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Lady McElroy Retro CityScape Cotton Lawn Fabric Review by Angela

This beautiful Fabric is digitally printed on 100% cotton lawn by Lady McElroy. It is bright and modern yet at the same time manages to look retro. The geometric design of white and black is filled in with cerise and orange in shapes reminiscent of an aerial view of a town or city.
The quality is superb and it is perfect for dresses and blouses, it handles well and has an excellent drape.
I used mine to make McCalls Sewing Pattern 7533, which is a short dress with short sleeves.
It is always important to get your fit right or this beautiful fabric will never adorn your body. So  please, and I know  it’s boring, but take your measurements each and every time you make something new and compare them to the finished measurements  given in the pattern. If you are not going to make a toille, and I know many people don’t, then it is doubly important not to just guess at your pattern size. If in any doubt whatsoever then always cut out the larger size as it is easy to take something in but an absolute nightmare to do something with a garment which you have cut out a size too small. A well fitting garment is flattering and will make you feel amazing, so it is worth doing this bit of work before you put your (old) scissors to paper.
I am not going to give you a step by step tutorial on making the dress as the instructions are excellent but I will show you the changes I made to personalise your garment.
I cut my short sleeves slightly longer to accommodate some corded pin-tucks which add a little bit of interest to the sleeve. I did five rows in all. I also did one row around the neckline as the final step in making up my dress.
A high quality fabric such as this deserves a lining. Linings make any garment not only feel luxurious to wear but the garment hangs well and as a bonus lasts longer too. The pattern version I chose is lined but the instructions tell you to place the lining front to the dress back so that the seams would not show through a sheer fabric. As this fabric is not at all sheer then I wanted my lining seams and darts concealed within the garment so I tacked the lining wrong sides together around the neckline and around the sleeves. The back opening of the lining will be slip stitched by hand to the zipper tape.
I still wanted a facing but only around the neckline not the sleeves as well so I changed the pattern piece slightly as in the photograph and stitched it in normally. The facing was slip-stitched to the lining to hold it in place.
I pressed the seams of the dress open without finishing them as when I washed a small sample several times ( by placing a small square in my normal wash a few times) and did not notice any fraying.  Lining however does fray and I made sure that every seam was overlocked.
I love blind hems – they are just so neat! And once you get the hang of how to fold your fabric you will find them the best thing you ever discovered. Look at your manual – a picture of mine is shown – and have a practise and you will wonder why you have not been using them all the time.
My preferred choice of zip at the moment is a centred zip but if you enjoy sewing invisible zips go ahead, it’s your choice!
The finishing touches were to hand sew the lining and facing to the zipper tape and to give it a final press.
What to do with my fabric scraps? A small quilted tote seemed the obvious choice. It is just about large enough to hold a bottle of water and a book.
I cut out strips of my main fabric and strips of plain cotton lawn in black, white and cerise. Notice how the addition of cerise really makes the colours in the fabric pop!
Join your strips together to form a rectangle in the size you want. Then make another one. You can join together small pieces of your quilting strips to add more interest. Press the pieces and form a quilt sandwich with your backing right side down, wadding and quilted fabric. Pin it together at intervals and trim to size. Quilt however you like – I used a zigzag along the seams - and press again
Join the pieces right sides together and trim away as much of the wadding as possible from the seams and overlock. Turn right sides out, finish the top edge with a double hem and add handles of your choice.
Bags are so easy to make and you will get lots of inspiration by looking at pictures on the internet. They are a great way of using scraps.
I feel that I got maximum value for this gorgeous fabric and I can’t wait for a nice sunny day to wear it.
This fabric is delightful to sew and to wear and don’t you just love the design? The quality speaks for itself so do take a look and imagine what you could make with it.
Thank you to Minerva for the opportunity to talk about this fabric.
With best wishes,

Habico Mini Iron by Frankie

An Iron has been on my sewing want list for about a year now. I sew in our dining room and there is absolutley no room for my proper ironing board and big iron in there. Which means every time I need to press a dart or iron the seam on a quilt or dress I have to trek from the dining room into the living room and into the kitchen. Which doesn’t seem like much but then I have to go back and sit at my machine and then I usually have to go back into the kitchen to make sure I’ve actually turned the iron off. So when this Habico Mini Iron came up for review I jumped at the chance to make my sewing life easier.

