Archives: December 2019
Today’s post is about going easy on yourself, and letting yourself be good with looking good. Let this be a present to yourself. :)
I grappled with two sewing anxieties when I made this New Year’s Eve Somerfield Coat. The first and more immediate one was finishing: I fell in love with this sequined jersey the minute I set eyes on it (checkerboard is having a moment right now, and I’m into it), but sequins can be so hard to sew, man! I read sewing hacks that recommend stripping sequins off of seam allowances, getting heavy-duty needles, using hem tape, etc (the list goes on and on!), to mitigate the terrors that sequined fabrics pose, but, I’m sorry, it’s too much to ask for something that I may only wear once or twice. I made a major decision when making this coat, and it feels like sacrilege to say, but here it is: it doesn’t always have to be your best work to be great work.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a spectacular New Year’s Eve look, and I totally believe in the power and pleasure of dressing for the occasion, but this outfit doesn’t need to be particularly hardy or long lasting. I thought about outfitting my serger with industrial needles, and sewing a lining on my coat (even though it doesn’t call for it, and there’s no instructions for that), but then I checked myself. Gals and guys, just because we can, doesn’t mean we always should.
In a move that I haven’t made since I first learned how to “properly” (what does that even mean though) finish my garments, I left my edges raw, and my insides snipped, not bound or serged. This sequin fabric is a lovely knit, which means the edges won’t unravel, and it’s drapey and heavy enough (not in a bad way!) that the extra structure that you’d get from the faced hems isn’t necessary (and may even detract from the fabric’s swingy appeal). I cut a straight size C (lengthened 3 inches), and stitched it up with a wide zigzag stitch (to help it step over the sequins). I had it done in an hour and a half, friends. That’s FABULOUS! How many of us have been late to an event because we were frantically stitching? Not me, not now, gang!
But when I finished, I put it on, and I was seized by that second familiar sewing anxiety: I wasn’t sure if I liked it yet. Over my mom jeans and baggy tee, it almost looked like a costume wizard cape. I was crushed, because I had envisioned it as a very cool, very rock ‘n roll statement piece, and instead I looked like a cosplayer or LARPer, trying to wear her costumes in real life. I asked my roommate, an Aquarius and engineer and a wonderful space alien who’s barely aware of “fashion” and “trends” what it needed, and the response was simple: it needed context. Which, of course, makes perfect sense - how is it supposed to look rock ‘n roll if NOTHING ELSE in my look was looking punk? I put product in my hair and a ton of liner on my eyes, and my blackest jeans and bright red boots, and then it started really working. I fell in love!
Let this be a reminder: don’t ever write one of your makes off because it doesn’t instantly spark joy - sometimes you just need a little context. Happy New Year, everyone.
I needed exactly one look at this Glitter Velvet Knit Fabric in navy that looked like the night sky personified to know I wanted a winter dress made out of it. The fabric has a good amount of stretch to work for knit patterns (= no closures!) with the luscious look of velvet, but without the fuss of working with the woven version of it. The sparkles are very subtle and only appear when the light hits them, and I already know this dress will brighten even the dullest midwinter day.
I made similar dresses (tried and tested knit top + circle skirt) several times and wanted something a bit more special, and I chose for my base the Wanted top from the French pattern company Vanessa Pouzet – yes the instructions only come in French but I promise if I can make it work with my minimal French, so can you. I shortened the bodice pieces by about 20 cm at the bottom edge which I don’t recommend as you’ll see later – learn from my mistakes and make it only about 12-15cm depending on your torso. I also shortened the longer neckline piece by about two inches as I knew from a previous make that it otherwise gapes on me.
The first part is sewing the shoulder seams, as with most knit tops. I would normally stabilise the shoulders, but the fabric is firm enough and I wasn’t worried it would stretch later on. The neckline too gets sewn together at the ‘swallowtail’ ends as I call it, right sides together
The only tricky part of the pattern is attaching the neckband, but once you get the hang of it it’s really easy. The neckband is pressed in half wrong sides together, and then the short edge is attached right sides together with the front straight part of the bodice. There should be a 1.5 cm overhang on both sides to allow you to stitch the rest of the neckline later.
