I was very excited to try out some Sparkly Jersey Fabric and wanted to make a new dress for the festive season. I wanted a long dress with sleeves and something with a feature on the front like gathers or pleats to make it more flattering. I decided on McCall’s Pattern 7429. I loved the twisted front and thought I could lengthen this to create a floor length dress.
It took a while to decide which size to go for on the pattern - there’s no finished garment measurements and there’s no indication of how much ease has been added or not. In the end I matched my measurements to those on the envelope and hoped for the best.
When I opened the bag of sparkly fabric I could already tell that this fabric would shed glitter for a while and these sparkles were going to go everywhere. I didn’t fancy prewashing this and filling my washing machine with glitter so jumped straight in to the cutting stage and hope I never need to machine wash this garment.
This fabric has a beautiful weight and drape to it. Although it’s a light to medium weight jersey fabric it was easy to lay out, pin and cut and didn’t cause any problems with moving about when I was cutting. I used regular pins too, not the ball point ones and didn’t have any problems. I did use my least favourite fabric scissors just in case the glitter caused any problems with the blades. I transferred my markings with tailor’s tacks. I sometimes use a disappearing pen or chalk but didn’t have one to hand.
To construct the dress I machine tacked the seams first using a jersey needle and then overlocked them using a 4 thread stitch.
This process allowed me to put the pieces together, check they were correctly stitched and then overlock to secure them once I knew I’d correctly followed the pattern instructions.
For the hems and the front split openings I tacked by hand first and then used a cover hem machine as this gives a brilliant finish on stretch fabrics and allows for stretch much better than twin stitching on a sewing machine.
I didn’t like the instructions to insert the sleeves and so ignored them and instead of ‘easing’ in the sleeves as you would on a woven or non stretch garment I opted to stitch the sleeves in flat like you would on a man’s shirt, sewing the sleeve head first to the armhole and then stitching the sleeve seam and side seam in one go.
I didn’t like the look of the dress with sleeves and after all the efforts of sewing them in I then took them out. I’d only tacked the seams to it wasn’t too painful to pull the stitching out. At this stage I made an alteration to the neckline, making it a little lower.
I’m not too sure of the length and think I might shorten this back to knee length but for now I have a beautifully sparkly red evening dress.
I could have made a slightly smaller size to give a closer fit but at least there’ll be plenty of room for all the indulgence in the month ahead! I’ll definitely make this dress again. I’ve got my eye on some navy Velvet Jersey Fabric which I think would look stunning in this style.
Thanks for reading,
Julia @ Julia Hincks
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 5th December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
You know that feeling when you instantly see a fabric and just know it's destiny? As soon as I saw this Velour Fabric on the Minerva crafts website I just knew. It looked glorious, and when it arrived I was even more in love. Any apprehensions about working with it were ignored while I sat and stroked it for what felt like forever. And I knew pattern wise it had to become the most glamorous jumpsuit I would probably ever make.
Let's talk about the fabric. It's a black stretch velvet knit fabric, with a glitzy gold foil pattern reminiscent of brocade type decoration. Its a medium weight, with good hold and lots of stretch, so perfect for patterns that require movement, such as close fitting dresses, trousers etc. It's hard to fully see just how beautifully gold the pattern is from the website (i've tried my best to capture it here!) but it is a wonderful contrast to the dark black of the velvet. When you see and touch it you instantly think luxury. It's a slightly higher price point, but well worth the price tag to make a one-off special piece, as the quality is just superb, and feels like it will last (usage considered, I tend to judge my garments by how much dancing I will get from them!), so perfect for occasions such as weddings, birthdays or anytime you just want to dazzle with a show-stopping outfit!
My go-to jumpsuit pattern for the moment is the Tilly and The Buttons Marigold - I love the deep slash pocket feature on the front of the trousers (as pockets are always essential when making your own clothes!) and the elasticated waist is great for accentuating your figure.
