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The Versatility Of Scuba Knits

To say I was excited to get my hands on this Scuba Knit Fabric is a massive understatement. To be totally honest I couldn’t decide what to make. Should ! create a jumpsuit? A dress? Some wide-leg pants to wear on my next vacation? If I did go with a jumpsuit how could I possibly decide what kind of top to settle on? Then I got an idea… what if I created them all?

When most people think of a scuba-knit fabric, they think of dresses and circle skirts. In creating this project (or projects) I wanted to prove that there are more ways to use scuba knit than basic dresses. I wanted to show you how easy it was to create a variety of pieces from this beautiful textile.

Scuba knit is double-knit fabric that feels soft and luxurious and stable all at the same time. It offers the most incredible support to structured pieces and is surprisingly easy to sew since it doesn’t require interfacing or linings like more lightweight fabrics. This fabric came in the most adorable tropical print and didn’t need to be lined since scuba knits are already thicker and come with a built-in structured drape.

While I was drafting my patterns, I prepped my fabric by washing it in cold water. High heat can damage scuba knits so I recommend washing them in cold water and using an iron on the lowest setting to prevent damaging your fabric. I also let the fabric air-dry since the excess heat in tumble drying can damage scuba knits.

When cutting patterns with this fabric, I used a rotary cutter rather than my regular scissors to make extra smooth edges. Since scuba fabric doesn’t roll and has such a flattering drape to begin with, I left all of the hemlines raw and made my projects that much easier to sew. Creating smooth cuts with my rotary blade gave the hemlines a clean finish with less effort. It’s a win-win! For the armholes on both of my tops, I made some binding from the scrap fabric to create a cohesive look and sewed it together with my serger. The hemline of my skirt was finished by folding the hemline under ½ inch and sewing with a twin needle.

To prepare my sewing machines for this project, I used a ballpoint needle to prevent any snagging or slipping. I also used a walking foot to prevent any bunching under the presser foot. It really helped feed the fabric through the sewing machine before it started slipping.

The first garment I made was the wide leg palazzo pant. If you are just getting started pattern-making, I have a full tutorial on how to draft this pattern yourself on my website, CreativeFashionBlog.com complete with free printables and lots of photos. These pants are legitimately just as comfortable as my pajama pants but are far more acceptable to wear in public. Haha! The pull-on waistband is super comfortable and I love the support and stretch of this fabric. It holds everything in without being uncomfortable or restricting. But maybe the best part of making your own pants is the inseam. For my entire adult life I’ve had the worst time buying pants that were long enough in a store. But that’s the magic in making your own clothes right? Everything fits exactly the way you want in the fabric you want.

From there I went on to assemble the other three pieces to mix and match. My second project was the tank shirt. I love the draped bib detail that adds a bit more interest to a basic tank.

From there, I created the one-shoulder top and the skirt. To draft your own draped pattern details like the ruffled on this one-shoulder top, you can use the basic measurements in making a circle skirt and customize the opening to fit the area you’d like to add detail to. I like using this method to add draped sleeve details, feminine hemlines, or …… draped details to a one-shoulder top.

By making several pieces from the same fabric, I now have the flexibility to mix and match everything to create several entirely new looks. When I go on vacation in the next few weeks, I’m excited to wear the palazzo pants with my new one-shoulder top during the day, switch out the bottoms for a skirt at night, and still have options later on. If there’s anything I love more than making my own clothes, it’s having lots of options to choose from!

I hope you guys liked this project and found some useful takeaways in working with scuba fabrics! I really can’t recommend it enough and am so excited about the summer print. 

Lisa @ Creative Fashion Blog

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Lady McElroy Orange Blossom Caftan

Selecting a sewing pattern for a fabric that has a big bold print can be quite a challenge. Especially when you absolutely love said bold big print. This was the dilemma I found myself in with the delicious linen viscose mix fabric from Lady McElroy aptly named Lady McElroy Orange Blossom Linen Viscose Fabric. With its gauzy lightweight feel this fabric is the perfect summer sewing material. I prewashed it at 30 degrees without any colour loss. This fabric loves the iron and responds with little effort.

After much hemming and hawing I was hit by the idea of sewing a caftan. Loose fitting and freely flowing, a caftan is basically a rectangle with sleeves which meant I wouldn’t have to cut into that stunning orange blossom print. The oranges are vibrant against a verdant green background that sets off the pink and white flowers. It’s a delightful print.

