Manitoba, and admittedly we do have some brilliantly sunny days in the winter months. Unfortunately those days are often some of the coldest you could imagine. Days where the air hurts your lungs and face and exposed skin can freeze in moments. (Although disclaimer - as I sit typing this, the sun is shining and it's an oddly mild -2C outside, which is why I can be standing outside in a sweater in the snow in my photos!) All that wintery weather can all put a considerable damper on a person and make darn hard to feel cheerful. To that end, do you know what everyone needs to keep them going through the cold, often dark days of winter? A sparkly sweater that you can toss on whenever you're in the winter doldrums, that's what!

When I saw this gorgeous blue Jersey Fabric, with silver sparkles running through it, I knew I needed it in my life. My first thoughts were a festive cardigan. Something like a Helen's Blackwood Cardigan or maybe an Itch to Stitch Aveiro Cardigan. Paired with a little black cami and jeans it would be the perfect blend of comfort and glitz for any holiday festivities.

However, the postal system was not feeling generous of spirit and my beautiful fabric got tangled up in the rotating postal strikes for several weeks. Then I finally got the notice card in my post box saying a parcel was waiting for me. Unfortunately the postal counter had already closed for the day, so I couldn't get it right away and had to go back the next day. I got there first thing in the morning, excited to collect my fabric and get home right away to start creating the sparkly garment of my dreams but I was foiled again. I was informed the computer system was down and so they could not process my parcel. I would have to come back the next day. Seriously folks?!?!

Because life can never be simple and straight forward and also because I am nothing if not clumsy, between the Thursday that the post office computer was down and the Friday when I could go back and get my parcel, I managed to trip on the stairs by stepping on a stray balloon and broke my toe, not too mention bruised the rest of my foot (and my pride) quite spectacularly. I ended up spending the weekend feeling very sorry for myself, and trying to prop my foot up whenever I could to relieve the pain and swelling. Let me tell you... Fun times.

So doing all that sitting left me time for thinking about my fabric that my husband kindly had finally been able to spring from its postal mishap induced detention. In real life it's every bit as gorgeous with it's silver sparkles running through and it's got a beautiful texture to it with it's almost open weave look to it. Although it is a jersey, its quite stable and there is not a whole lot of stretch to it, but it is soft and snuggly on the inside. I started thinking that I maybe I didn't really want to use it for a cardigan that required a decent amount of stretch and then my mind wandered to the Helen's Closet Elliot Sweater. I'd made one earlier this fall and it's a loose boxy silhouette that would probably lend itself well to the minimal stretch my fabric had without a whole lot of need to adjust my pattern.

I didn't make many changes to the pattern or the size I chose to sew to accommodate the fabric and because this fabric is pretty stable this version has a more streamlined sleek look to it than my other one I had made out of very stretchy sweater knit, but in my books that is just fine! I'm loving the feel and the fit of this one every bit as much. After the photos were taken I went back in and continued to wear it for the rest of the afternoon until I decided it was a bit too nice to do the housework in (although if you want to scrub floors and toilets in silver sparkles go for it! Whatever makes you happy - you'll get no judgment from me!!)

One of the changes I made was to add a cuff to the sleeve. I did this with my other Elliot - it has nothing to do with the stretch factor of the pattern, and everything to do with personal preference... I just like the way it finishes off the sleeve edge so cleanly. Plus I seem to have what I have in the past referred to as "gorilla arms" and the 3/4 sleeves seemed to stop at an awkward place on me. I know it would have been easy enough to lengthen the pattern, but, well, I love a cuff. So cuff it was!

One thing I did do to accommodate the smaller percentage of stretch was to make the turtleneck piece just a half an inch wider than the pattern was drafted. The first attempt at the neck ended up puckered and barely able to go over my head, but re-cutting it with a half an inch extra made all the difference in the world. I was able to easily stretch the neck to fit the neckline and my head can go through with not difficulties at all.

