Posted in Projects on Sunday the 22nd April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Every sewist knows how daunting it is to cut into really gorgeous fabric! When I received this beautiful fabric, I had to make sure it was just right so I decided to make one of my favourite things… a shirtdress!
Fabric Details – This is an elegant abstract peacock print poplin fabric with the most gorgeous gold metallic finish from Timeless Treasures Fabrics, generously provided by Minerva Crafts. It is 100% cotton, medium weight, and has no stretch. I prewashed it to allow for any shrinkage to occur and ironed it on the reverse side. It did not shrink significantly which is always great. This fabric was such a breeze to work with. The more I work with cotton poplin, the more I fall in love with it (remember the polka dot cotton poplin I blogged about a few months ago?)
*Unfortunately Minerva have now sold out of this exact print, but there are loads of other gorgeous ones to choose from in the Timeless Treasures Fabric Range.
Pattern – After deciding on a shirtdress, I now had the daunting task of choosing which pattern to use. I finally settled on Deer and Doe’s Bleuet Shirtdress with princess seams and I chose to go with the sleeveless version. I love making shirtdresses but this was my first time using this specific pattern and I am so happy with how it turned out. I loved the princess seams detail, which I have not had on any shirtdresses I have made in the past. I made a size 42 but had to take the waist in about 2 inches. Next time, I will sew it up in a smaller size.
I used gold thread throughout the entire dress. I thought it would help bring out the princess seam detail but the fabric was too vibrant to get the effect I was looking for. I then finished it up with gorgeous yet simple gold buttons.
The fabric and pattern combination could not have been any more perfect. Since the pattern did not require any lining, this medium weight poplin worked great.
Styling – It can be tricky to style such a vibrant fabric but I saw this as an opportunity to bring out my dark green thrifted vintage jacket and my metallic gold shoes. It is almost like this fabric was made just for this moment. Have you ever felt that way?
Thank you Minerva Crafts for the wonderful fabric. Your fabrics are always so amazing!
Thanks for reading,
Sylvia @ The Ravel Out
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 21st April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
As a great admirer of Wendy Ward’s inimitable style I was so excited to hear about her new book focussing on sewing with knits. I was imagining stylish silhouettes that wouldn’t look out of place at the office despite being made from the comfiest knits. When the book arrived I was not disappointed; the projects that it contains are perfect – simple outlines that can be made to suit every style simply by changing the fabric choices. I simply couldn’t choose which to make first! A simple t-shirt for a stroll in the park, chic wide-leg trousers for work (Nobody would ever know I was wearing secret pyjamas!) or an elegant coatigan to throw over the lot and keep myself warm through the winter.
As I started to browse the extensive range of Knit Fabrics available on the Minerva crafts website I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy choice, they are all so lovely and I could imagine myself quickly getting carried away and planning a whole wardrobe! I eventually decided upon this gorgeous Scuba Fabric. It is a black base with beautiful cream flowers and I just knew it would make the perfect t-shirt dress for winter. As this book is written with knit newbies in mind I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to refresh my knit sewing skills and choose a simple project with an easy to sew fabric and scuba was the perfect choice – it doesn’t have too much stretch and glides easily through the machine.
I was eager to get started and the first step was tracing off the pattern. The pattern layout might seem a little daunting at first with all the patterns in the book spread over four sheets. However, each pattern is printed in a different colour so it is really easy to find what you are looking for and can easily trace it off without getting confused with the overlapping patterns. The lines for the different sizes are also really distinct making it simple to distinguish which line you are following.
The directions for each pattern are pretty simple to follow. I chose to do the dress length version of the Peak T-shirt and had no problems. Although if you are choosing one of the variations whch doesnt just follow the basic pattern it looks as though there would be more jumping between pages required. I really liked how all the basic instructions like choosing your machine settings and hems were at the front of the book, separate from the projects. This means the project pages aren’t too cluttered (the basic Peak t-shirt is spread across three pages) and once you have mastered these basics you can get on with your project without interruptions.
