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Grey Tweed Jessie Coatigan

Hi, it's Zoe here from Flowers and frolics. When I saw this lovely tweedy grey Wool Coating Fabric I thought it would be ideal for making the Jessie coatigan pattern from Sew Over It. I wanted it to be warm enough to wear outside in spring and autumn and I think this wool fabric is perfect for that, it is quite thick, but it is also soft and has some drape to it. The texture is lovely.
I found cutting the fabric a little tricky, because of the thickness, but maybe my scissors need sharpening. One thing to bear in mind is that is frays a lot! So I zigzagged over all my seams and that seemed to stop it happening so much. 
As for the Jessie coatigan pattern, well it came together quite quickly really. The pockets were sewn using a slightly different technique to how I've made them before, but that was ok. However I did get a bit lost at the shawl collar stage, I worked it out in the end though and it was fine, I think if you haven't sewn a shawl collar before you just need to bear with it and follow the instructions.
I made the size 8, I did think about sizing down as I'm quite petite, but decided not to for this first version to see how it came out, also I wanted it to be big enough to wrap over at the front. I shortened it by cutting 4cm off the bottom before I hemmed it as I am not very tall and also I didn't add the sleeve cuffs as the sleeves were long enough for me without them - I must have short arms too! The other thing I did was to make a belt so that I have the option of closing the coatigan as I feel the cold so it makes it much more wearable for me. I think you could also add some snaps to close the front if you wanted.
Overall I love the finished garment, I think the wool fabric gives the coatigan a good structure and a quality look to it, it's also quite warm and will be a lovely alternative to a coat on a chilly day. Also for me the colour is very versatile and will go with a lot of my outfits. I'd quite like to make one in a plain wool as well, I think you could have a few versions as the choice of fabric would make it look quite different.
it is a fairly quick make so it would also be a lovely gift to make for someone, especially as the fit is not crucial with it being an over sized look. 
I hope you enjoyed reading this, if you're interested in seeing more of my makes you can find me on instagram @flowers_and_frolics
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Rebecca Page Kingston Jacket - A Classic Unisex Kids Jacket

My favourite day of the month is when I get a little email from Minerva crafts detailing all the latest yummy fabrics that have come in and are waiting to be tried out by their bloggers – this month I was feeling a little over confident and despite it being the middle of Christmas and having a list of 100 things to do, I spur of the moment ordered a length of Denim Fabric to make my little boy his own denim jacket for the spring. Every little boy needs a denim jacket right?!

While I was waiting for my delivery I searched for a pattern that I loved and eventually stumbled across the Rebecca Page Kingston Jacket. This classic unisex kids jacket also comes in ladies sizes (don’t tempt me!) and has all the traditional features of a proper denim jacket plus a variety of sleeve styles and a couple of pocket styles that enable you to make your jacket unique. I ordered the print at home PDF (which is the first pattern that I have printed that didn’t need each page trimmed!! Winner!) and promptly printed, stuck and cut all my pieces ready for action!

The fabric arrived very quickly and gorgeous doesn’t even start to describe it – I was worried that the denim would be stiff or heavy, but it is slightly stretchy and so soft and the colour was just what I wanted. The pattern instructions are amazingly detailed and gave great tips on sewing with denim – very useful for a first-timer like me. As instructed I ordered speciality Denim Needles and Gutermann Top Stitching Thread. I even pre-washed my fabric (which I must admit, I don’t always do) but I did make the error of forgetting the fabric in the washer and didn’t immediately take it out to dry – this was warned about in the pattern and it did leave subtle crease marks in the dye of the fabric. I didn’t mind too much since I was planning on distressing the jacket when I was finished anyway, but it is something to be aware of if you sew with denim.

Cutting this denim was lovely, it barley frayed and didn’t stretch or slide as I was cutting – which was a good job since with the long sleeve and patch pockets pattern options that I had chosen, there were 39 pieces to cut out!

Prep all done, I was ready to sew my first flat fell seams. I hadn’t come across these until this project but wasn’t fazed after I read the very detailed instructions. This denim presses really well and allows you to get really crisp flat edges even on the more bulky seams. Before long I was joining piece to piece and I had the front left side constructed complete with a little pocket and flap.

Did I mention that I love top stitching?! Thanks to Tilly and the Buttons introducing me to topstitching when I made my Cleo dress, I now topstitch everything, even things that don’t really need it. This is my first time using special topstitching thread and despite protests from my sewing machine - I love it even more! (just not for backstitching at the beginning and the end of a seam – my machine likes to eat this bit!)

