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Archives: June 2017

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Floral Satin Retro Dress by Carmen

Hello all! My name is Carmen and I have a sewing blog over at Carmen Sews.

I was so excited to team up with Minerva Crafts to create this guest project post for their website. For this project I wanted to create a simple summer project that is versatile and simple for anyone of all skill levels. I chose the Simplicity Sewing Pattern no 1059 which is a retro dress with pleats in the shoulders with an optional wrap tie at the waist.

I have had this pattern on make list for a while and was excited to make this dress with one of Minerva Crafts' beautiful choice of Dressmaking Fabrics.

I chose to use this Fabric which is a colorful floral satin.

This print is so perfect for summer and is lightweight enough to handle the summer heat in Florida where I live. 

The floral detail in this fabric is to die for and fits perfectly with my tropical climate. I would highly recommend this fabric if you are creating a light and easy summer frock such as a dress or light blouse and the bright pink hue of this fabric is so girly and right up my alley!

I used to be quite fearful of working with light and slippery fabrics; however, I feel that these types of fabrics become easy to use with practice and are worth the extra effort!

I chose to cut this fabric with a Rotary Cutter which decreases the chance of fabrics like satin or rayon from moving around or shifting while cutting.

This method will avoid inaccurate cutting of your pattern and will decrease the chance of making crucial mistakes that could ruin all of your hard work that you have put into making your garment. I would definitely recommend this method for anyone who is just beginning to venture into working with fabrics that are slippery and harder to handle that other fabrics. 

I also use pattern weights in this process to hold down the pattern and to further avoid any shifting.

I sewed this dress together making sure to hold the fabric gently to avoid any movement or shifting. 

While sewing with slippery fabrics I would also suggest pin pin pin! You can never use too many pins and please use as many as you feel comfortable with. This will ensure that no shifting will take place and that you will be left with a smooth seam without bunching which can sometimes occur with satin. 

Overall, this fabric was incredibly easy to work with and to handle. 

 

This pattern calls for the addition of a regular Dress Zip; however, I chose to use a transparent Invisible Zipper just because I love the look of invisible zippers, have never tried a transparent one and was curious on the results that I would achieve.

I use a regular zipper foot to insert my invisible zippers however, if you have an invisible zipper foot you can use that if you feel comfortable. As I used the regular zipper foot I made sure to pull back the teeth as I sewed down the tape. The result was great, however this same look can be achieved with any invisible zip of any colour.

I chose to make this pattern with the tie/scarf included in the pattern, I was afraid that if I did not use the tie I would look boxy in the dress and would not be happy with the result. I am very glad that I chose the tie option because the use of the tie shows off my figure in a flattering way.

I did shorten this dress about 3 inches because it was surprisingly long and I felt that this style of a dress is more flattering on me a tad shorter than the pattern calls for.

I love the result and I feel that this would be a go-to dress for a fun summer evening date night or a day by the pool.

Thank you so much to Minerva Crafts for collaborating with me and thank you all for reading this blog. I hope that you you all go out and create something wonderful for summer!

 

Have a beautiful day!

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#FabricFriday - Focus on Gingham

I flicked through a recent edition of 'Glamour' magazine and my eyes settled on a page just brimming with ginghams. Sure enough on typing Gingham Fabric into our search box here at Minerva I found there to be much more available from us than just the £3.99 poly/cotton version. This particular Fabric as you can see comes at an amazing price and is very good quality. I wish I had a pound (as they say) for every metre we've sold over the many years at Minerva for anything from school dresses to tablecloths. But now, what do we see, it is extremely fashionable. And so I'm going to select a few different gingham prints today to show you for #FabricFriday.
Just look at the pretty little gingham dress and pants on New Look Pattern 6520, although this is just a drawing of the dress you can see how the 1inch Gingham Fabric would look superb.
Throw in some white polycotton for the little collar and hey presto you have a gorgeous very reasonably priced dress for your little one. After all the speed they grow at it isn't worth paying too much for fabric.
For the growing up (fast) young lady how about New Look 6444
This is a fab romper, jumpsuit or dress. Look at version B, which teenager wouldn't like that? Especially made in 1/4inch Gingham Fabric.
I have just seen the most perfect fabric for New Look 6491.
The fabric is this Gingham Cotton Fabric. I know this is a clearance fabric but I cannot believe it is only £2.99 per mt and 60" wide. The quality is simply stunning and I can only recommend you take a serious look at this. If not for now then add some to your stash.
And now for something completely different, I have never seen a Gingham Cotton Voile Fabric. Well now I have, not only that but a Floral Burnout Gingham Voile!!!
My goodness, this is again, something else in fabrics and yet again (I can't believe this) just £2.99 per mt.
Something floaty or floaty sleeves maybe. Vogue 9239 has such sleeves and would look quite pretty in this. These sleeves are pretty much 'in' at the moment.
Or just something simple like New Look 6510, ideal for holidays and because this fabric is nice and fine it won't take much room up.
Happy Gingham Sewing and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Guest Post: Product Review of the New Prym Knitting Needles by Helen

