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Cotton Gauze Simplicity 1279

Hi everyone

My name is Sandra Lloyd and I am a self-taught sewer. I was attracted to this Cotton Gauze Fabric for several reasons; it is cotton, lightweight, loose weave and soft upon the skin. Having never sewn with stripes, I also thought that this fabric would provide me with a development opportunity in my sewing journey.

When the fabric arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the unusual texture. This fabric is absolutely gorgeous and would be suitable for a wide range of projects.

As my sewing skills has been appraised by others as improving, I decided to challenge myself and pair this fabric with Simplicity 1279 – Threads.

Selecting this pattern was rather ambitious for me as the pattern included techniques new to me; yoke facing, collar stand, cuffs, slash opening at lower edge of sleeve, continuous lap binding to finish the sleeve opening, front bands and all those buttonholes.

Going by the pattern envelope, my measurements of 39–34–42 roughly equated to size 18 (40-32-42) however the actual pattern tissue recorded that the total ease above body measurements was approximately 6.5”. I decided to downsize to size 16 (finished bust measurement 44.5”)

The only alterations that I made was to accommodate my height of 5’8” and long arms of 23”; I lengthen the blouse by 3” and the sleeves by 2”.

I took my time pinning the fabric to the pattern ensuring that all lines were straight.

The pattern instructions were very clear, however, due to lack of experience, I struggled with a few steps.

The sleeve slash opening and continuous lap binding - I decided to watch a few tutorials on a video sharing platform. I made a few samples before attempted to do this step on my project. I also followed the pattern instruction to apply Fray Check to the point of the slash to prevent the fabric from fraying.

Topstitching the front bands– I just could not get the knack of sewing this in a straight even line. After repeating the process of stitching and unpicking, I finally clicked that all I had to do was simply align the presser foot and move the position of the needle to the left or right…. Easy when you know how. This fabric held up very well being stitched, unpicked and stitched again.  

An irreversible mistake that I made was to make my buttonholes on the left front band. I only noticed this when I had completed the project. This is an error I can live with and one that I have put down as experience.

I used a blue marker to mark my notches and therefore had to re-wash the garment. The fabric washed up lovely at the lower temperature of 30 degrees and did not take long to air-dry.

Although this project took me quite a long time to complete, it was worth it. This fabric was a dream to sew and it is very easy to iron.

Just a little encouragement to those new to sewing. Do not give up as you will get there one stitch at a time.

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Swiss Dot Fifi Pyjamas

Hi Everyone!

Does anyone else ever find themselves making seasonally inappropriate clothes? Since I started sewing a few years ago I have found myself making sweatshirts in summer and lightweight dresses in winter – it seems to be a compulsion I just can’t shake. I’m sure it says something about my personality.....

I had originally planned to make a blouse with this gorgeous Swiss Dot Cotton Fabric but when it arrived I decided to give in to my compulsion and make a set of Fifi Summer Pyjamas. I’ve admired this pattern by Tilly and the Buttons for a long time but it looked quite complicated and difficult to fit so it has sat on the back burner for months. The minute I saw the fabric I knew it was going to be a perfect match with the pattern so I bit the bullet and cut out a Fifi. Minerva had kindly sent me 2.5 metres so I knew if the fit of the camisole wasn’t right I had enough fabric to cut out another.

Let me talk about the fabric for a minute. As everyone knows I am a sucker for a floral print. Big and bold prints, teeny ditsy prints – I love them all! This particular print is so sweet – lots of little red rosebuds on a cream background. The fabric is a lightweight cotton with little textured dots all over it – very easy to sew with which was good given that this was the first time I had made this pattern. Next time I would be confident enough to try it in a slippery fabric such as satin or even silk.

I really liked the Fifi pattern as the details are so pretty. The cups have little pleats underneath them and the straps are made from bias binding. This was the first time I had made my own bias binding so that’s another skill to tick off the to-do list. Actually it was super easy so I have another use for all my scraps! Tilly’s instructions are always clear and the camisole came together in no time. I did follow them to the letter and made sure I stay stitched all the edges of the camisole as it is cut on the bias so could stretch out of shape very easily. The camisole and shorts are all finished with French seams, which means they look as pretty on the inside as they do on the outside. It was refreshing not to have to get my overlocker out for a change! 

