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Stylecraft Candy Swirl Cake Yarn Review by Nicky

Hello again. It's been lovely to be given some more yarn from Minerva to try out and tell you about. The Candy Swirl Cake Yarn by Stylecraft. Trouble is it looks so pretty it’s a shame to use and see it unravel!

Candy Swirl is an 100% Premium Acrylic Double knit that comes in a great value 150 gram ball. It is available in eight different blended shades, which look almost edible, but I picked the lovely Blueberry Gum option. I think each shade of blue is like a different shade of denim!

It’s a lovely soft yarn that is machine washable and I thought I would see what I could make from one ball. I wanted something plain to show off the changes in shades. I hadn’t used one of these multi tonal yarns before and expected the shades to change gradually but found the change to be quiet distinctive therefore once knitted it produces bold, clear strips.

To try out the yarn I decided to make a large snood or cowl that could be worn in a variety of ways.

The ball band suggests using a 4mm knitting needle but I wanted a more open, loose stitch effect so I used a 6mm needle.

Taking the loose end from the centre of the ball allows for the yarn to run smoothly without the ball jiggling all all over the place and falling out of my bag!

Casting on 66 stitches I used a simple stocking stitch, one row knit & one row purl, and repeated this until almost all the ball was used. 4

Casting off just before the final colour change meant that the cast on & cast off sections were in matching shades making it slightly less noticeable when these two ends were stitched together to form a big loop.

Now it’s made up I’ve found this yarn to be lovely, soft and comfortable to wear. With the size I’ve made it’s great to wear as a neck warmer or hood.

But it’s also long enough to wear as a long draping scarf or as a shawl/ shoulder cover by placing your arms though.

Or if your like me & feel the cold across the small of your back I also found I could twist and wear like this.

This Double Knitting Yarn would be suitable for a number of different makes but I hope you like my suggestion.

Happy knitting :)



Punched Satin Kimono Dress by Frankie

Distressed clothing is a huge trend for this season. But I'm not a huge fan of the whole tatty look.

This punched Satin Fabric is a perfect solution to my problem. 1. It's satin so it's not some grungy looking thing, its got a certain amount of vavavoom and 2. the punched holes are deliberate enough that it doesn’t just look like your clothes are falling apart.

It comes in 7 different colours but I chose black because it makes the most sense with my current wardrobe.

And when it turns up it certainly is a spectacle to behold!! From what I can tell each circle has been cut by some sort of heat/laser? So they don’t fray but that doesn’t mean the fabric doesn’t create some challenges.

For one, due to the fact each circle is left attached by a small amount, you need to make sure that you cut everything out the right way otherwise you could have some circles flapping open whilst others are closed. Should you choose to have the join at the top the circles will lay flat offering more coverage [I did this and I’m wearing my kimono with a nude slip so I don’t look like a streaker instead you just show a small amount of skin or something that looks like skin.] But should you cut everything out with the join at the bottom all of your circles will fall open and you’ll have a sort of transparent polka dot effect.

It's also worth making sure everything is lying perfectly flat when cutting out and I would definitely recommend using a rotary cutter and matt so you don’t shift the circles as you are cutting out.

The nature of the fabric also makes it a bit tricky to sew. Not only does it have the general shiftiness of satin it also has the added fun of there being actual holes in the fabric. I found the best way to combat this was to use a really simple pattern with clean lines. I opted for the kimono dress by simple sew patterns. It has a kimono sleeve so you don’t need to set anything in and the whole thing is very easy to sew in fact the whole pattern only has two seams not including hemming. I also think a simple skirt, cardigan or t shirt would work really well.

Bear in mind though that anything with too many design details such a pleats and darts are likely to show on the right side and that interfacing will definitely be visable. However you could always line whatever you are making if you want to keep things super neat or aren’t keen on showing lots of skin.