This gets stitched in place – I used a standard zigzag stitch with a 2x1.5 stitch length. I suppose you could do this on an overlocker but I’m just not confident enough with mine to do this type of delicate work. Then comes the only scary bit – the front part needs to be cut all the way to the stitch line to allow for a smooth corner.
Once that is done, the rest of the neckline is attached in the same way to the rest of the bodice. This is a bit fiddly especially as the neckline will need a bit of careful stretching, but lots of pins or clips do the trick.
And that’s the neckline done! You could understitch it but I never really bothered as it’s wide enough to prevent peeking through. I just love that unusual square shape, perfect for showing off my considerable collection of thrifted brooches.
I attached the sleeves to the bodice as I would with any other knit top pattern and then sewed the side seams and sleeve seams in one continuous line. That’s the bodice done.
The skirt was next and I just about managed to squeeze out a full circle out of the two metres of fabric. I use the By Hand London calculator for circle skirts because I’m rubbish with numbers, but whenever I use a knit fabric I make the waist circumference smaller than what it would normally be as the fabric tends to stretch – it’s much easier to slightly widen it later if needed. I know there are fancier ways to measure the lower hem of a circle skirt but using my tape measure and marking an even distance from the waist works for me.
I attached the skirt to the bodice and realised it was sitting way above my natural waist – I do have a long torso but I expected the weight of the circle skirt would pull on the bodice and even it out, which did not happen. I unpicked the waist seam and inserted an extra waist panel in the middle – you can see it as the nape of the velvet is different, but this is what I call an unintentional feature piece and I rather like how it looks.
I hemmed the skirt and the sleeves (the pattern comes with several sleeve length options) and that was the dress done! I really like how the full circle skirt looks in this fabric, it creates lovely structured folds when left hanging and of course it’s excellent for spinning around!
This will be such a winter staple – comfortable like secret pyjamas and with just the right balance between classy and extra. Already eyeing the black version of this knit velvet for another project!
Thanks for reading,
When I saw this month’s selection of fabrics from Minerva I knew I wanted to look for a fabric that I could use either to make something for the baby or for the nursery since making clothes for myself is not all that enjoyable at the moment with my ever changing shape and size.
I had picked up a simple Puff pattern from Stoff & Stil a few months ago with the intention of making a puff out of the leftover fabric from my pink headboard project but when we settled on a blush/mauve rug for the nursery, that fabric just wasn’t going to work. Lucky for me Minerva had a beautiful Crushed Velvet Fabric available and I knew it would be just the thing for a puff for the nursery!
The pattern came together really quickly, with only 8 pieces. It calls for a lining as well, but honestly I couldn’t be bothered… (I might regret that later if it ever bursts!). Since I decided to omit the lining, I shortened my stitch length a bit to make sure none of my stuffing would sneak through. Typically I don’t sew with my walking foot, but it was still on my machine from a recent quilting project so I thought I’d give it a try anyway.
What a difference it made! I’ve never sewn with velvet before but with the extra weight of this fabric and the slightly slippery texture, I think the walking foot was key. I used quite a few pins anyway to keep everything in place while I was sewing because with the right sides of the fabric facing each other, it was just a bit slippery still.
Originally I had planned on stuffing the puff with fabric scraps. I’m glad that in the end I decided to fill it with the recommended styrofoam filling balls because I think the fabric scraps might have made it a bit lumpy and perhaps shown through the light color velvet I chose. I also would have needed a LOT of scraps, which might have been ok if I had been collecting scraps for a while, but I haven’t. I purchased the styrofoam filling at a local hobby shop and poured it into the puff using a funnel. It is amazing how much volume this puff has! I was pouring and stuffing it for quite a while…
All in all I am very pleased with how my puff turned out. The fabric is lush and soft and I think it will hold up well to wear. For now it will sit at the end of the chair in the nursery as a foot puff (which is quite comfortable I might add), but it could easily be brought into the living room as an extra seat for someone when we have visitors.
