The strap line for this post could well be, “A Lady McElroy Camille will make you feel glamourous even on a building site” and it would be the truth! The feel of this garment is just amazing and I can’t wait to wear it somewhere a little more elegant than its current location as I think it is a complete show stopper!
The adverts for both the fabric and the pattern arrived in my inbox at virtually the same time I thought, almost immediately, that the two would be amazing together. When the fabric arrived I got a little star struck and wasn’t sure if I was going to be up to the challenge. This wasn’t made any easier when I started googling working with crepe. Then I did become a little nervous as it sounded like a stressful nightmare. However they obviously weren’t talking about this crepe as it is one of the nicest, best behaved fabrics that I have ever used!
This Lady McElroy Crepe Fabric is described as crepe-suiting but I can see lots of different possibilities for it, anything that requires a drape would be perfect. The Charcoal has lots of character and I think nuances of green. It has a soft mossy feel, heavy to the touch and the drape is just beautiful. I did spray it with starch before I lay out my pattern pieces just in case of slippage, though with hindsight I think this was unnecessary as I didn’t struggle at all with it even after the starch had brushed out.
The Camille Jumpsuit is from the latest Sew Over It E-book , featuring a capsule wardrobe, suitable for work to weekend. There are three versions for the jumpsuit, a work one and a more feminine version for the weekend and a pair of wide legged trousers. I chose the work version but actually think it is a bit too glamourous for my work and was definitely thinking more for parties!
I used exactly the amount of fabric that the pattern suggested, though I did forget to measure the fabric after I had washed it. I have always found the Sew Over It patterns too short in the bodice for me so I guesstimated two inches which seems to be the standard amount I need. I could have added less at the front as that might have combatted the slight gaping which I solved with a stitch. The legs were super long and I took two inches off after I had cut them out and then gave it two inch turn ups which for me is perfect with a low heel. The front of the trouser has pleats with the crepe gives a really flattering look across the tummy and makes my stumpy legs look like they reach my armpits which are both reasons for making other versions of this jumpsuit.
If I was making another jumpsuit though I would turn the waistband and then move a shorter zip to under the arm just for the logistics of getting in and out of it.
Thanks for reading,
Arianwen @ The Adventures of a Silverspider
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 9th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
This month I received some lurex open Knit Fabric from Minerva in Navy and Gold. This is a medium weight polyester fabric, and my initial though had been to make a tracksuit in order to make lounging around the house feel a little more glam.
However, once the fabric arrived I changed my mind, realising that I wanted to be able to show off this fabric in a simple garment that could elevate an ordinary outfit.
I happened to have on hand Simplicity 8377, which I received free with a magazine but is available on the Minerva website.
The pattern is one of the pattern hacking series and is for a cardigan and includes five options in the pattern itself. I chose the hi-low hem version and left the cardigan open at the front, rather than including the button loop or belt options suggested in the pattern – I can always add those at a later date if I find I want to be able to fasten the cardi.
I made the large size with no alterations from the pattern as drafted and am 5’4”, the back of the hem falls at mid-calf and the front is on the knee. Overall I am pleased with the fit. I predict making many more cardigans from this base pattern in many different fabrics and styles.
The fabric itself has been a delight to work with. The knit structure is to a far larger gauge than your standard jersey fabric so I was a little concerned about potential unravelling, but I need not have been worried. Cutting the fabric caused me no issues at all, but I did put a line of zigzag stitching up the sides of the facings to be cautious, and to ensure that the interfacing stayed put should the glue fail with washing. There is a reasonable amount of drape to the fabric, although it is stiffer than the knit fabrics I have sewn with in the past, I believelargely due to the lurex content. As a result the finished item has an almost coatigan feel to it.
The surface of the fabric also has more texture to it than a jersey would due to the larger gauge that it has been knitted with.
Sewing the cardigan itself was a dream. The fabric sailed through the machine easily and speedily. The construction is really straightforward – although the sleeves took a little encouragement when setting in, partly due to my skipping the ease stitching recommended by the pattern as that is not something I usually use.
