Archives: December 2017
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 31st December 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Sew... these makes weren't what I envisioned but I love them and I will definitely get more wear out them than my original idea.
Let's start with the fabrics. Two Way Sequins Fabric. Amazing. I went for the black and silver colour way. The sequins are sewn onto a mesh fabric and where they overlap you can't see the mesh. I would say the sequins are "normal" size and thickness. The sequins obviously give the fabric some weight so bare than in mind when deciding on what to make with them.
The second fabric is a textured Stretch Velvet Fabric. It's crinkled/pleated effect gives this fabric a lovely shimmer to it making it feel extra special.
My original plan was to make a dress with a sequin bodice and velvet skirt. Because of the sequins minimum darts and seams are required for an easier sew and smoother sequins. I was struggling with a bodice as I need something fitted for my very large bust. A dartless bodice out of the sequin fabric did nothing for me at all. I then decided to flip it making a velvet top and sequin skirt. However the sequins would be too heavy to attach to the velvet. Separates it is!
Making the top. With the textures pattern on the velvet I again wanted something without darts. This year I have made a few Tilly and the Buttons Cocos hacked into t-shirts. Although this pattern is very casual being made out of the gorgeous fabric makes it more "fancy". I did a further hack from dress into t-shirt and added a large band around the waist to give it more of a fitted shape.
To do this I made the t-shirt cropped length and then added a band. I cut the band 9 inches wide and for the length I held the fabric around me at a comfortable tightness. Remember to add seam allowance. Fold the band in half, width ways wrong sides together. With the top the right way out pin the band evenly around the bottom, stretching the band and not the top. Sew! I didn't finish the sleeve and neck hems as they don't fray and sit nicely. By hemming them I thought it would make them bulky. Also when sewing with velvet make sure the pile/nap goes down so when you run your hands down the fabric is nice and smooth.
Making the skirt. So, sequins! When having a look online to see the best way for sewing with sequins the majority of the advice was to unpick the sequins along the sewing line. I didn't want to send hours doing this so I thought I would give the leather needle a go. The only visible seams are the side seams on the skirt so this method worked fine. Warning - my machine did make some scary sounding noises going through the sequins but it still works perfecting when I have gone back to sewing with regular cotton! When cutting the fabric don't use your fabric scissors as it will ruin them! I used an old rotary cutter that I didn't mind blunting.
To make the skirt I used a piece of wide elastic for the waist band, I held this around my waist to a comfortable tightness and then sewed it together overlapping by an inch. I zig zagged stitched across both raw edges to give it a neat finish. Depending on the width and length of your skirt either cut in a continuous piece or a front and a back. Remember to add seam allowances if it's two pieces. Attached to the waist band using a zig zag stitch. Again I didn't finish the hem I just removed any jagged sequins.
The wrong side of the sequin fabric is rough so ideally the skirt needs to be lined. The sequin fabric is hand wash only so rather than a fixed lining I would recommend a slip. You could make a slip in the same way as the skirt using thin elastic and a satin fabric, make the slip an inch shorter than the skirt so it doesn't poke out the bottom. A separate slip mean that you can then wear it under me made cotton dresses as I always find that they cling to tights and as it's so cold at the moment in the UK you can't go tightness!
The advantage of separates is that you can makes so many outfits out of them! If like me you are more of a casual dresser then both these pieces are perfect for dressing down. Don't get me wrong I love a sparkly dress but would much prefer to wear them in a casual setting.
The velvet top is perfect for all types or skirts and goes amazingly under my Cleo.
Sequins can also be dressed down with jumpers and casual tops.
But for Christmas these were perfect paired together.
Thanks for reading,
Georgina @ Sew in the Garden
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 30th December 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi again, it’s Naomi from Naomi Sews. I have been reviewing another lovely Dressmaking Fabric, a beautiful pleated stretch velvet, and this has also been an experiment in maternity clothing! I have had visions of a velvet skirt for the holidays, and this fabric was perfect. It has a beautiful sheen to it, a bit of drape, and the pleats add some texture too. I initially planned for a simple gathered skirt, the only complication being that I am currently pregnant, and I wanted to be able to modify the skirt afterwards to fit my regular size.
