When given the chance to review this Challis Fabric I instantly fell for the Peacock blue but with twenty six shades to choose from I’m sure there is a colour to suit everyone’s taste!
Challis is a new fabric to me. Made from viscose and polyester it’s a light weight soft woven fabric that drapes well. I would say it’s weight is most suited for flowing dresses or blouses.
As soon as it arrived I knew it was perfect for a wrap dress, a style that seems to have taken off again this year. I opted for McCalls 7119 with its edged fitted bodice and skirt that is semi-fitted through hips.
With the various pattern options I decided to go for the shaped hem of view B but the short sleeved bodice of view c.
The fabric was prewashed and pressed ready to start.
I am a mixture of sizes and knowing that in the past McCalls patterns have fit me well across my shoulders in a size 10 I cut a 10 graded to 12 at the bust and 14 waist. The skirt was cut as a size 14.
Due to the soft woven texture of the fabric I used plenty of pins as the fabric did here a tendency to move as I cut with scissors.
There are lots of markings on the pattern to show position of gathers at neckline so it’s important to transfer them all to get the fit correct. I simply used tailors chalk as it showed well on the plain weave.
The pattern calls for fusible interfacing for the neck bands but considering the softness of the challis I decided to opt for a layer of muslin sewn in instead. I found this maintained the soft feel but gave to support needed.
Fo the edges needing gathers I machined a double row of long stitches. One on the seam allowance line with the second 5mm in.
This produced nice even gathers which do not feel at all bulky in this fabric.
As I chose the shaped hemline I opted to stitch the skirt panels together using a French seam to keep a neat look if they were seen.
The other change I made from the patterns construction details was to hem the sleeves and the skirt using my overlocker to do a rolled hem.
I was really pleased with this neat finish. The light weight of the Challis and the well matched thread seem to have worked well for this technique.
Once constructed I handstitched the band facings in place.
The pattern is rated as easy and I found it came together quickly. The fabric pressed crisply and I used a pressing cloth throughout to avoid to chance of getting any fabric shine pressing seams.
I found this Challis a lovely fabric to work with and it feels so soft and cool to wear.
It felt perfect for a sunny day at the races…..although also being a breezy day meant a bit of holding on to the wraparound dress and hat!
Thanks for reading,
Nicki @ sewandsnip
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 6th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Today I am reviewing a yarn by Erika Knight called Studio Linen. It is made from recycled fibres and creates a summer weight fabric.
I am lured by yarn on a skein, are you? But this was a pig to roll into balls. It is slinky and smooth therefore my yarn winder was hopeless because the ball didn't have any purchase and just kept slipping and unraveling. Andy spent 2 hours one evening unknotting one ball that I made a hash of. That said, knitting with it was sublime.
The pattern is free from Ravelry called The Summer Vacationt Top. You knit it with two strands held together on 7mm needles, this creates a very free flowing fabric. It is a quick knit and ideal for taking on holiday or knitting in the garden because it is simply two squares with no shaping. Great for a beginner too.
I used six skeins comfortably. Six would enable you to make the S, M or L sizes available on this pattern. The linen based yarn is so cool to wear on hot days and I love that it is made from recycled fibres - 85% viscose and 15% linen giving it a beautiful silky feel.
It is a very versatile pattern: you could change the length, width, mesh section to suit by using more or less of the lovely yarn. If I was to knit another, and I surely will, I will lengthen the stocking stitch and make a more shallow mesh section. Mine seems to have a larger section than others on ravelry.
Thinking ahead, I am also planning to wear it well into autumn with a white shirt underneath for work. The drape means it does not stick to the cotton shirt.
Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 6th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello everyone. This month I'm here to review the Merchant and Mills ‘The Strand’ Coat Pattern.
When I started to make it the weather was incredibly hot and the thought of wearing something with long sleeves left me feeling faint! However, now the weather is turning a bit more autumnal my version in linen will be just perfect for the cooler nights.
