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Jennifer Jangles Kit: Bumbly Bee Pin Cushion Ring Review

Whilst my broken leg is healing, and I can’t use my sewing machine, I’m satiating my creative needs with hand sewing. Kits are perfect for this, as they have almost everything neatly contained within, already organised for you. 
I’m making a Jennifer Jangles Kit, the Bumbly Bee Pin Cushion Ring. There's lot of other kits designs and patterns in the range too.
This one is perhaps an odd choice for me, as I don’t use a wrist pin cushion, and am too klutzy to use a ring pin cushion, but it’s cute, and it’s a bee. A sewn sewing bee! 
It’s not the biggest kit; a smidge bigger than my hand, but then a pin cushion ring isn’t a big accessory. It looks quite simple, and indeed isn’t complicated at all, but it is a bit fiddly, and the instructions are quite basic, so although it might appear to be a lovely gift for a beginner, consider it also a lovely gift for any stitcher. 
It contains everything needed except scissors. The instructions do ask you to cut out the wing pattern from the instruction sheet, so really, you’ll also need paper scissors. Don’t panic! I used my embroidery scissors to cut everything for this kit, and they are still snipping away fine. It’s not something I make a habit of though!
The contents are: two dark yellow felt balls, a skein of black embroidery thread, a small piece of white felt, two pins, two black seed beads, an adjustable ring fitting, a needle, and instructions. A corner of the instructions contains the pattern for the wings. 
Be aware that the bag is additionally secured by a single staple. This might seem like an unnecessary safety warning, but if you’ve ever been gashed by a hidden staple, you’ll know why I’m mentioning it! 
Could I thread this needle?
Could I heck, but it didn’t matter, I had a needle threader in my sewing tin. Apparently a very fragile one that broke when I tried to use it. That also didn’t matter; I have a set of sturdy needles with large eyes, and I can thread these without difficulties. Phew! 
The instructions say to use the full thread (all six strands) unless specified. The body is the first piece to be embroidered. It doesn’t give any detail about which stitch to use, but looking at the photos, I assumed backstitch, and this is what I used for all the stripes. I was quite pleased that I mostly managed to keep a straight line for each one. Straightish stripes are one of the attributes that makes my bee unique ;-) 
The pictures show the bee with three stripes. I didn’t secure the head to the body quite as neatly as the illustrations, and the black thread attaching the two yellow balls together was evident. To make it less garishly obvious, I stitched a fourth stripe near to the neck line. It now looks as though there’s a fifth stripe round the neck, doesn’t it? The answer is “yes dear, of course” by the way! 
Once the head is attached, add the smile: the eyes are added later. My bee has a wide smile and big happy eyes. Don’t look too closely, because the left eye gives a slightly evil smirk. If I’d paid more attention to what I was doing, I’d have corrected this, but, if I was going to have pins repeatedly stuck in me, I’m not sure I’d look completely happy either. 
The wings are next, and their position is down to you. One thing I will add that isn’t covered in the instructions, is that you will see the inner wing side most often, particularly if you wear it as a ring. The decorative spiral I worked in running stitch, so it looks alright on both sides, but it’s clear that I used the outer wing as the primary side.
If my bee closes its wings, it looks very neat, but less so with them open. 
Something to bear in mind. You can see what mine looks like when worked from the outer wing; the packaging photos look as though it’s worked from the inner wing. 
The spiral finishes in the middle of the wing. Secure the thread. This is the part of construction that I actually sat and pondered. Without altering the pattern, there was always a start or end in the middle of the wing. My solution for the first wing was to make as neat a knot as possible and trim closely. This doesn’t look too bad. The second wing however, I took a different approach. 
Once the wings have been added, the next step is to attach the bee to the ring fitting. Decide how you want the bee to perch on the ring; do you want it to look along your fingers or across? Do you want to add the ring at all? 
I had the bright idea to add a couple of extra stitches to the second wing pattern to get the thread back down towards the body. I then sewed through to come out underneath the body, ready to attach the ring. Would I recommend this method? No, the first wing looks much neater. The additional stitches on the second wing are quite obvious, and don’t enhance the wing. I’ve also secured it too tightly, so the wing looks quite crumpled. I quite like the look of movement it gives, so haven't attempted to fix this. 
The ring fitting has a gentle curve to fit the underside of the bee, and the fitting has many small holes to sew through. Yes, it was at this point that I discovered that the supplied needle was there for a reason: the needle I was using was far too big to go through the holes. 
The last sewing step in the instructions is to add the eyes to the bee, using two threads to attach the beads. I could manage to thread the provided needle with two threads, so that is what I used to attach the ring as well. 
I tied off the thread from the wings; this is hidden by the ring fitting. The neat second bead eye is because the thread isn’t fastened there; it goes through the head, into the body, and out to attach the ring. 
This is quite fiddly, but I left the stitches quite loose so I had room to sew, and then carefully tightened them. 
Add the two pins provided, and there is a cute bumbly bee, ready to catch your pins. 
The ring is adjustable, and does fit adult fingers. I’m not sure if I’ll use this as a pincushion, but it was a fun kit to make, and quite quick, if you ignore all my detours! None of the stages was difficult, and it would be quite easy to decorate differently, if you wanted to. 
There is a fair amount of black embroidery thread left; if you wanted a hanging bee rather than a bee ring, there is plenty of thread to make this so.
Bees love flowers, and how gorgeous are these! What will I make with this Beautiful Fabric? Look out for a future Minerva Crafts blog post to find out. 
Thanks for reading,
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Gingham Poplin Melilot

