Archives: January 2018
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 31st January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 30th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I’ve always been a big fun of velvet in every form and every colour but I never really owned anything in velvet. I made once an Emery Dress from a fabric that had velvet details but this is as far as my relationship with this fabric has gone. I’m not going to lie, I do find it a bit intimidating both to sew with and to wear. Recently, my mum bought me a beautiful pleated velvet skirt, which I adore. Wearing it in different combinations made me realise that velvet is simply a great fabric, which can be easily dressed up and down. So when the opportunity appeared to review this Pleated Velvet Fabric, I just said yes!
I got two metres of the grey-silver colour. As mentioned in the description on the Minerva shop the fabric is indeed very soft and drapey. I really wanted to love this fabric, but I'm afraid that I may have not done it much justice. The good thing though is that we are here to talk about the fabric and not my sewing shortcomings. I initially wanted to make again a kimono but decided against it as I wasn't sure I was going to wear it. Going through pinterest for some inspiration, I discovered a lot of velvet boho style shirtdresses and I immediately wanted one of them. I somehow thought that it would work well with the DP studio #601 lengthened to a short dress. I didn't even think twice about cutting my fabric and it was only until I had sewn the top part of it that I realised that the fabric was too soft for the type of dress I had in my mind. The 601 has a lot of ease as it is a type of oversized shirt and meant for wovens, so even the smallest size felt a bit too buggy. Also although the fabric has got a lovely crinkled texture, to me it felt a bit untidy as it was hanging, so I decided to scrap the dress and start all over again by mocking up an elastic waist skirt. This also went out of the window as again, I didn't think the way the fabric was hanging was very flattering on me.
Having failed on all of the above attempts, I decided that the fabric was too special on its own and a simple pattern would let it shine. I went for my tried and tested and all-time favourite Mabel Skirt by Colette Patterns version three with the two side panels. This is my favourite version although the panels are rather unnecessary with this fabric but this was the only version I had printed out and cut. What the pleat effect does really well though is to camouflage the seam lines and make them look like they are also one of the vertical lines, creating the pleat effect. Overall, I think the end result of the skirt is quite acceptable, but I just don’t feel the stretch and the shine which is a bit intense on the grey version really suits me.
To accompany my skirt I chose the Vanessa Pouzet Wanted Tee which has been waiting in my sewing queue for a while now. This proved quite a challenging make, firstly because there wasn’t enough fabric to accommodate all the pieces due to the odd shape, some of it was already cut, from the previous project. So you can see for example that in the back there is a type of yoke on the top and at the front the neckline consists of two pieces sewn together. Once again although visible, the seam doesn’t look strange as I think it blends well with the pleat effect.
I love the bottom front of the top, where the stretches completely and in my opinion this is the best way to use it, for fitted or semi-fitted garments than very loose ones. I can also see it working very well with draped cowl necklines and low draped backs. Big thanks to Emma and Her Machine for the excellent tutorial on how to assemble the t-shirt and especially the neck band. I’m afraid I didn’t do as good a job as her but I will give it a borderline pass for now. I managed to destroy it first time round so had to use a different fabric as you can see.
The fraying of the fabric is minimal to non-existent and the raw sleeves are a proof of that, plus I had completely run out of fabric at this stage. All the insides are finished on the overlocker but I have done some machine stitching too. Sometimes I like doing that for extra safety, haha!
A great thing about this fabric is that it doesn’t need any ironing, you can just put it on once dried, throw a fur jacket in the mix and you are ready to party.
Thank you for reading!
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 29th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello again. It's been lovely to be given some more yarn from Minerva to try out and tell you about. The Candy Swirl Cake Yarn by Stylecraft. Trouble is it looks so pretty it’s a shame to use and see it unravel!
Candy Swirl is an 100% Premium Acrylic Double knit that comes in a great value 150 gram ball. It is available in eight different blended shades, which look almost edible, but I picked the lovely Blueberry Gum option. I think each shade of blue is like a different shade of denim!
