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What would happen if....by Jo

What would happen if you let your children, aged nine and seven, choose their own Sewing Pattern? Instead of wondering, I let them peruse the Minerva Website with me and what a pearler they came up with, Simplicity 1332. The collection seemed to encompass a girl’s whole wardrobe needs in one pattern. Why had I been so apprehensive about letting them choose?

It is a superb pattern for taking beginners from the elastic skirt through to some beginner stretch sewing. I started with the skirts because they were easy, quick and fun. 

You learn a great technique from this pattern for applying a layer of net just to the hem so that the whole skirt is not too scratchy; simple but very effective. The older girl chose some crochet lace to add to the hem of hers but really the world, or your left over stash, is your oyster.

Secondly, I tried the T-shirt. The pattern goes by chest size so you are not bound by a mystery size for a particular aged child which is great for us as my girls have slim waists and chest sizes but their arm and leg length is of their age. It was again quick to make. I used an overlocker but you could achieve just as successful results with a sewing machine. The pattern instructions hold your hand as you attach the neck binding with clear reading and supportive diagrams. This T-shirt pattern also cries out to use up left over pieces of jersey to make a fun, colourful version because the front and back is cut as two pieces, an upper and lower part. I will be trying that soon.

To ‘stretch’ my skills I made the jersey tiered-cardigan. Only really one step up from making the T-shirt but the frills need even gathers to give it a professional look. Making the pattern markings is key here as the frill pieces look very similar when cut but there is a side and front edge which are slightly different so do use a chalk or air erasable pen to transfer the markings. The only modification I made from the whole pattern was to add a ribbon tie on the front as there was not a fastening on the pattern and she didn’t want it flopping off her shoulders.

Finally, I squeezed a pair of leggings out of the last piece of jersey. Again, great for my little girl who has an impossibly small bottom for ready to wear leggings. We can never get the leg length and waist ratio comfortable for her. So this pattern worked up well. I will definitely be making these again in different colours.

This pattern goes from age 3 to 8 so you can dip in and out of it for a while making it great value in terms of money and cutting out time. It is perfect for selecting a garment to go with a RTW item to complete an outfit or you can go crazy like me and make the whole shebang. If you buy one girls sewing pattern this year I highly recommend not my expert choice, but my daughters’ personal choice: Simplicity 1332. The possibility of endless permutations will keep any girl’s wardrobe full from season to season for many years to come.

jo @ Three Stories High

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Pleated Velvet Dress by Dianne

Hello there, a few weeks ago I was offered the chance to product review some wonderful Velvet Fabric from Minerva Crafts. The fabric is pleated texture stretch velvet velour, at first my plans were to make a skirt and top that could be interchangeable with the rest of my wardrobe but on seeing this fabric it had to be a dress.

I wanted a slight A-line at the bottom and originally fluted sleeves as these seem to be everywhere at the moment. The A-line stayed if maybe not as pronounced as I first imagined but the fluted sleeves had to come off. The style of fabric with this type of flare at the elbow made it look a bit gothic but that is just my opinion. I will have to try out my sleeves again on a different garment that isn’t black!

The fabric sewed up beautifully, lots of stretch so no need for fastenings, it left a bit of fuzz here and there but that is just velvet! No nasty fraying or anything like that and I loved the way it hemmed at the sleeve and bottom hem with just a gentle crinkle. It looks like I did something special but it is just the drape of the fabric. 

I did have to adjust the hem slightly before hemming as it had been on the mannequin and dropped a little so be aware of this as you would if making a dress on the bias. It may be due to its multi way stretch.

The dress has thrown my plans for this evenings outfit as I love it so much! I was going to wear a green dress that I made with Minerva fabric a few weeks ago to a meal out tonight but after trying this one on I think the green one will take a back seat for now. I also feel that because it has such a luxurious look there is no need for fussy details on the garment, the pleat effect gives it all it needs along with the sheen.

This fabric could have been many different things hence why I didn’t stitch it up sooner; a jumpsuit was one idea, then a jacket. My mother in-law was certain it should be a jumpsuit but I’m happy with how it turned out.