Its a comfortable fit, not to tight but with plenty of room for movement, and some shaping with darts and pleats on both trouser and bodice, as well as an invisible zip. As with all Tilly patterns the instructions are clear and concise with well thought out pictures, so technical wise it's easy to follow. The most difficult part I find is inserting the elastic through the waistband - making sure the gathers are even can be quite tricky!
That said, a confident beginner could take this on, and the fabric itself sews like a dream. It is a different weight than is suggested for this pattern, but I love a challenge, and wanted to see how a heavier fabric would affect the look of the jumpsuit. Because of the weight the fabric doesn't fray, so I was able to save time by using pinking shears to finish my seams, although because of it being a knit fabric you do need to use stretch needles on your sewing machine. I was quite apprehensive at first, as I haven't sewn with knit fabric before and using such a beautiful fabric for my first time seemed quite daunting, but I needn't have worried - it went through my sewing machine easily, and by using a zigzag stitch it meant the stitches would be flexible enough for this type of fabric.
I did attempt my topstitching with a gold thread, however my machine didn't seem to like this as much and it kept snagging and snapping, which was a shame as I think it would have looked amazing!
Pattern wise, I did make a slight adjustment to the bodice - instead of the sweetheart neckline I squared it off instead, as I prefer the look of a straight neckline. To do this I just carried on cutting a straight line on the pattern piece instead of the curve, and adjusted the facing shape as well.
When it came to the fit I did find the fabric was drapier than I thought it would be, and decided to put a dart in the back to bring in the bodice slightly (but luckily due to the pattern it isn't that noticeable!), however this did mean that this changed the position of where my back straps sat, so would do this on the back piece before attaching the straps next time, so I could reposition the straps accordingly.
I'm also thinking I will probably take in the trousers at the leg a bit, as they are quite loose and feel it would look better a little more fitted.
Other than those adjustments I think it is a success! It is the glamorous jumpsuit I was hoping it would be - the fabric weight is heavy enough to be warm in the upcoming colder weeks (I’m thinking ahead to seasonal parties!) with the right level of glam to be show-stopping yet functional (those pockets!) and will definitely sit in my wardrobe as a ‘little black dress’ type statement piece!
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 4th December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 4th December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
So, I’ve had the Kielo wrap dress pattern on my “To Do” list for quite a while now and when the opportunity to product test this black burn out jersey came about, I must say I jumped at the chance to make it from this.
The fabric is basically a black jersey (think jersey velvet) but then some of the surface has been removed leaving behind a gorgeous branch/leaf pattern in relief.
I’ve never used a burn out jersey before, so when I ordered it I wasn’t sure about how it would look and perform during sewing and in the wearing.
Would it stretch a lot, or would it be see-through and need to be lined?
These were my two main concerns but I’m sure by the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll see my concerns were totally unfounded!
I always prewash my fabric in the same way as I would launder my garments and although the Minerva website had suggested that it was pre-washed at 40 degrees. I thought as I had designs on this being an evening dress. (think Christmas party). I thought that it would be adequate to wash at 30. However, some of the colour rubbed off on my hands (similar to an indigo denim) so I popped it back in my washing machine and a quick wash at the instructed 40 degrees sorted it right out!!!
I had considered how I would sew this up, should I use my overlocker? Sewing machine?
Some of the features of the Kielo require a straight stitch or slight stretch stitch, such as darts, similarly top stitching around the neckline and the split in the back, which obviously can’t be done on an overlocker.
I must admit I did buy some spray starch thinking that the fabric is so soft and drapey that my sewing machine might “eat it”.
But, I’m happy to say with the aid of my walking foot the regular sewing machine managed with no problem, I didn’t even need to stiffen with my spray starch.
The Kielo is basically like a big diamond shape and the points across the horizonal are where the straps are attached. These then wind around the body giving the shapely silhouette. On the pattern the instructions for the straps recommend either half interfacing or fully interfacing dependent upon the weight of the fabric.
So, I cut a small piece of interfacing (I used iron on Vilene F220 in black) and made little straps out of fabric scraps (no fabric was harmed in the making of these trial straps) to test the stiffness. I didn’t want them to be really stiff and not fall nicely seeing as the jersey was so soft.
