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Oh Nora!

There is nothing better than that cosy feeling. I’m one of those people that’s cold pretty much all of the time. Hold my hand anytime in the year and you’d think I’d just come back from the Arctic! Cold hands, warm heart, right?

The fabric: Lady McElroy Brushed Aztec Jersey Fabric

I chose this beautiful fabric knowing it was sure to keep me snuggly warm. A heavy wool/polyester/mohair mix, I figured it’d be perfect.

On arrival, the colour of the fabric is more muted than that on the website photo. However, bring it into the light and the colour becomes more vibrant. 

I pre-washed the fabric and laid it out flat to dry which didn’t take long at all. The right side of the fabric has a lovely texture to it where as the wrong side is slightly smoother.

The pattern: 

Tilly and the Buttons: Nora ‘hack’ 

I had 2 metres of the jersey to work with and with the composition I felt it really had to be an outerwear garment. Lucky for me, I spotted Tilly’s (Tilly and the Buttons)Nora hack. Having sewn Nora before, I knew I loved the boxy, oversized style. Nora, as a cardigan in wool could only end well. So I set about redrawing the pattern slightly as shown by Tilly on her blog. This was a simple enough process and didn’t take long at all. I felt rather clever actually, pulling it off! 

Cutting out the pieces

The fabric cut well and didn’t shift at all. I managed to place my pieces strategically to get the best of the Aztec pattern. As the wool is heavy I didn’t interface any of the lining pieces. 

Sewing

I set up my machine with a jersey needle and went with a contrasting navy cotton. As the fabric was a stretch jersey and didn’t need to be pulled over the body, I used a regular straight stitch. Following Tilly’s hack instructions with the original instruction at hand, stitching was straightforward. I overlocked my seam allowances and popped in a little tag which just so happened to coordinate perfectly with the fabric. 

I top stitched the lining around the front opening and the hem with a 3.5mm stitch length going slowly around the bulk shoulder seam and the corners.

The only addition to the hack I made was to stitch in the ditch at the shoulder. To help keep the facing in place.

When I sewed my Nora top I took a lot of length off of the sleeves as it was simply too long for me and I knew that if I left it like so, I’d probably never wear it. With the hack, I simply pressed the sleeve up 7cm and tucked it back into itself, creating a 3.5 cm hem. Using the blind hem method, I hand stitched them in place.

Result

I love how it turned out and toasty warm it is too. Being able to sew a new pattern that I didn’t need to spend money on was great. Hacks are the way forward and a real confidence booster.

If I made another, now that I have the confidence to go it alone I’d probably add a button panel to the front. Perhaps a collar? As the pattern is so giving you could probably get away with sewing it up with a woven. Now there’s a challenge.

Styling

This would look amazing over a little black dress and boots or simply jean shorts and a top. I went with jeans and boots (so very me) and man it feels good. 

Thanks for reading,

Katie @katie_berberich

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The Fabric of Spring!

Poplin is the fabric of spring. Depending on where you live it might be hard to think about draping yourself in crisp cotton poplin dresses when all you want to do is wrap up in a blanket, but stay with me. Once flowers start sprouting from the ground and you can finally kiss your winter coat goodbye for the season, you’ll want to have some of this poplin on hand for all of your spring and summer makes.

When the lovely team at Minerva Crafts offered this gorgeous 100% Cotton Poplin Fabric to review, I was so thrilled. I’ve long been obsessed with this particular color of red, and just this year have started to sew with this. It’s the perfect red: just a little bit of orange in it, so that it’s not too in-your-face red, but still so bold, fresh, and happy. Some might call it persimmon or poppy, but I call it J.Crew red because I have about 5 different items from J.Crew all in this exact shade. So when I saw it on the Minerva Crafts website, I knew it was meant to be.

I’ve also been long inspired by Kate Eva Designs’ lovely feminine style, and when she made a tie strap bright red By Hand London Flora Dress, I knew that I would have to make my own version one day.

And when this lovely cotton poplin came along, it was a perfect match!

Note: To make the straps on this dress, just double the number of straps you cut out, and 2X the length of the strap pattern piece. Then just make the straps as usual, and add them in as usual. And bonus: no need to worry about whether the straps are the right length when fitting, because you can always retie and re-adjust!

