Hey everyone, my name is Sara Scheck from @sewverysara and I am super excited to share my first make as a Minerva Maker, the Lena Horne Dress by Tabitha Sewer.
When I first saw this beautiful Brushed Cotton Fabric I was smitten. I was not familiar with brushed cotton but those colors were so lovely I decided to give it a whirl. I instantly knew I wanted to make the Lena Horne Dress as soon as I saw it.
I was surprised how much better the fabric was in person than what I had pictured in my mind. I was expecting something similar to quilting cotton and what I got looked and felt more like a silk. It was also a lot drapier than I was expecting so that was a wonderful surprise. It washed and dried beautifully so don’t be afraid to throw it in the wash. It does fray a bit so I do recommend serging before washing and finishing all your edges.
As for the pattern, the Lena Horne was fairly straightforward and pretty quick to sew. I would say it’s definitely for a confident to advanced beginner with some extra knowledge of finishes. The pattern was drafted for someone 5’6” and I am 5’7” with a long torso so I did lengthen the bodice an inch and added some to the skirt length as well. Overall the fit was very good and other than lengthening it I made no other adjustments. I love a pattern that I don’t have to fuss with to get it to fit properly!
Now if I am being honest, I personally found the instructions a wee bit hard to follow. I am a very visual person so the more pictures the better. I messed up that lovely ruffle on the first go. The instructions just say to hem one of the long sides and I wasn’t paying attention and hemmed the straight edge not the curved. She does have a tutorial on her YouTube channel and this is where I caught my mistake. I did jot myself a note for next time to hem the curved edge. Perhaps it was an amateur mistake but had it been noted I probably wouldn’t have made that mistake in the first place. Live and learn! I thought the ruffles would give me a hard time when sewing up the other side of the shoulder strap but really if you just roll it up nice and tight you should not have any problems. Tabitha explains this on her tutorial.
I also found the instructions for installing an invisible zipper with a lined bodice a little sparse. Again, I am a visual person so I had to Google that since I had never installed a zipper with a lined bodice. Don’t worry if you have never done it either because it turns out it is super easy. My only other suggestion that is not mentioned in her instructions or her tutorial is to edgestitch the neckline where you can so it doesn’t roll outward. I also edgestitched the pockets to add stability and to keep them from poking out.
Overall, this fabric was amazing to work with and despite my sewing mistakes I LOVE the Lena Horne Dress. These two were meant to go together and I am so happy to have gotten the chance to sew this project. Happy sewing friends!
Thanks for reading,
San Diego is known for its weather. While it does get cold in the winter (meaning in the 50 degree zone… ha!) the average temperature year round is somewhere around 70 degrees. Awesome right?! Not too hot and not too cold. The beach is breezy most months and summers feel warm (even hot). While the last 8 years my family has lived close to the ocean (New York, Virginia, Connecticut), I still consider myself more of a mountain, cold weather girl. I love layering, long sleeves and pants and being cozy and warm (I’m always cold). We are three plus years in San Diego now and I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that this is not a cold weather place. I am excited as I work to create a more San Diego, warm weather appropriate wardrobe.
This first outfit I created with Minerva's French Terry Sweatshirt Fabric is in the color Wine. When the fabric arrived, I let out an audible squeal and couldn’t stop touching it. No joke! I love this fabric so much. It is soft, has great recovery and the colors are so vivid!
I have washed the fabric several times now with zero fading. It is the perfect medium weight for cool, windy beach days… which is where I plan on taking this dress the most.
I used Hey June’s Halifax Hoodie Pattern, View A, to create this look. I omitted the notch in the front and instead drafted the hood piece so I could cross it over in the front. I shortened the sleeves to be a half sleeve and resized the cuffs to fit accordingly.
I took some of the ease out of the sleeves down to just under my bustline as I knew I would either be wearing this as a dress or with just a swimsuit underneath – thus eliminating the need for so much ease. While this dress looks like it is a sweatshirt with a matching skirt, it is actually a single continuous piece in both the front and back with a faux waistband sewn on top! I brought in the dress just below my hipline to create a tighter lower half of the dress, fading out to a baggier top.
I am over the moon with how this outfit turned out! I would classify my style as colorful, comfortable and casual. I feel like this outfit says, “You need me to watch your baby, sure!” “You need me to dress up to go watch the school play, done!” “Date night, I was ready as soon as I got dressed this morning!” “Hours of sitting and watching my son during his baseball practice… no problem!” This might just be my dream dress and I can’t wait to keep tweaking the pattern to make it perfect!
