Archives: February 2019
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 28th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello! My first blog post of 2019 is one that has really made me smile... Mostly because it's absolutely freezing out, I'm wrapped up like a tubby little Arctic explorer (including two pairs of socks & a hot water bottle almost permanently attached) yet I've already started on my Spring/Summer makes... Trust me, it's really not like me at all to be this on the ball!
I loved this textured double layered Stretch Fabric when I saw it but that first view online was nothing on seeing it in real life – It's a really unusual fabric & I mean that in a good way not in the 'I'm trying to find something polite to say' way, I mean it's really unusual & really nice, I've not really seen anything like it before. The lower layer is a fine stretch mesh & attached to that a lightweight jersey decorated with swirls & vertical wavy lines. The fabric is slightly see through to a degree but not to the point where I would feel uncomfortable wearing it & I couldn't wait to get cracking on it.
Sadly, the fun part had to wait what with unexpected bugs & all the pre Christmas preparations & post Christmas tidy up. So I pre washed & had to make to do with plans for a wee while.
My first thought was the Waffle Patterns Vanilla top but changed my mind almost straight away... I discovered 'I am' patterns earlier in 2018 & am pretty besotted by their designs so resolved to make their Cupidon Sweater Pattern but teaming it with the Winnat Tank Top by Wendy Ward for a 2018/19 take on the twin set.
This is my third Cupidon so it went together really rather quickly, which isn't a difficult feat because it's a lovely simple pattern that's beginner friendly (though if you haven't sewn stretch before I wouldn't recommend starting with this fabric, try something with more body). I sewed both tops up on my overlocker for speed but a sewing machine would do just as well though I do advise that a walking foot is used. It'll make your (sewing) life much easier as this fabric is very lightweight & could easily become snagged. Even on the over locker, with basted seams & the occasional pin a few stray bits of the top layer of fabric were missed but on inspection after I'd finished both sweater & vest top there were only three or four spots that needed a quick fix. This isn't a fabric fault but rather a side effect of cutting the pattern pieces out of a fabric that already has holes cut into it but a little extra thought at the point of pinning the pattern pieces together before sewing will keep this at the minimum.
The Winnat vest top by Wendy Ward is another staple in my wardrobe & a very satisfying make. From cutting out to finishing it took less than an hour to make. Though herein lies a little error, to add interest I cut out the vest at 90 degrees to the pieces for the Cupidon to add a little extra interest while also forgetting this fabric doesn't have a 2-way stretch. I should have gone up a size or two to compensate... D'oi! So, it is a tad snug across my chest but as I am planning on going down a dress size or two by summer I'm not heart broken by my mistake.
The nature of this fabric does mean it is slightly see through when worn as a single layer but not so much that it's indecent. I am as body conscious as the next person yet feel completely covered by layering it up like this, that said I'm already planning an order for more of this fabric in white to make a simple out sized 1980's style wide necked/off the shoulder top. I don't think it'll need a base layer & even if I do, it'll be another Winnat vest top! I will never get bored of making those... They're such addictive little blighters & are fantastic for using up leftover jersey fabric. Am I the only seamstress [insert you descriptor of choice here, I'm a seamstress & happy that way] who gets thoroughly over excited about being able to squeeze a 'free' item of clothing out of leftovers???
All in all, I am a happy little bunny all round & am looking forward to showing off my gorgeous new twin set this year, I see me wearing it a lot. Now, please excuse me while I refill my hot water bottle...
Thanks for taking the time to read,
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 28th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello! This is Marisa from Spain, also known as @heiressy on Instagram and this is my first time here sharing with you all the amazing possibilities of a truly Incredible Fabric, this floaty floral viscose twill (in teal, but the color changes a lot with the light).
For me, this fabric was always a dress. Or even a blouse and a skirt that together would look like a dress. A dress to wear to a wedding, or for a brunch with friends. Wine and cheese, hammocks and soft music come to mind.