For my first Minerva Crafts blog, I wanted to make a gingham shirt, I think it’s a garment that can be worn year round, under a jumper or cardigan in the winter and with the sleeves rolled up in spring/summer. The fabric I used is 100% Cotton Gingham Fabric it’s a classic casual shirt fabric and it’s a dream to work with. I always pre- wash my fabric before cutting out and dry it in the same way I plan to do with the finished garment, so in this case, it didn’t go in the tumble dryer.

I chose the Deer and Doe Melilot Shirt Pattern, it’s classic, but the styling is a little more contemporary. It has dropped shoulders (the short sleeved version has grown on sleeves) a feminine cut and a rounded collar. I also chose this pattern for reasons of practicality, it has a concealed button band and my machine isn’t great at making buttonholes, so if I can hide them I don’t have to deal with buttonhole anxiety!

The pattern is beautifully drafted, and the instructions are great. I always grade up between sizes around the waist as I carry more weight around the tummy area, it means I don’t have the same fitted silhouette but its more flattering for my shape other than that I didn’t make any alterations. The instructions suggest that you sew the shirt using French seams, I felt that the poplin would be too bulky, so I opted to use a flat felled seam instead.

It’s relatively simple to do, you just trim one side of your seam allowance to half its size and fold the remaining half over so both sides of the seam allowance are encased and stitch close to the folded edge. There are sewing machine feet you can buy that do this, but I’ve never managed to get one to work so prefer to do it manually – slow and steady. A flat felled seam is a good option if you’re not using a lightweight fabric and don’t have an overlocker, it’s also very strong.

I spent time ensuring that the checks matched at the centre front, the pockets and the placket finding it easier to hand baste. The result was spot on, although with a small check like this as I move around the pattern isn’t always perfectly aligned, but I don’t think anyone else would notice.

Other than the seam finish I followed the instructions to the letter until it came to the hem. The shirt has a very deep curve at the hem, and I knew from previous horrendous experiences that I wouldn’t be able to get the curve to look neat unless I finished it with bias binding. I’ve tried to make my own bias binding before, and it was a wonky mess, but this time I used a bias tape maker, and it was so much easier to get a consistent finish it just needed a press with the iron to come out perfectly, and now my shirt has a smooth curve.

Thank you to Minerva for this great fabric, I know this shirt will become a wardrobe staple for me and it was really enjoyable to make.

Alex @ Alex Judge Sews

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Alta Moda Burdastyle Dress

Hi Minerva crafters, I'm Aida, coming to you from Athens, Greece and for this post I had the opportunity to try this gorgeous Alta Moda Crepe Fabric, this fabric is soft like butter and has a bit of stretch, I was looking for a natural fiber crepe fabric and I came across this black and white print, I just love black and white garments so I was so glad when I found it and I saw that it is a viscose fabric. I remember that I had another Alta Moda fabric in the past and the quality was as good as this one.