Construction wise I used my overlocker because it creates a chain of stitches which is useful for filling the gap in between circles. However if you don’t have an overlocker you could try stitching it on your regular machine and then using bias binding to give you a neat finish on the inside and to make sure you’ve definitely caught everything that needs to be caught.

I also gave it a really small hem around the front edges, however I’m not sure this neatens it up too much and I think its weighing it down. If I were to do it again I’d either leave it as a raw edge or use bias binding around the edges. In fact a coloured bias binding with a coloured slip underneath could look really cool!

The odd thing is, as much as a I cursed it when I was making it and that I was sure it was going to be a bit of a bust, I kind of love it! The texture makes it a really interesting cardigan if I wear it with a vest top and jeans and wearing it with a nude slip actually makes a simple dress quite sexy. In fact the only real issue I’ve found when I’m wearing it is that it catches on doorhandles as I'm walking past but that's probably just me walking to close to the door! Plus when I’m wearing this I basically feel like Stevie Nicks and feeling like Stevie Nicks is never a bad thing!!!

Much Love



The Colette Sewing Planner Review by Mel

How many times do you find that you have lovely fabric and sewing patterns that never make it out of the “stash drawer”. For me, I know that this is because I just aren’t organised enough with my sewing projects, for example I’d purchase Autumn/Winter fabric in the Summer time trying to plan ahead, but then totally forget about it until the following Spring, then it is too late!

My key focus in 2018 is to be more organised in what I am sewing and when, I’ve tried so many different apps on my phone to help with this, but I find that I quickly become distracted and forget what I had planned or the plans just don’t come into fruition.

So I was super excited to have the opportunity to test the Colette Sewing Planner through Minerva Crafts, somewhere to physically write down my plans. There is just something about writing in a physical book (preferably with a nice new shiny pen), a book that you can touch, feel, and pick up and flick through at a later date, some how it feels more of a firm plan.

This beautiful planner had been on my “Sewing goodies that I’d love to try” Pinterest board for quite some time, so lets take a look inside!

The planner is split into 4 main sections;

1) Styles and Favourites - this is a short section where you can note your favourite styles, fabrics and your measurements

2) Spring / Summer - this is a large section where you can document your sewing goals for the Spring / Summer seasons, there is then room for you to plan approximately 25 Spring / Summer projects (pretty much 1 project per week)

3) Fall / Winter - this is another large section where you can document your sewing goals for the Fall / Winter seasons, there is then room for you to plan approximately 25 Fall / Winter projects

4) Resources - In this section there are several useful resources such as needle types, metric conversion charts, sewing abbreviations and a glossary

I thought that the best way to truly test this handy little planner is to actually plan my next project, The Hudson Pants.

If like me, drawing is not your key strength, this planner includes 4 different Croquis body shapes that you can trace or photocopy, and then sketch your design onto, which is super useful for when it comes to planning the fabrics and details.

To start with, on the left hand page you give your project a name and note the pattern that you are using, so for me this was simply “Hudson pants”.

You then list the supplies that you need and the supplies that you have, so for this project I listed my Art Gallery Jersey (I love that fabric so much), contrast jersey for the waistband and cuffs, eyelets, interfacing, ribbon, elastic and thread. There is also a box where you can glue in a scrap of the fabric.

You can then list the learning resources e.g. websites or books that you will use to help you. There is also a customisation box for your own design ideas for example I noted here to use eyelets for the drawstring rather than button holes (as I never get on very well with button holes), and there is also a section to add your notes for example I noted here that the pattern is drafted for a 5ft 5” female.

On the right hand page there is a blank page so that you can sketch your design and add notes, for my project I simply cut out my sketch (that I traced from the Croquis and glued it onto the page.

Planning out the project worked really well, it made me ensure that I had all of the supplies before I started and sketching out the design really helped me to visualise the fabric, you don’t need to be a artist to do this.

My Hudson Pants were finished in no time!

There are also a couple of envelope sections in the back of the planner where you can save your pattern sheets or other useful notes and tools.

