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Sirdar Bohemia Grounded Cowl by Jemma

I was very excited to have the opportunity to try out Sirdar’s Bohemia Yarn as I have been tempted to try this for some time! Sirdar Bohemia is 51% wool and 49% acrylic, making it lovely and cosy and very easy to work with. It can be hand washed in cold water or dry cleaned. The yarn is an ultra super chunky weight and comes in four different colours. As anyone who knows me (or follows my Instagram) will agree, I have a tendency to gravitate towards blue and green shades when selecting yarns so naturally I chose shade 0703 (Teal Appeal), which is a fabulous mix of teal, green and grey. However, all four shades are lovely, and I would have been happy to use any of the colour options available, particularly shade 700 (Flowerpower) for its punchy bright spring colours.

Most of my experience so far using chunky yarns has been with knitting projects, so I decided to give chunky crochet a try! The pattern I selected was the Grounded Cowl by Lynda Rennick from Homelea Lass which I chose because I loved the texture and versatility of the finished cowl. I used a 25mm hook (larger than the 20mm hook recommended for this yarn) because I was aiming for very chunky, defined stitches to really highlight the gorgeous colours of the yarn. I used a wooden crochet hook which was very easy to use and comfortable to hold. The yarn was lovely to work with and I enjoyed seeing the different colours coming together in the chunky stitches.

One of the best things about using ultra super chunky yarns is that projects start taking shape very quickly! This cowl only took a couple of hours to make and as it’s crocheted in the round as a continuous spiral, there’s no sewing up to do. It could probably be made in less than an hour non-stop.

I am really pleased with the overall look of my finished cowl, the stitch definition is lovely and the colours of the yarn stand out very well. The cowl is reversible so either side can be worn facing outwards - I think I actually prefer the “wrong” side (see picture below) as I like the way the stitches look and I think the cowl sits better this way. I’m also really pleased with the length of the cowl, I made it a few stitches longer than the pattern states (my starting chain was 36 stitches rather than 30), which has made the cowl long enough to comfortably wrap around twice, but it looks equally as good worn as one long length.

I tested my finished cowl out on a very breezy day at the Devon coast over the weekend and it was very comfortable and cosy to wear. I think I will be wearing this cowl a lot this spring, at least until the weather gets a bit warmer!

I would highly recommend the Grounded Cowl pattern as it’s quick and easy to make and it only requires knowledge of chains, slip stitches and double crochet so would be suitable for a confident beginner. Sirdar Bohemia was the perfect yarn for this pattern - one skein was just enough to make the cowl shown, so it is quite a reasonably priced project. It would also make a great gift. I will definitely be using Sirdar Bohemia again as I have a few more chunky crochet projects in mind, and I plan to try out some of the other available colours. Thank you to the team at Minerva Crafts for letting me try this lovely yarn!

Jemma @buntingandbuttons

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Sienna Crepe McCall’s 7577 Jumpsuit by Lisa

Whilst I am quite active on Instagram, some of you will know me as @lisalooby1234, this is the first time I have featured on the Minerva Crafts blog and I was lucky enough to receive 3 metres of this gorgeously soft luxurious Sienna Crepe Fabric. I decided to opt for the Aubergine simply because the intense colour really caught my eye and I could see me teaming it with various coloured accessories.

Admittedly, when it arrived it wasn’t really what I was expecting. I was expecting something much heavier and rough to the touch. This, was none of these things. This could well be down to my lack of knowledge of the exact names of fabrics when I am ordering online, but I would have described this one more like a crepe de chine. It was so so soft and had a nice drape and my first thought was luxury nightwear. However after much dithering over what would be the best garment to make to show it off to its full potential I decided it was much too lovely to end up on my bedroom floor, hidden from the world, and that it needed to be on full display for all to see so opted for the McCall’s 7577 Jumpsuit Pattern. I had previously made this jumpsuit but did the short version last year for my hols but thought the full length would be a classy make for dining out in this country.

I raided my stash for the “perfect” lace to match. I knew I didn’t want a black or a white and had my heart set on something similar in colour and bingo I opted for this gorgeous linen lace in a slightly different shade of aubergine.

