The colour red demands attention. It positively screams look at ME! Just look at 1950s movie starlets and see how many wore their red lipstick with pride. And how damned good it looks!
It's not a colour I wear a lot of. For years my hair was red toned, so red clothes might have looked a bit OTT. And I didn't always want to draw that much attention to myself.
But my hair has gone a bit darker and with the amount of tattoo coverage I have, I can't exactly hope to fade into the background. So it's time to welcome red back into my wardrobe.
This cotton is a good place to start. It's woven with a black thread which means it isn't startling red, it's a more subtle if such a thing is possible.
The contrasting thread in this Fabric means it has a lovely pattern woven into it.
The fabric itself is lovely and light. And it feels amazing on the skin.
As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make something quite simple. With fabric like this, there's no need to complicate things with a fussy pattern with fussy details.
So I decided to make the Deer and Doe Belladone Dress.
This dress has 2 variations, one has an open back and the other has a simple back. I knew straight away I wanted to make the simpler of the two.
It's a very simple pattern to sew up. This could easily be done in a couple of hours. But I wanted to use my French seam knowledge since the fabric is quite light. I even French seamed the pockets which I think looks awesome.
I don't think I've ever done such a neat pocket. And the French seam means it's reinforced. Bonus.
The very fact that this dress has pockets makes it a winner in my opinion. But the shape itself is very simple and flattering. There are a few darts and a couple of simple pleats in the skirt. Perfect for the office.
And can I just take a minute to feel pretty happy with the zip? It's not perfect and the waistband is slightly misaligned. But sometimes you have to just take a deep breath and get over it. This was one of those occasions.
One of the things that makes this dress such a simple see is that there aren't any facings on the neck or armholes. Instead it's just a bias binding. And nobody said they have to be boring did they?
This last pic was taken after the dress had been worn and washed. I didn't iron it because I decided I love the texture the fabric has taken on.
I know I'm going to love wearing this dress. It feels amazing on. The fabric is beautifully light and feels great on my skin.
The colour is beautiful and I think I might introduce more red into my wardrobe. But I don't think I'm ready for scarlet lips just yet.
Thanks for reading,
Karen @ dorisdoesdressup
Posted in Projects on Friday the 12th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
With the cooler weather arriving, I was very pleased to find this Luxury Ponte Fabric in denim blue at Minerva. I liked the idea of a whole outfit but didn’t want it to look too matchy matchy. After much thought I finally settled on the Jade skirt and Opal cardigan, both from Paprika Patterns.
The Jade skirt is a unique pattern with a zig-zag folded front that is cleverly secured to a lining. The ponte fabric was a lovely weight for the skirt and behaved nicely when I was forming the many folds. I lined the skirt with some lightweight knit fabric from my stash to reduce bulk.
The back of the skirt is plain and is also lined.
The skirt can be made in two lengths. This is the longer one. I am 5 foot 9 for reference.
The opal cardigan can be made in different lengths and with different neckline, pocket and sleeve options. I chose the middle of the three lengths, the curved neckline and the long sleeves. As luck would have it, the length turned out almost exactly the same as the skirt, making it look completely intentional!
The cardigan is a simple design with nice, big pockets. The ponte fabric was great for this style as it’s so easy to work with and has a lovely, subtle sheen that is very attractive. It also has a nice amount of stretch, which was great for the skirt and cardigan.
The back of the cardigan is plain and cosy!
I am very pleased with my new outfit. The fabric is silky and cosy and the colour is beautiful. I would love to try out some of the other colours in this fabric to make more things for my winter wardrobe.
Thanks for reading,
Megan @ meggipeg
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 11th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I don't know about you, but when it comes to fabric shopping, I'm like a child in sweet shop. The brighter the colour and the more fun the print, the more likely it is to catch my eye. Even if I was after a plain fabric, I'll go home with prints galore. Lengths of floral or cars or animal themed fabric make it into my basket, without a solid colour in sight. The result is that I have a wardrobe full of fun, homemade clothes, but nothing to coordinate with them. I need plain too. Please tell me I'm not alone?
This time, knowing my tendency and with considerable determination, I opted to review a plain colour fabric. A solid royal blue. It's still a fun colour. Bright, but not over the top. It's a cotton canvas so as you would expect, it is a fairly stiff fabric, which makes it so easy to work with. No slipping. Folds can be pinched into place with less pins required. Maybe not the obvious choice for this fabric, but I knew a shift dress would work well with it. Perfect to wear when I need to give presentations at work, and I can rely on it staying put as I move around.
