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Archives: February 2018

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Named Stella Shirt & Dress Pattern Review by Isa

Hi everyone! I'm Isa, writing to you from Portugal. Usually you will find me over at my blog Uma Crafter Portuguesa Com Certeza but today I'm overjoyed to be writing my first product review for the Minerva Crafts blog.

When Minerva launched a call for reviews for the Fall-Winter collection of Named Sewing Patterns I jumped at the chance to try them out, as I never had the chance to try a pattern from Named before. I chose to test out the Stella Shirt Dress Pattern as I was already interested when I saw it at the pattern launch.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the printed pattern: it comes in a sturdy paperboard package, and it’s printed on a nice quality hefty paper. Both the shirt and dress patterns are composed of 7 pattern pieces.

I decided to go for the dress so I traced only those pieces and cut them out of a Georgette Fabric – a swishy sheer fabric that seemed similar enough to the recommended chiffon. For lining I used the light Stretch Lining Fabric that allways feels nicer against my skin than other acetate linings.

I cut out a size 42 and made a 3cm full bust adjustment, and shortened both sleeves and hem, as I’m definitively not a Finnish beauty ;) (I’m 1,64 m tall). Each sleeve is composed by two pieces and I pondered on cutting the sleeves on one piece only, but as it was for testing purposes, I decided against it. In this pattern you’ll find a seam down the front, so you should consider it if you’re pattern matching. There’s only one piece for the back skirt and one for the front.

I was really pleased with the quality of the instructions – the instructions not only contain instructions for lining your dress, but also included instructions for French seams at the sleeves, and the waist is beautifully finished by the casing. But alas I wished they had found out a way of bagging the lining for the bodice, or gave enough room for French seams at the raglan seams. These seams are only 1cm wide, so if you’d like to get a nicer finish than a serged or zigzag seam consider enlarging that seam.

Even though I didn’t make the shirt version I gave a look at the instructions and the sleeve placket construction looks quite interesting – there are no openings and the excess fabric to let your hands get through the cuff is folded in and secured closed with snaps. This sounds like a great alternative to whoever loathes sewing sleeve plackets. For the shirt dress the cuff hems work as casings for a bit of elastic.  

The finished dress is super comfy, really light and airy. I think the fabrics I chose work really nicely with the pattern. I’m quite happy with the quality of the dress yet to be truthful about it I think it isn’t really me, I’m quity busty and I think the blousy raglan seams only enhances my bust, or maybe I should have just gone with my default navy and black colors for the fabric, I was trying to choose something different but the print really overwhelms me :S. But, if I use a cardigan over it, I think I can pull it off, what do you think?

Happy stitching everyone :) 


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Quilted Jersey Seamwork Paxton by Naomi

Hi, Naomi from Naomi Sews again! I sometimes feel that my lovely husband Matt gets all the negatives associated with my sewing. I disappear into the sewing room for a couple of hours on a weekend, make myself something nice and leave him to entertain himself! One of my make nine plans though was to make him a Seamwork Paxton, and amazingly only a month or two down the line it has materialised into reality!

I spotted this really interesting Quilted Jersey Fabric and loved the teal colour. I thought that it would be a great option for this sweater. The fabric feels quite thick, because it is made up of two layers bonded together with some batting between. It still has a good amount of stretch, though the cut edges do fray quite a bit.


I decided to solve the fraying by making this up entirely on my overlocker. This was a great idea in theory, but in practice the fabric was a little bulky to feed through neatly, especially in areas like the neckband.  This unfortunately meant that in a couple of places I didn’t quite catch all the layers in the overlocking.  Mostly I’ve been able to go back in and sort it, but I think next time I would baste the layers in place first or consider using another less bulky fabric for the band and cuffs.

One of the options with the Paxton sweater is to add elbow patches.  I thought that would be quite fun and wanted to try out these pre-cut Patches from Prym. They have a ‘mock-suede’ side, and a side that looks a bit like fusible interfacing. There are some rudimentary instructions with the elbow patches, indicating iron temperatures and timings. I made sure to test a scrap of my fabric under the iron before going ahead just to check it didn’t change the fabric properties.  I didn’t have any problems, and the patches adhered to the fabric really well.

