Archives: September 2019
Since this is my first blog post with Minerva, I thought I would tell you a bit about my sewing journey. I grew up with my mother sewing and crafting all the time. She would sew for herself but she also sewed holiday outfits, Halloween costumes and prom dresses for my sister and me. I remember sitting in her sewing room when I was little and taking her scraps of fabric to wrap around my dolls. Back then I thought my dolls were so chic! I finally decided to sit behind a sewing machine when I was 18 years old. I believe the first thing I made was a vest. As I got older, I began sewing skirts, curtains, pillows and cocktail dresses for special occasions. When my two boys were little, I would make them Halloween costumes just like my mom did for me. My children are grown now which allows me more time to sew more than I ever did. I like to try working with different types of fabrics like faux fur and faux leather along with trying new and different patterns to challenge myself.
So, let’s talk about fabric. I love fabric and the idea that I can take a simple flat piece of fabric and transform it into a wearable garment. If you’re a sewer you know exactly what I’m talking about. I live in the suburbs and occasionally travel into New York City to shop for fabric I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I go there but sometimes I can’t make the time and the one fabric store near me doesn’t always have what I’m looking for. Luckily, over the years I’ve stumbled upon the joy of shopping online for fabrics and wow what amazing choices there are out there.
So what led me to Minerva? Well, I have been on Instagram for about two years posting my sewing creations (@jeanette_sews), within that time I have found an amazing community of people just like me that have a passion for sewing. I remember seeing several of my favorite Instagram people posting about fabric they purchased from Minerva. The fabrics looked so beautiful and the garments they made with it inspired me to get on the Minerva fabric train. Before I continue, let me start by saying I really love camo prints and I have made jackets, a skirt, a dress and a few tops in camo fabric so, when I saw this French Terry Sweatshirt Fabric with its combination of blues, black and golden yellow I just had to have it. These colors complement each other perfectly and I have to say, the quality of this fabric is truly fabulous. This fabric is a medium weight containing 95% Cotton, 5% Lycra knit and it has such a smooth hand. I wanted to make something that was casual and I could wear often so, I decided to sew an easy pullover top to wear with a pair of jeans. When deciding on which pattern to use, I knew I wanted a pattern that wasn’t going to disrupt this cool camo print. Honestly, my decision was fairly easy, I had used the Sewaholic Pattern #1507 a few times already and it has become one of my favorite tried and tested patterns. This pattern comes together rather quickly and the French terry fabric compliments the pattern exactly how I envisioned it would. It’s not only a comfortable top, it’s fun and trendy too!
Hi you guys! It’s been an exciting week! I’m floored by my new sewing project. I sewed this pink dress all hours in the evening and finally can show it. Between working and my everyday life routine, it’s been kind of hard to find the energy to sew. But I’m always really happy to create whenever I have the chance.
I cannot tell you where my summer time has gone! I planned so many sewing projects for this year... It's been disappointing for me as I see my days gone. And, yet I look at my "To Sew list" and I see I'm slowly getting a little closer to my goals.
But whatever, let's talk about my new dress!
I mean, look at these cute sleeves, would you?! It's just so feminine and a little retro. I love it! From the start of this year, I sewed four dresses, but this one is my favourite.
I made this dress from very soft 100 Percent Cotton Fabric. It is so incredibly comfortable, so lightweight and perfect for summer! There was a beautiful sunset the day I took these photos, and the fabric looks so warm and shiny!
I’m so glad that this particular pattern required no fixes at all, so I sewed it fast. In all honesty, this neckline is a little too much for me, I’m used to more modest clothes. But I like the top of the dress on photos! It is necessary to try something new for yourself.
The most challenging thing about this sew was attaching sleeves. But I like the final result! If you have any advice or tips for me to improve next time around, please let me know in the comments.
A fabric with a tighter weave (linen, for example) would likely behave differently. I saw this dress in various fabrics and it looks great! You can cut a longer skirt or remove the clasp and the dress will be fabulous! There isn’t anything tricky here. The instructions with pattern were very complete too, which made it such a pleasurable sew!
