Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 13th June 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Now I normally love a good challenge and usually take the skill levels on sewing patterns with a pinch of salt. The Named Ailakki Jumpsuit Pattern however is appropriately labelled. This had to be the trickiest sewing project I’ve ever done. From sewing trousers, to inserting zips to getting my head round the cross over front generally this isn’t a project you could do on low amounts of sleep or caffeine. I became best friends with my picker regularly.
That being said I thoroughly enjoyed it once I got into the swing of things. I used Minerva's textured Jersey Fabric (I know is says do not use stretch fabric but I just loved the feel of it) With good reason they suggest non stretch fabrics, it took a lot more effort to ensure that the fabric didn’t stretch, especially when using cotton for the lining which had no give in it what so ever!
The top of the jumpsuit is beautiful and I can’t wait to try it again in a different fabric and maybe even throw together a skirt instead of trouser bottoms. This pattern is so versatile that once you’ve got in your stash, there are really no limits to the garment you can create with it.
The hardest part of the top had to be the squared edge on the back, side panel. All seemed fine until it came to turning the top the right way round and that’s when I discovered that the angle and sewing was going to create a problem. It took several attempts to get that part right. I’d suggest marking the fabric with chalk before hand (lesson learnt for next time).
These bottoms were a breeze in comparison to the top half, they are beautifully tapered and super comfortable once you wear them. I have the added bonus of super long legs so I adjusted the pattern an inch at the hip level and a whole 5 inches at the knee level, both areas had pre-set markers for adjusting the length. The standard length is 29inch inside leg and with my super long legs that would have practically been ¾ pants! I was worried that it would look odd adding such a length to it but they really turned out lovely and just like the top half, I can see me using these bottoms with an alternate top half for a different look.
I did find that the waistband ran slightly shorter than the top half and it took a few attempts to get this to sit right. Then came the dreaded zip! Now I’m not a fan of zips in the first place and I had considered swapping the exposed zip for a concealed one. Thank goodness I didn’t because exposed zips are so much easier and this was tricky enough. I did find that the 13inch zip didn’t leave much wiggle room in terms of length and I wish I had bought a longer one just to allow for the stopper to be well covered by the fabric.
All in all this is one of the trickier patterns but I look forward to making it with different fabrics and using the pattern to make alternatives. Without a doubt I am so glad I have this in my stash and anyone looking to challenge their skills or looking for a comfortable evening jumpsuit this is your pattern…although if you don’t fancy your top half being accessible you may want to throw in a quick stitch to secure the cross over section.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 12th June 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I’m sure it hasn’t escaped many sewist’s attention that Wendy Ward has released a New Sewing Book. Her hotly anticipated book A beginner’s guide to sewing with knitted fabric was released in January, and social media is full of amazing makes from her new book. You can’t fail to scroll through Instagram without seeing a fellow sewist’s latest make from the book, generally accompanied by a comment saying it won’t be the last time they make this pattern. Well having been sent a copy of the book to review, I’ll add my name to that list or people who love this book and will make lots of new clothes from it.
A beginner’s guide to sewing with knitted fabric is very typical of Wendy’s other books. The modern styling, the clean lines of the patterns, the advice throughout, the ability to customise a pattern and to use it in lots of different ways, this book has everything you’d expect from a Wendy Ward book. If you’ve got either of her previous books: a beginner’s guide to dressmaking or a beginners guide to making skirts, I’d add this book to your wish list as well.
The book has 6 different patterns in, and each one can be customised lots of different ways. There is a t-shirt, a tank top, a jacket, a skirt, lounge pants, and trousers. This meant that when it came to choosing what I wanted to make as part of this review I was spoilt for choice. Both pairs of trousers stood out as items I would make, and I particularly like the look of the Derwent wide leg trousers that look smart and suitable to go to the office in, but look so comfy they could actually be secret pyjamas. However I wanted to make a statement piece and use some of Minerva’s amazing printed Knit Fabrics and that meant I chose to make the Kinder cardigan.
The Kinder cardigan is a loose fitting jacket which can be made short (at the waist), mid-length (just below the hips) or long (reaching your knees). The 2 longer patterns also have humongous pockets. The fabric suggestions reckoned a whole variety of different types of knits which this pattern would work well with the Kinder cardigan, and I chose to use some leaf print Scuba Fabricfrom Minerva to make my jacket. I really like that Wendy writes about which fabrics she made all the photographed samples from, so you can see how a fabric alters the appearance of the finished item. I did worry that my scuba would be too stiff, but I really wanted a statement jacket which I could pair with jeans and a tank top and look like I had made an effort. After all this book is all about sewing with knits, and sewists know that most items made from knits are super comfy, easy to wear and can still look stylish.
