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Christmas Kimono

Hi, here I am again on the blog with a Christmas sewing story!

Have you ever seen the “Christmas with the Kranks”? I got inspired the moment  when Jamie Lee Curtis took out her Christmas gilet. I’ve always wanted one or at least something like that ... so the time to make one has finally come.

It will not be an actual gilet, I prefer calling it a Christmas kimono set on the Simplicity Pattern 1318.

Maybe I shouldn’t call it kimono, it may start looking like one but it will be a jacket in the end.

Let's talk about the most delightful step, the fabric choosing. I thought about combining two fabrics of Minervacrafts, the first one is Christmas Velour Fabric, the second one is a furry colour cream fabric: Lambskin Sherpa Fabric. So create a double-face jacket, with a side to show on Christmas Eve and another to show on a cold winter day.

I thought about simply creating two jackets and combining them.

I had no doubt that on Minerva I would have found the right fabric. I found the Christmas printed velvet. It’s got bright colors, it’s very elastic, light and soft. It’s an excellent alternative to the classic velvet. Its soft velvet side reflects the light making it bright.

The other fur fabric is very soft, light and comfortable to wear. Surely it will be my favorite part!

I was initially worried by this experiment, often there are differences between what we imagine and what we do. But it was very simple in the end, the risk of errors is very low using this kind of pattern.

I started studying accurately the pattern’s instructions and I found them easy. I made some variation to make it double face.

Here are the changes I had  to make:

• No central stitching on the back side;
• The sleeve edge will no longer be a whole piece but will be made with the two combined fabrics. I will fold the pattern in half to get two pieces with the two fabrics;
• I have cut the edge of the front opening and back neckline from both fabrics, to match them with the 2 faces of the kimono.

Other useful general considerations are:

• After making the seams at 1.50 cm from the edge, I trimmed all the margins to 0.50 cm;
• The edges of fabric with Christmas print doesn’t need to be finished. Be carefully to put the velvet on the right side before cutting it, it has a smoother and a rougher verse and the smooth sense goes down;
• The hairy tissue should be finished with zig zags because the cuts tend to disintegrate;
• For the parts of the edges in the front opening and the sleeves, I only reinforced  the hairy fabric with adhesive fabric. The Christmas printed fabric does not adhere well to the adhesive reinforcing fabric.

I started matching parts following the pattern instructions:

• sew the shoulder seams joining the back side with the two front parts;
• pin the sleeves with the back and front parts, paying attention to the points of coincidence and sew ;
• sew the sides of the sleeve, slightly reinforcing the point under the arm.

All these steps for both of the  fabrics.

I composed with the two fabrics the cuffs and the front collar.

I decided to attach the edges to the kimono with the same fabric on the 2 faces, to make the garment wearable on several occasions.

I sewed the collar on the front opening of the two kimonos, closing and finishing the lower part. I put the sleeves one inside the other and I tried the kimono on both faces, it was perfect!

I fixed and sewed the cuffs on the back side of the sleeves, using the lower opening.

The last step was to join the two edges of the lower edge. I made the hems on the two parts. Then overlapping them I joined them by hand with a hidden point. The stitch should not be too tight to allow the two fabrics to fall naturally and lightly.

Sewing this double-face kimono was very pleasant, the two fabrics are easy to sew, the garment is wide so it should not be taken up or retouched.

Surely I’ll also make a summer version with lighter fabrics, because it’s versatile and really easy-to-sew.

But there’s also a problem... if you have a Christmas kimono and a teenager at home, you can only admire it on her who literally takes possession of it.

