Posted in Projects on Friday the 20th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I made shoes! I finally fulfilled a
childhood ambition and made a pair of espadrilles for my daughter
using this Espadrilles Kit from Minerva. The fabric kit come
pre-printed with the main and lining fabric pieces to make
espadrilles for kids (sizes infant 8.5 to adult 2.5), plus a copy of
the pattern and instructions. Along with this, you also need to buy
the Prym Children's Espadrilles Soles in the right size and Prym Espadrilles Creative Yarn.
This was a great little project that I
thoroughly enjoyed making. The fabric included is lovely, and just
the right weight and combination for espadrilles. There are lots of
colour combinations to choose from. I love the little ‘handmade’
labels included with them too. It was nice a straightforward make,
although the instructions included are quite basic. When you’re
cutting out the pattern make sure you add your seam allowance. It
would be very easy to cut them without realising that.
You cut 8 pieces
from the fabric – 2 fronts and 2 backs in both main and lining
fabric. You join them together on the sewing machine (rights sides
together and them turn out) before pinning and hand sewing them to
the soles using satin stitch in the creative yarn (back front, then
front piece). It includes instructions on how to do that stitch if
you’re not sure. You need to try them on before stitching up the
sides. Easy as that!
The only aspect I found tricky was the
hand sewing, mainly because I used a tapestry needle and it was tough
getting it through the sole. Next time I think I’ll invest in a Prym Espadrilles Tool Kit for perfect espadrilles.
I was really pleased with the final
result, and so was the recipient! She’s a shoe size 13.5 and I went
for a 13-1 sole, so they’re still a little on the big side. She’ll
need to grow into them! They were so much easier than I thought they
would be. Having the pattern and the instructions means making
another pair in a different fabric will be really easy. I’m also
eyeing up the adult soles to make myself a pair. Navy linen with
Happy summer sewing!
Posted in Projects on Friday the 20th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Wrap dresses are one of my favorite things to make because they are feminine, figure flattering, and relatively easy to make. For me, they also signify the start of spring and letting go of the constant wearing of pants and leggings. You know it is a wrap for the winter season when wrap dresses are an option in your closet. So when I received this gorgeous Scuba Fabric
from Minerva Crafts, I knew exactly what to make! This was my first time using scuba fabric for any project so I was a little nervous but I have no worries now. I loved working with it and cannot believe it took this long to try it.
This gorgeous fabric is a Gingham Check Print Scuba Stretch Jersey Fabric. It is a heavy weight fabric and comes in various colors such as blue, pink, yellow, and black. My choice is the classic black and white gingham version. I prewashed it to allow shrinkage. I always wash my clothes on the ‘tap cold’ option so I did exactly that and threw it in the dryer for about twenty minutes. I have made other items with knit fabrics but this was my first time working with a scuba fabric. It will definitely not be my last as it was such a hassle free fabric to handle; no wrinkles, no fray, nada!
I believe Vogue 9251
was a great choice for this gingham print. This wrap dress pattern has different sleeve and length variations. I made a few modifications to my version. I shortened the sleeves and the skirt length. I prefer most of my dresses to be slightly above my knee as I feel it is more flattering for my height. The skirt pattern is more of a high low skirt but I decided to even out the hem for both the front and back skirts.
This fabric is so versatile that I could honestly make anything with it and it would still be no hassle to work with. I used my serger for almost the entire project, which is another plus for me. I am very happy with how this turned out. The weight of the fabric is perfect for dresses.
Black and white is my favorite color combination so it was not a struggle to style this dress. There are so many ways to style wrap dresses but for this photo shoot, I decided to go with classic brown heels. I also paired it with a light cascading coat I made a couple of years ago. Wearing only handmade items and feeling the sun on my face was such a beautiful feeling. I headed for brunch right after the shoot and received so many compliments.
Are you crazy about wrap dresses as I am? I suspect they will be my go-to item again this spring and summer.
Sylvia from The Ravel Out
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 19th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I have fancied playing with Sheer Fabric for a while so was thrilled to get a chance to review this check beauty. It has a real Lois Vuitton vibe to it and a touch of the 60's. When the fabric arrived my twins were enthralled, it was worn as some kind of costume for a full afternoon before making it into the sewing room!
I was going to make a pussy bow blouse but then saw a picture of Papercut Patterns Kobe Top and thought it might work well with a sheer like this.
I haven't worked with sheer fabric before and expected it to be shifty but the satin squares are a heavier weight which seemed to make it behave while cutting.
