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Archives: September 2020

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Corduroy Dungarees

Hey Minerva makers!

I’ve basically just made the dungarees of my dreams. I’ve been a huge Tilly and The Buttons Cleo fan for years; I love to rock a pinafore/dungaree dress but I’ve been struggling to find a dungaree pattern I really liked. A lot of the popular ones seemed really slim-fitting which is not what I was looking for – I’m looking for maximum comfort!

Then I came across the Made By Jack’s Mum Heyday Dungarees pattern! Not only did they look exactly like the ready-to-wear dungarees I had been drooling over, the tester pictures on her website are by far the most diverse and awesome bunch of women I have ever seen! If I wasn’t already going to buy the pattern because of the perfect design, I was definitely going to want to support a designer that puts such effort into celebrating diversity (and a wide size range) in her tester pool.

I had the pattern sorted, the next challenge was to find the fabric. As I said before, my main priority for these dungas was COMFORT so when I saw that this gorgeous Wide Wale Corduroy Fabric has stretch I was over the moon! The pattern doesn’t call for stretch fabric because they are fairly baggy but I can’t get over how amazing it is that they stretch – chasing around after a toddler, these really take some abuse and they just stretch right back into shape!

This is also the deepest, fluffiest corduroy I’ve ever sewn with. It’s so fluffy it’s bordering on furry! It does shed a bit whilst sewing with it but it makes the most strokeable garments. I took the scraps leftover from these dungarees with me to the York Sewing Bee to use in a skirt and several of the contestants were quite happy stroking the scraps and couldn’t believe how soft it is!

It was easy to sew but remember that corduroy does have a nap so you need to treat it as a directional fabric. Also, I wasn’t kidding when I said it is REALLY fluffy – so you don’t want to iron it from the right side, I had to press the straps from the right side of the fabric so that I could get them flat and ready for topstitching and it did flatten the pile. Fortunately that was the first step, so for the rest of the project I made sure that any pressing I had to do, I did on the reverse side of the fabric. This made sure that the pile stayed intact and keeps nice and fluffy!

I chose to give it all the pockets so this version has five – plenty of room for my phone, snacks and lots of pocket space for me to cover with enamel pins! I think this is the perfect pair of dungarees, they are comfy and cool and I feel happy when I am wearing them.

These dungarees were also my first attempt at any sort of trouser-making. Anyone else been avoiding trousers?! I know they didn’t really require any fitting as they are supposed to be loose but trying these has definitely given me the confidence to try some proper trousers as these weren’t difficult at all!

I have tried wearing them with t-shirts underneath, warm jumpers and even my Stevie tops and it looks great with all of them so I am very happy with how versatile it is going to be through the seasons! Now I just need to make one in another colour, this corduroy comes in lots!

Until next time, happy sewing!

Vicky @ Sewstainability


The Ready To Sew Jocko Pullover

Despite the weather here in South Alabama being insanely hot for 10 months out of the year, I decided to order this gorgeous jacquard Jersey Knit Fabric as I had a specific project in mind.  We will be heading back to visit the UK soon and while I’m hoping we will have great weather…we all know how unpredictable the UK weather can be! 

I wanted to make something that would be perfect for layering and quite versatile so I chose to make the Ready To Sew Jocko Pullover. The Jocko has a couple of interesting options; a funnel neck tunic style pullover and more of a traditional style sweater neck with button detailing on the shoulders and side split.  After looking at the instructions and pattern pieces, I decided to choose the funnel neck, mainly because there were only 3 pattern pieces: the front, the back and sleeves. I will still make the other version at some point in the future but the buttons looked a little out of my comfort zone!

When I received the fabric, I was so surprised at how lovely the quality was. It’s a great medium to heavy weight jersey knit with good stability and I knew straight away that it would glide though the machine.  I chose the navy blue to work with but they also have a few other colour-ways which would be equally as gorgeous. The main side has a small geometric grid pattern in pink, and the way that it has been woven means that there is a pretty pink dotted stripe on the wrong side.  You could easily use the ‘wrong’ side as the main fabric if you wanted too.

