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Lauren’s High Street Knock-Off Burda Kimono

I often get inspiration for new sewing projects from something I love that I’ve seen on the high street. I’m sure many other crafters will feel the same, but even if I do see something lovely in Zara, or New Look, I sometimes resent paying for it, when I (at least in my head) think I could make it myself.

This thought process usually leaves me with a lot of plans, but not always a lot in my wardrobe…

Recently I went for dinner with a friend who is probably one of the most stylish people I know. She has gorgeous and glamourous clothes, and isn’t the type of person who has to save her favourite pieces ‘for best’. She turned up in a full-length kimono, with fur cuffs, basically the kind of thing I can image a princess wearing to lounge casually around her home.

The version my friend was wearing was a Zara purchase, and after looking at it and raving about it for pretty much the entire night, I knew I had to have one too. (She luckily doesn’t mind me copying her occasionally!)

The design of the garment itself was straight-forward. A simple, kimono-style jacket, made out of a georgette fabric, with fake fur attached to the cuffs. I was pretty confident that it was something I could replicate fairly easily myself, so I started looking for a suitable pattern to work from.

The Pattern

After having a scroll through the Minerva website, I came across New Look 6476, which came with a few different options. (Including a view which involves a fake fur body section!) One option is a collarless maxi kimono, with long sleeves, which seemed almost ideal, and would give me the basic shape to make what I wanted.

I cut the size 12, as it fitted my largest measurements; I wasn’t too fussed about this fitting perfectly around the bust or hips, as I didn’t plan to fasten it closed. There were only four pieces to cut out, so this took barely any time, and I was soon onto the construction.


I can’t say I relied too heavily on the instructions for this project, as the construction was very simple and straightforward. I used my trusty Janome DKS30 to sew most of the seams, and used my Brother 1034D overlocker to neaten the insides. As I was using quite a delicate fabric, and I didn’t want the seams to fray over time, I thought it was important to put a little more time into this step and make sure the inside looked neat and secure.

The Fabrics

The fabrics I chose for this project are both from Minerva and I was so pleased with both of them as soon as they arrived. I wear a lot of neutrals, so a light blue/grey colourway was an obvious choice for me.

To make sure the kimono drapes well and flows in the way I was hoping, I wanted to go for a georgette or chiffon-type material, and found this floral Georgette Fabric, which comes in assorted colours. To pair with it, I chose a light grey Fake Fur Fabric, and was hoping that when the two fabrics arrived they would compliment each other rather than clash. I wasn’t wrong – I think they work really well together.

The georgette is on the thicker side, which makes it a little easier to work with. I had no issues with it getting sucked into my machine, and it wasn’t even very slippery, a few pins managed to keep it in place fine. The fur was perhaps a little stretchier than I expected, but this could easily be remedied by adding interfacing, or something similar, to the back. I’ve heard that when cutting fake fur fabric, it can be easier to cut from the back with a craft knife, to avoid covering the room with mountains of fluff. I tried it and while there was a bit of mess, I think it would have been a lot worse if I’d used scissors for the task.


The pattern itself gave me an excellent block to work from, but I did make a few changes to get the look I was going for. The sleeves on the pattern were a lot wider at the cuff than I needed them to be, so I simply traced the sleeve piece onto some baking paper, and drew out a new pattern piece with straighter cuffs.

Being quite a short person, I inevitably had to remove a few inches of both the cuffs and the hem, but this is a fairly standard alteration that I fully expected.

I increased the length of the split at the back, so that it would almost have the effect of a tailcoat, and I decided not to include the waist tie. I have since found a use for the tie as a hairband though!

Of course, I also added the fur to the cuffs of the sleeves. To do this I simply cut two pieces of fur the same size, long enough to go around the diameter of the sleeves. I then sewed the two short ends together, right sides together then added the cuff to the georgette sleeve right sides together again. Lastly, I hand sewed a small hem on the fur cuff, to make it look a little neater.

It was a little bit of trial and error, but I’m so happy with the result. I even had a little of the fur left over, so decided to put it to good use and make a fur stole to go over the kimono. This was really easy. I just folded the long piece of spare fabric in half, lengthways, right sides together and drew an outline of the stole shape on the back of the fabric. I then followed round it with my sewing machine, leaving a small hole to turn the stole the right way round.

I’d definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who’s looking for a simple kimono pattern to embellish and enhance with their own designs.

I know this kimono-come-housecoat is perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but to me, that’s the beauty of being able to make your own clothes. This garment makes me feel glamourous and interesting and it’s so easy to make! Plus, it’s saved me a laborious and expensive trip to Zara, and really, who wants to stand in the Christmas shopping queues longer than absolutely necessary!?

I hope you liked reading about my latest make for Minerva, and if you wanted to find out more about me and my crafting you can reach me at or on Instagram @craftworksblog

Merry Christmas!


Black Pleated Velvet Dress by Carly

Today I’ve got a double whammy for you – not one but two new products to show you that I’ve been fortunate enough to test out recently for the Minerva Crafts blog.

First up is THE most amazing pleated Velvet Fabric. I’ve had a long love affair with velvet. There’s something that’s so luxurious about it. The depth of colour, the pile, the handle. It’s lush. Add in a few pleats to add even more depth to it and I’m sold.

The second item is a new Sewing Pattern release from Vogue, by designer Kathryn Brenne. A pullover jersey dress, with sleeve and skirt length options, a v-neck and a waterfall style skirt. What I love about this pattern is how it’s a relatively simple pattern, but made from the right fabrics you’ll have the perfect easy-wear show-stopper dress.