For starters the iron came in a box marked fragile which is sooo important when your dealing with something small and electrical and when your local postman has a history of just chucking parcels over the fence! It was also wrapped in lots of bubble wrap which kept my five year old nicely occupied whilst I undid the rest of the packaging and worked out how to use it.

The actual packaging was easy to undo I just cut it open with a pair of non fabric scissors. But then I was faced with a small issue.

Yep its a got a European plug on it. Now initially this filled me which dread because I live in a strictly three pronged plug house. Luckily my Grandad had an adapter that meant I could plug a two prong into a three prong so I was back in business! [you can buy these from most shops and online] I have considered changing the two prong to a three prong [my fella is pretty handy with electrics] but then I decided to just leave it and that way I can take it on holiday with me.

Size wise it is dinky! Its fits in the palm of my hand is is very lightweight to use. My first test was to see how it would cope ironing all my scrap pieces of quilting fabrics. [Oh I also purchased myself a cheeky mini ironing board to go with it but you could also use the Prym Ironing Sheet which also has the bonus of having some quilting markings on it and a measuring guide]. It coped really well Ironing my scraps of fabric. I was ironing for maybe an hour and a half and I filled the tank about 3 times, but I did have to steam on constantly. I love that such a small iron has a steam feature because I do tend to use a lot of steam when I’m sewing, so it just makes it a more viable option for repeated use.

The iron comes with a small jug for filling the tank up which is helpful because the hole to get the water in is quite small. And you have the ability to turn the steam on and off via a central button. You can also change the temperature of the iron which will work nicely for if I’m ironing more delicate fabrics. I don’t have a way of testing how hot it gets on maximum but lets just say I managed to burn my hand at one point! Not the irons fault I hasten to add, but being a clumsy person I do tend to burn myself on irons quite often!

After it passed the 1 and half hours of ironing scraps test I decided to give it something a bit different to try. This piece of patchwork was made about 2 years ago and has been crammed into a drawer since then. As you can see its fairly worse for wear and very wrinkly. Mainly I wanted to see if it would be able to remove the wrinkles and if it glide smoothly over some of the areas where the seams are thicker.

Obviously because of the size of the iron I had to do a small area at a time, but I think that encourages me to be more careful about making sure all my seams allowances were going in the right direction. I think if this was a queen size quilt top I might have had to have use my bigger iron and ironing board but for smaller topper it worked really nicely.

I’ve also been finding the little stump handle very nice to use and I think I might prefer it to the traditional iron handle. Personally I just find that it fits my palm a bit more ergonomically and doesn’t make my arm ache as much as a big iron does.

As you can see the iron took all of the wrinkles out of my patchwork and the plate on the bottom slide over the fabric and seams really nicely. I also didn’t have any issues with it sticking to the fabric even though I was using it on the highest setting.

All in all I’d say its a brilliant little iron. My only two quibbles with it are that 1. it has a European plug [easily fixed with an adapter] and 2. there is no switch to turn it off on the iron which means you need to remember to unplug it when you’ve finished with it but I have all of my sewing electricals plugged into one extension strip so when I finish sewing I tend to just unplug everything in one go when I tidy up.

And the pros of the iron definitely out way the cons. Its lightweight to use, doesn’t take up a lot of room on my sewing table. I can change the amount of heat it uses and quite frankly its adorable.

I’ve also found its got a couple of secret uses up its sleeves, i.e. Ironing school uniform quickly in the morning [When I've forgotten to do it the night before] and sorting out collars that have become rumpled in the wardrobe. In general its just a lot easier to get out and use than my big iron.

I hope you like it as much as I do!

Frankie @ Knit Wits-Owls


Named Stella Shirt & Dress Pattern Review by Isa

Hi everyone! I'm Isa, writing to you from Portugal. Usually you will find me over at my blog Uma Crafter Portuguesa Com Certeza but today I'm overjoyed to be writing my first product review for the Minerva Crafts blog.

When Minerva launched a call for reviews for the Fall-Winter collection of Named Sewing Patterns I jumped at the chance to try them out, as I never had the chance to try a pattern from Named before. I chose to test out the Stella Shirt Dress Pattern as I was already interested when I saw it at the pattern launch.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the printed pattern: it comes in a sturdy paperboard package, and it’s printed on a nice quality hefty paper. Both the shirt and dress patterns are composed of 7 pattern pieces.