The Ready To Sew pattern company was new to me but I’d seen a few of their items floating around the sewing community. Sewing the Jocko was surprisingly really quick and easy. This would make a perfect afternoon or evening project. It has lots of easy straight seams!  I used my overlocker too which made it even quicker!  I really love the funnel neck on the tunic and as it’s just one long tube. You can choose how funnel-ly (Is that a word?!) you would make it by just folding it over more. I feel like I’ll be able to wear this so many ways. I’ve paired it with jeans for the photos but I also think it will be great with a pair of leggings. I could also put a vest or t-shirt under it too. The sleeves can be rolled up to reveal that lovely pattern on the other side of the fabric. 

I ended up having just over half a meter of fabric left (I ordered 3m) so Id decided to whip up a cute little matching dress for Rosie. Of course, this will be going in the suitcase with my pullover so we can be matching!  Both of these will be great items to pack for unpredictable weather and they are both perfect wardrobe staples.

Thanks for reading,

Natalie @threadsnbobbins


Boho Chic Off the Shoulder Top

When I saw the Cream Crinkled Texture Double Cotton Gauze Fabric on the Minerva site, I knew immediately that it would be the perfect fabric to make a Boho Chic off the shoulder top. It’s crinkled texture gives it a more raw and worn-in look and the double gauze was incredibly easy to sew with as it is more of a medium-weight fabric and has a bit more structure.

Off-the shoulder tops are my favorite to wear. They make me feel really feminine and flirty, which is a fun vibe for the hot summer months! I love wearing them to a nice outdoor patio brunch with a girlfriend or to all the summer BBQs. I’ve also really been into ruffles lately, which are a playful addition to any garment!

I actually ended up finding two different purposes for this top. The first is for wearing during the spring/summer seasons and the second is to wear as a blouse to attend our local Renaissance Faires. I always find a way to use one garment in multiple ways!

I look forward to attending Renaissance Faires in the summer ever since my husband and I went to our first one in 2018. If you haven’t been to a faire, I highly recommend it as they are very magical and a nice change of pace. Much like the sewing community, everyone is so welcoming at the faire and it’s a great place to go and be yourself without judgement! I’m always amazed by how some people get so into their characters. I have yet to feel comfortable enough to create a different persona for myself, but maybe in the future!

I ended up using a blouse pattern from the Simplicity Renaissance Maidens 5582 Pattern. I made Blouse View A and instead of using two rows of elastic on the bicep and forearm, I omitted the elastic around my forearm and left it as a ruffle sleeve! When I first imagined this blouse, I did not intend to leave it as a ruffle sleeve but once I got to making it I decided to make that adjustment.

The second adjustment that I made was I turned the blouse into more of a crop top. The original blouse pattern was really long on me so I ended up cutting off about 5 inches. Since I finally sewed myself a pair of high-waisted jeans, I feel a lot more comfortable wearing crop tops now!

Overall, I’m super happy with how this top turned out. The double gauze fabric definitely served this top well and gave me a worn-in Boho Chic AND Renaissance look all in one! I love when a garment works in more than one setting!

Even with the mild pattern hacking and adjustments that I made, this top was so easy to make as the fabric is so versatile. I will definitely be finding more ways to incorporate cotton gauze fabric in my wardrobe and can’t wait to see your makes as well!

Happy Sewing,


Angelica can be found on Instagram at @angelica_creates, on Facebook at @angelicacreates, and over on her blog


John Kaldor Fernando Stevie Tunic

Hey there,

Wow just look at this pattern!!

I’m being totally brave with this one as “BIG FLORAL PATTERNS” are not normally my bag!

When I saw this Viscose Fabric on the Minerva website, I just loved the colours, they are just muted enough to be not too shouty, if there is such a word?

It’s a beautiful viscose challis and is the most fabulous quality, as you would expect from a John Kaldor fabric.

I must admit that when I ordered this, I had it in my head that I was going to make a pussy bow blouse but its funny that when it arrived it totally shouted a Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Tunic! The fabric is so drapey and soft, I really wanted to make the most of it and not have little bits of it chopped off as with a buttoned proper blouse so to speak. Don’t you just love it when a fabric speaks to you? I know I do, my trouble is too much fabric speaks to me and then it has to come home with me!

