If you’re a vintage enthusiast like me, then Butterick B5708 has been on your to-do list for a long time. Today I’ll be showing you how to use this fabulous Timeless Treasures Border Print Fabric to make a vintage style dress. This dress is perfect for evening dates, dancing, or just when you want to feel beautiful and artsy!
This fabric is a light poplin called Timeless Treasures Midnight with a gorgeous floral border. It has the breathability and crisp feel of cotton, which makes it perfect for summer dresses. It’s soft to touch, drapes nicely and has beautiful deep colours. I find that this poplin also doesn’t wrinkle as badly as some other cottons. This is a huge plus for sewing dresses with ties because it won’t have to be ironed as often. You could also use this fabric to make summer blouses and skirts.
Don’t forget to preshrink this fabric! As this is a cotton fabric, it could shrink and therefore ruin the fit of your dress after one use. I hand washed this poplin in cold water with normal detergent.
The pattern I used to make this dress is Butterick B5708, which is a 1953 vintage reproduction dress. A dress like this is best made in a thin but strong fabric so that the ties are easy to do up. Normally this pattern calls for self-lining (where the dress is lined with the main fabric) but I chose to line this dress with navy broadcloth. The broadcloth provides a nice solid background for the slightly transparent poplin and adds a nice contrast for the ties.
In terms of meterage, I used 4 meters of fabric to make this dress, this excludes the lining. I also pattern matched the centre front and back seams of the skirt so I used more fabric. Here’s a few tip on how to get this look:
Cutting out the Dress
For border prints like this poplin, it is best to cut the pieces out on the cross grain to make the most of the print. You’ll need to draw a cross grain arrow perpendicular to the straight grain on piece 5.
Cut one copy of each of pieces 1 and 4 (bodice front and back) at the top two corners of the border. You can cut the pattern pieces laying right side up or upside down since the pieces are symmetrical.
Then cut out the four skirt pieces. Place piece 5 on the fabric so that the bottom edge is on the selvedge with the large flowers. Use your tape measure to make sure that the cross grain arrow is parallel with the selvedge, then pin and cut it out. Cut out 4 copies of this piece along the selvedge, two copies upside down and two copies the right side up.
At the opposite selvedge, there should be enough space to cut pieces 2 and 3. Fold over enough of the selvedge to place both of these pieces on top.
Cutting out the Lining
I’ve chosen to line my dress with plain navy broadcloth. You’ll need about 1.5m of fabric for the lining (115 cm wide). You’ll need to cut one copy of pieces 1 and 4, and two copies of pieces 2 and 3. Cut out pieces 1 and 2 next to each other on one layer. Fold the remaining fabric in half and cut out pieces 2 and 3.
Adding a Pocket
Adding pockets to any dress makes them so much more useful! You can sew a pocket into the left side skirt side seam which doesn’t have the zipper. My favourite pocket piece is from Simplicity 1755, which is the type of pocket which hangs off the waist seam. Cut out 2 copies of the pocket pieces in the lining fabric.
Sew the pocket pieces right sides together to the top of the skirt side seam at 1 cm (3/8”). Do this for both of the skirt panels. Finish the seams with bias binding. Fold 2 cm (7/8”) bias binding over the top of the raw edge and top stitch through all layers. Bias binding is the best finish for full skirts which aren’t lined.
Bring the skirt side panels together and pin. Sew around the curve of the pocket up until you hit the seam where it is attached to skirt, then stop. Cover this raw edge with bias binding. Then sew the side seam for the skirt, but leave a big opening for your hands at the centre of the pocket. Sew the side seam for about 5 cm (2”) from the top edge of the skirt. Then start sewing again about 5 cm (2”) above the bottom of the pocket. Sew all the way down to the hem. The last thing you’ll need to do will be to sew the top of the pocket towards the front of the skirt when you sew the waist seam. The pocket is fully functional and looks really neat with bias binding finish.
I love the beautiful “V” shape in the bodice, to make this feature stand out I decided to add some piping to this seam. I suggest hand basting the piping to the upper piece of the seam. You need to baste the piping to the bottom edge of the bodice front and back. Pin the piping to the fabric so that the stitching on the piping is 1.5 cm (5/8”) away from the raw edge. Use tacking thread to make long stitches on the strip of piping fabric. You’ll also need to snip all the way up to the stitching at the centre front to make a nice “V” shape. You can use a piping sewing foot to do this as well.
