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Archives: October 2018

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Seaside Sewing Fun

At the beginning of the summer holidays I received a parcel of three randomly selected 2m Fabric Bundles. The parcel was filled with a wonderful assortment of fabrics – cottons, jersey, linen, organza and satin. All sizable pieces, but not big enough for dressmaking. Or so I thought.

As it was the school holidays, I sat down with my kids to open the parcel. My 7-year-old daughter was very excited, so I let her open the parcel and look through the lovely fabrics. I was a bit stumped what to make, but my daughter had lots of ideas! What started off as a tricky review turned into a perfect school holiday project.

Popover Sun Dress

As we were planning a trip to the seaside in the school holidays, it seemed fitting that my daughter’s doll should get a new outfit. The fabric pieces we received were just right for doll’s clothes. We started with a dress. Last summer I had made the free Oliver + S popover sun dress and remembered it had come with a matching doll’s dress. I dug out the pattern and measured the doll in question, a Baby Born. The only adjustment needed was an extra 1cm adding on either side of the main dress fabric (so baby could sit down!). I used the turquoise floral polycotton from the selection and we found some leftover pink bias binding in my stash. An easy peasy make you can finish in an hour or so.

Reversible Bucket Hat

As it was going to be so hot at the seaside baby really needed a sun hat to match her dress. Again, we were able to use a free pattern from Oliver + S – the reversible bucket hat. This one doesn’t come in doll sizes, but after a bit of experimentation I worked out that printing it at 60% size was just right for a Baby Born (cutting to the largest size). Again, a nice straightforward make. This one I left too late to make before we set off for the seaside, so ended up hand sewing it in the car on the way! A little more time-consuming by hand, but perfectly doable. I used the fabric that matched the dress and lined it with the linen. A perfect mini sized sun hat.

Tote Bag

Finally, my daughter wanted a bag to take her baby (and all the new clothes) to the seaside. I used the Sew Me Wear Me Sewing Project Bag, which worked really well as a kid-sized beach bag. I used the fish fabric for the main and the linen for the lining. An easy-to-follow reversible bag that was very popular on the beach. I was quite chuffed with my pattern matching on this one too.

Altogether we managed to use three of the many fabrics and made three different items. What was so great about the fabric bundles was getting surprise fabrics and letting the kids be creative with what to make. There are plenty more ideas in the pipeline for this bundle – pyjamas and a party dress next (I’m told).

So, if you’re struggling for ideas for the next half term I would really recommend one of these bags, especially if you have kids who like to create. You can experiment without worrying about spoiling fabric, and the toys get some gorgeous new outfits!

Thanks for reading,

Alice @ alicessewingadventures

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John Kaldor Satin Pussy Bow Blouse

Hi everyone Becky here from Notes from the Sewing Room. This month I was asked to review a fantastic bold Satin Fabric by John Kaldor and I decided to make a floaty pussy bow blouse with it as I thought this was show-off the slinky nature of this material. 

The Fabric

The fabric reminded me of a 1960s print maybe something like you would have seen one of the ladies in the UK TV series Heartbeat wearing. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this show it was on television in the 1990s but was set in rural Yorkshire during the 60s. I've been a long admirer of 1960s fashion and this fabric allows me to get a taste of this era and temporarily step back in time (to actually at time long before I was born).  

It's the first time I've worked with a fabric that is so slinky but it has a wonderful drape and its abstract design certainly catches your attention.

I found that after cutting out my project the fabric did fray quite a lot so I needed to finish the edges - in hindsight I think this fabric lends itself well to French seams although I decided to use my overlocker with the blade up - this allowed me to finish the edges without cutting into the material and causing any extra marking. 

Pinning and stitching the fabric was quite tricky as it is very light weight, moves around a lot, and was very easy to ladder. I used extra sharp pins and ensured I used a lightweight needle in my sewing machine but it still pulled the fabric in a few areas. I think this fabric is most suited to intermediate sewers or those who like a challenge as it is beautiful but has a lot of fluidity.  