I used a draft it yourself pattern V-Neck caftan (07/2017 #105A) from Burdastyle and it couldn’t have been easier to sew this up. The design has a deep v-neckline and tying belt that is threaded through the front of the dress. You can absolutely make this without the belt and it’s still fabulous. Sewing the bias binding on the neckline was the most time consuming part. Apart from that, it was just a matter of hemming all 4 sides of the rectangle and sewing buttonholes on to the front where the tie belt would be threaded through. Cutting and sewing took all of 1.5 hours.

If you are a fan of zero waste or minimal waste sewing then this might be right up your alley too. The only cutting was to shape the neckline. This has been the most efficient use of fabric in a sewing project I have ever sewn.

A generously cut caftan is a wonderful dress as the temperature rises. It’s versatile and effortless. On a comfort scale it scores a solid 12/10. I have styled it in a more elevated way with my sandals, earrings and necklace for the pictures because I felt glamorous when I slipped it on. I can’t wait for balmy hot days when I can wear this caftan around town feeling glam but comfortable.

On a comfort scale it scores a solid 12/10!

Thanks for stopping by!

You can find me on my YouTube channel or my blog saturdaynightstitch.com.

Hila

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If At First You Don’t Succeed...

Hi, my name is Jemma from @mrsmmade. This is my first blog for Minerva and I am so excited to share with you my first project using their gorgeous Viscose Floral Fabric.
As with first times, of course, not everything went to plan. I persevered, pushed through and ended up with a lovely blouse. Perhaps writing this blog had something to do with it not ending up on the work in progress pile. 
I knew as soon as I chose the fabric I wanted to give Newlook 6344 a try. It’s a pattern I’ve had in my stash for some time as it’s a similar style to what I often buy in RTW. I initially wanted to try version B with the cute collar and cuffs but alas, my copy was miss printed and missing the end of one side of the collar piece and I was too lazy to re-draft it - bad omen perhaps....
My first step, especially considering this was a ‘Big 4’ pattern was to check the finished measurements and the total ease. Not super surprisingly the ease on this one was 9 1/2”!! But I did have to keep in mind it is a loose fitting top, particularly around the bust. My initial bust measurements put me as a size 12. As a general rule I size down for big 4 patterns as I have a D cup bust and my high bust is quite small. I didn’t have to worry about a full bust adjustment with this pattern so I decided to make a straight size 10.
This fabric did worry me at first glance as it was a lot more sheer than I was expecting - but when it was made up, it is deliciously light and not at all sheer.
So I had my pattern cut out, the fabric was ready, next was the supplies. I needed a button, some bias tape and elastic cord. I raided my button stash, easy done.
The fabric is a super light viscose so I decided to make binding out of the main fabric so that the binding wouldn’t be too heavy for the main fabric. Making bias strips out of viscose can be super tricky, I use a smaller cutting mat, one of my sons ultra-washable Crayola textas and a giant ruler. I use the continuous method so that I get one long strip. 
I’ve recently been introduced to the joys of the sew line fabric glue pen and oh my gosh, instead of using a million pins, especially with viscose, I had perfectly lined up bias and it’s the straightest binding I’ve ever made!
I also needed 1 1/4” length of cord elastic, my simple solution for this is to use an elastic hairband and cut it to length and of course I used my trusty fabric glue to keep the loop in place while I sewed it. I don’t think I’m going back to pins!!
Then the real fun started..... I lost count at 7 attempts at putting the neck band on.
I tried the fancy self bindings and spent ages making, I tried stretching it, I tried making it thinner and stretching it. I tried a light weight store bought poly cotton binding, tried stretching the store bought binding. I ensured the neckline was basted and that definitely didn’t stretch out of shape. I went out to the Instagram community for tips. I tried everything I could think of. I even tried putting it aside for a week and finished another project, came back and no difference. I was stumped. But I knew I wanted to finish...
So I did what every good sewist does. I fudged it. Not a proper neckline finish but I overlocked the edges with my Overlocker, folded it under, pressed and top stitched. Then gave it another good press to set it all. You know what, it looks great and if you notice it’s not finished properly you’re probably looking too close.
Aside from my failure sewing the neckline the top really is a simple sew and I would have been finished within a half day. I adore the weight of the fabric, it’s perfect for our Australian summer. Reflecting on the pattern itself, I think the end result is still a little big for me, if I made it again I’d probably go down one more size. Overall I’m happy with the result, the fact the neckline isn’t finished properly can stay a secret between us.
Thanks for reading,
Jemma @mrsmmade
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Sew Over It Fan Girl

I’m a total Sew Over It fan girl - I feel like every time I write a blog post for Minerva, I’m saying how much I love the Sew Over It Patterns Range! This blog post is no different.

