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Hoooked Jute Yarn Sunnyside Up Mandala

Hi there Minerva Crafters - my name is Gilly and I am an avid maker of all things knitted, crocheted and sewn. This is my first time reviewing a product for the Minerva Crafts Blog, and I have to admit, I have been a little nervous!
I have spent an awful lot of time creating mini-garments and baby blankets for the many beautiful small humans my friends have had over the past few years, but after buying my first house with my husband last autumn, I have been looking for some projects I could make for our home.
Our house has lots of wooden floors, which can be rather chilly underfoot, and I've long had grand ideas of making some rugs or floor runners out of a hessian/jute type yarn that we could have in some of the smaller rooms or hallways. However I've found it difficult to identify a yarn that would work for this type of project that was readily available in the UK - and then I heard about Hoooked Jute Yarn.
Having initially learned to crochet using a 12mm hook and Hoooked Zpagetti, I jumped at the chance to try their new offering. As well as being really hard wearing, therefore perfect for making a rug that would be stepped on daily; I love the fact that this yarn is fair trade, sustainable, and produced by a small family business in Brazil.
Whilst I initially thought I'd make a floor runner, my project plans changed slightly when I found out we were having a small human of our own, and I decided instead to make a Mandala rug for the baby's room to sit by the cot.
I realised that the weight of the yarn and therefore large size of the hook meant I could probably make a decent sized rug out of any mandala pattern, and I didn’t need a specific rug pattern to follow. After trawling the internet for ideas, I settled on attempting the Sunnyside Up Mandala by Redagape, which is a free pattern available on her fabulous blog.
Before starting the pattern I thought I should try out some simple crochet stitches with the jute as not having worked with it before I was unsure on the tension required, and whether a 10mm or 12mm hook would work best. Despite looking rough to touch, after completing a chain and some triple crochet stitches I found it was really nice to work with and that using a 12mm hook the yarn crocheted up very neatly. Also my worries that the yarn may easily split proved to be unfounded.
The pattern starts with a magic circle, and whilst this was tricky due to the chunkiness of the yarn, once I got going the mandala began to take shape and grow very quickly (always a bonus when making anything in my book, as it greatly reduces the chance of a project being cast aside and remaining as a WIP for months!)
The key I find to making any crochet project in the round successfully is markers, and I used the large sized safety pin markers from this Pony Stitch Markers Pack to mark the start of each round so I didn’t over or under crochet. 
The pattern, whilst really effective, is actually quite simple to undertake mainly using double, triple and chain stitches. The only real difficulty I faced was handling the weight of the rug as the pattern progressed! As a result I found for the final couple of rounds that it was easiest to sit on the floor with the rug, turning it as I crocheted.
As I had decided to use a pattern which was not written for the jute, I crossed my fingers that I would have enough yarn to finish the rug with the four balls that I had. The final round, adding the picot edging, was touch and go as to whether I would be able to complete the mandala, however thankfully I had just enough jute to finish. For anyone thinking of using this pattern and yarn together I would say four balls is enough, but only just – the tail in the below photo shows just how tight it was to complete!
There is some variation in colour across the 4 balls of yarn, despite being from the same dye lot, which is visible when looking at the finished rug; however I don’t mind this and feel it works given the nature of the natural jute material.
I’m overall really happy with the final product, which is a good sized rug for a small nursery, and I can’t wait to get the rest of the room ready now! I just get such a sense of achievement in making this myself rather than buying a rug from a shop or online. And I would definitely recommend this yarn to anyone looking to branch out from your more standard crochet to home furnishings!
Big thanks to Minerva Crafts who supplied the Hoooked Jute yarn in return for an honest blog post.
You can see my makes on my Instagram @madebygilly and my ramblings on my blog at MadeByGilly

Fresco Cotton Italia Shirt

Hi everyone,

For my most recent make, I used this Cotton Fabric from Minerva called 'Fresco' - I intended to make a shirt and once the fabric had arrived, I knew that I could afford for it to be a pretty structured shirt. I chose to make the Style Arc Italia Shirt Dress, which seems to be designed for denim, but I knew this fabric would work brilliantly to create a smart but casual style.

