Hi I’m Jenny and this is my first time writing for Minerva Crafts. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to write a guest blog and really excited about trying out the new Stevie Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. I’m a big fan of Tilly, I am fairly new to sewing, about 18 months in now and it is totallly thanks to that first book “Love at First Stitch” that I have progressed to where I am today with my sewing. The Stevie pattern like all of Tilly’s patterns is written with clear and concise instructions and great photos. It is very much like having someone hold your hand and guide you through the process.
The Stevie pattern is perfect for beginners but equally ideal for more experienced sewers who would be able to challenge themselves with more complex fabrics if they wished. The pattern offers 2 choices, an above the knee tunic or a top. Both are great for the wonderful summer we are currently having and quick to sew up and they can be dressed up or down depending on your choice of fabric.
Like all of Tilly’s patterns the pieces are printed on good quality paper with the different sizes clearly marked. I always trace over my size, the paper copy is far too nice to cut in my opinion. The pattern includes a booklet which gives a comprehensive step by step guide with excellent pictures to help you with the sewing process.
The pattern recommends light to medium weight woven fabrics such as linen, chambray or cotton lawn and also suggests silk or crepe de chine for a more experienced stitcher. It can be difficult to select a fabric when buying online, not being able to feel the texture and weight but Minerva Crafts really helped me with the process, after looking through the suggested fabrics on their site (there are plenty to choose from) and narrowing it down to a couple of choices I dropped an email over to them and asked if they thought the fabrics would work, I received a reply the same day confirming that both would work well, it was then just a matter of deciding which one to go for. I finally settled on this lovely spotty rainbow print Linen Look Cotton Fabric. The fabric arrived quickly along with some matching Guttermann thread and a button that I had also selected for the tunic. I was delighted with my choice when it arrived, it is a lovely denim blue colour with spots in lilac, turquoise, red, blue and gold and feels a really good weight and quality.
Onto the cutting out – I compared my body measurements with the chart on the back of the packet to work out which size to cut. I have used Tilly’s patterns before so was confident that the sizing would work for me. I cut a size 3 for the bust measurement and graded to a size 4 for the waist and hips (to do this I just used a ruler and joined the 2 lines together between the bust and waist markings on the pattern).
The sewing process was really quick and easy (it took me about 1 hour), the fabric was great to work with and the instructions are easy to understand. The facings are simple to attach because it is all done with the fabric laid out flat. It does tell you to topstitch around the facing but I opted not to do this because I didn’t want any stitches showing around the neckline, this is purely a personal preference and instead I used some iron-on hemming tape to hold the facing in place, I have used this method before and it seems to work.
Tilly’s idea of using a hairband for the button loop is genius, I have made a few things recently that have required button loops and have tried sewing them with varying degrees of success – who knew there was such a simple shortcut, I certainly didn’t! To finish off the fastening I used a super cute Button from Minerva which matches the red dots on the fabric.
Sizewise I am extremely happy with the fit, the tunic does come up fairly short, I am only 5ft 2” and I only turned the hem up by 1cm and will probably add an inch to the length next time so this is something to consider when cutting.
The tunic looks great loose which is the style in which it is designed. It’s an ideal style to slip on in the current heatwave that we are enjoying in the UK and yes I do remember the summer of 76.
I also made a tie belt to give me an extra way to wear it. I simply used the pattern piece for the neck tie for the width and lengthened it to tie around my waist. I then folded in the raw edges by 1cm each and pressed it wrong sides together, then simply machine stitched around all the open sides, I thought this would be easier than sewing on the inside and turning due to the length of the piece.
Tilly never disappoints with her patterns, they are stylish but easy to make and the new Stevie pattern is another winner. It is very versatile with several different looks, there are options for both tunic and top with cuffed or regular sleeves and an optional pocket, the back opening can be fastened off with a button loop or ties and varying fabric will give a different drape – I definitely want to try the tie fastening next time in fact I already have fabric lined up on my cutting table, I can see several more versions of the Stevie pattern finding their way into my wardrobe.
Thank you Tilly for another fabulous pattern – I am turning into a bit of a fangirl, and thankyou Minerva Crafts for the opportunity to write.