I decided to go for the dress so I traced only those pieces and cut them out of a Georgette Fabric – a swishy sheer fabric that seemed similar enough to the recommended chiffon. For lining I used the light Stretch Lining Fabric that allways feels nicer against my skin than other acetate linings.

I cut out a size 42 and made a 3cm full bust adjustment, and shortened both sleeves and hem, as I’m definitively not a Finnish beauty ;) (I’m 1,64 m tall). Each sleeve is composed by two pieces and I pondered on cutting the sleeves on one piece only, but as it was for testing purposes, I decided against it. In this pattern you’ll find a seam down the front, so you should consider it if you’re pattern matching. There’s only one piece for the back skirt and one for the front.

I was really pleased with the quality of the instructions – the instructions not only contain instructions for lining your dress, but also included instructions for French seams at the sleeves, and the waist is beautifully finished by the casing. But alas I wished they had found out a way of bagging the lining for the bodice, or gave enough room for French seams at the raglan seams. These seams are only 1cm wide, so if you’d like to get a nicer finish than a serged or zigzag seam consider enlarging that seam.

Even though I didn’t make the shirt version I gave a look at the instructions and the sleeve placket construction looks quite interesting – there are no openings and the excess fabric to let your hands get through the cuff is folded in and secured closed with snaps. This sounds like a great alternative to whoever loathes sewing sleeve plackets. For the shirt dress the cuff hems work as casings for a bit of elastic.  

The finished dress is super comfy, really light and airy. I think the fabrics I chose work really nicely with the pattern. I’m quite happy with the quality of the dress yet to be truthful about it I think it isn’t really me, I’m quity busty and I think the blousy raglan seams only enhances my bust, or maybe I should have just gone with my default navy and black colors for the fabric, I was trying to choose something different but the print really overwhelms me :S. But, if I use a cardigan over it, I think I can pull it off, what do you think?

Happy stitching everyone :) 


Find me on my Blog and Instagram

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Quilted Jersey Seamwork Paxton by Naomi

Hi, Naomi from Naomi Sews again! I sometimes feel that my lovely husband Matt gets all the negatives associated with my sewing. I disappear into the sewing room for a couple of hours on a weekend, make myself something nice and leave him to entertain himself! One of my make nine plans though was to make him a Seamwork Paxton, and amazingly only a month or two down the line it has materialised into reality!

I spotted this really interesting Quilted Jersey Fabric and loved the teal colour. I thought that it would be a great option for this sweater. The fabric feels quite thick, because it is made up of two layers bonded together with some batting between. It still has a good amount of stretch, though the cut edges do fray quite a bit.


I decided to solve the fraying by making this up entirely on my overlocker. This was a great idea in theory, but in practice the fabric was a little bulky to feed through neatly, especially in areas like the neckband.  This unfortunately meant that in a couple of places I didn’t quite catch all the layers in the overlocking.  Mostly I’ve been able to go back in and sort it, but I think next time I would baste the layers in place first or consider using another less bulky fabric for the band and cuffs.

One of the options with the Paxton sweater is to add elbow patches.  I thought that would be quite fun and wanted to try out these pre-cut Patches from Prym. They have a ‘mock-suede’ side, and a side that looks a bit like fusible interfacing. There are some rudimentary instructions with the elbow patches, indicating iron temperatures and timings. I made sure to test a scrap of my fabric under the iron before going ahead just to check it didn’t change the fabric properties.  I didn’t have any problems, and the patches adhered to the fabric really well.

Having the patches already fixed in place did make topstitching a doddle! I didn’t have a suitable colour of topstitching thread, so I used two strands of ordinary gutermann sewing thread which has worked fine.  As indicated in the Paxton instructions, I increased my stitch length to 3.5mm, and used a new topstitching needle to give the best chance of sewing smoothly through this slightly thicker layer.  As you can see, it has turned out beautifully.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with this sweater. The elbow patches ended up a touch low on Matt using the pattern markings, but it is very quick and simple to put together.  The only part I'm not totally happy with is the neckband.  It doesn’t quite sit right, and I think it might be a touch too long.  I don’t mind enough to take it off and do it again though, and Matt seems to like wearing it anyway!