Once the dress was finished I had a big piece left so I decided that would be an infinity scarf and maybe that could be a Christmas present for someone. Well I have decided to keep it as obviously it matches the dress. It will also finish off lots of outfits nicely over the coming cold months, am a being a selfish sewer? Who knows, I’ll just have to do more scarf making.

The process for making this dress was my usual piecing together of patterns I have already made, a top that fits me well along with an A-line skirt, the frill on the sleeve I made up as I went but then later removed. The neckline was finished with bias binding, a big thank you to Minerva Crafts for sending me this fabric to try out.

Dianne @ SewingGreenLady

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How to Make Bust Adjustments on your Sewing Patterns by Claire-Louise Hardie

Struggle to get patterns to fit your bust? Try doing a small or a full bust adjustment to get a better fit.

As most commercial patterns are cut to fit an American B cup, you may need to make a full bust adjustment if you are bigger or smaller.

Whilst it can seem a little daunting to anyone new to pattern adjustments, this really can make a massive difference to how your clothes fit.

If you have a small frame, with a full bust, and you use your bust measurement to select a pattern size, the chances are that the clothes won’t fit around your neck, chest and armhole.

If you’re smaller busted, you may have unsightly excess fabric folding around the bust.

NB - The full and small bust technique was developed and originally published in Fit For Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto.

If your full bust measurement is bigger than your high bust by more than 2.5” (6.5cm) you’ll need to do a full bust adjustment (FBA). In this case, use your high bust measurement as your base pattern size.

If your full bust measurement is 1”(2.5cm) or less than your high bust, then you’ll need to do a small bust adjustment (SBA). Use your full bust measurement as your pattern size in this case

There’s no exact science to measure how much of a bust adjustment you’ll need. It also depends on whether you’re making a loose-fitting garment.

First of all you need to work out how much additional space you require around the bust or what you’d like to remove. Below is a helpful chart to work out the amount.

The process of adapting the pattern for both types of adjustments are the same except that for an FBA, you will spread the pattern to add space and for an SBA you will reduce space by overlapping the pattern.

Full Bust Adjustment: Figs A-D

  • Lay the tissue pattern against yourself to establish where your bust point is. Mark onto the pattern with a cross.
  • Using a ruler and pencil, draw a vertical line from the marked point to the hem. Make sure the line is parallel to the grain line on the pattern.
  • From this line, draw a second line up towards the armhole, hitting the lower third of the armhole. Together these two lines are called line 1.
  • Draw a second line horizontally through the middle of the bust dart, meeting line 1 at the bust point. Label this line 2.
  • Draw a third line horizontal line a little above the hem between line 1 and the centre front of the pattern. Label this line 3
  • Cut along line 1 from the hem to the armhole, making sure you don’t cut all the way through the armhole. Leave a hinge so you can pivot the paper. The point of the dart has now swung away from its original position.
  • Cut through the line in the middle of the dart,again leave a little hinge at the tip of the dart so you can pivot.
  • Line up the cut edges of line 1 so they’ve been spread apart by the amount of your FBA. The edges should be parallel to one another. You’ll notice that your dart has now spread apart too and become bigger.
  • The lower edge of your hem no longer meets at the bottom, as the side that has been adjusted and is now longer. Cut the third line you drew, and spread apart until your hem is level.
  • Fill spaces with tracing paper, and stick in place.
Small Bust Adjustment

Draw in the lines as per an FBA adjustment. Cut the lines as previously instructed. Now we essentially perform the same process in reverse.

Swing the darted side of the pattern across the other side, by the desired SBA amount. Your waist and bust darts will both be reduced. The lower edge of the hem no longer meets at the bottom, as the side that has been adjusted is now shorter.

Cut the third line you drew, and overlap until your hem is level. Re-blend the lines around your adjusted bust dart.

Dont Forget!

Compare the front and back bodice pieces along the underarm seam – folding the bust dart out of the way – to ensure your bodice will be the same length the whole way around!