I hope I've inspired you to get your sparkle on and make something fun to get you through the winter with a smile on your face or to those of you trying to beat the heat of summer in your part of the world, maybe you can start dreaming up your makes for when those cooler temps head your way!

See you next time!

Sarah @ Prairie Girl Knits


The Cotton + Steel Lawley Skirt

Hi everyone and thanks for stopping by to read about my latest make.
Before I go on to to talk about what I’ve made this month let me start off with saying ALWAYS CHECK THE MEASUREMENTS! I had spotted this beautiful Cotton & Steel Rayon Fabric and eagerly placed my order for 2 meters.
Plenty I thought for the trousers I had planned on making with it.  What I had failed to notice was that the width of this fabric is 44 inch/111cm, so a narrower width dress making fabric.  No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t squeeze out a pair of trousers.  Oh well onto to a plan B.  
So onto the fabric and let me just say it has the most beautiful drape to it.  It’s a really good weight for making all sorts of garments and would be perfect for trousers (had I ordered enough) but equally it would make lovely dresses, skirts or tops, basically anything that requires a nice drape to it.
Hopefully the photos’s show off the gorgeous colour which is classed as Eggplant (Is that what we class as an Aubergine in the UK?).  It’s more of a red/brown purple I suppose and then it has a beautiful peach and white flower print. I do really love this print!  
Talking of colour, just a word of warning.  I have heard from another fellow sewer over on Instagram that the colour ran when pre-washing.  Personally I didn’t have this problem, I washed mine on a standard 30 degree wash and it came out fine but just to be safe don’t throw it in with your whites!!!
Anyway onto what I actually did make.  I recently came across an Australian pattern company based in Perth called Elbe Textiles. There’s currently around ten or so patterns, including a couple for men and a few uni-sex patterns but it’s a great range that I will definitely be making more from.  And there’s a few free ones too, including this skirt!  This is called the Lawley Skirt.
It’s a gathered, knee length skirt that has an elasticated waistband and drawstring and of course pockets!
The pattern calls for 210cm for a 120cm width fabric, so ever so slightly more needed than I had but with some strategic pattern placement I managed to squeeze it on.  I just had to cut the waistband as two pieces rather than the one cut on the fold.  It just meant that instead of a centre back seam I had two sides seams, so no problem really.  This fabric is just the perfect weight for this style of skirt and it hangs beautifully.
It feels really swishy when wearing it hence me trying (and failing) to get an action shot mid swirl.
I’m sure you get the idea!
I love the style of pocket on this pattern, not sure what the term is for them.  They’re sort of scooped out on the side edge. They are very comfy and I hadn’t realised until looking back at the photo’s hubby had taken that I had my hands in the pocket in every photo I think!!!
The pocket edge is finished off with a strip of bias binding which is a lovely finishing touch.  I did stretch the pocket out slightly when sewing so it hangs a bit loose but it’s not noticeable, it’s just me being picky!!! Next time I’ll add a strip of interfacing to give it a little bit more stability  It just depends on the fabric really.
Size wise I followed my measurements and cut out a large at the waist and graded out to an extra-large at the hips although in fairness I could have sized down one at the waist and hips as obviously with it being pretty full there is a bit of room to play.
The waistband is constructed by joining the elastic and attaching the elastic to the waistband piece before attaching to the skirt.  It’s done by stretching out the elastic to be the same length as the waistband piece as you sew and sewing two rows of stitching to secure. You then attach the whole piece to the skirt.
At this point I wimped out regarding sizing as I knew I wouldn’t be able to adjust the elastic with this method so instead of following the instructions I just attached the waistband piece to the skirt, leaving a couple of inches gap.  I then fed the elastic through, checked for size and joined the ends of the elastic and closed up the gap.  I didn’t sew the two rows of stitching.  
I have a really bad habit of thinking something isn’t going to fit and at the last minute I change my mind and give the elastic a bit more room and that’s what I’ve done here, so the skirt is a little big.  But the beauty is there’s also a drawstring tie so actually you can just tug in the waist a bit more and secure the tie.  And it’s another lovely finishing touch too.
When I sewed up the tie belt it looked so pretty.  I do have a little square of fabric left so I’m hoping to squeeze out a length of bias binding.  Hopefully there will be enough for a neckline on something.
I suppose I had this skirt lined up for summer but I’ve actually worn it quite a few times already.  The beauty of the fabric being a dark base is it looks great with black tights and a black jumper.  Even my recently purchased purple boots go with it!!! 
Well thanks for reading folks, do go and check out this fabric and the pattern company, just remember to check the fabric width before you order!!!!
Vicky xx  