I guess that is my sewing good deed done for now.  Does that mean I can go back to sewing for myself again now?


Dove Blouse in Tropical Stems by Carly

I'm going to be truthful, I've seen this amazing Lady McElroy Tropical Stems Cotton Poplin Fabric floating around on instagram and the amazing things other sewists have made with it and it was love at first sight. Strictly speaking, I'm more of a solids kinda gal as they're easier to wear, but the colours and print on this beauty really won me over. When I was given the chance to test this fabric I literally did a big 'WHOOP!' and immediately started to form a plan of what I would make with it.

I went back and forwards a few times before deciding exactly what to make with it. It's a large, bold print and I'm petite at 5ft 3" with wide hips, and I was a teeny bit worried about whether it would suit me and be wearable. I had no doubt that I would love whatever I garment I made in this stunning fabric, but whether it looked good on me and was wearable is another story completley.

I've had my eye on the Dove Blouse Pattern my Megan Nielson for some time. I totally dig the big floaty bell sleeves. Very 70's (which I'm also totally diggin' right now). I've put off making this blouse before because again, I just didn't know if this silhouette would suit me or not. I decided that if I loved the pattern and the fabric enough, I couldn't really go wrong. So I went ahead and printed out the PDF version of the Dove Blouse pattern and taped it together. I went for an XL going on my hip measurement.

Meanwhile 2m of this delicious fabric arrived at my door and my heart broke a little just seeing how stunning it is in real life. The print is amazing, the colours perfection and the feel of the fabric is exquisite! It's a very soft cotton which has lots of lovely drape. perfect for the Dove Blouse! I prewashed my fabric within 5 minutes of it arriving in my house, eager to cut out my blouse!

Cutting the blouse was a cinch. I managed to play around with the pattern placement and used up just 1.5m of fabric (leaving just enough left over for me to make a mini Ogden Cami for my daughter. Win Win!). Cotton poplin is easy to pin and cut. No fraying on the edges, so simple and straight forward. I went for view 3 of the Dove Blouse and chose to opt for the biggest sleeve option. Go big or go home, right?!

I don't actually tend to work with cotton that much and I forgot how pleasing it is to sew with. Hardly any pinning needed and it took a good press like a dream making the seams so crisp and lovely. I ended up taking about an inch off of the length of the sleeves before attaching the bottom full circle part of the sleeve, as the sleeve was just sitting a bit too low. Not a surprise though - as I mentioned I am a little shorter than most patterns are drafted for. The one part I was a little apprehensive about was hemming the bottom of the floaty sleeves. A full circle is never easy to hem is it? But, this fabric made it easy as pie! I pressed as I went and i didn't even need to pin as it held the press so well.

What I love about this make is how the blouse is a relatively simple pattern and so it really lets the print of the fabric take centre stage. This fabric was the perfect weight for this make, it holds the shapes well whilst still allowing for enough floatiness in those delicious sleeves.

I'm so happy with this make. All of my reservations about the style have completely disappeared. This fabric and pattern are a match made in heaven! It is a great versatile wardrobe staple and I can't wait to make some more!

Thanks for reading,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew


Q&A with Simona from Adventures In The Attick

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

My blog is called Sewing Adventures in the Attick. I decided to call it this, because I my sewing studio is actually located in a converted attic, and is my favourite room in the house. I started my blog from the need to try and keep a record of my makes and share with the amazing sewing community my impressions about patterns, fabrics or supplies I use in my projects.

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

Oh, I was always interested in the clothing. As a child, I used to draw fashion sketches, and dream of actually making them. However, during that time in Romania, I did not know how to go about finding a sewing machine or how to learn how to sew. Hand sewing was not an option. I tried making dolls’ clothes by ruining old clothes or pillowcases and then gave up. Then when I moved to UK, over 10 years ago now, I was gifted my first sewing machine and there was no turning back. I like sewing so much because I make for myself a select few garments that are unique for which I did not pay an arm and a leg. My first project was a simple top. It was similar to view C of New Look 6464 (no longer in print). I no longer have the pattern nor the top. But I remember how happy I was for making it all on my own.

What is your favourite craft?

For me, sewing garments is my favourite craft. I’ve tried other crafts such as knitting or quilting but I just not enjoy them as much.

