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Archives: August 2018

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Scuba Gabrielle Skater Dress

Hi Again,

When I was asked to try out this Scuba Fabric I had a particular pattern in mind. I wanted to give the Seamwork Gabrielle Skater Dress a go.

I chose scuba as I have never worked with it before and heard that it is the easiest fabric to handle and you do not need to press it. Minerva’s website says that this fabric is medium weight and that it is 95% polyester and 5% spandex. I found that this fabric has some drape to it and hangs really nice for the type of dress that I want to make.

Minerva recommends that it needs to be washed at 40 degrees, but my machine is set at a 15 minute cycle on 30 degree wash. As I mentioned in my previous blog, if you are not too sure about what temperature to use, either go cool or do a test wash.

For scuba, I was expecting stiff like a wetsuit stuff, but surprisingly I found this fabric quite soft, drapey and easy to use. I would definitely recommend this for skirts and I would use it again for dresses.

Scuba fabric is quite thick so when I was cutting the pattern out, I had to use my pattern weights to hold everything down as my pins would not go through it. This was tricky at times as the fabric did move around a tiny little bit, I think my handmade weights were not heavy enough for the fabric. When my pieces where cut out, I was using the fabulous wonder clips to hold the pattern pieces to the fabric while set aside waiting to be sewn together.

As the fabric was plain black I found it hard to distinguish the right side from the wrong so when I was cutting the pattern out, I was marking the pieces with an “X” on the wrong side using tailors chalk.

Note to self, when cutting scuba fabric, make sure your scissors are really sharp as the fabric is thick and I found it tougher to cut. I am lucky I had just got myself a new pair as my old pair would never had cut through this scuba fabric.

When sewing the pieces together, I found that I was using my overlocker for most of the dress, as there was a lot of pieces to put together. But as this scuba is stretchy fabric, when I did use my sewing machine, I did not have to use the zig zag stitch, I was using the twin needle but also just the normal straight stitch as well.

As summer is approaching, I am definitely going to get a lot of wear out of my skater dress and show off some leg or perhaps colourful bias binding.

Thanks for reading, until next time and Happy sewing everyone!

Justine @justaboutcrafting


Embroidered Project Bag

Hello lovely crafters. I am here today to tell you all about my embroidered project bag.

I was excited to try out the Sublime Stitching Embroidery Transfers, as I’d not done much freehand embroidery before and it is very ‘in’ at the moment. I picked the Fantasy Flowers set as I thought these would be most versatile whilst I debated whether to make a cushion cover or a project bag. I went for the project bag, given it would be useful and I wouldn’t need to worry about it matching my décor!

My first impressions were that the packaging is so adorable. The little pink envelope has a picture on the front of what the transfers look like, and inside a vibrant, double sided instruction sheet, and the folded sheet of transfers.

I had never used embroidery transfers before so I made sure to read all the instructions, like a good little crafter. They were easy to understand and contained some humour which was a nice touch. One side explained how to use the transfers and the other side how to embroider using the split stitch.

I wanted my project bag to be 10” x 14”. I went into my stash and found some plain white cotton fabric and cut out a rectangle measuring 22” x 15”, using my rotary cutter and cutting mat. I was then suddenly very keen to try tea dying to jazz it up a bit. In retrospect it is a bit darker then I would have liked but I was so impressed with myself at the time, I just kept going.

To tea dye the fabric I first got my tea brewing. I put 10 everyday tea bags and an inch of boiling water into a round glass dish, and let it sit for 10 minutes, stirring once. Whilst this was doing its thing, I hand washed the fabric in warm soapy water to remove any stiffening treatments that may have been present, then rinsed and squeezed out the excess water. After the 10 minutes was up I removed the teabags from the dish. I was then left with an inch of lukewarm tea water, perfect for the low immersion dying technique. I lay my wet fabric flat then pushed the edges of the fabric inwards, bunching it up until the diameter of the fabric was small enough to fit into my dish. I put it in the dish, pushed down the bits sticking up out of the tea, and left it for 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes was up I took the fabric out and smoothed it out onto the worktop, discarding the tea. I was worried if I rinsed the fabric straight away I would lose too much colour, so I dried it with a hair dryer and ironed it, on an old tea towel, so ‘set’ the colour. I then rinsed the fabric in cold water until it ran almost clear and repeated the drying and ironing process.

