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Floral Ponte Nikki Cardigan

Hello once again, and welcome to my review of this floral Ponta Roma Fabric. When I saw the selection this month I automatically went for this choice as I had a great pattern in mind that I really wanted to use.

The pattern I had in mind to use is one of Athina Kakou’s, it’s the Nikki Cardigan. This is a really great and easy pattern to work with.

As usual with all my fabric, I prewashed this Ponte Roma fabric. Minerva recommends washing at 40 degrees, but my I washed at 30 degrees, but this time I have a new washing machine that washes for about an hour cycle. And then as usual I put the fabric in the tumble dryer on low heat as I like to wash and dry my fabric as I would wash my completed garments. With every fabric, if you are not sure about what temperature to use, always do a test wash on a sample.

I find this fabric drapes really well and has a very soft finish making ideal for tops and dresses. I found the fabric really easy to work with. As the little flowers are all over the fabric, there is no worrying about pattern matching.

When laying the pattern pieces out, I used my pins to pin the patterns into places, no weights needed and I used my scissors to cut the pieces out with ease. Others may use a rotary cutter, but I found using my scissors were fine for this fabric.

Sewing with this Ponte Roma was a breeze. I used my overlocker for most of the garment, and then my sewing machine for the top stitching.

This cardigan was really easy to make and the fabric is really soft and great looking, I am so looking forward to getting a lot of use out of this and wearing this cardigan during the Autumn and Winter months.

Thanks for reading, until next time, and Happy Sewing.

Justine @justaboutcrafting

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Rose Pink Simplicity 8554 Trench Coat

It’s funny what you discover about yourself when you examine your closet. For example, I used to think my favorite color was mint green but ironically, I don’t have any mint green garments in my closet. I prefer solid versus printed fabrics and I’m drawn to greys, blacks and pinks. I got a chance to review the Plain Crepe fabric in Rose Pink and I couldn’t be more pleased with my selection. I knew right away I wanted to make Simplicity 8554, a trench coat. Since buying the pattern a few months ago, I’ve been following the hashtag on Instagram. I find it helpful to follow the hashtag as I can see the variety of fabrics that have been used and what the different views look on different bodies. If I have a question about the pattern, I’ll usually ask and most of the times I get an answer back. This is the beauty of the sewing community and social media!
In California we don’t have to worry about extreme cold so I didn’t want anything too heavy or thick for my winter season. The Plain Crepe Fabric is a medium weight woven fabric so it is perfect for a trench coat that will keep me warm when layering.
Here’s a brief description of the fabric:
  • Color options: Black, Dark Grey, Ivory, Navy Blue, Rich Red, Rose Pink, Silver and Tan
  • Composition: 100% Polyester
  • Weight: Medium
  • Woven, Non Stretch
I’ve heard sewing with knits can be intimidating but for me it is quite the opposite. Woven fabrics are not as forgiving as knits and getting a good fit is key. This fabric has been my favorite woven to sew with thus far. Even after pressing it multiple times, seam ripping (a couple of times), pinning and serging, the fabric didn't fray much.
Sometimes woven fabrics can be slippery, but that was not the case with this crepe. I have never sewn with crepe, but working with this fabric has given me the push to explore different fabrics. The color is perfect, even for fall/winter. In my opinion, it is just the right shade of pink and has the perfect amount of drape for the trench coat. What do you think?
Isn't it wonderful when you get the right fabric and pattern to make a successful project? Well Simplicity 8554, was the perfect pattern for the crepe fabric. I recently watched a movie and one of the characters was wearing a dusty pink blazer that I couldn't get out of my mind. I love that the fabric and pattern came together so well. According to the size chart I'm size 22 but I have found that Simplicity Patterns tend to run larger. It is important to look at the finished garment measurements to decide what size you should use. In my case, I sized down to size 18. I'm happy that this pattern is available in the larger size range. Here's what the pattern offers:
  • 3 different views with short, mid and long length options (I chose view B)
  • Side slits, optional pockets and ties
  • Size range 6 – 22 
This pattern is labeled as "easy-to-sew" and I would say that is accurate. The instructions are overall good and I didn't have any problems with following the instructions. I did find that the photo on the pattern cover has a much wider belt than the actual pattern piece. If you want a wider belt, cut two belt pieces instead of cutting one and folding it in half. I followed the instructions for belt constructions and this is what the belt looks like.
I run into a minor problem after attaching the sleeves to the armscye. The sleeves were bigger than the armscye and I'm thinking that was because I probably cut a larger sleeve size. When I sewed the side seams, the armscye was too tight and I was unable to move my arms freely...grrrr. So this is the point where I stopped and abandoned my project for about a week. I didn't want to proceed and have a garment that didn't fit properly or that I wouldn't wear because it was uncomfortable. I had taken so much time up to that point that I just had to walk away and give myself sometime to figure out my next move. I know it sounds a bit dramatic (LOL) but I take my sewing very seriously! 
After a week passed by, I took my seam ripper and took out my side seams and sleeves. Good thing I had only attached one sleeve only otherwise, this project may have never been completed. I thought about adding an underarm gusset but the truth is that I thought that may be too advanced for me (I was also lazy). The pattern calls for a 5/8" seam allowance but I used a 1/4" seam allowance instead to give me more room in the shoulder/underarm area and it worked for me. I don't know if this is the right move, but I guess we'll see how my trench coat does after a few wears and washes. 
Here are a few things I learned from this project:
  • Finish seams/serge before sewing pattern pieces (specifically the pocket pieces)
  • Press the shoulder flaps - I didn't press the flaps enough :(
  • Understitch (A LOT) 
  • Walk away if you're frustrated or if you're not satisfied with your project. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them
I'm extremely satisfied with my final project. Sure, it's not perfect, but I wear it with pride,
I hope you found this review helpful and that you're inspired to make something pretty.
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Embroidered Denim McCalls 7542 Trumpet Sleeve Blouse

