I love paisley more than some might say was appropriate, so when I came across this paisley Crepe De Chine Fabric, I knew it needed to be in my life. It’s a wonderfully soft, drapey fabric, perfect for something light and floaty and summery. The only thing is, light-and-floaty-and-summery is an area of dressmaking I tend to shy away from. As such, it took me a while to think of a pattern that could do it justice, but then I remembered the Drape Drape books by Hisako Sato. If you can’t use Drape Drape for a drapey fabric, what can you use it for?!
I settled on pattern no.16 from the original Drape Drape book – the Drape Dress with Gathered Sleeves. I’ve made this once before and really loved the relaxed, faux wrap effect, and I’ve always been a big proponent of reusing patterns you like until you get bored of them, so it seemed like a pretty good choice. Anyway, the other time I used this pattern, I didn’t add the sleeves and I made it in a plain fabric, so this would end up totally different.
As much as I adore the Drape Drape books, I’ve got to admit that the instructions aren’t always the easiest to follow. Even on the second time making this, I still found myself getting incredibly confused, and I think I went wrong a few times, but then again, I can’t actually be sure that I did, because that’s how confused the instructions made me. But I got there in the end, and I would absolutely say that it’s worth that little bit of confusion because the pattern design is just so gorgeous! The pleats and tucks and whatever else are perfectly positioned to create these super soft, delicate drapes that bounce about when you move yet stay exactly where they’re meant to.
This fabric is rather fray-prone, so French seams are definitely recommended here. I rather stupidly didn’t think to add any extra seam allowance before cutting, and the pattern only comes with 1cm seam allowance in the first place, which made for some tricky maneuvering and the dress ending up slightly too tight across the back. But it still fits fine and it looks all pretty on the inside, and isn’t that what really matters?
I’ve already decided that this will be a perfect summer holiday dress. The fabric is light enough to stay cool, and it doesn’t cling to the skin, but it covers up pretty much all of my upper body so I can avoid sunburn without smothering myself in sun lotion! Win win! I think it would also work great as a tunic top, so I now feel like I need some bright pink or mustard yellow trousers in my life to go with this (stay tuned I guess).
Overall, slight fit issue that was totally my fault aside, I’m so happy with this dress. I love all the interesting pleat details in the pattern, I love the bold paisley print, and I love the way the fabric feels against the skin. So woohoo, it was a success! Somehow, no matter how many things I make, I still get surprised when that happens!
Anyway, that’s it for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!www.seeminglyimmaterial.com
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 1st April 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello everybody, I am Camelia from @ calcedoniasewing and today I would like to share with you my latest project using this gorgeous Lady McElroy Crepe Jersey.
I fell in love with the beautiful bird print on the teal background, so beautiful. I ordered it without a pattern in my head, I knew it was going to be a dress but I had to feel it before deciding on the pattern.
As usual, the fabric arrived very fast and it is gorgeous! Very soft and drapey but also quite delicate and not completely opaque. I knew that if it was to be made into a dress with a close body fit I would have to make a slip to wear underneath.
I prewashed the fabric in the washing machine and hung it to dry.
After much thinking, I decided on this Burdastyle pattern 114 from issue 2/2013. The drape in the front asks for a drapey fabric but also not too thick as you need to gather quite some fabric there.
I traced a size 38 for the shoulders and armholes and 40 for the rest. After a bit of measuring, I also made a 1.2cm swayback adjustment using the slide and pivot method as described in Nancy Zieman`s book, Pattern Fitting with confidence. Also, I was afraid that the neckline would be too wide and my bra straps would show so I added 1cm at the neck/shoulder seam, I think that was a good decision. I also serged clear elastic on my shoulder seams.
In the magazine, the dress is sleeveless but I wanted it with sleeves so I used the ones from the top pattern and made them shorter by 20cm.
The pattern is designed with the back cut on the fold, but from previous experiences, I knew that the chance to get a perfect fit would be very small. So I added a seam allowance at the CB and also I scooped the back a bit at the waist level and then I added the same amount at the side seam. I love how the back fits!
I cut the pieces using pattern weights for the pattern pieces and my rotary cutter as this fabric is so stretchy and soft. Much easier than pinning and cutting with scissors.
