Posted in Projects on Monday the 13th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
For my next guest post for the Minerva Crafts Blog I choose this funky floral Cotton Poplin Fabric. Working with cotton is wonderfully straightforward and I knew cotton poplin would give me the freedom to make pretty much any garment, which was an exciting prospect. I love the striking design of this fabric; and although modern, I can’t help but feel a little mid-century nostalgia in it and the abstract florals just top it off perfectly!
When the fabric arrived I was pleasantly surprised with how soft it was, and how vibrant the colour was on it. After pre washing there was no colour bleed or fading which I had been slightly worried about given the depth of the colours against the white background. It did need a quick iron but generally the creasing was minimal.
Wondering where to start with choosing a pattern to use, I tried to imagine what would look good with this design – a shift dress would have looked terrific and in keeping with the era I had in mind but I had 3 metres of this wonderful fabric and wanted to really make the most of it. So, I decided that a dress with a fuller skirt and a high neck, no-fuss-kinda-bodice would be best so the fabric design could be flat enough to be seen properly and appreciated. I found the perfect dress pattern to suit my requirements in Simplicity Cynthia Rowley K1873 which is a dress with crew neck option and just bust and waist darts on the bodice. I made option B, which was without the sleeves or waist tabs, but added my own decorative touches at the end.
Alterations I made to the pattern included adding 3 inches to the length of the skirt because I wanted it to end just below the knee and the pattern is designed to be above. The pattern includes a bodice lining which I always prefer to have as it just makes the whole garment feel more professional and substantial. There was no lining for the skirt included but I added one in a polyester lining fabric, in white, just to keep the colours sharp and as vibrant as they would be on the bodice with the white lining behind. The skirt lining I just gathered rather than pleated (as the skirt is) and it’s created a wonderful ‘pouffy’ shape around my hips which I love (adds to the ‘vintage‘ feel), but if you wanted a sleeker look you could create just minimal gathers at the waist as long as the bottom of the lining was wide enough to match the skirt. I attached the lining just inside the seam allowance after the skirt had been sewn to the bodice. Then you can still hide all the raw waist seam edges when you fold the bottom of the bodice lining down and slip stitch it over the top so it looks beautiful inside and out!
I didn’t actually worry about doing any pattern matching with this fabric – naughty, I know! – it was so busy and the design quite small I just didn’t think you would be able to notice any joins. Now it’s complete I still think this, so I’m glad I didn’t waste the extra fabric and time it would have needed to do this. Another note on the design is just a friendly reminder to check you’re cutting your pattern pieces the same way up. If you lay all your pieces down and cut in one go then I think you’re safe but I’m one for cutting each at a time so as to be as economical with the fabric as possible and I was worried, with only a subtle difference in the direction of the print, that I would be caught out. Luckily for me, I managed to keep my mind on the job and successfully cut everything the right way up!
Once I had finished the dress I really felt like it just needed something to be the cherry on top. I considered a peter pan collar which would have looked super cute but I rejected that idea as ideally I would have sewn it into place when I attached the lining around the neck. My next favourite accessory after a collar is a bow, preferably a very large bow! So, I added one at the neck front in a turquoise cotton from my stash which matched one of the colours in the design (the bow shape I decided on was inspired by one of the options on the earlier rejected shift dress pattern, Simplicity 1609). The waist was also crying out for a belt so, in the same turquoise cotton I made a simple belt with an amazing red flower buckle (the charity shops gods were smiling on me that day!), which matches the dress like an absolute dream.
I’m thrilled with how the fabric pattern and shape of the dress have blended and I know I’m going to get so much wear out of it throughout the year. The colours are really multi-seasonal – I can see myself wearing it with sandals and sunglasses in the summer, and thick coloured tights and a beret in the Autumn!
Thanks for reading - happy sewing!
There are some patterns which grab the attention of ever sewist on social media, those patterns which everyone has, and which time and time again come up on everyone’s insta feed. I think the By Hand London Anna dress falls into this category! Just search the #annadress on instagram and you’ll end up down a rabbit hole of inspiration from fellow sewists all sewing up gorgeous Anna dresses. When this John Kaldor Crepe Fabric arrived from Minerva, it deserved to be made into a special dress, and the Anna dress fitted the bill perfectly.