I have a little confession here, when ever I order fabric these days, I always order a little more than I think I need, as I usually seem to change my mind after a fabric arrives and then that little bit extra means I get to have flexibility in my pattern choices.

As per usual I pre-washed and line dried, I know most people hate this stage but I honestly relish it, seeing a whole swathe of fabric gorgeousness blowing in the breeze is a real treat, all that myriad of possibilities!

I’m trying to sew my me made wardrobe in more natural fabrics these days as they tend to be more breathable and cooler for us women of a certain age!

This is viscose which is part of the rayon family of fabrics, all of which are made from cellulose. Although viscose is a relatively low-cost fabric and has many of the desirable qualities of more luxurious fabrics. It is used to make clothing because it is breathable, drapes well, is highly absorbent and does not trap body heat. Also, because viscose is made from renewable plants, it is frequently cited as an environmentally friendly fabric.

The fabric comes in two colourways, this one which is “Duck Egg” and “Ivory” which is just as lovely

If I hadn’t used it to make my Stevie it would have been ideal for making so many other things tops, blouses, skirts and dresses!

Just perfect for the summer and then when the temperature starts to fall I shall then wear it with a long sleeved tee underneath!

What will you make?

Carol @chatterstitch


Abstract Viscose Jersey Joni Dress

Hello everyone, I’m Kealy from Voice of a Creative. This time for my Minerva Makers blog post I chose this classic abstract Jersey Knit Fabric.

I chose the navy and beige colour wave as I thought this would suit me best but this fabric is also available in black and white as well as blue and white. The fabric is 96% viscose and 4% lycra which in my experience makes a great and easy to work with viscose jersey. This jersey has great drape without being clingy, it is stretchy but not too much which makes it an awesome fabric to work with.

The viscose had good drape so I wanted to make a dress that had a lovely flowing skirt. I decided on the Joni dress from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch book. I hadn’t made this pattern before but have seen some beautiful versions online. The Joni dress is a simple jersey dress with a twist front detail and flared skirt.

This was my first time making the Joni dress, so I looked carefully at the body measurements and finished garment measurement to check I was choosing the correct size. In the end I cut a size 5 throughout, as I knew the skirt was flared enough to allow for my hips, which is my widest part.

I didn’t make any adjustments on this version I cut a straight size 5 and put it together as instructed. Next time I would make a few adjustments to the shoulders and arms, just for my comfort. The first alteration I would make is to add one inch to the width of the sleeve as I felt this sleeve fits a little too snugly on my arm. The second would be to do a slight forward shoulder adjustment and add a little extra fabric to the back armhole, whilst straightening the front arm hole. These are adjustments I seem to make regularly to Tilly and the Buttons patterns but I always like to try a pattern first before I make alterations.

The most challenging part of the make was the twist, I expected this after reading different reviews and watching videos about the Joni dress on YouTube. I used a mixture of the instructions in the book and the sew a long video by Sheona from Sewisfaction. For me when sewing, I first need to understand and visualise how the parts fit together, once I know this it becomes much easier for me to do. The trickiest part was adding the neck binding and getting to lie flat at the centre seam. I managed it in the end but I found it difficult because the binding and twist kept moving. Next time I will fold down the centre neckline and sew as instructed, twist the twisted part before securing it with a couple of stitches, this will hopefully make it easier to keep the twist in place.

Overall, I think the finished dress is fabulous and I plan to make more of them. I would like to try out different sleeves as well as adding a twist to other garments. The fabric was perfect for this, I found it easy to work with and the final dress has great drape for the skirt as well as not too much bulk in the twist. The fabric had the right stretch and was super easy to sew with. I used a walking foot with my machine and my over locker to finish my edges.

I would recommend this fabric and will get so much wear out of this dress.

Kealy @ Voice of a Creative


Portuguese Viscose Linen McCall’s 7726 Trousers


I’ve been wanting to make these trousers, McCall’s 7726 since they burst onto the instagram scene and I loved each version that I saw. I love the pattern options of a full leg or tapered leg, both with the paperbag waist which is so flattering. I made view D, however I went with a cropped length rather than the full length. The trousers have a nice wide hem on them so I decided to add a double row of stitching. All of the pleats and pockets on the trousers have topstitching so I wanted to add a little more interest to the hem too.

