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Floral Jersey Renfrew Tops

Recent the lovely people are Minerva Crafts sent me some really beautiful floral Jersey Fabric to see what I’d come up with. It comes in two different colour ways, one on a grey background and one with a black background. In the vain hope that the last few days of summer could last all winter I chose the floral on the grey background, actually managing to not choose my usual colour black for once! I have a feeling though as the evenings become longer and winter falls upon us I will be found online ordering the black colourway from Minerva Crafts to complete my collection!

So as I said this is a jersey fabric and it consists of polyester, viscose and elastane. It has a 2 way stretch. On close inspection there is a very, very slight sheen off the grey in the background but nothing too obvious. I really am not a sparkles kind of girl so the slight sheen doesn’t bother me. The print of the flowers is beautiful though, the colours are bright and vibrant and really stand out on the grey background.

So...what pattern to choose! Well anyone that knows me and my sewing habits may know that I have a particular weak spot for one pattern. If jersey fabric comes within a 100 metres of me, my sewing machine and scissors I come running at high speed with this particular pattern in my hand. It’s my, at this stage much battered and bruised, Renfrew Top Pattern from Sewaholic Patterns.

It’s my favourite pattern of all time. In my opinion you can’t go wrong with it. A great basic top pattern that I think suits most body shapes. It’s so versatile with three different sleeve lengths, short, mid length and long and also three different neck finishes, scooped neck, v neck and a cowl neck finish.

Again I must admit to being a creature of habit and I firstly made my tried and tested combination of this pattern; the long sleeves with scooped neckline version. I could almost cut the Renfrew Top out without a pattern at this stage but thought better of it...this time!

Cutting it out and sewing it up took maybe 3-4 hours in total at my leisurely pace. I know I’m so used to the pattern at this stage I just sew without the instructions but even if you are new to this pattern it really is a quick and easy make especially if you choose the scoop neck rather than the v neck which can prove a bit of a pain to the new sewer.

The fabric handles beautifully, easy to cut out and easy to sew. It’s a medium weight I would say so it doesn’t slip and slide around much so a nice fabric to use if you are new to jersey I would say.

When I was finished I had enough fabric left over to make another version of the top; the short sleeved v neck version which I hadn’t made before. Again it took a morning at an easy pace. I would say to take it very easy at the neck line if this is your first v neck but everything else can be whipped up in no time.

Both of these tops have been worn and washed numerous times since I made them. I always try to do this before I review because I have had a few bad experiences of the ‘perfect’ fabric that turns into anything but perfect after two or three washes...this fabric thankfully is not one of them. It washes perfect, hasn’t started to ‘ball’ at all so that’s a huge thumbs up from me on that front.

Also a note on ironing if you must. There is a polyester content so I would go with the lowest setting possible to avoid any accidents!

So thumbs up all around, obviously on the pattern but on the fabric too. You know I mean it when the other colourway is on my wish list! 

Have a great day Minerva Crafters x

Marie @maeme_and_momo

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Handmade Jeans and Velvet Top

