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Archives: December 2018

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The Sew Over It Florence Birds Dress

Hello everyone.  So at the time of writing this blog post we are well and truly into winter and Christmas is fast approaching!  I have a sewing list as long as my arm but what perfect time to brush all of the practical sewing plans aside and make a fancy dress.  Well that’s what I’ve done for this months Minerva make. 
While in some respects I’m very much a plain fabric fan there’s one particular type of print that I absolutely LOVE and can’t resist, and that’s anything with birds on it!  So when I spotted a print with Budgies on it (or are they Canaries?) I was super excited.  I mean who wouldn’t want to wear a Budgie print dress right?
So the Fabric is a lightweight, 100% polyester crepe in a stunning teal colour and when it arrived it definitely didn’t disappoint.  It feels so soft and silky and drapes beautifully.  There’s also a lovely sheen to it that the pictures don’t quite show.  I wasn’t sure if it would be see through but unless you hang the dress in front of a window it seems fine, and you could always just wear a slip with it.
Pattern wise I didn’t have an exact plan but had a rough idea on what I wanted to make.  I have seen so many gorgeous shirt dresses and particularly full length shirt dresses in the shops this  year and thought this fabric would be absolutely perfect for this style. 
I couldn’t quite find a pattern that matched what I had in mind but after the usual browsing on Instagram and Pinterest I came up with quite a few options that were pretty close.  Some of the main contenders where the Sew Over It Florence Dress, the By Hand London Alex Dress and the Deer and Doe Magnolia Dress to name just a few.  But after much deliberation I decided on the Sew Over It Florence Dress as this one had the shirt bodice that I was looking for.  (The others, and more, would have all looked stunning though).
The Florence Dress calls for a lightweight woven fabric and is described as a floaty, feminine, boho inspired maxi dress.  So a perfect pattern to match with this floaty fabric.  It has a mandarin collar, button up bodice with an elasticated waist and A-line skirt.  There are 2 options for the length but in my mind the maxi version wins hands down. I think it’s only available as a PDF but I actually don’t mind the cutting out and sticking together process.
Ok so onto the downside!  It is a slippery fabric so cutting out can be a challenge.  I find it easier to cut out smaller sections of fabric for each pattern piece rather that laying out a whole 3 meter length in one go.  To ensure the grainline didn’t shift I used a mix of pins to hold the corners and pattern weights. I find a sharp rotary cutter is the best option for cutting out slippery fabrics as there’s minimal shifting of fabric.
However when it came to the actual sewing it handled really well for such a slippery fabric.  I made sure to sew lots of test pieces to really get the tension spot as lightweight fabrics can really pucker at the seams if the tension is out.  I also used a walking foot in parts although it was fine with just my normal foot too.
Even though the Florence has a collar and a button placket its actually a pretty straight forward make. The skirt piece is the same width as the bodice so the two pieces as simply joined together  and then a channel is created for the elastic to gather the waist in.  The 3/4 sleeves are just turned up and hemmed.  In hindsight i wished i had lengthened the sleeves to full length and added a proper cuff/sleeve placket but it still looks absolutely fine as it is, I just have a thing about 3/4 length sleeves for winter wear as that bit of exposed wrist gets cold!!!
When it comes to sewing I’m a bit of a perfectionist (not that my makes all come out perfect) but if  something doesn’t sit right or I’m not happy with it i will unpick it and re-do which is not fun! So I really took my time with this make.  I French Seamed all seams except where the bodice and skirt were joined, I even French Seamed the arm holes.  
I also hand basted the collar and I have to say it’s one of the neatest collars I’ve ever sewn. 
When it came to the buttons I couldn’t quite make my mind up what to use.  I had a browse on my local market stall but nothing jumped out but I spotted some smaller sized self cover buttons which I thought would look great.  
They were a little fiddly to do being small and I nearly gave up as the fabric just kept slipping off the button.  I ended up using a tiny piece of double sided sticky tape to secure the fabric to the button which worked a treat.  I think they look really cute and if I fancy a change or come across something else I could always change them.
So my verdict is I love the fabric and the dress and can’t wait to wear it.  I’m hoping to wear it out to a Christmas party this coming weekend.  Anyhow here’s a couple more pictures.  
Thanks for reading everyone and happy sewing.

