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Archives: June 2020

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Seeing Stars in Deer and Doe

Hello everyone, I’m really excited to share my second blog with you! I’ve gone for something a bit out of my comfort zone and taken a massive sartorial leap as it were. 
My first thought when I opened the package from Minerva was that I need to go big or go home. The stars covering the black Cotton Fabric I’d picked were far bigger and bolder than I thought they would be and my idea of doing a simple box top with a fun oversized pocket went right out the window. I knew immediately that the fabric needed something more - something that would stand out in the room. A pattern that was as OTT as the fabric itself. My mind went to the Deer and Doe Myosotis Dress, a pattern that I’ve had for a while but never found quite the right opportunity to make. 
I’d read a lot of reviews about the Myosotis Dress being very oversized so I looked at the finished measurements and went down a size to a 36 (rather than the 38 my measurements indicated) to make it a bit more fitted. The darts on the front and back bodice give it a beautiful shape and I wanted to make the most of them. I also decided to go all out and do version A, that’s the one with ALL the ruffles. Guys, that’s a hell of a lot of gathering. However, this lovely starry cotton was perfect for the task and gathered beautifully. 
My biggest issue was the collar. I couldn’t work out the instructions at all. Eventually, after a completely failed attempted and a second collar cut out, I decided to use the Kalle Shirt Dress band collar instructions as I’d found them really easy in the past. Does anyone else swap instructions between patterns? 
I also made a massive mistake finishing my buttonholes - I was getting lazy and sloppy after a full day sewing and didn’t bother to put a pin at the top. I’m sure you know where this is going...I slashed right through the bottom buttonhole making a hole in the beautiful bodice I’d almost finished. I decided that a quick fix would do and zigzagged the little hole shut and thanks to the busy fabric, it’s all but invisible. 
You know that feeling, when you’ve been making something you’re not quite sure about, but you try it on almost finished and you realise...it’s amazing. That’s the feeling I got when I pulled this on before hemming it. I almost didn’t want to finish it because I never wanted to take it off. I danced around the flat asking my cat and boyfriend what they thought over and over again. The starry cotton had given the ruffles wonderful volume without making it seem too oversized or it looking sack like (my main worry with this dress). If I hadn't been challenged to use this fabric, I probably wouldn’t have paired the two together but the odd mix of pattern and fabric really seemed to work. Lessons learnt: try new things, don’t be afraid and never rush your buttonholes!
I’ll be wearing this as much as I possibly can. It’ll work for summer with bare legs and sandals, winter with some tights and boots and all the possible occasions in between. 
Thanks for reading,
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East Meets West

Hello everyone, this is Tanja from Ditaso_fashion_by_Tanja.

Fabric to me is like art, there are so many opportunities to be creative. I don’t know about you, but when I find fabric I love, to me that is pure happiness. It is an incredible feeling to be able to make a garment out of it, wear it, show it off to the world. It is a powerful talent to have.

This month I decided to pick Cotton Fabric as with cotton there are so many options to choose from. Possibilities to make something out of cotton are just endless. My first choice was this Digital Print 100% Cotton Fabric in turquoise, as soon as I have seen it, I immediately could vision Cheongsam Dress. When I am using good quality fabric, there is a lot of planning involved to ensure everything goes smoothly as it possibly can.  As I was waiting for fabric to arrive, first step was to see what else would I need to be able to bring my vision to life. I grabbed my sewing planner and started planning.

The only other decision left was which pattern to use for my Cheongsam dress, Simplicity 8244 or Gertie’s Butterick 6483. To be able to make that decision, I needed to have fabric in my hands.

Happy mail day arrived as fabric was delivered. Does anyone else dance around house with fabric in their hands with “Girls just want to have fun” blasting in the background. For the sake of my own sanity, I will assume, yes.  Of course, I took many, many pictures as soon as I opened my package. How could I not as this fabric was even more gorgeous than on pictures.

As with every fabric, I never want to skip important part and that is to wash and dry it first before I cut it as it could shrink. I skipped this part in my younger sewing days and once I washed my garment, it shrank so bad that it could fit a toddler. I wanted to cry. So, no more. I love my fabric too much to do this again.

Once fabric was washed, dried and pressed, I noticed it did shrink, but not too much, about an inch and that is normal for cotton. I still had enough to bring my vision to life. Now, I was ready to decide which pattern to use.

I ended up with Gertie’s B6483 as her front pattern piece had much better layout, than simplicity’s 8244. But, one thing that B6483 was missing, it was circle skirt. I wanted circle skirt, not gathered. So instead of using one pattern to make this dress, I combined two.

Top part of Cheongsam dress would be B6483 and for full circle skirt, I ended up using another Gertie’s pattern S8873.