I was determined to do this beautiful fabric justice and knew everything had to be just perfect so straight away opted to use my Sharps needles (I’ve come a cropper before with finer fabrics laddering if the needle isn’t fine enough!) I’m so glad I did as the fabric is quite delicate when comes to pins and needles! After doing a few test rows on a scrap it soon became clear that it was going to need handling with care. I lengthened my stitch length to try an achieve a nice flat stitch as when I’d done tests on single layer found that it puckered quite a lot. It didn’t seem quite as bad on double fabric though. I also made sure my walking foot was engaged to keep the seams feeding evenly. I’d definitely recommend a walking foot. I find mine invaluable. In hindsight, perhaps introducing some starch may have helped give it a bit more stability whilst I was working with it.

I opted to finish the seams with my over locker and think this was a good move as the fabric does fray quite a lot! If I didn’t have an over locker I would have definitely done French seams to keep all the frayed edges hidden away.

I was concerned slightly about the back yoke on this make as the linen lace is fairly stiff as opposed to the soft slippery drape of the crepe but this was totally unfounded as it came together perfectly and pressed nicely to give a nice professional clean finish. I did use my clapper on seams as I just seem to be in the habit of using it regularly when pressing now. It’s great for keeping seams crisp and flat.

While I was making this gorgeous jumpsuit I was already dreaming of this fabric in other colours for other projects. It is so versatile. I could see myself floating round the house in a gorgeous dressing gown in this crepe. Maybe a Suki dressing gown and who knows maybe even one of the brighter colours! (I am trying my hardest to steer myself away from black which I seem to be always drawn to).

I was so excited to finish this jumpsuit and try it on (although I don’t see me wearing it anytime soon without a cardigan given how cold it is). The fabric is so soft against my skin and felt really high quality fabric with an excellent drape so would suit many a garment.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading my first review and I do hope I covered everything you might want to know about this lovely fabric.

Lisa @lisalooby1234

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A Beginners Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics Book Review by Nicky

Although I’ve been sewing for many years it’s only recently that I haven’t been totally scared off by Knit Fabrics. For what I have attempted it’s basically been learning by trial and error along the way so it’s been great to have been given the chance to review Wendy Wards New Book, A beginners guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics.

The book starts off explaining what equipment you will need. These are mainly basic dressmaking tools but it’s a very useful list for someone just starting out, with some great hints and tips too.

A complex description of sizing and taking measurements, explains how to get a good fit by choosing the correct size, and understanding ease so your finished garment fits the way it should for that style.

Most of my previous experience with knitted fabric has been a bit hit & miss because I’ve tended to buy what I’ve liked the look of and then thought what to make with it. This has meant successes and failures! After reading the section of this book, entitled Know your knits, I feel much more confident to choose correctly. No more will I have T-shirts that don’t sit correctly as the fabric hasn’t enough stretch or baggy sleeves at the elbow as I haven’t thought about the recovery of the fabric. This chapter explains exactly what to check and look for in your fabric selection as well as talking about the structure of the knit, the grain and how different knit fabrics behave. It provides the formula for working out the percentage of stretch as well as a great summary of which fabrics to look for when shopping for a project, as well as the pros and cons of the fibre content.

I particularly like the shopping checklist that you can copy and carry with you or store with your fabric samples for future reference.

Having discussed the selection of fabric fibres, the book then moves on to explain the importance of preparation, firstly of the fabric, followed by the setting up of your machine with a quick reference for needle choice and tips to solve problems. This section finishes off with the preparation of the pattern.

There are three pull out pattern sheets provide in this book, that is all the pieces for the six project in the book and the various versions you can make with them. These are full size pattern pieces that need to be traced and cut as required. Details are given explaining the markings and how to transfer them to your fabric, also how to modify the pattern length for some projects.

Finally before moving on to the projects themselves the book moves onto techniques. Covering sewing seams, pattern matching and the methods used for hems and edges. Each technique is broken down into steps with drawings and photographs so you can see exactly what the finished  result should look like. Again there is a useful summery to give a quick guide to help choose the correct seam for the fabric and the project.

The book has six projects with twenty variations in total. There are recommendations as to which projects to start with if you are an absolute beginner and the fabrics best to use to build confidence.

Each project is broken down with the garment description, techniques you will use, measurements, fabric suggestions, fabric amounts, cutting plan and construction steps. As you work through the stages of construction the book gives the reference page that you can turn back to for the information and guidance of that technique.

The instructions are clearly written with diagrams alongside, making the steps really clear to follow. There are lots of little hints and tips along the way and different variations you can try.

