Posted in Projects on Thursday the 7th November 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
I was overjoyed to find out that even at the beginning of my sewing journey Minerva asked me to join their blogger network. In fact, I could not believe it for a while and was dreading a moment to wake up and find out it was just a dream!
Minerva most kindly offered me the choice of beautiful quality cottons and oh dear, was it at first scary? Yes, cottons are considered ideal for beginner sewist due to their stability and the way they behave when sewn. However, I have to tell you that I avoided this particular fabric for a while. Boxy dress without any shape, skirt sticking to my tights, sleeves that feel uncomfortable… Does that ring a bell?? But it is all forgotten because this fabric is simply marvelous.
It is a beautiful Cotton Fabric with prevalent teal color and everything about this fabric is gentle. Do you know that the color influences the mood of the soul? The blue-green is very calming, something you want to reach towards, a door you wish to enter. There are these tiny little spots of muted red, purple, yellow, green and blue and each color is somehow soft on its own and soft next to the other colors. The handle of this cotton is buttery crisp and when you crease it, it is not immediately visible. It is easy to handle and easy to sew. What a relief…
My original choice of a sewing pattern was the Gathered Dress from the Avid Seamstress. However, I changed my mind and decided on a jumpsuit. I've only made one jumpsuit so far and wish to add a bit of chic to my wardrobe. I chose my true and tried New Look 6446. I know many people have made stunning versions and it's been around for a while. It never looks the same on each person, which is marvelous about sewing, different person and different fabric choice makes it look always original. I made an autumnal version too and the fit is just great. Of course, I wanted to get this project right, it's my first project here on the blog. So I went for it.
Slow sewing is a lovely thing to do. Clearing your mind from all the ambition and of all the focus on the end outcome. Welcoming mistakes like a sudden curve on an otherwise straight path or like trees in the middle of an open field. Hello, dear seam, shall I unpick you and sew you again? And again? Oh dear, and again…
I did not encounter huge difficulties. In my last version, I failed to align the trouser pleat with bodice dart and I hadn't noticed until it was finished...? This time I had to fiddle with the pleats several different ways trying to work out which way they are meant to lay. And I succeeded to align all the seams and darts, phew.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first blogging attempt except…. You know when for the first time you go to the local park with your tripod, fabulous jumpsuit, heels, lipstick and all and try to take a selfie while striking various poses. And a teenager calls: "Go on love, I looove it!" You feel somehow out of place, almost inappropriate and you wish to disappear quickly. Well, something to overcome. Till next time!
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 6th November 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
This holiday season will be different than most in that, due to the early-December arrival of our little boy, I won’t have a holiday party to attend. Despite this, when I received a beautiful embroidered lace tulle from Minerva, I couldn’t resist to “sew some frosting”. Introducing my latest Minerva make: McCall’s M7995.
This pattern is from McCall’s latest winter/holiday collection. M7995 is a loose-fitting short dress that comes with the whole kit and caboodle: optional flounces, ruffles and a large side bow collar. I chose to make View A, the sleeveless version which features the bow and pretty flounces. I find the bow can be a little overpowering for my frame so I like the option of leaving it as a side tie too.
In terms of sizing and modifications, I cut a size Small for the top of the dress and a size Medium for the bottom. The Medium bottom is to accommodate my growing belly, though my intention for this dress is mainly postpartum use.
I find the loose swing style of the dress to be quite concealing of my pregnancy. Well... expect from the side view :) and it’s exactly what I was going for -- hello Trudy Campbell’s awesome nightgown (for those of you familiar with the show Mad Men)! I find it fascinating how maternity wear has evolved throughout the years. Up until the 1950s, women were expected to hide their baby bump for as long as possible. And when the bump grew too large to conceal, women often stayed home until they had recovered from the birth and were back to a more socially acceptable waistline. Since then, social norms have gradually shifted. It’s only been relatively recently that western society has allowed women to fully embraced this special time of growth and that they have been able to proudly show their pregnancy in public. Of course, this is very revealing of how society is evolving in regards to women’s bodies and sexuality. Personally, I feel privileged to be able to decide how to dress my bump in the absence of any significant outside influences.