Ginger Jeans Hack

I used to be strangely scared at the idea of making jeans. Then I made a pair, and I realised that there really is nothing to fear. Now, I really enjoy making jeans! I have just finished making my second pair of jeans and I know that even more pairs will follow. I've wanted to make a pair of wide-legged jeans for a while, pretty much ever since the Megan Nielsen Ash Pattern came out with that variation. However, I try to avoid buying a new pattern whenever I can, so I decided to try and hack the Closet Case Ginger Pattern that I already own. This Heavy Weight Denim from Minerva Crafts seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the jeans a go; I still can't believed that what I had in my mind actually succeeded!
Somehow, jeans have become one of my favourite things to sew. Although I still hate the fitting (and I did have several fitting issues with these that I will touch upon later!) I love longer more involved makes. There's something so satisfying in the way jeans come together. My favourite step has to be installing the fly, the Closet Case instructions are flawless and I love the method they use. For me, after the fly is installed the fabric transforms from nothing to an almost complete and wearable item of clothing. I love how professional jeans look when finished with topstitching and hardware too.
Onto the fitting issues... There were definitely several parts of the process where I began to wonder if I'd ever be able to actually wear these jeans. As you can probably see from the photos, the jeans are way too tight on the hips. This was absolutely my fault rather than the fault of the pattern for several reasons, the first being the fabric. I used a non-stretch denim, and while you can absolutely make non-stretch jeans, you absolutely have to size up if you do! The Ginger jeans are designed for stretch fabrics so it's no surprise that they don't fit. I just about got away with using the smallest seam allowance I possibly could, but it's still a struggle to wear them. However, I had a similar problem at the start with my other jeans and they have stretched a lot with wear and are now very comfy, so I'm really hoping that these will stretch over time and wear too. I am really annoyed that this happened again especially as I had the same problem initially with my other pair, but because those now fit I didn't think to make adjustments at the time of cutting the fabric. I have noted the problem in very big letters on my pattern pieces now though, so fingers crossed the mistake won't be happening a third time!
The main adjustment that I made is the same one I made on my previous pair, and one that I have to make on any non-elasticated bottoms. I find reading other peoples tips/reviews on patterns really helpful and one of the most helpful Ginger Jeans reviews that I found was this one by Guthrie and Ghani. Lauren mentioned that she took a wedge out of the back yoke and I guessed that I would need to do the same thing due to having a sway back. I actually still had quite a large gape at the waistband even after this adjustment, so I also took out a triangular wedge from the waistband and waistband facing. I did exactly the same thing on my first pair of jeans so I knew it was the right adjustment to make. To be honest I could have done with taking even more fabric out of the back yoke on this pair but I just wasn't able to with the limited room over my hips, so again that's something I'll bear in mind for next time.
Enough talk about the challenges and annoyances - let's talk topstitching! Every time I go into my local haberdashery to choose thread I always admire the silver topstitching thread and have joked about using it for several projects, on which it would have looked very over the top. Well, I finally topstitched something in silver and I think I found the perfect project! Topstitching is a classic feature on jeans but I wanted to add a bit of a twist to it. On my last pair of jeans I played it safe with colour-coordinating topstitching but I love topstitching and I really wanted to use that silver thread. Using such a contrasting colour was nerve-wracking but I just took my time and I love it SO MUCH! I really feel as though the topstitching as elevated these jeans into something really special. What I like about the design of the Gingers is that they're high waisted which means I can really show off the topstitching too (because what's the point of spending hours agonising over stitching if no-ones ever going to see it?!).
I still can't believe how well these jeans turned out. Despite a few fitting issues I think they're very wearable. The topstitching has to be my favourite aspect but I also really like the wide legs, I'm hoping to make another pair of wide legged jeans in the spring too. The rivets are a finishing touch that I think really add to these jeans too, I love the professional look that hardware gives.
Thanks for reading,

Pure Wool Challis Hadley Top

Hi everyone, I’m Izzy from @topstitchrollhem and I’m thrilled to be back on the Minerva Crafts blog with a review of this amazing Wool Challis Fabric.

