Archives: March 2020
Often my dressmaking process starts with a shape or pattern and then I find a fabric to fit with it. But when I saw this Kern Palms Viscose Dobby by Lady McElroy, nothing on my plans list seemed right. I’m not usually one for pattern hacking, but I felt that this beautiful print on this lovely textured fabric demanded something special. I knew I wanted something feminine but still soft and comfortable. The Heidi Day Dress by The Wearable Studio was a perfect jumping off point for me to create my tropical dream ruffle midi dress.
Pattern & Modifications
The Heidi Day Dress comes as a free pattern with an email subscription to The Wearable Studio, a fairly new pattern company based in Australia. It’s a simple, strappy shift dress with bust darts and back pleats that conceal waist ties.The best part? It’s drafted for a C cup! No FBA this time!
Transforming this wardrobe basic into a swishy, romantic dream dress was easier than I thought. I added a tie strap detail by simply cutting 4 instead of 2 strap pieces. I stitched one end closed on each piece, and attached the pieces as instructed. It actually made it a bit easier. Since the tie straps are adjustable, it eliminated a fitting step.
For the ruffle, I cut two pieces 25 centimeters in length by 145 centimeters wide. For the width measurement, I simply doubled the width of the hem, which happened to be the width of the fabric. I removed about 8 centimeters from the original hem, then gathered the two rectangles and hemmed the dressed using a narrow roll foot. I only regret not cutting the piece a bit longer. I would have loved the proportions of the bodice above the waist ties and the ruffle to be a bit more similar, but I’m still very happy with it overall.
This fabric is a dream to wear. It’s so light and beautiful. It’s also very delicate. Despite using a microtex needle, I still experienced quite a bit of snagging. I would also recommend stabilizing the edges. When the cut edges stretched it caused threads to run up the fabric, distorting the print. Aside from those issues, it sewed up beautifully. It wasn’t too shifty or slippery but I starched the fabric beforehand and used my walking foot for extra stability. The texture is so lovely, but I’m sad that it catches on everything.
Pattern: The Wearable Studio Heidi Day Dress (FREE in email subscription!)
Fabric & Notions: 2.5 Meters Lady McElroy Leaf Viscose Dobby.
Fabric Notes: Lightweight, steady, beautiful textured weave. Easy to work with, but snags easily.
Design Modifications: Lengthen straps for ties, added hem ruffle.
Fit Alterations: Contoured dart tips for better fit.
Difficulty: Confident Beginner
Future Plans: Yes! I’d love to try one in a more structured linen.
I love wearing this dress! I feel so sassy, yet still very comfortable. The colors and print of the fabric combined with the feminine details of the pattern make this such a beautifully versatile dress! Thanks for reading and happy sewing!
Hello everyone! Good to be back on the blog with an M6886 hack bonanza! OK, not quite a bonanza, more a two-nanza. Yes, that’s a thing… cough.
I’m a big fan of the M6886 - so many possibilities on the envelope and then, if you like to hack, so many ways to go off-piste.
This Textured Jersey Fabric by Lady McElroy triggered an instant vision of a monochrome stripe M6886. It’s a fairly weighty knit, so I reckoned on an autumnal affair: midi length with long sleeves.
For extra cosiness, and because stripes beg you to play with their direction, I added a contrast neckband and cuffs.
When adding the cuffs, I took away only a small amount from the sleeve hem for super-long sleeves and super-snuggly arms.
It’s a simple pattern which needs little explanation but, at the risk of telling a grandma how to suck eggs, I’ll give a few brief details on working with the fabric and adding the bands.
First up, I did spend extra time on pattern matching here. I’m not usually that obsessive about pattern matching (shock horror!), but hey, this is the Minerva blog! So I upped my game and put the hours in.
To pattern match with these thin white stripes you really do need to pin literally every stripe as it can slip out of place easily. I used ball point pins for jersey, which are so thin you can (whispers) sew over them - gently - to ensure nothing moves. If this is sewing heresy then, as Luther Ingram once said, I don’t wanna be right.