This is the first Merchant and Mills pattern I have made. I’ve always liked the look of their patterns but they are often quite boxy and loose fitting shapes which generally don’t suit my curvier figure.
When I looked at the body measurements I fell between a 12 and a 14 but when I checked the finished body measurements I realised that there was about 8” of wearing ease! I happen to have a similar style coat in my wardrobe so I compared the measurements and decided to size down to a size 8.
However, a note of warning - the coat’s side seams have been brought a little round to the front so the back section is larger than the front section. So if comparing with a ready made garment you need to take this into account and not compare the back width of another garment exactly with the one on the coat.
Unlike other patterns the finished body measurements are within the pattern instruction sheets and not on the reverse of the envelope. Furthermore they were only in metric unlike the size chart which had both metric and imperial measurements. This was annoying as I then had to convert the measurements before making a decision on the size I wanted to make. It’s a small thing but all these aspects add up to a good sewing experience.
The pattern instructions recommend linen, cotton drill, light to medium weight wool, seersucker or 8-12 oz denim. I wanted to make a summery coat so I chose a medium weight, washed Linen Fabric in flax (the left one in the photo below) from Minerva. I actually considered three different linens from my stash but the other two were quite lightweight and the slightly heavier weight of the linen I chose worked much better in terms of drape.
The features of the pattern include the side seams brought a little round to the front with handy inseam pockets. I lined my pockets in a beautiful Amy Butler fabric but in fact you cannot glimpse this fabric as the pocket has a small facing at the entrance in the linen which obscures the pocket lining. So don’t bother doing anything fancy except for your own pleasure! Nobody will see!
The coat also features a small inseam pocket along the waist seam. It has set in sleeves with elbow darts for a nice bit of shaping. The front fastening is clever - the hooks and eyes peep out of the edge of the centre front seam. Overall the coat has very nice simple lines and a modern look. I feel it could be worn casually with jeans or dressed up for work over a dress or tailored trousers.
Sadly the photo of the coat on the reverse of the pattern envelope shows the coat made up in a chocolate brown colour which doesn’t really show the dressmaker the features clearly. It would have been more helpful had it been made in a lighter colour so you could see the pockets and lines of the coat. However, the line drawings give a good indication.
I must say one of the advantages of using an Indie pattern is that they usually have great instructions, nicely illustrated in colour and often with photographs rather than line drawings. So I was a bit surprised and disappointed to find the instructions on similar paper to the big 4 patterns and in rather plain font in black line diagrams. I thought they could have been a lot clearer and more contemporary.
The pattern is described as an intermediate level and I think this is spot on. The fastening is the trickiest bit and used a method I hadn’t come across before. It wasn’t exactly difficult but some knowledge and experience of sewing was definitely helpful. The rest was pretty straight forward. I did have a moment of inattention when I cut the back section in half instead of on the fold! The cut on fold arrows are very small in comparison to other patterns and I just didn’t see them! So I had to make a centre back seam on the bodice and ease it into the skirt portion which looked fine.
Despite my criticisms of the pattern instructions I am really pleased with the finished garment. I’m so glad I downsized almost 3 sizes as the 12 or 14 would have swamped me but the 8 is perfect. I guess this is largely up to personal preference of the fitting ease and there may be some dressmakers who like the very loose fit.
I think my coat will be great for the transitional months of spring into summer and summer into early autumn. It isn’t lined so wouldn’t be warm enough for November or February!
Thanks for reading,
Ponte that feels comfortable against your skin is all I want in a Ponte Fabric. Minerva has good ponte in a great range of colours.
I found Butterick Pattern 6494 was the style I wanted for this ponte.
This fabric washed well. It kept its colour and shape after a normal wash load.
When I read the instructions on the pattern, my fabric needed more stretch, so I tested out the 12 size in my stash ponte. It was a wee bit too tight so I chose to make the 14 size.