I needn’t have worried about the fit of the camisole after all. Luckily it ended up being a great fit without needing any adjustments. I had to play around with the length of the straps to get the cups to sit right but once they were a good length it was just a case of cutting them down and tucking them under.  I finished off the camisole with a little red rosebud in the centre where the cups meet. 

True to form I did make one mistake on my pyjamas. I was a bit blasé about making sure my pattern pieces were the right way up as it is so similar on the wrong side. But of course one side has the textured dots and the other side doesn’t which I realised after I had French seamed the camisole together!  So the body of the camisole has the dots on the inside and the cups have them on the outside. To be honest it doesn’t really bother me as it’s a really tiny detail but it will teach me to be more careful next time.

The shorts were very quick and easy and are a great length. I might grade up to the next size at the hips next time just to get a bit more room there. As I have discovered through dressmaking my hips are the largest part of my body which I hadn’t really realised before. Grading out to the hips is becoming a standard adjustment for me these days.

I would have modelled the pyjamas for the blog photos but the fabric is slightly sheer and no-one needs to see that on the internet! Not sure my carpet is the best background for photos – will try harder next time! 

Although the cooler weather is coming in fast I have been wearing the pyjamas in bed - I’ve just been snuggling under a duvet as well!  I will soon put them away with the rest of my summer wardrobe but will look forward to wearing them again next year. 

Thank you to Minerva for providing me with the lovely fabric and thanks to you all for reading my post!

Emma @emmsy.sews

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Reversible Scuba Knit Monarch Jacket

Hello sewing friends it’s me again, Sara from @sewverysara! I am excited to share with you today my latest make, the Monarch Jacket by Allie Olson, out of this Lady McElroy Reversible Scuba Fabric.

I initially bought this fabric to make a color blocked dress but once I got it in the mail and saw that it was much thicker and stiffer than I anticipated I quickly changed plans. Next time I will pay attention to the weight listed in the description. I had my eyes on a couple of jacket patterns that I thought would work but this bomber style jacket won out. Also, I had everything I needed to make it so that helped the decision making too.

This fabric washed and dried beautifully. I used my normal wash and dry settings and ran into no issues. Like most fabrics it did soften a bit in the wash. The heathered side is super soft to the touch. It doesn’t have a ton of stretch so I would keep that in mind when deciding your pattern. It comes in two color ways so if you are not a blue person it also comes in a beautiful mocha color.

The fabric sewed up beautifully. I have sewn with scuba before but never one this thick so I honestly did not know what to expect. I treated it as a regular knit and mainly used my serger with exception to basting the collar in place. I set the iron on a lower setting because I was worried I would burn the darker side but the heathered side was fine on a normal cotton setting. I was worried that the seams would be bulky but that was not the case and they behaved perfectly and laid flat. The snaps also set in nicely with no issues. If you are braver than me regular buttons and buttonholes will work just as well since this is a pretty stable fabric.

As for the pattern, the Monarch Jacket was very well written and easy to follow. I had never made one of Allie Olson’s patterns so I didn’t know what to expect but was nicely surprised. I did grade between sizes just because my hips were a different size than my upper body. I also added 2 inches of length because the pattern was designed for someone an inch shorter than me and I wanted it to be a tad bit longer than it was designed. I chose to show off the two sides of the fabric by doing a little color blocking on the collar, cuffs, and waistband. This is where having reversible fabric was amazing because I didn’t have to have two different fabrics. Can you tell I am all about making my life easy?

I love this fabric and I love this pattern! This piece I know is going to be one of the most worn pieces in my wardrobe for Fall, Winter, and possibly early Spring. Thank you for reading and as always happy sewing!