Pattern asks for 2.5 yards, but as I was going for a circle skirt and I had to be very careful which way I position pattern pieces as I cut fabric due to print. So, 3 yards was  the perfect amount. This cotton fabric is very easy to sew, color and the print is just stunning.

Fabric: Digital Print 100 % Cotton Fabric Turquoise

Fabric stretch: None

Yardage: 3 metres

Fabric easy to sew: Very easy

Pattern: Butterick 6483, Simplicity 8873

Size suggested: 16-18

Size cut: 14

Did it fit: Yes

Instructions easy to follow: Yes

Thanks for reading,

Tanja @ditaso_fashion_by_tanja

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A Linen Check Closet Case Kalle Shirtdress

This 100% Linen Fabric from Lady McElroy reminds me of a dress I have and love.

Three summers ago I bought this pink check shirt dress by Eliza J at Nordstrom and wear it a lot. I was so pleased with the texture of the linen fabric when it arrived. I wanted to sew a dress and contemplated making Vogue 1233 which has an A-line skirt, button front, and collar but decided it would be too similar to my purchased dress. I decided to make Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirtdress which is a loose, body-skimming style with short dolman sleeves with cuffs and a curved shirt tail hem.

I decided to cut the pocket, placket, yoke, cuffs, collar and collar stand on the bias for interest. I kept the inner yoke, inner collar stand and under collar on the straight grain for stability. I drew new/bias grainlines on my pattern pieces in red pencil. I thought to trace/draft complete pattern pieces for the yoke, collar stand and collar (these pieces are cut on the fold) for ease of placement and cutting but I got lazy. I laid my pattern piece on the fabric for the bias grain, cut the first half of the pattern piece then placed pins to mark the location of the “fold” point of the pattern piece. You can see the pins I placed at the center of the yoke piece above.

I then flipped the pattern piece around the pins, check the grain/bias line and cut the second half of the pattern piece.

Closet Case Patterns’ website has detailed tutorials for sewing Kalle Shirt and Shirtdress. I checked these tutorials for applying the collar/collar stand unit to the neckline and sewing on the cuffs as these are a bit tricky with the V shape slope.

However where I didn’t pay close attention was which side of the placket piece to apply interfacing to. I mistakenly applied interfacing to the wrong side of the placket piece and after sewing it together to the shirt, the extension which is meant to be folded into a point had a cutout. Whoops. I cut off that portion and was still able to fold a point at the end of the placket. Here’s my warning: pay careful attention to which side is the right and wrong side for the placket! In the case of this linen check it’s really easy to mix up the right and wrong sides since they are identical.

I am so happy with my finished Kalle Shirtdress! I love the bias details and the fabric is soft againts my skin. The linen was a pleasure to sew with! The shirtdress’s hem is finished with a narrow bias facing strip and the fabric behaved well and was easy to work with.

Detail pictures of the cuffs, collar and back yoke.

And a couple more pictures of the back and front of the dress. (Sadly, I don’t know if you can see clearly but I got a ton of mosquito bites on my ankles, shins and calves while on vacation. It’s been 12 days and the bites still haven’t gone away.) This project was an enjoyable sew!

Thanks for reading,

Bernice @sewbee73

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By Hand London Anna Dress

Hi! I’m Julie (@les.cousettes.de.julie on Instagram), and this is my first blog post for the Minerva Makers blog!
I usually sew very practical everyday garments in relatively neutral tones, so when Minerva offered me to join their amazing team of makers, I welcomed it as an opportunity to expand my sewing horizons and sew out of my comfort zone. I decided to go with this incredible John Kaldor Stretch Sateen Fabric, and I thought it would make a stunning ball gown kind of dress. I have to admit that I was very intimidated by the luxurious look of the fabric, and the fact that I had never worked with stretch satin before was a little bit worrying.

I was looking for a floor length dress with a fitted bust, short sleeves, and that would work for a fabric with a considerable weight and body.
Since this type of garment is far out of my usual apparel, I had to get a new pattern. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE exploring every corner of the sewing-related internet to find the exact pattern I want, and then spend hours admiring all the marvelous versions of this pattern that the sewing hive has posted on Instagram. 
Seriously, this phase of day-dreaming of a project is one of my favorite steps in the process of making a garment. In the end, it was not a surprise that, looking for an elegant dress with a modern look, I landed on the By Hand London e-shop and their Anna dress.
Anna is a very versatile pattern with a short or long skirt variation and two neckline options, a V-neck or a high boat neck style. The details that really appealed to me are the pleats at the front, giving the bust a really interesting shape. 
There is an option for a high thigh slip at the front to give the dress a more dramatic style. But as you can see, you don’t really need it for your range of motion!