What do you love most about sewing?

I’d got to say its spending time doing something I love and at the end of it I have something useful. Also, for me sewing is a way of expressing my creativity while solving problems. Many times, I’ve made mistakes that required me to figure out solutions to bring my projects to completion without having to start again or completely abandon them and feeling I wasted my time.

Do your friends or family sew along with you?

I tend to sew alone. My family is not really into crafts. I am the only one obsessed with it. I have a friend with whom we sometimes get together for a sewing day, when we sew together all day. At the end if we manage to finish our projects we might even have a little photo shoot to have a little memory keepsake.

Who do you make things for?

Mainly, I sew for myself. I am quite selfish when it comes to sewing, also because I find it hard to part with my projects. But, I am known to have made a few gifts for my friends and family. All with the help of my cat, Bella, who checks out the project mostly by sleeping on it.

What made you decide to start to blog about your sewing?

The main reason I started my blog was to keep a diary of my projects as well as to improve my English, as it is not my first language. Slowly, it became a way of me to connect with others who love sewing as much as I do, as well as to share my opinions about patterns or fabrics. I feel very happy when my ramblings about sewing are useful to others or they find inspiration in my words.

Do you have a favourite snack when sewing?

No, I tend to be so engrossed into my sewing that, I actually forget about snacks. Which is a good thing, because chocolate is my downfall and need to stay away from it. Sewing helps me do that. However, I do enjoy the odd drink while I am doing sewing related activities such as blog writing or reading sewing literature (this includes, blogs, books or magazines about sewing).

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

Hmm… This is quite difficult for me. But If I a to pick only 3, I’d say my sewing machines (includes my overlocker), my SimFlex Sewing Gauge (marking buttonholes or button positions is a dream with this) and the unpick (I never fail to use it almost every project I have the need for one). My collection of unpicks is extensive. I have them everywhere, so I never run the risk if not finding one when I need it.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I do not really have a favourite fabric to work with. I try to challenge myself to work with any fabric. The main thing about the fabric has to be soft against the skin. I used to work mainly with wovens that were quite stabile while working with them. But, with a few tricks up one’s sleeve tricker fabrics such as knits or silks can also be nice to work with. Besides, liquid fabric stiffener that washes out, works wonders on most fabrics.

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I try too keep myself on track by working on one project at the time. However, sometime, when I make something a bit more complicated, from which I need a bit of a break, also work on a simpler make to get some instant gratification by having something completed.

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

Another difficult question for me. I don’t really have a favourite make of all time. Usually my favourite one is also the last project I have made. So at this moment in time, I’d say that the outfit I made for a sewing challenge in December is my favourite.

What is your latest WIP (Work in Progress)?

Right now I am working on a product testing project, using a poly-cotton to make a jumpsuit.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you sew?

I do both. Sometimes I watch TV, other times I listen to music. It all depends on my mood. But there is no rule to it, as I’ve spent many days sewing without TV or music.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start sewing?

I do not have a particular process that inspires me to sew. Over the years. I’ve amassed a huge list of projects I want to do, that I don’t need to spend time deciding what to sew. I just need to decide what to sew next form my To Do list. I do sometimes get distracted from my To Do list by new patterns I discover on Instagram or Pintrest or by my wish to join in with sewing challenges going on in the Sewing Community.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Do not be afraid to do it. You do not have to try to come up with something new, that no one else has written. Just write about what make you happy and be yourself. Remember that it’s a hobby and you do not have to stress yourself in creating the perfect blog from the start. As many other things blogging is a learning experience, just embrace it. You never know where it will take you.

Could you sum yourself up as a sewer in 3 words?

Not necessarily, but I’ll try: fabric hoarder, sewing gadgets lover and perfectionist.

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Just try it! You never know if you do not try. I do advise, start small with a little kit, see if you like it. These days for most crafts you can find introductory lessons/workshops where you can use the tools and materials offered by the provider.  