For the neck band (the pattern offers only a folded edge) I measured the edges of the neckline, took away about 15-20% and then cut a strip of fabric that length (plus seam allowances) about 2 inches wide. A half inch seam allowance then gives a half inch wide neckband - just the ticket. Making a neckband to fit depends on a fabric’s stretch and is an art I won’t claim to have mastered; initially my band stood up a little bit, so I unpicked it and removed a little more length to ensure the band would lay flat.
The finished dress is like a great big slouchy hug and for me that is always a win!
I thought I’d have enough jersey left over for a top, but when I looked at the remnant, I had a flutter of inspiration: a short flared dress with pockets, much like one I’d seen in the Boden catalogue, but with a simpler construction around the waistline.
I wanted something that would straddle the cooler days of the summer as well as autumn, so I did a quick sketch and then mobilised resources.
I used three patterns to create the dress: the bodice and short sleeves of the M6886, scaled down a size for a snug fit, a vintage skirt pattern, and the Cotton and Chalk Jenna jumpsuit for pocket placement (I wanted the pockets inlaid at the front rather than in the side seam).
In the end there wasn’t enough fabric left for the full vintage skirt, so I folded the pattern back and ended up with a nice a-line shape.
To draft the new pattern pieces, I lay all three patterns on top of each other, roughly jiggled them into position, and then traced over with plain pattern paper. Jiggling, eh? It’s technical stuff this!
I added a neckband again (stripes running horizontal this time, to give a nice neat single stripe all around the neck), and sewed the lot together.
There was a bit of a muddle around pattern matching the skirt to the bodice with the pockets, but I don’t think the slight misalignment is too noticeable at the waist join, and at the pockets it looks kind of accidental-on-purpose and that’s good enough for me.
After all the practice pattern matching with the first dress, this one came together really quickly - especially the sleeves, which I’d had to unpick and realign first time round. I love it when you can literally witness the learning!
I’m not sure why, but this M6886 mash-up has delivered real joy. It was so much fun seeing a dress I liked and then recreating a rough approximation. It was also an unexpected bonus; I’ve come away with not only two easy-to-wear frocks, but also a pattern I’d love to make more dresses with.
The fabric is lovely and warm, and these dresses will see me into winter with tights and a big coat. I don’t want to see the back of the summer, but these secret pyjamas will definitely soften the blow.
Thanks for reading
Posted in Projects on Monday the 30th March 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
This is my third blog post for Minerva, and I was really happy to try this lovely drapey mint green, medium weight Jersey Fabric. I decided straight away what I would make, the Joni dress from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch book.
I have made this dress twice before so was confident to make it again. Interestingly each dress has turned out really different and this one is probably the nicest as it is so nice to wear!
The fabric is very comfortable and soft to touch.
The fabric is a light weight jersey, and is a lovely mint green and brown colour with a nice retro style pattern. I always like a retro pattern!! The fabric is really stylish as well as comfortable, I can highly recommend it and reasonably priced. I washed the fabric and didn’t notice any shrinkage and it dried very quickly and only creases a little bit, but they drop out when worn. As the fabric is jersey it is slippery to cut but not too difficult. I cut with scissors, just use plenty of pins as the bodice needs to be cut accurately. It doesn’t fray at all but I did sew completely using my over locker, which saved a lot of time. A dress with nice finished seams always looks professional. I finished the hem with a double needle, which worked really well and gave a nice professional finish.
The skirt of the dress is cut on the bias so creates a nice floaty shape and this fabric helps this a lot. For this pattern you need three metres in total and this is mainly for the skirt and for me I wanted it a bit longer, I am 5ft 10inches. You might be able to get away with 2.5 metres if you want a shorter version. The only tricky bit about this pattern is putting in the Clear Elastic but if you take it slow and don’t use pins it is fine, just hold the elastic on the fabric and guide it through your sewing machine. You have to use the sewing machine for this and a zig zag stitch is best. The good thing about the clear elastic is nice as it doesn’t show on the inside. The twist at the front of the dress is very flattering and quite easy to do.
The instructions are very easy to follow and look much more complicated than it actually is. The sleeves have been drafted from a different pattern but as the fabric is jersey it was really easy to ease them into the dress.