I chose Gutermann red top stitching thread just for a change and love the contrast against the blue of the denim.

All in all, I think this jacket took me maybe 6-8 hours to complete and although it was probably my most complex make to date, the instructions are thankfully broken down in to manageable bitesize pieces which allowed me to easily stop and pick up the project when I had a spare half hour over the Christmas period. I never once felt lost or overwhelmed.

I loved making this jacket, it was so satisfying seeing it all come together, and I love that there are no exposed seams inside the jacket. The denim is soft and wearable, it doesn’t feel stiff or rough like some heavier denims. I think it will distress nicely though and I plan on adding more patches from places we visit this year – the Star Motif is from Minerva and is my little reminder of my journey making it! My one regret is not measuring my little boy before making it. He has just turned 2 so I made the age 3 size in the hope of him having some wear out of it this spring/summer but it only just fits around his belly but is quite long. Let’s hope that he only grown longways this year!

Thank you Minerva Crafts for encouraging me to sew outside my comfort zone and try something new.

Anna @pearls_and_picots

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The Butterick 6453 Chameleon Dress

Having never used broadcloth before, I was expecting it to be quite stiff and heavy. So, when I actually received a medium weight fairly soft Cotton Fabric, I was very pleasantly surprised. The pattern is a green and blue leaf print with chameleons on branches. Bonus fact - chameleons do not change colour to match their background. They actually change colour depending on their mood! They also have really long super sticky tongues.
The first thing I did was to wash the fabric. It’s a boring job when you’re itching to sew, but better than having your lovely new garment shrink the first time you wash it! I put it on a cotton wash and a hot tumble dry. It did shrink very slightly but not too much. It also slightly softened and was really easy to iron.
I used Butterick 6453 for the dress. This Gertie pattern is a favourite of mine and a lovely quick make. The bodice is fitted with flattering princess seams and a low scoop back.
The pattern comes with the choice of a pencil or gathered skirt, but I felt that the cotton gathered may add too much bulk around the waist. Instead I used my self-drafted circle skirt pattern. Since this broadcloth is a wonderfully wide 60”, it is perfectly suited to cutting a nice full circle skirt.
The broadcloth was a pleasure to sew and would be a great fabric for anyone new to sewing. I added pockets to my skirt (because all dresses need pockets!) and lined the bodice in some plain cotton from my stash. 
I added a handpicked, lapped zipper in the back of my dress. I had some multi coloured cotton thread in my stash that perfectly matched the colours in the dress. It worked really well for sewing in the zip and the stitches are barely visible. 
I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the finished dress while sewing. As it turns out, I love it! The pattern doesn’t have a definite direction and works really well as a circle skirt. 
Since the fabric was so wide, I even had enough left over for a men’s shirt as a gift for my son! I used a tried and tested pattern, the Thread Theory Fairfield. It’s a fantastic pattern with some well thought out details and construction methods.
I opted for the short sleeve version with a front pocket. It went together perfectly and the broadcloth meant it was a delight to sew. The finished shirt is definitely unique and I know will be very well received. 
Thanks for reading,
Sarah
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Fabrics Call My Name

