As winter slowly started to turn into Spring and the flowers started to bloom and the sun began to make some fleeting appearances, my mind instantly turned to my summer wardrobe. Pretty much all I want to wear on long, hot sunny days are natural fibres. Summer clothing needs o be able to breath, easy to wear, simple and stylish. Not too much to ask, right?
So, when the oppurtunity arose for me to try out this Blades Linen and Cotton Mix Fabric, I literally stumbled over myself to say 'YES!'. I have a huge crush on linen, but we all know that it can be a little bit wrinkly...that's not so easy-care is it? But add some cotton into the fibre mix and you end up with a stable, breathable fabric with minimal creasing. Result!
I've been experimenting a bit with colour in my wardrobe lately, and pink is a colour that I don't use or wear a lot. When I spotted the powder pink colour way of this fabric, I knew that it was the one. It's pink without being 'too' pink. A lovely dusky shade, with a little hint of blue to the tone. The perfect pink to get me started.
When my fabric parcel arrived from Minerva Crafts in just a few days, I ripped into the wrapping like it was Christmas morning and it pretty much felt like it to be honest. The Linen and Cotton fabric is so dreamy! It's a heavy weight, so it has lots of body to it, but it's got a lovely soft and drapey handle too. Perfect for a jumpsuit!
My ultimate all-weather item of clothing is the jumpsuit. It can be layered in the winter over roll-necks and worn with boots, but it's also the perfect summer attire too. I'm not much of a seperates girl, I much prefer a one-peice as you don't have to think too much about styling it. Literally just pull it on, pop on a pair of sandals et voila! No worrying about whether I have a top that'll match with that skirt or whether those shorts can be worn with that vest.I spent a ehile looking at jumpsuit patterns and I decided to try the Butterick See & Sew 6312 Pattern. I've seen a couple of sewing bloggers make this jumpsuit on social media and I loved it's ease and versatility. I didn't want to faff around with fitting too much so thise loose-fit jumpsuit looked like a good option.
The pattern is easy to sew and has lots of built in ease, so it would be a great starting point for beginners and also great for more seasoned sewists as you can take your time over this sew and flex those skills that aren't used too often. I decided to omit the zipper on the back of the jumpsuit, and instead mirrored the front v-neck. This meant that I didn't have to install a zipper, which if I'm honest, isn't my favourite sewing task! Instead I could just slip this on over my hips without the need for an extra opening. WInner!
I bias-bound both the front and back neck lines with some cotton bias tape from my stash which I picked up last year on a trip to Amsterdam. Using binding isn't a sewing skill I use often, but I thouroughly enjoyed it, and I am really pleased with the tidy finish on the inside of the jumpsuit. I think it makes the seams and openings a little more robust too, and we all know that a robust outfit is necessary when you're the busy Mum of two wildlings!
The linen and cotton blend fabric is a joy to sew with, and this was such a quick a satisfying make in general. It stitches beautifully and presses perfectly. I opted to make a belt from the same fabric, and simply cut a length of fabric 6 inches wide, folded in half and topstitched. I think the belt really pulls this look together and is really flattering, almost kimono-esque with the grown on sleeves and pulled in waist.
This make has come out better than I could have dreamed! I think the fabric, colour and pattern are all a match made in heaven. The weighty fabric in a saturated dusky colour mixed with the shape of the jumpsuit have combined to make a suprisingly elegant and versatile garment. I've been lusting over some similar high-end linen jumpsuits from indie designers and small clothing companies, but the price tags are around the £150-£200 mark. I used 3m of this fabric making the total cost £44.97 (and there's a little left over to make my daughter some summer shorts too). To me, that is an absolute bargain.
This fabric is such high-quality and because it's a nice heavy weight, it should last the test of time, making it the perfect slow and concious item to add to my me-made wardrobe.
I'm already planning which colour to make this jumpsuit in again next - this fabric comes in so many delicious colours, it's a hard job to choose, but I'm leaning towards the ochre!