This cotton has such a lovely crisp hand, and is so stable to work with. That full circle skirt truly lives up to its name in this fabric: it’s so swishy and voluminous! I wore it to church and a winery and got dozens of compliments and many “where did you get that?!” questions. And of course, my favorite answer always is, “thanks, I made it!”.

This fabric was wide enough that I could fold it opposite the grain (think hamburger instead of a hot dog) to get enough for the full circle skirt. And I still have enough of this fabric left over to make a bright summery top, further rounding out my beloved J.Crew Red collection.

This cotton poplin comes in so many gorgeous colors, and I can just imagine a rainbow bright Spring/Summer wardrobe in a lovely coordinating palate.

What would you make with this poplin? I think it’s so well suited for summer dresses, but would also work great for button downs (men’s and women’s), full skirts, box tops, or even wide legged pants! I might just use the last bit of this fabric for matchy-matchy baby clothes.

Also, if you have a little bit of this fabric left, it’s just the right weight for quilting, or other scrapbusting like bag linings, hair accessories (bows and bow ties!), or even a lovely men’s tie! Make your mate a matching tie, make your kids matching clothes and you’ll have a lovely family outfit, all from one gorgeous fabric.  

Thanks for reading,

Rachael @rachaelannesews

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How to Sew a Coat with Simplicity 8262 Pattern

As we’re now into the winter months here in Ohio, a winter coat is an absolute must-have! Over the past couple of years, I have wanted to sew a winter coat and even picked up the pattern I used for this coat, but have not gotten around to making one. I was excited to use this black wool blend Coating Fabric to make this coat. It was the perfect material, and I loved the herringbone detail woven into the wool!

For my jacket, I used the Simplicity Pattern 8262, by Leanne Marshall. This pattern includes a lined coat or jacket and features a double shawl collar. This coat pattern is truly unique and is sure to stand out in your wardrobe!

There are two different pattern options for this winter coat:

- Peplum coat (hits right below the knees)

- Peplum jacket (hits at the hips)

What You Need to Make the Simplicity 8262 Coat Version A 

(If you’re adding a hood - purchase the higher amount listed below);

- Version A Main Coat Fabric (4 - 4.25 yards or 3.75 - 4 meters (60”) / 5.25 - 5.50 or 4.75 - 5 meters (45”))

- Version A Coat Lining Fabric (3.5 - 3.75 yards or 3 - 3.25 meters)

- Version A Interfacing (3 yards or 2.75 meters)

- Patterm Simplicity 8262

- Matching Sewing Thread

- Hook and Eye OR One Medium Snap

- 4 Toggles

- Round Polyester Cord (Optional)

Sewing Instructions and Modifications for the Peplum Coat

The design and layout of the instructions for this Simplicity pattern follow the same format that all Simplicity patterns follow. The instructions book provides a glossary and general instructions notes, cutting layout and detailed instructions for the two pattern options. Overall, the instructions were easy to understand and follow along. I loved the pattern as is and the only major adjustment I made was to add a hood to the coat instead of a second shawl collar. This small change makes it more practical for me to wear every day.

How to Add a Hood to Your Simplicity 8262 Coat

To make your hood, you will need to layout your upper hood pattern piece along with another pattern piece that is either handmade or borrowed from another pattern. To make my hood, I used the hood piece from Hey June’s Halifax hoodie pattern. You can use any hood pattern piece, or you can trace one using clothing you already own.

  1. Cut out 2 hood pieces ( 1 - main coat fabric, 1 - lining fabric)

  2. Cut the outer edge of your lining to be .5 - 1 inch smaller than your main fabric.

  3. Pin your coat fabric to the lining, with right sides together, and sew

  4. Turn the hood right side out

  5. Fold over the edge of the hood, so your outer fabric is shown from the outside of your hood

  6. Stitch along the edge of the two seams (.5 - 1 inch) to secure the lining in place.

  7. Attach the hood to your jacket/coat by following the rest of the steps for the upper collar piece

How to Add a Toggle To Your Simplicity Coat

There are so many options when it comes to adding a Toggle Closure to your coat.

First Option: Attach and hand sew Premade Toggles to your coat.