Having the patches already fixed in place did make topstitching a doddle! I didn’t have a suitable colour of topstitching thread, so I used two strands of ordinary gutermann sewing thread which has worked fine.  As indicated in the Paxton instructions, I increased my stitch length to 3.5mm, and used a new topstitching needle to give the best chance of sewing smoothly through this slightly thicker layer.  As you can see, it has turned out beautifully.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with this sweater. The elbow patches ended up a touch low on Matt using the pattern markings, but it is very quick and simple to put together.  The only part I'm not totally happy with is the neckband.  It doesn’t quite sit right, and I think it might be a touch too long.  I don’t mind enough to take it off and do it again though, and Matt seems to like wearing it anyway!

I guess that is my sewing good deed done for now.  Does that mean I can go back to sewing for myself again now?


Dove Blouse in Tropical Stems by Carly

I'm going to be truthful, I've seen this amazing Lady McElroy Tropical Stems Cotton Poplin Fabric floating around on instagram and the amazing things other sewists have made with it and it was love at first sight. Strictly speaking, I'm more of a solids kinda gal as they're easier to wear, but the colours and print on this beauty really won me over. When I was given the chance to test this fabric I literally did a big 'WHOOP!' and immediately started to form a plan of what I would make with it.

I went back and forwards a few times before deciding exactly what to make with it. It's a large, bold print and I'm petite at 5ft 3" with wide hips, and I was a teeny bit worried about whether it would suit me and be wearable. I had no doubt that I would love whatever I garment I made in this stunning fabric, but whether it looked good on me and was wearable is another story completley.

I've had my eye on the Dove Blouse Pattern my Megan Nielson for some time. I totally dig the big floaty bell sleeves. Very 70's (which I'm also totally diggin' right now). I've put off making this blouse before because again, I just didn't know if this silhouette would suit me or not. I decided that if I loved the pattern and the fabric enough, I couldn't really go wrong. So I went ahead and printed out the PDF version of the Dove Blouse pattern and taped it together. I went for an XL going on my hip measurement.

Meanwhile 2m of this delicious fabric arrived at my door and my heart broke a little just seeing how stunning it is in real life. The print is amazing, the colours perfection and the feel of the fabric is exquisite! It's a very soft cotton which has lots of lovely drape. perfect for the Dove Blouse! I prewashed my fabric within 5 minutes of it arriving in my house, eager to cut out my blouse!

Cutting the blouse was a cinch. I managed to play around with the pattern placement and used up just 1.5m of fabric (leaving just enough left over for me to make a mini Ogden Cami for my daughter. Win Win!). Cotton poplin is easy to pin and cut. No fraying on the edges, so simple and straight forward. I went for view 3 of the Dove Blouse and chose to opt for the biggest sleeve option. Go big or go home, right?!

I don't actually tend to work with cotton that much and I forgot how pleasing it is to sew with. Hardly any pinning needed and it took a good press like a dream making the seams so crisp and lovely. I ended up taking about an inch off of the length of the sleeves before attaching the bottom full circle part of the sleeve, as the sleeve was just sitting a bit too low. Not a surprise though - as I mentioned I am a little shorter than most patterns are drafted for. The one part I was a little apprehensive about was hemming the bottom of the floaty sleeves. A full circle is never easy to hem is it? But, this fabric made it easy as pie! I pressed as I went and i didn't even need to pin as it held the press so well.

What I love about this make is how the blouse is a relatively simple pattern and so it really lets the print of the fabric take centre stage. This fabric was the perfect weight for this make, it holds the shapes well whilst still allowing for enough floatiness in those delicious sleeves.

I'm so happy with this make. All of my reservations about the style have completely disappeared. This fabric and pattern are a match made in heaven! It is a great versatile wardrobe staple and I can't wait to make some more!

Thanks for reading,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew


Q&A with Simona from Adventures In The Attick

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

My blog is called Sewing Adventures in the Attick. I decided to call it this, because I my sewing studio is actually located in a converted attic, and is my favourite room in the house. I started my blog from the need to try and keep a record of my makes and share with the amazing sewing community my impressions about patterns, fabrics or supplies I use in my projects.

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

Oh, I was always interested in the clothing. As a child, I used to draw fashion sketches, and dream of actually making them. However, during that time in Romania, I did not know how to go about finding a sewing machine or how to learn how to sew. Hand sewing was not an option. I tried making dolls’ clothes by ruining old clothes or pillowcases and then gave up. Then when I moved to UK, over 10 years ago now, I was gifted my first sewing machine and there was no turning back. I like sewing so much because I make for myself a select few garments that are unique for which I did not pay an arm and a leg. My first project was a simple top. It was similar to view C of New Look 6464 (no longer in print). I no longer have the pattern nor the top. But I remember how happy I was for making it all on my own.