Thanks for reading,
Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 20th May 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 19th May 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Well, now I'm really buzzing to be invited to take part in the blog tour launch of Wendy Ward's new book, A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics. Designer and teacher Wendy has been working in the fashion industry for many years and this is her third sewing book. I've been watching in anticipation as Wendy developed her pieces over the course of the year, giving us sneak peeks of both fabric prints as well as garments themselves and been I’ve been filled with admiration. So I was super excited to get the chance to help review the book before its launch.
If you follow Wendy on social media, you may already be familiar with the cover and as soon as you open the book you will see that it has a fresh, clear layout that makes it easy to read and accessible for beginner sewists and more seasoned sewers alike. It has beautiful photos of suitable fabric and the garments that help you see what you could create using this guide.
Wendy starts the book with an introduction to sewing fundamentals that will help you get started if you are brand new to sewing, right from basic equipment to how to take measurements. The information is laid out carefully and clearly and is easy to understand. You needn’t worry about understanding technical sewing terms as Wendy plainly explains all the relevant “rules” for sewing knits. It’s also suitable for people who already sew but maybe haven’t tackled knits that much.
She then introduces different types of knit fabric, how to handle them and which garments each type of knit is suitable for before explaining how to set up your machine to create the clothes. The information is summarised in a glossary for quick reference.
While knit fabrics tend to be used for casual clothes, with imaginative fabric selection, these garments can be very informal or dressed up depending on how you style them so they give great scope for forming capsules for work or play and different seasons as well.
Wendy has designed six core garments, which offer a selection of pieces that can be mixed and matched to created bespoke wardrobes to fit your own personal style. They are also suitable to be made using your regular machine, so there is no need for an overlocker if you don’t have one. These include trousers, skirts, tops and jackets. With adjustments to lengths, sleeves, and fabric weight, you get a huge number of permutations on how you can make and style these garments; the book provides 20 different options in all. The book is primarily aimed at beginners and is presented in a way that you could gradually develop your skills sewing with knits.
In addition to all this technical information and inspiration, the book contains full scale patterns in 10 sizes, which allow you to create all of the beautiful designs shown in the book.
Now to see how well this book works hands on I was challenged to make a garment from the book. It was really difficult as I wanted to make more thank one and I will be doing more sewing from this book, I’m absolutely sure. Finally, I chose to make the Derwent Wide Legged Trousers in Ponte Roma Knit Fabric in a lovely denim marl finish from Minerva Crafts (Thank you!) Spoiler alert: I actually ended up making the Kinder cardigan as well in grey Sweatshirt Knit Fabric..
In addition to the book you will need fabric as well as some simple tools, rulers and pens and paper for tracing and cutting your pattern. Then scissors or a rotary cutter and cutting board, which I find very useful with knits; and obviously your sewing machine.
The first task and probably most time consuming is the tracing of the patterns. All six patterns are printed on three doubled sided sheets of paper. The patterns overlap so you must follow the colour key to ensure you have all the correct pieces. If you have ever used a Burda magazine then this will be nothing new to you. They are printed on good quality paper and each piece clearly identified. Probably my only gripe with this book was the pattern’s packaging. Once out of the cellophane package I couldn’t get the pattern sheets back in again and to add to my annoyance I couldn’t easily remove the packaging from the book. I’d love it if there were a pouch or pocket in the back of the book where I could keep my patterns for future use. Apart from that I’m really impressed with it.
Also it is important to follow the correct size line on the pattern, using the guide in the book, measure yourself and identify the your size. These are all relatively easy pieces to sew up and could easily be done in 3-6 hours by a novice sewer. The instructions are clear straightforward and comprehensive.
Bear in mind that these pieces do not have loads of elements so it should be quite easy to prepare each one. The Derwent trousers for example have only four seams!
This book has given me lots of inspiration to create and wear a new shape and also to dabble in different prints and fabric to my usual choices. It’s so versatile that I’m sure this could become a collection of TNT patterns.
So what do we have, a collection of timeless, essential garments that allow beginners or seasoned sewers to create a set of beautiful outfits. Accompanied by comprehensive instructions on how to select, prepare and construct your knitted fabric garments. With a potential 20 different pieces this collection is also amazing value and any sewer would be delighted to have this collection at hand with which to create a fabulous capsule wardrobe. I really think this is a great book to give as a gift or even better, keep for yourself.