When I first received these Knitting Needles from Minerva my initial thought was – they look like knitting needles what could be so special? But then I looked more closely and started to notice the features and my opinion quickly changed! The main features of these needles are the ergonomic triangular shape, the shaped tips, and the clips. Each of these features add to the benefits of these needles and make them really fun to knit with.

The triangular shape of the needle is supposedly what makes them an ergonomic needle – I can’t really say much about that as I didn’t really notice much different in the comfort level for my hands as I don’t often have problems with this but wat I can say about the shape is it does mean there is less friction and the yarn glides more easily on the needles. Generally, this is a good thing as it can increase knitting speed. However, I did start to worry about the possibility of the knitting sliding off the needles at one point.

This is where the second great feature comes into play. The needles have little bobbles on the tips which are actually really useful in preventing the knitting from sliding off the ends as it would have to “jump” over that little bump. I personally found this to be a really useful feature as there were a couple of times I thought I was about to drop a stitch and that little bump saved me! Normally a dropped stitch is not the end of the world and can easily be picked up again using a crochet hook but in fact, if it does happen with these needles (as I forced it to) it was actually a lot easier to pick up with these needles as the shaped tip gave some help in retrieving the dropped yarn.

When I took the needles along to my craft club to get some second opinions however there was some disagreement as to the brilliance of this feature. For many of us there were no complaints and the benefits of the shaped tip were clear. However, for some knitters, especially those who knit English-style (yarn held in the right hand) the bump at the tip did slow them down somewhat.

Finally, we come onto the third, and arguably the best, feature of these needles: the clip ends. This handy feature allows you to clip the two needles together, this locks the stitches on the needles and allows for easy transportation of your knitting safe in the knowledge that you are not going to lose those precious stitches off the ends of your needles. No more stuffing the ends of your needle into the ball of wall, or wrapping an elastic band around the ends of your needles. this simple solution if really great!

As well as the great features of these needles they are really quiet to knit with. I usually knit with metal needles and so the absence of the continuous clicking was quite nice. It was also noticeable how much warmer these feel in my hands which was a nice bonus (not too sure how I would feel about this in the summer though. In fact, the only problem I could find with the needles was the length, at either 35 or 40 cm they might be perfect for knitting a blanket or a very large jumper but for most projects they are much longer than you would need. However, in light of all the great features of these needles this is the least of your worries and at least it means you know whatever your project it will fit comfortably on the needles!

Thanks for reading my review of the Prym Ergonimic Knitting Needles from Prym!

Helen @ HSHandCrafts

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Product Review: Clover Pompom Makers by The Wardrobe Project

Hello everyone!

Summer is officially here and it’s all about spring cleaning, re-organizing and re-decorating. I love sprucing up my home with handmade bits and bobs, that add such a unique touch to the house.

This month I had the pleasure of trying out Clover’s Pom Pom Makers. They come in four different size packs (XS, S, L, XL), plus a lovely heart shaped one. I used sizes XS and S, they both include two pom pom makers with diameters 20mm-25mm(XS) and 35mm-45mm(S) correspondingly.

After a full afternoon of making different color pom poms, I realized that making pom poms is an addiction, that one can simply not beat. Once you start, there is no going back, so be careful or you will end up with a full bag of multicolored, multisized pom poms and the desire to embellish everything with pom poms!

Using the pom pom makers is really simple.

1.       Open the pom pom maker rings and start wrapping one side of the pom pom maker with the yarn. You can use one color or mix different ones together.