A sweatshirt dress needs a companion though. Don’t you think? Something that can be thrown on, again to work in any situation but maybe a touch less casual. If my first dress is the beach dress, this beauty is the ladies-night-out dress!
Ladies nights are rare for this mom of four littles. I knew I would need to make something spectacular that instantly made me feel great. Again, Minerva Craft to the rescue! I had the same reaction to seeing this fabric in person as I did to seeing the above mentioned fabric. It is bright, fun, colorful and simply makes my heart sing! It is a Cotton Madras Check Fabric in red. Isn’t it dreamy!? Doesn’t it make you want to call up all your girlfriends immediately and go do something fun?!
This dress was made with another Hey June pattern, this time the Cheyenne Tunic and Shirt, View A. Modifications included shorting the sleeves (they are seen here worn rolled but are cute unrolled too), lengthening the shirt to dress length and adding increased width as the dress goes down (thus adding more buttons as well), and adding belt loops and a belt.
I have a pretty boxy figure. My waist isn’t too far off from my hips measurement wise, so anything I can do to add shape (fuller skirt plus belt) works in my favor.
As soon as I finished this dress I knew it was a rival for my new favorite sweatshirt dress above. I could imagine immediately all the places I would take it, waiting for my girlfriends to come pick me up to go adventuring! I instantly feel cute and the functionality of this piece moves it to the top of my dress list.
So there it is! With these two new amazing pieces in my closet, I am well on my way to a better San Diego appropriate, perfectly me wardrobe.
Hello Minerva Makers!
This is my inaugural blogger network post and I am so happy to be presenting you all with a dress that took me by surprise in the best way.
Having selected the fabric and pattern myself, I knew that I would like the resultant garment but I underestimated how much I would enjoy wearing it.
I’m a sucker for vintage patterns and styling, regardless of whether it’s true vintage or a modern interpretation. To that end, I always feel like lawn is an excellent choice for dresses that have a lot of detail in their design, such as gathers, pleats or tucks. This is because lawn lends itself to being pressed (and I mean really pressed) into submission. I love it as I don’t have to worry too much about being heavy handed with the iron! Just thinking about how crisp I can get those darts is so satisfying!
I took my time with this pattern as even though the silhouette is relatively simple and clean, there are a lot of details that go into making it. It was deceptively tricky in parts!
At first glance there doesn’t seem too much of a difference between options ‘A’ (long sleeve) and ‘B’ (short sleeve). Upon closer inspection of the pattern pieces and the envelope illustrations, the difference in construction and style details becomes apparent. It’s not just long and short sleeves!
‘A’ has a button placket that runs the length of the dress with little pockets grown onto it, whereas ‘B’ (my version) has a side closure (I elected to use a zipper), a three-button placket, cuffed sleeves and a pleat in the skirt front. Both versions utilise topstitching as a design feature, which called for a bit of precision. All in all, this made for a very interesting sew.
While piecing this dress together, there were several moments where I silently congratulated myself on choosing a busy floral print. This meant that I could be adventurous with trying different techniques and not have to worry too much about any imperfections standing out and ruining the overall effect of the dress. I think that because the print gave me confidence to just sew, everything turned out just as I’d visualised.
Also, who can go past a sweet 1940s style print? Not this lady! As soon as I saw this lawn, I knew that I had to make it up in a 40s pattern. That being said, it would look lovely done up in a 70s blouson style or modern tunic pattern.
I think that the overall effect of my finished dress is quite preppy and fresh, with definite 1940s elements. This can be seen in my puffy sleeves (achieved by sewing a series of darts at the sleeve head, rather than gathers), interesting neckline detail (the placket runs up and around my neck) and the use a of side-zip (the pattern calls for a zipper shield as well. Such a great idea. I’ll be adding it to all of my future side-zip dresses as it circumvents my fear of being bitten by zipper teeth!)
This fabric was the perfect pairing for my vision, not only was it easy to work with but I now have a dress worthy of any genuine 40s dame or retro-modern wannabe.