Now, with the history lesson out of the way, let’s have a look at something much lighter, both literally and figuratively: this gorgeous tulle fabric from Minerva, featuring embroidered flowers AND sequins! It’s gotta be one of the fanciest fabrics I’ve ever worked with and I’m not used to sewing with sequins. When I was finishing the inside seams, I actually broke my serger’s needle on a bulky sequins part of the fabric. After that incident, I removed as many sequins as possible from the raw edges before proceeding with the serger again. I underlined the tulle fabric with a black Bemberg rayon. And for the contrast collar and flounces, I used a satin that matches the beautiful bordeaux shade of the embroidered flowers. I am constantly drawn to burgundy and purple tones during this time of year.
Thanks to Minerva for the opportunity to sew something special with this amazing fabric. I love this dress so much! It’s easy, comfy, and it has the right amount of shimmer and shine that makes me wanna dance! It’ll be a hit at next year’s holiday parties! Here are additional pictures:
Thanks for reading!
Every year leaves me in a mad panic, trying to whip something up for the holidays at the last minute! You would think by now I would have caught on, and started way earlier than the week before Christmas. I mean, it’s not like Christmas isn’t the same time every year!.. :) Well this year must be my year, as when I got the Minerva Makers call to make an holiday dress, I jumped right on in. I picked this lace fabric as I fell in love with the floral design. Kind of reminds me of a night garden. Can you distinguish where the garden starts and where my skirt begins? Me neither. :)
I had the pattern all picked out to make my super voluminous gown and anxiously waited for the fabric to arrive. Finally the fabric came and it was just as beautiful in person as it was online, but there was one hitch – it was black base and not white like I had set in my mind. Even though black wasn’t what I had in mind, I was beginning to visualize my new holiday dress. After much back and forth with the underlay color, I decided to go with yellow – yellow crepe. It was a toss up between the crepe or satin, but the crepe won, as initially I wasn’t going to use the lace on the top, and I didn’t want that shiny satiny look.
I am pretty sure I checked the yardage on the pattern to be sure I had the right amount of fabric, but much to my dismay, it wasn’t wide enough to cut the full skirt the pattern called for. I tossed around some other ideas and finally settled on M7802 View D. It had a floor length skirt, front side split and a plunging V neckline – perfect replacement for the original dress!
I had made this pattern already but view C (with sleeves and midlength) so it was already cut out, so I was now ready to forge forward with my dress. This wasn’t a hard sew but it took me a bit to finish, as I really took my time as I wanted it perfect or as close as I could get. All the lace seams are finished with French seams. I planned on doing a rolled hem with the serger, but at the last minute changed my mind and just serged and finished it with a narrow hem. I think that looks better than the rolled hem would have. For the bodice and the midriff band, I used the crepe as the underlining, and then self- both pieces. This way, I wouldn’t have to worry about having the lace and crepe seam showing through the lace when I wore the dress. It such a cleaner finish!.
With all the unexpected bumps encountered with my holiday dress, I can’t help but think this is what happens when you try to be early?..hahaha… Well, you know there was one more hurdle I needed to overcome. Once I basted on the top to the skirt and tried it, I could hear Randy from American Idol ‘It’s a NO for me’... I had made the crepe piece the same style as the lace overlay. A short flair skirt under a long flair skirt wasn’t working. It was all bunched up! Back to the drawing board! I had just enough of the crepe left, to make a straight skirt using M7725 (minus the ruffle). Tried it on, and that was much better! The skirt just covers my rear, but we won’t complain as it’s covered. :)
All in all, this pattern was a pretty easy one to whip together, but held so many lessons for me. The most important being, if plan A doesn’t work out, don’t be so quick to give up, find a Plan B or Plan XXX ! This last pic accurately reflects my mood when I look at my finished outcome! :) (My daughter couldn’t have picked a better moment to ‘CLICK’ ).
Thanks for reading,
I love Christmas so when there was a chance for me to make something using these great fabrics, I jumped at the chance.
The fabrics I chose were:
I first decided to make drawstring bags with my fabrics. I love the idea of plastic free alternatives so I thought that a gift bag to receive some nice presents in would be a great idea. Plus, there’s no struggling with either wrapping, or opening the present up. I’m not sure about you, but I’m rubbish at wrapping up presents! It’s frustrating because I’m a creative person and can make most things but wrapping presents is something I haven’t managed to manage yet. It just ends up looking like a bundle! It’s much easier to throw things into a gift bag instead and now I have some fabric ones to use.