Simplicity Sweater 8529 by Jo

In the wintertime, I for one, crave comfort. Ok, ok, all the time, I crave comfort. On my list for this winter was a super soft sweatshirt for everyday, and this one delivers. 
The pattern is Simplicity 8529, which is a slightly different version of the famous Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven, as licensed by Simplicity. The differences, I believe, are a drop shoulder, standard Simplicity sizing (I went a full size down, because it’s quite boxy anyway, and I always find Big 4 patterns to be roomier than their indie counterparts), and in addition to this shorter, half-funnel neck, there’s a crew neck as well. I also really like the larger funnel neck and raglan sleeves in the indie version, and would love to make that sometime. For me, the interesting neckline gives it just that little difference from something off the rack, but the star of the show here is this utterly beautiful French Terry fabric by Atelier Brunette. I can’t properly describe to you how soft it is. It’s luscious. Like a very fancy baby blanket. Or…the baby.
It’s not quite a turtleneck, but much cozier than a boatneck. It’s like wearing the most luxurious cozy pyjamas, all day. 
It’s also a really quick make! Mine came together over the course of an evening, after putting my kids to bed, including cutting. I decided that with this boxy shape, I would quite like it cropped, so I cut the main pieces to just below my natural waist. With the hem band, it sits slightly above high hip. I’ve been wearing it with thrashed mom-jeans to playdates and whatnot, but what it reminds me of most of all is those ridiculously expensive savasana sweatshirts you see from upmarket yoga boutiques. Where you’re like, “whoa, this sweatshirt is £100, but it’s literally the nicest sweatshirt I’ve ever seen.” And then have an existential crisis about overpriced yoga clothes. But still kinda want it. Well, now I can make it and not hate myself or go broke in the process! Sewing for the win! 
In terms of details, I sewed this sweatshirt entirely on my overlocker (no twin-needle hemming! Hurray!), and have only one niggle with the instructions; they have you folding over the neckline before sewing the shoulder seams. This means that the overlocked edge comes all the way to the opening at the neck, and a visible overlocked edge, even if just barely visible, is just a personal dislike of mine. Next time (and oh, there will be a next time), I will try sewing the shoulder seams first, then tacking the fold down by hand, seam allowance to seam allowance. Possibly less hard wearing, but then I get a completely clean finish. 
I honestly would make this again, exactly as is, in a different colorway. Or maybe try the other neckline. Matching lounge pants as well, perhaps? After all, I could swim in this fabric!
Thanks again for reading my guest post. Jo xx 

