Posted in Projects on Saturday the 24th March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Grammar fans will have noticed that in my title, “Jeans” is in quotation marks. That’s because I’ve been dying to make the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns for the longest time, but what I needed most of all were some smart trousers for work, where jeans aren’t allowed. But by making them in corduroy instead of the traditional denim, I reckon I’ll get away with it. Just don’t tell my boss…
Anyway, how great are these?! As soon as I finished them, I sent a photo to my mum with the caption “I’m never buying jeans again. I’m making them all”. And it’s true! These are an absolute dream. I’ve always had trouble buying RTW because of my shape – my hips are a full two sizes bigger than my waist, and although I’m tall, I’ve got a long body and short legs. Weird, right? So when I came across Ginger Jeans last year, and realised that it is possible to make your own, I knew instantly that it had to be done. I’ll admit, I put it off for a good old while. Jeans are quite a project after all, and I felt daunted by the seemingly enormous challenge.
But it turns out I needn’t have worried! Yes, they took a long time, but they weren’t really all that difficult. The fine Italian Corduroy Fabric I chose has a small amount of stretch, which made it easy to work with yet forgiving on the body. What’s more, the fabric is super-soft and comfortable – the cotton in breathable, and yet the corduroy pile is surprisingly cosy. I spent a long time tracing the pattern (tip: It’s definitely worth tracing this one, rather than cutting straight into it. Jeans must fit in so many places that making changes is almost inevitable, so it’s worth keeping the original intact). I had to grade between the waist and hip, then increased the rise by 4cm. This might have been difficult had it not been for this post about fitting, which was really helpful. At this point I basted the whole thing together to check that the adjustments worked. It took a long time but was worth the extra leg-work (excuse the pun). As it happened, they were a great fit first time around my oversize booty, but I was able to take them in a bit on the lower legs, for a flattering skinny fit.
Construction was pretty painless – the instructions in the envelope are really clear and include lovely little motivational messages like “You can do it!”, which are surprisingly encouraging. The pattern suggests using a contrasting thread for the topstitching, but I decided against it given that I wanted to disguise these as smart trousers. I did use a Jeans Button, however, which was an absolute triumph – they’re only 9p(!) on Minerva, and really easy to install with the bash of a hammer. It gives a super-professional finish, which I love.
I also opted out of a denim-zipper, using a regular black plastic one instead – the corduroy is so fine, that I was worried that metal zip teeth might damage it. Controversially, I also went without the belt loops, because a long time ago I ruined some beautiful velvet trousers by catching one of the belt loops on a door handle and ripping them (oops). Given all the time and effort that went into these bad boys, I didn’t want the same thing to happen again!
I was pleased to be able to use a remnant of quilting cotton from my stash, which was the perfect fit for the pocket lining and waist-band facing. It’s so satisfying to use these small bits up right?
Believe me when I say I can’t recommend this Sewing Pattern enough. Ginger is a great wardrobe-builder, and goes with virtually everything. What’s more, now that I’ve transferred all my adjustments to the pattern, I think it’ll be pretty quick to whip up some more. Talking of which, I’m already planning some in classic indigo denim. I can see myself making these again and again and again…
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 23rd March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
The style is simple with wide straight legs and an elasticated waist. And yes they have pockets! Due to their casual loose fit I would say this pattern is perfect for beginners as fitting won't be an issue and there are no zips or button holes to deal with. Not that these things should put a beginner off of a pattern. Named patterns have five levels of difficulty and the culottes have a two scissor rating and classed as simple. I'm assuming the two scissors is because the pattern suggests using a stretch fabric. I used a woven fabric and when looking for inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest it seems a lot of people have made them in woven fabrics so don't let the fact that it suggests a knit fabric put you off. But by all means use a knit fabric if you would prefer.
Right lets take a minute to talk about the packaging. Indie patterns designs always make the most stylish envelopes for their patterns and Named is definitely up there with the most strokeable. A simple plain white box envelope with a card insert makes their patterns super stylish. Sewists love displaying their pattern stashes and this is one pattern that would definitely get pride of place in a sewing room. Inserted into the front is a photograph of the garment and the back is sealed with a branded sticker. I really didn't like ripping through the the sticker as I wanted to keep the packaging pristine!
The pattern is printed onto paper, no tissue paper yay, and the pieces don't overlap, another yay. So if you like cutting straight into your pattern then this is perfect for you. I'm a tracer so I'm not fussed either way but it did make it quicker to trace out. There are only four pieces so tracing and cutting is really quick.