I thought that these two products put together would produce a great make. I’m not usually one to wear a dress, but the lure of the velvet enticed me. Mix that with an easy to sew pattern and you’ve pretty much got a winner.

The velvet comes in a delicious grey colour and also a rich, deep black. I decided to go for the black as I really don’t have that much solid black in my wardrobe (unusual considering I pretty much only wore black as a teenager!). Also because you can’t go wrong with a black dress can you? They’re so versatile and easy to style. Change up your shoes and accessories and it’s like a completely different outfit.

The pattern consists of only 3 main pattern pieces (front, back and sleeve), and a few facings. This made the cutting process fairly quick and very straight forward. I sewed the dress up without any alterations, and it all came together incredibly quickly and easily. The velvet is so easy to sew with – I didn’t even need to swap to my walking foot, my regular sewing foot worked a treat. The pile of the velvet pretty much stuck the pieces together as I was sewing, so I hardly used any pins as I was sewing this up too. I don’t know about you, but I find it incredibly rewarding to sew without the use of pins. I’m not sure if it’s because it makes the sew much quicker, or perhaps because it makes me feel like an absolute sewing-queen to not need pins!

I cut a size L going by my measurements but in hindsight I could probably have gotten away with a Medium. I tried on the dress once it was complete and it was a little large, and the sleeves quite long. I ended up chopping about 4 inches off the length of the sleeve and taking in the bodice by about 2 inches each side. I went from the underarm seam down to the flare at the waist side-seam and it was easy enough to do. It’s now more fitted on the bust and waist, which for a pear-shape like me, helps to balance out the proportions of the skirt. It is supposed to be a skimming fit throughout the mid-section which you can see on the pattern packet photographs of the samples, and if I made a smaller size I probably wouldn’t have had to bother with any alterations at all on the bodice, just the sleeve length. I am a little shorter than your average though (5ft 3”) and it’s not unusual for me to have to take some length from the sleeves. I cut view A which is a midi-length skirt and the length of the dress is perfect for me.

I’m really happy with my new black velvet party dress. The fabric was amazing to work with, and the pattern is a great addition to my stash. I’d love to use the grey version of the pleated velvet to perhaps make a simple gathered waist midi skirt. I’d also like to try the pattern again in a lighter weight jersey to make a simple dress for spring. I’m already planning new ways to use these two new products, so you know they’re a winner in my books!

Bye for now,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew


Cold Shoulder Top Vogue 9238 Pattern Review by Amy

Like most others, life can become very stressful and chaotic. Mine had too and had resulted in me not doing a lot of sewing, which is usually my relaxation. I recently embarked on a mini project to get back into my sewing hobby. It had been a while since I’d sewn anything so I chose to ease myself in with an ‘Easy Sew’ project by Vogue

When I’m out shopping I always gravitate towards the cold shoulder tops and felt this would be the perfect choice. I ordered my fabric and I am a sucker for Scuba, which yes I know it didn’t specify using scuba but I’d simply cut a pattern size above to accommodate for the less stretchy material. This material is amazing and I’ve already lined up a new project for it. Even found my mother admiring it on the dining room table when it arrived. Definitely one for the fabric stash!

The pattern was super easy to begin with, I was all ready to go, pattern cut out and ready to sew my way through the instruction booklet.

One tip I would recommend if you are using black fabric like I did, definitely get a bright chalk for those notches.

The instructions were easy to follow and the project was going swimmingly until it came to the straps. This is probably my own fault for choosing a thick jersey from Minerva Crafts as apposed to a light weight fabric, but the straps just would not lie flat, no matter how much I pressed them. I continued on with the top and as it was coming together I got that feeling that all home sewers get when their handy work starts coming to life.

Here comes the bad parts, well not bad more little niggles I had with the pattern. The straps were very fiddly to finish and attach and I found the attachment of the flounce, back strap and armhole rather fiddly. Lets just say my poor thread picker was getting a lot of use with those straps!

The garment looks lovely in scuba but I must confess, even with the sizing up it does run smaller than I’d expected, either that or clearly the New Years diet needs to start sooner than I’d hoped but I love my new top. Next time Amy, listen to the instructions and suggested fabric. The cold shoulder section could have done with being a little looser like those types you can buy in stores but as a whole the garment works.

The top offers wearers the chance of cold shoulder style or normal strap vest styles. 

I like this versatility that it provides and it will come in handy over the festive period as a 2-in-1 top. Simple pull the flounce under the arm instead over and viola you have yourself a whole different top!

The back is lovely and provides the feminine edge that I was looking for. 

And the front V-neck which is perfectly situated, provides you with a feminine touch without showing too much off during the winter celebrations.

Did this project do what I hoped it would? Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the project and like I expected I have the sewing bug again. Would I repeat this project again? Had you asked during the debacle with the straps, I’d have said no but I’m intrigued as to what other materials would work with this pattern. Would I recommend this pattern to others? I would recommend this product to those who want an easy pattern to follow, however maybe avoid it as a brand new beginner, as it does have its fiddly tricky sections. It took me slightly longer than anticipated to finish the garment but that was due to a busy schedule. This pattern can be finished in 2-3 days easily which is always an added bonus.

Now it’s time for a girlie evening in the local with a nice pair of jeans, clearly some sucky-in pants, and my new cold shoulder top. On to the next new wardrobe builder project.

Amy-Louise @ Amy Professional Drama Queen


What would happen 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


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


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!


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


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

1 Comment

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,

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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