This is what I came up with. I created a shaped jersey waistband with some grey Plain Ribbed Fabric based on the waistband on my maternity pyjamas! While the waistband is shaped, I kept the skirt section as a basic rectangle. This should mean that in the future I can just remove this waistband and sew on some elastic to create another. My first attempt of the skirt involved using two widths of fabric gathered to the waistband, but it was so heavy that the jersey couldn’t support it without stretching out of shape, so I had to unpick everything and tried again with a single panel of velvet.
The skirt was more successful once it was lighter, but the waistband was still struggling to support it, so I added some elastic inside the top of the jersey to help. At the back the waistband was gaping, so I took in a centre back dart from the waistband to help shape it to my body. Now it seems about right. There is still some room and stretch for growing, but it doesn’t fall down while being worn!
I think the skirt has ended up being really fun, and I can dress it down a little like I did for the pictures here when Christmas shopping, but I can also wear it glammed up for a New Year’s Eve party with a pretty top.
Having used just one panel of fabric in my skirt, I suddenly had a little ore fabric to play with. I’ve also been inspired by all the velvet t-shirts that I have seen in various blog posts and I thought that I would give it a try. I based my top on the Megan Nielson Briar top, but when I’ve made it in the past I didn’t like the hi-low hem, so I modified the front hemline to mirror the dip at the back. I had to shorten the pattern a little because I had just enough fabric to get this cut out.
I really like that the top is a lot more casual than the skirt. I can wear this just at home without feeling overdressed, but it still looks a little festive and like I’ve made an effort for going to friends houses or holiday gatherings. It works so well with a pair of jeans or a basic skirt and just peps my outfit up a little. I think I’ll be able to get away with wearing this throughout the year, not just for the festive season too. Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas and inspiration for this fabric!
I'm glad to be back again testing another amazing Dressmaking Fabric from Minerva Crafts. I usually blog over at Lucky Sew and Sew and it's nice to take a little adventure every now and then!
I was sent a few metres of the Morgan Crepe Jersey Fabric in the tan brown colourway to use and as soon as I opened the package and felt this fabric, a plan formulated almost instantly! This fabric is the most amazing quality - a medium weight jersey with a good drape, a sturdy stretch and a lovely soft feel to it. You really must see it to believe it - especially as it's on sale for only £2.99 a metre! This is one of the nicest quality jersey fabrics that I've ever come across, and I couldn't wait to use it.
The colour of this fabric is what initially gave me the idea of how to use it. It's a beautifully saturated tan colour, almost toffee-like and nice and rich. It makes me feel warm and cosy just looking at it. One area that my me-made wardrobe is lacking in is loungewear. You know, clothes that are not pyjamas, but not going-out clothes either...that inbetween area. The clothes you wear on a cosy Sunday spent at home reading books and eating cake with a hot chocolate (or sewing away all day - who am I kidding?!). Loungewear needs to be comfortable, warm, practical and also a bit more put together than a pair of old pyjamas would.
I wanted to make a comfy pair of pants and a simple cardy or lightweight jacket. I instantly thought of the Ninni culottes by Named patterns for the pants. They're super comfortable and loose but there's always something that feels put-together about a nice pair of culottes. For the jacket I stumbled across the Besharl Jacket by Style Arc. A simple cocoon shaped jacket, with pockets and a nice shawl collar. I love the cocoon shape as it makes you feel instantly snuggly, and the shawl collar would give an added bit of warmth on colder days.