My Project

I decided to make the Simple Sew patterns Lottie blouse. I got this pattern free on Love Sewing Magazine a while ago and have wanted to make a silky version for ages. The pattern in my opinion is a timeless design that can be made with or without sleeves and finishes at the collar with a pussy bow. The front bodice has a key-hole design on the front - so this part is cut on the fold with the idea being that the key-hole section is finished with self-made bias binding. As my fabric was very slippery I decided it would be better to make a small facing to finish this area instead. My facing was stitched right sides together then folded through to the wrong side of the blouse and then top stitched to keep it in place. 

The pattern also suggests that you make your own bias binding to finish the inside of the collar. I think this is a great idea if your fabric is stable enough to do this, and if I was to make this pattern again in a cotton lawn perhaps I would certainly do this as it would give it a neat look on both the inside and outside. However, instead I attached the under-collar to the neckline and stitched it in place by sewing along the area twice - this was to try to prevent fraying. Then I finished the inner edge of the top collar on my overlocker then folded this under using the iron. This was the used to sandwich the under collar and the blouse neckline - ensuring all the raw edges were pushed inside the collar. I then carefully top-stitched the top part of the collar - trying to stitch-in-the ditch on the neckline edge showing on the back of the blouse (although this was finally hidden when the collar was folded over and ironed). 

Would I Recommend This Fabric?

Yes, I would recommend this fabric for blouses or other projects that are best suited to silky fabrics. It is very delicate so requires a bit of care when sewing it but the final results are definitely worth it.

I'm really pleased with my new blouse and plan to wear it in to the office with a pencil skirt or trousers over the winter months. I love the idea of adding a pop of colour to my outfit in the winter as a lot of the clothes you can buy in the shops at this time are often quite dark in colour.

To find out more about my latest projects check out my blog or follow me on Instagram.

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Printed Felt Party Chains

Hi, I’m Jill from the Craftmobile. Felt is one of those materials that I can’t get enough of, I love the vibrant colours, ease of use and adaptability. While most felt comes in blocks of colour there are gorgeous printed pieces also available. If you can’t decide on the pattern you want then the Assorted Felt Packs from Minerva Crafts are a brilliant buy.

I decided to celebrate the patterns by turning the pieces into a felt version of paper party chains, it’s a colourful and easy project. You could use the party chains for special occasions or follow the bunting craze and have them up as a permanent decoration.

You will need:

A bit about the felt:

Inside each of these patterned felt assortment packs you get a range of printed pieces. Each one is approximately A4 in size with one side patterned and a white reverse.

The felt itself is a lovely texture, soft and consistent. The patterns included in the pack are diverse, lending themselves to a range of projects.

Getting started:

The first thing you need to do is pick the felt that you want to use. For each piece of the chain you need two patterns, one for the outside and one inside. Using the pattern on the inside as well as outside is going to give a great look while also making the shape stronger and able to hold the chain shape. I started with six pieces of felt, an orange chevron with black and white stars, An orange dot with black and white chevrons and a turquoise star with black and white spots. These were paired up so that I had a contrasting front and back look.

Once you have your pieces you need to cut them to shape. I’m using freezer paper to do this as it makes cutting a lot easier and cleaner. Trying to cut felt without freezer paper can leave you with jagged edges, with it applied you get crisp and even cuts.

Take a full sheet of the felt you have chosen and iron on your freezer paper. Next draw out the strips directly onto the freezer paper using a pencil. I drew lines across the piece using a ruler as a guide for the spacing.

If you prefer to go with measurements, then the strips are approximately 3.5cm x 22cm.

Once you have finished drawing your lines cut the strips out with sharp scissors. You can then easily peel the freezer paper off leaving lots of lovely pieces ready for matching and sewing.

Pair the pieces together so that you have the contrasting front and a back look that you want and pin them in place ready to sew. You might find that some of the felt is a slightly different length but don’t worry about that for now, it is useful to leave it as it is and trim after sewing together rather than before.