Today I am reviewing two completely different fabrics, made into one complete outfit. The pattern I used for both garments is Simplicity 8342
Top
The first fabric is a gorgeous, soft, stretch Velvet in the colour magenta. I chose to make top view B with a cute tie front and small cap sleeves. I cut my size according to the measurements on the envelope, in this case a size 16. I looked everywhere on the envelope and pattern, but could not find finished sizes for the top. As Simplicity are one of the big four famous for adding excessive amounts of ease into their patterns, I thought it best to make a toile before cutting into the velvet. I’m so glad I did as the top was huge! I had to instead cut out a size 12 (much smaller than my actual measurements) and make an additional swayback adjustment. The top has a centre back seam so the swayback adjustment was super simple. I usually have to make full bust adjustments as well but as this top ties in the front, I didn’t bother. It does sit slightly higher up on the bust than I would like, but not enough to worry about. 
For construction, I used a stretch needle and a walking foot. As you would expect from stretch velvet, it can shift around during sewing so using lots of pins or clips definitely helps. The top went together quite easily and very quickly. Although using the instructions leaves you with rather a messy inside. If I was to make this again, I would like to try a different method of construction to try and hide some of the seams and raw edges. Since the velvet doesn’t fray, it’s not too much of a problem. 
The finished top is lovely. It fits well, it’s comfortable and has just the right amount of stretch. The sleeves fit nicely on the edge of my shoulders, but do end up slipping off every now and then. Not a big problem, more of an annoyance. 
The velvet is really nice to work with and is fairly easy to sew for a stretch fabric. It’s a beautiful colour and really soft. (One of those fabrics you can’t help but keep stroking). One thing you need to remember is to make sure you cut all your fabric pieces with the nap of the velvet going in the same direction. The pattern you choose should give the fabric amounts required with nap. 
Trousers/Jeans
The second item I made was a pair of capri jeans in a light/medium weight Stretch Denim. The colour is dark blue and there is just enough stretch for the trousers to be fitted but still comfortable. 
For the trousers, unlike the top, the finished measurements are included on the pattern pieces. According to the size chart, I needed to cut a size 18. Unlike the top, these turned out almost the right size but still needed a few tweaks. Again I made a toile and ended up removing 3/4” from both the front and back pieces at the waist. I made the back darts larger by 1/8” each, added 1/8” to both front and back crotch curves and added 1/8” to the hips on the outer side seams. I also raised the height of the centre back by 2” curving back down to the original height at the side seams. 
The extra height at the centre back means there’s no ‘builders bum’ when I sit down! The larger darts also mean the dreaded gapping waistband is gone. Fitting (and wearing) trousers is very new to me and I had to research a lot to figure out which adjustments to make. I’m still far from the perfect fit, but I’m pleased with these for a first attempt. A very handy guide I found was the Closet Case Pants Fitting Guide. It tells you exactly which adjustments you need to make based on how your trousers look when wearing. Very useful!
As the pattern doesn’t include pockets, I drafted my own front slant pockets. If you want to add your own, you need to create a pocket pouch big enough to fit your hand, phone etc.
Now you need to create what will be your pocket opening. Cut or fold the original front pattern piece into a slant at your desired angle and length including seam allowance.  This part was trial and error. You can cut your pocket opening to whatever feels comfortable for you. Just ensure you can fit your hand in!
The last pattern piece will be the pocket lining. Trace the top section of your main trouser pattern piece. Your lining should be the same depth as your pocket pouch on the side seam, curving up towards the centre front. You can use contrasting fabric for this part as it will not be seen during normal wear. You can also use a woven, non stretch fabric, like quilting cotton, to turn it into a secret tummy tuck panel. (I folded the dart closed before tracing my pocket lining. You can keep the dart in the pocket if you wish). If you plan on finishing the curved raw edges, do so now. 
To sew your pockets, lay your pocket lining and trouser piece right sides together on the slanted seam. Sew together then under stitch the seam allowance to the pocket lining. 
If desired, turn the lining to the inside and topstitch the pocket opening. 
Place your pocket pouch and pocket lining right sides together. Sew around the curved seam only, making sure you sew through the pocket pieces only. 
Turn your pocket to the inside and baste the top and side seams together. 
The rest of the construction was as per the instructions, with the addition of topstitching on the inside leg seam and around the pockets. I used a Gutermann top stitching thread in a golden colour, the same as many ready to wear pairs of jeans. I used a stitch length of 3.5mm and a top stitching needle. It can be a pain switching thread and needle throughout the construction, but the top stitching really does add a more professional looking finish.
I extended the size of the cuffs by around 1/2” as they were smaller than the trousers and uncomfortable. 
I’m pleased with how the whole outfit turned out and both fabrics were lovely to work with. Be aware the dark colour of the denim does bleed a bit though. I made the jeans in one sitting and ended up with slightly blue tinged hands by the time I’d finished. 
Thanks for reading,
Sarah
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Simple Sew & Vogue Hi Low Dress Hack

This month I have the pleasure of trying out this beautiful brocade like suiting Fabric from Minerva. I first fell in love with it on Instagram and was over the moon excited when it was offered to me. This beautiful fabric is rather thick but still rather translucent. It is double sided with one side being embossed with daisies and neon pink dots and the other is a rather striking neon and white striped with white dots. After gazing at it for a bit I battled with what I wanted to make to showcase the double sided wonder of this fabric. Finally I decided on a high-low dress to show off the stripy side as I kept the embossed daisies as the front. I have always loved a boat neck dress, so I ended up pattern mashing a Vogue and Simple Sew pattern to create a high low cocktail dress. I also added pockets because dresses without pockets are just lacking… I am so happy Vogue understands this and include in seam pocket options.

