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Chalk and Notch Waterfall Raglan by Chloe


When Minerva Crafts sent me this beautiful paisley Stretch Lace Fabric to review, my mind immediately went to an imaginary spring wedding with handmade decor and frilly flower girl dresses. Although I have no real wedding to go to, my everyday sewing projects could definitely
use a little bit of springy lift!

The lace fabric comes in ivory and black. It is a medium weight with good stretch and recovery. I love all things paisley but sometimes it can look a little dated - not this one though, which has a fresh and modern vibe. I think it would be lovely as accent on lingerie pieces. However the paisley pattern has a rich raised texture, so if you prefer your undies smooth it's something to keep in mind.

For a while I've been stalking the versatile waterfall raglan pattern by Chalk and Notch. I especially love the colour blocked versions popping up everywhere but couldn't decide on a combo. Adding the lace as an overlay on the front bodice piece makes it a no-brainer! I tried the lace on some knit fabrics in stash and decided on a silver grey viscose jersey.

The project went smoothly. As with all Chalk and Notch patterns, it's a joy to sail through the beautifully illustrated instructions. I made the top version for girls in size 5 and the fit is spot on. The only mod I did was to shorten the sleeves by an inch. A word on the pattern - I love that Gabriela gave two different neckband lengths for knit fabrics with various stretch percentages. I used the one with a higher percentage, which yielded a perfect neckline.

As for the construction, one advice I would give is for cutting the bodice overlay piece. I laid the lace on top of the jersey and cut both layers together as one. Because both fabrics are stretchy and could shift, this ensures they are exactly the same. After that I just treated the two layers as one in the whole sewing process. I didn't baste the two layers together, since the paisley lace has enough texture and "grips" to the jersey naturally. The Clover Wonder Clips also came in handy in keeping all the layers together while sewing the overlaid pieces.

I sewed the whole garment on my serger but you could easily use a regular sewing machine as both the jersey and lace don't unravel. In fact, I left the hem raw for a better drape on the flounce.

The end result is a delight! The paisley lace adds just the right touch of girly charm to a comfortable everyday top. The overlay also lends a little more structure to the otherwise very drapey viscose jersey and I really like this silhouette. The moment daughter put it on she was all twirls and declared it's comfy as pajamas. Of all my makes for her this is definitely her favourite. I can see more of this lace in future projects for sure. Thank you Minerva for a lovely Fabric!

Now off to make an adult version for myself ;-) Until next time...
Chloe @noidlehands and my Blog
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Sienna Crepe Fabric Review by Harriet

Crepe can be a bit of a daunting fabric for lot of sewists, thanks to it being super drapey and sometimes slippery – but this is amazing, and (even better) is really easy to work with! Its polyester content means that, while it presses well and holds pleats and gathers like a dream, the fabric doesn't crease at all which makes it perfect for pretty much any pattern or garment that you fancy and falls with a lovely drape and smooth finish.

The huge selection of colours that the fabric was available in was definitely the most daunting part of the making process and a decision that I took very seriously – after going through all 36 colours, I finally went for the 'Dusky Pink' colourway… and I'm so pleased with the finished dress! 

I chose to make the Rosie Dress Pattern by Sew Over It, which I thought would work wonderfully with the drape of the crepe (and I don't want to sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but I think I was right!), and did intend on combining it with a shoulder ruffle from the New Look 6488  pattern, but there was a bit of a hiccup in that plan. I spent a very long time constructing and narrow-hemming the ruffles before I realised I'd cut and hemmed both of the ruffle pieces the same way, so that I had two identical pieces rather than opposite ones – whoops! After a lot of angry muttering and frustration, I decided that I might as well ditch the ruffle plan, even though that was the part I'd spent the longest amount of time on – oh well, it happens to all of us! Because of the bit of confusion that went on there, I'd say it's a sensible plan to really clearly mark which side of the crepe is the wrong side, so that you make the sewing process as simple as possible.

Other than the ruffle debacle, making the Rosie Dress went nice and smoothly, thank goodness. 

I made sure to use lots of pins on all of my seams to hold the fabric in the right place, and finished all of the raw edges with my overlocker because I found that the crepe was a little bit prone to fraying. 

Of course, if doesn't mean that you can't use this fabric if you don't own an overlocker, but I'd recommend using French seams, so that all of the raw edges are encased and everything ends up looking lovely and neat!

The Rosie Dress is meant to have boning in the bodice which is covered by lining, but when I tried it on, I wasn't really a fan of the effect that the boning gave. It was only secured at either end of the boning strips, and I found that they wiggled around a bit in the middle rather than staying on the seams that they were matched up with. 