That’s all from me this time! I am going to sit back, relax and put up my swollen feet on my newly finished puff!
Thanks for reading,
Hello! This is Elisabeth from Stitching and Making; I'm so excited to be blogging for Minerva and even more excited about my new Hey June Halifax Hoodie!
For years, I've been searching for a stretchy, soft and somewhat thick (but not too thick) sweatshirt fleece to make a cozy zip up hoodie. When I saw this Fleece Back Sweatshirting Fabric, I had high hopes. Seriously, it did not disappoint! I washed and dried it immediately upon receiving it and was so thrilled! It was plush and soooooo soft.
I've been eyeing the zip up Halifax basically since I first saw the pattern quite a while ago. At the time, I was intimidated by zippers so I shied away from it. I still don't love zippers, but I knew I had to tackle it because I finally had the fabric I'd been looking for. Plus, I've now made 5 Halifaxes without the zip! Well, it was a fantastic decision because the hoodie turned out exactly as I hoped. It feels and looks just like those super soft American Apparel ones that I've eyed for years but couldn't justify the insane price and the fact that I knew it wouldn't fit right (long arms...#tallpeopleproblems). In terms of modifications, I added 1" to the sleeves as I do for all patterns, and I also added 1" in the bodice length since I am 5'8". I made my measured size but did slim the sleeves and waist a tiny bit because I wanted a slimmer silhouette.
I love that this pattern has all of the bells and whistles needed to give a nice, super clean finish both inside and outside. The zipper tape is bound and covered with twill tape on the inside, which both looks very clean and professional while also feeling soft on the skin. The neckline/hood seam is covered with a binding; I chose to cut my binding piece out of the same self fabric so it blends in nicely. I was a little nervous about my ability to execute these finishes well because it seems something always goes awry when working with zippers, but I took my time (rushing is sometimes tempting but I always regret it). I even got the zipper in on my first try! I did have to seam rip a bit to get the outside top stitching looking good but it was worth it. I chose to do a little blind handstitching along the binding and zipper ends to ensure everything stayed in place invisibly and I'm pleased with the result!
A basic zip up like this one is so flexible to fit into my wardrobe. As a stay at home mom, I don't feel the need to wear vintage style dresses everyday, even though I still love them. But I do like to feel somewhat put together and comfortable so this is just perfect for that need. Plus, the zipper makes nursing a breeze.
The color is listed as "plum" and I know it will match quite a bit of my closet because I tend to be attracted to earth tones. It's such a gorgeous color; slightly heathered and a nice tone without being too loud. The fleece back is divine, too! Exactly what you'd expect from a ready to wear hoodie and exactly what I've been looking for.
Now the question is...do I make another one? I think the answer is obvious. ;)
- Elisabeth @stitchingandmaking
Posted in Projects on Monday the 30th December 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello, my beautiful readers, I am back and ready to show you not ONE, but TWO fabulous dresses.
I made Vogue 9355 twice now, but each time I made it, the fabric I picked was not the best choice for it. Something was just so off, that I haven’t even tried to wear it in public. Now both Vogue dresses are sitting in “this didn’t work out as I imagined” pile, hoping that one of these days, I can either fix it or use fabric for something else. So, I left the Vogue pattern on the side, searching for fabric that would make that dress to stand out. As soon as I have received an email from Vicki, I started going through all the links and there it was, love on the first sight, John Kaldor Ohio Stretch Cotton Fabric. I could already see my dress, black background with big flowers going down my chest to waist. I had to have this fabric and see if I can pull this off.
I wanted layout of my dress to be in a very specific way, so I wasn’t sure on how much fabric I would need, and I ended up ordering little extra, just in case. I assumed, from looking at the original picture the whole width would have black background with flowers print repeat about every yard. I was wrong.