I’m so thrilled to be writing my first Minerva Crafts blog - and equally thrilled with the fabric they sent to me! As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make a McCalls M7542 trumpet sleeve blouse out of it. Check out the gorgeous dark wash embroidered Denim Fabric I used.

As you always should, but I rarely do, I started this project by pre-washing and drying my fabric in the manner I intended to wash and dry it after my project was finished. In this case I washed the fabric by itself, in case of bleeding, in cool water and used a low heat setting in the dryer and was pleased with how white the embroidered flowers remained after washing.

Once my fabric was prepared I laid it out on my cutting mat and began to play around with the best pattern layout for the material. The front bodice pattern piece is cut “on the fold” so I was very careful to align the scallops on both the top and bottom layers, making the low-point of one of the scallops the center of the bodice. I’m very happy with how the front of the bodice looks, but didn’t think about how wide each pattern piece was and therefore at what point in the rise or fall of the scallop the pattern pieces would meet at the side and back seams. I’m not sure how I would achieve better pattern matching at these seams without modifying the width of the pattern pieces, but enjoyed the learning process. Do you have any tips you could share with me on matching scallops at seams? If so, please comment below!

It is important to note that this fabric is directional and the embroidered, scalloped edges do not mirror each other. Make sure you purchase enough fabric when you make your next project with this fabulous fabric. I had one metre of fabric, which was just enough.

This may be the first pattern I have ever made a second version of, and since I made my first McCalls M7542 earlier this fall I was able to remember I few things I wanted to do differently on my second version. For example, I use a serger to finish all seams in my sewing projects and serged the center back seam together in my first blouse, but serged each side of the back seam separately this time, which allowed for a much smoother keyhole at the top back of the blouse. I also hand tacked the neck facing to the shoulder seams and like how it lays more smoothly than my first blouse. I need to go back and tack that neck facing down as well!

Clipping seams is a very important technique in this pattern, especially at the insertion of the trumpet or lower sleeve to the upper sleeve. I can’t overstate the importance of stitching at the interior circle’s stitching line and clipping right up to that line.

I extended the front and back bodice pattern pieces by one inch, turning up the hem directly below the scalloped edge and stitching in place. I debated whether or not to stitch directly on top of the embroidery, but ultimately decided it couldn’t be seen from a moderate distance and I preferred not to have any denim showing below the scalloped edge.