I also really love that there are loads of great tips and tricks included in this book, I picked up so many new ideas about which stitches to use with which fabrics, when different seam finishes are most appropriate and perhaps my favourite – stripe matching as I do love a good stipy knit! In fact I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to try this out, but maybe my next project will have to be a stripy one!
I am really pleased with how my make came out – the Peak t-shirt seems so versatile and in this heavy scuba fabric it makes the perfect winter dress to throw on over leggings. I chose to make the size down from that suggested as there is a lot of positive ease built in, but graded up a size at the hips to keep that loose fitting style. I will definitely be making more of these and can see this pattern becomng a wardrobe staple.
Thanks for reading,
Helen @ H's Handcrafts
Posted in Projects on Friday the 20th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I am back on the Minerva Crafts blog with a review for another fabric I tested for them recently. On this occasion I had the pleasure of working with their floral print light weight Sweatshirt Fabric.
This is a mix of polyester, cotton and elastane fibres 64 inches wide. It’s softer than I expected, considering it is a sweatshirt fabric. It is also quite light, perfect for using it in spring, summer or autumn makes.
I was in such a hurry that I decided to take a risk and start cutting it straightaway, without washing it (I do advise, always wash your fabric the same way you will was whatever you use the fabric to avoid disappointment) It’s got stretch right? I was sent 2 meters of the fabric which was enough to make a dress and a top by mixing it with black coloured fabric.
When working with knits to avoid wavy hems or wavy shoulder seams, I always stabilise shoulder/hem areas before I start construction.
Be aware that because the fabric is sweatshirt type, it will shed a little and it will create a little mess, but not too much. It is a good idea to think about how you will finish the raw edge if you are not using an overlocker/serger.
For the construction of both the dress and the top I mainly used my overlocker/serger. The whole process goes really fast this way. After cutting the fabric a day before, I managed to finish both the tops and the dress during a Sewing Date with my friend Gemma.
On the dress, as the black fabric was a bit unruly, I used the lightning stitch on my machine to understitch the pocket bag to make sure the pocket stays hidden while I wear the dress.
As the front hem and the back hem were in different fabrics I thought it would be fun to use different colour knit interfacing. And for the hem, I used the twin needle with two different colour threads for the back part of the hem, just for the fun of it.
Since I’ve learnt that by using wooly nylon thread in the bobbin, using the twin needle on knits is my preferred method of finishing hems. This is what I did with the hems on the top as well. Using knitted interfacing was sufficient for this fabric. The only thing you need to be aware is to go slow and make the stitch longer for the hem. This will prevent broken treads and will make your hems look professional as if done on the cover-lock machine.
The fabric is quite easy to work with and if you have an overlocker you can make yourself a lovey dress or top in no time. The fabric is also stable enough that if you do not own an overlocker/serger you can easily use your sewing machine to sew up this fabric.
I love that my mixing the fabric with some left over from my stash I managed to make myself both a dress and a top.
Can you spot the back thread I used on the back hem? Even though it’s black it blends with the fabric. I also like that by using a different fabric for the sleeves you get the impression of several layers.
I’ve been wearing my top a lot since making it. I’ve been asked quite a few times where I bought it. ;)
My tips for working with this fabric:
interface your shoulder and hem areas, it will help prevent having wavy seams.
if available use your overlocker, it will make construction much faster and finish the seam, remember the fabric sheds a little when cut.
Used wooly nylon thread in the bobbin if doing your hems with a twin needle.
Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog post. We would really love to see your projects made with supplied from Minerva Crafts, so please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.
Posted in Projects on Friday the 20th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 19th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 18th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
A few months ago I was chosen to be part of the blog tour of Wendy Ward's new book 'A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knits'. This book came out in the beginning of the year and it sold out so quickly, that our blog tour got postponed until the second run of copies was printed. Amazing, right? There are so many talented bloggers involved and they all made some gorgeous versions of the patterns included in the book, so make sure you pay them a visit.