Enter the Sussex's and their first royal tour. Meghan wore a dress called ‘Frederica’ by Figue.
I mean, if that dress can hide a baby bump, it can surely hide in style a multitude of sins (like a huge serving of my Auntie’s roasted chicken with deep fried dumplings).
It was decided: I wanted the dress minus the price tag, the unflattering raglan sleeves and the three tiers of flounces. As lovely as they are a) I am very short, b) being Spanish, the flounces remind me too much of flamenco dancers.
Luckily for me, I already had the perfect (never used) pattern at home: Simplicity’s 1064 Tunic Pattern.
And I know that when you look at it, you see the Frederica dress as clearly as I do. We just need to play a little with the pattern :)
Here’s an Adventurous Beginner Seamstress Guide to Pattern Alterations:
Really, that’s all you need to do.
Once the pattern had been altered, it was time to cut and sew.
Cutting was easy. I used 2.70 meters for this dress. The flounces alone ate up over half a meter of fabric. The bishop sleeves also required a lot of fabric, but they were worth it. Please bear in mind that I am 5’2’’ tall and I cut a size EU 38-40. If you are taller or if you want to make the three tiered version, you will need more fabric.
The fabric is very stable for a viscose twill. If you are new to sewing, you can make it even more stable by cutting it with a sheet of paper underneath. Nothing fancy, you can use old newspaper. And fear not, your shears will not suffer for this (especially if you cut aluminium foil afterwards).
Then comes the sewing. I have a few tips for you.
1 - Order matching thread from Minerva Crafts. I live in a small town with no haberdashery shops and I didn’t have a matching thread in my stash. It was a sad moment. I had to sew my dress with green and blue thread that do not really match. My only consolation is that nobody else will notice the mismatched thread.
2 - Use a new, very thin, very sharp needle (60 or 70).
3 - This viscose twill does fray quite fast. If you have an overlocker, use it. I finished my seams by pressing them together and zig-zagging them. If I had known that the pattern was going to work so well, I might have used French seams. The fabric is light enough for them and it presses beautifully. It doesn’t crease much, though.
4 - Stay stitch all seams that are on the bias. This viscose twill does not stretch much but better safe than sorry.
5 - Prewash your fabric. This fabric washed very well in cold water. It did shrink a little.
6 - This viscose repels cat hair!!! Bonus!!
I mostly followed the pattern instructions to the letter, except for:
The sleeves: I folded the hem twice towards the inside to create a 1cm channel for the 7mm elastic. I stitched it leaving a 2.5cm opening to insert the elastic and closed it afterwards.
The waist seam: I didn’t close the front and I didn’t use elastic on the waistband. The Frederica looks like a robe and I wanted the same effect on my dress, so I simply gathered the two fronts and the back around 25% once they were sewn together. When I put it on, I wrap myself in it. I might add fastenings in the future, but right now I’m really into the robe thing.
The hem: I changed the style of the skirt by adding a flounce. My skirt is basically a very short apron (the long side seam measures 34cm) with a wide flounce (18cm+1.5cm seam allowance) attached. I pressed the skirt-flounce seam downwards and finished the edges with a zig-zag. Then I finished the flounce with a baby hem.
My piece of resistance was the belt. I made it after finishing the dress, when life had me tired and stressed about less enticing matters. But because I sewed it wrong I can tell you how to sew it right.
Cut and interface the two belt pieces. Use your waist measurement but don’t add seam allowance to the short edges, only to the long ones. Make it as wide as you like. The Frederica dress is an obi style belt, which means wide, but I have no waist and I have learned that a wide belt does not a waist make.
Then cut a one inch wide strip on the bias. It has to be very long, I’d say 3 times your waist measurement at least (my strip is pieced and cut on grain because I run out of fabric). Fold it, sew it with a small zig-zag stitch and turn it. Then machine baste it to the interfaced side of one of the belt pieces, leave the ends hanging from it. Place the other belt piece on top, wrong side to wrong side, pin and topstitch close to the edges all around the two belt pieces. Again, the Frederica belt has rows of topstitching running lengthwise, but I didn’t like them, so I skipped them. In hindsight, they offer extra stability, which is a good thing.