I would highly encourage sewers to try this pattern. It was a quick and trendy sew that I found very rewarding. I’m thrilled this is my first “tried and true” pattern and can certainly see myself making more versions of this pattern with different sleeve options. You can see my first version on my blog here! Follow my blog or instagram for my most recent makes.

Time estimate: 5 hours
Size: 8
Material used: embroidered denim fabric, 100% cotton
Care instructions: machine wash gentle cold, tumble dry low

Cost to make:
pattern - 9.75 value
fabric - 14.99 value
*hook and eye, thread from my stash
TOTAL: 24.74 value

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Cocowawa Pumpkin Cardigan In Waffle Knit

Hello crafters!
I’m so excited to share with you a review of this snuggley Waffle Textured Knit Fabric. I got 2 metres of the Maroon colour and it is just about the softest knit fabric I have ever felt!
This fabric is a medium weight jersey knit with a lovely waffle texture. It comes in eight colours including this Maroon and a delightful looking Mustard colour that I nearly chose. It is made of 82% Polyester, 15% Rayon and 3% Spandex. It doesn’t have a lot of cross-wise stretch but it has a little length-wise stretch so I would recommend making something with a bit of ease, not too tight fitting, otherwise you might find it a little difficult to get on and a bit restrictive.
I decided to make the Coco Wawa Pumpkin Cardigan which is her most recent pattern. It is a loose fitting cardigan and I made the dress version with side pockets and the bottom ruffle. I also decided to use poppers instead of buttons which were delightfully easy and quick to install and look quite fun. I chose this pattern because of the stretch of the fabric is not large and I thought it would be perfect to make a loose, snuggley dress I can just throw on for a cute look without much effort. I am very happy with how it turned out!
One issue I came across was that the fabric itself is knit on a slight angle so if you look at the picture you can see that each of the length-wise stripes disappears into the selvedge. This means that when you fold the fabric in half with the selvedge lined up, the length-wise stripes go slightly diagonally.
I wanted to have the length-wise stripes going straight up and down so I had to fold the fabric along one of the lines which meant that the selvedge didn’t line up and I had to rearrange it as I cut out the pieces so that I could cut two at a time. I hope that makes sense! It’s just something to be aware of when cutting out if you want the stripes going straight but it wasn’t difficult to work around. I had plenty of fabric to cut out the dress with the sleeves from two metres with the cuffs and ruffle so it wasn’t an issue for having enough fabric.
As far as working with this fabric goes, it is pretty dreamy. Even though it is so soft it doesn’t slip around. It is a fairly stable knit and sewed up perfectly. The only thing I found a bit tricky was when I needed to gather the ruffle at the bottom. Using the longest stitch on my machine and doing the regular two lines of straight stitiching to gather was challenging. I should have gathered it in sections instead of the whole band at one time. As a result I found that the fabric started fraying a bit as I tried to pull the fabric to gather it.  I ended up doing a hand running stitch and gathering it that way which worked because the gathering is only very slight.
Hope you enjoy the pictures, it really is the softest cardigan I own so I’m very happy with it!
Until next time, 
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Hand Embroidered Garden Apron

When you think of embroidery transfers what do you think of?  Tray cloths? Tea towels?  Thank goodness things have moved on. (Though I love a pretty tea towel).

When I received these fabulous little Sublime Stitching Transfers from Minerva all I could imagine were outfits for the garden.  I could see aprons, utility belts, bags and Tidies when I looked at the cute garden symbols. Granted the kneeling gardener wasn’t going to be so easy to place but all the bugs and tools you could dream of playing with. 

I started with an apron.  I’m a pinny girl whether I’m in the kitchen baking or in the garden. I like to pop out for 5 minutes in whatever I’m wearing so this is the perfect excuse to make a garden apron to save my decent clothes from soil and plant stains.  It would also give me somewhere to put my secateurs or handful of tomatoes when doing a random wander through the greenhouse. 

