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Llama Pyjamas

If there is one thing I love it is Llamas. If there is something I love even more it's these soft cuddly llama pyjamas and slippers made from this delicious Flannel Fabric.
I put these pyjamas on just to photograph them and must confess to you that I didn't take them off until several hours later. They are so comfortable and warm! I just love them.
The Sewing Pattern is an Ellie Mae design for Kwik Sew patterns and the fabric is a cotton flannel which comes in three colours and is quite inexpensive.
It is soft and cuddly anyway but when I pre washed it the fabric became even softer.
The measurements are quite generous so on this occasion if you are between sizes I suggest you go down a size not up. For once I did not have to shorten the sleeves or trouser legs, which is a first for me. So if you have long limbs then do check the lengths. Having said that I did use generous hems.
The pattern instructions are amazing, she goes into much detail over each step and adds tips on how to achieve the best results.
This is a quick and easy pattern suitable for all abilities, so if you are fairly new to sewing I would recommend this pattern.
The yoke on the pattern is meant to be in a contrast colour but to be honest I did not have anything which was of a similar weight and "feel" so I decided to make them entirely in my llama fabric. 
I am sure you will agree that this looks perfect anyway.
The yoke lining is curved and I wanted to share a tip with you for getting the perfect finish.
Sew the yoke lining to the yoke at the neck. Trim and clip the curves and press open. You will find a sleeve roll handy here. Then press the facing to the wrong side and understitch the facing to the seam allowance. This won't be seen on the right side of the garment but does work wonders in keeping everything in its correct place.
The facing now needs turning under by half an inch. To do this nearly simply run a basting stitch along the edge and when you gather it the edge will roll under nicely. Simply measure half an inch hem adjusting the gathers as you go and press.
Then pin the facing down on the right side , making sure that it extends slightly beyond the seam and stitch-in-the-ditch on the right side catching the facing down.
This gives a really neat finish.
This is the finished top. There are no fastenings to worry about and there is a choice of two hemlines. One choice is to have the hem straight and the other to have it raised slightly at the front and dipping at the back - which is the version I chose.
When sewing the hem do the same as we did with the yoke facing and gather any curved edges before pressing. It really makes the job very easy.
The back facing is actually a piece of bias binding. I chose one of the colours featured in the fabric, which is this bright pink.
The trousers are simple to make, just mark the back so that you don't get mixed up. This is the channel stitched to form a casing for the elastic waistband.
I didn't use the elastic guide instead I put a length of elastic comfortably around my waist and cut it slightly longer for joining the edges together.
When I had threaded it through I pinned the edges together with a safety pin and tried the pants on. I then could easily adjust the elastic until I was happy with the fit.
Then machine sew the edges together and close the gap in the waist band.
To finish the pants I arranged the gathers evenly and stiched along the seams of the waistband to keep the elastic in place and to stop it from curling over cutting wear.
I also added a small fabric flower to the centre front cut from some lace, purely to make it easy to identify the front when putting them on. 
I finished all my hems by turning under 1/4" and pressing and then turning under another inch before pressing and top stitching.
These are beautifully fitting, soft, comfortable pyjama pants.and I love them. 
I have made these slippers before on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.
Make a test slipper first to get the sizing right for you and once you have done that and are happy with the fit you will always have something to make with the end of project scraps. 
You could embellish them with beads and sequins or embroidery too....
They are so cute and snuggly to wear and how fabulous to be dressed in head to toe in llama lounge wear!
I think that these are great especially as they have non-slip soles.
I am thoroughly delighted with my llama pyjamas and know that I will be lounging around in them a lot.
Would I use this pattern again? Yes! Definitely. I love it!
Thank you to Minerva for this wonderful fabric which has made me very happy indeed.
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McCall’s 7154 The Archive Collection Circa 1930

It’s Liz here from Liz Sews. I’m happy to be back and sharing a project using Minerva’s poly Crepe De Chine Fabric in the Emerald colorway. This fabric really has the most gorgeous drape and subtle sheen to it. I could see it making a fabulous blouse, and with 37 colors to choose from your sure to find something that peaks your fancy. I however decided I wanted to make something a little more showy and chose McCall’s 7154 from there archive collection for this project.

