I took the opportunity with one of Minerva’s last emails to make myself a dress for my summer holiday to visit family in Italy.
The fabric I used was this Robert Kaufman Union Chambray Denim Fabric. Initially I was going to make the Tessuti Lisa Dress after seeing Leanne’s lovely dress but in the end I wanted something v-neck and something that I could definitely very easily breastfeed in as I had a baby girl in June.
I found the French company Cousette and was immediately drawn to the Poulette dress. It has a lovely shape, the pockets are unique and the v-neck was just what I was looking for. Plus, I also love a button down skirt so it’s a bonus that this pattern also comes with that option.
Now the only drawback was that obviously all the instructions were in French! I took A level French (for those who aren’t UK based, that basically means I studied French until I left school at 18!) so it’s not like it was a complete unknown, but it was a bit of a challenge trying to decipher some of the more specialist terms they used.
The pattern is made up of 7 pieces, plus 5 pieces of iron-on interfacing. I looked at the sizing and ended up cutting an M, but I probably could have gone down to an S on the waist (the fact that I'm breastfeeding meant I wanted as much space as possible around my chest area!).
I found it fairly straightforward up to the point of joining the bodice to the skirt, where my French failed me slightly! In the end (and after a few pinning attempts) I got it and realised it was quite obvious what had to be done. The instructions assume a bit of sewing knowledge already so aren’t exactly ‘step by step’, therefore making it more intermediate level rather than beginner. However the construction wasn’t by any means complicated and I was able to make it up in a few evenings (I take whatever chance I can get to sew with a 3 month old around!).
The fabric I chose was really easy to sew with, so that made the job of assembling it all quite easy. For the buttons, the pattern actually calls for 11 20-25mm buttons but I ended up using 13 15mm buttons instead - mostly out of necessity (it’s what my local sewing shop supplied) however I also really liked the contrast of the coral buttons against the blue of the chambray.
In the end I wore it loads whilst on holiday in Italy and it was perfect for breastfeeding my daughter, as I just undid the buttons. I got loads of compliments on it and I think the shape, combined with the lovely pockets and contrast buttons really made the dress stand out, in fact it’s very quickly become one of my favourite summer dresses!
For next summer I’ll be trying this in a slightly more drapy fabric, as although the chambray was nice it wasn’t as light and breezy as I'd have liked for 35 degree heat! And I’m looking forward to making myself a skirt too :)
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and if you were scared of trying out a French pattern company that this has eased your mind a bit!
Do check out more of mine and my sewing partners makes @bristol_stitch on Instagram.
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 29th January 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
Florals, florals, florals… what can I say, I am totally addicted to florals. I love how happy all the different colours make me feel. Seeing a floral fabric sparks joy inside me…. Wearing a floral fabric is a totally different feeling, it makes me feel joyful, girly, pretty, fun, and like I can take on the world. I normally go for a lovely pretty little dress when it comes to a floral fabric. This time though, I opted for something totally different. I went for a jumpsuit! Yes…. you heard me….. a jumpsuit!
Never in a million years would I have thought I would be confident enough to sew trousers and a top combined to create a jumpsuit! I saw this fabric and knew it had to be done. I did a lot of research and chatted to a few lovely sewing friends who recommended the Deer and Doe Sirocco.
The pattern requires a stretch fabric and this Scuba Fabric was perfect! It was a dream to cut, did not slip around and is so pretty to look at. All the pattern pieces are quite large, there are no little pieces, which can sometimes make a pattern look a bit scary.
After cutting the pieces out, the pattern is a relatively quick sew. I was really surprised with how quickly it came together. I found that I wanted to take my time on it, with it being my first, but also wanted to get it finished because I was so excited about how pretty it was looking with every part I stitched together.
The only fiddly bit that I found a tad tricky, was keeping the clear elastic in place to stabilise the pockets. The pattern states you can just sew it in using the over locker – I was a little afraid to do this in fear of it moving, so stitched the elastic on using the zig zag stitch on my sewing machine instead. All the other steps, I used my over locker to sew it together.
I needed quite a bit of room to lay it all out to sew the sides to finish putting it together, so used the floor – I normally use my table, but found it a lot easier to just get down, lay it all out and prep it that way, I used lots of clips instead of pins as I found it easier with the fabric being a little thicker.