Before I show you what I made, I wanted to talk about the actual book. As it states it the title, it is a beginner's guide to sewing with knits and it contains so many useful information on this topic. If you read Wendy's bio in the back cover, you will understand why she is the ideal person to write this kind of book. She has years of experience in the fashion industry and she also teaches dressmaking, pattern cutting and textiles for adults since 2007. Wendy will take all your fears of sewing with knit fabrics away, helping you choose the right fabrics for each project, listing the tools you are going to need, explaining the best ways to finish your hems, to sew the seams and many many more. I will admit that there were a few things I was doing completely wrong and after I read this book I think it took my knit garments to a whole other level!
The best thing about this book though, is that it includes 5 sewing patterns. And they are for really basic, staple items in your wardrobe, which is something I really love. With their variations, you can actually make 20 essential garments! There is the Peak T-Shirt, the Derwent wide leg trousers, the Winnats tank, the Monsal lounge pants, the Kinder Cardigan and the Longshaw skirt.
I had sooo much trouble choosing only one of them to make for this blog tour. So I tried to be sensible and pick the one that I was going to get more wear out of. This was, without a doubt, the peak T-shirt. As spring has finally come, easy-to wear T-shirts are perfect for working from home and I desperately needed more in my wardrobe. To make this garment, Minerva Crafts very kindly provided us with a fabric of our choice. Choosing the fabric from their huge collection of jerseys was even harder that choosing the pattern from the book. I spent days searching for the ideal jersey for my T-shirt and the one that stole my heart was this Striped JerseyFabric. It is grey with white stripes and I knew it was going to be perfect for my T-shirt.
The first order of business was to trace off my pattern. In the back of the book there are three big sheets with full-size pattern pieces and each garment has a different color, which makes it easier to find. In the book, Wendy actually tells you which pattern pieces you need to trace for each version, which makes the whole process much easier. The pieces overlap and I'll be honest, I had some difficulty tracing them at first, but it wasn't too hard in the end. As each size has a different styled line, it makes it easier to identify what you need to trace. For my Peak T-shirt I only needed to trace 4 pieces, the front and back bodice, the neckband and the sleeve.
The instructions for the sewing part are extremely detailed and easy to follow. There are illustrations for each step, which are very easy to understand and the entire book is packed with little tips that will make a huge difference to your final garment. I made the entire top in less than 2 hours using my overlocker for sewing the seams and my sewing machine for hemming.
As for the sizing range, each pattern is available from a size 8 (UK) to a size 26 (UK). According to my measurements, I had to make a size 14. I am usually a size 10, so I think the sizes are pretty generous. The T-shirt fits like a glove, it is as loose as I like it to be, very comfortable to wear everyday. I especially like the high neckline, which is something I don't normally wear, but I actually really love in this T-shirt. It is perfect to throw over jeans or tuck into a skirt. The fabric was a joy to work with, it washed up beautifully and it didn't stretch out of shape.
Overall, I am very happy with my Peak T-shirt. I reckon I will make many more in plain colors to add in my wardrobe, as they are a very quick sew and fit great.
The book is a valuable addition to my sewing book collection and I'm sure I will be referring to it many times in the future. If you like to sew with knits, I definitely recommend it, as you will find it extremely helpful. And even if you are experienced and don't need any help with that, it is worth buying it just for the sewing patterns. They are very well drafted, staple pieces that you will enjoy having in your wardrobe. I know I am going to make at least a couple more, with the Derwent wide leg trousers being next on my list.
I hope you enjoyed my review. Make sure you visit the other blogs involved in this tour to see more patterns in action and read about their thoughts on this book.
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 17th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I am so excited to share with you my experiences of Wendy Ward's latest book, A Beginner's Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics.
It contains 20 modern, comfortable and stylish patterns which will provide you will a wardrobe of items you will really want to wear. It starts by giving the reader detailed information about the tools and equipment you will be using, how to take your own measurements and then perhaps most importantly information about different types of knitted fabric.
The cardigan starting looking like an actual cardigan really quickly which gave me the confidence to keep going. The fabric, which I prewashed to avoid any issues with shrinkage later on, was a pleasure to work with.