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Chambray Overalls by Erin

It's a little weird having trends from my youth be back in style, but it's kind of fun to challenge myself to re-live those trends as an adult and wear them with a confidence and style that I probably lacked the first time around. Overalls definitely fit the bill. I wore them a bunch as a kid and never considered wearing them again. Until here they are again. On trend and making me itch for the challenge.

So I hopped back on the overall bandwagon with Kwik Sew 3897 Overall Sewing Pattern and a lovely floral Chambray Fabric. They make a pretty great combo, don't they? I think it's a success in terms of making the trend feel like me right now. And pre-teen me would be pretty jealous of the pair too!

The pattern is a nice, basic overall pattern. The cut isn't necessarily on trend as they are pretty loose, but that makes them easy to fit and comfortable to wear. What you get is what you see on the cover of the pattern and that's just about all you can ask for from a pattern. The pattern seemed well drafted with sufficient instructions.

The pattern does note that you should not grade between sizes and I would encourage you to listen to what it tells you. Grading between sizes would affect the shaping at the button plackets which could get pretty messy. I typically have to grade between different sizes at my bust, waist, and hips but that's not really necessary for these overalls since they are loosely fitted through the hips/legs and are free at the waist and bust. Choose your size based on your hips and the rest will work out. The pattern does include finished measurements so you can double-check size selection with those, though remember that you do need ease through the hip for comfort and for the style of the overalls.

While I often end up customizing or hacking a pattern as I go, I only made one (rather obvious) change to this pattern. I chopped the legs to make these shorts instead of pants. All I did was draw a new line straight across so it was just about as easy of a hack as I could make!

The pattern has quite a bit of topstitching which is fun to do in a topstitching thread in a color that will pop. You'll probably need two spools of topstitching thread so make sure you order enough!­

I absolutely adore the floral chambray (unfortunately its now sold out at Minerva, but they have lots of alternative Chambray Fabrics to choose from). It's a lovely, bright print with a nice hand. Made into the loose-fitting overalls it works perfect for summer heat though I could easily see the chambray made into any of a variety of blouses instead.

The thing about knowing rules is knowing how to break them, right? I definitely broke some rules about fabric and pattern pairing with these overalls since the chambray really is a blouse weight instead of a bottom weight denim. It works okay with the overalls as I made them but I wouldn't use the fabric for long pants (where the knee can wear out) or fitted pants (where the fabric will receive more strain on the seams). Additionally, the Overall Hardware and Jeans Buttons are a bit heavy for this chambray so if I were to make recommendations for someone wanting to replicate the project, I'd suggest a pattern hack where the straps are permanently attached to the front bib so you don't have hardware.

One important tool when trying to make a lightweight fabric do the job of a heavyweight is interfacing. Make sure you use interfacing where recommended in the pattern. I used two layers of a midweight Woven Fusible Interfacing and it's going to be important in keeping the overalls from wearing out at the stress points like the buttons and back strap attachment points. Another tool you could consider is underlining. By using a second layer of fabric held back-to-back with your original fabric and treated as one (you can baste the layers together at the edges of the fabric), you end up with a new fabric with a hybrid of the original properties. Adding a broadcloth underlining would keep the visual lightness of the chambray but give you enough strength that the overalls will withstand more wear (and maybe even last as full length pants!).

Thanks for reading,

Erin @ Seamstress Erin

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How to Make a Fabric Purse by Nicky

These cute little paws are a Timeless Treasures Fabric. It’s an 100% cotton poplin quilting fabric that is a medium weight. The monochrome design is covered with little paws 1-1.5cm wide so a nice size design suitable for smaller projects as well as larger ones. I have used it here to make a small zipped purse and I have also used it as an exterior fabric for a larger tote.

To make the small purse I cut a rectangle of fabric with the narrow edge being an inch smaller than the zip. I cut another one the same size in both a lining fabric and a fleece fabric to use to interline the purse.

Placing the zip front side down on the narrow edge of the fabric I placed the lining and then the fleece on top.

Stitching all layers together before opening it flat.

This was the repeated at the other end so when open it looks like it forms two tubes.