For structure of the bag and to stabilise the embroidery I ironed some white medium weight interfacing to the back of the whole piece.

I picked the two big flower transfers for my bag. To work out where to place them I pressed the fabric into the finished bag shape and worked out I wanted the design roughly 2cm in from each edge in the bottom left corner. I cut the transfers out and re-read the instructions. The transfer ink is permanent so I had to get this right first time! It is important to turn off the steam and to put the transfers onto warm fabric so I ironed the fabric first, placed my first transfer and carefully ironed over it without shifting it. The design transferred very easily, giving a very strong grey-black outline to follow. I transferred my second flower but forgot to heat the fabric first so it was a little patchy, but I just joined the gaps with pencil. REMEMBER TO HEAT YOUR FABRIC!

To go with the now antique effect fabric, I picked out some antique looking colours from my stash of Anchor Stranded Cotton Embroidery Thread and grouped them into colours I could use on each flower. I had a few embroidery books but found YouTube videos and Pinterest really useful for inspiration.

I decided to embroider the biggest flower first. I put my fabric into an embroidery hoop to give the fabric an even tension whilst stitching. I started with the leaves, doing a split stitch around the outline then filling with satin stitch. I intended on doing the same for the flower petals but once I’d done the split stitch outlines I thought it looked really pretty so I left it.
I moved the hoop over to the second flower. The blue flower petals are done using long and short stitch. I filled the centre of the flowers with french knots in circles working from the outside in. The stems and leaf outline on the blue flower are done using stem stitch. I have also used long stitch to go over any other design features, including using some metallic thread around the pink flower.

I used a decorative lace zip for extra interest which I first lightly glued on to the right side of the fabric using Anita’s Tacky Glue then one secured in place sewed on by hand using matching thread. I undid the zip, flipped the fabric inside out with right sides together and sewed up the sides using a ½” seam allowance. I then clipped my corners, did a zigzag stitch on all the raw edges, pressed open my seams and turned the bag out. I made sure to poke my corners out really well and ironed the finished bag flat, avoiding the stitches. Now I have somewhere new to store one of my many projects, and I hope I have inspired you to give it a go.
Thanks for reading,

King Cole Calypso Yarn Review

When I heard the news that one of my close friends was expecting a baby, I just had to start knitting. Given the opportunity to try out the new King Cole Calypso Yarn, I could not wait to get started. The feature that attracted me to this yarn was its crinkly appearance. The yarn also comes in a variety of colours, I chose Oyster grey as it’s gender neutral, if you don’t already know I have a little obsession with all things grey lately.  This shade of grey perfectly compliments other colours, so choosing buttons was not difficult.
As I chose this yarn for a baby cardigan, I wanted something that was extra soft. The composition of the Calypso yarn is 3% Polyamide and 97% Acrylic. This is an all seasons blend, it’s lightweight for Spring but also snuggly for Winter. 
I began with a swatch with this yarn as I was unsure whether it would be difficult to knit with due to the crinkles. Admittedly, I don’t always swatch but as it was the first time I was knitting with a textured yarn. You can swatch by knitting a 10cm x 10cm square. All yarn labels give instructions on how many stitches and rows will give you a 10x10cm square when knitted at the right tension. I began knitting in garter stitch as it’s not of my favourite, however I didn’t quite like the look of the swatch. So I adjusted to stockinette stitch which began to bring out the colours of the yarn. This yarn is not a solid grey, it’s more of a gradient white to grey. With the stockinette stitch these colours really came to life.  I also found that my tension was much better with this stitch rather than the garter stitch. Also as it is a dk weight yarn, I always find that stockinette stitch is much better to use as the garments keep their shape. I have used garter stitch previously with this weight yarn, and found the garment drooped quite a bit after wear. With stockinette stitch I very rarely get this.
I’ve recently been using DK weight yarn and do love working with light-weight yarns. Quite often I opt for using circular needles, as I had done so with my swatch, I did then move on to wooden needles. Because of the size of the garment, my circular needles were far too long and got tangled up with the yarn. So my recommendation would be to use straight needles if you can (if knitting babies or children sized garments). There were no issues casting on any stitches, and I found that I could use my usual speed-knitting techniques easily. The yarn didn’t split either, which I have found with some cotton yarns in the past. The only slight annoyance is the yarn did sometimes snag a little if I had to redo a stitch, which made the garment look a little untidy. 
Overall the yarn was lightweight, and easy to use. It didn’t require any different methods of knitting. Beginner knitters could use this yarn too without any worries too. And I write this review I’ve just had news my friend had a little baby boy. So now all I need to do is finish the cardigan, find some lovely buttons and hand it over. 
You will find the completed garment over on my instagram @thatmakesher.