Butterick 6351 Pattern Review by Maria

Buying patterns that are versatile makes me feel like I'm getting value for money. Butterick Pattern 6351 provides value with two dress styles and a jumpsuit. This pattern is a bit challenging and I'll walk you through its challenges.
The positives are the two dress styles and a jumpsuit as well have the open overlay back. This is an 'on trend' feature that is a nice to have. These styles offer pockets, pleats and gathers for summer style fabrics.
I’ve made this pattern 4 times (2 dresses and 2 jumpsuits) and this review is about the second dress style I made.
Initial style adjustments
When it comes to a choice between a basic round neckline or redrafting v-neckline, I prefer a v-neckline. The basic round neckline works if you haven’t redrafted a neckline before. I’ll show you how to redraft the neckline.
This pattern offers A/B, C and D cups. I chose the C cup as I can vary from a B to C cup from time to time. The other reason I chose the C cup is because our Summers can be brutally hot and humid so having more air flow in the bodice is worthwhile.
I saw a review of this pattern where the back waistband was changed for flatter shaping so I’ll show you how to do this as well.
A note of caution. On the dress, the back waistband uses elastic for shaping. The dress style also instructs you to add a side zipper. If you make the dress this way, closing the zipper with an elastic waistband puts too much stress on the zipper. It's the nightmare feature of the dress style.
In fact the jumpsuit doesn’t use a side zipper so if you make the dress and keep the elastic waistband, my advice is don’t use the zipper. Simply sew the side seams closed.
I’ll show you what to do if you do decide to include the side zipper. I had to come up with a solution for the first dress version I made.
The Fabric
This dress uses Minerva Crafts 'Floral & Birds Print Cotton Dress Fabric Black on Beige'. The bodice is lined with a matching lining and these two fabrics work well in the Summer heat. I've worn this dress a few times now that it's super comfortable.
The floral and birds fabric is 100% cotton and is a good broadcloth. By good I mean it washes well; irons nicely; sews easily and the fabric is opaque so you really don't need to line the skirt. I didn't line the skirt and didn't need to line the skirt. The bodice is lined as the pattern suggests.
I made view A with the straight skirt. I'm not the right height to wear view C and View B.
The test dress was so lovely to wear but this broadcloth fabric would have looked very bulky if I had used the gathers at the back of the skirt waistband.
The Bodice
Shoulders: Shoulder placement is one of the first adjustments I do.
My shoulder are forward sloping so on the bodice pattern pieces I remove 2cm length from the front shoulder seam height and extend the height of the back shoulder seam.
As this style has a sleeveless bodice, there’s always the likelihood the armholes are a bit too wide. Once I made the test version of this dress, I took out just under 2cm from the back bodice armhole. There was some gaping on the test dress. On this final dress, I've eliminated this by folding out the excess, and I still have room to move my arms.
Bust adjustments: This pattern comes with a few cup sizes so I had no reason to do a full cup adjustment. I shorten the bust dart by 2cm in length and it now matches my bust shape.
Neckline: V-necklines are more flattering for me that a high round neckline, so the first thing I did was create a v-neckline on the paper pattern. (include measurement details and pictures). The new neckline is now 11cm lower than the pattern's neckline.
Front bodice length: From time to time, commercial patterns are a touch too long. I removed 1.5cm at the waist so the bodice sat at my natural waistline.
Back bodice opening: This style is an on trend feature of this pattern.
To ensure the back bodice opening is secure, the pattern requires two buttons at the top of the bodice.
If you're uncertain about the back bodice opening, add a snap at the base of the back bodice so it sits more securely.
This back bodice opening makes it easy to get out of with the jumpsuit but it's just as worthy of using for the dress too. Especially if you want to eliminate the side zipper.
The other thing I did was to lower the back bodice opening but tracing the bodice opening curve 2 cm lower that the pattern suggests.
Bodice finishing: There's a bit of hand sewing to secure the front bodice lining to the skirt. I've you're not into hand sewing, I suggest using pins to secure the lining and then stitching in the ditch from the front waistline.
Pockets: I must say the pockets on this skirt are very flattering.
I lowered the waist at the centre front by 4cm. This again ensures the dress waistline sits at the right part of my body. This adjustment also makes the skirt hang more level to the floor.
Skirt hem: The skirt hem was shortened by 6cm but I made this adjustment at the widest part of my hips on the pattern. Making the adjustment at the hips allows me to keep the hem shape as provided.
I have a sway back so I normally make an adjustment on the back skirt but I was able to add darts to the top of the back skirt to make it fit my curves.
If you're looking for a versatile Summer pattern that has some 'on trend' features, try Butterick 6351. It has a few style options and three bust cup variations that suits a few body shapes, if you're keen.