A small strip of fabric was then made into a tube & turned to make a small strap to attach a key ring.

Pinning this strap on right side on fabric beside zip.

With the zip half open the fabric was then tuned so the lining was facing out & the exterior fabric was in the middle with sides together.

Laying flat so zip is flat near the top edge the size seams can then be sewn.

Turning out the right way the purse was finished…… a handy little phone case to keep with your keys :)

Thanks for reading,

Nicky @ Sew n Snip

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Vogue 9275 Sewing Pattern Review with Di

I jumped at the chance to review Vogue Pattern 9275, a Vogue Wardrobe design with 5 garments. I wear a lot of casual clothes and love to layer up, this was definitely for me! I also go to quite a few fitness classes and look for garments I can wear over yoga leggings so I feel comfortable walking through town! 
The pattern is rated as EASY.
I decided to make View B & D the sleeveless top and the leggings. I'll also be making view E in the near future, but I'm not keen on the zipped jacket. I had a wool blend jeavy Jersey Fabric from Minerva Crafts that I knew would be a good choice for winter.
The layout of the envelope back is the same as most of the large pattern companies.
Top A can be made from woven fabric, B, C, E and contrast for A requires 35% stretch. The fabric stretch guide for this is on the left side of the envelope. Whilst D requires 4 way 75% stretch Spandex (Lycra) and the stretch guide is on the right side of the envelope. I have to say this isn't immediately obvious!
The fabric I'm using for the top isn't going to drape well and this is going to influence the size I choose to make. As well as the size chart I'll also be using the finished sizes printed on the front pattern piece. My measurements put me firmly in Large 16/18 category. However the top is described as Very Loose Fitting and the finished bust size is about 10 inches (25cm) larger than my measurement! I actually cut the Small size with a finished bust measuring 44 1/2 inches, still giving me 5 inches of ease. This is going to make the neckline slightly smaller and will narrow the shoulders, but the top has dropped shoulders that would be easy to alter if necessary. In a much softer fabric like a single t-shirt jersey I'd be happy with a larger size as it will drape more.
 
Picture courtesy of Vogue Patterns and The McCall Pattern Company
What I like about Vogue patterns is they use very specific terms to describe the clothes.
Very loose-fitting, lined jacket.
Very loose-fitting pullover tunic.
Close-fitting pull-on leggings.
Fitted pull-on pants.
Understanding ease is really important when choosing patterns and deciding which size to make. Vogue Patterns use consistent descriptors for the fit of their garments and then have designated amounts of design ease for each fit category.
All patterns are made with fitting ease (except those that stretch to fit) this means there is just enough movement room. Patterns then have design ease added on top of the fitting ease. A Close Fitting dress has up to  3" whereas a Very Loose Fitting dress will have over 8". Equally Jackets have additional design ease as they are made to wear over other garments and coats have even more ease as they are made to wear over a jacket!
Ease is essential to good fit and comfort, getting to know how much ease you like is really important when choosing styles you'll be happy with.
Making the Tunic
The instructions include a glossary of terms, when these terms appear in the instructions they're printed in bold as a reminder to refer back to the glossary.
As the body sections of the tunic are quite wide they don't fit side by side on the fabric, so expect to have quite a lot of unused cloth.
There are only 3 pieces for the tunic and its really straight forward to make. Its worth thinking about how to finish the seams as they need to be pressed open to make the side vents and curved hem. The pattern seems to presume that modern garment makers still only have a straight stitch machine and don't offer any suggestions for using an overlocker or even zig zag stitch!
As the pattern is designed for a knit fabric it isn't going to fray so it's okay to just press the seams open. However; I chose to top stitch mine from the right side with a twin needle stitching either side of the seam.
The collar has 2 buttonholes for the cord to pass through. The instructions tell you to add small pieces of interfacing to make the buttonholes stronger.
The instructions for adding the collar will be confusing if its an unfamiliar technique. The collar needs to be inside the garment whilst stitching. Using the free arm on your machine will make stitching much easier. The diagram shows the collar in the finished position. This seam can be over locked or zig zagged. I chose to use a twin needle, stitching from the right side through the body and the seam allowances.
Both the collar and the sleeves need to be top stitched 3cm from the edge. If your machine doesn't have a 3cm line to follow you can use a piece of Washi tape. But don't leave it there for too long or the glue can be tricky to remove!
This is a really quick and easy top to make. The leggings took me about 20 minutes, however I wouldn't make them without a 4 thread overlocker (the instruction show them made on a standard sewing machine). I used the medium size for the leggings and they've been great to wear for Zumba and Pilates. If you're tall you might want to add a bit of length to the body area.
Come spring I'll make this top again in a lightweight fabric. I think it will make a lovely summer cover-up made in cotton voile of even silk chiffon. Just check you can get it over your head if the fabric doesn't stretch! Next I'm making the fitted pull on trousers.
Thanks for reading,
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Nessie the Sit On Cushion by Vasiliki