This such an easy fabric to sew. I did have some great notions to help me.
The Prym Love pins were perfect for this fabric. I also used a jersey machine needle to sew this ponte. As I said, this is a dream fabric to sew with.
Did I mention that it doesn’t fray? The beauty of this feature is you don’t need to finish the seam allowances or the hem, as you can see.
The neckline holds its own with this fabric. I like keeping my neck warm in the Winter so this style was perfect for ponte fabric.
Again, it was easy to wear this ponte because it feels comfortable against my skin.
As you can see the back is fairly good although it’s a bit snug on my lower back.
When all is said and done, I’m wearing this top most weekends during the Winter because the Ponte is a good weight. It’s firm, soft and is a colour that’s a joy to wear.
I hope you find a ponte colour that suits your needs too.
Maria @ cleverthinking99
- Changed the sewing machine needle for a stretch and thickness appropriate one (I used Klasse ‘stretch’ 90/14)
- Did an iron patch test with my press cloth at hand as I thought the sheen may mean it needed to be a cooler iron, but it was fine for high medium heat (just below cotton on my iron)
- Made sure my sewing machine was set to triple/stretch stitch
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 4th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
For this Minerva Crafts review, I was delighted to receive three x two metre Lucky Dip Bags of Fabric. These bags of fabric sell for £4.99 each and are excellent value for money. I received a bag of blue fabric, one of green and one of black.
In the Black Fabric Bag were two pieces of fabric, one metre of 60" wide plain jersey knit fabric, and one metre of 60" wide, patterned, silky, viscose type of fabric. It was quite a challenge to find a pattern to suit the amount of fabric, but I decided on a gypsy style top with cap sleeves for the patterned fabric, using a New Look pattern from Minerva Crafts, and a pair of leggings for the plain knit, using a Simplicity pattern, also from Minerva Crafts. Both items were easy to make and the only other item I needed was elastic. There wasn't quite enough fabric to make full length leggings, so I just altered them to make them a bit shorter, ideal for the summer. I was so pleased to have a new outfit, made in one day, and it would have cost me less than £5!
With the Green Fabric Pack, I received four smaller pieces of fabric. There was some dark green heavy jersey knit, a piece of cotton type pale green with a shiny side, a piece of lightweight voile type fabric in various shades of green and black, and a small piece of green patterned cotton.
As there wasn't enough of the dark green jersey to make anything for myself, I made a pair of leggings for my three year old granddaughter, and a matching pair for my 18" American girl doll. This was lovely fabric and easy to sew. I downloaded and printed a pattern from the internet for basic children's leggings, and made ther dolls leggings from an simplicity pattern for 18" doll clothes. I don't know if this pattern is till available, but there are lots of similar doll clothes patterns on the Minerva crafts website.
With the green cotton fabric, there was enough to make my American girl doll a gathered skirt and matching headband. I didn't use a pattern, just cut out a rectangle of fabric the length required and around two and a half times the dolls waist measurement. I then gathered this fabric onto a waistband, and made a button and buttonhole fastening at the back. There was a long, thin piece left, which I sewed into a tube, and made a matching headband.
The voile type fabric was a long, thin piece, which I made into an infinity scarf for myself. I just sewed the two ends together, and then folded it in half lengthwise, and sewed it together, leaving a small gap to turn it through to the right side, and then sewed the gap up by hand.
I was unsure what to make with the pale green, cotton type fabric, but eventually decided on a shopping bag, as you can never have too many bags! Again I didn't use a pattern. I cut out four rectangles of fabric, two for the outside of the bag and two for the lining, then two pieces for the handles. I then cut out two pieces of lightweight interfacing to give the bag more body. As the fabric was plain, I drew and cut out a flower shape for decoration, using the dark green jersey fabric, and backed it with bondaweb, before sewing onto the bag using satin stitch.
