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Floral Jersey Effra Skirt & Moselle Crop Top

Welcome to my inaugural post for the Minerva Crafts blog! I’m so excited to have the opportunity to review some fantastic products for all of you, particularly because I get to kick things off with the gorgeous floral Jersey Fabric available from Minerva Crafts. When I spotted the fabric on the website, I had immediate visions of a tropical ensemble. Although this might sound a bit counterintuitive for a jersey fabric, mild summers with cold nights offer a perfect opportunity to get some summer wear out of this floral beauty. And with the newly released Summer Essentials collection from Nina Lee Patterns, I knew that I was on to a winner…
Anyone who reads my blog will know that I’m notorious for avoiding knit fabrics at all costs. A terrible experience early on in my sewing career turned me off so tremendously that I’ve been terrified to touch them since. Fortunately, the release of several gorgeous knit patterns from some of my favourite indie pattern designers made me determined to try again. The purchase of a walking foot also really helped!
The floral jersey fabric sewed up like a dream. If you’re already experienced with knit fabrics, this will offer you no challenges whatsoever. On the other hand, if, like me, you have visions of warped and bulgy dresses dancing in your mind, it might be a good idea to familiarise yourself with some ‘sewing with knits’ techniques. It will certainly be worth it because this fabric is just gorgeous. I did find that the floral pattern appeared larger in person than I was expecting. However, for my purposes, this definitely helped me to create the tropical feeling that I was going for!
To achieve that super summery vibe, I decided to make the Effra Skirt and the Moselle Crop Top from Nina Lee’s Summer Essentials collection. Both patterns are available in PDF form. The Effra Skirt is designed specifically for knit fabrics and worked totally perfectly with the floral jersey fabric! It was such a simple make and took just a couple of hours to complete. Plus, an elasticated waist combined with the knit fabric makes this the comfiest summer skirt imaginable. The Moselle Crop Top is not designed for knit fabrics, but it feels as though it were perfectly tailored to them! Again fitted using elastic, it is such a simple and comfy make. Plus, the ruffle is such a gorgeous feature.
One of the reasons that I loved using knit fabric for these makes was the super flattering silhouette that they offer. I was concerned that I would feel a bit too constricted or ‘on show’ using a fabric that adheres so closely to the body. But the relative fittedness of the skirt flatters the curves and is also perfectly complemented by the floaty top. With the makes I chose, I’ve also found that the ensemble keeps me perfectly cool (and given that temperatures have been 35-40C in St Louis this summer, that’s quite a feat). These makes have proved to me that knit fabrics are perfectly summer-ready – it just depends which patterns you opt for!
This fabric is definitely worth a look by anyone hoping to integrate more knit fabrics into their wardrobe. The design is beautiful and the colours are so vibrant. If you want to build our confidence with knits, this fabric also offers a great place to start. The sewing patterns I chose both used an incredibly small amount of fabric, meaning that you can buy 3 metres and have plenty left over in case of mistakes (something that I always find reassuring!). The gorgeous floral design lends itself to smaller projects – such as crop tops – because its vibrancy makes just about everything look standout and unique.
So hop on over to this beautiful fabric and get yourself out into what remains of the summer, whilst looking your tropical best!
Laura and Lizzy @ Sew for Victory
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Penny Tie Front Shirt Hack