Despite having this pattern on my “to make” list for a while, I wasn’t sure on which fabric I wanted to make them in. When I saw this Portuguese Viscose Linen Blend Fabric from Minerva, with the lovely subtle basket weave detail I knew it was a match made in heaven! I love that Minerva has little fabric fondling clips you can watch, to get an idea of drape etc. Initially I was a little concerned that the fabric may be a little lightweight for trousers but it was so pretty that I knew with the full leg style a lighter fabric would work.

I was so wrong! This fabric is perfect trouser weight! Not at all transparent, but still has beautiful drape and handle. In fact, I could have made the tapered leg version in this fabric too.

The viscose component of the fabric stops the linen from getting really linen-y (it’s a word!) wrinkly. As you can see in the photos, after wearing them for a while I had some wrinkles but they still certainly aren’t bad.

I’ve sewn a lot with viscose and know that it comes out of the wash a bit stiff, then softens as it dries. For some reason, I had forgotten this fact when I prewashed this fabric. What went into the washing machine as a soft gorgeous piece of fabric, came out like a crunchy piece of brown paper...panic ensued...but after letting it dry out on the washing line it was back to its beautiful self. So when this happens to you - don’t panic!!!

This fabric was really nice to sew with. The texture of the fabric has a very subtle basket weave design, which is just gorgeous in real life and adds visual interest. The texture also made it very stable to sew with and worked really well with my minimal use of pins (ahem, bit lazy) sewing style. Unfortunately, when it came to inserting the front zipper I was having one of those days where you make silly mistakes. I’ve done fly fronts before...but for some reason just could not get my brain in gear that day. I’m not the only one this happens to, right?! Despite multiple unpicking of stitches and resewing, this fabric held up SO well, no scarring of the fabric or distortion thank goodness!

I really love these trousers! I now understand why this is such a popular pattern. This Portuguese viscose linen blend fabric is beautiful to wear and is the perfect neutral colour that goes with just about everything. I’d love to also use this fabric for a structured shirt dress or even a casual jacket, it’s so versatile!

Happy Sewing!

Allison @ The Tall Mama


A Practical Statement Sleeve Blouse in Blush Rose - Burda Style 01/2018 #116

With every stitch, I fall more in love with Crepe Fabric. Especially the ones with a little elastane. Minerva provided me with this lovely blush tone crepe and instantly I knew the pattern that would do it justice.

The flow and drape is exceptional, although it’s classified as heavy its not overbearing. If you decide to work with this fabric on a project that requires lots of overlapping tucks or pleats, then I would say be very cautious. It will become bulky and hard to control.

I enjoyed sewing this fabric because my machine and I had no issue. The process was smooth with no hiccups or an angry bobbin! For me personally, it’s rare to not have machine problems when starting a new project. Don’t tell anyone but, I didn’t change my needle from my previous jersey knit project.

It’s a lovely fabric, which comes in a variety of colors. I chose the color most similar to pressed rose and I find it interesting how well that color works with my skin tone.

A Practical Statement Sleeves

Ever since the statement sleeve became a major trend the last few years, I was on it. The problem with beautiful voluminous sleeves are they get in the way but are great for photos.

This is by far my most detailed project of the year and I loved it. The design is magnificent with the exaggerated armscye and pleated details on the shoulders of the sleeves.

The cuffs increases the volume of the sleeves even more. The addition of stitching details to the cuffs, gives this blouse a tailored and high-end finish. The hand stitching on the cuffs took about 1 1/2 – 2hrs for completion. I would definitely make this blouse again, mainly because I love the cuffs!