What is your favourite craft?

For me, sewing garments is my favourite craft. I’ve tried other crafts such as knitting or quilting but I just not enjoy them as much.

What do you love most about sewing?

I’d got to say its spending time doing something I love and at the end of it I have something useful. Also, for me sewing is a way of expressing my creativity while solving problems. Many times, I’ve made mistakes that required me to figure out solutions to bring my projects to completion without having to start again or completely abandon them and feeling I wasted my time.

Do your friends or family sew along with you?

I tend to sew alone. My family is not really into crafts. I am the only one obsessed with it. I have a friend with whom we sometimes get together for a sewing day, when we sew together all day. At the end if we manage to finish our projects we might even have a little photo shoot to have a little memory keepsake.

Who do you make things for?

Mainly, I sew for myself. I am quite selfish when it comes to sewing, also because I find it hard to part with my projects. But, I am known to have made a few gifts for my friends and family. All with the help of my cat, Bella, who checks out the project mostly by sleeping on it.

What made you decide to start to blog about your sewing?

The main reason I started my blog was to keep a diary of my projects as well as to improve my English, as it is not my first language. Slowly, it became a way of me to connect with others who love sewing as much as I do, as well as to share my opinions about patterns or fabrics. I feel very happy when my ramblings about sewing are useful to others or they find inspiration in my words.

Do you have a favourite snack when sewing?

No, I tend to be so engrossed into my sewing that, I actually forget about snacks. Which is a good thing, because chocolate is my downfall and need to stay away from it. Sewing helps me do that. However, I do enjoy the odd drink while I am doing sewing related activities such as blog writing or reading sewing literature (this includes, blogs, books or magazines about sewing).

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

Hmm… This is quite difficult for me. But If I a to pick only 3, I’d say my sewing machines (includes my overlocker), my SimFlex Sewing Gauge (marking buttonholes or button positions is a dream with this) and the unpick (I never fail to use it almost every project I have the need for one). My collection of unpicks is extensive. I have them everywhere, so I never run the risk if not finding one when I need it.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I do not really have a favourite fabric to work with. I try to challenge myself to work with any fabric. The main thing about the fabric has to be soft against the skin. I used to work mainly with wovens that were quite stabile while working with them. But, with a few tricks up one’s sleeve tricker fabrics such as knits or silks can also be nice to work with. Besides, liquid fabric stiffener that washes out, works wonders on most fabrics.

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I try too keep myself on track by working on one project at the time. However, sometime, when I make something a bit more complicated, from which I need a bit of a break, also work on a simpler make to get some instant gratification by having something completed.

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

Another difficult question for me. I don’t really have a favourite make of all time. Usually my favourite one is also the last project I have made. So at this moment in time, I’d say that the outfit I made for a sewing challenge in December is my favourite.

What is your latest WIP (Work in Progress)?

Right now I am working on a product testing project, using a poly-cotton to make a jumpsuit.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you sew?

I do both. Sometimes I watch TV, other times I listen to music. It all depends on my mood. But there is no rule to it, as I’ve spent many days sewing without TV or music.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start sewing?

I do not have a particular process that inspires me to sew. Over the years. I’ve amassed a huge list of projects I want to do, that I don’t need to spend time deciding what to sew. I just need to decide what to sew next form my To Do list. I do sometimes get distracted from my To Do list by new patterns I discover on Instagram or Pintrest or by my wish to join in with sewing challenges going on in the Sewing Community.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Do not be afraid to do it. You do not have to try to come up with something new, that no one else has written. Just write about what make you happy and be yourself. Remember that it’s a hobby and you do not have to stress yourself in creating the perfect blog from the start. As many other things blogging is a learning experience, just embrace it. You never know where it will take you.

Could you sum yourself up as a sewer in 3 words?

Not necessarily, but I’ll try: fabric hoarder, sewing gadgets lover and perfectionist.

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Just try it! You never know if you do not try. I do advise, start small with a little kit, see if you like it. These days for most crafts you can find introductory lessons/workshops where you can use the tools and materials offered by the provider.  