Animal Print Jersey Ruska Dress

My first post on the Minerva Crafts Blog, how exciting! I’ve been working with their gorgeous pale blue Animal Print Jersey Fabric and I decided to make the Ruska dress from the new Breaking the Pattern book by Named Clothing.

This is my second attempt at making this pattern, the first time I decided to use some scuba satin from my stash to make a t-shirt version, and pretty much everything under the sun went wrong and I ended up with something that just wasn’t wearable. But I loved the pattern and really wanted to try it again so when I saw this fabric I knew it would be a much better choice, and I was right.

The pattern is pretty simple to follow and has several variations including a plain dress, a t-shirt and the knot dress. The basic knot dress is short sleeved, with the length being above the knee. That isn’t really my style so I decided to use the longer length and sleeve from the plain dress variation. This made the dress a mid calf length and has a lovely split detail on either side. Having short legs I decided to shorten the openings of the slit slightly so it wasn’t too high up on the leg.

I haven’t got the most experience of working with jersey knit fabric so it took me a few evenings to put the dress together. But for someone used to sewing with this type of fabric you could easily whip one up in an afternoon. I used just under 2m of fabric for this dress, but you could probably squeeze it out of a slightly smaller piece if you were doing the shorter length.

Apart from the fabric you don’t really need much else for this make. I used Gütermann thread colour 143 and found it the perfect match. And the pattern also calls for a short bit of Stabilising Tape for the shoulders. Or you can use a thin piece of ribbon like I did which I had left over from a previous project. If you’re using ribbon you just want to make sure that it doesn't have a stretch as you’re using it to stop the shoulder seams from warping shape.

Pale blue isn’t usually a colour I wear, but I saw this fabric and fell in love - anything with animal print on send my way! What I love about this fabric is its super soft and snuggly so great for colder weather which works really well with the double layer front of the knot dress. But I think the colour is also really fresh and would work great in spring time too. I’m all for pieces that transition through the seasons so it will get loads of wear from me! It’s a lovely small and easy to wear print, and its the type of print that you don’t need to worry about pattern matching which makes things a whole lot easier!

I love the little details of this dress, the slit being one of them, but also the centre front seam. I think this is a lovely subtle touch that just adds something a little extra. If you wanted to really emphasise it a bit of top stitching would look fab. To finish the dress off I wanted to create my own little label. So using a scrap bit of fabric from my stash I cut out a long rectangle piece about two inches wide. I then drew out a little design on the strip, just above half way - for me I chose my initials LH, and simply hand embroidered over the design. I stitched up three sides with the right sides together then turned it right way out and attached it by hand to the inside back of the dress.

I was super proud of this make when it was finished so I decided to put it through the ultimate test of a day at work. I’m a photographer so no two days are ever the same. I need comfortable clothing but also need to look smart. My day was filled with lugging camera gear around, a photoshoot, filming and some admin and my dress stayed looking fab all day, barely creasing and was so comfortable to wear - I just wanted to stroke the fabric all day!

Jersey knit is definitely the perfect fabric for this make and Minerva crafts has so many to choose from! The dress is so versatile that it would look great in any fabric - plain or patterned. I also think this fabric would make really comfy loungewear or a cosy jumper.

Can’t wait to start planning my next make from the Breaking The Pattern book!