There are lots and lots of little surprise sewing tips throughout the planner for example “Always cut your thread on an angle to make it easier to thread through a needle” there are quite a lot of the tips that I had never thought of so an added bonus for sure.

I really like this planner, the colour scheme and quality is great, the information contained within the planner is super useful and I know that it will definitely keep me more organised with my sewing into 2018. It is also a good size to keep in your bag so that you can add ideas whilst you are out and about. I think that this will also be great to look back on, to see what I have made throughout the year.

The only thing that would have made this planner even better for me would be to have a couple of blank note pages between each project so that I could use this to plan my blog posts, YouTube videos etc… about the project, or to maybe have the planner as an open ring binder (rather than bound book) so that I could add extra pages, however I can work around this by using a separate note book and then use paperclips or small bulldog clips to add it to the relevant project pages.

If like me, you aim to be more organised with your sewing projects into 2018, I would definitely recommend using this Sewing Planner. I don’t want to plan out everything as part of the fun of sewing my own wardrobe is seeing a pattern or fabric that I love and deciding there and then to make it into something lovely, but this will help my overall sewing plans and commitment for sure.

I also find that I’m much more likely to get a project completed if its written down in a physical book, so I have added just the titles on the project pages for the key items that I plan to sew, then I will add the finer detail, sketches etc… in time.

This planner is a great gift for a keen sewer, or a treat for yourself, especially at the New Year Resolution time of year!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing,

Mel @ Ditsy Tulip


New Look Layered Top 6412 by Sheila

As a stay-at-home mother running a business from home, casual dressing is the order of the day as there is no need to dress up for work. However, just because I can wear a T-shirt and jogging bottoms all day, doesn't mean I want to.
The Stitch Academy runs dressmaking classes for children and adults which means there is sort of an obligation to wear handmade clothes as an example to my students. It also means that my clothes have to be comfortable and flexible for dashing around from student to student.
When I found New Look Pattern 6412, I knew it would be the perfect combination of comfort and smart-casual that I was looking for and decided on the main view, B.
It's actually a dress with a built in, full length, slip, but has the appearance of a skirt with tunic over. This has several advantages: -
  • it doesn't have the tight waistband of a skirt
  • there is no gap between top and skirt to let in the cold
  • the full length slip is another layer adding warmth
  • there is no need to readjust your clothes all day long
The pattern calls for stretch knits only, so I chose a Ponte Roma Fabric in orange for the tunic and brown for the underskirt. The underbodice would be in a matching brown jersey so that it would feel soft against the skin.
The pattern envelope has a really helpful guide to ensure that your fabric has the required amount of stretch in it - why don't all manufacturers adopt this?
I liked the fact that there is provision for adjustment of torso length, too, and I made the usual 1 1/2" reduction above the waist on the clearly marked "lengthen or shorten here" line. I made a 2" reduction in sleeve length, too.
The underbodice is constructed first - here you can see where the firmer ponte roma skirt meets the soft jersey bodice.
The over-tunic came together as easily as the "Easy" label promised.
When tunic and underbodice are joined together, the next stage is to set in the sleeves - which is where an error came to light.
The instructions stop at the "baste" stage and it doesn't then tell you to go ahead and stitch the seam permanently.
The more experienced seamstress would automatically stitch the seams as a natural progression but, as the difficulty level is classed as "Easy", beginners may well feel confident enough to tackle this and may be confused by the lack of clarity.
There are also no directions as to how, or when, to finish the raw edges, should you wish to do so. Again, this type of thing is no problem for a seasoned sewer, but details would probably be useful for a beginner.
I used an overlocker to construct the majority of the garment and switched to the sewing machine just for setting in the sleeves, adding the neckband and finishing the hems.
I finished the hems with two rows of top-stitching using a slight zig zag stitch for added stretch. A twin needle would be useful here, but I didn't have one to hand.
I decided to add a contrast neckband instead of the self-fabric one on the pattern illustration. Stretching the neckband to fit the neckline as you sew, helps to prevent any bagginess or gaping around the neck.
A very pleasant afternoon of sewing resulted in one very happy lady with the perfect working-from-home outfit.
A smart dress that is so comfortable that it feels like you're wearing a tracksuit - what's not to love?!
At 5'2" and a size 14, I may not look like the tall, thin model on the pattern envelope, but I think the design translates well to the average figure and am pleased with the finished dress. Oh, I forgot to mention that I also added a couple of inches to the skirt hem, too, as I felt that it was too short for someone of 48 - not to mention my modesty when bending over machines!
Having since worn this dress several times, I have already decided to make more in different colours. In summary, the pattern is easy to follow, notwithstanding my comments above, and true to size if you take accurate body measurements.
This pattern would be ideal for a confident beginner as there are no awkward design elements such as zips or darts and, therefore, a good introduction to knits.
Sheila @ Sewchet