The book itself is a treasure trove of advice for how to sew with knits. Sewing with knits seems to have had a bit of a reputation of being difficult and fiddly to sew with, a type of fabric which isn’t suitable for beginners and something which needs to be treated with caution. Wendy’s book holds your hand throughout. The book has a reference section at the front of the book, giving lots of tips and tricks for sewing with knits, the type of stitches to use, the way in which you should pre-treat the fabric, and how to best cut your fabric. I really liked that Wendy gives you several options to achieve the same finish, and also discusses some of the common issues and some support with how to overcome any problems. There isn’t an assumed knowledge of being a confident sewer, but I do think that even if you were a competent sewist you could still pick up some useful tips from the book. I really liked learning about all the different types of stitches that machines had that all related to sewing stretch fabrics. As a self-taught sewist, I often wonder whether I am using the correct method or stitch etc, and Wendy’s book really helped build my confidence.
Throughout construction of the Kinder cardigan there were clearly explained steps accompanied by hand drawn diagrams. Each step was in a manageable chunk and the jacket came together pretty quickly. The patterns seem to have only a few steps, but this is because for several steps another area of the book is referred to. For example when it comes to inserting the sleeve, another pattern earlier on in the book uses the same method so Wendy will give you the page number and the steps and ask you to follow that. I quite liked this as it meant that I used more of the book, recognised that some methods are common tasks which apply to a lot of knit patterns and it meant I didn’t feel daunted by pages and pages of instructions. My only minor quibble is that the Kinder cardigan pattern puts the information about how to construct the pockets (the first step) at the end of the pattern, I’m usually a dive straight in and follow the instructions kinda girl, but I did read through it all to begin with this time, if I hadn’t I would have missed the construction detail for sure and would have had to get acquainted with my seam ripper.
You might spot on my pattern that my pockets don’t look exactly as the pattern intended them to, they sit right on the hemline where really there should be a couple of inches of above the hemline. For some reason my collar band was a bit too short and so I decided that the easiest things would be to make the jacket 2 inches shorter and have the pockets sit on the hemline and then everything lines up. I went back and looked at the pattern piece again and I must have had an error with the tracing of a pattern piece. I’ve made this again in another Minerva scuba and this time it’s worked out as per the pattern.
I’m sure that this relaxed look jacket will work well in the summer, and will quickly become a much-loved make. Both my versions are being worn a lot in the office, and have only not been worn when they are in the wash. Having washed both several times I can testify that this is a great quality scuba that washes really well.
Overall I love Wendy’s new book and am sure that before too long my wardrobe will have several pieces from her A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabric book.
This medium weight 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric is soft to touch but resistant to wear and tear. Prior to this I’ve made most of my trousers out of cotton drill or denim and used shirting cotton or lawn for shirts. So I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this fabric. It seemed too heavy for one, but too light for the other… now I’ve made it up, I see that it’s actually perfect for both! I’ll be buying some more to make work and summer trousers soon, but I’m getting ahead of myself!
I found this shirt pattern in a magazine and liked it’s (sort of) garage-mechanic-vibe. Now, I do a fair bit of DIY around the house and am often complaining that I don’t have a designated ‘DIY Outfit’ so with a few tweaks to the pattern I set about making my ultimate DIY Shirt/ Lab-coat/ Top…!
The fabric was quite narrow, so a short sleeve shirt was about all I was going to get out of 2m. (If I’d thought to get a bit more I’d have made a short-leg short-sleeve boiler-suit… but maybe the world isn’t ready for that yet…?!
It was easy to mark and easy to press which came in handy as I constructed the pockets. I drafted two lower front pockets with flaps and I adapted the pattern for the top pocket to echo the shape of the lower ones. I included a pleat in the lower pockets to make sure there was plenty of space for tools and bits and bobs.
I added epaulets to the shoulders and tabs to the sleeves to add to the ‘mechanic’ vibe. I held them down with snaps, but only used the top section as I didn’t need them to function. This also stopped the snaps from being too bulky on my shoulders. I used a size 80 universal needle and regular polyester thread. I set the stitch length to 3mm for all the topstitching and I love how crisp it looks on the poplin.
I hemmed the sleeves and added more tabs and snaps to the centre. You can see on the inside where the back of the snap has been left out.
There’s no stretch but there is the tiniest amount of give to the fabric which helped getting the sleeves in. I also used one of my favourite techniques called EasestitchPlus (... among many other names, I’m sure!)