Late last year when Lisa Comfort released her new eBook, Work to Weekend, pretty much every pattern went straight to my must sew list. Including this dress, the Kate dress, which is a super versatile pattern. There are instructions for the dress, a shirt version and a skirt version. This pattern has some fairly involved techniques that will keep a confident sewist on their toes, and makes a lovely dress.

I used this palm tree Rayon Challis Fabric in navy, kindly sent to me by Minerva. It’s a super drapey fabric, and has beautiful, large, tropical flowers printed all over. The navy background means that this dress works well with tights, but also the style is perfect for a Spring transition piece.

The pattern itself caused a few head-scratching moments, meaning I got to try some new-to-me techniques, with mixed results. The 6-panelled skirt has spilts between each panel, up to just above the knee, which means lots of accurate sewing of seams and lots of neat ending of raw edges. This worked really well on my dress, and I’m pleased with the result. The concealed button placket on the other hand, involved a serious amount of my brain power and a little bit of winging it! It doesn’t line up perfectly, I’ve added a tuck in the bodice at the waist to make everything line up, but I don’t mind. After all, if we didn’t try new techniques we would never learn new skills as sewists and we would only be able to make the things we already knew about!

I’ve worn this dress out lots. It’s an easy to throw on (although it does sometimes need an iron) and fits all sorts of occasions dress. It can be dressed up or down, and the muted fabric (muted for me anyway!), and the over the knee skirt means that this dress works well for both work and play - which I guess is the whole idea of the Sew Over It Work to Weekend eBook!!

Chloe

@chloelouisew89

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Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress

Hiya! I’m back, with yup, you’ve guessed it…… florals! I just cannot resist a floral fabric, they are always super pretty and super fun. I thought this fabric would make a lovely Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress, so I went with that.

Once washed and dried, this Cotton Fabric was an absolute dream to work with. It stayed where it was supposed to and had hardly any need for many pins and clips. It cut really well and I had no fraying which is fab! 

The colours are really bright, even though it’s a dark based fabric, the flowers really do pop. I absolutely love rainbow thread, so it was a must that I finished all of my seams on the over locker – I can say my dress is bright and colourful on the inside – just like me! 

The pattern does not call for the bodice to be lined, it is made with a neck facing. Sometimes with a thinner fabric, I do worry about it being too thin for an unlined bodice but this fabric really fit the bill and was just perfect. The fabric behaved so well when marking and sewing in the darts. I do find sometimes a fabric can slip a bit when sewing darts – this did not.

Again when lining up the skirt with the bodice and matching darts and tucks, the fabric did not move which made it even easier to line up for an accurate sew. I attached the skirt to the bodice using the over locker, I just went straight in with that instead of basting with the sewing machine first… I know..what a rebel! I had faith that it would glide through perfectly and not cause me problems, which it did. It makes me so happy knowing a fabric is going to behave, that means the whole process is going to be a breeze and the awesome feeling of achievement when done is going to be heightened even more, which spurs me on to get a project finished sooner rather than later!

Tilly and The Buttons Megan has gathered sleeves that have a little bit of puff to them to give them that dramatic effect. The sleeves are probably my favourite part of the dress. 

Even though the fabric was nice and soft, it still had a stiffness to it, which made my sleeves really stand up and ensured the dress also held its shape.

Inserting a zipper in a dress normally gets me a bit nervous…… I keep thinking I will mess it up, my machine will eat it etc. - all the normal worries. I can honestly say with this dress, at the point of inserting the zipper, I was a tad excited and knew it would be a one-time thing, no unpicking and the re- stitching that would normally occur. I’m sure I squealed when it went in and did all the way up. I finished off the bottom of the dress, stood back and admired my work. For once, it all went smoothly.