Love the clasp with pink buttons! It looks so cute. I'm happy that I found these buttons in a small store in my town. It’s worth it to take the time and sew all those buttons.
I dressed up this girly dress with flats which would absolutely work for a date night or a walk, but it also looks great with heels or even sneakers! It’s so versatile, which is why I knew I had to have it in my wardrobe. The most beautiful summer dress!
This is my second make with cotton this year and I love wearing it! It breathes and feels like very soft cloth against your skin. In addition, this fabric is natural and hypoallergenic!
Of course, I think my wardrobe choices are often weather driven. It’s never as warm as one would like in my city. Yesterday, it was so hot, so I wore my pink dress and was so happy I did. So, I see no immediate reason to abandon my passion for sewing many dresses… What do you think? I am definitely a dress-lover!
Anyway, happy weekend, happy week, and happy sewing!
Posted in Projects on Monday the 30th September 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
I made a swimsuit! I’ve been wanting to dip my toe into swimwear for ages but have been intimidated by it. For some reason I had it in my head that making swimwear would be really difficult, but I was pleasantly surprised!
The first thing I did in the planning process was re-listen to the Love to Sew podcast episode on swimwear, which gives SO much useful advice.
I made the Cottesloe Swimsuit by Megan Nielsen Patterns, which has four variations: a scoop back swimsuit, a low back swimsuit with optional back ties, a bikini with high waisted bottoms or a bikini with low rise bottoms. I chose to make View A, which is the low back swimsuit.
View A includes a shelf bra lining and back ties, but the pattern advises that those with smaller busts would be ok without these two elements. I wanted to fully line my swimsuit, rather than just line the bust with the bra shelf and I am very much on the mini side of the boob spectrum so I left the bra shelf lining and back ties out.
The fabric that I chose is the most amazing leopard print Swimwear Fabric, which was kindly gifted to me by Minerva. It’s £16.99 per metre, 60 inches wide, 83% polyester and 17% elastane, so lots of stretch! It’s lovely quality as it’s very stretchy but not at all flimsy. The pattern does fade very slightly as the fabric is stretched but you don’t get any of those pesky white cracks that some stretch fabrics get.
On advice from the Love to Sew podcast, I sought out some power net to line my swimsuit, which I bought from Funki Fabrics. I ordered their heavy power net in flesh colour for £15.99 per metre (plus VAT) - 80% Polyamide (Nylon), 20% Lycra. This stuff is super sturdy and gives excellent support.
As is typical for my body shape, my measurements straddled three sizes on the sizing chart. I ended up cutting out a size 6, grading to a size 2 under the arms. I thought I would need to add extra length as I’m very long in the body, but I compared the pattern pieces with a ready to wear swimsuit I own and the length seemed about right.
The elastic I used is the Hemline Plastic Swimwear Elastic, which I bought from Minerva. It was just the right thing but I needed more than one packet, so make sure you have enough when you start sewing!
I’m still getting to grips with my overlocker so I sewed the swimsuit on my sewing machine with a zigzag stich and just used my overlocker to finish the seams. This seems to have worked a treat!
Here it is, my finished swimsuit!!
I am so delighted with how it turned out! It was genuinely so quick to sew up. I’m a slow sewer so if even I thought it was quick then it really was!
I had a good look at Instagram before cutting out and could see that the cut is quite low on the leg. This is brilliant if you want a bit more coverage, but I have a really long body and shorter legs by comparison, so a higher leg gives the illusion that my legs are longer than they are. Therefore, I decided to lift the left by 4cm at the side seam on the front and back pieces to make the cut more high-legged. Yay for faking longer legs!
I also added RUFFLES to the hips. I was concerned that this may have been too much considering it’s a LEOPARD PRINT swimsuit…. But I love it! This was not only a style choice but also a tactic to flatter my figure. I have very narrow hips compared to my shoulders so adding ruffles at the hips gives the illusion that my hips are wider than they are. I love that sewing allows me to adapt my makes to suit my figure!
