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.
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 8th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, my name is Shirley, and this is my first guest post for the Minerva Craft Blog.
To say I’m excited about appearing as a guest on the Minerva blog team is an understatement; I may have let out a little squeal on my lunch hour when I read Vicki’s email asking if I would like to join up. The gasp may have also scared my work colleagues, who were then intrigued to find out what was going on. They will soon find out!
I’m glad to say I received my first fabric choice, and the one I secretly hoped I would be given; a beautiful Crinkle Satin Fabric in the colour way pink. The fabric is a lightweight satin with a polyester composition; it is a non-stretch woven fabric which comes in four different colours; blue, grey, purple and pink.
As soon as I received the two metres of fabric, I popped it into the machine. It can withstand a 40-degree wash, but I placed it on a quick 30-degree wash. It dried in a matter of minutes on the washing line. The fabric then sat for a couple of days, so I could admire it, touch it and drape it and think about what it would become. I knew that I wanted to make a dress, but I just wasn’t sure of the style. Another factor I had to contend with; the fabric is quite sheer when you hold it up to the light, this isn’t a criticism on my part, it just meant that any pattern I did choose it would need lining for it to be wearable.
It took me a further couple of days to find the perfect pattern; New Look 6263, I opted for Version A. This is a style I have used before, but as a top (in heavy cotton), not a dress, so I knew this would work with my body shape. When I saw the suggested fabric list on the back of the packaging; silky types, I knew my fabric of choice was going to be perfect.
The tricky part. I have only worked with one other slippy fabric (a georgette) during my time sewing, so armed with some tricks from the previous venture I knew I was on a good footing. I started by spraying a fine mist of starch on my cutting board so the fabric would stick and not move around. I used silk pins for fixing the pattern pieces to the fabric, these are extremely sharp, and they protect the fabric from becoming snagged. When cutting, I find I tend to lift the fabric when using scissors, but this wasn’t going to work with this slippy fabric, so I opted for my rotary cutter instead. During cutting, I decided to alter the front and back piece length by over three inches; this is just a preference on my part, I like dresses either sitting on the knee or just below.
The lining: I was going to go for a silky fabric, but in the end, I went with a lightweight 100% cotton in black, that I had in my stash. Armed with all the bits and bobs I needed I started constructing some of the lining features and then jumped to place the same features on the floral fabric; bust darts, stabilising the neckline front and back with a row of stitching and overlocking all the seams. I then pinned the lining and front piece of the dress together to put in the cut out ‘v’ in the neckline, but then I changed the pins to tailor's tack as the fabric kept slipping at this crucial stage. From this point onwards the dress came along really quickly. I did change the needle size to a finer size 60 for the floral fabric, and I also placed a piece of tissue between the feed dogs of my machine and the fabric. On too many occasions I have wound up with the fine fabric being sucked into the machine and becoming tangled with the bobbin. This technique stops that from happening, and once you tear the tissue away, you are left with an undamaged piece of fabric.
The Finishing Touches
The dress is sleeveless and asks for a bias binding finish, a half inch wide single fold cotton tape to be precise. At the onset, I thought this would be too small for the finish, but it actually looks very elegant. This finish also dictated the collar for the dress; I opted for the black cotton instead of the floral fabric, and I’m so glad I did because it makes the floral fabric stand out more. At this point, I have a confession to make I forgot to cut out one of the pieces of the pattern, the piece for the button loops because I was too excited to finish the dress. I used folded over bias tape to make them. I know, but honest, it does look good.
The lining and the dress hems are both hand sewn using the blindstitch method, to make the stitches on the right side of the garment inconspicuous. Both hems were then pressed for a smooth finish, the floral on a cool silk setting and the cotton, on the maximum iron setting.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the drape and the feel of the fabric. Yes, it was slippery to work with, but boy, the finish of this dress is beautiful. It’s smooth to the touch, silky and luxurious and I can see myself making a version two in the purple colourway very soon.
Thank you! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my guest post for Minerva Crafts.