Merry Christmas from me and Melissa (my friend who has kindly reviewed this text)

Till the next DIY story

Madalina @ Twin Tacks

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Attachable Sequin Peplum

Hi Guys, 
How’s it going???  The lovely ladies at Minerva had another amaaazing piece of Fabric to send me, and I have been sooo excited to share what I made with you.  I think it’s going to be the perfect ‘frosting’ to wear for the upcoming holidays! So without further ado…. sequins!
It’s a skirt… but it’s a skirt I plan to wear over dresses, so in a way it’s almost like an attachable peplum? I loooove how it came. Initially I was going to make it into an even-hemmed midi length circle skirt, but you know how these things go. The creativity bug gets you and you start letting the garment dictate how the scissors snip. A part of me feels like I may never be able to make a even hemmed skirt, because I just love how a high-low hem frames the legs, but I mean even with a dress underneath I feel like that high low hem just adds layers somehow.  I def don’t regret giving my initial vision a bit of a haircut.
In general this was a simple concept (if you need any help figuring out the math for a circle skirt, the By Hand London ladies have a free calculator on their site), but because of how I wanted to finish things it turned out much more complicated. The skirt part is a full circle with a high low hem ( I just free handed it)… as I mentioned… and then I made a tall waistband for the front.  The back of the waist is finished with two long grossgrain ribbons on each side and tied at the back, because who doesn’t like a couple dangly bits to add some drama amirite??
The hem is finished with horse hair braid and two layers of grossgrain.  I sewed the horsehair and first layer of grosgrain onto the skirt separately and by hand and let me tell you that took a frickin’ long time x2 !  So by the time I got to the second layer of grosgrain, I decided to sew it on by machine. Unfortunately I think that ribbon ended up having less ease as a result and you can see tension in the ‘under ribbon’. I’m not going to lie.  It kind of annoys me… I kind of wish I had had the patience to hand pick the last layer on, but what’s done is done… unless I ever build up the energy to redo it… which is unlikely at this point.
This was my first time working with such a sequin-heavy fabric and despite a very palpable feeling of fear going into it, it really wasn’t bad to work with at all.  Honestly as far as the sewing went, I didn’t really do anything differently. I just made sure to use heavier needles and then I let them do all the work. It did take a little extra hand endurance to cut out my pieces and I did end up breaking a needle in my machine, and yes, I did cover the floor of my entire house in sequin shrapnel, but I think we can agree it was all worth it.  Other than that, I tried to clip out any overly excessive sequins from the seam allowances and then bound them in gross grain, which IMO makes the insides look so fancy.
The longer dress with the sleeves is the dress I had had in mind to wear this with from the start but I found the sleeveless body-con dress in my drawer and decided to throw it over that one as well and I think it’s my favorite of the two.  The longer one I have had for years.  It fits great, but honestly I think I’ve worn it to like 70% of my friends weddings…ie it was getting a little ‘yesterday’s news’ if ya know what I mean.  The sleeveless one was a hand me down from a friend and is literally so short I couldn’t figure out how to wear it before now.  I love that this new skirt is majorly bringing back life to these two dresses.  Now if anyone has a fancy party you would like to invite me to, I’m ready and available…you can DM me an invite at @jinxandgunner or leave a comment on my blog jinxandgunner.blogspot.com.  K??Cool :).  In the meantime you’ll find me at every holiday party-ever twirling like a disco ball in my new fancy skirt :o).
Until next time! 
Kten
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Luxurious Fur Jacket!