You basically sew a row of basting stitches just inside the seam allowance, with your finger behind the sewing foot. Do this over the easing area and you’ll find it much easier to get the excess in without the dreaded puckers!
Once the sleeves and sides were sewn up I put the collar on and topstitched it all down. The hem is straight, making it easy to double turn and topstitch - and it's done!
Having been wary of this fabric at first, I’m in love with it now. It’s described as being suitable for all types of garment; tops, shirts, dresses, trousers, skirts etc… and I concur! So far I’ve only worn it out for a drink though, so I don’t have an action shot for you! I’ll have to make a start on my next DIY project for that! In the meantime, here I am modelling it (rather awkwardly!) in London.
Thanks for reading,
As a product tester for Minerva, I am never 100% sure what I am going to get. Especially when you ask Vicki to “surprise me”.And surprise me she did. I received the most gorgeous dimensional border Chiffon Fabric in black with white polka dots. The photo does not do it justice at all.The movement in the fabric was amazing, the feel was very light and soft but I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite know where to start.
After much umming and ahhing I decided to use one of my favourite commercial patterns which is the New Look 6217. New Look 6217 is one of those New Look/Simplicity patterns that come with pretty much a whole outfit. There’s the top, a kimono, a skirt AND trousers. The top is a nice simple tee with extended sleeves and bias binding around the neckline.
Now the fabric suggestions do not lend themselves to the chiffon but I am never one to play by the rules, and decided that the dimensional border would look fab. Although the fabric is very lightweight and sheer, it was very easy to handle and ran through my overlocker like a dream. The top itself is a nice easy make and one that I recommend for (and use for teaching) beginners. The pattern only has 2 pieces that are cut on the fold, and the sewing instructions are easy to follow. No tricky techniques, just a few easy pieces to practice your skills and build your confidence.
Although not stated in the pattern itself you can forgo the keyhole opening and button at the back of the top just by, well, ignoring that bit. I left it off as the neckline is super wide so it serves very little actual purpose.
The top though simple has such a versatility that it can be used with most fabrics, although take care with jersey and ensure that you stay stitch around the neckline. I decided not to use the exposed bias binding on the neck line on this delicate fabric and opted for turning it to the inside instead. I also widened the neckline slightly.
The hems for the sleeves and bottom of the top are nice and simple, and for this top I chose a nice rolled hem so that there wasn’t too much bulk. The top took around 1 and a half hours to make (depending on your speed and how many chocolate biscuit breaks you need), and the finished product is fab. The versatility of the top and the amazing fabric means that it looks great dressed down with jeans for a simple yet chic daytime look but can be dressed up with the right accessories for a night out.
Thanks for reading,
Sam @ ohohsew
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 10th June 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 9th June 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Friday the 8th June 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
When Minerva Crafts sent me this beautiful paisley Stretch Lace Fabric to review, my mind immediately went to an imaginary spring wedding with handmade decor and frilly flower girl dresses. Although I have no real wedding to go to, my everyday sewing projects could definitely
use a little bit of springy lift!
The lace fabric comes in ivory and black. It is a medium weight with good stretch and recovery. I love all things paisley but sometimes it can look a little dated - not this one though, which has a fresh and modern vibe. I think it would be lovely as accent on lingerie pieces. However the paisley pattern has a rich raised texture, so if you prefer your undies smooth it's something to keep in mind.
For a while I've been stalking the versatile waterfall raglan pattern by Chalk and Notch. I especially love the colour blocked versions popping up everywhere but couldn't decide on a combo. Adding the lace as an overlay on the front bodice piece makes it a no-brainer! I tried the lace on some knit fabrics in stash and decided on a silver grey viscose jersey.
The project went smoothly. As with all Chalk and Notch patterns, it's a joy to sail through the beautifully illustrated instructions. I made the top version for girls in size 5 and the fit is spot on. The only mod I did was to shorten the sleeves by an inch. A word on the pattern - I love that Gabriela gave two different neckband lengths for knit fabrics with various stretch percentages. I used the one with a higher percentage, which yielded a perfect neckline.
As for the construction, one advice I would give is for cutting the bodice overlay piece. I laid the lace on top of the jersey and cut both layers together as one. Because both fabrics are stretchy and could shift, this ensures they are exactly the same. After that I just treated the two layers as one in the whole sewing process. I didn't baste the two layers together, since the paisley lace has enough texture and "grips" to the jersey naturally. The Clover Wonder Clips also came in handy in keeping all the layers together while sewing the overlaid pieces.