There are lots of options for how to sew the pieces together depending on the look you want. You could hand sew with a nice blanket stitch or sew with the patterned sides together and then turn it the right way before stitching up the last side. Personally, I want the soft inside felt to show on the edges of the chains so I am just going to top-stitch all the way around each pair of shapes leaving a narrow border.

From 6 pieces of felt (3 pairs) I created enough strips for 26 links. After sewing the border, I trimmed away any excess felt that was overhanging and tidied up the threads.

To begin the chain, I took my first link and used a button to fasten the edges together into a loop. There is no button hole (though you could add one if you wanted to be able to change your chain around), the button is simply secured through both the end edges of the link.

You can now continue to add links, making sure that you thread the next open link through the previous one before sewing the button in place.

Keep going adding your pieces, in a pattern or just randomly, until you have them all sewn together. And there you have it, a bright and patterned party chain to use for décor or bring out on special occasions.

I love the look of my finished chains and found them a really relaxing make. An added bonus is that I still have plenty of felt sheets left in each of the assorted packs so there are many more opportunities to get crafting with this lovely material.

Jill @ The Craftmobile

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Green is Nature's Neutral

I have been dreaming of green pants for years. In my opinion, green is nature's neutral. It's bold, and yet it goes with everything. Think about it: every flower with its unique color combination has green as its background to make it pop.
So when I saw this beautiful spring green Viscose Crepe Fabric, I had to jump on it. But... When I received it, I knew I would never wear pants made out of this particular fabric. Not that they wouldn't be lovely. I had a fantastic time researching inspiration and saw some amazing examples, especially of viscose culottes. I simply knew I wouldn't end up wearing them.
Back to the drawing board for me. I searched my pattern stash until I found the Colette Zinnia. Version 3 was perfect for use with this beautiful, drapy viscose. The fabric is quite opaque, so I omitted the lining.
Unfortunately I ran into a number of issues on this sewing project. I think most of them can be traced back to me making silly mistakes. First I decided to cut the pattern out using shears instead of my usual rotary cutter. I also did it while sitting on the carpeted floor. I don't recommend this as I feel it distorted my cutting a bit. 
Second, this fabric can stretch a bit. Definitely remember to stay stitch. Third, I think I was just having an off week. Plus I've been losing weight lately, which always presents a problem. My weight is changing constantly right now. When I went to put the skirt together, nothing lined up correctly. The skirt was too big, and the waistband too small.
In order to correct my errors, I made two changes: I added a bit to the waistband, and I added two extra pleats. I sadly did not have enough fabric to cut an entire new waistband, but I added a second piece at the back, with the buttonhole. The two pleats were added to the front skirt piece, on either side of the side seams.
Overall I feel my additions don't detract from the silhouette of the skirt. I have received a number of compliments, and I am quite in love with it. I've been wearing it with both summer and autumn looks during this transition season.
I will definitely be making this pattern again. I love the swishiness of the viscose on this view of the pattern. It suited it just perfectly. Hopefully when my weight settles I will be able to try the other views. The Colette Zinnia has a lovely vintage look to it that fits perfectly with my aesthetic.
Thanks for reading,
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Faux Leather Ultimate Shift Dress

Hello there! I’m excited to share a fun project with you today.

I found this lovely classy Fabric at Minerva and jumped at the chance to work with it!

It’s a really unique and dressy fabric. The composition is black tulle (as the base) with cut out pleather pieces layered with intricate silver thread embroidery on top.

The pattern that I paired with this project is the Ultimate Shift Dress from Sew Over It. I picked the pattern as I love the simplicity of the dress. There are only bust darts for shaping, no front or back darts (so that a printed fabric can shine).

Seam allowance: The pattern calls for 1.5cm (or 0.59”). When I made my first two muslins, I rounded down to a ½” Seam allowance (or 0.5”). After I finished the second muslin, I contacted Sew Over It to double check the English conversion for the S.A. They suggested to use 5/8” (or 0.625”) for the seam allowance. As my muslins were made with ½” (and a few alternate seam allowances), I did not follow the suggested 5/8” S.A. so I wanted to note this here. I share my alternate seam allowances that I used in the Final Dress section of this post.

