I am Simona (Sewing Adventures in the Attick) and I’m back on Minerva Crafts blog with another product testing review.
I think I’m developing a little crush on Scuba Crepe Fabric. Today, I’m sharing with you my impressions on working with another scuba crepe fabric. This time I picked the grey Snakeskin Fabric (94% polyester 6% lycra). This fabric comes in 3 colours: beige, grey and taupe.
I skipped the washing of the fabric before sewing with it (I hope once I wash my garment it won’t shrink). Although the fabric slides a little it is quite easy to work with and it does not fray. I used water soluble pens to mark the fabric.
I used many pins and understitched the facing. I only overlocked/serged the edges of the facing purely because I prefer my seams to be finished. Nothing will happen if you do no have an overlocker/serger or you do not want to finish the raw edges.
I found that the fabric, even if it was understitched, still has the tendency to show on the right side. Also, the seams do not press flat at all, so ironing this fabric is useless and dangerous as it can melt on higher temperatures. My solution to this problem was to catch-stitch the seams/facings to the shell. You cannot even see my hand stitching because the fabric is thick enough not to show the stitches.
When I got tired of sewing by hand, I opted to stitch the hems using a zig-zag stitch on my machine. To keep my seams flexible I used a thread called seraflock (stretch type of thread that can be used with knitted fabric or elastic) to avoid wavy hems. I used normal polyester thread in the needle.
With this fabric I made a dress for the office, that’s a little cheeky. The V-neck is decent but the slit in the centre front is quite high.
With all fabrics that have lines, I tend to place my pattern pieces so that the lines run vertically to give the impression I am taller than I am.
Although the calf length on skirt/dresses doesn’t suit me very much, with this dress I prefer the length as a dress/skirt with a slit in the front that has a hem at the knee would be too short.
Due to me being a little on the short side, I managed to make a pair of leggings as well (Virginia Leggings from Megan Nielsen Patterns) from the leftover fabric. The fabric is not quite stretchy enough for that, but they look great and they are thick so that you are not flashing your knickers if you wear them with a short top.
My tips for working with scuba crepe:
the fabric is quite springy so if using facings- consider stitching them down (topstitching or catch stitching on the wrong side)
test the stitches you want to use on a scrap of fabric. On my machine I had best results using a super stretch needles and a small zig-zag when not using the overlocker
think about how the pattern will look when your garment is finished.
the fabric is a bit thick, so if you need to line your garment, consider using a knitted lining fabric to reduce bulk
use plenty of pins or even baste before sewing as the fabric tends to move
you can just cut off the hem allowance. The fabric does not fray.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. And please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts and/or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.
Simona @ Sewing Adventures in the Attick
This month I was lucky enough to recieve 3 metres of lightweight floral Jersey Fabric. The fabric has a slight textured surface, like a softer version of cheescloth, and a lovely drape. I opted to make a Joni dress from the Tilly and the Buttons book ‘Stretch’. The dress has a fitted bodice with a twist detail at the front and a half circle skirt. I felt that this fabric would drape well for the skirt in particular.
Since the fabric is extremely light it does indeed drape well. However I found it quite tricky to apply the clear elastic called for in the pattern without the fabric being pulled and wrinkled. As a result I would recommend considering alternative stabilisation materials when using this fabric - for instance ribbon would have worked for the shoulder seams, whilst the waist seam requires a stretchier stabiliser (which is why clear elastic is suggested in the pattern). Something like ordinary white elastic may have been easier to apply. However the finished item will make a delightful summer dress, and pairs well with my Throwback Sweater for a more transitional outfit.
Since the bodice is designed to be fitted and the fabric was light I looked carefully at the measurements to ensure that the bodice skimmed my shape rather than draping of it. As a result I needed to use the second to largest size for the shoulders and bustline, but the length and waistline of the largest. I did this by drawing a line from the outside corner of the largest waistline on the diagonal to a point a couple of inches below the armhole on the next size down. I also traced the shoulder caps of the size down onto the largest size sleeves to ensure that I could match the seams up smoothly at that point.
In fact when I make this dress again I would consider lengthening the bodice further as the seam currently sits a little above my natural waist. Having traced and graded the pattern pieces I had to work out the twist detail on the front of the bodice. At first glance this appears complicated, however if you take your time reading through the instructions it is actually quite simple to achieve. The lightness of the fabric helped when sewing the centre seam of the bodice as I was able to stitch right up to the twist to avoid any holes in the front of the dress. Attaching the neck binding was more tricky as I was very aware that light knit fabrics can easily become stretched out of shape, but I am pleased that I took my time as the effort has paid off in the end result.