I keep putting this pattern on hold for various reasons, mostly I think I was scared. I decided this was the perfect time to take the plunge and sew up this dress before committing to 7 yds of silk! On the McCall’s blog they suggest a fabric that just falls into a puddle for this dress and this crepe de chine does just that. When the package arrived it looked absurdly small, it’s because this fabric is like water and feels like air wear. I was expecting it to be a little trickier to cut out than it was behaving a bit more stable than first impressions would have you believe.

You’ll notice I made some design changes to the pattern to make it suit my body type better. First off (and the simplest change) was to remove the blousy effect from the bodice. I just don’t like having any extra fabric around my waist, I think this only looks good on more boy-ish or athletic figures popular in the 1930s.  To do this all use need to do is cut doubles of the lining and omit the overlay piece. The lining already has a bust and waist dart built in for shaping and would make it easier if you need to do a FBA. Next I attempted to remove the hip ruching (with limited success). If I make this dress again I might add that detail back in because I think it would make fitting the skirt a little more forgiving.

Word of warning, this dress requires a lot of hand stitching (at least compared to how much I normally do). The thin fabric made it difficult to tell if I was going through one layer or all the layers so I am afraid I have little bits of stitching showing through on the right side in some places. I love the triangle cut out details on the front and back neckline but if I had it to do over again I would interface the area so help keep a crisp geometric shape.

I love the piecing on the skirt that gives this dress the iconic art deco vibe. The bias-cut side panels drape elegantly off the hips. I did have a bit of an issue with the center swag detail. I ironed it copiously to try and get everything to lay flat but ultimately, I think my attempt at redrafting the hip gathers is what did me it. Also during this ironing session, I managed to get a slight water mark on the fabric. Since it’s a polyester I am hoping a quick trip through the washing machine will take care of that but it’s something to keep in mind when using this fabric.

All in all I learned a lot from making this dress and I certainly have gained a better understanding of the construction before the next time I attempt it. Other than adding the hip gathers back in the only other change I would be to move the zipper to the side for cleaner lines in the back. Now all I need is a party to wear it to!

Thanks for reading,

Liz @ Liz Sews

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Faux Stretch Suede Pinafore Dress

This project really tested my resilience and for me, it was a lesson in choosing the correct project for the fabric. I had big dreams of sewing up some wide legged dungarees for my daughter and thought that the Faux Stretch Suede Fabric would be perfect for doing this as I’d used some in the past that had a firm hand. However, when the fabric arrived it was much lighter and drapier that I had envisioned. It had a soft handle and a smooth texture; a really lovely feel, but far too lightweight for dungarees. Just look at the lovely drape.

I purchased some Knit Interfacing to accommodate the stretch in the fabric fused it to the wrong side of the fabric. If you have never used stretch interfacing it is fantastic. It allows the fabric to stretch but still gives it stability, I often use in on fine non-stretch wovens too. Due to the fibre content, this fabric presses the best with a press cloth. I just used a piece of cotton for this and I found that the fabric pressed well and the seams were lovely and flat.

As this has a knit base you don’t really need to worry about neatening seam allowances as they won’t fray. It also has two good sides so would be perfect for patterns where you see both sides of the fabric. This fabric is quite dense and needs careful use of pins and needles. Pins do mark, so I just made sure that mine went into the seam allowance. I had to use the finest of my pins as the thicker ones struggle to go through the fabric. It’s also worth trying your sewing machine needle and stitch on some offcuts before starting sewing. I used a regular straight stitch and found it worked well.  My regular needle ended up skipping a few stitches so I swapped to a stretch needle and sewed a little slower than I usually do, especially when sewing with the stretch to avoid further skipped stitches.

It was at this point I should have trusted my instinct and changed the pattern, but no! I decided to forge ahead and franken patterned some dungarees using the wide-legged version of the cigarette pant form Gertie Sews Vintage Casual and the bib part of the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo dress. I had checked the pattern and it all fit together really well.

