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Christmas Dress (Gone Casual)

The most wonderful time of the year deserves the most wonderful dress of the year! Cause who doesn’t love to look good, especially with Christmas?! Although my family does not necessarily like to dress super fancy for the holidays, I always like to use this occasion to wear something nice and special. That means dresses!

I was a little nervous though to be sewing a dress again. Not because they’re hard to make, mostly they are not. But in the last couple of years I have not worn much dresses, especially not the fitted ones. So I was nervous if the fit would be right and flattering on this one!

Still I started with high hopes and super duper nice materials! First, and most important of all, the fabric: this gorgeous Sweater Knit Fabric by Atelier Brunette. It is some greyish navy shade with small golden stripes. (Handy to know: it stretches in the length instead of the width.) I’ve had my eyes on it forever, and now finally found the perfect project for it! The fabric is super soft due to the brushed back, and also warm, which is nice for these cold days.

This fabric I cut using New Look Pattern 6428. It’s an easy pattern to only use with knits. I made view D in size 14, but from the waist down I let out the side seams approximately 4 cm to add a little more ease around my belly.

In the details a little extra glamour was added. In the center back seam I installed this shiny visible Metal Zipper that perfectly matches the fabric. The pattern actually prescribed using a 55cm (22”) invisible zipper, but because of the amount of stretch in this fabric I figured I wouldn’t need that one. Turns out I was right about that, so now I have a cool and shiny detail on the back of my dress! Additionally, the neckline and hems were topstitched using golden thread. I really love this detail, because it makes it look so much more festive!

So the result is a super lovely dress! It’s warm and comfy while I still look fancy! On top of that it definitely was a quick and easy sew, so good for last minute sewists like me.

The only disadvantage about holiday sewing to me is that the garments are often worn just once or a few times. To prevent that from happening I already tried to come up with a way to casually combine this dress. I took a dive into my closet and found this ochre knitted cardigan. I paired it all with another pair of shoes and there I had my casual outfit starring this dress! Now I never want to take it off again, haha.

All in all, I love how this dress looks on me, the fit is much better than I hoped for. So now I’m thinking of sewing more dresses again.

Have a very merry Christmas! And happy holidays to all!




McCalls 6981 Winterberry Pine Rayon Dress

I like to make myself a new Christmas dress each year (as well as dresses for my 2 daughters), however I always try to strike a balance between “feeling Christmas-y” yet not looking like I belong on the Christmas tree! I really admire people who confidently wear novelty prints and look amazing in them, I’m not one of those people!

Christmas in Australia is usually a hot and sunny affair, so keeping cool is key! This beautiful woven Rayon by Art Gallery Fabrics met all my Christmas dress criteria. The fabric is lightweight and feels silky, without being sheer, and the beautiful green tones say “Christmas” to me without limiting the dress to only being worn at Christmas.

The pattern I used is McCalls 6981. I used the sleeveless bodice from view A with the longer skirt option from view D. I’m 182 cm tall and didn’t need to add any length to the pattern. I’ve made this shirtdress once before and find it be a great fit and easy to make. As it is a Palmer Pletsch pattern, you get a lot of great fitting tips throughout the process. If you have not tried one of their patterns before, I highly recommend it!

In my photos the wind is assisting me to show off the fullness of the skirt which has such great swish when I walk! Don’t you just feel a little more elegant with a swishy skirt?! The skirt has 4 panels and nice big inseam pockets. I add pockets to just about everything I make and this pattern comes with my favourite style of dress pocket; one that is secured into the waist seam. This style of pockets sits nicely in place and doesn’t add bulk (unless you’re like me and always end up carrying your children’s’ stuff in your pockets!).

The Art Gallery Fabrics rayon was a dream to sew with! It is beautifully soft and has great drape. I almost always use my rotary cutter and cut on a single layer, which is what I did this time too, and had no problems with the fabric shifting. Despite its silky feel, the fabric held creases really well when pressed. Another bonus was that it didn’t get terribly wrinkly after pre-washing! It did need to be pressed, but some other rayons I’ve sewn with have come out of the machine in an unrecognizable crumpled mess!

