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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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,
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 17th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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.
Cut out 2 hood pieces ( 1 - main coat fabric, 1 - lining fabric)
Cut the outer edge of your lining to be .5 - 1 inch smaller than your main fabric.
Pin your coat fabric to the lining, with right sides together, and sew
Turn the hood right side out
Fold over the edge of the hood, so your outer fabric is shown from the outside of your hood
Stitch along the edge of the two seams (.5 - 1 inch) to secure the lining in place.
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
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
Posted in Projects on Saturday the 16th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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!
Posted in Projects on Friday the 15th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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.
Posted in Projects on Friday the 15th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 14th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
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