Hello again.

I've had once more the privillege of reviewing a gorgeous Timeless Treasures Poplin Cotton Quilting Fabric. This time I bring you Nessie, a loving and harmless sea monster, born in the seas of fabric at Minerva Crafts. Unfortunately Minerva have now sold out of this fabric but there are lots of similar Fabrics to choose from.

When Nessie isn't hiding in the deepest of the waters, she loves being petted and occasionally being ridden on.

I initially intended to turn the fabric into a kimono type of robe. At least I, would have loved one with this marble effect print and the metallic strokes. However, this would require more than the two metres I had asked for, so I quickly abandoned that idea. The more I looked at the print, the more it brought to mind the reflections of the sun on the sea and the colours that appear on its surface (here's that escapism again), which rendered it the perfect candidate for Nessie.

This sit-on cushion was a free project in issue 18 of Love Sewing Magazine and you can download the pattern here along with the tutorial. The project calls for felt and two yards of fabric, although I think 1.5 metres is enough, but better be safe than sorry. The pattern consists of two main body pieces, one belly piece and eight paw pieces. 

This time I remembered to measure the fabric prior to washing and after and I am happy to report there was no shrinking.

I cut my fabric with scissors, some habits are hard to break, but I'm sure it can be easily and preciscely cut with a rotary cutter too, as it isn't slippery at all. Also, if you, unlike me, feel that pins aren't a necessity while sewing, you probably don't need to pin it either for the same reason. 

I am not a quilter and have used quilting cottons only a couple of times before, but what is immediately noticeable with the Timeless Treasures quilting cotton, is how soft it is in comparison, without compromising its ability to keep a shape. So you shouldn't worry about it not being soft to the skin, if you are thinking of using it for chidren's projects like this one. Admittedly, I should have put a bit more stuffing in the neck area to make it sturdier. I used some scraps of fabric for the eyes and mouth.

Creasing is minimal, even after the washing machine treatment, and easily eliminated with a good press, that the fabric itself holds very well.

There is absolutely no fraying either, which is why I left the seams raw.

Nessie despite being always hungry, didn't eat up all the fabric, so with the leftover I sewed some pattern weights, since I've been wanting to make some for ever. I used the tutorial at Tea and a Sewing Machine and filled them with some rice, at least whatever rice my little monster didn't spread around the house. They were super easy and quick to make and they have proven handy a couple of times already. 

Overall, this is another excellent quality fabric that I was very happy to have been able to review it. I think it's great both for small, like the pattern weights, projects but also for bigger ones, like the cushion. The print will definitely give an extra oumf to any quilt with its metallic finishes and would definitely recommend it for any type of soft furnishing. You can find the whole Timeless Treasures collection here.

Nessie has somehow managed to become a centre piece on my living room table and seems to be getting along with the rest of the toys.