I had never worked with wool challis fabric before and it was such a treat. I was very nervous to cut into it because it’s more expensive than most fabric I normally buy, but it was a dream to cut, sew and press – I’m definitely a convert now. The only tricky thing was taking photographs of it, I probably shouldn’t have chosen the black colourway…

I chose view A of the Hadley Top Pattern by Grainline for this fabric. I’m trying to sew a coherent autumn/winter wardrobe of pieces that coordinate nicely with each other, and I think this top in black will be perfect for work and go really well with both skirts and trousers, as well as being nice and warm because of the wool.

Wool does require special washing treatment and this is no exception, I hand-washed the fabric before cutting and sewing and it will stay as a hand-wash-only top for me. I know that handwashing can be a bit of a faff but it’s definitely worth it for such lovely fabric.

This challis is nice and wide and I had 2 metres which was plenty, despite being less than the specified yardage. The fabric is non-stretch and has a lovely, weighty drape and a soft hand, it also doesn’t wrinkle much at all (hurrah!). It’s probably a bit heavier than the recommended fabrics on the pattern envelope but I like how using a heavier fabric really demonstrates the dramatic swingy shape of this top.

I particularly like how this fabric showcases the pleat at the back neckline of the Hadley, I think it’s a gorgeous feature and it makes for such a lovely shape. It’s a more detailed pattern than it first seems and the fabric really shows off these details to their best.

I used a scrap of leftover Lady McElroy Foliage Canopy Cotton Lawn for the neck facing, it’s absolutely my favourite print at the moment and it makes me happy to have a little secret jazzy print on the inside of an otherwise plain top. I did the trick of sewing the facing and fusible interfacing together at the outside edge, with the right side of the fabric and the non-sticky side of the interfacing together, then turning out and ironing to stick the interfacing down, which gives a really neat finish to the facing. This was then sewn in, understitched (slightly wonkily, oops) and tacked down at the centre front and side seams, so it won’t flip out.

The hem is finished with a deep facing of self-fabric which just gives such a smart finish and really plays up the lovely drape of the challis. For some reason deep, faced hems always feel so luxurious, though it does mean there is quite a lot of the fabric at the hem so this top will always be untucked.

Construction was pretty simple on my sewing machine, and I used a longer stitch (3.5) for the topstitching, which adds a little detail and I think highlights the lovely, slightly nubbly texture of the fabric. It did fray a little so all the seams were finished with a 4-thread stitch on my overlocker.

Setting in sleeves is normally my least favourite sewing job (well, that and turning through long straps, oh the pain) but because the wool was so well-behaved both sleeves went in nicely first time with a couple of rows of gathering stitches and a blast of steam from the iron. I did shorten the sleeves by a good 2.5 inches so that they end in line with the hem of the top. The sleeves at the original length covered my hands a bit (and I’ve got really long arms!) and I love a bracelet length sleeve.

I’m thrilled with this top and it’s a great start to my coordinating autumn/winter wardrobe of dreams. I’m off to see if I can squeeze something else out of the scraps…

Thanks so much for reading,

Izzy @topstitchrollhem


Velvet Party Top

Here is a new Fabric to feast your eyes on. A stretch velvet from Minerva. I wanted to make a new going out top for the Winter Season. I have been pedalling my other two best tops for about 5 years now!

The pattern is one I have used before and although this is a vintage one there are plenty of new patterns in the same vein you could choose like: thisthis or this.

It is the perfect top for eating out, going to the comedy club, meeting friends for drinks or for full on dancing. I will always wear it with jeans, white in the summer and denim in the winter.

You need to take your time with cutting out. There are multiple criteria to consider when laying down your cutting pieces. The direction of stretch needs to go across your body so that you can get it on and have movement across your back and shoulders. The velvet nap needs to be the same on the front, back and sleeves. The large floral pattern needs careful placement - 3 inches lower on that front piece and I would have been in danger of having two custard-splat-breasts!

The sleeves are a simple raglan with a gathered cuff. The fabric has a wonderful weight and quality which you would expect from the John Kaldor Fabric range; I have never been disappointed with this brand of fabric.