The Patterns I ended up using from my stash were the Ruby dress from Simple Sew and a high low dress pattern from Vogue. The Vogue Pattern specified a lighter weight fabric such as satin, rayon and linen blends but I can only say I was glad I took the gamble! The resultant effect was a high low skirt with beautiful drape but also some structure which I thought really showcased the fabric’s unique qualities. I made sure to check that the skirt was not gathered because that would have added too much bulk.

The bodice sits higher in the Simple Sew pattern but I figured this would shorten the skirt to sit above my knees so I did not end up modifying the bodice length. I measured the bodice width to the skirt width but somewhere I must have gone wrong (lesson kiddos, when you are tired late at night, just stop and go to sleep…). I got round this by cutting another cm or so from the top of my assembled skirt until it was roughly the same length as the bodice width. It was still a bit off so I put gathers in two of the back panels to make the skirt fit the bodice without too much puckering. Basically I was meant to have measured the bodice front (minus pintucks) and back diameter/width and make sure the skirt waistband measured the same. Where did I go wrong? I have no idea, I think I should have taken my own advice and gone to bed earlier…

A note on paper patterns - I never knew how much more I learned from PDF patterns until I tried sewing up from the instructions provided by Vogue and Simple Sew. Whilst the Vogue instructions were easy to follow up until zipper insertion, the Simple Sew instructions were sparse to the point of being almost useless in some points. Both failed to specify to finish certain seams before the next step, i.e. adding pockets which have historically put me in a fix. I also had to look up online about the seam allowance for the Ruby dress since it was not specified anywhere in the pattern. Another thing I am grateful for to PDF patterns if their tendency to include all sizes. Post children I annoyingly fall between a size 14/16 in Vogue patterns but Vogue sell two size ranges (6-14 and 16- 22) so I would have to buy both patterns if I did not know how to do some basic grading. I decided to insert an invisible zipper instead of a standard so used my invisible zipper insertions technique which I learned from another PDF pattern. I think sandwiched zippers give a professional clean finish and saves on hand slip stitching the facing in place. From a person who detests hand sewing this is a big win for me! If you want to sandwich your zip then basically flip the facing up and over the zipper so the zipper is sandwiched between facing and bodice right sides together then sew in place and clip the corners and turn right way round. I first found out how to do this from the Montrose dress by E + E patterns but if you want to find out more I am sure plenty of Youtube videos are available on sandwiched zippers. I forgot and blindly followed the Simple Sew instructions so I opted for a partial zipper and closed the top with and hook and eye fastening. I liked how it looked so did not opt to unstitch in the end. One thing I hate more than hand sewing is unpicking stitches! Unfortunately I still spend too much time with my stitch unpicker so whenever possible I try to escape.

The fabric itself was easy to work with. It is a good weight and I could just use a standard sewing needle to sew with since it was quite soft. I did try hard to handle it gently as it does have a tendency to fray a little more than a woven cotton poplin, but not so much that I felt I needed to serge every seam beforehand. In future I will use a full lining in the bodice and a half skirt lining since the fabric was much more see through than I anticipated! When I first did fittings I noticed that I could see my bra and my dear husband pointed out I was wearing the wrong pants for my last minute photo shoot… Fortunately I hope it is not obvious in the photos I am sharing with you! I used a ‘cotton’ setting on the iron to set the seams and crease because the synthetic setting was not strong enough. According to the website this is washable at 40C on delicate so it is also an easy to care for fabric. I am so in love with the result! This is the first dress in a while that has made me feel chic so I now I just need to find somewhere to wear it…

Thank you all for reading and please follow my beautifully haphazard journey on Instagram @madameshannanigans. See you later!