You’ll then need to pin the midriff pieces on top. This is a corner seam, so follow the instructions carefully. You need to leave the midriff pieces open at the top where there is a dot marking. Match the circle marking on the midriff with the bodice front and pin, this is where the corner is made. Match the raw edges and pin the rest of this seam and pin. When it comes to sewing seams with piping you can use a zipper foot, which can glide over the bulk of the piping. Use the left side of the zipper foot and sew as close to 1.5 cm (5/8”) as possible. Sew with the needle in the left position to make the seam closer to the piping cord. Be very careful not to touch the needle, as it’s quite exposed in this position. The piping looks great and adheres to the vintage look of this dress!
This pattern is suitable for confident beginners. You’ll need to know how to sew corner seams, curved seams, invisible zippers, and a basic gathered skirt. I found the hardest step to be sewing the armhole because you need to line up the end of the seams for the main fabric and lining.
The pattern instructions are detailed enough so that beginners should be able to follow them. I did find the easing stitches on the front of the bodice to be unnecessary. Also, don’t forget to reinforce then trim all of the corners and curved seam. This creates neat curves and the fabric won’t rip when you turn these seams the right way out.
This pattern makes an adorable vintage style dress which is both easy to make and has nice details. With a beautiful print and few trimmings, you can turn this pattern into a stunning evening dress. The classic design of this dress means that you can use different fabrics to suit the occasion: cotton gingham for a summer picnic, plain linen for an everyday summer dress, bold prints for party dresses, or plain satin for an evening dress. The biggest plus of this dress is that you can change to the position of the ties to get different looks. I hope you enjoy making this dress as much as I did!
Thanks for reading,
Christmas is definitely one of my favorite holidays. As we approach the season I can already picture the decorations around the city and the excitement on people’s faces. I can already picture my twinkling Christmas tree, the Christmas stockings above my fireplace and the scents of chestnuts roasting and the baking spices of our favorite pies...yum!
Throughout the entire holiday season, family and friends gather for dinners and lunches full of love and laughter. It’s the time of year when people dress to impress and bring their holiday cheer. It was this fabric that made me think of all the goodness the holiday season brings. This cream/gold fabric is absolutely beautiful. The versatility of the fabric makes it interchangeable as casual or formal wear, or even for day-to-night attire. It also would work well for table runners and napkins or any homemade accessories and decorations.
This lightweight woven cotton fabric was super easy to care for & wash and surprisingly didn’t wrinkle as much as I thought it would. Additionally, because it is a cotton fabric is was really easy to work with and I loved using my handy-dandy pinking shears to eliminate any fraying. Sewing with this fabric was nothing short of a dream. The cream fabric mutes the festive gold holly pattern, and together it really presents as a subtle Christmas elegance.
This vibrant antique woven fabric had to be paired with a classic vintage dress design. I looked at this pairing as vintage meets antique. The “same but different” so I thought to myself. I have recently become quite a vintage enthusiast. The full look of the 1950s was mature, sophisticated, glamorous and well assembled. Undergarments, skirts and dresses were constricting, but a wide range of new somewhat relaxed clothes allowed people to dress casually when not in public. In the 1950’s women specifically were expected to be flawlessly dressed and had to carry themselves with grace in public.
I knew right away that I had to sew a vintage style dress and this Gertie Butterick #B6094 dress was definitely the way to go. The detailed back design is absolutely sexy & exquisite. There was so much richness in this combination. I kept the dress design traditional, lined it with a sheer lining and added a gold piping to the waist which gave a nice accent. The dress is gorgeous inside and out. I also added horsehair trimming. It was my first time working with horsehair braid. Horsehair braid is an easy, fast installation that gives a dramatic, even magical effect! Horsehair appears to lift the hem making it stand out.
Horsehair braid is a woven plastic or nylon that comes in various widths and weights. The horsehair braid combined with the fabric was also very easy to sew as a combination. As if the horsehair wasn't enough, I added a vintage petticoat that gave it the fullness I desired.
Finally, with all this said I am excited about the holidays and hope you all are excited to sew something special for the occasion using this cheery fabric.
It’s that time of year again!! Apple cider with cinnamon yummy yum yum. Planning for the holidays can be stressful but this year I told myself that I won’t waste my time stressing and to just enjoy the moment. I have always wanted to make Christmas pj’s and when I saw this lovely lightweight fabric (it gets hot in our house).