After reading through the book I decided to make the Tank Dress version of the Longshaw skirt. A dress with pockets is always a plus and I love the sculptural drape of the skirt. I used a Ponte Roma to show off the bold design.

Using the book enabled me to work out that this Ponte Roma Fabric had 50% stretch with good recovery so was a perfect choice for the top and skirt section.

The pattern sheets are clear with a only a few pieces on each page so there are not to many overlapping lines making it easy to follow the lines you are tracing. Each project is colour coded too so are instantly recognisable on each sheet. I used dressmakers pattern paper and could follow the lines easily without the need to highlight the pattern sheet underneath.

The book explains any pattern adjustments that may need to be carried out, for example lengthening of the skirt panel and states which cutting plan to follow with a clearly drawn diagram of the plan. For the dress I choose to make there were a total of six pattern pieces.

The book works with a seam allowance of 1cm and setting my machine up as instructed gave me the perfect stitch without much adjustment.

The clear step by step meant my dress came together with relative ease. Using the instructions for attaching the folded band edging gave me the best result I’ve have achieved for this finishing technique.

Having now made a dress from this book I would definitely recommended it for someone like me who needs to build confidence with knitted fabrics but I would also recommend it to someone who is looking for patterns to make a capsule wardrobe. With trousers, t-shirts, a skirt and a cardigan plus all the variations I can see myself making all the patterns to pack in my suitcase for a trip away!

I felt I learnt a lot of background information that will improve my future makes and enjoyed how the book was set out with some great photos in the reference sections and the projects. I particularly liked how as you you worked through the step by step it gave tips and stated the page number for more informative details of the technique needed. This kept the instructions clear and short but gave you quick access to the required details.

Well done Wendy Ward on such a great book. I’ve already had lots of positive comments on the first outing of my dress and it’s so comfortable to wear :) :) :)

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Lacy Lurex The Butterick Wrap Dress by Anna

Requirements

Main Fabric 156cm wide by 3metres

Contrast satin 150cm wide by 115cm

Thread- 2 reels main colour and 1 reel contrast for topstitching

Stay tape 1cm wide by 40cm

Ribbon for hanging loops

Butterick Pattern B5898

Extra Tools

Ham or rolled up towel for pressing

Stretch stitch facility

Set square or similar (to check bias fold)

Loop turner or similar device

Large table

Courage and Patience

Sewing level: Experienced.

Introduction

This Knit Fabric is quite light but contained enough weight to drape well. Being a polyester, wool and acrylic mix in a very open knit I decided it would need to be made into something with minimal shaping and seams. I judged it would need some help in supporting seams and edges. I also decided that I was not confident enough to use the overlocker as the fabric slipped about too much.

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to make the wrap dress, but to use a remnant of cotton-backed plain satin to add structure and a bit of contrast. 

The facings and interlinings would show if the garment was made in the usual way, so I planned to make a reverse facing around the closure and neckline, giving a firm edge. I repeated this on the sleeves and used the same satin to make the collar and tie belt.

Method

Cutting out the garment was tricky as I only had 3 metres (the pattern recommended 3.6m) but with a bit of careful planning, that went OK. There is a definably one way design to the knit but the pattern repeat was thankfully small. There were 4 main pattern pieces: right front, left front, back and sleeves.

As the pattern called for all parts to be cut out in stretchy-knit fabric, I cut the facings and collar on the bias.

The tie belt doesn’t need to stretch so I cut that on the grain. I initially cut the facings as per pattern as I wasn’t sure how wide a strip I would use. I also cut sleeve facings using the sleeve pattern and added a notch.

As the satin was quite stiff already I omitted the interlining suggested for the facings and collar.

Following the pattern instructions, I first made up the bust darts and stay stitched the neck edges. The darts went together easily, despite the complicated shape. I used a normal stitch for the stay stitching but a stretch stitch for the main seams. To give some support to the shoulder seams, I added stay tape I cut this to the exact length of the shoulder seam and I am glad I did as the seam stretched considerably while pinning it.

The side seams where straightforward. The right side required a gap in the seam to allow the tie belt to pass through. To reinforce this, and to help identify the hole when dressing, I added stay tape here too. 

I stitched around the hole with a stretch stitch, then slipstitched the ends and inner edges of the tape to the seam allowance.

The collar, tie belt and facings were made up as instructed, but without interlining and topstitched using the fancy stretch stitch. 