The instructions included in the pattern are clear, but limited. Simplicity has organised the instructions by design feature rather than in a set order for completion. As a result the pattern would be confusing for a beginner sewist. However, if you have already made a few garments and are looking to start modifying patterns the pattern hacking series from Simplicity would be a good starting point as it gives you a variety of ideas that you could use, without being too prescriptive. In addition the base patterns are simple designs that can be used as building blocks for far more extravagant garments, or to show off a special fabric as I have done.
Thanks for reading,
Zoe @ Ewe Sew You
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 9th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello Makers! This month I’m really excited to show you what I’ve been making. I’ve created a classic cropped jacket, influenced by Mademoiselle Chanel herself, with a glitzy twist with thanks to the lurex Coating Fabric.
The fabric is black with white, turquoise, royal blue and gold stripes woven in. The way the stripes have been woven in creates an interesting texture on the fabric, each stripe is slightly unique and it creates a one-off piece. It was my first time using lurex and it appealed to my inner magpie as I ‘ooo’ed and ahhed’ at the fabric as it sparkled in the light. The fabric is a coating weight, the structure makes it great for jackets, but for me, it wouldn’t be warm enough for a winter coat, so that’s just something to bare in mind.
I used the Sew Over It Coco Jacket, which is a lined, collarless, cropped jacket with a nod, as the name suggests, to Coco Chanel’s signature jacket. The pattern is a wardrobe staple, it can easily be transformed dependent on fabric choice, choose a plain wool for the office or a more interesting fabric for jazzing up a weekend outfit or for a night out.
The pattern came together with ease, it has princess seams which allows for plenty of fitting if necessary. I interfaced the front two pieces, as the instructions advise, there is the option to interface the whole jacket, but the fabric has a good structure, so I didn’t feel it was needed. You use the same pattern pieces to construct the lining, and for that I used some yellow gold lining I had left over in my stash. I felt the lining colour brought out the gold stripes in the main fabric and made putting on the jacket feel extra special.
Anytime you use a fabric with stripes, there is the pressure to match the stripes, which can put a few people off, but my approach is just to go for it. I managed to achieve a good stripe matching on the back, but found it trickier with the princess seams on the front. Instead of unpicking it, I let it go, the way the raised stripes are woven in, they are slightly wobbly, which is all part of the charm, so it takes the pressure of to achieve total precision.
It’s a jacket that pushed me out of my comfort zone, as I’d never used lurex before, but I love it. The colours are all within my wardrobe colour palette, the stripes are classic and tailoring of this jacket is timeless. I plan to wear it with black jeans, a round neck black top and heels for a night out to really celebrate the fabric. For a more relaxed feel, I’ll wear simply over blue jeans, gold ballet flats and a white t-shirt. It’s temping to wear only sparkly fabric just for special occasions, but I think it’s important to celebrate everyday as Coco Chanel said ‘A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous’.
Thanks for reading and I hope it inspires you to keep on making.
Posted in Projects on Friday the 8th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
My head is all over the place at the moment with all these ideas for winter sewing projects while the weather is miserable – a weighted blanket for my godson, a “DIGGGGEEERRR” sweatshirt for my little boy and a couple of pairs of socks on the knitting needles, but then Minerva popped up and offered me this gorgeous Floral Border Crepe Fabric to review and I couldn’t resist. The beautiful floral print Crepe Fabric was a welcome antidote to the winter blues – just what I needed!
The pattern I chose was the Blue Tit Dress by Puperita who has an extensive kids pattern range on Etsy. I have made this dress several times before so was confident with the actual making of the dress – it was just the fabric that I had to tackle – it was my first time working with such a sheer lightweight crepe and boy was I nervous!
The material is pretty see-through and although the bodice of the pattern is lined, I felt that the crepe still needed something extra for modesty and structure. After a bit of research, I discovered underlining, which is when you cut the pattern pieces out of a lining fabric as well as your main fabric and join them before you stitch the garment together. In effect, treating the double layer pieces as one piece. This seemed like a good skill to learn so off to my sewing room I went!