P.S. You can follow my sewing adventures @madebysunrae on Instagram and my blog with the same name.
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 8th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
We’re having such an amazing weather this summer, all I want to wear is linen, linen and more linen.
This linen rayon blend Fabric has the perfect weight and hand for a lightweight summer dress. It is slightly crisp, so used with the right pattern you can get a garment that sits away from the body. Nothing better than a loose garment in a breathable fabric on this heat!
A few years back I had an unhappy incident with a pair of linen trousers shrinking in the wash so after that I always washed the fabric 2 or 3 times before using it. But recently a friend pointed out something that seems very obvious now - measure the fabric before and after each wash and see how much it shrinks. If it shrinks a lot, maybe close to 10%, wash it again; otherwise there’s no point.
This white linen didn’t shrink at all after one wash, maybe it’s the rayon in it or maybe it’s been pretreated, so it only went in the wash once. I recently read a trick for prewashing to minimise wrinkling and fraying. Fold the fabric until you get about a 50cm / 20in square (more or less depending on the thickness of the fabric) keeping the raw edges inside and baste all around the edges. Throw that in the wash and you end up with a relatively smooth piece of fabric and minimal fraying. I tried this a few times already and it really works!
I chose to make the Style Arc Eme dress, I loved the cocoon silhouette. It’s not something I usually make and wear, but this oversized trend is starting to grow on me. It only took me a few years :D. Well, I didn’t go all the way, I made the dress one size smaller than recommended. Small steps!
I think the pattern and fabric are a really good match, I don’t think a lighter/softer fabric would work very well with the cocoon shape.
The dress has facings everywhere - neckline, hem and sleeves. I have a neat way of finishing facings that I found on Instagram, I really wish I could remember who posted it.
You sew main fabric and interfacing right sides together, trim, and then flip the interfacing with the glue side on to the the wrong side on the fabric. Trim more if necessary, press and ta-dah! You have a very nice edge!
I had to shorten the dress by about 5cm / 2”, I am only 5’2”. I didn’t want to mess with the hem darts so I shortened the dress at the waist. I removed 1” from the bottom of the bodice and 1” from the top of the skirt. I don’t have a ‘before’ photo but it looks much better on me now. Here’s a photo with less wrinkles, before the 240 miles trip to the beach :) . This is with the sleeves down, they are a bit too long like that. Doesn’t it look like I could live in that Wendy house?
I topstitched all facings with topstitching thread to make it stand out, but I’m afraid it’s still not visible enough. Much better than normal thread though, you can tell the difference if you look close enough.
This dress was perfect for our recent holiday in beautiful Cornwall. I wore it to the beach a couple of times but it’s perfect as a day dress as well. The fabric was a great match for the pattern, it wouldn’t work very well as a shirt or blouse, but it’s perfect for something that requires a bit of structure.
Thanks for reading,
Geo @ Made in my Living Room
With the summer holidays fast approaching and the current situation of being in the middle of an extremely hot and sticky heatwave, I knew that a pair of shorts were exactly what I needed to make. When I saw this lovely Gingham Fabric from Minerva Crafts, the heat and the need for shorts and a want for a paperbag waist all combined within my mind to create these.
Initially, I planned to use the Megan Nielsen Flint Pattern to sew these shorts, but the copy that I have ordered isn't going to arrive for a while and the aforementioned heat/need for shorts/ paperbag waist coveting combination called for some pattern hacking.
The pattern hacking in question was actually relatively simple. I've used the Tilly and the Buttons Marigold Pattern quite a few times in the past, and almost exclusively for pattern hacks. Obviously, the main adjustment that I made to the pattern in this case was to shorten it quite a bit. I also sewed the side seams with a slightly smaller than usual seam allowance so that they would be a bit wider. I was initially unsure how long to leave the shorts and managed to find the right proportions once they were finished. I think that the length of garments is so important to find exactly the right length so that the proportions are correct, and the main problem that I had with these shorts was that at first they looked too long despite being the right length. Because of the paper bag waist, the top of the shorts appeared to be much higher than my natural waist (even though the elastic was comfortably around my waist) and as I wanted to tuck my top in there just seemed to be too much of a gingham:plain t-shirt ratio.