This problem was easy to solve – I just took the boning out! I don't think that the difference in structure has impacted the finished look of the dress at all, and I'm much happier with it as a result.

The only other alterations I made to the dress were minor; I'm very little, so needed to shorten the skirt a bit and take the seams in a tad on the side of the bodice, but other than that everything fit perfectly! I love the drape that the fabric gives the dress – I think it adds some glamour, but isn't so fancy-looking that you can't wear it whenever you want!

Thanks for reading,

Harriet @ Hobbling Handmades

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Gingham Scuba Madeit Patterns Balloon Fold Dress

Where do I start with Scuba Fabric…well it’s the queen of knit fabrics…that’s a direct quote from me of course. I don’t think anyone has ever voted in that there poll! I really can’t think of anything negative to say about Scuba. It’s a double knit so it’s as stable as they come, easy to sew particularly if you’re new to sewing with knit fabric and jersey. It’s easy to cut your pattern from, no slipping about under your pattern, no creasing naughtily when you’re pinning one end and the other end decides to make its move like a lot of other knits do. And to be honest the pinning together seams for sewing is to a minimal for me at least with scuba because this beauty is just so good to its owner it just stays where you want it to stay as if you just willed it there! Oh and how could I forget…no ironing, I repeat NO IRONING!!!

So when Minerva Crafts sent me some beautiful Gingham Print Scuba I was so filled full of ideas of what I could make for myself…until my daughter came home from school and nigh on insisted that this fabric wasn’t going anywhere but into her wardrobe in the form of a garment that would fit her only!

So that was me told! My soon to be 7 year old had let her feelings be known and who was I to go against her. I wanted to try something different than a fit and flare dress. There are enough of those in the world or in her world anyway.

I came across the Madeit Patterns Balloon Fold Dress a while back and absolutely fell in love with it. In my opinion it’s an edgy style, something different and out of the norm and I fell for it. I knew the samples dresses on the pattern were made in a lighter weight knit and sure enough when I looked up the pattern they recommended lighter knits but I still thought this weightier scuba would be beautiful made up so I went ahead.

The pattern calls for two different fabrics for this pattern, one for the back piece and bottom panel of the front and another fabric for the upper panel of the front piece. I decided to really try to make full use of what I had and not forget about the ‘wrong’ side of this scuba as the second fabric.

The beauty of this pattern is that there are three different ways to wear this finished dress, full length, the elasticated bottom turned up to the waist on the inside for a shorter balloon dress and thirdly the elasticated bottom turned up on the outside for a top and skirt look.

I took my daughter’s measurements and as luck would have it she had the exact measurements for a 7 year old. I cut my fabric from the pattern remembering to flip the pattern around for the top panel of the front piece where I wanted to use the plain white ‘wrong’ side of the fabric.

There are only 4 pattern pieces to this pattern so I had it printed off, taped together and cut out in no time. The trickiest part of this pattern if you could actually call it tricky was slightly stretching the band around the neck and armhole but honestly calling it tricky is really pushing it.

If I had to guestimate how long I spent at this project (I really have to guestimate all my projects because I very rarely get to sit and do one project without interruptions) I’d say from the printing stage to fitting on the final garment it took half a day max.

If anyone on a budget wants a dress for a special little girl in their lives (I made this whole dress from 1 metre of fabric for a 7 year old) or wants to make the most of their fabric I recommend this pattern wholeheartedly and if you want to really make the most out of the pattern I would recommend this Fabric because it has so many good qualities for the person sewing it but also the person wearing it. If you come from a country like Ireland for example where rain and cold reign then this dress keeps you snuggly warm particularly when wearing a long sleeved top inside, a cardigan on top maybe and wearing it at its longest length. But you know even in Ireland we get maybe 3 warm days a year, or if we go on holidays to warmer climes Scuba is great under the sun as it’s cool to touch and seems to adapt to its environment and keep the wearer cool.

So if I haven’t made this clear this is a favourite of mine, love the pattern, love the fabric. Give it a go…thank me later!

Oh and I promise if Minerva Crafts send me fabric again I’ll be wiser next time…I’m hiding it…it’ll me mine…ALL MINE. Have a good day Minerva Crafters x

Marie @Maeme_and_Momo

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Burda 7018 Jacket

Hello, this month I wanted to make a light weight jacket for the summer, something to slip on when it is cool, smarter than a cardigan but light enough for the summer months. I was sent this gorgeous Fabric from Minerva. It is a quilting fabric with a snazzy design and I thought it would make a nice seasonal take on the classic denim jacket style. I have used a tried and trusted pattern Burda Young 7018, as I have made this before in a black denim and I know it gives a good fit and a professional finish.