These transfers are a joy to work with.  I copied them and cut them out to play with first.  This makes it much easier to work out what you might do with them or where you might place them.  You do need to remember that they’ll be mirrored when you press them on though.   

I searched through my stash for the right fabric.  I had an oddment of Cotton Drill Fabric that was just the right size for a half pinny.  I could see bugs and snails wandering over my apron.  I started with the snails, they had so much character.  I thought they’d look cute sliding along the hem.  I considered lady bugs coming out of the pocket too.  Love a lady bug.

After deciding on the snails I measured out their placement on the hem line making sure that they sat above the actual hem to give me room for a small hoop.  

I cut the snail out of the transfer paper and set it onto the fabric, you need the iron to be quite hot so this definitely isn’t for delicate fabrics.  I ironed on the transfer and then moved onto the next placement until I’d fitted them all in.  The transfer lasts for about 6-8 pressings.  I found that if it didn’t seem to catch everything a mechanical pencil was quite good at defining details.  It was also handy if I had a gap between stitching and the transfer had faded a bit.

Once the transfer was all set I rummaged through my Embroidery Floss.  Minerva have a great range to choose from. You could also use a fine perle thread.

I used 2 strands to stitch with to give a nice cover and make it manageable when threading.  If you’re working with a hoop, I prefer the finish of hoop work, make sure it’s nice and tight so your work is supported whilst you’re stitching.  I worked in stem stitch to give a good outline as this tends to work well with curves.  Body first and then the outline of the shell.

Now although the fabric is a camo green I wanted a bit of colour in my snails.  I started with lime green, outlining in a green that was nearly the colour of the base fabric. 

I stem stitched around the edge first working my way into the centre until the shell was filled in.  This was not a quick sew and it gave me a chance to zone out for 20 minutes when I had a moment to work on it. 

Once I’d stitched in all of my shells I realised if this post was ever going to see the light of day I would need to get straight on and make the pinny. I had to forgo the lady bugs sadly.  I used some black cotton to make the pocket.  This is a rectangle of fabric folded in half, stitched and turned through a small gap.  That’s not a rectangle I hear you cry!  No, when I started to pin the pocket on it looked a bit…boring.  I folded down the top corners and hey presto!  A much better and more usable shape. I used a variegated thread to stitch the pocket on and then played with the stitch patterns of my machine.

I used a cotton webbing for the waist tie.  I tried several colours, Pink, cream, purple…black was the only one that seemed to work.  Practical too. 

So now I have a pinny to gather my remaining tomatoes and get digging in the garden at the weekend.  There are several designs in this range, which will you use?

I’m thinking maybe a skirt of snails or lady bugs next.  I might try these transfers with free machining for speed.  Come and see how I get on over on my blog The Fabric Wrangler.

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McCalls 7330 Denim Jumpsuit

There are some things which you don’t realise you need in your wardrobe until you sew them up and instantly fall in love. This is what happened with my latest make. This Demin Chambray Fabric in navy arrived, and it’s exactly the shade of iconic blue jeans, a really dark deep blue.

I always choose fabric first and then think about matching it with a pattern. I thought that I would want to make a denim look shirtdress. I went through my pattern stash and couldn’t find anything that jumped out at me. As it’s getting colder, I wanted something I could wear with tights, and also something which I could do some topstitching on. As I was pondering what I could make with the fabric, a jumpsuit sprang to mind, and I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like. I hunted high and low for the right pattern and in the end settled for the McCall’s M7330. I wanted to make a long sleeved, full length version with all the pockets which needed 3.2m. I tried so so hard to make it fit and played a huge game of pattern Tetris, but just couldn’t quite get it to work, so I settled for short sleeves, full length trousers, and most of the pockets.

The fabric is super stable, and quite stiff so sewed up like a dream. There are a few points where my sewing machine had to work really hard to get through all the layers, but it came together really well. The instructions leave A LOT to be desired, and It’s definitely a pattern to make once you have a fair bit of experience under your belt. The fly zip seemed fairly logical, but I did a fair amount of unpicking (and at one point gave up with the unpicker when I had overlocked, sewn and topstitched the waistband, and just took the scissors to it, and have a shorter waistband oops!).