Muslin #1: For the first muslin I used a fun mustard printed bedsheet from my stash. For woven patterns I usually enjoy repurposing poly/cotton bedsheets for a quick & cheap muslin, to test fit. If the muslin fits well in the first go around, it becomes a wearable muslin. If it doesn’t fit well, then the investment was low.

For muslin #1 I made Version #1 and I selected a size 8 for the sleeves. I also picked a size 8 for the bust, graded to a 10 at the waist and a 12 at the hips.

Modifications:

The arms were too tight at the biceps. I also saw that there were drag lines at the bust. For the next muslin I want to go up to size 10 for the bust and arms.

The hips area was slightly small for comfort. I had an interesting discovery with this project. I’ve sewn for many years and have enjoyed making garments for myself (but this is the first straight cut, woven dress that I’ve made). All other woven garments that I’ve sewn have had an a-line or gathered waistline. I thought the widest part around my waist was around my backside but I found that there is a slightly wider dimension measuring slightly lower around my hips. This was a fun discovery to sew a garment shape that I haven’t worked with yet on my own body. I need to go up to a size 14 at the hips.

Muslin #2: I decided to try a top for this muslin (Version 3), to save use less fabric/sheets.

Modifications:

The bust looks much better at a size 10.  I need to do a full bicep adjustment for the sleeves in the final garment (to gain slightly more room in the biceps). I used this helpful tutorial to widen the bicep by 1.5”. This modification is quite helpful to keep the fit the same at the shoulder and wrist but add more ease around the biceps. If you’ve never tried this modification (and you think you might need to) I highly recommend you give it a try!

I found that the under arms had slightly less movement, for my comfort level. You can visually note the smaller arm movement on me in the pictures of muslin #1.  To increase the arm movement I found this helpful tutorial. This technique is to add a gusset to the underarm, without making any other modifications to the pattern. I drafted a gusset pattern (image below) if you would like to experiment with it for your dresses as well.  
Something I tried as well was to trace this new gusset pattern onto a piece of watercolor paper. The paper is quite stiff and will be handy to keep and use for future pattern modifications. I tested this gusset pattern piece on muslin #2 in both underarms.
I was really happy with the result of adding the gusset! I followed the suggestions in the tutorial and also sewed a ¼” seam allowance (6mm) around the armhole and underarm gusset (to give more room around the armhole).  You don’t notice the gusset when the arm is laying flat, in the natural position but you can see this added material under the arm, for reference.  I basted the gusset in for a quick test for fit.
I did not include the keyhole back for this muslin.  I have read a few pattern reviews on this pattern and learned that the keyhole feature in the back is for the look and not necessary for the function of getting the top/dress on and off of your head.  Although I think it was fun to remove this feature in this muslin, I’m going to add it back in for the final dress (as I like the classier look of the keyhole).

Final Dress:

Materials:

  • Silk head pins

  • Fabric clips

  • Black Poly Thread

  • Yellow Poly Thread (for taylor’s tacks)

  • Hand sewing needle

  • Lining fabric, I used a similar Rayon Challis

  • 1 Button (similar to this one)

  • Elastic cord (similar to this one)

  • 80/12 universal sewing machine needle

  • Roller foot or walking foot (for a sewing machine)

  • Underarm gusset pattern

My final seam allowances (per my fit preferences):

  • Bust dart: 1/2”

  • Back Seam: 1/2”

  • Shoulders: 1/2”

  • Side Seams: 1/2”

  • Neck facing: 5/8”

  • Arm hole: 1/4”

  • Gusset: 1/4”

I used both fabric clips and silk head pins in this project.  You typically don’t want to use pins when working with pleather but in some parts of the assembly, I liked the stability of using pins (and the holes weren’t noticeable with the tulle as the base layer of the fabric).

After cutting out the fabric I marked each notch and the bust darts with a needle and thread via Taylor’s tacks. I’ve not yet utilized Taylor’s tacks in a sewing project, I’ve just heard them mentioned online.  They do take some time but are quite worth the effort, in the end.