I knew I had to use it!! My husband loves penguins so it was the perfect choice. I used x3 different patterns Simplicty 1504 for mine and hubby’s, Burda 9384 for Saoirse and Simplicity 1578 for my dog.
I have never made pajamas before so this was a real treat and I think from now on I’ll just make my own. The Simplicity pattern 1504 called for cording around the collar and bodice which was something I’ve always wanted to try out and for my set I added pink bias tape around the sleeve and pants hem just to add a pop of color and I used a baby blue for my hubby's pants hem.
I ended up running out of fabric for my hubby’s top so I used up some navy fleece from my fabric stash. I loved the pattern I used for my dog, he acted like it was the worst thing ever when I put it on him but I know deep down he loved it as he got a lot of attention from Saoirse when he wore it lol. I liked the fact that this pattern has the option to use it as a reflective vest, it has placement guides for the reflective tape on the pattern and now that the nights are getting darker it would be very useful to make one for our evening walks together!! There is not much lighting in our neighborhood so this would help us out a lot.
Saoirse’s onesie worked out well, the pattern called for 3 snaps but I just used 2 snaps each side. I must be on a snap buzz because I used snaps for everyones makes!! I bought a kam snap before Saoirse was born hoping to make some cloth diapers. That was a #fail because I didn’t make any. However it worked out nicely for me this time around because I would of had to of made 12 buttonholes and I most certainly am one of those sewists who hold there breath every time I push that start button. These makes where pretty easy BUT I did have to keep in mind when I was cutting the pattern pieces out that the print is one directional so there was thinking involved when placing out the pattern pieces making sure I didn’t cut them upside down etc. So if you are thinking of buying this fabric keep that in mind. I think the hardest part for this was getting everyone to look at the camera at the same time.
I hope everybody has a lovely Christmas and find some inspiration from this blog post. Homemade gifts are always the best, well to me they are (maybe I’m being biased). Have a safe and wonderful Christmas.
Thanks for reading
Hello Minerva readers! I am beyond excited to write this post and show you my new sequined skirt! I made the Style Arc Sorrento skirt from this navy and white sequin lace fabric and it turned out just perfectly.
This project included a couple of firsts for me. It was my first time sewing a pattern from Style Arc and it was my first time sewing with sequins. Admittedly, it was the sequins that made me most nervous about this but I had heard that the instructions on Style Arc patterns are rather minimal and I wasn’t sure where I fit onto their size chart.
As far as the pattern, it’s a simple elastic waist skirt that is made up of an a-line top section and two curved flounces that create a lovely, swingy hem. The instructions were, indeed, minimal, but with such simple construction they were more than adequate for me. There were plenty of notches to help match up the pieces and a diagram showing how to attach the flounces to the upper part of the skirt.
The sequins gave me pause when the fabric came in the mail. The description is sequin lace fabric, but the back side of the fabric wasn’t what I expected at all. It’s sort of a mesh lace that has an open pattern. I discovered right away that the fabric would need a lining for modesty’s sake, but probably also for comfort.
I settled on using a navy rayon challis to line my skirt. I cut two pairs of the upper skirt portion, one from the sequins and one from the rayon. Since there is a double layer of sequined fabric at the bottom flounces, and it is from my knees down, I left that area unlined.
After I had a talk about my project with my fellow Minerva blog contributor Cortney through DM on Instagram, and a perusal of sequined skirts on Pinterest, I settled on cutting the waistband from the navy rayon instead of attempting to use the sequins for it. I love having the contrasting waistband-- it’s much more comfortable on my waistline and it adds some unique interest to the skirt.
Marking the notches was a bit of a challenge in the meshy lace. I couldn’t just cut a notch because it would be pretty difficult to spot on the open lace pattern. I did try tailor’s tacks but quickly lost steam with that idea since it was taking a while to do each one. In the end I marked them with a small dot of my daughter’s washable Crayola marker, which was so much quicker!
I have read that it’s recommended to remove the sequins from the seam allowances of your project before sewing, but I didn’t do this. The sequins are somewhat randomly placed over the lace backing on this fabric. If they were covering it fully I would have needed to remove them from the seam allowances. I tested out how my machine would handle sewing over them and it mostly did just fine. I did break a needle while I was constructing the skirt, but other than that the process was much simpler than I expected.