I cut the pants and jacket out of 3 metres of fabric. I altered the culottes by taking a few inches off the rise so that they sat on my hips and not my waist. Both the jacket and the culottes were very simple and straight forward sews, only helped by the fact that this fabric sews like a dream! Most of the jacket can be constructed using only an overlocker, and so I didn't have to finish the seams, however this fabric is so versatile that you wouldn't need to finish the edges as it doesn't fray. This would make it a great fabric for a beginner to use as you wouldn't need to worry about seam finishing, or whether you have an overlocker or not.
I am really pleased with my new loungewear! It's comfortable, hardwearing, and I love how it looks and feels. The fabric is the real star of the show, it was a dream to work with and a it's a delight to wear. The colour is easy to wear too. I styled it with a simple cream t-shirt but it would compliment most colours nicely which is a massive bonus. Now I need to plan more lounge-days so I can snuggle up at home in my new outfit!
Thanks for reading,
Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew
Posted in Projects on Friday the 29th December 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 28th December 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Thanks to Minerva for asking me to review this Dressmaking Fabric. I chose the dusky pink colourway but I think it’s more lilac or mauve than dusky pink.
The fabric is glorious. Very fluid and has a good weight, a brilliant drape and doesn’t crease. There is a good range of colours and I think it would be brilliant made into wide palazzo pants, maxi dresses, circle skirts and dresses. I’m also now thinking it would make a very luxurious lining fabric for a winter coat.
The two sides of the fabric are very different and can be used in different ways. I chose to use the satin side for the bodice and the crepe side for the skirt. By lining the bodice, the satin side of the fabric is also next to my skin which cuts out the necessity to wear a petticoat!
I overlocked all raw edges for neatness.
I made the Sienna Dress by Simple Sews Patterns. This is one of my favourite patterns for a sleeveless dress. Because the fabric has a little bit of stretch, the fit is really great but it means it’s really important to staystitch the neckline. I omit the centre front bodice seam and this creates a slightly different shape to the neck. I use my walking foot and a blue tipped needle but the fabric as very easy to sew with, nice and stable.
I like the contrast of the satin bodice and the crepe half circle skirt and I think it would look fabulous in black for an evening dress.
There is an invisible zip in the back. I wasn’t able to get a really good press on the back and using steam just seemed to make it more bumpy. Like all fabrics of this type, it catches easily so be careful of sharp rough fingernails and hands, or pins that aren’t sharp enough!
The insides of the dress feel really slinky and luxurious next to my skin and I’m hoping to wear this dress to a wedding reception very soon. I’m making a cropped cardigan to wear with it.
Pockets – the sign of a good dress pattern
I recommend this Fabric – I definitely would like some in black to make an LBD for Christmas. Don’t expect dusky pink to be pink though – it’s a cross between pink and purple as you will see in my photos.
With the Christmas/New Year party season here I wanted to get party dress sewing ASAP rather than leaving it to the last minute/night before! I have four Christmas parties this year and have decided to make two dresses.
When I saw this amazing peacock coloured Fabric with gold highlights I knew it would make an amazing Christmas dress. I love anything colourful and patterned and with the added sparkle this fabric is totally me. As you may know by now if you follow me on Instagram the French Navy Orla dress is my favourite. It fits me perfectly and is so hackable. I decided to use this fabric to make my first Christmas dress of the year.
I always make sure that when I get new fabric that it goes straight into the washing machine, after I've inspected how amazing it is of course. That way it's ready for sewing as soon as I have time and I'm not waiting around watching fabric dry! The fabric washed really well and irons super smooth.
Other than the fitting alterations which I have already made to my copy of the Orla pattern the only other alteration I made to this version is that I made the skirt fuller. I'm a pattern tracer rather than a cutter but when it comes to gathered skirts I don't see the point as it's just a rectangle piece. This is how I made the skirt:
- Cut two widths of the fabric, which is approx 110cm, at the skirt length you want - remember to add seam allowances.
- Leave one piece as it is and cut the other piece in two, this will be the back piece.