I will definitely be making some more!

Until next time…

Tee

@The_craftee_welsh_one

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Megan Nielsen’s Dawn Jeans

I made jeans! I still can’t believe it. These are definitely one of my proudest makes and I am so excited to share them with you. I used Megan Nielsen’s Dawn Jeans Pattern which is a high waisted, vintage inspired jean. The Dawn Jeans pattern is for non stretch denim so it was a perfect match for this Robert Kaufman Selvedge Denim. There are four different views- a tapered leg, straight leg, wide leg and shorts. I made View B which is the straight leg. The pattern includes a button fly but there is a tutorial on Megan Nielsen's blog for an exposed button fly or a zipper fly- I chose the latter! 

This Robert Kaufman denim is heavy weight and a dark wash with red and yellow selvedge edges. There’s a slight design on the reverse side which is pretty neat! This denim is only 31 inches wide so I had to take that into consideration when figuring out how much I would need. I knew I wanted to leave the selvedge as a design feature so I made sure to place the side seams of the front and back pattern pieces on the selvedge edges. I only lost the selvedge from the waist to the hip. You can see a little bit of the selvedge when I roll up the legs!

There are very few projects where I have taken the time to make a toile before cutting into my fabric and this is one of those times. Since there is no stretch in this denim, I was scared I would cut a size too small. I also knew these would be a lot of work so I didn’t want the fit to be off! I made a very quick mock up out of some scrap fabric I had and was pretty confident with the size I chose so I cut into the denim. I used another fabric for the pocket bags. The pocket bags are a way to add some fun on the inside so I used a vintage floral cotton for them.  

I really didn’t have any issues sewing these jeans once I figured out the best settings on my machine for the topstitching. There is a lot of topstitching involved (one or two rows for nearly every step) so figuring that out is very important. These jeans were time consuming but I also didn’t rush the process. I have sewn a zipper fly before and I have also sewn with denim before but I was still so nervous with this project! I took them one step at a time. Using a denim needle in my machine was absolutely necessary. I was so relieved I didn’t break any! I had a few really thick spots that I was nervous about sewing through. I hand cranked my machine during those sections or it is recommended to take a hammer to them to flatten them out. It worked! 

My husband enjoys leather working so he cut me a piece of leather and put sewing holes in it for the back patch. It looked so plain when I went to sew it on though. I had an idea to try out my wood burner on it and it worked! I free handed this sewing machine design and I am so thrilled with how it turned out. 

I am so happy with these jeans. I think the fit is great and more importantly- I feel great in them! This denim is such amazing quality. I know I will have and wear these for many years to come!

Thanks for reading,

Erin @ Poetic Memory

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A 1960’s Pattern That Makes Me Go Weak At The Knees!

Hi everyone! My name is Oonagh and I’m a newbie around here. I am a relatively new sewist, having been sewing garments for just over a year. Today I am going to show you my take on Butterick 6582, a reissue of a 1960’s pattern that makes me go weak at the knees!

This was my very first successful Big Four pattern. I had tried one Big Four pattern very early in my sewing journey, a toddler dress and leggings but as it was taking me so long to sew it, my daughter outgrew it before I finished… So I was looking forward to making another attempt. I wanted to test this pattern out with a view to making a more formal version for a wedding in the autumn. For now though, I wanted to choose a plain, bright fabric that would make it wearable on a hot and sunny day, rather than just a special occasion.

This Kingston Fabric, kindly provided by Minerva, is a plain stretch cotton in ruby red. It is crisp, vibrant and the stretch across the width made fitting the bodice that much easier. It even comes in 14 colours! I prewashed at 40 degrees as the washing guide instructs and was delighted to see no colour loss.

The Big Four patterns are known for being pretty generous with ease but I decided to find out for myself and followed the size guide, going with my bust size and cutting out a 14. The fit was rather on the loose side for a fitted bodice but it wasn’t something that taking in the sides couldn’t fix. It was nice to have room to customise the fit if I desired and although I wish I had taken more fabric out at the darts for a neater fit, I am still really pleased with it. If I am to make this pattern again I will definitely cut the smaller size. For reference, my measurements are: bust 36, waist 31, hips 44 and I’m 5”7.