The dress is sewn mostly on the serger and a few bits on the sewing machine. For the hem, I used my coverstitch machine, which gave me a really hard time with skipped stitches and all that, making me want to throw it in the garbage.. the machine, not the dress :), but then I remembered that sometimes using stretch thread for the looper will help, like this one . And it did, so happy with it!
Don't be scared! I will explain what happened here :)! The neckline is finished with facings, and that is what I used too, but when I tried on the dress, it was pulling at the armholes and feeling uncomfortable and at first I was thinking it was too small, but this fabric is so stretchy it was not possible to be so uncomfortable! And then I realized my mistake!! I had used stretch interfacing for my facings but I didn`t pay attention to cut it with the stretch in the same direction as the facings/dress so my facing were rigid, so no stretching with the dress! I had my sleeves all serged and the neckline trimmed and understitched and the fabric is so delicate I didn`t want to take risks to take it all out and cut new facings. So , my solution to this was to cut off the facings, with Pinking Shears (I love my Fiskars pinking shears!) Very carefully, I cut around the armholes and the neckline and then I topstitched around the neckline to be sure that that facing...well what was left of the facing, will stay to the inside. And now it is PERFECT!!
I look happy as I am happy! I love the fit of the dress now! Before I forget, I did make a slip dress to wear underneath, using the pattern from McCalls 6696, but because I made it out of stretch lining (similar to this) fabric I cut it on the straight of grain and not on the bias as per the pattern.
As usual, I made a small modeling video for you to see how gorgeous this fabric is!
Happy sewing! @calcedoniasewing
Often my dressmaking process starts with a shape or pattern and then I find a fabric to fit with it. But when I saw this Kern Palms Viscose Dobby by Lady McElroy, nothing on my plans list seemed right. I’m not usually one for pattern hacking, but I felt that this beautiful print on this lovely textured fabric demanded something special. I knew I wanted something feminine but still soft and comfortable. The Heidi Day Dress by The Wearable Studio was a perfect jumping off point for me to create my tropical dream ruffle midi dress.
Pattern & Modifications
The Heidi Day Dress comes as a free pattern with an email subscription to The Wearable Studio, a fairly new pattern company based in Australia. It’s a simple, strappy shift dress with bust darts and back pleats that conceal waist ties.The best part? It’s drafted for a C cup! No FBA this time!
Transforming this wardrobe basic into a swishy, romantic dream dress was easier than I thought. I added a tie strap detail by simply cutting 4 instead of 2 strap pieces. I stitched one end closed on each piece, and attached the pieces as instructed. It actually made it a bit easier. Since the tie straps are adjustable, it eliminated a fitting step.
For the ruffle, I cut two pieces 25 centimeters in length by 145 centimeters wide. For the width measurement, I simply doubled the width of the hem, which happened to be the width of the fabric. I removed about 8 centimeters from the original hem, then gathered the two rectangles and hemmed the dressed using a narrow roll foot. I only regret not cutting the piece a bit longer. I would have loved the proportions of the bodice above the waist ties and the ruffle to be a bit more similar, but I’m still very happy with it overall.
This fabric is a dream to wear. It’s so light and beautiful. It’s also very delicate. Despite using a microtex needle, I still experienced quite a bit of snagging. I would also recommend stabilizing the edges. When the cut edges stretched it caused threads to run up the fabric, distorting the print. Aside from those issues, it sewed up beautifully. It wasn’t too shifty or slippery but I starched the fabric beforehand and used my walking foot for extra stability. The texture is so lovely, but I’m sad that it catches on everything.
Pattern: The Wearable Studio Heidi Day Dress (FREE in email subscription!)
Fabric & Notions: 2.5 Meters Lady McElroy Leaf Viscose Dobby.
Fabric Notes: Lightweight, steady, beautiful textured weave. Easy to work with, but snags easily.
Design Modifications: Lengthen straps for ties, added hem ruffle.
Fit Alterations: Contoured dart tips for better fit.
Difficulty: Confident Beginner
Future Plans: Yes! I’d love to try one in a more structured linen.
I love wearing this dress! I feel so sassy, yet still very comfortable. The colors and print of the fabric combined with the feminine details of the pattern make this such a beautifully versatile dress! Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
Hello everyone! Good to be back on the blog with an M6886 hack bonanza! OK, not quite a bonanza, more a two-nanza. Yes, that’s a thing… cough.