On the pattern itself it does not suggest a lining but I like to line jackets so I just added a pale grey lining that I already had in my stash. Also given the light weight nature of this fabric it just adds a bit more structure to the jacket. I also used a lightweight iron on interfacing and grey buttons.

The options for the pattern vary in length and although I originally cut this out to be the longer version ( view B) I changed my mind when I tried it on and opted for view A. The reason for this was simply that I like my other jacket so much in this length I wanted it to be similar.

One change that I did make on this version was to omit the bottom band on the jacket, as I have opted to line mine I simply turned both layers up and invisible stitched in place. I also repeated this process at the bottom of each sleeve although I did add a turn up band on the inside so that the same fabric was showing in that area.

The fabric holds the bottom crease really well so I am really happy with this finish. Topstitching was a dream and there wasn’t any wrangling of pieces into place as the fabric behaves so well, overall a relaxing sewing experience. I did try to pattern match in obvious places like the front button bands but given this design I opted not to try that all over, I don’t feel it takes way from the jacket in any way.

On the whole the fabric was lovely to work with, all the little details like the pocket flaps and the collar ironed down nice and crisp so it made my job easier. I know some people are reluctant to make clothes out of craft/quilting fabrics but I have always found that they give a lovely finish. Some of my favourite handmade garments are made from this same kind of fabric and they get the most positive comments. I am sure this jacket will be no exception and will get lots of wear.

For anyone wishing to give this project a try I would say why not try shopping in the quilt fabric section for a change using this fabric or maybe one of Minerva’s other bold designs. It certainly will give your wardrobe a bit of a boost, and I am sure you will find it easy to work with. A big thanks to Minerva Crafts for gifting me this fabric to try.

Thanks for reading,

Dianne @ sewinggreenlady

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Getting up to Speed: Wendy Ward

Instagram has been a way to find more about many people both in the sewing community and in other areas that I’m interested in. Wendy Ward is one sewing specialists I’ve seen on Instagram from time to time and her work is impressive.

Today I’m reviewing Wendy Ward’s latest book: A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics

Wendy Ward

Wendy Ward has worked as a designer in the fashion industry since 2000, for a range of companies from niche retailers to large chain stores. In 2007 Wendy started teaching dressmaking, pattern cutting and textiles for adults. She has a degree in Fashion Design, an MA in Design and is a fully qualified teacher.

In 2012 Wendy opened MIY Workshop in Brighton, UK and launched her own range of sewing patterns called MIY Collection. Wendy is a regular contributor to Love Sewing magazine and her established books are A Beginner's Guide to Making Skirts and The Beginner's Guide to Dressmaking. See what I mean by impressive? Great work Wendy.

Reviewing Wendy’s Book

Many of us who have blogged for Minerva Crafts are providing their reviews of Wendy’s Knitted Fabrics books and this is my take on this new sewing reference.

Wearing knit based clothes have been a staple for me at work, at the gym, at home and even for more formal occasions. The technology used to develop knit fabrics has given those of us who sew, the ability to turn out clothes for us and our families without taking up too much of our valuable time.

My knit fabric knowledge started a long time ago when Knit Wit was popular in Australia. Since then technology has given us lots of great knit fabric options and I continue to go back a learn how to use and make up knit fabrics from experts like Wendy.

What Did I Want to Learn?

Neckline finishes on knit fabrics are my weakness. 

As soon as I got this book I jumped to page 27 to review the information about neckline finishes. Edges are on page 29. Wendy has a one-page guide on page 31 that lists the type of fabric, the type of edge, does the edge need to stretch and the hemming / edge method to us. Brilliant!!! 

Now I’m set to sew perfect round neck finishes from here on in.

I also wanted to learn more about coverstitch finishes. Wendy focusses on learning to sew knits with a domestic machine so I put this learning aside for the future. Her book covers using the right needles for knit fabrics and the best stitches for knit sewing.

Wendy’s book offers 20 essential garments. I chose to make the peak tshirt and the trackpants. I know these pieces are fitted enough for my size and I’ll wear these pieces constantly.

What’s Included?

There are 6 basic patterns used to create 20 essential garments. The sewing instructions are are based on using domestic sewing machine. This ensures that if you’re a real beginner and only have a basic domestic sewing machine, you can still create knit fabric clothes without spending more money on an overlocker or on a coverstitch machine.