Hello!
The moment I saw this super cute Gingham Fabric at Minerva Crafts I knew exactly what I wanted to make, the Sew Over It Penny Tie Front Shirt Hack. 
I love my Penny Dress, I love the 1950’s vibe, the twirly skirt, relaxed collar and it is a relatively straightforward, fun make. I have some cotton lawn fabric waiting to make up another version but who doesn’t love a pattern that you can create into something else. It is sooooo on trend too!
I had just heard that the pdf only Penny dress pattern from Sew Over It would be released as a print pattern in July and I just knew that Minerva Crafts would start stocking this very popular Pattern
I chose the baby pink colour, I seem to have a thing with pink at the moment which is strange for me, as growing up I didn’t really like pink or anything girly at that. The fabric is a beautiful quality, light weight but not transparent. It doesn’t crease easily which is awesome as ironing has to be my least favourite task. There is a slight difference between the front and back of the fabric but both are equally pretty and either could have been chosen as the right side. The fabric washes well and comes in 17 different colours!!
I followed the Penny Tie Front Shirt Hack from the Sew Over It blog by lengthening the front and back bodice pieces to the length I would like it to sit as a shirt, taking into account the seam allowances. I have quite a long body so I added 12cm whereas the blog writer only added 5cm. It also depends on how brave you are about your midriff showing, I am not a huge fan but am pleased about the tiny bit of skin showing, it feels very summery. 
I then drew the tie front piece which adds 25cm onto the centre front and goes up at a diagonal 2cm in from the side seam. Lastly I added 12cm plus 25cm (total 37cm) onto the front facing length. All other Penny bodice pieces are required to make the shirt, the collar, back facing and shoulder pieces all stay the same size.
Both the Penny pattern instructions and the blog hack instructions are easy to follow. Sew Over It have now added a button placket tutorial to the blog too as this was a tricky element to the pattern. If you search Penny on the blog both will pop up.
A few sewists have been concerned about the armhole finish of the Penny Dress but my dress has had no problems and plenty of wear. I followed the sewing instructions as per the original instructions and the hack instructions and am very happy with the outcome.
I think this shirt is a great addition to a summer wardrobe, I love the 1950’s vibe and the lightweight summery fabric. Now I just need to make a cute circle skirt for an awesome handmade outfit.
Happy Sewing!
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A Tidal Wave shawl

I'm delighted to be back on the Minerva Crafts website with my first crochet project and a review of the very lovely Sublime Isla yarn.

This new year I decided that I wanted to try something new - I have never got the hang of knitting, but I watched someone making a granny square a while ago and I thought it looked like something I might be able to do!

I am still very much a beginner - I can chain and make double and treble stitches and I have now learned to increase and decrease but I am still working on tension and keeping count of my stitches! I am starting to get into a crochet groove though - it's perfectly portable for my train journey each day - I love to relax and listen to podcasts while I crochet! 

As a complete beginner I started experimenting with very cheap acrylic yarn so when Minerva asked for someone to review the Sublime Isla luxury yarn it was the perfect opportunity for me to develop my skills with some lovely yarn.

The Isla yarn is 50% cotton and 50% bamboo viscose and comes in 100g balls of around 220 metres in 10 different shades. As you would imagine with a viscose and cotton mix the yarn knits or crochets into a very drapey fabric which is completely breathable and very soft next to the skin. The yarn is lovely to work with - it is much softer to the touch than the acrylics I have been using. This yarn would make a lovely summer project for a baby or small child.
 

The Isla yarn is made up of 8 threads and as a beginner I found it very easy to split the yarn or pull through a few strands, but it was also very forgiving and happy for me to pull out a few stitches and repeat to get it right without pilling or becoming fluffy.

I chose the Ivory, Seychelles blue and Ida turquoise shades and they are really rich vibrant colours - the Seychelles blue makes me think of being at the beach on a summer holiday!

My complete newbie mistake was to attempt to crochet straight from the hank of yarn after I had untied it - this resulted in a spectacular pile of yarn 'spaghetti' within about five minutes and it then took me about three hours to untangle it and roll it into a ball - you can find some helpful information about how to deal with wool in a twist here!

I found a free pattern on Ravelry to test out the yarn - the Tidal Wave Shawl by Tamara Kelly for the Moogly blog. This pattern has been made up by a lot Ravelry users and is rated easy and has plenty of positive reviews. It is made up in treble stitches with an increase at the start of each row and a decrease at the end to create the asymmetric shape. It doesn't require you to create and count an enormous chain at the start and you don't need to worry too much about the number of stitches in each row - which is perfect for me as a beginner as I can quite easily find I have lost a couple! 
The shawl is created with a size 6 hook - rather than the size 4 recommended for this yarn. This creates quite an open texture rather than a solid fabric - you can see how the stitches opened out after I blocked it and this makes a lovely weight for a spring or early autumn shawl. 

As a beginner this project is encouraging because you can quickly see the shawl taking shape - you start from a very short chain and the first rows are only a few stitches, so by the time you get to the longer rows you should have got the hang of the pattern. 

I used about one and three-quarter balls of the Ivory yarn, more than half of the Seychelles blue and about a quarter of the Ida turquoise.

This took me a couple of weeks of train crochet and I'm sure someone more experienced could make it up much faster as the pattern is very easy to follow.  I am beyond proud that I made an actual thing and although I can see a few skipped stitches and wonky tension errors I think it turned out pretty well.

The Isla yarn was a delight to work with - thanks to Minerva for providing this yarn for me to review and helping my beginner crochet skills move to the next level.