Do you believe in happy accidents? Because this bright, happy floral polyester Crepe Fabric was just that. I am not going to lie; This crepe fabric was not the first fabric to capture my interest to review when I was contacted by Minerva Crafts. I had my mind set rather on a floral jersey to make a jumpsuit, specifically new Vogue Spring v9321 for the billowy palazzo pants and the ruffle sleeves. But by the time I replied however, the floral was not available anymore and so I decided on my second choice which was this crepe fabric. A jumpsuit pattern I had in mind was not compatible with this fabric but when I draped it on my dress form, a smile slowly spread on my face like a Cheshire cat. I loved it more that I thought I would, loved it more than the original floral knit fabric that I had in mind. This was the perfect example of a happy accident!
Once I saw how the fabric draped and flowed on the dress form, I immediately knew which pattern I was going to use: McCalls M7598 view C pullover dress in maxi length. This pattern was on my sewing queue for quite some time, waiting for the perfect fabric to come along to make it come alive. I could picture the finished garment in my head and there was nary a doubt; It was a happy marriage of fabric and pattern and I couldn't wait to get started.
This fabric has a pebbly texture and is opaque so a lining is optional. I did not line this garment. The color is bright and the white floral print evokes a tropical feel which I am a huge fan of. I plan to wear this dress as a beach cover up but it's certainly dressy enough to wear out while running errands. It sews beautifully and does not fray much when cut which is fabulous! I chose to finish my seams in French seams because I am obsessive about my garments looking beautiful inside as well as the outside.
The pattern calls for a 3/4" trim to run along the length of the center of the dress that ends as a tie at the neck. I was inspired to try embroidery for the first time by making my own trim; I chose a leaf pattern in matching orange thread to be embroidered on a navy 7/8" grosgrain ribbon. (My sewing machine is Singer Quantum 9960). It has limited selection of embroidery patterns but for a novice embroiderer like myself it was perfect. Let's just say embroidery gets quite addicting! I am looking forward to incorporating embroidery to my future projects.
McCalls 7598 was a very easy and quick pattern to sew but that doesn't mean that it sacrifices style. The dress is very comfortable, easy to wear and I love that I don't have to fuss with zippers and buttons. Perfect for resortwear! This little pretty will be coming with me to my next tropical getaway and I will likely be making more versions of this dress and will be adding pockets. Thank you Minerva Crafts for giving me the opportunity to review this fabric. I love it more that I thought I would and couldn't take the smile off of my face while wearing this dress.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 21st August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Monday the 20th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I'm delighted to be back on the Minerva Crafts website with my first crochet project and a review of the very lovely Sublime Isla yarn.
This new year I decided that I wanted to try something new - I have never got the hang of knitting, but I watched someone making a granny square a while ago and I thought it looked like something I might be able to do!
I am still very much a beginner - I can chain and make double and treble stitches and I have now learned to increase and decrease but I am still working on tension and keeping count of my stitches! I am starting to get into a crochet groove though - it's perfectly portable for my train journey each day - I love to relax and listen to podcasts while I crochet!
As a complete beginner I started experimenting with very cheap acrylic yarn so when Minerva asked for someone to review the Sublime Isla luxury yarn it was the perfect opportunity for me to develop my skills with some lovely yarn.
The Isla yarn is made up of 8 threads and as a beginner I found it very easy to split the yarn or pull through a few strands, but it was also very forgiving and happy for me to pull out a few stitches and repeat to get it right without pilling or becoming fluffy.
I chose the Ivory, Seychelles blue and Ida turquoise shades and they are really rich vibrant colours - the Seychelles blue makes me think of being at the beach on a summer holiday!
My complete newbie mistake was to attempt to crochet straight from the hank of yarn after I had untied it - this resulted in a spectacular pile of yarn 'spaghetti' within about five minutes and it then took me about three hours to untangle it and roll it into a ball - you can find some helpful information about how to deal with wool in a twist here!
I found a free pattern on Ravelry to test out the yarn - the Tidal Wave Shawl by Tamara Kelly for the Moogly blog. This pattern has been made up by a lot Ravelry users and is rated easy and has plenty of positive reviews. It is made up in treble stitches with an increase at the start of each row and a decrease at the end to create the asymmetric shape. It doesn't require you to create and count an enormous chain at the start and you don't need to worry too much about the number of stitches in each row - which is perfect for me as a beginner as I can quite easily find I have lost a couple!