If you want to follow along with any of my makes, find me on Instagram @lucyhannahmakes


John Kaldor Velour River Dress

I thought I’d sew a trickier fabric for my make this month so I opted for a Velour Jersey Fabric with a floral design. When it arrived I was so pleased because it’s the most lovely slippery smooth fabric and the design is gorgeous, albeit quite a bit bigger than I expected. I’d initially planned to make a dirndl-style skirt from The Maker’s Atelier magazine but after the fabric arrived I decided I’d feel it was too bulky around my waist and hips. This is purely a personal choice because I knew the sheen on the fabric would accentuate my tummy, which I’m quite self-conscious of, as well as the pleats. This isn’t a reflection on the suitability of the fabric for the pattern, quite the reverse, but it wasn’t going to be right for me.

I settled instead on a pattern hack of the River Dress from Megan Nielsen. It’s a super-simple raglan sleeved dress and top with the interesting option of wearing it either way round-it has a V neck and a scoop and no darts so you can choose which is the front and which is the back [people will think it’s a different dress each time!] It’s suitable for stretch and woven fabrics too, and has in-seam pockets if you want them so a really versatile pattern which I’ve made once already.

Because the velour lends itself to a more ‘special’ outfit, and I wanted to use the maximum amount of fabric I’ve been provided with, I lengthened the sleeves to full-length and also the skirt as much as possible. This wasn’t difficult because the pattern pieces are all straight to start with so it’s just a case of adding the extra.

There are a few things to bear in mind with velour (or velvet, corduroy and velveteen for that matter). They all have a ’pile’ which is a raised surface which can usually be brushed in one direction or another, this often results in it shading or looking a different colour depending on which direction you’re looking at it. The effect can be so marked as to make the fabric look like two completely different colours even though you know it’s all the same. (FYI satin often does this too) This isn’t going to be a problem if you cut all your pattern pieces going the same way.

Next, fabrics with a pile can be easily marked by pins so always pin the pattern to the fabric within the seam allowance. Personally I’m really not a fan of pattern weights and I definitely wouldn’t use weights for this because they are liable to shift about on this fabric.

These fabrics can be folded and cut on the double, just lay them up carefully keeping the selvedges even and the fold shouldn’t be twisting. I always use the edge of the table as a visual marker and lay the selvedges against it closest to me. If you’re in any doubt, or the pattern instructs it, then cut on the single making sure you cut pairs of everything that requires it.

You may notice the pattern seems to ‘creep’ a bit on the fabric, this is because of the pile underneath. Smooth the pattern gently with your hand in one direction to keep wrinkles to a minimum, don’t over do it though as you could be there all day pinning and re-pinning.

My fabric had a one-way design so there was only one way for me to cut it out which simplified things.

When it comes to sewing a fabric with pile you may find the top layer wants to creep further along as you sew ending up with the top layer pushed further than the under layer. Tacking may not be your favourite thing but this is definitely a good time to do it. If you have a walking foot attachment for your machine use that, my Pfaff Ambition 2.0 has a built-in walking foot which has been invaluable for fabrics like this.

The ‘River’ dress and top is a very simple make, after sewing the raglan sleeves the neck band goes on [make sure you cut the correct neckband as there are different ones for stretch and woven fabrics]

I had decided to give my dress some additional features by using elastic inside casings to create a cuff and also under the bust. I used a wide ready-made bias binding for this casing but, in order not to damage the pile of the fabric which will be facing down towards the feed dogs, I placed a sheet of tissue paper under the fabric between the presser foot and the feed dogs. Sew through the fabric and the tissue and then tear it away when you’re done, this will hopefully protect the pile and stop it being marked or crushed.

I sewed the bias on with the sleeves open and flat so I could see exactly where I was sewing it stopping just short of the seam on each side. This is because when I sewed up the sleeve seams I could slot the elastic through the casing, adjust it and stitch it. Also, I hemmed the sleeves using the rolled hem finish on my overlocker.