Louise @ notsewsimple

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Klona Cotton Butterick 5748

Dearest Readers,
First of all, I want to thank you for stopping by. 
I am Anna from AnnaBodewigVintage.com. Today I would love to share with you my version of Butterick 5748 View A. 
Firstly, let’s have a look at the pattern Envelope and Line Art:
Gorgeous and versatile, isn´t it? The low neckline on the bodice back is beautiful while you stay modest. The cut is both easy and flattering at the same time. Go fancy with a printed fabric or stay minimal if you love accessories’ like I do. The sky is the limit.
Now it was time to choose my fabric and I immediately fell in love with the Klona Cotton Fabric and the 40 colours from which I could choose from. Decisions, decisions dear creators. Pondering I sat at my laptop for a few minutes only to pick one of my most beloved colours instead of trying a new colour. That’s me.
My favourite from the beginning was ‘rose’, a lovely blush rose to be more specific which pairs well with a lot of colours.
The fabric arrived quickly after my order. The fabric itself was as beautiful as I could imagine. The dye was steadily, the feel of the cotton smooth and the weaving is very fine. 
Since it was a cotton I had to wash and iron it before cutting my pattern pieces out and I was surprised how easily I could iron this cotton. Please, never skip the washing part on fabrics with natural fibres. You just end up regretting it after your garment has been washed for the first time!
Sewing with Klona was a dream. The fabric almost does not fray which saved me a lot of time in the process. My trusty pinking shears were all I needed. I do have machines to serge my raw edges but not having to switch between machines was a nice change and saved me time in the sewing process. 
As you can see I did not use the circle skirt. Instead I went for a basic dirndl skirt, a simple gathered rectangle. All you need is your desired width and length, which depends on your body measurements and project. For my dress I chose to go with floor length (42 inches in my case) and used the given fabric width of 54 inches. Enough to create a very full skirt with plenty of room for both my floor length petticoats.
I also skipped the bows for now. I would rather order some Brooch Pins so I can remove my bows for washing and ironing my dress. 
I highly recommend the sewing pattern and would also encourage sewing beginners to give it a try especially with the Klona fabric.
Thank you very much for reading my blog post and please don´t hesitate to contact me via the contact form on my blog if you run into any troubles sewing this pattern. I would be happy to help you.
Yours, 
Anna
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Sixties Retro Francoise Dress

Hey Minerva Makers!

It’s Vicky of Sewstainability here with my first blog post for the Minerva Crafts blog!

It is no secret that our sewing community absolutely LOVES Tilly and the Buttons – she can do no wrong! All of her patterns are cute, flattering and gorgeous on all shapes and sizes. I have made several of Tilly’s Sewing Patterns but have somehow neglected to try one of her oldest (and cutest!) patterns, the Francoise. I think I have neglected the Francoise because I would definitely walk past a dress like that in the shops – being REALLY pear-shaped, for an off-the-peg dress like that to fit over my hips it would 2-3 sizes too baggy on the bust. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me then that this pattern is perfect for me – I can make this gorgeous sixties-shaped shift dress of dreams to fit me!

I started by taking my measurements and sure enough, my bust was size 4 and my hips were size 7 – yep, some serious grading to do here! I set about with my pencil and tracing paper to realise there are four darts in the bodice, two of which are long french darts which start at the hips and finish at the bust. I had to walk away for like two days to get my head around how I was going to have the dart start at the size 4 point and end at the size 7 point without changing the shape of the dart. Eventually, I just decided I had to go for it and I am actually really surprised how well it went. I decided to go with the size 5 on top so that it was easier to grade and I didn’t want it to be too tight, however I definitely should have gone with the 4 as I had to take 3cm out of the centre back once the invisible zip was in – Doh! Why didn’t I just stick with my measurements when I KNOW Tilly has got me covered?!

Check out those French darts!

I chose this gorgeous Quilting Cotton Fabric to make my sixties dress of dreams and was super impressed when it arrived. I am used to quilting cotton feeling kind of stiff and rigid (which I thought would work well for Francoise anyway) but when I got it in hand it actually has a lovely drape – like no other quilting cottons I’ve ever felt before! Don’t get me wrong, it is not lightweight, it is completely opaque and I am comfortable wearing it as a single layer of fabric but it just has more drape and movement than I had expected. The colours are so vibrant and retro I think it is just perfect for this project! I also had some plain white cotton in my stash for making the collar and I cut the invisible zip out of one of my first makes/disasters so it was definitely a sustainable sew from a notions perspective.