When I ordered it I had in mind to make a simple straight shirt dress, I browsed all the issues of Burdastyle that I have and I finally decided for pattern nr. 115 from the issue 01/ 2016, this pattern has detailed instructions as it is the illustrated class from this issue. For you that don't use Burda Style, they have two patterns in each issue for whom they have detailed illustrated instructions, all the other patterns have the minimalistic instructions that you've all heard.. The truth is though that I didn't read any instructions, as I find it rather easy. I chose the pattern because it doesn't have many seams as I didn't want to interupt the gorgeous print of the fabric and because of the interesting sleeve detail.

As I said the construction is really easy. If you have sewn a back yoke in the past you will have no problem at all.The changes I made are the following: there is a central front seam which is used for the opening in the neckline but I omitted that front seam and I opened the neckline by stitching two narrow rows across the center front up to the point I wanted the opening to be and cut through that opening, if I had a solid I would have kept that seam line. The pattern is for an unlined dress but I decided to partial line it using the same front and back pattern pieces as for the fashion fabric, This pattern is designed for 1.68 m height ,I'm 1.60 m so I shortened the sleeves and for the body I didn't add any hem allowance but cut the fabric in the hemline and hemmed the dress afterwards in the desired length.

For the contrasting details I used some leftovers from my January post, it's a black crepe from Ateliere Brunete, I also made a 2 cm wide belt from the same fabric but I forgot to put the belt on when I was taking the pictures. I prefer to wear the dress with the belt to give some waist definition as I think it suits me better.

I really love this dress, it is so easy to wear as there is no zipper, only that front opening that you can tie if you want and I also feel so put together when I wear it.

Take care,

Aida

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Sedona Maxi Dress in Gorgeous Challis

Hello, everybody, I am Camelia from @calcedoniasewing and I am here to share with you one of my latest sewing projects. This maxi dress made using the Sedona dress shirt pattern from Designer Stitch and this gorgeous Viscose Challis Fabric from Minerva.  I have a weakness for leaves prints and drapey viscose fabric so when these two are in the same fabric that is a big yes for me. 
A few words about the pattern. A classic shirt dress pattern with length and sleeves options, all the classic shirt details and a big plus for me, with cup sizing! I made this pattern in a few other variations, as a shirt tunic and knee length dress, so the fit was as I wanted when I started on this version.
This fabric is so soft and drapey,  I knew from the first moment that I want to make it as a maxi dress knowing that it will move beautifully. Also, I chose to make the optional side slits. I am so happy with how the final dress looks and feels. 
The pattern has a concealed button placket but I wanted to make a standard, cut on placket, so that the buttons will show. That was an easy change. On the Designer Stitch blog is a tutorial on how to adapt the pattern to get a separate button placket but I skipped the step where you cut the pattern to get a separate placket piece and kept it as a cut-on placket.
I was afraid that it would be difficult to work with this fabric to make the collar and cuffs but interfacing these pieces made everything very easy, and to make it even easier I interfaced a piece of fabric big enough to get the pieces I needed and then I cut all those small pieces. In such a light fabric a collar piece will get very easy out of shape so , block fusing was a perfect choice for this fabric.  For the collar I interfaced both upper and under collar and also both stands.
Because the fabric is delicate, and because I like pretty finishes on the inside of my garments I used french seams  for the sleeves and flat-felled seams for the sides . Another place where I wanted to reinforce my fabric was at the top of the side slits.To do that I  add a piece of ribbon and stitched it in place. I think is a cute detail too!
This fabric pressed beautifully so it was very nice to work with.  To make the hem, I finished the edge with my serger and used the serged edge as a guide to turn the hem twice and stitched it in place. I think this is an easy way to get a beautiful small hem when working with a light fabric.The extra thread adds a bit of weight and that is perfect for this maxi dress.
I had 3 m of this fabric and after cutting my dress I had half of a meter over and I wanted a belt for my dress too but the fabric is so light! Of course, I could interface the belt but then I got the idea of a braided belt with 5 strands to get the width I wanted, and because it is braided, even if my fabric is very light I still get a belt with structure ! To make the belt I needed 10 strips 5cm wide cut on the cross grain, sewn two together to get 5 long strips. Next step was to fold each strip in length, serged the long edge and then turn it right side up , that took a while :) . And then I was ready to braid...First time braiding with 5 stands but is as easy as with three. I love it, I think it is perfect for this dress. 
This project was a joy to make! Beautiful fabric and a well fitting pattern, the best formula to enjoy sewing!
If you want to really see the drape of this fabric, how soft and drapey it is, take a look at this short action video.