When I sew with finer fabrics, like this Art Gallery rayon, I use sew-in interfacing (like cotton organdie) rather than iron on interfacing. In the past I’ve had less than desirable results with the glue on the interfacing on fine fabrics. My top tip for working with sew-in interfacing is to hand baste the interfacing to the pieces, that way your fabric doesn’t shift and the two layers stay perfectly aligned. Of course, if you avoid hand sewing at all costs, I would suggest using a walking foot on your machine.

To finish my dress I chose simple clear buttons. I always consider clear buttons as the next best thing to fabric covered buttons as you can still see your fabric but you don’t have to spend all that time covering buttons!

I absolutely love how easy this Art Gallery Fabrics rayon was to sew with and more importantly, I love how it feels on! This dress will be getting worn a lot more than just on Christmas day, it will be summer staple.

Happy Sewing!

Allison @ The Tall Mama


My First Sewing Kit Review

I've always allowed my girls to be around my sewing and use small tool notions and leftover fabrics to experiment. I want them to be able to share in the joy I have of sewing. Of course, many things are just too dangerous for them to use at their age. Or, if I do allow them to use them, they need a lot of supervision to make it safe.
That's why I was excited to try this new kit, My First Sewing Kit. It's billed on the front of the box as "a fun way to start sewing." It contains everything a child needs to make four different projects: a photo frame, pencil case, secret diary, and cupcake handbag. The kit says it's for ages 6+, but my five-year-old tried it out, and I really feel that someone a little younger could attempt the projects with help from you.
The projects are definitely slanted towards typical girl activities. The colors, too, are mainly girly. This isn't to say that a boy couldn't enjoy trying his hand at sewing these projects, but they seem to have limited appeal in that direction. It could be a lovely gift or evena fun activity at a sleepover, with each attendee working on one of the crafts.
The individual projects are divided into their own plastic bags. They each contain the materials for that particular item. Each bag even holds its own needle, so there's no need to worry about losing one. It also means that more than one person can be working on sewing something at the same time. The box states that the needles have functional sharp points, but they really are quite dull. While you could poke it into something if you tried, your child won't be able to hurt their fingers as they work the needle through the pre-cut holes in the project foam.
My daughter immediately chose the most difficult project, the cupcake handbag. The directions aren't difficult, and there are a few drawings to help you figure it out. However, the directions do say that you should look at the color photos on the box for more help, and I would recommend that. Some aspects of the project were impossible to figure out otherwise. 
I did need to help my daughter work on this, but an older child would probably be able to work on it independently. Probably the most difficult aspect was just trying to get the cord through the needle eye. The cord kept unravelling as I attempted to shove it through. Perseverance won out, and I did get it, but my daughter never should have been able to.
Another issue we had was that each kit seems to come with the same amount of cord, and it was not enough for us to finish the handbag. My daughter did make a couple of stitching mistakes, so that may have contributed to this outcome, but I believe it wouldn't have been enough anyways.
We next made the photo frame, which was a straightforward project from beginning to end. In a lot of ways it was a glorified lacing card, but you end up with a cute little frame your child can display. I love that they get a sense of accomplishment that will help spur them on to trying new and more difficult sewing projects.
We haven't completed the other items in the kit yet, but we have been enjoying being able to sit down and work on a sewing project together that is just the right difficulty and size for a child. The projects are cute and immediately caught my daughter's attention. It's a great way to develop finger dexterity. All in all, a great little gift for the budding sewer in your life.

