Posted in Projects on Thursday the 11th April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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
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.
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.
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.
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 10th April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 9th April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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
Posted in Projects on Monday the 8th April 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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.