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Japan Design Aesthetics

In my 20s I had the wonderful experience to live and travel in Japan for a few years, and I loved the unique design aesthetics in everyday life there. When I first set eyes on this Lady McElroy Stretch Viscose Fabric called 'Cygnus Return',  it reminded me of a traditional Japanese kimono, simple, graphic and elegant. Contrasted against the ink black background, the cream and blush coloured swans really come to life in peaceful harmony. 
I was inspired to make a wrap dress with a vintage vibe, and for me it just had to be the Sew Over It 1940s Wrap Dress. Known for refreshing vintage silhouettes with a modern rendition, Lisa Comfort really nailed it with this design with her personal style. I also love how the narrow lapels the wrap front and the sleek waistband gives a subtle nod to my kimono inspiration. 
It was my first time working with the Lady McElroy stretch viscose and I was in for a treat! I love any viscose woven fabric mainly for its unparalleled drape. However not every design is suited for a shifty viscose challis. The stretch viscose has more body than a regular challis and is perfect for the 1940s wrap dress which calls for a balance of drape and structure. It also comes with a 5-10% one way stretch, which works really well with the fitted waistline and narrow sleeves.
The fabric is such a joy to sew and almost handles like a cotton. If you are new to sewing drapey fabrics, I strongly recommend starting with this base. It comes a few other lovely prints at Minerva. I would personally like a dress or top in each! 
The 1940s wrap dress is a delightful make like all other Sew Over It patterns. The construction is clearly illustrated with lots of smart finishing details through out. I especially like the unique way the lapels are constructed, with a new-to-me way of finishing the neckline with bias tape. Details of that technique can be found on the sew-along posts on the Sew Over It website and I definitely will be using this clean professional finish in my future projects. 
True to the vintage feel of the design, there is some hand stitching recommended in this pattern, mainly for the waistband area. I actually quite enjoyed slowing down my sewing once a while with a cup of good tea! The end result is beautiful inside and out. I did cut my waistband across grain to utilize the slight stretch of the fabric, whereas the pattern recommends cutting the band along the grain for strength. It is really a personal preference and I chose comfort =) For closure, I used two snaps on each side of the wrap and felt very secure with no snap popping during wearing.
The pattern comes in two skirt lengths and two sleeve lengths. I made the longer sleeve version and actually adjusted my skirt to exactly between the two lengths. It hits just below my knees for my 158cm frame, which is my preferred length for a wrap dress. It pairs well with both flats and heels both. 
I loved my new 1940s wrap dress the very first moment I put it on. You know that special feeling of wearing a well-made garment that's just your style? This dress is it for me. I love the oriental nostalgia mixed with a classic timeless style. The fabrics is so silky against the skin and the little bit of stretch means all day comfort while looking so put together. Paired with some red pumps, it's a look that could carry you through any occasion with elegance.
Until next time,
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The Pearl Pinafore and Georgia Dress

Hello everyone! Today I'll be sharing my first makes of the year, the Pearl pinafore and Georgia dress from the pattern company Violette Field Threads.

For the pinafore I chose a lovely white, one hundred percent Cotton Poplin Fabric. It feels so smooth, just like butter!

For the dress I chose a pale blue Swiss Dot Fabric. I love this fabric so much, I'd really like to make myself a dress with it sometime. It's light and delicate, perfect for a spring dress. I'll be lining it with a white voile, as it's a little see through.

This ensemble was inspired by the Netflix series Anne with an E. The little girls are usually dressed in adorable little dresses with pinafores over them. I particularly liked a dress worn by Diana in the second, or third episode. She wore a frilly dress made with a blue swiss dot fabric, and a crisp white pinafore. When I saw it, I knew that I wanted to make my soon-to-arrive daughter something like it!

The dress was easy enough to make. I just love sewing baby clothes, everything is so quick and little. The little part can sometimes be a problem, but for the most part it's a fun, adorable process. Just look at how cute and tiny the pieces are!

I wanted to use Fabric Covered Buttons for the dress, which turned out to be really frustrating. It would made made it easier if I'd had the Cover Button Tool because trying to cover tiny little circles in little scraps of fabric made me feel like my hands were gigantic and clumsy. But the finished product is worth it, I think.