Happy sewing!

Camelia @calcedoniasewing 

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The Tilly & The Buttons Joni Dress

Hello Everyone!  My name is Natalie & I blog over at Threads & Bobbins.  Welcome to my first post for the Minerva Blog.  I’ve been a reader of the Blog and Blogger Network posts for a good while so I’m excited to start contributing myself.

I know I’m not alone when I say that I have been loving the latest book from Tilly & The Buttons.  The Stretch book is literally the book of my dreams.  It has a great range of projects in it and covers many staple pieces for a perfect wardrobe.  I’ve slowly been working through the projects and had come to a pause on the Joni dress.  The Joni is a lovely dress that can be dressed up or down.  The bodice and sleeves are form fitting, with a nice floaty gathered skirt.  Due to its styling versatility, I wanted to ensure that I used a fabric that made it easy to transfer from wearing it as a day dress through to a night dress.  

I came across this gorgeous Soft Jersey Knit Fabric which has a nice ditsy floral pattern in a blue and purple palette.  This fabric is incredibly soft and quite slinky.  It’s really lightweight but it’s also so easy to handle.  I almost think that this has a slight crepe feel to it! 

When it comes to the Joni, I’ve felt a little late to the game so I couldn’t wait to get started with this one.  The twisted bust intrigued me so much as I have never constructed anything with a twist.  My measurements (B37, W32, H41) put me at a size 5. The pattern only had 5 pattern pieces; the skirt, sleeves, front bodice, back bodice & the neckline facing.  I always thought that it would have a lot more than that!

The whole pattern stitched up like a dream, and of course, it helped having great fabric to work with.  I’m reasonably new to using an overlocker so I was thoroughly pleased when the fabric edges glided through nicely.  The twist was just a twist in the bodice.  Simplicity at its finest! I didn’t make any changes to the pattern at all.  As I’m only 5’1” with a short little body, I normally shorten the bodice by at least an inch.  It just wasn’t needed with the Joni though as I’m quite happy with where it sits.  

The fit of this dress is so flattering and it has an excellent twirling factor!  If you have a look through the #SewingJoni tag on Instagram, it just looks great on everyone.  This lightweight knit has been the perfect fabric for my first Joni…yes, there will be more!  The book itself has a few different fabric ideas that I may try in the future, along with a few different options for pattern ‘hacks’ too.  I love the idea of adding a little bit of elastic to the sleeves for a ruching effect.  I’d possibly want to do that with a plainer fabric though so it doesn’t get too lost in the pattern.  

Anyway, hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my Joni dress!  I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of them from me in the future!  

Natalie @threadsnbobbins

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A Velvet Pippi Pinafore

Hi sewing fairy’s, 

It’s been a little while since I got the pen and paper (well ipad) out to write a blog post...I don’t actually know where time has gone over these last few months!...far too fast that’s for sure with not enough sewing hours in the day.  

The black micro crown Velvet Fabric that I was sent by Minerva crafts is absolutely beautiful to touch and look at.

I have had this Pippi Pinafore pattern in my stash from Jennifer Lauren for a while but hadn’t managed to use it until I received the velvet.

Although I downloaded and printed the pattern pieces months ago when I purchased it, I didn’t actually print the instructions so I kept logging online to look at the instructions but unfortunately, I never got around to making it...until the velvet was here. This is when I realised that due to not printing out the instructions I had actually used up all my log ins to look at them. So unless I wanted to re-purchase the pattern I had to go in blind and attempt to make the pinafore using the pictures on the website of finished dresses to guide me of how it was meant to look like, luckily I actually managed to complete the dress with only the pictures to go by!

Velvet isn’t a fabric that I sew often (I can’t actually remember when I last sewed it before now so this was a test for me!) So I did find this quite a challenge as it does seem to slip and slide around.

One thing that I made sure that I did was to make sure the grain of the velvet all went the same way for all the pattern pieces as I knew I would notice if it was different.