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Transitional Outfit

Hello sewing friends, its Renata again from The Twilight Stitcher with another make courtsey of Minerva Crafts. This month I received the most beautiful fairy-tale blue Crepe Fabric.
Unfortunately it’s the last summery project from me as the weather gets cooler in Wisconsin. Don’t fret, Fall is an amazing time of the year to sew, but for now let’s move on to this this project.
When I opened my package, many emotions where trying to come out as I handled the fabric, once I saw and felt it, all I could think about was rainbows, unicorns, clouds and cotton candy. It has of very high quality and RTW look and feel. If you’re like me, I appreciate great quality fabric for my projects. Although these are the last few days of summer, this fabric and outfit as a whole is ideal for Fall. The key to any light to mid-weight fabric is layering, it’s the best mileage you can add to your projects and wardrobe.
It’s such a fun shade, one I hardly use but now wouldn’t mind adding a few essential pieces in. This is the ideal weight for a flowing skirt, detailed blouse and even a full skirted shirt dress. My project of choice comes from BurdaStyle Magazine August 2018 Issue, Style 111B had me at first sight. The kimono vibes this jacket gives off is subtle but pungent. The balloon sleeves compliment the tulip shape of this jacket, while the pleat details keep it soft and feminine.
The shape of the neckline is perfect; it fits nicely along the collarbone, gliding gently down the bust and torso. A major plus to this design is the fact that the only closure is the waist tie. With that said, this is a project that could be completed from start to finish in 6-7 hours.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous about my fabric weight, wondering and worrying that my pattern pairing was a total bust. But then I doubled up the fabric and thought about the front opening and neckline that would need interfacing. I knew it would work, the beautiful Duck Egg fabric held up well! Although a heavier weight fabric would be more structured. I’m totally satisfied with the results; trust me I’m doing a happy dance inside.
Can you tell how happy I am? I’m thrilled with this outfit; the color combination was on point and the weather was beautiful.
This fabric has the appealing hand, flow and weight for twirling dresses! I would sure love to add a few different colors of this to my wardrobe.
Visit Renata’s Blog www.thetwilightstitcher.com 
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Red Crepe Scout Tee

Hi everyone. Becky here from Notes from the Sewing Room. This month I was delighted to be asked to try out some red plain slinky polyester Crepe Fabric from Minerva Crafts. 

At the start of the year, I decided that I needed to make more plain items of clothing for my wardrobe as I'm often swayed towards making tops, skirts and dresses in gorgeous patterned materials but that means that they don't always match other things in my wardrobe. I must say, I haven't been doing too well with my plan; however, making a plain red top is good news for me as this will go with lots of my other clothes.

If you have read my blog posts before you will know that I like to make clothes that I can get maximum wear out of. It's great if I can wear my sewing creations at home, out and about as well as in to the office - with a mixture of shoes and accessories. 

The Fabric

I haven't worked with a polyester crepe before so this was a new experience. The fabric is light-weight, very floaty and slightly see-through so if you were to use this to make a dress for example you may want to consider lining your project also. 

The fabric washed well although I had to take extra care not to snag it during both pinning and stitching my project. Although I was a bit worried about overlocking the fabric in case I laddered the material, I decided this was a must as it needed to be 'finished' on the inside to prevent fraying. It actually overlocked okay (luckily) and now looks really neat on the inside too.

What I Made

I was sent 1.5 metres of crepe so decided to make an everyday type of top. After looking through my pattern stash - I decided to make the Scout Tee from Grainline Patterns

The Scout Tee is a woven t shirt with capped sleeves and scoop neck. It has fitted shoulders, short sleeves and falls into a loose shape under the bust. The pattern has set in sleeves and is supposed to be finished with bias binding around the neckline. Although you could use a range of fabrics to make this top I think a crepe, cotton lawn or other lightweight fabrics would work best. 

As I have made this pattern before, I knew that for me - the under-arm was a little bit tight as there wasn't enough distance between the shoulder seam and the bottom of the arm socket so I decided to add in a slight extension. To do this I picked a notch in around the centre of the arm sockets on both the front and back pattern pieces and drew a straight line across using a ruler. If you pick a notch that is already marked on the printed pattern it should be the exact distance away from the shoulder seam on both pattern pieces (you may want to measure this though to be sure). I then cut along the line and added an inch of baking paper (measured previously and pre-cut to size) and stuck it in place using sticky tape- ensuring I joined my new section to both the top and bottom sections of my pattern on both the front / back.

I also slightly extended the curve on the top of the sleeve piece by around 1.5 cm and the side sections by 1/2 inch as I wanted to both ensure it fitted my new extended arm-sockets and because I wanted to create a small pleat in the top of the finished sleeve to add a bit of extra detail. 

The final change I made was not to add bias binding to the neckline. I always find adding bias binding on to anything a real faff, may be as I don't do it very often so find it a bit frustrating, so instead as the fabric was so light I simply stay-stitched it around the front and back neck edges - then overlocked it - then turned over the overlocking - ironed it and sewed a straight seam.  

My Finished Top

If you haven't made the Scout Tee before it is really easy to make and will come together in just a few hours including both cutting and sewing it together. It is certainly a good pattern for beginners and a quick project for more experienced sewists.  