2.       Close the first side and continue wrapping  the second side of the maker with yarn

3.       Close the two sides together and cut yarn.

4.       Place your scissors between the rings and begin cutting all around the pom pom maker.

5.       Take a length of yarn and tie it in a knot in between the rings, securing the bundle together.  

6.        I like to tie a second knot, just to be safe.

7.       Open the rings and take the two sides apart to release your pom pom.

The only thing that’s left is to trim you pom pom to the desired shape. And you are done! Now the addiction begins.

All that’s left is to decide what you’re going to make with your new pom poms. I decided to make a pillow for my living room with mine. To make this you’ll need:

·         A pillow

·         Different color pom poms

·         Glue Gun

For this pillow, I used 30 pom poms in the 45mm(S) diameter  in black, grey, white and red colors and I decided to be a lazy girl. So I found a pillow I liked and started hot gluing my pom poms to the pillow, because you know, you has time to sew, when hot gluing is an option! You can be as creative as you like with how you arrange your pom poms. I choose to create a multicolored grid. Simple as that!

Here is your new pillow!

Thanks for reading!
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Simplicity 6346 Needlework Skirt by Emma

Hi everyone, I opted to review this lovely Needlecord Fabric for my latest make. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to make another of Simplicity Sewing Pattern no 6346! I've made it before in a yellow needlecord and it lends itself really well to this fabric. It's also really easy to put together. 

I had a real happy post day when the fabric arrived. It's a lovely muted colour and it has a floral pattern without being sickly. I think it has a real 1970s look; perfect for a button down skirt.

This needlecord is different from the one I have previously had, it's much more thick and substantial. It is also much softer so I was really looking forward to sewing it up.

It cuts really well, though it is heavily grained so you have to make sure you are really lining the grain line arrow of the pattern pieces up nice and straight. 

The pattern requires quite a bit of pressing in place, the button plackets literally just fold back on themselves so it was made much easier by how well the fabric pressed. 

I hacked the pattern very slightly by making the back piece 4 inches to big and inserting 2 pleats at the back waistband. I though it would add a nice shape to the skirt.

Tips and tricks:

I used a Denim Sewing Needle throughout as the material is quite thick and needed a bit of puncturing. 

The material is quite stretchy and as the grain line is quite deep I would interface any areas where you intend to use buttonholes.

Stay stitching is really important as there is more stretch than you would think for a thicker material like this and I think on more complex makes it would easily stretch out of place. 

I chose to use copper coloured Denim Buttons on this make, as I thought it would really suit the design of the skirt and the fabric. I had 10 in my stash and needed 6...I used all of them trying to get it right though. It was a very stressful experience! Well worth it though, I think and really sets this fabric off! 

The hem is curved and I thought the Needlecord would work against this but because of the stretch it has I was able to ease the nice chunky hem I chose to do. 

I gave my skirt a press and I was done. It's a really easy pattern, which I recommend, made even easier by lovely fabric which behaved so well!

My only criticism is that it's coming up to summer and I can't see myself wearing this much once it's warm but it can stay comfortably in my wardrobe as a great staple for with brown, black and cream. As you can see here, I wore it was a cream top, tights and brown boots and I think it's a great combination. The skirt really holds it's shape, thanks to the fabric and I think I was definitely right about the 70s thing. What do you think?

Thanks for reading!

Emma @ EmmandherMachine

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#PatternoftheWeek - Kwik Sew 4098