Second Option:Sew your own and match the base of your toggle piece with the fabric from your coat. To do this, you will need to follow these simple instructions:

1. Cut out the base of your toggle from your coat fabric and lining fabric

2. Cut out your desired length of Round Polyester Cord in 8 pieces. Add your toggle to 4 of the polyester cord pieces.

3. Pin your polyester cord to your coat fabric and add a baste stitch

4. Next, pin the right side of the lining to the right side of the coat and sew about 75% around.
5. Trim the edges and turn right side out.
6. Fold the fabric in and pin in place
7. Pin your toggle base to your jacket and follow the instructions to attach.

Sizing & Adjustments to the Simplicity 8262 Pattern

This pattern runs very small. Thankfully, I checked the sizing measurements before I started to cut out the jacket! I am normally a size 4, but I cut out and sewed a 12 in this jacket. So, this is something to keep in mind when you go to purchase the pattern and pick between the two options (sizes 4-12 and 14-22). I will say, that I ended up bringing in the waist a little bit with my toggles to create a more fitted look, but overall the size 12 fit me perfectly in the shoulders and chest.

Overall, I love how this jacket turned out and am very happy I waited for the right fabric to use! And the few times I have worn it out, I have already received compliments! This coat can easily be styled and wear to work, holiday events, formal gatherings and more. I am excited to finally have a me-made coat that I can wear during the cold winter months.

Thanks for reading,

Kelsey @ Seamlined Living

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A Moto Jacket!

Hello Everyone! I am so excited to be here chatting about the activity I love most: Sewing! This is my first post for the Minerva Crafts blog and I can already tell I am going to love sharing my work through this platform with all of you wonderful creatives out there!
For my first project, I picked probably one of the most challenging garments imaginable to tackle: A Moto Jacket! I had been thinking about creating a Moto-Style jacket for a while since my RTW one recently had to be retired as the fabric was shedding all over the place. So ,when I saw this incredible quilted, sequin Pleather Fabric on the Minerva site, I just knew I had to dive head first and pray for the sewing universe to align in my favor!
This project wound up having loads of tricky bits that I found myself navigating through, sometimes rather clumsily, but I learned SO SO much while doing so! I went with an old TNT jacket pattern that had been lying in my stash for some years. It was a bit of a hunt to find where I had placed my pattern after so many moves, and it was rather funny climbing over boxes to find it wedged at the bottom of our storage closet!
The pattern in question was Kwik Sew 3764. I wound up cutting view A in a size small as I remembered from past attempts at this jacket that it was rather large in the fit. I even wound up taking in about 4” at the bottom back waist as it was still much too boxy for my taste. Once I had the fabric all cut out, I got to sewing. That's when the real fun began!
I opted not to use interfacing for any of the parts that called for it because this quilted pleather had a backing on it that made it SUPER thick and I felt it would act as it's own interfacing. I am so glad I opted for this strategy because it would have been virtually impossible for my machine to sew through any more layers than what it did with this project, especially around the neck!
There wound up being loads of seam trimming in this project to help minimize the bulk!
It took a bit of trial and error to figure out the perfect combination for the topstitching portion of this jacket. Pleather, as I quickly found out, acts a lot like leather in that once you puncture a hole in the fabric, it is there permanently. With a lot of trial and error, I found that the best way to get even stitching without any skipped stitches in my fabric was to do the following:
Change out my needle to be a denim needle (I didn't have a leather needle when I got started!)
Wrap my presser foot in clear tape
Set my stitch length to 3.0
Sew with tracing paper between my presser foot and the leather itself.
With all of these adjustments, I was able to navigate my garment's topstitching with a lot less stress! Of course, I wasn't going to get the topstitching absolutely perfect as It was a real challenge to see where my seams were using scrap tracing paper, but I managed to work it out in the end!
Because the interior of the pleather has some sort of cushy batting to it, I wanted to line my jacket to make it a bit prettier as well as more comfy to my skin. It took me some time to decide on what I should line this jacket with, but then I stumbled upon an amazing Cotton + Steel print that was hiding in my stash! I had purchased 3 yards  of this fabric over a year ago from Topstitch Studio & Lounge thinking I was going to make a summer frock from it. But when I put the print next to the pink pleather, I knew it was destined to become the lining of my jacket! Minerva have this same fabric available in a slightly different colourway here.
There was quite a bit of handstitching require to finish off this jacket, especially around the sleeve hem, sleeve zipper, and when attaching the lining to the inner portions. I chose to hand stitch these elements mainly because upon constructing the outer jacket, I had already laid down my topstitching lines and I knew it would be a big risk attempting to sew on top of those lines perfectly a second time around, which would be necessary to attach the lining.
Instead, I kicked my feet up, turned on Netflix, and got to finishing off my garment the #slowsewing way.
To complete the look, I popped on a Sublime Stitching label that I had been saving for the perfect project a well as some really fun, heavy duty snaps purchased at Jo-Anns. There was a small mishap where I accidentally installed two snaps with “male” parts and I had to pry off one of the snaps to reset it. All in the name of learning I guess!
This project wound up being the most challenging project I have tackled to date, but I am so thankful for diving in head first because now I have the most amazing jacket- and I feel like such a rock star! So, next time you are nervous to tackle a project, just remember that it is OK to simply go for it and hope that everything works out in the end! Sewing is fun and all about learning and if you mess up, that's OK too! Just add it to your learning pile and try again :)
Thanks for letting me babble about sewing with you all! Bonne Couture <3
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The Kwik Sew 4225 Semi-Tailored Coat