The pattern comes as a print at home PDF in nested sizes so after printing, sticking and cutting the Age 2 size (with a little help!) I was ready for the fabric.
This fabric has a lovely blue and yellow floral design which gets more dense and colourful along the salvaged edges and I wanted to show this off with the pattern placement on my dress. To help me visualise it better, I did a bit of creative draping on my little mannequin (i’m going to ace my next toga party!) and decided that I preferred how it looked with the denser part of the pattern coming from the centre seams rather than the hem. This decided, it was time for the scary part – cutting.
I started off by cutting out all the underlining pieces. I used some lining fabric from my stash, not sure exactly what it was but it was just about opaque enough to add modesty without blocking all the light passing through the dress. It also had a similar drape to the crepe so didn’t stiffen up the fabric too much. It was handy that I could just see the pattern through the lining, so I used these to mark my floral pattern pieces since I could move them around to get the placement of the border as I wanted it. The fabric cut nicely and didn’t fray as much as I feared.
Once all the pieces were cut I used my sewing machine to baste the pieces together to keep the underlining and floral fabric together while I stitched the dress together. I did my best to keep within the seam allowance for this but where I strayed out slightly, it did leave little holes in the fabric when I removed the basting stitches at the end. I found this was the same with pin holes so once I realised I ended up using little clover wonder clips instead of pins. Lesson learnt and luckily the pattern of the fabric is forgiving on little imperfections.
Pieces stitched, it was time to simply follow the pattern as written and construct the dress. As well as underlining the bodice I also lined the bodice as instructed in the pattern – this gives a much neater finish to the inside of the dress and hides all the seams.
The curved front seam is a beautiful feature on this pattern which got a bit lost in the busy pattern, so I added piping which breaks it up nicely. This was my first time using piping and it was a bit fiddly arranging all the bodice layers with the piping and the gathered skirt layers but with the help of my zipper foot and a bit of patience I got there in the end and love how turned out.
I love that the pattern calls for poppers to close the back opening of the dress. No zips or fiddly little buttonholes, perfect for dressing wriggly toddlers!
The dress all came together in no time and despite the fabric and the lining being a bit slippery together, it was a very enjoyable make and I am over the moon with the finished piece. The pretty print is such a happy pattern and is perfect for spring and summer and I wouldn’t hesitate to use a border fabric again.
I hope that you enjoyed reading about my latest make for the Minerva Crafts blog and want to say a massive thank you to Minerva again for leading me astray with gorgeous fabrics and to all the other bloggers giving me loads of inspiration!
Until next time - Anna xxx
Posted in Projects on Friday the 8th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, my name is Kirsty and I have a sewing addiction. I love anything crafty and you can follow me on Instagram: kajacrochetcrafts. I feel very lucky this month to be chosen as a guest blogger and to be given the opportunity to post a product review for Minervacrafts.
My chosen fabric was Ponte Roma Knit Fabric which is a beautiful soft knit fabric of excellent quality. I would recommend it as an ideal fabric for the winter wardrobe. As soon as I saw this fabric I knew what it was destined to be. I have purchased the Tilly Walnes- Tilly and the buttons stretch book - I am a super fan!
The pattern I choose for this fabric was the Freya sweater and dress- the book is based on sewing with knit fabrics and this fabric was a perfect match.
The Freya dress is a cosy close fitting sweater and A-line dress with a contemporary mock neckline. This pattern is a must have wardrobe item, perfect with tights or layered under a pinafore. Tilly offers so many variations of this pattern.
I decided to shorten the length of the mock neckband and I traced off the original mock neckband pattern, folded the pattern in half length ways and then cut it in half as I don’t like the high neckband around my neck. The neckband on the freya top was mock as well, the style is common tread on the sewing community as present time.
I pre-washed the fabric- which washed up lovely. When cutting out this fabric I had no real concerns however Tilly suggests in her book when cutting out stretch fabrics to use pattern weights as when using pins can distort the fabric and use a rotary cutter. However I found the fabric wouldn’t cut with my rotary cutter so I used my fabric scissors.