When it all came together – I couldn’t believe it! I made a jumpsuit… an actual jumpsuit that fits! I was so scared of making something like this, and I definitely had no reason to be. Now I want to make all the Sirocco’s in all the colours!
It’s a really lovely pattern, which comes together really quickly and has super easy to follow instructions. I recommend this pattern to anyone and everyone who is afraid of a jumpsuit. This fabric really is to die for too! Such a classy fabric turned into a classy make – ready for the classy nights out on the cocktails with the girls!
Until next time….
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 29th January 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi there everybody,
It’s me Boon Kuan @limbksews again!
My latest Fabric from Minerva is a substrate new to me.
What struck me at first glance was the striking geometric print.
And when it arrived, it was such a pleasant surprise that both sides of the fabric look so good! I could not figure out which was the right side and which was the wrong side of the fabric. Since it was such a tough decision choosing sides, I decided to use both!
Preferring a bigger canvas to showcase this striking large- scale print, I started researching for outerwear patterns.
I was thinking along the lines of a waterfall drape front cardigan or coatigan such that both sides of the fabric can be seen.
Then I came across the Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patterns.
The weight of the jacquard would be quite perfect for a coat. And I can utilise different sides of the fabric for different parts of the coat.
The Sapporo coat is fully lined, with a cocoon silhouette which I love, cropped sleeves, tapered cuffs and POCKETS.
Huge roomy pockets of which the shape and placement is one of the key design features of the coat, and this is where I thought to use differing sides of the fabric for a bit of contrast and interest.
Laying out the fabric in a single layer for pattern tracing and print placement.
The construction of the coat itself is more straightforward than I expected.
I used 1 side of the fabric for the upper bodice, the sleeves and the large cuffs.
And the other side of the fabric (the ‘wrong side ‘) for the pockets and the back central panel.
Just look at that beautiful sheen of the fabric, and that dramatic cocoon shape.
The back which has a center piece and sides which join to the front bodice and the tapered cuffs.
The Sapporo coat is fully lined.
Pattern instructions are clear and easy to understand.
And here’s hoping that I can carry off such a coat! LOL!
I made size small for my 5 ft 4 inches. No alterations made to pattern.
See how cleverly the pockets are incorporated into the design?
I simply love it.
I would recommend this pattern and fabric in a heartbeat.
I’m planning for a second coat although the chances of me needing a coat, or any coat, in Singapore is next to nil.
But it is too stylish a coat to miss, and well, there’s always holidays to bring the coat along on!
I hope to see you again!
Boon Kuan @limbksews
Are you team jumpsuit? Truth be told, this was my first jumpsuit I have ever sewn or worn. I know, I am about 10 years late on this trend but I couldn’t decide if the all in one look is for me. And after changing my mind approximately 17 times on this make, sewing up 6 muslins, and stressing about the fit, I remember why dresses are my normal go-to. All joking aside, I am pleased with the way the jumpsuit turned out. A mix of two patterns and a whole lot of sewing later, I present this red wool crepe jumpsuit.
The fabric used to create this look is 100% Wool Crepe Fabric. The red is vibrant and stunning in person. The drape and weight are perfect for a dress, jumpsuit or lightweight blazer. I chose to try a jumpsuit but I also think a dress would be gorgeous this winter.
To create this look, I mashed together two patterns. This seems to be the norm for me because there are always one or two things I want to see combined and I rarely find it in one pattern. For this look I wanted a plunging v-neckline and wide leg pants. Sadly, I had to cut the wide leg option down as I didn’t have enough fabric and settled on these two McCalls Patterns: M7777 and M7444
I took the top of M7777 and used it to create the lined bodice. I loved the pattern’s cup sizing and found the fit to be great on my first muslin. Although this is the look I was after, for wear it would require some body tape to prevent a wardrobe mishap when sitting. Unless your posture is way better than mine and you never ever slouch over.
The bottom and waist area of this look are what caused me the most grief. Trying to get the fit through the waist correct, along with the look I wanted to create, and mashing together with the top were a bit of a headache. After several attempts and tweaks, I settled on M7444. This jumpsuit has been in my stash since it was released. I see it is now out of print and finding reviews of others who had made it was not easy. I found the pants to run a tad big and only used about ¾ of the waist band height for this mash. I had to continually taper the sides in to get the fit I wanted through the waist. This took several times of putting the jumpsuit on, taking in the side, and repeating until I was happy. I also would have preferred a longer leg and should have lengthened the pattern. I am certainly not super tall (5’5) so I didn’t think I would need the extra length, but this is something to keep in mind if you are trying the pattern and want it longer.