Happy mail day came as fabric arrived, so let me describe it for you:
- Very wide, 56 inches.
- Black background, but it has multiple rows of flowers prints.
- It is a little bit heavier than what I expected, and that is great as this dress needed fabric that has little bit of weight.
- Very soft.
- Feels great against skin.
- This is a premium quality cotton plus it has enough stretch to provide an ease when sewing.
- Back of the fabric is white.
- Has one way stretch (about 20%) selvage to selvage.
Pretty much all this made me very happy, as it looks like I found what I was looking for. Third time the charm, as I kept telling myself. I know I can pull this off.
Vogue 9355 pattern has a separate piece for top and skirt. My plan was to have a flower print at front, so instead cutting top and skirt as individual pieces, I had to layout pattern pieces on fabric together as one piece, traced it with chalk and cut it. Same for the back. This way the print was not disrupted.
I measured and marked where I wanted my darts to start, where to end and how wide to be, so it would fit nicely across waist and to show off my curves.
Vogue dress was done, so comfortable to wear. This dress needs to be worn with strapless bra. One that I have, or I should say “had” was giving me a hell of time. That bra is now also in another “I hate it” pile. So, reminder to myself, shop for another strapless bra that would be much more comfortable, as I want to wear this dress more often.
Best part, I still had 2 yards left. What should I make? Because fabric has slight stretch it is perfect for dresses, pants, skirt and much more. What to make? I was pulling patterns out of the cabinet and after few minutes, my floor was a big mess as I had patterns all over it.
For a split moment, I was thinking pants. Fabric was on cutting table again, and I was positioning pattern pieces. At the last moment, I changed my mind again. Finally decided to make one more dress.
Second dress would be combination of one of my favorite patterns from Gertie, Butterick 6453. I made this pattern so many times, that I know it by heart.
Voila, here they are. I named it my DOUBLE TROUBLE dresses just because I already worn both to public places and received many compliments.
Fabric: John Kaldor Ohio Stretch Cotton
Fabric stretch: One way stretch (20% stretch)
Yardage: 1st Dress Vogue 9355 - 2.25 yards;
2nd Dress combo Butterick 6453 / Simplicity 8635 - 2 yards
Fabric easy to sew: Easy
1st Dress Vogue 9355 - 2.25 yards;
2nd Dress combo Butterick 6453 / Simplicity 8635 - 2 yards
Size suggested: V9355 – size 14; B6453/S8635 – size 12
Did it fit: V9355 -Had to adjust it as it was tad big. Size 12 was better for both dresses.
Instructions easy to follow: Super Easy
Notes: Use knit needle, that is thin, but strong enough for this fabric. I used Ball Point Knit needle size 90/14
Thank you for reading and happy sewing.
Hello Minerva blog readers!
When I saw this beautiful Lady McElroy Stretch Cotton Fabric in the Outback Sand colorway, I immediately felt animal print vibes. The diamond shaped scales along the flowers and stones and the gold and black tones give the feel of leopard print without being overtly animalistic. Upon looking up this year’s Autumn style trends, I immediately wanted to make a fashion forward pencil skirt to pair with this fabric. Pattern 102 A from the June 2019 Burdastyle Magazine certainly fit the bill perfectly. This skirt has a nice edgy look that matches the golds, creams, and black lace details in the motif. Its defining feature is the adjustable bottom to top opening zip that doubles as a sexy front slit. Additionally, I chose a gold zipper to bring out the gold colors in more detail.
This pattern is a level two dot (easy sew/more time-consuming) pattern according to the BurdaStyle rating scale and I would agree with this designation. Though this fabric is completely opaque, I decided to line the skirt with a stretch crepe from my stash. This step added a little extra time to the construction process. Although I have sewn linings before, I had never sewn a lining into a pattern that didn’t come with lining instructions. I consulted “The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing” to help me work out how to add the lining to the skirt; I love how the skirt lies against the body with the lining. I sewed an exposed zipper to the front zip and added 5/8-inch petersham ribbon to the zipper sides per the pattern instructions. I had to unpick and readjust the ribbon a few times because I sewed them a little too close to the zipper teeth. Fortunately, I was able to get the skirt to zip up in the end. I finished the lining with a serged hem and slip-stitched the garment fabric by hand.