Thanks for reading,

Renata @ The Twilight Stitcher


Sewaholic Robson Trench

I can't tell you how excited I am to become a Minerva Maker, and I really wanted my first post to be something special. 
As soon as I saw this beautiful Cotton Twill Fabric in camel, I knew that it was time to finally make my own trench coat. It has been a long time coming: I bought the Robson Pattern as soon as it came out, since 1) who doesn't want a classic trench coat with all the bells and whistles (epaulettes, sleeve tabs, front & back storm flaps) and 2) I adore Sewaholic patterns and every meticulous detail and thought that Tasia has so obviously put into them. But months and years have gone by and the poor envelope has been sat in my drawer, waiting for the right fabric to come along. 
I won't lie - it was a time consuming project. In fact, wedding dress aside, this is the hardest sewing project that I've ever taken on. I did not help myself by making my own mile-long bias binding either. But it was all so worth it, even if it meant that my 8-month old baby spent quite a lot of time in the jumperoo in the last few weeks ;)
This pattern has been well-reviewed (did I mention how late I am to the party?), so I won't repeat what you probably already know. I will say this -- the Robson Coat really is the only pattern that you need if you wanted to make a trench coat. 
The lapels can be worn both ways. I love both looks! 
I made a few minor changes. Firstly, I took out a wedge from the front storm flap pattern, so that they lie flat. Secondly, I inserted 2 "hidden buttons" on the inside rather than 3, simply because I personally hate doing up the inside buttons! I skipped the interfacing for the collar (but interfaced the under collar), and if I were to do it again, I'd also leave off the seam allowances to minimise bulk. In terms of length, I chopped off 3 inches off the coat at the lengthen/shorten line, and 1 inch off the sleeves. I am 5'3, and the length turned out just right. Finally, I used buttons that were 25mm, rather than 20mm. They just felt right. 
A few tips that I wanted to share:
1) Don't be stingy on your machine needles, and don't wait until you have skipped stitches. I went through 4 needles for this project - a "fresh" needle for attaching all the bulk at the collar, another when setting in the sleeves (on a side note, these are the best sleeves I've ever set in!), and a final one for attaching the belt loops. 
2) Mark the positions for belt loops and sleeve tabs with tailor's tacks. The notches that you make will have been bound beautifully by bias tape by the time you need them. 
3) The last step on the buttons - where left and right are referred, the pattern means stage left and right, not when worn. The finished coat has right side overlapping the front, for the avoidance of doubt. 
4) Although making your own bias tape takes forever - and trust me, it was incredibly tedious -- it was worthwhile. I made most in 13mm, as the pattern asked for, but also a couple of metres in 25mm. I used the wider tape to bind the sleeve seams, as it was quite bulky. I also sewed the bias tape on in 2 steps (baste one side before sandwiching), rather than 1.   
5) Stay calm. I will admit that I was quite on edge by the time I got to the buttonholes, as the finish line was so close - yet it could so easily go wrong at the last step! It didn't help that my machine jammed for 2 of them half way through, which resulted me in getting to know my trusted seam ripper even better -- something I did not realise was possible. But patience and perseverance paid off. 
6) You'll want to wear the coat inside out, or flash the inside whilst walking down the street. It is perfectly normal, but do try and resist if you can.  
Topstitching and the sleeve tabs
And there you have it. My first Minerva Maker project! It took hours -but I actually really enjoyed the process (OK, maybe except for those hours spent prewashing, pressing, cutting out, and making the bias tape) and learned so much from the construction. I am 100% pleased with the outcome, which is not something that I say very often! 
Thanks for reading. Alice from Queen of Darts.

A Chambray Denim Summer Set

Have you ever had plans to create a look and found a few inspirations that stopped you dead in your track?

Well, this is exactly what happened with this beautiful Indigo Chambray Denim Fabric that I selected for my first blogpost with Minerva.  I have always wanted to add a light-weight chambray denim jumpsuit to my collection of denim looks especially for summer. I was ready to cut but struggled with deciding what to create; a garment that will be worn or stored in my closet.  As an educator, most of my makes are created for work. I love selecting fabrics and makes that can be worn all year round and styled more ways than one.

I am totally in love with the set and am really satisfied with the entire two-piece look.  My first make was the palazzo pants using McCalls Pattern M7786 View B size 16.  

The top pattern is Mimi G’s summer pattern, Simplicity 8927 which is definitely a scrap buster.  I had enough fabric left over to create either an Ogden cami or this super cute crop top. I love the design lines and knew I wanted to challenge myself with button holes.  It was truly a challenge as I was using the wrong buttonhole foot on my machine and after 2 failed button holes on my actual top, I decided to visit the local Vikings dealer to figure out the issue. I didn’t realize that I have been using the wrong buttonhole foot which was causing the issue.