The Sewing Pattern used for the sleeves was View C. If I was to say what the very most difficult part of sewing this dress was, is the neckband, you need to space out the band and stretch until it fits. It looks really nice when finished and worth it. The dress took me 3 hours to make and that includes cutting the fabric.
I have worn this dress a lot as it is easy to wear and looks effortlessly nice. I have had a lot of complements.
Happy sewing everyone, make the Joni dress in this amazing fabric!
Fabric Final Verdict (out of 10)
Fabric usability: 9
Pattern applicability: 9
Value for Money: 10
Vintage-ness: 9 (with a modern twist)
Hi, it’s Amanda from Derivingmommyhood here on the Minerva Blog again!! I can’t wait to brighten your day with these outfits.
There’s no shortage of cute cotton lycra prints out there in the fabric world. I’ve become increasingly picky when shopping for them. With such a flooded market, it’s sometimes hard to stand out…..but when I saw these Rico Cotton Jersey Succulents, I absolutely had to have them. Neon pink, mint, petrol….plus the cutest little potted cacti on earth?? It is perfect.
I love a print that can work easily for any of my four children, and this certainly doesn’t disappoint there,either. My middle children both love it just as much as me so I decided to sew for them. I chose a coordinating print that is like a hand sketched grid in shades of light and dark mint to piece in with the succulents (it’s listed as gray, but I’d say it feels more mint). I really love how both are geometric yet they do not compete with each other. There is also a knit with some pink triangles that I think would make a great match too!
Speaking of it, if you choose to order them keep in mind that the print is directional and behaves like a stripe, so you may want to order a bit extra to match those stripes and since you don’t want any upside-down plants. Or maybe you do, but just so you know.
I started off with a Bayside Romper from New Horizons for my daughter. The succulents seem so fun and summery that I thought it would be a great match. The grid was used for the bindings, and then I thought about using the succulents for the shorts too, and the weight is a medium so it would have certainly worked….but white background, and a kid that LOVES to climb and play, I decided a solid would be best.
There are so many shades of bluish green in this print that you cannot go wrong choosing a solid. I actually used a scrap of luxury viscose jersey in dark petrol I had leftover from these outfits for the shorts and love how flowy it looks with it, plus it’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t add any bulk on the slant pockets. I used eyelets and a scrap of neon crepe jersey I had for the faux drawstring. I love how it can be a great play outfit that is easy for her to choose (all in one!) and works as a swim cover on holidays as well.
My younger son is very adventurous with his fashion and loved the cactus a lot, so I went with a muscle tee for him using the Swiss Army Tee. I love that it has the colorblocked side panels and shoulders so that I could mix in the grid print. I went ahead and made him some neon shorts (Lindens from Sew a Little Seam) to really bring out the neon on the cactus. Have I mentioned how great the color is in this print?!
Even if it is a bit dreary where I live, it’s nice to have a bright touch of summer and happiness everytime I see them in these looks!
I got this gorgeous sewing themed Canvas Fabric with the intention of making a bag and I had some fabric that’s been languishing in my stash for a few years whose colours matched for the lining.
I used the iron on bag foam interfacing. I wanted a usable and practical backpack. I quilted each piece with a crosshatch pattern before assembly.
I’ve had backpacks before and I have never had one that I felt had enough pockets or pockets where I want them so this was my change to draft up something that suited me. I drafted up pattern pieces with a finished size of 18” by 13” with a width of 4”. I placed a zip from the middle of the side pieces creating a wide opening for ease of putting things in the main bag.
My front outer zipped pocket had a couple of other pockets inside with a zip and also a clear pocket for cards ID etc, and a pocket divided for mobile phone pens and other bits and pieces. I also put a gusset in the lower outer edges which gave a wider opening, meaning even more can be stored in there (good for craft shows).
I used heavy duty zips, on the roll, and cut to size for each pocket and opening, I also put a concealed pocket on the back, with a nice little detail of a strip of the fabric over the bottom edge of the pocket for extra strength.
