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Scuba Knits and Circle Skirts: A Perfect Match!

I knew that I wanted to make something with ruffles or fullness, so this peach Polka Dot Scuba Fabric grabbed my attention. I had a few patterns in mind, but I didn’t settle on McCall’s 7160 until a few days after I got the fabric. This pattern is for a dress with a fitted bodice and a circle skirt. For versions A and B, the most exciting feature is the skirt, which is divided into upper and lower sections. With this being a scuba knit with a good amount of body, I knew that the skirt would really pop.
The bodice is made up of a single back section and two front pieces that come together in a v-neck. If you’re up for it, you can do some interesting things with pattern placement. I think that this dress would be fantastic if it were made with a striped fabric!
One thing I liked about having two front pieces is that I could make a clean line for the v-neck. I feel like necklines on knit fabrics can end up looking a little sloppy if you’re not very meticulous.This pattern also has an option for sleeves, which I considered adding, but with this being a spring-summer type dress, I felt that sleeves would be overkill. However, with a thinner fabric or a plain fabric, this would probably work well.
The skirt was straightforward to put together. Once I was able to make sense of the instructions, attaching the lower and upper pieces was a breeze. This skirt also has pockets!  I almost removed them because I had to take the bodice in at the waist after having sewed the pockets onto the skirt. Instead of removing the pockets, I ended up making a small pleat at the skirt side seams.
I love sewing with scuba fabrics because there is the stretch that comes with knit fabrics, but a stability that is closer to a woven fabric. Because my fit issues were easy to fix, this dress, despite those challenges, was quite a pleasure to make. Another benefit of sewing with this fabric is that it is easy to hem. With thinner knits, hemming and finishing raw edges can be a challenge, but with this, I could hem it just as easily as woven cotton fabric. One thing to keep in mind is that fabrics like these can be a little bulky, and so some, trimming is needed to help it lay smoothly.  
The instructions for this dress also called for an internal elastic waistband using a  ¼ inch wide elastic band. I decided to omit that because this type of fabric holds its structure quite well on its own.
This dress is a great easy sewing pattern. If you love circle skirts and are looking to switch things up, this fits that bill. Also, if you remove the pockets, you can make this into a high-waisted circle skirt with a side zipper, which would be lovely. This fabric, which also comes in black-on-white and white-on-black polka dots would be an excellent option for that.
The pattern includes an option for a belt, but I decided to wear my own DIY Isabel Marant inspired belt, which is a piece of leather with a slot cut out.
Thanks for reading,
Stelle @stellesews

Patrones Tencel Trench

Hello everybody, I am Camelia from @calcedoniasewing and I am  happy to be back with a project made with fabric from Minerva

The moment I saw this Tencel Twill Fabric on Minerva I knew that this will make my dream soft trench coat. I always wanted a soft trench in olive green tencel so this was the perfect fabric and so the perfect time to make it.

When I received the fabric I wasn`t yet sure about the pattern as I had a lot of options. I have a subscription for Patrones Magazine and they have a few great options for this type of garment. After a lot of thinking and rethinking, I decided on this CK trench from Patrones 381, pattern 27

I love the pockets in the princess seams and the wide collar. I was not so happy about the raglan style but the rest was good:). Also, the side slits was a detail I liked.

Based on the size chart I traced a size 44 and made a test garment ( using a piece of fabric I had had for years in my stash and hated as long :)), but perfect for this purpose.

I knew the garment was supposed to be a bit oversized but the test garment looked just too big and actually my biggest problem was that the armhole was too low and even with all the fabric in the garment it was really not comfortable when I was moving my arms.

Based on the fit of the test garment I took a horizontal adjustment of 3 cm over the back, front and sleeves and that raised my armhole to the perfect place.

I also made the sleeves 2cm slimmer as they were too wide at the hem. They are still wide but I left them intentionally like that to add belt loops and belts with D-rings to tighten the hem as a detail.

The trench is lined in the magazine but the lining is left to hang free and I wanted to have it sewn in and close at the hem. The only problem was the side slits.

Because I chose the crazy lining I knew I wanted the slits to be faced so that the lining will not peak at the edge .