Simplicity Sweater 8529 by Jo

In the wintertime, I for one, crave comfort. Ok, ok, all the time, I crave comfort. On my list for this winter was a super soft sweatshirt for everyday, and this one delivers. 
The pattern is Simplicity 8529, which is a slightly different version of the famous Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven, as licensed by Simplicity. The differences, I believe, are a drop shoulder, standard Simplicity sizing (I went a full size down, because it’s quite boxy anyway, and I always find Big 4 patterns to be roomier than their indie counterparts), and in addition to this shorter, half-funnel neck, there’s a crew neck as well. I also really like the larger funnel neck and raglan sleeves in the indie version, and would love to make that sometime. For me, the interesting neckline gives it just that little difference from something off the rack, but the star of the show here is this utterly beautiful French Terry fabric by Atelier Brunette. I can’t properly describe to you how soft it is. It’s luscious. Like a very fancy baby blanket. Or…the baby.
It’s not quite a turtleneck, but much cozier than a boatneck. It’s like wearing the most luxurious cozy pyjamas, all day. 
It’s also a really quick make! Mine came together over the course of an evening, after putting my kids to bed, including cutting. I decided that with this boxy shape, I would quite like it cropped, so I cut the main pieces to just below my natural waist. With the hem band, it sits slightly above high hip. I’ve been wearing it with thrashed mom-jeans to playdates and whatnot, but what it reminds me of most of all is those ridiculously expensive savasana sweatshirts you see from upmarket yoga boutiques. Where you’re like, “whoa, this sweatshirt is £100, but it’s literally the nicest sweatshirt I’ve ever seen.” And then have an existential crisis about overpriced yoga clothes. But still kinda want it. Well, now I can make it and not hate myself or go broke in the process! Sewing for the win! 
In terms of details, I sewed this sweatshirt entirely on my overlocker (no twin-needle hemming! Hurray!), and have only one niggle with the instructions; they have you folding over the neckline before sewing the shoulder seams. This means that the overlocked edge comes all the way to the opening at the neck, and a visible overlocked edge, even if just barely visible, is just a personal dislike of mine. Next time (and oh, there will be a next time), I will try sewing the shoulder seams first, then tacking the fold down by hand, seam allowance to seam allowance. Possibly less hard wearing, but then I get a completely clean finish. 
I honestly would make this again, exactly as is, in a different colorway. Or maybe try the other neckline. Matching lounge pants as well, perhaps? After all, I could swim in this fabric!
Thanks again for reading my guest post. Jo xx 