- Gather all three pieces. To do this increase the tension to the highest setting, I have a brother machine so changed it from 4 to 9, and increase the stitch length to the maximum. Within the seam allowance stitch. It will automatically gather as you sew. I find this method makes even gathers.
- Remember to change your settings back.
- Carry on as normal sewing the back pieces to the front along the side seams. Then attaching the bodice to the skirt.
The Orla dress requires an invisible zips however as this is a party dress I decided to add an exposed Lace Zip. It just so happened that I had a matching purple one in my stash.
I couldn't decide whether to add a pom pom trim but was struggling to find gold pom poms so instead I will add some sparkly gold accessories to bring out the gold flecks.
Although this is a dress for the Christmas party seasons I think that the colours in this Cotton Fabric are suitable for anytime of the year and it would be perfect for a spring wedding or a summer BBQ.
Thanks for reading,
Georgina @ Sew in the Garden
Posted in Q&A's on Tuesday the 26th December 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
Hi, I’m Eleanor, from nelnanandnora. I’m married and have two daughters and we live on the edge of Leeds, UK. Crochet and sewing are my great crafting loves and are the main focus of my blog, along with occasional travel, events and other creative adventures.
Can you show us a photo of your crafting space?
I’m fortunate to have half of a room at the side of our house, which is shared with my husband’s Lego, guitars, books and other random household storage. On sunny days I sew at the dining table where the light and view are much better.
When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project? What is your favourite craft?
I started making things when I was very young, thanks to my Mum and Grandma. The first project that I remember clearly was a plaster of Paris decoration that we made at nursery. I was given my first sewing box when I was 6 or 7 years old and loved playing with my Grandma’s fabric scraps and buttons. It was at and after university that my great love of dressmaking really started to develop. Living in Belgium for a few years challenged both my language and sewing skills as I discovered Burda Style and Knip Mode magazines. Crochet followed more recently and took over for a while as it felt more manageable when my girls were younger, but sewing is definitely my favourite.
What do you love most about crafting?
I love being able to take a flat piece of fabric or ball of yarn and create something unique. It fulfils a deep-seated desire to make life more beautiful and helps keep me calm and focused (most of the time!).
Do your friends or family craft along with you?
My daughters (aged 7 and 10) are both creative, and although they generally prefer to draw and make models, the elder one has tried some crochet and really enjoys sewing. She determined the placement of each flower motif on this dress and helped to sew them in place. They both love choosing fabrics and patterns so that they have unique garments and accessories (including a completely ridiculous flamingo hat!) I have a growing network of creative friends, which is wonderful after sewing alone for many years. I don’t craft so often now with my husband - he prefers Lego and jigsaw puzzles - although we did make our wedding invitations together.
Who do you make things for?
Most of my creations are for me, my girls or other family members. Sometimes I take on commissions, which have varied widely from cuddly chickens to a flat cap and waistcoat for a 5 year old. Our next family project will be making decorations to sell at a school Christmas fair, to raise funds for the PTA.
What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?
I’d been crocheting for a year or so when I started blogging. It seemed like a natural progression to share what I was learning and to start writing patterns and tutorials. My rediscovered love for sewing - which had lain dormant for a few years when the girls were little – has taken over my blog somewhat during the last year or so. It’s been a while since I wrote a crochet pattern but the shell stitch hat has remained popular.
Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?
Biscuits, toast or cheese (or quite often all three).
What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
A needle, thread and fabric. With those three, anything is possible.
What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?
I love silk, cotton, linen and wool. Much as synthetics are practical, they just don’t feel the same.
What is your favourite pattern you have ever followed?
This is a tough one! The Clare Coat by Closet Case Patterns is probably the one that has challenged me most. Unfortunately I made a poor fabric choice so I’ll be making another for this winter.
What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?
Boiled Wool Coating is one of my favourite fabrics. It is practical and warm but feels luxurious and a little quirky at the same time. Perfect! I’d make a cocoon coat with the Sapporo Papercut Pattern or simple raw edge jacket.