All I want for Christmas is…. a me-made cosy and luxurious fur jacket to compliment my little black (sleeveless…brrrr) dress.
Scrolling through the Minerva website I found a lot of perfect fabrics for this. My inspiration are some  colorblocked fur jackets I’ve found on Pinterest. That means I had to choose different furs. Jolly! So much fun!
I choose 3 faux fur fabrics. A dusky pink one which is on the inside like Suede Fabric. A black Fur Fabric and a Mottled Fur in mauve. These ones are very stretchy and have a knitted inside.
To determine which fabric would go where I just draped the fabric on my mannequin. Then I decided how big the stripes or blocks should be and simply drew lines on my pattern. I used a simple pattern for a Chanel inspired jacket. You could use McCalls 7549, an open front banded jacket with yoke.
It was a fun jigsaw, not a first for me. I put the pattern pieces at the back side of the fabric, so it was easier. I took a larger seam allowance that I would normally do. Just to be safe. Before cutting I transferred the pattern with baste tread on to the black and the mottled one and used a pen for tracing on the pink (suede) one.
First I cut the different fabric pieces with the vacuum cleaner standby! You’ll need it. After cutting I vacuumed the edges at the lowest setting.
Then the assembly could begin and I pinned and then stitched the pieces together. Thank God I numbered the pieces!
I added pockets, may I add… INVISIBLE pockets, to the jackets. I used the lowest pink stripe for this. Before stitching I put some masking tape over the entrance so I wouldn’t stitch over the hairs.
Before putting the rest together I ironed fusible interfacing on the facing at the front. First I tried out on some remnants of the fabric if you could iron it at all. It’s possible! Just put your iron on ‘silk-modus’. While stitching the seams I added a non-stretch (bias) tape along the front of the neckline and shoulder seams. To reinforce the shoulder and to give more body to the neckline at the front.
I put in some lining and the moment when you turn the jacket is always kind of magical. Check my Instagram, because I captured this moment in a little video.
As a finishing I topstitched the hemline at the bottom, at the sleeves and along the front and neckline. After stitching I pull out the fastened hair with a pin. Just scraping gently over the stitch line. Again I have to refer you guys to a little video on my Instagram showing this process.
This scraping you should also do after stitching the different fur fabrics together. So the hairs are blending in nicely with each other, making it look like the jackets is made out of one fabric.
The jacket is soooooo soft, warm and very luxuries. Definitely wearing this during the festivities: Christmas ánd New Year’s eve.
Happy Holidays everyone!!
Cheers!
Marlies @madebyliesl
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Needle Felting Christmas Gift Ideas

It’s Christmas! I was wracking my brain thinking about what I can make for Christmas presents this year and the answer came to me when I was in Anthropologie. They have these little felt jumper decorations with letters and embroidery on them and I thought, I could make something like that!
So I got the large Needle Felting Mat and Needle Felting Tool with 5 needles and some acrylic Felt Sheets. I was unsure about what kind of fibres would work with felting because I knew you could felt wool because of the structure of the fibres but hadn’t heard of anything else (it has little hooks on the fibres which is why some people find wool itchy!). Turns out acrylic fibres work out ok for flat felting so that’s great!
I cut out a jumper shape by going off a picture of the ones in Anthropologie, folding it in half to makes sure it was symmetrical. Then I used it to cut out another for the back piece. The ones I had seen were made of raw fibres so they had more volume than a flat sheet of felt so I decided to stuff mine so it had a bit more substance.
Then I cut some shapes for cuffs and other details for the jumper and felted them on! Basically you just lay the main piece of felt on the mat and position the piece you want to attach, my first ones were the cuffs. Then you get the felting tool, switch the safety switch, and poke the felt over and over and over again until the two pieces of felt have become blended together.
You’ll notice that it gets very fluffy on the underside and it gets a bit stuck to the mat underneath. I think you can avoid it a little by moving the felt around as you go but it is going to happen because you are pushing the fibres through each other with the needles. I have found smoothing holes on the top by rubbing it with my finger and then trimming the fluffiness on the back to reduce bulk has helped to make a neater finish.
So that was the end of the needle felting bit! It is probably the easiest craft you can do and takes no time at all. So satisfying!
Then to jazz it up a bit I embroidered a bunch of different stitches on the front piece and used a blanket stitch to join the two pieces together. I stuffed it with some jersey scraps and then blanket stitched the bottom closed. I attached a piece of embroidery floss to the top to use to hang it, and voila! A super cute ornament to give as a gift or put on your tree.
Merry Christmas everyone!
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Matching Christmas Jumpers & PJs