Hello crafters!
Lately I have been drawn to colors that I didn’t like before. Or I thought I didn’t like. Such is an example with burgundy. My brother LOVES burgundy, and I always thought… how could he like that color? Well, people change. I’ve changed. I now like burgundy. So let’s deal with that.
Minerva had just launched a wide range of colors for this beautiful and buttery Viscose Twill Fabric. Just to clarify, viscose is and has always been my favorite type of fabric to sew and to wear, so no changes there.
So as I was telling, you, Minerva had (and has) a wide range of colors to pick from, and what do I choose? the infamous burgundy, of course. The fabric was actually calling my name, people. I went back and forth to the other colors and this one was literally calling my name. Please believe me. I now have realized that fabrics call me by name. And I am not crazy… I think.
I wanted to make something simple with this, because I wanted to accessorize it heavily. I thought also to add embellishments to the top and boy did I try different things. We’ll get to that in a minute.
So for the pattern, I’ve chosen the York top by Seamwork Magazine. I have had this pattern for years in my virtual stash and never made it, so I took the plunge and went for it this time around. The blouse is super simple, it has a boat neckline, three quarter sleeves and a cuff detail, two bust darts and you are done! I even made it simpler and omitted the cuffs, because I am lazy. This is the kind of top that you can make up in pretty much any kind of fabric, and showcase a print or an accessory.
The only modifications I made to the pattern besides omitting the cuffs was to lower the dart point about an inch because….well, you know, gravity is not my friend; and I also made a forward shoulder adjustment of about half an inch because…well, you know, posture is not my friend either. Let’s move on.
After making the top I started to play with embellishments because I wanted something sparkly on the neckline.
First, I tried hand sewing tiny bitty seed beads on a matching color. That did not go well, because apparently you need something called practice to get that right. Second, I tried a black trim with tiny feathers. Well, my husband gave me “that” look when I showed him the preview so that one was a no go either. Third, I looked at the sequins and thought: I am pretty sure I will need to sew one by one, so NO. Just NO.
In the end, my brain searched for answers and found a memory of me having a chunky gold shiny chain that could be transformed in a statement necklace using the fabric. And that my friends, it’s what I call a “lightbulb” moment.
As you can see, this is the perfect complement for my top, and if you are wondering how I made it, there is a tutorial here.
Now, let’s talk a little about this fabric. This type of fabric is ideal for any type of blouses and dresses, skirts and loose fitting pants. Because it is completely opaque, you don’t necessarily need to line it if you don’t want to. It washed up beautifully, there was little fraying, it is super soft, a little wrinkle-y as you would expect with viscose, and it has a nice weight and body to it. It sews beautifully and you could wear it in spring, fall and winter.
I got my pictures done on a windy day, can you tell?
I now want all the other colorways, obviously. Let’s just hope they don’t decide to call my name any time soon.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this blog post . Checkout more of my makes on my vlog.
Fany
xoxo
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Burda 6359: The Fur Fabric Coat

Hi guys - Sarah from Wanderstitch here again! Now that the colder months of the year are here, for me that means sewing my favourite things - COATS!

I chose two metres of this fabulous grey and brown long pile Faux Fur Fabric to make a jacket for the husband - after the fur coat that I made him last winter, he's been hankering for another one ever since.

If you've not worked with faux fur before - don't be scared! It's really no different to sewing with other fabrics, except there's a couple of extra steps you have to think about. Don't worry - I got you covered with:

WANDERSTITCH'S TOP TIPS FOR WORKING WITH FAUX FUR!

Cutting out faux fur:

  • Before you even begin to *think* about cutting your fabric, check it out to see which way the pile goes. You'll want the fur laying downwards (as in, towards your feet) and it's super important to pay attention to which way up you're placing your pattern pieces on your fabric!
  • Cut your fabric out with scissors (rather than a rotary cutter) - snipping only through the main backing layer of the fur, not through the pile itself. This will avoid your finished item looking like you've given it an accidental haircut :)
  • Have the hoover handy for when you've finished cutting - believe me, you're going to want it! Be prepared for fur to be floating around your house, and stuck in your nostrils, for about a week after you cut the fabric

Sewing with faux fur:

  • Use a stretch or a ballpoint needle - this can help the needle pass through the fabric more easily without splitting the fibres.
  • When you're sewing through several layers, like with the collar, it helps to increase your stitch length and lower your tension.
  • Trim the pile off the seam allowance - this will help reduce bulk in the seams. You can, if you find it easier, do this before you start sewing, but I find it easier to do it after I've sewn the seam and pulled out any fur that's meant to be on the front but has got caught up in the stitching. That way I know that I'm not cutting any pile that's outside the seam allowance.
The pattern I've used Burda 6359 view A, but swapped out the rib collar for a fur one (I kept the ribbed hem and cuffs). For the ribbing I used Ottoman Rib Fabric in black and I kept with the animal print theme for the lining with two metres of this Animal Print Satin Fabric in coffee brown. I made a size 14, which corresponded best to the husband's chest measurement of 37 inches.
The previous experiences I've had with Burda patterns have all been a bit ropey. The instructions tend to be a little - shall we say, brief - but this one was actually simple and straightforward with no hiccups whatsoever. The jacket has dropped shoulders, so there's no complicated sleeve-setting-in to deal with, and there's no darts or pockets. When using faux fur, you have to keep the design simple because you can't be fiddling about with things like welts or princess seams with such a bulky fabric.

There's no fastenings on my version of the coat, but the pattern calls for large snaps - In all honesty I'm not sure I'd actually fancy hand sewing snaps into that long pile fur, so I feel like I've had a lucky escape there :)

The jacket turned out a little shorter than expected on the husband - despite the pattern saying it's drafted for someone a couple of inches taller than he is (he's 5'5). If I make him another, I'll probably lengthen it next time.

