I have fancied playing with Sheer Fabric for a while so was thrilled to get a chance to review this check beauty. It has a real Lois Vuitton vibe to it and a touch of the 60's. When the fabric arrived my twins were enthralled, it was worn as some kind of costume for a full afternoon before making it into the sewing room!
I was going to make a pussy bow blouse but then saw a picture of Papercut Patterns Kobe Top and thought it might work well with a sheer like this.
I haven't worked with sheer fabric before and expected it to be shifty but the satin squares are a heavier weight which seemed to make it behave while cutting.
The same difference in texture though did give me a bit of an issue with the sewing machine. I decided to do French seams, but the change every couple of inches from satin to thin chiffon made it really challenging to keep the stitching straight. My seam allowances are a bit all over the place as a result!
The hems were tricky for the same reason, at one point I got so hot and flustered trying to keep the hem stitching straight on the sheer bits that I had to take my clothes off....(on the off chance that my neighbours are reading, apologies but I can't promise it won't happen again, it's what happens when crafting goes bad.)
It is worth noting that this fabric doesn't mind pressing so as bad as things looked after hemming a good steam, (over a press cloth obviously, this is a poly/viscose and I am not completely reckless) and they now look presentable enough to wear.
The pattern has a beautiful detail at the back which looks awesome but had me scratching my head and waving my seam ripper...in the end I found a tutorial on the papercut patterns blog which helped to a point, but I won't lie, I probably need a new seam ripper it took so many goes. (The fabric was a trooper, didn't seem to mind the endless stitching and ripping!) I top stitched my shoulder seam to stop the back neckline binding poking out, otherwise I don't think it would lie neatly.
On the positive side look how that back dips down! It is absolutely joyful to wear, I love the serious at the front, party at the back thing it has going on...makes me feel a bit dressed up without actually having to make much effort!
This fabric is perfect for this kind of simple top or blouse and I still have a pussy bow blouse on my list. I am so glad I was brave enough to try working with it but it has really thrown up some gaps in my sewing skills, practice makes perfect eh?
Thanks for reading, apologies again to my neighbours, and may the sewing god's keep all of your seams straight x
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 17th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was very lucky to receive an early copy of A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics, Wendy Ward’s brilliant new book. There are lots of great patterns in this book, but I decided to make the Peak T-shirt in this beautiful Art Gallery Cotton Jersey Fabric.
Although I’ve had some experience of sewing with stretch fabrics before, I learnt so much from reading this book. Wendy’s experience and expertise really shines through, and having so much advice about sewing with knitted fabric in one place is brilliantly useful. I found the advice on needle type particularly useful, and she has demystified the difference between ballpoint and stretch needles for me! There is also some fantastically useful reference information on fabric and stitch types. Really everything you need to know about sewing with knitted fabrics in one place.
The Peak T-shirt pattern is a great basic top. It comes in long and short sleeved options, as well as a colour-blocked dress and even a shirred elastic option. It’s not a very fitted style, so just consider the final look when you’re deciding on sizes and customisation options.
Tips and Tricks
One of my favourite methods in this pattern is fitting the neckband. Using quarters makes so much sense, and an approach I’ll be using from now on! There was also some brilliant advice on sewing with a twin needle, which I’ve never tried before. Really pleased with how the hem turned out.
To make this Peak T-shirt right for my body shape, I went for the long-sleeved version, but shortened the length by 5cm. I also combined two sizes as I’m wider on the hips than waist, and took the shoulders in by 1.5cm. I shortened the sleeve length to create three-quarter length sleeves. I’m toying with widening the neck slightly next time. Then I will have my perfect long-sleeved top to make in multiple fabrics!
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 16th July 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was really thrilled to be asked recently by Minerva Crafts to review their new Anchor Multi Colour Stranded Cotton Embroidery Thread. I chose a few skeins to try in the colour 1349 which are different shades of blue and purple. But there are lots of other gorgeous colours to choose from. As this is multi coloured thread the colours change every couple of inches. Just like other embroidery thread there are 6 strands of cotton which separate really easily depending on how many strands you want to work with at a time.
Before the embroidery thread arrived I had time to think about what I would like to make with it. I have worked with embroidery thread before but I had never tried the multi colour variety so this really appealed to me.
Earlier this year I had purchased the Let’s Sew pattern by Ursula Michael. It’s a cross stitch pattern which is mainly back stitch so I knew it would work up quite quickly. I just fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it and thought it was a really clever design. I loved how all the sewing related words together made up a sewing machine. I have just looked on line and this pattern is still readily available on some UK and US websites if you would also like the pattern. I paid about £5 for a printed version and it arrived really quickly.
I chose white 14 count aida fabric from Minerva to stitch my project. The fabric stitch count you choose is entirely personal preference. I’m at the age now where I need a magnifying glass if the stitch count is too small! I also chose white fabric because I wanted to frame my finished project in a simple white frame. I thought this would really show off both the design and the multi colour embroidery thread I used to stitch it. For a totally different look you could also use a darker coloured aida fabric with a lighter colour embroidery thread which would also look really nice.