I have to admit that this fabric still surprised me, but more about that later.
I opted for Butterick Pattern 4386, which I've used a few times before. I may be stuck in a rut with this one as it is, hands down, my favourite pattern to use for work outfits. Hopefully no one notices. I use different fabric and there are enough variations to this pattern to ring the changes. One tip I will give is that, as long as you're not adding the waist sash, it's best to ignore the instructions and fit the zip before you sew up the side seams. Otherwise you end up fitting a zip into a tube. Not an easy process.
Back to the fabric. There was no noticeable shrinkage when I pre-washed the fabric. I line dried it. The fabric length kept its shape and the colour remained strong. It has no stretch. There were no obvious undyed patches on the surface. Lining up the grainlines was a doddle as the grain of the fabric is obvious. I still checked it, but there was less fussing around, making it a good choice for beginners to use.
To cut down on the bulk at the seams and neckline, I used other fabric for the facing and the sleeves. For the neck facing, I dug around in my stash for a floral cotton poplin. It doesn't show when I wear it, but looks so pretty on the hanger and cuts the weight of the neckline.
I need to move my arms around easily in this dress and I wasn't convinced that the sleeves in this fabric would aid movement. Maybe a less narrow sleeve shape and a roomier armhole would have worked, but this pattern design had no excess room for manoeuvring. So instead I went for a Lace Fabric for the sleeves. In retrospect, I might have made them longer to create balance, but there you go. I would never finish anything if I didn't stick to the 80/20 rule.
I finished the armhole seams with cotton binding to stop the cut edge of the lace scratching the delicate skin, under my arm. It worked. I can move and it helps to keep me cool too, with no chaffing. The lace also visually breaks up the solid fabric too. Adding interest.
Progress went well with the dress. It was easy to sew up. I altered the darts a tad as usual, to fit my shape. So easy to add topstitching to the edges to give a crisper finish. Then I tried it on. It fitted. Perfect, but the plain fabric was too much. A certain member of the family, who will remain nameless, pointed out that it reminded him of a nurse's uniform.
He was right. Looking in the mirror, I could see his point. Not the image I was going for. Even worse, the front of the dress looked like an endless wall of blue, going from my neck to my ankles. A wee bit boring, despite the lace sleeves. I needed to add some interest.
Never to be defeated, I dived into my ribbon drawer. First up, I added daisies to the neckline. I had a small length of big daisies and a slightly longer length of small daisies. Neither would cover the front of the neckline by themselves. Instead, I cut them up into individual daisies and mixed the flowers up. I sat out in the garden and spent a glorious, quiet hour, hand stitching all the flowers onto the dress. I'm truly pleased with the result.
The daisies helped, but I needed something else. The obvious choice was to break up the length of the dress with pockets. Plus, who doesn't like pockets in their dresses? Again I searched my trimmings drawer for daisies. I still had a few of the small daisies. To these, I added a different white flower and a red ribbon, on each of the pockets.
It was starting to look less like a uniform. More a pocketful of posies.
Now on to the part about how the fabric surprised me. Whilst working on the darts, I somehow snipped the smallest of holes, below the dart. Grrr! I couldn't ignore it as it was showing up as a light blue/white against the blue of the fabric. The fabric is woven and then dyed blue, which means that the white of the original fabric will show through at the cut edges. Or small accidental snips, in my case.
I mended the hole and used a fabric dye pen, to cover up the white. Not perfect, but it certainly didn't shout out anymore.
Now I'm a big believer in working with a fabric's features, rather than against them. It struck me that I could use it's property of showing the half dyed white, to my advantage. I hadn't tackled the hem yet and I could see a way to use this contrast property.
I knew I wanted to reduce the bulk at the hem. Folded over it might be rigid, which would make the hem stick out and not move as I wanted it to. I couldn't leave the hem unfinished as I'd be creating a trail of blue frayed cotton, wherever I went. I also wanted to add a bit more interest to help the daisies at the neckline and pockets.
So, I frayed the hem.