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
Hmmm, quite a few! I’d say two or three current ones that can be finished relatively quickly and a slow one that could run for a few weeks or months. I always have a few planned in advance, but sometimes they’re overtaken by new ideas that won’t go away.
Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?
I’d have to say my friends’ wedding dresses, one in 2001 from a Prima magazine pattern and one in 2005 using the Vogue Sewing Pattern no 2788, a classic that is still in print. It was almost a magical process and such a privilege to make them.
What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? Do you have a photo?
I’m crocheting a blanket for my Mum (the Hydrangea blanket by Lucy of Attic24), sewing a sweatshirt for my husband and will soon be starting a Sew Over It Chloe Coat, ready for the winter.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
I listen to podcasts or have YouTube - almost always sewing vlogs - on in the background for crafty inspiration, or if I need to concentrate more, then I’ll have some music playing, mostly Corinne Bailey Rae or Pink Martini. I’ve been following the French version of the Sewing Bee (Cousu Main), which is great for both my sewing and my rusty language skills!
What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?
I often go for a wander round local craft and fabric shops – we’re very fortunate to have a good selection around Leeds and Bradford – or explore Instagram, Ravelry, The Fold Line or Pinterest.
Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?
Don’t hurry! That seems to be when most things go wrong (especially with late night crafting).
Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?
I tend to pick up blog posts via Instagram and Facebook if the content appeals to me; Attic24, Saturday Night Stitch, Handmade by Chris, RedWSews, The Yorkshire Sewist, The Magnificent Thread and Thimberlina are among my favourites. I feel more connected with bloggers who I’ve met and most of these lovely creative women are based close to here.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
I still feel a bit clueless after 3 years! Finding your voice can tak time. The blogs that I appreciate the most are the honest ones, telling their stories with all the ups and downs of creative life.
Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?
Quirky, inquisitive, persistent.
What are your crafting ambitions?
I’d like to find ways to support and encourage others as I develop my own skills.
Have you a favourite tip or trick to share with our readers?
Wonder Clips are amazing! I find them so handy for working with knits, zips and bulky fabrics, or anything that is difficult to pin.
What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?
Take it slowly at first, be kind to yourself and keep it playful!
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 25th December 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello! I’m Sally from The Yorkshire Sewist and I'm reviewing the Prym Espadrille ‘Classic’ instruction DVD and Sewing Pattern.
Now I have never made my own shoes before, I didn’t even know where to start but with the help of this DVD this project was fairly easy, so I’d definitely pop it on your ever growing to do list! Espadrilles are usually associated with a summer wardrobe but I thought I would get ahead of the game for a change and make a start on my spring/summer wardrobe!
The DVD comes in a packet with a paper pattern, which covers UK and EU sizes from a child size 8.5 to adult size 10.5. You could make some lovely gifts for all the family! There are three choices of style of espadrille that you can make. As you have the basic shapes you can quite easily adapt the pattern and create whatever style you like. The soles which are sold separately come with a paper pattern but the one included with this DVD is much better and gives more options of style in my opinion.
Upon inserting the DVD into my Laptop, The DVD opens with a screen showing three options for which pair of espadrilles you wish to make; a peep toe style, classic option and an open toe sandal. I decided to make the Classic option but in my honest opinion, I felt after watching it in full before I made a start that it didn’t give the shoe a nice clean finish. So I decided to make them as neat as possible where I will show you how.
First of all, you need to gather your supplies!!
Here's what I used:
Size 4 of the Espadrille Shoe Soles
Fat Quarter of Outer Fabric (Huge selection of the Minerva website)
Fat Quarter of Lining Fabric or the Prym Espadrille Lining Fabric
1 x Strong Needle that will pass through the fabric and the espadrille sole, your upper fabric and your Lining Fabric.