My favorite parts of the dress are the ruffles along the neckline and sleeve hem. It's such a sweet detail.

The pinafore turned out to be a bit tricky to make, surprisingly! I thought it'd be the easiest out of the two to whip up. The ruffles on the shoulders had other plans for me though.

The pinafore bodice is lined, and you have to sew the lining to the main fabric after the ruffles have been attached, then turn the whole thing right side out. While sewing the lining to the main you have to be especially careful not to sew the ruffles as well, which would cause them to be sewn into the neckline seam and that would be bad!

Basically you have to roll the ruffles up and keep them away from the lining seam allowance, which is incredibly difficult because the ruffles are quite big and there isn't much room to roll them out of the way. It probably didn't help that I chose a nice crisp, thick cotton but oh well!

It's a bit difficult to explain, but really all you need to know is that it was very frustrating and I contemplated leaving the ruffles off. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I really wanted those ruffles.

I think I may have made the ties on the pinafore a tad short, as I can't tie them into pretty bows like I was hoping to do. Well, I can tie them into bows but they're not very pretty.

Overall I'm very pleased with how this project turned out. As of writing this, my little girl hasn't been born yet. I can't wait until she is so I can try this outfit on her! I'll be sure to post pictures on my Instagram when she wears it.

The only thing that's missing are some romantical puffed sleeves (sorry Anne!).

Until next time,

The Aspiring Seamstress
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Lucky Dip Trio

So this is my first time blogging for Minerva and I’m excited & nervous in equal measure.

I was lucky enough to receive three 2 metre Lucky Dip Fabric Bundles that were brimming with loveliness and fabrics that I wouldn’t normally settle on when shopping online. I would definitely recommend this bundle if you find yourself stuck in a sewing rut, as it’ll make you to try something different.

Shimmer Purse

I started with the fabric that scared me the most. I normally sew with cottons or jerseys and really I wasn’t sure how this would this would handle, so I decided to sew one of my staples, a zipper pouch but I need not have worried as it was a total dream to work with!

I used a 6” zip and cut my fabric at approx. 7.5" x 5.5". You'll need to cut 2 outers, 2 outer lining, 2 interfacing, 2 lining but you can make your zipper pouch to fit any zip/size that suits, so it doesn't have a pattern as such. However there is an excellent tutorial for lined zipper pouches by Dana Made Everyday to follow.

This fabric is so, so beautiful. It is iridescent so as its moves it just keeps changing colour and I love the crinkly texture.

The fabric sewed up a dream, it is see-through a bit like chiffon but has some form so it isn’t drapey. I used some light pink cotton and interfacing I had hanging around to sit underneath the fabric and to line it.

I'm so happy with how it turned out! It was supposed to be a gift but I'm going to have to keep this one for my machine feet, pins, wonder clips etc and make another to give away!

I'll also be ordering some more to make my girls some easy lined elasticated skirts (I couldn't quite get 2 skirts out of it and that would not have ended well for me!) and I think it would be really nice to make up some little bags as posh party favours.

Denim Girl Power print, Pom-Pom embellished bag

This is a super-soft, really fun Demin print fabric. It is lighter to sew than I expected and it has got a little 1-way stretch to it and I wanted to make my eldest a skirt out of this fabric but she was having none of it and was totally fixated on a having a handbag!

I used the above Zipper Pouch tutorial again but this time I chose a 9" zip and just added a strap that goes from one side of the zip to the other. I lined with a bright red polycotton I already had and added some red pom-pom trim that I've had for ages, just lying around waiting for the perfect project.

I chose to copy the strap length from another of my daughter's handbags and just hung my tape measure over my daughter's shoulder to double check it. Then cut out a bit of fabric to that length and approx 4" wide. I folded & pressed it in half and then folded & stitched together, rather than turning it.

This fabric would also make excellent pencil cases, just drop the strap!

** Pom-poms and lining are optional **

Foldover Privacy Pouch

I chose this amazing fabric as its fairly heavy, has some stiffness and form to help hold its shape and I love the bright pink colour that is easy to find in your handbag!