Before we talk more about the dress, let’s talk fabric first. This floral print comes in 2 colour ways - Black, and mustard yellow. I chose mustard, because surely it’s one of THE colours of 2018. The fabric looks more yellow than the picture, so it’s more vibrant. It’s also happens to be the same colourway as the marketing photos for the recent Sew Over It Libby shirt, so check that out to see another sample of this fabric “out in the wild”. Making a maxi dress in this fabric definitely makes a statement! Despite the slippery nature of this fabric, it’s a dream to work with, it’s really compliant, and even though there are a lot of panels to the skirt, the fabric didn’t shift as I cut. The fabric has a random placement of flowers on, and just a word of warning, all the flowers are up the same way, meaning that technically it’s a directional print, and you need to make sure you cut your pattern pieces all up the same way. Alternatively you can decide to play pattern tetris and ignore this completely and not let it bother you if some flowers have their stems upside down - if you look carefully you’ll see I chose this route (read: didn’t realise this until I had cut everything out).
The dress itself came together pretty quickly, despite all those pattern pieces. I chose not to go with a side seam split up one leg, as I made this to wear to a wedding in a Hindu temple, so just sewed up the entire length of that seam. That’s about the only amendment I made to the pattern. Once you have sewn up all those skirt pieces, the bodice comes together super quick, partly because there are no darts, but shaping comes from pleats at the waist seam. The sleeves are grown on, so there’s no extra pattern pieces to cut or sew, and the finish on the sleeve hems is a double turn up which is down before you sew the side seams, to make everything super simple and very neat. The Anna dress isn’t lined at all, so in these pictures I’m wearing a slip underneath, just to make sure you can’t see my undies through the dress.
I should mention that if you have an overlocker overlock the seams, I was rushing to get this dress complete, and didn’t bother, partly because there are so many skirt panels to overlock. I kind of regret this decision now, and may go back and do some seams. The fabric frays really bad, and after a couple of wears, I’ve had to cut all the fraying threads off.I’ve worn this in the super-hot weather we had at the end of June, and it’s a really good fabric choice when you want to look put together and keep cool. Despite walking around London all day in this, I didn’t melt in the heat, and it didn’t crease at all during the day. It’s certainly a fabric which doesn’t need ironing.
I really enjoyed working with this fabric, and if you are looking to make a statement I’d highly recommend using this colourway of the floral print crepe to make a special occasion dress. I’m thinking that this would also make a perfect jumpsuit, with the drape of this fabric, so maybe I’ll have add that to my summer sewing plans as well.
Thanks for reading,
Chloe @ handmadebychloe
Posted in Projects on Friday the 10th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I’ve gotta say I was chuffed to bits to have received 3 metres of the Camelot Cotton Fabric in the What a Gem pattern/colourway from Minerva. This was one of my choices and it was already destined to become the Nina Lee Piccadilly Pyjamas as soon as I saw it and I imagined myself sat in the sunshine on an evening drinking a nice glass of red! Okay, not in England at the moment with all this rain and cold but hey I can live in hope!
One of the first things I noticed when I laid out the fabric was the selvedge edge and the warning that it this fabric isn’t intended for children’s nightwear. I figured that as I was making for myself this didn’t apply. The fabric is also only 110cm wide and this is probably why I couldn’t fit all of my pieces on for the longer version.
Into the washer it went straight away as I was eager to get started. It washed beautifully and was dry and pressed in no time at all. My plan was to make the longer length pj’s and thought with 3m I would have ample, however, no amount of pattern tetris allowed me to get the longer length so I went for the short version. This fabric was non directional too so I was convinced it would fit.
It was a dream to sew and overlock. Even managing to get round the corners of the pockets and the button/buttonhole stands on the overlocker neatly.
As the pj’s started coming together I was getting more excited by the fabric and decided that to really make these “pop” I would need to get myself some nice turquoise bias binding and buttons. Admittedly I did buy turquoise and plain coral buttons just in case the turquoise might have been “too much”! You can never have too many buttons in your stash anyway right?? This fabric is a happy brightly coloured fabric and I managed to drop on what I think are the perfect happy buttons for popping on!
The bias went on a dream considering that I haven’t done much bias binding application in the past and really finished them off a treat. I opted for picot edge bias and it was the first time I’ve used this too. I made sure to press each and every seam and to get a crisp finish used my clapper for all seams.
I don’t know about you but I always hold my breath when it comes to doing buttonholes. Why is it that sometimes the buttonhole foot works perfectly but then the next buttonhole, for no reason whatsoever, the silly machine decides it’s not playing ball anymore! Anyway any disaster was averted on this as it worked perfectly first time (breathes a sigh of relief!!).
I always use fray stop to help prevent fraying and have to say it does make a difference. I do really need to invest in a buttonhole chisel though now I’m being brave and tackling buttonholes as I still use the unpicker and a pair of scissors to open the buttonholes. This is really playing with fire and I have been caught out previously and ended up with a split right through the end of the buttonhole.