When I first sewed the bias on for the under-bust gathering unfortunately I put it on too low for my liking so I had to take it all off and move it up. This meant there were a few marks on the cloth where I’d unpicked but I rubbed gently with my nail to smooth the marks as best I could. It isn’t too visible now and I hope they will wash out eventually.

I left a split up one side of the skirt which I stitched down and then used the twin needle for the hem itself.

Fabrics like velour and velvet need a bit of careful handling but they aren’t impossible. When it comes to pressing most of us don’t have special pin-boards for the purpose so I suggest you use an offcut of the velour as a pressing cloth, or a hand towel or similar would probably work pretty well too, basically you’re trying to avoid crushing the pile.

This is a lovely fabric and I’m really pleased with the finished dress which I think is a bit special.

Thanks for reading,

Sue @ Susan Young Sewing


Jumping into Spring

OK, OK, I know it’s probably too soon to be getting excited about spring, but the New Year is here, and I have already set my mind to sewing for Spring. I only really started making wearable clothes well into summer last year, so aside from a few Maxi Dresses, most of the me made clothes in my wardrobe are cosy winter knits. As such, I have decided to be really prepared and start on my Spring/Summer wardrobe now.

I’m not sure if he knew this, or it was just a coincidence, but my husband bought me the New Look 6446 Jumpsuit pattern from Minerva for Christmas and I had already ordered the Coral Linen Look Stripe Suiting Fabric as my next Minerva Crafts Blog project! The two were so well suited!

Before I get into the make, I wanted to share a little tip of mine for working with tissue patterns. If, like me, you are reluctant to cut out your size, in case you may need another size in future, and yet you also loathe tracing tissue patterns, you can give this one a try! Now hopefully you iron tissue patterns before using them anyway? If not, you definitely should, as you will notice they often have very fine creases in, that together can throw your cutting out by quite a bit! Cut around the largest size pieces, either neatly, or just roughly around the outside, then iron each piece as you normally would, and then fold under all of the straight lines and press them down. Once you have done the straight lines, do the best you can to fold under and press the curves, you may find you want to make a few small snips in the paper to help here, or just ease them around as much as you can.

When it comes to cutting out, you can pin the paper to the fabric, cut along the straight lines and just slowly ease around the curves as you cut. Hopefully the pic below will show you exactly what I mean!

Now I want to take a moment to talk about the fabric, because it has a really unique texture, which you can only really see by looking at the close up photos. Don’t be misled by the name into thinking it’s a thick heavy suiting fabric, as it is definitely not. It’s light and airy, and perfect for a nice pair of wide leg trousers, or culottes, or of course a jumpsuit! In fact I think I may live in this outfit on my upcoming summer holiday!

I really enjoyed making this pattern! The fabric was so easy to work with, it just didn’t cause me any issues at all, except for the fact that I didn’t quite have enough of it! Having ordered the fabric before having the pattern I thought 2 metres would be enough, especially as it’s quite wide (58 inches!). Foolishly, I didn’t set out all of the pieces on to the fabric before starting to cut, I just took a bit of a guesstimate that it would be fine. I did not take into account the fact that I needed to cut a lining out, and that the pocket bags are quite big! Obviously, I could have used a different fabric for my lining, but a rummage in my stash pulled up zero results, and I was far too impatient to order more.

I ended up sewing together the biggest pieces of scrap that I had to make the pocket bags and lining, and then cutting the main bodice piece with the stipes running horizontally. On reflection I am actually really glad that I did this with the bodice, otherwise it would have driven me mad that the stripes didn’t line up on the trousers, the bodice and the top front band, because let’s face it I’d have never had the patience (or enough fabric) to pattern match!

Where I did resist my urges to sew sew sew, on this one, and showed a little patience was with the zip. I took the time to hand baste the zip in place, and I am very pleased with the results! This was by far the most invisible, invisible zip that I’ve ever sewn in!