I highly recommend this book and unlike other sewing books I’ve bought before I actually want to make all of the items in it. I was asked to make one piece and I’ve already made two, as well as the lounge pants I made a Kinder cardigan as well. Go and ahead buy The Beginners Guide to Sewing Knitted Fabric, excuse me while I start on my next item!.
Thanks for reading,
Elaine @ That Random Madam
The fabric is from the ‘Esoterra’ range from Art Gallery Fabrics designed by Katarina Roccella. It is described as “bringing to life an extinct luscious land where beautiful and exotic creatures roamed. Katarina captures the archaeological essence of this mysterious world with lush foliage and rugged textures enhanced by deep green, dark teals, greys and hints of fuchsia.” Can’t argue with that. It’s refreshing to have a ‘grown-up’ dinosaur print rather than the usual cartoony style.
This fabric is a fantastic weight for an array of projects, but I fancied giving bag making a go. The pattern I chose was The Everyday Tote by Bagstock. This appealed as the design of the bag would make the dino fabric the main feature and it wouldn’t be obscured by zips or handles.
This is the first ‘proper’ bag that I’ve made using all the techniques and supplies needed and I certainly learnt a lot! I would call this bag a ‘wearable toile’. It’s far from perfect but I definitely want to use it!
Lucky for you guys if you want to make one yourself, Minerva also supply most of the equipment including this Foam Lining which gave the bag excellent structure.
I’m not going to run into a massive tutorial on this one, as the pattern instructions are excellent and well photographed, however, I thought a few pointers from a novice would be a good idea!
I chose to use faux leather vinyl for the contrast and straps on this bag. The first thing to note about this is that it does not enjoy going under a sewing foot particularly well. A walking foot is an absolute must for this – I’ve also heard you can pop a bit of scotch tape on the bottom of your regular machine foot to make sure it slides nicely under without sticking. Another handy hint is to use a good leather needle and topstitch with a longer stitch length than normal. Also – don’t pin it! Leatherette is going to get ugly marks in if you pin it – binder clips all the way!
Another thing I discovered when making this is that my Prym Pliers from previous reviews came in super handy! Rivets are used to attach the handles to the bag – in theory. I did not have any bag rivets and thought jeans rivets would do. Turns out no. Bag rivets are significantly longer and designed to pass through about 8mm of layers! I attached my mini rivets for decoration but had to sew the handles to the bag (not well, unfortunately!)
Sewing the bottom panels is a bit of a challenge but a lot easier than anticipated. Prepare your bottom panel well, with interfacing, and additional layer of foam but keep the ½ inch seam allowance free and it will be much easier to attach. Bag feet are optional, but the sewing gods were on my side that day – and I found a set I had been hoarding for years!! I think they give the bag a lovely professional finish.
The lovely shape of the bag is formed by squashing the side edges down to the bottom panel – clip it well people. Don’t be afraid to manhandle that bag either, you absolutely have to Crocodile Dundee style wrestle that thing under the needle!
Flipping the bag the right way around and it starts to take shape. At this point, I wanted a little extra structure in the bottom and again raided my stash for something that would do the trick. I think this plastic stuff is called ‘7 Count Plastic Canvas’ and used for cross-stitch, but it’s essentially sheet plastic ideal for bag bottoms and cutting to size. I tacked it down to the seam allowance inside, so it didn’t shift around.
In my opinion, the best bit of any handbag is having a zip! I am clumsy/boisterous and often wing my handbag into the car, who wants al their stuff dropping out?! Zips are a necessity in my opinion. This one is an absolute beauty as it opens wide allowing the bag to be filled to its full potential and its trapped into the lining, which creates a lovely recess.
Ensure you leave enough room in the lining for turning – there’s a point here where I started to wonder whether I had destroyed the work of the last 2 days but out it came!!
The last part of this make requires a top stitch 1/8” all the way around the edge – oh my. That’s a LOT of layers its going through right there. I tried 3 different feet and 2 different needles but settled on a walking foot in the end. Vinyl is not forgiving and will not let you unpick stitching without scars! Many clips and much breathing through it later it was finished!!
Here it is in all its Jurassic glory – closest to a pre-historic plant I could find in my office. One of my fav parts is also that when you peek inside the bag, there’s a dinosaur looking back!