It’s a lovely soft yarn that is machine washable and I thought I would see what I could make from one ball. I wanted something plain to show off the changes in shades. I hadn’t used one of these multi tonal yarns before and expected the shades to change gradually but found the change to be quiet distinctive therefore once knitted it produces bold, clear strips.
To try out the yarn I decided to make a large snood or cowl that could be worn in a variety of ways.
The ball band suggests using a 4mm knitting needle but I wanted a more open, loose stitch effect so I used a 6mm needle.
Taking the loose end from the centre of the ball allows for the yarn to run smoothly without the ball jiggling all all over the place and falling out of my bag!
Casting on 66 stitches I used a simple stocking stitch, one row knit & one row purl, and repeated this until almost all the ball was used. 4
Casting off just before the final colour change meant that the cast on & cast off sections were in matching shades making it slightly less noticeable when these two ends were stitched together to form a big loop.
Now it’s made up I’ve found this yarn to be lovely, soft and comfortable to wear. With the size I’ve made it’s great to wear as a neck warmer or hood.
But it’s also long enough to wear as a long draping scarf or as a shawl/ shoulder cover by placing your arms though.
Or if your like me & feel the cold across the small of your back I also found I could twist and wear like this.
This Double Knitting Yarn would be suitable for a number of different makes but I hope you like my suggestion.
Happy knitting :)
Posted in Projects on Sunday the 28th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Distressed clothing is a huge trend for this season. But I'm not a huge fan of the whole tatty look.
This punched Satin Fabric is a perfect solution to my problem. 1. It's satin so it's not some grungy looking thing, its got a certain amount of vavavoom and 2. the punched holes are deliberate enough that it doesn’t just look like your clothes are falling apart.
It comes in 7 different colours but I chose black because it makes the most sense with my current wardrobe.
And when it turns up it certainly is a spectacle to behold!! From what I can tell each circle has been cut by some sort of heat/laser? So they don’t fray but that doesn’t mean the fabric doesn’t create some challenges.
For one, due to the fact each circle is left attached by a small amount, you need to make sure that you cut everything out the right way otherwise you could have some circles flapping open whilst others are closed. Should you choose to have the join at the top the circles will lay flat offering more coverage [I did this and I’m wearing my kimono with a nude slip so I don’t look like a streaker instead you just show a small amount of skin or something that looks like skin.] But should you cut everything out with the join at the bottom all of your circles will fall open and you’ll have a sort of transparent polka dot effect.
It's also worth making sure everything is lying perfectly flat when cutting out and I would definitely recommend using a rotary cutter and matt so you don’t shift the circles as you are cutting out.
The nature of the fabric also makes it a bit tricky to sew. Not only does it have the general shiftiness of satin it also has the added fun of there being actual holes in the fabric. I found the best way to combat this was to use a really simple pattern with clean lines. I opted for the kimono dress by simple sew patterns. It has a kimono sleeve so you don’t need to set anything in and the whole thing is very easy to sew in fact the whole pattern only has two seams not including hemming. I also think a simple skirt, cardigan or t shirt would work really well.
Bear in mind though that anything with too many design details such a pleats and darts are likely to show on the right side and that interfacing will definitely be visable. However you could always line whatever you are making if you want to keep things super neat or aren’t keen on showing lots of skin.
Construction wise I used my overlocker because it creates a chain of stitches which is useful for filling the gap in between circles. However if you don’t have an overlocker you could try stitching it on your regular machine and then using bias binding to give you a neat finish on the inside and to make sure you’ve definitely caught everything that needs to be caught.
I also gave it a really small hem around the front edges, however I’m not sure this neatens it up too much and I think its weighing it down. If I were to do it again I’d either leave it as a raw edge or use bias binding around the edges. In fact a coloured bias binding with a coloured slip underneath could look really cool!
The odd thing is, as much as a I cursed it when I was making it and that I was sure it was going to be a bit of a bust, I kind of love it! The texture makes it a really interesting cardigan if I wear it with a vest top and jeans and wearing it with a nude slip actually makes a simple dress quite sexy. In fact the only real issue I’ve found when I’m wearing it is that it catches on doorhandles as I'm walking past but that's probably just me walking to close to the door! Plus when I’m wearing this I basically feel like Stevie Nicks and feeling like Stevie Nicks is never a bad thing!!!