Thanks for reading,

Sara @sewverysara

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Saraste Shirt Dress

Hi! It’s Cass @Craftyprofessor and today I’m sharing a project which came about because I ordered too much fabric for my husband’s Fairfield Shirt.  This awesome Planteur Digital Print Cotton Fabric is really wide and I was easily able to get these two projects out of 3.5 meters. When I had so much fabric left over from his shirt, I was really excited to make something for myself. I have had the Saraste Shirt Dress on my list, and I thought this fun print would be perfect for that dress! This pattern has some really neat details such as a ruffle on the collar, and I really like the seams and panels down the center front that aren’t gathered.  A fabric with less going on may accentuate these details a little better, but it totally works with a busy print, too. 

I haven’t made this pattern before and I decided not to make a muslin and just hope for the best!  I have made a few other things from Named Clothing and from this book – Breaking the Pattern, and they all fit relatively well without any adjustments, so I had that going for me! I actually loaned this pattern book from my library, so I have all of the pdf patterns, but only photos of the instruction pages – and not all of the pages. I had most of the instructions, and luckily, I have recently made several button down shirts, so I could figure everything out. Named Clothing Patterns has just one size chart for all of their patterns, which is kind of nice, so I went with the same size that has worked for me with their other patterns. My current measurements are 32.5 (upper bust), 34.5 (bust), 27.5 (waist), and 38ish (hips).  I made a straight size US 6 and it fits perfectly!

While I feel like the patterns from this book are really high quality, sometimes the instructions are a bit scant, but again, since I am familiar with all of these techniques, it has worked out fine for me. The construction is pretty straight forward, but I will mention a couple of items that I would do differently next time. 

First, the recommended placement of the interfacing for the button placket is a couple inches from the edge of the fabric. This resulted in a tiny little edge of the interfacing sticking out and showing on the inside of the dress along the button plackets. Next time, I would place the interfacing closer to the edge of the fabric so that it gets fully enclosed by the placket. 

The other thing that I had a bit of trouble with was attaching the ruffle to the collar without getting it stuck in the seams. This is actually not hard, and the instructions even warned me about it. I thought I had it all figured out and pinned it out of the way, and then I got it stuck in the other seam! Oh well, easy fix! 

I also like to include a fun print for pockets and the yoke facing (though this print is probably fun enough on its own!!). I actually forgot to add pockets to this one, but I used some fun mermaid fabric for the yoke facing that I had a tiny scrap of in my stash! 

The dress is actually a fairly quick make and everything came together pretty seamlessly – pun intended! The most time consuming part was dealing with all of the threads for the buttons and button holes! I decided to use 16 buttons. I didn’t have 16 matching buttons, but I had 8 of each of these almost matching buttons. One set is maroon and the other set is mauve, but I decided that the difference wouldn’t be noticeable if I alternated the colors. 

I took my project out on my porch on a nice afternoon to mark the placement and my husband and 3 year old son joined me. Then, a few minutes in, my son says, “Mama, where did that button go? I blinged it!” (Yes, this is a made up word). We looked and looked and looked for that 16th button to no avail.  He was so concerned for days and would say “Let’s look for the button, Mama” every time we went out on the porch. All this to say, the bottom button does not match the rest, and I will happily think of my sweet toddler every time I see it!

Making the button holes and sewing on the buttons (which I do with my machine), was really quick. I was rushing to get them done before a road trip we were taking so that I could spend my time as a passenger tucking in and clipping threads. It was pretty tedious, and next time I might try a cool snap look, but I’m so happy with this dress! 

The fabric is so fun, and even though I used it for two projects back to back, I didn’t get sick of it! The dress pattern has just enough fun/different details to make this a little more than ‘just another shirt dress’!

Thanks for reading! You can find more of my makes on my Instagram!

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Butterick 6563

There is just something so special and pleasing about a versatile garment. Butterick 6563 has always been in my queue because I knew it would work perfectly for my wardrobe throughout the year. I can just imagine it layered under my jumpers in the winter or alone with my high waist skirts in the summer. Not only that, this blouse can go from prim and proper to fun and playful with some quick changes within seconds. I haven’t quite decided which is my favorite way to wear this garment, but I do know I love them all.