I had to think a bit about how to do it...also to be able to sew everything by machine and my solution was to adapt the pattern pieces at the slit as I was sewing the lining in a garment with a worked perfectly!  I really love the end result!

This garment has no closures but I like to wear it open, I think it looks much better than closed.

This tencel was a pleasure to work with! I pre-washed the fabric and let it hang to dry.

During the construction, I used an organza pressing cloth to press my seams and tried to do that mostly from the inside of the garment.

I love the drape of it and I think it was perfect for this garment. 

I am going to get a lot of wear out of this, I love it! Happy sewing!



Animal Print Satin Vogue Top

Challenge yourself I said! There are so many lovely makes on the Minerva blog, I felt that I wanted to stretch myself and make something more than a tee shirt. So this time I chose some fabulous Animal Print Satin Fabric and needed a fabulous pattern to go with it. I found the pattern,  and imagined my Minerva make in my minds eye. A beautiful draped collar would work a treat with this satin. Yes! I haven’t used a Vogue pattern before so I was sceptical as to how it would fit as the measurements didn’t match mine. However, as it was a loose fit garment, I thought It may be ok as there were no fastenings either. 

As it had been a while since I had sewn with satin,I thought I had better look up some tips. I scanned You Tube and found a few videos, watched them, made notes and took the plunge! 

The beautiful fabric, all needed to be cut on the bias. It had a habit of sliding off the table to start with, so I had to weigh it down. The pattern layout suggested opening the fabric out and cutting 1 piece at a time, which I did but I ran out of room on the cutting table. I had also read that you should only use pins within the seam allowance as the pins may pull the fabric. Right, did that! Cutting was slippery indeed. 

I threaded up the sewing machine and used a ballpoint needle but the fabric was still slipping. I was aware that the stitches would make holes in the fabric if I didn’t get it right so I did a lot of practising on scraps of the fabric. I still wasn’t getting the best result so I used  another technique I had read about, which was to spray with starch before sewing. This really did help. I was in two minds whether to use the overlocker for neatening the seams but after a trial run, I decided it would be okay. By the time I had got to the second sleeve I realised it was easier to spray starch the whole piece and then overlock all the edges before joining any seams. 

The sleeves went in well and managed to hem them ok. At this point, I thought I had better try it on before I went any further! I was worried that it was a little delicate to pull over my head especially if it was snug, but I needn’t have worried as it fitted nicely. 

The next bit was the lovely drapey collar. As it would all be on show I knew I had better take my time. I sprayed the whole piece with starch and let it dry before I started, which definitely helped. However, attaching the collar to the bodice was easier than I expected. 

I pressed the hems and trimmed them as instructed and then pressed the allowance again and top-stitched. I then pressed again to make them lay flat. 

Once I had finished the top, I rinsed the starch out and pressed again, so that the blouse draped nicely. 

I am really pleased with this top. It looks classy, expensive and stylish. One for Christmas drinks I think! 

Thanks for reading and see you again soon

Gina @fidgetylil


Fancy Loungewear for the Win!

Hello! I’m Julie, one half of @weliketosew, the other half being my friend of over 30 years, Malena. We are both thrilled to have recently joined the Minerva Maker Team, and this is my first contribution to the blog.

For this project, I chose 3 meters of the beautiful Lady McElroy Cotton Lawn Fabric with a colorful watercolor-like abstract pattern. I can never pass up a painterly print, and this one did not disappoint. The photos on the website are very accurate in terms of color, and the quality is wonderful. The cotton lawn is lovely, with a smooth hand-feel and a nice crisp drape. As with most lawn, I am hoping this will soften up nicely with each wash and dry.

I thought this fabric would make perfect lounge wear, and so for this project I decided on the Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pajamas. This pattern is a classic, menswear inspired pajama set, including a button up shirt with a two-piece collar. There are three different views that includes both long and short sleeves, shorts and pants, and you can jazz them up by choosing to add cuffs and/or in-seam piping. Because this is the first pair of actual pajamas that I’ve ever had, let alone made myself, I chose to make View A with the long sleeves and pants, without the cuffs or piping.