Sewing clothes for me has always been about creating clothes when I had no money to buy ready to wear clothes. Remnants are still at the heart of my sewing motivation.

I read through all the basic knit fabric information Wendy has provided and the table summaries she provides throughout this book build quickly help you build your knowledge of sewing with knits easily.

Resources

Let me explain.

This book as clear illustrations, handy guides, tips throughout each project and you don’t have to get caught up in fitting the patterns while you’re learning to sew with knit fabrics.

The styles Wendy has included allow you to develop your own collection that work either as a separate collection or with your existing makes.

I did a bit of planning using a sewing plan template but Wendy’s quick guides, her use of imperial and metric measurements, how she identifies the techniques you’ll need for each project and the varieties she’s included for each basic style make this a book I wish I had when I first started sewing with knit fabrics.

The pattern pieces are on three sheets at the back of the book. But on page 23, she has a guide of where each pattern piece is located on these pattern pages. Each pattern page has numbered too, so finding each piece is dead easy.

If you’re size conscious, the sizing is based on your measurement and not on a ‘class of size’.

So much info in just one book!

When you’re sewing on a budget, it’s great to find a huge array of Knit Fabrics from Minerva Crafts to start building your own collection using the information and patterns from Wendy Ward’s ‘Sewing with knitted fabrics’ book.

Before I received my copy of Wendy’s book, I decided to make casual pants and a top in black.

Wendy provides 20 garments and I was thrilled to find two patterns that were perfect for my projects on a budget. Wendy’s book provides all the sewing techniques you need to sew knit fabric on a home sewing machine. There’s no need to buy an overlocking machine or a coverstitch machine.

Peak T-Shirt:

The peak t-shirt pattern is a basic block pattern. Wendy has sampled this pattern 6 ways. I chose to make the short-sleeved t-shirt using a ruffled ribbon Jersey Knit Fabric.

The ruffle ribbon trim stretch jersey knit has evenly sewn ribbon so matching the ribbons at the side seams is easy to achieve. The base jersey is a poly/lycra, has great two-way stretch and feels smooth.

Sewing across the ruffle ribbon trim at the seams is easy to do and doesn’t interfere with the machine sewing.

I tested the t-shirt pattern and I chose the 88 – 92cm size.

I used tricot stay tape at the shoulder seams. I also used a Prym ballpoint needle (80/90).

Finding the pattern pieces within the book is easy as Wendy has a listing in the book to find the patterns quickly.

On the test version of this t-shirt, it was a great fit and I decided to sew a lower neckline.

I lowered it free-form but I should have traced off the neckline from Winnats Tank pattern as the neckbands are already designed to fit!

My neckline worked but was a bit too thick so I had to insert some elastic so the neckline sat against my body.

Wendy suggests pre-washing the fabric. I did that and there was no shrinkage and no fraying.

While I tried to keep the fabric on grain, the hem didn’t follow the ribbon. The easy solution was to unpick the bottom rows of ruffle ribbons so the hem looks balanced. The key benefit of doing this is the hem only has ribbon on the outside of the top and not internally.

Monsal Lounge Pants:

This pattern has a pockets version which I loved so that’s the version I made.

Wendy provides 3 versions from this pattern and I decided to use the pocket version with a waistband to use the ruffle ribbon trim stretch jersey knit as a neat contrast.

Since I made these pants I can tell you know I’ve been wearing these pants a lot!

I chose the 39 inch version and while I wanted to add the ankle cuff, I didn’t use the cuff on this version.

My track record for hems is shocking so this time I decided to simply make the pants as is and then ‘eye-ball’ the hem length. You know that you’ve let yourself down when you’re wearing pants in the winter and you get cold ankles. This time I know my ankles will be cosy.

The key adjustment I made on the pattern was a sway back adjustment on the centre back seam and I lowered the derriere curve.

The basic techniques for sewing the pants are sewing seams, hems, attaching waist elastic, using elastic in a waistband and folded band edging.

Textured knit fabrics draw me in every time and this Fabric was my only choice for the lounge pants.

Again I pre-washed the fabric and it didn’t shrink or fade. This fabric does keep its shape after a wash. I chose this medium weight knit for pants and that was a great choice.

I used a stretch ballpoint needle for the seams and the hems were finished using a Prym 2.5 twin stretch needle.

Winnats Tank:

While making the Winnats Tank wasn’t part of this post, I made the tank twice to check the neckline and fit of the tank for a beach dress.