This must have had quite some effect on me as I was also patient enough to hand sew the lining! I do not usually enjoy hand sewing at all. In fact, I am just not very good at it! But as I didn’t have a matching thread, I was not going to risk stitching in the ditch on the waist seam!

After a quick hem, all that was left to do was to take some snaps! Taking photos is always hard this time of year with such bad natural light coming in, so after my usual landing mirror selfie, I decided to brave the cold (and the strange looks from my neighbours and head outside for some pics! See if you can spot the difference in the next two photos!

Yep, with and without the waistband! I think it looks great either way! I hope that you agree! I am definitely thinking about a bold floral dress version of this pattern for the summer!

Thanks for reading! If you want to see more of my makes, you can find me on Instagram as or check out my website.

Until next time!



SewDIY Lou Box Dress in Deluxe Viscose Jersey

Hi, my name is Nicoletta and this is my first blog post for Minerva Crafts Creative Team. I am very happy to be here and review one of their products.  

I had the pleasure to try this Deluxe Viscose Jersey Knit Fabric in black. Its composition is 92% Viscose, 8% Spandex. Once the fabric arrived I was not disappointed at all. The quality is extremely good and it drapes beautifully.

At the beginning I wanted to make the Tuuli dress by Named Clothing, but the drapey characteristic of the viscose made me change my mind. I have decided then to make the Lou Box Dress Number 2 by SewDIY, to create the perfect (at least for me) little black dress, just in time for the holiday’s season.

I prewashed the fabric at 30ºC, even if you can wash it up to 40ºC and there was not shrinkage at all.

Once dried it up, I cut immediately the dress. The pattern is beginner friendly and the pattern pieces are few. So the 2.50m were more than enough. According to the chart, I have chosen to cut a size XS-S, without any modification.

The fit is quite generous and I think I could have go down one size, as, by the way, Beth suggests in the pattern instructions for knit fabric. Keep in mind if you will use a knit fabric or make a test before. Anyway I am usually for oversized clothes, in particular at the top, so I like as it is.

I was really surprised by the easiness of the fabric while sewing: even if the fabric is lightweight and stretchy, I had no difficulty at all to make the dress using my serger.  

The only little modification from the original pattern is a bigger waistband casing, since I have used 3cm elastic.

Thank for reading and I hope to be back again soon!

Nicoletta @ Stitch and Cappuccino


Dior 1947 New Look Silhouette Coat

With the temperature dropping outside now is the perfect time to try this Coating Fabric from Minerva. The fabric is truly meant for dark cold days, it is so gorgeous and heavy in a lovely rusty maroon colour. Before it arrived, I spent some time sketching out what I had in mind to create, I thought the exquisite Dior 1947 New Look silhouette would be perfect for this sumptuous wool acrylic mix. 

I looked online for a suitable pattern but alas I couldn’t find anything like what I had envisioned so I went about creating a pattern from scratch. Now I say from scratch that’s a big lie, having looked on Pinterest there are a good few tutorials that recommend simply cutting around a coat you already have, which is so easy! 

Firstly, I started with the bodice, cutting two pieces as you normally would with a dress and then cutting the front piece in half to make the coat opening. This fabric frays when you cut it, but if you ensure you’re binding your seams it soon looks nice and tidy.

Once I’d sewn together the coat bodice I went about creating the sleeves. Now if you have ever sauntered over to my Instagram page you will know I’m a great lover of a dramatic sleeve. So, I cut out the biggest balloon sleeves I could with my cats Ada and Inca darting all over the fabric as I did. 

Attaching my fantastically dramatic sleeves was a lot easier than I anticipated with the thickness of this fabric, I didn’t think my Janome machine would play nice, but once I’d pinned and added in some essential pleating to make the sleeves sit just right my machine went over the layers like a treat. 

I added some lapels to the bodice, which I created using long narrow pieces of the fabric sewing them inside out and then pulling them the right way out before attaching to the shoulder seams. 