Can you see one of the mini straps is drooping nicely the other is holding much more horizontal?
So, I decided that the fully interfaced straps would be too stiff and proceeded to half interface the straps.
The Kielo pattern is written to be made up in either woven or jersey fabric and once I’d given some thought and a little time to the decisions, it absolutely flew together.
My only other dilemma was whether to line this or wear a slip underneath as it appeared to be a bit see through.
I decided that it was so soft that I didn’t want to line, and I would wear a slip if it was needed.
But to be honest in the following images I’m not wearing a slip at all just nude coloured underwear!!!
However just to save my blushes I probably won’t chance it when I wear it on an evening out!
I’m a sting ray, you can see the simple diamond shape which then wraps to give the classic Kielo shape.
Till next time happy sewing!
Less than a year ago, I moved into a new apartment with twice the wall space than my previous apartment. I decided early on to take my time decorating the walls with art because I’m waiting to find the right pieces, rather than just filling the empty space.
When Meinhilde and I went to Montreal last year, we found the most beautiful gnarly branch on the side of the road. Someone had taken the time to paint it black (and likely used it as a decoration as well) but had decided they were done with it. When I saw it, I knew it was the perfect base for a DIY project- though I wasn’t sure yet what type of piece to make.
When I got my hands on these Clover Pompom Makers (sizes small a=nd extra small), it became clear that I had to make a project with my gnarly branch. To prepare the branch, I cleaned it of any dust and cobwebs and spray painted it in metallic silver. It was beautiful and took on an otherworldly appearance.
To bring the branch mobile back to earth, I decided to use wool to make pompom decorations. This consisted of eight of the smallest pompoms in a tonal grey, blue, and purple laceweight wool. I tied these mini poms directly and randomly to the branch. To add some depth and movement, I made three garlands of four poms each, with the with smallest, small, medium, and large poms in a darker blue and turquoise wool.
To make the garland, I used an extra long piece of yarn (approximately 50cm) to tie off the largest pompom which became the lead yarn. After the other three smaller pompoms were also ready, I threaded the lead yarn through a darning needle. Next, I made a triple knot on the lead yarn about 2 cm away from the large pompom. I then used the needle to thread the second large pompom onto the lead yarn. I repeated the process with the two remaining smaller pompoms. After this, I trimmed the yarns that tied off the centres of the three smaller pompoms. The lead yarn was still long enough for me tie the garland to the branch. However, if someone were to make a different project, for instance a pompom garland for a door knob, I might suggest a longer lead yarn.
When making the pompoms, I found that the maker is very easy to use. Additionally, a finer yarn makes a better pompom. The thicker yarn would allow enough wraps around the maker to make a fully fluffy sphere. Another tip is that when tying the knot around the centre of the pompom, one wrap around the centre is enough to secure the centre. A second or third wrap creates a sort of waist that couldn’t be removed with fluffing. Lastly, after removing the pompom from the maker, a bit of fluffing and trimming is necessary, but it is very easy to do and rather satisfying. It is best to do it outside though, because the scraps are rather small and fluffy, which are difficult to clean up
I found that I also needed to use two different sized scissors. Smaller embroidery scissors were better for cutting the pompom off of the maker because it was easier to snip in the small space. After I fluffed the pompom, I needed to do a bit of trimming and shaping. A larger scissor was more comfortable for trimming since there was more place for my fingers to make the cuts.
The resulting mobile turned out exactly as I imagined it. It has the perfect silver, grey, and blue shades that match my new serene bedroom perfectly. The wall above my bed is an old brick fireplace and I don’t want to drill directly into it. Instead, I wound some metal wire on two separate sturdy parts of the branch and tied some strong but clear fishing line. The mobile then hangs from two hooks drilled into the ceiling.
Thanks for reading,
Meinhilde @ Kiku Corner
Posted in Projects on Monday the 3rd December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
For a while I have daydreamed of a vintage style red velvet coat with black collar for my little girl Betsie. With of course a matching velvet hat (memories of 90’s kids show Blossom spring to mind).