I made up the trouser section and fitted it to my daughter. The fit was good and if these had been trousers they would have looked great. I carried on with the bib and straps, all matched well and looking ok, but once I tried it on my daughter the length in the body was just too short (no one wants a camel toe!!!!). At this point, it was time for a Tim Gunn “Make it work” moment and I undid the inseam and created a skirt. I also let out the sides at the hip to give a little more booty room.

The final dress looks good and it’s met with the seal of approval from my daughter as she hasn’t stopped wearing it since I made it. This has been a lesson for me in choosing the right type of garment for the fabric. This fabric really would look amazing a less structured style.

Tips for sewing with this slinky faux stretch suede.

  1. Use a press cloth - this presses really well with a cloth but could melt without.

  2. Use a microtex or stretch needle. Sew slowly and carefully to avoid skipped stitches, the interfacing helped here.

  3. Use knit interfacing.

  4. I avoided using the overlocker at I thought that the edging would show through when pressed and I was right. The edges don’t really need to be finished with this fabric anyway.

  5. This fabric has about 30% stretch and is fluid and drapey - choose a pattern that reflects these qualities and you will end up with a great make.

This has been a learning experience for me. I think I need to practise a little more slow sewing and even some slow thinking before jumping headlong into a project, but I'm guessing we’ve all been there right?

Until next time

Claire @artcoopsville

ragbagsandgladrags

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Simplicity 1197 Cotton Canvas Coat

Canvas is a fabulous fabric. It's sturdy and durable. It's easy to work with and wears well. Many of us use it often for home decor projects. But it's also a great option for outerwear. Coats made of canvas are excellent for cooler weather.
I loved the look of this navy blue Cotton Canvas Fabric at Minerva. It's bright and cheerful. The bold floral print put me right in the mind of being ready for springtime. How great for a reminder of those blooms. And I look forward to wearing it in the fall as a last reminder of warmer days. Plus, it's available in a number of other shades.
I decided to use the canvas with a reproduction pattern from the 1960s, Simplicity 1197. I've been trying to work my wardrobe into one that includes a vintage vibe but that also often has a modern aesthetic. This pairing was great for that mission.
My measurements are 37" 30.5" 39". According to the back of the pattern envelope, that puts me in a size 16. However, I find it really useful to take a look at the amount of ease included in paper patterns. Based on those numbers, I decided to cut a straight size 12. It still provided plenty of ease for wearing over long sleeves and sweaters. I think the only change I would make would be to shorten it a bit at the waistline in order to make it fit my petite frame a bit better.
This pattern is not too difficult, but it does have a number of pieces as well as steps. I found it helpful to mark off each pattern piece as I cut it in order to be certain I got each. For example, each sleeve had two pieces in both the main and lining fabrics. The back also includes a center seam. The benefit of this is that you can use narrower fabric and still fit the pieces. However, you do need to consider pattern matching across seams. With the busy floral on this canvas, I didn't worry about it. I felt it hid any mismatch quite easily.
Some of the steps are tedious, as it involves quite a bit of hand sewing. However, it really meant that this coat has a professional look to it. I chose to hem the main fabric by hand in order to make sure the stitching wasn't seen from the outside of the coat.
I paired the floral canvas with a polyester lining from my stash that matched perfectly. I love how nice the fully lined coat looks. The bottom of the lining hangs loose, but it is attached by French tacks at the seams. It definitely reminded me of nice ready to wear clothing I've owned.
A favorite feature is of course the pockets. I had never before created pockets like these. However, following the directions slowly made them successful. They look absolutely fabulous. The welts are just like professional coats I've purchased. I adore when my handmade garments are undistinguishable from ready to wear.
I recommend both the fabric and the pattern. Of course, this floral canvas is a bold choice for a coat. Not everyone may be willing to use it for a large garment like this. It could also be a lovely skirt or used in smaller pieces. However, I think it's a fabulously fun fabric for outerwear. It stands out and puts a smile on my face.
Thanks for reading,
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Embrace the Plains

Hello, I’m Adelle, I am on a mission to create a handmade wardrobe. I’m excited to be reviewing this Plum Florenza Crepe Fabric from Minerva.