It always happens doesn't it. Here I am offering you a lovely summer dress pattern for our #PatternoftheWeek and it's blinking pouring down! Oh I hope that's not our summer over. Anyway fellow sewists think summer, think meadows, think pretty flowers and that is what I think of when I look at my choice of Sewing Pattern for you for this week. It is Kwik Sew 4098. See what I mean....
I have to say Kwik Sew Patterns are fast becoming up there amongst my favoured patterns. I love the white paper (don't ask me why) and I love their instructions. My only niggle would be the choice. I then think "how come" when the pattern book is as thick as other pattern books. When you start to delve into Kwik Sew patterns you realise they do a lot of more unusual patterns. A good quarter of the book is taken by 'Ellie Mae Designs' which are mostly for little girls dresses and crafts including bags. The pages just ooze colour and in my opinion are just beautiful patterns. Over half of the book is taken with these and even more craft and childrens. There is a decent choice of 'learn to sew' patterns with something for most people to start their sewing journey with. So to be fair that leaves under half the book for everything else. A few of their designs can leave a little to be desired and can even look a little old fashioned but hey when you find certain ones they  just jump out at you and are simply amazing. And remember a lot of the little girl patterns use a few fabrics and these can often be cut from fat quarters, therefore getting a fantastic variety.
On looking at the instructions for Kwik Sew patterns I nearly always pick up some kind of tip and this pattern is no exception. I sometimes like facings especially if you are using cotton, I think it gives a little more body and gives a nice crisp edge. However some patterns give you a neckline facing and also an armhole facing and these you have to overlap and hand sew down. Now this I do not like! I think it creates unnecessary bulk. On this design the neck facing is applied and look how the facing comes straight to the armholes. Take a look at the following 2 photos which show this and also the next stage where it is trimmed, clipped and turned to the inside.
After the side seams are sewn, bias binding is attached to the armholes. Look on the next photo how neat that looks. So you are getting the added body of the facing without the bulk.
Now for some fab fabrics. For the main part of the dress I have chosen our Floral Sprig Cotton Poplin Fabric which is £7.99 per mt. I have teamed this with one of our Quilting Fabrics now this can be purchased by a fat quarter or by the mt. You will need just half a mt or if you place a seam at the centre back of the belt you could actually only need a fat quarter. The following photo shoes these two fabrics together.
For chillier days or nights how about knitting a cardigan to top the dress. One of my favourite yarns is the Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK which as the name suggests is made from 100% merino wool. The Knitting Pattern I have chose is Sublime 6093...
Shade '20 Mocha' in the Knitting Yarn was my perfect choice. It is what I would call a donkey brown. This yarn is beautiful to knit with, it just glides through your fingers. 
I knew without looking which button I was going to choose. Our beautiful Two Toned Round Buttons. Quite a big button but I think it would look fantastic on the 'zigzag' front of this cardigan. However there are smaller sizes in this button if you prefer. 
Last but not least a photo of everything together. Cool or what!
Thanks for reading and don't forget to share your #MinervaMakes with us on Instagram...Vicki and I love seeing what youv'e been making!
Annette xx
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Wild Cardigan

