Hi everyone, my name is Netta (@nettameijer on Instagram). I am very excited to join the Minerva Makers team and to share my first make with you here today.
This shirt is the result of a change in my sewing practice this past year. Before, I tended to sew on a whim, make impulse fabric buys and rush my makes. There was usually no planning involved and I didn’t always think things through. That has left me disappointed more than once. Because the fabric ended up not being suitable for the pattern. Because I didn’t take the time to fit a garment properly. Because a certain colour or style didn’t suit me. Because the garment didn’t combine easily with other pieces in my wardrobe. Because I have too much fabric I don’t use. I also gravitate towards fun prints, but they are not what I wear most. I have sewn so many garments that don’t get worn and I wanted to change that.
So this year, I decided to start planning a handmade wardrobe with pieces I would actually wear and could combine into complete me-made outfits. That means sewing more basic and neutral wardrobe essentials. A white button down shirt is one of those classic staples.
This Lady McElroy Viscose Challis Fabric caught my eye. I thought the drape and slight sheerness of it would make the perfect shirt with a touch of chicness. I chose the Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June Handmade because of its classic shape. I have used this pattern before, but this was the first time making the standard collared button down version (view A). I took my time thinking about how I wanted the shirt to look and ended up making the following adjustments to the pattern:
- Point length / width collar -1 inch (2,5 cm)
- Rounded pocket edges
- Sleeve length -2 inches (5 cm)
I love how lightweight and delicate the fabric is. It is so delicate, I was constantly afraid I would rip it by accident. It is also a bit shifty. In order to prevent wonky pattern pieces, I tried my best to cut carefully and patiently. I used my rotary cutter for this. I am always so eager to see the finished result, that I rush too much. But this time, I took my time sewing the shirt. This resulted in one of the prettiest collars I have ever sewn.
For the gathering of the sleeve cap, I used a method I found out about not that long ago. I had always used the standard method of sewing two separate parallel lines of gathering stitches. But ever since I found out about the following technique, it is the only one I use. As with the standard method, you sew a line of gathering stitches. But at the end, you pivot and sew back parallel to that first line. Having one closed end makes it much easier to get nice and even gathers.
The seams of the Cheyenne tunic are finished with French seams. This makes for such a beautiful and clean finish. Pretty inside and out! Also, the sheerness of the fabric makes it a breeze to topstitch and just catch the French seam underneath.
The instructions given with the pattern are so clear and thorough (and there is a sew along available online). The fabric also sewed up really well. So I didn’t encounter any problems. The final garment is exactly what I had envisioned when I ordered the fabric. I love the sheerness and the drape of the fabric. The shirt is luxuriously soft and light and it looks like a chic silk shirt. I went for a relaxed fit that can be dressed up or down, tucked in or tied. Easy to style and easy to combine with other garments. The ultimate wardrobe essential!
Thank you for reading. I look forward to sharing many future makes with you!
Pssst! You… yes YOU, I’m back again, but this time with a special Christmas make. Let me tell you a secret… (whispers) Christmas is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE time of year: the caroling, the festivities, the baked ham smothered with pineapple and cherries…mmmm, what’s not to love????? Now that I’ve taken to sewing, I have one additional item to add to my list of treasured Christmas items - Christmas fabric – clearly any sewists dream…am I right?
If you’re on the hunt for Christmas fabric Minerva is the place to go! There were sewwww many beautiful pieces of fabric to choose from but in the end, I opted for a light-weight, cotton broadcloth because who doesn’t love sewing with cotton? They are easy to cut and sew, they press very well and are quite breathable, which is always a plus for us island girls! This particular fabric has a cream base and is peppered with gold snowflakes - sorta ironic, considering it never EVER snows in the Caribbean.
When I selected the fabric, I thought I wanted to make another dress, but hadn’t pin pointed ‘the one’. As fate would have it, I was hit by a bout of sewing sickness as a result of several fitting fails in previous projects. Unsurprisingly, when my material finally arrived in the mail, as excited as I was about the fabric, I was stumped about what to make. I kept thinking ‘I don’t want to mess up this pretty fabric.’ I went through my pattern stash several times and finally opted for the Lizzie skirt by Sew Over It. I’ve used Sew Over It patterns before, as a matter of fact, my last bog post featured the Sew Over It Betty Dress. I think their patterns have a certain vintage vybe to them (which I like) and the instructions are pretty comprehensive (which I like even more!). The Lizzie skirt is a pleated skirt, lined with a half circle skirt (I think), a waistband, invisible zipper and - drumroll please… POCKETS!