The dress is easy to wear, it is comfortable and the skirt falls at a good length just around the knee. Next time I would consider lengthening the sleeves, even though I find the elbow length flattering. A longer length sleeve would prevent the cuffs rolling up under cardigans, and make the dress an all year round item.
I am pleased with the finished garment, even though I would make some changes to the fit next time round. But after all, who doesn’t love a dress you can twirl in?
Thanks for reading,
Zoe @ Ewe Sew You
Hi, Claire here! I’m on the internet as @penguinandpear. Today is my first time sharing with you, and I have this gorgeous black and white spots Sateen Fabric to share with you.
As soon as I saw this fabric on the website I thought it would make a lovely Kimberly Dress by AKPatterns - a dress I had been meaning to make for a while, and what better opportunity than this.
The picture of this fabric on the Minerva website by no means shows it off to its full potential. I knew it was nice on the website but when I received it in person a few days later I was taken aback by just how luxurious it looked and felt.
It was my first time working with sateen and I was impressed with the quality of this fabric. On the surface it has an almost glossy look to it; it picks up the light well and highlights the texture.
Fred the cat loves this fabric too!
I had to make a number of alterations to the pattern to fit my body as I wanted it to, and after 4 toiles time was running out and I had to just get on and work with this fabric. Being scared to cut into a fabric because its too nice is a thing!
I didn’t pre-wash this fabric (naughty me!) however I did put a square of fabric in the machine for the benefit of this blog and I can report that it washes well and is a mere 1/8th inch on the lengthwise grain, none on the crosswise.
This is before it was washed
This is after it was washed
I was supplied with 4 metres of this fabric but only ended up using three metres - this is because despite lengthening the bodice by 2 inches I ended up shortening the skirt quite a bit. On the dress pattern there is a skirt panel that goes on the bottom of the skirt but I didn't add this - mainly due to time constraints but also because I liked the skirt the length it was when I cut it - finishing at the bottom of the knee. For reference I cut the size 26 bodice and 28 skirt.
This is a very stable fabric - my favourite kind to work with. Actually, it has been a while since I have worked with wovens and it reminded me how nice it is compared to stretch fabrics. It has a similar weight to quilting cottons, albeit a different kind of fabric.
The fabric cut out nicely - no issues at all. When I initially began to sew I had some problems with the stitches not sinking into the fabric but this was easily fixed by altering my tension and changing to a Gutermann thread, which you can buy on this website. I would also suggest if working with this fabric to use a walking foot. It’s not technically required, I didn’t use one, but I feel it may be useful for perfect stitching as the walking foot glides the fabric from the bottom and the top at an even rate.
The fabric and pattern sewed up fairly quickly. I didn’t follow the instructions because I have made dresses like this before, but if you are new to sewing do not omit this part - it will save you heartache later on.
The first thing I did was staystitch the neckline (v-neck) and armholes to avoid the fabric stretching out while I handled it. I mainly did this because I have had issues with necklines gaping before and wanted to avoid this happening. I also altered the pattern to reduce the length of the neckline thus reducing gaping and when it was finished it looked perfect in this area.
I then sewed the darts up and ironed them using my ham.I did wonder whether this fabric would iron well but I was pleasantly surprised.The fabric looks crisp once ironed - do use a cloth such as silk organza to protect your fabric.
Then I sewed the shoulder seams, and I ran a basting stitch through the head of the sleeves in order to prepare for gathering it into the armscye. The fabric is quite full so I took my time to gather evenly using lots of pins to help keep the fabric in place. Then I sewed the sleeves in flat. Most patterns encourage inserting a sleeve into a finished armhole but I find it easier to sew in flat and then sew the arm and side seams together. I overlocked the edges once sewn.
Next, I put the skirt together and sewed it to the bodice with a basting stitch. This is so I could ensure the side seams on the bodice and skirt matched exactly - once they did I sewed again with a 2.5 stitch length.
Now it was time to install the dreaded invisible zipper! I’ve done lots of these before and generally they don’t scare me (buttonholes are another story!) but I was nervous - I didn’t want to mess this up!
During my toiles I had issues with the fabric gathering when sewing the zip in but it turns out it was the fabric I was using because I had no problems with the fabric we are discussing. Some really important tasks to do when installing an invisible zipper - iron the zipper teeth flat (being careful not to melt them), baste the zip into place using a normal zipper foot, ensuring the waist seam is at the same point on each side of the zip, and once happy with how it looks sew it in again with a secure stitch length using an invisible zipper foot. Because you ironed the zip flat, you’ll be able to get the needle very close to the teeth, ensuring the zip is genuinely invisible from the outside of your garment.