As I had pink top thread and peach bobbin thread I turned the belt over so each side had a pink edge and a peach edge. The collar and tie belt were machine basted into place, on the WRONG side of the garment, easing in the fabric as it stretched out of shape despite stay stitching. Before attaching the facing to the dress, I moved on to the sleeves to experiment with the hem facings.  

The sleeve and garment facings were attached in the same way as follows:

  • Sew up the seams and press open

  • Pin the facing to the main part with the right side (satin) of the facing to the WRONG side of the main piece. Stitch using stretch stitch.

  • Understitch the seam allowance towards the main piece using blind hem foot.

  • Trim away excess facing from the seam allowance and clip curves to reduce bulk.

  • Turn, pin and topstitch the facing close to the stitched edge.

  • Keeping the main garment well supported to avoid stretching out of shape, turn under the unstitched edge of the facing and pin to the garment. Ensure that the fabric lies evenly and flat.

  • Topstitch into place.

The sleeves were inserted as per instructions. The dress hem was completed using the same stretch stitch I had used for the seams. I first stabilised the edge with a large zigzag stitch. The satin front edging was folded to the reverse and slip stitched into place.

A hand sewn carrier loop was added to the left seam at the waistline for the tie belt. I also added ribbon hanging loops at the shoulder seams. To ensure the collar point lay flat, I tacked this in place

Conclusion

The fabric is challenging to use as it stretches and slides so not for a beginner, or to be done in a hurry. It was very forgiving when being unpicked! It doesn’t fray or unravel when handled a lot, though the gold ’spots’ are a looser knit and tend to collapse when cut. These pale threads also got snagged easily by pins and the presser foot while sewing. The fabric moulds well and drapes beautifully but needs some support in construction eg stay tape in shoulder seams. The care instruction states it must be handwashed.

It is quite sheer so a camisole and slip will definitely be needed as the dress is unlined! It would probably make a great unstructured top or loose cardigan with some contrast ribbing around the neck and cuffs.

Thanks for reading,

Anna

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Burda Style 6401 Scuba Dress

Hello everyone and nice to meet you here! I am Olympia from Greece and I am so excited to be guest posting on the Minerva Crafts Blog!

For my first project I chose a Sewing Pattern from new Burda Style spring/summer 2018 collection. It’s pattern #6401 and for me it was a love from first sight.

Here is a sneak peek of it :

As you can see, it provides two versions and it could be made with a huge variety of fabrics (e.g. poplin, denim, broderie anglais etc.).

For my own dress I chose to sew version A and I use this amazing Scuba Fabric from Minerva Crafts. Well, I have to admit that I was a little afraid of the success of this project as scuba is a heavier fabric but after having finished it I am so satisfied with the way it came out. It’s a dress I love to wear, it’s very comfortable and it can be worn all day long!

As for the process, first of all, I pre-washed the fabric and then I chose the size I wanted. Usually I wear size 42 on Burda Style patterns but, as my fabric was so elastic I preferred to do it a size smaller, so size 40 turned to be nice.

Needless to say I spent more time on cutting the fabric (well… thinking of how to cut it!!!) than sewing it… A point you have to be careful at if you choose a fabric with repetitive motif is to cut all pattern pieces on a way they are matching together when you gather them. I had no difficulties with the sewing itself. This is an easy pattern with only a few pieces so feel free to try it even you are a beginner sewist. All info you need are given precisely on Burda’s guideline leaf with a lot of pictures.

Another point I would love to mention is that I didn’t finally insert the invisible zipper on the back because this scuba fabric is elastic enough and I felt that it wasn’t necessary. For the sleeves, I chose to combine sleeve pattern from version B with sleeve finishment from version A.

Overall, I feel I really love my new Burda dress and I am going to sew more using this pattern for sure in the near future. Please feel free to share your thoughts for this dress with me by leaving a comment either here or on my IG (@olypateli).

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!!!