I bet you thought I'd forgot about my wild cardigan! Well I sort of had done but not in a bad way!! I can hear you saying "how can you forget about a part finished cardigan in a yarn as beautiful as Wild" I just kept thinking "I'll finish it for this occasion, then I'll finish it for that occasion". I'm sure you've all been there and then end up getting nowhere fast! 
Well now I'm planning a weekend away in July and no matter how lovely the weather has been lately you can guarantee it will certainly be cooler that weekend. So with it being quite near I started thinking what can I wear, especially at nights and my mind wandered to my 'Wild' cardigan. I'd already finished the back on my 'Wild' cardigan that I mentioned in a previous blog post and am now about to start the fronts.
I have decided that I want pockets in the fronts of this cardigan but I don't like patch pockets. I know it would be argued they are easier and yes I'd agree the knitting part is easier but sewing them on to the fronts can be a real pain! In as much as getting them perfectly straight and making sure the stitching is good and equal. I much prefer to knit them into the garment and so to make things easier I would strongly advise to knit both fronts together, mainly because what you do on one pocket you will automatically do the same on the second pocket but also because this is one of those yarns where it is harder to count your rows, at least you will know both fronts are the same length. 
My rule for knitting 2 lots of knitting together, as in sleeves etc., is after every second row make sure the two yarns are separate, keeping one ball by your side and one ball in front of you will help keep them apart. 
By holding up the back piece against your body you can get an idea where to place the pockets. I have decided that I want the top of my pockets to be approx 8" above the hemline so the first job is to knit the 2 fronts up to 8".
I am knitting the 2nd size which has 25 sts on each front. To make it easy I am using the centre 15 sts for my pocket top and therefore this leaves 5 sts at the side edge and 5 sts at the front edge. And so using 2 more balls of yarn and another pair of 8mm needles I am casting on 2 lots of 15 sts. I am working in stocking stitch for approx 5" and ending on a knit row. This means that there will be approx 3" from the bottom of the pocket to the hemline of the pockets when they are finished.
The pockets are knitted in over two rows and so 1st row reads as follows.
1st row - Knit 5, cast off 15, knit to end.
2nd row - Purl 5, purl the 15 sets of the first pocket lining then purl to end.
Quite easy don't you think? Now it's just a case of following the rest of the pattern. I would suggest though, when you have knit a few inches more in stocking stitch to then sew the backs of your pockets in place. Until they are sewn down it can actually distort the length of knitting. 
Well 2 sleeves later (again both knit together) I've just the bands and sewing left to do.
On the right front band I need to pick up 56 sts evenly up the straight front edge (this takes me up to the start of the neck shaping). I find it much easier if I just spend 2 mins putting markers along this edge. I use ordinary Safety Pins but obviously you can use Stitch Markers or just small lengths of Cheap Yarn.
As you can see from the photo the start of the neck shaping is shown by a yarn marker, the bottom is where the start yarn is and then inbetween are 3 pins dividing it up into quarters. If this had been a very long cardigan I would have further divided these sections into eighths thus helping in correctly having the right amount of stitches in each little section. I cannot stress (in my humble opinion) how important this is. It is the equivalent of what buttons to choose. It can make or break a garment!
My last tip in this section is to start picking your stitches up with the length of yarn left over from your cast on. It saves having 2 lengths to sew in and it won't unravel in any way.
So my 56 sts divides evenly into 4 lots of 14, so there will be 14 sts picked up inbetween each marker. Next, 23 sts to be picked up along the shaped neck. I have divided this section into 2 so 11 sts in each half plus 1 st where you feel it slots in best. For me on this project it slipped in very nicely where the middle is. It's not too important where these 'odd' sts are place so long as they are. Last but not least 8 sts to be picked up from the back neck. 87 sts in total. From here on, you work 4 rows rib making a buttonhole on the 2nd and 3rd rows then cast off.
Now I am using the end of a ball of yarn and just realised I may run out. I have measured that I have 7.75 mts of yarn left to work 1 row and cast off. So my last row must not take more than say 3.6 so let's see....... Hey yes plenty to do the cast off row! Just one more band to knit. So this time my same rules apply only I am picking up from the back neck first, down the front slope and down the front straight edge. Because there is no buttonhole I just have to work 4 rows and cast off. Quick tip, when casting off leave enough yarn after that last stitch, about 10" to sew the little seam at back neck. 
The Button I've chose comes from the Dill range and is a vintage style leather effect one. Isnt it fab?
So now here I am sewing up my Wild cardigan (at long last). Another tip (I'm full of them today aren't I) is keep all lengths of yarn attached to your knitting until you 100% know you don't need it anymore. For example I have just sewn up the shoulder seams and I am left with about 12" - this may come in handy when I am sewing the sleeve in. No problem if I don't need it, just weave in and trim off after I've sewn in the sleeves.
Well what do you think, worth waiting for or what?!
Just as a reminder in case you would like to knit this for yourself, I used Wild Yarn by Sirdar and the Knitting Pattern I used is number 7970.
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Floral Hand Embroidered Skirts & Shoes with Sophie

Hello, again beautiful people! I hope you all have had a wonderful summer so far, and it continues to be splendid. If you didn’t know, it’s me Sophie from sopbac.com coming back to you with another product review for Minerva Crafts. This time it’s the Duchess Embroidery Thread Set. It is an amazing set of 72 thread flosses, and you could either choose to buy one with 36 solid colours (two of each) or 12 variegated colours (six of each) - I choose to go with the 36 colours to get as many different colours as possible.

First, I needed something to embroider on. I know I could have done it on any pieces of fabric really and that would be fine, but I wanted more. So I went into my handmade wardrobe to take a look. Maybe there was something there that I could spruce up. Lucky for me I found the perfect item.

 

This skirt is the Erin skirt from the Sew Over It’s Ebook: My Capsule Wardrobe. This is a picture of the skirt when I was just finished with it. After wearing the skirt a couple of times my hand sewing skills showed that I needed to work more on them. Because what I found in the closet was a skirt with only three buttons left. So this was perfect to fix up. I cut out the buttons and made a quick sketch of what I wanted to embroider on the skirt. It was going to be different kinds of flowers from the start, but what kind? And in which colours?

