Hello Minerva Craft Readers! I am so excited to join you today for my first post here. Sharing ideas and talking about sewing are some of my favorite ways to spend my time. I am delighted to jump on the blog alongside this awesome group of makers who inspire me. Even better, I get to share all about this perfectly delicious plum Fabric that I just adore. From the color, to the drape, to the ease of sewing…what’s not to love? So, let’s jump in and see how this little dress came to be.
Every so often I see a fabric and just know instantly what I want it to become. But the pattern hoarder in me feels the need to confess that most times, I simply buy a pattern for the beauty of the design and have no immediate plans for it. They often get put away in my pattern binders and neglected for years. Such is the case with this plum dress pattern. I picked up Butterick 5950 after I saw this beautiful winter white version from Mimi G. And guess what? It never made its way into the sewing que for 5 years.
But once I laid eyes on this gorgeous Scuba Crepe Fabric I knew I needed to dig that dress pattern out immediately. The fabric was a dream to work with. While cutting, it wasn’t sliding all over or rolling up on the edges, which made the cutting stage very easy. The weight of this fabric is hard to describe. While it feels much like a crepe on one side, the back is scuba…yet not the really spongey heavy variety. It is somewhere in the middle and gives a nice thicker weight to the fabric without losing its drape. It was easy to sew and my machine and serger got along with it quite well. I love the slight texture on the one side and the smooth soft back of the fabric. It was perfect for a form fitting dress and I really wanted to finally make that pattern I just had to have 5 years ago.
When sewing a new to me pattern, I always like to look for pattern reviews before I start. This particular pattern was so old I figured there may be some out there. Sure enough, I found several and every review I found convinced me that the pattern would be a bit oversized as drafted for the look I was going for. I knew I would be making some alterations and decided to create a muslin before starting. Well, one muslin turned into three, but lucky for me this pattern sews up surprisingly quick. In the end, I did make several modifications to view C with the sleeves of View B.
Modifications I made to the pattern:
-Lengthened the skirt by 2.5 inches
-Moved the zipper from the center back to the right side seam
-Omitted the waist seam elastic
-Cut the back bodice and back skirt on the fold
-Sized WAY down. I cut the smallest pattern size which is 1 size smaller than my actual measurements in the bust and 2 sizes smaller than my waist and hip and then continued to take the skirt in until I had my desired fit.
After all of these adjustments I feel like the pattern is closer to the vision I had in mind. While it isn’t as tight and fitted as the original Mimi inspiration, it is more fitted than the original pattern would have been. In my first muslin version the pleats on the skirt portion were huge and stuck out from my body in a really awkward way that was very unflattering. Let’s just say I was so relieved I hadn’t done my first go using the Minerva Fabric! After tightening the skirt up and trying to get the pleats to lay closer to my body I like the silhouette of the dress much better.
I am happy with the final dress and feel like it will work well for many occasions and seasons. I know that creating a muslin always serves a purpose but far too often I skip this step. This is one of those times I am so happy I didn’t take my usual approach and took the time to make it until I was happy with it! Thank you for listening to me gush about this yummy fabric and the story behind this pleated plum dress.
Shannon @ www.indoorshannon.com
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 23rd April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi Minerva Crafters,
The fabric is a lightweight knit fabric, which I tend to avoid. In the past, I purchased lightweight knits from other companies that I found difficult to sew. I would use my walking foot and scotch tape to keep the fabric from shifting while sewing. However, I was surprised when I received the fabric from Minerva. The fabric was not as lightweight as I assumed it was going to be, which made me happy. I avoided the fight between the fabric, the sewing machine, and the seam ripper.
The fabric colors are beautiful and caught my attention immediately. I love wearing black, but I typically avoid wearing florals. At first, I honestly was not sure if I should use the McCall's pattern. I started looking for other options, but once I draped the fabric on my mannequin, I knew it would make the perfect dress. I love the bold colors and the mix of wine and gold flowers.
Pattern and Modifications:
For the pattern, I decided to use McCall 7833. I cut View C in size 10 and did not make any adjustments. The pullover dress has side gathers with 2 ½ yards of 3/8’ ribbon or elastic. For this view, I decided to make a sleeveless version with the ribbon instead of elastic. I can tie the ribbon at the bottom of the dress to make the side shorter or adjust it to make it longer.
The McCall 7833 pattern is great for beginners and quick to cut and sew. I cut the front and back from the same pattern piece, the neck, and arm facings. Three pieces, yes only three pieces to create this dress. Once I applied the interfacing to the neck facing, I was able to sew the dress in a few short hours. This was great for me. I usually do not have a lot of time available between my two small girls, and working a full-time job, you know adulting.