When I glimpsed this lovely floral Cotton Sateen Fabric at Minerva, quite a few possible ideas and patterns started to float around my head. I knew without a doubt that I would go with the blue colorway because blue florals are my favorite—and surprisingly difficult to find. I must note that the pink colorway was quite lovely, also. The day arrived and my parcel was in my box. I was excited to get a feel for the fabric and tore into the package. As soon as I felt it, I knew I had finally found the perfect fabric for a beautiful blouse. The fabric was light with such a lovely drape that I knew it would work perfectly for our intense heat here in South Carolina, USA.

I really enjoyed sewing with this fabric. Cotton is still my favorite fabric to work with because not only does it feel wonderful, but it is a dream to sew with. Pressing is so satisfying. Before sewing, I prewashed the fabric on a normal setting in cold water and tumble dried in the dryer. Surprisingly, there were no lingering wrinkles from the dryer, so I immediately began to cut. This pattern does not have many pieces which made cutting quite quick.

I usually go back and forth between size 6 and 8 with patterns; however, I decided to go with the size 8 because I wanted a roomy, comfortable top. I think choosing this option was a good move.

I chose to go with Version B of the garment because the collar, necktie, and sleeve option were lovely. I made no major modifications to the pattern and quite enjoyed the construction. I should note that for the facing I chose to serge my raw edges with my overlocker. I also secured the facing to the inside of the garment by stitching in the ditch of the shoulder seams. Another construction detail I really enjoyed was attaching the sleeve facing. This lovely detail was a departure from the typical folded sleeve hem and it hearkened back to vintage constructions of garments. Altogether, the pattern was quite clear and easy to follow along.

In terms of notions, I originally planned to go with some lilac buttons from my stash. However, while picking up interfacing from the fabric store, I saw these beautiful blue buttons. I knew they would perfectly compliment the blouse.

Overall, this was quite a lovely pattern and it has officially been added to my go-to pattern list. The fabric made creating this garment quite a wonderful experience. I’m looking forward to adding about 3 additional Butterick 6563’s to my wardrobe.

Much love,

Constance @cleocmc

Stitching Over the Days

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Creating for JOY

What drives you as a maker? What pushes you to create, and to keep creating with a passion that bubbles out of you? Even when inspiration is running low? For me, that drive is fueled by the desire to infuse joy and rhythm in my life, to make sense of the unorganized chaos that is me. To get lost in the details, the methods, and the sounds; as the pattern reveals itself as a thing of beauty and as something I can have control over in all aspects, if I choose to dedicate time to it: fit, drape, and personal style. I create because it infuses peace and stress relief in my life. And most of all it brings me immense joy. I have been lucky enough to have making as a good friend, that has carried me through some of the most difficult times in my life…and it continues to do that for me daily. 

I have always loved to create, for as long as I can remember. But, my journey as a more focused maker began in 2005 after a bad breakup with a boyfriend. To relieve the stress associated with that situation, I began knitting. In those early months, I knit so many terrible scarves out of acrylic yarn!  They were so awful, but they made me so happy. I could create something out of simple materials using my hands. I could do this anywhere and most importantly, it helped me to work through my emotions surrounding the breakup, discovering joy on the other side. 

Years later, following the tragic death of my brother, I pursued photography along with knitting. Through photography, I discovered that making images also brought joy, especially when combined with authentic emotion, dynamic color, and movement. And it too, reinforced my passion to create. To make something, out of seemingly nothing.  To document.  To remember.  I would get lost for hours upon hours as my desire to create allowed me to escape, heal, and live abundantly.

Now, after adding sewing to my making arsenal, I feel as though I am complete as a maker. I can tackle whole projects with ease and create pieces that express who I am and how I want to be portrayed to the world.  Incorporating color is one of my favorite ways to express myself creatively.  Minerva has such an impressive array of fabrics in truly awe-inspiring colors.  The colors that invigorate me most are those that can be found in nature.  For instance, I adore the delicate magenta flowers that can be found on otherwise barren arctic alpine slopes, so when I saw Lady McElroy’s plum Ponte Roma Jersey Fabric I knew that this color would be ideal for creating a fantastic Friday Pattern Company Hilo Dress.