I'm pleased with my final project and plan to wear it out this weekend. It’s perfect for summer and can be worn through the cooler months with a cardigan or jumper.

If you would like to find out more about my latest crafty projects follow me on Instagram or check out my blog.

Until next time, happy sewing :) 

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Bright Yellow Janet Jacket

Hello, everyone I am back again on the Minerva Crafts blog but first, let me tell you a little bit about how I got into making my own clothes in the first place. Of course the thought of sewing my own garments was in my head for a while (you can read more on this in my blog if you want) but what gave me the final nudge was the fact that in late 2016 I desperately tried to find a bright yellow blazer - you know the sort of lemony/sunny yellow. The only place where I could find something that remotely resembled what I was looking for, was a slightly dubious site on the internet. My boyfriend casually told me to just make one myself. Excuse me? We had just moved in together and he noticed my (old) sewing machine standing around on a shelf on the second floor of our new apartment. I then told him that making a jacket was one of the most difficult things to make and I had never been able to make a garment for myself that was not a (historical) costume and that there was no way EVER I would be able to make my dream jacket. Then winter came and went and it was time to think about summer colours and lighter jackets again and I decided I would try to learn sewing my own clothes. Let’s be honest, you just do not start your sewing journey by picking a jacket as your first project. (Allthough at that time, I was overly confident in my sewing skills, haha). Gradually over one year I tackled one difficult garment category after another (a coat, jeans, bras, a shirtdress, blouses etc.) until finally my inbox pinged and I got the opportunity to review this Suiting Fabric from Minerva Crafts. You can imagine how my heart started to race “Oh, please let there be a yellow one, please, please, please”. And there it was. The perfect shade of yellow.
It’s not easy to find a modern and yet smart looking jacket pattern. Please, do correct me if I’m wrong and send me all your suggestions, I’d love to hear them. After a while, I landed on the StyleArc site and chose three patterns to buy and choose from later. In the end I chose the Janet Jacket (BTW: so weird, every time I write or say Janet I hear the song from the Rocky Horror Show).
I prewashed the fabric as per the suggestions on the site and it came out of the washing machine practically wrinkle free. After this I ironed it for good measure and started to cut out the individual pieces. 
As a lining I chose this abstract print polyester Lining Fabric from Minerva Crafts because I wanted a sassy and fun look on the inside of my jacket (I envisioned everyone saying oooooooh when I’d take my jacket of ;-))
After cutting out, I sewed together the shell fabric by first sewing the back and front pieces together and then attaching them to each other at the shoulder seams. Now don’t go and judge me on this because the instructions of this jacket were really, uuuuhm, challenging to say the least. They really expect you to know what you are doing by giving you merely 15 short sentences and no illustrations to make the Janet. As I sewed a coat with fantastic instructions last autumn, I could refer to them for the most part. On a bright note, the fabric was actually a dream to work with and it ironed especially well as you can see on this picture.
Next, I inserted the sleeves by sewing a couple of gathering stitches along the sleeve head beforehand. Then it was time to finish all the edges.
Ah, before I forget, I took in the sleeves about 0.5cm on each side of the shoulder/sleeve seam, because the shell looked super wide on me. The lining is made by following the same steps except for leaving a tiny bit of one sleeve seam unfinished (this pattern gives you separate pieces for lining and shell fabric which I appreciated a lot). 
This would also be the point where you hand stitch shoulder pads into your jacket if you want them. I did use some with mine.
And then all the guesswork started. I could not – for the life of me – figure out how to attach the lining to the facing at the neckline. The lining edges were rounded at the neck and the neckfacing piece was edgy (???).
After trying a few different approaches with basting stitches I decided to just wing it and sew it together with a slight curve. You would never notice it unless you were the pattern designer.
Attaching the lining at the hemline was a similar story. Only when I checked the actual pattern pieces for the stitch lines I could slightly guess where the stitching had to be.
Since then I inspected a lot of jackets and blazers and a lot of them work with hemfacings instead of folding the main fabric to the inside which I would have much preferred.
After that, it was time to “stitch the sleeve lining hems to the main sleeves and fully turn out your jacket”. Not joking here, this is all the instructions said. Thankfully I knew from a previous project how to do it or I would have been lost. You attach the lining to the jacket all the way around apart from the sleeves. Then you attach the sleeves hems to one another. The easiest way to do this is to lay the jacket in front of you with the shell and shell sleeves facing to the left and the lining and its sleeves to the right. They would, of course, meet in the middle because the lining is attached to the shell all the way around. You bring over the sleeves of the lining and fold the right side over the wrong side at the sleeve hem (lining) so that the right side of the sleeve fabric (still lining) is visible. Then you insert this into the corresponding sleeve of the shell. Since you previously made sure the right side of the lining is folded outwards, the two right sides of both sleeve fabrics meet, and then you stitch the sleeve hem all the way around. Do the same with the other side. I know it sounds very confusing and it seems like there is no way that this will ever turn out right, but it will. You can now turnout the whole jacket through the seam left open on one of the sleeve lining seams and voilà suddenly everything falls into place. Give your jacket a good press, hand stitch the last bit of the open seam closed and you are done.
Even the collar turned out quite decent.
Sadly I did not really check if my spotty lining was visible on the outside through the main fabric. You can really see the difference between the faced and unfaced pieces of the shell. 
I would recommend, therefore, you either cut two layers of this fabric and treat them as one or you make the smart choice and pick a lining that corresponds with the shell fabric. As of now, I have not taken it apart yet. But I will fix it, I can promise you this, because as I’ve said the tone of yellow is just perfect and the fabric is so lightweight and perfect for spring, summer and autumn.
Happy Sewing, 
Nadine @ lifewithnaba
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A Fabulous Llama Printed Sweatshirt