I didn’t use a special topstitch thread but kind of wish I had done, as I do think it gives a more professional finish to the garment. I also choose to use jean buttons (the type you hammer in) for the button placket as I really wanted a workwear overalls vibe.

Despite there being quite a few pattern pieces to this jumpsuit, and topstitching, it came together fairly quickly. It’s also super comfortable to wear, and the fabric doesn’t crumple at all whilst you wear it. If I make this jumpsuit again I would add a little bit to the length of the legs, because although I’m only 5’ 3”, it’s a little bit ankle grazing.

I was going for the overalls/workwear look and think I achieved what I was aiming for. I think as an autumn transition piece it also works well and will hopefully see me through winter and into next spring. I’d be really keen to use the fabric again, and perhaps I still need to make that shirtdress that I originally intended to make, but am so pleased to have a comfortable, hard-wearing, and stylish jumpsuit in my wardrobe. 

Thanks for reading,

Chloe @ Handmade by Chloe

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Scuba Vogue V1486 Skirt

Fanciful florals are not just for summer, they illuminate a winter wardrobe.

Sometimes a project happens serendipitously without any effort. This was the case when I set eyes on the Lady McElroy Scuba Fabric. The mixture of a technical fabric with a digital print that echoes a traditional vibe sparked my imagination. I confess it took very little time for me to realise what the eye catching splurge of colourful bright teal posies against a deep sultry burgundy background wanted to become. The saturated colours are so darn glorious.

Vogue V1486 is a designer pattern which I have a great fondness for. I have after all made it 4 times now. It is a two piece pattern that includes a crop top designed by Australian based fashion designer Nicola Finetti. I have all of the Vogue designer patterns by Nicola Finetti. His back story is quite fascinating. He used to be an architect before moving over to high fashion. His designs are quite bold while embracing femininity. His signature style is romantic, sensual and wearable garments. The label creates some truly beautiful garments – a smorgasbord of inspiration.

I made a size 12 without any fit alterations. I did make a style change with the pockets. The original design has in-seam pockets at the upper skirt yoke. I have tried this before and I did not like how the style line was compromised when I used the pockets. They pulled away with the weight of whatever was in my pocket. My little experiment with patch pockets seems to have worked. This is better than the side seam pockets for me!

I moved the zip from the centre back (where it’s supposed to be exposed) to the right side seam. Purely so I could cut the back piece on the fold (or perhaps to avoid pattern matching across the CB too…). The wide straight waist band does not sit well on my contoured waist. The fix is easy in this case – I just use one waistband piece that I fold in half lengthways. This literally reduces the width of the waistband by half which is perfect for me.

So to sum up the alterations – zero fit alterations plus 3 design changes :1) added patch pockets, 2) moved zip to side seam, and 3) reduced the width of waistband by half.

I find that scuba is not a fun fabric to work with. This is a personal opinion; but I am quite partial to a fabric that responds to steam and heat. There is something incredibly satisfying, dare I say orgasmic? about a seam that lays perfectly flat after a burst of steam iron. Scuba doesn’t do any of this – that is not to say that you don’t need to press it – quite the contrary, you do as there is a difference between an unpressed seam and a pressed one. Low iron setting over a pressing cloth obviously to avoid a shine.

What scuba lacks in its refusal to be completely dominated by a steam iron – it more than makes up for in its daily use. Scuba doesn’t crease. EVER. And I so love that quality – its easy care at its best. I throw my scuba skirts in the drier and boom! That’s all the work I need to do. Scuba doesn’t stain very easily either which is a godsend with my 5 loving kids. The colours remain as vibrant as the day it’s bought. That’s why my scuba garments get worn a lot. And why I continue to buy scuba.

When sewing with scuba use ball point needles. I shan’t pontificate – let’s just say I have learnt from experience.

This midi length floral look works in so many ways. Layered with a tonal rollneck this look could easily take me to spring giving it more mileage. If you are after something that is elegant and supremely wearable then do give scuba a go.

Thanks for stopping by! You can find me on my YouTube channel or my blog saturdaynightstitch.