Once I assembled the dress, I did not like where the flowers were in the front. Since the front and back are the same pieces, I was able to turn the dress around without using a seam ripper. I applied my label to what would have been the front of the dress and inserted the ribbon.
I paired this beautiful dress with silver jewelry and black platform heels, but I could probably get away with cute flip flops or sneakers! I love how versatile the dress is with endless styling options.
Overall, I really enjoyed working on this project. I am in love with the final results and the bold floral print of the dress!
Thanks, Minerva for the supplies and thank you for reading!
For years I’ve been planning to make a sun hat. I struggle to find ones I like, and that fit in the shops. I have quite a large head (59-60cm circumference) so a lot of hats don’t fit. I bought the Kwik Sew 3699 Pattern in a sale a few years ago but never got around to making it. This Sewing Pattern seems to be a newer version of the pattern. So, I thought rather than waiting until the summer, I’d make it in the winter so it’s ready to go when the sun makes an appearance.
I picked view A – the bucket style hat - made in the large size. Fabric wise I thought I’d use lightweight Denim from Art Gallery Fabrics. I tend to wear a lot of blue or turquoise clothing so it should match most of my outfits, and being lightweight hopefully it won’t make my head sweat. I used the same fabric for the lining as well.
The pattern didn’t specify what kind of interfacing to use. I assumed it would need to be firm for the brim in particular so I ordered firm. But when it came it was very stiff. I thought I could use it just for the brim and some from my stash for the rest of the hat. But when I came to cut it, the piece I had was too narrow, just 12 inches. So I couldn’t fit the pattern piece on in order to cut it on the fold as specified. Another inch or so in the width and it would have worked.
So, I pulled some out from my stash, Vlieseline H250 for the brim (it felt like the firmest I had) and F220 for the body. Both turned out to be the perfect choice, they held the shape of the hat well but had some flexibility.
There were only 3 pattern pieces, so cutting and interfacing was a quick process. In fact the whole pattern was fast to make, under 2 hours total.
Because there were a lot of curved seams to sew I tried out a new Clover stitch guide I had to help keep my seams consistent. You stick it onto your machine to give you a guide to line up the edge of the fabric with. If you flip it so the long side is along the foot you can use it for sewing straight seams.
The sewing was all pretty straight forward. The only issue I had was when pinning the 2 pieces for the brim together one seemed to be a little larger than the other. There was excess fabric in the lining piece somehow. I don’t know how when I used the same template to cut both pieces!
To remove the excess, I started sewing them together past the seam (where the 2 sides of the brim piece joined), I then sewed most the way around and stopped just before the seam line. I then re-sewed that seam (as shown above, the lower line of stitching was the new seam), trimmed off the excess and then finished stitching 2 brim pieces together.
The rest all came together quickly and easily. I always thought making hats would be quite tricky, I was surprised and pleased by how simple it was. After turning through it was pretty crumpled so I pressed it before wearing it. It was the perfect fit, so I know it’s a pattern I’ll be making again.
Thanks for reading,
Fiona @ The Sewing Directory
Posted in Projects on Monday the 22nd April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, it's Amanda from Deriving Mommyhood! I love a good chambray….it’s like jeans/denim, but soft, drapes well, lightweight...yet still classic. This Robert Kaufman Fabric version is the charcoal colorway and it is made from white and black threads woven together so that it appears grey.
At first touch, I was nervous. This is a double layer of super lightweight, gauze fabrics, that are pickstitched every inch or so. Reminds me a lot of cheesecloth. This gives it a tendency to warp along the bias easily and make it hard to keep things on grain. Now, every woven fabric can warp a little, that’s normal and why we do things like stay stitch to keep things from getting messed up as we sew….but this one, way more than usual. I would say it’s more for an advanced seamstress as a result and not very beginner friendly. Twisted grain on a garment can make it uncomfortable to wear (ever had a shirt from the store feel like the sleeves are just twisting on you, all the time? Probably was cut off grain) so just a word of caution. Now, looser weaves though can have amazing drape and these ‘negatives’ to sewing and cutting actually make for a very strong positive when a garment is properly constructed from it. It will be lightweight, flow nicely, and be very soft when wearing.