Now for the construction. The instructions come in a little booklet. As with most instructions they come with details about fabric requirements, pattern piece placement and some definitions around key sewing terms you will need thought the construction process. Always read the instructions fully before you start so you know what to expect and the order of construction. Different pattern companies work slightly differently so you don't want to end up unpicking. You are then ready to go.
First up are the pockets. The opening on the back pieces need interfacing so they won't go saggy and out of shape. You just need too small pieces so raid you interfacing scrap bag, I'm sure all sewists have a bag of small pieces just encase! The pocket construction was different to what I have done previously but the instructions were clear and I was easily able to follow them. Just two pointers that I would do next time. First I would finish the seams after sewing on each pocket piece rather than before so that it is slightly tidier on the inside. Second, make sure the layers you don't want to sew though are out of the way as I did have to do a small bit of unpicking.
Whiz along the inseams and then sew up the crotch, hehe that word always makes me giggle!
Nearly there. The waist band needs interfacing but as I was getting read to attach it I decided against the interfacing so peeled it off. I felt that it would make the gathers stiff and uncomfortable once the elastic had been inserted. If using a stretch fabric then I would definitely use the interfacing so you don't end up with a saggy out of shape wish band. Insert the elastic and hand sew up the small opening. It's only a small bit of hand sewing and its on the inside so don't panic if you aren't a hand sewing fan. If you do want to improve your hand sewing I would definitely recommend making a hexagon patchwork quilt. I made a double sided one big enough for a double bed and now hand sewing doesn't faze me at all! This will also be the perfect place to add a personalised label if you have one. It will also make it quicker to work out which is the front and back when getting dressed! I didn't stitch the elastic to the waistband as I struggle to get it even when stretching it out.
And last of all hem them. I overlocked the raw edge, turned them up 3cm and top stitched in a contrasting green thread.
The instructions are simple to follow and contain text and drawings. I couldn't find a sew along on their website but due to their simple construction you shouldn't have any problems with just the booklet to follow.
The pattern is designed for someone 5'8" and I am no where near that tall. Being only 5'3" I shortened the leg by 5 inch. There are no lengthen or shorten lines but as they are straight legged I just took it straight off the bottom. From making Tilly and the Buttons Marigolds I found the crotch (hehe) to low so I shortened these by 2 inches. Again there were no lengthen or shorten lines so I just took it off of the top as the side seams are straight. With these to small adjustments they fit great.
I chose to make them in to Lady McElroy Foliage Fabric and they are perfect for dressing down with a tshirt tucked in and trainers or dressed with with sandals and a smart top. Obviously they aren't very seasonal appropriate at the moment, especially as it is -5 degrees, but I'm getting ready for spring and summer!
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 22nd March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 20th March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Punched slinky Satin Dressmaking Fabric. This is a slippery fabric to work with, but it has the most wonderful drape and fluidity.
This beautiful slinky fabric and oh the surface design – partially punched out circles all over this gorgeous fabric! For me red was drawing me in, I had to have some!! So certainly, I acquired several meters….my heart flip flopped numerous times in anticipation of touching it and deciding what to make with this fabric.
I had to think about this after all there were holes all over it – would I use it as a design layer for a pillow, a shawl, I could surely see a lined evening bag - made from it, what would I make??
Then it hit me, a blouse, yes, a blouse that wrapped – partially lined, it would be so beautiful!!! Now that I knew what I wanted to make, I set out to determine what pattern I would use? I liked Simplicity 2369, but I wasn’t sold on it either. I am going to have to create my own design from mashing up pieces and parts of separate patterns. I began searching until I settled on my final choice the body of Simplicity 2369 with the sleeves of Kwik Sew 3582, I needed to work through the design of the pieces I would use.
I had determined my design and now I needed to move forward with the layout, now I wanted to think about any special considerations; and there was at least one. I needed o be thoughtful about how I laid out the pattern pieces for cutting, to make sure as few of the punch outs were along the seam edge as possible. That was going to prove challenging!! But I’d get there….
Let the sewing begin!! There were some challenges sewing with this fabric, as it’s slinky slippery-ness made it necessary to go slow and check often that it was not rolling up on itself under the needle.
Let’s mark the progress…
Honestly speaking, this fabric is beautiful and provides such interesting design elements with the punch out surface design. Plan well your project, from its design to placement of the pattern pieces to cut, as well as how to finish off your hems – all these elements will be important for a finished project.
Enjoy your next sewing project, try something different, try this gorgeous Fabric!!!!!
Cynthia @ The Needle and Thread Shed
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 19th March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Minerva Crafts offered up fabric to try, who am I to refuse. A beautiful Lady Mc Elroy Jersey Fabric arrived, it took me moments to decide on Simplicitys Sew house seven toaster top.