To fix the 'too much gingham' problem, I lowered the waistband by a further 1". I say by a further 1" because lowering the crotch seam is the first thing that I do when using the Marigold pattern, having now learnt that it is much too long for my liking. With this adjustment already in place the elastic was nicely positioned at my waist, so by lowering the waistband by 1" on top of this they elastic isn't in the most comfortable position that it could be in, but this doesn't bother me and I think that resulting lowered ruffle looks much better than it did previously.
Other than the length, the other obvious change that I made to the pattern was to add a paper bag waist. I've seen a lot of them on high street clothing recently and it's been something that I wanted to try and recreate for a while. It was such a simple thing to do too - all I did was to measure the circumference the waistband pieces once they were cut and the side seams sewn and multiply this by 1.5. I then cut out a piece of fabric which was this length by a width of about 4". By sewing this rectangle together at the side seams, folding it wrong sides together and gathering it I was then able to sew a lined paper bag waist with the seams enclosed within the waistband. The instructions will state to sew the waistband and waistband facing together along the top right sides together; to add the ruffle, simply sandwich it between these two pieces and sew it all together at once.
One of the things that I love about these shorts is that I just know that they will be getting so much wear this summer! I love wearing them with a top tucked into them to really show off the paper bag waist, but they can also be worn with a t-shirt loose over the top, making them really versatile. The elastic band makes them so comfortable too, always a bonus and much appreciated during hot weather.
Although this is a gathered paper bag waist and I really like the style, I would also like to try sewing a pleated paper bag waist at some point, as I think that the lines would look really sleek and elegant. Initially, I planned to add a tie around the waist too, but once I added the paper bag waist I decided that it was busy enough with all the gathering going on and I'm glad not to have added that extra detail.
There were a few worrying parts to making these shorts and I did wonder at times whether or not they would be wearable in public or if they would look too crazy, but I'm so happy I finished them because I really like them, and It's good to know that I can hack this pattern into shorts again. And of course I'm so pleased to have a pair of shorts to wear in this insane heat!
Thanks for reading,
Anna @ letsgetsewing
This pattern has some gathers which create a gorgeous draping effect. And this crepe is so beautifully soft that it hangs perfectly.
Let's just take a moment to appreciate how well this fabric hangs.
Isn't that just perfect?
Despite its soft drapey qualities, the fabric was very easy to work with. It didn't creep when I was cutting it, like soft fabrics can do. It generally stayed put when I was sewing it, and it wasn't particularly prone to fraying. Wins all round!
I made a few changes to the pattern. Firstly, I sewed the neckline up a little bit at the bottom of the decolletage. Purely for modesty sake as I'll likely wear it to work.
The pattern is supposed to be fully lined. I only lined the skirt with some slinky blue lining fabric I had in my stash.
I didn't line the top as I will be wearing this in an air conditioned office which is prone to being very stuffy. The fewer the layers, the better.
The original pattern has puffy sleeves, which I personally don't like on me. Instead I added a shorter cap sleeve with a pleat on the apex for movement.
Again, just take a moment to appreciate the fabric. Look at how it drapes!
And I also didn't take the zip all the way to the top. It's purely practical to start it further down, it makes it easier to pop the dress back on after a sweaty lunchtime gym session.
A few people who have reviewed the pattern, have commented on it being too open for their taste. Well not me. I have a chest tattoo which I'm pretty proud of, and this dress shows it off to perfection.
Overall I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. There are a few little things that I'm not so pleased with, but they certainly won't stop me from wearing it.
Would I make the pattern again? Initially I wasn't sure, but it was a simple make and feels lovely to wear. I'm beginning to envisage it in a cotton lawn. So I may well make it again. With pockets of course.As for the fabric, I love it! It's soft and drapey and will be lovely to wear. I'm desperately hoping I have enough left to make a top.