After I completed the jumpsuit, I used the small bit of scraps I had to create a tie belt. I think this jumpsuit would be super cute paired with a blazer this winter. I styled it here with a cashmere wrap, clutch and nude heels for a simple look that would also work well when the weather cools off a bit. Thank you Minerva for another gorgeous fabric to work with. I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone and trying out a red wool crepe jumpsuit!
Shannon @ indoorshannon.com
Today I’ll be showing how I used this beautiful stretch cotton Sateen Fabric and an underrated Vintage Vogue pattern to make this fabulous dress!
The fabric I used is a smooth and vibrant cotton sateen with butterflies and adorable bluebirds called Fruits of the Forest by Lady McElroy. Sateen is my favourite type of fabric because it is a good weight for making pleats and gathers and creates nice volume in a skirt. The best part about sateen is that it has a small amount of elastane so that the fabric has a small amount of stretch. This stretch lets you use less ease and helps with the fit.
The only drawback of this sateen is that it can pull easily so you need to use new and sharp needles and pins. Don’t thread trace the sewing markings and try not to resew your seams too often to prevent pulls in the fabric. I pre-shrunk this sateen by hand washing it in cold water.
The pattern I used for this dress was Vogue 1084 which is a 1956 vintage reproduction dress. The original pattern had a very high neckline which I decided to modify into a boat neckline. Other great features of the dress are the dramatic skirt which is fuller at the back and the back-neckline tie.
I used about 4m of fabric for this dress. The pattern isn’t very generous for the cutting layouts so I highly recommend getting more than you need if your fabric is slightly less than 150 cm (60”) or if you want to pattern match. This fabric is about 140 cm (56”) wide but I struggled to cut the fabric to the wide cutting layout. Beware that you need to cut out the tie (piece 9) twice not once like it instructs in the pattern. This is only a small piece so it’s easy to fit in the leftover space as you cut.
Modifying the Neckline
I’m not a fan of high necklines, so I decided to modify it to a boat neckline, which will be much more comfortable and casual. To do this I made a toile of this dress using pieces 1 to 4, no facings, short sleeves and just the bodice from the waistline and above. I roughly sewed the pieces together except for the side seam with the zipper. Then I tried on the toile and closed the side seam at the zipper area with some clips. By making a toile I can see exactly how the bodice will fit and how the neckline will look.
Next, I pencilled out the boat neckline I wanted. I kept the width of the neckline the same so that I didn’t have to change the back pieces and dropped the neckline below my collar bones. I cut along the line that I drew and the new neckline looked great!
I took the toile apart and ironed the bodice front piece. Then I made a copy of it and placed it on top of the toile piece that I modified and pinned. I copied the edge that I cut for the new neckline. This line represents the new seam line. I drew another line at 1.5 cm for the new seam allowance and cut this line out on the pattern.
Once I modified the neckline, I used the toile to make all of the fitting adjustments that were required. You can see from the toile photos that there were a few drag lines which indicated poor fit. There were a lot of drag lines going outwards from my bust. This usually indicates that the bust is too tight. Since the neckline fitted quite well, I decided to do a 2.5 cm (1”) full bust adjustment. This allowed more space in the bust but kept the upper bust and waist measurements relatively the same. There were also diagonal drag lines from the bust to the shoulders, which was probably caused by my square shoulders. I rearranged the shoulder seam to allow more space at the tips of my shoulders.
Making a New Neckline Facing
Since I made a dramatic change in the neckline, I needed to make a completely new neckline facing. To do this I pinned some tracing paper over the top of the modified pattern piece. I drew out the raw edge of the modified neckline and shoulders.
The front of this dress had a seam, which was unnecessary in the facing. To remove the front seam, I decreased the centre front edge by 1.5 cm and noted that it needed to be cut on the fold.
I also transferred all of the pattern markings from the bodice front to the facing. I made another curve 8 cm below the neckline for the facing. This is about the same height as the facing for the original neckline.