The only area where the seams looked a bit thick was the point where the two flounces attach to the upper part of the skirt. There are three layers of sequined fabric in that seam so I did some grading and trimming of the seam allowances to try to reduce some of the bulk there.
I left all of my sequined fabric seam allowances raw inside my skirt since this lacy fabric doesn’t fray. I was also able to leave the hems of the flounces raw, which saved a lot of time! There is quite a lot of hemline on this skirt!
I love how the skirt has a swingy shape that shimmers and sparkles when I move. It’s a little bit difficult to tell that there is an upper flounce at all because the fabric blends into itself. I’d love to try this again in a flowy rayon for a completely different look.
I had some leftover rayon from my lining so I made an Ogden cami to pair with my skirt. This is the perfect holiday party outfit for me. I feel so fancy, while also being very comfortable.
It was so much fun for me to try sewing with sequins! I am glad that I got the chance to try a fabric that I assumed would be too fussy or difficult to sew. Now that I have the perfect sparkly outfit I need to start planning a party so I can wear it!
~TeriFa Sew La // @teridodds1
Hello everyone! My name is Kaisa and I am from Finland. I am 20 years old and I have sewed for about 5 years now. My native language is not English so I hope that my terms are right and you don’t get bored because of the simple language :D
I wanted to make an artsy cotton shirt. That’s why I picked Lady McElroy Cotton Shirting Fabric. This fabric is 100% cotton, light and non-stretch. The background of the fabric is Cream and there are little light blue stripes on it. There was also another colour choice available which was pink with green stripes.
The fabric showcases the shape of the shirt beautifully. The shirt has interesting and funny details. The shirt has a little stand-up collar which closes with a snap. However, the snapper is hidden below the list. There is an open pleat on the shoulder.
The sleeves are short which gives lightness to the shirt and they are interestingly folded from the shoulder. The sleeves were pretty hard to sew and I did a little bit of wrinkling on the shoulders.
Thanks for reading,
Hi there! As this is my first post on the Minerva blog I thought I should go ahead and introduce myself. My name is Kelsie but some of you may know me as @heysewimnewhere on Instagram. I was so thrilled to join the Minerva Maker team and even more thrilled to receive this beautiful Twill Weave Crepe Fabric all the way from the UK! I’ve had the Amy jumpsuit pattern by Closet Case Patterns cut out for months now and I knew that this fabric would showcase wonderfully with such a simple pattern.
Here’s a close up of the fabric itself, as it definitely deserves one. The twill weave on this fabric is such a nice detail that upgrades this fabric to a more refined level. Something about a twill weave just feels kind of fancy to me! There’s a small amount of stretch to this crepe as well, which really ups the comfort factor no matter what you make out of it. Closet Case Patterns recommends either a drapey woven, to give it more of a swishy effect, or a crisp woven to get a more structured silhouette. I feel that this Minerva fabric somehow accomplishes both of these effects, as it has a good amount of body but also swishes beautifully when moved. Just look at the drape on the leg!
Now onto the pattern itself. I made a straight size 12 with no modifications. In hindsight I should have taken an inch or two of length out of the bodice to get the crotch to be a bit more fitted to my body. I think that the extra length doesn’t look bad, this is just more of a comfort modification. For reference, I’m on the shorter side at 5’3. I was hoping to omit the zipper as the instructions said it could be possible for narrower hips, but I guess I was kidding myself there-hah! I had never inserted a lining with a side zipper before and the instructions for this were very clear. Overall, this was a very straightforward make that I enjoyed every step of the way. I love the thick straps and extra wide legs. This will be an easy outfit to throw on in a pinch and dress up for those more special occasions.
If you happen to choose this specific fabric for the Amy jumpsuit here are some notes on how I handled the fabric as it is a bit on the thicker side. Since it’s a sturdy feeling fabric I decided to skip the interfacing recommended for the neckline and the side seam where the zipper will be placed. I still staystitched the neckline and serged my raw edges which I think gave the fabric any support it might have gained from interfacing. I also used my edgestitch foot to topstitch the straps and the belt. This fabric doesn’t take to pressing very well so the straps and belt looked a bit rounded before I topstitched them. Topstitching gave them a nice flat finish and looked very professional in my opinion! I also edge stitched along the upper opening of the pocket to make the fabric lay well and keep the pocket inside the garment. In retrospect I might have used a lighter weight fabric for the pockets as these look a bit bulky under the pant leg.