Now, on to the making of the dress, and this incredible fabric. My measurements put me at a 4 in the bust and 8 in the waist and hips. I could have graded between sizes but since the fabric has some stretch (a little under 20%), I bet that I could get away with sewing a straight size 6. I checked that I wasn’t about to make a horrific mistake by draping my swedish paper patterns pieces on myself and eyeballing that the stretch would give me the little extra I needed (very scientific work right there). Worst case scenario, the pattern has a 5/8” seam allowance that I could let out a little bit. I think it worked pretty well, as I feel at ease in the dress but it is not baggy at all.  I never worked with stretch satin before, and the fabric can be pretty slippery especially when sewing right sides together. I used my walking foot and it worked beautifully. I wish I tested different needles before starting the bodice. I thought a microtex needle would work well, but it pulled some tiny fibers and left a trace near the seam as you can see on the right here. 
I switched to a jersey needle and it worked like a charm. So in the end I treated this woven fabric as a knit fabric, and it went really well. All it took to conquer what I thought would be a tough fabric to work with, was a walking foot and a ball point needle! Yay!
The construction is very straightforward and By Hand London’s instructions are very clear. The bodice comes with back darts and pleats at the front, and the neckline is finished with a facing. The skirt is made of 7 panels. I usually don’t mark my pattern pieces, but considering that the skirt panels are pretty similar in shape, I am glad I did this time. It all came together very easily. The only difficulty is the invisible zipper in the back: I had to switch from my walking foot to my invisible zip foot, and you can see that in the back my waist seams don't match, oops. 
In the end I really love how this dress works with this fabric, the satin gives it a very sophisticated look, but the shape of the dress is simple enough to make it more versatile. The seams are almost unnoticeable thanks to the scale of the abstract print, and after I was done with my dress I thought about how this fabric would make an AMAZING blazer. I really hope to see one popping up on my feed someday.
In the end, I am so glad to have gone a little bit out of my sewing comfort zone to make this dress, and I hope I inspired to do so too!
Thanks for reading,
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Textured Brocade Blazer

Ohhhh brocade. How I love you so. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it may be the glistening shine of brocade fabrics that has me always coming back for more (like a moth to a flame…)! Or maybe because of how opulent and expensive they always seem to look (and sometimes are). Either way, I have done it again. I made yet another brocade jacket using a new (to me) pattern by Style Sew Me, the “Nikki Blazer” in this wonderful Textured Brocade Fabric from Minerva. What initially drew me to this fabric was the diamond pattern, along with the gunmetal color with just the right amount of luster…again with that shine…

If you’re looking for a little throw-it-on-with-anything kind of blazer, this Nikki Blazer pattern is definitely it. At the time of writing this post, I have made it three times! There were basically no fitting adjustments necessary—a seriously great fit-- and the only pattern adjustments I made was including a lining, which is a really easy addition for almost any jacket pattern.

As someone who has made her fair share of brocade jackets and blazers, I thought I’d share a bit of insight on working with brocade:

1--Not all brocades are created equal.

There are some brocade fabrics that are truly wonderful to work with (this one) and there are some that will fray so much, you’ll find yourself asking why you didn’t buy at least a half yard more.

2—Staystitching is your best friend.

If you do end up with a fraying mess and no turning back, staystitching your edges will help tremendously. Even if your brocade is a great weight with very little fraying, staystitching is always a good idea—especially on those edges prone to stretching, like necklines or armholes.

3-- Weight.

The lighter the weight and therefore drapier the hand, the harder it’s going to be to work with because it will not hold its shape as well. Look for a brocade fabric that has a little more girth to it. ESPECIALLY if constructing it into a jacket.

4--Use lining.

Because of the nature of brocade, a lining is always a better option than trying to serge or finish the seams of your garment. Not only will it look a lot more expensive and professional with a lining, it will also hold the shape better, make your garment last longer, and will keep it from feeling really scratchy against your skin and let’s be real, that is certainly not an appealing trait for any piece of clothing.

5--Wear it anywhere!

Just because it may look fancy schmancy, does not mean you are restricted to wearing your brocade solely for special occasions. Of course it’d be amazing for a night out or that holiday party, but we should all add a little shine to our daily getup! Life is short, wear the brocade.

Til next time,

Callie @ Callie Makes

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Christmas Party Brocade Kristen Dress

Hello everybody, Camelia here from @calcedoniasewing .I am so happy to be back and share with you my new project with a Minerva fabric.

This time is this gorgeous metallic brocade fabric, and it is truly gorgeous. The moment I saw it I kind of knew what I wanted to make with it.

The idea was to make something for the winter holidays and for this fabric my perfect match was the Kristen dress from Designer Stitch. I made this dress two times before and I knew that the skirt will be perfect to show off this fabric.