Until next time,
Brooke @ Retro Novella
If you’re a vintage enthusiast like me, then Butterick B5708 has been on your to-do list for a long time. Today I’ll be showing you how to use this fabulous Timeless Treasures Border Print Fabric to make a vintage style dress. This dress is perfect for evening dates, dancing, or just when you want to feel beautiful and artsy!
This fabric is a light poplin called Timeless Treasures Midnight with a gorgeous floral border. It has the breathability and crisp feel of cotton, which makes it perfect for summer dresses. It’s soft to touch, drapes nicely and has beautiful deep colours. I find that this poplin also doesn’t wrinkle as badly as some other cottons. This is a huge plus for sewing dresses with ties because it won’t have to be ironed as often. You could also use this fabric to make summer blouses and skirts.
Don’t forget to preshrink this fabric! As this is a cotton fabric, it could shrink and therefore ruin the fit of your dress after one use. I hand washed this poplin in cold water with normal detergent.
The pattern I used to make this dress is Butterick B5708, which is a 1953 vintage reproduction dress. A dress like this is best made in a thin but strong fabric so that the ties are easy to do up. Normally this pattern calls for self-lining (where the dress is lined with the main fabric) but I chose to line this dress with navy broadcloth. The broadcloth provides a nice solid background for the slightly transparent poplin and adds a nice contrast for the ties.
In terms of meterage, I used 4 meters of fabric to make this dress, this excludes the lining. I also pattern matched the centre front and back seams of the skirt so I used more fabric. Here’s a few tip on how to get this look:
Cutting out the Dress
For border prints like this poplin, it is best to cut the pieces out on the cross grain to make the most of the print. You’ll need to draw a cross grain arrow perpendicular to the straight grain on piece 5.
Cut one copy of each of pieces 1 and 4 (bodice front and back) at the top two corners of the border. You can cut the pattern pieces laying right side up or upside down since the pieces are symmetrical.
Then cut out the four skirt pieces. Place piece 5 on the fabric so that the bottom edge is on the selvedge with the large flowers. Use your tape measure to make sure that the cross grain arrow is parallel with the selvedge, then pin and cut it out. Cut out 4 copies of this piece along the selvedge, two copies upside down and two copies the right side up.
At the opposite selvedge, there should be enough space to cut pieces 2 and 3. Fold over enough of the selvedge to place both of these pieces on top.
Cutting out the Lining
I’ve chosen to line my dress with plain navy broadcloth. You’ll need about 1.5m of fabric for the lining (115 cm wide). You’ll need to cut one copy of pieces 1 and 4, and two copies of pieces 2 and 3. Cut out pieces 1 and 2 next to each other on one layer. Fold the remaining fabric in half and cut out pieces 2 and 3.
Adding a Pocket
Adding pockets to any dress makes them so much more useful! You can sew a pocket into the left side skirt side seam which doesn’t have the zipper. My favourite pocket piece is from Simplicity 1755, which is the type of pocket which hangs off the waist seam. Cut out 2 copies of the pocket pieces in the lining fabric.
Sew the pocket pieces right sides together to the top of the skirt side seam at 1 cm (3/8”). Do this for both of the skirt panels. Finish the seams with bias binding. Fold 2 cm (7/8”) bias binding over the top of the raw edge and top stitch through all layers. Bias binding is the best finish for full skirts which aren’t lined.
Bring the skirt side panels together and pin. Sew around the curve of the pocket up until you hit the seam where it is attached to skirt, then stop. Cover this raw edge with bias binding. Then sew the side seam for the skirt, but leave a big opening for your hands at the centre of the pocket. Sew the side seam for about 5 cm (2”) from the top edge of the skirt. Then start sewing again about 5 cm (2”) above the bottom of the pocket. Sew all the way down to the hem. The last thing you’ll need to do will be to sew the top of the pocket towards the front of the skirt when you sew the waist seam. The pocket is fully functional and looks really neat with bias binding finish.
I love the beautiful “V” shape in the bodice, to make this feature stand out I decided to add some piping to this seam. I suggest hand basting the piping to the upper piece of the seam. You need to baste the piping to the bottom edge of the bodice front and back. Pin the piping to the fabric so that the stitching on the piping is 1.5 cm (5/8”) away from the raw edge. Use tacking thread to make long stitches on the strip of piping fabric. You’ll also need to snip all the way up to the stitching at the centre front to make a nice “V” shape. You can use a piping sewing foot to do this as well.