The Fabric:

In recent times I have begun to embrace the plains. When I first began dressmaking I was firmly in the pattern fabric camp. Walking into a fabric shop I would head straight for the pattern fabrics, but in recent times I have found myself living plain fabrics more. It allows me the show off the dress pattern more, and also it’s filled some gaps in my me-made wardrobe when wearing separates.

I was very lucky to be allowed by Minerva to choose the fabric for my next product review from their immense range. And with my pattern choice in mind I settled on this florenza crepe dress fabric in the warm plum colour. Minerva has 51 colour ways for this fabric and it was a difficult descision to settle on which colour for my project. I’ve been loving the warm autumnal colours this season, so I went with the plum colourway. This polyester crepe is a light to medium weight fabric with lots of drape. It’s very soft and has a smooth finish.

The Pattern:

Sew Over It recently released a new ebook ‘My Capsule Wardrobe: Work to Weekend’ and the Kate dress will be a perfect work outfit. It has a fitted bodice with a collar for a chic smart look. The skirt is in several panel pieces and has slits to allow the skirt the flow.

It is an intermediate pattern as it contains a hidden button placket and a collar with a collar stand. With this in mind, I first made up the shirt version in some cotton lawn. There are parts to the pattern that requires some thnking, but the instructions are simple to follow accompanied with clear photographs. The pattern notches are particularly important so don’t forget those!

The Sew:

The dress requires quite a bit of fabric, almost 4 m for a size 12 version. I made up the size 10 version with a few adjustments to the bust darts which appear to be quite high. It was a project that I broke down into small manageable steps. First making the button placket, then adding the collar, and then adding the skirt.

The fabric did have a tendency to pucker so I increased my stitch length slightly and took time to press with a cool iron. I think next time I would use my walking foot attachment to give more stability.

The dress has front buttons but contains a side invisible zip. I admit that sewing buttonholes fill me with dread. No matter how many times I practise they go wrong on my project. This time I was lucky! However you could get away with sewing up the front and adding fake buttons because with the long zip you can still get it on and off .

One improvement I would like to see to the Sew Over It patterns is to include the pattern reference letters in the instructions. I had labelled my pieces A,B,C etc but these aren’t refrenced so I had to keep referring back to the start to work out which piece was needed

The Finished Dress:

Putting on this dress I do feel like I’ve stepped out a 1950s post war moment. And I actually love that look. The bodice fits beautifully after making adjustments to the bust dart. I love the hidden button placket and I feel with each shirt I make my collars are becoming neater.

One part I was a little disappointed with was the slits. They just clapped open exposing the inside and my overlocked edges. I sewed all the dress panel seams up and I think even with a heavier weight fabric I would do the same.

Thank you Minerva for letting me choose this project. It’s going to feature in my winter work wardrobe quite a lot.

Adelle x

@button_and _pip

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The Secret Pajamas Club

I’ve finally joined the secret pajamas club and could not be more thrilled with my first Moneta dress by Colette Patterns. I paired this simple pattern with Minerva’s Deluxe Viscose Jersey Fabric and wow is it soft!

I washed and dried my fabric right away and was happy with how well it faired, no pilling like I sometimes have with other lower quality fabrics. The Moneta dress is a .pdf pattern, but I had purchased it ahead of time and sent it off to a .pdf printer. I was able to get to work right away.

The instructions estimated the pattern would take three hours to complete and I was up for the challenge, so I set my cell phone timer and got to work. I chose style three, the ¾ length sleeve option. I was trucking right along until I needed to hem the sleeves and the neckline. I was using my newest sewing machine, the Husqvarna Viking 400, and decided to take the time to learn how to use a twin needle with this machine. I had a few tension issues and ultimately decided to use Heat-n-Bond soft stretch lite fusible web adhesive and was able to achieve a much more polished look; one I was happy with.

One other difficulty I ran into making this dress was when I reached the instruction about cutting elastic. It wasn’t clear to me how long to cut my elastic and I cut it too long, ultimately making the skirt too large to add to the top. After ripping the seam and elastic out I realized that the elastic should be the length of the circumference of the torso portion of the top. Adding the skirt portion back onto the top portion went much more smoothly the second time!