Butterick 6351 Pattern Review by Maria

Buying patterns that are versatile makes me feel like I'm getting value for money. Butterick Pattern 6351 provides value with two dress styles and a jumpsuit. This pattern is a bit challenging and I'll walk you through its challenges.
The positives are the two dress styles and a jumpsuit as well have the open overlay back. This is an 'on trend' feature that is a nice to have. These styles offer pockets, pleats and gathers for summer style fabrics.
I’ve made this pattern 4 times (2 dresses and 2 jumpsuits) and this review is about the second dress style I made.
Initial style adjustments
When it comes to a choice between a basic round neckline or redrafting v-neckline, I prefer a v-neckline. The basic round neckline works if you haven’t redrafted a neckline before. I’ll show you how to redraft the neckline.
This pattern offers A/B, C and D cups. I chose the C cup as I can vary from a B to C cup from time to time. The other reason I chose the C cup is because our Summers can be brutally hot and humid so having more air flow in the bodice is worthwhile.
I saw a review of this pattern where the back waistband was changed for flatter shaping so I’ll show you how to do this as well.
A note of caution. On the dress, the back waistband uses elastic for shaping. The dress style also instructs you to add a side zipper. If you make the dress this way, closing the zipper with an elastic waistband puts too much stress on the zipper. It's the nightmare feature of the dress style.
In fact the jumpsuit doesn’t use a side zipper so if you make the dress and keep the elastic waistband, my advice is don’t use the zipper. Simply sew the side seams closed.
I’ll show you what to do if you do decide to include the side zipper. I had to come up with a solution for the first dress version I made.
The Fabric
This dress uses Minerva Crafts 'Floral & Birds Print Cotton Dress Fabric Black on Beige'. The bodice is lined with a matching lining and these two fabrics work well in the Summer heat. I've worn this dress a few times now that it's super comfortable.
The floral and birds fabric is 100% cotton and is a good broadcloth. By good I mean it washes well; irons nicely; sews easily and the fabric is opaque so you really don't need to line the skirt. I didn't line the skirt and didn't need to line the skirt. The bodice is lined as the pattern suggests.
I made view A with the straight skirt. I'm not the right height to wear view C and View B.
The test dress was so lovely to wear but this broadcloth fabric would have looked very bulky if I had used the gathers at the back of the skirt waistband.
The Bodice
Shoulders: Shoulder placement is one of the first adjustments I do.
My shoulder are forward sloping so on the bodice pattern pieces I remove 2cm length from the front shoulder seam height and extend the height of the back shoulder seam.
As this style has a sleeveless bodice, there’s always the likelihood the armholes are a bit too wide. Once I made the test version of this dress, I took out just under 2cm from the back bodice armhole. There was some gaping on the test dress. On this final dress, I've eliminated this by folding out the excess, and I still have room to move my arms.
Bust adjustments: This pattern comes with a few cup sizes so I had no reason to do a full cup adjustment. I shorten the bust dart by 2cm in length and it now matches my bust shape.
Neckline: V-necklines are more flattering for me that a high round neckline, so the first thing I did was create a v-neckline on the paper pattern. (include measurement details and pictures). The new neckline is now 11cm lower than the pattern's neckline.
Front bodice length: From time to time, commercial patterns are a touch too long. I removed 1.5cm at the waist so the bodice sat at my natural waistline.
Back bodice opening: This style is an on trend feature of this pattern.
To ensure the back bodice opening is secure, the pattern requires two buttons at the top of the bodice.
If you're uncertain about the back bodice opening, add a snap at the base of the back bodice so it sits more securely.
This back bodice opening makes it easy to get out of with the jumpsuit but it's just as worthy of using for the dress too. Especially if you want to eliminate the side zipper.
The other thing I did was to lower the back bodice opening but tracing the bodice opening curve 2 cm lower that the pattern suggests.
Bodice finishing: There's a bit of hand sewing to secure the front bodice lining to the skirt. I've you're not into hand sewing, I suggest using pins to secure the lining and then stitching in the ditch from the front waistline.
Pockets: I must say the pockets on this skirt are very flattering.
I lowered the waist at the centre front by 4cm. This again ensures the dress waistline sits at the right part of my body. This adjustment also makes the skirt hang more level to the floor.
Skirt hem: The skirt hem was shortened by 6cm but I made this adjustment at the widest part of my hips on the pattern. Making the adjustment at the hips allows me to keep the hem shape as provided.
I have a sway back so I normally make an adjustment on the back skirt but I was able to add darts to the top of the back skirt to make it fit my curves.
If you're looking for a versatile Summer pattern that has some 'on trend' features, try Butterick 6351. It has a few style options and three bust cup variations that suits a few body shapes, if you're keen.