Now came the time to try the garment on! I felt a wave of excitement come over me when I saw myself in the mirror. I hadn’t worn something this lovely in a while (dealing with chronic illhealth I’m usually found in leisurely clothes)! I was happy with the fit around the shoulders, however, under the bust there was quite a bit of excess fabric. It could have done with increasing the darts however I had finished the seams, so I attempted to rectify by sewing a cm in on each side seam. This helped somewhat but you’ll see in the photos there is still some excess. If I make this pattern again I will rectify before making. This is not related to the fabric however because it's not a drapey fabric, there was no hiding it. Just something to be aware of if thinking of using this fabric.
The pattern comes with a facing but I am not a fan of those so opted for bias binding instead. I initially thought I was going to zig zag the hems but when I did it on the arms I didn't get the result I was looking for, and as the hem of the skirt was curved I thought it made more sense to use bias binding. I did this on the neckline and skirt. I’m not a fan of hand hemming but glad I took the time to do this because it has taken the garment up a notch or two.
I love that this fabric gives the dress a great shape, particularly around the shoulder/upper bust and the skirt. I feel dressed up in this fabric and pattern combo and it will be great to wear to an evening party or day time event. Or even work, it works on so many levels.
I have a little bit of fabric left over and I am going to make a matching clutch and possibly a handbag too at some point! Once this blog post has gone live, I will be producing a video about making this dress, so feel free to come over to my Youtube channel and subscribe for more information.
Do let me know if you have any questions about this fabric or making the pattern, as I am only too pleased to help. Please send me a DM on Instagram @penguinandpear.
The Tilly and the Buttons Stevie dress is one of several newer patterns to come from the brand. It’s a really lovely simple tunic dress with a back yoke and tie detail (or button and loop) at the back neck.The fabric suggestions are light-medium weight woven fabrics such as linen, double gauze, chambray, cotton lawn or viscose. It does then suggest that a silk or crepe de chine for a confident stitcher – I (as usual) had other ideas in mind.
I am a self-confessed fabraholic, I just can’t help falling in love with beautiful fabrics… and then all I want to do is have the pleasure of turning them into something beautiful. This Fabric is absolutely stunning, the detail in this lace is just phenomenal and looks really sophisticated in the black. With an embroidered detail that creates a 3D feather effect and tiny sequins this lace has a real movement to it that makes it so different to a standard flat lace fabric. There are huge numbers of beautiful dresses that could be made with this fabric and I spent hours considering so many different options before deciding that I wanted to let the fabric do the talking.
Sometimes by choosing a simple silhouette it gives the fabric room to shine and this is what I was aiming to achieve by pairing this fabric with the Stevie tunic dress pattern. The aim was to create a lace overlay dress that could be worn over a simple plain dress (or crop-top and shorts for a more modern look) to enable multiple looks to be achieved by layering it over different colour or style under garments.
One warning for when you cut out this fabric… oh my goodness does it make a mess! The 3D feathers shed everywhere when cut along with the bits of sequin that are snipped through too. Now clearly its nothing a good sweep didn’t sort out but its always good to know these things in advance. It cuts out easily though, although its worth considering that repeated cutting through sequins will eventually lead to some scissor blunting so if you have the option of an older pair of dressmaking scissors I would suggest using them.
This fabric sews up really nicely. I had no problems getting through the sequins or handling the 3D element of it. The fabric doesn’t fray (most lace doesn’t) so there is no need for any finishing techniques on the seams, I simply trimmed the seam allowance down for a neater finish. It also means, no need for hems either!
One thing to note, un-picking on this fabric if something were to go wrong would not be an easy task, not impossible but definitely not easy.
The Stevie dress is a really simple dress to construct. With no darts or zip to insert it whips up in no time at all. I had reservations as to how the 3D element of the fabric would handle being sewn into the narrow ties but I had no problems at all and just trimmed off any of the feathers that overhung the finished edges once I’d turned it through.
I used this same trimming method along the neckline to get a cleaner line to the edge of the dress. The pattern calls for interfaced facings to be used to finish the neckline and back opening which when using a fabric that isn’t sheer or see-through is fine but for a lace dress you’re left with either using a narrow hem to finish these edges or as I did here, using the facings un-interfaced. I decided that in order to well secure the ties into the back opening this was going to be the neatest way to finish and I actually quite like the effect of the double layer around the top.
The final outcome of this dress is exactly what I wanted it to be and looks so beautiful. The fabric stands so proud in all its detailed glory. It has a sort of 20s flapper dress vibe to it which I love too but I think my favourite detail on this has to be the back neck tie. On such a simple silhouette its just a lovely detail that adds such lovely interest to the back of the dress.