I totally fell in love with this Loop Back Sweatshirting Fabric, it comes in four colours and I couldn't decide which I loved the best.
This beautiful fabric also comes in a Floral Design Fabric but who wouldn't love being adorned in beautiful Llamas - I might never take it off!
The pattern is very easy to sew, it is McCalls 7286. I wanted the long sleeved version but with the curved slits in the sides. The sleeve pattern pieces are not interchangeable between the two versions,as they have different necklines, but it was very easy to extend the pattern piece until it was the length I wanted it.
Like any well-behaved sewer I made a test garment or wearable toile and I am glad that I did because it shows that the neckband needs altering slightly. I'm not too worried in this garment - I will still wear it, but I wanted no drama with my Llama's.
If you are new to sewing knits there are some things you need to know. Firstly if you have a walking foot now is the time to use it. The action of the foot "walking" instead of gliding across your fabric is what stops it from bunching or from having one layer of your seam stretch more than the other.
If you don't have one then there are various options to test on a scrap of fabric. One is using a teflon foot another is to reduce the tension and to increase the stitch length. Don't be afraid to experiment with your machine settings in order to get the result you esnt.
Most machines have a built in stretch stitch or at the very least a zig-zag. However there is a Mettler Thread called Seraflock which is a brilliant stretch thread. It comes in many colours and the bobbin holds a lot of thread, it will last you for ages! 
Why use this thread you are asking? Simple, it does the job so well that you can sew even the stretchiest of knits with a normal straight stitch. Yes, you did hear me correctly. It truly is a revelation in sewing stretch fabrics.
One more thing, you need to change your machine needle to a stretch or jersey needle as they are specially designed to push the fibres of your fabric apart and not break them - this would lead to holes or laddering in your fabric.
The first most important job is to transfer every single pattern marking into your fabric. I used tailors chalk. You will really reap the benefits of the time taken to do this properly when you come to stitch your garment together.
If you intend to use an overlocker to neaten your seams you will probably need to adjust your Differential feed if your machine has one.
I practised my overlocked edges first on spare fabric and you can see that the top sample has a lettuce leaf effect - which is fine if that is what you want, but I don't, I want a smooth finish to my seams.
Most modern overlockers have a differential feed dial. It is really helpful for getting the best finish on different fabrics.
Simply changing the differential feed will allow more or less fabric to be fed into the machine or more or less fabric to be fed out of the machine. It can be used to eliminate excess gathering as in my sample or it can be used to create gathers where required. Most people do not use this dial but you should! Don't be afraid of experimenting with your machine, no matter what type it is, you will be surprised at what your machine  can do. Don't be frightened of trying new settings, you are not likely to damage the machine.
The numbers on the differential feed dial show the ratio of speeds between the front and back teeth on the feed dogs, but really all you need to know that the dial is normally set at Zero and when stretch fabric is being sewn the edge may be wavy like mine was , so to counteract this all you do is to increase the dial from 1 to 2 which will give you a smooth finish - which is what I wanted to achieve.
There is a lot more information in your machine manual.
This is my differential feed dial. On this example I have set it to less than one. This will create the opposite effect of the nice straight seams IE it will gather your seam slightly.
Using this setting at the curved sides of the hem will cause the edges to curl in in itself and will help you to achieve a smooth curves hem. Isn't that brilliant! 
If you do not have a differential feed or you are using a zig-zag stitch to neaten your seams then simply run a gathering thread at the edge of the fabric and use it to gather the edges before pressing and top stitching.
Which ever of these methods you use you will achieve a beautifully curved edge which you can top stitch with a single or twin needle.
Sew the sleeves in next taking care to match the notches accurately. Make sure that the double notches on the garment back and sleeve back are matched as the correct positioning of the sleeves are crucial in obtaining a smooth neckline.
Finally stitch the neckband together at the centre back and press the long edges wrong side together. Matching all markings and stretching the band to fit pin and see it in place.overlock the seam, then topstitch just below the seam to stop the seam from curling upwards.
And that is that! Apart from cutting out and transferring the pattern markings to the fabric, this top took around two hours to put together.
The fabric is superb quality, it washes well, needs little care and not much ironing.
I really do love my top, and the llamas - I'm not going to take it off for absolutely ages! 
Thank you for reading my post,
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Jersey Work Can Be Simple With Vilene Fuse n Tear