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 17th May 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was very excited to have the opportunity to try out Sirdar’s Bohemia Yarn as I have been tempted to try this for some time! Sirdar Bohemia is 51% wool and 49% acrylic, making it lovely and cosy and very easy to work with. It can be hand washed in cold water or dry cleaned. The yarn is an ultra super chunky weight and comes in four different colours. As anyone who knows me (or follows my Instagram) will agree, I have a tendency to gravitate towards blue and green shades when selecting yarns so naturally I chose shade 0703 (Teal Appeal), which is a fabulous mix of teal, green and grey. However, all four shades are lovely, and I would have been happy to use any of the colour options available, particularly shade 700 (Flowerpower) for its punchy bright spring colours.
Most of my experience so far using chunky yarns has been with knitting projects, so I decided to give chunky crochet a try! The pattern I selected was the Grounded Cowl by Lynda Rennick from Homelea Lass which I chose because I loved the texture and versatility of the finished cowl. I used a 25mm hook (larger than the 20mm hook recommended for this yarn) because I was aiming for very chunky, defined stitches to really highlight the gorgeous colours of the yarn. I used a wooden crochet hook which was very easy to use and comfortable to hold. The yarn was lovely to work with and I enjoyed seeing the different colours coming together in the chunky stitches.
One of the best things about using ultra super chunky yarns is that projects start taking shape very quickly! This cowl only took a couple of hours to make and as it’s crocheted in the round as a continuous spiral, there’s no sewing up to do. It could probably be made in less than an hour non-stop.
I am really pleased with the overall look of my finished cowl, the stitch definition is lovely and the colours of the yarn stand out very well. The cowl is reversible so either side can be worn facing outwards - I think I actually prefer the “wrong” side (see picture below) as I like the way the stitches look and I think the cowl sits better this way. I’m also really pleased with the length of the cowl, I made it a few stitches longer than the pattern states (my starting chain was 36 stitches rather than 30), which has made the cowl long enough to comfortably wrap around twice, but it looks equally as good worn as one long length.
I tested my finished cowl out on a very breezy day at the Devon coast over the weekend and it was very comfortable and cosy to wear. I think I will be wearing this cowl a lot this spring, at least until the weather gets a bit warmer!
I would highly recommend the Grounded Cowl pattern as it’s quick and easy to make and it only requires knowledge of chains, slip stitches and double crochet so would be suitable for a confident beginner. Sirdar Bohemia was the perfect yarn for this pattern - one skein was just enough to make the cowl shown, so it is quite a reasonably priced project. It would also make a great gift. I will definitely be using Sirdar Bohemia again as I have a few more chunky crochet projects in mind, and I plan to try out some of the other available colours. Thank you to the team at Minerva Crafts for letting me try this lovely yarn!
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 16th May 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Whilst I am quite active on Instagram, some of you will know me as @lisalooby1234, this is the first time I have featured on the Minerva Crafts blog and I was lucky enough to receive 3 metres of this gorgeously soft luxurious Sienna Crepe Fabric. I decided to opt for the Aubergine simply because the intense colour really caught my eye and I could see me teaming it with various coloured accessories.
Admittedly, when it arrived it wasn’t really what I was expecting. I was expecting something much heavier and rough to the touch. This, was none of these things. This could well be down to my lack of knowledge of the exact names of fabrics when I am ordering online, but I would have described this one more like a crepe de chine. It was so so soft and had a nice drape and my first thought was luxury nightwear. However after much dithering over what would be the best garment to make to show it off to its full potential I decided it was much too lovely to end up on my bedroom floor, hidden from the world, and that it needed to be on full display for all to see so opted for the McCall’s 7577 Jumpsuit Pattern. I had previously made this jumpsuit but did the short version last year for my hols but thought the full length would be a classy make for dining out in this country.
I raided my stash for the “perfect” lace to match. I knew I didn’t want a black or a white and had my heart set on something similar in colour and bingo I opted for this gorgeous linen lace in a slightly different shade of aubergine.