There is a tutorial on my blog, cherylcrafts9 for making a shopping bag like this, and many more patterns and tutorials on the internet.
I have yet to make anything with the blue lucky bag. This consisted of one metre of navy blue lining fabric and one metre of navy blue net. I shall probably use it to make a princess style dress!
There’s something about a navy and white polka dot that always makes me think of summer and this year I was determined to get a dotty dress into my holiday wardrobe. I also think that polka prints always look stylish and flattering, so was thrilled when I came upon this spotty slinky Stretch Jersey Fabric. This immediately said wrap dress to me, and I was torn between making the Simplicity Amazing Fit 1653 or Diane Von Furstenberg inspired Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress.
Then the fabric arrived on my doorstep and everything changed.
It really is a slinky little number! As soon as I held it up and could see the gorgeous way that it falls, I decided to rethink my pattern choices in order to find something with pleats or gathers to take advantage of this feature. I still think either of the ideas I originally had would be great too, but was completely taken with this look.
I settled on the Nina Lew Mayfair Dress, which is a recent release. It has three sleeve versions and a midi or maxi skirt length. What mainly attracted me to it was the way the fabric is draped at the front, which would be flattering and well suited to the Spotty Slinky Jersey. I went with the capped sleeves and shorter length skirt options for my summer holiday wardrobe.
The fabric behaved itself pretty well considering how slinky it is! I used a rotary cutter, which went through the fabric very easily. Whilst sewing I didn’t find that the fabric stretched or moved around, which made it quite a quick sew. I used a combination of my regular sewing machine and overlocker for construction; you could make this just as easily and quickly on a regular machine too. The only thing I would have changed was my hemming. I always rush this last part and my machine didn’t catch all of the hem first time. Unpicking didn’t look like a good idea so I hand sewed the bits that didn’t catch so well. Normally I would use Wonder Tape to secure the hem in place on a knit garment and wish I had done this time!
I didn’t need to alter the pattern at all. The nature of the jersey means it fits nicely with little modification; sometimes I have to adjust for wider biceps but the stretch in the fabric means this isn’t an issue. The pattern itself isn’t overly fitted and uses waist ties for the main shaping. I strongly recommend using a loop turner for these ties as they are quite long. Mine saved me a lot of time and effort.
Personally, I think the bodice construction is what makes this pattern so suitable for this fabric. The back of the neck and shoulders are pleated to create beautiful flowing lines, that the Spotty Slinky Stretch Jersey really takes well. The fabric is also lightweight enough to make sure that the gathering at the waist isn’t too bulky. This lightness is also what makes it an ideal dress for my summer holidays!
Thanks for reading,
Laura @ thepetitepassions
So another Summer has been and gone and those gingham styles are still looking fabulous year after year, because after all, who doesn’t want to look like a giant table cloth? I kid. But seriously I LOVE how gingham is always bang on trend yet somewhat kitschy at the same time, I honestly can’t think of anything else that meets those two criteria. So when the Minerva review team offered me some Gingham Material I jumped at the chance, and I knew exactly what I was going to make.
I saw this pattern in a recent post by In The Folds recent blog post about how to sew up summer styles! Now, I rarely buy new patterns as I am a big fan of hacking and saving a few pounds in the process but this one I just couldn’t resist, and spoiler alert; I’m so glad I did.
Whilst completing this project I suffered a serious lack of some sew-jo, I did not want to go into my sewing room at all, this may have been due to there being some lovely sunshine and me wanting to enjoy it, or the more likely reason – I was just being lazy. But this was the perfect project to combat that, the gingham was a dream to work with, the pattern was a super easy sew and the end result was fabulous (even if I do say so myself).
Most of you don’t know this about me, but I am a craft teacher, and I am always looking for projects to get people into being creative, and honestly this combo of pattern and fabric would make such a good kit for a beginner dressmaker wanting to learn basic skills such as straight line stitching, fitting and buttonholes.