I made the top in a size 8, and the bottoms in a size 12. I didn’t make a toile; however, I did check the back bottom pattern piece against my RTW pajama bottoms to make sure they would fit me. For reference, my measurements are as follows: bust: 35 / waist: 29 / hip: 41. I always find it very helpful when sewists share their measurements!

I am so happy that I decided to skip the piping, because I had a lot of trouble with the two-piece collar! The pattern is designed without a back collar facing, and I found the instructions for this to be VERY fiddly, which the is acknowledged in the pattern instructions. Apparently it’s been a while since I made anything with a set-in sleeve, because I had a lot of trouble with the first one that I sewed. By the second sleeve, I had remembered all the little tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. One being that after you’ve eased the sleeve in, you should sew it with the eased sleeve on the bobbin side, as the slight differences in the feeds will help to smooth out those potential troublesome gathers.

The pattern suggests finishing the insides using French seams, but I decided to overlock all of my seams. I also used my edge stitch foot for edge stitching the collar and facing.

While these fit me very well, I think that next time I will make the shirt in a size up for a really oversized fit. I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern other than adding a line of topstitching along the front and back pant seam, and I sewed a deep, 2½” (approximately 6cm) hem for the pants, rather than shortening them.

All in all, I love these pajamas in this beautiful, slightly wild print fabric! It would be so luxurious to make these out of a nice drapey tencel twill, or even a silk crepe de chine!

Thanks for reading,

Julie @weliketosew

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Fall / Winter 2020 Plaid Must Have

Hello Minerva Makers / Friends! 

Here I am ! I am the new one! This is my first blog for the Minerva Makers team. When Vicki asked me if I would like to become a part of the Minerva Makers team, I was very honored and totally surprised. Yes, sure I want that! And how I want that! :-) 

Now I would like to introduce myself. So you know who I am.

I'm Yvonne, from Germany, over 40 and I love fashion and all the bells and whistles that go with it. ;)

I like to combine sewn clothes with bought clothes. This results in an individual style. At least that's the plan. ;)

I have been sewing since my youth. However, with interruptions. At some point, the sewing hobby was unfortunately lost by child, job, family, etc. A few years ago, the mood  for sewing came back. In the meantime, I am sewing again every free minute.

Now I finally come to my first project:

I chose this wonderful Plaid Fabric.

I can really recommend it. It is easy to sew, feels great on the skin and it is a bit thicker quality. So perfect for the coming fall and winter.

In  fall / winter 2020 plaid will be a MUST HAVE , so it was clear that I have to take this fabric. :-) 

Now I had to decide, which pattern should I take? I could not decide, so I did a survey on Instagram. I had 2 patterns to choose. My wonderful followers have chosen this pattern.

I was in agreement with this pattern. Because it was also my first choice. I have already sewn these patterns several times. Even then, I was allowed to do sample sewing before the publication of the pattern. It was also a lot of fun and was totally exciting. So I already knew this pattern and it should come as no nasty surprises. Because I did not want to produce garbage on my first project.
The many darts bring the dress very nicely on figure. The ruffles make it somehow romantic. I love these patterns.
I did not change anything on the pattern. No adjustment was necessary. I cut it out in my normal size. Only the sleeves have been extended. For fall / winter I just need long arms. I am freezing very easily, you have to know. ;-)
With leather jacket and boots, it is really winter suitable. I have made some Autumn Photo's for you.
I hope you like my first project and I could inspire someone.

See you soon ... I suppose I'll come more often. ;-) 

I'm looking forward to see you on my Instagram (or Facebook ) Account. 

Creative greetings :)

Vintage Pattern Love

Hey Hello! Here I am again with my 2nd Minerva blog.

If you have followed me a little you may know that I really like vintage patterns. At first I was very much in the 50s, but lately it is mainly in the 60s and 70s. I received a lot of old burda books from my husband's grandmother a while ago and the garments you will find are amazing!

So I saw a very beautiful halter dress with a sort of turtleneck. Still no idea What you actually call such a dress (so if anyone knows;)

But not quite the right size (in those booklets there is only 1 or 2 sizes of each model on the radar blade. You could buy the rest separately), so someday I would sit down and adjust the dress to my own size.