So, when Minerva gave me free rein to choose anything on their website to create a special Christmas item I jumped at the chance to make my dream a reality. I chose Burda Kids Pattern 9429 as I felt it had a vintage feel, I chose option A. The recommended fabrics didn’t include Velvet but I thought I would try and wing it anyway as us sewist’s do.
I knew it would be a challenging make for me, as I have never sewn with velvet or made a fully lined coat before. First things first, I hit google for some hints and tips, I couldn’t find any reviews of this pattern but I did find some tips for working with velvet which would prove to be very helpful! These were:
Don’t wash it
Don’t iron it
Use a walking foot
Use a slightly longer stitch (I used stitch length 3)
Keep the pile in the same direction throughout
The hat came together easily, and relatively straight forward – the only diversion from the pattern I did was to stitch on the bow before adding the lining so the stitches would be hidden. Hand stitching black on black velvet was quite difficult to see, I had this mad idea to try out my partners head torch which I could aim at the fabric which made it show up much easier (and was a source of amusement for the family!). I used beeswax on my thread to make smooth stitching.
The coat seemed much more daunting, but I worked through the steps slowly but surely. I made sure that I hand tacked the front panels and hems, checking that needles and pins did not mark the fabric. I know Burda had a reputation for being for more experienced sewers within the big four. I struggled slightly with the collar and collar facing having to re-read the instructions and study the sketches over a couple of sittings. I used Anti-Static Lining Fabric in black, I think this gives the coat a lovely finished look but I did find it quite slippery to work with even with a walking foot. The velvet was beautifully easy to cut and sew, it gave a stunning sheen which I hope comes across in the photos. I was able to cut on the fold as the velvet seemed to ‘stick together’ when folded and lightly smoothed.
I did a few fittings throughout the making process. I cut it in a size six allowing a little growing room which I like to do when making clothing for my children. I was a little apprehensive about doing the button holes on the finished garment, in fact I put off doing them for a few days. I did a test button hole for these beautiful Coat Buttons on a piece of the scrap velvet to practice and get my confidence up, when it came to the real thing a few minor pulls occurred around the button hole but I do not think they notice.
Of course, when you are making your daughter a new coat and you ask her what she thinks, I got the response ‘can you make a matching one for Barbie?’ – so here is the matching outfit for Barbie using the crown velvet and felt bows. I adapted a pattern from the fantastic book sewing clothes for Barbie.
I will now have to give my sewing machine a Christmas present of a de-fluffing!
I am absolutely thrilled with the finished make and so is my little princess, now all we need to do is hit all the festive activities to show it off.
Posted in Projects on Monday the 3rd December 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
With the Christmas season almost upon us, I needed to make something a bit more seasonal ready for the upcoming Christmas work parties. I'd had my eye on one of Gertie's Butterick Patterns which was the B6380 Misses Sweetheart-Neckline Dress with Gathered Bodice. As the name gives it away, the dress features a sweetheart neckline which is created using fabric straps, a gathered bust and a swing skirt. It’s also fully lined making even more luxurious than I had first anticipated – Score.
I started by creating a toile as the dress pattern looked close fitting and I wanted to check the fit of the bust before cutting into my fabric. The fit was really good, the waist was 2” large so I adjusted the pattern pieces to remove the gap and made a new toile and re-tested. With the fit perfected I next checked the length of the skirt panels by holding a tape measure from my waist and taking the measurement from below my knee. From cross checking the measurement against the skirt pattern pieces I determined that the skirt was 3” shorter than I would have liked so I slit the skirt pattern pieces and added in the extra length. No other adjustments were done.
With the pattern now ready I next selected a gorgeous emerald green Crepe Suiting Fabric from Minerva. I’d been drooling over rich green fabrics for the past few months so I was dying to get something that matched with what I had in mind. The fabrics nice quality, its super soft, has a good drape and isn’t too thin so I’ll hopefully stay somewhat toasty during the cold winter months. I also purchased a lighter green lining fabric to add a bit of contrast to the dress.