Pleated Stretch Velvet Wrap Dress by Frankie

Is there anything better than wearing velvet in the colder months? I mean you can basically turn yourself into a snuggly teddy bear!

Which is why when this Pleated Stretch Velvet Fabric came up for review I jumped at the chance and I love it for two reasons!

1- I have an unhealthy obsession with all things velvet. And its massively on trend at the moment.

2- It's pleated velvet which means its meant to look a big wrinkled. Which also means it doesn’t need ironing and I am all about not having to do any ironing!

Anyway as soon as it arrived I got it out for a feel and I am happy to report that it is a very soft pile with a great drape and good recovery. It stretches in both directions but it does seem to stretch more in one of them than the other. It also pre washed beautifully, sometimes with velvet it can become matted during washing but this one stayed as soft and lovely as it was when I first got it out of the bag.

Being that it’s a classy looking velvet I decided it needed a simple pattern to really let the fabric shine. I chose to make the wrap dress from the second Great British Sewing Bee book. But you could also use New Look Sewing Pattern 6301 for a similar look.

Cutting out was slightly difficult because of the textured parts of the fabric. So I made sure I cut everything out with the whole piece of fabric lying flat [Because its a jersey fabric if you have the end of your fabric hanging off the end of a table it will stretch and distort all of your pattern pieces.] I also double and triple checked that the nap of the fabric was lying the right way on every single piece before I started cutting. The nap is the pile of the fabric so for example with velvet you want to make sure it all “strokes” the same way. I opted to have it so the dress was softest when stroked down. Although I’m not sure how many occasions I’m going to have where strangers are stroking my dress…….

Another way to make cutting out easier is to use a rotary cutter and mat. The rotary cutter means that you won’t potentially stretch or shift your fabric.

I used my overlocker to sew it all together, but you could also use a small zig zag stitch on a domestic machine using a ball point needle. I did sew all of my hems on my regular machine though and I used my walking foot which made things 100% easier. Luckily the velvet doesn’t create much fuzz when its being cut and sewn so its a fairly tidy fabric.

The stretch is very forgiving with regards to fit and the fact that its a wrap dress means I have plenty of room for cake and snacks! Which makes it a party style dress that you can wear comfortably and REALLY party in! I’m currently thinking this fabric in a pair of loose fitting trousers would be perfect for lounging around in, but stylish enough that if you have unexpected visitors you won’t feel embarrassed.

The quality of the fabric means the dress drapes really nicely and the weight and thickness means its lovely and snug to wear in the cold winter months. It’s currently on sale for £7.99 which is an absolute steal for a nice velvet fabric and comes in either this black or grey.

As you can probably tell I’m smitten with this dress! And the fact I can wear it straight from the wash makes it even better!