Hey Minerva Makers!
It’s Vicky from Sewstainability here with a review of this Polka Dot Stretch Cotton Sateen Fabric. First thing’s first, I‘d like to clear something up - am I the only one who thought that ‘Sateen’ meant shiny? I know, I know – put me in the corner with the dunce’s hat on – I confess I am a fabric simpleton sometimes. I think it is partly down to the fact that there are no fabric shops where I live, I don’t get to touch them often and learn their names. I am so grateful to websites like Minerva for getting me my fabric fix!
Anyway, when I ordered 1m of stretch cotton sateen, I sort of expected it to have a sheen to it, despite it being cotton. I was interested to try it even though I am not really much of a shiny fabrics person – I was therefore completely thrilled when I opened my package and this beautiful fabric came out! It is a good medium weight, not shiny at all with a really decent amount of stretch, I am definitely going to be ordering more to make some of the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers!
When I ordered the fabric I knew I wanted to make an Arielle Skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. I took a gamble only ordering 1m of fabric but as I have seen so many people talk about what a great scrapbusting pattern it is I thought it was a safe bet. I cut a size 5 at the waist and graded out to a 7 at the hips and managed to get the whole skirt out of 1m so it was a total bargain! I do confess I had to turn the facing pieces against the grain to get the whole skirt out of 1m of fabric but as these pieces are fully interfaced it didn’t matter if they are cut with the correct grainline or not (although don’t cut them at an angle as they might twist and go all kinds of weird!)
I used my Sew Easy Metric French Curve to grade out the side seams to fit, I cut a size 5 at the waist and a 7 at the hips but it was too big when I basted the side seams together so I had to take it in about a centimetre at each side to get a good fit. I was really aware I have seen a few on other people that look like the buttons are really pulling and I wanted a smooth front so I was wary of taking it in too much. It’s still a little loose at the waist and I think I will make it a tiny bit smaller next time. I also added one inch to the mini length as I am 5’ 7” and I am happy with this length on me.
As the fabric is a good weight and completely opaque I decided not to bother with the optional lining. I did notice after finishing the skirt that there is a tutorial on the Tilly website for finishing the facings with bias binding and I do wish I had done that, some gorgeous yellow binding would have been a lovely pop of colour inside – but I guess it is lesson learnt for next time!
I chose some yellow buttons from my stash to contrast the navy and white polka dot and made sure to sew the buttonholes with yellow thread so that it’s obvious the yellow buttons were a deliberate design choice and not an afterthought. I didn’t want it to look like I just didn’t have any navy or white buttons! I really like the blue and yellow combination and I think it will get a lot of wear during autumn and winter with some cosy tights and boots.
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!
I was very pleasantly surprised by this Yarn; the images really do not do it justice or even convey how luxurious and soft it is. A delightful yarn to work with as glides around my crochet hook and fingers with ease. It has an almost silky feel and is incredibly soft to the touch. Perfect for a garment to cosy up in. A double-knit weight, 100grams per ball with a generous 306yds/280m. made up of 97% Premium Acrylic with 3% Polymide.
I choose a Crochet pattern I have had on my to-do list for a long time, this along with many other delightful crochet and knitting patterns can be found at Internunet.com. There is also a YouTube Video channel called InternUnet, where you can find tutorials on many of the patterns available.
This particular shrug/top pattern both intrigued me because of the modern and pretty design elements and also because of its unusual construction. A perfect partner to wear with feminine clothes and for when those summer evenings start to get a little fresh.
The colour I choose was Clearwater blue, and as you can see by the photo it is a very fresh colour, with graduations of tones including white with a sort of bobbly texture.
The main sections of the top is made using Treble stitches (UK Terms) but worked from the start of the sleeve up and then continues from the underarm section where the row is increased to include and start the front and back body sections of the top. I added a few extra rows to the sleeves as I wanted them to be longer and again a plus for this pattern design which makes minor adjustment easy because you can try it on as you go and add or subtract rows accordingly.
