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Archives: July 2019

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SOI Molly Dress

I know that the weather is slowly warming up, but I still have days where I need to wear something really warm and cosy. I opted for this Jersey Fabric because even though it has a dark base, it still has lots of colour thrown about! The pattern on it is rather crazy – which I love…. It’s a bit like me!
I decided to make the Sew Over It Molly dress. I thought it would be perfect to pair with some snuggly tights and boots if I am cold – or to go bare legged if the weather decided to warm up a bit.

The Molly dress is such a fab pattern – it’s a really quick and easy sew, which I always find really satisfying. I also love the Sew Over It patterns because they seem to fit me really well – I have to make hardly any adjustments so save lots of time which is a bonus as I can sew more projects! Cutting the fabric was easy – some knits and jersey like to bounce about when cutting which can make the task quite hard. With some pattern weights and my rotary cutter, I whizzed through it and got some nice clean cuts.

I usually shorten the length before sewing it together to make the job at the end a little easier and to have less fabric waste. I did find the dress came up a little short, but that’s because I think I took off a tad too much. Normally with patterns I need to chop off at least 3-4 inches from the length…… I just need to get used to the fact that Sew Over It patterns really are perfect for me.

With the dress being a little short, I decided not to fold up and hem the normal way as that would take it up even more. After a cup of tea and some thinking, I decided to use some bias binding for the bottom and it worked really well! I also thought about adding a band but I wanted a nice even finish with the pattern, I was way too excited to wear it so taking more time to do the pattern matching was not an option haha!

I am really happy with my Molly dress – though will definitely not take any length off the next one – I may add a bit because Wales doesn’t really get that hot often enough to get the bare legs out haha!

Until next time




Grey Stripe Wrap Dess

Hi fellow Sewists!
Let me introduce you to my very first wrap dress and its challenging Stripe Fabric.
I love stripes and I will never back down from a challenge. But when I picked this McCalls Pattern 6959, which places the dress pieces onto the bias, I was deeply concerned about the directions these would take. But I thought: "Hum ... that could be interesting! Multi-directional stripes on a wrap dress!"
This grey stripe cotton fabric, called Seersucker, was very easy to manipulate. Never had the chance to make anything with it, I believe it has now become my favourite fabric to play around with. It's light, bouncy and doesn't keep creases. It's a garment I won't need to iron each time I take it out of the closet. (And that's a massive selling point for me, haha).
As I mentioned above, this is my first wrap dress making. The idea to put on a dress that easily is just amazing. One doesn't need to wiggle around to undress and that's just a relief! That fact aside, it is also very breathable. The movement it gives is magical. Let me explain, I love a dress that floats about without showing "too much" of yourself. Yet, you still feel free to move around without a worry, as if you were wearing nothing. For those sweaty days, I will adore this concept.
The stripes: yes, the stripes were a challenge. I was worried the directions of the stripes would give a weird impression of the whole garment. As if pieces would have been cut the wrong way. However, the more I sewd the pieces together and the darts, the more it made sense. Multi-directional is a concept that attracts the eye. When it is well put together, the garment gets this "artistic" look. So instead of looking like a woman referee, this garment makes it look like a clever patchwork.
Although I wanted this final garment to be inspired by Tim Burton's style, I still managed to bring a personal touch. No, it's not too much of a gothic impression, sadly, but it reminds the victorian era with a subtle "nowadays" design. This fabric has a bouncy feel, which naturally gives a body to the whole dress. It falls amazingly well on the hips and keeps a pleasant shape at the bottom.
The tie adds an interesting dimension to the dress too. It cuts the whole garment at the waist and the horizontal stripes enhance the concept. It becomes much more than a simple belt, it is essential.
I can't wait to wear it on the sunny days. This dress would fit so much in a park with a cup of tea and a little umbrella, hahaha.
What are your thoughts about it? Would you wear that referee/victorian dress in this summer time?
Thank you for reading,
Live long and Sew well!
Camille @ Irvhan

Simplicity 1425 Peplum Top

Hello everybody!