I’m a big fan of the M6886 - so many possibilities on the envelope and then, if you like to hack, so many ways to go off-piste.
This Textured Jersey Fabric by Lady McElroy triggered an instant vision of a monochrome stripe M6886. It’s a fairly weighty knit, so I reckoned on an autumnal affair: midi length with long sleeves.
For extra cosiness, and because stripes beg you to play with their direction, I added a contrast neckband and cuffs.
When adding the cuffs, I took away only a small amount from the sleeve hem for super-long sleeves and super-snuggly arms.
It’s a simple pattern which needs little explanation but, at the risk of telling a grandma how to suck eggs, I’ll give a few brief details on working with the fabric and adding the bands.
First up, I did spend extra time on pattern matching here. I’m not usually that obsessive about pattern matching (shock horror!), but hey, this is the Minerva blog! So I upped my game and put the hours in.
To pattern match with these thin white stripes you really do need to pin literally every stripe as it can slip out of place easily. I used ball point pins for jersey, which are so thin you can (whispers) sew over them - gently - to ensure nothing moves. If this is sewing heresy then, as Luther Ingram once said, I don’t wanna be right.
For the neck band (the pattern offers only a folded edge) I measured the edges of the neckline, took away about 15-20% and then cut a strip of fabric that length (plus seam allowances) about 2 inches wide. A half inch seam allowance then gives a half inch wide neckband - just the ticket. Making a neckband to fit depends on a fabric’s stretch and is an art I won’t claim to have mastered; initially my band stood up a little bit, so I unpicked it and removed a little more length to ensure the band would lay flat.
The finished dress is like a great big slouchy hug and for me that is always a win!
I thought I’d have enough jersey left over for a top, but when I looked at the remnant, I had a flutter of inspiration: a short flared dress with pockets, much like one I’d seen in the Boden catalogue, but with a simpler construction around the waistline.
I wanted something that would straddle the cooler days of the summer as well as autumn, so I did a quick sketch and then mobilised resources.
I used three patterns to create the dress: the bodice and short sleeves of the M6886, scaled down a size for a snug fit, a vintage skirt pattern, and the Cotton and Chalk Jenna jumpsuit for pocket placement (I wanted the pockets inlaid at the front rather than in the side seam).
In the end there wasn’t enough fabric left for the full vintage skirt, so I folded the pattern back and ended up with a nice a-line shape.
To draft the new pattern pieces, I lay all three patterns on top of each other, roughly jiggled them into position, and then traced over with plain pattern paper. Jiggling, eh? It’s technical stuff this!
I added a neckband again (stripes running horizontal this time, to give a nice neat single stripe all around the neck), and sewed the lot together.
There was a bit of a muddle around pattern matching the skirt to the bodice with the pockets, but I don’t think the slight misalignment is too noticeable at the waist join, and at the pockets it looks kind of accidental-on-purpose and that’s good enough for me.
After all the practice pattern matching with the first dress, this one came together really quickly - especially the sleeves, which I’d had to unpick and realign first time round. I love it when you can literally witness the learning!
I’m not sure why, but this M6886 mash-up has delivered real joy. It was so much fun seeing a dress I liked and then recreating a rough approximation. It was also an unexpected bonus; I’ve come away with not only two easy-to-wear frocks, but also a pattern I’d love to make more dresses with.
The fabric is lovely and warm, and these dresses will see me into winter with tights and a big coat. I don’t want to see the back of the summer, but these secret pyjamas will definitely soften the blow.
Thanks for reading
Posted in Projects on Monday the 30th March 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
This is my third blog post for Minerva, and I was really happy to try this lovely drapey mint green, medium weight Jersey Fabric. I decided straight away what I would make, the Joni dress from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch book.
I have made this dress twice before so was confident to make it again. Interestingly each dress has turned out really different and this one is probably the nicest as it is so nice to wear!
The fabric is very comfortable and soft to touch.