Olympia

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Lady McElroy Stretch Crepe Bibi Pinafore by Rudy

I was lucky enough to get to try out the new Lady McElroy Stretch Crepe Fabric this week. My original plan was to make an Appleton dress by Cashmerette but when the fabric arrived it wasn't quite stretch enough for that, and my Tilly and the Buttons book had arrived so I was itching to make something from that!
I decided to make the Bibi pinafore from Tilly and the Buttons new book Stretch! This pattern is designed for more Ponte style fabrics so doesn't require as much stretch so is perfect for this fabric, which I thought was perfect! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered the fabric as I haven’t ever tried anything described as Samba Crepe before. I knew I had sewn with 4 way stretch before but this fabric has a bit more structure to it than I was expecting but that made it just perfect for this pattern, plus the structure hold my bum into the skirt and gives it a lovely shape! Ha ha!
This pattern has very few pieces so goes together easily, with four panels for the skirt I think it and usual but simple shape which I can see myself making another just for the skirt. I love the on-trend dungarees style of this pinafore as when I normally think pinafore I think school uniform and horrible itchy grey dresses so this shape is actually really flattering and perfect for wearing to the office for some comfortable fashionable office clothes! I find myself making so many dresses, so many different types of tea dresses too, that when it comes to wanting things for the office that I can wear long sleeves with I don’t have anything. This will be perfect for the transition into summer because once it gets warmer I can just swap it to a short sleeved top underneath and it will be perfect. I’ve styled this to be slightly high waisted which means the waistband hits the smallest part of my waist which definitely is flattering for me!
The fabric I used was a dream to sew with. It has all the benefits of sewing with woven because it doesn’t slip slide everywhere with that added bit of stretch for comfort when you are wearing it! The photos don’t do the patterns much justice either as the flowers are beautiful printed on the pattern and the fabric is perfect for the spring weather we have been having recently. It has a very vintage feel to the fabric too which for me is just perfect and I love the selection of flowers shown on the fabric.
The crepe has a slight texture to it which gives it a really luxurious feel unlike anything I’ve sewn with before. It is also slightly thicker than I expected which is great for keeping me warm whilst the weather is so changeable.
I sewed this nearly completely on my overlocker as you can see with my rainbow thread. Though you wouldn’t need to do it all on an overlocker as it won’t fray so a normal sewing machine would be perfect. I find my overlocker easier for trimming seams etc because I’m definitely a lazy seamstress!
This fabric would make a great Tilly and the Buttons Coco or a tea dress of all sorts of different patterns as it has quite a lot of structure in the fabric is would make a lovely poufy twirly skirt. I can imagine it would make a great circle skirt too as it will give that real vintage shape and feel.
Thanks for reading,
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Scuba Sweater