Hand on heart, if you want to make a few beach coverups this Summer, Winnats Tank is fast to make and fits well.

As Wendy states, the basic techniques you need for the tank are sewing seams, hems and folded band edging.  

Wendy gives you the details, guides and tips to make clothes with knitted fabrics in her beginner’s guide book. I would buy this book for keen sewers who want to venture into sewing with knitted fabrics.

The guides in this book are all you need when you’re making those decisions about fabrics, threads, sewing techniques and options to make that give you clothes that look well-tailored.

Thanks for reading,

Maria @ How Good is That...Simply Sewing

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My New Ultimate Pencil Skirt!

Hi everyone. Becky here from Notes from the Sewing Room, reporting on my latest Minerva Crafts project.

This month, I am using a beautiful Stretch Cotton Fabric called 'John Kaldor Floral Print Stretch Cotton Dress Fabric'.

The Fabric

This was actually the first time I had ever worked with a cotton stretch fabric like this, but as soon as it arrived in the post I knew it would be ideal to make a pencil skirt with due to the slight elasticity allowing you to bend and move around easily.

The fabric is described as being pink and black but I would say the flowers are more of a red colour, making the overall look really smart and eye-catching. Albeit the petals do have a cute pink edging, which looks cool next to the green leafs.

Working with the Cotton

If you are new to sewing or just like to use fabrics that won't run away with you, this fabric would be ideal for you. If you are sewing darts, pleats or gathers for your project – I'm confident it will behave during both the pinning and stitching process.

As always, I washed the fabric when it arrived to try to avoid any shrinkage at a later date. The fabric washed really well and didn't leak any colour in the washing machine as far as I could tell (the reverse side of the fabric is white so I'm sure if any colour had ran it would be obvious here).

The fabric is lovely and soft to touch and feels nice when you wear it too. It's definitely planning to buy more stretch cotton in the near future as I really enjoyed this project.

What Did I Make

The options are endless of what you could create with this fabric I'm sure, but for me it was between a cocktail type of dress or a pencil skirt. I opted to sew up the Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt Pattern.

The Best Thing About Making Your Own Clothes

I love to make my own clothes, one reason being that before I started sewing I often found that ready-to-wear clothes didn't fit me properly for one reason or another and I would end up leaving the shop with an item of clothing I wasn't completely happy with, or just being generally disappointed I couldn't find what I wanted.

It may be hard to believe, but I have always wanted to wear pencil skirts but due to my small waist and larger hips shop bought ones never fit me – as they are baggy at the waist or too tight over my bum!

The best thing for me now though is – I have found my perfect pencil skirt pattern that I will no doubt go back to again and again.

The Sew Over It Ultimate Pencil Skirt pattern is available as a printed pattern or as a pdf - depending what you like best. I used the printed version, call me old-fashioned but I like to have the pretty pattern to keep with the instructions in my pattern collection – plus I don't have a printer at home so have to go to the library use a friend's printer to print-out pdf patterns.

If you are unfamiliar with the skirt pattern, apart from checking out my photos, you can find lots of images online of versions made by other sewers which will inspire you to make your own version.

My Skirt

The skirt has a fab high-waist giving it a vintage feel, with a kick pleat at the back. The skirt will look great with a blouse tucked in for the office or a t-shirt tucked in for a more casual look. I've also worn my version with a cropped cardie which looks great (if I do say so myself)!

The pattern is designed to fit just above your natural waist and is finished with a simple facing which is easier than adding a waist band – particularly if you are new to sewing.

I managed to cut the skirt out of about 1.3 metres of fabric which is what the pattern advises. The pattern instructions are really straight forward and are aided by pictures – which I always find useful. I'm more of a visual person than someone than learns by words alone!

The skirt has four darts, uses interfacing for the waist facing and closes at the centre back with an invisible zipper.

Overall

I can honestly say that this was the first time I had used this Sewing Pattern but I'm really impressed with it. I love the fit of my skirt and want to try to wear it to a 'dressed up' evening event where I can team it with heels and a chunky necklace!

In reality though, I will get most wear out of this skirt by wearing it to the office in winter with tights and in the warmer months with sandals.

If you are tempted to make your own pencil skirt, making it in the John Kaldor Fabric I used would be ideal – I'm sure you could add your own flair too if you wanted by teaming it with a belt or making a cute bow for the front may be.

To find out more about my other recent sewing projects visit my blog or find me on Instagram.

Thanks for reading, 

Becky

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Pearl Border New Look 6401

Hello fellow sewing fairy’s...