Fraying is very easy to do. Not as quick an option as you may imagine, if you've never tried. One of my favourite off-the-shelf, linen dresses has a frayed hem and I love it. I knew it would work in the same way for this canvas fabric. Using my existing dress as a template, I sewed a tight zig zag stitch all around the hem. About an inch away from the edge of the bottom of the dress. Next I pulled out the horizontal weft of the fabric. It took a good few hours, or maybe it just felt like it, to pull all the threads out.
Bulk was reduced and it added a shimmer of white to the hem, which will only improve as the dress is worn and washed. I can see that the warp threads will untwist up to my zigzag stitch line. I may be teetering on the fabric nerdy side with this one, but bear with me. I think that some interesting effects could be achieved by pulling lines of threads from the centre of this fabric too, without the strength of the fabric being lost. Certainly something to consider.
The dress is complete. It ticks so many boxes. Easy to move in, but stays in place at the same time. I love the addition of flowers, which I hadn't planned. The pockets are a bonus, of course. The hem gives it a slightly more casual look, while the shape is still business like.
The fabric would be brilliant for bags or cushions, but don't rule out using it for clothes too. I think is will be hard wearing and stand up to the rigours of every day life. A pair of shorts for my eleven year old son would be a good choice. He'd certainly test its strength. The royal blue is a rich colour. I used the partially undyed parts to good effect, but it is perfectly possible to make something without the undyed bits showing. No one needs ever know about this fabric's hidden depths! The fabric comes in a range of different colours, so a versatile choice.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 10th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I was very excited to try out this gorgeous stretch Jersey Fabric from Art Gallery Fabrics. This print is ‘Sprayed Blooms’ and the colours are perfect for breezy summer days. The fabric itself is super soft and has a lovely amount of stretch with good recovery. It comes in a huge array of prints and is stretchy enough for leggings and t-shirts and stable enough for pants, tops, dresses and cargigans. Depending on the print and pattern you choose, this fabric would be useful for making garments for all seasons.
The pattern I used is the River Dress and Top by Megan Nielsen. It is casual dress with a V-neck, tie belt and raglan sleeves. The instructions for a neat V-neck are fantastic and the pattern piece is cleverly shaped so that it’s difficult to go wrong. The rest of the dress is very easy to sew and comes together very quickly. A perfect beginner project.
This dress pattern is also reversible. The other side has a round neck. I chose to wear the V-neck at the front for these pictures, but it looks good either way.
The Art Gallery knit fabric was lovely to work with. It laid nice and flat on the cutting table (no annoying rolled edges!) and sewed beautifully.
The fabric drapes very nicely and is excellent quality. I am very happy with this dress and the fabric elevates it to the next level!
Thanks for reading,
Megan @ meggipeg
I know I am a little late to the party, but when I saw that there was pink Stretch Velvet Fabric, I just knew I had to make the Joni dress from Tilly and the Buttons book, Stretch.
I know I made something from that book for my first review, but hey, it’s an awesome book when you are first starting out, and I am not an experienced seamstress.
When this fabric arrived and I opened the package, I was blown away by the intensity and brightness of the pink. This cerise pink is an awesome colour and I could not wait to get started.
This fabric is super soft, if stroked the right way of course, and it drapes really well. I don’t recommend it to extreme beginners, but for intermediates it is really nice fabric. It was a real learning curve for me to work with, there are things with this fabric that if done again, I will definitely do differently next time round.
As usual, I pre-washed the fabric at 30 degrees, however Minerva recommends to wash 40 decrees and allow for any shrinkage. But like I always say, if you are unsure what temperature to use, either do a cool wash or do a test wash on a sample piece. I also put it in the tumble dryer on low heat, like I do with all my fabrics.
This fabric is very drapey, and very slippery to use. Because of its pile, the stretch velvet needs to be cut with a nap layout so when I was laying out the fabric to cut the pattern pieces out, I had to mark with chalk which direction the pile was going as I wanted to make sure I had the “softness” going in the right direction, and I wanted my pieces all going in the same direction.
Pinning and cutting out the pattern was easy enough, but sewing was a bit of a challenge, the fabric wanted to move around on its own accord. I think next time I sew with Velvet, I will be using my Walking Foot on my sewing machine. I did not use my Overlocker this time as I did not have the matching thread or thread as near to my pink and thought that black, white or grey would not work well. If anyone wants to help me out and suggest anything different, please feel free to tell me otherwise, like I said, I am still newish to this and am learning every day new things.