As I had already made a wiggle dress for Christmas I decided to make version C, the swishy flared skirt and (despite serious FOMO after the wiggle dress task on the Great British Sewing Bee) oh boy am I glad I did. This skirt has serious twirlability!

When I first pieced the bodice I was sure the skirt gathers were going to begin too high, making my already hippy figure that bit more exaggerated. However, as the gathers are limited largely to the sides with about 2-3 inches at the center front and center back being flat to the body this wasn’t the case. It’s a really clever design feature and the resulting silhouette is really fun. It feels feminine and girly while still a little grown up and it adds to the retro vibe.

The fabric was a dream to press and, being cotton, could stand a very hot iron, making all those darts a breeze. The other side of fabric that holds a good crease is that it holds ALL THE CREASES… this was easily remedied however by spraying the fabric damp before giving it the final press.

I could see this versatile fabric used in quite a few patterns, particularly those with a gathered or pleated skirt, or perhaps a shirtdress. It is a medium weight cotton so it has enough structure to give the skirt shape and is light enough so the fabric moves well.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and happy stitching! Check out the bonus picture below of my little girl joining in and trying to pose!

Thanks for reading,

Oonagh @oonagh.casey

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Burda 6442 in John Kaldor Sateen

When Minerva reached out to me asking if I wanted to try some of their fabrics, we had just been invited to our sweet and beautiful niece’s wedding.  Yes, later this year – much later this year – she’s marrying the love of her life – and here I am already planning what to wear. Can you tell that we don’t go to that many weddings? as my husband so cleverly added when I first showed him my ‘Aunt of the bride dress’:
‘You do know that the wedding is months away, right honey? You know that you’ll get a lot of new outfit ideas before the wedding, right?’ 
Yeah, yeah – I might come up with another idea or 10 before the wedding, but luckily we have other parties to attend to this year, so ‘she’ will get worn. In fact, my grandmother is turning 90 very soon, perhaps the dress should have its debut at her party?! 
The dress is Burda 6442 – a fairly simple design with a deep v neckline, a twist front detail and a zipper back. It has two lengths to choose from and can be made with or without sleeves. It’s designed for fabrics with a little stretch and can be sewn with woven or knitted fabrics. For my version I chose the woven John Kaldor Ursula Stretch Sateen Fabric (try to say that fast 10 times in row) in the colour ‘Rose Gold’. 
As mentioned above it’s a pretty straight forward make with only a few pattern pieces. View A has a long, flared ‘evening dress’ skirt. View B, which I made, has a straighter skirt, that hits below the knee. Choosing a sateen makes it a little fancier, but you could make it more of an everyday dress by using another type of fabric. A not too heavy ponte would be great.  
The finished dress came out a little too loose for me, but by taking it in just a little at the back darts, I was able to get the fit I was after. It has a zipper down the centre back, but if you make it in a jersey fabric you might be able to skip the zipper. 
The twist front is such a nice and easy to make detail. Trust me, it looks much harder than it is. The v neck was a little too deep for my liking, so with a couple of hand sewn stitches above the twist I closed the v a little. I’ve also fixed the twist with a couple of stitches to keep the overlocked edges from being visible. 
I closed the centre back walking slit as I found the skirt more flattering this way. But, since this lady, who doesn’t wear heels that often, plans to wear this dress with heels, long steps are out of the question anyway. Haha – if you were to spot the woman at the party, who doesn’t usually wear heels, you would immediately pick me. That’s how bad I am walking in heels. ‘The Ministry of Silly Walks’.
Even though I love the look of the sleeveless version, sleeves are just more ‘me’. The sleeves are supposed to be cut on the bias and so I did. I just didn’t like the way they look and felt, so I removed them and added a sleeve from another pattern. I could probably just have cut the original sleeve design on the straight grain, but I was afraid that it would be too fitted and therefore I picked another tried and true sleeve pattern. I did a (sort of) machine stitched blind hem on the dress. I’m not much of a hand sewer so if it can be done by machine it almost always is!  
I really like how this simple yet elegant dress turned out. 
Thank you so much for the supplies, Minerva. It was a pleasure
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My Constellation Pajama Set

Hi everyone, it's Stephanie, The Petite Sewist and welcome to my first project on the Minerva Crafts Blog! I'm sharing my constellation pajama set today. I love sewing with knits because they are so comfortable and easy to fit. I think adding RTW details to knit projects is satisfying and fun. If you're unfamiliar or scared of knits, I encourage you to take a class, watch videos, or connect with people online, and give them a try! The Jersey Fabric I used would be great for a beginner to learn on.