Sewing the Side Panels
I found installing the side panels on the bodice of this dress to be challenging. This is the first time I’ve done a technique like this, but it seemed to work out very well. Here’s the details on how I made the extremely angled seam on the side panel.
To help reinforce the angled seam the instructions say to use seam binding. I used the same bias binding that I used to bind all the seams. I pinned the binding on the right side of the fabric. The edge of the binding needed to be precisely placed at 1.5 cm (5/8”) and on top of dot marking above the sharp corner. The rest of the seam binding needed to be placed outside of the seam allowance. This seems silly but it will make sense soon! I pinned the seam binding down then basted it in place with basting thread, this eliminated using pins as I sewed.
Next, I sewed on top of the seam line and as close as possible to the edge of the seam binding as possible. I also did another reinforcing seam in the seam allowance to make sure the fabric won’t rip in the future. I carefully cut the fabric up to the reinforcing seam.
I turned the seam out the other way so that it’s now on the right side of the fabric and the seam binding is now in the seam allowance and ironed it flat.
I laid the side panel on the table with the right side facing up. I then placed the bodice front piece on top and lined up the raw edges. The seam binding was very helpful for moving the fabric up to the top of the side panel. I lined up all the circle markings on both pieces for the corner seams and pinned.
As I made this seam I made sure I was sewing directly on top of the seam I previously made for the seam binding. This seam turned out beautiful! There was no puckering at the corners or any sign of the seam binding on the right side of the fabric.
The dress turned out to be wonderfully comfy thanks to the slight stretch of the sateen, partial waist seam and raglan sleeves. The design is very elegant. The front of the dress is demure, but the back is flirty and fun to wear with the big swishy skirt!
I’m in love with the beautiful seams on the bodice. All the effort put into perfecting these seams was worth it! Due to the difficulty of making the side panel seam I would say that you need to be a confident and patient sewer to make this dress. The fit still isn’t perfect in the bust. The side panel seam still has some waviness to it and I think I tried to ease too much fabric in this seam. Also, the back-waist seam seems to dip slightly, but this seems to show on the example on the vogue website as well.
I hope you give this dress a try because it’s a unique design which lives up to its full potential with this beautiful sateen fabric!
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 28th January 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
I love denim and it’s hard wearing quality, spending many of my non working hours in jeans or denim shorts, but I do tend to get bored with the blue or black I have in my wardrobe! When I had the opportunity to try this Earth Coloured Denim Fabric I came up with lots of ideas.
The colour is called Earth but it’s paler than the name suggested to me, it’s a nice soft brown with a paler reverse that I was tempted to use as the right side instead! Described as a heavy weight fabric, I found it lighter and softer than others I’ve used so I would say more medium to heavy. Containing elastane it gives stretch so I decided on making something close fitting and finally decided on the Fiona Dress from Closet Case Patterns.
This fitted sundress pattern gives two bodice options and I opted for the backless one. A bit late in the year to be making a sundress but I was thinking of wearing with a shirt under for cooler weather.
After pre washing and steam pressing the fabric, to make sure any shrinkage had happened, it was soft enough to be sewn easily with a standard medium needle rather than a Denim one.
I used a cotton fabric for facings to reduce bulk on straps, pockets and button bands plus a woven interfacing where required. Trimming back seam allowances and pressing well at each stage to give as smooth a finish as possible.
Using a contrast thread to top stitch details I decided to use Prym coloured snaps to match instead of buttons which made for a speedier finish. I spaced these slightly differently than suggested on the pattern to put two closer together at the waistline, where I thought may be put under stress more, then used my expanding gauge to space evenly.
This denim wasn’t too bulky so a dream to sew with and wear but it has enough structure to give some body to the garment. After initially thinking I’d make the long version of the skirt I changed my mind and decided the medium length was more suited to the fabric. I’m glad I did as I think there are just enough remnants from this project to make some high waisted shorts which this fabric will also be great for. Watch out for pics coming soon :)
Thanks for reading,
Nicky @ sewandsnip
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 28th January 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
The blackwood cardigan from Helens Closet is a staple in my wardrobe. Living in the desert the winters don’t cool off enough sometimes for sweatshirts let alone an actual coat. Layering is a must when I am choosing garments to sew and wear. I bought the blackwood right when it was released and have made four variations with more to come I’m sure!