I sewed the whole garment on my serger but you could easily use a regular sewing machine as both the jersey and lace don't unravel. In fact, I left the hem raw for a better drape on the flounce.
The end result is a delight! The paisley lace adds just the right touch of girly charm to a comfortable everyday top. The overlay also lends a little more structure to the otherwise very drapey viscose jersey and I really like this silhouette. The moment daughter put it on she was all twirls and declared it's comfy as pajamas. Of all my makes for her this is definitely her favourite. I can see more of this lace in future projects for sure. Thank you Minerva for a lovely Fabric!
Now off to make an adult version for myself ;-) Until next time...
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 7th June 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Crepe can be a bit of a daunting fabric for lot of sewists, thanks to it being super drapey and sometimes slippery – but this is amazing, and (even better) is really easy to work with! Its polyester content means that, while it presses well and holds pleats and gathers like a dream, the fabric doesn't crease at all which makes it perfect for pretty much any pattern or garment that you fancy and falls with a lovely drape and smooth finish.
The huge selection of colours that the fabric was available in was definitely the most daunting part of the making process and a decision that I took very seriously – after going through all 36 colours, I finally went for the 'Dusky Pink' colourway… and I'm so pleased with the finished dress!
I chose to make the Rosie Dress Pattern by Sew Over It, which I thought would work wonderfully with the drape of the crepe (and I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but I think I was right!), and did intend on combining it with a shoulder ruffle from the New Look 6488 pattern, but there was a bit of a hiccup in that plan. I spent a very long time constructing and narrow-hemming the ruffles before I realised I'd cut and hemmed both of the ruffle pieces the same way, so that I had two identical pieces rather than opposite ones – whoops! After a lot of angry muttering and frustration, I decided that I might as well ditch the ruffle plan, even though that was the part I'd spent the longest amount of time on – oh well, it happens to all of us! Because of the bit of confusion that went on there, I'd say it's a sensible plan to really clearly mark which side of the crepe is the wrong side, so that you make the sewing process as simple as possible.
Other than the ruffle debacle, making the Rosie Dress went nice and smoothly, thank goodness.
I made sure to use lots of pins on all of my seams to hold the fabric in the right place, and finished all of the raw edges with my overlocker because I found that the crepe was a little bit prone to fraying.
Of course, if doesn't mean that you can't use this fabric if you don't own an overlocker, but I'd recommend using French seams, so that all of the raw edges are encased and everything ends up looking lovely and neat!
The Rosie Dress is meant to have boning in the bodice which is covered by lining, but when I tried it on, I wasn't really a fan of the effect that the boning gave. It was only secured at either end of the boning strips, and I found that they wiggled around a bit in the middle rather than staying on the seams that they were matched up with.
This problem was easy to solve – I just took the boning out! I don't think that the difference in structure has impacted the finished look of the dress at all, and I'm much happier with it as a result.
The only other alterations I made to the dress were minor; I'm very little, so needed to shorten the skirt a bit and take the seams in a tad on the side of the bodice, but other than that everything fit perfectly! I love the drape that the fabric gives the dress – I think it adds some glamour, but isn't so fancy-looking that you can't wear it whenever you want!
Thanks for reading,
Harriet @ Hobbling Handmades
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 6th June 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Where do I start with Scuba Fabric…well it’s the queen of knit fabrics…that’s a direct quote from me of course. I don’t think anyone has ever voted in that there poll! I really can’t think of anything negative to say about Scuba. It’s a double knit so it’s as stable as they come, easy to sew particularly if you’re new to sewing with knit fabric and jersey. It’s easy to cut your pattern from, no slipping about under your pattern, no creasing naughtily when you’re pinning one end and the other end decides to make its move like a lot of other knits do. And to be honest the pinning together seams for sewing is to a minimal for me at least with scuba because this beauty is just so good to its owner it just stays where you want it to stay as if you just willed it there! Oh and how could I forget…no ironing, I repeat NO IRONING!!!
So when Minerva Crafts sent me some beautiful Gingham Print Scuba I was so filled full of ideas of what I could make for myself…until my daughter came home from school and nigh on insisted that this fabric wasn’t going anywhere but into her wardrobe in the form of a garment that would fit her only!
So that was me told! My soon to be 7 year old had let her feelings be known and who was I to go against her. I wanted to try something different than a fit and flare dress. There are enough of those in the world or in her world anyway.