Vintage Style Birds Dress!

I’m a huge fan of garments that can transition between summer and winter. You know the sorts of dresses you can wear with tights and a thick cardigan when its snowing and bare legs and sunglasses when the sun finally decides to show its face! [Which it briefly does once a year!!!]

Well I think this dress is a the best of both worlds!

The fabric is this birds print Crepe Fabric which immediately puts me in mind of the 1940’s. I love how delicate the print is and the fact that it comes in two colour ways. I chose the darker version because I knew it would fit into my wardrobe best but I think the white colour would be perfect for making a full skirted dress for a summer wedding.

When I prewashed the fabric it didn’t shrink and it didn’t need ironing when it came out of the dryer either which is an always a winner for me! It did fray a little bit so I decided to overlock my seams when I made the actual dress.

For the pattern I used the “Blitz Dress” by Sew La Di Da Vintage. But I did make a few changes, for starters I left the collar off and I cut the bodice on the fold so that I wouldn’t have a split in the front neckline. These changes gave the whole thing a vintage vibe which I think works with the fabric really well.

I left a small keyhole at the top of the back neckline for two reasons 1. it looks pretty and 2. It means I can zip it up by myself and not have to ask for help! I can do the button and loop at the top and the zip ends at the point of my back that I can’t reach!

The bodice is lined with plain cotton which gives it some stability and the skirt has been left unlined so that it will flow nicely. Luckily the fabric isn’t at all sheer so I can wear it without a slip! It also means it would be perfect for making blouses that you don’t want to wear a camisole underneath.

Normally I slip stitch the lining and the bodice together or stitch in the ditch however for this one I decided to finish the waist seem with cotton bias binding. The binding acts a bit like a gros grain ribbon and supports the weight of the weight of the skirt. It also means the waist seam is a bit stronger and less likely to end up drooping.

Due to the floaty nature of the fabric I did take care to stay stitch the neckline so it wouldn’t stretch out of shape and I added a small amount of Interfacing to the back seam allowance before I put the zip in. The interfacing adds some structure to the fabric so it makes the zip a lot easier to get in and leaves a much cleaner finish! It also helps it to stand up to repeated washes and wears.

I did press my seams whilst I was making the dress but I’ve not ironed it since! But if you do want to iron it I suggest using a cooler iron and a Pressing Cloth just to make sure you don’t scorch the fabric.

All in all I really enjoyed making this dress. Its a really simple style but the fabric meant that I had to be a bit more careful in my construction. That said I would definitely recommend this fabric to a beginner sewist who wants to branch away from cottons and start sewing with more drapey fabrics. I love the dress and I can’t wait to wear it again!





Monogram Bag

This is the third bag I've made since blogging for Minerva. Bag making is something I've always wanted to try.  It's quite a complex process, as complex, if not more, as making a whole garment, but it does all depend on the style of bag being made. I would say this one is the most complicated I've tried so far. It's the Butterick Sewing Pattern 5658 Fashion Bags in 4 Styles pattern which you can find at Minerva.
In this bag, I used this Foam Interfacing, but I've also included some peacock swirl fabric which I was sent previously to try out. I also used this fabric as the bodice lining to my Zandra Rhodes jacket in a previous post.  The foam interfacing is used in the front and back panels, base and top section. This, as you will see, gives the bag structure.
For the rest of the bag, ie. the side panels, I used a softer fleecy interfacing to make it flexible in these pocketed areas.
I had to make some design decisions about the fabrics used for the bag.  I was initially going to make the whole of the side sections from the peacock print.
Then I thought I should be using a stronger fabric in these corner areas, which will experience wear, so I decided on the same brocade used in the centre panels to make the outer side pocket sections.  I also used the brocade for the base, handles and top band.  The peacock swirl is used extensively inside as a luxurious detail.  Although complex, the bag is quite logical to make if the instructions are followed.  The main section goes together easily.  A ‘sandwich’ is made of the top fabric and interfacings and then stitched to the side pocketed sections. 
The base is the most difficult to construct.  I found it best to sew in the two long sides to the main bag making sure it is correctly aligned with the centre section.  Then, the end pieces are sewn.  Corners are clipped and excess fabric removed.
The bag is then turned right side out.  The pattern doesn’t ask for feet but I added these in as a nice finishing touch.  To make the base stable inside, I also added a rectangle of plastic canvas.  The bag inner is easy to make – a pocket is added first.
A simple bag shape is then made from the fabric to drop in to the outer.  I then joined the outer, inner and top bag section all around the top.  I made each of the bag handles with a canvas tape inner.  These were then aligned to the front and bag along the top edge of the top band and sewn into place before the facing was attached.