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 27th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
How many times do you find that you have lovely fabric and sewing patterns that never make it out of the “stash drawer”. For me, I know that this is because I just aren’t organised enough with my sewing projects, for example I’d purchase Autumn/Winter fabric in the Summer time trying to plan ahead, but then totally forget about it until the following Spring, then it is too late!
My key focus in 2018 is to be more organised in what I am sewing and when, I’ve tried so many different apps on my phone to help with this, but I find that I quickly become distracted and forget what I had planned or the plans just don’t come into fruition.
So I was super excited to have the opportunity to test the Colette Sewing Planner through Minerva Crafts, somewhere to physically write down my plans. There is just something about writing in a physical book (preferably with a nice new shiny pen), a book that you can touch, feel, and pick up and flick through at a later date, some how it feels more of a firm plan.
This beautiful planner had been on my “Sewing goodies that I’d love to try” Pinterest board for quite some time, so lets take a look inside!
The planner is split into 4 main sections;
1) Styles and Favourites - this is a short section where you can note your favourite styles, fabrics and your measurements
2) Spring / Summer - this is a large section where you can document your sewing goals for the Spring / Summer seasons, there is then room for you to plan approximately 25 Spring / Summer projects (pretty much 1 project per week)
3) Fall / Winter - this is another large section where you can document your sewing goals for the Fall / Winter seasons, there is then room for you to plan approximately 25 Fall / Winter projects
4) Resources - In this section there are several useful resources such as needle types, metric conversion charts, sewing abbreviations and a glossary
I thought that the best way to truly test this handy little planner is to actually plan my next project, The Hudson Pants.
If like me, drawing is not your key strength, this planner includes 4 different Croquis body shapes that you can trace or photocopy, and then sketch your design onto, which is super useful for when it comes to planning the fabrics and details.
To start with, on the left hand page you give your project a name and note the pattern that you are using, so for me this was simply “Hudson pants”.
You then list the supplies that you need and the supplies that you have, so for this project I listed my Art Gallery Jersey (I love that fabric so much), contrast jersey for the waistband and cuffs, eyelets, interfacing, ribbon, elastic and thread. There is also a box where you can glue in a scrap of the fabric.
You can then list the learning resources e.g. websites or books that you will use to help you. There is also a customisation box for your own design ideas for example I noted here to use eyelets for the drawstring rather than button holes (as I never get on very well with button holes), and there is also a section to add your notes for example I noted here that the pattern is drafted for a 5ft 5” female.
On the right hand page there is a blank page so that you can sketch your design and add notes, for my project I simply cut out my sketch (that I traced from the Croquis and glued it onto the page.
Planning out the project worked really well, it made me ensure that I had all of the supplies before I started and sketching out the design really helped me to visualise the fabric, you don’t need to be a artist to do this.
My Hudson Pants were finished in no time!
There are also a couple of envelope sections in the back of the planner where you can save your pattern sheets or other useful notes and tools.
There are lots and lots of little surprise sewing tips throughout the planner for example “Always cut your thread on an angle to make it easier to thread through a needle” there are quite a lot of the tips that I had never thought of so an added bonus for sure.
I really like this planner, the colour scheme and quality is great, the information contained within the planner is super useful and I know that it will definitely keep me more organised with my sewing into 2018. It is also a good size to keep in your bag so that you can add ideas whilst you are out and about. I think that this will also be great to look back on, to see what I have made throughout the year.
The only thing that would have made this planner even better for me would be to have a couple of blank note pages between each project so that I could use this to plan my blog posts, YouTube videos etc… about the project, or to maybe have the planner as an open ring binder (rather than bound book) so that I could add extra pages, however I can work around this by using a separate note book and then use paperclips or small bulldog clips to add it to the relevant project pages.
If like me, you aim to be more organised with your sewing projects into 2018, I would definitely recommend using this Sewing Planner. I don’t want to plan out everything as part of the fun of sewing my own wardrobe is seeing a pattern or fabric that I love and deciding there and then to make it into something lovely, but this will help my overall sewing plans and commitment for sure.