I wanted to make a coat which would be smart and structured and last well. I immediately thought back to my days at college studying Tailoring and actually tried on a few of the garments I still have and noticed that after over 30 years they still look like new. They are timeless and hard wearing and that is what I wanted to achieve with this coat.
I think that you will agree that this coat fits the bill perfectly. It is a classic shape, it fits well, the colour suits me and I will be able to wear it  for almost any occasion.
So, what pattern did I choose? It's the Kwik Sew 4225 Pattern and it has princess seams, a high neckline, button front and a vented back. If you want to make the shorter version you will relieve yourself of the need to sew a vent in the back, although it is honestly not difficult.
This is a Wool Blend Fabric at a very reasonable price too.
The lining is a fabulous John Kaldor Sateen Fabric. I was just going to use it for facings but there was enough for the pocket linings and to line the front and back. The sleeves were lined in an remnant of ordinary lining fabric in pink. It is quite acceptable to do this, in fact if your main lining is not very silky you will find that an acetate or silk sleeve lining makes it easier to get the garment on and off.
I cannot hope to show you how to properly tailor a garment in a blog post, it takes years to master the craft fully, but I will give you some hints and tips to supplement the pattern instructions so that you can make a semi-tailored coat.
What is tailoring? We think of men's suits don't we. But tailoring is the umbrella term used to describe the specialist stitches, methods and fabrics used to construct, or engineer a garment made to last. The horse hair interfacings and the pad stitches are used to put shape into the fabric which will last forever. This is all usually done by hand. If you are interested in learning a bit more do let me know.
You will be pleased to know that we are not going to invisibly hand stitch horse hair onto all the fabric pieces or do prick stitch on the collar, but we are going to use a different interfacing to what you normally use. And there will be a bit of hand sewing.
First of all shrink your fabric - very important - and then using a dry iron press iron-on Woven Interfacing onto all the front pieces including the side front which the pattern doesn't do. Also cut some strips an inch wider than your hem and press them above the fold line so that when the hem is turned up you will be able to herringbone stitch the hem without it showing on the right side and it will also add structure to the hem.
Also reinforce the shoulders and back neck either with cut off strips of your interfacing or with Seam Tape. The pocket line also needs taping.
A quick tip for sewing the seams the correct width is to measure the seam allowance 5/8" from the needle and put some tape onto the machine as a guide.
Go ahead and make up the garment according to the excellent pattern instructions.
The trick is to press every seam as you go, and I do mean press, don't slide the iron. Each time you lift the iron press down with the heel of your hand if you don't have specialist equipment. This will flatten the seam. It is also a good idea to loosely catch the seams to the interfacing to keep them open and flat.
This is the back with the side fronts stitched in place. When you turn the pockets to the inside  push the seam slightly to the inside so that the lining does not show. Do this on the front seams too. We are looking for a clean edge with no facings showing on the right side.
One thing I must mention is that the interfacing needs to be peeled back and cut away from all seam allowances or the seams will be too bulky. I use Duck Bill Scissors for this.
This is the outer shell of the coat with the buttonholes marked with tailors tacks.
You need a good quality Tailors Shoulder Pad which needs to sit right at the edge of the sleeve seam. Tack it loosely in place along the shoulder seam and the sleeve edge. Use matching thread as these stitches are permanent.