The Italia is designed to be a dress but I shortened it to make a shirt, having made the pattern before, I knew it was a good fit. The pattern has several darts; the front ones are a feature as they follow right through to the hem. I made some changes to help make the garment feel more casual; I omitted the collar and just used the collar stand to make a grandad style collar. I also omitted the placket and cuff from the sleeves and designed them to be three quarter length. The pattern has a curved hem and I made it slightly longer at the back than the front. I used the small triangle piece (I'm not entirely sure what this is called!) to tie this together neatly.

I kept a few of the details that the pattern offers, there is an optional decorative placket which I used and pockets, which I wouldn’t always add but I felt like they added to the overall look of the shirt with the dart so I included them. I added 14 small buttons, I love that making your owns clothes means that you can design garments so they are right for you. I use lots of buttons on shirts because then I know I won’t be any gaping like you can have with any RTW shirts. I overlocked and turns the hem once, which I find a really easy way of hemming curves and my shirt was complete!

A few tips:

Firstly, I found it tricky at times to tell the difference between the right and wrong side of the fabric, so I would recommend marking it up, especially with tricker garments like the shirt I’ve made, where there are quite a few pieces and you can easily get confused.

Secondly, the fabric has a really strong and obvious grain so make sure that you definitely line your pattern pieces with the grainline.

Thirdly, even though it is a cotton fabric, it did not like a hot iron, so keep your iron cooler for this one.

The fabric is perfect for shirts like this, it has a beautiful structure but still feels casual and relaxed. It has slight stretch, which makes it easy to manipulate and easy to wear. It is also really light and breathable. I am so pleased with my new shirt. I hope you like it too!


Clover Felting Tools Review

I’ve been getting to grips with felt making over the last few weeks after receiving a multi-needle Clover Felt Making Tool and Felt Making Pad from Minerva Crafts. I’d done a bit of wet felt making but had never tried needle felting before.
The very day after the needle and pad arrived I attended a felt making workshop. We had the opportunity to use both wet and needle felting and I began to understand how the processes work.
Wet felting uses layers of Roving (wool fibres) placed at right angles to each other and then added details placed on top. The wool is felted by adding hot soapy water and agitating the fibres with friction by rubbing them together under a layer of net/ bubble wrap. The fibres knit and shrink together creating a piece of felted fabric. It’s quite tricky to create a highly detailed design as the elements tend to move about rather a lot.
Needle felting uses a barbed single or multi-needle tool to catch and knit the fibres together. It’s possible to create 3D felted forms and detailed flat felted work. Over the last couple of weeks, I have found a technique that suits my working style and is a mixture of the two techniques.
I’m not that interested in making 3D figures/ creatures etc. but I do like the idea of making Brooches and embellished artwork.
I read the instructions that came printed on the packaging which suggested that these tools could be used to applique one piece of felt or roving to another piece of fabric. This would work really well with the brightly coloured pre-made felt that can be purchased or to add embellishments and details to woollen garments. Adding flowers, patterns etc to a jumper or coat for example.
I also tried felting onto some fine butter muslin, and while the roving did not adhere to the cotton as the fibres are so different, it did create an interesting effect which I think I might use to good effect in my current art project.
So how did the tools perform?
The multi-needle tool is really good for applying ready-made felt, or a wet felted piece to another surface or piece of felt. I found when adding roving it allowed big areas to be added and felted quite quickly. It’s quite important to turn the work over from time to time as the brushes on the pad can hold the fibres and create a furry texture. This can be tidied by felting a little from the reverse. However, the multi-needle tool is not so good for fine and detailed work. If you want to make a small tight circle or heart shape a single needle tool is required for accuracy. If you are going to invest in these tools. Get a Single Felting Needle Tool too.
I quite like the detailed work that can be achieved with needle felting, but the density that is achieved with wet felting. I have developed my way of working to achieve this when making a flat brooch. Firstly I created the basic shape of the brooch by using a handful of roving and using the multi-needle tool to create the shape. Simply pressing the tool repeatedly into the wool and pulling in loose fibres until I had the basic shape. Then I added more details using the single needle tool. This is easily removed at this stage if you make a mistake. Then I wetted the brooch with hot tap water and added a drop or two of hand soap and rubbed it between my fingers to really felt the fibres together. The details stay in place well (which they don’t when just wet felted) and the brooch shrinks and becomes much firmer and more solid. Then I rinsed the soap out, squeezed the felt to get rid of the excess water. Once dry I used the single needle to tidy up any stray fibres and added a brooch back.
I’ve tried the same technique with flat wet felted pieces. Creating the basic shape/ colour with wet felting. Then adding the details with the needle felting tool before wet felting again the secure everything in place. I am in love with the surfaces that can be created, from very delicate lacy surfaces to dense detailed sculptural pieces.
If you’ve never explored felt making I really do suggest you give it a try. I can’t wait to use this technique to make jewellery, fashion, accessories and art. The tools and materials are inexpensive and just a little roving goes a very long way.
Thanks for reading,