Embroidered Pincushion Project

Anyone who sews needs pincushions! I honestly don't think you can have too many, I have one in every room!
So I was excited to try out this cute Create a Pincushion Kit from Clover .
In the kit you get 2 parts of the pincushion, a grippy rubbery ring, and full instructions.
You need to add your own: fabric, fibre fill stuffing, embroidery thread (I used yellow and white).
You also need: needle, scissors, embroidery hoop.
I tried out some embroidery on a polka dot fabric to make a bag a little while ago.
I really loved the effect that you can get, playing with the regular dotty pattern so thought this pincushion kit was a good chance to try a little more.
Cut a square of polka dot fabric, the instruction let you know how big that needs to be, and find the most central dot. 
Pop the fabric in an embroidery hoop and fill that dot with yellow french knots, using 2 strands of embroidery thread.
Next work chain stitch petals in white, working from the central yellow dot, out to the next dot, round it and back to the centre. Repeat for each of the 6 petals and then chain stitch a line up the centre of each petal.
Add some smaller flowers on the dots between the petals. Work a simple lazy daisy stitch all around the dot to form a flower.
Take a handful of fibre fill stuffing and squish it into the base of the pincushion. 
It will spring back out, just hold it in as best you can and then lay the fabric over the top centrally.
Place the rubbery ring over the base, it will hold the fabric in place securely.
Take a minute or 2 to even out the gathers on the fabric then trim the excess. 
Pop the top over the pincushion.
Ta Dah!
This little kit makes making a pincushion super quick and simple. You can switch the fabric easily too, so if it gets worn out or you just fancy a change it's no problem. 
I'm loving the designs you can make stitching over polka dot fabric, it's a fun way to embroider! 

Papercut Patterns Sequin Sigma Dress

I have been wanting to make a sparkly party dress for ages and was thrilled to finally have the opportunity to. I was attending a formal event that required something a bit special so decided to make a sequin party dress. I chose this beautiful navy blue Sequin Fabric. I decided on navy blue because I wanted it to be a little more understated than gold, plus I feel navy is not necessarily a Christmas colour and it makes the dress more versatile. 
I have never sewn with sequins before so I was a little daunted. I had read about needles breaking, needing to trim the sequins off the seam allowances, etc etc. In the end I just decided to treat it pretty much like a normal fabric and see what happened. I was amazed, I had no issues whilst cutting or sewing at all! Here are my top tips:
1 - cut out using a rotary cutter with a fresh blade. The sequins will blunt your blade quickly so it needs t be nice and sharp to start with. I cut out on the fold as normal, with the wrong sides of the fabric together. The mesh back stays put pretty well against itself so it was easy to cut out. Be warned that the cut sequins do fly off in all directions and can hit you in the eye!
2 - use a denim needle. As the sequins are thicker than a normal fabric, they can cause machine needles to snap. Using a more sturdy needle such as a denim needle will minimise this risk. I didn't snap a needle for the duration of the project. Use a fresh needle as the sequins will blunt it quickly.
3 - Fully line whatever you make. Use a lining that is easy to work with and a similar colour to the sequin fabric. As the sequins are backed onto a mesh the colour of the lining will change the appearance of the garment slightly.
4 - Use bias binding to hem. I din't do this and the hem of the sleeves is slightly scratchy against my arms. I just did a single fold hem so the sequins are against my skin. The sleeve lining is slightly shorter so that it doesn't peek out, so there is about 5mm of sequin fabric against my skin. It isn't really a problem for me, but if you have sensitive skin it would be worth using bias binding to hem so that it is softer against your skin.
5 - Choose something simple to make. The sequins can be lumpy on the seams if you don't trim them back from the seam allowance and darts don't press as crisply as they would on a normal fabric. A hot iron will melt the sequins so keep it cool and use a pressing cloth!
6 - be prepared to be finding sequins all over the house for weeks after!
I chose to make the Papercut Patterns Sigma Dress. I had not made it before but thought it was simple enough to let the fabric be the statement. I made some flat pattern adjustments first, I graded out a size at the hips and lowered the bust darts by 1 inch. I also lengthened the skirt by 6 inches. I then cut out the lining fabric, which I had plenty of, and sewed it up to check the fit. I was really pleased with the fit so just went straight ahead and cut out the sequins! The benefit of using the lining to make a toile is that if the fit is alright, or just needs tweaking, it saves so much time and fabric.
The dress has an invisible zip, which I thought would be horrendous to insert in a sequin fabric. It went in first time! It is not quite invisible, but I'm very happy with it. I just used a standard zip foot, not an invisible zip foot, and sewed close to the teeth. You can't sew too close because the zip will get stuck on the sequins that overlap the zip. I left about 1-2mm.
I'm so pleased with how this dress turned out. I received a lot of compliments on it from fellow sewists, which always means a lot. The simple dress paired with a sparkly fabric means it is not overwhelming and is definitely very wearable. I wore this to a fancy evening do, but I would also be comfortable wearing it for a meal out or a more casual party.
Jenny x

Classic Check Skirt Suit

Hello everybody! I am so excited to share my current Minerva Crafts project with you all. I have been obsessed with check (plaid) fabric for as long as I can remember so it was a no brainer to select this gorgeous Check Fabric as my new Minerva project. As always, I like to put a little spin on a classic print so instead of making a pantsuit, I decided to make a skirt suit instead. It is classic with a little spin yet versatile, which means it will be quite the closet staple.