The same difference in texture though did give me a bit of an issue with the sewing machine. I decided to do French seams, but the change every couple of inches from satin to thin chiffon made it really challenging to keep the stitching straight. My seam allowances are a bit all over the place as a result!
The hems were tricky for the same reason, at one point I got so hot and flustered trying to keep the hem stitching straight on the sheer bits that I had to take my clothes off....(on the off chance that my neighbours are reading, apologies but I can't promise it won't happen again, it's what happens when crafting goes bad.)
It is worth noting that this fabric doesn't mind pressing so as bad as things looked after hemming a good steam, (over a press cloth obviously, this is a poly/viscose and I am not completely reckless) and they now look presentable enough to wear.
The pattern has a beautiful detail at the back which looks awesome but had me scratching my head and waving my seam ripper...in the end I found a tutorial on the papercut patterns blog which helped to a point, but I won't lie, I probably need a new seam ripper it took so many goes. (The fabric was a trooper, didn't seem to mind the endless stitching and ripping!) I top stitched my shoulder seam to stop the back neckline binding poking out, otherwise I don't think it would lie neatly.
On the positive side look how that back dips down! It is absolutely joyful to wear, I love the serious at the front, party at the back thing it has going on...makes me feel a bit dressed up without actually having to make much effort!
This fabric is perfect for this kind of simple top or blouse and I still have a pussy bow blouse on my list. I am so glad I was brave enough to try working with it but it has really thrown up some gaps in my sewing skills, practice makes perfect eh?
Thanks for reading, apologies again to my neighbours, and may the sewing god's keep all of your seams straight x
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 19th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
When I saw the beautiful Crepe Fabric
with the green foxes on navy I immediately thought: this would be perfect for a new Vogue V9253
dress! And if I may say so myself - the combo of fabric and sewing pattern makes anyone a “foxy lady” - literally. ;-)
I´ve made the pattern last summer for the first time and have since made another in a bottle green velvet - I can honestly say, it works well in a light airy fabric like this Fox crepe fabric but also in a heavier one, as long as it has a nice drape.
The crepe fabric is really soft to the touch and is very good to sew with. What I really like is that it does not wrinkle - it´s perfect for a dress, kimono or blouse to pack for travel without worrying how to get it smooth after it comes out of the suitcase. Yet it´s ok to be ironed during sewing - no need to worry.
I finished all edges with my overlock - the fabric does not fray extremely, but I find it cleaner and better to work with. I also used a matching green thread, so it´s a nice pop of color on the inside. Just be sure to keep the tension light enough to not stretch the fabric.
This crepe fabric also comes in a blue on peach color combo and I am already contemplating if I should get it as well, because I am so impressed with this one.
When I first made this pattern, I was really afraid it was going to be too difficult, as I had never sewn a Vogue pattern before, but the instructions are very clear and it really is an “Easy” dress to make. I saw so many great posts with this pattern on social media, that I had to give it a try.
I actually did not have to make any real changes to the pattern other than using the “short” length for me as “long” length, because I am only 1,60m - plus heels ;-) For me, the size “S” fits perfectly, no changes needed.
The dress is a semi-fitted, deep V Kimono style dress with a self-tie. It has a back zipper opening and very deep pockets (Yeah!).
You'll need about 2,50m of fabric for the dress - depending on width of your fabric, but if you´re using a fabric with a directional pattern like I did with the Foxes crepe, add about 50cm extra to that.
One thing I did when making this particular version of the dress is a minor change, but does make a difference - I shortened the V by overlapping the front parts a bit and sewed along the original seamline of the top to keep them in place. It´s an option if you feel like you would like to make a more “moderate” version of the dress.
I really love the deep pockets of the dress. It´s one thing I would add to any dress anyways, but even better if they're already included in the pattern. They are invisible and do not add any bulk to the silhouette!
This pattern comes as a printed pattern only, so I used my favorite tool to trace it: Swedish Tracing Paper
. I honestly believe it is the best you can use - it´s light, durable, you can actually sew a muslin with it, it rolls up, folds up, you can iron it - it´s just the perfect sewing tool. If you haven´t tried it - go get some with your fabric! It will become your go-to tool, I am sure.
I will be making more dresses after this pattern before the summer is over - so many pretty fabric options are calling for it :-)
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 18th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
The UK heatwave this Summer has made every day feel like holiday (apart from the small inconvenience of going to work!). Our main Summer holiday abroad is at the end of the Summer, and the good weather here has made me start planning my holiday wardrobe sooner that I would have done otherwise. I was drawn to this tropical print Crepe Fabric
as soon as I saw it. The bright colours are perfect for warm evenings and cocktails. I knew it would work well as a maxi dress, but I couldn't decide on the right pattern, until Simply Sewing magazine came through my door which included the Lola maxi dress pattern. I had to grade between two sizes in this pattern, as my waist measurements (as always) were a size larger than my other measurements.