Diablo Jersey Review

Hello everyone!

Today, I am back on Minerva Crafts blog with another product review. On this occasion, I was asked to try out this Diablo Jersey Fabric and I had the choice of colour. This fabric comes in 34 colours, so I had to think about it a little. In the end I felt that ‘Rust’ is an unusual colour perfect for what I had in mind. Unfortunately, I was not able to take a picture that shows the real colour. In the pictures the colour is a bit more red than rust.

On the Minerva Crafts store the fabric is described as; 

gorgeous knitted jersey dressmaking fabric called Diablo has the most wonderful soft and slinky drape. This fabric would be perfect for making into tops, cardigans, skirts and dresses.’ 

It is a bit see through, so if you are making a dress, skirt or trousers consider the fact that you might need to wear it with a slip underneath or make a lining for it.

From the beginning, I had in mind to make River, one of the new patterns from Megan Nielsen Patterns. I wanted to make the dress version and if the left over fabric was big enough a top as well. What can I say, I like to use up all the fabric.

Although, I don’t recommend it, I started on my projects straightaway, without washing the fabric first. Sometimes fabrics shrink in the wash and your garment might shrink as well if the fabric was not washed before construction. I found that the fabric was shedding a little so a little bit of fluff went everywhere.

As I mentioned before, the fabric is a little see through, especially in good lighting or on sunny day. Therefore, I decided to underline the main body pieces for the dress with self-fabric. I did so by cutting one piece and then use it as a pattern to cut the second one. Afterwards I basted them together to be used as a one layer.

As both sides of the fabric are so similar I’ve used pins to mark the right side of the fabric, so I wouldn’t get confused later. This can be done by using safety pins or other marking tools which will save you from stabbing yourself in the pins like I did. LOL

I always use knit interfacing to stabilise hems on knit fabrics. It makes hemming easier and helps reduce the wavy effect that we sometimes get when we hem knitted fabrics.

I did most of the construction on the overlocker/serger, which makes the seams stretch and finish off the raw edges in one step. This fabric does not fray, so it’s not necessary to finish the raw edges if you do not have a serger/overlocker. I only used the sewing machine for the hems and to top-stitch the neckband.

Because this fabric is quite slippery, I felt that a triple zig-zag stitch is the best for hemming after testing a few stitches on a scrap of fabric.

On the dress, before hemming it, I realised that the layers were not equal. I ended up cutting off 5 cm (or 2 inches) of the bottom. And then hemmed the dress. I should note that the dress has a deep hem which I skipped, and make is less deep.

It turned out that, because the fabric is a bit to heavy, underlining it with itself makes it heavier. No matter what I did it just looks wrong. It also causes the dress to look like it is longer than it actually is.