I absolutely love big pockets, which is one of the reasons I was attracted to the Kinder Cardigan.
I was most worried about the sleeves, as this seemed to be quite an advanced sewing technique, however, I was delighted that by following Wendy's simple informative diagrams it all came together really nicely.
I don't appear in front of the camera very often but a family trip to Ashdown Forest, specifically to the wooded area which inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories was a perfect excuse to take my new Kinder Cardigan for an outing.
The scenery was stunning and my new Kinder Cardigan was warm and cosy.
I will definitely be making more designs from Wendy Ward's new book. The step by step instructions made me feel confident to try new techniques, and I love the style of the clothes.
I can't wait to try the Peak T-shirt pattern. I always struggle to find T-shirts which are long enough because I am tall and have a long body and after three children no one wants to see my belly! By making my own I can make them as long as I like.
Thanks for reading,
Amy @ Amy Is Hooked
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 16th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
When I first saw the call for bloggers to join in the blog tour for the new Wendy Ward book I was unsure whether to apply. Would any of the patterns work for a pregnant body, I wondered? However, when I found out one of the patterns was for a cardigan I figured I’d be on safe ground. I’m of the firm belief that any cardigan can work over a bump. It’s just that some need to be left unbuttoned :-)
As luck would have it, the Kinder Cardigan turned out to be perfect for my needs: a roomy fit, no fastenings so it hangs open with plenty of room for the bump, and there’s a longline option which is something currently lacking in my wardrobe. After reading through the book I was raring to go—all I had to do was choose some fabric.
I browsed through the medium weight jersey fabrics on Minerva’s site looking for something a bit special that would make this cardigan something I could wear out in the evenings as well as during the day (versatility is key for maternity wear!), and found this wonderful sequinned textured Jersey Fabric. At the time of writing this post there is limited stock left in the black, but plenty in the other three colours (ivory, grey and mauve), all of which are really appealing too.
What I love about this fabric is the sequins are subtle, being small, quite widely spaced and the same colour as the fabric. This means the sparkle isn’t too DISCO for the school run, but it gives a luxurious shimmer under artificial light in the evenings. It also means that you can treat the fabric like any other medium weight sweater knit, rather than having to go to all the trauma of cutting out sequins from the seam allowance like you do with heavily sequinned fabrics. I didn’t bother removing any sequins before sewing and didn’t break a single needle. There are a few sequins that are in contact with my skin at the collar and cuffs, but they’re not remotely itchy so I’ve left them in place.
The patterns in Sewing with Knitted Fabrics are printed on sheets and need tracing out as the printing is on both sides and different pieces overlap. With the cardigan several pattern pieces were too large for the sheets, so had to be traced off two different sheets and joined together. I tend to always trace my patterns anyway, so this wasn’t a problem for me. The only thing I found a little confusing was that the cardigan pieces were printed on different sheets, but with each pattern having its own colour that made them easier to trace. It just took longer to find the pieces I needed than it would have if they’d all been together on one sheet.
When choosing a size I went with the middle size (96-101 cm) as the instructions said to go with your actual bust size, and mine was between that and the next size up. However, this turned out to be a mistake and I should have gone with my high bust measurement, putting me in the next size down (88-92cm). Perhaps it’s just me, but the oversized, boxy fit of the middle size just wasn’t doing me any favours. I thought I looked like a child dressing up in her parent’s clothes—not the look I was going for!
Luckily it was simple enough to take the cardigan in at the arm and side seams to approximate the next size down. I didn’t go to the trouble of redoing the armscye and shoulder seams, but I think I got away with it.
The instructions in the book are comprehensive and easy to follow, with plenty of diagrams. I did change the order of construction slightly by sewing the side seams before adding the neckband, so I could overlock along the bottom hem. This was essential with this particular loose-knit fabric as it frays and unravels.
I also used some Fusible Stretch Interfacing to line the pockets, which I fused on the cross grain to give the fabric more stability. As well as this I stitched some twill tape across the top fold of the pockets as I was worried about this knit stretching and bagging out. It doesn’t have the greatest recovery, and I know I tend to overstuff my pockets at times! My final pocket reinforcement was sewing small triangles at each side of the top—a technique I’ve used before for patch pockets.