As a beginner this project is encouraging because you can quickly see the shawl taking shape - you start from a very short chain and the first rows are only a few stitches, so by the time you get to the longer rows you should have got the hang of the pattern.
I used about one and three-quarter balls of the Ivory yarn, more than half of the Seychelles blue and about a quarter of the Ida turquoise.
This took me a couple of weeks of train crochet and I'm sure someone more experienced could make it up much faster as the pattern is very easy to follow. I am beyond proud that I made an actual thing and although I can see a few skipped stitches and wonky tension errors I think it turned out pretty well.
The Isla yarn was a delight to work with - thanks to Minerva for providing this yarn for me to review and helping my beginner crochet skills move to the next level.
Louise @ notsewsimple
Hey Minerva Makers!
It’s Vicky of Sewstainability here with my first blog post for the Minerva Crafts blog!
It is no secret that our sewing community absolutely LOVES Tilly and the Buttons – she can do no wrong! All of her patterns are cute, flattering and gorgeous on all shapes and sizes. I have made several of Tilly’s Sewing Patterns but have somehow neglected to try one of her oldest (and cutest!) patterns, the Francoise. I think I have neglected the Francoise because I would definitely walk past a dress like that in the shops – being REALLY pear-shaped, for an off-the-peg dress like that to fit over my hips it would 2-3 sizes too baggy on the bust. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me then that this pattern is perfect for me – I can make this gorgeous sixties-shaped shift dress of dreams to fit me!
I started by taking my measurements and sure enough, my bust was size 4 and my hips were size 7 – yep, some serious grading to do here! I set about with my pencil and tracing paper to realise there are four darts in the bodice, two of which are long french darts which start at the hips and finish at the bust. I had to walk away for like two days to get my head around how I was going to have the dart start at the size 4 point and end at the size 7 point without changing the shape of the dart. Eventually, I just decided I had to go for it and I am actually really surprised how well it went. I decided to go with the size 5 on top so that it was easier to grade and I didn’t want it to be too tight, however I definitely should have gone with the 4 as I had to take 3cm out of the centre back once the invisible zip was in – Doh! Why didn’t I just stick with my measurements when I KNOW Tilly has got me covered?!
Check out those French darts!
I chose this gorgeous Quilting Cotton Fabric to make my sixties dress of dreams and was super impressed when it arrived. I am used to quilting cotton feeling kind of stiff and rigid (which I thought would work well for Francoise anyway) but when I got it in hand it actually has a lovely drape – like no other quilting cottons I’ve ever felt before! Don’t get me wrong, it is not lightweight, it is completely opaque and I am comfortable wearing it as a single layer of fabric but it just has more drape and movement than I had expected. The colours are so vibrant and retro I think it is just perfect for this project! I also had some plain white cotton in my stash for making the collar and I cut the invisible zip out of one of my first makes/disasters so it was definitely a sustainable sew from a notions perspective.
Apart from the fit adjustments, I also changed the sleeves a bit. The Francoise dress is a raglan style, I chose to go for the sleeveless version to make a cute summer dress as I felt this fabric just screams summer, beaches and ice creams! Because the fabric is so patterned, I didn’t want to break it up with a raglan seam at the shoulder, I felt it might look a bit disjointed and I wanted to really show off the cute print. So, I stuck the two pattern pieces together with a 1.5cm overlap – equal to the seam allowances. I think I lost a little bit of shaping around the shoulder but it’s not enough to bother me and I think it was worth it to keep the print whole.
Whilst I was making it, I was a bit worried it looked like I was making a fancy dress costume for a sixties-themed party. The dress pattern, the print, the cute collar - I was a bit worried I was going overboard but when I tried it on I realised I love it! It reminds me of my style icon, Jess from New Girl (have you watched that show? It spawned the word Adorkable and I think that is the perfect description of this dress!). Anyway, the moral of the story is, sometimes you need to make the dress that you have in your head made out of super adorable quilting cotton – because it might just be the cute shift dress of your dreams!
Thanks for reading,
Vicky @ sewstainability
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 18th August 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Greetings from southern Ontario. My name is Joanne and I am primarily a quilter. So when the opportunity to review the 9 Piece Hexagon Template Set was available I said “yes please”.
I could not have imagined what an amazing set this was and how many options it opens up to the quilter. First of all the packaging. There are 9 Hexagons in the set. The smallest is 1” across and the largest is 5” across. If your work area is anything like mine those very small hexagons would get lost in no time. The packaging takes that into account and is resealable so that all the templates can stay together.