These drawstring bags were fun to make. I decided to use some cord for the drawstring rather than using fabric straps to pull the bag closed. I think it gives them a nicer finish and makes them look more professional. I chose some fun looking fabrics to make people smile because how can you not with these cute fabrics? They would also look great under the Christmas tree, but you would have to make sure that no one could look at what’s inside before Christmas day!
On a similar theme, I also decided to make some mini tote bags. These are quick and easy to make, and I think they also make cute bags to hold gifts in. It adds a personal touch when loved ones receive gifts that are handed to them in a personal, handmade bag. It makes the gift more special. For a couple of them I decided to use some ribbon for the handles instead of using the fabric. I really liked to contrast in patterns and how they have turned out.
These bags are made from polycotton so they wouldn’t be up to holding items that are too heavy and they may not be as long lasting as using a canvas fabric, but they are worth the effort and they will be hard-wearing if they are used appropriately.
I decided to use the robin fabric to make a notion pouch with. I’ve made a few of these in the past and it’s taken me a while to get to grips with making sure the stitches line up on the front and the back. The only way I can do this is by hand-stitching them. I sort of enjoy hand-stitching and I’ve been using this a bit of late. I did make a mistake of sewing the heart fabric upside down, but I’ve learned from that mistake now, so I’ll be more careful when using directional print fabric to ensure it’s the right way up!
I had no problems using these fabrics. The Santa faces fabric is slightly thinner than the others to use so do bear that in mind. However, if you use a lining fabric, or suitable interfacing, then it’s all good.
Thanks for reading!
My name is Sandra Lloyd and I am ecstatic to be joining the Minerva Maker Team. This is the first blog I have ever written.
I was immediately drawn to the Lady McElroy Marigold Cotton Poplin Fabric. I simply adored the warm complementary colours and I love floral printed fabrics. The fabric is medium weight and is my preference being a self-taught sewer.
The dress pattern I chose to pair with this fabric was McCall’s M7922.
I knew that this project would be a challenge for me as it included techniques that I had not undertaken before ie a centre twist, curved hem and side split. My pet hate is unpicking seams so in order to prevent this, I read the pattern instructions twice. What stood out for me was the importance of transferring all markings especially those needed to create the focal centre twist.
My body measurements are 39–34–42. The finished garment measurements are size 16 (41.5-40-46) and size 18 (43.5-42-48). This created a bit of a dilemma for me in that I did not want the bust or hip areas to be too fitted, especially as the fabric is woven. I made the decision to make the size 18; the option would be there for me to take the finished garment in from under the sleeves down the sides of the dress.
The only adjustments that I made was to raise the pattern front neckline and corresponding facing by 2 cm and to go with a 1cm hem (I am 5’8”).
I always pre-treat fabric by washing at 30 degrees and air drying. I found that this fabric was a dream to iron.
The pattern instructions are excellent. When making the centre twist the instructions are very clear. All I had to remember was that the right side of the dress (as worn) went over and through the small opening on the left side of the dress.
The glossary provided a few methods to finish seams. On this occasion, I chose to serge my seams without trimming as, in my evaluation, the fabric did not create a lot of bulk.
I took my time inserting a Minerva 22” invisible zip as I wanted the zip to actually be invisible. I am very happy with the results.
When I tried the dress on, I found that the dress was too big around the bust. I decided to take the dress in by 0.5cm under the arms to 2cm below the bodice front. Even so, I think that the bust area is still too big.
To create a crisp side slit, I basted the seams together and pressed them open before continuing with the instructions.
To make the narrow hem, I stitched ¼” from the dress lower edge using a basting stitch. I then turned this up and pressed. I then folded the fabric up by1 cm to form a narrow hem. I pressed and pinned this in place. Where there was ‘bulk’ due to the curved hem, I pulled on the ¼” basting stitch and pressed. I top stitched the hem in place.
This fabric was an absolute dream to sew. I love it.