Then came the second mail from Minerva! And left the perfect fabric for this dress in between! Pretty soon I got the material. It is a fabric from Lady McElroy. The Lurex Sheer Knit Fabric Multicolored.

I could not believe my eyes! This fabric was beautiful. I do not lie when I say that this is the most beautiful fabric that I have ever worked with. Not the easiest but we will get to that later on.

The fabric has a beautiful drape and the colours are great with a little glitter in it. Only the fabric was quite translucent so definitely had to be lined. So I bought the lining at the local fabric seller and got to work!

First of all, I pre-washed the fabric on the program that I use to wash my clothing. You don't want the dress you made to shrink after you wash it for the first time!

And then the pattern. That was a challenge because one of the conditions for writing this blog is to find a pattern that everyone can use. Not everyone has the 1972 burda lying around of course, so I had to search! I first searched myself but if you don't know what you are looking for it is still quite difficult. So I asked via Instagram whether there was a pattern similar to the pattern from the old burda. I got different proposals and in the end the perfect pattern was included!

The Isabella from Himmelblau.

I bought the same pattern and it was a pity for me that this pattern did not have a file for printing at the copy shop. Picked the printer and printed the pattern.

Cut out the fabric and lining and I could get started! The fabric really has a very nice fall but also quite vulnerable. Ladders are fairly easy to come, so caution is recommended when sewing! It may well be that I used a wrong needle but unfortunately I had 2 ladders is my fabric. Fortunately small and can be solved by tying a button at the bottom of the ladder.

Furthermore, it is fairly easy to process.

Now wait till I have a opportunity to wear this beautiful dress!

I hope I managed to inspire you and I will see you next time!

Thanks for reading,

Fieke @dressedindutch


Pipit Loungewear Set

Hi Minerva Makers, it’s Suzie here from @suzannemade!

When Common Stitch, a slow fashion conscious pattern and clothing brand based in Brisbane, Australia, released their new pattern for the Pipit Loungewear Set, I was immediately into it.

Would they suit me? I didn’t know. Did that stop me? Nope. Do I love them? Yep!

Common Stitch offers effortless style and everything they design looks so good in linen. Sometimes I like the sewing pattern samples on the models so much I can’t imagine anything better, so I chose this delicious Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen Fabric in the colour Limestone. It’s a mostly natural colour with a tiny hint of green woven throughout, and after it washed beautifully I was ready to get going!

I cut my pattern pieces in no time at all and started, as instructed, with the shorts. After sewing on my back pocket (handy for phones!) and all of the seams, I got to try a style of elastic insertion that I’ve never used before. You make elastic into a band, then pin it to the inside of the waistband in quarters, overlock/zig zag the top edge, stretching as you go, then flip inside and sew it down. It’s such a neat, quick way to do an elasticated waistband, and saves messing around with a safety pin!

I used 3.5cm wide elastic, which resulted in shorts that didn’t quite sit naturally on my waist as I’d hoped, but they’re comfortable anyway and I’ll remember this when I inevitably use the shorts pattern again for another project.

While the facing is super important to make that neckline and button down front so neat, the huge bell sleeves on the Pipit Loungewear Set are obviously the main event. The sleeves have cuffs instead of a hem, which I guess you could switch for the latter if you wanted to speed things up, but the finish is lovely. It holds the bell shape a lot better with that structure too.

The final couple of steps were hemming and the buttonholes/buttons. I chose five 12mm brown wooden buttons so they stood out against the subtle colour of the linen - kind of like the choc chips to my mint ice cream…

One final press and, well, I basically put them on and didn’t want to take them off. The sleeves naturally make you want to swish around and dance, and I was amazed by how easily this pattern came together. There wasn’t any faffing around and I was on the final steps before I knew it. Also, they are so comfortable!

I made my Pipit Loungewear Set in a size 10, as it’s such a loose flowy style I didn’t see the need to do any grading or fitting. The instructions suggested that I might need to grade into a 12 at the hips but I’m so glad I didn’t as the set fits really well and I wouldn’t want the shorts to be any bigger.