I've included a template & basic instructions you can download as PDF. I have adapted this template from a crochet version of the Privacy Pouch, sadly I can't seem to confirm source the original designer of that pattern.

This project is excellent for using up fabric scraps and if you fancy turning it into a really feel good sew - then you can sew up a few up extras and add 2/3 sanitary towels to each pouch and donate to amazing The Red Box Project. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or just search "Red Box Project UK" to find out more about the great work they do.

They have donation points Nationwide.

@theredboxprojectuk

#endperiodpoverty

I'm yet to settle on how best to use a couple of the other beautiful fabrics which I think are perfect for Spring and more suited to dressmaking... Watch this space.

Thanks so much for reading and massive thanks to Minerva for sending me such lovely fabrics to make with.

Sarah @pipandliloriginal

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The Megan Nielsen Sudley Dress in Atelier Brunette Viscose Crepe

Hello Minerva Crafts readers! I'm excited to be back with a simple, everyday black dress, perfect for dressing up with some favorite accessories.

Top of my 2019 To-Make list is a to-die-for LBD--I'm thinking silk, several muslins, and lots of hand sewing--but while dreaming about that I noticed a distinct lack of casual black dresses in my wardrobe as well! I'd been wanting to try out Atelier Brunette's fabrics since I'd heard so many good things, and I bought Megan Nielsen's Sudley Pattern during a recent sale, so everything came together perfectly for this project.

You might notice that my Sudley does not look exactly like the pattern--I made two small alterations that change the look of the dress! The first is that I cut the back in two pieces, rather than on the fold, and just used a little back slit (and hook and eye closure) instead of the large keyhole opening. The second is that I added an elasticated waistband. It's still a very simple make and an easy-to-wear dress, even with the changes I made. The third change I made is a less-obvious one: instead of lining the dress, I drafted a neckline facing. As written, the Sudley is fully lined, bodice and skirt, but I generally prefer to be more economical with my fabric and wear a slip under dresses. After all, if you are fully lining your dress that's basically two dresses worth of fabric--and I'd rather have two dresses and wear the same slip with each. Of course, there are some dresses that need a real lining, but this simple every black dress is not one of them! I topstitched the facing down to keep it out of the way and cut down on future ironing.

The Fabric is really amazing, and viscose can be hit or miss for me. I prefer a more substantial feel than your average rayon challis and this one from Atelier Brunette delivers that quality! It's drapey, a bit spongy, and feels really wonderful on. There's not much to say about the look--it's a solid black--but the other prints available are so fun and there's a great assortment of pretty colors to choose from as well.

As far as my final product, I'm pretty happy with it and anticipate wearing it often, but it isn't quite perfect. I typically prefer a natural waistline to empire, and knew that the dress bodice was above natural waist/empire length, but since I am short-waisted I thought that it would just cut the length at the largest size and have the bodice hit at my natural waist. Unfortunately, the waist is still quite high! When I make it again, I'll extend the waist by an inch or two, which will also make it a bit longer, too. The fit in the shoulders is very nice and I really like the sleeves as well. Overall, it's a nice blank slate type of everyday dress that I think I'll reach for often--and it's easy to accessorize, too.

Thanks for reading,

Allie @ Allie Jackson

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Scuba Skirt!

With me and this Fabric, it was love at first sight.
I have always loved Italian fashion. Dolce and Gabanna, Gucci, Versace, I don’t know why, but there is just something about the excess, the drama and the opulence of those luxury Italian fashion houses that just excites me and every season I find myself trawling through instagram and magazines for photos from their shows, drooling over the costume jewellery and wild dramatic prints. I like to imagine myself wearing the clothes swanning down the streets of some European city, or transformed into some glamorous regal woman swanning around some mansion like in Hotel Du Lac. I have never actually come close to owning anything like Gucci-level fabulous, but a girl can dream…and when Minerva gave me the opportunity to test this chain-print scuba fabric, I knew it was going to make all my dolce vita dreams come true.