Paired with a nice thick scarf, this is definitely going to keep him roasty-toasty in the winter!

I hope this has inspired you to tackle a faux fur project - I'll be back on the Minerva Crafts blog again soon with another fab coat that I've made!

Sarah // Wanderstitch
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A Spotty Staple

If you're thinking of stretching your sewing skills by graduating from a solid colour fabric to sewing a print fabric, try this Spot Print Fabric. It's very forgiving and you can get the hang of cutting and sewing a 'print' without need to print match.

The beauty of this fabric is the spots are small (3mm), closely placed and easy to match. I even used the spots to help guide my buttonhole sewing.

This grey colour is a good neutral and fits into any colour palette. Minerva stocks this fabric in 42 colours. That's a lot of colours for a good quality cotton like this one.

Yes this fabric compliments the lined pants I made last year using Minerva Crafts fabric.

As soon as I got this fabric, I didn't have enough time to wash and dry it so I can it a really good steam press. The colour held fast and the cotton took the heat really well.

The fabric weight feels great and I felt comfortable wearing it all day at work. Yes cotton fabric does crease as you can see.

Don't be fooled in thinking this cotton fabric is difficult to sew with. It's very easy to manipulate. I was able to get the collar to sit easily. The sleeves sewed in perfectly the first time with no need to sew gathering stitches. There are quite a few sleeve options with New Look 6407 that I’ve used here.

I used the rolled hem foot to finish the facing edge. Normally I would have ironed a crease on the edge but again I rushed my sewing and I was pleased with the great finish this fabric provides. You could say it’s fierce.

Basic round white shirt buttons were all I needed to team with this print. In my button I found some small white buttons that I sewed onto the sleeve cuff too.

I've used size 10 at the shoulders and graded it to a size 14 at the waist and hips. The back of the shirt is a bit too long in the waist so I’ll adjust this pattern for the next blouse.

This fabric irons easily so it made ironing the curved hem so much more accurate than I could have achieved with a softer fabric. I felt no real stress getting the shaping I needed from this fabric.

This fabric is very easy to sew with and the fabric finish is very smooth. I like the quality of it.

I think it’s quite clever for Minerva Crafts to stock so many colours of this print because it’s easy to sew and great to wear. If you are very specific with the colours you wear, have a look at the range of colours this fabric comes in. I think you’ll find one that suits you. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

Maria @ Velosews

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Spotty McCall's M7249 Top

Hi Everyone! I'm Meinhilde from Kiku Corner and today I am sharing a top I sewed using Minerva's slinky stretch Jersey Fabric.
I used 2 m of a polka dot slinky print stretch jersey fabric to make McCall's M7249. This is a close-fitting, pullover top that has a gathered front overlay. I made view C, the long-sleeved top, since I know I'll get a lot of wear out of it here in Canada! The pattern is from my pattern stash, and unfortunately it's out of print, but similar patterns that would work well with this fabric include McCall's M6963, New Look 6150, and Kwik Sew 4135. It would also be beautiful as a slinky wrap dress!
To make my top, I used Minerva's Spotty Slinky Print Stretch Jersey Knit fabric. The fabric is a Polyester Elastane blend, so it has a good stretch and recovery. It was my first time sewing with such a slinky fabric, so it was a bit difficult, but it turned out to be perfect for this project. The gathered front overlays need to have good drape and not be too thick, since in some seams I had to sew through three layers of fabric. The top only had five pattern pieces, but assembly was a bit tricky. I had some difficulty sewing the gathered overlays to the front, and the neckline understitching took a while, but overall I'm happy with the result!
I chose the versatile white polka dots on a black background. The polka dots are small enough that the print can even be worn as a neutral. Furthermore, you don't need to worry about awkward polka dot placement either; just arrange the pattern pieces while minding the grain, and cut! I had cut out my pieces using scissors, but using a rotary cutter and mat would help since the slinky fabric shifted a bit. The fabric seems to be dyed very well too, since even when stretched the fabric print isn't distorted.
I made a size 16, but graded to a size 18 at the bust. Since the fabric is quite stretchy, I did not need to do my usual full bust adjustment. This is a great reason to sew with knits, since the fabric is much more forgiving. To sew this stretchy jersey, I used a stretch needle and my 3-step zigzag stitch. I don't have a serger, and one isn't needed for this project. This was the first time I used the 3-step zigzag stitch on my old machine, but it resulted in a stretchy stitch that ensures my seams won't pop when I put on my top! I also didn't finish any of the inside seams, since the fabric doesn't ravel. I would totally use this fabric to make this pattern again, but perhaps making a size 18 through the body and adding short sleeves.
After sewing the top, I have a few fabric scraps left that might be perfect to make some underwear!
Thanks for reading,
Meinhilde @ Kiku Corner
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Tutorial: How to Make a Winter A-Line Skirt