I tried the dress with the tie belt. It makes things better but you can still see those drag lines. Darn!

For a while I felt that the dress is going to end up in the failed projects pile, until I decided decided to separate the layers above the hem but cutting loose the inner layer of the dress. To my surprise, it worked. The dress hangs better and no longer shows those drag lines you can see in the pictures. It is a bit messy on the inside, but that’s ok, no one will see it.

As for the top, it all went ok because I did not underline it. I like the colour and the fabric is quite soft against the skin, even though it is made from polyester.

These are my tips for working with this slinky diablo stretch jersey:

  • I do not recommend it to beginner stitchers because the fabric is a bit temperamental.

  • best used in tops, or cardigans.

  • as the fabric is a bit see through consider using a slip underneath for skirts or dresses.

  • baste before stitching the seams, the fabric has a tendency to slip, and you can end up to mismatched edges.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog post. We would really love to see your projects made with supplied from MinervaCrafts, so please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.


Sewing Adventures in the Attick


King Cole Bamboo Cotton Yarn Review

The King Cole Bamboo Cotton Yarn is such a versatile yarn. As soon as I received the balls of yarn I had ideas of knits flowing through my head. I decided that once again I am going to knit something for the girls. The summer is coming to an end soon and I didn’t want to crochet a cardigan so  stuck to knitting. 
In the past I have used cotton yarn before and it has easily split, but the softness and lightweight yarn meant that whatever I knit could be worn in all seasons by my child. The yarn is 50% Viscose and 50% Bamboo cotton, and when it comes to knitting children’s garments you cannot beat natural fibres. The colour I tried was vanilla. By the name it sounded a lighter hue of yellow but when it arrived it was more of a egg yolk colour. Again this was perfect for what I wanted to knit because it’s a colour that can suit all seasons.
The King Cole Bamboo yarn is super super soft, it does also mean that the stitches not he needles can be quite slippery. I usually like to knit using wooden knitting needles for those silky yarns. The knitting needles used were size 4mm as per the instructions on the packaging and 2.75mm (aluminium), both pairs of needles were straight. 
I started off with a little crochet swatch and a knitted swatch, just in case I changed my mind to crochet something. I decided to stick to good old knitting. The swatch measured 10cm by 10cm as suggested on the packaging. I used the 4mm knitting needles, and the stitches were exactly how the packaging instructions explained: aiming for 22 stitches and 28 rows. I think this was due to the fibres in the yarn, they are not as stretchy as other fibres and therefore provide a much sturdy knit. 
Changing over to smaller needles for a decorative border on the cardigan, I thought that the yarn may be too tight to knit, but it was far from that. It was perfect. I could easily knit using the 2.75mm needles. When changing back to the 4mm needles I also thought the garment would stretch a little, but again no change, the cardigan was knitting as I was expecting. 
There are always worries when using DK (double knitting) yarn, the worry that the strings of yarn twisted together will come apart, especially when stitches have to be reworked, and this has happened may times with cotton yarn I have used in the past. Because I was using this yarn to create my own pattern, I was reworking quite a lot, and the yarn kept it’s shape and did not untwist. There is always the odd occasion that the needle will miss the tiny strings, but I think that is down to the needle used rather than the yarn itself. I would probably use sharp ended needles next time with this type of yarn, I think it will help me knit quicker.
I used different stitches to see how I can knit with this King Cole yarn. First the rib stitch, just a simple 1x1 rib, which can sometimes be time consuming with heavier yarns, especially when they untwist. Again this yarn did not slow my knitting down at all. Then I moved on to garter stitch (it’s my favourite stitch) and I found I was knitting at a good fast pace as I would expect.
Overall this yarn was great, it did not loose it’s structure and could be used with different techniques and material of needles. It comes in a great variety of colours too, I’m glad I opted for the Vanilla colour way, it will something I can see my daughter wearing in the Autumn.
Thanks for reading,
Teena @ teenyweenies