Make up the lining exactly as you did the coat, pressing the seams as you go. For a nice touch you could insert piping between the lining and the facing. Do pre- shrink it if you want to add this step.
Test often to make sure that the lining fits the garment. Tip, linings are better off loose so cut the side seams and centre back a  little wider than the pattern.
The lining will now last longer as it will not have any strain on it. Form a tiny pleat at the centre back to accommodate the extra fabric and stitch it closed for about an inch from the neckline.
The vent is easy. Push the lining out of the way and work on a table top where you can support the weight of the fabric.
Follow the pattern instructions folding the extension towards the left back (working from the inside), but don't stitch the vent down yet.
Turn the hem up and slip stitch or herringbone stitch it onto the interfacing. Make sure that nothing shows on the right side. Press the edge of the hem using a pressing cloth. Turn a 5/8" hem on the right extension and press.
Pull the lining down to cover the vent and you will see what goes where quite easily.  The left lining extension will need cutting away but don't do it until you feel confident. When you are happy, pin the lining to the vents turning the seam allowance in and cutting the left side lining as necessary. The lining should never be tight, it is perfectly normal to have to accommodate a bit of extra ease.
Invisibly hand sew the lining to the vent opening.
Then pin the hem up, pushing it upwards slightly to form a tiny pleat all around the edge.
You should end up with something like this, even up the edges of the lining and then hand sew the lining to the hem invisibly. Keep pressing and trying on.
Finish the sleeves now, inserting the lining by hand.
The final step is to sew the buttonholes. If you want to hand sew them go ahead, but I used my sewing machine. I selected a key hole buttonhole. I also made some Cover Buttons using this handy Cover Button Tool which makes it so much easier.
Do a practice buttonhole first on spare interfaced fabric and cut it open to make sure that your button fits through the hole. Please whatever you do use scissors never a seam ripper - that's a disaster waiting to happen. The coat is thick at this point so if necessary carefully snip through a layer at a time and tidy it up once you have finished.
Go ahead and sew the buttonholes whilst your confidence is there. Stitch on the buttons with waxed thread, button thread if you have it. I use fray check when I have finished to make extra sure that the button does not come off.
I also have a little box where I keep spare buttons and a small piece of fabric for everything I make in case repairs are needed, so a spare button went into my box.
The instructions said to top stitch but as I had stitched seam allowances down and pressed each seam as I sewed it there was no need to either understitch or top stitch, everything stays beautifully in place.
The pattern is lovely, there are no darts as the shape comes from the princess seams. If you have never made a coat before you will find that the instructions talk you through each stage step by step. The only real difference I recommend is interfacing the entire front and the hems and stabilising the shoulders and back neck. Otherwise I made it as they suggested.
Please do make a coat .And if you are interested in tailoring find out if there is a course near you, or even online. There is always something new to learn isn't there.
I also wanted to mention that this is not a quick make. I was sewing it for several hours a day over a few weeks so do bare that in mind. It's also not until well into the process that you get to see what it is going to look like. But in my opinion, the results are worth it!
Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it.
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Tiny Dancer Coco Dress