Now for the tricky part the lower part/skirt of my coat - as I said I wanted a truly 1950s huge skirt for this coat, I wear a lot of full skirts and dresses day to day, so it is nice to keep the glamourous shape when wearing outerwear as well. I initially had six segments for the skirt I hemmed and sewed them altogether then looked at the size of the nipped in bodice and thought what am I doing? All this fabric isn’t going to fit. Side note plan, plan, I tend to just go for things when creativity hits and this isn’t always the best approach.

I unpicked the sixth section of the skirt - oh my beloved un-picker, it’s my trusty assistant next to my cats of course. I added pleating throughout all the skirt fabric to ensure I got the full effect I wanted. Now the amount of fabric I had for the skirt and how thick this fabric is I ended up having to hand sew the entire skirt as the fabric was way too thick for me to fit under my sewing foot.  However, I really am partial to hand sewing when you’ve spent hours at the machine you can get cosy on the sofa and try and move quick enough with your thread, so the cat doesn’t chew it with each movement! 

If time wasn’t an issue I would obviously line the coat, something I should hopefully get round to, but for my first attempt with coating fabric I don’t think it turned out too badly and thanks so much to Minerva for keeping me toasty this Winter.

Thanks for reading,



Oh Nora!

There is nothing better than that cosy feeling. I’m one of those people that’s cold pretty much all of the time. Hold my hand anytime in the year and you’d think I’d just come back from the Arctic! Cold hands, warm heart, right?

The fabric: Lady McElroy Brushed Aztec Jersey Fabric

I chose this beautiful fabric knowing it was sure to keep me snuggly warm. A heavy wool/polyester/mohair mix, I figured it’d be perfect.

On arrival, the colour of the fabric is more muted than that on the website photo. However, bring it into the light and the colour becomes more vibrant. 

I pre-washed the fabric and laid it out flat to dry which didn’t take long at all. The right side of the fabric has a lovely texture to it where as the wrong side is slightly smoother.

The pattern: 

Tilly and the Buttons: Nora ‘hack’ 

I had 2 metres of the jersey to work with and with the composition I felt it really had to be an outerwear garment. Lucky for me, I spotted Tilly’s (Tilly and the Buttons)Nora hack. Having sewn Nora before, I knew I loved the boxy, oversized style. Nora, as a cardigan in wool could only end well. So I set about redrawing the pattern slightly as shown by Tilly on her blog. This was a simple enough process and didn’t take long at all. I felt rather clever actually, pulling it off! 

Cutting out the pieces

The fabric cut well and didn’t shift at all. I managed to place my pieces strategically to get the best of the Aztec pattern. As the wool is heavy I didn’t interface any of the lining pieces. 


I set up my machine with a jersey needle and went with a contrasting navy cotton. As the fabric was a stretch jersey and didn’t need to be pulled over the body, I used a regular straight stitch. Following Tilly’s hack instructions with the original instruction at hand, stitching was straightforward. I overlocked my seam allowances and popped in a little tag which just so happened to coordinate perfectly with the fabric. 

I top stitched the lining around the front opening and the hem with a 3.5mm stitch length going slowly around the bulk shoulder seam and the corners.

The only addition to the hack I made was to stitch in the ditch at the shoulder. To help keep the facing in place.

When I sewed my Nora top I took a lot of length off of the sleeves as it was simply too long for me and I knew that if I left it like so, I’d probably never wear it. With the hack, I simply pressed the sleeve up 7cm and tucked it back into itself, creating a 3.5 cm hem. Using the blind hem method, I hand stitched them in place.


I love how it turned out and toasty warm it is too. Being able to sew a new pattern that I didn’t need to spend money on was great. Hacks are the way forward and a real confidence booster.

If I made another, now that I have the confidence to go it alone I’d probably add a button panel to the front. Perhaps a collar? As the pattern is so giving you could probably get away with sewing it up with a woven. Now there’s a challenge.


This would look amazing over a little black dress and boots or simply jean shorts and a top. I went with jeans and boots (so very me) and man it feels good. 

Thanks for reading,

Katie @katie_berberich

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