I used a standard embroidery needle with a wooden ring embroidery hoop to stitch my project. Both of which Minerva sells. The pattern uses 2 strands of thread at a time which gives a lovely stitch definition. It’s been a while since I’ve done any proper cross stitch and I’d forgotten just how addictive it is! I worked on this off and on over a few weeks and before I knew it my project was finished.
Before framing I gently hand washed the fabric and hung it out to dry. This is because being white and handled a lot whilst stitching, it can become a little discoloured from handling. Once it was dry I gently ironed the reverse side on a low heat setting. Then it was ready for framing.
And here is my finished and framed project. I am really pleased with how well it turned out and I think this design really shows off the multi colour embroidery thread really well. I shall be hanging it up in my craft room.
Thank you so much Minerva for letting me review this lovely embroidery thread and I am absolutely thrilled with my finished picture.
Thanks for reading
Yvonne @ by-yvonne
I had some preconceived notions of what Corduroy Fabric is, kind of a denim substitute. This fabric isn’t that. I had plans to make some jean style trousers with it, but when it arrived it was just soooooo soft and drapey and fine, I had to use the drape for some other, more dramatic purpose. Although the fabric is a woven it has some give, a sponginess if you will, across the width which will make it comfortable to wear. And the colour?! Very bright and saturated, I love this kind of deep pink, particularly with denim.
I prewashed this fabric on a normal 30 wash, then tumbled it. For some reason I expected it to shrink and I definitely expected it to have some colour fade. I actually measured it when it came out of the dryer and no shrinkage, no fading either, and it actually got even softer in the wash (which I wasn’t expecting either as my sons’ cord trousers seem to shrink and go crisp!).
I had 2m to play with and for some reason the idea of the I Am Cassiopee kept popping into my head, but as a wide, short top, not as the dress it is intended to be.
I already had traced off the pattern in anticipation of the right fabric turning up, so it seemed that fate had decided for me! (this IAM pattern requires some tracing work as the pattern pieces are overlaid, Kevin T. Cat Esq for some reason loves the Minerva Swedish Tracing paper though so we enjoy the work!)
I made no alterations to the length of the bodice, I wanted this short, flared look. If I were to make the dress version I would add about 10cm to make that seam hit my waist (I am 5’10).
I halved the length of the skirt bit to get the top effect – I literally folded the pattern piece in half.
You need to consider the nap or direction of cord before you cut it, it is a bit like Kevin T. Cat in that to stroke it one way is really nice, the other not so much. So consider the amount you order as there is no scope to flip pattern pieces upside down for economy. I can happily confirm I managed to get all the pieces the right way up (YAS!! WINNING!), and this cord stayed put while I cut. No sneaky shiftiness, grainline where I expected it, hardly a need to put pins in. No drama here.
The fabric also stayed put while I sewed. No pins, no swearing, no drama. Now that is not to say I had a seam ripper free experience. I can confirm this pattern company uses a 1cm allowance not a 1.5cm allowance, not that I know anyone daft enough to just rush in to sew the sleeves on a top without checking. Ahem.
I have heard of fancy techniques to press cord and preserve the nap/texture. I didn’t employ them with this, because it is so fine, it seemed to press well without any need to press onto velvet or anything.
And it works. The style and colour and weight of this are perfect for spring with my dark denim. Plenty of room for air to waft about and plenty of drama to wear if not to sew! The pattern will be used frequently I think as bit of a quick fix for in between more complex makes, I like the idea of it in a white cotton jersey next.
I have in my virtual stash (a.k.a. Minerva saved for later basket) more of this cord, I would like to make a Merchant Mills Trapezette for my Niece, and for me I think some wide leg trousers and because of the give in the fabric a nice fitted shirt. The colours available are all pretty lovely.
Thanks for reading
I admit it, I am a sucker for wrap dresses. Maybe it's because I was denied the style for so long due to poor RTW fit issues but now that I can sew my own wardrobe I cannot seem to get enough. The newest Spring pattern releases from McCalls, Butterick (B6554 and B6543) and Vogue (V93113) all feature a version of the wrap dresses and I would love to make them all eventually but the first to be made is the McCalls M7745.
My love affair with prints and vibrant colors stayed true with this project. This navy floral Jersey Fabric is composed of polyester, viscose and elastane, has the perfect amount of stretch and is opaque so it does not need to be lined. (Thank you Minerva Crafts for the gift). I decided that the McCalls Spring Collection M7745 would be the perfect pattern to show off the beautiful print and made view D top with view B skirt. I am not a big fan of could shoulders and this raglan style is timeless so it was an easy decision to make. Who does not love a floral maxi dress to sashay in during the warm weather months?