I really loved working this fabric and would definitely recommend it for your future projects! I think it works best on garments without too many seams to press so the Amy jumpsuit was a great fit. I would also love to see it made into a simple top like the Inari tee or some bottoms like the Pietra shorts by Closet Case patterns. Thanks for reading!
Soraya back on the blog again today with a super casual cosy winter make! This time around I chose to make ANOTHER Seamwork pattern. I made the Skipper Sweater and it’s the perfect winter basic. It is a super quick and easy pattern to just whip up in a spare few hours.
I’ve made and featured a few of Seamwork’s patterns on the blog, but for those of you who are not quite as familiar with them, here is what they are all about. Seamwork is an independent digital sewing magazine. The magazine is free, but if you choose to subscribe you pay a monthly fee, and this gives you credits. You are then able to trade the credits for digital PDF patterns from their extensive library. They have hundreds of patterns available and many different free hacks and variations you can try.
2 Seamwork patterns come out per month with the magazine and they show you samples, ideas and inspiration in their issue. Their patterns are also really inclusive, in sizes 0-26 which is fabulous. The Skipper pattern can be found here.
The fabric I used for my project was this leopard print lurex French Terry Fabric.
It has a subtle glitter or shimmer running through it, and is very interesting. It is a light to medium weight, doesn’t have much stretch and has the looped back threads on the reverse side.Due to these qualities it is a very stable knit and would be great for a beginner to sew with as it should not curl or bunch under your machine.You may also need to cut out a larger size to compensate for this.
Because it doesn’t have a lot of stretch, I decided to slightly modify the original pattern and add ribbing cuffs and a neckband.I also opted to sew a folded hem instead of finishing with a bottom band.
It turned out very comfortable casual and slouchy overall. Super easy to wear with jeans and some sneakers or even with your trackies on the couch.
Not too much more to say as it was just such a quick, simple and easy make.
Why not give making one a try?
Follow along with my sewing adventures on instagram, where I share all my makes @sewnbysoraya.
The moment that I saw this beautiful fabric I fell in love. I knew that I had to bring it to life as a special piece, a beautiful ball gown seemed like the perfect fit for the festive season.
I made this dress 100% free hand with no pattern. I sketched the design and brought it to life using the skills I have acquired over the past two years.
This fabric was an absolute dream to sew with. I used this stunning satin fabric in the colour Ruby. This fabric is only £8.99 per meter and for that price it is an absolute steal, it is the most luxurious fabric I have ever had the pleasure to sew with. It is a non-stretch, medium weight fabric, which drapes beautifully. The underside side is a matte, dull finish and the other side is a shiny glossy satin that feels as soft as butter. I used this lining fabric (in shade 367) which matched the outer fabric perfectly.
Let’s start with the bodice...to create the bodice, created a simple princess seam block, then drew on the block, where I wanted the neck line to go. The bodice is fully lined which gives it that luxurious feel.
This skirt is a full circle skirt with about three inch wide pleats. Now, the calculations for this absolutely blew my mind, but the Circle Skirt Calculator from By Hand London helped a lot with working out the measurements for this skirt. The bit pleats give this skirt incredible depth and movement when walking.
The showstopper for me though is the gorgeous long open leg at the side of the dress. It adds a dash of that red carpet glamour that we have seen so much recently on celebrities like Bella Hadid.
This dress has taken me about two months to complete, with working full time and having an active social life, it has been hard to get it done within the normal four week time frame. It was really important for me to make this dress as perfect as possible. If you follow my Instagram, you will have seen the making process and how I have slaved over every detail to make it as perfect as possible. It is by far the most precious item in my wardrobe. Love and commitment has been put into every single stitch.
I cannot wait to wear this show stopper to an event this season. I think It will be a bit like a Cinderella moment. Hopefully I will find my Prince Charming...who knows! :)
This dress has been a pleasure to make and is really precious to me. I would love to see if you ladies make anything using this fabric because I am obsessed and I have my eye on the bottle green shade in this same fabric for my Christmas dress.
I hope you have loved reading my blog. If you would like to see more creations from me,you can follow me on Instagram @SewingForTheSoul_.