Apart from the fit adjustments, I also changed the sleeves a bit. The Francoise dress is a raglan style, I chose to go for the sleeveless version to make a cute summer dress as I felt this fabric just screams summer, beaches and ice creams! Because the fabric is so patterned, I didn’t want to break it up with a raglan seam at the shoulder, I felt it might look a bit disjointed and I wanted to really show off the cute print. So, I stuck the two pattern pieces together with a 1.5cm overlap – equal to the seam allowances. I think I lost a little bit of shaping around the shoulder but it’s not enough to bother me and I think it was worth it to keep the print whole.

Whilst I was making it, I was a bit worried it looked like I was making a fancy dress costume for a sixties-themed party. The dress pattern, the print, the cute collar - I was a bit worried I was going overboard but when I tried it on I realised I love it! It reminds me of my style icon, Jess from New Girl (have you watched that show? It spawned the word Adorkable and I think that is the perfect description of this dress!). Anyway, the moral of the story is, sometimes you need to make the dress that you have in your head made out of super adorable quilting cotton – because it might just be the cute shift dress of your dreams!

Thanks for reading,

Vicky @ sewstainability

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Hexagon Template Set Review

Greetings from southern Ontario. My name is Joanne and I am primarily a quilter. So when the opportunity to review the 9 Piece Hexagon Template Set was available I said “yes please”.

I could not have imagined what an amazing set this was and how many options it opens up to the quilter. First of all the packaging. There are 9 Hexagons in the set. The smallest is 1” across and the largest is 5” across. If your work area is anything like mine those very small hexagons would get lost in no time. The packaging takes that into account and is resealable so that all the templates can stay together.

The features of the individual hexagon templates have been well thought out with the quilter in mind. If you do English Paper Piecing each template is ¼” smaller that the size above it. This means you can trace template C on your paper and use template D for your fabric and you will have exactly a ¼” seam all the way around. And with all the various sizes from 1” to 5” you can make hexagons of many different sizes. I don’t tend to do English Paper Piecing (yet) but this set makes it so tempting. I have done a little but found all the cutting out a challenge. This set would help take care of that.

As a quilter I am considered a piecer and the second really great feature on these templates is that the ¼” in from the corner is cut through the template so you can mark that exact location with a pencil. I used a mechanical pencil and have both regular lead and a white one. The thin lead fits comfortably through the small hole and marks that sometimes elusive location. This is the spot you need to stitch to when you are making “Y” seams. Some individuals just avoid patterns with this feature because it is hard to get that spot just exactly right and if you don’t you either get a gap or a pucker on the good side of your work.

The templates are of high quality acrylic and using a rotary cutter with them is easy. I put my fabric on my rotating mat and placed the template on top and zip, zip, zip I had my fabric cut.

I stitched one set of three hexagons together after marking that elusive corner start and stop location. It was very easy to do. And with a wee press of the iron I had a finished “Y” seam that was smooth and flat without a gap.

I had not seen these particular items beforehand and was cautiously optimistic that they would be useful. I can say without a doubt this set exceeded all my expectations. It is neat, organized and clearly had someone behind its development that had asked all the right questions and found some good answers.

Thanks for reading,

Joanne @ quiltsbyjoanne

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Art Deco Dress

Why is it that sometimes you get a new piece of fabric it sits in your stash for months (or even years), and sometimes you sew it up the moment you get it. When this latest Fabric landed on my doorstep from Minerva I pre-washed it and got it dry within a few hours and by that evening it was already cut out, and was beginning to take shape. I’d also formulated a plan to go and get buttons to finish it off the next day, and within 36hours of my Minerva parcel of fabric being delivered I had a new dress. I was headed out for afternoon tea that weekend, and I didn’t plan on making a new dress, but when this Deco fans fabric arrived I realised it was perfect for the Art Deco themed afternoon tea I was going to.

Here’s a bonus pic of my sitting in a very luxurious chair enjoying my afternoon tea.

Minerva call this a quilting cotton, and as a result sell it by the fat quarter as well. Don’t let this put you off using it for dressmaking though, remember those days back when sewing first began to become cool again and everyone was making vintage style dresses out of quilting cottons? I know the first dress I made was out of quilting cotton, and why not - fun prints and an easy to work with fabric is a winner in my book. This particular fabric comes in 3 different colourways, I used the grey, but there is also a yellow and blue colourway.