Hi there, I’m Glenda (@gleeheehee on IG), and I am so thrilled to join Minerva’s Maker Team. Since most of my sewing projects begin with the fabric— what it can do in terms of its weight and drape, and how it wants to be in terms of its pattern, color and texture—I am so happy to explore Minerva’s fabric inventory and then get to play!
What immediately caught my eye was this beautiful Lady McElroy 2 Tone Shiny Suiting Fabric in Wine. I first heard about the Lady McElroy brand from UK sewing Vloggers Nikki and Rachel of the Stitch Sisters, who often mentioned it in their fabric suggestions, but I hadn’t seen it IRL here in the States.
When the fabric arrived, I was thrilled by its sheen, deep vibrancy, and thickness.
There is also 6% Spandex in its composition—I hadn’t sewn with woven stretch fabric before, and was eager to try.
One of my inspirations for this project was the RTW Autumn/Winter 2019 Collection from Celine, presenting a design trend that French fashion magazine L’Officiel called “Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie”. This brings to mind elegant French 1960s silhouettes (blouses, blazers, fitted waists flaring into full skirts, sleek shoes) with 1980s details (varsity jackets, high collars, pointed-toe leather boots). Another trend L’Officiel (grudgingly) noted was culottes—which I personally LOVE! They are all the swishiness of skirts with the practical ease of trousers!
And I had the perfect pattern to combine these inspirations: Butterick 6178, specifically view D with the waist darts. This is my TNT pattern, in that unusually for my petite self, I don’t have to make a single adjustment!
I wanted more flare to the final look (and also I wanted to use up as much of this luscious fabric!), so I started my flare about 6” below the waist, and then continued out and away from the original pattern line, all the way to the selvedge. In the end, the new endpoint was about 2” away from the original, so in total an extra 4” (minus seam allowance) for each side was achieved. In addition, I shortened the length of the culottes by 4”, so the hem would fall at a midi length, rather than at the ankles as the original pattern does on me.
As I cut the pattern pieces out of the suiting fabric, I noticed that they frayed a little bit on the edges. I then decided to enclose my seams as much as possible, i.e. in French seams—how appropriate!
This also included incorporating pockets into those French seams, which I had never done before. Thanks to the French Seam Side Seam Pockets Tutorial on the Rebecca Page website, I was able to understand this technique.
Throughout, I used a stretch needle and a walking foot to sew on the fabric, and that worked swimmingly. Also, I kept my iron low and off steam to press. My only major modification to Butterick 6178’s pattern directions is that I installed an invisible zipper instead, preferring the chic look of them, non?
The directions do call for hand sewing on the waistband and hems, which I’m happy to do as the results are more elegant than machine-stitching the edges down. I will say that the suiting fabric has a bit of bounce to it, and a pressed-down ¼” fold for the leg hems wouldn’t hold. Since the pattern called for a total 1 ¼” hem, I simply pressed-down a 1 ¼” fold, then tucked half of the fabric inside so the raw edge would be encased, and then pressed again. This worked a treat, and I was able to get on to slipstitching!
The final result is that I am so happy with my culottes! The length and line of them look elegant, and that rich wine color catches the eye. The stretch makes the garment even more comfortable. This culottes style can be dressed up or down:
I could wear this with a black velvet top and heels for dinner out, or I could pair it with a varsity jacket and boots… perhaps as I leave the house to catch Truffaut’s Breathless at the art house cinema, ’80s band Berlin’s “Metro” playing in my head…
á la prochaine, mon ami,
This is my first ever post for Minerva so I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Olivia of Seemingly Immaterial and I like to sew stuff. That just about covers it, right?
For my first make, I decided to get myself ready for winter with Butterick B6604, option C, a fitted calf-length coat with princess seams and a big shawl collar.
Ever since I started sewing, I’ve always wanted to make myself a brocade coat, but had never been able to settle on a fabric I liked until I came across this beautiful floral woven Brocade Fabric. I thought the fabric would go perfectly with this coat pattern, which had the additional advantage that I already owned it and had even for some reason already cut out all the pattern paper pieces like a super-organised person.
Though I’m normally a big proponent of the toile, I decided to skip one for this project. I’m trying to convince myself it’s because Butterick sizings are normally pretty accurate for me, and any minor fit issues could always be done on the fashion fabric, but deep down I know it was probably just laziness.