Much Love



Tailoring the Neckline of Patterns with Claire-Louise Hardie

I’ve had a lot of students ask about how to change the necklines on their patterns, so I thought i’d create a little tutorial for you. The biggest issue, is that any changes you make to the neck, need to also be applied to the facing. Personally, I adjust the neckline and then re-cut a new facing pattern piece, so that’s what I’m gonna show you. The only time I wouldn’t do this, is if the neckline adjustment is very slight. In that instance, I’d apply the same adjustment to the original facing pattern piece.
In this image, you can see the original neckline which I felt was too high, and the new lower neckline I’ve drawn in once I’d tried it on and decided to lower it.
It’s really important that all new adjustments blend smoothly across any seams. I’ve laid the back shoulder next to the front shoulder to check that the new curve from the front blends smoothly into the original curve.

Once the main pattern piece has been adjusted, you’ll need to adjust the facing. In my example, I’ve only adjusted the front of the pattern, so it’s just the front facing pattern piece that needs to be adjusted. I’ve laid the facing over the adjusted front piece, and it’s now obvious that the front of the facing is now very short. Take a note of the facing depth at the shoulders, as this is how deep you’ll need to make the facing all the way around.

Trace the shoulder and new neckline onto a fresh piece of pattern/tracing paper. Then draw the outer edge of the facing piece, making sure it’s the same distance from the new neckline all the way around the piece.

Ta Dah!

Now both the front of the pattern and the new facing pattern have been adjusted with the new lower neckline. The shape of the alteration can be curved like this example, or could be a V shape too, in both options the principles are the same when you want to make an adjustment.

Ok, so in my first example the alteration didn’t change the shoulder at all, therefore the back neck wasn’t affected. But what happens if you need to “widen” the neckline as well as altering the shape or lowering it I hear you ask?

Good question… Read on and discover how to do this type of neck adjustment.

I’ve re-drawn my new neckline, which has really widened the opening and shortened the length of the shoulder.

Making sure to start at the same position on the back shoulder, re-draw a new back neckline. The shoulders should now be the same length. The curve should look smooth on the new back neckline. Make sure the junction at the shoulder isn’t too much of a point or spike!

Make a facing pattern for both the back and front using the same process I described in the previous example. It’s a good idea to give yourself some notches to help sew the pieces together.

Happy Stitching :)


How to use the Clover Trace ’n’ Create Bag Templates by Nicky

Bag making seems to be growing in popularity and I’m seeing lots of great makes on social media so it’ s been great to try out one of the Clover Trace ’n’ Create Bag Templates. The template I have used for this review is Nancy’s Hobo Tote. This is a very roomy sized tote bag that could be suitable for many uses.

There are three styles that can be produced from this template and I decided to opt for the two fabric style, view B.

The template pack contains 2 See through plastic templates and an in-depth instruction sheet in various languages.

The instructions provided simple step by step stages with little note for Nancy to help along the way.

The bag making progress started with tracing around each piece of the template on the chosen fabric. For this part I used a tailors chalk to transfer the markings then cut along the marked lines on a cutting mat with a ruler and rotary cutter to keep the lines accurate, also nice and straight.

The same template was used to cut the pocket sections for the interior.

Measurements are then stated to cut the strips for the trim.

Once these pieces were cut the front and back sections were assembled by seaming the upper and lower fabrics together.

After pressing this piece was used as the pattern to cut the lining fabric and the interfacing. I used a sew-in facing so this was basted to the back of the tote sections before continuing with the construction.

A fabric trim was added to cover over the seam line on exterior of bag. This was made by feeding one of the crosswise strips, already cut, through a Bias Tape Maker and pressing.

Once this trim was added the exterior pieces were sewn together. At this point a shaping material is added to the bag to help form a base and feet can be added.

Moving on to the lining the pockets are made by sewing the pockets panels together and attaching to the right side of the lining. The template is then used again to mark the vertical stitching lines that create the separate pockets.

The next step was to add a magnetic snap. I had never done this before but was amazed how easy it was. The snaps I used consisted of 4 parts; a front & back with prongs on the back of each, and two backs that you fed the prongs through before folding over.

After adding interfacing for strength at the points shown on the template I marked the position for the prongs to go through and made two very small holes with a seam ripper to push them through.