Since fall is coming, I spent some time to reevaluate my wardrobe. The one article of clothing that had tons of wear over the last few years was my black French terry blackwood cardigan and sadly it needed to be replaced. The holes were not mendable, and the pilling was getting even too much for wearing around the house. I wasn’t comfortable in it anymore.
Thankfully the Minerva website had many choices for black French Terry Fabric. My original cardigan was a lighter weight fabric and I realized that I wanted to be able to wear my new blackwood into winter and at night when I seem to need heavier garments. I decided on the Lady McElroy Loopback Sweat shirting Jersey Fabric. The description said it was a heavier weight, this was the perfect choice for my heavy weight cardigan.
After receiving the fabric, I had recently taken a beginner’s embroidery class and was eager to incorporate it into my garment sewing practices. The initial thought was to embroider the top pocket detail of the cardigan, then my mind quickly spiraled into an embroidery frenzy. By the end I had added the embroidery details to both bands and the pockets.
If you are looking to add an embroidered piece to your handmade wardrobe, the blackwood is a wonderful choice. I worked with the pattern pieces individually which made the embroidery much easier for this novice! The bands I embroidered are all placed to the cardigan “on the fold” to the cardigan. The construction lent itself well to embroidery as I worked on each piece, folded and then attached the pieces to form the garment. All the embroidery work is enclosed. From the inside of the jacket you can’t see any embroidery work and it looks very clean.
The blackwood is a staple in the sewing community, and I’ve seen so many hacks to the pattern. I love the original design, but I do always incorporate two adjustments to fit my comfort. First, I add width to the front bands. I take the original pattern piece and add an additional half of that piece or 2-3” to both front bands. This allows the cardigan more front coverage and allows me to wrap it if needed. Second, I leave off the sleeve cuff and hem normally. I enjoy wearing my jackets with rolled sleeves. By leaving off the sleeve cuff I can roll the sleeve without extra bulk.
This garment has a place in my heart. After spending around 30 hours embroidering and assembling this piece, I know it will be around for years to come.
Thanks for reading,
Hello everyone, here I’m again with a new Minerva make and I’m very excited to share this one with you!
When Minerva sent me a new list of fabrics to choose from I was immediately drawn to this Digital Print 100% Cotton Dress Fabric. For me it felt like the perfect autumn/winter print, it makes me feel cosy and I LOVE the orange details in it. Of course I had to make something I knew I would wear a lot, so I decided to make (another) blouse. Like I already said in my previous blogpost, I love to wear blouses. This time I chose for a completely other model/pattern.
Again I searched through my large pile of sewing magazines, and I found this pattern in the Burda style 3/2015 issue. I liked the gathered bottom and so it wouldn’t be just a normal, simple blouse. Normally the model has pockets but I left them out. That was the only adjustment I did. As you may already know, a pattern from a Burda magazine isn’t always very easy. In almost every issue there are over 40 patterns/variations, so it’s really like finding your pattern pieces in a pattern pieces maze. I’m quite used to it because I make a lot out of these magazines, but it can be overwhelming when you work with it for the first time.
The fabric is a 100% cotton and it’s very nice to work with. Sewing the blouse wasn’t very difficult only the split in the sleeves was a bit (difficult). I had done it before but I forgot how I did it so I just did it my way, It isn’t perfectly done but, it’s just a little detail that hopefully no one will notice. Please let me know if you know a good tip for making a split in a sleeve.
When the blouse was assembled, I had to choose buttons. I found 2 buttons that could go with the blouse but I couldn’t choose which one was the best, so as a modern women I asked my Instagram followers what they liked the most. The buttons that came out of the poll where these orange ones with some golden details. I decided to go with them, because actually they were my favourite too. The funny thing is, I’m a person who knows what she wants, and I don’t ask a lot of opinions from others, even not for a big thing in my life, but now and then I can’t make up my mind to choose which buttons to use (LOL).
I’m very happy that I can add this piece to my closet. I think I can even say that this is my favourite make from the past months. It was very pleasant to make it, because of the lovely fabric. And I promise you, that I will come up with something else than another blouse to make next time :-p
Thank you a lot for reading my second blogpost, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed making it.
Sofie D. @sofieked