You’ll then need to pin the midriff pieces on top. This is a corner seam, so follow the instructions carefully. You need to leave the midriff pieces open at the top where there is a dot marking. Match the circle marking on the midriff with the bodice front and pin, this is where the corner is made. Match the raw edges and pin the rest of this seam and pin. When it comes to sewing seams with piping you can use a zipper foot, which can glide over the bulk of the piping. Use the left side of the zipper foot and sew as close to 1.5 cm (5/8”) as possible. Sew with the needle in the left position to make the seam closer to the piping cord. Be very careful not to touch the needle, as it’s quite exposed in this position. The piping looks great and adheres to the vintage look of this dress!
This pattern is suitable for confident beginners. You’ll need to know how to sew corner seams, curved seams, invisible zippers, and a basic gathered skirt. I found the hardest step to be sewing the armhole because you need to line up the end of the seams for the main fabric and lining.
The pattern instructions are detailed enough so that beginners should be able to follow them. I did find the easing stitches on the front of the bodice to be unnecessary. Also, don’t forget to reinforce then trim all of the corners and curved seam. This creates neat curves and the fabric won’t rip when you turn these seams the right way out.
This pattern makes an adorable vintage style dress which is both easy to make and has nice details. With a beautiful print and few trimmings, you can turn this pattern into a stunning evening dress. The classic design of this dress means that you can use different fabrics to suit the occasion: cotton gingham for a summer picnic, plain linen for an everyday summer dress, bold prints for party dresses, or plain satin for an evening dress. The biggest plus of this dress is that you can change to the position of the ties to get different looks. I hope you enjoy making this dress as much as I did!
Thanks for reading,
Greetings, I’m so excited to be doing my first official blog and in collaboration with Minerva. I was so thrilled for the opportunity to partner with this awesome team and work with some beautiful fabrics to showcase my talent. I feel like a kid in a candy store once I receive the list of fabrics, how could I ever choose. It’s a rush of excitement as my mind is in overdrive with thoughts of ideas on outfits and different ways to style them. But I have to admit I truly love the feeling and welcome the creative process.
So for my first make I chose the Ponte Roma Jersey Fabric in the color Jade. I’m so in love with this color, the vibrance and richness for me could work for any season. I immediately knew I wanted to make a dress, but it took me a minute to decide on the style I wanted. I finally decided on McCalls 7683 which includes several different shoulder and skirt variations for the dress. I have actually used this pattern before to make a formal gown. This time I opted for the one shoulder bodice and circle skirt for my dress, for a nice flirty flare. The pattern was very easy to follow and there weren’t a lot of pieces involved in the construction.
This fabric was very easy to work with and the bodice came out beautifully! I’m super satisfied with the decision to do the one shoulder, even though I think the off shoulder would look just as nice.
The bottom I truly love. Who doesn’t love a good circle skirt? Reminds me of every Easter dress I wanted when I was a little girl, just for the moment to twirl and watch it flare out. And as soon as I got it on it’s still the first thing I did.
I used my serger to finish all my seams and a narrow folded hem on both the top flounce and the bottom of the skirt.
On to styling!! I think this dress can be used both casually or dressed up for an evening out. I decided to keep it simple but flirty. I chose to wear a camel colored belt around my waist to accentuate the waistline and matching heels. I think the camel color pairs nicely with the Jade while allowing the vibrance of the fabric to stand out, since the camel color is so close to my skin tone. This could also work if you wanted to add a little color to contrast.
Overall I’m very pleased with how this dress turned out! There were no modifications made and I would definitely sew this again. Thanks again Minerva for the opportunity to make such a nice piece.
Hello lovely readers!
I am Steffie and very happy to be part of the Minerva Maker team! It’s such a diverse group of people and I feel lucky to be one of them.
A tiny intro about me:
My name is Stephanie (but call me Steffie), married to a wonderful husband who likes to take my pictures and wears matching outfits with me. We have 2 sphynx cats (naked cats) who are my life. I love food and cooking food. I also love sewing, tattoo’s, going to the movies and buying lots of pretty fabrics! I mostly wear clothing that have a vintage flair but are still modern.
I live in the Netherlands, so please forgive me any stupid English grammar mistakes!
You can follow the rest of my craziness @steffie_sews
When I got the mail from Minerva, I had just had carpal tunnel surgery and wanted to wait until later when I was back at 100% again.