Once the sleeve and body section have been finished for the one side, you just repeat for the other side and then join both sections at the centre back with your hook or needle. I used my hook and joined using the front loops from one section and the back loops from the other to create an invisible join.
A few more shaping rows along each of the front panels and then you are ready to start the lovely motifs which are for me the main attraction of this top not only because it looks so pretty but by adding them you naturally join both halves of your garment.
These motifs are worked in a join as you go method, two side by side up the front sections of the top and are sort of little squares consisting of petals and chain loops. It took me a little while to get my head around it but the video tutorial is particularly good if like me you get lost sometimes with written instructions. I am a big fan of crochet charts.
The motifs then divide to allow for the front V of the top and singular motifs around the back of the neckline. I have used the same colour throughout this top, but you could use alternative colours say for the motifs to really make it a statement top and it would work equally well in cotton yarn too. I have noticed that depending on what time of the day I took the photographs of my work in progress, the colour looks slightly different, so I ventured outdoors between the dreadful rain we have been having to do my supermodel bit. I may have failed on that score, but you can really see in natural light the lovely colour of the yarn and the finished top.
If ever I wanted a cosy jumper or top to snuggle in Calypso would be the ideal yarn for me. Currently I believe there are around eight pastel colours available, so hopefully King Cole will bring out a range of colours with a rich winter colour theme. A definite winner in my book.
Thanks for reading,
My first post is going to be about this beautiful floral cut out Faux Leather Fabric. I love fake leather and I found this design very intriguing, I haven’t seen anything like it before.
The edges of the cutout design are not even, they follow around the flowers and leaves, but the tulle extends about 15-20cm (6-8in) beyond.
I thought this feature of the fabric would make a great midi skirt, with the pleather just below the knee and then the tulle going down to mid calf. I imagined myself walking around looking like this lovely lady on the left, but I ended up looking like a much shorter version of her.
Obviously it didn't work out. In this photo here I have already cut the tulle in a desperate attempt to make it work.
I had to change direction so I decided to make a cropped jacket with very little design lines, similar to a French jacket. I started looking for patterns designed for leather jackets, they are designed with little or no ease in the sleeve head ( I don’t want to try easing in any leather!). I found this Burda Style pattern that was exactly what I needed - one piece front with bust dart, the back is cut on fold, the opening is a centred zip (which I skipped) and a basic jewel neckline. No diagonal zips, no collar, no unnecessary seams.
I cut open my skirt and placed the jacket pattern on the fabric and - hallelujah - there was enough fabric to cout all jacket pieces.
Unlike most leathers, real or faux, this fabric slides easily under the pressure foot. I didn’t need to use a teflon or roller foot. I used a standard 80 needle and it worked great. I didn't dare go next to it with an iron though, so instead of pressing the seams I topstitched them all. I think it looks quite good! (I can’t believe I’m saying this about an unpressed garment :D)
I chose a plain faux leather for finishing the raw edges. The main fabric has those cut outs that might stick out when folded around the edge, so the plain one works better here. I followed this tutorial for binding around corners.
The hem is cut on the selvedge, so I left it unfinished. I think it looks nice with the floral design waving around.
The sleeves were cut on the selvedge initially and they were reaching the base of my thumb, that’s where I usually like my sleeves to end. But after trying it on I though bracelet sleeves would look much nicer on this light summer jacket. I tried to replicate the uneven edge of the hem by snipping around the cutouts in the fabric.
Looking back I think my main issue with the skirt was the size of the pleats - too small and too many. But even though my skirt was a big fail, all is well that ends well. I have a great jacket perfect for summer evenings. And the fabric was very easy to work with, compared to other faux leathers I’ve used. It’s not sticky at all, it glides under the presser foot and you can use pins as the marks quickly disappear after you take the pins out. And if you think it’s too hot for leather jackets, the cut outs in this fabric make it breathable.
Thanks for reading, I hope you like my jacket. What would you do with this fabric?