I ended up taking an extra hour or so making this dress, adding stay-tape in the shoulder seams and understitching and stabilizing the pockets, as well as experimenting with my new sewing machine. I’m really happy with this make and will definitely make it again. When I do I will likely add a neckband and shorten the top about an inch so the waistline hits at my natural wait. I may shorten the length of the skirt too. And I can’t say enough about how much I love this viscose jersey knit which was a dream to sew with and launder, plus a wardrobe staple color. I’m dreaming about my next Moneta dress in a soft heathered gray for my Easter dress.

Time estimated: 4-5 hours

Size: small

Fabric used: Deluxe Viscose Jersey Fabric in Franch navy, 92% Viscose, 8% Spandex

Care instructions: machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Cost to make dress:

pattern - $14

.pdf printing - $5

Fabric - $15 value

*used existing thread and fusible web

TOTAL VALUE: $34

Please follow my blog www.sewhelpmebyMarissa.blogspot.com and on social media at www.facebook.com/SewHelpMebyMarissa and www.instagram.com/sew_help_me.

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Stretch Crepe Camille Jumpsuit

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably know that episode one of Alice-May versus the Sew Over It Camille Jumpsuit was not without its trials and tribulations, so it may surprise you that when the opportunity arose to make one for my first Minerva Crafts blog post I jumped at it. Nope, I’m not sure what I was thinking either, but I really wanted to nail the fit issues on this one and make my dream power suit.

The Fabric

My first jumpsuit looks great when it is fresh off the ironing board but the instant you breathe it creases so much you might as well have rolled down a hill through a few small forests in it. It also has no give in the hips and the sleeves are so tight you can forget getting anything down from the top couple of shelves at the supermarket. I felt like both of these issues weren’t to do with the pattern but were to do with the fabric I had chosen so I wanted to make it again in a crepe fabric with slight stretch.

This Lady McElroy Stretch Crepe Fabric in the most beautifully obnoxious shade of royal blue was perfect for the job. I’m a big fan of colours which stand out on a rainy day amongst all the black and grey. A good primary colour has the ability to put a smile on my face no matter how blue I’m feeling (pun intended).

The fabric has a right and a wrong side that wouldn’t be noticeable to any non-sewist looking at it. I’m not sure which is technically the ‘wrong’ side but I put the more textured side next to my skin as I preferred the look of the less textured side. I was a little concerned that the texture would be itchy on my sensitive skin but I can confirm that I have been wearing it all day at work (with a bandeau to make the neckline safe for work) and haven’t had any issues.

The Pattern

Once I had chosen to go with a stretch crepe to fix the sleeves issue I decided to make a few extra adjustments.

  • Lengthened the sleeves to full-length to combat those pesky cold wrists

  • Shortened the trousers by 3 inches

  • Lowered the neckline by an inch

  • Used the method of finishing that the Eve dress does – ironing stay tape to the wrong side, folding it over and topstitching in place. I did this as the fabric is quite thick and springy and I didn’t want to have to battle with facing poking out every time I wore it.

The pattern is relatively straightforward but it does have a lot of steps so be prepared for an involved make if you choose this pattern. I skipped the pockets this time as I knew I’d only be wearing it for evening and at work where I don’t need pockets. Also, last time I did this pattern the pockets were a source of immense frustration as the way they described how to insert them was unnecessarily complicated.

The Result

Overall, I am happy with how my jumpsuit turned out. In hindsight I definitely should have made a toile before sewing the bodice as it would have made the process a lot smoother! The neckline which I thought would only be an inch lower turned out to reach right down to my navel… so I had to unpick the waistband and redo it. Even after that the neckline was still too low so I had to hand stitch it up.

The weight of the crepe really suits this pattern as the trousers have excellent shhwiiiing and it doesn’t cling. Even though this pattern doesn’t recommend stretch fabric I definitely would recommend it. In this blue that superman himself would be jealous of I got my power suit in the end!

Thanks for reading,

Alice-May @ thestitchedit

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A Kielo and a Wedge of Swans

Hey Minerva makers!