Materials you will need:

New Look 6843 Skirt Pattern (Skirt C)

- ¾ - 1.5 metres of Faux Suede Fabric (depending on your size)

- 7” Closed End Zip

- Button or two hook and eyes

- Matching Thread

- Interfacing

Equipment you will need:

Fabric Shears

Paper scissors

Small, sharp scissors

Sewing machine

Hand sewing needle

Tape measure

Pins

Iron & ironing board

Different coloured thread

Terminology:

RST – Right Sides Together 

There isn’t always a right side to the fabric but it is the side of the fabric that you will use as the OUTSIDE of the garment.

WST – Wrong Sides Together

Again there isn’t always a wrong side to the fabric but this indicates the side of the material that you will use as the INSIDE of the garment.

How to make:

We are making skirt C from the New Look pattern stated above.  

1.    First open up the contents of your paper pattern and lay this out in front of you.  The first stage is we need to cut out the relevant pattern pieces to make the skirt. For this pattern you will need to cut out pattern pieces numbered 3, 4 and 5 in your size (make sure you cut on the correct line for your size).

TIP: Please bear in mind that pattern sizes do vary, it is always worth checking the measurements on the back of the pattern and choosing the one closest to your size.  

2.    Once you have cut your paper patterns out put these to one side.  Fold your suede material in half (right side of the material facing up) onto your work surface.  Then place your patterns onto the material ensuring you follow the instructions on the pattern.  

You need to make sure that the grain on the material runs the same way as the arrow on each pattern piece.  As we are using suede material and this has a nap we need to make sure that all pattern pieces all run in the same direction on the material.  

Pattern number 4 is the front and needs to be put to the fold on the material. Pattern number 5 is the back with an opening so this does not need to go to a fold but you do need to cut 1 pair. Finally pattern number 3 we just need to cut 1 of.  

3.    Pin all of the patterns in place on the material to secure and then cut around these carefully using your fabric shears.

4. Once all pattern pieces have been cut out, move the material to one side and lay the pieces flat on your work surface.   The next step is we need to transfer all of the information from the pattern onto our pattern pieces to help when it comes to making.  On the paper pattern you will see small triangles dotted around the outside of the pattern, these are called notches and you will need to ensure you mark these onto your pattern pieces.  Using your small scissors simply cut the triangle out through all layers. Repeat this until all notches are marked on every pattern piece.

5.   We then need to mark the darts onto our pattern pieces.  To do this thread a sewing needle with a different coloured thread.  In order to mark the dot, do a small catch stitch to secure the end of the thread in the dot, then pass the thread all the way through to the other side of the pattern and then back up to the top.  Repeat this a couple of times until you can see the cotton at the top of the pattern and at the bottom of the material.  

TIP: Darts are marked on the pattern piece according to size, make sure you are marking the correct dot, this should be the same size as the pattern you cut out.

6.     Repeat step 5 so all dots that are your size are marked.  Once you have done this start unpinning your first pattern piece away from the pattern.  You will need to tear very gently the pattern away from the material at the dart markings, where it has caught. Once you have done this you will need to pull the two pieces of material away from each other slightly and using your scissors cut in between, try to make sure that some thread remains on each side of the material as this is your marking for a dart.  

TIP: Try to keep your pattern piece close by to your pattern so these are easily identifiable and do not get confused. If the pattern moves away from the pattern piece and you are unsure what is the front or back, a good way to tell this is by looking at the front of the pattern to determine where the opening is.  For example on this pattern the opening is at the back so the back will be made up of two pieces.

7.    Repeat step 6 on each pattern piece.  You should end up with 1 front panel, 2 back panels and 1 waistband panel all with notches (and if applicable) dart markings on them. 

8.    Thread your sewing machine with the matching blue thread on the top and bobbin. We will need to use this in a moment. 