The gathered neckline is most effective when a wide elastic is used. The gathering especially shows off the velvet plush and gives variations in colour tone - beautiful. I made the whole thing on the overlocker and then used a stretch stitch to sew the casing for the sleeve cuffs, neckline and hem. Want to see me wearing it?

It is my new favourite going out top. Just waiting for the invites to roll in...

Jo xxx


A Bit of Sparkle

I’ve been planning to make a bomber jacket for a while, and when I saw this fabulous black and gold Scuba Fabric, I knew it was the perfect match. The pattern I chose was Simplicity 8418, which is a very traditional bomber jacket with additional appliqué options. I went for the standard option as the fabric is heavily patterned. In addition to the scuba, I used standard black Lining Fabric and Rib Fabric.
I cut the pattern a size up as I wanted to be able to wear a jumper or cardigan under the jacket for warmth. I’ve never seen with scuba before, but had heard lots of good things. As soon as I started cutting out, I could see why. It has a lovely structure and feels so much more stable than other stretch fabrics so can be used with patterns that are traditionally for woven fabrics, like this one. 

Making a jacket always feels like a bit of a challenge, but the instructions were really clear and the scuba was so easy to sew with. Adding the in-seam pockets was really straightforward. 
Although there were a lot of pattern pieces, I really enjoyed making this pattern. I was also able to make a couple of shortcuts because I used scuba. I found I could stretch to fit at the waistband and arm cuffs, rather than having to ease in with gathering stitches which saved a lot of time. 
Attaching the lining was the only thing that was a bit of a challenge, and I ended up attaching it by hand at the arm cuffs because I couldn’t fathom the instructions!

The finished jacket feels very fabulous, perfect for a night out!
I’m delighted with how the pattern-matching at the front zip turned out, and the fit is good too. This was my first foray into sewing with scuba, but it definitely won’t be my last. If, like me, you feel nervous about sewing with scuba, I urge you to give it a go.  Plus - who doesn’t need a bit of sparkle in their wardrobe?!