I used the foam on all the outside pieces, and as a double layer on the inside pocket for protection for a pocket for laptop/IPad tablet. I made a bias binding from the lining fabric which I bound around all the exposed seams on the inside of the bag. I used purchased Webbing for straps, with a strip of the bag fabric in the middle of the grab handle on top of the bag, and some metal bag making hardware such as square rings and adjustable rings to make shoulder straps adjustable as needed.
It surprised me how well everything went together, I made the side top panels with the zips inserted first then joined bottom side panel.
I made all the pockets in rotation and then assembled the bag pieces systematically. The iron-on foam was really good for the sturdy construction, but did not make any of the pieces too bulky for sewing.
I used a jeans needle and cotton thread throughout. The fabric itself was a great weight but not so heavy that it made sewing unmanageable. I am heading up North for the weekend and I’m able to get everything I need for my trip (apart from wellies) into my back pack. My next step is at looking at some kind of waterproof coating to make it perfect.
I’m writing this at the end of July, and it’s the point of the summer where two things are happening:
It’s HOT! It’s hot as heck! It’s hovering around 80-90 degrees every day.
It’s almost back to school time. I’m a middle school teacher, and I can feel the subtle shift in the energies of the universe when the Target trucks, full of composition books and highlighters and backpacks, start rolling in to deliver their untimely wares. Believe me, it’s not a great super power.
At this liminal point in the year, my sewing priorities begin to change. From June 6 (the last day of school!) ‘til mid-July, I am sewing saucy, sassy, steamy body-baring tops and skirts, to maximize tanning opportunities (I know, I know, but I bathe in SPF, it’s fine!) AND keep cool while keeping cool (see what I did there?). But after that point? It’s time to start getting practical.
My school has expanded in the past ten years. This isn’t necessarily a good thing - we now have approximately 200 more students than we have space for. As such, we have a suite of semi-permanent portable classrooms clustered together in a community called The Country Club (because they were built on the school’s tennis courts, ha ha ha). The Country Club classrooms, god love ‘em, do not have great air conditioning. They’re noisy. They’re old. They’re not efficient. They’re prone to mischief and nonsense (one day, during my second year at this school, my best pal turned on the AC, and dozens of dead bees spewed out).
I work in The Country Club.
It gets HOT.
All of my focus during this time of year goes toward sewing light, airy, comfortable hot weather clothes that are still teacher-appropriate, which is sometimes a challenge. No shorts (but skirts are fine), no tank tops or thin straps, no loose old tee shirts worn as dresses because it’s too warm to cope otherwise. And generally speaking, for the majority of the year, I am NOT a dress person, but the heat causes an alchemical reaction that makes me crave loose, crisp gowns that skim the body, not touching or grabbing or binding or holding anything in. McCall’s 7971 in Lady McElroy Lawn fits that bill perfectly.
McCall’s 7971 is a knee, midi, or tea length dress with a lined, fitted bodice with hook and eye closures, center back invisible zipper and sleeve variations. It’s got a paneled skirt (with a cute, optional slit), and an open back. I made view D with no sleeve ruffle, and I LIKE IT.
To get it out of the way, first off, I have to say: the back doesn’t fit great. There’s a bit of bunching and gaping if I stand or move a certain way. I think that must be because it’s so open (there isn’t a lot of shaping), and I have a deep sway back. But that’s really the only thing “wrong” with this dress! It’s otherwise delightful, and it has pockets! The skirt fits like a dream straight out of the package, and in this Lady McElroy lawn it’s crisp and cool and light, while still maintaining a bit of structure and shape. I cut a size 10 bust and waist, and graded to a 12 hip.
I love the slight swish that this fabric gives this dress, and I love how the supple hand to the fabric holds its shape, accentuating the A-line shape of the skirt. I love how it looks “put together,” but feels so cool and light. I can’t wait to wear it to school (I’m drafting a little removable triangle wedge with snaps for the back to make it more modest AND bra-friendly), and be the coolest kid in The Country Club.