Hello everyone!
I’m excited to share today about a fun sewing adventure. This project started with an initial inspiration, a cozy commercial sweatshirt. The photo below shows a FAVORITE commercial sweatshirt of mine. I have loved wearing it so much that I wanted to recreate it by sewing my own Handmade version.
The following Cut Out Textured Scuba Fabric I thought it would pair perfectly with this Teal Scuba Fabric, and then this sewing adventure began.
For the teal scuba I chose to use the non-shiny (or matte) side as the right side of the fabric for this project. There is a textured and a flat side to the cut out scuba fabric. I chose to use the flat side as the right side for this project.  I thought the textured side has a more athletic look and I wanted a more subtle look for this project.
I picked Simplicity 8529 for the pattern. This lovely version is a similar style as the very popular Toaster Sweater, released by Sew House 7 for Simplicity patterns.  I picked View C for this project.
I always like to start a new to me pattern by making a muslin.  I went a little risky for this project and picked a lovely cashmere fleece from my stash for the muslin.  
Modifications to the Pattern
I have a pear shaped body type so I will usually grade across multiple sizes when I sew a pattern.
My size: Small bust, Medium waist/hips.
My preferred approach (when picking sizing from a pattern) is to compare the suggested body dimensions with the finished garment dimensions.  The bust dimensions are given in the finished garment section but the finished garment hips dimensions were not provided with this pattern. I decided to calculate the finished garment hips dimension from the waistband pattern piece.
I first measured the waistband pattern piece (which is ½ of the hips measurement as the waistband is cut on the fold). I then subtracted out the seam allowances (5/8” on each side) to get the final finished waistband measurement. I typically sew a Medium at the waist/hips on Simplicity patterns so I started out by calculating the Medium finished hips measurement (41”). For reference, I also calculated the Small hips measurement as well (37”). My Hips measurement is 39” so I decided to grade to a Medium at the waist and hips for this pattern.
This pattern includes a thicker waistband so the waist/hips area in the bodice is more short waisted. The following pictures show how I used a French Curve ruler to grade across a Small to a Medium at the Waist and Hips.
Because the waist to hip area is shorter, I added a second curve with the french curve ruler to smooth out the graded transition.
The following photo shows the back bodice pattern piece with the pink gradeded line. I moved the notch to the new graded line.
I was very happy with my muslin. The fit was comfy and so I felt confident to start working on my final project.
Final Project
This project was exciting for me for many reasons. I’ve not yet approached a project like this, recreating elements in a commercial garment for a handmade version.  I’ve also never split up a pattern to color block two different fabrics together (when the original pattern didn’t call for this element).
Modifying the pattern - Splitting the Front and Back to Colorblock the Fabrics
The commercial sweatshirt that I wanted to recreate has raglan style sleeves, Simplicity 8529 has drop shoulder styled sleeves. I decided to draw the cut line at 4 3/8” at the neckline and 4 5/8” at the shoulder. This line is technically not parallel with the bottom of the bodice (intentionally, to follow the "dropped shoulders"). With the garment having a drop shoulder style, the bodice curves along the front and back to connect at the sleeves (with drop shoulders). The following photos show the Front and Back pieces as I added the horizontal cut lines.
I then added in 5/8” seam allowance to the top and bottom pieces of the front and back bodices.
I doubled checked the right angles at the corners of the new top and bottom pieces of the front (and back).  I checked these new pieces by laying the top piece over the bottom piece, right sides together (as if to sew) to make sure that the new edges aligned properly.
I considered splitting the sleeves to continue the colorblocking through the sleeves but I decided against this detail. The amount of teal scuba fabric along the underarm was going to be quite small (following the color blocked lines from the bodices through the sleeves). I thought this might add bulk at the sleeves. I decided to use the cut out black scuba fabric for the entire length of the sleeves (and for the sleeve cuffs as well).
Sewing the Final Project
I have to admit that I’ve never sewn with a perforated scuba knit fabric. What I found is that it’s really easy to work with (especially if you have had a tiny bit of experience working with knits). I treated the fabric as if it did not have the perforations in it, laying out the pattern pieces and cutting out the fabric as if it were a solid fabric.
I sewed straight lines for the seams and would sometimes see “floating stitches” (as seen in the photos below). These floating elements were not noticeable in the end garment.
I also chose to serge the edges of the seams for a smoother finish. A serger isn’t required for this project (you could also use the zig zag stitch along the edges with a standard sewing machine).
I also chose to top stitch the colorblocked seams in the front and back yokes.
Neckline
I had an issue come up for me the first time I sewed the neckback to the sweatshirt (not pictured).  The first neckband that I made did not stretch well and pulled the shoulder seams out of place. I initially used the original neckband pattern piece and centered this pattern piece along the perforated fabric (so that the “holes” were throughout the neckband).  
I found that the fabric did have the recommended percentage of stretch (per the pattern) but the perforations can be a bit tricky to reference stretch for a neckband. I decided to self-draft the neckband for this project, to fix the issue.
To self-draft the length of a neckband you first measure the length around your neckline (on the garment). I do need to note that I did not stay-stitch my neckline (as recommended in the pattern) before sewing this garment. I felt the perforations would be a bit challenging to stay-stitch so I boldly skipped that step (please keep this caveat in mind as I share the dimensions for my neckline).
You want your neckband to be smaller than the neckline (to slightly bring in the fabric). There are different percentages that you can use at this step. For this fabric, I chose to cut a neckband that is 25% smaller than the neckline (or 75% of the neckline dimension).  
I measured approximately 26.5” around my neckline. I did the following multiplication to calculate my new neckline length:
0.75 * 26.5” = 19.875”
I also wanted to note that I used the selvedge edge for the neckline (and I used the original width of the neckline per the pattern piece). I did include a couple of perforation holes near the selvedge edge but I found that the selvedge was more stable and easier to apply the neckband with, material wise. The following photo shows the inside of my finished neckband, for reference.
Final Thoughts
My goal with this project was to recreate a well loved commercial sweatshirt. One fun surprise with the final garment is that the perforated sleeves and yoke offer a fun “air conditioning” feature. I don’t notice this effect when I’m sitting but if I’m walking around while wearing this garment, I can feel the air moving through the perforations in the fabric.  It makes the garment very breathable and comfortable. I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt multiple times this spring and it’s been so handy to wear as a layering piece.
One tiny negative that I’ve found with the Cut Out Textured Scuba fabric is that it can be a magnet for hair. I found this after I prewashed the fabric and took it out of the dryer. I don’t usually notice hair collecting on fabric or garments. This being the case, it really isn’t a big deal, just something to note. I may let this garment air dry in the future which may help reduce the hair collecting (that I saw after it tumble dryed in the dryer).
This garment was also my first time working with scuba fabrics. I really like them, they have a nice body to them and there are many lovely colors that are offered on the Minerva site.
I wish you all a very happy sewing day with your own sewing adventures!
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Wendy Ward Book Review by Naomi