Lots of love and seasonal best wishes,
Rose from Sewing For The Soul
Pssst! You… yes YOU, I’m back again, but this time with a special Christmas make. Let me tell you a secret… (whispers) Christmas is my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE time of year: the caroling, the festivities, the baked ham smothered with pineapple and cherries…mmmm, what’s not to love????? Now that I’ve taken to sewing, I have one additional item to add to my list of treasured Christmas items - Christmas fabric – clearly any sewists dream…am I right?
If you’re on the hunt for Christmas fabric Minerva is the place to go! There were sewwww many beautiful pieces of fabric to choose from but in the end, I opted for a light-weight, cotton broadcloth because who doesn’t love sewing with cotton? They are easy to cut and sew, they press very well and are quite breathable, which is always a plus for us island girls! This particular fabric has a cream base and is peppered with gold snowflakes - sorta ironic, considering it never EVER snows in the Caribbean.
When I selected the fabric, I thought I wanted to make another dress, but hadn’t pin pointed ‘the one’. As fate would have it, I was hit by a bout of sewing sickness as a result of several fitting fails in previous projects. Unsurprisingly, when my material finally arrived in the mail, as excited as I was about the fabric, I was stumped about what to make. I kept thinking ‘I don’t want to mess up this pretty fabric.’ I went through my pattern stash several times and finally opted for the Lizzie skirt by Sew Over It. I’ve used Sew Over It patterns before, as a matter of fact, my last bog post featured the Sew Over It Betty Dress. I think their patterns have a certain vintage vybe to them (which I like) and the instructions are pretty comprehensive (which I like even more!). The Lizzie skirt is a pleated skirt, lined with a half circle skirt (I think), a waistband, invisible zipper and - drumroll please… POCKETS!
The fabric is pretty light weight and so I opted to include the lining skirt (though you can make the skirt without it). I figured the lining would offer a bit more structure to the skirt whilst simultaneously guarding against ‘flashing panties’. I chose a size 14, based on the finished garment measurements of the Lizzie Skirt. I altered the length by shortening it 3” both on the outer skirt and the lining skirt resulting in a knee-grazing skirt. Next time I’ll probably shorten it another ½” or so for the perfect length. I gotta admit that I find knee length skirts much more flattering on me than below the knee/midi lengths which honestly make me feel a little frumpy.
Having basted the skirt together to check the fit, I found that the waist was too big for my liking and I ended up removing 1 ½” total width from both the outer fabric and the lining. These were the only changes I made to the pattern. I followed the instructions and as I suspected, the construction of the skirt was pretty easy. My only recommendation is to secure the pleats with lots of pins before machine basting, or alternatively, to baste the pleats by hand. From my limited experience, any shifting in your pleats can easily result in a skirt that ends up too big at the waist! The only thing I didn’t love about this pattern was the centre front seam. I suppose, that unless you manage to get your hands on some really wide fabric or cut the skirt on the cross-wise grain, the seam seems pretty unavoidable.
All in all I enjoyed this make. Beautiful fabric + easy construction = winning project! For sure, this sew has definitely helped me get my sew-jo back!
If you wanna join my sewing journey, check me out on Instagram @unsewcial.
Gotta love you and leave you until next time,
Bust: 41.5” * Waist: 33.25” * Hips: 42”
As luck would have it, I was given the opportunity to make something from a metre of this great green Christmas cotton fabric. First impressions on the fabric are that it has a great feel and should be a dream to sew. I did not prewash my fabric, as the finished items are not likely to be washed!
In total, I made four things from my metre of fabric, and used almost every piece of it.
My first choice for a make was "Delight" by Emma's Bears. This was designed as a signature bear, to be made from plain calico so you can write on the finished bear. The fabric I'm using already has seasonal writing on it, so this bear will be embracing all things Christmas! This cotton fabric is a lot thinner than calico, so I thought if I was to fuse some interfacing onto the cotton then it would make it more like a calico weight and stiffness. I wasn't too sure if I needed lightweight interfacing or medium-weight, so I made two bears: the first with lightweight interfacing, while the second was made using medium weight interfacing. To be honest, I can't tell much of a difference on the finished bear between the two different interfacing weights although while sewing, the medium weight did have more of a calico feel to it.
To get the pattern cut out accurately, I redrew the seam allowance on the pattern at 3/8" before cutting the pattern pieces out. Then I traced the pattern pieces onto interfacing and cut that out, before fusing the interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric, paying close attention to the words on the fabric (as much as possible), to ensure I had the best layout that I could. I then cut around the pattern pieces with pinking shears, to prevent the pieces from fraying as I'm sewing and turning them.