I am new to blogging but it’s something I have fancied doing for a while so when I saw the call out from Minerva Crafts for guest bloggers I knew it was something to try!

Let me introduce myself first, my name is Tanrith aka ‘Tanni the sewing fairy’ to most of my friends and family. I am 27...almost 28 getting a bit close to 30 for my liking! I live in the beautiful Somerset country side and have an energetic 5 year old German shepherd cross Lab who goes by the name of Ted. He has a love of the beach and ridiculously long walks that usually end up at the pub so not all that bad!!

Anyway, enough of me, back to sewing! Since it is wedding and prom season coming up I chose this green, pearl Chiffon Fabric from Minerva Crafts to make into a Prom/Bridesmaid dress. See picture one of the finished dress.

This fabric is a stunning colour and I can see it being worn to a fabulous outdoor wedding in a forest or an exciting festival wedding as it is so vibrant.

The chiffon fabric although lovely was quite slippery to work with, by taking my time, lots of new and sharp pins plus a dash of patience helped to ensure I did not make mistakes.

I had to pick a lot of the pearls off where I needed to cut the fabric and stitch, there was very little glue residue left on the fabric (see photo below) but I used some Fabric Glue to glue the pearls back on in the same place so that it was not obvious the pearls had been removed.

Using my rolled hem sewing machine foot I created the hem on the dress and the bow at the back.

The train on the back of this dress is so versatile, if you were using it as a wedding dress you could easily alter the pattern to extend the train which would look stunning!

This fabric has got a beautiful feel to it and comes in three colours, green, pink and orange so it is ideal for bright summery weddings and prom dresses...and even better at the moment it’s on sale at £4.99 a meter.

The pattern I used is called New Look 6401 which I purchased from Minerva Crafts, this pattern has got five different styles which means endless options with fabric choices and styles.

Although the pattern only gives instructions to line the bodice, since this fabric is more sheer than I would have usually chosen I had to adjust the pattern very slightly to line the skirt section. Due to the number of pattern pieces, it wouldn’t be one I would recommend to someone new to sewing. However if you have a some experience and common sense it will be straight forward!

I would most definitely use this pattern again and try out different fabrics with it, perhaps a Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric in a dove grey colour.

If you were looking at a simple wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses or even a prom dress this pattern will be perfect!

Thanks for reading and I hope it’s given you some inspiration for dresses to be made!

Feel free to give me a follow on Instagram @sewtanni and I am happy to answer any questions you have.

Love

Tanni X X X

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Floral Jersey Sallie Dress by Sarah

I received a lovely light/medium weight Jersey Fabric from Minerva to showcase here on the blog. I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but was very pleasantly surprised when the fabric arrived. It looks almost like a swimsuit lycra fabric with a slight sheen, but much lighter weight and with a wonderful drape. It is incredibly soft to the touch and has a lot of stretch in both directions. Additionally, the pattern does not disappear or distort when the fabric is stretched.

I chose to make a floaty maxi dress using the Sallie pattern from Closet Case Patterns. They are an indie pattern company with some fantastic patterns. They also have tips on sewing some of the trickier parts of their patterns.

The Sallie ‘mix and match’ pattern comes with a jumpsuit and skirt variations as well as a strappy and kimono top. I made the kimono top version with the maxi skirt. Most importantly, it comes with slash pockets! The fabric has a large, colourful, floral print that really suits a summer maxi dress.

Since this fabric is quite slinky, I used pattern weights to hold the pattern down and cut the fabric with a rotary cutter. I think it may shift around too much if you try to use pins and scissors.

I sewed a few test pieces using scraps and boy does this fabric shift. It does not do what you want it to! It’s certainly not a stretch fabric for beginners. If you haven’t sewn with stretch fabrics before, I wouldn’t recommend you start with this.

The right tools can make all the difference when sewing something this difficult though. I switched from my regular machine foot to a walking foot and hey presto, it started behaving itself. I used a jersey size 75/11 needle and a lightning stitch on all the seams. The jersey has at least a 50% stretch in both directions and the stitches need to be able to stretch and move with the fabric to prevent any ‘popped’ seams.

To stop the neck of the dress stretching out, I used strips of clear elastic sewn in. One shows a straight stitch and the other shows a zig zag stitch. I much preferred using the zigzag stitch as I felt the straight stitch left the fabric slightly puckered.

On the pockets, I used an iron on seam interfacing. Hopefully it will stop my pockets stretching at all. 