Hi, I’m Naomi and usually blog over at Naomi Sews.  I have been very excited to test out this new book from Wendy Ward. In the winter, I seem to sew almost exclusively with knit fabrics, so it’s always great to have some new inspiration, patterns and tips. The book contains some basic patterns, but also lots of ideas and information about how to adapt them, so if you have never considered making changes to your patterns, this might be a good place to start.
I am currently 5 months pregnant, so many of the patterns in the book were never going to fit terribly well without some drastic alterations, so I decided to keep things simple and test out the Kinder cardigan. I may have said that the patterns included are basic, but that doesn’t mean that they are lazy. This cardigan is impeccably drafted, and the finishing is beautiful.
One of the parts that I was most pleased with was the point where the front collar meets the hem. In the instructions it has you enclose the collar in the hem which means when you turn it all back out the right way, this seam is all tidy both inside and out.
There is also lots of great advice about choosing fabric and techniques. I particularly like that the book details the fabrics used in all the samples, so you can look for something similar. This is particularly helpful if you do most of your fabric shopping online like I do. It can be very disappointing when the fabric you order doesn’t quite match your expectations. I chose this Ponte Roma Fabric ‘Denim Blue’ based on one of the samples in the book which is almost a coatigan. The fabric is a lovely saturated colour, super soft and a nice stable knit, so easy to work with.
One of the techniques discussed at the start of the book is which stitch to use for different uses. I decided to use a triple zigzag for my pockets and hems, and I really like it as a little decorative detail. The instructions for the patterns are really clear too. They direct you to techniques elsewhere in the book when there is more detail to be had.
I generally like to be able to close my cardigans, so I added a little snap into the neckband.  In hindsight, the snap is a little small, and would also have benefited from interfacing that section of neckband to stabilise it too.  Next time, I would add a bit of knit interfacing into the neckband before installing it, and maybe use a bigger statement button as the closure.
This cardigan is well fitted through the shoulders but is fairly oversized in the sleeve and body.  I love the massive pockets! It is great for a casual weekend cover up and fits over and around the bump nicely.  I am pretty sure I am going to be wearing this open right up until the baby arrives, which is great, and I will be able to continue wearing it afterwards too.  Sounds like a perfect pattern to me!
Thanks for readng,
Naomi @ Naomi Sews
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Art Gallery Fabrics Solid Rayon Sointu Kimono Tee by Mel