When it came to the innersole of my shoe I’d thought I would add some of the fabric I used for the shoe itself as I felt that the inside could be a bit scratchy after a while, I’m all about comfort! All I did was trace round the soles and deducted 1cm from all around and then cut out the template. I then placed the template and then pin in place and cut out for each sole and the used fabric glue to secure to the sole. I left the soles to dry overnight to be on the safe side.
So with the pattern pieces given, I added a 1cm seam allowance to allow sewing the outer and inner together and when it comes to cutting out your fabrics make sure to align the pattern pieces with the grain of the fabric too.
I sewn them together using a 1cm seam allowance, just remember to leave about a 5cm gap for turning them out and then top stitched for decorative effect.
Now to pin the heel in place first, just remember to angle your pins or your hand will end up like a pin cushion! With your thread doubled, you then stitch the fabric to the sole using a blanket stitch and then repeat for the front piece. This part is definitely the most time consuming! I am self confessed hater of hand stitching and it took me a lot longer than expected but I was social sewing in the living room rather than having my back to everyone I was sat on the sofa! You may find that you run out of thread whilst stitching around your sole but just remember to have your knots on the inside.
To finish the side, all you do is try them on and pinning the sides to the toe fabric for a nice snug fit and stitch in place.
It’s a nice kit if you are totally new to sewing as it gives you the material list and guides you through process of making them. The DVD is great at showing you the techniques to make them as sometimes it is hard to visualise instructions and you can stop/start at anytime.
Here are the final results! A funky pair of watermelon and kiwi espadrilles all ready for the nicer weather to return but truth be told I’m already wearing round the house!
Thanks for reading,
Sal @ The Yorkshire Sewist
I would like to share with you this super comfy long sleeved T-shirt that I made from Art Gallery Fabrics Stretch Jersey. The design is tiny dancer in midnight and was kindly sent to me by Minerva Crafts. The pattern is my own design that I have made up previously but I have just tweaked it a little since the last time I made it.
Originally I got the basic shape and size by cutting around one of my existing T-shirts, I then simply lengthened the hem and the sleeves to achieve the style I wanted. I also like to change the necklines so there is a bit of variation there and on this particular version I have added a cuff to the sleeve.
The pattern has been traced onto baking paper as I do not own any specialist pattern paper but that might be something I try to use in future. I find it is a bit more durable than tissue paper and anyone who owns patterns will know how delicate they can be. Added to the pieces are a few notes for me, anything I may need reminding of in future and what worked well.
This particular fabric was wonderful to work with, it sewed up beautifully. While it has a good amount of stretch, it isn’t springy as some stretch fabrics can be and it behaved well under the presser foot. This made it quite a relaxing make which was good because we all have those days where things don’t go quite right but this wasn’t one of them.
To change the style of this T-shirt from the previous one I chose to add a half placket and just one button at the neckline with a loop made from bias binding. I feel this just gives it a bit of detail here but not too much, as the fabric is patterned I didn’t want it too fussy.
As mentioned above the long sleeves have a cuff, I wanted this to be the style you would find on a sweatshirt but for the top to remain a little more dressy. This was created by just cutting two rectangles, measuring them at my wrist, folding in half then stitching to create the cuff. The effect is neat at the wrist and will also keep out the cold.
A final detail is the hem, as this is a longer line style I feel it will be mainly worn on the outside so I chose a curved hem and finished it with a zig zag stitch which gave a nice flat finish. This would not have been required had I used my overlocker however I chose not to use it on this occasion. I know many people will not sew stretch or knit fabrics without theirs but I found this fabric to be easy to work with. I like to give my overlocker a rest on occasion as it saves on my blades and on cotton.
In all I am really delighted with the way this T-shirt has turned out, it is so soft. It will definitely be getting lots of wear over the coming months and I look forward to making more. Thanks again to Minerva Crafts for providing me with this lovely fabric to try out.
And thanks for reading,
Dianne @ Sewing Green Lady
Posted in Competitions and Giveaways on Saturday the 23rd December 2017 by Vicki Ormerod