Christmas to me is just another excuse to make more things and to take it to a whole other level of fun, which in normal circumstances would be taken as a bit eccentric, and a bit bonkers!
When Minerva offered free reign of their website to make something crafty for Christmas, my thoughts were immediately to make a party dress, but I realised that I make party dresses all the time and so I should be a little bit more creative. I settled on sewing and decorating a Christmas jumper, and then I thought I could make a pair of Christmas morning PJ bottoms to complete the outfit. Once I had settled on this idea, I felt that Christmas is a time for going all out, so I decided to make matching Christmas jumpers and PJ bottoms for my fiancée and I, after all, if you cant do it at Christmas when can you?!
For the snowman jumpers I used the loop back Sweatshirt Fabric. It’s a jersey with not a lot of stretch. I find that I want to live in Christmas jumpers and yet with all the log fires and mulled wine, I’m often too hot to wear one. This sweatshirting is brilliant for this scenario (am I the only one who has this perpetual dilemma?!), as it’s warm enough to wear as a jumper, but you’re not going to get too hot in it. 
I decided to make a Linden sweatshirt, but without the neckband because there isn’t enough stretch in the fabric to get the neckband around, and I didn’t have enough leftover to cut a new one. My fiancée’s pattern is the Seamwork Paxson. This was a new pattern to me, and is a unisex raglan sleeve jumper. Had I not already cut mine out, I probably would have chosen this pattern for both of the jumpers.
For the decoration, I used a white anti-pill Polar Fleece Fabric for the snowman, and carefully cut out around various plates and bowls to make his shapes. I used a decorative stitch to secure him to the jumper front, and some random buttons and ribbon from my stash for his features. Throughout sewing up the jumpers I used a microtex needle, which helped a lot, especially going through the fleece and the sweatshirting.
For the PJ bottoms I used the Margot pattern from Tilly’s first book, Love at first stitch. These were a super quick make, even after needing to trace out the pattern pieces. I chose to substitute the drawstring for elastic, but other than that made them up without any alterations. The best thing about sewing PJ trousers is the fact that you are making trousers, and yet there isn’t any of the difficult fitting issues to contend with, or any of the fly fronts. Matt’s PJ bottoms come from the see and sew 3698 pattern which my mum had in her stash. The pattern envelope has a couple with very loose and shapeless PJ sets on, but the pattern was actually great to work with. This time the PJ bottoms came with a false fly front and an elasticated waist. I sewed these up according to the instructions, apart from the fly front where I just did what I thought looked right, and again these were super easy to sew up.
I made both PJ bottoms in a Christmas Fabric which is a cotton poplin, which was super easy to work with and feels quite nice to wear. Although the fabric has lots of little motifs on, I still think there is a direction to the print, as the stockings all face one direction, so do bear this in mind if you want to play patten Tetris.
If you cant be cheesy at Christmas and wear novelty matching outfits then when can you?! I’m properly pleased with how these all turned out and I am so looking forward to wearing these around the house on Christmas morning, opening our presents and taking photos in our matching outfits!
Thanks for reading,
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Christmas Eve Caddy

I love Christmas Eve, it’s probably my favourite family evening of the year. Since I was a young girl the family have always gathered in the evening to watch a movie in our Christmas P.J’s and nibble on some sweet treats. I have continued the tradition into my own family and so there was only one thing to make…A Christmas Eve Caddy.

This is a very easy project and can have multiple uses. You will need:

X5 9” Squares of main Fabric

X1 9” Square of Lining Fabric (the base)

X4 9“ (Width) by 10” (Height) (main lining)

X5 9” Squares Wadding

X2 strips of 1” wide Cotton Webbing, 24” in length.

Rotary Cutter/Scissors

Ruler

Below I have listed the instructions on how to construct the box, if you get stuck refer to the Debbie Shore YouTube tutorial ‘Sewing a Storage Cube’. This is how I initially learnt to make this. The only difference is I have added a border to my cube and that’s why our lining pieces have that extra inch.

  1. So, first things first we need to sew our wading pieces to the main fabric, I generally baste this in on the machine using a long stitch. Do this to all 5 main pieces.