I love how this dress has turned out and I am so glad I put in the extra time to place all the pattern pieces on the fabric in the same direction as its pile/nap. Now I just need to find a place or event to wear this to as I think the colour might be a little too much for my place of work… Pity!
Thanks for reading, until next time, Happy sewing.
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 10th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello again! I’m thrilled to be back on the Minerva crafts blog, this time I am sharing my experience of using the Clover Needle Felting Tool and large Needle Felting Mat. These are quick and easy tools for adding applique to a base fabric of your choice. Although I have tried needle felting in the past, I hadn’t ever tried applique using a needle felting tool so I was very keen to have a go!
The needle felting tool has 5 barbed needles which catch the wool fibres and push them into the base fabric, quickly and easily attaching your design without the need for glue or thread. The brush-like mat allows the fibres of the design to be easily meshed with the base fabric with little resistance, and the open bristles of the brush help to reduce the attachment of the felted fibres to the mat.
I decided to test out the needle felting tool and mat by adding applique designs to some tote bags. On the package instructions for the needle felting tool, wool is recommended as a base for applique, but other woven fabrics will also work. I used some tote bags made from 100% cotton and other bags made from recycled polypropylene, as I wanted to see how the tool would work on different base fabrics. For my applique designs, I used a combination of wool roving and felt sheets (both available from Minerva crafts). I used a Sizzix Big Shot machine to cut out some flower shapes from felt sheets, which I first attached to the bag, then added a wool roving centre to each flower. I also tried some freehand designs using a combination of wool roving and felt sheets.
The needle felting tools were very quick and easy to use. The needles in the felting tool are very sharp and I was glad that the tool has a plastic guard around the needles, to reduce the risk of injury. This is a great design feature as it makes the tool safer to use. I also liked the fact the guard can be locked to cover the needles when the felting tool is not in use. I found it much easier to remove the base fabric and my design from the brush-style needle felting mat compared with my experience of using foam felting mats (which tend to become quite easily attached to the item being felted). It's important to make sure the tip of the needle felting tool does not reach the base of the felting mat during use, as this could lead to breakage of the needles. I was very pleased with the speed of felting and ease of use of the needle felting tool and mat and I was happy with my finished designs. One thing to note is that as the felting mat is quite large, it can be quite tricky to fit it into small spaces such as into the corners of a bag. I found I was able to work around this, although smaller mats are also available if required. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to securely apply my designs to each bag using the needle felting tool and mat, and I found this worked equally well with both the cotton and polypropylene bags I selected.
The possibilities for applique using the Clover needle felting tool and mat are endless, and the tools should work well on most woven fabrics. Wool roving is fairly inexpensive and is available in a wide range of colours. Minerva Crafts also stock an extensive range of felt sheets as well as handmade felt embellishments which could also be used for applique designs. With correct and careful use, the needle felting tool and mat should last for a fairly long time (replacement needles are available if necessary). If you are feeling creative and fancy trying something new, why not give needle felting a try?
Thanks so much for reading, I hope to be back again soon with another product review!
I was super excited to receive this gorgeous abstract print Viscose Challis Fabric from Minerva.
It has a sage green background with navy and turquoise animal print which is so in trend at the moment. The weight is light and it has a beautiful flowy drape. I decided to make New Look 6350 culottes with a matching Simple Sew Sophia Top both of which are easy patterns for beginners.
After tracing my pattern pieces I used my rotary cutter to cut out the pieces taking care as I didn’t want to snag the fabric.
The culottes were really quick to construct with only two pieces and then the addition of elastic at the waist. The Sophia Top requires facing at the neck and arms. My tried and trusted method for doing this is to cut out the fabric and then place on top of iron-on facing then using a tea towel on top I apply my iron.
It’s then really quick to cut round the fabric pieces; I much prefer this method rather than doing one piece at a time.
Next, I overlocked the edges to prevent fraying.
The boat neck on the Sophia Top is quite generous so I would advise making a muslin first before cutting out your fabric. I then overlocked all my edges before constructing the top which was very straight forward and all that was left to do was hem the bottom which sits just above my hips.
I absolutely love the drape on this fabric especially for the culottes.
The fabric is very smooth and cool to the touch, perfect for a winter sun trip, I wore this outfit in Bordeaux during the recent heat wave and I was very comfortable.
Thanks for reading,