Once this was completed the lining could be made up as the exterior had been. With this lining inside out the exterior tote section was placed inside, right sides together, and stitched along the side edges before turning right side out.

The bias cut stops cut earlier were then used to edge the top curve of the tote and attach the d-rings for the straps.

The remaining strip was then folded to creat the front of the strap with grosgrain ribbon added to the back.

The final step for this bag was to add an inner snap closure to hold the top corners in when required.

I found these bag templates an easy way of drawing out and marking the pattern pieces. They are a great quality that will survive being used over and over again. The step by step instructions helped tackle each step one at a time!

The size of the tote is perfect for a shopping bag but I think mine has already found its job as my new knitting bag :)

Thanks for reading,

Nicky @ Sew n Snip


Lauren’s High Street Knock-Off Burda Kimono

I often get inspiration for new sewing projects from something I love that I’ve seen on the high street. I’m sure many other crafters will feel the same, but even if I do see something lovely in Zara, or New Look, I sometimes resent paying for it, when I (at least in my head) think I could make it myself.

This thought process usually leaves me with a lot of plans, but not always a lot in my wardrobe…

Recently I went for dinner with a friend who is probably one of the most stylish people I know. She has gorgeous and glamourous clothes, and isn’t the type of person who has to save her favourite pieces ‘for best’. She turned up in a full-length kimono, with fur cuffs, basically the kind of thing I can image a princess wearing to lounge casually around her home.

The version my friend was wearing was a Zara purchase, and after looking at it and raving about it for pretty much the entire night, I knew I had to have one too. (She luckily doesn’t mind me copying her occasionally!)

The design of the garment itself was straight-forward. A simple, kimono-style jacket, made out of a georgette fabric, with fake fur attached to the cuffs. I was pretty confident that it was something I could replicate fairly easily myself, so I started looking for a suitable pattern to work from.

The Pattern

After having a scroll through the Minerva website, I came across New Look 6476, which came with a few different options. (Including a view which involves a fake fur body section!) One option is a collarless maxi kimono, with long sleeves, which seemed almost ideal, and would give me the basic shape to make what I wanted.

I cut the size 12, as it fitted my largest measurements; I wasn’t too fussed about this fitting perfectly around the bust or hips, as I didn’t plan to fasten it closed. There were only four pieces to cut out, so this took barely any time, and I was soon onto the construction.


I can’t say I relied too heavily on the instructions for this project, as the construction was very simple and straightforward. I used my trusty Janome DKS30 to sew most of the seams, and used my Brother 1034D overlocker to neaten the insides. As I was using quite a delicate fabric, and I didn’t want the seams to fray over time, I thought it was important to put a little more time into this step and make sure the inside looked neat and secure.

The Fabrics

The fabrics I chose for this project are both from Minerva and I was so pleased with both of them as soon as they arrived. I wear a lot of neutrals, so a light blue/grey colourway was an obvious choice for me.

To make sure the kimono drapes well and flows in the way I was hoping, I wanted to go for a georgette or chiffon-type material, and found this floral Georgette Fabric, which comes in assorted colours. To pair with it, I chose a light grey Fake Fur Fabric, and was hoping that when the two fabrics arrived they would compliment each other rather than clash. I wasn’t wrong – I think they work really well together.

The georgette is on the thicker side, which makes it a little easier to work with. I had no issues with it getting sucked into my machine, and it wasn’t even very slippery, a few pins managed to keep it in place fine. The fur was perhaps a little stretchier than I expected, but this could easily be remedied by adding interfacing, or something similar, to the back. I’ve heard that when cutting fake fur fabric, it can be easier to cut from the back with a craft knife, to avoid covering the room with mountains of fluff. I tried it and while there was a bit of mess, I think it would have been a lot worse if I’d used scissors for the task.