  1. Next you will want to sew your handles on. Choose where you would like them to start. For the measurements provided above the handles are long enough to start at the bottom of the box. I quite like to start mine a little way up. That decision is yours! Lengthen or shorten to your preference. Then simply sew the webbing to the box being careful not to sew to the top of the box as you will need to sew your lining in. I like to leave a good 1-2” gap from the top of the box to the top of my webbing sew line.

  1. Sew the cube together! Start with the sides, I take around a 1cm seam allowance. Make sure your handles are on opposite sides at this point!!! Once the cube is sewn together you will need to insert the base. To do this line up a main cube sewn corner exactly with a bottom corner of your base, pop a pin in to secure the corner. Do the same at the corner you will be sewing towards. Then start sewing from the centre towards your first corner, you will be able to feel where you need to pivot but if you can’t, remember it is a 1cm seam allowance so you will need to pivot at that point. You then sew the next part of the base in until you are all the way around and back to where you started!

Well done…! You’ve made a cube and completed the hardest part!

  1. Now we are going to topstitch the corners of the box. This will help it to stand tall and give it a much better shape. I topstitch the base hems as well but that’s up to you. Squeeze the corner together and from the right side, sew all the way down each corner.

  1. It’s now time to focus on the lining. You will follow a similar method for creating the cubed lining as you did with the main. The only things to consider are - Just make sure you have your taller sections in height as they will make the border of your cube and most importantly leave a hole in the base of the lining cube around 20cm long as you will need to turn the whole cube right way out through this gap!! Once you have completed this you will want to place your main cube right sides together with the lining until the raw edges of both meet at the top.

You will now sew all the way around the top securing the lining to the main. Make sure you don’t catch the handles in! Once you have done this, find the hole in your lining and turn the whole thing right side out. Sew up the gap in the lining either on your machine or by hand for a more invisible finish. Push the lining to the inside of your cube. You will notice the lining is taller than the main…this is your border! I like to topstitch around this to hold it evenly in place, that choice is yours though. And then, that’s it – you have a Christmas caddy! Now it’s time to fill it with lots of treats, snuggle down and get excited about the big day!!!!

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Emma AKA @thezipperfoot

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Blush Fall Coat

Hello Minerva Craft blog readers—I’m Allie of alliemjackson.com and I’m thrilled to be back with another project starring Minerva Crafts' fabric!

Waffle Patterns is a small pattern company that specializes in outerwear; of their pattern collection, about half are vests, coats, and jackets! Yuki, the designer, says her “patterns are simple design with vintage essence and you can make stylish and functional daily wears” and in my opinion, the Waffle Patterns Bamboo Coat exemplifies this aesthetic. I spent ages looking for a simple, menswear-style coat that had clean lines and no unnecessary frills, but that still had all the little details that would make the project shine. 

The Bamboo coat is a straight-silhouette coat with a few options that you can swap around for different looks: three-quarter or long sleeves, two hem lengths, and a round neck or tailored notched collar. It’s a whole coat wardrobe all in one! I’ve been dying to make the traditional collared version for several years, but was waiting until I found the exact right fabric…

This blush pink poly/viscose Coating Fabric from Minerva was the perfect pairing--I love the combination of the classic menswear shape with the unexpectedly feminine color of the fabric. The mixed fibers mean it will be durable and easy to maintain, and was super easy to work with. The lining is from my stash—it’s been in there for ages and I’m not sure where it’s from.

As for the fit, I was a bit nervous taking on this pattern since Japanese patterns are often drafted for a shorter height and slimmer build than UK or US patterns, however, I found the sleeve and overall length to be spot on, and in fact I had to make a small bust adjustment—my only fit adjustment (and one I make quite frequently as you’ll see in my last post for Minerva crafts!). The coat is drafted with a lovely French dart to add shaping, but my adjustment eliminated it entirely—I like to think it adds to the menswear look.