I found some fabric from my stash for the pocket linings and the front bib lining and both the velvet and the lining fabric was very slippery together so I had to use a lot more pins than I usually would. I think if I was to use the same fabrics again then I would hand sew the fabrics together first then machine stitch them. Using the walking foot on the sewing machine did help with this though.

I used the over-locker for all of the edges of the pattern pieces that would be exposed as raw edges before I started, I would definitely recommend doing this (or using a zig zag stitch) as the edges will continue to shed ‘fluff’ for a while otherwise. 

Instead of using regular buttons on the side for the opening I used the jeans buttons so that it matched the top of the pinafore bib section. These can be purchased from most Haberdasheries or fabric shops. I found it is easiest to use the wooden bread board and a small hammer so it is a strong surface to hammer in the metal pin into the jeans buttons. 

This fabric has a gorgeous feel to it and it makes it a lovely dress to wear for a casual dog walk/pub lunch on a Sunday and also can be dressed up for an evening out.

I really love this dress as it is super comfortable and have worn it quite a lot since I made it.

Thanks for reading

Love Sew Tanni xXx

@sew_tanni

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Classic Everyday Ribbed Jersey Top

Sometimes the most simple makes are the most successful. To me, this Ribbed Jersey Fabric screamed out to be made into a t-shirt. Not a particularly complex t-shirt, just a classic everyday top. I wanted to create a top that wasn't too fitted but wasn't boxy and that was cropped just the right amount. In other words, the perfect everyday t-shirt. 
While a lot of people may find sewing t-shirts boring, I actually really enjoy. Not only are they really satisfyingly quick to make, they also tend to be the clothes that get the most wear. I made a few basic t-shirts last year and realised just how much they get worn throughout spring and summer. I've never felt the need to purchase a t-shirt pattern as alterations to existing patterns are just so easy to do. In this case, I used the Tilly and the Buttons Freya top as I really like how the sleeves fit and then simply cut it out wider without the waist definition because I wanted the top to be looser. I also lowered the neckline slightly and then cut a neckband which was 15% smaller than the length of the neckline to allow for stretch. And that was it! The modifications were so simple to do.
I'd definitely recommend choosing a pattern that fits well on the sleeves if you'd like to pattern hack as bodice and neckline modifications can be made quite easily but I wouldn't like to have to draft my own arm hole and sleeve top. After hemming the sleeves I wasn't sure about the length of them and wondered whether they were too long but I actually really like the length having worn the top. It's strange how such a small thing seems to make such a big difference but to me it really does!
Stripe matching is the only thing that slows down the process of sewing a t-shirt but I definitely find the extra time spent worth it, it's so nice to see the stripes all matched up! I tend to just sew these seams directly with an overlocker but tacking beforehand would probably be a better way of doing it... Either way, a lots of pins seems to do the trick!
This photo shows the brightness of the fabric more clearly, the colours are actually quite lively in real life making it ideal for bringing a bit of colour into sunshine-less days. The texture of the fabric can be seen here too, I really like ribbed fabrics.
I ended up with quite a bit of fabric left over as a simple top like this doesn't require much fabric at all. So - I made another one! I asked my sister whether she'd like a top too and she said yes so I whipped up an identical top. She then tried it on and I took it in slightly, although the style and shape of the top means that there isn't really a big difference between the two sizes. The main place that I made the second top smaller was at the shoulders because there was quite a bit of excess fabric for her there. I just love that we have matching tops and while I know that we will almost certainly never wear them at the same time it's nice knowing that we could!
Thanks for reading,
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The Adrienne Blouse

I’ve started off the New Year with a sleeve drama!

This is a Sewing Pattern I’ve wanted to make for a very long time; I really enjoy the look of this style from the scoop neckline to the drama in the billowy sleeves.  The top is very different from anything I’ve made before or what I have in my current wardrobe.  I’ve seen many versions of this made in plain fabric, but I knew I wanted to go bold. 