I was excited to make a woven blouse for myself that would benefit from the weave. The Madison Blouse from Rebecca Page has elements that make it work much better with a fabric that has soft drape to it as there are gathers along both the front and back yoke and sleeves that would look stiff and bulky in a fabric closer to quilting cotton or twill. The tie option also would probably look pretty ridiculous with something that isn’t very lightweight. I decided against the tie (or pussy bow, as this design element is known) because….well….I honestly didn’t think I could pull it off. I have loved the look on so many outfits I’ve seen, but I was worried I’d never wear it because it would look silly on me. I left it off on the little one’s as well as I figured she would just chew on it or cover it with food.
I cut most of the pieces with wrong side up as the little pick stitches on the back make it easy to find the grain of the fabric and line things up. The fabric separates easily into it’s two layers outside of those little stitches so do be gentle in handling as it frays very easily. I made sure to use an overlocker immediately after every seam stitch so that it would not fray too much as I went.
I will admit I’m often careless and quick when sewing. I don’t pin a lot, I skip basting steps….this is not the fabric for it. I stay stitched immediately after cutting. This fabric is why those steps exist: to teach fast sewists like me to follow the rules! I pinned a LOT when sewing here.
It was definitely worth it in the end. A well crafted garment gets much more use than one that twists on you, right? For my little one, I decided to highlight some design elements of the top by adding piping along the yoke seams. I chose black to keep it more versatile, but still wondering if I should have done pom pom or ricrac in a bright color...thankfully, this fabric is very neutral and could match anything so any of those options looked nice when I laid them out, but I guess I just wasn’t feeling very brave this week.
This pattern, like all Rebecca Page patterns, has nice clean finishing options like flat fell seams and french seams so that there are no exposed seams on the inside of the garment. I chose to use my serger instead as I was worried about doing a flat felled seam with this particular chambray and wanted to make sure nothing frayed as I went, but love having the option to do those clean finishes. Usually I do, I promise.
I wore this top all day and it was so comfortable. Lightweight and soft, moves with the body well because of the looser weave. This may become a staple piece. You’ll notice it is slightly sheer, I layered over a black cami for myself. With a less fitted garment I doubt it would be noticed though (like on the baby, doesn’t seem as sheer as hers has more ease than mine).
Thanks for reading! Can’t wait to see what you make :)
So last summer was so long and hot. I really struggled sometimes, getting dressed to go out as I don’t have a cool dressing gown. I’ve got a lovely thick towelling one and a synthetic one, but they were both just too warm.
So, when I saw this Stretch Cotton Fabric, I knew what it would be perfect for.
The fabric composition is 60% Cotton, 37% Polyester, 3% Elastane and is a generous 60 inches wide. Although, I must admit that when it arrived, I was surprised to see that the stripes ran across the fabric (opposite to the grainline) or to describe it a different way, in the direction of the weft threads. I don’t know why I had expected them to be in line with the grainline? Due to the 3% elastane, there was a stretch to the fabric, and this was in the grainline direction. I would estimate that it had about 20% stretch.
Once I’d received my fabric, I set about finding the best Kimono pattern I could. I wanted something nice and simple, although I did go the extra mile and add some personalising details which I will cover shortly.
So, I chose this one its got a few options for pyjamas and dressing gowns so I know its great value for money. I chose Simplicity 5314 its got both ladies and men’s. I definitely think I’ll be making for other family members once they see mine finished!
As always I prewashed at the temperature indicated on the website (in this case 40 OC) before starting to cut it out.
I’m so lucky to have a long living room, it really helps when cutting out a big project and you can see clearly the stripe direction.
I had also decided that it was worth the extra time, to make piping for all the seams I could, so I used some navy linen from my stash and some fine piping cord and made my own. Why is it no matter how much you think you need, you actually need about twice as much??
I had also decided that if I’m making a dressing gown, I wanted it to be super neat on the inside too so I was going to give my Kimono French seams too!
If you’ve never made French seams, its really not difficult. Basically you join at the seam but wrong sides together, so the seam is on the outside.
Then fold that to the inside, press and stitch the seam together.
So the raw edge is trapped inside.
Then press flat (this is my shoulder seam).
I’m really pleased now my Kimono is finished and I’m just hoping that we get another long hot summer like 2018 so it will get loads of use.
Thank you for reading and happy sewing!
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 21st April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
I was delighted to receive two metres of textured Jersey Fabric with a non-directional print in muted blue tones. The texture is subtle and the print has an awful lot going on it without appearing too busy. When viewed up close there is plenty of interest in the print, whilst from a distance the images blend effectively due to clever colour choices. The fabric itself is light enough to give a good amount of drape without losing the structure of a garment. I decided to make a sweater to use as a layering piece. The pattern I chose to use was Simplicity 8529, which I received with a sewing magazine a few months ago. This pattern is the Simplicity collaboration with Sew House Seven which produced a paper version of their popular Toaster Sweater.