For when I want to feel a bit more feminine in my menswear-inspired coat (it is pink after all!), I used a few leftover scraps to make a simple self-fabric tie belt. Some vintage Lilli Ann coats like this one have this feature and I think it’s so smart; cinching in the waist of a swingy or straight-cut coat can totally change the its look! Left hanging straight, it’s more modern, but cinched, all I need is a faux-fux detachable collar and I’ll have a 60s Lilli Ann lookalike!

I anticipate wearing this coat all winter, and I think the lovely color will help brighten up some of my midwinter all-black outfits. Since I had such success in this first tailored coat, though, I’m tempted to add a few more versions in different colors—I love the duck egg grey color available in the same Poly Viscose Coating Fabric, and the mustard and red would be gorgeous and bold (perhaps with the round neckline and three quarter length sleeves?). Of course, for classicists, there is also navy, black, and camel! Which color would you choose?  

Thanks for reading,

Allie @ Allie Jackson

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The Confident Office Holiday Dress

Happy Holidays Minerva Crafts Readers,

The Twilight Stitcher is back again with another Minerva make! Today you’ll see the oh so very resilient Ponte Roma Knit. The holiday season are upon us? What does your wardrobe look like for the office party? Do you find yourself wondering, how can you look stylish and professional without going over the top at the office party? I’ve used BurdaStyle 10/2018 Style 113 issue to create a polished and classy look just for you!

This is my second time using Ponte Roma Knit. I believe I’ve fallen head over heels for the fabric. My love for this fabric has a lot to do with structure and recovery. Lets not forgot soft hand of this fabric, which needs no lining if you’re in a pinch for time.

This fabric is perfect for form fitting or body skimming patterns. I love the nautical print, you’ll definitely have to purchase a little more for pattern matching depending on the design. It comes in three colors, ivory on black, ivory on navy and navy on ivory.

The Dress

This is a sheath dress with pleats at the neckline and tucks at the waistline. It’s a timeless design but these unique details adds a lot of femininity to the piece. Had it not been -16 degrees F (-9 degrees C), I would have been holding a bright red clutch to breakup overall very of the ensemble.

Burda’s instructions are known for being an impenetrable wall to decipher, but this design is perfect for beginners and highly user friendly. The fit is true to fit, you may want to consider adjustments if your stats are similar to mine. I’m 5' 9" and have a long torso, also I have an athletic build with broad shoulders.

Other options for this ponte knit would be bandage or pencil skirt, cardigans, or turtlenecks. Honestly, I would love to use this fabric for a light weight blazer (Bespoke Blazer), paired with white trouser for a truly stunning look.

It’s official, this was a match made in heaven. Both pattern and fabric worked nicely together. I’m extremely satisfied with the finished looked and should mention the dress is quite warm. Have a wonder holiday season!

Renata www.thetwilightstitcher.com, Instagram Handle @thetwilightstitcher

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A Christmas Jalie 3245 Tee

Hello there! I’m excited to share a special project with you today. This project is one that I’ve been wanting to make for awhile now.

I’ve found that I’ve had a gap in my holiday wardrobe for a Christmas themed garment that is in-between categories.  I’ve needed something that to wear at casual Christmas parties that is not super fancy but also not super casual. My thought to fill this gap was to make a velvet, raglan sleeved top.

I found this lovely classy Velvet Velour Fabric at Minerva and jumped at the chance to work with it! This project only uses 0.5m of the Velvet Velour. The smaller quantity of this fancier fabric makes the project even more economical.

I’m pairing the red velvet with a lighter, marl grey Cotton Jersey Fabric for a fun contrast.

I’ve not yet worked with a velvet/velour fabric, so I’ve been excited to jump in.  A fun feature of this velvet is that it’s a 2-way stretch fabric. I usually see velvets as non-stretch, woven fabrics so this stretch option makes a fun pairing for tees (or dresses).

The pattern that I paired with this project is Jalie 3245. The pattern offers a fun, feminine cut raglan sleeve tee or tunic.