Finally, a foam interfacing insert was placed in the top band and the interfacing stitched into place by hand.  Two tabs with magnetic catch inners were also included on the inside to hold the bag shut.  As finishing touches and for a bit of fun, I included some contrasting bobble trim along the tops of the side pockets which were sewn in place when the main body of the bag was constructed.

I also found some fun initials in complementary colours to add to the bag front.  All in all, this was an enjoyable make – even though time consuming.  I still have a little bit of that lovely peacock print left and think I’ll make myself a little make up bag now to go inside!
Thanks for reading

Prestige Crepe New Look 6532

I busily go about my day and from time to time I watch what people wear a lot. Lately I started to see pale pink or blush coloured clothes appear.

It’s an interesting colour and this blog post is not only to show this Prestige Crepe Fabric from Minerva Crafts but also how I can integrate this new colour into my life.

Why choose crepe?

Crepe is one of those fabrics that looks amazing and gives you the option to use the shiny or matt side. The right side of this crepe is the shiny side. I chose this crepe in mink because the colour complimented the fabric softness and drape so well.

Did it cut easily?

Yes. This fabric is smooth and scissors glide through it, so be careful as you work with it. I have some very sharp Prym scissors that glided along as I cut out each pattern piece. New Look 6532 is designed for crepe so I was able to showcase this fabric nicely.

Is it slippery to sew with?

The fabric is smooth so I chose to cut this pattern out on carpet. I had no slippage while cutting this crepe. Smaller pieces were easy to work with on my sewing table.

When I was sewing this fabric, it was easy to manipulate while sewing it. I used the fabric’s smoothness to my advantage and not the other way around.

Did I need special pins on this fabric?

I did use the Fine Pins from the Prym Love range. They have a great magnetic container and the pin heads are red so they contrasted perfect against this fabric.

How did it iron easily?

Yes is does with low heat and will crease quickly. This is handy feature when you’re setting up the hem to hand sew it.

While this fabric creases easily, the polyester fibre will iron quite easily so you will always get a smooth finish while you’re wearing your garment.

If you’re not sure where your fabric pleats and creases should sit, you can easily change this the press of your iron. I used Prym tracing paper and their ergonomic tracing wheel to mark the pleats.

The other aspect I was wondering about is if you’re travelling, I think this fabric could easily be ironed using the steam in your hotel bathroom, when you’re in a rush.

Was there a downfall to using this fabric?

See-through: I have to be honest and say when I tried on the pants before adding the waistband, it was amazingly see-through. I’d forgotten how I avoid white fabrics but I still wanted the pants in this fabric.

So I quickly cut out a lining for these pants in a white fabric I had used in a previous dress. That made these pants more wearable but then I had to increase the waistband because the lining had added width to the waistline. The lining fabric was slightly heavier hence the added bulk. On the pants, the centre back seam needs to be resewn so there’s less tension.

Frays: I used French seams for both pieces. This seam finish stopped the fabric from fraying and it gives a beautiful finish.

Tension: On the pants I had to iron the side seams a few times before the pulling on the seams would relax.

The seam tension isn’t there on the side seams for the top. It was the pants seams that seemed to show tension. I need to investigate this in more depth.

Why did you use New Look 6532?

Crepe has great drape. This fabric truly does have great drape without being too wide. I wanted to make a two piece outfit with this fabric. Having lighter colour pieces gives me to some interesting options against the dark colours that fill my wardrobe.

New Look 6532 offers pants will great drape. The leg style isn’t skinny or billowing but they have a beautiful shape to them and this crepe showcases this shaping.

If this pattern had a top with sleeves, I would have trekked down this path with this fabric.