I decided to do a lining at the bodice of the dress (but I decided to leave the sleeves unlined). I could have sewn the lining separate from the bodice and attached them together at the neck facing but I decided to attach the lining to the bodice by serging around each piece (the bodice front and two bodice back pieces).

I’ve started using a headlamp (even during the day) when working with darker colored fabrics.  It’s become a much handier way to see as I’m cutting or marking a garment on the cutting table.

I serged around all sides of the bodice front and back. One positive with this choice is that it made the fabric more stable.  The taylor’s tacks were also captured in the serging so I could still see the markings/notches via the yellow threads to sew the garment together.

One negative with choosing to attach the cut out tulle fabric to the lining (in the first step) was that it changed the drape of the end fabric in the way the dress hung. I love the dress but if I had it to do over again, I’d enjoy keeping the lining separate from the tulle fabric and only attach them at the neck facing, for the drape.  

I enjoyed the the back bodice with the keyhole and button feature.

I was so happy with the added movement that the underarm gusset brought.  It made the end garment so comfortable to wear and the full movement range with the armholes made the end dress very versatile for me.  I like having this little pattern piece now to keep in case I want to modify another pattern in the future.

Speaking back a few steps, I did want to note that I sewed the bust darts separately before I attached the lining to the front bodice, at the edges. I’m really happy with this pattern pairing for the fabric.  Minimizing the number of darts is so nice, to not interrupt the lovely embroidery features. I am wearing a belt with the dress in the photos. I like how a simple belt can bring in the shaping a bit at the waist.

In the end, I’m really happy with the dress. The fabric wasn’t too difficult to work with and I love the uniquness of the fabric.

I think this fabric would also be very fun to wear as a skirt.  

I wanted to share about another choice that I made in the sewing process that I would do differently next time.  I chose to not trim the inside seams. First I finished the edges of the fabric before sewing the seams (by serging).  In the back bodice, after sewing the seams I left the seam allowance and sewed two parallel lines along the seams, to help keep the seam flat.  I may go back and serge the seam allowances shorter at the side seams, to take out some bulk.

I really like this dress and I look forward to wearing it out, a lot.  If you’re intrigued with this fabric and want to give it a try for your own project, I highly recommend it!

I wish you all a very happy day with your own sewing adventures!

Rachel (@oakbluedesignswww.oakbluedesigns.com  

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Sequin Sparkle Cotton Voile Blouse

There once was a Cotton Voile Fabric that sparkled. It came in 3 colours and was light.

That’s as far as my poem goes because a soft white blouse that sparkles is what I’ve created with this sequinned floral voile dress fabric this month.

Sequins can come in all shapes and sizes. Minerva has this subtle sequin fabric that gives a hint of sparkle, so I jumped at the chance to work with this product.

Classic white blouses can look sharp and cotton fabric is normally a day-wear fabric. The beauty of this fabric is that it is a perfect day and night choice.

As someone who avoids dry cleaning, this fabric washes nicely and irons with just a hint of steam.

On the Great British Sewing Bee, there was a segment that focussed on using sequin fabrics. Sequin fabric can be tricky and this fabric is definitely a confidence boost.

Take a closer look how the neckline pleats float on this fabric.

Cutting the sequins and sewing through them is easily done on any home sewing machine.

The carpet I cut fabric on had a wonderful sparkle by the time I finished cutting out this pattern.

I really loved how this voile looks when it’s finished well.

My first test using stash fabric helped me decide to keep this blouse long and loose.  

Voile is a wonderful feel for Summer blouses. This voile is sheer so for this blouse, I wear a cami underneath.

This fabric finishes well if you use French seams. I also recommend using French seams so the sequins don’t rub against your skin.

The buttons on the back of the neckline can’t be seen but I had to choose buttons that matched the delicateness of this fabric.

This fabric would make a great long sleeve top or summer tunic.

If you want to use this fabric but have a different colour idea, this fabric would be easy to colour to suit your needs. White is easy to re-colour and the cotton fabric would absorb the colour strongly.