Stylecraft Candy Swirl Yarn Review by Tina

Hello my name is Tina from Simply in Stitches. I have loved knitting since I was a child and on my YouTube channel and blog I share the items I have made. I'm a garment knitter mostly as I love having a me made wardrobe as I sew also. I was so pleased to be offered the new Candy Swirl Yarn Cake by Stylecraft to review. I have used Stylecraft yarn many times before and they are very well respected especially by crochet fans. The Stylecraft Special DK is a firm favorite and this Candy Swirl cake is in the same series. 
Candy Swirl is a 150g (443m) of DK weight 100% acrylic yarn making it machine washable and suitable to tumbledry on cool. This makes it ideal for blankets and items for children such as toys. It is recommended for a 4mm hook or needle as you expect for DK yarn. It looks beautiful in the swirl and would make a beautiful gift for a knitter as 150g is plenty to make a shawl or other small project. There are patterns available for the yarn cake which include shawls, cushions and throws. Any DK pattern can be used so if you have a favorite shawl pattern it would be idea.
The yarn cake comes in a wide range of gorgeous colours. I chose the brightest one. The Apple sour colour way is pink, green and turquoise. A very fun and happy colour for the project I had in mind. The other colours available are Very berry a mix of blues and burgandy, Fruit salad which is the colour of the sweets beautiful pink, yellow and lime. Coconut ice is a sophisticated blends of tonal grey and pink. Strawberry Taffy is a more vibrant pallet of pinks. Blue berrygum is tones of lovely blues. Sugar plum is for the purple lovers with rich tones of purple and Liquorice is mix of greys going to black. It is important to note that the cake is not a gradient which was disappointing. A lot of the yarn cakes slowly merge into the next colour but the Stylecraft Swirl is a definite stripe. 
I wanted to use the yarn for some blanket squares as I knit for the charity. It is the perfect yarn being lovely and soft to the touch and easy care washing. The most popular way to use the yarn is for a shawl as you have the interest of colour changes without the ends to weave in that knitters dislike so much. I thought I would try crocheting a square. I am new to crochet and wanted to practice and thought squares would be perfect to improve my skills or lack of. I found the Candy Swirl cake yarn lovely to use in hand and easy to crochet with. Some grip but smooth and easy to manage. I used a 4mm hook as recommended and the square had a lovely texture and thickness to it that would be ideal for a blanket to snuggle up in. 
Unfortunately my enthusiasm for crochet finished there and I returned to my first love, knitting. Once again I used 4mm needles and knitted the squares corner to corner for some interest in a very basic pattern. I had a lot of fun thinking of different ways to make the squares different each time. The great thing about yarn cakes is that someone has already found great colour combinations for you so you can do whatever you like with the yarn knowing that the end result will have a harmonious colour pallet.
I think the best use for the Stylecraft Candy Swirl cake is a shawl or blanket where you just knit or crochet your way through the cake enjoying all the colour changes. It would be a fantastic travel or easy project when you don't have to look at a pattern you can just enjoy the process. I loved using all the colours and it is the type of yarn I will use every scrap of. 
I hope you have enjoyed my review and have found it useful. It was my first time using a yarn cake and I will be using one again I'm sure. I will also consider them when I am looking for a gift for a knitting friend as they are so pretty.  
Thanks for reading,
Tina @ Simply in Stitches

Sway Back Adjustment with Claire-Louise Hardie

This adjustment is the one that makes the most difference to at least 50% of my dressmaking students. What is a sway back and how do you know if you need a sway back adjustment?
If you often find that there are folds or extra fabric pooling around the waistline on the back of your clothes, then a sway back may fix this. Essentially if the centre back is too long between the shoulders and the hip, this can be caused by a flat bum, or a backward tilted pelvis. A sway back adjustment essentially shortens the centre back of the garment between the shoulders and hips.
Note: Not all pooling at the back of your garment is a sway back issue. These are a couple of fit issues that may mis-diagnose a sway back.
1) The waist sits too high all the way around both the front and the back. In this case you need to shorten the torso all the way around.
2) The side seams tilt forward and the front waist rides up too. In this case you may need to adjust the width on the front of the bodice to allow for a full bust.
3) You have a delicious full booty. This can cause the skirt to ride up into the waist becasue there's not enough width around the hips. Try adding a little extra into the centre back seam of the hip area.
How to Apply a Sway Back Adjustment to a Bodice or One Piece Dress
This adjustment is essentially a narrow dart / wedge being taken out from the centre back to the side seam just above the waistline. On some pattern brands like Palmer Pletsch, the position will be marked.
One way to approach this is to do a tissue fit. If the centre back is not hanging down straight, i.e. it swings to the side, then pinch a small tuck at the CB about 1 inch above the waistline.
Once you lay the pattern flat, measure how much you want to lose at the centre back. You can get rid of the excess either by pinning out a dart like wedge from the CB to the side seam or by slashing from the CB to the side seam and over lapping. You'll then need to true up the sides and the centre back.
You'll now notice that the vertical lines like the darts, grain-lines are now no longer straight. Simply re-draw by placing a ruler in line with the ends and drawing a new straight line.
If your centre back seam is on a fold, you'll need to straighten up the centre back seam line, as the sway back creates a curved line that can't be placed on the fold. Use a ruler to straighten the centre back.
The final step is to true up the hemline which may have become too short at the back. Use a ruler to square up the new hem line.
Applying a Sway Back Adjustment to a Skirt or the Bodice of a Waisted Dress
The same principle applies to a skirt or the bodice of a dress with a waist seam. Sometimes the side seams of a skirt don't hang straight indicating a sway back is needed, or the back of the waistline sits too high. Instead of removing the dart shape, you're merely removing a triangular wedge along the top of a skirt or the waist of a dress bodice. You may find it helps to tie some elastic around your waist to work out this adjustment.

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