Thanks for reading,

Vasiliki @ Delightfully Peculiar

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Teal Green Wool Boucle Dress by Angela

I have been sewing for more years then I can remember, being taught by my Grandmother Annie when I was a child. My first makes were dolls clothes, but by the age of 8 I was wearing my hand-made clothes to school. As I got older I bought Vogue magazine and copied the latest fashions – every Saturday I would go and buy my fabric and wear the new garment to go out in the following Saturday. I loved fashion and loved the way that I could turn a flat piece of fabric into something three dimensional. The thing I would like to say to new sewers is that it does take practise, even after 50+ years I still make mistakes and I am still learning, so please never be put off if you do something wrong – you won’t do it again! Be proud of the clothes you make and love them, after all we are none of us perfect!
A diagnosis of Parkinson’s has meant that I have had to adapt and learn new ways of doing things, but believe me learning to sew is something you will always be glad of. So, here is a very simple dress which even a total beginner can make. There are no zips or buttons to worry about and the texture of Boucle hides a multitude of sins, so what are you waiting for?
I chose a very simple Sewing Pattern so that beginners to sewing can make it up easily, it is designed for stretch knits only but if you have never sewn with stretch fabric before do not worry as I will give you some tips as we go along. To make the pattern a little more challenging for more experienced sewers I added a single jersey lining edged with stretch lace, and I also added some shaping at the waist.
For those of you who do not know, Boucle fabric is a heavy weight fabric made with Boucle yarn. Boucle yarn is uneven in thickness and texture because it includes loops of a similar size which can range from tiny circlets to large curls. The fabric therefore has a characteristic appearance similar to poodle-cloth. This Boucle Fabric is woven to include some wool and combines two or more shades of the same colour to create a tweed effect. This produces a fabric which has a textured look and feel which is warm to the touch, perfect for cuddly tops, jackets and dresses.
Let’s begin!
Whist you are waiting for your newly washed fabric to dry you can be taking your current measurements and choosing the correct size to cut out. Do please go by your actual measurements not your commercial dress size as this will differ enormously. You can then cut your pattern pieces out. I found this pattern quite loose around the waist, so do bear that in mind when cutting out. You will find actual finished garment measurements on the tissue pattern itself.
Following the correct grain fold the fabric from sides to middle as the front and the back need to be cut on the fold. The remaining fabric will be refolded for the sleeves. Think about the length before you cut out and make any adjustments necessary before you pin the pattern pieces onto the fabric.
Cut out, cutting around the notches please; never cut a slash into a seam – suppose you want an extra bit of room somewhere? You have wasted perhaps ¼” (at least doubled) of valuable seam allowance!
If you are lining your dress cut out the front and back in the same way, shortening the length by an inch.
The pattern instructions are easy to follow, so if you are making an unlined dress go ahead and follow them step by step. I am making a lined version so these instructions will differ slightly. The first thing I did (this applies to both versions) was to prepare the facing by pressing some lightweight stretch iron-on interfacing to the wrong side of both facing pieces. I also fused on some seam tape on the back to stabilise the shoulders and stop them from stretching. If you do not have any fusible seam tape, then stitch a piece of tape or ribbon along the seam line. Those bits of ribbon which seem to come attached to every garment you buy these days are ideal for this.
I used a piece of oven liner to protect my ironing board cover when attaching interfacings! Try it, it works brilliantly. I also use a ball point or a stretch sewing needle in my machine – these are designed not to damage the fibres of stretch fabrics, so do make sure that you have one in your machine. You will need to sew using a stretch stitch or a narrow zigzag and I like to use a walking foot on my machine as this stops the fabric from puckering as you sew. Have you ever sewn a seam only to find that that it slips about and ends up uneven? A walking foot stops all that from happening. A walking foot is perhaps my favourite sewing machine attachment. I also overlock all of my seams as I go along. If you do not own an overlocker then your sewing machine may well have an overedge foot which gives great results, failing that zigzag the seams. Don’t use pinking shears as the edges will still fray and you will shed annoying bits of fabric everywhere each time you wear it.
For both the lined and unlined versions make up the facing by joining the front and back at the shoulder seams, press carefully and neaten the outside edges. Stay-stitch the neckline to keep it in shape. Stitch the shoulder seams.
Pin and tack the side seams and try it for fit. This is your opportunity to make any adjustments. I found that I wanted a more fitted look to the dress so I took it in at the side seams, curving into the waist by an inch at both sides. I also added slim darts at the front, measuring from just below the bust line to just below the waist making sure that the darts were equally spaced from the sides and equal in length. I can still get the dress on easily without adding a zipper as the fabric stretches and it is still a relatively loose fit.
For the unlined dress, follow the pattern instructions and attach the facing and the sleeves before stitching the side and sleeve seams in one long process. Then finish the dress in the same way as the lined version.
Make up the lining next. I used a French seam by first sewing the shoulders and sides with narrow seam wrong sides together, trim the seam so that it is very narrow. Press open carefully then fold it the other way, i.e. right sides together and stitch another narrow seam. At this stage I finished the hem by turning it up an inch towards the right side and stitching it down close to the edge. Trim the hem down to ¼” and cover the raw edge with a piece of lingerie (stretch) lace. This method ensures that the hem looks good on both sides.
Stitch and finish the side seams and the sleeve seams. Run a basting stitch along the top of the sleeve so that you can ease it into the armhole smoothly
Place the lining inside the dress wrong sides together and baste at the neckline and sleeves within the seam allowance. Check that it does not pull anywhere. Attach the neck facing right sides together, grade and clip into the seam allowance. Press carefully using a pressing cloth and turn the facing to the inside. You may be happy just with under-stitching, but I top stitched the neckline again about an inch from the top.
Insert the sleeve using the basting thread to ease the sleeve in place. Once you are happy them overlock or otherwise finish the seam. I love the neatness that an over-locking machine gives although I appreciate that not everybody has one.
To finish the hem and sleeves I would normally use my invisible hem foot. But when I practised on spare fabric I found that the walking foot gave a better finish on the Boucle. So I finished the raw edges on my overlocker and topstitched the hems in place using a narrow zigzag and the walking foot - Stitches tend to disappear into this type of fabric, were I using a smoother fabric I would have used a twin needle for a nice effect.
A final press and check for loose threads and the garment is ready to wear.
I found the pattern instructions easy to follow and the measurements accurate. I am a size 12 and I made the long dress with the lower neckline. My version is definitely a dress for cooler days but the shorter length in a lighter weight jersey would be fantastic to pack in your suitcase for holidays as it will not crease and will be cool and airy to wear.
The fabric is easy to sew and is very good for people new to sewing stretch fabrics – the texture hides a multitude of sins and although it is stretch it has some stability to it. Just remember not to pull the fabric as you sew or you will get a “lettuce leaf” effect to your hems and sleeves!
I hope that you enjoyed reading this pattern review and that if you have never sewn with a stretch fabric before this will tempt you to make this dress too.
Thank you to Minerva fabrics for the beautiful fabric.
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Prada Stretch Crepe Fabric Review by Elaine