Especially those dressmakers looking to sew very fashionable outfits for themselves on a budget! Continually I thought this fabric was a dream to work with, it was great to cut out as it barely moved at all and if you made a mistake (like a wobbly edge) you could see it straight away. It was also super easy to get the tension right on this fabric too – took my only two tries to get that perfect tension and I was so happy about it!
When making the pattern I made a few small changes which made it suit me a lot more. The first was that I used two buttons on the back instead of the recommended three, this was honestly just because I had two vintage buttons that I really wanted to use.
The other change I made was to leave out the bottom panel of the trousers – it felt unnecessary and I didn’t want to waste fabric. One thing I would say about this pattern is that I made no alterations to the length of the bodice – and I’m only 5ft, so maybe add a little if you’re a little taller than me?
I would say that this gingham is a medium weight cotton and if it were any lighter it would be too sheer, any heavier and it would be way to structured to make cute clothing out of. Basically, it’s the perfect weight to make yourself a cute summer outfit with. So go get yourself some, and look how many pretty colours they have.
I honestly was so chuffed with this fabric and my outfit has already been through the wash four times and it’s still looking as good as it did when I first got it. I LOVE it, what else can I say?
Thanks for reading,
Maddie @ Thimble Bee
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 3rd October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Let it be said… I like a challenge.
This is what this Fabric choice felt like when I selected it, plunging into the unknown and choosing to work with something I never usually would. However, it ended up to be an amazing choice. Fortune does indeed favour the bold.
Floral Cut Out Faux Leather on Tulle Fabric… the photos don’t do it justice. It’s so hard to capture the intricacy of this fabric. It’s a black tulle backing, which a floral cut-out black faux leather has been embroidered onto using a white thread. There are gaps between the leather where you can see the tulle and yet when worn it’s not see-through in the slightest. I think I stared at it for far longer than normal/necessary when it first arrived (whilst mostly trying to get my head around what on earth I was going to make with it, having not actually had a clue when I chose it). I contemplated so many different things I could make with it, it would make a truly stunning dress, top, trousers, shorts (I could go on and on) but it finally struck me that this would make an incredible jacket.
In the hunt for a pattern that I felt would be simple enough so as not to over complicate the fabric I stumbled across Simplicity 8418. I say stumbled because when I decided upon a jacket I had structured, biker style in my head… but once I saw this bomber jacket pattern with its simple lines I just knew it would work.
One major thing I would say about the pattern is I sized down from the size my body actually measured at. I make a habit now (having all too many times made garments that are too big even though I measured myself before starting) of checking the finished garment measurements before choosing a size. Sometimes these are listed on the back of the envelope (as they were in this case) but when they aren’t I run a tape measure across the bust/waist/hip of the front and back pieces (remembering to minus the seam allowances) to get a finished size. The size they suggested I would be would have been huge (which is fine if you like that kind of thing) but I wanted it to be reasonably snug so I chose to size down, a decision I’m really pleased I made (it fits so well).
The fabric has a section of around 10cm of tulle on the selvedge before the leather design starts. This means that there is a beautiful edge to the leather that follows the floral cut-out design. It does also mean the fabric is narrower than you anticipate. I had 3 meters of fabric and managed to fit all the jacket pattern pieces on (easily) with just over half a meter spare. (The pattern envelope suggested that for a 60” fabric it should fit in 1.4m, although I didn’t cut the pockets from the pleather I opted for using the lining fabric instead so I think it would have used just over the amount stated had I not done this). I pared the fabric with a teal lining fabric that I found in my stash and a black rib fabric for the bands.
Before I began sewing the jacket I had a little test run on a scrap of the fabric. I always like to do this on a fabric I haven’t worked with just to get a vibe on how it’s going to behave. Leather has a habit of providing a lot of friction between it and the presser foot, this fabric however glided beautifully. I did change my needle to a leather needle however, I didn’t want to risk it skipping stitches if the needle wasn’t going through the fabric properly and with the leather needle in the machine I had absolutely no problems. (I actually didn’t even change the needle back to a regular one when I was sewing the lining pieces together and had no problems there either).