Let’s start with the print. Isn’t it incredible?! It’s a large scale chain repeating chain print, that is just begging to be made into something simple and form-fitting to show off the pattern, and skim and flatter a woman's curves. I knew that I wanted to make a super sexy pencil skirt and chose to make the Bibi skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons, from Tilly’s second book Stretch which teaches you all about how to work with knitted fabrics. 

Even though the Bibi skirt pattern is super simple and easy to follow (it has a lot of variations for you to try and hacking is strongly encouraged) I decided to make the simplest version with no added buttons or tabs, to really let the print take centre stage. I was extra careful with laying out my pattern pieces, as the skirt is panelled and I didn’t want to risk interrupting the chain lines. The best advice I can give when working with this fabric is to cut it one sided (i.e. not on the fold) to make sure that you know exactly which part of the print will end up on your finished garment. 

The fabric was really, really easy to work with. It’s stretchy of course, but it’s really solid and has fantastic recovery. If you pin with a light hand and avoid stretching unnecessarily, you’ll be absolutely fine. I was slightly nervous that, with it being mostly white, it might be a little see through (not a great look for a pencil skirt!) but I had absolutely nothing to worry about. 

I used a zigzag stitch and an overlocker to finish my seams (overlocking them together), and though I think that you would be able to get away with zigzagging your seams in terms of how the fabric behaves (it’s not likely to unravel at all), I would highly recommend using an overlocker to avoid bulk. This is because something like a pencil skirt, or something equally form fitting, you want to avoid unnecessary bulk. 

I think that this fabric is just absolutely fabulous and the perfect thing if you’re looking to add a dose of Italian glamour to your life. Thank you so much Minerva, for giving the opportunity to test this fabric. I give it 5 stars! and I’m going to order more to make myself a matching bralette and maybe even a chic shift dress.
Thanks for reading,
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Knock, knock, knock 'Penny'!

The fabric:

Lady McElroy Stretch Cotton Sateen

The pattern:

Sew Over It Penny Dress

Let's Talk Fabric

Having the opportunity to work with fabrics I wouldn’t consider my ‘go to’ style has been a breath of fresh air. It’s been a journey of discovery and a real eye opener. 

What struck me initially was the beautiful print. A welcome addition to my wardrobe. When I chose this fabric I had a completely different pattern in mind to sew up. I thought/assumed (and I’m not sure why) that the pattern was much smaller than it is in reality. I had plans to create a romper, I could envisage it in my head and then I opened the package. Yikes! This print is large. Like, the wing span is approximately 47cm, large. I was completely thrown. How would that work for my little romper? The print would be lost and it was the print that I fell for. This fabric is beautiful. So beautiful in fact that you could sew a soft fleece onto the back and voila, a stunning blanket. That would showcase the gorgeous design and brighten up any room. I simply couldn’t bring myself to just sew a rectangle. I then turned to the weight/composition of the fabric for inspiration. The fabric is a medium weight, woven stretch: 97% cotton 3% spandex. I figured a plain shift dress would suit the fabric and allow the print to do it’s thing and look amazing. 

Nope, that wasn’t to be either. Where oh where did I put that pattern…? O.K, starting to wonder if I’d ever come up with something, I thought of a pattern I’d been longing to sew up. The Sew Over It: Penny. I put aside  my hesitations of fabric weight for this style dress as I really just wanted to get stuck in. I figured if the fabric would be too heavy, I could always sew it as separates. Top and skirt. Although at the time I wasn’t sure how… 

The Pattern

I came across the pattern as a hacked version. It had been made into a romper and looked stunning. It’s a classic style with a pretty silhouette and beautiful skirt. It wouldn’t look out of place way back when just as its vintage style simply ‘works’ today. I loved the simple sleeve or lack of, the button up feature and as I mentioned before: the twirl skirt! 

It was the skirt that allowed me to show off this fabric as best I could. Cut on the fold as one pattern piece, I managed to fill the skirt with the Marabou. This was in-fact my first real attempt at pattern placement and having to really think ahead. I cut out the front and back bodice pieces with this in mind. Baring in mind that the button panel and collar would effect the final look. 