Hello, Elaine @laineemakes here and I'm delighted to be product reviewing for Minerva crafts again. It's fabric time again. Minerva Crafts have let me have some delicious Prada Stretch Crepe Fabric to try. The name draws you in straight away, I'm thinking Quality, Glamour and Special Occasion Wear.

It comes in a huge array of bright jewel colours and looks very luxurious. The moment I saw it I envisaged a dream project for a slinky special occasion outfit.

The fabric washes well and I didn't notice much shrinkage although there was a little fraying at the edge as you can see in the first image.

It looks like a satin backed crepe but it is much richer quality. It's heavier than typical crepe fabrics and it feels gorgeous to the touch. I'm sure it would be comfortable to wear. It has two distinctly different faces, a matte one and a shiny one. Depending on the desired effect you can go Glam or even More Glam. Also, the weight and the finish mean there is no lining required.

This fabric is so beautiful that as soon as the Minerva package arrived I decided I wanted some more and ordered another 3 metres!

The pattern I've chosen is a very dramatic overshirt from a 1980s book I have in my library. It was a fairly easy sew but I thought it would really show off the fabric's quality. I had thought that this fabric might be a bit naughty and difficult to manage due to the silky finish, but it behaved really well and was easy to lay out and cut. It was not at all slippery and I found it very easy to manage.