Pattern options:  

1) Raglan top with curved hem, half sleeve and bound neckline.

2) Raglan tunic with curved hem, half sleeve, patch pockets and bound neckline.

3) Racerback top with curve hem, bound neckline and armholes.

4) Racerback tunic with curved hem, patch pockets and bound necline and arm holes

Sizing: 12M to 50” (127cm) Bust

I chose to make Option 1 with a few modifications (from the options above).

Seam allowance: The pattern calls for ¼” (or 6mm).

I have a unique story with this post to share. I made three muslins with this project. I’m sharing this detail with humor as I didn’t really need to make three muslins. I have not yet worked with a Jalie pattern for myself yet, so a part of the muslin process for me was learning their sizing for my body.  

I share this detail as an encouragement to the newer sewers out there that have struggled to have stamina for making muslins.  It does take some endurance to stick with changing the fit of the pattern a few times, until muslin fits your body. Once I hit the third muslin I was super happy with the fit.  It made all the difference in the world for me to know I’ll love wearing the final top for years to come.

One interesting detail to note with the pattern is that the lower portion of the pattern is one common piece that is reused for the top and bottom portions of the top.  The back and front top pieces are small and interchanged as you cut out the front and back of the pattern.

This pattern required tracing paper to both trace out your size and trace out the pattern pieces (to fit together for cutting out the fabric).

Materials;

- Jalie Sewing Pattern 3245

- 0.5mt Carlotta John Kaldor Velvet Velour Fabric

- 1mt Cotton Spandex Jersey Fabric

- Flexible Ruler (to draft the neckline)

- Tracing Paper

- Sewing Thread

Muslin #1: (Size) Sleeve: S Upper: S Lower: S/T/U

For the first muslin I used a rayon knit for the body fabric and a cotton lycra for the sleeves.  I assembled the neckband incorrectly (per the recommended assembly in the pattern). The neckline in the top is quite open, which offer a fun feminine detail.  After making this muslin I started thinking about self-drafting the neckline (instead of following the intended neckline in the pattern). I wasn’t quite happy with the armholes in this sizing, they seemed a bit low with this iteration.

If you’d like to create the neckline as intended in the pattern, I found the following post to share more information about the construction method.

Muslin #2: (Size) Sleeve: S Upper: S Lower: S/T/U

For the second muslin I used a cotton/lycra knit for the body and sleeves.

For the neckband, I share details in this post for how I approach self-draft a neckband in a knit top (reference the Neckline section).  I wasn’t quite happy with the length of neckband with this version (but I’ll share more about what I changed to fix this issue in the next section).  I felt this version was still a bit tighter then I would like, and the underarm area still seemed a bit big.

Muslin #3: (Size) Sleeve: T Upper: T Lower: T/U/V (with the length extended to CC-DD-EE-FF)

For this muslin I drafted a 10% neckline as well (but I forgot to take out the seam allowance in the neckline length for both this muslin and the previous one).  

Going up a size in the sleeves and top/bottom portions fixed the previous issue of the underarm area being too big.  I found that I really liked the extra ease in this muslin (by going up a size for the top and bottom pieces with this version).  Fitting ease is a personal preference of course, if you like a garment to be intentionally more fitted or if you like a more relaxed look (with the garment not as figure hugging).   

Final Pattern Modifications:

- Extend the length of the sleeves by 9” (22.9cm).  I decided that I will be wearing this tee mostly during the Christmas/winter season and a longer sleeved tee will get more wear (for me).

For the modifications to the sleeve length I referenced a second raglan sleeved pattern that I had in my stash (that I have previously made and I was happy with the sleeve length).  If you would like to extend the sleeve length as well and don’t own a reference pattern in your stash, you can try adding a new sleeve length and sleeve taper on a muslin. You can experiment with a sleeve length and cuff circumference that you’re happy with.