Simplicity 8134 Jersey Lounge Pants

Hello there, it’s Annie from Scavenger Annie and Northern Bird Designs!
Spurred on by the need to stitch up some comfy trousers that would look just as good on the yoga mat as they would on the school run I decided to test out the John Kaldor Jersey Fabric in French Navy on Simplicity Pattern 8134. As well as the standard loose fitting trousers the pattern has the options of wrap front pants and shorts, along with the very on trend wide leg pants. I figured these would make the perfect trousers for the unpredictable British weather as it comes to the end of summer. 
When the fabric arrived I knew that the softness of the jersey would lend itself well to some comfy lounge pants. When I’m busy around the house I like to feel comfortable in my outfits, from pottering around the garden, working on my latest illustrations, doing a bit of daily yoga and then do the mad dash out for the school run. An outfit to suit all purposes, that was my goal!
As a lover of bold and alternative prints this fabric was a plain colour choice to add to my handmade wardrobe. The richness and depth of the colour is beautiful in person. This stretch jersey fabric immediately reveals its top quality when you feel it, with a soft blend of polyester and spandex. Speaking of colours, there is a huge selection available from Minerva. I opted for the French Navy to match a lightweight jacket that I own. Taking it out of the packaging the fabric has a beautiful drape to it, lightweight and flowing. It would just as easily suit tops, skirts and dresses, especially due to its good stretch recovery and weight.
As with all fabrics I washed it before use by hand, line dried, and the colour and quality was not affected. Upon cutting the fabric the rotary blade glided through the fabric like a hot knife through butter! So smooth and I never thought I’d say this about cutting, but it was a delight! It’s worth noting that with pinning the pattern to the fabric no marks or holes remained upon the removal of the pins. For future projects I would try using clips instead as there was a slight slippage due to the softness of the fabric. It was also more manageable to roughly cut around each pattern piece with good quality dressmaking scissors and then cut neatly around the edges with the rotary cutter due to the weight of the remainder of the fabric pulling down.
When it came to stitching I used both my sewing machine and my overlocker. The edges didn’t curl or fray so the use of an overlocker was down to personal preference. The fabric stitched up nicely and I’m pleased with the outcome. Time to grab my yoga mat and head out into the garden to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine!

Prym Skirt & Hem Marker Review

You might be aware that when you made a skirt or dress with a lot of bias in the hem (like a full/circle skirt), it is advisable to let it hang on a dress form or hanger for a day or so, to let the hem settle, before you hem it. Because of the bias, the hem can stretch out in weird and uneven ways. 

I recently made a circle skirt out of a medium weight wool, and thought it would provide the perfect opportunity to test this Prym Skirt Marker from Minerva. (I was given the product free of charge in exchange for a review, but this review is honest, honest!)

The first thing I noticed about this skirt marker is how compact it is. It arrived in a box just slightly longer than a shoe box, but still compact enough to store like one. 
(The random shoe is there for scale!)

Inside the box were four main pieces: the base, the stand, the chalk and the pump.
The instructions were on the outside of the box, I realised after a mild panic, and very easy to follow.
Literally two minutes later, I had assembled the marker:
Essentially, you pour the chalk powder (which is included) into the unit at the top, which can be moved up and down the pole to set it at the desired height. You then squeeze the pump (the accordion-like bit at the bottom) and the chalk comes out of the fine line in the top unit, to mark your skirt with a line of chalk. (See image below. The chalk rubbed off my fabric pretty easily, in case you are wondering - but always worth a check with your project’s fabric!)
So to mark my skirt, I set the height in line with the shortest bit of hemline on the skirt, and then moved the marker pole all around the skirt, puffing away, until I had an even hemline marked all the way around. It was that easy! You can see below how uneven the skirt was after hanging overnight, and without this tool I think I would have struggled to achieve an even hem.
It was again a matter of a couple of minutes’ work to dismantle the marker and pack it away in its little box once I was done.