Pom-poms making time! Attach them to the ties starting from the tie end closest to the belt. I used the belt tie to tie up the pom-poms and secure them in place. My black and white pom-poms were more like tennis balls (as you can see in some of the pictures), so I gave them a good haircut.
This dress is very easy and fun to make and wear. Flowers and pom-poms! Now, taking pictures was a different story. I used my phone and some of them were taken in a park, with dogs, kids and teens around. The outtakes are hilarious! I promise next time my pictures will be better.
My brother tried to help and took a few shots in our grandparent’s derelict home after Sunday lunch.
If you want to give this lovely dress a go and have any questions, give me a shout! Meeting fellow seamstresses is always a pleasure.
Happy sewing :)
Hello, all. It’s wonderful to write for Minerva Crafts again.
This time I want to share a project that I was too intimidated to sew. I never wear leggings but for some reason I wanted to try Helen’s Closet new pattern.
Well, what can I say?
I am in a sports wear kick! The only thing missing is the exercise… Small steps.
Well I have seen this pattern all over the internet and I really liked it. More like, drooling over it. It really looks like a lot RTW sports leggings that I have seen lately. What I liked the most, though was the waistband. The fact that it has two waistband options is an added bonus.
My main concern when buying a pattern is the amount of alterations that I will have to do. We all know that no garment is going to look great straight out of the envelope but for me things are a little different. To make a long story short, I usually have to make a lot of alterations to have a good fit. That’s why I am kind of reluctant to try patterns from companies I have not sewn before or don’t have reviews for.
Since I have sewn using a pattern from this company again I knew that the quality of the pattern matched its price tag. And as expected it did not disappoint. This pattern uses a crotch gusset to make the garment more comfortable. I have never sewn anything like that before but proceeded with no hesitation. I cut a straight size Medium with low rise and short length.
I expected to have a very HARD time cutting this Activewear Fabric. I thought it would be very slippery and generally a pain to handle. So I forged ahead prepared. I spread the fabric on my cutting table and placed the pattern pieces on top. Then took my trusty rotary cutter and cut through the fabric like butter. And no piece shifted. Almost as easy as quilting cotton.
Then I started sewing (enter overlocking) the pieces together and everything started to fall apart. I am sure I followed the instructions to a T but alas there was no way I could insert the gusset right. I think I tried at least 3 times. All of them ended in unpicked seams. Now you know that this fabric can handle some unpicking too. So I just omitted the gusset! My leggings are comfortable and fit perfectly. If you have sewn this pattern and successfully inserted the gusset please share your wisdom in the comments.
I was a little worried that my fabric didn’t have enough stretch for such a project. If you too are skeptical, let me reassure you that this fabric is the perfect choice. Apart from the excellent color selection the feel is superb. It hugs your body and doesn’t restrain your movement. So far I have tested it working on my kicks, practicing yoga and circuit training.
As far as washing goes I have washed it in the washing machine in one of those washing nets and air dried it. Activity wear and the dryer is not a very good combination so I try to always air dry them.
This pattern-fabric combo is a match made in heaven.
Thanks for reading,
Joanna @ Thimble Patterns
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 27th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Since my last post I have given birth to a beautiful boy called Jesse! So for the foreseeable future all my makes need to be suitable for breastfeeding. I have a number of t-shirts but no warmer tops. I found the Simplicity 8089 Pattern, which was perfect and a quick sew (very handy with a newborn!)
I wanted to add openings so that breastfeeding could be done discreetly but with added zippers along the seam it was making the top too rigid. The fabric had enough stretch that I could still lift it up to feed so I have kept to the pattern.