This knit fabric by Stof has 25% 4 way stretch so it's great for more stable knit projects. I mashed two patterns together to create a henley. The Itch to Stitch Idyllwild Top was perfect because it requires only 25% 2 way stretch. I borrowed the placket from the Visby Henley Pattern and used a white cotton/lycra as contrast fabric.

I am fortunate enough to own a serger and coverstitch machine for sewing knits, but those tools are not necessary. Many people use their sewing machines for knits, exclusively. Pop in a stretch or jersey needle, perhaps a walking foot and get familiar with those stretch stitches!

This is my second time using the placket on the Visby Henley pattern and I opted to use snaps....again! I really love using pearlized snaps, and I had these navy ones in my sewing room all ready to go. I must admit that I'm not an expert at placing these but luckily they are pretty easy to remove with needle-nose pliers if you mis-set one. The most important thing is to mark your placement on the left and right sides of the placket carefully. I like to use a heat erasable marker. If you have any tips on how to set a snap without cracking the face of it, please comment below! I have to use a hammer to set them, so I'm wondering if the cracking is inevitable.

For the pants, I used the Carita Joggers Pattern by New Horizons Designs. This was an experiment because the pattern calls for 35% and this fabric has less than that. The designer recommends perhaps taking a smaller seam allowance when using this fabric with the Carita pattern. You would need to use a contrast fabric with more stretch for the waistband and the cuffs. I tried taking a 1/4" seam allowance instead of 3/8" but the normal seam allowance was fine (I have very slender legs). I did a flat seat adjustment, my usual crotch curve adjustments and petite height adjustments. I don't plan on taking any snacks to bed with me so I opted for no pockets. I shortened the waistband so it hits bellow my belly button. They are very comfy!

Now I've got a pretty decent pair of matching pajamas, my first in probably 20 years! I'm really glad I took the time to make the placket, it was definitely the icing on the cake!

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Astoria Revisited

I think as I go along I am getting more confident in knowing what I like and do not like, style-wise. There are still some oops-es along the way for sure but far less than a few years ago. I had made the Astoria from Seamwork magazine twelve to eighteen months ago and it was a bit of a flop for me because I had not lengthened it enough. Once I saw this Jacquard Jersey Knit Fabric in the pink colorway, I knew I wanted to try again.

Let’s begin with the pattern. It is a super simple sew, with real wardrobe staple possibilities. Whether you choose to wear it as is or modify the pattern there are so many things you can do with it. I opted to hack it. I lengthened it three and a half inches; I am not particularly tall but I do not care for cropped as I have a tummy. I also chopped the sleeves to a short sleeve length as well as lowered the neckline. What I ended up with surprised me so much!

This is the perfect Springtime sweater as well as Winter, in Texas at least. Though I will say it has been quite cold here as of late. This sweater is great for throwing on with jeans or even a nicer pair of trousers. It is light enough that I can still throw on a cardigan with it without the sleeves getting all jammed up in the arms. Admittedly, I do not feel as though I can dress this up too much but I can get away with it for dress - casual and definitely casual and even lounging around.

Now, the fabric. I chose the pink colorway as I am super into dusty and blush pinks right now. Everything I have been drawn to colorwise lately has primarily been pink tones. I fought my mother hard over pink whilst I was growing up but having matured (a tiny bit at least) I have come to realize that she was right. Depending on the tone of pink, it can be a really good color choice for me. Though I think Navy will always be my true color love.

The fabric is a really lovely jersey jacquard, there is stretch but not a lot of it like a rayon viscose jersey. It is more along the lines of a ponte. It is very suitable for sweaters and cardigans, even a sweater dress in this would be lovely. Plus it is so incredibly snuggly and soft, you won’t want to wear anything else. It sewed and washed really well and I’ve had no pilling at all. Trust me, I’ve worn it enough to actually test this out. It is THAT comfy! There are four colorways in total and yes navy is one (I want it!!). The reverse of the fabric is super cute as well and could absolutely be used in color-blocking. I just know I am going to enjoy wearing this for years to come.

Sew, Laugh, Repeat

~Viv

@_stitchesandseams_

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