I also find that I’m much more likely to get a project completed if its written down in a physical book, so I have added just the titles on the project pages for the key items that I plan to sew, then I will add the finer detail, sketches etc… in time.
This planner is a great gift for a keen sewer, or a treat for yourself, especially at the New Year Resolution time of year!
Thanks for reading and happy sewing,
Mel @ Ditsy Tulip
Posted in Projects on Friday the 26th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
- it doesn't have the tight waistband of a skirt
- there is no gap between top and skirt to let in the cold
- the full length slip is another layer adding warmth
- there is no need to readjust your clothes all day long
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 25th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Is there anything better than wearing velvet in the colder months? I mean you can basically turn yourself into a snuggly teddy bear!
Which is why when this Pleated Stretch Velvet Fabric came up for review I jumped at the chance and I love it for two reasons!
1- I have an unhealthy obsession with all things velvet. And its massively on trend at the moment.
2- It's pleated velvet which means its meant to look a big wrinkled. Which also means it doesn’t need ironing and I am all about not having to do any ironing!
Anyway as soon as it arrived I got it out for a feel and I am happy to report that it is a very soft pile with a great drape and good recovery. It stretches in both directions but it does seem to stretch more in one of them than the other. It also pre washed beautifully, sometimes with velvet it can become matted during washing but this one stayed as soft and lovely as it was when I first got it out of the bag.
Being that it’s a classy looking velvet I decided it needed a simple pattern to really let the fabric shine. I chose to make the wrap dress from the second Great British Sewing Bee book. But you could also use New Look Sewing Pattern 6301 for a similar look.
Cutting out was slightly difficult because of the textured parts of the fabric. So I made sure I cut everything out with the whole piece of fabric lying flat [Because its a jersey fabric if you have the end of your fabric hanging off the end of a table it will stretch and distort all of your pattern pieces.] I also double and triple checked that the nap of the fabric was lying the right way on every single piece before I started cutting. The nap is the pile of the fabric so for example with velvet you want to make sure it all “strokes” the same way. I opted to have it so the dress was softest when stroked down. Although I’m not sure how many occasions I’m going to have where strangers are stroking my dress…….
Another way to make cutting out easier is to use a rotary cutter and mat. The rotary cutter means that you won’t potentially stretch or shift your fabric.
I used my overlocker to sew it all together, but you could also use a small zig zag stitch on a domestic machine using a ball point needle. I did sew all of my hems on my regular machine though and I used my walking foot which made things 100% easier. Luckily the velvet doesn’t create much fuzz when its being cut and sewn so its a fairly tidy fabric.
The stretch is very forgiving with regards to fit and the fact that its a wrap dress means I have plenty of room for cake and snacks! Which makes it a party style dress that you can wear comfortably and REALLY party in! I’m currently thinking this fabric in a pair of loose fitting trousers would be perfect for lounging around in, but stylish enough that if you have unexpected visitors you won’t feel embarrassed.
The quality of the fabric means the dress drapes really nicely and the weight and thickness means its lovely and snug to wear in the cold winter months. It’s currently on sale for £7.99 which is an absolute steal for a nice velvet fabric and comes in either this black or grey.
As you can probably tell I’m smitten with this dress! And the fact I can wear it straight from the wash makes it even better!
Posted in Guest Posts on Wednesday the 24th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Once the main pattern piece has been adjusted, you’ll need to adjust the facing. In my example, I’ve only adjusted the front of the pattern, so it’s just the front facing pattern piece that needs to be adjusted. I’ve laid the facing over the adjusted front piece, and it’s now obvious that the front of the facing is now very short. Take a note of the facing depth at the shoulders, as this is how deep you’ll need to make the facing all the way around.
Trace the shoulder and new neckline onto a fresh piece of pattern/tracing paper. Then draw the outer edge of the facing piece, making sure it’s the same distance from the new neckline all the way around the piece.