9.    To create a dart in your skirt, you need to match the two coloured dots together at the top, by putting the pattern piece right sides together (suede texture would be on the inside) put a pin in this to secure.  Continue to fold the material on the line you have created until you reach the other coloured dot.  The other coloured dot should sit directly in the middle of the material and come to a point.  Put a pin in this to secure.  Follow the line you have created and put a pin in between the two dots.  THIS IS YOUR DART! 

10.    Repeat step 9 for all 6 darts – there are two on the front and four on the back.  Do not be surprised that some darts finish higher or lower than others, this has been done for fitting purposes.  Pin each dart in place ready for sewing.  

11.  Keeping your pattern piece right sides together, put your material under the sewing machine, put your foot down and your needle in and begin to sew the top of the dart.  Follow the line that you have created with the pins until the final pin where the point should sit.  Make sure your sewing does not run past this point and that the dart is a nice smooth curve gradually reducing to the point at the bottom.  TADAH – YOU HAVE A DART!

12.  Repeat step 11 for each of the six darts making sure you sew them neatly, slowly and to a point.  Take all of the pins out once they are sewn and press them flat on the inside with an iron, towards the centre front or centre back depending on which panel you are pressing, on a LOW heat (if using suede material).  

13.  The next step is to put the zip into the back of the skirt.  Put your two back panels side by side and then flip one on top of the other RST (right sides together).  Matching the notches on the centre back seam, pin from the notch to the hem of the skirt. Sew this seam 5/8 (1.5cm) and then press this seam OPEN using the iron.  

14.  The back of the skirt should look like it has an opening at the top and a seam below this.  With the opening at the top, turn each side back by 5/8” (1.5cm), down to where the seam starts and press this with the iron, to secure in place.  

15.  Turn your zip so the right way is facing down into the material and pin the left side of the zip FIRST onto your turned back edge, making sure you leave the zip overhanging slightly so you are able to open it later.  MAKE SURE YOU PIN THE LEFT SIDE WITH THE ZIP CLOSED!

16.  Once you have pinned the left side of the zip in place, undo the zip and start pinning the right side, exactly the same onto the turned back edge making sure you leave the zip slightly overhanging the edge.

17.  Turn your material over and try undoing and redoing the zip to make sure it works.  At this stage you can also check that the material lines up as close to the edge of the zip as possible and you can move any pins if necessary.  

18.  CHANGE YOUR SEWING MACHINE WITH A ZIPPER FOOT.  A zipper foot has two sides left and right to make sewing the left and right side of the zip easier.  Start by closing your zip again and put your needle and foot under the left side of the zip, close to the teeth.  Sew down the zip where your pins are and take the pins out as you go.  

19.  Undo your zip and pass the zipper foot over to the other side and then sew down the zip on the RIGHT side where your pins are, taking the pins out as you go.  TADAH – WE HAVE A ZIP!  Take the zip from under your sewing machine and test it out to make sure it works. Also ensure none of the stitching has run off the zip and if you need to, carefully secure this (using the same method as above).  

20.   The next step is to sew the front of your skirt to the back.  To do this, place the front panel RST onto the back panel.  Pin the two outer seams together (front to back) from the top right down to the hem.  Using seam allowance of 5/8” (1.5cm) stitch both outer seams following the pins, on your sewing machine.  

21.  I would strongly suggest that you try the skirt on at this point to make sure it fits, as after this stage we will not be able to change it later without difficulty.  The patterns are based on UK generic sizes and are not tailored to fit each and every one of us.   You may find that the skirt may need to be tapered in more or loosened to allow extra room – this is why we use a large seam allowance.  

**If applicable** 

22.  Only undertake this step if your skirt does not fit you.  If you feel you need taper the skirt to be more fitted (you may need someone to help you with this) pin down one side of the skirt where you think the skirt needs to be brought in by – be aware you will do exactly the same on the other side so make sure you don’t take in too much.   The best way to make sure this is accurate is to take the skirt off, fold the skirt in half and mirror the pins on both sides.  Stitch down both pinned lines with your machine.  TRY THE SKIRT ON AGAIN BEFORE YOU UNPICK THE ORIGINAL STITCHED LINE.  If you are happy with the fit unpick or cut off with your fabric shears the first stitching line.  

If you need to loosen the skirt, take the skirt off and pin a line further away from your original sewing line into your seam allowance. Fold the skirt in half and mirror the pins onto the other side.  Stitch both pinned lines with your sewing machine and then unpick the original stitch line.   TRY THE SKIRT ON TO MAKE SURE YOU ARE HAPPY.