When Minerva Crafts offered the opportunity to review the beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics Solid Rayon Fabric I couldn’t wait to try it out.
I’ve always been a bit scared of working with such fluid fabrics, constantly talking myself out of it, but I also realised that this little voice in my head was also limiting my handmade wardrobe, so I knew that I definitely needed to get out of my comfort zone. 
I have worked with Art Gallery Fabrics jersey and denims before and the quality is just amazing, so I was sure that this would be the same. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. You may pay a little more than usual (at £23.99 per meter) but if you are looking to make something special that lasts forever, its so worth it.
I chose a jewel colour which is also out of my comfort zone (being a pastels type of gal) and selected the gorgeous teal colour (its called tile blue) as I thought that this would be great for any season  
I could not believe how soft and comfortable this fabric is, it feels just like silk but with the added benefit of being able to be washed in the washing machine.
I wanted to make a flowy, comfortable top that I could dress up or down, one that I can wear with a skirt or trousers for work, but then equally wear with jeans or leggings at the weekend. I chose the Named Clothing Sointu Kimono Blouse Pattern, this is a beginner level pattern so it makes working with the “trickier than normal” fabric a little bit less stressful.
This pattern does call out for stretch fabric such as jersey, but I thought that seen as it was a loose fitting top, and the fabric was so soft and drapey it would work out perfectly, and it did!
I pre-washed the fabric at 40 degrees and it washed very well, it did come out quite crinkly but the iron steamed through no problem at all, isn’t it such a satisfying feeling when the iron makes all of those crinkles disappear.
I did find the fabric a little tricky to cut out due to the fluidity and I found that the edges went a little jagged as I cut it out, but I just didn’t worry about it too much as I knew that when I sew and finish the seams all of the jagged edges will be removed. However, I would say that you definitely need quality scissors or maybe try using a rotary cutter with a new blade.
One thing that I did find tricky was identifying which side of the fabric was right side and which was wrong side as it was very difficult to see the difference, so next time I will definitely mark this with some chalk or a pin.
I had no problems at all sewing the fabric apart from when I stay stitched the neckline, the fabric got sucked into the machine a little. I think that this was due to the narrow seam width that I was using as I had no problem at all when sewing the actual seams. You could use a stabiliser if necessary for example put some tear away stabiliser behind the fabric when you sew, do share in the comments below if you have any tips on this.
The fabric is more delicate than a cotton, so if you do need to unpick stitches, do it with care as its easy to create a hole.
The neckline is finished with bias binding, I decided to go for a contrast floral binding and finished it on the inside of the top, I love it when there is a little bit of pretty on the inside of a garment. When I first sewed the bias binding I wasn’t sure if the rounded V neck was going to lay flat but once it was pressed with lots of steam it was perfect.
This top also has a “doubled up” tie belt (it wraps around your waist twice), I was a little worried that the belt would be difficult to sew as I imagined it going all “wavy" with the fabric being so soft, but it really didn’t. I did sew it with the wider 5/8” seam allowance to help ensure that it didn’t get sucked into the machine, and then trimmed it down afterwards.
The sleeves are a lovely kimono shape with a wide cuff, I just love, love, love kimono sleeves. You can interface the cuff if you wanted the sleeves to have more structure, but I wanted mine to stay soft so decided to omit this step. 
I love both this fabric and the pattern, and they work very well together (even though the pattern suggests a knit). I do also have a little of the fabric left over so I look forward to sharing another make with you soon!
If like me, you have been letting that little voice in your head stop you from trying different fabrics, just go for it, you don’t know what your missing!
Thanks for reading,
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Spring Culottes and Shorts by Sophie

Hi sewing people! I, Sophie, from sopbac.com is back to you with a new product review. First off, I’m sorry if the pictures seem cold with all the snow, But I made this back in early March and spring hadn’t come to us up north yet.
I was lucky enough to be testing this lovely Crepe Fabric from Minerva Crafts. With four meters of this luxurious fabric, I manage to make both the Tania culottes and Flint trousers from Megan Nielsen Patterns. They have been a part of my making plans for so long I can even remember.
The Tania culottes are amazing, and I can’t wait to use them during the summer. I made the version 2 of the pattern in a size L. I could have made it in a size M, since the hip measurements don’t really apply here, but oh well, now I have time to grow if I wanted too. The length of the culottes for version 2 is 60 cm, which is a bit longer than what I usually where, but I think it’s still great.
It has the body and shape as a full circle skirt, but with seams between your legs, you can do whatever you want without accidentally showing off your panties! Even a summer breeze won’t get far. The front and back of the culottes have actually a pleat so that it hides the inseams of the culottes and makes it look more of a skirt. A detail I really like and didn’t think of myself to make this pattern greater. The closure on this pattern is a 25 cm invisible zipper on the left side seam.
What attracted me to the Flint trousers was the tie closure. I don’t like the mid-calf length on any trousers, so it was an easy decision to make the shorts version, in summary, I made version 4 of the pattern. I also made this pattern in a size L, I also needed to add 3 cm for the big butt adjustment.
The closure of this pattern is so unique, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. It is a side closure, and the one pocket is open at the top and closed with one button. The rest is then tied with a tie. So unique!
The fabric is the plain Luxury Crepe Fabric in the colour Claret. It has a medium weight and is about 150 cm wide. As you can see from my culottes and shorts it has a beautiful drape. The fabric would also be suitable to make dresses, skirts, blouses and maybe even a shirt. If the pattern calls for a drapey fabric this is your gal!
At first sight, I thought the fabric was too thin and light for it to be a medium weight fabric. But by a closer look, somehow the producers of the fabric has managed to keep the drapiness of the fabric and at the same time give it body. And it’s not see-through! That what makes it great!
The patterns I’ve chosen for this fabric was a perfect match, in my opinion. What would you make out of this drapey fabric? We would love to see, use #MinervaMakes so that we can see your makes!

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