This is a light-ish weight jersey that’s perfect for a t-shirt type top. Not so thin it has to be roasting to get to wear it but enough to wear on it’s own or under a jumper or cardie. It’s smooth and has a good recovery due to the elastane content.
I’d made the funnel neck Toaster which had gone together like a dream. An afternoons work and ready to wear. As this was to be a lighter top I chose the open neck version for my stripes. I could see it working through three seasons depending on what it’s worn with, Jeans, Leggings or denim skirt. I’m getting the hang of this transitional dressmaking.
I cut out a 12 which has given a nice roomy top without it being too baggy. I tried to make sure I cut it out to allow for the stripes to line up when I’m wearing it. The drop sleeves make it interesting and I added some length as I didn’t fancy cuffs on this. I also lengthened the body pieces so I could wear it with leggings. I love the drop hem at the back, anything to disguise my rear end.
This jersey makes up really nicely, it holds its shape without being too firm and if you don’t work it too much it won’t stretch out of shape. A piece of luck really as I didn’t get on well with the neck band. The pattern piece was too small, it stretched on as expected but when I’d stitched it on it was obviously way too small. Unfortunately I’d triple zigzagged it in place…Cue a week of unpicking when I had a moment in good light. It was sooo very close to being cut out. My patience was definitely tested with this. I measured the neckline and cut another neck band to fit with a small stretch to fit. Much more successful.
The rest of the top went together in a few short spurts of time worked in between work projects. I twin needled the neckline and sleeve hems but decided it would look nicer with a single line along the hem. I’ve mitred the corners of the hem to give it a nice finish for when it moves and flashes the inside.
I find it best to do this pressing first to get a nice crisp edge.
Once I’ve pressed up the hem and the split edges I use a pin to hold onto the point of the corner.
I then fold the corner in lining up the pressed lines so that the fabric makes a triangle of fabric pointing into the top.
I can then bring the hem edges together to make a mitred corner when I press again to make a line to stitch along.
Folded together I stitch along the diagonal line which fixes the corner so it can be turned and stitched down along with the rest of the hem.
Job done. I think I’d rather have a slightly lower neckline on the next one but over all I’m pleased with the finished top. The jersey has worked up beautifully, so well behaved.
This is definitely a pattern that will become a well-used one, I’m already eying up the next project for it. I may never need to buy another t-shirt. Bring on the jersey! It’s not something to be shied away from, if you choose a jersey of cotton/elastane it’s going to go together smoothly. Use a ball point needle and a small zigzag on a normal sewing machine and you’ve got all it takes to have a go. You’ll stitch a lot of the Toaster with a straight stitch. Go on, give it a go. There are soooo many beautiful jerseys out there. Give yourself time to play and enjoy the process.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 18th March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 17th March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi – Becky here from ‘Notes from the Sewing Room’.
After being asked to review the Oaki Doki Hobby Textile Fat Quarters from Minerva Crafts, I spent a bit of time pondering what I could do with the fabrics to brighten up my home.
When you order these online at Minerva you dont know exactly which prints you will receive, it's a bit like a lucky dip and definitely a lovely surprise to receive in the post. I was sent four lovely patterned fat quarters – two with a butterfly design, one with a mini rose print and another with a cute pink triangle pattern.
I don’t know about you, but at this time of the year it is easy to feel like summer is a long time away and everything seems a bit dreary. So, in order to add a bit of sparkle back into my home I decided to use two of the pieces of fabric to create new pillow cases for my bed and the other two to re-cover two of my chair seat pads.
Each of the fabric pieces were lovely quality cotton and could be used for lots of different craft or sewing projects.
There are lots of ideas to be found online by googling ‘craft projects with fat quarters’.
The Pillow Cases
I really love injecting a bit of colour in to my life whether it be in the clothes I wear or in the furniture or upholsteries I have in my house.
Pillow cases are one of those things that I always seem to be short of. It doesn’t seem to matter how many I make or buy I always seem to need more for when we have friends to stay over or when the others are in the washing machine.
Some people may like there bedding to be matching, but I kind of like the uniqueness that mixing and matching pillow cases brings.
Below I talk you through how to make your own covers like mine:
Measure the long and short edges of your pillows and add 1cm to each measurement (this will be your seam allowance).
Make a template using baking paper (or regular paper / card as you prefer) to cut around. Then pin this to your fabric.
Cut out the front and pack of your pillow case.
I used a fat quarter on the front of my pillow cases and plain light blue cotton poplin on the back that I already had in my stash (you could also use an old sheet, bedspread or offcut for the back piece if you wanted to upcycle something you already have).