Which meant I could zoom straight into the sewing. Though the pattern doesn’t mention it, I decided to interline my outer fabric with some cotton canvas, just to give the coat some extra structure and insulation, as I do intend to wear it when it gets cold. To do this, I cut out all the outer coat and facing pattern pieces (i.e. everything but the lining pieces) in the cotton canvas, then basted each to its equivalent in the brocade, so that both fabrics could be treated as one.
Overall, the pattern was actually pretty easy to follow. Though there were a lot of steps (even more so if you choose to give yourself the extra work of interlining!) I didn’t find anything to be too complicated, and I would definitely recommend giving this pattern a go even if you don’t have any experience with outerwear.
By a massive stroke of good luck, I also found it fits me great. The only thing I’d change if I were to use this pattern again would be to lower the armscye slightly, as it is quite tight under the arm.
I’ve also got to confess that my version doesn’t have button closures (or technically any closures) yet, as my sewing machine decided at the last minute that it didn’t want to do the buttonhole stitch. I’m not feeling brave enough to attempt handsewn buttonholes, so in the meantime I’m cheating and just belting it up.
Also, I don’t think I have any other coats this long, and that’s certainly something that needs to change. The ¾ length skirt and deep pleats in the front and back give the coat a glorious swishy quality that makes it so fun to wear. Combined with the gorgeous brocade fabric, it feels so wonderfully sophisticated.
I’ve also got to mention the flared cuff detail. I just can’t resist anything with a big collar or cuffs, and this coat has both! The sleeves are quite unusual in that the seams aren’t at the sides; there’s one going down from the centre armscye, and one from the centre shoulder line. This enables you to create the slit at the front, without needing separate cuff pattern pieces. I love this little detail – it adds just a little bit of drama, and creates so much movement whenever I move my arms.
All in all, I am so happy with how this project turned out. I think the brocade fabric works perfectly with this style of coat, and gives it a real luxurious feel. I’ve got to admit, the coat does kind of remind me of a vintage house coat/dressing gown, I mean, it’s the right length and it’s got that big shawl collar going on, but that basically just makes me like it more. I’m kind of looking forward to it getting cold enough to wear this on a regular basis!
Thanks for reading and see you next time!
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 5th November 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
When I first saw this sequins fabric on the Minerva website, I knew that I wanted to make a suit. What kind of suit was the hard part and which kind of style should I make? Sequins isn’t that easy to sew with and trying to make a collar in my mind would be hard. I was feeling quite stressed but didn’t have the fabric yet. So, I rummaged on Pinterest and my pattern stash to find a style and inspiration that would work for me.
When I got the fabric, it was so beautiful. The sparkle, the stretch (oh yes it has a one way stretch), the color, drape and everything about this fabric is just gorgeous. I just kept staring at it. I even changed my mind a few times and thought about making a dress. But in my heart, I knew that I wanted a suit and one that I could wear separately for various style preferences. I had to do the fabric justice and knew that I wanted to make separates so that I could get the most use of the fabric. I could pair the pants with a nice sweater or blouse and the blazer I could wear with jeans, a dress or a solid color, the possibilities are endless.
The fabric is a sequins lace fabric in black and silver. It has a beautiful design. On the site it states it does not stretch but it has a one way stretch depending on the direction you want to cut the fabric. The fabric has a good weight. It isn’t heavy but its not light. The drape on it is great for dresses, flowy pants and of course a nice jacket/sweater like I made.
For the pants, I have been using Simplicity 8841. I will be very honest, I just wanted to make a simple pair of pants. This one is so easy to make and offers so many options. I wanted a wide leg pant so that I could wear the pants separately. I have no complaints on this pattern, I think everyone should make it. . It is easy and only requires 3 pieces, so it’s a winner in my book. I added pockets on the side and cut for view B but did not add the belt or loops. I was able to cut and sew up all the pieces in a day. I will say that when I made my pants and went to add the waistband it didn’t fit. I am not sure if I cut the wrong size waistband by mistake and didn’t realize it, either way I had to make it work. Since I did not have any more fabric, I gathered the waist of the pants slightly to fit the waistband. The oversize flare of the pants is just beautiful with the drape. I can’t wait to wear them separately.