The slightly draped shell top is easy to sew and grade to your shape. On this top, the bust is size 8 and I graded the hips to a size 10 and lowered the centre back hem.

As you can see, this top is already a win as I’ve already been able to pair this with jeans and a jacket.

I think this top would look great extended into t tunic style or a maxi dress with this crepe.

Cheers for now until the next Make!

Thanks for reading,

Maria @ How Good Is That


Cambie Dress & Hollyburn Skirt Dress

Hi everyone, hope you have had a good week and managed to squeeze in some crafting time.

Becky here from Notes from the Sewing Room. This month I was asked to review a lovely floral print Crepe Fabric from Minerva Crafts.

The fabric itself is really pretty as it has a black background with some really interesting details. There are pink flowers, blue birds and green leaves scattered across the print which makes it different (in a good way) to look at and wear.

I’m fairly new to sewing with crepe fabrics, particularly ones that have a lot of fluidity, so I gave a bit of thought to what I would make with material. As the fabric has an air of elegance about it I thought it would be most suited to making a dress.

I decided I wanted to make a dress that would be suitable for an awards event I have to go along to in a few weeks’ time so this project fitted the bill entirely – as it ticks both the stylish and glamourous boxes (in my opinion anyway).

I joined the bodice from the Sewaholic Cambie Dress and the Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt together to create something completely individual.

So here is the low down step by step…

The Fabric

The fabric is very lightweight and has a lot of movement – so much so I had to try hard to control it when sewing on my machine as it kept trying to escape! All the effort was worth it though as I didn’t find that the material frayed particularly and it has a beautiful drape, perfect for summer weight projects.

It is slightly see through so I lined my bodice with the same fabric and the skirt with an anti-static peach coloured lining (I always find it fun to use a different colour on the inside of my clothes that only I can see).

I think the fabric is suitable to be used for lots of different garments – light-weight blouses or pop over your head tops would be cute, or like I made a new dress.

Depending on your level of sewing experience, you may want to take extra time and care not to snag the material and prevent any unpicking as it is delicate and could be damaged fairly easily.

To my amazement, I only ended up unpicking one bit of my project through lack of concentration which hardly ever happens. The bit I unpicked was completely fine but I wouldn’t want to have to pull out lots of stiches just to be safe.

My Pattern Choice

I’ve made both the Cambie Dress and the Hollyburn Skirt before and I absolutely love the patterns.

Sewaholic patterns are made for pear-shaped sewers, like me, who have a smaller waist and larger hips. This means I don’t often have to cut my pattern between sizes and always get a great fit at the end.

The Cambie Dress has a sweetheart neckline and is fully lined. It is fitted to the waist and includes cap sleeves. The pattern includes two different skirts although on this occasion, I didn’t use either!

The Hollyburn Skirt, if you are unfamiliar with it, is an a-line skirt that has a good amount of flare to it. The skirt sits high on the waist and has two deep practical pockets on the front (I love adding pockets to my clothes if possible). The pattern pack includes three different lengths although I made the shorter version and added two inches to it as I wanted the maximum amount of flare (the other versions are slightly less flared).

Joining the two patterns was easy. I used the waistband from the hollyburn skirt (I folded the pattern piece in half width-ways) and cut two pieces – one for the outside and one for the lining. I then made the skirt following the regular instructions.

I cut the bodice as normally directed, along with the sleeves and then joined this to my ‘new’ waistband, then onto my skirt. I then went back to the Cambie Dress instructions to follow how to insert the lining.


I’m really pleased with the end result of my dress. I think it will look great dressed up with heels or can be worn with a cardigan and pumps on a day-to-day basis.

The crepe fabric is really pretty and would not be something I would normally go for, so I am pleased I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to create something slightly different to what I normally make.

I’m now looking forward to wearing it at my awards event in a few weeks’ time.