To finish the hem, I then pinned my bias tape along the marked chalk line, stitched, trimmed the seam, turned to the inside and stitched again.
The only problem I experienced while using this marker was caused by the shape of my dress form’s stand at the base:
As you can see, my stand prevented the skirt marker from getting close enough to some sections of the skirt. I didn’t want to pull the skirt itself closer to the puff unit because that would distort the length. In the end I just puffed extra hard and it was still visible, just a bit faint.

All in all, I found this to be a very handy little tool, perfect for dealing with big uneven bias hems!
Thanks for reading,
Michelle @ Michelle Sews

Tilly and the Buttons Frankie Tee

I have been looking for a good quality Cotton Jersey Fabric for a while now and the search was real – I have stroked more plain white jerseys in shops than I would care to recount! When I saw that Minerva had a cotton spandex jersey up for review I jumped at the chance. I know it may seem boring to then choose ivory from the 29 colours that Minerva has available in this fabric, but this is exactly what I had been searching for. The reason I chose ivory is because I have a fabric stash full of patterned jerseys and really wanted to make the Frankie tee by Tilly and the Buttons.
Since the publication of Tilly’s Stretch book earlier this year, the Frankie tee has been constantly popping up in magazines, blogs and on my Instagram feed. I love a raglan sleeve (the Grainline Studio Linden is my go-to sweatshirt pattern) and was really excited to see Tilly release this pattern (my version is the one that came free with Sew Magazine, but it is the same as in the Stretch book). The Frankie also has a curved hem that dips at the back and slightly tapered out side seams towards the hips, which I found really flattering. This jersey is 5% spandex (and 95% cotton) which makes it perfect for the Frankie. The raglan sleeve means that you can really play with different combinations of fabrics, but I really wanted to do a traditional white body with patterned sleeves and neckband.
I chose one of the more busy patterned jerseys with parrots on from my stash to pair with the ivory so that there would be a big contrast between the two. I found the pattern really straightforward to sew. I mainly used my Janome overlocker to construct the garment and then used a zigzag stitch with a 80/12 stretch needle for hemming the sleeves and body. Although I’ve sewn a lot of tee shirts, I usually fine the neckband tricky (and am no stranger to unpicking a neckband at least once during a project!) so I was pleasantly surprised when this one sat well first time! Tilly recommends basting the neckband with a wide zigzag stitch and I think that really helped get the placement right before overlocking it into place.
Overall, I love the finished top. I've styled it with my Closet Case Ginger jeans here - a perfect match! It fits great and love the fabrics that I chose! I am really impressed with the quality of this jersey. It is really thick and still feels and looks great after washing! (I washed it at 30 when it arrived and dried it on the washing line before cutting). It is exactly what I was looking for and I’m not disappointed at all. I only needed 1m to make the Frankie (and there’s even enough left to make a pair of Megan Nielson Acacia pants!) I will be ordering more colours to make more Frankie tees in the different sleeve lengths and different colour combinations. I’m really pleased to find a good quality cotton plain jersey at last!
Thanks to Minerva for supplying the ivory jersey.
You can find me at @pocketortwo on Instagram and blogging at pocketortwo.