The pattern is a front princes seam bodice with waist darts in the back, also shoulder darts to give that perfect fit. The skirt has 4 inverted pleats that are giving it, specially made in a crisp fabric, a great volume. Also, the pattern offers a cute detail in the form of a ruffle attached around the armholes, neckline and the center front of the bodice. I skipped the ruffle as my fabric was way to thick for that.

The fabric is just gorgeous! It is a medium weight brocade, the back of the fabric has a lot of metallic sparkly thread, I could imagine me wearing a gold Kristen dress, that would have been fun! 

I washed the fabric in the washing machine, using the "handwash" program and let it dry.

Sewing and pressing were very easy, no special treatment or anything, I love when the fabric behaves. 

In the picture below you can see I did a bit of pattern matching. I cut the bodice pieces single layer to be sure that I will not get any unfortunate placing of those big flowers.

Because all that metallic thread I knew that an unlined dress will be very itchy to wear, so the decision was easy, I had to line the dress.

For the lining, I used a cotton/rayon mix which also has a bit of bounciness, and that made the skirt even fuller looking.

For the lining, I used the full pattern pieces and added the facing on the top of the lining pieces. It is the first time for me lining a garment like that, with the facings sewn on top of the lining pieces but this method is used in all Designer Stitch patterns. I like it a lot, I like that you get a very flat lining without the risk of seeing the seam that joins the facing with the rest of the ling from the outside.

I made this dress in the past and I know I changed some things but I knew that I had to start again as I changed a bit in size, so I made my usual ( these days) size from Designer Stitch, 3B and my toile fitted great. The only change was to make a 2 cm swayback adjustment on the bodice. Having the cup sizes in the patterns is great!

I thought a lot about how to sew the hem of this dress. I decided to sew it by machine, but it looked awful, I ripped the stitches and sew it again, by machine, and again I was unhappy so at the end I saw it by hand, as I was expected, that is the best way!

I love the dress! I think this fabric is perfect in combination with the pleats, giving such a full and bouncy skirt.

I guess now I am all set for the end of the year. I have my Camelia dress in that gorgeous Metallic black velvet and this one too. 

If you want to have your own Kristen dress here is your chance. Ann Grose, the power behind Designer Stitch Patterns was so generous to offer two patterns to give away! There are four chances to take part so don`t miss it! Minerva has the most gorgeous fabrics to make your dream Kristen dress!

Kristen Dress Rafflecopter Giveaway

I will pick two winners on Sunday 3/11/2019 on Instagram.

Happy sewing!

@calcedoniasewing

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One exotic bird can’t take over the world on its own. But toucan.

Hi everyone! I’m so excited for my first project for the Minerva blog to go live! My name is Gemma and you’ll find me on Instagram as @gemmamakesalot.

Introductions over and on with the review...

I picked out this mid weight 100% Cotton Fabric hoping it would make a cute top for my upcoming summer vacation and I wasn’t disappointed. The fabric features lots of toucans on a tropical background. The print is large enough that you can definitely make out the birds but not so large that you have to be concerned about ‘unfortunate’ placement when cutting out your garment. It’s a sunny, bright fabric and the print is just the right side of kitsch for me.

I paired the fabric with one of Helen’s Closet latest releases, the Ashton Top. The Ashton is a simple A-line top, available in two lengths; either cropped or hip length. I went with the hip length version (view A).

My measurements put me between a 12 and 14 but based on the finished garment measurements I made a straight size 12 with no adjustments. The size turned out perfect although next time I may experiment with moving the bust dart down just a touch for an even more flattering fit.

The combination of the pattern and the fabric makes a perfect beginners project or a very satisfying quick sew for a more experienced sewist.

The pattern is simple and rewarding but teaches key skills in the form of bust darts and either a clever all-in-one facing or bias tape finishing. I chose to finish the neck and armholes with the all-in-one facing. I’ve used the burrito method on other projects but I still love the magic of turning the top the right way out and the neatness of the resulting finish. If you’ve never tried the burrito method this is a great project to give it a go as Helen’s instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

In addition to the all-in-one facing for the neck and armholes there is a hem facing. I normally hate the hemming part of any project, always dealing with ripples or wonky finishes but the hem facing really took the pain out of it. It feels like more work but in fact just a few more moments at the cutting out stage really saved me time later on. Plus the facing helps to create the structural look of the top when used with a fabric with more body like this cotton.

The fabric was easy to work with, extremely stable and pressed well. The fabric really compliments the A-line shape of the top. I love that this simple pattern can really show off a print and changing up the fabric type, perhaps with something with more drape, will give you a totally different look. You could have several Ashton’s in your closet and not worry about any of them looking similar.

This print is so fun for summer. I’ve saved the scraps and I’m using it as the pocket lining for a pair of shorts which I’ll be able to wear with this top.

That’s it for now. I hope you like my make - hopefully I’ll have more to show you soon!

Gemma @gemmamakesalot

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