I opted to go with the 'cold-shoulder' version. This isn't a style I would normally wear, but I keep seeing it everywhere this Summer, and thought it would be fun to give it a go. This fabric has a really nice drape, and as such it is slightly more challenging to cut, especially the large pieces required for the skirt on this pattern. Using lots of pins helped! This has slightly more structure than some crepe fabrics, which makes it really nice to sew with. My sewing machine has automatic tension, which coped really well with this fabric. Constructing the bodice and sleeves took the most time on this pattern, and the sleeves took a bit of thinking about, as I'm so used to traditional set-in sleeves. I found the straps and facing quite tricky with this fabric, as the facing kept rolling up at the front, despite stitching in the ditch at the shoulder seams. I hand sewed a few invisible stitches to keep the facing down around the front of the neckline, which did the trick.
Making and attaching the skirt was fairly straightforward, but involved a lot of sewing due to the sheer volume of it. I used a bright pink invisible zip down the back to match the pink on the flowers, as I couldn't find an orange one in the right shade. As always, with a fabric that has some drape, inserting the zip was a bit challenging (I usually go back to the instructions in 'Love at First Stitch' by Tilly Walnes every time I have to insert one, as they are the clearest explanation I have found). I'm really pleased I went with the bright pink, as it looks great from the inside of the garment, and the zip pull co-ordinates with the fabric design. I didn't pattern match along the back seam, which I regret slightly - I think it looks OK as it is, but pattern'matching could have given a more professional finish.
I chose to machine-hem the bottom of the skirt, rather than hand-sew as I would do normally, due to the volume of the skirt. This worked fine, and isn't really too noticeable when wearing, mainly due to the fabric design.
I'm really pleased with the overall fit of this dress, with minimal adjustments after grading between pattern sizes. The fabric was perfect for this pattern - although much brighter than I often choose, it is a really good match, and the tropical flower design is perfect for long Summer evenings sipping a cocktail by the beach. Unfortunately, as I'm not yet on holiday, my photos are in my back garden - although I am sipping on a cocktail, a delicious frozen watermelon daquiri!
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 18th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello everyone. It’s me, Sophie from sopbac.com
again with a new blog post for you guys. This time I got to try out the new John Kaldor spring/summer collection. John Kaldor has so much amazingly quality and beautifully printed fabrics that made it really hard to choose only one to test. In the end, I choose to go with this floral Peachskin Fabric
in the colour black. This made me all excited for the upcoming warmer months!
The peachskin fabric is so beautifully drapey fabric that works perfectly for the spring and summer months. I made my wedding dress out of the Trieste Peachskin Fabric
in ivory, and it was so easy to work with and felt incredibly soft even though it was drapey. So of course, I wanted to have more dresses made out of this type of fabric. For this project, I needed three meters of this fabric The width of the fabric was 1,45 m (58 inches).
To pair with the fabric I choose to go with the Sew Over It Eve Dress Pattern
I have been wanted to make for a while. It seems like all the stores and all of the social media (read: Instagram) is all about the wrap dress this spring/summer and I want to get in on the fun too! So this Eve wrap dress was perfect to make right about now.
To make this wrap dress I only needed 1,5 m of cotton stay tape (I just used cotton bias binding, and it worked out fine) in addition to the fabric. To make the dress better suit me, I morphed the two variations together. I took the floaty sleeve from version 1 and paired it with the straight hem of version 2. I had to shorten the hem by 12 cm (short people problems) to make it fit me better. I also added side seam pockets, of course.
I celebrated my 28th birthday in warm, sunny, tights and cardigan-free Riga, Latvia, with my husband in April where these pictures were taken. Our hotel had a walking tour map of all the important tourist attractions in Old Town. We walked the tour and was supposed to take pictures during the walk, but we were so taken by all the beautiful sights that we forgot most of it. Oops.
I really love this fabric and the combination of the fabric and pattern. The John Kaldor Spring and Summer Collection
has so much beautiful fabric that you should really go take a look for your next project. I am totally in love with the wrap dress and plan to make more. It is such an easy make and fitting problems becomes a minimum because you can always loosen the knot! That is perfect for summer parties with food involved! What do you think about the wrap dress that is floating around everywhere nowadays?
I hope you got some inspirations from my blog post. And if you want to come say hello over on my blog
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 17th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
According to Harper’s Bazaar, CR Fashion Book and a vast number of other fashion trend experts the Kimono is it - completely on trend.