Tips for sewing with this fabric. I didn’t have to remove the sequins, you can sew on either side of the fabric. I used a regular universal needle and didn’t have to change it out. The fabric sewed easily, and I had no issues. I will say that if you are new to sewing with this type of sequins you should test out your fit with a basting stitch and different color thread. I had to pick one of my stitches out and I swear I needed my glasses, light, sunlight and magnifying glass just to be able to see the stitch line.
For the look I paired it together to show off the suit. Look out for more style looks from me. As the holiday is upon us this is going to be a wonderful staple to wear to all the holiday parties, dinners and Friendsgiving’s.
Cheers to a fabulous holiday season!
XOXO Monica @thatssewmonica
Hi everyone!! I hope that you are all well. Christmas is my favorite time of year. It is the one holiday where I go all out with decorations, holiday music, Hallmark movies, and of course, Christmas inspired DIYs. Today I am coming to you with my DIY dining table quilted placemats, and a super cute skirt that I made out of leftover fabric. The beautiful fabric that I used for this project is a beautiful reindeer woven cotton fabric.
First, let's talk about how I created these beautiful placemats and napkins. When I first received the fabric, I knew that I wanted to create table settings, I just was not sure if I wanted to just do simple placemats or add an extra detail. I have long admired quilters, but never attempted a quilting project of my own. This allowed me the perfect opportunity to put my beginner quilting abilities to the test, and man did I learn a lot. One major lesson I learned due to a little mistake that I made while practicing my quilting on another fabric (please also test your skills on scrap fabric first before you attempt to try it on your actual fabric) is NEVER CUT YOUR PROJECT PIECES OUT BEFORE YOU QUILT. That is a big no no. It is important that you first cut a fabric square larger than the size of your project, add batting, and then quilt the fabric. Once you have quilted the fabric, then you can cut out your project and commence to closing up your seams how ever your project calls for. The reason for this is because when you quilt you lose inches off of your project, therefore, you quilt first and then cut out your project to ensure you will have enough quilted fabric to complete your work. For these placemats though, that rule does not apply because extra inches has already been added to the size of the fabric that is cut out.
What you will need:
- Three yards of fabric
- Two yards of batting (batting will not be needed for the napkins)
- Cutting tool
- sewing machine
Once I cut out batting and fabric, I lay the front and back of the fabric front sides facing, then I lay the batting under the two layer of fabrics.
I then take the fabric and batting to the sewing machine, and sew through all layers 5/8" seam allowance, but leave about a two inch or so opening so that you can turn the mat right side out. You will then snip all four corners of each placemat close to the stitching line. That will allow for the mat to look nice and flat on each corner once you turn the mats right side out.
Once you are done stitching all layers of the mat, you will then turn them right side out as the photos below.
The part of the mat that was left open will be stitched closed. You can either slip stitch or edge stitch to close that area.
Once you have all of your mats turned right side out and stitched closed, you can then begin the quilting process. I drew one inch around the full shape of the placemat and stitched those lines until I got all the way in the middle. That is how I created my quilted design.
Now for the Napkins
To make these beautiful napkins, you must first cut your fabric into four or however many napkins you want to make in 18" squares. Next you press one inch seam all around the napkin and then tuck in 1/2 and inch inside of the one inch seam and press that. Next you stitch 1/2 in seam all around the napkin, and you are done. Another finishing technique that you can use, (the one I used) is the mitered corner. For sake of the length of this blog post, here is a link to an awesome video that shows step by step how to do a mitered corner.
What to do With This Extra Fabric?
I had some extra fabric left over, and I was not sure what to create with it. At first I thought of making an apron, it would have gone perfectly with the theme of my project. However, there was not enough fabric. As I was going through my file cabinet full of patterns, I happened upon an easy skirt pattern that I forgot I had, Simplicity 1465. I made a simple pencil skirt and it was a perfect finish to my wonderful Christmas decor. The skirt fit so well, and I now have something to wear to this year's Christmas party.
This was such a fun project, and this fabric is absolutely beautiful. My kids love the decor so much that they asked me not to take it down until after Christmas. I guess that means my house is almost Christmas ready.