Alex @ Alex's Adventures in Fabric

Glorious Denim

I am a child of the 70s and it remains one of my favourite decades for so many reasons - The Wombles, The Clangers, long hot summers, platform shoes, Slade and denim ... this was the decade of denim.  The list of super cool 70s icons in glorious denim stretches on for ever - Jane Birkin, Farrah Fawcett, David Bowie, not forgetting Marvin Gaye who double denimed like the superstar he was.  My love of this delicious blue fabric began here and I have remained faithful to this day, apart from a brief spell in the 90s, when I caught sight of my reflection, sporting double denim and white trainers, it was all a bit too Status Quo for my liking and I took a few months off!  My other great 70s fashion love affair was with the dungaree or pinafore dress, this really is one of my favourite garments of all time.  As a child it signaled the onset of autumn and woolly tights weather.  I adored my collection of dungaree dresses, they were hard wearing, practical, warm and best of all, they had pockets!  That front pocket was just brilliant for storing stuff, conkers and Curly Wurlys often found their way into mine.
No surprise then that I jumped at the chance to review this deepest Indigo Denim Fabric and pair it with the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Pattern, the dream team to accompany me on my nostalgia trip.  This denim is a rich, indigo blue with a weight of 11oz, anything under 12oz falls into the lightweight category.  Having said that, it feels quite substantial to me and is certainly heavier than any I have used before. I was a little concerned about how my machine, a Janome 525s Sewist, would cope with it.  So I armed myself with top stitch needles, jeans needles and all of the other tools I have come to love using when sewing with denim - a clapper, a hammer and steam, lots and lots of steam!
This was my first time sewing Cleo, late to the party as usual.  I traced off the pieces, grading between size 4 and 5 at the hips. I opted for the mini dress, adding 5cm to the length as it looked like it could be very mini  on me, I'm 5'9".  With the pattern traced and fabric cut and ready to sew, it was time to see how my Janome would handle this project.  I needn't have worried, she breezed through up to 4 layers of denim in some places and never missed a stitch.  I pressed each seam really thoroughly, using my clapper to help flatten the fabric and give a crisp, neat finish, especially around the lovely curved shape of the armholes. The denim behaved beautifully throughout, it was a pleasure to work with.  I don't know about you but I LOVE pressing, can't stand ironing but I could press seams all day! 
The dress came together really quickly and easily.  As with all Tilly and the Buttons patterns, the instructions were clear, detailed and there are photos with every step.  No zips or tricky fastenings make this a great pattern for an advanced beginner.  My favourite part of this make was definitely the top stitching.  There is something deeply satisfying about seeing those two neat, golden lines appear on that dark night sky of denim.  I used a Gutermann top stitching thread, number 968, this colour thread, combined with the dark blue of the denim, conjured up images of acres of bell-bottom Wranglers!  I am really proud of the stitching on this dress.  I practiced top stitching A LOT before I made my Ginger jeans and it was rewarding to feel I had taken my skills to the next level on this project.  There are a few wibbles, I am yet to make anything that doesn't have an error in it somewhere but I can live with that.
The last steps are to hammer in the jeans buttons and fix the buckles in place on the straps.  I would recommend having a practice before hammering hardware into your lovely new dress, it is not difficult but it certainly helps to have an idea of how it all works before you do the real thing.  Fixing the buckles in place was a bit of a mind bender for me, I am not great at that kind of logical stuff.  I resorted to good old You Tube, there are plenty of videos if you get stuck.  It is actually incredibly easy!  I used a 35mm buckle in antique brass, I was going to use silver but I thought this colour was more in keeping with the 70s journey I had found myself on.
And there you have it!  A gloriously 70s dungaree dress, just right for presenting an episode of Rainbow.  This was a perfect pairing of fabric and pattern.  The weight of the denim is ideal for a Cleo, I have worn it a few times already and I know it will be a regular in my autumn / winter wardrobe.  Thanks so much Minerva for the opportunity to review this lush fabric, I'm off out to play in my new dress. x
Nicola @doobis71
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Butterfly Kwik Sew 3489 Wrap Dress

This month I have tried out this beautiful butterfly Poplin Fabric courtesy of Minerva crafts. I had decided to give the Kwik Sew wrap dress a try (Kwik Sew 3489). Having a look around you could also try Butternick 5030 wrap dresses or the Serendipity which also has a curved hem.

The pattern does suggest stretch fabrics but I really wanted to use this fabric so I went ahead anyway and just cut out a larger size to be safe. I needn’t have worried as the pattern is quite generous and I had to take it back down a size after all.

I did ensure the sleeve remained a touch larger though as I wanted to ensure it was comfortable in the upper arm. I chose view A from the pattern and shortened the length by about three centimetres. This was a nice easy make and the fabric was ideal, just enough give in it to make a good job of hemming the curved front panels and a nice bit of ease in the sleeves. It gives a lovely finished shape in this fabric and I think it looks better than the pattern picture as it has a bit more structure. I really feel I need a wedding invite or something now so that I can wear this dress as it has that sort of vibe.

There is a ribbon tie on the inside to keep the wrap in place, I had also toyed with the idea of putting a small button and button hole at that side but the inner ties work fine. The front ties give a nice detail to the dress. I am 5’’ 4 so if you are my height or shorter you may need to shorten the pattern, I just folded the pieces up a little at the marked points on the pattern. Doing it this way saves it being permanent in case I want to reuse the pattern for a taller friend.

I did find I had to make the seam between the bodice and the skirt really narrow as it came up a little high on me at first you may want just check with a tape measure before you cut if you have a long body. There are a couple of tips in the pattern instructions about a little elastic at the waist if you are worried about it stretching out, as I was not using a stretch fabric that was not an issue.

As there are no complicated fastenings this would be a perfect pattern for a beginner and this fabric is a good partner for ease of sewing. I used two metres of fabric for this dress but I was right to the edges and that was with short sleeves and slightly shorter. Realistically you would need two and a half to three metres for a larger size plus sleeves.

In this fabric the full skirt has a bit of a vintage feel to it for those of you who like that particular style I bet it would take a petticoat underneath there is certainly enough of the wrap skirt. Thank you to Minerva crafts for another super fabric and I look forward to wearing my new dress.