Would I do anything different next time?I'm going to make a few more of this top as I love it! I'll be using a fine knit next time to get a better drape. I'll also try out the other version with the holes in the sleeves.SuppliesTextured stretch double jersey knit fabric x 2 metres @ £7.99 p/m (I did not use all of this)Matching Gutermann Sewing Thread x 1 @ £1.95Pattern simplicity 8089 @ £9.50Total Cost: £27.43Time to make: 2 hrsI hope that you have enjoyed my post! Here's Jesse and me using my coat from my last post:
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 27th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi Minerva crafters, It's Aida from idaaidasewing and I'm coming to you from Athens, Greece!
I'm very excited to share with you this project as it is my favorite make from 2018 and enjoyed so much making it.
I received this Coated Rami Fabric from Minerva to write a review and the truth is at first I was quite intimidated to use it. Although I'm fearless concerning the techniques and the sort of garments I'm to make, when it comes to the materials I feel intimidated by unusual fabrics, and this is one of those. I knew I wanted to make some sort of outwear when I asked Vicki to send it to me but when I received it I didn't know if I could handle this fabric so I had it for weeks on my sewing table standing there and doing nothing with it until I could wait no more and took the plunge to turn it into a garment.
Because this rami fabric is coated I wanted to check if I can prewash the fabric or not, tried first hand washing it with cold water and all went well but when I threw a sample to the washing machine it didn't cope well with the hot water and the coating was removed from several areas. Since the final garment was going to be hand washed in cold water or dry-cleaned only, I thought that I can get away without pre-washing it at all.
I also checked if the fabric is water resistant because of the coating and after dropping some water on it and hold it for a minute to see how it will react, no water passed on the other side of the fabric!
My first thought was to make a Trench Coat with it and I think it would look great but then I saw this Parka from Burdastyle Magazine 09/2018 #104 and since I needed a Parka in my wardrobe I went for it! Now I know, Burda instructions are so difficult to follow and that's the reason that I didn't use their patterns in my first years of sewing but after the first two years of sewing my clothes, I started appreciating them because these patterns are so well drafted and most of the times I don't even look at the instructions as I already know how a garment is constructed, unless there is an intricate and unusual technique involved which was not the case with this one.
As the fabric is thin I wanted to add some more structure and so used flannel to interline the bodice parts and also to line the hood. I also lined it using the same pattern pieces although the pattern is for an unlined Parka.
The construction is so very easy, I placed the interlining fabric on top of the main fabric and cut the bodice pieces and the hood at the same time, I didn't do the same with the lining because I wanted to add a pleat in the center back and to do that I just placed the pattern piece 2 cm away from the fold line to add the extra fabric I needed for the pleat.
I didn't include the inseam pockets and I also added plackets to the patch pockets. Also, the pattern calls for using elastic in the waistband and sleeves but instead I made a tunnel between the lining and the main fabric and inserted an adjustable elastic cord instead. I left the sleeves straight with no elastic as I didn't like that look.
As for my fear of the fabric, now that I used it I know how stupid that was, the fabric is very easy to sew, I only had to use the Teflon foot sometimes, also when I had to iron the coated side I used a piece of fabric to cover it but on the rami side I used the iron directly on the fabric.
I have been wearing this nonstop since I made it and I really like everything about this parka, I love that I could use both sides of the fabric and I also love the color!
Till next time,
Aida @ Ida Aida Sewing
When I first saw the lovely silver grey glimmer Bengaline Fabric my immediate thought was a pattern I had seen thumbing through a back copy of Burda Style (103A October 2017). The dress had been made in a lovely rep weave which elevated it to a special occasion outfit. With this in mind I requested 3m of the suiting, even though the pattern said that I would need 2m for the sizes listed, as I would have to grade up the pattern to a plus size and I hoped to make a matching evening clutch purse.
The fabric duly arrived…and I immediately got sick! So some two weeks on I revisited my choice of pattern and it was then I remembered a stunning pattern I had seen in August 2018 Burda Style (pattern #125) with a beautiful criss cross dart design on the bodice front. With its lovely shimmer, the bengaline would showcase the bodice detailing perfectly.