Fabric Details & Process

This gorgeous fabric is a royal blue Check Suiting Fabric. It is 65% polyester and 35% viscose and has such a beautiful drape. It took me a few days to figure out exactly what I wanted to make with this as I was nervous about cutting into this beautiful fabric. After obsessive Pinterest browsing, Instagram searches, and a quick Instagram poll, I settled on making a skirt suit which was inspired by a fellow maker named Tabitha Sewer. Once I decided on what to make, it was a much smoother process.

Pattern Details

Skirt - I used the Charlotte Skirt pattern from By Hand London. There were no other modifications made except grading the waist to hip area and shortening the length. I chose not to line the skirt. I was pleased with how quick it sewed up. 

Jacket - I chose to use a ready to wear piece I had bought a couple of months ago as the pattern. I gently ripped all the seams apart, pressed all the separate pieces, and used them as my pattern pieces. This is an alternative to buying patterns for me especially if I cannot find an exact pattern to what I wish to make (have you ever used this method?).

I chose not to line the jacket as well, making it more versatile throughout all season – easy to layer in colder seasons and light enough in warmer seasons. Alternative patterns for the jacket are the Victoria blazer from By Hand London and the Morris Blazer from Grainline Studio.

Styling Details

Oh where do I start? This outfit is so versatile and can be worn in so many ways. It can be worn together as a suit as I have styled it. However, both pieces can be worn separately. The skirt can be paired with turtleneck tops, chunky sweaters, tank tops paired with a leather jacket, tshirts, and more. The jacket can be paired with other skirts, pants, jeans, shorts for a more casual look…the list is endless and just thinking about all the possibilities makes me so happy! In the photo below, I paired the skirt with a thrifted blazer.

I cannot wait to play around with my new closet addition. I hope you love my new closet addition as much as I do. Happy Sewing!

Sylvia from The Ravel Out


Hemline Deluxe Sewing Kit Review

When I saw this Deluxe Sewing Kit by Hemline at Minerva I thought it would be ideal for the Sewing Bee I’ve just set up at work.  There are a lot of members who are new to sewing and I’ve tried products by Hemline before now and never been disappointed.  I want to give my new stitchers a quality sewing experience!   
This kit consists of a large, sturdy, plastic carrying case with a handle and transparent lid.  There are lots of good quality items included in the case, 15 different products in total, which arrive well packed encased in bubble wrap and an outer cardboard box. 
There is also a handy, internal shaped lift out tray which can hold small items such as buttons, needles and other sundries and which stops them becoming lost in the bottom of the box. 
There is plenty of room inside the sewing box to hold all kinds of equipment in addition to those included and even space left over for a small craft project. 
Included in the basic kit is everything you would need to start out in sewing.  They are all good quality items too.  I’ll go through them all individually. 
A pair of dressmaking shears with shaped handles is included – they are a basic model but do cut cloth well and are fit for purpose.  There are also two large 1000 m reels of cotton in black and white – both useful colours which will last for some time.
Needles in the kit include a set of various sizes of hand sewing needles, handily contained in a round dispenser.  There are also some quality German made Klasse sewing machine needles in different sizes.  Up to now, the hand needles have been more than useful in the Sewing Bee at work and the machine needles will fit our two new sewing machines and no doubt be in use soon.  Two needle threaders are included in the box too – these are sturdy with plastic grips and will last. 
Also included in the kit is a seam ripper – this came in very handy the first time I opened the box – I have some novice stitchers in the Bee and it was in use straightaway!
In the way of pins, there is a set of 40 berry headed ones on a circular card and also a small plastic box of economy straight pins.  I prefer the berry headed variety myself but I can see the straight would be useful for small projects. 
I don’t normally use a thimble, but there is a strong one in the box if you need one.  I was surprised to also find some tailor’s chalk included in the kit as it’s something I wouldn’t expect a beginner to use – this comes in white in a handy plastic casing, so your fingers grip it well and it doesn’t become messy. 
There is a small packet of buttons in various sizes – useful as spares – 5 shirt buttons and 5 larger in white – all useful if you should be short of one and are things you’d expect to see in a sewing box.  Other useful items included are a box of safety pins in different sizes – not what you’d use in sewing but handy for a quick and hasty repair anytime.  Lastly, there’s a good quality tape measure in both metric and inches.   
This is one of the first projects completed by a member of my Sewing Bee – a handy zip topped bag - making good use of the Sewing Kit. 
If you are new to sewing, like my Sewing Bee members, and in need of a set of basic supplies which won’t let you down, then this Sewing Kit is definitely for you.
Thanks for reading,