Since the print on this fabric is non directional I had no need to worry about how I placed the pattern pieces, beyond the usual stretch and grainline considerations. However, the two metres I had received gave me plenty of room to manoeuvre had there been a directional print on this base fabric. Having chosen the high neck version of the pattern I had only four pattern pieces to cut out, a process that went very smoothly as the texture on the fabric prevented it from moving around whilst pinning. I did opt to stabilise the shoulders with ribbon prior to sewing to ensure that the shape is retained with wear, but this was very much a precautionary measure as the fabric seems relatively stable for a lighter weight knit.
Sewing the sweater was a quick and simple process. The most complicated portions being the corners of the split hem option that I chose to do and attaching the cuff bands. Since I didn’t bother to clip the corners whilst hemming I resolved any messier areas with a little hand stitching, so that was hardly an issue in any case. In order to make attaching the cuff bands easier I used my tried and true method of placing the end of the sleeve around the part of the sewing machine under the foot (once the accessories box has been removed. I have found that this puts exactly the right amount of stretch on the sleeve and cuff band to ensure that they match up correctly when sewing garments in my size. Of course this does not work for children and toys, but on the machine I use it works perfectly.
The split hem sits slightly lower at the back than at the front, which is a design feature I like. The split itself is fairly lengthy, allowing you to show off the top of a high waisted skirt or pair of jeans, or a favourite base layer garment.
The sleeves are a good length, with the cuffs coming down over my hands, which adds to the comfy cosy feel of the sweater. The raised neckline also supports this feeling when wearing it.
Overall I am pleased with the finished item. I stitched up the large size, which is roomy enough for me to layer up underneath when it’s particularly chilly, without seeming ridiculously oversized on less cold days. The pattern sizes run from extra XS to extra XL on the Simplicity version. Where I to make the pattern again I would consider putting in thumb holes on the cuff bands, but otherwise I am delighted with the result, and am already planning on making a few more variations in different weights of fabric.
Zoe @ ewesewyou
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 21st April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 20th April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
As soon as I saw the Supersoft Dimple Fleece Fabric I fell in love. I mean what is not to love? Those printed giraffes are the cutest I’ve seen printed on fabric. I was excited about this fabric before I got it, but when I received it, I literally started jumping around with excitement. The fabric is very soft. It’s softer than I imagined a 100% polyester fabric would be.
I chose to dive straight into making my outfit. I like to take risks when it comes to sewing. However, it’s recommended to pre-wash your fabric before you start sewing with it, just to avoid your project shrinking afterwards. I always wanted a pyjama that I can also wear as lounge wear, just because I can be lazy and not come out of it.
For the top I used the Frankie top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons’ book called Stretch. I’ve made the top in the past and I love the raglan sleeves on it. Also, that meant that I already had the pattern pieces ready to use.
I found the fabric quite easy to work with. When cutting fur to the pile I made a little mess as there were small threads falling off. But, this was not as bad as when working for faux fur or velvet.
To reduce the bulk in the seam around the neckline, I used a piece of scrap fabric to cut the neckband. I only used my sewing machine to top-stitch the neckband flat.
To make the top I used coordinating thread and used my overlocker for construction including the hems. But, if you do not have an overlocker like me, you can use the sewing machine – lightning or zig-zag stitched is good for stretch fabrics. I would in this case think about how you will finish the raw edges, purely because pile fabrics tend to shed pile threads.
For the bottoms I used the Monsal lounge pants pattern from Wendy Ward’s book A beginner’s guide to sewing with knitted fabric. I skipped the trousers on this version and did not add a waistband. I used the overlocker/serger for most of the construction except for the part where I added the elastic. For this part of the construction I used the sewing machine – zig-zag stitch.
I feel my day is brighter just by being in this outfit. It might not be the most flattering outfit I own but it is comfortable, makes me smile and keeps me warm. During the cold weather when it’s bleak outside this make be feel better.
My tips for working with this fabric:
this fabric has a pile so make sure all your pattern pieces are facing the same direction. You also need to be careful to make sure the giraffes are the right side up on your finished garment.
Although the print is perfect for kids projects, I’d keep in mind that the fibre content is 100% polyester, which might limit the type of project where you can use this fabric.
Test stitches on scraps of fabric to make sure you have the correct settings. Usually a lightning stitch is just perfect, but if your sewing machine does not have this stitch, a small width zig-zag is suitable as well.
If using a sewing machine for construction, consider finishing the raw edges with a wide zig-zag to stop the fabric from shedding threads from the pile.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. And please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts and/or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.