Hila

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Scuba Twill Lizzie Skirt

I’m Bryony Olney, sometimes known as Thirtyfivemakes attributed to the age at which I committed to wearing solely me made clothing and accessories. Whilst occasionally I’ve strayed from this path, it’s a rare occurrence and I pride myself on my ever expanding self-made wardrobe (and self-taught skill set) as a result.I was super excited to be given the opportunity to try this Scuba Twill Fabric from Minerva this month; I’ve used scuba a few times for simple t-shirt dresses and I like how it handles during sewing (similar to a woven) – that and the fact it hides a multitude of sins and wobbly bits when made up, due to its smoothing qualities and its slightly thicker, spongier texture. The fabric has an equally good drape for a scuba which works well with its weight.
I chose the Rose Pink colour way of the Scuba Twill Knit and whilst pastels are not a usual choice for me, I had a pattern in mind I thought would suit this vintage colour. I’d recently attended the Sew Up North meet up in Leeds at the end of September and was lucky enough to win a raffle prize of a Sew Over It PDF pattern of my choice, so chose the Lizzie Skirt. Again not a typical pattern choice for me but that’s what sewing related prizes are about, an opportunity to try something new, right? I love the pleat details in the pattern and was interested to see what sort of structure the thicker scuba twill would give to the skirt and pleats.
I chose not to add the optional lining to the skirt as the fabric is quite thick with some weight to it anyway, and I anticipated the fabric would give all the structure it needed. The fabric is textured on one side and a smooth more neoprene (wetsuit) like feel on the other. I imagine you could use either side as there’s not obvious “wrong” side, however as it is advertised as a “twill” knit I guessed the right side was the textured one!
The fabric itself has a reasonable amount of 4-way stretch to it (which is not required in the pattern) so I was a little anxious it would end up a bit looser than expected so I used quite a heavyweight woven interfacing on the waistband to keep it from over-stretching. It ended up a little bulky but not overly-so but a fair trade off to keep the waistband perky!
The pattern is straight forward to follow and I enjoyed its construction – there’s nothing more satisfying than constructing a detail like a pleat… except when things don’t appear to be going to plan.
As I started following the folds for the pleats, I was using the helpful images in the instructions for guidance, however my pleats never quite ended up looking like the photos. The pattern description suggests “the pleats are carefully concentrated at the front and back of the skirt for gorgeous fullness, while the side seams are left pleat-free for a flattering, hip-skimming effect” which appealed to me as I’m conscious I’m quite wide and didn’t want any poufy side pleats accentuating my width, however I ended up with 2 strange looking pleats on either hip doing exactly what I was trying to avoid! I wondered whether the stretch of the fabric had meant that the pleats had shifted as I’d folded or, if cutting a bigger size than the example in the instructions meant that the pleats were distributed differently. The plot thickened when I came to sew the front and back pieces together and the notches didn’t appear match! I think I’d somehow managed to sew the side seams together at the centre-front and centre-back, but to be honest, other than the strange side poofs, the rest of the skirt came together without a hitch and even the waistband notched married up which seems little short of a miracle!
Whilst scuba doesn’t necessarily require hemming, I decided to overlock the edge and turn up a narrow hem for neatness. The fabric isn’t too thick that it creates a bulky hem though it is a little more noticeable than I would like, but neither would I choose to leave it raw in this case. Ironing is a trick though; as a polyester based fabric it melts easily at high temperatures but requires a reasonable pressing to get a crisp fold, so I used a pressing cloth with a little steam which had the desired effect.
I’m really pleased with my experiment, I like the skirt and can already see a few different versions on my to-do list in future and at some point I might give this skirt the potential it deserves and stick a tulle petticoat underneath - I think it’s just begging for one, wouldn’t you agree?
I think scuba is a great introduction to sewing with knits as it handles like a woven in many ways but benefits from being stretchy without too much movement. This is a versatile fabric which could be used for trousers, jackets, skirts, dresses, jumpsuits and much more without necessarily the need for lining, and without a requirement for finishing hems due to its lack of fraying, it could be your quickest make ever!
Thanks for reading,
Bryony @bryonyolney
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Forest Camo Rain Jacket

It seems like only yesterday that the sun was shining and I was stuffing my face with ice-poles to keep cool in the otherworldly heat we experienced this summer, and yet all of a sudden it would seem that winter has truly descended. The air is cool and crisp, there's a chill in the air, and the drizzly showers are persistent.