I cut two strips of fabric that were 54cm x 4.5cm and gathered them using two rows of long straight stitches and pulling on the threads. I considered trying to attach the ruffles from inside the swimsuit for a neater finish, but I thought this would add too much bulk on the inside. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just top stitch them on – easy peasy! It’s not particularly neat as you can see the white reverse side of the fabric, but amongst the business of the leopard print it’s pretty subtle.
I made a bit of a blunder with the fit. I tried it on once I’d sewn up the outer fabric and it seemed a little roomy. I like my swimsuits to be quite tight as it makes my body feel held in and supported. There’s nothing worse than a baggy swimsuit!! So, I took a few centimetres off the length of the straps and took it in a little at the under arms. However, I didn’t consider the fact that my swimsuit lining, the power net, is less stretchy that the leopard print outer fabric…. This meant that once I had sewn it all together it ended up being smaller than when it was just the outer fabric on it’s own. This has resulted in my swimsuit being a bit short in the body and a bit small across the chest.
It was fine for me to wear on my holiday in Italy, but I will be adding a small panel in the crotch to make it a little longer in the body for next time! In the future I think I will cut the power net a size larger than the outer fabric to account for the fact that it is very sturdy and a bit less stretchy.
I love the low back as it gives a simple shaped swimsuit something special. Mine gapes a little bit at the waist, which I think is going to be inevitable to a certain extent with such a low back. However, I will make my elastic a little tighter as I sew these sections next time.
Overall, I love my new swimsuit. I think it’s something a bit different yet it’s such a simple, easy to follow pattern. I would highly recommend the fabrics as well as the pattern.
A loveliest, softest fabric against your skin, this Viscose Voile Fabric feels like butter to the touch: It has a very fluid drape and breathes very well. A caftan you shall be, I decided, but not just any ordinary caftan.
I was mesmerized by a photo of Jennifer Lopez wearing a stunning caftan for her 2017 Ni Tu Ni Yo music video created by Michael Costello with a strategically placed cutout.
This caftan was what I wanted to recreate with the viscose voile using vintage McCalls 3255.
My standard procedure for sewing with viscose: The fabric was first washed in cold water in gentle cycle. I did not notice any shrinkage or bleeding. The fabric was air dried and ironed, and the pattern pieces were cut out.
Tutorial for the cut out:
McCalls 3255 has two main pieces for the caftan; The center front seam was eliminated and was cut as one piece. The front and back caftan pieces were basted and the bias area for the cutout was pinned.
The pinned area was marked with a chalk and cut out. My cutout width measured 1.5 inches.
I used an ivory silk organza for the cutout. In hindsight I should have cut the silk organza in the same grain as the direction of the cut out but the strip I used was cut on grain. Add seam allowance of your choice to the cut out.
Pin the organza and sew on both ends.
Cut a slit at the front left panel where the cut out ends to the hem and finish the side seams of the slit with narrow hem.
I added side pleats at the front bodice waist to define my waistline.
I love my new caftan! The fabric has so much movement and feels amazingly light, I may not look as glamorous as Jennifer Lopez but I sure can recreate her looks!
Minerva has so many amazing color choices to choose from in this fabric. I hope that you found this tutorial to be helpful.
Thank you Minerva for giving me the opportunity to work with your beautiful fabrics.
Hello Minerva Makers!
The weather has turned chilly in the southern hemisphere and where I’m living in Outback Australia, we have really felt the cold. A lot of people are surprised to learn that even though we live in the desert we do get frost and cold winter days! (I didn’t fully believe it either until we moved here!)
Anyway, my approach to winter dressing is light layers so that as the day warms up, I can adjust my outfit accordingly. A key staple is usually some sort of oversized coat or jacket that I can shrug on and go.
Last winter, while on holiday I was seeing a lot of teddy jackets popping up and I was a total fan of the pretty/ugly style immediately! I don’t exactly know why, because on paper there’s no way that I’d go for it, but somehow it just works. Perhaps the cosiness of the whole look eliminates any negatives.