Dianne @ sewinggreenlady


Floral Stretch Velvet Gable Top

Hello everyone! I’m Suzie from the blog and YouTube channel Threadquarters, and I am absolutely thrilled to be writing a blog post for the Minerva Crafts Blog.
I had had my eye on this stunning floral stretch Velvet Fabric for some time, so when I saw it available to be reviewed on the blog I jumped at the chance! The velvet comes in a number of shades, all absolutely stunning, but for those of you who may know my style, I have a bit of a soft spot for pinks so I knew exactly which shade I would pick.

My initial ideas for this fabric were along the lines of a slinky wrap dress (which I do think would look stunning), but I knew I wouldn’t get enough wear out of it. Fabric as beautiful as this should be worn as much as possible! So in the end I decided a classic t-shirt would be perfect and I thought it would be a great way to glam up a casual outfit.

I decided to go for my old favourite, the Gable Top by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. It’s a classic boat-neck fitted t-shirt with a few sleeve length options. I have made this t-shirt many times before and therefore have tweaked the pattern to suit my style and shape. Because the pattern is quite fitted at the waist and I prefer a looser fit there I grade out from a 12 at the shoulders to a 22 (yes really!) at the hips. This pretty much creates a straight side seam. I also really like a curved hem, as I find it flattering on the hips, so that is another adjustment I make to the pattern.

I was a little bit nervous about working with stretch velvet, what with the reputation velvet can have to be awkward to sew. I had no need to worry though, this fabric sews up a dream! Here are my top tips:

- Make sure you remember to cut all pattern pieces with the nap (the pile of the velvet) going the same way. 
- Treat the fabric as you would any stretch fabric, using a ball point needle and sewing with a zig-zag or lightening stitch
- If you have one, you could use a walking foot to help guide the fabric, but I didn’t bother and it wasn’t a problem
- Again, use a an overlocker if you have one, but it’s not necessary.
- Don’t press your fabric too much, and use a very low heat, pressing on the reverse if you really have to. I didn’t press my fabric with an iron at all, instead I chose to just finger press my side seams open.

Because this is velvet, be prepared for a little bit of a mess when you are cutting out - there will be fluff everywhere! I decided to overlock all my edges to try and contain some of the fluff, but I don’t think that is strictly necessary. 
For information, the wrong side of the fabric is plain dark grey and has a a very smooth slinky feel. 

I just love how quick it was to make this and end up with such a glam top! I am totally in love with how it has turned out. The perfect smart/casual top. As well as pairing this with jeans and boots for more casual events, it will work equally as well for a more special occasion, tucked into my high waisted jacquard trousers and paired with some killer heels. I am definitely ready for the party season!
Thanks for reading,

My Sew Over It 1940s Tea Dress Hack

I’ve been wanting to make the Sew Over It 1940’s Tea Dress Pattern for ages as I really love the vintage style of this dress. After looking online and getting some inspiration, I decided I’d like to make the dress with a few additional hacks that would give it an elegant feel ready for the upcoming winter party season.

The pattern itself consists off a gathered bust, panelled front, fluted skirt and elbow length sleeves giving it a classic pinup look. I would say it’s an intermediate pattern as there’s lots of pieces some of which are a bit more complex to piece together. There was one version of the pattern so I traced the size that matched my measurements and created a toile. The toile fitted reasonably well, the waist was slightly large which I took in and the bust line was too high which I lowered. The skirt was quite short for my body so I added 4” to make it just graze my knee.

Next up, I decided I wanted to add bishop sleeves to make the dress super floaty. To do this I lengthened the sleeve block to match the length of my arm and expanded the width of the bottom sleeve so that gathers could be added to create a puff effect. To do this, I drew 4 lines on the pattern in parallel with the grain line and then cut up them stop before the cap. I spread the sections apart, adding 2” gaps in-between and re-traced the new pattern piece.