23.  Once you are happy with the fit on your skirt the next step is to stop your material from fraying at the seams – you can do this by using zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine or if you have access to a overlocker/serger.  Stitch down each seam to secure and stop it from fraying. Suede material frays very easily so if you are using this material I would highly recommend doing this stage.

24.   Apply interfacing to the WRONG side of the waistband using a hot iron. 

25.   Press under 5/8” (1.5cm) on long unnotched edge of waistband and pin in place.  Using your sewing machine stitch along the pinned line to secure.  

TIP:  Often in American patterns they use a term called ‘baste’ this effectively means SEW! 

26.   With RST pin waistband to the skirt at the TOP matching centres, side seams and notches, making sure all is sitting flat.  Once you are happy with this machine sew using a 5/8” (1.5cm) seam allowance.  

27.   I have gone slightly away from the pattern here as I personally think there method is confusing… you can follow the pattern or choose to do it my way. 

At the edges of your waistband if you have any excess material trim this away using your fabric shears, leave around 1cm amount to fold back for neatness.

28.  Fold in the 1cm excess on the sides of the waistband.  Make sure the seam you have just sewn is pushed towards the waistband and then fold the waistband down on itself WST (wrong sides together), on the inside of the skirt and then pin on the front in the channel.  THE CHANNEL IS THE GROOVE IN BETWEEN THE WAISTBAND AND THE MAIN SKIRT.  I would suggest pinning on the front as this will make it far easier to sew.   Pin the waistband like this all the way along and then machine stitch where your pins are in the channel.  You will see once it is done that you cannot see the stitching as it is in the groove. 

29.   I then used machine stitch to secure each end of the waistband, to join up with the zip stitching line.  

30.  MAKE SURE YOU TRY THE SKIRT ON AGAIN – we are now going to sew the hem.   Look at the skirt in a mirror and put a pin where you would like the finished length of the hem to be.  You may need somebody to help you with this.

31.  Take the skirt off and using a tape measure work out the distance from the hem to the pin (where your finished length will be).  You will need to leave around 1” for seam allowance.   Put a pin 1” under the finished length pin – this is your CUTTING LINE.  Accurately cut along your skirt on this line.  

32.  Using your iron press under your hem.  Turn under ½” and then turn over again another ½” so your hem has no raw edge. Pin in place.  Follow the hem all the way around doing this and pinning in place.   Finally machine stitch the hem following your pinned line all the way around. 

33.   Press the hem, seams and skirt all on the inside.  Check for any loose threads and trim these off. Finally add a button or two hooks and eyes at the top of the waistband to join the top of the zip together.

TADAH! You have a handmade A-line winter skirt to add to your wardrobe!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

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Scuba Twill Coco Dress

Hey everyone, I’m back on the Minerva blog to talk to you about this Scuba Twill Fabric!

This deliciousness basically has appearance of a woven twill, but with the comfort and stretch of a Scuba!

So, the best of both worlds really!

I must admit when I first ordered this I had planned on making it into a jacket, but once I'd felt its softness and saw the drape I knew it was destined to be a “next to the skin, kinda thing”

I chose the “Grey” but to be honest, it’s so much more! It’s got a really rich hue, almost with a lilac tinge, with much more depth of colour than just a regular grey. This Scuba actually comes in six colourways and they are all so nice. As well as the grey, I also particularly like the Navy Blue and Rose Pink, colour ways.

As is normal for me, I checked the laundry instructions on the Minerva website when this first arrived and then proceeded to wash at 40 degrees. I always pre-wash, if you don’t I really suggest that you should. Having made one thing without pre-washing, to then wash after Ive worn, only to find its shrunk in the wash and be too small is really distressing, ask me how I know?

The upper and lower sides of the fabric are quite distinct and might look really good in that jacket with folded back cuffs!? Oh well maybe next time ha-ha!

As the fabric is a fabulous 60 inches wide, its such good value for money, and I managed to get the front and back of my dress out of just the width!

Anyway, I digress! I cut and made my scuba twill, into a Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress as it’s such a classic shape I knew it would be perfect for this fabric, very sharp in a work environment but also perfect to dress up with accessories for a more casual or dressy occasion.

The fibre content is 95% polyester with 5% spandex which means that its super easy to wear, wash and iron. The fabric has a good feel and is really stable, although it does have good four way stretch. It didn’t stretch too much when cutting or sewing and certainly didn’t fray as it is a knit not a woven, I would definitely say this is certainly suitable for a beginner to use.