The fabric is pretty light weight and so I opted to include the lining skirt (though you can make the skirt without it). I figured the lining would offer a bit more structure to the skirt whilst simultaneously guarding against ‘flashing panties’. I chose a size 14, based on the finished garment measurements of the Lizzie Skirt. I altered the length by shortening it 3” both on the outer skirt and the lining skirt resulting in a knee-grazing skirt. Next time I’ll probably shorten it another ½” or so for the perfect length. I gotta admit that I find knee length skirts much more flattering on me than below the knee/midi lengths which honestly make me feel a little frumpy.
Having basted the skirt together to check the fit, I found that the waist was too big for my liking and I ended up removing 1 ½” total width from both the outer fabric and the lining. These were the only changes I made to the pattern. I followed the instructions and as I suspected, the construction of the skirt was pretty easy. My only recommendation is to secure the pleats with lots of pins before machine basting, or alternatively, to baste the pleats by hand. From my limited experience, any shifting in your pleats can easily result in a skirt that ends up too big at the waist! The only thing I didn’t love about this pattern was the centre front seam. I suppose, that unless you manage to get your hands on some really wide fabric or cut the skirt on the cross-wise grain, the seam seems pretty unavoidable.
All in all I enjoyed this make. Beautiful fabric + easy construction = winning project! For sure, this sew has definitely helped me get my sew-jo back!
If you wanna join my sewing journey, check me out on Instagram @unsewcial.
Gotta love you and leave you until next time,
Bust: 41.5” * Waist: 33.25” * Hips: 42”
Soraya back on the blog again today with a super casual cosy winter make! This time around I chose to make ANOTHER Seamwork pattern. I made the Skipper Sweater and it’s the perfect winter basic. It is a super quick and easy pattern to just whip up in a spare few hours.
I’ve made and featured a few of Seamwork’s patterns on the blog, but for those of you who are not quite as familiar with them, here is what they are all about. Seamwork is an independent digital sewing magazine. The magazine is free, but if you choose to subscribe you pay a monthly fee, and this gives you credits. You are then able to trade the credits for digital PDF patterns from their extensive library. They have hundreds of patterns available and many different free hacks and variations you can try.
2 Seamwork patterns come out per month with the magazine and they show you samples, ideas and inspiration in their issue. Their patterns are also really inclusive, in sizes 0-26 which is fabulous. The Skipper pattern can be found here.
The fabric I used for my project was this leopard print lurex French Terry Fabric.
It has a subtle glitter or shimmer running through it, and is very interesting. It is a light to medium weight, doesn’t have much stretch and has the looped back threads on the reverse side.Due to these qualities it is a very stable knit and would be great for a beginner to sew with as it should not curl or bunch under your machine.You may also need to cut out a larger size to compensate for this.
Because it doesn’t have a lot of stretch, I decided to slightly modify the original pattern and add ribbing cuffs and a neckband.I also opted to sew a folded hem instead of finishing with a bottom band.
It turned out very comfortable casual and slouchy overall. Super easy to wear with jeans and some sneakers or even with your trackies on the couch.
Not too much more to say as it was just such a quick, simple and easy make.
Why not give making one a try?
Follow along with my sewing adventures on instagram, where I share all my makes @sewnbysoraya.
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 27th October 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Monday the 26th October 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi Everyone! I’m so happy to be sharing my latest make. I love the festive season. There are parties and great food and a sense of excitement in the air. It's funny because we plan and photograph our festive issues at Love Sewing magazine during the summer so I sort of have two Christmases!
This dress is going to be a great staple this year as it's that magical combination of toasty and fancy.
It's the fabric that makes it so wonderful with subtle silver metallic threads and white sequins woven into the jersey. There is a great texture to the fabric too that makes it feel like a sweater knit you'd find in ready to wear clothes.
I used a mixture of the Dixie DIY ballet dress bodice with Vogue 9000's skirt which I cut on the fold and adjusted at the side seams to fit the bodice. The sleeves fit so well, I love the scoop neckline and you cant best a swishy skirt. I made a slim waist belt in the same fabric but also like it with my black patent belt. I should have made thread belt loops to help stop the belt sliding down! Still time to add those now it's done.
It cuts and sews very easy as the sequins aren't too densely spread over the fabric. I used a rotary cutter and mat then finished everything on an overlocker. The hems are just turned under and stitched. I used a universal needle and narrow zigzag for all the construction. Easy peasy!
It's a little sheer but as you can see with a slip underneath I have perfect coverage. It gave me a good excuse to break out my wedding jewellery again. I feel so sparkly and merry!!