This linen fabric was a dream to work with. You can feel the quality throughout the process of making and as a finished product especially. I’m excited to wear the top with jeans too for a casual day look, because the fabric isn’t restricted to loungewear/pyjamas. Now to think of a way to stop my arms from swishing around when I wear it…

Thanks for reading,

Suzie @suzannemade


Sheer Voile Fabric Dress

Hello there, I’m Izzy and I’m on Instagram @topstitchrollhem.

I’m delighted to be back on the Minerva blog today reviewing this absolutely Amazing Fabric, a sheer striped voile. I’ve never seen a fabric like this before and I’m sure that it will be very hard to do justice to its loveliness in words – so let’s start with a picture:

The fabric is made up of alternating sheer and white stripes with this fabulous floral print over the top. It has quite a crisp drape and an organza-like hand. It took me absolutely ages to make up my mind about what to make, but in the end I decided to go with a simple shape to really show off the amazing effect of the print. In my dreams I think I would have made a ball gown with an enormous skirt, but I think I will wear this version a little more often!

I really love the ongoing pinafore-dress trend but I’ve never made one as I’ve been a bit nervous about how they would work for my shape, so I’ve dipped my toe in the water with this make, which is intended to layer over a t-shirt. The pattern is (as ever, with me) a bit of a mish-mash – the bodice is Simplicity 1325 and the skirt is from Gertie’s range for Butterick 6543.

As this fabric is sheer, I had to choose how I would underline it. I auditioned many candidates for the underlining in a whole rainbow of colours, but settled on a white cotton voile in the end as it made the print pop the most.

Here is the fabric by itself (quite sheer!)…

And here it is underlined…

I did a bit of a cheats’ approach to the underlining and attached the bodice pieces right sides together at the neckline, then turned them out and overlocked all the edges together, and thereafter treated the underlined pieces as one. This meant a clean finish at the neckline without having to add another layer of lining, and also meant that all the darts could be marked accurately on the underlining rather than on the fabric itself, which would have been much more of a challenge, especially as I was combining two different patterns so had to shuffle the back darts around a bit to make sure they lined up.

I used the zip insertion instructions from the B6543 pattern – I love this way of inserting zips, it’s super neat and clean and also means I never have to do another invisible zip (my nemesis!) again, hurrah.

Once all the underlining was done, the dress went together very easily. The fabric holds a press nicely, even better with the cotton underlining, which just made the whole process so much easier.

Once the dress itself was complete, I also had to make a top to go underneath it to complete the pinafore vibe I was aiming for (and also for modesty’s sake, that is one very low neckline!) so I used some lovely scuba crepe to make a Jennifer Lauren Handmade Gable top. I’m looking forward to making some more t-shirts to go underneath the dress, I think the next one will have to be green.

I love fabrics like this that challenge me to approach dressmaking projects differently and learn new skills along the way. I may yet make the ballgown that’s living in my head at the moment….

Thanks for reading!

Izzy @topstitchrollhem


The Perfect Shirt For My Very Colourful Son

It doesn’t happen too often, but every now and then I do a bit of selfless sewing. Although does it really count as selfless if I thoroughly enjoy the making part?

When I saw this Tropical Cotton Fabric with its bright macaws, I knew it would make the perfect shirt for my very colourful son. I opted to use the Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt Pattern. It’s one I’ve used many times before simply because it’s so well drafted with really well written and clear instructions.

If you’ve ever been wary of making a shirt, I recommend giving this pattern a go. There is also a sew along if you get stuck at any point.

The cotton suits a shirt perfectly. It’s easy to sew and holds a press really well. It’s one of those lovely fabrics that just does what it’s told.

The pattern has the option for a centre back pleat or long darts. I cut the version with darts as it makes for a closer fit. I also used the free add on for the pattern for short sleeves. They also have add ons for different pocket shapes, collar styles and cuff styles for long sleeves.

For the yoke, I added a center back seam and cut my outer pieces on the bias. When working with striped fabric, this adds a wonderful chevron effect to the shirt. Since the tropical print is so busy, it’s not particularly noticeable here. I kept the inner yoke as one piece on the straight grain to help the shirt keep its shape over time. 