Minerva’s Lady McElroy ponte roma jersey fabric has excellent recovery, drape, and opaque thickness that I like in my dresses. It was also a dream to sew. I only washed it once before constructing the Hilo Dress, and cannot speak to whether or not the fabric pills with frequent washing, but the color was still vibrant and the fabric still gorgeous after the first wash.     

For Friday Pattern Company’s Hilo Dress, I made one alteration to the paper pattern prior to cutting my fabric and that was to lengthen it. The pattern is drafted for someone who is 5’5” and at 5’8” I usually have to lengthen garments, so I added three inches and that did the trick!  Based on my measurements I fell between sizes small and medium. I opted to sew the medium, bra-friendly version, to accommodate my growing body (#maternitysewing) but would definitely make the small next time. During the fitting process, I decided that I needed the straps shortened in order to raise the arm scythe; and finally, I shaved 2 inches off the upper layer of the dress (both front and back) to achieve a more cropped look. Leaving the hem raw feels so daring to me, especially since I am a by-the-book process sewist, but I love the fluidity of the fabric sans hem. The Lady McElroy ponte gives this dress more structure and definitely takes it up a notch in terms of elegance.  Coupled with a hand embroidered necklace from a talented artist in Denver, Colorado, I feel amazingly put together in this ensemble. I’ll likely be wearing this to one of my best friends’s weddings in October and look forward to staying comfortable while dancing the night away! 

As a maker, I encourage you to try all the things! Discover and hold on to the ones that really resonate with you and bring a deeper meaning to your life, and let go of the ones that don’t! My life is definitely more full and joy-filled with making, and I’m so glad that I get to explore creating for years to come.  

Have a great day!

-Kelly

@scarlettsjaan
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Two Staple Jersey Tees

Stop the press! I’ve decided these two tops are my makes of the year. No, it’s not some fancy ball gown but these tees have already become a staple in my wardrobe and I love them both so much.

If you know me from my Instagram @thestitchedit you’ll know I make a lot of fancy dresses. Because of this I’ve been struggling to make my wardrobe work for a while as I didn’t have many ‘throw on and go’ clothes. I’d decided I needed a couple of staple tees that will go with a lot of things in my wardrobe and then Minerva sent through an email with some amazing jerseys on it. It was like they knew!

These two jerseys are completely different but both wonderful in their own right. The Leopard Print Fabric is quite lightweight with a lot of drape. You can tell its really good quality as it doesn’t go white when you stretch it and it has great recovery. The pink Cotton Jersey Fabric is heavier weight with less stretch. It is a jersey with body and holds its shape wonderfully. My favourite thing about it is the little gold sprinkles make me feel like a doughnut. Which is no bad thing!

I was initially going to make two of the same t-shirts but as the fabrics are so different it seemed the basic tee pattern I’d chosen wouldn’t do either of them justice.

As the leopard fabric has a lot of drape I decided to make a loose cropped tee to show it off. I chose the staple tee from simple sew. This comes as a dress and a long top with above elbow or 3/4 sleeves. I adjusted the pattern so it stopped just above the hip – the perfect length for tucking into skirts or leaving loose with jeans. I made it in size small and it fitted perfectly. The only extra adjustment I made was to further crop the sleeves and not add sleeve binding. As I was using the same fabric for the binding and the main there wasn’t much point adding it to the sleeves as you wouldn’t really see it.

The pink fabric has a lot more body so I went for the Tilly and the Button Freya top as the high neck and fitted shape is perfect for fabrics with more body. The only adjustment I made was to take an inch off the length. The pattern does stop at a great length but I knew I’d only tuck it in so I shortened it to reduce bulk. I made a size 3 and in hindsight should have made a 4 as it is a little snug. The next time I make this pattern (for there will be a next time) I will grade out from a 3 at the waist to a 4 at the chest and possibly even a 5 at the shoulders as the shoulder seams are sitting quite far in.

So, there you have it! Two “basic” tees, both using jersey, which couldn’t be more different from each other. I am really glad I changed my sewing plans to suit the fabrics as I think they turned out wonderfully. Just don’t ask me to choose which one is my favourite...