Merry Christmas, happy festive season and a wonderful winter to everyone!
Amy @ almondrock.co.uk
Hey there, its ChatterStitch here (aka Carol) I’m back on the blog today to tell you all about my latest make, but before I do I have also an incy wincey confession to make!
Sshh don’t tell anyone, but although I have been sewing for more than 40 years I have never, ever made anything, in animal print before!
I know crazy right?
I don’t really know why, maybe I’m too conservative in my pattern choices or maybe I have too many childhood memories of Bet Lynch holding court in the Rovers Return!
(For those of you too young to remember, she was a rather brassy barmaid in Coronation Street) she also wore lots of Leopard print!
Any way I’m getting distracted, but the truth is when I saw this Leopard Print Fabric on the Minerva website, I decided I just had to give it a go!
Before I cut into it, I laundered at 40°C and line dried. I must say it washed up a treat and pressed beautifully.
The website has it listed as a medium weight French Terry sweat shirting which means its lovely, soft and warm. It also has a fibre content of 95% cotton and 5% elastane which means it has got a really nice element of stretch but maintaining a good structure, so reasonably firm to the touch but with a nice recovery. As you would expect being French terry.
I had decided to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress with a funnel neck. I have made this pattern before and if you have never sewn with stretch fabrics, I would strongly recommend it. It’s a great pattern and is definitely beginner friendly. Tilly and the buttons patterns are all really good, I have made several and everyone has made up perfectly.
I made a standard size 7 on the Tilly size guide and I am roughly a size 16 in ready to wear. The only alteration I made to the pattern was to lengthen the dress by about 3 inches, I am 5 feet 9 inches and I have found that this comes up a bit shorter on me than I would like, and lets face it this is one of the main reasons why most of us choose to make our own clothes.
I know this dress will get loads of wear without a coat through cooler days as its lovely and warm. Then under a jacket when the weather really turns cold as it won’t be too bulky, meaning it will be in constant rotation.
The fabric comes in four lovely colours, this one which is Jeans Blue, Grey, Light coral and Pink. They are all really nice, delicately muted shades which all compliment each other, they would make great secret pyjamas. The fabric is also 62 inches wide and unlike some fabrics the print is right up to the selvedge which means that its great value for money.
I can’t recommend this fabric highly enough, I think it would be a great one to choose if you are new to sewing with stretch fabrics as it behaves really well, it has a great structure doesn’t distort when handling, cutting or sewing.
I think if I hadn’t made my Coco with it, I would love to have made some comfy joggers or a nice snuggly hoody top, in fact a raglan with contrast sleeves in one of the different colourways would look great!
Anyway, enough from me for now, until next time keep chatting and stitching!
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 22nd October 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello to all the fabulous sewists! This is my first time writing for the Minerva Blog and I am so excited to be sharing my first project here with everyone.
I am a big fan of mid-century fashion and my sewing projects are usually 1950’s vintage-inspired. When I saw this gorgeous sequined lace tulle fabric in starburst design, I knew it would be perfect for a 1950’s inspired evening party dress.
The bodice of this dress is made from my own hacked version of Simplicity 8130, a re-issue of a vintage 1950’s bustier pattern. The hack is really simple - I slashed the original pattern along the underbust line and added seam allowance for sewing.
As the original pattern of the bodice goes below the waistline, I also raised the waistline accordingly for making the dress. Since I had previously used this pattern, I was confident that this would work perfectly for the dress I had in mind.
The gathered skirt is made using 2 rectangular pieces of 62.5” x 27” fabric (seam allowance not included). Here’s how I decided on how much fabric to cut:
- Length of skirt = 27”
I decided to go with a classic below-the-knee length dress and for my height, which means I need the skirt to be about 27” long.
- Width for gathers (aka top portion of the skirt that will be attached to the bodice) = 62.5” for front and 62.5” for back
When making a gathered skirt, it is common to have a width of fabric that is at least twice the width of your waist. Of course, the quotient of multiplying the waist width by 2 is dependent on the weight / thickness of the fabric as well as the volume of gathers desired.
With ease included, I usually make skirts and dresses around 25” for the waist. Because I wanted a really dramatic poof below the waist and the tulle (without the sequins) is a pretty thin fabric that can handle a big volume of gathers, I decided to have a width of fabric that is 5 times the width of my waist.