Note: I didn’t need to cut my fat quarters at all as the measurements of the fabric were only for the back section. It doesn’t matter too much if your fabric is slightly bigger than your pillow measurements (such as a few cm bigger) as they will still look nice in the end.
Pin three sides of your pillow case together (the two long sides and one short edge. Then stitch these in place using a 1 cm seam allowance.
Finish the edges of your fabric using a zig zag stitch or an over locker (these are the edges you just sewed).
Then, on the un-stitched edge create a small l double fold – basically creating a nice neat edge, iron this in place then sew. I used a zig zag stitch as it looks pretty, but a normal straight stitch would be fine.
Fold your pillow case through to the right side and iron. Then you are all finished!
Re-Covering My Chairs
Thanks to some recent building work at my house, a lot of my soft furnishings got covered in brick-dust. We did cover everything up but I guess when things are moved around the covers come loose and the dirt gets inside.
So, rather than trying to clean my old seat pads I decided to create new covers instead.
It is really easy to do this. You will need:
- An old dining chair that has a loose seat pad
- A staple gun that is suitable for upholstery projects
First of all I removed my old material cover revealing the original velvet-style seat pad underneath.
I then pinned my fat quarter around the pad – placing the pins as firmly as I could on the under-side of the pad to keep the fabric in place.
Turning over the pad to make sure all was okay from the front (the fabric should be laying as flat and neat as possible); I was then ready to staple.
Holding the back of the pad as firmly as possible, I then stapled the rear side of the material in place. I used quite a few staples but I don’t think there is a particular rule on how many you should need – basically whatever works for you to hold everything in place.
When you are happy with the staples and that the fabric is staying in place, I trimmed any excess bits of fabric off.
I’m really pleased with the finish of the chairs. My husband wanted to take these chairs to the charity shop a few years ago but I knew they would look great again with a splash of paint and a new cushion cover. It is amazing how quickly you can give chairs a new look if you want to.
I hope this was helpful and may be given you a few ideas of how you could use fat quarters to create some gorgeous new bits and pieces for your home.
Thanks for reading!
Becky @ Notes from the Sewing Room
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 15th March 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello lovely readers!
I’m back on Minerva Crafts blog with a new product testing review. This time the nice team from Minerva asked me to test the Lady McElroy Cocktail Hour Cotton Lawn Fabric. I could not have said ‘No!’ to this fabric. Really, would you?
For this project, the fabric dictated my choice of pattern, I chose to make the jumpsuit version of Butterick Pattern 6130. Also, because I did not fancy doing any pattern matching, I thought it would be more interesting to use plain red cotton (a bit heavier weight than the cotton lawn) to make the collar and the waistband.
Knowing that Butterick patterns have quite a bit of ease (I prefer my garments to be quite a close to body fit) I have chose the size to cut based on the finished garments measurements. As a result, I cut a size 10 and not size 14 as my bust measurement would suggest. Also, I have cut the trouser straight down and took out about 2.5 cm (1”) from the back crotch, as well as I shortening the length on the trousers by 10 cm (4”). I did not want them to be to long. I did not have to make any changes to the bodice.
It is good practice to wash your fabric the same way you will wash your garment, before you start working with the fabric. Construction was pretty easy. I used my pinking shears to grade down the seam allowance on the armholes after I under-stitched the lining.
For adding the zips in I always use knit stay-tape 3cm (1 1/4”) wide. It helps me in keeping with the seam allowance without having to use extra marking and stabilises the area the zipper goes into.
As I am one of those people who insists in always changing something with a pattern, not always intentionally, rather than inserting a centred zip, I did a lapped zipper insertion, just because I could.
I inserted the lining and at the waist, I just used my stitch in the ditch foot, after carefully, pressing the seam allowance on the lining waistband piece a little longer than the line of stitching to make sure it gets caught in the stitch and makes a clean finish on the inside.
For the trousers hem, I just pressed the fabric twice and top stitched in place. Dead easy!
You probably noticed that I used my overlocker to finish the seams on the trouser part only, which is not enclosed in the hem or lining. However, you can easily use the French seam (a seam with the raw edges enclosed) to finish the raw edges, the fabric is light enough not to create bulk by using this technique.
I am super pleased with my jump suit!
And look at that zipper! I am happy that my decision to do a lapped zipper insertion paid off.
And yes, the red shoes are back! They make this whole outfit perfect for that fancy date night with significant other or just your night out with your girlfriends.
Did I mention that the Fabric is a dream to work with? Or that it presses well? Well it is. It is perfect for someone who is just starting to sew. The fabric is soft and stable. I really love the way it feels agains the skin. It is perfect for blouses, shirts or summery skirts or trousers.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog post. And, please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.
Simona @ Sewing Adventures in the Attick