Hi Guys, I’m back today to talk to you about this Art Gallery Knit Fabric, the design I chose is called Tiny Dancer and I can honestly say I love it!

The name of the design and the graphic conjures up childhood memories for me, of blowing dandelion clocks in the breeze! Can you tell already I loved the design before the fabric arrived? Ha-ha don’t you just love working with fabric that you can’t wait to wear?

The composition of the fabric is 95% Pima cotton and 5% Spandex. I must confess I didn’t know what Pima cotton was, but I’ve since been educated by Auntie Google!

Allow me to share, “The Pima cotton strain is widely revered to be the finest of all cottons and is mainly produced in Peru.”

Who knew? However, I can now tell you that having handled this, I’m not surprised It’s described as the finest quality.

There are two colour ways available from Minerva Crafts, the blue which I chose and is called “Midnight” and a delightful sage green called “Bachelorette” I had a difficult job choosing between the two colours and I do think I may need to buy the green version as well as it’s gorgeous.

This was my first experience of Art Gallery knits and I can assure you that I was not disappointed; the fabric was so soft and snuggly even before laundering. Described on the website as medium weight and suitable for just about any garment (tops, cardigans, skirts and dresses)

I had already decided that mine was destined to be made into a Tilly and the buttons Coco Dress.

When this arrived, I proceeded to wash at 40 C (indicated on the Minerva website) which in my house, is the hottest almost any laundry gets washed. There was no way I was going to risk this being washed hotter after it was made up just in case it shrank!!

Needless to say, it washed up beautifully and then I line dried it.

I had already made up a toile of the Coco and knew that I wanted to make the neckline a little more fitted and less boatneck so the modifications I made to the pattern were this and I lengthened the back and front pieces of the pattern by 3 inches (at the lengthen/shorten line) I’m 5’ 9” and definitely didn’t want to be conscious of feeling it might be a bit short for me.

Don’t forget you’ll need to take a little out of the cowl if you are going to do this!

As per usual I managed to squeeze my pieces out of the smallest possible fabric needed, by not following the pattern layout. I actually managed to cut the entire Coco out of 2 metres but believe me there was very little to spare!

Apart from the neck alteration and lengthening the dress length, I made the size 6 throughout which I think is perfect for me. I added both the cowl and the sleeve cuffs and absolutely love the way it’s turned out.

The fabric was such a gorgeous quality and quite a stable knit with good recovery due to the spandex content, it’s definitely suitable for beginners to use as a first or early make.

It cut well (I used a rotary cutter) but would also cut beautifully with scissors and it also sewed up a dream. I would however, advise making up a toile or muslin before cutting into this gorgeousness as I often find that handmade garments come up bigger than I expect. When I made my toile, I made a size 8 and its too big for me, it would be a real shame if you spoiled this beautiful fabric by cutting the wrong size.

The neck cowl is so cosy, and I really think that the dress will get absolutely loads of wear through the changing seasons and over the winter. My pictures are taken with tights and ankle boots, but the dress will look equally as good with long boots, either leather ones or some trendy wellies if the weather is particularly wet. Its so cute and although the Art Gallery fabrics are a bit more expensive that some jersey knits I really think this is worth every penny as I will wear this over and over again. The quality of the fabric and the design will mean I will reach for this as soon as it comes off the washing line. When you consider cost per wear this is a cheap make!

Hope you enjoy this fabric as much as me!

Carol @carolbentley

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Cowl Hack Freya Sweater Dress

I know a lot of sewists have Tilly and the Buttons "Stretch" book. Have you made the patterns yet? I bought the book when it first came out, mainly due to my love for "Love at first stitch". I don't have many sewing books, but when I do, I make an effort to sew up all the patterns to make it worth my money.
When the book came out it was summer in my area of the world. Most of the patterns lean towards fall or winter. I made the Bibi skirt a few months back. Since it's winter in my area, I found it fitting to sew up another pattern from it.
I sewed up the Freya sweater in the dress length. I used the cowl "hack". It's not really a hack as Tiilly generously did all the drafting for us. However, Tilly considers it a hack as it's different from her main design.
The beautiful fabric I was working with is this French Terry Fabric. This is the warmest dress I own. Everything about it is winter comfy. Tilly specifies light to medium weight knits and this is heavy. But you gotta know the rules to break them. This fabric screams sweater. It has enough stretch, so why not? 
The result is the cowl is a bit thicker than intended but it just feels like a scarf on. The cowl is so big, it covers my head if I wanted it to.
I added 1 1/2 inches to the sleeves. I'm so glad I did, I love cozy long sleeves. I do have long arms so this is a common adjustment. The skirt is a bit short for my tastes. I sort of wish I had added on 2 inches. But since this is a winter dress, I'll never wear it without leggings so no big deal.
I made a size 3 bust graded to a 4 at the waist. The only downside to this pattern at the dress length is that it is a bit form fitting so it can show a belly in the front. It makes me a bit self-conscious. But I wore this to work and one of my coworkers said it's her favorite thing I've made. So it must not be that noticable to others.
This fabric would also make fabulous Hudson pants. I almost did that, but I can't resist a good dress. 
Thanks for reading,
Shelby
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McCalls 7493 Regency Inspired Dress

Dearest Readers,

I am Anna from Anna Bodewig Vintage. Today I would love to share with you my latest dressmaking project.

The pattern I used for this project is McCalls 7493 View C. I really fell in love with this regency inspired dress. The dress features are simple yet elegant and very much a timeless classic making it a versatile item in your wardrobe. The only thing I changed were the sleeves. I had no desire to make puff sleeves. Instead I used this tutorial from Threads to draft my own sleeves. It may sound intimidating, but it was not difficult at all. The result was, in my humble opinion, a good fitting elbow length straight sleeve.