The pattern itself gave me an excellent block to work from, but I did make a few changes to get the look I was going for. The sleeves on the pattern were a lot wider at the cuff than I needed them to be, so I simply traced the sleeve piece onto some baking paper, and drew out a new pattern piece with straighter cuffs.

Being quite a short person, I inevitably had to remove a few inches of both the cuffs and the hem, but this is a fairly standard alteration that I fully expected.

I increased the length of the split at the back, so that it would almost have the effect of a tailcoat, and I decided not to include the waist tie. I have since found a use for the tie as a hairband though!

Of course, I also added the fur to the cuffs of the sleeves. To do this I simply cut two pieces of fur the same size, long enough to go around the diameter of the sleeves. I then sewed the two short ends together, right sides together then added the cuff to the georgette sleeve right sides together again. Lastly, I hand sewed a small hem on the fur cuff, to make it look a little neater.

It was a little bit of trial and error, but I’m so happy with the result. I even had a little of the fur left over, so decided to put it to good use and make a fur stole to go over the kimono. This was really easy. I just folded the long piece of spare fabric in half, lengthways, right sides together and drew an outline of the stole shape on the back of the fabric. I then followed round it with my sewing machine, leaving a small hole to turn the stole the right way round.

I’d definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who’s looking for a simple kimono pattern to embellish and enhance with their own designs.

I know this kimono-come-housecoat is perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but to me, that’s the beauty of being able to make your own clothes. This garment makes me feel glamourous and interesting and it’s so easy to make! Plus, it’s saved me a laborious and expensive trip to Zara, and really, who wants to stand in the Christmas shopping queues longer than absolutely necessary!?

I hope you liked reading about my latest make for Minerva, and if you wanted to find out more about me and my crafting you can reach me at or on Instagram @craftworksblog

Merry Christmas!


Black Pleated Velvet Dress by Carly

Today I’ve got a double whammy for you – not one but two new products to show you that I’ve been fortunate enough to test out recently for the Minerva Crafts blog.

First up is THE most amazing pleated Velvet Fabric. I’ve had a long love affair with velvet. There’s something that’s so luxurious about it. The depth of colour, the pile, the handle. It’s lush. Add in a few pleats to add even more depth to it and I’m sold.

The second item is a new Sewing Pattern release from Vogue, by designer Kathryn Brenne. A pullover jersey dress, with sleeve and skirt length options, a v-neck and a waterfall style skirt. What I love about this pattern is how it’s a relatively simple pattern, but made from the right fabrics you’ll have the perfect easy-wear show-stopper dress.

I thought that these two products put together would produce a great make. I’m not usually one to wear a dress, but the lure of the velvet enticed me. Mix that with an easy to sew pattern and you’ve pretty much got a winner.

The velvet comes in a delicious grey colour and also a rich, deep black. I decided to go for the black as I really don’t have that much solid black in my wardrobe (unusual considering I pretty much only wore black as a teenager!). Also because you can’t go wrong with a black dress can you? They’re so versatile and easy to style. Change up your shoes and accessories and it’s like a completely different outfit.

The pattern consists of only 3 main pattern pieces (front, back and sleeve), and a few facings. This made the cutting process fairly quick and very straight forward. I sewed the dress up without any alterations, and it all came together incredibly quickly and easily. The velvet is so easy to sew with – I didn’t even need to swap to my walking foot, my regular sewing foot worked a treat. The pile of the velvet pretty much stuck the pieces together as I was sewing, so I hardly used any pins as I was sewing this up too. I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly rewarding to sew without the use of pins. I’m not sure if it’s because it makes the sew much quicker, or perhaps because it makes me feel like an absolute sewing-queen to not need pins!