My favorite part of this fabric is the orange/ rust Carnation amongst the red Dahlias, pink carnations and the white the name of the white flower eludes me...). It is the least repeated flower pattern on the fabric but the color pops against the navy background and it stands out amongst the sea of red, pink and white. I also love that all the colors are super saturated and bold and the floral prints are large in scale so that their details can be seen easily. No wallflower here, this floral jersey; It's my kind of fabric.
I prewashed the fabric and air dried it to account for shrinkage, which was insignificant.
Does anyone else feel a sense of satisfaction after the fabric have been cut out? This picture makes me smile.
The wrap dress pattern itself is very simple with only six pattern pieces so this is a very easy project to make, even for beginner sewers. I used rotary fabric cutter to cut out my fabrics (no problems encountered) and the sewing process was free of troubles (My sewing machine is Singer Quantum Stylist 9960). I used a ballpoint needle with on stretch stitch setting and did not have to use any special foot for this fabric. I used 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbons for the ties at the waist:
The unhemmed dress hung for a few days while I waited for the fabric to settle.
I can tell you that this will not be my last time making this pattern. It is so flattering on my figure, easy to make and makes me feel feminine. The skirt drapes beautifully and has great movement when I walk. I love the no hassle of wrap dresses since it's impossible to wrinkle and for their ease of wear. Go ahead and make something wonderful with this fabric and love your new wardrobe addition!
Thank you Minerva Crafts for giving me the opportunity to try this fabric, I love my new dress!
Today I will be sharing with you my review of Gutermann’s “Ring a Roses Long Island Garden” Poplin Quilting Fabric in the grey colourway. I was so excited when it arrived through my door, the details are stunning. The fabric has a beautiful array of colours ranging from pink, pistachio green, pale blue and orange on a grey background. Unusually it is quite wide at 56” instead of the usual 44”. I can’t complain as it means I might yet be able to squeeze two rompers out of the generous 2.5m I received. My youngest (we like to call her Madame Shannanigans) was instantly thrilled with the “orange flowers” dotted around her resultant romper.
This is the first time I have opted for such a busy print but the circular repeated pattern really called out to me. At first I was unsure if it was too much to use it as a main fabric but upon holding my delightful bundle it just screamed “Barefoot Romper” (Twig + Tale) to me. With that I set about printing the pdf pattern, navigating through the countless options and trying to piece the pattern together correctly. Later I would find that the pdf instructions contained illustrations on how to piece each option… *head-hand* but on the bright side the hour I spent was not wasted since I did not make any mistakes! Navigating the Twig + Tale instructions was a little bit like those adventure books I read when I was little where you had to skip so many steps forward then jump back a page. Overall though the instructions are well written and easy enough to follow.
Twig + Tale had a 3 year anniversary for their barefoot romper pattern recently so I nabbed it up in love with the dream of my children living their days in the wild forests playing in sparkling streams under dappled sunlight…. Have you seen Twig + Tale’s marketing? It is that good! I didn’t have any solid intention of making rompers though, so for a few months it was just sat forgotten amongst my chaotic pdf pattern collection. Along came my beautiful fabric from Minerva and suddenly I was inspired. I ended up choosing a gathered yoke, full length romper with broad halter ties which could either be tied around the neck or conveniently through an anchor loop in the back. I made a size 4 since my children are in no way small, so I was hoping to roll the legs up and let her grow into it.
This fabric is lovely to work with, it is quite crease resistant, washes well and easy to cut. I didn’t use many pins whilst sewing except for adding the facing which turned out to be a labour of love as I kept getting a seam caught. Some nights I should just acknowledge it is time to go to bed.
For this romper, I chose to use the Gutermann fabric as the main body and found some lovely dusky pink scrap fabric for the contrast pocket. Feeling inspired, I freestyled some pintucks all over the fabric to create a more organic feel for some textured treasure pockets. Instead of grey I decided to use some contrasting pink thread which coordinated perfectly with my fabric choices. Since learning the zipper foot trick for edge stitching I have been fearless! For this romper though it did mean a lot of interchanging between the normal foot and zipper foot since there was edge stitching, contrast stitching, under stitching… Lots and lots of narrow stitching!
Usually I work like a mad woman through the night so my girls can wear their new creation the next day in time for church and photos. It’s not really a dedication thing, more like a disorganised crazy lady thing. You will be pleased to know I finished this before midnight on a Saturday so that we could get a few cheeky shots in before church started. Morning came and little Madame was delighted with her new romper but she was not in a good mood for photos. Cue – Bubbles. Seriously. Is there anything bubbles are unable to fix? We plodded to the park times two since the first one was really just a bit of green and I am thrilled that she felt comfortable enough to climb and run around in her romper. Someone even commented on how practical her treasure pockets were! The barefoot romper is definitely a winner for me. Madame Shannanigans either resembles an Oompa Loompa or Pierrot the clown due to the generous but darling ease built into the crotch area.
Thank you Minerva again for letting me review for you. It has been so much fun coming out of my comfort zone and trying something new!
Come visit me on Instagram @MadameShannanigans for more of my sewing adventures!