I’m not good at drawing so I did the best I could and laid the flosses accordingly. So this was my base. I did make other choices at the end, but I’ve written down every colour I’ve used for the different flowers so if you want to do the same you can.

The timeframe I used on the skirt was about 1.5 weeks. I only worked on it after work and most days I didn’t even look at it. So you could easily make it in less than a week if you have the time.

I have never done any free hand embroidery before. I have done some cross stitching, but not that much of that either. So this was new to me. Youtube and Pinterest became my best friend on learning some simple embroidery techniques. For the skirt, I used the following techniques (if you want to look it up): backstitch, stemstitch, satin stitch, french knot, chain stitch, lazy daisy and cast-on stitch. What I’ve learned is that you could come a long way with these basic stitches and make endless embroidery items. Before I show you the details of the finished project I have to tell you that I don’t know much about flowers other than I’m allergic, so I have no idea if these even exist, so just humour me, OK?

I’m very pleased with the skirt. Before it was a classic black skirt that wasn’t worn that much, and now it’s all the rave. I’ve seen this kind of skirt is the trend right now. It’s in all the stores and it seems like someone has been bitten by the embroidery bug. I don’t mind, I actually love it! And it’s more fun when you get to do it yourself! But I’m not done. Every embroidered skirt needs a buddy, right? So I had to make me some embroidered shoes as well. Every summer I have to have white sneakers. For me, that’s a summer accessory that never gets old. This year is no exception and I embroidered them too.

So here you have it. The whole outfit. I love the look and wish I had time to embroider everything in my wardrobe. I’m just going to dump a whole lot of photos of me now because I’m so pleased and want to show off!

If you want to make some of the same flowers I did, here is the list of colours I used so you could make a reference, for the skirt flowers left to right:

1. Stem: 6075 - Flower: 403 and 201

2. Stem: 6115 - Flower: 5105, 306 and 305

3. Stem: 105

4. Stem: 209 -  Flower: 406

5. Stem: 506 - Flower: 516

6. Stem: 855 - Flower: 101 and 115

7. Stem: 206 - Flower: 109, 119 and 312

8. Stem: 212, Flower: 110, 113 and 5130

 

And for the shoes:

Rose 101

Small Roses 201 and 5105

Leafs 209

Stem 506

Daises 516, 206, 406, 105, 110, 312, 403 and 305

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my latest project and I’m hoping to be back here soon! If not come hang with me on Instagram where I mostly spend my time at @sopbac_.

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Cotton Lawn Ginger Skirt by Ruth

When I was offered the chance to review some of the Minerva Crafts Dressmaking Fabric I jumped at the occasion – who wouldn’t ?!

With a holiday on the horizon I opted for this silver grey Cotton Lawn Fabric which I thought would be perfect for a summer skirt in hot climates. The pattern would allow for nice detailing across the bottom and I thought the off-white would allow more occasions for the skirt to be worn post-holiday.

When the fabric arrived it was as I expected from the photos on the site, a silver grey sort of colour.

I chose to make Colette's Ginger Skirt Sewing Pattern for this fabric and I found it’s a great quick pattern for a making a summer skirt. The only problem is that I failed on the pattern matching front!

I am used to pattern matching but for some reason this pattern just did not want to match which has resulted in the below results!

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric to start again from scratch as the border runs along the bottom of the fabric so in the words of Tim Gunn I had to ‘make it work!’

The good news is the fabric is a dream to work with. It eases through the sewing machine and I matched my thread with just a simple grey thread I already had in my supplies. Inserting an invisible zip was great first time and adding interfacing wasn’t a nightmare (which sometimes it can happen!)

Overall I’m very happy with the results and this fabric is definitely great for summer patterns.

The fabric is very transparent so as you can see I wore black leggings underneath my finished skirt. Maybe it’d be possible to line it next time?

The only thing I’d change again is to make sure I have more fabric to allow for more of the pattern in case things go wrong as it just runs the once along the fabric and doesn’t repeat.

But I'm happy with my skirt and can't wait to pack it for my holiday!
Thanks for reading,
Ruth @ A'hem!
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Guest Post: Tropical Leaf New Pattern 6207 by Sarah

Hi everyone! I'm Sarah, from London. Usually you will find me over at my blog www.wanderstitch.com but today I'm uber-excited to be over here on the Minerva Crafts blog as a guest blogger.