I've had the Simplicity 1425 peplum top in my pattern collection for many years6y and I had never found the right fabric to do it justice. Until I saw this black floral Stretch Mesh Fabric!

Combined with some black light Stretch Lining Fabric (also from Minerva - would definitely buy again) it was the perfect match. The lining provided a solid background to showcase the floral pattern, while also taking care of the issue of being see-through.

The pattern comes with a multitude of options that are quite similar. I ended up cutting all of the pieces out and having a play around to see what I liked the most for what I had. I decided on option C, with the back just being the mesh as a nice design feature. I was unsure how this would go as the weight of the peplum would have to be fully supported by the mesh alone and could possibly pull the back out of shape. If I was to have had the collar, I'd probably want something that had a bit more structure to hold the shape better. I felt I wanted something feminine and loved the shape of option C.

My first impressions were that it was incredibly soft and so easy to work with. When cutting out I used both weights and pins to ensure it didn't shift when I used the roller cutter; being more accurate than scissors given the stretch.

Now, I used 4 different colours of bias binding. I was trying to use up my stash! I quite like the inside of my garment looking colourful, even if the joins are a little messy. For the visible binding around the back edges I used a satin bias, it gave a beautiful finish but did start to fray quite quickly.

The main front section went together easy as pie as did the peplum. However I had quite a bit of difficulty putting the back together. Partly because I'm a perfectionist and I think it's quite a focal point of the outfit (so I wanted it to be perfect) and I feel like I may have stretched the mesh when sewing the binding.

It took a fair bit of pinning, baste stitching, trying on and redoing to get the right fit for me. But we got there eventually! I decided to use 4 fastenings on the top rather than the 3 specified. Mainly because the back still bowed a little at the top and I loved the way it looks.

I'm so happy with the results! I think it has a lovely shape and the peplum is very flattering. I can't wait to wear it! I've got some spare material left from this, which I was planning to make a matching co-ord two tier skirt. I still like that idea so when the two are together it could look like a dress but I think I might change that to a pair of floaty shorts instead. Who knows!

Thanks for reading!



More Fun Practicality!

As some of you may have read in previous posts, I am on a quest. My quest is simultaneously easy, yet seemingly out of reach. I am in the process of building a wardrobe that is practical, easy to maintain (no dry clean only items) but most importantly FUN! I want to WANT to wear my handmade items instead of shoving them to the back of the closet. I really enjoy wearing something that fits me just so and is in colors and prints that I love. Why wouldn’t I?

I think as consumers we tend to settle for what “fits” or what works. When in reality, garments from the shops don’t fit well, or at least as good as they ought to fit. We buy things that will work for this purpose or that purpose, something we can wear to this event or we can get X, Y, or Z done in. For myself, I want clothes in my wardrobe that can (for the most part) work for wherever I go or whatever I am doing. Now obviously I can’t wear jeans to a black tie event and I can’t wear an evening gown to a summer picnic. So, how can you have a wardrobe that can function across the board if this is the case you ask? Well, I don’t attend black tie events, and I don’t live a lifestyle that requires an evening dress, so I can cross those off my list. I do need a few dressier items and versatile pieces that could be worn in an office or church setting. So that is precisely what I focus on, as well as my practical every day items.

The Cotton Jersey Fabric from Minerva was perfect for what I had in mind. I recently made a Bettine dress from Tilly and the Buttons out of a linen fabric and as soon as I put it on I knew I wanted one in jersey. Jersey would make it the perfect run-around dress; errands, grocery shopping, doctor appointments, picking the kids up from school would be a pleasure in the super comfy version of the well loved Bettine. I washed and dried it in cool water and a regular dryer, it is so soft to the touch and great in the heat that has already shown up here in Texas. I had no issue cutting out or pressing my sewing as I went. It is holding up well to the wear it is receiving.

Typically, when I make something in knit that calls for woven fabric I size down. I chose not to with the Bettine. I was after a super comfy dress that I could run around in, walk the dog or chase the ice cream truck down in, so sizing down was not on my radar. I made a straight size 6 and only did a one inch hem, again to facilitate ease of running around in it.