I cut a size L going by my measurements but in hindsight I could probably have gotten away with a Medium. I tried on the dress once it was complete and it was a little large, and the sleeves quite long. I ended up chopping about 4 inches off the length of the sleeve and taking in the bodice by about 2 inches each side. I went from the underarm seam down to the flare at the waist side-seam and it was easy enough to do. It’s now more fitted on the bust and waist, which for a pear-shape like me, helps to balance out the proportions of the skirt. It is supposed to be a skimming fit throughout the mid-section which you can see on the pattern packet photographs of the samples, and if I made a smaller size I probably wouldn’t have had to bother with any alterations at all on the bodice, just the sleeve length. I am a little shorter than your average though (5ft 3”) and it’s not unusual for me to have to take some length from the sleeves. I cut view A which is a midi-length skirt and the length of the dress is perfect for me.

I’m really happy with my new black velvet party dress. The fabric was amazing to work with, and the pattern is a great addition to my stash. I’d love to use the grey version of the pleated velvet to perhaps make a simple gathered waist midi skirt. I’d also like to try the pattern again in a lighter weight jersey to make a simple dress for spring. I’m already planning new ways to use these two new products, so you know they’re a winner in my books!

Bye for now,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew


Cold Shoulder Top Vogue 9238 Pattern Review by Amy

Like most others, life can become very stressful and chaotic. Mine had too and had resulted in me not doing a lot of sewing, which is usually my relaxation. I recently embarked on a mini project to get back into my sewing hobby. It had been a while since I’d sewn anything so I chose to ease myself in with an ‘Easy Sew’ project by Vogue

When I’m out shopping I always gravitate towards the cold shoulder tops and felt this would be the perfect choice. I ordered my fabric and I am a sucker for Scuba, which yes I know it didn’t specify using scuba but I’d simply cut a pattern size above to accommodate for the less stretchy material. This material is amazing and I’ve already lined up a new project for it. Even found my mother admiring it on the dining room table when it arrived. Definitely one for the fabric stash!

The pattern was super easy to begin with, I was all ready to go, pattern cut out and ready to sew my way through the instruction booklet.

One tip I would recommend if you are using black fabric like I did, definitely get a bright chalk for those notches.

The instructions were easy to follow and the project was going swimmingly until it came to the straps. This is probably my own fault for choosing a thick jersey from Minerva Crafts as apposed to a light weight fabric, but the straps just would not lie flat, no matter how much I pressed them. I continued on with the top and as it was coming together I got that feeling that all home sewers get when their handy work starts coming to life.

Here comes the bad parts, well not bad more little niggles I had with the pattern. The straps were very fiddly to finish and attach and I found the attachment of the flounce, back strap and armhole rather fiddly. Lets just say my poor thread picker was getting a lot of use with those straps!

The garment looks lovely in scuba but I must confess, even with the sizing up it does run smaller than I’d expected, either that or clearly the New Years diet needs to start sooner than I’d hoped but I love my new top. Next time Amy, listen to the instructions and suggested fabric. The cold shoulder section could have done with being a little looser like those types you can buy in stores but as a whole the garment works.

The top offers wearers the chance of cold shoulder style or normal strap vest styles. 

I like this versatility that it provides and it will come in handy over the festive period as a 2-in-1 top. Simple pull the flounce under the arm instead over and viola you have yourself a whole different top!

The back is lovely and provides the feminine edge that I was looking for. 

And the front V-neck which is perfectly situated, provides you with a feminine touch without showing too much off during the winter celebrations.

Did this project do what I hoped it would? Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the project and like I expected I have the sewing bug again. Would I repeat this project again? Had you asked during the debacle with the straps, I’d have said no but I’m intrigued as to what other materials would work with this pattern. Would I recommend this pattern to others? I would recommend this product to those who want an easy pattern to follow, however maybe avoid it as a brand new beginner, as it does have its fiddly tricky sections. It took me slightly longer than anticipated to finish the garment but that was due to a busy schedule. This pattern can be finished in 2-3 days easily which is always an added bonus.

Now it’s time for a girlie evening in the local with a nice pair of jeans, clearly some sucky-in pants, and my new cold shoulder top. On to the next new wardrobe builder project.

Amy-Louise @ Amy Professional Drama Queen

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