Stylecraft Candy Swirl Yarn Review by Tina

Hello my name is Tina from Simply in Stitches. I have loved knitting since I was a child and on my YouTube channel and blog I share the items I have made. I'm a garment knitter mostly as I love having a me made wardrobe as I sew also. I was so pleased to be offered the new Candy Swirl Yarn Cake by Stylecraft to review. I have used Stylecraft yarn many times before and they are very well respected especially by crochet fans. The Stylecraft Special DK is a firm favorite and this Candy Swirl cake is in the same series. 
Candy Swirl is a 150g (443m) of DK weight 100% acrylic yarn making it machine washable and suitable to tumbledry on cool. This makes it ideal for blankets and items for children such as toys. It is recommended for a 4mm hook or needle as you expect for DK yarn. It looks beautiful in the swirl and would make a beautiful gift for a knitter as 150g is plenty to make a shawl or other small project. There are patterns available for the yarn cake which include shawls, cushions and throws. Any DK pattern can be used so if you have a favorite shawl pattern it would be idea.
The yarn cake comes in a wide range of gorgeous colours. I chose the brightest one. The Apple sour colour way is pink, green and turquoise. A very fun and happy colour for the project I had in mind. The other colours available are Very berry a mix of blues and burgandy, Fruit salad which is the colour of the sweets beautiful pink, yellow and lime. Coconut ice is a sophisticated blends of tonal grey and pink. Strawberry Taffy is a more vibrant pallet of pinks. Blue berrygum is tones of lovely blues. Sugar plum is for the purple lovers with rich tones of purple and Liquorice is mix of greys going to black. It is important to note that the cake is not a gradient which was disappointing. A lot of the yarn cakes slowly merge into the next colour but the Stylecraft Swirl is a definite stripe. 
I wanted to use the yarn for some blanket squares as I knit for the charity. It is the perfect yarn being lovely and soft to the touch and easy care washing. The most popular way to use the yarn is for a shawl as you have the interest of colour changes without the ends to weave in that knitters dislike so much. I thought I would try crocheting a square. I am new to crochet and wanted to practice and thought squares would be perfect to improve my skills or lack of. I found the Candy Swirl cake yarn lovely to use in hand and easy to crochet with. Some grip but smooth and easy to manage. I used a 4mm hook as recommended and the square had a lovely texture and thickness to it that would be ideal for a blanket to snuggle up in. 
Unfortunately my enthusiasm for crochet finished there and I returned to my first love, knitting. Once again I used 4mm needles and knitted the squares corner to corner for some interest in a very basic pattern. I had a lot of fun thinking of different ways to make the squares different each time. The great thing about yarn cakes is that someone has already found great colour combinations for you so you can do whatever you like with the yarn knowing that the end result will have a harmonious colour pallet.
I think the best use for the Stylecraft Candy Swirl cake is a shawl or blanket where you just knit or crochet your way through the cake enjoying all the colour changes. It would be a fantastic travel or easy project when you don't have to look at a pattern you can just enjoy the process. I loved using all the colours and it is the type of yarn I will use every scrap of. 
I hope you have enjoyed my review and have found it useful. It was my first time using a yarn cake and I will be using one again I'm sure. I will also consider them when I am looking for a gift for a knitting friend as they are so pretty.  
Thanks for reading,
Tina @ Simply in Stitches

Sway Back Adjustment with Claire-Louise Hardie

This adjustment is the one that makes the most difference to at least 50% of my dressmaking students. What is a sway back and how do you know if you need a sway back adjustment?
If you often find that there are folds or extra fabric pooling around the waistline on the back of your clothes, then a sway back may fix this. Essentially if the centre back is too long between the shoulders and the hip, this can be caused by a flat bum, or a backward tilted pelvis. A sway back adjustment essentially shortens the centre back of the garment between the shoulders and hips.
Note: Not all pooling at the back of your garment is a sway back issue. These are a couple of fit issues that may mis-diagnose a sway back.
1) The waist sits too high all the way around both the front and the back. In this case you need to shorten the torso all the way around.
2) The side seams tilt forward and the front waist rides up too. In this case you may need to adjust the width on the front of the bodice to allow for a full bust.
3) You have a delicious full booty. This can cause the skirt to ride up into the waist becasue there's not enough width around the hips. Try adding a little extra into the centre back seam of the hip area.
How to Apply a Sway Back Adjustment to a Bodice or One Piece Dress
This adjustment is essentially a narrow dart / wedge being taken out from the centre back to the side seam just above the waistline. On some pattern brands like Palmer Pletsch, the position will be marked.
One way to approach this is to do a tissue fit. If the centre back is not hanging down straight, i.e. it swings to the side, then pinch a small tuck at the CB about 1 inch above the waistline.
Once you lay the pattern flat, measure how much you want to lose at the centre back. You can get rid of the excess either by pinning out a dart like wedge from the CB to the side seam or by slashing from the CB to the side seam and over lapping. You'll then need to true up the sides and the centre back.
You'll now notice that the vertical lines like the darts, grain-lines are now no longer straight. Simply re-draw by placing a ruler in line with the ends and drawing a new straight line.
If your centre back seam is on a fold, you'll need to straighten up the centre back seam line, as the sway back creates a curved line that can't be placed on the fold. Use a ruler to straighten the centre back.
The final step is to true up the hemline which may have become too short at the back. Use a ruler to square up the new hem line.
Applying a Sway Back Adjustment to a Skirt or the Bodice of a Waisted Dress
The same principle applies to a skirt or the bodice of a dress with a waist seam. Sometimes the side seams of a skirt don't hang straight indicating a sway back is needed, or the back of the waistline sits too high. Instead of removing the dart shape, you're merely removing a triangular wedge along the top of a skirt or the waist of a dress bodice. You may find it helps to tie some elastic around your waist to work out this adjustment.