The dress itself went together super quick and was pretty straightforward to make. I can see many more Sallie dresses and jumpsuits in my future. There is a pattern hack on the Closet Case website for turning the pattern into a short romper version that is definitely getting added to my summer wardrobe.

The jersey was not as easy to use, but well worth the extra effort needed. I love the fabric and hope there are more prints available in the future. It’s so soft and feels wonderful against your skin. Combined with the maxi dress pattern, it’s more like wearing pyjamas than a full outfit. 

I just about managed to get the dress cut from 3 metres of fabric with some smaller pieces left over. It meant I had just enough left to make some matching underwear. The pattern I used came with a Flo Jo stretch knicker kit I bought from a local sewing shop and is so quick and easy to make up.

The gusset uses a tiny piece of cotton jersey and the stretch lace trim was from my stash. (Now they’re made up, I don’t actually like the colour of the lace with the fabric but it’ll be hidden most of the time). 

A quick tip for your stash, stock up on various shades of grey thread. It blends into almost any colour fabric and saves trying to hunt for just the right colour thread for every project. I used the grey thread in the photos for sewing on both the peach and lilac lace. You can barely see the stitches on the peach.

On the lilac, you can’t see them at all! 

Since finishing my makes, I’ve machine washed the items a few times. So far there’s no sign of fading or shrinking. Even though this fabric may be a bit tricky to sew, it’s well worth the effort. And for the price, I can’t recommend this enough.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

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A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics: The Review

Hi, Becky here from ‘Notes from the Sewing Room’

Today I’m reviewing Wendy Ward’s latest book: A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics.

I was really excited to be asked to review the book as I am a big fan of sewing with different sorts of jersey, and, although I’m not completely new to sewing, I’m always up for learning new skills.

Here I’m going to talk you through how I found the book from a content point of view and how I got on making one of the projects from the publication.  

In the first section of my post I have answered a few questions that I think many people may have before buying the book; and in the second section part I’ve talked about what I made from the publication.

Questions Answered

What does the book include?

 

The book includes 20 full-size pull out patterns for UK sizes 8 to 26.

Each of the patterns are included on paper at the back of the book and need to be traced before using as they all overlap each other.

What kinds of projects are included?

I’d describe the clothes in this book as being fairly casual. You can make a t-shirt (with different sleeve options), wide leg trousers, a tank top that can also be turned into a dress, lounge pants, a cardigan (again with different sleeve and length options) and skirt that includes quite a bold design (the fabric drapes to create a curvy silhouette shape).

What can you learn from the book? 

The book talks you through how to start sewing with knitted fabrics using your sewing machine – it is designed to build your confidence if you are nervous about stitching knitted fabrics. It talks you through what types of fabrics to use if you are an absolute beginner and how you can move on from the simpler projects in the book to the slightly more involved makes.

There are sections in the publication dedicated to explaining tools you need to prepare and cut your fabric e.g. scissors, weights and marking tools. What types of pins and sewing machine needles may be suitable for these projects and pressing tools you may find useful such as an iron and tailor’s ham.

The book also describes how to take your body measurements, how to take the ease of patterns in to consideration and how you should choose what size garment to make.

If you are worried about your sewing machine tension issues or other common machining problems Wendy also gives you her take on these areas too.

There really is a lot of information in this publication if you want to study it, albeit I found some of the text in the book to be a bit too small for my liking (this was mainly on the more detailed pages through not the pattern instructions).

How will I know what fabric to use for the projects?

The book gives fabric suggestions on what may be suitable for each project which is helpful. Each item you can make is suitable for more than one type of jersey / knitted fabric so you could probably make each project a few times and end up with completely different looking outfits in the end depending on the material you chose.

There are also lots of clear pictures in the book that give you ideas of how the finished garments look.

If I’ve not worked with knitted fabric before will the book be suitable for me to use?

Yes, definitely. Wendy guides you through the different types of knitted fabrics available to buy including explaining things like identifying the right and wrong sides of the fabric and how to identify the straight grain and selvages of your fabric.

It is a bit scary having to trace out the pattern pieces? How does this work?

Basically there are three pull out sheets in the back of the book that have patterns printed on both sides of them.  

Not all of the same garment pieces are on the same sheets or in the same locations which at times is a bit confusing, although there is a guide on page 23 talking you through where to locate the different bits and pieces e.g. the front section of the Winnats Tank top is on the front of Sheet One and the back of the top is on Sheet Two etc.

All of the pattern pieces are drawn out in a way that they overlap, although each garment is colour coded on the pages to make them easier to identify.