As always when marking out my buttons and buttonholes I’ve used the Simflex expanding gauge. I love a good gadget and this one certainly gets plenty of use! I didn’t use the recommended amount of buttons on this make as I don’t particularly like things to be too fastened up at the neck, particularly in nightwear, so I decided to go “off piste” and do my own spacing. I ended up with 4 buttons leaving a nice gap at the top and bottom. I made a little bow from the bias binding to pop onto the centre of the shorts just in case the waistband was ever on view.
Overall I am really pleased with how these turned out and the fabric is just perfect for them. It sews and washes beautifully and what more could you ask for. I used a standard 70 needle and didn’t get any pulls or ladders.
Hope you enjoyed reading this and thanks for having me again!
Bye for now
Hey Minerva Makers!
It’s Vicky from Sewstainability here with a review of the new Gyo Top and Dress Pattern by Merchant and Mills. This is my first time using a Merchant and Mills pattern and I really enjoyed it, the packaging is lovely and I really loved the newspaper style pattern instructions. In fact, the pattern was so beautiful I couldn’t bring myself to cut into it so I traced it instead!
This pattern has a clean, geometric style. The packaging itself says it is Japanese inspired and I can totally see that. Because of this and because of several other versions I’ve seen online I wanted to go for a linen-y type material. I found this grey cotton/ramie blend Fabric on the Minerva website and thought it looked perfect. It has a crisp handle and a great texture very reminiscent of linen. It is a really great match for this pattern and there are so many colours to choose from!
I chose to make the top and I cut my size based on my bust measurement as there is quite a lot of ease in the bust and hips and I think that was the right call, there was no need for any adjustments or grading. It just pulls on over the head and so there are no fastenings to deal with, this meant it was a quick and simple sew. I enjoyed making the asymmetric straps and I also love working with patterns that have facings – anyone else? Just me?!
The top came together really quickly but I hesitated when it came to hemming. I knew the top was a cropped design but when I tried it on it seemed like if I sewed the 5cm hem it would be a bit too cropped for my liking. After a bit of experimenting I decided to bias bind the hem to retain the length and add a fun little design feature!
As it was coming together I did think it was looking really stylish, just like the Merchant and Mills promotional pictures. It was looking cool and simple and understated. So obviously I didn’t like it – I am not cool, simple or understated EVER. It just so happened that Zeena Shah (@heartzeena on Instagram) had just released a tutorial for how to print on her Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Dress with a parsnip. Obviously this was the solution to my boring top problem! I had some yellow Dylon Fabric Paint in my stash and one parsnip in my fridge – it was meant to be.
I did a few tester prints on some scraps of the grey fabric before I got stuck in. I found how to apply the paint really smoothly by dipping it and getting a nice even ‘spot’ on the fabric but I really wanted it to look hand-printed. I wanted it to look a little more uneven so I found if I applied the paint to the parsnip with my finger it would print with a patchy look I absolutely love. I didn’t have a plan as to where the spots went, I just applied them randomly. I did try and be really careful to avoid headlight boobs but apart from that there was no plan – I was just playing with paint! It was so fun!
Now it has this fun yellow pattern I am really happy with this top, I’ve worn it with jeans and a skirt and because it’s so cool and airy I think it will get a lot of wear this summer. There is only one problem I have had and that is the angle at which the skinny strap is sewn on – it is a bit too wide for my shoulder and feels like it is slipping down – something to take note of if you have narrow shoulders like me. I just need to unpick the strap slightly and sew it on a bit more straight than angled – a lesson learned for next time. I would like to make a dress version next, I’ve seen some stylish black versions out there but what do you think the chances are of me leaving it plain?!
Thank you to Minerva for sending me this gorgeous fabric and don’t forget you can find all my sewing adventures at Sewstainability.
Until next time – happy sewing!
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 9th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I’ve always preferred a vintage shape to a modern one, but like to give it a more contemporary edge. Now that there’s a wealth of reproduction patterns to choose from I feel spoilt for choice. When I chose this floral print Crepe Fabric I had four patterns in mind that I thought would suit this cloth. Once the fabric arrived I knew it would be absolutely perfect for Retro ’60 Butterick 6582. I love the shape of this frock with its front neckline which appears to wrap over, the shoulders that gather into gentle pleats and the V-back neckline. The zingy orange of the crepe contrasting with the white and blue florals was also more suited to a fun and feminine dress that I could wear day or night to my mind. I also wanted to make the most of the beautiful drape of the cloth with an on the bias skirt which Butterick 6582 has.