Thanks for reading,

Maria @ Clever Thinking

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Floral Chambray Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt

When I first saw this lovely floral Chambray Fabric, my first thought was a dress because of the lovely bright pattern and the weight of the fabric, unfortunately I just couldn't decide on a pattern!
With Summer now at an end I thought I would get more wear out of separates, especially a skirt that I could team with a thick jumper or cardigan for Winter. I had been wanting to try the Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt for a while, as I love the details on this lovely pattern, such as the gathers into the waistband and the two large pockets on version 1 and 2. There are three versions to choose from, version 1 is a short, above the knee skirt with two large pockets. Version 2 is a midi length with two pockets and version 3 is knee length with no pockets. I chose version 1 because I love having pockets and I thought the shorter version would be work well with tights and boots for the Winter. 
The pattern states that one of the ideal fabrics for version 2, the slightly longer midi length is Chambray. The fabric choices for version 1 are medium fabrics such as denim or corduroy. However, I do feel that the Chambray has worked well for version 1.
I have to say I loved making this skirt, it was a dream to sew. I feel that I learnt quite a lot with this pattern. One lovely touch was when sewing the pocket lining to the front section, usually you would need to cut notches, but the great suggestion was to use pinking shears. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of that before! When the pocket lining was folded in, it made for a very smooth finish. I always run the risk of cutting into the seam line when I cut notches, so this was a much better option.
The pattern has slight gathering from the waist, so I stitched one row of gathering stitches and this was enough for the effect I wanted. The pattern does say you can use two, but I felt one was enough. The fabric is a good weight so it has good structure, but light enough that the gathers worked really well. I did wonder whether I would need to line the fabric, but it has no transparency and didn't seem to stick to tights when I wore it.
The pattern has an exposed zip and the technique for this was different to how I usually insert zips, but it was very effective. I also liked the small run of stitches at the pocket edges to stop the pockets gaping. I love that with each new pattern I try, I learn new skills and techniques and different ways of doing things. 
The whole pattern was a simple construction and a fast sew. I had previously made a Megan Nielsen Rowan top and I think this went well tucked into the high waist of this skirt. I love this skirt and I've already worn it lots. I think it worked really well in the Chambray. I think the pattern was definitely a good choice for this fabric.
Thank you for reading!
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Faux Leather Fabric Bag Projects

Hi Sewing Fairy’s…

It’s been a while since I’ve managed to do any sewing for myself as everyday life and work seems to be busy!

I was so happy when I was sent some gorgeous baby blue Faux Leather Fabric from Minerva Crafts. It has got a great texture and feels very soft.

I have made quite a few bags in the past but I have always made my own patterns, for this stunning fabric I decided that having a pattern and instructions may end up giving me a much better result – and I am glad I did!  

The same day this fabric arrived I had a magazine from Simply Sewing arrive - well as soon as I saw the ‘city backpack’ pattern I knew I wanted to give it a go! 

I decided to raid my fabric stash and see what would go with the faux leather. I found some left over fabric that has the most gorgeous vibrant parrots on which I had previously used to make the Tilly and the buttons Cleo dungaree dress. 

The tropical bird Canvas Fabric is also available on Minerva Crafts. 

This fabric seemed to go lush with the faux leather as the bright colours worked well with the baby blue. 

This pattern was fairly easy to follow and I found using a walking foot on the faux leather was best as this did tend to want to stretch a bit all over the place! 

My advice is definitely do not use pins on it as you will see the holes on the faux leather - and try not to unpick and re stitch as this will also show the stitch marks in the faux leather! 

I didn’t own any of the clips to hold fabrics together so after making this bag it was something I did go out and purchase for my next bag! 

My only criticism with the bag is that the straps at the base of the bag is too close together and I have a fairly small frame it still seems too close together and I can feel them in my back when I wear the bag. For my next one I would put the straps further apart – and even may try to ‘size’ up the backpack!