The main body of the shirt comes together fairly quickly, especially when you only have short sleeves to sew and no cuff plackets. Various parts of the shirt have different sized seams, so it takes some concentration to sew together. At first it seems like a very odd way to work, but it’s designed so there’s no trimming of the seams as you go. It’s the only pattern I’ve seen that uses this method, but it consistently results in the neatest flat fell seams.

I always find the collar the trickiest part when sewing a shirt. I’m yet to obtain the ‘perfect’ collar, but I won’t stop trying! This pattern has different pieces for the inner and outer collar as well as the interfacing. It’s all designed to eliminate as much bulk in the seams as possible, without the need to trim them.

The Fairfield pattern comes with 2 versions included, one slim/regular fit and one designed for a larger figure with a more rounded stomach. This is the only shirt pattern I’ve ever found to offer this sort of sizing and I’ve used it for a number of different people. So far, the fit has always been spot on with no alterations needed.

I’ve made a lot of shirts for the men in my life and this pattern is by far my favourite. All the little details really make it a pleasure to sew. The cotton is also super easy to sew and is lovely to work with. It makes such a difference with a tricky pattern to have a fabric that works with you, not against you. Most importantly, the boy is overjoyed with his shirt and wants lots more!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah @theboldstitcher


My First Satin Adventure

When the Crinkle Satin Fabric arrived it was both love and trepidation in one. I loved the look and feel of the satin but I’ve never sewn with it, or with anything as light weight. A good friend of mine has made heaps of the Peppermint Peplum tops by In The Folds and I felt like this fabric and pattern would be an excellent fit. 

The bonus is, it’s a free pattern!!

Ready to wear boxy peplum tops just never look flattering on my body shape so I decided to do a toile of the bodice without the peplum to check the fit and make sure it was going to work, I started with a straight size B. As I suspected the fit was just not flattering, the shoulders and front bodice were perfect but the back bodice was not. I needed to remove about 2” from the back bodice piece, I suspect, to compensate for my sway back. I experimented with removing the excess fabric from the centre back seam - but it shifted the seam on to the bias which affected the finish along that seam. So I switched to two darts evenly spaced from the centre back instead.

Which made the fit of the bodice perfect. But with the removal of 2” from the back bodice, I would need to adjust the peplum length - here my engineering degree came in handy! I worked out if I removed 15% of the bodice length, so adjusting the peplum piece the same would be a 15% reduction in width or removing 2 3/4” from the pattern piece.

Final adjustment was to lengthen the top as I really don’t wear crop length tops. A bit of Instagram research and I decided upon lengthening both the bodice and peplum equally. I added 1” to the bodice and 1” to the peplum for a total added length of 2”.

With the bulk pattern adjustments done, after much research and investing in some sharp silk/satin pins, I dove in! Luckily I had a little extra as I needed to re-cut one of the front bodice pieces as it stretched out of alignment while I was cutting. The first lesson I learned was satin really needs to be cut out in the flat and you have to be very careful not to stretch it out of shape while cutting or when laying it out.

Construction was really straight forward, although it was while sewing together the center back seam that I started to question my sanity of my first satin project with so many bias bound seams!!

I just used bulk sewing pins, took my time, constantly used my tweezers and accepted that my seams were not as straight as I normally accept, especially the front neck seam. There was some sage advice given to me when I first started sewing, stand 3 steps away from your mirror, can you see the mistake/error, no, then no one else will. Or go examine a ready to wear seam for a reality check. I think it’s still 100% wearable crooked seams and all.

I did use a variety of different seam finishes as the lightweight nature of the fabric demanded different finishes. The center back seam I just used pinking shears. The rest of the bodice seams I used French seams. Next, for the bodice and peplum seam I finished with the overlocker as the overlocked finish wouldn’t be visible nor add bulk.

Finally came the hem, I absolutely did not want to do a folded narrow hem as the pattern called for. I experimented with a rolled hem on my overlocker, but I found the rolled hem put too much stress on the fragile fabric and pulled straight off in some places. I ended up settling on overlocker settings between the true rolled hem and a narrow overlocked hem.

I think it turned out looking fantastic!!

And the final product - I am very happy with it and I can tell it’s going to be a frequently worn favourite. I think it is even office worthy!

Thanks for reading,

Jemma @mrsmmade

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