I knew this and was mulling it over in my mind when I received my latest project supplies from Minerva, what to make??? I rummaged through my pattern stash, pattern Look Books, Social Media, etc. and it was my dear, sweet sister-in-law Cheri who made my mind up!! She loved the Kimono top pattern in my vast number of options available. The what I would make is decided!
But what about the how? Sure I could make the basic style, no added interest or flair - or I could jazz it up, maybe mash-up another pattern with it again???
My final decision was to add flair at the cuffs and bottom hemline. I have already committed to using a contrasting fabric for the sash, but I now feel like that same contrasting fabric could add interest at the cuffs and the bottom hemline....
I am drawn to scallop edges right now, can’t really explain why I’m drawn to them but I am. I use a quilting ruler to outline scallops along the edge of the fabric - making the scallops even and consistent. And usually stitch their edges with a decorative stitch to finish them off.
My final look was pattern 6438, with Minerva’s floral cotton Poplin Fabric
and a contrasting fabric.
This floral fabric has so many colors in it, the coordination opportunities are almost endless!! I like the hand of a quality poplin fabric such as this, because it has a strength, a firmness that screams quality, while it’s still a bit soft and feels very lovely to the touch - so I’m assured of its wearability and comfort no matter what design I choose.
This would pare well with almost anything - jeans, skirt, slacks, shorts, dress, etc.
As I began my making journey on this project using a multi-size pattern; I first had to trace the pattern pieces onto alternate pattern material/paper because it would be a real shame to cut the original pattern in the package, hence losing all the other size options.
During this tracing period, I also work with Croquis to plan out my design ideas. Sometimes drawing, sometimes tracing from pattern piece pictures, sometimes laying over the Croquis a cut out of pattern pieces or sections of multiple patterns, until I find the look that I’m content with. I use an online tool called My Body Model
, where I maintain measurements for everyone that I sew for and am able to create personal coquis to suit their individual sizing. This way when I test out designs, I have a more realistic feel as to whether the look would compliment their body or not.
I’ve made my final design choices, nothing extreme just a little cuff and bottom hem flair for interest. I live in a different area from my sister-in-law, but shared a finished picture with her. Her response was “Wow, that’s so pretty!” I think I did alright for her.
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 17th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was very lucky to receive an early
copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics, Wendy
Ward’s brilliant new book. There are lots of great patterns in this
book, but I decided to make the Peak T-shirt in this beautiful Art Gallery Cotton Jersey Fabric.
Although I’ve had some experience of
sewing with stretch fabrics before, I learnt so much from reading
this book. Wendy’s experience and expertise really shines through,
and having so much advice about sewing with knitted fabric in one
place is brilliantly useful. I found the advice on needle type
particularly useful, and she has demystified the difference between
ballpoint and stretch needles for me! There is also some
fantastically useful reference information on fabric and stitch
types. Really everything you need to know about sewing with knitted
fabrics in one place.
The Peak T-shirt
pattern is a great basic top. It comes in long and short sleeved
options, as well as a colour-blocked dress and even a shirred elastic
option. It’s not a very fitted style, so just consider the final
look when you’re deciding on sizes and customisation options.
Tips and Tricks
One of my favourite methods in this
pattern is fitting the neckband. Using quarters makes so much sense,
and an approach I’ll be using from now on! There was also some
brilliant advice on sewing with a twin needle, which I’ve never
tried before. Really pleased with how the hem turned out.
To make this Peak T-shirt right for my
body shape, I went for the long-sleeved version, but shortened the
length by 5cm. I also combined two sizes as I’m wider on the hips
than waist, and took the shoulders in by 1.5cm. I shortened the
sleeve length to create three-quarter length sleeves. I’m toying
with widening the neck slightly next time. Then I will have my
perfect long-sleeved top to make in multiple fabrics!
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 16th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was really thrilled to be asked recently by Minerva Crafts to review their new Anchor Multi Colour Stranded Cotton Embroidery Thread. I chose a few skeins to try in the colour 1349 which are different shades of blue and purple. But there are lots of other gorgeous colours to choose from. As this is multi coloured thread the colours change every couple of inches. Just like other embroidery thread there are 6 strands of cotton which separate really easily depending on how many strands you want to work with at a time.
Before the embroidery thread arrived I had time to think about what I would like to make with it. I have worked with embroidery thread before but I had never tried the multi colour variety so this really appealed to me.