I used a gorgeous pink spot to line the bag which I love seeing the pop of colour inside the bag with the pocket having the tropical bird print fabric. 

My next bag that I wanted to make was going to be a super lush sewing bag for myself. So for this I used the Noodlehead Makers Tote Bag Pattern

This bag I wanted to be ultra-special as I’ve always dreamed of having a sewing bag to take to my dress fittings and carry projects around with me...as soon as I saw this bag pattern I knew it was ‘the one’. 

Now I probably (well most definitely) shouldn’t have used stretch faux leather as it was hard work (I would advise for only advance sewers to use this pattern and fabric combo!). 

It did want to stretch out of place but I found if the faux leather was against the machine and the fabric/foam was on the top against the walking foot then it didn’t stretch quite as much. (Although not all steps I was able to do this!) 

I do wonder if I had put some tissue paper in between the faux leather and the walking foot if this may have worked? 

I absolutely loved making this bag personalised to me, I picked some gorgeous Sewing Themed Fabric for the lining which is also available from Minerva.

I had some pink dotty fabric left over from the city backpack so I used that for the pockets. On one of the pockets I used a stitch on my sewing machine that stitches a cute button pattern. Then on the other pocket I found some button ribbon that I have had in my stash for quite a few years now so it was good to finally put it to some use.  

I did find that the foam was quite thick so I did not want to pin the pockets onto the foam, to keep a straight line I used masking tape to stitch next too.

Making this bag was my first experience of using craft foam as well - which I would most definitely use again for bags as it gives amazing shape to the bag! I was slightly worried about how this would work on the sewing machine and how easy it might be to stitch through but it went through my Juki DX7 wonderfully.

Luckily by the time I got around to making this bag I had purchased some craft clips which is most definitely a purchase I now wish I had made years ago!

I did make a mistake when it came to the bias binding, I could see the end result by this stage and was rushing to get it finished so I thought I could skip the step of hand sewing the bias binding to finish it off and decided to machine stitch it. I did this as I wasn’t sure how it would work with hand stitching on the faux leather. Well I wish I had followed the instructions as it looked so awful I had to cut it off, re-make the bias binding then reconstruct the bag so it is now not quite the right size that it should have been (but only by a about 2cm!). This now means the shape isn’t as great as it was previously due to some of the faux leather stretching on the corners but seeing as this bag is for me I can cope with it.

Overall even after my struggles this I still love the bag and can’t wait to use it! 

I would most definitely use this fabric again for bags but may use a spray adhesive to stick the faux leather to the craft foam to prevent it stretching out in the wrong places!

What I have liked about these two projects is learning new skills and using new materials.

With a lot of patience and time you will all be able to make a gorgeous bag like this. I can’t wait to see your makes over on Instagram!

Love Tanni xXx

@sew_tanni

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Velvet Joni

Hi fellow dressmakers! This month I’m back with Minerva Craft’s gorgeous Stretch Velour Fabric. Ever since I bought Tilly and the Button’s stretch book I’ve wanted to make the Joni dress in stretch velvet and I particularly like the peacock blue shade of the one illustrated in the book. So I was really thrilled to get that very same colour to work with - it’s one of my favourites!
The fabric is lovely and soft and the colour is rich and vibrant. Having a nap I had to remember to cut all the pieces lined up in the same direction so the colour would look uniform. I used my fabric weights and rotary cutter to cut out the pattern which I’d traced onto garden fleece (my preferred method) first.
The design of the Joni dress is simple but clever - with its twist knot front feature. Although this might look a bit tricky, if you read the instructions carefully first from start to finish, it is really quite straight forward.
I hadn’t used Clear Elastic as a stabiliser before as I usually use the form tape you can get. Form tape is woven and non stretchy and easier to apply but I suppose the advantage of the clear elastic is that it allows stretch without being able to over stretch the neckline for example. Tilly also advocates using it on the side seams but as these don’t really need to stretch I left this out. 
The book describes two methods of adding the clear elastic - one method for the sewing machine and one for the overlocker. I chose to use the sewing machine as I felt it was easier to manipulate the elastic into the right place without trimming my fingers! But I’m sure either works well with practice. 
I tried to iron the seams from the wrong side, on a low steam setting and only very lightly which the fabric tolerated well. I then got over confident and burnt a hole in one of the sleeves! Thankfully, although I had already overlocked the shoulder seam I was able to carefully unpick and add another sleeve from fabric I had left over. After that I decided not to iron it and I don’t actually think it needs it as it’s so stretchy and doesn’t really crease. 
I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern apart from adding a little bit to the length. I do find that Tilly makes her patterns a bit too short for my taste but it was easily fixed. 
I finished my sleeve and skirt hems with my twin needle which I always think gives a lovely professional look to the garment.
As the skirt is quite full I decided to place my dress on my dressmaker’s dummy and use my chalk puffer to mark the hem length.
I’m really delighted with the finished article. It’s going to make a lovely autumn/winter party dress worn with tights and heels or I could dress it down with boots for a more casual look. I went for the 3/4 length sleeves as the shorter ones would be too cold for me at that time of year.
I hope you have enjoyed this review. I’d highly recommend this fabric - it was lovely to work with and looks stunning!
Diana
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Linen Rayon Forsythe Trousers