I am thoroughly enjoying wearing this with my converse shoes, sandals or flip flops. If I want to look a little more put together, I can toss on my wedge sandals and a cute necklace. It definitely isn’t a dress I can wear to the opera but nearly everywhere else! I hope you all enjoy my version and I hope you give it a try yourselves.

Sew, Laugh, Repeat




The Sew Over It Ella Blouse

Welcome to my first blog here at Minerva! Thank you to Minerva for the beautiful Slinky Jersey Fabric in Navy Blue. Currently I am going through a phase of buying large flowery prints, so this fabric choice was perfect! I am very excited about getting fabric deliveries and the postman is now commenting on the amount of parcels he is delivering to my address. I wasn’t disappointed with this package, I loved the different colours of the roses and their vintage look, plus the fabric was even prettier in real life than in the photos online.

I have recently taken up dressmaking and I have invested in my own Elna Overlocker to add to my Janome sewing machine, both of which I used for this project. I was feeling a little adventurous with this fabric and wanted to make a wrap top using the Sew Over It Ella blouse PDF pattern. I have made a couple of other items using the Sew Over It patterns and have found them to be detailed enough for a novice like me to follow and have clear colour photographs. I must say that I am at the early stages of working with stretch fabrics and hopefully I am learning from my many mistakes. Let’s just say that there has been a lot of unpicking going on, mostly because I am not reading the instructions carefully enough and think that I know what I am doing.

I am really pleased with how the top has ended up and to my surprise it is totally wearable! I had to do a couple of little hacks to rectify some of my silly mistakes but it works and I have had some lovely comments about this top. I am not someone who has amazing body confidence so getting these photos taken took a lot of courage for me, especially as they are going to be shown to others on the blog. But thanks to my very creative friend Kirsty Lockhart, I was able to get some great photos of me in this top. Even better I actually like how I look in it. Sewing my own clothes has been a huge help to me and has allowed me to be more confident in my own skin. Plus people are always so surprised when I say that I have made the clothes myself, that is a huge boost.

Since making this top, I have invested in some stretch and ball point needles for my sewing machine. According to some blogs I have been reading, they are essential for working with knit / stretch fabrics. Plus I am taking a little more time to read through the instructions and to check my pinned fabric before I put it through the machine! I am really looking forward to my next Minerva project and I hope that I will be as pleased with it as I am with this wrap top.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel @rayneeday1


Foxy Romper

Hello all,

I’m back on the blog but this time I’m showing off my favourite mini human!

I’ve already made one of these rompers by North Patterns and I knew that when Minerva sent me this adorable foxy Polycotton Fabric I had to use it to make another one!

I have a bit of an obsession with any fabric that contains foxes so I just couldn’t resist.

The Fabric

Polycotton is the perfect fabric for summer clothes, its light, airy and oh so soft. It is also one of the easiest fabrics so sew which makes it a winner in my books.

I love the print so much, its covered in the sweetest little foxes and the colours are beautifully rustic. They have an almost autumnal feel yet still work wonderfully as a summer design.

The fabric itself is very light and breezy, it made the perfect outfit that will keep my son cool in the summer whilst protecting him from the sun’s harmful rays and on top of all that (and I know I may be biased) but he looks so adorable in his new getup!

Polycotton is one of my favourite fabrics to sew. I really enjoyed this project as it felt like going back to basics. The fabric made each step incredibly simple, from cutting out to sewing and pressing, the ease of working with this material really allowed me to zone out and just enjoy the process. It was a true joy to work with.

The Pattern

I made North Patterns Romper. As stated above this is the second one I’ve made and I absolutely love their designs.

They make patterns for gorgeous children’s clothes, intended to be made with woven fabrics and their instructions are really well structured and easy to follow with photographs of the process throughout.

One of the things I love about sewing children’s clothing is that I don’t have to faff around with the sizing. My child fits perfectly into his size category which means I get to skip out the big step of taking measurements which is a relief because  I don’t particularly fancy attempting this on an incredibly active 8 month old who won’t stay still for 30 seconds let alone long enough to run a tape measure over.