Next up, I started constructing the dress. Most the instructions were relatively easy; however, this was the first time I’d lined a dress in this manner so I had to stop and start a lot to double check the pattern to make sure I was doing everything correctly. There was a little bit of unpicking as result but nothing too major thankfully! The rest of the dress was a breeze, it came together super quick once id gotten my head around the lining part. Prior to adding the sleeves, I considered leaving the dress sleeves as it looked so pretty but thought I’d challenge myself as me and sleeves aren’t typically the best of friends, however these were perfect and looked really cute with the gathers.
Overall I really enjoyed this make as I felt like the pattern taught me quite a lot but nothing too scary at all. I can see myself making lots of these now I have the pattern and I can already picture some fun hacks that could be done such as changing out the sleeves or removing them completely. The dress fits perfectly, its super cosy so I’m really happy to have something that’s glam but comfortable.
Thanks’ all for reading and happy Christmas!
Hi everyone, Becky here from Notes from the Sewing Room. This month I was asked to review some beautiful grey Sweatshirt Fabric.
The colour grey can often seem boring but not in this case. I used two different grey tones to make a snuggly jumper that will be perfect for the freezing winter months.
The fabric is smooth on the front and has a fleece back that feels lovely against your skin.
Although this is a sweatshirt fabric it is quite thick, so will be best suited to hoodies or warm winter jumpers. The description on the website suggests the fabric has a bit of stretch which may be the case with some of the colours, but from experience I can note that both of the grey fabrics have very little (if any) stretch. With this in mind, depending what pattern you decide to use the fabric for, it may be best to add a bit of extra wiggle-room into your design before cutting your project out.
What I Made
As summer is now behind us, I wanted to make something warm that I look forward to wearing with my jeans or over my PJs.
For this project I used the Sewaholic Frazer Sweatshirt to make version A. The fun details of this pattern give it a bit of extra ‘wow’ rather than your average looking jumper.
Version A features long sleeves, sleeve panels and a contrast yoke on the front bodice that come to a point at centre front. Instead of standard machine stitched hems, the sleeve and body are finished with fabric bands. I decided to contrast my grey fabrics to use the lighter colour on the yoke, sleeve panels and cuffs and the darker one for the main body pieces as well as the arms.
There are two other sweatshirts in this pattern pack to choose from so I think it is definitely value for money, particularly if you wanted to try all three designs. I’ve made version C (the one with the shorter sleeves and contrast collar) a couple of times in different weight jersey fabrics and they all look so different.
If you are unfamiliar with Sewaholic patterns they are generally designed to flatter pear-shaped women. I’m a big fan of the patterns and would certainly recommend them if you are new to sewing or are a more experienced sewist as there are a few different patterns to choose from.
How Did I Find Using the Fabric to Make my Project?
The sweatshirt fabric is really easy to sew and requires little pinning. I used a size 80 sewing machine needle to sew my project as the fabric is fairly thick.
I used my sewing machine to stitch the contrast yoke and sleeve details but used my overlocker to sew up the rest of my project. This is really personal preference though as the fabric would be fine to be stitched with a sewing machine alone.
It is worth considering any areas of excess bulk and trimming your seam allowances accordingly. I found the areas around my hem bands to be a bit chunky but this may not be the case for you as it would depend how you were finishing you garment.
I’m going to enjoy wearing my jumper on the cold evenings where you just want to snuggle up in front of the fire and get warm.
Changes Made to the Pattern
As I’m 5’10 I lengthened the bodice pieces by 1 inch which means the jumper fully covers the top of my trousers. I wanted to stop the draft getting up my jumper and making me feel cold :)
If I was to use this fabric again, I would add a little extra room in to the shoulder section of my project as due to the lack of stretch it may bit slightly more comfortable that way. However, I’m really pleased with the way my sweatshirt turned out overall and enjoyed working with the cosy sweatshirt fabric.