Burda Young Shirt in Lady McElroy Flora Songbird

This month I was offered some lovely fabric from Minerva crafts, Lady McElroy Flora Songbird Cotton Poplin Fabric in jade was the one I chose with the option to make up a pattern I own. 

One of my personal favourites is the Burda Young Shirt Pattern 6849, I have made it before and know it to be a lovely fit and style. When my fabric arrived I loved the pattern instantly and the soft feel was suited to holiday wear, with my shirt pattern I had the idea to turn it into a shirt dress. This is something that is on my ‘to make’ list for this year so that fitted the bill perfectly.

It only needs a little tweaking to do this so should you decide to purchase this pattern you can do the same. All you need to do is lengthen the shirt pieces where it is marked on the pattern ‘lengthen or shorten here’. It is already a long line shirt so it skims the hips, just follow the line down and I allowed it to taper out just on a little A-line. You need to remember you will also have to lengthen the button panels to match your chosen length.

The next adjustment I made was to shorten the sleeves, the only reason I opted for short sleeves was because I didn’t order enough fabric for a dress version of this pattern. You could keep the long sleeves or if you would like to shorten them like I did just lay on your pattern piece and decide on a length. Again this is easy as there is a lengthen or shorten line to follow.

The fabric was lovely to work with, no fray which is always a bonus and a nice amount of give for easing when working on sleeves etc. I would suggest taking care when working with pins that you don’t mark the fabric and use the correct needles.

I really enjoyed working on this fabric and I am going to take a look at the other designs, having made this dress from the shirt pattern I feel there will be more to come. 

I decided to keep the shirt shape at the bottom but you could cut straight across depending on your preference. I also kept the shoulder seam topstitching as it adds to the finish but didn’t add the front shoulder panels, this is optional on the shirt pattern.

I hope this post has been useful in showing you how you can adapt a pattern to create more garments. The pattern is easy to follow and the adjustments easy to implement just take your time and have a clear mind about what you would like to achieve. 

The Lady McElroy fabric was very forgiving when I needed to ease my collar in place, just remember to go lightly on the pins. I find sometimes a bit of light tacking can be useful with a fine needle just to make things stay put while you machine. 

There will definitely be a few more of these dresses appearing in m y wardrobe this year. Thank you Minerva crafts for the fabric.

Dianne @ Sewing Green Lady


Vogue 1559 Sewing Pattern Review by Nicky

It was great to be given the chance to try out and review one of this seasons Vogue Sewing Patterns as Vogue is one pattern company I haven’t used before.

I choose V1559 as I liked the classic button through shirt dress style with its unique designer touches of being off the shoulder and the separation of the sleeves from the bodice.

We can all find a place in our wardrobe for a denim dress so having looked though the fabrics I decided on this glittery Denim Fabric, which has a small percentage of stretch, and took advantage of Minerva’s thread matching service so I would have the correct shade at hand straight away. However I found with the amount of topstitching I should have ordered two.

The design shows contrast fabric panels in the bodice and for the waistband but as this fabric already had the glitter I decided to keep it all the same.

Now for the cutting out, I have never used a pattern with as many pattern pieces! Thirty in total and twenty of them to be cut in interfacing as well.

Comparing my measurements to the finished garment measurements I graded between sizes to gain the best fit. I’m glad I used the finished garment measurements as a guide as using the patterns body measurements it would have suggested making a size bigger at all points and the dress would have turned out much to big.

With lots of pattern pieces of course there are a lot of instructions. I found these to be very clear and well written so the dress was easier to construct than I first expected. But as the pattern suggests it is more suited to an intermediate sewer rather than a beginner.

With this dress there is a lot of top stitching detail so I used chalk to mark lines where needed and took my time to get a neat finish.

The final steps included a lot of hand-stitching the linings down so the inside looks as good as the outside.

And adding the seventeen buttons! I choose to use jeans buttons so got to hammer those on instead.

This dress is definitely not a quick make but is worth all the effort. There are so many little steps to the construction that I would advise you to fit regularly during construct as it would be difficult to alter some parts once finished.

The dress made up pretty true to the finished measurements stated but I hadn’t taken into account my small shoulders and arms so I had to adjust the shoulder band. I could have possibly shortened the sleeves slightly too.

Overall I love my new dress and really enjoyed using a Vogue pattern. It is one to take your time with but following the detailed instructions helps get a more professional finish. I will be back looking at the rest of the Vogue range now.

Happy Sewing :)

Nicky @ Sew N Snip

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