The features of the individual hexagon templates have been well thought out with the quilter in mind. If you do English Paper Piecing each template is ¼” smaller that the size above it. This means you can trace template C on your paper and use template D for your fabric and you will have exactly a ¼” seam all the way around. And with all the various sizes from 1” to 5” you can make hexagons of many different sizes. I don’t tend to do English Paper Piecing (yet) but this set makes it so tempting. I have done a little but found all the cutting out a challenge. This set would help take care of that.
As a quilter I am considered a piecer and the second really great feature on these templates is that the ¼” in from the corner is cut through the template so you can mark that exact location with a pencil. I used a mechanical pencil and have both regular lead and a white one. The thin lead fits comfortably through the small hole and marks that sometimes elusive location. This is the spot you need to stitch to when you are making “Y” seams. Some individuals just avoid patterns with this feature because it is hard to get that spot just exactly right and if you don’t you either get a gap or a pucker on the good side of your work.
The templates are of high quality acrylic and using a rotary cutter with them is easy. I put my fabric on my rotating mat and placed the template on top and zip, zip, zip I had my fabric cut.
I stitched one set of three hexagons together after marking that elusive corner start and stop location. It was very easy to do. And with a wee press of the iron I had a finished “Y” seam that was smooth and flat without a gap.
I had not seen these particular items beforehand and was cautiously optimistic that they would be useful. I can say without a doubt this set exceeded all my expectations. It is neat, organized and clearly had someone behind its development that had asked all the right questions and found some good answers.
Thanks for reading,
Joanne @ quiltsbyjoanne
Why is it that sometimes you get a new piece of fabric it sits in your stash for months (or even years), and sometimes you sew it up the moment you get it. When this latest Fabric landed on my doorstep from Minerva I pre-washed it and got it dry within a few hours and by that evening it was already cut out, and was beginning to take shape. I’d also formulated a plan to go and get buttons to finish it off the next day, and within 36hours of my Minerva parcel of fabric being delivered I had a new dress. I was headed out for afternoon tea that weekend, and I didn’t plan on making a new dress, but when this Deco fans fabric arrived I realised it was perfect for the Art Deco themed afternoon tea I was going to.
Here’s a bonus pic of my sitting in a very luxurious chair enjoying my afternoon tea.
Minerva call this a quilting cotton, and as a result sell it by the fat quarter as well. Don’t let this put you off using it for dressmaking though, remember those days back when sewing first began to become cool again and everyone was making vintage style dresses out of quilting cottons? I know the first dress I made was out of quilting cotton, and why not - fun prints and an easy to work with fabric is a winner in my book. This particular fabric comes in 3 different colourways, I used the grey, but there is also a yellow and blue colourway.
I used the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress Patternto make my dress, and as I’ve got quite a few of these in my handmade wardrobe already I knew that I could make this up quickly and that I don’t need to make many adjustments to fit my body shape. The fabric is on the narrow side (45inches) and it’s directional, so I had to be very neat with my cutting layout to make sure I got my dress out of 3m of fabric. I also tried to pay attention to pattern matching ensuring that the “fan” print ran across the dress and between the bodice and skirt section consistently. I managed it pretty well, and I’m really pleased with how it looks.
I love the Sew Over It pattern range as the instructions are really clear, and every step is explained in a lot of detail. The vintage shirt dress is a great introduction to sewing collars, as the pattern holds your hand throughout the process and there isn’t any tricky collar stands etc to contend with. The pattern doesn’t have any darts but the shaping is through the pleats at the waist seam, in this Camelot cotton the pleats iron to give you sharp looking pleats which hold their shape really well, event after a wash.
Just a small word of warning when making any shirtdress, make sure you get the button placement correct. I always tend to ignore the button layout plan on the pattern and put them where I think they should be, taking into account my bust and making sure there is no gaping. When I took these photos I realised that I probably needed one more button to protect my modesty, I’ve since added an extra button at the top, and it means I don’t have to be on guard every time I wear the dress.
I’d highly recommend this fabric to beginners, those looking for a quick make, or a project where the fabric design needs to be centre stage. It was beautifully easy to work with and has washed and worn really well, even after a jam-packed day at the seaside the fabric didn’t crease and it was a joy to wear.