The fabric was easy to work with and easy to sew on my sewing machine. However, it did curl at the edges so warning! Ensure when sewing the edges are together and not curled under. I used a ball point needle suggested when using jersey fabric.The pattern is a fast make, could be cut and made up in about 2 hours. The fabric was a perfect match with the freya dress and top.
Pattern and Fabric information
Sewing pattern- Tilly Walnes. Stretch! Book. Freya dress and top. With mock neckband.
Fabric- I used 2 meters of ponta roma knit fabric. Navy on Ivory. Ponta roma jersey knit.
Total cost- fabric provided by Minerva crafts for product testing and reviewing purposes. Cost of £9.99 per meter.
Many Thanks for reading.
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 7th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Merry Christmas to me!
In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, whatever holiday you celebrate; we often forget to think of that one special person and do something lovely just for them. That one special person is ourselves. As makers we often get so caught up in making gifts for everyone on our lists that we forget to make for ourselves. Winter always makes me feel like making something that is soft and snuggly and knitting is just the thing to accomplish it. I had cast-on-itis so bad but nowhere to store my newly created project which actually makes knitting difficult for me. I have to have some place for my project to live while I carry on knitting it. So this Christmas I decided to treat myself to a new knitting bag.
Now, yes, I could have gone and bought a bag or used a tote that was not being used but, once I laid eyes on the AGF Moment in Time Cotton Canvas Fabric, I started designing the bag in my head. I knew what elements I wanted in my new project bag, so I started sketching those out along with dimensions and what fabrics would go where on the bag. I dug around in my stash until I found some fabric to use for the bottom of the bag as well as zippers. Fair warning, not all my zippers match, but I do not feel as if it is very noticeable. I decided that I wanted a bag that a scarf or cowl, basically two cakes of yarn, would fit comfortably in without becoming tangled up while I knit.
The starting dimensions for the bag are eleven inches tall by fifteen inches wide. To create interest and make my bag look even snazzier, I put a lighter color for the very bottom of the bag. I boxed the corners as well so that the bag will stand up on its own, then I used a light to medium weight interfacing on the reverse of the AGF fabric to create a bit more structure. I like a soft body bag that will stand and that I can roll the zip out of the way so it will not snag my yarn.
The AGF cotton canvas is lovely and soft, I could totally see a jacket made out of this. It would make a really pretty Lilliana jacket by Seamwork. Paired with some pretty trim, it would be sublime! The print and colors are to die for, I love looking at this fabric. Do they make this in wallpaper? Back to the bag, ha! The bag went together easily enough, as I should hope one of my own design would. The cotton canvas was a pleasure to sew and pressed really well. It does fray quite a bit so I would suggest not handling it overmuch once it has been cut.
I fully intend to make a matching notions bag and another knitting bag, possibly even a needle organizer as well. It is really easy to imagine this fabric as all sorts of things and even easier to sew them up into whatever you have imagined! I hope you try some for either garments, home decor projects or bags. I personally have a soft spot for bag making as that is what really got me back into sewing several years ago. Not to mention, bags are a girl’s best friend, at least this girl! I know you will enjoy whatever you create with it.
Sew, laugh, repeat!
When the email from Minerva came through with sixty new fabrics up for review I was totally overwhelmed. How could I possibly choose from so much goodness?! In the end, though, my love of sewing jersey knits won out and I sent off a request for the Deluxe Viscose Jersey Fabric in black (also available in French Navy).
I opted to sew up a pattern I’ve made before (and blogged here): the Knot Your Average Shirt and Dress by 5 out of 4 Patterns. The last time I made it I used a cotton lycra, but I always thought the bust gathers looked a little stiff in that fabric. Something more drapey like a viscose was definitely called for, so I hoped I’d found the pattern and fabric marriage made in heaven (spoiler: I totally did!). Last time I made a sleeveless dress, but this time I opted for the long-sleeved top version, as I figured I currently have a gap in my wardrobe for one of those.