Hi, my name is Jill and I run The Craftmobile (www.thecraftmobile.com). Cutting and applying shapes when using jersey can be difficult. The fabric moves, edges don’t always come out as clean or defined as you would like. Luckily Vilene Fuse n Tear is around to make the work a whole lot easier. This temporary stabiliser is simple to apply and peels away once you are ready, so you get the look you want without having to use a permanent additional layer.

I used the webbing to give a child’s t-shirt a new look with jersey applique and simple stitching. To create a similar look you will need:

Vilene Fuse n Tear Embroidery Webbing

Vilene Fuse n Tear Embroidery Webbing is one of a variety of stabilising materials you can buy, it is a temporary layer meaning that you can just remove it once it has served its purpose. By fusing the webbing to fabric you create a more stable base that is easier to work with. Without the backing the fabric moves and slips but with it applied it holds steady, this is especially useful for stretchy fabrics. Since Fuse n Tear is removable your finished design is not impacted by having another stabilising layer in place, there is no extra stiffness and the fabric can flow as normal.

How To Use

Using Fuse n Tear is very easy. It is an iron-on stabiliser so warm up your iron to a medium heat and turn the steam off. Place the glossy side of the webbing onto the fabric you are using and iron for just a few seconds. You don’t want to be moving the iron around too much and you don’t need to press hard. Let the heat rest on an area and then move it to another section if you are using a large piece. 8 seconds is all it takes for the webbing to take hold of the material.

Cutting Shapes With Fuse n Tear

For an easy way to cut shapes from jersey fabric you can sketch a design onto the matt, paper side of the Fuse n Tear. If drawing isn’t your strength you can use a cutter or template to draw around.

Fuse the webbing to your fabric and cut the shape out. The scissors go through the fabric much easier with the extra layer in place. Once you are done you can just peel the webbing layer off and your shape is ready to use.

Creating a Design On Jersey

You can also use Fuse n Tear to help you attach pieces to a jersey base. In this case I am going to sew my cut-out shapes from jersey onto a jersey child’s t-shirt. Without Fuse n Tear the fabrics would be slipping about everywhere, with it in place the work is a lot more stable. To get started iron a piece of the Fuse n Tear onto the reverse (front inside) of your t-shirt.

You can then pin your shape in place and sew it on round. For the look I want I am doing a basic hand stitch using two strands of embroidery thread, I’ve already checked that my fabric won’t fray and I want it to turn up slightly at the edges so I am leaving a little border. You can choose whatever method suits you best, machine or hand, just remembering that you need to leave some freedom so that the stretch is unrestricted.

Once you are finished attaching your shape you can remove the Fuse n Tear. If you have hand stitched make sure that you are careful not to pull on the threads too hard, you can use some small scissors to help remove the paper around the stitches if necessary.

Next Steps

I kept cutting and attaching shapes, just using the same easy method until I had a quick design for a plain child’s t-shirt with dragonfly and a flower.

There are many more ways to use Fuse n Tear, try it on any stretch fabric or any materials that are tricky to cut to get a cleaner, straightforward result.