Now both the front of the pattern and the new facing pattern have been adjusted with the new lower neckline. The shape of the alteration can be curved like this example, or could be a V shape too, in both options the principles are the same when you want to make an adjustment.
Ok, so in my first example the alteration didn’t change the shoulder at all, therefore the back neck wasn’t affected. But what happens if you need to “widen” the neckline as well as altering the shape or lowering it I hear you ask?
Good question… Read on and discover how to do this type of neck adjustment.
I’ve re-drawn my new neckline, which has really widened the opening and shortened the length of the shoulder.
Making sure to start at the same position on the back shoulder, re-draw a new back neckline. The shoulders should now be the same length. The curve should look smooth on the new back neckline. Make sure the junction at the shoulder isn’t too much of a point or spike!
Make a facing pattern for both the back and front using the same process I described in the previous example. It’s a good idea to give yourself some notches to help sew the pieces together.
Happy Stitching :)
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 23rd January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Bag making seems to be growing in popularity and I’m seeing lots of great makes on social media so it’ s been great to try out one of the Clover Trace ’n’ Create Bag Templates. The template I have used for this review is Nancy’s Hobo Tote. This is a very roomy sized tote bag that could be suitable for many uses.
There are three styles that can be produced from this template and I decided to opt for the two fabric style, view B.
The template pack contains 2 See through plastic templates and an in-depth instruction sheet in various languages.
The instructions provided simple step by step stages with little note for Nancy to help along the way.
The bag making progress started with tracing around each piece of the template on the chosen fabric. For this part I used a tailors chalk to transfer the markings then cut along the marked lines on a cutting mat with a ruler and rotary cutter to keep the lines accurate, also nice and straight.
The same template was used to cut the pocket sections for the interior.
Measurements are then stated to cut the strips for the trim.
Once these pieces were cut the front and back sections were assembled by seaming the upper and lower fabrics together.
After pressing this piece was used as the pattern to cut the lining fabric and the interfacing. I used a sew-in facing so this was basted to the back of the tote sections before continuing with the construction.
A fabric trim was added to cover over the seam line on exterior of bag. This was made by feeding one of the crosswise strips, already cut, through a Bias Tape Maker and pressing.
Once this trim was added the exterior pieces were sewn together. At this point a shaping material is added to the bag to help form a base and feet can be added.
Moving on to the lining the pockets are made by sewing the pockets panels together and attaching to the right side of the lining. The template is then used again to mark the vertical stitching lines that create the separate pockets.
The next step was to add a magnetic snap. I had never done this before but was amazed how easy it was. The snaps I used consisted of 4 parts; a front & back with prongs on the back of each, and two backs that you fed the prongs through before folding over.
After adding interfacing for strength at the points shown on the template I marked the position for the prongs to go through and made two very small holes with a seam ripper to push them through.
Once this was completed the lining could be made up as the exterior had been. With this lining inside out the exterior tote section was placed inside, right sides together, and stitched along the side edges before turning right side out.
The bias cut stops cut earlier were then used to edge the top curve of the tote and attach the d-rings for the straps.
The remaining strip was then folded to creat the front of the strap with grosgrain ribbon added to the back.
The final step for this bag was to add an inner snap closure to hold the top corners in when required.
I found these bag templates an easy way of drawing out and marking the pattern pieces. They are a great quality that will survive being used over and over again. The step by step instructions helped tackle each step one at a time!
The size of the tote is perfect for a shopping bag but I think mine has already found its job as my new knitting bag :)
Thanks for reading,
Nicky @ Sew n Snip
Posted in Projects on Monday the 22nd January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I often get inspiration for new sewing projects from something I love that I’ve seen on the high street. I’m sure many other crafters will feel the same, but even if I do see something lovely in Zara, or New Look, I sometimes resent paying for it, when I (at least in my head) think I could make it myself.
This thought process usually leaves me with a lot of plans, but not always a lot in my wardrobe…
Recently I went for dinner with a friend who is probably one of the most stylish people I know. She has gorgeous and glamourous clothes, and isn’t the type of person who has to save her favourite pieces ‘for best’. She turned up in a full-length kimono, with fur cuffs, basically the kind of thing I can image a princess wearing to lounge casually around her home.