How to Sew the Perfect Holiday Outfit with Velvet Chiffon

I love the velvet print on this Chiffon Fabric. When I saw this fabric online, the design made me immediately think of the holidays. I envisioned wearing my new garment to holiday parties, winter events and all the way through until Valentine’s day! For my project, I selected the black print, but this fabric is also available in five additional shades: burgundy, cream, gold, navy, and silver!

Chiffon is a great layering fabric and commonly used to sew dresses, blouses, scarves and even lingerie. Although beautiful, the silky material can be a challenge to work with since the fabric is slippery and easily frays (even past sewn seams).

Tips for How to Sew with Chiffon

To avoid fraying on this project, I recommend finishing your seams with one of the following options:

- Serge or Zig-zag your edges

- Use Fray Check

- Sew a French Seam

If you’re new to working with Chiffon, this fabric would be the perfect material to try out a pattern! The added velvet print on the chiffon added additional texture to the lightweight fabric, which made it easier to sew. My sewing machine had very little trouble with the material and it did not catch or snag while I was sewing.

Pattern Ideas to Use with this Fabric

Before I began my project, I took some time to browse the Minerva Craft’s website. I had a difficult time narrowing down my choices for this project because I found several patterns that would work great with this material! In the end, I decided to use my new fabric to make version B of New Look Pattern 6262, and love how my completed dress turned out! 

But instead of wasting my research, I wanted to provide you with pattern ideas to help save you time you can begin your project sooner! :)

Blouse Ideas

Simplicity Pattern 1108

New Look Pattern 6414

New Look Pattern 6225

Burda Pattern 6840

Holiday Dress Sewing Patterns

New Look Pattern 6261

New Look Pattern 6392

Burda Pattern 6583

Materials Used to Make New Look Pattern 6262, Version B Dress:

Burn Out Velvet Chiffon Fabric

Lace Trim

Stretch Lining Fabric

Invisible Zipper

Pattern Used:

New Look Pattern 6262 Summer Dresses

Modifications to Pattern:

- Extended the length of the sleeves

- Minor adjustments to the neckline

- Added Trim around the neckline and at the end of the sleeves

I am so happy with how my dress turned out! I love the material and cannot wait to start wearing it to winter parties and upcoming date nights!

Thanks for reading,

Kelsey @ Seamlined Living


A Christmas Rosa Shirt Dress

I was absolutely over the moon when I was given the chance to become part of the Minerva Crafts Creative Team! I have never attempted anything like this before, so thought the time was right to focus on a new challenge and start blogging about my makes.

My name is Terri, though my friends in the sewing community know me as Tee. I'm Welsh, as mad as a box of frogs and I don't like to take life too seriously. I am a happy go lucky kind of gal and am always the one seen to be pulling funny faces in photo's. I just love making people laugh... anyway...

I first started sewing because I wanted to alter my clothes to fit me, to just hem the odd pair of trousers, shorten a skirt etc. I had been shopping this one day and found it really hard to find something I was comfortable in. I came home empty handed, frustrated and wishing I could make my clothes myself. That was the week I randomly went out and bought my first machine. Hubs thought it was another phase... sadly for him, it was not. I started off working from a cupboard in the spare room which housed a little desk and a set of drawers for my 'things'. It was there I began making cushions, bunting and the odd bag, whilst hacking at shop bought clothes, just to make them look at least a little bit presentable. I was too scared to attempt making clothing from scratch for myself. That was until around a year ago, I realised that the online sewing community was huge, full of inspiration and style, with heaps of help and advice. I have been non stop creating since then and have now taken over the whole spare room, and no longer live in just the cupboard.