I came across the Madeit Patterns Balloon Fold Dress a while back and absolutely fell in love with it. In my opinion it’s an edgy style, something different and out of the norm and I fell for it. I knew the samples dresses on the pattern were made in a lighter weight knit and sure enough when I looked up the pattern they recommended lighter knits but I still thought this weightier scuba would be beautiful made up so I went ahead.
The pattern calls for two different fabrics for this pattern, one for the back piece and bottom panel of the front and another fabric for the upper panel of the front piece. I decided to really try to make full use of what I had and not forget about the ‘wrong’ side of this scuba as the second fabric.
The beauty of this pattern is that there are three different ways to wear this finished dress, full length, the elasticated bottom turned up to the waist on the inside for a shorter balloon dress and thirdly the elasticated bottom turned up on the outside for a top and skirt look.
I took my daughter’s measurements and as luck would have it she had the exact measurements for a 7 year old. I cut my fabric from the pattern remembering to flip the pattern around for the top panel of the front piece where I wanted to use the plain white ‘wrong’ side of the fabric.
There are only 4 pattern pieces to this pattern so I had it printed off, taped together and cut out in no time. The trickiest part of this pattern if you could actually call it tricky was slightly stretching the band around the neck and armhole but honestly calling it tricky is really pushing it.
If I had to guestimate how long I spent at this project (I really have to guestimate all my projects because I very rarely get to sit and do one project without interruptions) I’d say from the printing stage to fitting on the final garment it took half a day max.
If anyone on a budget wants a dress for a special little girl in their lives (I made this whole dress from 1 metre of fabric for a 7 year old) or wants to make the most of their fabric I recommend this pattern wholeheartedly and if you want to really make the most out of the pattern I would recommend this Fabric because it has so many good qualities for the person sewing it but also the person wearing it. If you come from a country like Ireland for example where rain and cold reign then this dress keeps you snuggly warm particularly when wearing a long sleeved top inside, a cardigan on top maybe and wearing it at its longest length. But you know even in Ireland we get maybe 3 warm days a year, or if we go on holidays to warmer climes Scuba is great under the sun as it’s cool to touch and seems to adapt to its environment and keep the wearer cool.
So if I haven’t made this clear this is a favourite of mine, love the pattern, love the fabric. Give it a go…thank me later!
Oh and I promise if Minerva Crafts send me fabric again I’ll be wiser next time…I’m hiding it…it’ll me mine…ALL MINE. Have a good day Minerva Crafters x
Hello, this month I wanted to make a light weight jacket for the summer, something to slip on when it is cool, smarter than a cardigan but light enough for the summer months. I was sent this gorgeous Fabric from Minerva. It is a quilting fabric with a snazzy design and I thought it would make a nice seasonal take on the classic denim jacket style. I have used a tried and trusted pattern Burda Young 7018, as I have made this before in a black denim and I know it gives a good fit and a professional finish.
On the pattern itself it does not suggest a lining but I like to line jackets so I just added a pale grey lining that I already had in my stash. Also given the light weight nature of this fabric it just adds a bit more structure to the jacket. I also used a lightweight iron on interfacing and grey buttons.
The options for the pattern vary in length and although I originally cut this out to be the longer version ( view B) I changed my mind when I tried it on and opted for view A. The reason for this was simply that I like my other jacket so much in this length I wanted it to be similar.
One change that I did make on this version was to omit the bottom band on the jacket, as I have opted to line mine I simply turned both layers up and invisible stitched in place. I also repeated this process at the bottom of each sleeve although I did add a turn up band on the inside so that the same fabric was showing in that area.
The fabric holds the bottom crease really well so I am really happy with this finish. Topstitching was a dream and there wasn’t any wrangling of pieces into place as the fabric behaves so well, overall a relaxing sewing experience. I did try to pattern match in obvious places like the front button bands but given this design I opted not to try that all over, I don’t feel it takes way from the jacket in any way.
On the whole the fabric was lovely to work with, all the little details like the pocket flaps and the collar ironed down nice and crisp so it made my job easier. I know some people are reluctant to make clothes out of craft/quilting fabrics but I have always found that they give a lovely finish. Some of my favourite handmade garments are made from this same kind of fabric and they get the most positive comments. I am sure this jacket will be no exception and will get lots of wear.
For anyone wishing to give this project a try I would say why not try shopping in the quilt fabric section for a change using this fabric or maybe one of Minerva’s other bold designs. It certainly will give your wardrobe a bit of a boost, and I am sure you will find it easy to work with. A big thanks to Minerva Crafts for gifting me this fabric to try.
Thanks for reading,
Dianne @ sewinggreenlady