I can't speak for other people's children, but my two womb fruits seem to never want to wear layers. They want to wear as few clothes as possible at all times (in an ideal world they could and would be naked 100% of the time) and so trying to keep them both warm and dry during the colder months is no easy feat.

The rate at which children seem to grow is almost comical. They'll keep a steady height for a few weeks, you blink, and they've shot up a foot. It's for that reason that I refuse to buy them new clothes every time they have a growth spurt. Instead, I try to sew things for them that will last a good length of time and also be a multi-purpose garment.

So with the weather situation in mind, and the fact that my son has grown out of last year's rain coat causing a problem, I set about making him an appropriate garment. What I needed is a jacket that would be waterproof,  get rid of the need for layers and last a good long while.

It was then that I stumbled across this Soft Cell Fabric from Minerva Crafts. It's a waterproof outer, with a fleece back. That's two necessities ticked off my list - rain proof and like two layers in one. It has an all over forest print, almost like a camouflage print that I knew my son would love, and would fit into his current wardrobe nicely.

I then went about picking a pattern. I wanted something quite simple but also versatile. I checked my stash and I happened to have New Look 6398 in there which I hadn't gotten round to using yet. It's actually a really handy pattern to have as you could pretty much make your entire child's wardrobe from this one pattern! There is a jacket option which I figured with a few tweaks, would be the perfect base for my son's rain jacket.

My son is a tall and slim just turned 6 year old. I decided to go for the size 7 so that the jacket would hopefully last a year or two. The pattern calls for a lining for this jacket, but as my fabric has a fleece back, I skipped that part. Instead of using the interfacing pattern pieces to cut interfacing (which wasn't needed for this sturdy fabric) I used those pattern pieces to make a neck facing, cut from the same fabric as the outer.

I used all of the main pattern pieces - back, front, sleeves, pockets and facing - and instead of following the instructions I just sort of winged it. Because I wasn't using a lining there were a few steps in the instructions that I didn't need to follow, or needed to do differently to allow for only using one fabric.

If I had used a separate lining, I wouldn't have needed to think about the hem or the edges as they would all have been encased between the outer and lining fabrics when turned through to the right way. So, neaten up my version of this jacket, I used the interfacing pattern pieces as a neck facing. I joined them to the main jacket, right sides facing, turned back into the right way and top stitched to keep the facing from poking out.

I had a little head scratching moment when it came to the hem though. Because the fabric is quite thick and sturdy, It wouldn't sew well when I tried to do a single turn hem. I managed to remedy this by using a little bias binding along the bottom edge, and I actually love how it looks!

This was a really quick and satisfying sew - it took me about an hour from start to finish. I haven't added buttons yet because I have a feeling my sewing machine would not create a clean and crisp buttonhole on this thick fabric, especially as the neck facing is there too meaning it would have to go through two layers of the fabric. Instead I have some black metal poppers that I will use and I think they will add to the look of the jacket nicely.

The sleeves are quite long, and if you look on the pattern artwork you'll see that the sleeves are supposed to be turned up. That's just another plus to add to this jacket as it means that as my son grows, this jacket will grow with him.

My son is really over the moon with his new jacket. Not only will it stop him from getting completely soaking wet when caught in the rain, but it means I also don't have to wrestle him into a jumper before heading out, thanks to the fleecy lining. A jacket we will keep for years (hopefully!).

Thanks for reading,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew

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The Golden Age of Home Sewing

I’ve always been interested in vintage style and when I took up sewing five years ago, this developed into an obsession. I poured over old fashion magazines, watched countless classic films and scoured Pinterest for inspiration for my next sewing project. I also built up a large collection of vintage and reproduction sewing patterns, from the 1930s to the 1970s, and set about creating my dream wardrobe.