25” (waist width) x 5 (volume for gathers) = 125”
Width of 2 rectangular pieces = 125”
Width of 1 rectangular piece = 125” x 0.5 = 62.5”
To reduce bulk along the seams, I also removed the sequins in the seam allowance where the gathering takes place. This was the most tedious (yet very crucial) part of the sewing process. Many articles that I had come across recommended removing sequins in the seam allowance for all the seams, but I found that unnecessary for my dress (except for the seam where I gathered the skirt).
After removing the unnecessary sequins in the seam allowance for the gathers, I sewed the pieces together along the length to make the side seams, and then cut lengthwise at the centre of one piece to make the centre-back seam for inserting a centre-back zipper.
Last but not least, to create the classic 1950’s style voluminous skirt silhouette, I added a couple of layers of plain black tulle under the skirt. All that gathering for the black tulle really took a while but having a gathering foot for the sewing machine really helped!
Some tips for sewing with sequins / tulle fabric
I didn’t mention this at the start of this post but this is actually my first time sewing with a sequined tulle fabric like this! To be honest, I was really apprehensive about starting this project but working with this fabric turned out to be easier than I thought!
For those of you who haven’t worked with a fabric like this before but is interested in trying, I have some tips to share from my own sewing experience from making this dress (and breaking 2 needles):
- Use microtex needle if you are sewing plain tulle (or the portion of this sequined tulle fabric where there’s no sequins)
- Use regular needles if you are sewing through sequins (yes, it is safe to sew through sequins but wear glasses or safety goggles just to be extra safe when sewing!) and if you are doing heavy-duty sewing like attaching the gathered skirt to the bodice
- Use regular scissors instead of your special fabric scissors for cutting through sequins – I used my kitchen scissors!
- Have a vacuum cleaner ready for clean-up after every sewing session
- Remove extra sequins along seam allowance to remove bulk if needed (but like I mentioned, I only did this for the gathered seam for the skirt in this project)
I hope my dress and my sewing tips will be helpful in getting some of you inspired to try this sequined tulle fabric. I will be posting additional videos on my Instagram to explain the construction of this dress in a bit more detail on a later date, so you can follow me on Instagram @gwenstellamade if you would like to see more!
Note: I am wearing an extra layer of crinoline under my skirt for EVEN MORE volume!
This one is my first post on Minerva blog :) I’m so glad to join you! Let me first introduce myself… My name is Sylwia. I come from Poland, but now I’m living on the south-west coast of Norway. Like most of Polish people, I moved because of economics. I write about this, because it had a direct impact on starting my sewing adventure. When I came to Norway it took me a while to find a work. I had a lot of time and rainy days (225 per year) didn’t help me to get used to new place of living. I had to find a hobby to get by with new situation. One day, while browsing internet, I found a very interesting sewing blog and at the same time I thought “this is it!”. I bought sewing machine and that’s how it began. Now, after five years, I’m writing the post here and I’m a member of sewing community.
My favorite sewing projects are definitely dresses. I love making them! I like the most evening gowns and maxi dresses in boho style. When I saw this Penelope Beaded Lattice Lace Fabric, my first thought was that I will make a glitter evening gown, which I can wear during New Year’s Eve party. I imagined how it’s going to look like and I ordered 3 meters. When I got the fabric, I’ve changed my mind and decided to sew something easier than gown. It was the first time I had an opportunity to sew beaded lace. This one is quite heavy and I wasn’t sure if my gown turns out as I planned. I chose easier and safer project, because I’m not advanced seamstress and I didn’t want to waste this beautiful fabric.
First I checked my fabric stock and found a viscose jersey in nice sand gray color. It matched perfect Penelope. Instead of sewing dress, I’ve decided to make a simple jumpsuit. My idea was to sew comfortable and elegant garment that can be worn during special occasions. I mixed two patterns that I used in previous sewing projects. To make bodice I used one of Burda Style patterns (I don’t remember which one). To make trousers I used McCall’s 7577 - this one is actually a jumpsuit. I love its wide legs and it’s one of my favorite patterns.
After I cut the fabrics, I basted pieces of lace to corresponding jersey pieces and treated them as one layer of fabric. Before sewing I had to remove beads from seam edges to avoid sewing machine failure. I think this was the worst moment of making the jumpsuit. Beads were everywhere in my flat ;) I’m not going to write more about sewing process, because it wasn’t complicated and I made it much easier by pulling elastic in waist. I avoid sewing zippers if only I have an opportunity to do this.
I really like how the jumpsuit turned out. It’s very heavy but it doesn’t bother me to wear it. Now I’m counting days until New Year’s Eve… I’m going to shine!
Thanks for reading,