Picking the right fabric was key to make a striking, elegant and classical dress. When I spotted the Armania Stretch Silky Satin Fabric in bottle green I knew I had found the right one.

Working with silky fabrics can be very difficult but this one was surprisingly easy to work and sew with. It has such a beautiful soft drape, a fine texture, an elegant shimmer and feels wonderful on the skin. I was very happy to work with it and find it a great bargain for its wonderful qualities. It hugs my curves very gratefully and does not feel like a typical polyester type fabric. I will definitely re-order this stretch silky sateen in a different colour and make another dress from it. You can choose from 23 colours I believe, which will make it hard to decide for me. Dusky pink is my current favourite though.

One more tip I would like to give you if you should decide to make McCalls 7493 too. The pattern is suggesting to ease stitch the front skirt piece which will lead to a slightly gathered look under your bust. I made a muslin before working with the sateen and thought it looked rather pucker-y than eased. Solving this problem I measured the bottom edge of my bodice front piece and compared the measurement with my skirt front piece. In my size the skirt pattern was 2,5cm (1”) longer than the bodice. I drew a line 2,5cm away from the center front on my skirt pattern front and thus created my new center front line. Cut along this new line and you have a smooth skirt front piece. In my opinion a nicer and more professional looking result but feel free to create your garment the way you like.

Furthermore, I installed a lapped zipper instead of creating the regency style button closure in the back, taking into consideration that my husband had to struggle with the button closure. When you want to install a zipper like I did, be that an invisible or a normal zipper, just use the bodice back lining pattern for both your outer main dress fabric and your lining fabric likewise.

That sums up all the tips I can give you to McCalls 7493. If you should have however any questions please feel free to reach out to me via Instagram and I will be glad to help you.

Happy sewing,

Anna Bodewig Vintage

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Atelier Brunette Viscose Dobby Melilot

If you are part of the online sewing community, chances are you've probably seen the Atelier Brunette Moonstone Viscose popping up everywhere in your feed this part year. And no surprise there - their modern prints in delicious colour palettes are pretty irresistible! So when the autumn season came around and Atelier Brunette Released their New Collection, I was excited to see they have outdone themselves again. The new collection includes several new prints in their soft as butter viscose challis, called Tabby and Shine, which Moonstone fans are sure to love.
To me, the real gem of this collection is their new substrate - Viscose Dobby Fabric, which comes in the beautiful Posie floral print and two colours, blue and green. I was delighted to have the opportunity to review the Posie blue from Minerva. My first impression of the viscose dobby is that it has the weight and hand of a cotton/silk lawn. The weave structure is delicate yet strong, with tiny textured dots through out, hence the dobby part. The little dots catch the light slightly as the fabric moves, which gives it a lovely sheen. 
Posie blue has a midnight navy background with all the on trend autumnal colours in a modern brushstroke floral pattern. The auburn and blush pink especially would pair so well with some of the Atelier Brunette solids available. Of course being viscose, it is very smooth and soft with a lovey drape. But it does not shift and move like fluid as the viscose challis would. Thus it's perfect for a garment that requires a drapey fabric yet has some intricate construction components. I pictured a long sleeved shirt/blouse in a feminine silhouette, with some fun collar/placket details. 
I debated with the popular pattern choices such as the Kalle and the Archer, but decided upon the Deer and Doe Melilot for several reasons. First, I love the feminine waist shaping of the Melilot. I am a petite 5'2" and boxier shirts tend to swallow me. Secondly, I feel like the floral print of Posie goes better with a more 'blousy' shirt rather than a classic shirt. Melilot has no yoke and the plackets are included in the bodice piece, which gives it more of a soft floaty look overall. 
Like all Deer and Doe Patterns, the Melilot is meticulously drafted with such attention to design details. I love the gentle round collar and the slim hidden placket which goes so well with the delicate dobby fabric. The shirttail hem has the perfect curve front and back. I shortened the front bodice by 1.5 inches to suit my petite frame, and left the back bodice as is to create a little bit of a hi-low hem. 
The instructions of the pattern are very precise and thoughtful. I especially love that all seams are french seamed leaving no raw or serged edges. This again is a perfect match for the dobby viscose, which quite easily frays due to its light weight weave. Having made shirts many times before, the whole construction process went fairly quick and smooth for me including the hidden placket. I like that the plackets are one-piece with the bodice so there's no need for pattern matching. I added bar tacks between button holes to keep the hidden placket in place - always a nice detail to have. 
As mentioned, Melilot has no yoke in the back which further simplifies the construction. While I appreciate classic shirt details such as sewn-on plackets and yoke, often times they are not necessary components in a feminine drapey shirt in my opinion. I love the simple and chic spin Deer and Doe has put in the Melilot design.
While the long sleeves do include a classic tower placket and open cuff, I omitted the placket and drafted a closed cuff instead. Easier to sew and more comfortable for rolling up = win-win in my book! But if you are looking for a well drafted tower placket and clear instructions, Melilot does have you covered! 
I love my viscose dobby Melilot so much! It's definitely one of those special wardrobe pieces that you reach for on the days when you need a pick-me-up. The chic feminine silhouette pairs perfectly with the luxuriously silky fabric. Putting it on instantly makes me feel pretty and confident at the same time. I wonder if Atelier Brunette might release more prints in the viscose dobby in the future? I'm already dreaming of a short sleeved Melilot in a springy pattern =)
Until next time, 
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Named Clothing Gaia Coat in Neoprene and Quilted Neoprene