Finishing Touches

I have a confession to make. I cut out the bias binding using the foxy fabric but then realised I’d cut it the wrong size and didn’t have enough to make anymore. Whist mentally kicking myself I feverishly hunted through my scrap pile looking for something to remedy this situation and found some mustard poly twill crepe I’d brought a while back from Minerva and had leftover from an earlier project.

A happy accident as I love the contrast so much! It turned out perfect, the binding really makes the other colours pop and matches the other mustard tones so well.

One of my favourite challenges when making clothing is choosing the decorative features. I’ve had these cute little buttons in my stash for a while just waiting for the perfect project- waiting for this project.

It’s a thing of beauty how seamlessly they blend in with the design, they tie the whole outfit together beautifully. The little details make the garment and these are definitely my favourite finishing touches.

I loved this project so much, usually I take a wide berth when it comes to sewing collars as I find them somewhat intimidating, however this fabric made the whole process so easy I don’t know what I was getting worried about. It sewed and pressed flawlessly and made the whole process incredibly enjoyable.

I would highly recommend this fabric to any level of sewist but definitely for somebody just starting their sewing journey and looking for an easy fabric to sew with. It’s a wonderfully simple fabric to use.

My obsession is twinning with my son and I’m strongly considering buying more to make us matching shirts for the summer!

If you would like to follow more of my makes including ones for my beautiful little munchkin you can find me on Instagram @this_charming_make

Happy summer sewing

Marie x


On A Dress Kick!

I just love summer! I love dresses and I love wearing no pants! Anyone else that way? I’ve been on a dress kick and have sewn up F O U R in the past two weeks. I’m not usually a fast sewer and make 1-3 small projects a month if I’m lucky, but I’ve just been so obsessed. I didn’t have many summer dresses in my closet to begin with, so that could also be the culprit. When the ladies over here at Minerva sent me this ADORABLE stripey Knit Fabric, I had already concocted the perfect dress hack. I had been planning on this hack for awhile now, I was just waiting on the perfect fabric. 

The Chalk and Notch Waterfall Raglan is one of my favorite patterns of all time. I have hacked it so many different ways and made so many of the original. I think I counted at least ten in my closet the other day. Raglan sleeves are just my favorite and feel like they are the most flattering for my wide shoulders. However, with all the stripe matching needing to be done, I just about lost my mind - LOL! Lots and lots of pins my friends! 

The hack itself is pretty easy and I’m sure you could all figure it out on your own, but I love a good picture tutorial! And there are a couple things that I did to make sure my hem was straight at the bottom and didn’t have a wonky side curve. 

I played with the stripes a little bit and made sure the bodice was horizontal and the bottom was vertical! I chose to make the bodice horizontal to show-off (A.K.A. more like practice!) my stripe matching skills. I also thought it would flow better with the sleeves. Which were probably the hardest part! Once I started to reach the underarm area, I couldn’t really stripe match there. I also like using horizontal stripes on the bodice because it makes the lines look really clean around the gathers. Just like a perfect horizontal line. ;)

I wanted my bodice to hit me at about 11 ½ inches from the top of my shoulder, so I cut it 12 inches to include seam allowance. This length may vary due to bust size, so I would measure where you would like it to rest on you and add ½ and inch. I cut a straight line from this point on the pattern. It always looks shorter than it actually will be! I promise. My eyes have deceived me so many times after cutting bodice pieces that I know to trust my brain over my eyes sometimes. 

For the bottom piece I made my length 27 inches, but again, this can vary due to height. I’m 5’3 for reference. To cut this I used the dress ruffle piece as a base. I just lengthened it from the top and used the curved hem to measure 27 inches. The reason I chose to lengthen it from the top is because it needs that slight curve in the middle to ensure you have an even length hem rather than the sides being longer. :) 

I hope you enjoy this hack! I love the flowy and whimsical look of baby-doll style dresses. It’s the perfect summer dress and the colors just SCREAM summer. I’m all about the colorful stripes in this one. It’s what really makes the dress pop! Plus it’s a super soft knit and you can’t go wrong with that. Happy Summer everyone!