Now, I’m a curvy sewer, and generally, I’m a bit wary of bold colours, busy designs and normally I don’t go for Jersey Knit Fabric;  for one I’ve never worked with it before and two, I always thought a jersey knit would be too clingy. I ordered two metres, but I was still a little worried about sewing this as I wasn’t sure how it would sit on me. Silly me, because the fabric worked beautifully for this make, it behaved all the way and was a joy to play around with; it was a joy to cut, it hemmed well, it didn’t slide in the machine while being sewn and it hardly needed any pressing. I think reading up on the best techniques such as what needle to use; (ballpoint/jersey) for the weave and researching the correct stitch for this fabric; (lightning bolt) helped immensely. The thread colour was also easy to match I went for the base colour of the fabric which is a beautiful rich chocolate brown and paired it with a Gutermann thread in colourwave 696.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though I did have a silly sausage moment, whereby I measured 13cm for the wrist elastic, and I kept looking at it and thinking how is this tiny piece of elastic going to go round all this fabric; the initial sleeve shape is huge.   It turns out I read the instructions wrong; it was meant to be 13 inches.  After reading the instructions again, I rectified the mistake and cut the correct length of elastic; the smaller piece will be put to use in another project. 

So, what prompted me to go for this Floral Jersey Knit fabric?  Well, the pattern asks for a stretch weave, there is a stretch percentage guide included in the pattern; the stretch of the fabric needs to come in at a minimum of 25 per cent and a maximum of 100 per cent.  The composition of this fabric is 97 per cent polyester, and 3 per cent spandex and the stretch comes in well between the required percentage for this top.  The fabric has a beautiful drape and is not too thick or too thin when it stretches over the bust; it doesn’t lose pattern definition or lose colour (the back of the fabric is white) which means it’s ideal for this make.  

The top in the pattern is styled with structured pants, but in order to make this top feel more like me I paired it up with boot cut flare dress trousers and paper bag high waist trouser, but this top could also be dressed down and worn with jeans.  The pattern itself from printing the pdf to putting it on took just over an hour and a half and I'm so chuffed with myself for trying out a Jersey Knit fabric, that I now have another two tops underway.  This top is simple yet elegant, and it’s going to be the most worn of 2019.

Thank you for reading my post.  If you would like to read more of my posts I can be found at Made by Sun Rae on Instagram and on blogger Made by Sun Rae.

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Building a Handmade Collection

As soon as I saw this beautiful Viscose Fabric, I fell in love with it. My first thought was to build a mini collection based on this specific fabric! I started working on this collection immediately. A need of a few cohesive wearable pieces got on my mind. During the last couple of years I tried to stick in a specific color palette and as a result I own a lot of pastels mixed with navy pieces and a pop of pinks. Today, staying in the same color palette, I would like to share the 3 first pieces of this collection that I made using this fabric from Minerva.
The Morning Glory Top
I was looking for the perfect Springy-Summery top so the Morning Glory Top by Sarah Kirsten was the right choice for me. This versatile top is a free sewing pattern that actually you have to draft by yourself using your own measurements. The step by step instructions that Sarah gives you are really helpful and clear. Don't feel overwhelmed by it, it is easier than it sounds.
The fact that you can wear it either with the opening at the front or at the back makes it a must have item! Why not wear it as a cardigan as well? I just love how it turned out. This Viscose fabric worked like a dream with this top and it made it look really fresh!
Flint Shorts
Next on my list was to make a bottom piece. I made the Flint Shorts by Megan Nielsen view C, the one with the button closure. I love anything with bow ties but I think I have enough of those at the moment! Plus, I found these cute buttons in my local haberdashery store that I couldn't pass. The fabric works perfectly with the Flints and make them look beautifully draped.
While making those shorts, the sewing ripper became my best friend! I made quite a few mistakes while I was adding the waistband. That's why you should not rush while sewing! Just enjoy the process!

I finished them with a bit narrower hem just to make them more wearable for me.

The Flint sewing pattern comes with beautiful illustrated step by step instructions which are clear enough and on point.
Finally, let's take a moment to appreciate the amazing secret closure that Flints have inside the left pocket! I find it such a brilliant idea and unique! 

I lo-lo-love them so much!

Self Drafted Scarf

Last but not least, I had to make an accessory to match the whole look! This viscose fabric had the perfect weight for this project.
  1. I cut a long strip of fabric 68*12 cm.
  2. I fold the fabric piece in length ways right sides together.
  3. I cut the short ends diagonal.
  4. I sew it using 0.5 cm seam allowance leaving a 10 cm opening length ways. This will help turning the scarf right sides out.
  5. Press everything carefully and stitch the opening closed.
  6. Give a nice final press to your new scarf.
  7. Enjoy it!
This scarf is a little something that your outfit needs to come together. Wear it on your hair as a headband, tie it around your neck in a beautiful tie or put it on your bag to add some color and brighten up your look!