Thanks for reading,
Hello! My name is Suz and I blog and sell pdf sewing patterns for my little business ‘sewpony’ (www.sewpony.com) from my home in south western Victoria, Australia at the end of the Great Ocean Road. I live with my husband and three children in this beautiful part of the world and I love to sew!! I was recently contacted by Vicki from Minerva asking if I would be interested in becoming a contributor to the Minerva Crafts blog by means of sewing with their beautiful fabrics.
As a self-confessed fabric addict and lover, this was a no brainer for me! I sew almost all of my three girls’ clothing and also like to sew for myself from time to time. Sewing for my girls has inspired me to create sewing patterns which I sell online in English and Dutch (shop.sewpony.com). My most recent pattern, the Twiggy dress is a retro inspired pattern and when I chose my first fabric from Minerva, I had a Twiggy dress in mind!
Any sewer who orders fabric online will know the feeling of anticipation of checking the letter box waiting for a precious package to arrive. My parcel from Minerva arrived very quickly and I swiftly got to work washing, drying, ironing and cutting into the lovely piece.
The fabric I chose is a beautiful and bold printed Rayon by Cotton and Steel called ‘Dusk’. with a beautiful soft feel. It has a bit more body or ‘stiffness’ than other rayons I have worked with but still amazingly soft. I think it suits the style of the dress perfectly and was a pleasure to sew with. The fabric is also available in an almost ‘reverse’ colourway that is equally as lovely. The design of the fabric has a great vintage feel to it, I think. The drape of the fabric suited this pattern well and would also really suit a fitted bodice and gathered skirt style dress or a fun skirt or top for women.
I sewed the half belt version with half collar. I used blue piping to accent both the half belt and collar. I love how piping can really make a fabric pop! The buttons are from my stash and are from a thrift store from somewhere on my travels! I was pretty happy to find that a pair of shoes Juliette received as a hand me down from a friend matched the dress perfectly! Apparently they are from Paris which Juliette thinks is pretty special!
Juliette still loves wearing dresses which is great for a Mum who loves to sew them! She wears all the dresses I make her and always excited when I find time to sew her a new one. She’s a lucky girl! Thank you so much to Vicki and the staff at Minerva for having me! It was a pleasure to sew with your fabric and I am excited to share more Minerva makes that I have planned!
Hello everyone! For my first Minerva blog post, I’ve decided to start with one of the most humble and hardworking garments there is: the t-shirt!
In the past, I've been intimidated by knits. I would try to steer clear of anything thinner than a Ponte Roma to avoid an almost certain sewing fail. I have now conquered that fear and have discovered the joy of sewing t-shirts!
That's why I was immediately drawn to this stripey Knit Fabric. My go-to colors to wear are black and white and I think everyone looks good in a stripe. I am trying to make more clothes which are comfortable and easy to throw on as I have realized there are so many clothes in my closet which I don't end up wearing because they're either not comfortable or because they're too complicated to wear.
The pattern I used is the Stellan Tee by French Navy. This is a free pattern.
I had already made an XS t-shirt with no modifications but wanted something more relaxed for the dress version. The designer explained herself that she sizes up or down for different looks, so I decided to cut a size M and simply lengthen the shirt straight down from the arm scythe to a somewhat arbitrary length, knowing I could try it on and trim afterwards.
I made the classic mistake of making it a bit too long and then cutting it a bit too short *rolls eyes* but it's definitely still wearable. Since it’s still a bit chilly in Paris, I’ve paired it with jeans here.
One interesting thing about this pattern is that the designer says it’s okay to use a straight stitch even on the neckline seam. I think it has a more professional look than a zig zag, so I will try this on all my t-shirts going forward I think. The only thing which I think I might change is to slightly enlarge the front neckline and maybe size down to a small instead of medium. Now that I see the photos, I think the dropped shoulder is a bit too much. However, I would consider this a successful make as I've already worn it a few times.
One thing I'm proud of on this make is my stripe matching! I don't always take the time to do it or simply forget about it until I already start cutting. However, matching up stripes of this scale is quite easy and satisfying. The fabric has a nice drape to it without being too thin and feels stable enough to cut on the fold (versus on a single layer).
I think the dress version of this might need a thin layer underneath for some transparency. Currently in Paris it's still chilly and gray, so I've been pairing it with tights and shorts underneath, or jeans. I can already tell this item is going to be one of my go-to’s, especially as the weather gets warmer!
Until next time,
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 23rd May 2019 by Vicki Ormerod