For this post, I have made New Look Sewing Pattern 6207, which is a Workroom / Project Runway pattern. It's a loose fitting dress with two views - a shorter version with a curved hemline and a long version with a classic hemline. Sizes 6-16 are included in the envelope.

I chose to make the longer version, in the Tropical Leaf Viscose Challis Fabric which is currently available in five different colours on the Minerva website. I chose viscose for its softness and draping properties - as there's a lot of fabric used in this dress I wanted it to hang nicely. The fabric is super-wide at 56 inches and is machine washable at 40 degrees with no fussy washing requirements - bonus!

If viscose isn’t your thing, the pattern also suggests that you can use cottons, silks, rayons, or crepes.

The most tricky thing I found with this pattern is the sheer size of the templates - if you are making the longer version you're cutting pieces that are almost as tall as you are! I used two A1 cutting mats taped together and this still wasn't big enough - some manoeuvring of the fabric was required to cut out the last little bit that wouldn't fit on the cutting mat. An extra pair of hands would be very helpful at this stage if you can persuade someone. Don't let this put you off though, I promise it will be worth it!

The pattern tissue itself has instructions for grading between sizes, if according to the pattern measurements you're different sizes at the bust, waist and/or hips. This is really helpful for beginners, who may not realise that it's possible to do this! Throughout the instructions there's also 'Workroom Tips' that give you a little heads up on tricks used to make something a little bit easier, so I definitely feel like this is beginner-friendly. I think this is really good, as sometimes pattern instructions can leave you a little confused and turning to YouTube for some advice on how to approach something.

I usually cut a size 10 in patterns from the other major companies, and although this is the first NewLook Sewing Pattern I have sewn I went ahead and cut the 10 and it was a good fit. I always make dresses based on my bust measurement, and if I am in in-between sizes I will tend to size down, otherwise the finished item tends to be too big on the shoulders and underneath the arms.

The main body of the dress is cut in four pieces - two for the front and two for the back, plus the neckline pieces. This means there are seams down the centre front and centre back - something to bear in mind if you're planning on making it in a plain fabric. The leaf pattern on the fabric I used hides the centre seams quite well, but they might be more noticeable in a solid fabric - depends on how you feel about seeing a seam down the front of the dress. You could always use a contrasting thread and add some topstitching, turning it into an interesting little detail.

As the edges of the fabric were fraying ever so slightly I overlocked all the raw edges to keep everything in place - the last thing I wanted was for the insides of my lovely dress to start fraying after a few washes. It's much easier to prevent rather than cure so while you're constructing the dress be sure to finish off the edges with your preferred method - if you don't have an overlocker, a zig-zag stitch works just as well, or you could always try some french seams or bias binding. Whatever takes your fancy!

I used black Cotton Poplin Fabric to cut the neckline pieces, which is more stable than the viscose and also makes the pattern of the fabric 'pop' that little bit more. They are also interfaced for a little extra strength - I always use sew-in interfacing as I find that the fusible kind leaves fabric way too stiff and sometimes you get a weird 'rippled' effect on the front of the fabric. I have used Vilene M12 Medium Weight Sew-In Interfacing, which is available in charcoal or white. Which colour you choose will depend on the shade of your fabric - if you have a lighter fabric, use the white one as the charcoal one may show through.

The back of the dress is fastened at the top with two loops and buttons - you have to make the loops yourself, by sewing a small strip of fabric and then turning it right side out. This is a little bit fiddly if you don't have something to help you - you can use a large darning needle to pass through the narrow 'tube', or you could even treat yourself to a dedicated Loop Turner which can also be used for belt loops and straps. It might even help with the turning of the neckband - you are instructed to stitch this inside out and then have to turn the right side out. Even for me this was pretty fiddly and slow going - just persevere moving it a centimetre or a few millimetres at a time, whatever you can manage, I promise you'll reach the end eventually!

The pattern comes with templates for back ties to shape the dress, which would look cute tied in a bow at the back but I knew that I would always wear it with a belt so I left these off. Other than that, I didn't make any alterations to the pattern and will definitely be using it again to make more dresses.

The finished dress is super comfy, really light and airy for the summer days that we are (hopefully) eventually going to get here in the UK. I'm also giving it bonus points for that fact that it matches my hair!

Happy stitching everyone :) 

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