I absolutely love Christmas and everything about it. When I was asked to review this Christmas Fabric, I was so excited to get started. Within a couple of hours of it arriving, it was washed and dried. It came out really soft, with hardly any need for pressing. I had no issues with any colours running either, yay!

I decided to make the lovely Tilly and the Buttons Rosa. The pattern comes in a shirt version as well as a dress version. I decided to go for the dress version as I wanted to wear it with some snuggly tights and boots. I thought this would be ideal as It looked an easy pattern to be able to alter for my shape. I find Tilly's patterns really easy to follow as she explains the steps so well, as well as providing pictures to help if you get stuck.

The pattern has princess seams, which I love, in my eyes they always make a garment look really feminine.

The fabric was really easy to work with and stayed put when pinned and clipped, meaning the collar was a breeze to construct. The only issue I had with the collar, was not being able to predict which way the fabric would sit when finished. The fabric on my collar sits upside down. It's not a big issue, though having my gingerbread men the right way round would have been cool! 

I was particularly nervous about making this pattern as I still class myself as a beginner when it comes to dressmaking. I have never attempted a shirt before as buttonholes really do scare me... I was planning on using these Buttons for this project but chickened out last minute and used KAM Snaps. I'm really glad I did in the end as I think they add a splash of Christmas colour to make it so much more fun. I also finished my seams with my overlocker using rainbow thread so the inside is as colourful as the outside.

I didn't follow the pattern when it came to the sleeves, I wanted to create a different look so lengthened the sleeve and finished with an elasticated hem. This was really easy to do and took very little time. I created a tunnel by sewing  the fabric folded over once, leaving a little gap for elastic to be threaded through. I then connected the elastic ends and stitched, folded over the fabric again and stitched around to close the gaps and secure the elastic. To finish off, I hemmed the bottom and she was ready to go.

Rosa is an awesome make, I am already planning on making lots of different versions. For anyone wanting to make this, but too scared, do it! 

Until next time...

Shimmer Chic Jacquard Ulysses Trench

If you are a textile lover like me, you probably know that feeling when you fall in love with a fabric at first sight. To me, this happened when I saw the Atelier Brunette Shimmer Chic Jacquard on the Minerva website. The photo there captivated me at once but doesn't do it full justice - it is even more gorgeous in person! 
Atelier Brunette Fabrics are known for their modern sophistication and excellent quality. This made-in-France jacquard certainly lives up to the name. What attracts me immediately is the simple geometric pattern all over that is fresh and unique, nothing like the traditional intricate patterns I often associate with jacquard. 
The main fibre composition is cotton which gives its soft and supple hand. Both side of the fabric are beautiful, although technically the smoother black side is the right side. Strands of Lurex are woven in to give the fabric its subtle shimmer. They are more pronounced on the reverse silver side which really glitters when it catches light! 

For a medium weight cotton fabric, this jacquard is amazingly fluid and drapey. Before I received the fabric, I assumed it has more structure and body to it and intended to make a coat with boxy silhouette such as the Sew Over It Cocoon coat. But when I draped it over my shoulder I know this beauty would really shine in a draped design. Sadly I have not many occasion for a metallic party dress which it would be fabulous for! I wanted a comfortable garment that I can wear daily even with this luxurious fabric and not get asked - what's the special occasion? 

The quest for the perfect pattern ended when I saw the Ulysses Trench by Victory Patterns. It is an on-trend coatigan with a trench coat twist. The amazingly talented designer Kristiann at Victory Patterns incorporates the many elements of a trench coat such as the rain guard, shoulder epaulettes and back vent into a versatile drape-front wrap. The effect is immediately sophisticated and cozy at the same time. To me, the fabric and pattern really hit the same chord in terms of design aesthetics. What's more, the elements like the draped lapels are just begging to show off a fabric with two "right" sides! 

The Ulysses pattern comes in both paper and PDF format. Both versions provide crystal clear instructions with beautifully illustrated technical drawings, which is a piece of art on its own. If you are an adventurous beginner starting to sew outerwear, I would highly recommend this pattern as it really holds your hand going through each seam literally! The Ulysses is unlined with no collar, so for a coat it actually is fairly simple in construction.