My biggest anxiety about this jacket was the zip. Leather/Pleather fabrics can easily pull out of shape and you can end up with wibbly seams (which you really don’t want down the front of a jacket). I would love to give you details of some crazy trick that I did here to avoid it happening but quite honestly it just wasn’t a problem.
The only actually fiddly part was figuring out the geometry of sewing the lining to the jacket at the sleeves. The instructions in the pattern were clear, but it’s one of those moments you query whether you can have got right whilst you wrestle this tiny opening through the machine.
One final note to add, make sure you press the lining and the jacket separately before you sew the two together, it makes it easier. The pleather pressed absolutely fine, the seams remain a little bouncy as you’d expect but with a low heat and a pressing cloth protecting both the iron and the fabric I experienced no problems at all.
Having enough fabric left over from the jacket to make a matching skirt was a moment of joy. The way the leather finishes on the tulle lends itself beautifully to something with a hem edge because it doesn’t need hemming. I chose to cut away some of the tulle (I cut the tulle so it finished at the lowest point the leather reached) so you still get a hint of the tulle there) but you could just cut off the selvedge strip and leave a larger section of the tulle and it would look really lovely too.
I self-drafted the pencil skirt pattern, it’s really simple and if you’ve never drafted your own patterns it’s a great one to start with.
Take your waist (W) measurement and your hip (H) measurement and write them down.
(I’ll use mine as an example). Then decide on your finished skirt length (L).
So you should have something like this:
W = 34” H = 45” L = 20”
We are only going to draw out half of one side of the skirt (the back and the front pieces will be the same) so we are going to quarter the waist and hip measurements. So I now have:
W = 8.5” and H = 11.25” (I will now refer to these measurements as W+H)
Draw a straight line on your paper that is the same length as ‘L’, this is your centre front/centre back and will be placed on the fold when you put it on your fabric. At the top of this square across your ‘W’. Measure down 9” along your centre front and then square across your ‘H’.
The only thing left to do is to account for a dart. (if you drew the shape as is, it would work but it wouldn’t sit particularly flat). The width of the dart at the waist edge should be half the difference between your hip and waist measurement. If you wanted to see this as an equation is would be Dart = (H-W)/2. So for me, the width of my dart is around 1.4”.
You square down to the hip line and mark a dot and this is the end point of your dart, so then you just join up these 3 points to form the dart. (Where you position the dart on your top edge is up to you, I usually aim for around 10cm from the centre front/back.
The final part is to then add the size of the dart onto the W line across the top of your pattern (so the total length of this line is now W+Dart width).
Now choose how wide you want the hem edge of your skirt (I like to use the same width as the top edge) and join the dots with a slightly curved line, add your seam allowance and Taa Daa, a simple skirt pattern.
Usually on a sewing pattern you would need to add about ½” to your body measurements to account for wearing ease. With this fabric I found that this actually made it too big (it isn’t stretchy but it does have an element of give to it). If you’re at all concerned it’s going to be too tight add the ½” as you can always remove it later if needed.
To create the waistband, I cut a strip of rib fabric (that I had left over from the jacket) 10cm wide and the full length of my waist measurement (allowing it to stretch slightly). After sewing together one of the side seams I put the waistband on by folding the rib fabric in half lengthwise and attaching both raw edges to the top edge of the skirt. I then inserted a concealed zip in the remaining side seam (which as per the jacket went in really easily with no problems at all) before sewing up the rest of that seam and it was done!
I really enjoyed working with this fabric to create these two pieces. I am still not convinced I’ll be wearing them together but that’s just my personal style. The great thing is though they do actually work as a co-ord but equally the jacket looks really cool with a pair of jeans.
Thanks for reading,