I was determined to do this beautiful fabric justice and knew everything had to be just perfect so straight away opted to use my Sharps needles (I’ve come a cropper before with finer fabrics laddering if the needle isn’t fine enough!) I’m so glad I did as the fabric is quite delicate when comes to pins and needles! After doing a few test rows on a scrap it soon became clear that it was going to need handling with care. I lengthened my stitch length to try an achieve a nice flat stitch as when I’d done tests on single layer found that it puckered quite a lot. It didn’t seem quite as bad on double fabric though. I also made sure my walking foot was engaged to keep the seams feeding evenly. I’d definitely recommend a walking foot. I find mine invaluable. In hindsight, perhaps introducing some starch may have helped give it a bit more stability whilst I was working with it.
I opted to finish the seams with my over locker and think this was a good move as the fabric does fray quite a lot! If I didn’t have an over locker I would have definitely done French seams to keep all the frayed edges hidden away.
I was concerned slightly about the back yoke on this make as the linen lace is fairly stiff as opposed to the soft slippery drape of the crepe but this was totally unfounded as it came together perfectly and pressed nicely to give a nice professional clean finish. I did use my clapper on seams as I just seem to be in the habit of using it regularly when pressing now. It’s great for keeping seams crisp and flat.
While I was making this gorgeous jumpsuit I was already dreaming of this fabric in other colours for other projects. It is so versatile. I could see myself floating round the house in a gorgeous dressing gown in this crepe. Maybe a Suki dressing gown and who knows maybe even one of the brighter colours! (I am trying my hardest to steer myself away from black which I seem to be always drawn to).
I was so excited to finish this jumpsuit and try it on (although I don’t see me wearing it anytime soon without a cardigan given how cold it is). The fabric is so soft against my skin and felt really high quality fabric with an excellent drape so would suit many a garment.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading my first review and I do hope I covered everything you might want to know about this lovely fabric.
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 15th May 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Although I’ve been sewing for many years it’s only recently that I haven’t been totally scared off by Knit Fabrics. For what I have attempted it’s basically been learning by trial and error along the way so it’s been great to have been given the chance to review Wendy Wards New Book, A beginners guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics.
The book starts off explaining what equipment you will need. These are mainly basic dressmaking tools but it’s a very useful list for someone just starting out, with some great hints and tips too.
A complex description of sizing and taking measurements, explains how to get a good fit by choosing the correct size, and understanding ease so your finished garment fits the way it should for that style.
Most of my previous experience with knitted fabric has been a bit hit & miss because I’ve tended to buy what I’ve liked the look of and then thought what to make with it. This has meant successes and failures! After reading the section of this book, entitled Know your knits, I feel much more confident to choose correctly. No more will I have T-shirts that don’t sit correctly as the fabric hasn’t enough stretch or baggy sleeves at the elbow as I haven’t thought about the recovery of the fabric. This chapter explains exactly what to check and look for in your fabric selection as well as talking about the structure of the knit, the grain and how different knit fabrics behave. It provides the formula for working out the percentage of stretch as well as a great summary of which fabrics to look for when shopping for a project, as well as the pros and cons of the fibre content.
I particularly like the shopping checklist that you can copy and carry with you or store with your fabric samples for future reference.
Having discussed the selection of fabric fibres, the book then moves on to explain the importance of preparation, firstly of the fabric, followed by the setting up of your machine with a quick reference for needle choice and tips to solve problems. This section finishes off with the preparation of the pattern.
There are three pull out pattern sheets provide in this book, that is all the pieces for the six project in the book and the various versions you can make with them. These are full size pattern pieces that need to be traced and cut as required. Details are given explaining the markings and how to transfer them to your fabric, also how to modify the pattern length for some projects.
Finally before moving on to the projects themselves the book moves onto techniques. Covering sewing seams, pattern matching and the methods used for hems and edges. Each technique is broken down into steps with drawings and photographs so you can see exactly what the finished result should look like. Again there is a useful summery to give a quick guide to help choose the correct seam for the fabric and the project.
The book has six projects with twenty variations in total. There are recommendations as to which projects to start with if you are an absolute beginner and the fabrics best to use to build confidence.
Each project is broken down with the garment description, techniques you will use, measurements, fabric suggestions, fabric amounts, cutting plan and construction steps. As you work through the stages of construction the book gives the reference page that you can turn back to for the information and guidance of that technique.