Not wanting to completely overwhelm the garment, I went for a Marabou head on only one side of the front bodice, highlighting wing span on the opposite side. A Marabou across the back bodice fit perfectly.

Sewing

The pattern calls for interfacing certain pieces which I did and I regret. I contemplated this step over and over and in my mind, I made the wrong decision. The fabric already had the structure and by applying the interfacing I had a hard time getting the points in position and the facing to lay flat. The pattern itself is not intended for heavier weight fabrics and I look forward to sewing another, much easier I hope, in light weight fabric for the summer.

Rounding Up

The fabric is stunning. The colour is timeless. The blue background is so dreamy all on its own. The spin of the skirt, I love. It’s as if the birds are flying around me. The length is perfect. It’s definitely an early spring type dress. With the print, the flow of the full skirt and the form, I feel pretty darn special. Maybe this make was just meant to be. 

Thanks for reading,
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The Scuba Jade Dress

When Minerva sent me this gorgeous Scuba Fabric it didn’t take me long to decided which pattern to use. The fabric is such a heavy stable knit so I knew it would be a super quick and easy project. My SewJo is supercharged at the moment and it meant that from the fabric being delivered to wearable dress was less than a week.

I used the Jade pattern which came free with Simply Sewing magazine sometime in late 2017. It’s a princess seam bodice fitted onto a pleated skirt. It’s made for knits (so no need to make any adjustments), with 3/4 length sleeves. I’ve made this dress several times before, which meant I could put it together without using the instructions.  It does say you should use clear elastic on the waistband seam, but I totally forgot (maybe I should look at the instructions, or even take just a quick glance at the beginning, I feel like it would stop me forgetting things like this!).

The dress doesn’t need a ton of fitting, partly due to it being a knit pattern, and because I find that princess seam bodices are easier to fit straight out of the pack.

The skirt is just 2 panels, sewn together at the side seams and finished with 8 pleats. I think this dress is super flattering because of the pleat placement, the pleats are to the sides, meaning that there is no extra fabric on the tummy.

I find that with this dress, I can pin several pieces together at once, and then sew all in one go. I find that this method means that I can get this particular dress sewn up super quick. At the moment I’m all about quick, satisfying makes, something which can be cut out and worn in the same day. This pattern with this fabric certainly fit the brief. 

The fabric was lovely to work with. It’s got a good amount of stretch in it and the recovery is really good. It is such a stable knit, which makes it really easy to cut out. I used ball point pins and cut it out using scissors rather than a rotary cutter. I also used a ballpoint needle in my machine, with a zigzag stitch and it sewed up like a dream.  The sleeve and skirt hems are finished with a twin needle (which isn’t a specific ballpoint twin needle) and it still handled the fabric so well. The dress is quite warm, and it’s definitely more of transitional piece, as it’s not breathable enough for properly hot summer days. It’s so easy to wear it definitely falls into the category of secret pyjamas - so comfy it feels like PJs but doesn’t look like you’ve gone out in your sleepwear!

Chloe 

xXx 

@chloelouisew89

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Accentuating the Style Lines of the Joni Dress

Hi Makers, this month I’ve made a Joni Dress from Tilly and The Buttons’ Stretch Book. I know I’m a bit late to the party as the book was published in March of 2018. I only recently got my hands on a copy of the book and I knew straight away that I wanted to make a striped Joni dress, pictured on the front, modelled by none other than Tilly herself. 

When I saw this monochrome stripe Scuba Crepe Fabric knew it was the right match for the project. It was my first time using scuba, as the name suggests, it is the fashion version of neoprene, yes, the same fabric used by scuba divers. Scuba is generally used for dancewear, leggings or party dresses. It is usually made of polyester mixed with either lycra or spandex, because of its composition it’s not breathable fabric and so it is not great for summer dresses.

Scuba is a double knit, so like Ponte it is stable and a great choice for beginners. Scuba is known for it’s stretch, but also its recovery. If you’re like me and tend to overstretch your fabric when putting in neckbands, it means your fabric will return to its original shape. Phew! When sewing with scuba it is recommended to use a Ballpoint Needle, to prevent the needle from piercing the fabric. It has a crepe finish (high twisted fibre finish) on the right side of the fabric, and it has a spongey feel. The fabric has a good amount of drape, but the double knit meant it was structured enough to hold the shape of the skirt.