Earlier this year I had purchased the Let’s Sew pattern by Ursula Michael. It’s a cross stitch pattern which is mainly back stitch so I knew it would work up quite quickly. I just fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it and thought it was a really clever design. I loved how all the sewing related words together made up a sewing machine. I have just looked on line and this pattern is still readily available on some UK and US websites if you would also like the pattern. I paid about £5 for a printed version and it arrived really quickly.
I chose white 14 count aida fabric from Minerva to stitch my project. The fabric stitch count you choose is entirely personal preference. I’m at the age now where I need a magnifying glass if the stitch count is too small! I also chose white fabric because I wanted to frame my finished project in a simple white frame. I thought this would really show off both the design and the multi colour embroidery thread I used to stitch it. For a totally different look you could also use a darker coloured aida fabric with a lighter colour embroidery thread which would also look really nice.
I used a standard embroidery needle with a wooden ring embroidery hoop to stitch my project. Both of which Minerva sells. The pattern uses 2 strands of thread at a time which gives a lovely stitch definition. It’s been a while since I’ve done any proper cross stitch and I’d forgotten just how addictive it is! I worked on this off and on over a few weeks and before I knew it my project was finished.
Before framing I gently hand washed the fabric and hung it out to dry. This is because being white and handled a lot whilst stitching, it can become a little discoloured from handling. Once it was dry I gently ironed the reverse side on a low heat setting. Then it was ready for framing.
And here is my finished and framed project. I am really pleased with how well it turned out and I think this design really shows off the multi colour embroidery thread really well. I shall be hanging it up in my craft room.
Thank you so much Minerva for letting me review this lovely embroidery thread and I am absolutely thrilled with my finished picture.
Thanks for reading
Yvonne @ by-yvonne
Posted in Projects on Monday the 16th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I had some preconceived notions of what Corduroy Fabric is, kind of a denim substitute. This fabric isn’t that. I had plans to make some jean style trousers with it, but when it arrived it was just soooooo soft and drapey and fine, I had to use the drape for some other, more dramatic purpose. Although the fabric is a woven it has some give, a sponginess if you will, across the width which will make it comfortable to wear. And the colour?! Very bright and saturated, I love this kind of deep pink, particularly with denim.
I prewashed this fabric on a normal 30 wash, then tumbled it. For some reason I expected it to shrink and I definitely expected it to have some colour fade. I actually measured it when it came out of the dryer and no shrinkage, no fading either, and it actually got even softer in the wash (which I wasn’t expecting either as my sons’ cord trousers seem to shrink and go crisp!).
I had 2m to play with and for some reason the idea of the I Am Cassiopee kept popping into my head, but as a wide, short top, not as the dress it is intended to be.
I already had traced off the pattern in anticipation of the right fabric turning up, so it seemed that fate had decided for me! (this IAM pattern requires some tracing work as the pattern pieces are overlaid, Kevin T. Cat Esq for some reason loves the Minerva Swedish Tracing paper though so we enjoy the work!)
I made no alterations to the length of the bodice, I wanted this short, flared look. If I were to make the dress version I would add about 10cm to make that seam hit my waist (I am 5’10).
I halved the length of the skirt bit to get the top effect – I literally folded the pattern piece in half.
You need to consider the nap or direction of cord before you cut it, it is a bit like Kevin T. Cat in that to stroke it one way is really nice, the other not so much. So consider the amount you order as there is no scope to flip pattern pieces upside down for economy. I can happily confirm I managed to get all the pieces the right way up (YAS!! WINNING!), and this cord stayed put while I cut. No sneaky shiftiness, grainline where I expected it, hardly a need to put pins in. No drama here.
The fabric also stayed put while I sewed. No pins, no swearing, no drama. Now that is not to say I had a seam ripper free experience. I can confirm this pattern company uses a 1cm allowance not a 1.5cm allowance, not that I know anyone daft enough to just rush in to sew the sleeves on a top without checking. Ahem.
I have heard of fancy techniques to press cord and preserve the nap/texture. I didn’t employ them with this, because it is so fine, it seemed to press well without any need to press onto velvet or anything.
And it works. The style and colour and weight of this are perfect for spring with my dark denim. Plenty of room for air to waft about and plenty of drama to wear if not to sew! The pattern will be used frequently I think as bit of a quick fix for in between more complex makes, I like the idea of it in a white cotton jersey next.
I have in my virtual stash (a.k.a. Minerva saved for later basket) more of this cord, I would like to make a Merchant Mills Trapezette for my Niece, and for me I think some wide leg trousers and because of the give in the fabric a nice fitted shirt. The colours available are all pretty lovely.
Thanks for reading