Self-draft the neckband and remove the seam allowance ends from the neckband.  I used a 90% approach with this top (multiplying the actual length of the neckline by 0.9 and subtracting off 0.5 for the seam allowance, ¼” plus ¼” seam allowances on each end of the neckband).  The neckband needs to be smaller than the neckline (to prevent the neck opening from gaping). In some cases, with some fabrics, a 75% neckband is more appropriate (so you can also play around with your muslin for which percentage you like for your own fabric).  I made the neckband 2” wide and divided neckband number by 2 (to cut out the neckband on the fold).

I’m very happy with the final garment.  The tee is so cozy with the velvet sleeves while also being a little more dressy then a regular raglan sleeved tee.  I love that I can wear this top with a pair of jeans for a classier, comfortable holiday look (at a party that is more casual).

A coverstitch machine is not required for this project, but I enjoy using the one that I have.  I chose to color match the red fabric for the sleeve hems and continue with this contrasting red color in the bottom hem.

The velvet/velour really sparkles in the sunlight.  The fabric is quite dreamy, I’m really happy with it.

I love that I can also bump up the “Christmas factor” by wearing this green, handknit cabled shawl together with the top.  Wearing my handmade items together is so special to me!

I wish you all a very happy time with your own Christmas/Holiday sewing adventures!

Rachel @oakbluedesigns

www.oakbluedesigns.com

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A Sparkly Aldaia Party Dress

As soon as I saw this Lurex Ponte Roma Fabric on the Minerva Crafts website I knew I had to make a party dress and I knew the Pauline Alice Aldaia dress would be perfect for this fabric. It comes in black or blue, I went for black as I always find it a very practical colour and easy to match accessories to.

I have made the Aldaia Dress Pattern before and made some pattern adjustments so I went ahead and cut the fabric on the basis that the fit would be right for me. The adjustments I’d made were to take the bodice in along the princess seams just under the bust by 1/4”, and to reduce the flare of the skirt. Having looked at lots of photos I decided that I didn’t want quite as much flare as the skirt has been designed to have. I think that is partly due to my height (or rather lack of height!), I feel that the proportions don’t quite work for me. Anyway, to do this I did the opposite of the ‘slash and spread’ technique. I cut each of the skirt pattern pieces vertically. Because I needed to take quite a lot of width out I made 2 cuts, one either side of the centre, the cuts going from the bottom to almost the top. This meant that I could then pivot the pattern pieces and overlap them by an inch on each cut.

The fabric is lovely. It has a nice weight to it but is not too think or heavy. The previous dress I made was with a thicker scuba fabric and I think it was just that little bit too heavy which means I have only worn it once! This fabric feels a much more suitable weight for a dress. And I like that the lurex threads are only on the right side of the fabric, so there is no risk of irritable scratching against the skin from the wrong side. Also, the lurex is more subtle than a lot of fabrics like this I’ve seen, it gives a lovely sparkle without being too over the top.

The dress came together very quickly, I cut the pattern pieces out one afternoon and the next day I sewed it all up. I didn’t try it on at all during the sewing process as I felt confident that my previous adjustments would ensure a good fit.

Overall I am very happy with how it has turned out. My favourite part is how the fabric drapes and moves, it really makes me want to swish the skirt! I’m not sure that I like the sleeves, I think they are a little bit wide and I might take them in a little if I make this pattern again. Also, I think I might make another adjustment to the bodice - again due to my petite frame I think the shoulder to bust length isn’t quite right, I might try to take out a 1/4” and see that improves the fit. I don’t know very much about fitting and tend to just guess. I’ll try to draw a horizontal line halfway between shoulder and bustline on all of the bodice pieces, and then fold out 1/4”. If anyone can let me know if this is right or if there is a better way I’d love to hear from you!

Those issues are only quite minor though, I’m sure I’m the only one who notices. Overall I am very happy with the dress and can’t wait to have some parties to go to.

ciao,

Linda x

@linda_hinds

www.ciaolinda.com

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