I always use a rotary cutter for my sewing fabrics and this made easy work of this crepe. It leaves a clean edge and despite the fact I had noticed some frayed threads this did not seem to be a major problem while cutting.

It sews like a dream, no snagging and runs through the machine nicely. I used a rolled hem to finish but overlocking or some of the fancier finishes like a Hong Kong finish would be great (not that I know how to do one yet!) It even unpicks nicely as I discovered a few times, when I went wrong with the 'easy' pattern (my fault nothing to do with the fabric)!

A couple of things to be careful of; this fabric does seem to crease readily and when ironing do be careful, it will not tolerate high heat. I nearly had a bit of a disaster with this. Use the satin setting and preferably a pressing cloth.

Here it is, a different shape and bold design, seeking a special occasion.

The colour and sheen is amazing and the back has a lovely detail which is emphasised by the drape of the fabric.

I love how this fabric handles and sews and I now need to find an event worthy of it! I would definitely recommend it both for its looks and its overall user-friendliness. The full story of this is here on my blog. Thanks for reading and thank you Minerva Crafts for the chance to work with this beautiful fabric, I see more of it in my future!

Thanks for reading,

Elaine @ That Random Madam

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The Walkaway Dress by Georgina

I was drawn to the Butterick Walkaway dress by its fit and flare vintage style. I have never sewn a pattern from one of the big four patterns companies and thought this reproduction 1952 pattern would be the perfect one to start with. It requires a lot of fabric, miles of bias binding and three pattern pieces.

On receiving the pattern and looking at the style properly I wasn't sure that it was going to suit my large bust. Looking at other sewers versions on Instagram and Pinterest I knew I would have to make version B, one fabric, as using contrasting fabric would emphasise my large bust making it unflattering. I decided to make a wearable toile so went through my stash and found this cotton which I had kept for toile making. It has a directional pattern which isn't suitable for this pattern but keep reading to see how I overcome this issue. Minerva have lots of similar Geometric Print Cotton Fabrics you can choose from.

Let's start with the fitting. I have to do a large FBA and when looking at how people have managed to do this it sounded quite complicated and I didn't think it would work for me. I have recently perfected the fit of the French Navy Orla dress so decided to make the front piece of the pattern into two pieces using the Orla front bodice piece and attaching it to the skirt section of the front piece. I graded the Orla bodice so it continued with the side and back of the front piece. 

Due to the directional print on the fabric I made the back skirt piece into a pleated skirt rather than a full circle skirt. For this I cut a width of the fabric to the length I wanted and made pattern matched pleats. There is a join in the skirt which isn't at the back or side seam but it is all pattern matched and I can't even remember whereabouts it is on the skirt! The pleated section needs to be the same length as the top back piece. 

Once the two front pieces and two back pieces are joined to make two pieces they are then joined at the shoulder seams. The next alteration I wanted to make was to add sleeves. I prefer sleeves. Working out how to add sleeves confused me! I couldn't find anything online about how to do this. I decided on capped sleeves as the dress goes on over your head so regular sleeves wouldn't work. 

And now for the binding. I also decided not to add the binding on the front side but to have it on the inside of the dress. Having a visible binding would really emphasis my large bust and I really didn't want that. Because of the patten of the fabric I didn't want a visible line of stitches around to I had a crazy moment and decided to hand stitch all 9 metres of binding! It was definitely worth it as the finish is super neat.

Yep you've guessed it I also changed the fastenings! I was worried that the back fastening of one button wouldn't be secure enough so I added three to the back with button holes rather than loops. At the front due to the seam I was only able to add two buttons. Both lots of fastenings feel really secure. 

The idea of this Sewing Pattern is that you start sewing after breakfast and can "walkaway" in it later on that day. This definitely look longer than that! For a wearable toile I am really happy with it. I know I have made a lot of changes but I think that it has kept within the original style and has given me a better fit than if I had used the original pattern pieces. I will definitely be making another with the full circle skirt. I'm thinking a small non directional flower print would make a lovely spring/summer dress. The next version will defiantly be quicker now all the alterations are worked out!

Thanks for reading,

Georgina @ Sew in the Garden

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