Stripe matching for this project was key, I think a Joni made up in stripes accentuates the style lines of the dress, especially the twist in the bodice. Perfectly matching stripes starts with the cutting process, it takes a bit of pattern piece Tetris to make sure all your pieces line up with the same point of the stripe. This fabric had the extra challenge of having both thin and thick stripes, but I used the widest stripe as my marker and cut all the pieces according to this. To prevent the fabric from slipping when I cut it, I used plenty of pins on every other stripe to hold it in place. It takes a bit longer, but it’s worth the extra time in preparation. 

The instructions for this pattern suggests using Clear Elastic to stabilise the seams, so the dress doesn’t stretch out over time, which I would recommend as the slim fitting bodice needs to stretch a lot to get over your shoulders to take it on and off. The construction of the twist is a bit tricky, but doable. Read the instructions twice and then another time just to be sure, and don’t forget to add a centre front and back notch to your bodice to help you attach the neckline. If like me you’re using stripes, add extra pins as you sew along to keep the fabric from slipping. 

One great advantage of scuba is that if you’re in a rush, there is no need to hem to it as it doesn’t fray. I’m pleased as punch with this dress, especially because I never thought I’d be able to tackle the twist with such a neat finish. The A-line shape makes it very flattering for any figure, it’s very comfortable, making it feel like you’re wearing pyjamas. Happy Making

Claire XO

Makers Got To Make / @makersgottomake

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A Beauty of a Blazer for a Spring Day!

Hello Minerva Crafter's!
This month I was delighted to receive this lovely stretch Cotton Twill Fabric. I thought that this would be perfect for the Grainline Morris blazer. The Morris blazer is also one of my #makeninechallenge items so I'm starting the New Year full of good intentions and not getting distracted by lots of other lovely patterns!
Because this is the first time making a blazer I decided to make a toile in calico as the calico is about the same weight as the fabic. I'm quite long bodied and have a high waist, so I wanted to make sure I got the fit right as, in some photos, the Morris blazer looks a little bit cropped for my body shape. In the end I decided to lengthen the body by 1 inch. As this is going to be a spring/summer blazer I've left the sleeves at the length as they were in the pattern. 
My current measurements are 35/29/37 and I decided to make the toile in a size 6 as, even though my bust is slightly larger than the size states, I'm quite narrow at the shoulders. The size 6 toile fitted well and I felt confident that it would be a good fit even though the calico doesn't have any stretch. 
This project also gave me the chance to use one of my Christmas presents - these fabulous Olfa rotary cutters - I'm converted! They are so much quicker than using scissors and even though this cotton twill is a heavier fabric, they cut through the fabric like a dream. 
As the Morris blazer only has seven pieces it didn't take long to cut everything out and prep all the pieces and seeing the jacket take shape quickly gave me the incentive to carry on. I got a little bit confused when it came to attaching the shawl collar. I looked online and couldn't find a picture of what I should sew so here's a picture once I worked it out! 
Having read a few other blog posts I decided to sew the sleeve facings on before sewing the sleeve together. As I'm a beginner, I still find it a bit tricky sewing narrow sleeves on my sewing machine. So, I attached the sleeve facings right sides together and followed the rest of the instructions for sewing the facings on. This saved me a lot of stress later on down the line!
I made a bit of a rookie error and set my first sleeve inside out - I thought I'd double and triple checked it before sewing but obviously not! It didn't take long to rip out and resew. They came out better the second time around. I'm actually pretty pleased with the sleeves as these are only the second time that I've set sleevesin a woven fabric. The first time was when I made my bodice block. There were two tiny tucks which I've managed to ease out but I'm super pleased with how they look. I think because this fabric is so stable it was a much easier job.
I found it straightforward to attach the facing, although I did have a bit of a wobble when it looked like the facing might have been too small. I wondered if I'd cut out the wrong size (I always trace my patterns so it can be easy to accidently follow the wrong line). But a quick press of the jacket sorted it out. I think the facing had stretched a little when I attached the fusible interfacing.
Overall, I'm absolutely delighted with this jacket. I'm pleased that I went for the size 6 as I think the fit is spot on. Lengthening the body by 1" means it falls just on the waistband of my jeans which is exactly where I wanted it to end.
The fabric is the perfect weight for the style of the jacket - just enough stretch to fit comfortably but heavy enough to keep the form of the pattern. I'm definitely going to get a lot of wear out of it. I really like the detail of the top stitching. It gives it a lovely professional finish. 
Thank you once again to Minerva Crafts for the supplies!
Until next time!
Sophie X
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The Betty Draper Sun Dress