Courtney Jean @courtney_jeanshaw


Baby Onesie

Hello, it’s Annie from Scavenger Annie here, excited to share with you my latest stitching with this lovely Cotton Jersey Fabric from Minerva.

As soon as I saw this fabric pattern I knew I had to make up some fab baby items with it.

Today we’re looking at a long sleeved baby onesie with snap closures on the bottom. I found the pattern for free online so I decided to give it a go. The pattern (from a US site) was missing some notch marks and seemed to size up bigger in comparison to UK patterns. The size I cut is for a newborn but it looks more like 6-9 months size.

Minerva has a great range of Baby Sewing Patterns in stock with plenty of similar alternatives to this pattern.

When the fabric arrived it was so soft and strokable. If it wasn’t for writing this blog post it would have gone into my sacred fabric stash pile as it felt very cosy. I was concerned that the softness would be lost after machine washing but it came out of a 30 degree wash just fine. After drying it on the line I grabbed my rotary cutter and mat and got to work cutting out the pattern pieces. This fabric was lovely to cut, the blade glided through easily and indicates the lovely quality of this cloth.

The pattern consists of front and back body pieces, sleeves, neck bands and leg bands. Now I would advise using an overlocker to stitch jersey or at least have a walking foot on your machine. I’ve misplaced my walking foot so I did encounter a few snags at the start of stitching with my machine using my regular foot.

First I pinned and stitched the neck bands on the front and back pieces, then attached the leg bands.

Placing the back piece over the front piece at the shoulders I did a quick basting stitch to keep it in place. Next up was hemming and sewing the sleeves to the body, then stitching down the sides. Last of all was adding the KAM snaps using my special pliers to the bottom of the bodysuit and here we have a cute and comfy baby onesie!

I’m looking forward to stitching up a couple of matching hats and if I have enough fabric left another style of bodysuit. This fabric is lightweight, soft to touch and is on trend with the colour palette used for the pattern. I can’t wait to see a little one in it!

If you’d like to see what stitchery and mischief I’m up to next please pop by on Instagram and say hi at @scavengerannie.

Until next time, happy sewing!


A Secret Pyjama Sirocco

I, like many other sewing enthusiasts, fell in love with the Deer and Doe Sirocco the moment I first laid eyes on it.  I was on holiday at the time and was keenly watching the gorgeous versions appear on my Instagram feed one after another. I had ordered it on release day, not only falling in love with the flat waistband and wrap front, but also the fact it was for knit fabrics (it had a comfy version written all over it, in my head anyway). 

I was a little disappointed to find that I, technically, was 'too big' for the pattern (or it was 'too small' for me), my waist measurement falling just outside the recommended sizes - but with a little reassurance from Deer and Doe (who also tell me that extended sizes might be in their future, although it would be some considerable work), I decided to give it a go anyway.  After all, I'd been pining after a jumpsuit that actually fit me for several years, with a history of returned garments and even some gathering dust in my wardrobe that I thought were 'good enough' but when put to the test, I never felt comfortable enough in to wear out.  The elasticated waistbands that never fall in the right place, the odd crotches and tiny straps never really hit the mark and I just had a little glimmer that this might have the potential to be 'the one' (not to be too dramatic, of course).

When I saw this stripey Jersey Fabric, I ummed and ahhed about whether pairing this fabric with the Sirocco would make it more like a prison pyjama onesie than a sophisticated and grown up jumpsuit.  But, I just had an idea in my head that kept on coming back and I decided it wouldn't go away until I made it and satisfied myself whether it worked or not.  IT worked guys! And not only is it one of the comfiest cosiest things I've ever made, its also much smarter looking than I thought it would be! I am in love with this make and I am already racking my brains for fabrics I have in a large enough quantity to make both the full length version and the romper style...

When the fabric arrived, it became a blanket on rotation for me, my husband and our cats, for at least a week because it is SO soft and snuggly.  I ordered 3m and I used nearly all of it.  The fabric frays a touch (I only mention this because knits often don't), by the nature of its quite loose weave. I really think this fabric would make a gorgeous cardigan and I might be ordering some more for exactly that purpose.  It is lightweight with plenty of drape and I also think it would make a good Tilly and the Buttons Joni - and also a great cosy Freya tee. The scraps I have left are likely to just about squeeze themselves into raglan sleeves. The stripes are really narrow and in most of the photos this means the jumpsuit looks grey - but trust me, you'll know all about the stripes as you sew - they made my eyes go weird, for sure!