The instructions are clearly written with diagrams alongside, making the steps really clear to follow. There are lots of little hints and tips along the way and different variations you can try.
After reading through the book I decided to make the Tank Dress version of the Longshaw skirt. A dress with pockets is always a plus and I love the sculptural drape of the skirt. I used a Ponte Roma to show off the bold design.
Using the book enabled me to work out that this Ponte Roma Fabric had 50% stretch with good recovery so was a perfect choice for the top and skirt section.
The pattern sheets are clear with a only a few pieces on each page so there are not to many overlapping lines making it easy to follow the lines you are tracing. Each project is colour coded too so are instantly recognisable on each sheet. I used dressmakers pattern paper and could follow the lines easily without the need to highlight the pattern sheet underneath.
The book explains any pattern adjustments that may need to be carried out, for example lengthening of the skirt panel and states which cutting plan to follow with a clearly drawn diagram of the plan. For the dress I choose to make there were a total of six pattern pieces.
The book works with a seam allowance of 1cm and setting my machine up as instructed gave me the perfect stitch without much adjustment.
The clear step by step meant my dress came together with relative ease. Using the instructions for attaching the folded band edging gave me the best result I’ve have achieved for this finishing technique.
Having now made a dress from this book I would definitely recommended it for someone like me who needs to build confidence with knitted fabrics but I would also recommend it to someone who is looking for patterns to make a capsule wardrobe. With trousers, t-shirts, a skirt and a cardigan plus all the variations I can see myself making all the patterns to pack in my suitcase for a trip away!
I felt I learnt a lot of background information that will improve my future makes and enjoyed how the book was set out with some great photos in the reference sections and the projects. I particularly liked how as you you worked through the step by step it gave tips and stated the page number for more informative details of the technique needed. This kept the instructions clear and short but gave you quick access to the required details.
Well done Wendy Ward on such a great book. I’ve already had lots of positive comments on the first outing of my dress and it’s so comfortable to wear :) :) :)
Hello everyone and nice to meet you here! I am Olympia from Greece and I am so excited to be guest posting on the Minerva Crafts Blog!
For my first project I chose a Sewing Pattern from new Burda Style spring/summer 2018 collection. It’s pattern #6401 and for me it was a love from first sight.
Here is a sneak peek of it :
As you can see, it provides two versions and it could be made with a huge variety of fabrics (e.g. poplin, denim, broderie anglais etc.).
For my own dress I chose to sew version A and I use this amazing Scuba Fabric from Minerva Crafts. Well, I have to admit that I was a little afraid of the success of this project as scuba is a heavier fabric but after having finished it I am so satisfied with the way it came out. It’s a dress I love to wear, it’s very comfortable and it can be worn all day long!
As for the process, first of all, I pre-washed the fabric and then I chose the size I wanted. Usually I wear size 42 on Burda Style patterns but, as my fabric was so elastic I preferred to do it a size smaller, so size 40 turned to be nice.
Needless to say I spent more time on cutting the fabric (well… thinking of how to cut it!!!) than sewing it… A point you have to be careful at if you choose a fabric with repetitive motif is to cut all pattern pieces on a way they are matching together when you gather them. I had no difficulties with the sewing itself. This is an easy pattern with only a few pieces so feel free to try it even you are a beginner sewist. All info you need are given precisely on Burda’s guideline leaf with a lot of pictures.
Another point I would love to mention is that I didn’t finally insert the invisible zipper on the back because this scuba fabric is elastic enough and I felt that it wasn’t necessary. For the sleeves, I chose to combine sleeve pattern from version B with sleeve finishment from version A.
Overall, I feel I really love my new Burda dress and I am going to sew more using this pattern for sure in the near future. Please feel free to share your thoughts for this dress with me by leaving a comment either here or on my IG (@olypateli).
Thank you so much for stopping by!
Until next time,
Posted in Projects on Monday the 14th May 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Main Fabric 156cm wide by 3metres
Contrast satin 150cm wide by 115cm
Thread- 2 reels main colour and 1 reel contrast for topstitching
Stay tape 1cm wide by 40cm
Ribbon for hanging loops
Butterick Pattern B5898
Ham or rolled up towel for pressing
Stretch stitch facility
Set square or similar (to check bias fold)
Loop turner or similar device
Courage and Patience
Sewing level: Experienced.