This month I have been working on another project that has been on my list of things to make for some time now. I was (and still am) a huge fan of the series Mad Men and re-watch all seasons every now and then. The costumes are to die for. I am especially fond of the wardrobe of the characters of Betty Draper and Trudy Campbell as I love their 1950s/1960s housewife chic.

In season three, episode 7 “Seven Twenty Three” Betty meets up with Henry Francis in a café. She is wearing a lovely lime green floral sun dress. It’s a very simple fitted shift dress with boat neck neckline that shows of the pattern of the fabric beautifully.

The fabric I was using is this beautiful Tilda Cotton Fabric. When I was looking through all the beautiful Tilda prints it jumped out to me immediately and reminded me of this dress from the show and I knew I had to recreate the dress with it. The colours and the print are such a close match to the original dress. The lime green and the shades of pink and blue are just perfect. I think I prefer it to the original which is slightly too abstract for my liking.

I used Butterick Pattern 6094, a patterns by Gertie design. I wanted to use this pattern for a while and the front of the dress looks very similar to the Betty Draper version. I also like the back with the fold over detail and buttons. Plus you can’t go wrong with a Gertie pattern, am I right?

When I was sharing my sewing plans on Instagram one of my followers messaged me that she actually owned the dress and offered to send me pictures of the back. I couldn’t see in the show how the back was made. Fun fact, the original dress is actually full length and had been shortened for the show. It wasn’t vintage but a current (at the time of filming the show) ready to wear design. The back neckline is scooped and features little spaghetti strings half way down the straps that tie into a little bow across the back. Very different to the sewing pattern design.

I was a bit torn between making the dress patterns as is or adapting it to re-create the actual dress. Since I wanted to make the Betty Draper dress, I decided to hack the original pattern to re-create the costume as close as possible.

So I re-drafted the upper back piece by tracing the pattern piece and cutting off the fold over material and scooping out the neckline using a French Curve. I also re-drafted the facings tracing the new neckline. This step was pretty straight forward as there are no darts or other details on this piece and my adaptation didn’t really interfere with the overall fit of the dress.

The new pattern pieces;

I also cut two rectangles approx. 1.5”x 15”-ish to make the bow detail. I folded each piece in half lengthwise with right sides facing. I then sewed a very narrow hem along one short end and the open long end. After turning the straps inside out and pressing them, I sandwiched them between the back piece and back facing for the back tie detail.

The fabric was a dream to work with, please note the pattern matching on the back of the skirt. I can’t remember if I did that intentionally or not. I must have done. The colours are amazing and it washes and handles wonderfully. I have a feeling it creases slightly less than other poplins I have worked with. I haven’t worn this dress yet as it’s currently too cold. Hopefully we won’t have to wait for warmer weather for too long this year. I can’t wait for spring/summer to wear this dress. The colours are so vibrant and fresh. It makes me so happy just looking at this dress.

A view of the inside of the dress.

I didn’t line the dress as the pattern calls for facings. I feel perfectly fine wearing this unlined. The fabric is opaque enough.

The pattern comes together super easy. I think if you omit the alterations I made and make the original version, it will pretty straight forward, too. I am still planning on making the original pattern at some point.

I am so pleased with this dress. I think it comes pretty close to the inspiration.

Channeling my inner Betty Draper...

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little costume copy. For more mostly vintage inspired sewing adventures check out @beatricewinter on Instagram.

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