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Hexagon Templates Review

I have just been given my Mums Heirloom hexagon cot blanket.
Now my Mum is a hand sewer and every single stitch was loving done whilst babies slept at night.
The Heirloom blanket was 10 years in the making, started for my sister and finished 10 years later for my baby brother.
Because of this I always think  hexagon quilts are the things that dreams are made of. I have started the “cutting out process” more times than I care to remember, using paper templates, cornflake boxes even buying fancy card to get the shape right........ fail
So when Minerva Crafts sent me this Hexagon Templates Pack to try out I did a little happy dance, and oh my I was happy. They come in 8 different sizes ranging from 1.5” to 5” all clearly marked. They are made of hard plastic, in a neon orange colour (this makes them easy to find whilst surrounded by scraps, cutouts and cups of tea). The hexagons have small holes dotted around the points. I assume this is to pin the hexagon down onto a cutting mat, I didn't feel I needed to anchor them down, they were substantial enough without. 
I cut out with a rotary cutter also available from Minerva Crafts and used lots of Liberty fabric scraps. The 2” hexagon template fitted my scraps perfectly.
Cutting out is always my most disliked job, but i have to say it was made far easier with the hexagons. I had quite a production line going on.
At this point I was running out of my salvaged Liberty Scraps, so my double bed throw plans was put on the back burner and decided to make my own Heirloom item.
I decided on a vintage style handbag.
The Bag Frame is 14” and also from Minerva Crafts. It was really very easy to make a pattern for it. I went for a simple style and made it just big enough for the essentials - lipstick, phone, a little cash and reading glasses ( yup I have reached that age)
When sewing the Hexagons I used a 1/4” seam allowance and found it easier than expected on the sewing machine. I put wadding between the outside hexagons and the lining fabric. I quilted the hexagon side, this made hand sewing the bag frame a bit tricky, but a big long embroidery needle.
I’m really please with the outcome and have had lots of lovely compliments when I have used it. I really enjoyed using the hexagons they made a pretty naff job more than bearable. I have used them for other projects since. Although I do think the hexagon Double bed spread will be a job for my retirement :-)

Slub Knit Coppelia Cardigan

Hey Everybody,
I’ve guest blogged once before on Minverva’s website, but in case you missed that one, I’ll go ahead and introduce myself again.  I’m Kten.  I usually blog over at or post on instagram under @jinxandgunner and I live in Queens, NY. While I’m at it, let me go ahead and say,  if you’ve ever wondered what an urban jungle looks like, come hang out in my driveway come springtime, cause apparently we’ve got the real deal over here.  Overgrown foliage, trash can and all. Lol…real speak, sorry I forgot to move that garbage can guys…  Aaaaanyways,  let’s get to what you really care about.  The sewing! The lovely ladies over at Minerva were nice enough to send me some fabric to try out and I gotta say I’m pretty dang happy with the outcome!
This is the Coppelia Cardigan by Papercut Patterns made in a black and plu, slub Knit Fabric which I think was a perfect match. The fabric, just as it says in the description is soft and slubby and also stretchy.  The black parts are almost like a sheer netting and the plum parts are where the slub variant comes in. Its almost like a soft yarn was pulled through netting (which is probably exactly what happened, because I basically just described weaving, derp), and there certainly was a bunch of maroon lint floating around my sewing room after I finished. Because the fabric is part soft and lush but also  part see-through, I have a black tank on underneath and in my opinion it’s a great combo for this hot/cold spring we’ve been having in NY.  I imagine it will also be perfect come fall.
When I first saw this fabric online I thought I was going to make a deer and doe plantain, or possibly a closet case patterns ebony T- of which I have recently made 3 (all un-documented as of yet).  However when this fabric arrived I realized there was only two way stretch which runs horizontally along the stripes.  If you pull the fabric vertically there is absolutely no give, not even a little mechanical stretch. So I wanted to make sure I picked something appropriate.  I know from experience that the plantain and the ebony both need 4 way stretch, so I went stash diving for something a little looser, and given the soft snuggly hand of the fabric I also thought it would be perfect for a cardigan or some kind of ‘over-layer’.  That’s when I saw my copy of the coppelia laying there amongst my patterns and the sewing cherubs basically started singing.
This is the first time I’ve made the coppelia pattern but truth be told I’ve had in my stash for longer than I care to share :P  What can I say.  Some people hoard fabric I tend to collect patterns.  Regardless I’m now reflecting on how dumb it was that I waited this long to sew it up because after I traced the pattern and cut out the pieces it literally took an hour to sew up. Honestly I think there were like less than 10 seams.  Now that I have all my pattern pieces ready to go I  imagine I will be churning these out, I mean carefully sewing many more ;o).  This is the faux wrap version, so it has all the fun of the wrap with none of the hassle of making sure the tie actually stays tied and everything is where it is meant to be. I would definitely like to try out the cropped wrap version at some point though, because I can see that version being a great office accessory.  Unfortunately we all know that when the sun comes out, the AC turns on :/.
So anyways, to wrap up (pun totally intended, har har).  This is my soft snuggly coppelia cardigan in black and plum slub knit, and I couldn’t love it more :)
Thanks for reading!
Kten :)

Jarvonaise 1940s Tea Dress

Hi everybody, it’s Victoria, and today I’m reviewing the Art Gallery Jarvonaise fabric kindly sent to me by Minerva Crafts for review.