As an added bonus there was no grading up required as this was a plus size pattern. I prewashed the fabric on a 40C wash and tumble dried it – overlocking the edges beforehand in case it was prone to fraying. In fact is didn’t fray much at all.
This is the first time I have used bengaline. Bengaline is a medium weight polyester, viscose and elastane suiting with a metallic finish. The fabric has very little drape which makes it suitable for more structured garments. It is a very interesting fabric as, unlike other stretch suiting, it has a stretch but along the warp rather than the weft. This meant thinking carefully about my approach to sewing the fabric. On testing the fabric on my sewing machine the stretch was quite pronounced so I opted to stabilise the fabric along the dart lines using strips of lightweight interfacing which made sewing much easier. I also stabilised the centre back seam for the invisible zipper insertion in the same way I would stabilise for a zipper insertion in a knit fabric.
I made a size 48 and made a toile (in a woven fabric) to check the fit. The only adjustment was to add a couple of centimetres to the waist. Owing to the complexity of the bodice front I opted to add the additional 2cm to the waist by taking 1cm from each of the two darts in the skirt and bodice back.
The dress has elbow length sleeves that have darts for extra comfort and movement.
It also has a slit / kick pleat in the back of the skirt.
With the exception of the sleeves, it is fully lined.
Even though the neckline is under stitched, I opted to make the bodice lining out of the exterior fabric and the skirt lining out of some dark grey lining fabric I had in my stash. I finished all the seams on my overlocker.
While looking complicated, this dress was actually quite straightforward to make up. I highly recommend that you accurately mark the stitching start and end points for the bodice and that you follow carefully the order of sewing given in the pattern.
The dress fits beautifully and the stretch in the bengaline makes it a very comfortable garment to wear. I am really happy with the outfit….I now just have to work on hubby for an occasion to show it off.
The matching purse is made using the “Mix and Match” bag pattern from Emmaline.
The pattern is available on Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) and is very versatile with multiple design options and comes with a video class. I opted to make a pleated front purse using an angled silver purse trim bought from Etsy but also available from Emmaline.
The interior of the purse is in a grey paisley print satin lining and has a zipped pocket, a slip pocket with additional card slots and even a lipstick slot.
I have included connectors and a shoulder chain. I could also add a detachable wrist strap but will probably carry it simply as a clutch.
I’m delighted with how the bag turned out – it looks very glamorous and finishes the outfit perfectly.
Thanks for reading,
I have a love-hate relationship with Ponte Roma Fabric. Don’t ask me why, I just do. Sometimes I LOVE it and sometimes I’d like to throw the item I make with it in the bin immediately. That’s how it is with me and Mr. Roma.
So I am very happy to report that in this occasion I am LOVING this make! This is the Busan Top from Itch to Stitch, one of my favorite designers, and it’s a relatively new pattern. Now, I suspected I was going to like this make because this is actually my fifth Busan. You can say I went a little crazy with this pattern, but it happens to the best of us, right?
The pattern is an easy one, it will take you about 10 extra minutes of what a regular jumper will take you to make, and the reason is because the sleeves have pleats. Other than that, the cuffs and neckbands are easy to put together and construction goes very smoothly. If you are a beginner definitely give it a try.
The lovely stripes in this Ponte Di Roma Fabric caught my attention because I don’t mind having a million stripe-y things in my wardrobe (who does?) and I think stripes will never go out of style.
I’ve decided to get about 2 meters of this fabric because this top has puffy sleeves which take a lot of fabric and if the fabric is not wide enough you are in trouble. Thankfully, this fabric is super-wide. So to my surprise, and after a very time consuming tetris puzzle experiment, I’ve decided I was going to get 2 tops out of this fabric. And boy did I succeed. I’ve managed to get two beautiful, classic, timeless, tops. One for me and one for my sister; she is slim so it was the only other size I can squeeze out of the left over fabric.
My sister and I decided to take the tops to a weekend gateaway to Granada (Spain) and snap a few pictures while there. It was cold and sunny, but this fabric is warm enough and kept us cosy throughout the day.