I used the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress Patternto make my dress, and as I’ve got quite a few of these in my handmade wardrobe already I knew that I could make this up quickly and that I don’t need to make many adjustments to fit my body shape. The fabric is on the narrow side (45inches) and it’s directional, so I had to be very neat with my cutting layout to make sure I got my dress out of 3m of fabric. I also tried to pay attention to pattern matching ensuring that the “fan” print ran across the dress and between the bodice and skirt section consistently. I managed it pretty well, and I’m really pleased with how it looks.

I love the Sew Over It pattern range as the instructions are really clear, and every step is explained in a lot of detail. The vintage shirt dress is a great introduction to sewing collars, as the pattern holds your hand throughout the process and there isn’t any tricky collar stands etc to contend with. The pattern doesn’t have any darts but the shaping is through the pleats at the waist seam, in this Camelot cotton the pleats iron to give you sharp looking pleats which hold their shape really well, event after a wash.

Just a small word of warning when making any shirtdress, make sure you get the button placement correct. I always tend to ignore the button layout plan on the pattern and put them where I think they should be, taking into account my bust and making sure there is no gaping. When I took these photos I realised that I probably needed one more button to protect my modesty, I’ve since added an extra button at the top, and it means I don’t have to be on guard every time I wear the dress.

I’d highly recommend this fabric to beginners, those looking for a quick make, or a project where the fabric design needs to be centre stage. It was beautifully easy to work with and has washed and worn really well, even after a jam-packed day at the seaside the fabric didn’t crease and it was a joy to wear.

Thanks for reading,
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Brushed Cotton Honeycomb Shirt Dress

Hello everyone, I am Kealy from Voice of a Creative. This is my first blog post for the Minerva Crafts blog.

I chose this beautiful Brushed Cotton Fabric with a paisley pattern. I loved the look of this fabric because it had a detailed paisley pattern but also a huge range of colours. I knew that I would be able to pair this fabric with so many accessories. The fabric is also super soft and would probably be good for pyjamas but I decided I would get more wear out of it if I made a dress.

I decided to make the Honeycomb shirt dress by CocoWawa Crafts as I had seen so many beautiful versions on Instagram and thought the fabric would really suit a looser fitting dress. After making my toile I decided to would make a hacked version of the Honeycomb dress because I felt this would suit me better. I chose the sleeveless version with the buttons.

The first change I made was to the neck line, normally this pattern features a cute mandarin collar but I changed this to a v neck instead. I made this change because I learnt from my toile that I found this style of collar quite uncomfortable on my neck so I needed to make it slightly lower so it felt more comfortable. When I was cutting out the pattern pieces for the bodice I cut properly around the middle bodice piece and then just cut it downwards from the shoulder seam in a slanted line to where the first button hole should go. I also cut about half an inch away from the shirt yoke neck piece. I finished the neck line with some unfolded bias binding as this helped to give more structure to the neck line and stop it from gaping.

The second change I made was to double the length of the ties so you could wear them a variety of ways. To do this I simply folded the fabric and then cut the tie pattern piece on the fold, then followed the instructions to sew it together. The ways you can wear the ties are to wrap them round and tie them at the back into a cute bow, or you can wrap them around twice and then to the front and tie in a bow. You could also just tie them in the front. This allows you to shape the dress around your waist and helps you mix up your look from day to day. I sewed the ties in the middle of the 2 front panels rather than at the sides.

The third change I made was to reduce the width of the skirt by cutting 1 inch off either side of both skirt pieces. I also changed the gathers to pleats to give a more structured look. I added a box pleat at the centre back and then matched the second pleat with the back darts. At the front I pleated the middle piece using the same method as the back but moving the pleats closer together here.

I also chose to leave off the buttons and instead sewed the front together panels together, in the future I would consider cutting this on the fold to eliminate this step. I kept the pockets in this dress though because who doesn’t love a good pocket.

The Honeycomb dress uses the burrito method to add the yoke, this was quite tricky at first but I finally got there with the help of the instructions and sew along video on the Cocowawa Crafts YouTube. It was great to learn this new skill and build up my knowledge of sewing techniques.