The Art Gallery Rayon Fabric comes in a range of luscious colours, and I’m obsessed with turquoise, so I couldn’t resist the dark teal. I am a print addict, but I realised recently that none of my handmade clothes match because I don’t have any plain fabrics to contrast against the patterns! I planned to make the Sew Over it Ella blouse, as my 2018 goal was to work on building more separates into my wardrobe, but when it arrived I knew an Ella wasn’t going to cut it.

This fabric, you guys. It’s gorgeous. It is such a lovely rich colour, and it just feels like a dream. It’s a Javanaise viscose, which is thick and slippery and cool to the touch. I was so scared of putting it in the wash in case it was coated, and I didn’t want to lose that luxe feel, but I needn’t have worried. It washed well and there wasn’t much shrinkage as far as I could see, although it did fray in the wash, so if you’re bothered about that you may want to overlock or finish the edges before prewashing your fabric. I’ve heard that’s what people do, but I’m way too impatient to spend time overlocking fabric that I’m going to cut into anyway… but if you’re into that, go for it!

You can tell this is a really high quality fabric at first sight and first feel. It has a nice weight to it, but doesn’t feel heavy when you’re wearing it. I decided to stick with Sew Over It, but made the 1940s Tea Dress Pattern  instead; it’s a bit more complicated than I usually go for, but I thought the details would come up really nicely on the fabric. Because it was a new pattern to me – and I didn’t want to risk the Precious Fabric – I toiled it in a floral viscose I had in my stash. I’m so glad I decided to toile the pattern as I have a bit of a swayback, so I had to make quite a large adjustment to the back bodice piece- the toile looked like I was wearing a sack of spuds originally, but looked really good after the adjustment so I decided it would be OK to cut into the Precious Javanaise.

As with all slippery fabrics, I used my rotary cutter to cut the pattern pieces. It was difficult to tell the right and wrong sides of the fabric, so I marked the wrong side with tailor’s chalk. The fabric cut like butter; there was not one pesky thread still caught when I sliced through it. I just can’t even describe how lovely it is to work with; I feel like I’m raving about this fabric, but it’s just so lovely.

I overlocked all the pieces (except for the hem) to stop the pieces stretching out, and started piecing. I don’t know how, but the fabric must have stretched, because even with my enormous swayback adjustment the partly-made dress was still huge on me. I can only imagine that my pattern piece slipped when I was cutting, as that was the only real opportunity for error. I took an inch and a half out of either side before I put the zip in, and it looked much better.

After I put in the sleeves I tried on the dress, and it was a bit baggy around the bust area, which wasn’t ideal, and I wasn’t sure the style suited me. I was furious, as the toile had looked so good! I decided to persevere anyway because the fabric was just too lovely not to continue.

I carried on, and I’m quite pleased with the final result, although the bust shape just isn’t working somehow. One day, when I can convince myself to, I will unpick those bodice seams and rework the gathers – but I just haven’t got the heart to at the minute! I don’t think it’s something that makes the dress unwearable, it’s just not as nice a shape as I would have liked.

All in all I can’t recommend the fabric enough. It is expensive, but if you can afford to splash out a little I would definitely recommend it. Normally, I’m a total cheapskate, and quantity of fabric always comes first, but after using this Art Gallery Javanaise, I’m a convert. I’m definitely going to buy more of this – I’ve still got to make that Ella Blouse, after all – and I’m now of the belief that it’s better to have fewer garments made of better quality fabric; it just feels so nice to work with, and on your skin as a finished garment. But please, please, please, put the time in to toile the pattern first; I would have cried my eyes out if I had ruined such lovely fabric for the want of toiling it first! I realise it’s a bit more of a considered purchase, but I really can’t imagine anyone being disappointed by this fabric.

Thanks for reading,


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