This fabric turned out to be a very manageable and easy to work with material, like most pontes are, and I think the quality of it is great. I’ve pre-washed it before cutting it and I believe it is one of the best pontes I’ve worked with. And did I mention it has stripes? If you are just starting to sew with knit fabric, ponte is a great choice. I would even say that it is THE best choice, because it is such a stable fabric but at the same time it has the stretch that you need, so your item will likely turn out great even if you make some mistakes.
The fabric is so manageable that the neckbands did not need to be edge stitched to keep the seam allowance down. A simple press did the trick and kept them down.
Additionally, the hem of the tops are simply sewn with a straight stitch. I personally don’t like zig zag stitch a lot, so if I can avoid it, I do. Since the hem of the top does not require stretching when you put it on or when you wear it, you can do straight stitch and it will not pop out. So there is no really any visible stitching on this top, and I am thrilled to have it in my wardrobe. And so is my sister!
Thank you Minerva Crafts for letting me be part of your blog this month!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the post.You can see my makes on my Instagram @sewmanyfabrics and my vlog.
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 26th February 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hey Minerva Makers!
It’s Vicky of Sewstainability here with a review of this gorgeous stripey Loop Back Jersey Fabric. If you follow me at all you will surely be aware that I love the combination of navy and mustard, so when I saw this fabric I had the very serious dilemma of whether to choose navy with mustard stripes or the mustard with navy stripes. Fortunately, I didn’t have a tough decision when choosing a pattern to use; I knew I wanted to give the Papercut Patterns Kyoto Sweater a go, as I’ve seen so many snuggly versions popping up this winter!
I always recommend pre-washing and drying the fabric in the same way as you will wash and dry the finished garment. I washed this and dried it in the tumble dryer (in case I ever want to tumble dry the finished garment) and the loop back fluffed up so much – it is so nice and squishy! I also like that the yellow stripes are yarn-dyed and not printed on, woop woop no fading here!
I was a bit unsure what size to cut out of this pattern, my waist and hip measurements fell into the size M but my bust measurement was in the size S. My initial instinct was to just cut the size M and accept it would be a bit roomy in the bust but before I did, I googled around a bit and saw a few people saying it comes up large. I wanted a baggy sweatshirt so I definitely didn’t want it to be fitted but at the same time I didn’t want it to be huge. Eventually, I decided not to be lazy and make my usual adjustment of cutting a small and grading out to a medium at the hips. I am super glad I made this choice as I think the M would have been baggier than I would have liked. I am glad I graded out at the hips though – the size S hem band would have been too small. I guess what I am saying is, trust the measurement chart and if you are between sizes I would probably size down instead of up unless you want to go for an oversized look.
This was my first experience of using a Papercut Pattern and I was very impressed. The instructions and illustrations were very clear and I like that there are two different options included in the pattern – as this loop back jersey is a snuggly medium weight, I obviously went for the sweatshirt option – but I like that come summer, I can reuse this pattern to make some fun, frilly t-shirts! Incidentally, as the sweatshirt option is finished with a neckband, a hem band and cuffs, it is an incredibly quick sew! The only hemming in the whole garment is on the ruffles, and they went in very quickly and smoothly with no issues. I wasn’t trying to rush and I easily made this in one night.
I must admit I wasn’t 100% sure about this pattern; it is slightly outside my style comfort zone and felt like it was a bit of a risk for me. I am not usually a ruffles person and was not sure about emphasising my upper arms but I am so happy I tried something a bit different as I love it. I haven’t wanted to take it off since I made it, I can’t believe it looks quite stylish but feels super comfortable – definitely secret pyjamas!
I love stripes and think these are the best possible colour combination, although who am I kidding?! – the quality is amazing, I am totally going to order the mustard with navy stripes too!
As always, thanks to Minerva for the gorgeous fabric and until next time – happy sewing!
Vicky @ Sewstainability