I’m really happy with my finished cardigan, although I’ll admit it’s not the warmest fabric so it hasn’t yet had a huge amount of wear. I can see this changing once spring finally gets going, though. It’s the perfect basic layering piece that goes with most of my wardrobe, and that subtle sparkle makes it more fun than a plain black cardigan has any right to be.
As for the book as a whole, I’m really impressed. I’ve got several knit sewing books on my shelves now and have been sewing mainly knit fabrics for the last few years, but Wendy’s book definitely brings something new to the party and I found some really helpful tips in there.
What I particularly like about this book is the really comprehensive charts of knit fabric types, along with the best stitches and needles to use with them. I wish I’d had this information at my fingertips when I started out sewing knits as I’ve had to pick it up by trial and error.
I was puzzled that there’s no mention made of using clear elastic or stretch interfacing for stabilising purposes (regular interfacing is mentioned for solving problems hemming), as they’re something I use all the time when sewing knits. However, for the projects in this book they’re not necessary and perhaps Wendy left them out to keep things simple for knit beginners.
I will definitely be making more from Wendy’s book in the future, although not until after I’ve had the baby. The Derwent Wide Leg Trousers and the Monsal Lounge Pants look like the perfect secret pyjamas for wearing while looking after another littl’un, so I reckon those will be first, although I’m also tempted by the dress version of the Winnats Tank. Decisions, decisions… although not one I need to make for a few months. I’ll just get the whole giving birth thing out of the way first. And the sleepless nights. Heh, I’m not nervous about this impending life change at all…
Happy sewing, everyone!
All materials for this make were kindly supplied by Minerva in return for an honest blog post. Thank you, Minerva!
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 15th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 14th April 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
The tag line of this Book is “Everything you need to know to make 20 essential garments” and Wendy has divided her book into two sections: Techniques and Projects. The first section is written in a chatty way which demystifies sewing with knit fabrics. The techniques covered among others include how to find the grain, identifying the right and wrong side of knitted fabric and much to my delight, a quick guide to choosing the right seam for your project. Even the sizing is easy to choose – Wendy has included finished garment measurements with the sizing guide table.
The pictures are bright and light. The layout is fun and uncluttered. I really appreciated that every picture in this book adds value in the sense that there aren’t pictures of random haberdashery stuff. There are plenty of close up photos and illustrations. The patterns were easy to trace out as the pattern sheets have different colours for each project. The projects in this book are all modern and wearable.
What did I make?
Let me preface by saying that choosing what to sew was very challenging as I would make every single garment in the book. Every. Single. One.
In the end it was the fabric that decided for me. While browsing the Minerva site for fabric I stumbled upon some hot pink Silk Jersey Fabric. Suddenly, it was decided that I would be making the Winnats tank and Longshaw skirt.
The skirt is an unusual and bold design that attracted me with its drapey silhouette. I chose a bright pink beautifully soft silk jersey which has a soft lustre. Having a fluid drape and buttery texture it was perfect for the Romanesque draped sides. Very simple to sew it took less than an hour to finish. It is made up of just 2 pattern pieces and a waist band. I used an overlocker on all the seams and hemmed with a zigzag stitch.
I made the tank in size 88cm without any alterations and the fit is exactly what I like on a tank! The instructions are well written – care has been taken to ensure that even the newest novice to sewing can tackle this. Another point that impressed me was the neckband and armholes; the band snaps perfectly flat against my body. I love that these 2 garments can be worn together to create the look of a dress and also separately.
Will I be sewing more from this book? Definitely! (I already have a Kinder cardigan cut out.)
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely!
This book to me comes across as something that will be a classic in the cannon of sewing books. Not only because it covers essential techniques for working with an oft feared fabric but also for the stylish patterns that come with the book. A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics is a great sewing book and a welcome addition to any library.
Thanks for reading,
Hila @ Saturday Night Stitch