If you are an experienced sewist, you will be delighted to follow Kristiann's impeccable techniques to construct the many fun elements. Everything is thought through with a keen eye on both function and design. Even the inside is beautiful - All seams are cleanly finished with bias binding. I made the tape from a vibrant cotton/silk lawn to add a pop of colour to the inside. 

Truthfully, the hardest part of this project was deciding which side of this gorgeous fabric to use as the outside! I cut the main body pieces out and draped them on the mannequin to ponder over. I love them both so much and really could happily wear it either way! I even polled fellow sewists on Instagram and it's an even split there too. The darker side is subtle and luxurious, while the silver side is simply glamorous! In the end I chose the black on the outside because it's more understated and versatile for various occasions. (I saw some comments about the silver side being slightly scratchy due to the higher Lurex content but personally it didn't bother me to wear it next to my skin.) Also, the draped lapels of the Ulysses allow the silver side to peak through and I really like how the light colour frames the face.

My favourite element of the coat is the back rain guard. Cut on the bias, it drapes gracefully and its curved edge merges into the built-in belt loop. Pure genius! Of course I couldn't resist showing it off with the contrast silver side, which really glistens as the bias piece moves! The recommend fabric for the Ulysses is rayon twill. Since the jacquard is a bit heavier than that, I eliminated the lining of the rain guard to achieve maximum drape. To do this, I simply serged the bottom edge and turned it up. The original lining also acts as a facing to the belt loop opening, so I had to draft a separate little facing/binding. If you are interested in doing the same, here are the brief steps:

1 - Interface the wrong side of the belt loop opening. The interfacing should be just large enough to cover the stitch lines. Mark the stitch lines on the interfacing. Cut a piece of lining 4cm x 9cm.
2 - Pin the lining to the rain guard, right sides together.
3 - Stitch along the marked stitch lines.
4 - This is how the right side looks at this point.
5 - Trim about 1cm inside stitch lines. Clip in the corners to the stitch line. 
6 - This is how the right side looks at this point.

7 - Turn the lining to the wrong side of the rain guard.
8 - Carefully turn and press the edge of the lining in, about 1cm around all sides. Stitch it down about 2mm from the edge. 
9 - I also stitched 2mm away from the loop opening, from the right side.
10 - This is how the wrong side looks like in the end. 

The rain guard in contrast colour really makes this coat stand out from the back! In addition, I also made the belt reversible to echo the two-toned look. I just can't get enough of how stunning the belt looks peaking out from under the curved rain guard! For the shoulder epaulettes, I selected some vintage metal buttons with a distressed look. I know I will be keeping my hands in the roomy patch pockets all the time so I omitted the pocket flap for easy access. 

I should mention that I sized down from the recommended size for my measurement to achieve a more fitted look. I also shortened the overall length by 5 inches to accommodate my 5'2" / 158cm frame. This was easily done at the pattern's indicated shorten/lengthen lines. I took off 1 inch above waist and 4 inch below. The back hem hits just at my knees which I prefer. 

In terms of the sewing process, I approached the fabric with the respect it deserved and am happy to report that It was a dream to work with. Being mostly cotton, the jacquard handles almost like a cotton canvas, just softer! I pressed at the wool setting and avoided steam so as not to damage the Lurex threads. Whenever in doubt, use a press cloth. The fabric is surprisingly forgiving when it comes to curved seams, as in the set-in sleeves. I used a standard black thread throughout and it's almost invisible.  

I am so in love with my finished Ulysses! It's just the perfect balance of style, utility, comfort and luxury. I can throw it on over any outfit and feel instantly fabulous. The weight is perfect for adding a layer of warmth in transitional seasons. On warmer days I will wear it open with the sleeves rolled up, and let the draped front cascade down. For cooler days I can wrap the front closed and cinch the belt for a more traditional trench coat look. 

Luckily for me, Autumn weather has finally arrived here in Virginia so I will be reaching for my Ulysses everyday. And for all that shimmer and sparkles, I might just be wearing it as my party dress too in the upcoming holiday season ;-)

Until next time,

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