A few years ago I made the fitted frock in a stretch cotton from this pattern. I always wanted to make the full skirted version one day and I’m so thrilled I have. Now I’ve pretty much avoided working with any cloth I consider slippery. Probably total laziness on my part as it requires a bit more patience or so I thought. This time I decided to knock that silliness on the head and I was very pleasantly surprised indeed. To be honest this crepe didn't throw up any of the issues I thought it would and behaved perfectly on my machine. To make sure it didn't slip about when I was cutting the pattern out, I laid tissue paper underneath the cloth. Usually I would lay another piece on the top to make a sandwich, but just one piece underneath did the job and the crepe stayed put while I cut through all the layers.
Before I actually cut into the crepe, I made a bodice toile as I generally have to work a Full Bust Adjustment to allow for my torso and bust which are three dress sizes apart. In the end I didn't work a Full Bust Adjustment as the only darts are on the waist and back. I chose instead to go a size up for my bust and then took the bodice in from under the armpits and graded it to the waist so I got the fit I was after.
I have to say I really took my time with this frock and I feel it’s paid off. The crepe was a dream to work with so I enjoyed every step. I let the frock hang for a couple of days on my mannequin before I pinned the hem which I then hand stitched. I always prefer the speed of zipping round a hem with my sewing machine, but this cloth needed tiny slipstitches so it could hang perfectly.
Do you know, I love all the details of this frock, the flat panel at the front of the skirt with gentle gathers either side all the way round finishes it off perfectly. It feels wonderful on and I just love how the cloth swishes around my legs as I walk. Now roll on summer so I can wear it with sun kissed skin and sandals.
Fabric: 3m of Floral Print Crepe Dress Fabric and 1.3m of lining cotton
Notions: 18” zip and iron on interfacing
Difficulty: I would definitely say for Intermediate sewers. The tricker part is sewing together the shoulder seams so that the gathers lay in the right direction.
Thanks for reading,
Lisa @ mrsbobobun
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 8th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I don’t know about the rest of the sewing and knitting world, but a lot (okay, most) of the things I make fall into two categories – thick, warm winter items, or light summer dresses, so I’ve been trying to remember to also make some inter-seasonal garments to wear throughout the upcoming months too. You know, so I actually have things to wear!
When Minerva Crafts asked me to try out this Pleated Satin Fabric, I thought it would fit perfectly into this kind of category. The fabric is a polyester satin, with an irregular pleat detail and I chose the teal green colourway.
The fabric, although polyester, has a lovely feel to it, drapes really nicely and is not too shiny – which I definitely prefer. Looking at the image on the website, I wasn’t sure what the transparency would be like, but it’s perfect for tops and blouses. I did also think that it would make a gorgeous evening dress, but I fought against my instincts and decided to make something more practical that I’d wear a little more often.
Almost as soon as I opened the parcel containing this fabric, I immediately wanted to make a floaty, bell-sleeved top, with a V-neck, similar to so many I’ve tried on in the High Street. I didn’t have an exact pattern in my stash already, but I did have a basic t-shirt pattern – New Look 6434, which I hacked to form the shape of the top. I then made a few customisations, to suit the fabric and create the style I was looking for.
I added two semi-circle shapes to the bottom of the sleeve pieces to get a wide, floaty sleeve, and I lowered the neckline into a V shape. This was mostly a trial and error kind of process, so there was a lot of basting and unpicking, until I got the shape I was looking for. I planned to add a simple facing to the neckline, but due to the pleats on the fabric, I couldn’t get it to lie properly. Instead, I made a neckband and top-stitched it down. Luckily the fabric is quite forgiving, so any small puckers on the neckline end up hidden in the pleats.
I omitted the fastening that the pattern recommends at the back of the top. As the fabric has a little stretch, and as I had already lowered the neckline for the V-neck, I simply didn’t need a button and button loop closure to get it over my head.
I was surprised to find that this fabric doesn’t seem to fray! Even after one hand wash, the edges haven’t shown any signs of wear, which is great. Cutting the fabric isn’t too difficult, but I’d recommend using pattern weights instead of pins, to avoid damaging it. It does tend to move about – due to the pleats – and weights seem to work better overall.
The colour is descried as teal, but I think it looks more of a forest green. Either way, it’s beautiful and different to the majority of my wardrobe, which makes a nice change.
I’d recommend the fabric for simple, uncomplicated garments, so that you can really let the material do the talking. Any pattern needing something with a good weight, but with drape would work really well. (I can imagine this making a beautiful Megan Nielsen, Dove blouse.) I have a little bit left over, so I’m going to see if there’s enough to get a True Bias, Ogden Camisole out of it for the summer.