Even though my 3 test button holes were perfect, my actual garment buttonhole failed. I was so happy when I was able to complete all buttonholes and buttons on my machine at the dealer and decided to shoot the set the minute I got home.

I am ecstatic my top did not end up in the UFO pile and the fact that I stayed the course with the matching set made just in time for my summer vacation.  Even though the pants are a little harder to get on due to the short elastic style in the back and my waist to hip measurement, I am loving the drape and fit of it especially the wider waistband.

The construction of the pants is very straightforward and the pattern instructions are clearly written. My favorite design element is the flat front curve waistband and the side pockets. I added an extra inch to the top and bottom to create a wider waistband. In addition, I ensured that I added a piece of light to midweight interface to stabilize the side pockets.

I probably will not sew this pattern again but recommend it if your waist to hip measurement range is a difference of 10 inches or less. For example, if your waist is 30 and your hip measurement is 40, this pattern will work. My high waist is 29 inches and my hip measurement is 45 to 46 (a difference of 16 to 17 inches) so it was an extreme challenge to stretch the back elastic to go over my hips to get it on.

This Chambray Denim Fabric goes down as one of the softest and most versatile lightweight denim I have worked with.  It sews up beautiful and I am totally in love with my matching set. I will rock it and mix it all summer long with different tops and bottoms.

Thanks for reading and be sure to stop by my personal blog at Overdriveafter30!



Silk Haori-Style Jacket

There's an old saying that goes “You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.” Whatever the meaning of that may be, today I'll show you how I made a silk haori-style jacket, printed with multiple animal species' ears on it. Don't worry! Its not as weird as I just made it sound. In fact, its gorgeous, and quirky in all the right ways. Lets get to it.

This is a beautiful light-weight Silk Fabric in a cool-toned neutral colourway, with a Victorian lace-style print. Framed within the lace is lithograph-like portraits of various animals, including flamingos and giraffes. The combination of traditional with comically-cute is refreshing and sure to spark some creativity!

The fabric drapes nicely but doesn't weigh down. I think it will lend itself perfectly to blouses and dresses and a light cover-up- like this one!

I chose the Kimono jacket pattern by Sew Over it. This is a simple haori style with drop sleeves and 2 length options. ( I made the long length, I am 5'9” or 175cm for reference.) This is an easy pattern for any sewing level and doesn't require much fitting. It sews up in an evening at a relaxed pace.

To prepare the fabric, start as you mean to go on. In other words, if you will hand-wash your silk henceforth, hand-wash it now. I machine-washed mine on a delicate cycle in cold water and hung to dry. (In case you can't tell, it came out great.) I pressed on silk-setting with my non-steam iron and used my usual muslin pressing cloth. I didn't get a super crisp fold but here I am not too particular about that. I used a universal needle in my sewing machine, a slightly shorter stitch length, and didn't hit any snags sewing it. (Haha! Get it? Snags? Because really didn't though.)

As I mentioned, its a nice evening sew, and the animal faces gave me a chuckle as they ran by. I added a lace trim to the bottom hem for interest as well as some added weight. I simply sewed it by machine to the front of the finished hem. Beautiful!

I have been thinking quite a lot about scraps and how to use them. I make a concious effort to cut fabric out as judiciously as possible but still manage to accumulate quite a pile. (There are a few poufs/dog beds in my future!) The obvious scrap-busting project from a silk garment is a scarf but keep any sizable pieces for pockets, linings and even facings in other garments. A silk scarf is lovely and timeless and makes a thoughtful gift. This is a rectangle measuring 20”x35”.

I used a rolled-hem foot on my machine but there are ways to finish the edges by hand or with a serger (Youtube is your friend. And mine.) I really enjoy the rolled-hem foot. The key is to keep the fabric folded at just the right width as it runs through. I started on a very slow-speed until it became more natural. You can conquer this technique, if you haven't already!

I like to have a scarf handy (looped through the strap of my bag) in case of wind and/or at the beach- when even a pixie-cut can get wild.

Do you like sewing with silk? How about giraffes and flamingos? Go for it!

Thanks for reading,


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