Hoooked Natural Jute Crochet Basket

I was delighted to be able to try out the Hoooked Natural Jute because it had been a long time since I had worked with an uncommon yarn and I fancied a challenge! I had chosen 2 colours; ‘vanilla cream’ and ‘tea rose’.
After having a good feel of the jute and trying a few stitches using various different sized hooks, I decided that a 12mm wooden hook worked best for me (I think plastic hooks may well snap under the pressure of this heavier duty yarn, so would definitely recommend wooden or metal hooks). Without much thought about where it was taking me, I began crocheting in the round and my circle very quickly grew to the size of a side plate and I could use it as a coaster for my mugs of tea! I wondered about making some sort of basket, the jute would make it strong and give it a good rigid structure.
The jute yarn is a bit tough going to work with. I would definitely recommend working little and often if you find that your hands and arms get sore. However, on the plus side, your project will grow very quickly and like me, you will find yourself at the end of the bobbin!
Because I was improvising my design as I went along I decided that once the ‘vanilla cream’ had run out I would move on to the ‘tea rose’ to form the sides of my basket. But, after a few rounds of my second colour I realised that it was going to be a very shallow basket and I didn’t like it. At this point I did what I tend to do with all designs that I fall out with and put this crochet on the naughty step for some time out!
After a few weeks break I was ready to return to my project and after a quick bit of unravelling, I was back on track with a smaller diameter and a fresh idea to make this a plant pot holder instead of a basket. The yarn responded well to being unravelled and before I knew it the height was right for the peace lily plant pot I had in mind.
The jute yarn is very in keeping with the styling in my home. I seek out natural colours, upcycled furniture and quirky pieces too. Hoooked Natural Jute is 100% sustainably sourced, vegetable based fibre and the colours are all toxic free. The yarn is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, but I think this particular jute plant pot cover is perfect in this corner of my front room!
If you would like to make yourself a jute plant pot cover you will need 2 colours of your choice in 350g bobbins of Hoooked Natural Jute and a 12mm wooden or metal crochet hook. I am outlining the pattern in a very simple, abbreviated way, assuming prior crochet knowledge and using UK terms throughout.
ss slip stitch
dc double crochet
BLO back loop only
Begin with a magic loop with 8dc worked into it.
Work 3 rounds in dc stitches, increasing 8 stitches per round until you have 32 stitches in a round.
Work 1 round, without increasing, into the BLO (this is unseen from the outside of the pot but gives a stronger fold for the base of the pot cover)
From here until the end - work 1dc in each dc, changing to colour 2 once colour 1 runs out.
Finish with a ss into the next st. Cut yarn and sew in ends.
Thanks for reading,
Marta Mitchel / Crochet Designer

Gingham Seersucker Walkaway Dress

Hi creatives!

Well Minerva asked me to test my pattern following skills and generously sent me the infamous B4790 Retro Butterick '52 Pattern - aka the walkaway dress. Walkaway as in it is supposed to be nice and simple that you can make it quick and easily and walk away, preferably to a nice restaurant not food shopping where I normally seem to find myself. 

This pattern is based on an original I’m guessing from the 1950s, I would love to see what gals in the past came up with when creating this dress!

Cutting the pieces was fun there are only three pieces to the pattern the skirt(s) and the bodice, you end up with one piece once sewn together that you put on over your head and bring the full skirt around to the front. It took me a while to figure out how it worked when I initially looked at the pattern, I'm thinking where is the rest of the dress this cannot just be it?

Not realising that the dress requires no zip or buttons, but simply can be tied or buttoned at the front, depending on your trimming preference. The back of the dress wraps around to the front for a pencil dress with full skirt over the top kind of look! It is very Betty Draper and looks super adorable with a full petticoat underneath. I can definitely envision wearing this piece with some beautiful capri trousers underneath.

For the trimming I opted for some bias tape, I've never trimmed a dress before as I find the look a bit twee on me, but it worked out quite well. I used some Gingham Seersucker Fabric from Minerva and wore it on my holiday to Crete, it is a great piece to wear when you have been to the beach and just want to throw something on over your soggy swimwear, yet still look put together. 

Now initially the dress looked a bit like a dinner ladies tabard, I think the dress doesn’t need so much fabric on the bodice as it can look a bit frumpy – I have a large bust so this tends to happen a lot, but with a couple of extra darts it looks much better. I would definitely recommend pinning bodice to yourself or a mannequin as you go along just so you can get the fit just right.

This pattern is great for people who do not like following patterns aka me, there aren’t a hundred fiddley pieces to cut out and there is minimal sewing involved. And you end up with such a glamourous piece that looks like it would be really complex to make but you can make in a jiffy.

I would definitely use this pattern again and think I would opt for a gorgeous taffeta next time you could even add 3/4 length sleeves to it to bring into a more autumn look. And imagine it with some shiny diamanté buttons for a fastening sigh I die at the possibilities.

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