Thanks for reading,

Alice-May @thestitchedit

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Cat Pyjamas/Lounge Wear

Hi everyone,

Jayne here from @loopymabels_closet.  I am back on the Minerva blog with my latest sewing creation and this month’s project.

The fabric I chose was this Cat Print Jersey Fabric with a pale green background. I thought it was quite a cute and quirky fabric and not my usual style of fabric. I hadn’t sewn with jersey fabric for years and years and was always a bit apprehensive about using it again. I usually choose chambrays, rayon or linen blends. I also tend to choose floral vintage designs with muted colours. So, this was definitely outside my comfort zone.  But my dressmaking journey is all about trying new fabrics and different styles. 

I do have 4 cats and thought this fabric was very apt for me.

The pattern I chose was New Look 6762 and I decided to make the pants and the t-shirt as a pyjama or lounge wear set. I received this pattern as part of a sewing challenge I took part in over on Instagram earlier in the year …. #patternswap2019 …. where you could swap your unused sewing patterns.  I swapped 4 patterns and managed to receive 4 patterns back. This New Look pattern was one of them. So, I was keen to make something with it as part of the challenge.

The sizes on the pattern meant I was in between so I opted for the next size up rather than going down a size. The pattern came out really big and I did have to take it in on the legs and the sides of the top. In hindsight now though I should’ve realized that with using a jersey fabric there would be stretch in it and I really should have chosen the size down. If I was to make this set again I would be more aware of the sizing and the fabric that I was using. But lesson learnt and it’s all part of my sewing journey. 

I did however have a problem with the same allowances on the top. I misread the pattern and used a smaller seam allowance than recommended. This resulted in the top neck area being larger than it should’ve been. Which meant that when I added the binding for the neck the binding was too long. As you can see in the image the binding is slightly gaping at the front. This wouldn’t have been a problem but as I had already overlooked the top it was difficult to unpick and reduce the same allowance.

It’s not massively noticeable and the top is very wearable. Obviously if I made this top again I would make sure I’ve got my seam allowance right at the very beginning.  Another sewing lesson learned.

I did have to take the legs up quite a bit as I am 5 foot five and they were really long on me. Obviously, the pattern was not designed necessarily to be used as pyjamas and I did think the wide leg trousers maybe too wide for bed. So, I took some width off the inside legs to narrow them down a bit. Obviously as I was planning on using them as pyjamas I didn’t want to end up in a tangled mess in bed.

The pattern recommended using half inch elastic for the waist but I would definitely have used a thicker elastic as I found this to be a little on the thin side.

Apart from those few issues it was a lovely sewing project.

It was a really easy and quick make and after a few sizing issues I whizzed through this pattern in no time. I would definitely recommend this pattern if you’re fairly new to sewing.

This jersey fabric was just so lovely to sew with and I’m so glad I chose it.

I now have a quirky set of pyjamas or lounge wear that I know are going to get well worn.

I am so glad I tried something different and out of my comfort zone too. I am planning on using jersey fabrics again in future sewing projects. So, if you have been hesitating using jersey fabrics like I was, then just have a go and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks for reading!

Jayne @loopymabels_closet

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Tropical Print Sorrel Dress

Hello, my name is Lorraine, and welcome to my first blog post for the Minerva Makers team. I was over the moon to be asked to do this!

For my first make I decided on the Jennifer Lauren Sorrel dress. This pattern was released last year but it was only available as part of her Kickstarter campaign to launch paper versions of her patterns. I kept seeing really lovely versions of the dress on Instagram but by the time I discovered it, the Kickstarter campaign had finished and the pattern wasn’t available. The pattern was finally released at the end of July and I snapped it up straight away! A few days later I had the e-mail from Minerva so knew that I wanted some fabric to make this dress.

I chose this tropical print 100% Cotton Fabric. I wanted a medium weight fabric without too much drape so that it held the shape. The fabric is however really soft. I’d been looking for a leaf print fabric for a while, but lots of them have white backgrounds, and white is definitely not my colour as it completely washes me out. The navy blue background on this was perfect.