Final Thoughts

I'm happy with my three new pieces that I added into my wardrobe. The idea of a mini handmade collection is truly amazing and brings joy to me! Let's make clothes that actually fit in our life, clothes that we are going to wear and enjoy daily. There isn't anything worse than having a handmade item that you put all of your heart and effort while making it but unfortunately isn't your taste; never was your taste. Try to plan your makes wisely!

So, what do you think? Has your sewing changed from time to time? What do you like to sew most?

Sewing Summary

Sewing pattern: 1) The Morning Glory Top by Sarah Kirsten. It is a FREE sewing pattern.

2) Flint Shorts by Megan Nielsen

3) A self drafted scarf

Size: 1) Based on my own measurements.

2) Size Medium.

3) One size.

Fabric: "Floral Viscose Challis Fabric" from Minerva.

Alterations: On my Flints I made a narrower hem.

Cost: The fabric was provided to me for reviewing purposes. It costs £5,99 per meter. Buttons for flints, Flint sewing pattern and the threads was bought by me.

Learn more about my handmade collection on my blog "Happy Sewing Blog", how I came up with this idea, the process of making it and the final collection! Let's inspire each other on Instagram, @argkalant. Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Happy sewing!

Argyro xx

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Tilly & the Buttons: Ness Skirt

When I opened my parcel and felt the beautiful Red Denim Fabric I let out an ‘oooooo’! The sort you make when you have your first sip of tea in the morning. This fabric was destined to be a Tilly and the Buttons Ness Skirt. I loved the style of the skirt, thinking it would be a great basic, casual skirt that could be dressed up or thrown on for the early morning school run. I chose to make the longer length.

As I suspected I was far off the pattern sizing so with a sad face I started scaling up the pattern 2 sizes. Extra paper and Sellotape later I was ready to pattern cut. I am hoping indie pattern companies will soon reflect us curvy sewists and rethink their size ranges, especially with the current #sewmysize and #sewinclusive movement on Instagram.

I used pattern weights to hold the pattern as I cut out the pattern with scissors, the quality of the paper in the pattern was excellent. I have 3 metres of this fabric, I have enough left to make a small skirt for my daughter, but I did need this length to be to cut out the long waistband (1 continuous piece x2).

The instructions were clear and the video tutorial for the zip fly is really helpful, but turn down the music if you need to watch it more than once.

I used 2 different fat quarters to be the pocket bag, simple to make but looks very professional (even if I do say so myself).

Throughout the making process you stop to topstitch along the way, I love the look of the top stitching on the denim. I used Gutermann Top Stitch Thread in yellow (no. 415). I have never topstitched in such detail before and I did have a topstitch heartache.

Things I learnt the hard way:

  • Top stitching is hard to unstitch

  • You only need topstitch thread on the spool, ordinary cotton on the bobbin (oops)

  • You only get 30m on a spool so with all the test pieces and unpicking, buy two!

  • Along stitch length 3mm is better than 2mm.

  • Instagram is great for advice (fellow sewist are the best).

But my sewing machine was happy as in the process of trying to figure out what was going wrong it got a full de-fluff and hoover. Plus a broken pin removed from its bobbin holder.

However it was worth the trauma, I love the detail on the back pockets and fly zip

Once the front and back pieces were constructed I pinned them around myself to check fit, hips being 2 sizes plus were fine but the waist was too large so I drew taper lines on the waist to decrease it whilst leaving ‘love handle’ room.

My machine struggled at times with the layered denim and thicker top stitch thread, so I decided not to do a machine button hole and did my first ever hand stitched button hole – it’s not quite as neat as I would like but does the purpose and is the same thread as the topstitching. I used instructions given on Di Kendall’s blog, although it took me a week to build the courage to do this.

To complete the denim look I used these Stud Jeans Buttons, I got my other half to hammer it through. I couldn’t take the pressure of doing it myself in case it went wrong.

I love the Ness skirt and the denim is vibrant, soft and with stretch (added bonus). Now I have the fit/size correct I can see myself making further skirts in other medium weight fabric.

Thanks for reading,

Charmaine @cham.west

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