The Deer and Doe patterns were reasonably brief but if I am honest it’s a reasonably simple make.  There is a weird step near the end where you sew the right leg and back leg together at the crotch seam and end up with a bizarre tent-looking piece of fabric.  When you then attach this to the front and back bodice, it takes some twisting and turning inside out and right sides out in order to get everything the right way out to sew the side seams together.  This wasn’t challenging, particularly, but I think I would have liked a little more guidance.  Perhaps it was just me though! It did lead to some interesting 'trying on' poses which won't make it to this blog post - flapping around before the side seams are sewn up.  I played a strong game of thread chicken sewing up the last side seam (which are huge) which I won by about 30cm.  The only change to the pattern was that I sewed the sleeves in near the beginning, once the bodice shoulder seams and neckband were in, rather than setting them in at the end.  Because, why set in a seam when you don't have to!?  I'm not sure why there wasn’t a longer sleeve option in the pattern but I'm going to experiment with a longer sleeve on one of my next versions.

Size wise, it doesn't feel tight at all - and I think this would be easy to adjust up a little further too.  I didn't alter the seam allowances or anything at the waist because I was keen to see what the true fit would be like.  I think next time I'd lengthen the bodice an inch but that's my torso length rather than sizing. I've seen a few people say the neckline is a little low - and I understand why, but I love the neckline. It sits low without being too revealing, making it quite a smart silhouette. 

I'll be making many more of these - who doesn't need more secret pyjamas in their life?

Thanks for reading,

Laura @lauradanable

The Specky Seamstress


A Quick Make or Two

They say that children’s clothes are easy and quick to make. They are lying I tell you. This little outfit took me almost as long to make as any of my adult garments and the problem was definitely not the fabric, which is as soft as a baby’s skin French Terry Fabric. No, the problem was the child itself, because you see children are elusive, they aren’t available to try their clothes on for fitting in the middle of the night when you are trying to sew them, so you just carry on sewing them hopping for the best.

Initially I had planned to make a pair of joggers and a hoodie but as soon as the fabric arrived I really wanted to make dungarees. I loved the print and the colour combination as soon as I saw it on the e-mail Vicki sent. Upon receipt, I thought it looked a bit young for my 3 year old toddler but once I made the dungarees, I found it really playful and fun. The pattern is Burda #133 11/2017, meant for girls but I think it works really well for boys too. There is an elastic in the back and making it didn’t prove tricky at all. The fabric has a nice amount of stretch and recovery. 

I added pockets at the front, which I had to unpick a couple of times, because they were initially too low, then had to unpick them again because once he tried it on they were too big. Third time was lucky. Again the fabric didn’t stretch and the result achieved is quite acceptable. I added a simple rib knit detail on the pockets and added cuffs from the same fabric that was in my stash, to give the dungarees a bit more character.

With the rest of the fabric I made a hooded jacket, however not the one I initially had in mind. 
This is another burda pattern #127 11/2018 which is a halloween costume. Remove the wings and the ears and you have a really cool jacket with a diagonal zipper.

It was a delight sewing this fabric on the overlocker. It sewed without any problems and without stretching at all, at least not to the amount that didn’t disappear once it was ironed.

I used again the same ribbing for the cuffs and the waist. It was the perfect match for the soft greys and blues of the fabric.

The pockets where not as successful as in the dungarees and I finally did it. I stretched the fabric, while sewing it, which was purely my fault but it doesn’t look that bad when worn. 

The thing that I liked the most about this fabric is that it has the perfect amount of drape, it’s not stiff but it’s not as fluid, either, it holds the shape of the garment beautifully and it is lightweight enough to be worn comfortably at this time of the year, or in spring time to be more accurate, which is sadly not the weather at the time of writing. 

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