The version my friend was wearing was a Zara purchase, and after looking at it and raving about it for pretty much the entire night, I knew I had to have one too. (She luckily doesn’t mind me copying her occasionally!)
The design of the garment itself was straight-forward. A simple, kimono-style jacket, made out of a georgette fabric, with fake fur attached to the cuffs. I was pretty confident that it was something I could replicate fairly easily myself, so I started looking for a suitable pattern to work from.
After having a scroll through the Minerva website, I came across New Look 6476, which came with a few different options. (Including a view which involves a fake fur body section!) One option is a collarless maxi kimono, with long sleeves, which seemed almost ideal, and would give me the basic shape to make what I wanted.
I cut the size 12, as it fitted my largest measurements; I wasn’t too fussed about this fitting perfectly around the bust or hips, as I didn’t plan to fasten it closed. There were only four pieces to cut out, so this took barely any time, and I was soon onto the construction.
I can’t say I relied too heavily on the instructions for this project, as the construction was very simple and straightforward. I used my trusty Janome DKS30 to sew most of the seams, and used my Brother 1034D overlocker to neaten the insides. As I was using quite a delicate fabric, and I didn’t want the seams to fray over time, I thought it was important to put a little more time into this step and make sure the inside looked neat and secure.
The fabrics I chose for this project are both from Minerva and I was so pleased with both of them as soon as they arrived. I wear a lot of neutrals, so a light blue/grey colourway was an obvious choice for me.
To make sure the kimono drapes well and flows in the way I was hoping, I wanted to go for a georgette or chiffon-type material, and found this floral Georgette Fabric, which comes in assorted colours. To pair with it, I chose a light grey Fake Fur Fabric, and was hoping that when the two fabrics arrived they would compliment each other rather than clash. I wasn’t wrong – I think they work really well together.
The georgette is on the thicker side, which makes it a little easier to work with. I had no issues with it getting sucked into my machine, and it wasn’t even very slippery, a few pins managed to keep it in place fine. The fur was perhaps a little stretchier than I expected, but this could easily be remedied by adding interfacing, or something similar, to the back. I’ve heard that when cutting fake fur fabric, it can be easier to cut from the back with a craft knife, to avoid covering the room with mountains of fluff. I tried it and while there was a bit of mess, I think it would have been a lot worse if I’d used scissors for the task.
The pattern itself gave me an excellent block to work from, but I did make a few changes to get the look I was going for. The sleeves on the pattern were a lot wider at the cuff than I needed them to be, so I simply traced the sleeve piece onto some baking paper, and drew out a new pattern piece with straighter cuffs.
Being quite a short person, I inevitably had to remove a few inches of both the cuffs and the hem, but this is a fairly standard alteration that I fully expected.
I increased the length of the split at the back, so that it would almost have the effect of a tailcoat, and I decided not to include the waist tie. I have since found a use for the tie as a hairband though!
Of course, I also added the fur to the cuffs of the sleeves. To do this I simply cut two pieces of fur the same size, long enough to go around the diameter of the sleeves. I then sewed the two short ends together, right sides together then added the cuff to the georgette sleeve right sides together again. Lastly, I hand sewed a small hem on the fur cuff, to make it look a little neater.
It was a little bit of trial and error, but I’m so happy with the result. I even had a little of the fur left over, so decided to put it to good use and make a fur stole to go over the kimono. This was really easy. I just folded the long piece of spare fabric in half, lengthways, right sides together and drew an outline of the stole shape on the back of the fabric. I then followed round it with my sewing machine, leaving a small hole to turn the stole the right way round.
I’d definitely recommend this pattern to anyone who’s looking for a simple kimono pattern to embellish and enhance with their own designs.
I know this kimono-come-housecoat is perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but to me, that’s the beauty of being able to make your own clothes. This garment makes me feel glamourous and interesting and it’s so easy to make! Plus, it’s saved me a laborious and expensive trip to Zara, and really, who wants to stand in the Christmas shopping queues longer than absolutely necessary!?