One thing to bear in mind if you are making this dress is that there’s not a lot of extra fabric allowed for the cutting layout, so make sure you have the amount recommended in the pattern. I make a lot of big four patterns where I find I can get away with using a lot less than they recommended with a different cutting layout. This fabric was actually 64” wide so I didn’t have any problems.

On most patterns I usually do a full bust adjustment and a forward shoulder adjustment. This pattern comes in cup sizes A to D so based on my measurements I made the size 10 D cup. I was so excited to get on with the project, and knowing that I didn’t need to do a bust adjustment, I got stuck in straight away and forgot about the shoulder adjustment until after I’d cut my pattern pieces out! As it turns out, it was okay anyway with it having a grown in cap sleeve.

I made view 1 which has a separate button band up the front. The instructions were really clear and the dress came together really well. The only mistake I made was to mix the skirt button bands up and sew the right side skirt band to the left side bodice band and visa versa. This threw me for a minute as my notches didn’t match up when I came to attach the button band to the dress, but I soon realised what I had done and it didn’t matter that I’d mixed them up.

The most time consuming part was the 16 darts around the waist, but the fabric was really easy to sew. I love the shape that the open ended darts create. I didn’t have to make any alterations to the fit. I could have downsized for a more fitted look, but I like the bit looser relaxed fit.

I used some 18mm olive green buttons as I felt that they really brought this colour out of the fabric. I love the summery print, and with it being darker colours, I think the dress will look fine with navy tights in the cooler months too, so I think I’ll get lots of wear out of this dress.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my Sorrel dress.

Lorraine @lorrainesews

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Silk Noil Kalle

Sewing with Silk Noil Fabric takes a bit of unlearning. Silk, as we know it, is slippery, lightweight, delicate, and fiddly. Silk is A Difficult Fabric, and even confident sewists may think twice about using it. Silk slips and slides everywhere. Silk needs special pins. Silk is a challenge to cut. Silk needs to be stabilized with starch, gelatin, and blood sacrifices to ancient gods.

Silk noil is nothing like that, though. It’s also nothing like I expected! It’s almost like a woolly linen, in both hand and texture, and feels incredibly strong. It’s got a really pretty drape, but it’s not slinky or, well, silky! It’s nubbly and slubby, especially after washing and drying it (in the machine! wow!). It even has a faint smell, the way wool does, which I’ve decided I like - it’s a natural, animal fiber, after all, and I think it’s good to remember who your fabric came from. It wasn’t hard to press or cut, either, which is such a treat, especially when you need to cut with a certain amount of precision.

I wanted to showcase the virtues of this interesting fiber, so I made a tried and true pattern: a Kalle shirt dress.  I wanted to make a super luxe casual button down, one for pairing with shredded cutoffs or holey jeans and worn out sneaks. I wanted it to feel snuggly, like something I could throw on instead of wearing a robe or jammies all day. Having silk lazy clothes just feels so glamorous and grown up! 

This was such a pleasurable Kalle to make! I loved topstitching and interfacing this fabric. It took both like a champ, and turned out so crisp and pretty, without being crunchy or stiff. You need to be a little careful finishing your edges, because this fabric has a loose-ish weave, and may unravel if snipped or trimmed too close to the seam (ask me how I know). Otherwise, it was super easy to sew and cut - there’s an innate tackiness, an unsticky stickiness that keeps this fabric from shifting all over the place. I didn’t even use pins (!!!) in some parts! Madness!

I took a little extra time (ok, two hours!) to make some Lady McElroy Cobra Corsage bias tape for the bottom, which added a fun punch of contrast. I really like to add details like that when I’m making neutral or simple garments. I like making “plain” things look bespoke, because I think it’s super powerful when our clothes look like what they are - tailor-made for us, and us alone. Shifting the narrative of what we should and should not garb ourselves in for different moments in our lives is incredibly empowering! For me, in this moment, wearing my “lazy clothes” doesn’t mean being a schlumpy mess (though sometimes it does!), but instead, wearing something that I took my time on, making it as luxurious and sumptuous as possible, so I can feel good and safe and comfortable, inside and out. I like silk noil, and I think you will, too. :)

Mary @boxcarsewing

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