I can never resist a lemon print! There is just something with lemons I go crazy for. I even got a lemon tattoo on my leg.
When you start wearing pin-up or vintage, a lot of the modern vintage stores have cherry prints. A lot of cherry prints. It’s cute for some, but I never really liked it, although you can find one cherry print dress in my closet. But lemons were the thing for me. So I just knew when I saw that Fabric, this would be my first project for Minerva.
The small issue was that the fabric was white, and white fabric scares me. I needed some more color, to balance out the white. after looking for a pattern that had something contrasting in a different color, I found Vogue 2902. It was a perfect match.
It’s a gorgeous reprint of an original 1952 pattern, and it had the contrasting band I was looking for. It’s a summer dress with straps, perfect for the cotton lemon fabric. Minerva was so kind to give me a yard of cotton poplin in chartreuse green that really matches the green in the lemon fabric.
I was so excited to make this. Ready to cut my pattern and sew this dress. And then I realized that my pattern was the wrong size! So I had to order a new pattern and wait another week before the sewing could start.
Good things come to those who wait right?
And this dress is great!
The bodice is lined with White Cotton Poplin, and I handstitched it to the waist. The pattern is fully lined, but I didn’t make the skirt lining. I don’t think it’s needed, but if you have a more see-through fabric, you may want to line the skirt.
The full skirt falls just right. You can wear a huge petticoat under it if you want to. But petticoats aren’t really my thing, so I never wear them.
Because of the direction of the lemon print, I had cut the skirt pattern pieces in halve, so my circle skirt now has 6 panels. That way, the print goes up on every skirt piece. If you don’t have a print in one direction, this is not necessary.
And of course I added pockets. No dress can be without pockets!
The construction of the bodice is a bit weird, because you finish the bodice and then hand stitch the contrast band onto the bodice. I hand stitched it too, my fabric is light enough. If you have a heavy fabric and a fully lined skirt, I am not sure if only hand stitching is strong enough.
The pattern has a side zipper but I am not a fan of those. So I switched the zipper to the back. It wasn’t a difficult task, add your seam allowance to the center back seam on the bodice, contrast band pattern pieces, and skirt back. Don’t cut these on the fold!
The green really pops out against the white fabric and gives a great contrast. The matching green belt also makes your waist look cinched.
I used the same green cotton for the belt and the contrast band. I interfaced the fabric, and used a belt buckle kit to cover the buckle. It’s a bit of a tricky process, because you want the fabric smooth around the edges. But with a little patience even I could make it work.
I really love my new lemon dress! And it matches my lemon tattoo. And my lemon earrings and lemon pin. So I can wear this all while drinking a lemonade and eating key lime pie, and cover my table with a lemon tablecloth.
Can there ever be too much lemon? I don’t think so!
3 yards of lemon print cotton (digital print cotton fabric yellow). 1 yard white cotton poplin. 1 yard chartreuse cotton poplin.
Changed the zipper from the side to the back. Cut the skirt pattern in panels. POCKETS
the shoulder straps and contrast band
the shoulder straps and contrast band! So much hand stitching!
Yes, but maybe with a slightly less fuller skirt.
By now, I don’t think it’s a mystery to anyone in the sewing community, that I love halter dresses. This dress is from the May 2019 BurdaStyle, it’s the Halter Style Dress Style #101. Halter styles are great to show-off strong shoulders. The fabric brings this pattern to life, its vibrant and attractive.
As always, the moment I see a fabric, I know exactly the sort of dress, top, or skirt it works. The Scuba Crepe Fabric comes in many colors but I chose the one with this lovely aqua base. Mainly because it has purple in it and reminds me of easy breezy summer days!
The feel of this fabric is just great, it has a slight crepe feel and good recovery. I always try to find fabric that has a perfect balance with elastane and structure. Yes! It’s great for beach vacations, lovely draping blouses and more.
This dress is a winner because it’s a remarkably flattering design with a snug neckline band. The halter style is very flattering for those with a smaller bustline. If you like twirling dresses, this is the one for you, the swinging skirt panel cascades softly around the hips.
I’ve received so many compliments on the day I wore this dress for the photo-shoot and at my niece’s graduation party. It has everything to do with the pairing of a knock-out fabric with a runway style design! This is my go to dress for the summer dinner parties and get-togethers!
Until my next post, have a wonderful summer!