Okay lovely people, I recently was sent some fabric from Minerva Crafts. It’s a Linen Rayon Fabric blend which I choose in the white colourway for a trip I am currently on in warmer climes. Immediately I was thinking of hot temperatures so I couldn’t resist the temptation of linen and white seemed to be an obvious choice to repel my best friends when I’m away, those pesky mosquitos!

In reality though, this fabric is perfect for the cooler climes of home too as it’s a medium weight so can keep me warm at home too...though I may order more in my usual black for the winter months at home.

So to the nuts and bolts of the fabric; as I said it’s a linen rayon blend, 55% rayon to 45% linen. So when I saw that I was thrilled because basically I have all the benefits of linen mixed with all the benefits of rayon. So whilst this fabric lets my skin breath, it keeps me cool in a warm climate and keeps me warm in a cool one it also doesn’t crinkle and crease like crazy because of the rayon content. To me that’s a win win. I love linen, really love to wear it but the creases...no thank you. Within an hour of wearing something made of 100% linen it can look like I slept in it for a week. So for me at least a mix is the way to go.

Then to choose a pattern. I have used Blank Slate Patterns a few times before and I like what they produce; nothing too demanding, quite simple that can be cut and sewn up relatively quickly. So I decided to order the Forsythe Trousers for their versatility when I’m away and also I think they look smart too.

You can choose a full length trouser or capri length. There is a mock fly on them, an elasticated waistband, rounded front pockets on both sides and welt pockets at the back. There is also a lovely touch of a sash belt which is used with the loops you add to the waistband.

I chose to sew the capri length. I didn’t get bogged down too much with sizing and picked the one that fitted my measurements most closely. In my experience with Blank Slate Patterns the patterns designer, Melissa, is as close to spot on with sizing as I’ve seen and as it turns out this pattern was no exception for me.

At my usual leisurely pace, the odd cup of tea here and there, I had these capri length Forsythe trousers sewn up within the day. Probably the most difficult thing are the welt pockets but the instructions with pictures on the pattern are excellent so it simply is a matter of taking ones’ time and reading the instructions first thoroughly before starting it (I'm the first to admit to not doing this on many, many occasions!).

The rest of the pattern is a breeze. Nothing at all difficult after the first step of making the welt pockets.

So I am really happy with the end result. I love the ease of the end result and the fabric is just perfect for my travels to a warmer part of the world. I’ve worn them at home too during the summer and in the evening, when it got cooler, I never felt the urge to out on something warmer. And a huge thank you to the person who first decided to blend linen with rayon...because ironing it once after it’s washed is enough for anyone. And also on that note, this fabric has been washed many times and is still perfect.

All in all really really great fabric and top class pattern. I’ll use both again and again I know. Give it a try yourself...why not! 

Have a great day Minerva Crafters x  

Marie @maeme_and_momo

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