I was pregnant at the time and content with my winter wardrobe, but since last winter I have been stewing over the teddy jacket-shaped gap in my wardrobe. Needless to say, as soon as I saw this Teddy Fur Fabric listed on the Minerva website, I pounced! I already had my ideal pattern in my stash (that being, Simplicity 8218) and was so thrilled when I received the fabric in the mail. It was exactly what I’d envisioned.
The weight and handle of the fabric is just like that of the teddies which I’ve seen in store. As always, I prewashed it in the machine on a gentle cycle and there were no issues. The fabric doesn’t fray or shed and so I elected to sew the jacket without any seam finishes, which cut down on my construction time. Additionally, pressing the fabric doesn’t affect the pile or texture. Although, to be on the safe side, I chose to iron it with a pressing cloth. I’d waited this long for a teddy jacket and didn’t want any disappointment!
Sewing-wise Simplicity 8218 is an easy, speedy and satisfying make. I made the slightly shorter version (view B) and didn’t make any pattern adjustments, aside from lengthening the sleeves a little by making some self-drafted cuffs. I was partially to blame for the sleeves not being long enough initially because I was trying to be thrifty with my yardage and didn’t take into account fabric-width and pattern layout when ordering. As a result, the sleeves were shortened and then lengthened. It’s not a big deal and if I didn’t mention it, I’m sure that no one would ever have suspected a thing. Now that it’s out there, you can avoid falling into the same trap.
Should you want to join me in the teddy jacket club, I highly recommend it. All are welcome and it is very snuggly.
Until next time!
Brooke @ Retro Novella
For some time, when I engaged in social media, I noticed someone somewhere in the Wiksten Shift Dress. I loved the basic design, the various pattern options and the quick sew.
Initially, I struggled with purchasing the pattern, I felt like it was “just another shift dress” but it has been a beautiful addition to my pattern line up and has given me more wardrobe options. Living in the desert of Arizona, the heat this past summer raised to 119 F/ 48.3 C, it gets hot. I live in dresses all summer running around with my kids, so this shift dress was a huge success.
It is versatile and can be worn in multiple ways, these are my favorite garments to sew. I’ve dressed it down without the waist tie, a bit looser silhouette with sandals to the pool or a casual event, also as an evening dress with the waist tie synched and heels.
- Linen is a year round wardrobe staple, and I don’t own any winter coats, if that gives a better idea of this desert climate. I knew this dress pattern would get a lot of use all year without many modifications, so I decided to add it into my fall/winter capsule. Searching fabrics on the Minerva website I noticed this Striped Linen Fabric. Orange isn’t a color that I normally learn towards with my skin tone, but I fell in love with the light weight description and the stripes.
Another hobby that I engage with on a regular basis is the creation and use of natural dyes. I create and use almost all my dyed fabrics in my wardrobe or home. I have not yet achieved a true orange. You can achieve orange tones with specific flora but here in the desert we don’t have many natural growing plants to choose from and I mostly utilized plants I can gather easily. As I plan my fall garden this year, I am excited to fill it with various dye plants, so there may be some more orange in my future and in my wardrobe.
As I planned this shift dress, I knew I wanted a striped fabric to achieve some fun design elements. Also, a light weight linen to allow for maximum wear throughout the year. The Lady McElroy Stripe Pure Linen in orange checked both of those boxes for me and in the end made the perfect shift dress.
The best part of sewing your own clothes is being able to create something that fits you and your style. I loved the dresses style, but I knew I needed a waist tie and I needed a larger waist tie than the pattern provided. By adding both width and length to the waist tie I was able to bring a more dramatic look to the dress. In the end I added 4 inches to the height of the waist tie. Then lengthened the tie enough so that I could double it around my waist with enough to knot tie and leave a bit to hang in front. The finished length of the waist tie will depend on your waist measurement. I also chose to add the ¾ sleeve option to the dress and by doing that I can roll the sleeve or leave them longer, allowing for more versatility.
This dress has become a staple in my wardrobe. I can thank the light weight linen fabric and the versatile pattern for that. This isn’t just another shift dress!
Thanks for reading,