This pattern is special because it’s one of very few sewing patterns that feature concealed nursing access—really useful for us breastfeeding mamas. It works by having an under bodice layer with cut-outs for nipple access, which are covered by the upper bodice (the gathered, knotted section). You just pull up the upper bodice to feed (as shown below), and it’s super-subtle. Way more subtle than in my photo, which I’ve exaggerated in a big way. Most people wouldn’t realise what you’re doing, which is something I appreciate when I’m feeding in public places. It’s a really clever design, but fear not if you don’t need this as the pattern has a non-nursing option too.
This jersey is an interesting beast. It’s definitely light-to-medium weight in feel, so would probably be best suited for spring and summer makes. With a whopping 8% spandex it’s also super-stretchy, with about 50% stretch in all directions, so is ideally suited for figure hugging makes. But despite the light, slinky stretchiness of the fabric, it’s actually remarkably stable and easy to handle. More on this in a moment.
Minerva’s website write-up also mentions this is a “very soft” fabric. Oh wow. They are not wrong! This is probably the softest viscose jersey I’ve ever come across and it definitely warrants having “deluxe” in its name. I want to live in it. Seriously. I wonder if I could make bedding out it…
I cut a straight size medium as that’s what I made before, and that dress fits me perfectly at the moment. Now, cutting viscose jersey is normally a bit of a ’mare, so to help myself out I spent a few minutes dutifully tracing out the pattern pieces so I could cut flat rather than on the fold.
Turns out I probably needn’t have bothered. This fabric actually behaves itself on the cutting table! Yep, it might be slinky but somehow it doesn’t slip around and grow like most viscose/spandex jerseys do. I played it carefully by cutting with a rotary cutter and on the flat, but honestly, it was a doddle to cut. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone new to working with this notoriously finicky fabric.
Sewing up was similarly much easier than I expected. I’ve worked lots with viscose jersey and have an arsenal of techniques for coping with it, but I didn’t really need most of them this time around. I used a combination of my overlocker for the seams, and a narrow zig-zag with my walking foot on the regular machine. I still used some Clear Elastic to stabilise the neckline and the nursing cut-outs in the under bodice, but that was because I knew they’d be getting manhandled lots when feeding and didn’t want to risk them getting stretched out. As it is I might actually get rid of the clear elastic around the nursing cut-outs, as with a fabric this lightweight they’re showing through slightly. I think the jersey has good enough recovery to do without the clear elastic’s help.
One thing I will say is it’s quite difficult to tell the right and wrong sides of this jersey, so it would definitely be worth marking them in some way to avoid any annoying mistakes. This is where I’d normally mention my own stupid mistake, but hey, I didn’t make any this time! There are definitely benefits to obsessively checking you have things the right way round before sewing. I’ve learnt that lesson the hard way, believe me!
I usually use a strip of Fusible Stretch Interfacing to stabilise viscose jerseys before hemming, and I did that here, but again, realised that it was overkill with such a well behaved fabric. So I didn’t bother for the sleeve hems and they came out fine. No rippling whatsoever. Yay!
Part of the reason I was glad not to use fusible interfacing on the sleeves was the small amount of damage I caused with my iron when fusing the interfacing for the hem. I used a damp press cloth and had the iron on medium, but it turns out I should have gone with low as I now have a slightly shiny patch. Oops! Good thing it’s on the back so I won’t have to see it. Warning: press this fabric with extreme caution. It’s probably best to give it a blast of steam and then finger press.
A plain black t-shirt might not be the most exciting of makes, but I’m absolutely thrilled with this one. Not only do I have a versatile top with discreet nursing access, but thanks to this wonderful fabric it’s the most comfortable thing in my entire wardrobe! I deliberately left the sleeves a little loose so I can wear it with them pushed up to my elbows, as shown above, which will lengthen its season of wear into the spring. And probably a fair bit of the summer, if we have a typical British one this year.
Despite having already blown my fabric budget I’m seriously considering stocking up on the French navy version before it sells out. At only £6.99 a metre it’s an absolute steal.
I can see this jersey as a lovely summer wrap dress or a maxi skirt. What would you make out of it?
Happy sewing, everyone!
The fabric for this make was kindly supplied by Minerva in return for an honest blog post. Thank you, Minerva!
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 7th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod