Archives: January 2019
I was sent this lovely Wool Blend Coating Fabric from Minerva. This is a mix of wool and synthetic which makes it a great hard wearing but also easy care fabric. I prewashed this at 40 degrees, dried it flat and the pressed it lightly on a low temp before cutting out the two projects I made from this. This fabric has a more textured side which has a distinct woven grain, the reverse side had a more boiled wool texture. I decided to use the textured side as my right side, but either would work well.
I made a waistcoat (vest for our American friends) for my brother in law and a short coat for my mum. It’s always risky making for others when they are not there to check the fit and ensure that everything is ok. So it was with a bit of trepidation I undertook these makes.
First up was the waistcoat. I used burdastyle #136 04/ 2013
This is a straight cut waistcoat with front waist darts for shaping and single welt pockets. The back has a buckle and it’s quite a traditional style. I used the wool for the fronts and the facings. The lining and back are made from black satin.
Initially, I was quite concerned about how well the fabric would take being pressed, with it being part synthetic I didn’t want to create shiny patches by using a too hot iron. I used a cotton press cloth and my iron on it’s hottest setting with steam and everything was fine. The black satin I used needed just a little more care as it was 100% synthetic.
The construction of the waistcoat is fairly simple, but you do need to follow the construction order carefully. I initially made the mistake of sewing up the side seams before I’d sewn the lining to the shell at the armholes. This meant I needed to do a bit of unpicking.
The front dart is quite narrow and then balanced by cutting and pressing open. The welt pockets are then sewn. Once these were done I stitched them closed while continuing the rest of the construction. I had considered using bound buttonholes but decided that the fabric was a little bit too thick for this, so I went with machined buttonholes and black flat buttons, which complemented the grey well.
The second item I made was the coat for my mum. This took way longer than I anticipated, but I went with it as I didn’t want to rush and spoil it. I have only sewn a couple of jackets and was rather nervous about the construction. The wool blend fabric behaves so well it didn’t stretch out or lose it’s shape at all. In addition to the main shell fabric, I also used some sew-in interfacing and a nice drapey polyester I had in my stash as a lining.
The pattern is Burdastyle #104 05/2016. This is a cropped jacket.
The original design is for an unlined jacket, but I always think that jackets are much better with a lining. As I traced the pattern I traced off an extra front piece with the facing section omitted and Seam allowances added.
I thought this would be a quick make but soon realised that I needed to take my time to ensure that it was finished really well. As there are sections where there are many layers of fabrics, pressing them into submission can be challenging and I used a technique from jeans making and got out the hammer. Once the seams were pressed I protected the fabric with my press cloth and gave it a few good whacks with the hammer. This helped when I needed to sew through those thicker seams. My trusty Bernina does this well, but it doesn’t have the option to lift the presser foot up a bit higher as many more modern machines have.
I sewed the shell of the jacket and then started on the lining. I’d cut the back pieces, sleeves and fronts in the lining fabric and then added the front facings which were made from the shell fabric. I decided that I would bag the lining as I knew it would give a great finish to the garment, but had to go back to an edition of Threads magazine to check I was doing things correctly. If you’re going to bag a garment the lining pieces should be cut with a much smaller hem allowance. I used a 1 cm hem on the lining, to avoid having as much trimming to do and a 4 cm hem allowance on the shell fabric.
You can find out more about sewing a bagged lining at Threads.
This is one of those skills I really do need to perfect.
The only part I found slightly tricky was the notched collar. I followed Burdastyle’s rather sparse instructions and everything turned out ok, but I think there must be a better way of doing this. It will be one of those things I’ll research a bit more before doing this type of construction again.
The pattern calls for topstitching along the centre front edges and around the collar. I decided to omit this step as I felt the jacket didn’t need it. I consider myself to have reasonably good sewing skills and this project did work out well. I think the finish is good and my mum really likes her jacket and as you can see it fits well (which is a relief). It’s the sort of garment that will be a great transition piece and I think she’ll get a lot of wear out of it. The coating has a nice feel to it, it’s not too thick or rough and will be perfect for spring and autumn weather.
I honestly think it’s been worth taking my time with this one - here’s to a bit of slow sewing.
Until next time
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 31st January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Who doesn’t love beautiful fabrics? I personally love fabrics that have a nice structure, like suede. Such fabrics keep being interesting to look at, because the way they look always changes with movement and different lighting. That’s why I had to work with this Faux Suede Fabric! The fabric is available in so many colours that there must be at least one to your liking. And did I mention it is WATER REPELLENT?! So perfect for a fall jacket in which you don't even need to fear any rain!
So that's what I made. For this jacket I used pattern 26 from Bernina Inspiration magazine vol. 69. It is a nice pattern for a tailored faux leather jacket. The pattern features some expressive revers and an attached standing collar. I minimised the latter because such collars are not really for me. Then I moved the shoulder seams of the front panels a little upwards, to add a little length to the neckline that I missed after lowering the collar. To get the right fit I had to do some more small alterations. I slimmed the sleeves a little, because they were just a little voluminous despite the sleeve darts. Finally, I lengthened the whole garment about 2 cm, just because I felt it looked better, cause now this jacket hides my muffin shape top.
Although this fabric was ironable (on a low temperature!), leather always tends to bulge at the seams. That’s why I topstitched almost all seams, except for the hems. I like the look of a good topstitching, and on thicker fabric it makes the seams look so much more sophisticated.
On the hems I used another method. There I folded and ironed the seam allowance, but instead of hand or topstitching, I glued it in place. This saved me a lot of hand stitching time, while still giving a clean finish on the outside! This is a nice trick you can always use for hemming pleather. Because it is firm and mostly non-stretch, the glue won’t affect the fabrics properties.
After all, the hardest thing about sewing this jacket was picking the right thread colour (OK, maybe after adjusting the collar). When shopping for thread I took a scrap with me to the market, but they only had slightly different shades available. If you ever get into such situation and you're not sure about the right thread colour: always take one shade darker than your fabric. Lighter thread will pop out more than darker thread. This you can check by laying one single thread on top of the fabric. If the thread doesn’t pop out (or does pop out if you want that!), than it’s the right one.
I love the result! The fabric feels really nice to wear, and looks even nicer. The only disadvantage is that it can be a little statically charged. But when I combine it with non-synthetic garments, this is no issue anymore. I’m curious though, how it will turn out after washing. I normally prewash my fabrics, but this fabric I want to wash as little as possible, because sometimes frequent washing decreases the water repellentness of fabrics. Hoping this one does not shrink, haha!
I hope to wear this jacket a lot! What would you make from such fabric?
Hello everyone and nice to meet you again here! I am Olympia from @my_lovemade_wardrobe and today I am going to present you my new Burda Style dress. For this dress I used Burda Pattern 6443 and an amazing Art Gallery Cotton Jersey Fabric from Minerva Crafts.
Let’s have a look at the pattern:
As you can see it is a pattern that has two versions: one for a wrap dress and one more for a wrap shirt. If you decide to sew any of these two versions you have to be careful about the sizes though, as it is a pattern in the category of “petite” and that means that it is intended to be sewn by shorter women and the sizes are a little different than regular Burda Style sizes.
In order to find my size, I wrote down my body measurements and I found that my size for this pattern is size 21. I traced the pattern and I lengthened both the bodice piece and the skirt piece for 5 cm (I am 1.70m tall so I had to add approx. 10cm totally since the “petite” size chart is for 1.60m tall women).
As for the fabric, I am always pre-washing the fabrics before cutting them and so did I for this one too. It is a cotton jersey fabric with a little elastan (95% cotton 5% spandex) with a floral design that I really love and I think it is the perfect fabric for a wrap dress like this one.
As for the sewing process, I had no difficulties at all. All instructions are given precisely on leaflet and there are a lot of helpful images for every sewing step.
If I would love to change anything to this dress? Definitely no! I love the way it finally came out and I really enjoy wearing it. So simple and so elegant at the same time.
I am going to try the wrap shirt version in the near future for sure!
Thank you for stopping by!
Until next time,
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 30th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
My name is Fany (aka SewManyFabrics) and this is my first time writing a blog post. Like, ever. But, I am ‘sew’ excited to be sharing this little project with you all on the Minerva Craft Blog!
When I saw this fox Polycotton Fabric from Minerva Crafts, the first thought that came to my mind was matching pyjamas bottoms for my niece and nephew.
I did ask them if they liked the fabric, one being a 14 year old picky teenager and the other one a 10 years old boy, I wasn’t sure what kind of response I would get. But, they both delightfully gave me the green light to move forward so here I am. It took some negotiation and a hat to make the final pictures, but there is nothing candy can’t buy, right?
The fabric is vibrant, fun, and has foxes! My absolute favorite has to be this little guy holding a lantern.
I am guessing this is the type of fabric it gets softer and softer with every wash. I particularly love the way it goes under the machine, how little pins you need to use, and how it holds the stitching and its crispiness.
The pattern I used for my 14 year-old niece is the Margot Pyjamas from the book Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes.
I’ve been meaning to make those for a long time, and this was the perfect fabric for them. The construction went like a breeze. Tilly’s instructions are spot on and she has a genius technique for the drawstring opening. I was expecting a buttonhole but she surprised me with a very simple alternative, which I will surely be incorporating into future projects.
To finish off the string, I’ve tied a knot instead of sewing those tiny and tricky ends. I have used that method before and I don’t see fabrics fraying after washes. And I find it so much quicker and easier.
I didn’t make any other modifications to the pattern, and my niece loved the final result.
For my nephew, I choose Simplicity Pattern 1605 view c, a simple elasticated-waist pair of pants for boys and men that you can find here on Minerva’s site. This is a great pattern for simple pants and t-shirts, and you can even make the matching bag that comes with the pattern.
I have to confess, I did not read the instructions on this one, instead, I just followed the same construction method as I did with the Margot, except that in these pants I’ve inserted an elastic in the waist, instead of a drawstring. The pattern called for 1/2” wide elastic, but all I had was 1 inch wide and that worked perfectly.
This fabric was so nice to work with, easy to sew, easy to press, and it is also very affordable. I’ve been eyeing the blue colourway so I might get it in the near future as well.
Thank you Minerva Crafts for letting me be part of your blog!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the post and see you soon. You can see my makes on my Instagram @sewmanyfabrics and my vlog.
I’ve been an admirer of the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Pinafore and Dungaree Dress since it first came out, with its fun and playful style all over Instagram. I held back from joining the Cleo gang though, thinking the style probably wouldn’t suit me. Then this gorgeous fabric came into my life and I had a change of heart.
The Cleo Dress is a very simple dress, which you can make as either a dungaree dress with buckles or a pinafore dress with button fastenings. You also have the choice of two lengths: mini or knee length. Plus, optional centre front split, patch pockets and contrast topstitching. I went for the knee length pinafore option, without split or patch pockets. I also chose minimalist navy topstitching and buttons.
The fabric I used to make this Cleo Dress is this absolutely gorgeous Robert Kaufman Denim Fabric in indigo. It’s a medium weight denim with a beautiful softness to it and a lovely subtle sheen. It was a pleasure to work with – very easy to handle and well-behaved! The finished result is very comfy to wear, which hangs well and gives a high-quality finish.
Fit was probably my biggest issue with this pattern. It’s designed as a beginner friendly project with minimal fitting required, but its lack of shape can be quite unflattering if you’re curvy. I had to adapt the pattern slightly as there was a two-size difference in my measurements between the waist and hip sizes. I graded the pattern between the two sizes, creating more shape than was originally designed. That did mean I has to be careful about the button placement to ensure the curve I’d created sat properly on my hips.
The Cleo Dress promises to be an easy sew, and it definitely is! The instructions are laid out clearly and everything is very well explained. If you’re fairly new to sewing, this would be a great project to boost your skills and confidence. If, like me, you needed a little sewing mojo boost then this quick satisfying sew is just right.
So, I finally joined the Cleo club! I love mine and think it makes the perfect Sunday dress. Now to try lots of other patterns I never thought I would.
Today I am sharing one of my all time ever favourite projects I have ever worked on. I have been wanting to make a coat for some time now but for some reason I never made any steps towards making one. But when Minerva Crafts had this beautiful Lady McElroy Coating Fabric, I thought it’s time to commit. That way I couldn’t just wuss out of making the coat.
I knew I wanted to make a 1950s style big skirted coat and use a lot of couture sewing techniques. I think that’s why it took me so long to commit. I had a lot of expectations of how I wanted to go about making my coat. I knew it might take a long time to make. It did indeed.
I ended up using McCalls Pattern 7478 with the help of my Instagram followers. I went for view A with the small collar.
The Fabric I was kindly supplied with is this beautiful Lady McElroy jacquard coating and I went for the cappuccino colourway. You can use either side of the material, I went for the dark side with light pattern. Initially I ordered just under 5m but had to order another 1 ½ m later on. I didn’t cut the front facings when I cut out the min fabric. I don’t know what I was doing but the fabric would not have been enough anyways. It’s kind of a directional pattern, which you don’t notice at first glance. But all the “twigs” bend the same way. So keep that in mind when using this material.
I wanted a warm coat that I can enjoy through the winter, so I interlined the whole coat with a medium Sew-In Interlining. I used 5m in total.
I hand basted all interlining pieces to the main fabric by hand. You could do this by machine but I was committed. Once I had sewn together all the main coat pieces, I trimmed away the seam allowances of the interlining as close to the seam as possible. Then I pressed the seam allowances open and slipstitched them all down to the interlining to minimize bulk.
It was time to try on the coat for the first time. At this point I knew I would really love this coat. It is so ridiculously full and fancy. Just what I had hoped for.
I lined the whole coat in a plum coloured Lining Fabric to complement the shades of brown. That way you will get a pop of colour whenever I twirl around and the full skirt lifts. At the same time the plum is subtle enough to not clash too much with whatever I am wearing underneath the coat.
After I had finished sewing in the lining, which I also mostly did by hand, I realised I had forgotten to add the Horse Hair Braid the pattern asks for, to the hem. So I got to unpick it all again, stitch in the horsehair braid and re-stitch the lining to the hem. I got quite good at it, there is A LOT OF HEM on this coat!! I don’t think the horse hair braid was adding too much extra to the volume to the hem. The interlining is doing a great job, giving it volume and body. But for completion’s sake and to add yet another couture element to the coat, I had to sew it in.
I also added Shoulder Pads. I finished off the coat with Self-Covered Buttons. I thought that would be an elegant finish. The pattern doesn’t call for bound button holes, so I didn’t do any. Maybe if I make this again in the future (maybe next year?) I will add them. I think they will add nicely to the couture techniques used on this version.
When I first tried this coat on after assembling all the main pieces, I thought this will be a special occasion coat only due to it’s fullness. I then went on and wore it for the first time on holiday for a day out around a some of the lovely towns in the Peak District. It was quite nippy that day and the coat kept me nice and toasty all day. I also absolutely loved the movement of it and got a lot of compliments from ladies passing by. So now I want to wear it every day instead of keeping it for special events. It needs to be seen and I need to be twirling.
Thank you, you can find me on Instagram @beatricewinter for more sewing adventures
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 29th January 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
It's Emma here from Emma and her Machine. For my most recent make, I bring you trousers! I don't usually make trousers very often but when I saw this Tartan Fabric at Minerva, I knew it was destined for trousers (think Rachel from Friends but quite a few sizes bigger--that's what was going on in my head anyway). I think tartan is having a real revival and it's so autumnal. Perfect for autumn/winter wardrobes.
Anyway, I opted to make the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers. They live up to their name, in my experience, I've made them three times already, once as trousers and twice as shorts. They come together really easily and neatly and they're easy to wear. They have a high waist and a tapered leg which is really modern. In previous makes, I have used a stretch fabric and as this tartan fabric doesn't have as much stretch, I added one centimetre to the seams for ease.
The trousers have two darts at the front and two at the back and a side zip with a simple facing so they are perfect for beginners. I tried very hard to match the tartan up but I didn't have much success. I don't think it looks too bad along the darts and I managed it along the back seam a little but not the front (much to my dismay).
The trousers come together really easily otherwise and as a Trouser novice, I'm pleased to have no twisting or pulling as you can find when you first make trousers. The pattern calls for finishing the pieces before sewing them up, which was particularly useful for this fabric as it frays quite easily but it is easily managed by the overlocker and it presses really nicely. This was perfect for the facing, which needs a good press, I also tack it down along all the seam lines for good measure.
The trousers come as ankle length and I embraced this by adding slightly more to turn on the hem so they are true ankle grazers. I have found that adding the centimetre to the seam has made them a little less tapered at the bottom but I don't mind that so much. As the fabric is a little structured, I'm quite happy with the look.
Overall, I love them. I had major zip problems as my zip bust when I put them on. I inserted a new one (as if I don't hate zips enough already) but I'm so glad I did because they're my new favourite make! My hubby hinted that they may look like PJ pants but I completely disagree (I hope you do too!) and intend to wear them with pride. I paired them with a plain black Tee, and I can't imagine going much more outside the box with the outfit as a whole but when your trousers are so fab, who cares?!
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Emma and her Machine
Winter has well and truly set in.
And probably like a lot of you, when it's cold outside I just love to sit in my cosy pyjamas and pull on a jumper in a cold emergency. The problem is this can be frowned upon when in the office. Even if your office does warrant mittens until at least 3pm.
So in a bid to be warm and look reasonable for work I went on a sewing mission to create some clothes I truly love for the winter months. Tilly and the Buttons appeared a lot in my makes (Coco with thick tights anyone?) but when I saw this Deer and Doe Skirt Pattern I pictured thick jumpers and warm shoes so this Gabardine Twill Suiting Fabric was perfect for the make.
Navy is one of my favourite winter colours, and with the heavy weight it feels like I have a real layer on instead of a flimsy skirt. That plus the long length made it perfect for a winter make. The style is also the look I'm aspiring to. I definitely need to look more formal at work so it was a great start to a wardrobe makeover.
I do have reservations about Deer & Doe patterns. In the past I've struggled for hours with the threadbare instructions, as I have to admit, I'm not at the stage where I know all the tips and tricks off by heart. But to my relief this was a relatively easy make. The fabric is gorgeous. Navy goes with everything and is great to partner with some black tights. The pattern was simple and it's a really quick make you can finish before the end of the winter. I love the detail on the skirt. It consists of a central panel on the front and back which adds a little bit of excitement in what could be quite a simple, boring skirt. It’s also very flattering on the figure!
The invisible zip is easy to install and this thick fabric is really easy in general to use and unpick if you have any issues along the way. It’s sturdy fabric which is a huge advantage for when it’s cold outside. Just a warning though - it doesn’t contain any give so make sure your pattern doesn’t need any stretch. The thickness can also work as a disadvantage when it comes to the more fiddly elements of the garment.
Overall I love my winter skirt. The design is fabulous and it really does feel like I’m wearing another layer. The overlap on the zip didn’t quite work out as planned but as long as I don’t put on any weight it’ll see me through a few more winters yet! I’m really happy with it and can’t wait to wear it to work come rain or shine.
Thanks for reading,