Overall I loved working with this fabric, it is soft and has great drape. It was easy to sew and is so versatile with its many colours. It works well for this pattern and I know I will get a lot of wear out of this dress during the summer. I like the finished garment and I am considering how I can hack the neck line on other patterns in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Kealy @ Voice of a Creative

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Gretchen Hirsch 6556 in Scuba

About the Fabric

When I was asked whether would like to blog for Minerva Crafts I immediately jumped at the opportunity to try out this Scuba Fabric. I've never sewn with it and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. The fabric I chose is ivory colored with a bold gold repeated print on it. My boyfriend said (when I wraped the fabric around me, because let's face it, we all do) that I look like the Pope. My stepdauther mentioned something about the Queen and I just barked at them that they just had "no vision" (you know what I mean).

One panel (I don't know if this is the correct word in English; in German it would be called rapport) measures 65cm until the print starts repeating itself. Since 65cm is enough to make a decent length skirt without any repeats I knew I wanted to make a border print dress. The fabric does not curl while cutting, it's easy to wash and you can even iron it on a low temparature (not that you need to apart from the sewing bit). I got a full 3 metres but ended up using 2.3m. 

About the Pattern - B6556

When I hear border prints my mind goes straight to Gretchen Hirsch and her patterns which is why I finally had a good enough reason to by her Ultimate Dress Book. Somehow I feel drawn do square necklines therefore I wanted to alter one of the her bodices in the book to a square neckline with a simple facing. About the same time my lovely sister brought me my requested Buttrick patterns that I had ordered "from her" a while back (because of the shipping costs to Switzerland we ask each other what we need respectively to bulk order). And then it hit me. In there was the new Gertie pattern B6556 with a perfect square neckline and a borderprint skirt all ready for me.

On a side note: How distracted can you be that you forget which patterns you ordered a while back???! It tends to happen to me more frequently the last few months...

Switching from Wovens to Knits

Now the B6556 is designed for woven fabrics and I had a stretchy one to work with. This means that apart from making the usual adjustments (FBA and swayback) I had to take the stretch of the fabric into account when chosing the right size. I recently discovered a new method of finding the perfect fit, no matter the type of fabric I use. I do not want to go into great details here because it's all about the fabric. But generally knit garments that fit close to the body are designed with negative ease so the measurements of the finished garment are actually less that your measurements. How much in the negative is up to designer (or your preferences), however, because this fabric has a print on it I did not want it to stretch out too much or it might distort the pattern. Also, bear in mind that the Big Four pattern companies tend to add a lot of wearing ease. For this pattern - even though it is supposed to be close-fitting - the wearing ease is about 8cm! What, you say? Yes that was my reaction as well!

So, based on my high bust measurements (add the standard 2" B cupsize) I would be a size 16 finished bust with a full bust of 104cm which is 3cm smaller than my actual full bust. Side note: If I went with my full bust measurements the pattern would indicate for me to make a size 20 (can you imagine how the shoulder straps would constantly fall of!).

I added an FBA for the full amount of those 3cm (in hindsight I would not have needed to do this and just go with the negative ease of 3cm). This widened the waistline to 2cm (see picture) wich meant I now had a finished waist of 86cm which is just a few centimeters less than my actual waist (even here I adjusted for the zero ease measurements which again was not necessary).

I noticed on a few of my garments that sit at the waist that I have to do a swayback adjustment of about 2cm. On this pattern (I measured the pattern pieces after the FBA) I noticed that I needed to add these 2cm to the front that came out just a little short this time. I guess my upper body is just strangely curved, haha.

Also the pattern calls for a lining which - because it was aready a heavy scuba - I did not want. For that reasen I took the interfacing pieces and used the as facings for the neckline.

Lastly when making a woven pattern with a knit try to guess (measure) if you really need a zip. For this one you don't need it (yayyy!).

Construction of the B6556

The cutting process was very easy. Cutting scuba is amazing let me tell you: Nothing moves around, nothing curls - fantastic.

To check the fit I sewed the whole bodice up in a simple straight stitch and my walking foot on my Bernina (2.2 length). Straight stiches on a knit, are you insane? No, it actually worked fine. I think this is due to my scuba beeing a heavy double knit fabric so there are actually two pieces of fabric "interlocked" together. You can press it down by hand and while stretching it, the polythread presses down the layers of fabric also, which makes the seam slightly stretchy. No don't go stretching it like a crazy person ok? It's just for fitting purposes.