Did you know that the collective noun for swans in flight is a wedge of swans? I love silly facts like that and I kind of love that the folds of the Kielo dress mirror that wedge shape! Am I thinking about this too closely? Probably!

Anyway, as soon as I saw this Lady McElroy Stretch Viscose Fabric I knew I wanted to make it into a Kielo Dress. It’s such a pretty shape and displays the fabric beautifully; I am also hoping that it can transition through the seasons quite nicely. I was tempted to make the sleeved version but I want to be able to wear this in summer so I decided to make it sleeveless and wear it with cardigans/jackets in the spring.

Named Patterns recommend a light and drapey fabric with a minimum 20% stretch and this fabric fits the bill perfectly! I don’t know about you but I always find it hard to find nice wovens with stretch – the sample Kielo on the packet is made of a stretch chiffon and I always think it looks so light and beautiful and floaty - I wanted to replicate that with this fabric. It has a really fluid drape, is completely opaque and not as lightweight as I had expected; it feels like beautiful quality. I was actually a bit nervous that the fabric wouldn’t have enough stretch so I sized up one size but I don’t think I really needed to.

I love the Kielo shape but I am not much of a maxi dress person so I do tend to shorten them (this is the third one I’ve made!). This time I folded the pattern up by 18 inches to take it from maxi length to just above the knee. Beware! It’s a good job I wanted a shortened version as the recommended fabric layout supplied in the pattern has you rotating the back pieces upside down to fit next to the front piece – no good if you have a directional print like this one!

If you’ve not made a Kielo before, the back is usually cut as two pieces with a centre back seam and there is a long dart running up and down each side. Because I knew the darts would ‘interrupt’ the swan pattern quite a bit, I chose to cut the back on the fold so that the print is somewhat preserved. This did mean there was a little less shaping in the back but because the ties cinch in the waist quite a bit I don’t really think it matters too much.

The pattern instructions give two options for finishing the arm and neckholes – they suggest that you can just turn them in and topstitch or they also give the option of binding them. I chose to bind them with some strips of self fabric I cut on the bias and I’m really pleased with the finished effect – it looks neat on the outside and beautiful on the inside! I also had no problems whatsoever making the straps – something I’ve struggled with in previous makes as I’ve had straps trying to twist while I am sewing them. To combat any potential twisting, I cut the strap pieces parallel to the selvedge and fully interface the straps with lightweight interfacing. Using this method they sew up beautifully and thanks to the interfacing they retain their flat shape while worn. I am really pleased with how crisp and beautiful the ties are in this version!

I absolutely love this dress, the Kielo is one of my favourite patterns and think it looks great in this fabric which was beautifully easy to work with and (unlike some viscoses) doesn’t want to crease! Hallelujah! In the ‘flying squirrel’ picture below, I had been wearing that dress all morning with the straps tied around me and you can see it’s not creased much!

As always, thank you to Minerva for the supplies and until next time, happy sewing!

Vicky @ Sewstainability

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A Stripey Tilly and the Buttons Nora Top

For my most recent make I went full on cosy! I love sweatshirt weather and though I mainly wear dresses, I can't resist throwing together a quick sweatshirt and the roomier the better around winter time to hide the excess hibernation cake! They are usually pretty quick to run up and I knew I wanted a quick and satisfying Sweater out of this lovely Fabric, which is a striped loose knit in Blush.

I have found that the perfect solution to this is the new Tilly and the Buttons Nora Top. I have made this several times and it has a real slouchy and relaxed silhouette and it is super quick to sew up. I have made the t-shirt version previously but for this I cut the version with the high neck, though I knew from the feel and drape of the fabric that this wouldn't sit upright but I wanted to embrace a relaxed look. I also chose the long sleeve option. I also made a high-low hem by having a shorter front then back hem. I needed a metre and a half to do this and I used pretty much all of the fabric.

The fabric really does have a loose knit and because of this it has it's pros and cons when it comes to working with it and wearing it.

Pros: it's super light and easy to manipulate, meaning stripe matching is super easy. It is really breathable to wear. It has a lovely drape to it.

Cons: it needs lots of weights when cutting as it moves around because it is so light. It needs a vest or something under it to be decent! I was more than happy with this look though and wore a white vest under my top.