This Knit Fabric is quite light but contained enough weight to drape well. Being a polyester, wool and acrylic mix in a very open knit I decided it would need to be made into something with minimal shaping and seams. I judged it would need some help in supporting seams and edges. I also decided that I was not confident enough to use the overlocker as the fabric slipped about too much.
After a lot of deliberation, I decided to make the wrap dress, but to use a remnant of cotton-backed plain satin to add structure and a bit of contrast.
The facings and interlinings would show if the garment was made in the usual way, so I planned to make a reverse facing around the closure and neckline, giving a firm edge. I repeated this on the sleeves and used the same satin to make the collar and tie belt.
Cutting out the garment was tricky as I only had 3 metres (the pattern recommended 3.6m) but with a bit of careful planning, that went OK. There is a definably one way design to the knit but the pattern repeat was thankfully small. There were 4 main pattern pieces: right front, left front, back and sleeves.
As the pattern called for all parts to be cut out in stretchy-knit fabric, I cut the facings and collar on the bias.
The tie belt doesn’t need to stretch so I cut that on the grain. I initially cut the facings as per pattern as I wasn’t sure how wide a strip I would use. I also cut sleeve facings using the sleeve pattern and added a notch.
As the satin was quite stiff already I omitted the interlining suggested for the facings and collar.
Following the pattern instructions, I first made up the bust darts and stay stitched the neck edges. The darts went together easily, despite the complicated shape. I used a normal stitch for the stay stitching but a stretch stitch for the main seams. To give some support to the shoulder seams, I added stay tape I cut this to the exact length of the shoulder seam and I am glad I did as the seam stretched considerably while pinning it.
The side seams where straightforward. The right side required a gap in the seam to allow the tie belt to pass through. To reinforce this, and to help identify the hole when dressing, I added stay tape here too.
I stitched around the hole with a stretch stitch, then slipstitched the ends and inner edges of the tape to the seam allowance.
The collar, tie belt and facings were made up as instructed, but without interlining and topstitched using the fancy stretch stitch.
As I had pink top thread and peach bobbin thread I turned the belt over so each side had a pink edge and a peach edge. The collar and tie belt were machine basted into place, on the WRONG side of the garment, easing in the fabric as it stretched out of shape despite stay stitching. Before attaching the facing to the dress, I moved on to the sleeves to experiment with the hem facings.
The sleeve and garment facings were attached in the same way as follows:
Sew up the seams and press open
Pin the facing to the main part with the right side (satin) of the facing to the WRONG side of the main piece. Stitch using stretch stitch.
Understitch the seam allowance towards the main piece using blind hem foot.
Trim away excess facing from the seam allowance and clip curves to reduce bulk.
Turn, pin and topstitch the facing close to the stitched edge.
Keeping the main garment well supported to avoid stretching out of shape, turn under the unstitched edge of the facing and pin to the garment. Ensure that the fabric lies evenly and flat.
Topstitch into place.
The sleeves were inserted as per instructions. The dress hem was completed using the same stretch stitch I had used for the seams. I first stabilised the edge with a large zigzag stitch. The satin front edging was folded to the reverse and slip stitched into place.
A hand sewn carrier loop was added to the left seam at the waistline for the tie belt. I also added ribbon hanging loops at the shoulder seams. To ensure the collar point lay flat, I tacked this in place
The fabric is challenging to use as it stretches and slides so not for a beginner, or to be done in a hurry. It was very forgiving when being unpicked! It doesn’t fray or unravel when handled a lot, though the gold ’spots’ are a looser knit and tend to collapse when cut. These pale threads also got snagged easily by pins and the presser foot while sewing. The fabric moulds well and drapes beautifully but needs some support in construction eg stay tape in shoulder seams. The care instruction states it must be handwashed.
It is quite sheer so a camisole and slip will definitely be needed as the dress is unlined! It would probably make a great unstructured top or loose cardigan with some contrast ribbing around the neck and cuffs.
Thanks for reading,