While fitting I noticed that the adjustments I made to the bust and waist area were not necessary and I had to widen the dart and take in the side seams. But you know what? I don't mind taking it in as long as the back and front necklines and the shoulders are on point. This 'fit as you go' approach is amazing. Anyway, I with these minor adjustments I was able to achieve a perfectly fitted bodice.

I made the skirt as instructed by the pattern (first I basted the pleats of course) and even added pockets. But alas, I only noticed that I attached it the wrong way around (you don't need a zipper remember) when the bodice was already attached to the skirt - so the pockets are facing backwards. As of now I have not turned it around because I do not plan on using the pockets, but you never know!

The facings are partly stitched down by the armseams and partly handsewn to the main fabric. I used to hate handsewing things but lately I noticed that I actually enjoy the finished result and it sort of became meditative.

The armholes I just turned under. Now I wish I had researched methods to do this differently or chosen a narrower hem because it slightly destroys the neat look I got from the dress overall.

I left the hem of the dress unfinished and neatened the edges. Usually I don't go for this unfinished look but the dress looked so lightweight with the unfinished seam I decided to leave it like this and I just love the look of it. You really don't notice it at all (but you would certainly notice a slightly bulky seam).

The scuba fabric holds the shape of the pleats very well, the look is EXACTELY as I imagined it. Because this is a heavy scuba the weight of the skirt part slightly stretches the bodices, so make sure your waistline is on point to start with or else it will be too low!

So, what do you think? There's really nothing papal about it :-D (even the boyfriend said it lookes beautiful, ha!)

Happy Sewing.

Nadine @ lifewithnaba

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Sublime Isla DK Yarn Review

Hello again! I’m excited to be back on the Minerva crafts blog with my review of Sublime Isla DK Yarn. This is one of my favourite yarns, it’s a lovely mix of 50% cotton and 50% bamboo which makes it super soft and silky. It’s machine washable at 40 degrees so is perfect for making garments.  I selected colour 625 (Ida) but it was a difficult choice as all 10 available colours are lovely, there’s a shade to suit everyone. The yarn is supplied as a hank so there is a bit of preparation required before you can start knitting or crocheting which can be a bit frustrating if, like me, you are keen to get started (but it’s worth the effort to form a useable ball, so you don’t end up in a tangled mess!)

My crochet projects so far have mostly been blankets, scarves, and amigurumi toys, so I set myself the challenge of making an item of clothing! I chose the Fan Stitch cardigan from the book “learn to crochet, love to crochet” by Anna Wilkinson as I loved the fan stitch design. This pattern is also available on ravelry.

Anna’s patterns are designed for people who are new to crochet. I would say this pattern is not suitable for an absolute crochet beginner as some of the terminology used is a bit confusing in places (initially I struggled to get the pattern right and found it easier to follow the diagram rather than the written pattern when starting off), but it would suit someone with some previous crochet experience. The cardigan is made in 5 pieces which makes it quite a portable project – I made quite a lot of my cardigan pieces on long car and train journeys!

The pattern is designed for use with an Aran weight yarn and a 6mm hook. I used the Sublime Isla DK yarn with a 5mm hook which meant the pattern worked up slightly smaller than the original. This wasn’t a problem for me as I didn’t want my cardigan to be too long, but it’s something to bear in mind if you are in between pattern sizes.

I modified the pattern slightly, making the sleeves longer by adding two more sets of pattern repeats before shaping the shoulders. You could also add more pattern repeats to the back and front pieces before shaping the armholes and neck, to make the cardigan longer. I decided to add the same stitch pattern used for the button band to the bottom of the cardigan, and I added a treble crochet band around the cuffs and at the top of the patch pockets, which I think really helps to finish off the cardigan.

Sublime Isla is a lovely yarn to crochet with as it’s so soft and smooth. The strands are quite loosely attached so sometimes it can be possible to snag a strand when making a stitch, but the yarn twists as you use it, making the strands hold together more firmly. Sublime Isla gives lovely stitch definition and the fan pattern of the cardigan really stands out using this yarn. I used 3 hanks of sublime Isla to make the small size of the fan stitch cardigan, with a little extra yarn required for my pattern modifications. 

I’m so pleased with my finished cardigan, it fits perfectly and I’m proud of myself for making my first crocheted garment! I will definitely be attempting some of the other patterns from Anna’s book. I would recommend trying sublime Isla for your next knitting or crochet project as it’s a delight to use.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope to be back again soon with my next product review!

Jemma (@buntingandbuttons)

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