The pattern did come together really quickly and I used my sewing machine to ensure that the stripes were lined up and used my overlocker to ensure that my seams had stretch and were finished. I chose to overlock first so I could use the seams to easily and neatly complete my stepped hem. The sleeves are set on the flat,which is always good news for me. They seemed very long though and I had to shorten them significantly!

I feel the colours in the stripes go really well together, I'm not usually one for wearing pink but the combination of colours meansu that it's not sickly pink and it goes with lots of different garments in my wardrobe. I can see this becoming a staple in my wardrobe. I'm pleased with my stripe matching and the relaxed style of it. It's perfect for walks on the beach and lazy winter days.

Thanks for reading,

Emma @ emmaandhermachine

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Boiled Wool Berlin Jacket

Hello everyone, it’s Suzanna from Threadquarters back today to share my latest make for Minerva, and I’m pretty excited about this one.
I have had my eye on the Tessuti Berlin Jacket for some time now and when I saw that Minerva stocked Boiled Wool Fabric I knew it had to be my next project. They have quite a wonderful selection of colours in this boiled wool, so deciding which to go for was tricky. I narrowed it down to either a classic black, which I knew I would get so much wear out of, or a fun pop of colour with the royal blue. In the end I followed my heart, rather than my head and went with the royal blue - and I am so glad I did. The richness of colour is out of this world!
The Berlin Jacket calls for fabric which doesn’t fray, such as a boiled wool, or perhaps a ponte roma. If you were to make it up in a ponte it would be a really cosy, snuggly coatigan, which I have to admit I’m tempted to try soon. The reason why you need to use fabric which doesn’t fray is down to the rather unusual construction method. ’Normal’ seams are only used for the side seams, while everything else is constructed by simply laying one layer on-top of the other and sewing a few mm away from the edge! Thus, your edges are exposed and susceptible to fraying. This unusual construction method did take a little bit for me to get my head around, but the instructions are pretty clear, and with a bit of practice it ends up being incredibly easy. I would suggest doing a couple of practice seams before moving onto your fashion fabric. Do also be aware that unpicking stitches in boiled wool is not fun (ask me how I know!). I did have a couple of occasions where I didn’t manage to catch the underlying layer and ended up with a little hole - so just go slow, and be careful! 
Another tip I have is when you are sewing the shoulder and back neck seam, roll up your front piece so it fits into the space in your sewing machine. This will make things a lot easier. 
I also found that because you sew so close to the edge, it did have a tendency to creep underneath the foot - I got around this by occasionally feeding the edge under the foot with either the point of a pin or your seam ripper (obviously you keep it well away from your sewing needle!) 
The pattern comes in sizes XL - XXS and I cut a size S. Due to the style lines of the jacket, which has dropped shoulders, you do end up with a fair bit of room in the shoulder, chest and arms. But I do notice that it tapers in towards the hips, and I have less room there. It doesn’t matter really though because there is not a front fastening, and it is meant to hang open. Top tip if you are wearing this in the winter months is to get a gorgeous scarf to wear with it and keep your front warm!
One of the amazing things about this pattern is that you only need 1.5m of fabric - to make a coat! I even managed to squeeze a couple more inches of length, as I had read reviews that some people felt it came out a little short. I have to say I’m really happy with the length mine ended up.
I’m not the neatest when it comes to cutting out fabric, I must admit, so I was a little bit nervous cutting this because I knew the raw edges would be exposed. So I took my time, and made sure my scissors were super sharp (I’m in the dressmaking shears camp, but of course a rotary cutter would do a beautiful job) and the edges weren’t too bad. But once it is all sewn up you can go back and neaten up any wobbly bits if necessary. I have to say that when I first started making the jacket/coat I wasn’t sure what I would think of the raw edges, but now that it is complete I am totally won over. It gives it a really modern, contemporary vibe, which I absolutely love. Bonus, it is so quick and easy to make - double bonus that no one will realise how easy it actually was to make and will be super impressed with you that you made a coat!
Thanks for reading,
Suzanna @ Threadquarters

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