With the sleeve block complete I next needed a cuff to hide the gathers within. I measured the circumference of my hand where it was its widest and plotted this measurement onto paper. Next I decided how tall I wanted my sleeve, in this version it was 4cm. I then doubled it to 8cm as the band would be folded lengthways encasing the sleeve edge gathers within and marked this onto my paper. I then drew a rectangle using the width and height measurement and finally added a 1.5cm seam allowance all the way around.

Once all the pattern pieces were drafted I picked a beautiful black Crepe Fabric which had a lovely drape to it. It was super soft and certainly had the elegant feel I was hoping for. I next cut out the pattern pieces from the fabric and quickly started assembling the dress.

Overall the instructions were clear and the fabric was delightful to work with. The only area that was slightly tricky was the bust panel. To sew the bishops sleeve I gathered the sleeve cap and the also gathered the opposite end of the sleeve nearest to where my hand would go. I stitched the sleeve side as normal. To sew the cuff, I stitched the short ends together, folded the cuff in half lengthways and pressed with an iron. Next I opened the cuff and fed it onto the gathered sleeve end right sides together and stitched along the edge of the sleeve and cuff. Next, I pulled the cuff away from the sleeve and pressed. To encase the gathers on the inside I folded half of the cuff inside and folded the edge under by 1cm and top stitched neatly in place.

I would recommend the pattern to anyone as I’m super happy with my tea dress hack, I can’t wait to go to some winter parties.

Thanks all for reading!

Chloe @chloemademe


Cozy Cardigan Time….

When I saw the double-sided spongy Fabric on Minerva´s Instagram, I knew this was the perfect fabric for a nice new cardigan for me.  Its finally getting colder where I live, so the more Cardigans, the better ;-)
I chose a new pattern that was just released last month by BeLa Stoffe called STRIKK. It comes together fairly easy and quick, even without German language knowledge, it is super easy to follow the instructions with all the illustrations.
The fabric is really unusual, it is double sided with a marbled grey and a red and white striped side - in the middle between the two fabrics it is a neoprene like spongy fabric. It gives the fabric a good body, so of you’re looking for something with a little more stand, this is perfect. Also, it has some stretch.
It also comes in a green and white and blue and white in combination with the grey side. 
Even though I made a cardigan with it, I think it could also be perfect to make a tote or a cosmetic bag - no interfacing needed, as it already has enough stand on its own….
My recommendation for cutting it is a rotary cutter . It makes a nice and clean finish and there is no issue cutting through more than one layer of the fabric.  You can absolutely sew it with a. Normal sewing machine, but I recommend using a serger. Just make sure to set your differential feed slightly higher to prevent it from stretching it out and making the seam wavy. Also, it does fray slightly, so you’ll have to finish the edges one way or another. I’ve serged all mine.
What I like about he Cardigan pattern is that you can dress it up or down - I added the hood  this time for example, it it fits the sporty character of the fabric quite well. I am not a big fan of rom pockets, so I did add in-seam pockets, which are also an option in the pattern. I made the pockets out of a light knit jersey, because it would have been three layers of the spongy fabric with the pockets and I felt that might have been a bit much and could have hurt the silhouette. Luckily, the marbled grey is really easy to match.
I normally would advise you to add fusible interfacing to prevent any stretching of the fabric and to give it a smoother look for the front opening and the neckpiece. However, the fabric is stable enough, that you do not need to do it with this one.
My Cardigan STRIKK is a size 36 - if you want it to loosely overlap in the front, go a size or two up from the waist down, I´d recommend. Otherwise, the measurements are pretty good and you can really go by them. 
To make the most of the two-sided character of the fabric, I decided to turn the bottom part of one sleeve “inside out. I really like the look of it and it makes a nice eye-catcher plus it makes the cardigan truly unique.  On tip regarding the sleeves: I didn´t have to shorten my sleeves, but I believe in the bigger sizes, if you’re not tall, you might want to double check, before you start cutting out, since they are constructed like very long cuffs - which gives an interesting design detail, but also means you cannot really shorten them after you cut them or put them together.
The pattern comes as pdf eBook and is in German only, but the images are very good, so if you’re an experienced seamstress, no worries, its easy enough to put together, even without the written directions. 
Thanks for reading,
Nic @ crfted

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