I sewed most of the dress up on my overlocker (as I’m fortunate to own one) but it also sewed beautifully on my regular machine with the aid of my walking foot. As you can see in this picture.

I do appreciate that the purchase of a walking foot is quite expensive, but it does make sewing knits much easier if you don’t own an overlocker or a cover stitch machine. But at about £40 for a genuine Janome branded one, (other brands are available!) it’s definitely a lot less expensive than an overlocker and cover stitch machine! (once again, ask me how I know?) and I would definitely recommend one, they take all that apprehension away from sewing that hem!!

I am really pleased with the dress now it’s finished. If I want to pack this to take on a business trip I can be assured that it won’t crease much and will be perfectly okay to wear after being on a hanger in the bathroom while I take my shower. The spandex content will also ensure that its super comfy to wear, so that I can wear it all day without feeling like I can’t wait to get home at the end of the day.

I also think this will look just as great in heels and tights, as it does in boots, so totally appropriate to go from the office to the evening effortlessly.

Equally as useful for casual daytime wear.

I can see me getting lots use out of this Coco, and I’m also planning makes in the other (Rose Pink and Navy Blue) colours too.

Happy sewing guys!

@carolbentley

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Flocked Denim Carnaby Dress

Hi there,

I spent quite a while dithering over what to make with this Denim Fabric. When I first ordered it I had a denim jacket in mind however when the fabric arrived it wasn’t what I was expecting colour wise. I thought it would be much darker and more like a traditional denim. However, in reality it was fairly light and the weave of it reminded me much more of a chambray. The reverse of the fabric is flocked and I wasn’t sure about this as it makes the fabric quite sturdy.

As I always do now, I pre washed the fabric on a 30 degree quick wash. However despite the cool wash temperature the fabric seems to have gone “furry” on the denim side. I have tried to capture this on the photo and I’m sure you will see what I mean.

In the end I decided that it might make a nice Carnaby Dress by Nina Lee London so went ahead and cut out the pattern. I had been meaning to try this pattern and have had it in my stash for quite a while waiting for the right fabric! Does anyone else do this? I seem to do it fairly frequently!!

Anyway I got to work cutting out the fabric which cut very nicely and didn’t fray. As usual I marked on the darts by using cotton tacks and then once they are in place I then used my chalk pen and ruler to draw the dart lines on.

The joints on the shoulder seams felt quite thick once the neck facing was attached. I trimmed the seams to half the original seam allowance. I opted not to finish the seams as the fabric didn’t fray. The neckline sat pretty flat despite the thickness and I clipped into the curves to aid this. I did understitch as I always do with any facings as I feel it keeps it neat and prevents the facings rolling to the outside of the garment.

Even though there was no real need to finish the seams for any reason except for neatness and a more professional finish, I decided to finish them using my overlocker and have to say it overlocked pretty neatly despite the thickness of the fabric. I pressed open my seams using my trusty clapper as I generally do with most seams nowadays. The only issue I had was trying to gather the sleeve. I ended up making a pleat in each side of the shoulder and to be honest it didn’t spoil the look of the dress in any way. The pleats stay put due to the thickness of the fabric too so win win!!

I decided that when it came to hemming the sleeves and the bottom hem I would try out one of my fancy stitches on my Pfaff Performance Icon. I just thought that it would add interest to what is a relatively plain dress. The stitches worked out well as the fabric is stiff enough not to need any stabiliser. I just used a normal cotton for this but a rayon or metallic cotton could be used for a different look. Overall I was pleased and will no doubt use this technique again on other projects.

I decided that I wouldn’t put a zip in as per the pattern in favour of a tie strap. I simply made a buttonhole on each side of the back opening. The Pfaff went through the layers of fabric without any problem and it made a nice neat buttonhole. I simply measured how long I wanted the tie to be and cut a rectangle out of the same fabric as I had used for my pocket bags which was out of my scrap stash and just a blue striped cotton leftover from a dress I had previously made in the summer. I applied fray check to the buttonholes (I always use this when doing buttonholes) and left it to dry. Once it had dried I used both my seam ripper and scissors to split the buttonhole (I have since invested in a buttonhole chisel as I may have had a few accidents with the seam ripper in the past!).

I wore the dress to go on a walk one chilly morning round a local reservoir and have to say I was suitably warm!. I think the fabric was a perfect match for the pattern I chose but shall be interested to see how much more it softens with washing.

Hope you found this review helpful.

Thanks for reading,

Lisa

@lisa__loynes

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