I found that Coats Moon M0039 was a brilliant match for the green base colour of the fabric, and used that for almost every piece of sewing on these bears. My only deviation was some black embroidery thread for the noses and mouths.
To ensure the seams were securely sewn, I used a triple straight stretch stitch, then used two strands of thread to hand sew the turning gaps closed after stuffing. I couldn't find suitably sized toy joints in my sewing bag, so I hand stitched the head in place on the larger bears, again using two strands of thread, running the stitches around the head twice for a more secure finish.
The first bear has 12mm regular eyes, while the second has 12mm googly eyes just for fun. I wanted to make sure the hole for the eyes was accurate and also didn't fray over time. Rather than cutting a small hole, I used my Prym Love vario pliers to make a neat round hole then added some fray check around the raw edge to stop it from fraying. Once that was dry, I added the safety eyes in as normal.
The limbs are thread jointed using four strands of thread to make sure they are really strong. It seemed strange picking out buttons for a teddy bear, but it does add an extra feature to the limbs of each bear.
As with my previous makes, I raided my Mum's button tin to find some suitable buttons for each bear. I picked out different buttons for my bears so they each have a unique look. Of course you could be really creative and use a different coloured button for each limb on the bear, or maybe a shaped button instead of the regular round one.
Both larger bears used around 350g of toy stuffing each, as they need to be stuffed really firmly. I'm more used to making bears from faux fur or fleece where you can get away with a less dense filling. If you don't fill bears made from cotton firmly, you end up with puckers and creases in each piece, which really doesn't look right for this style of bear.
I was wary when it came with the stuffing, given that I needed to cram in as much as I could – how would the cotton withstand that? I am pleased to say that it withheld a lot of force and extra stuffing, and none of the stitches broke either!
The text on the fabric is written in different directions, which made for some interesting fussy cutting for the ears and paw pads... unfortunately it did result in the belly of one bear having totally upside-down writing, but I think that just adds to his charm and personality.
Having made these two bears, I knew I probably wouldn't have enough fabric left to make third bear the same size, so I printed the pattern at "two to a page" to give me a smaller scale bear. To ensure the fabric was easier to work with, I fused the medium weight interfacing to the cotton before cutting the pieces out. I stuck with using the pinking shears, as the smaller the pieces, the harder it is to turn them and the more manipulating you need to do which in turn can lead to more fraying.
Being a smaller bear, he obviously needed smaller eyes – the 6mm black eyes I had in my sewing bag were a perfect fit. I did cut a small piece of black acrylic felt for his nose, then stitched over it. That way the green fabric doesn't show through if any of my nose stitches aren't as accurate as they could be!
I thought that hand sewing the head to the body on that bear would be a little too fiddly, so I added a 35mm toy joint for the head. Ideally it would have benefitted from a smaller one, but that just about worked ok.
Having made those three bears, there was a small piece of fabric left. No way near enough to make another cuddly, but I thought it might work to make a small covered sketchbook. I didn't have enough to make the exact size listed in that pattern, so my covers are just a little larger than the 6x4" plain record cards I used on the inside. I also used double-sided fusible buckram rather than cardboard, and skipped the batting to make the buckram easier to fuse once it was slipped in place. That gives a thinner cover, but I don't think that's a problem.
I felt that eyelets would give a better finish than sewing a circle or a buttonhole around the punched hole, so I added some 4mm eyelets. Deviating slightly from the pattern again, I threaded a piece of DK yarn through the eyelets and card inside to hold it all together, instead of using binder rings.
This sketchbook would make a neat present for a young wannabe artist, or even for someone a little older who just likes sketching or painting. You could make it into a calendar, or even a bullet journal. I'll be using mine to draw some seasonal pictures, and the beauty of the removable pages is that if I want to, I can reuse the cover next year by just adding new record cards on the inside!
Thank you Minerva for sending me this fabric! It was great fun to pick out some suitable items to make, and also to try challenging myself to use as much of the metre as possible while still being able to fussy cut some of the pieces. I hope I've helped to get you in a Christmas sewing mood, and have given you some inspiration on what to make from this fantastic fabric - I think I have Christmas all sewn up!
Dragon's Flame Designs