The fabric is a light weight jersey, and is a lovely mint green and brown colour with a nice retro style pattern. I always like a retro pattern!! The fabric is really stylish as well as comfortable, I can highly recommend it and reasonably priced. I washed the fabric and didn’t notice any shrinkage and it dried very quickly and only creases a little bit, but they drop out when worn. As the fabric is jersey it is slippery to cut but not too difficult. I cut with scissors, just use plenty of pins as the bodice needs to be cut accurately. It doesn’t fray at all but I did sew completely using my over locker, which saved a lot of time. A dress with nice finished seams always looks professional. I finished the hem with a double needle, which worked really well and gave a nice professional finish.
The skirt of the dress is cut on the bias so creates a nice floaty shape and this fabric helps this a lot. For this pattern you need three metres in total and this is mainly for the skirt and for me I wanted it a bit longer, I am 5ft 10inches. You might be able to get away with 2.5 metres if you want a shorter version. The only tricky bit about this pattern is putting in the Clear Elastic but if you take it slow and don’t use pins it is fine, just hold the elastic on the fabric and guide it through your sewing machine. You have to use the sewing machine for this and a zig zag stitch is best. The good thing about the clear elastic is nice as it doesn’t show on the inside. The twist at the front of the dress is very flattering and quite easy to do.
The instructions are very easy to follow and look much more complicated than it actually is. The sleeves have been drafted from a different pattern but as the fabric is jersey it was really easy to ease them into the dress.
The Sewing Pattern used for the sleeves was View C. If I was to say what the very most difficult part of sewing this dress was, is the neckband, you need to space out the band and stretch until it fits. It looks really nice when finished and worth it. The dress took me 3 hours to make and that includes cutting the fabric.
I have worn this dress a lot as it is easy to wear and looks effortlessly nice. I have had a lot of complements.
Happy sewing everyone, make the Joni dress in this amazing fabric!
Fabric Final Verdict (out of 10)
Fabric usability: 9
Pattern applicability: 9
Value for Money: 10
Vintage-ness: 9 (with a modern twist)
Hi, it’s Amanda from Derivingmommyhood here on the Minerva Blog again!! I can’t wait to brighten your day with these outfits.
There’s no shortage of cute cotton lycra prints out there in the fabric world. I’ve become increasingly picky when shopping for them. With such a flooded market, it’s sometimes hard to stand out…..but when I saw these Rico Cotton Jersey Succulents, I absolutely had to have them. Neon pink, mint, petrol….plus the cutest little potted cacti on earth?? It is perfect.
I love a print that can work easily for any of my four children, and this certainly doesn’t disappoint there,either. My middle children both love it just as much as me so I decided to sew for them. I chose a coordinating print that is like a hand sketched grid in shades of light and dark mint to piece in with the succulents (it’s listed as gray, but I’d say it feels more mint). I really love how both are geometric yet they do not compete with each other. There is also a knit with some pink triangles that I think would make a great match too!
Speaking of it, if you choose to order them keep in mind that the print is directional and behaves like a stripe, so you may want to order a bit extra to match those stripes and since you don’t want any upside-down plants. Or maybe you do, but just so you know.
I started off with a Bayside Romper from New Horizons for my daughter. The succulents seem so fun and summery that I thought it would be a great match. The grid was used for the bindings, and then I thought about using the succulents for the shorts too, and the weight is a medium so it would have certainly worked….but white background, and a kid that LOVES to climb and play, I decided a solid would be best.
There are so many shades of bluish green in this print that you cannot go wrong choosing a solid. I actually used a scrap of luxury viscose jersey in dark petrol I had leftover from these outfits for the shorts and love how flowy it looks with it, plus it’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t add any bulk on the slant pockets. I used eyelets and a scrap of neon crepe jersey I had for the faux drawstring. I love how it can be a great play outfit that is easy for her to choose (all in one!) and works as a swim cover on holidays as well.
My younger son is very adventurous with his fashion and loved the cactus a lot, so I went with a muscle tee for him using the Swiss Army Tee. I love that it has the colorblocked side panels and shoulders so that I could mix in the grid print. I went ahead and made him some neon shorts (Lindens from Sew a Little Seam) to really bring out the neon on the cactus. Have I mentioned how great the color is in this print?!
Even if it is a bit dreary where I live, it’s nice to have a bright touch of summer and happiness everytime I see them in these looks!