Jill – The Craftmobile

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Cationic Chiffon meets Suki Kimono

Hello everyone! I am so excited to share this project with you.

The first time I laid eyes on the Cationic Chiffon Fabric from Minerva Crafts, I knew it was destined to be a kimono. Kimonos are such a versatile addition to the closet. They can be worn during the daytime, on a night out, to the beach, and even as lounge wear. I wanted to make something that I could get as much wear out of in this gorgeous fabric. 

Fabric Details – The fabric is soft, very delicate, and has a beautiful drape. It is non-stretch and very sheer as pictured below so if you wish to use it for projects such a dress or top, multiple layering will be required. Although it is suggested to hand wash it gently I decided not to pre-wash. There are over 50 colors available!

Pattern Choice – I decided to use the Suki Kimono Pattern by Helen’s Closet for this project. It is a simple pattern, great for beginner and advanced sewers alike. I picked this pattern mainly because there are not a lot of style lines. If you have made anything with chiffon before you are aware that it can be a little difficult to work with so the less seams there are, the better. 

I used French seams for the finishing throughout this project. I made some modifications to this patterns such as leaving all ties out to avoid giving it too much of a robe vibe. I also left out the pockets due to the sheer nature of the fabric. There are endless ways to modify this pattern.

Styling – There are endless ways to style kimonos, which is why there are such a favorite. I like to wear mine during the daytime or on a night out. I like to style mine over a pair of basic pants and a simple top. I usually opt for heels for longer kimonos and flats for kimonos that are knee length or shorter.

I do not wear robes but I also wanted to show that this specific kimono could be a great loungewear piece as well for the loungewear lovers. This chiffon fabric especially gives it a sexy look. With so many colors available, I can see it working great as a honeymoon or bridal piece.

I love the elegant and classy look that this fabric gives. I am very happy with how it turned out. One tip I will give about my experience with this fabric is to sew carefully and press often. I will suggest using the lowest heat setting or putting another fabric over the chiffon before pressing. I hope you enjoyed my project.

Happy Sewing!

Sylvia from The Ravel Out

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Tropical Vacation Dress

What are the first words that enter your mind when you see this lime green Cutspot Fabric? I think Joy. Happiness. Sunny skies. I think Summer days spent frolicking at the beach.

There was no doubt in my mind when I chose this fabric to review that it was to transform into a beach cover up, and when I received the fabric my decision was confirmed. This cotton fabric has a very light touch and is slightly sheer which is perfect for the beach holiday. Just pull it over your swimsuit and you will be ready to strut the poolside or walk the sandy beach!

I chose Butterick B6554 view C which is a wrap dress with shaped hemline and flounce. It's a true wrap dress without the fuss of buttons/ zippers which also makes it the perfect beach cover up. On the illustration it is a midi length; I chose not to shorten the length so it is a full length dress on my short frame and I am happy with my decision.

Although it was my first time making this pattern the instructions and the pattern pieces are very straight forward so it is very a friendly pattern for sewists of all skill levels. My only peeve factor was the very time-consuming process of hemming the flounce pieces but that is being nit-picky...trust me, it's worth the effort and time.

As I was constructing the bodice, I wondered...yes this fabric is fun, but how about adding some contrast color pompoms? Color me happy! It was a spontaneous inspiration and I debated whether to proceed) with the pompoms or not, but pompoms it was and I am happy I stuck to my instinct.

I simply interspaced the pompoms between the bodice and flounce pattern piece for both the bodice and skirt and voila! Fun factor is exponential! (I used about 9 yards of pompoms for this dress).

The bodice for this pattern calls for a facing piece with interfacing. I am not a big fan of using iron-on interfacing so I tried an experiment with this project. I had nude mesh tulle lying around from a previous project so I superimposed it over the facing piece and quilted it together, 3/8" apart. 

The resulting facing had the stiffness that was comparable to iron-on interfacing and I love that my garment does not have glue products. This, too, is a more time-consuming process that ironing a commercial interfacing but I think I will use this method on my woven fabrics from now on.

I enjoyed working with this fabric; It sews well, felt smooth to the touch and most of all, the color is truly vibrant. There is a myriad of choices of color to choose from so there is a perfect color waiting for you! I also love the whimsy and the texture of the cutspots.

Thank you Minerva Crafts for this opportunity to review your wonderful fabric. I love my new dress and I can't wait to wear it on my next tropical vacation.

Thanks for reading,

Susan @byluciagrace

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