I did find it to be a bit of a pain tracing the pieces out, although when you have done this of course you can continue to use your templates again and again.

What I Made From the Book

I decided to make the Winnats Tank from the book with added sleeves.  

The tank pattern can either be used as it is shown on the pattern pieces creating a vest top, or you can make a few adjustments and make it into either short dress (like mine) or a maxi dress.

I didn’t get on too well with the sizes noted in the ‘measurements chart’ as I fell between a few different sizes between my bust, waist and hip measurements so decided to make a slightly looser looking dress that I knew I would find comfortable to wear.

In order to make my dress I traced the vest top pattern and then extended the front and back body pieces to my desired length (it comes just above my knees now it’s finished).

I made a few alternations to the dress – firstly I extended out / changed the shape of the arm sockets on the pattern in order to fit two three quarter length sleeves onto my outfit (see picture below).

I added sleeves to the dress instead of using the armhole band as instructed - as I thought I would get more wear out of it through the cooler months in the UK.

I also made the skirt part of the dress slightly more a-lined than instructed as I prefer this look, you could equally slim down the bottom part of the outfit if you wanted to.

I made this project using my overlocker alone, although it could have been made just using a regular sewing machine.

I found the dress quick to make and love the finished result. I wore it out to work earlier this week and felt really smart.

  

I used a beautiful black flowered Scuba Fabric to make the dress from Minerva Crafts. This was actually the first time I had ever used a scuba fabric even though I’ve been wanted to try sewing with this for ages.

The fabric was really easy to work with and the finished dress hangs beautifully – it doesn’t need ironing which is a big plus in my book too!

Find me on Instagram or check out my Blog to see my other latest makes. Until next time, happy sewing.

Becky

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Peachskin Portobello Trousers by Simona

Hello everyone!

Hope you are all well and buzzing with creativity. This time I am back on the Minerva Crafts blog showcasing this beautiful John Kaldor Peachskin Fabric.

Since this fabric is ‘soft and drapy peach-skin fabric features a beautiful design. As you would expect from John Kaldor, this fabric is the best quality and will be a dream to sew and wear. The weight and handle of this fabric makes it ideal for making tops, blouses, skirts and dresses’ I knew that the best pattern for it would is my Portobello Trousers from Nina Lee Patterns.

I started by washing my fabric first, just to make sure that the fabric would not shrink on me later. Once I cut my trouser pieces, I realised I have a gib enough piece to make an Ogden Cami by True Bias Patterns as well.

I interfaced my waistband piecee with Iron On Woven Interfacing (the glue is attached to a fabric which makes the interfacing behave like fabric while giving structure) and on the cami I interfaced the neck lines and armscye edges with Vilene Iron On Bias Stay Tape instead of stay-stitching (a trick I learnt from Claire Louise Hardy aka The Thrifty Sticher).

To make my life easier, I used two coloured water erasable pens to mark the pleats. The blue will sit on top of the pink. The little extra work, is so worth it. You don’t have to unpick anything once you realise you tacked on side going the wrong way (well it happens to me a lot, so I has to devise a way to stopping this from happening).

Because the fabric is very light, I did not want to add too much bulk to the seams and fished the seams as I was going along with the construction and finished only the seams that can be seen once the garments were finished.

For the zipper insertion I used a technique demonstrated by Kenneth D King on a video I found on YouTube. Perfect insertion first time. No more puckers at the end of the zip. It’s totally invisible and you can’t tell where the zipper opening actually starts.

As the fabric is a bit bouncy, on the cami I under-stitched the lining to make it stay inside of the garment.

I am very pleased with my new little outfit. I can wear both the tops and the trousers together. They look like a jump suit.

I also love wearing them separately. The cami perfect for layering up or to be used with casual or office outfits.

My tips for working with peach-skin fabric:

  • not recommended for total beginners. The fabric it’s a bit shifty and a beginner will find it a bit challenging to work with this fabric

  • consider adding interfacing in area where you wish to add a zipper or buttonholes and buttons

  • consider stay-stitching the necklines and armscye

  • take it slow, it’s well worth it

  • the fabric is a bit bouncy, so if adding facings/lining consider under-stitching the facing/lining so that it does not peek out when you are wearing it.

  • This fabric is perfect for garments that need fabric with drape such as blouses, wide-legged trousers or even kimono tops/jackets or simple dresses/skirts (only if lined the fabric is a bit see through especially when there is a lot of natural light.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog post. We would really love to see your projects made with supplies from Minerva Crafts, so please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.

Simona

Sewing Adventures in the Attick

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