I love styles from all eras of the 20th century but my favourite is definitely the 1960s. I adore the simple cuts, bright colours and modernity of sixties fashion, a style I think looks just as fresh 50 years on. This was the decade of shift dresses, swing coats, mini skirts and big earrings. It was also the golden age of home sewing so there is a wealth of original patterns to be found out there.


For me, one of the key looks of the 1960s was an a-line shift dress or mini skirt with a matching swing coat and a roll neck top. I had been dreaming of creating such an outfit for some time so when I saw the beautiful selection of Coating Fabrics available at Minerva, I decided to make my vision a reality.


I was immediately drawn to the Wool Blend Coating Fabric in Silver Grey, as I thought this would be perfect teamed with icy pastel colours and white tights. As the fabric is a generous 60 inches wide, I ordered three metres, confident this would at least be enough for a skirt and coat. 
In fact, when my fabric arrived, it was sufficient for a dress and coat. The fabric looked just as good as it did in the pictures and was soft and luxurious. It was all I had hoped for and more.
Earlier, I mentioned the fantastic range of original 1960s patterns available online and at charity shops. However, I know many people find vintage patterns daunting. The sizing is often different to modern clothing and choices can be limited if you are looking for a specific garment. Thankfully, many of the big pattern companies have reproduced vintage patterns from their archives, meaning you can create authentic items without having to make too many alterations or figure out vague instructions. Also, the great thing about 1960s fashion is the timeless nature of the designs. Both the swing coat and shift dress pattern I used are modern patterns and neither were branded as vintage.
The dress is Newlook’s 6145, a lovely and very easy to sew frock I’ve made a few times already. The coat, meanwhile, is Simplicity K8055, which is the perfect shape for the swinging sixties.


I started with the dress, which I cut out from just under one metre of the fabric. I went for option B, the simplest, and left out the sleeves to allow me to wear it over a roll neck top. I love the funnel neck option on this pattern but I thought it would prevent the dress from sitting nicely under the matching coat.

I made a size 12 but followed the size 10 cutting line around the neck, as I often experience gaping in this area. The pattern doesn’t include a lining but I decided to add one to create a more professional finish. I find this also prevents skirts and dresses sticking to my tights. 

To do this, I cut out the dress pieces from a silver lining fabric in my stash. I then pinned the front and back facing pieces to some iron-on interfacing, which I cut out and attached to the wrong side of my lining around the neckline for stability. I sewed the front and back lining pieces together at the shoulders and then sewed the lining to the dress around the neckline and armholes, wrong sides together. I then bagged out the dress by pulling one side through the shoulders. Don’t forget to sew the side seams of the dress and lining pieces together after bagging out, not before.

I finished my dress in no time, as the only tricky step was the concealed zip. Sometimes it takes me a few attempts to get this right but this time it turned out well first time. I would recommend buying a concealed zip foot for your machine and opening out the teeth with a cool iron.


Now it was time to start my coat, which I managed to cut from the remaining two metres of fabric. I even lengthened the sleeves to make them full length rather than bracelet length. I sometimes find Simplicity patterns have a little bit too much ease for my liking so, after checking the finished garment measurements, I cut out a size 10 instead of my usual size 12. 


This coat would have been a super speedy make but I decided to finish off all of my seams and hems with bias binding. I made this myself using some floral cotton from my stash. It looked so pretty against the silvery grey wool. As if this wasn’t time consuming enough, I sewed one side of the bias binding on my machine but then sewed the other side by hand using a slip stitch. I wanted to avoid visible stitches and although I love the neat finish I achieved, I’m not sure it was worth the time it took. 


I planned to use cover buttons using the same fabric as the coat but I loved the addition of the floral print so much I covered them in that instead. 


I’m absolutely thrilled with the finished coat and I couldn’t be happier with how it looks with the dress. The fabric was really easy to work with and at just £7.99 per metre, it’s good value too. 


When I first tried on my outfit I felt as though I had stepped straight off the set of Mad Men. However, given the fact I was in North Yorkshire at the time, perhaps Heartbeat is more apt.
Thanks for reading,
Lizzie

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