Coatmaking can be intimidating. It can be involved, with many supplies to seek out, many steps to accomplish. At the same time, you get a lot of bang for your buck with homemade coatmaking. Because coats are usually among the more expensive garments we purchase, shopping for creatively styled coats might be difficult. It is for me which is why I’ve made coatmaking a regular stop on my sewing journey.

Just over a year ago, I made my first coat. Since then, I’ve always been excited for the opportunity to make another one. Sewing a garment you might wear everyday is incredibly satisfying! However, sometimes I can be stumped as to which fabrics are best suited for coats and jackets, or on how to achieve a certain look with different style choices.

In the last few seasons I’ve been intrigued by the “soft tailoring” trend, where typically structured garments, like blazers and coats, are sewn in softer, knit fabrics like neoprene, scuba, or ponte de roma, but also fabrics which still have body. Since coatmaking has drawn a few specific creative interests out of my sewing practice, I was excited for the chance to sew with Minerva’s Neoprene Fabrics and try my hand at soft tailoring.

Setting a goal to sew with neoprene was one of the main challenges of this coat project. So, I wanted to choose a pattern I could be comfortable with. I still wanted a pattern I could be excited about. This led me to select Named Clothing’s Gaia Quilted Coat Pattern. It is a pattern with a relaxed fit and somewhat oversized style, which required little fit adjustments. This meant I could focus on the style and sewing details.  

Plus, the Gaia coat was a perfect starting point for my entry into sewing with neoprene. The sample garment is made out of neoprene fabric, which gave me a clear idea of what my coat might look like. This pattern also includes two different fabrics. Contrast fabrics always excite me because they offer the opportunity to experiment with a variety of fabric combinations. I decided on a warm caramel brown plain Neoprene Fabric and a navy blue Quilted Neoprene Fabric for the contrast.

One the project was cut and prepped, sewing the garment was smooth. The tricky details are matching the style lines at the shoulder. I basted this section of the coat to check my seam matching. The coat is also fully lined. At any first attempts, whether in a skirt or a coat, lining can be a challenge.

The Gaia coat pattern is a decent entry into lining, however. Because it is a shorter jacket style, there is no slit in the back—a beautiful detail I love to see on my garments but that still remains tricky for me. Instead the back of the coat is a smooth, straight edge, making it much easier to line.

One point I would have liked to correct is the dart placement. I nearly always need to lower a bust dart on any pattern. Usually, I do this automatically, but I didn’t realize that, on the Gaia coat, the dart is cleverly combined with the inner corner of the front contrast panel. In hindsight, I should have lowered this.

Overall, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this project was working with the fabric. I expected neoprene to be difficult to work with. Thankfully this was not the case. My modest domestic machine handled the neoprene without problem. I used a jersey needle and made my stitches a little longer to accommodate for the fabric’s thickness. I’d gladly make another project in neoprene.

That said, I’d also repeat this pattern, too. The Gaia coat is a fun addition to my wardrobe. I’d be interested in trying out the pattern in a totally different fabric—just to see how it looks!  

Thanks for reading,

Jess @ Jess Sews Clothes

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