It’s great to be back on the blog again and I’m very excited about this make. Right back at the start of the year I decided to join in with the #makenine2019 challenge on Instagram and set myself nine patterns that I would like to make in 2019. Most of these were new patterns to me – I’m not sure this was the wisest planning ever, but I was excited about all of these makes and I’m more than halfway through now so fingers crossed I will get them all finished by the end of the year.
My make nine list included two patterns by Deer and Doe, the Magnolia dress and the Belladone dress. When I got the opportunity to test out some John Kaldor floral Cotton Sateen Fabric I knew it would be perfect for a maxi length Magnolia and I wasn’t wrong! I can’t rave about the fabric enough – the colours are vibrant, it washes well and it’s very stable. Coupled up with a dress pattern that looks impressive but is surprisingly straightforward and it’s a match made in heaven.
Although I do like the two sleeve options for the Magnolia dress I felt they would both look better in drapier fabrics so I decided to go off piste and make a sleeveless version. I achieved this by taking a crescent shape out of the armhole to make the shoulders slimmer and then I used bias tape to bind them in the same way that the neckline is finished. Nice and easy!
Speaking of necklines I wasn’t brave enough to go for the plunge option so I went with version B and was very happy with the result. It makes a nice ‘V’ shape without being too revealing or needing a modesty press stud. I basted the first side seam which showed that the bodice was slightly too big under the arms so I cut a small wedge out of each side (an inch at the armhole tapering to the waistband) before I installed the zip and sewed up the side seam.
As I mentioned before, the pattern is really simple. The two trickiest elements are the invisible zipper and the bias binding so a confident beginner could easily tackle this pattern. I decided not to bother with the slit in the skirt (although it would be lovely if you were making this pattern for an evening do) and I just sewed straight down the panel seam instead. The panels in the skirt, although fabric hungry, do give it a lovely swoosh and next time I might include some in-seam pockets. I was very impressed with the instructions which were easy to read and included clear illustrations. I am looking forward to trying out the Belladone dress later in the year and will definitely explore more of their patterns.
I am very happy with the dress which is flattering and comfortable but has a bit of the ‘wow’ factor. I sing in a choir and could do with a new concert dress so I have visions of a black crepe maxi version or something with a lace overlay. Decisions, decisions......
Thank you for reading and come and visit me over on Instagram!
When I saw this Flamingo Fabric on the Minerva web site I knew instantly exactly what I wanted to create with it.
I started with two metres of fabric and two foundation paper pieced blocks. Each block was one I had tested for a designer. They were created at different times and were just waiting for their opportunity to show off. Janeen of Quilt Art Designs designed the flamingo block with the letter F and Juliet of The Tartankiwi designed the taller flamingo. Already the quilt has an international flavour with one block designed in South Africa and one in New Zealand. The background fabric came from England and the maker lives in Canada.
The first hurdle was determining the design so that all three components would share the spotlight equally. I decided to try going improve which I have never done before. That made me a little nervous but I was starting with good materials. I began with the smaller block and built borders or sashing around it. It is worth noting that the flamingos on the fabric go up and down in rows and this reflects how they stand in the water. So I spent time making certain that my flamingos were lined up.
Once the top was assembled to my liking I pinned my three layers together. To do this you first place the backing piece right side down, then smooth the batting over it and finally place the top with the right side up. As each layer is added care needs to be taken to ensure there are no wrinkles or fabric folds. Working at the proper height of table for this task makes it so much easier. It is then pinned every 6” or so. You need enough pins in place to hold all the layers together as you do your quilting.
I did simple vertical straight line machine quilting on this quilt, again to reflect that great standing posture of a flamingo. Once the machine quilting was complete, I trimmed the edges, added a binding and a label. I donate most of my quilts to local charities so this one has a Scrapbag Quilters of Saugeen Shores label. Quilters often need to be reminded to include a label so that years from now someone will be able to tell the quilt’s story.
The final quilt is just the right size for a baby quilt for the car or stroller or a wheel chair quilt. The quilt finished at 37” x 42”. Often the quilt designs we make for babies will make very attractive wheelchair quilts based on the fabric selection.
Thanks for reading,
Joanne @ Quilts By Joanne