After cutting out the skirt fabric, I realized that I had enough fabric left over to create a matching jacket. I turned to one of my favorite jacket patterns, MiMi G for Simplicity 8093. I love this pattern because it is fully lined, there are very few pattern pieces, and there is an accompanying video tutorial on YouTube if you get stuck while sewing. The cropped style works perfectly with the style of the skirt. I decided to omit the notched collar for this version and added matching petersham ribbon to match the ribbon on the skirt. The jacket is lined with a crepe backed satin that makes taking the jacket on and off a breeze.
I paired both pieces with a black faux jersey knit top that I sewed using the Agnes pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. This fabric brings out the black that flows throughout the garment fabric’s design. This was a quick and easy sew and Tilly’s directions are great for those who are new to sewing knit fabrics.
This super soft Lady McElroy stretch cotton was easy to work with and is great for sewists of all levels. The colors in this print are perfect for the Autumn and Winter seasons. It also comes in a lovely ocean blue colorway that is equally lovely. I definitely recommend this high-quality fabric.
To see more of my makes please check me out on YouTube and Instagram @crystalsewsandstuff
This is my favourite time of the year to sew my own clothes – I love layering dresses over shirts and tights and wearing deep jewel tones such as sapphire and ruby. For my first AW19 garment, I chose to make the Tilly and the Buttons Bibi pinafore from her book Stretch! with this beautiful plum Lady McElroy Ponte Roma Jersey.
Tilly’s book is full of tips for sewing knit fabrics and includes lots of patterns for sewing different types of knits such as stretch velvet, ponte and lightweight jersey.
Ponte is a thick and stable knit which makes it easy to sew so it’s perfect for beginners and ideal for Autumn/Winter outfits. If you’re looking for some ideas, here are some things you can sew with ponte fabric:
- Blazers such as the Grainline Studio Morris or the Alina Design Co. Fulton
- Trousers such as the Friday Pattern Co. Joan or the Style Arc Parker Ponte Pants
- Dresses such as the Tilly and the Buttons Zadie or the Cashmerette Rivermont
- Skirts such as the Deer and Doe Brume or the Itch to Stitch Lindy Petal Skirt (free pattern)
I chose to use all three add-ons that were available for this pattern – the button tabs, the bib and the front split (great for showing off my patterned tights). The basic skirt version has only two pattern pieces, uses barely any fabric and can be colour blocked so it’s a great option for using up fabric scraps.
I cut a size 4 based on the following measurements: 35" chest, 29" waist, 38" hips. It turned out to be very fitted, possibly a little too tight, but the pattern uses 5/8" seam allowances so I could have taken it out at the seams if I’d have noticed before I trimmed them. I made the skirt version last year with a different ponte and it came out less fitted than this one so the fabric must have been much thinner.
The skirt is high waisted and ends just below the knee on me (for reference, I’m just under 5'5"). I made no adjustments to the pattern other than cutting a couple of inches off the straps before attaching them to the skirt. I found it difficult to pin the back whilst wearing it so I asked someone else to do this for me. That way, I could stand in a relaxed position for a better fit.
I had trouble deciding which buttons to use for the tabs and straps. In the end I went with the 18mm black and gold hearts because they go well with my enamel cat pin which I often wear with my outfits.
The buttons are the perfect size for the button tabs but look a little too small on the back waistband so next time I’ll use larger ones (20-22mm) for the back.
This dress is so comfortable and quick to make, and I love how it looks with my black and white Libby shirt.
I’ve wanted to make a pair of overalls since the day I started sewing. In my teenage years I used to wear denim overalls and plaid flannel shirts all the time. I’ve seen several overall patterns but Kwik Sew 4138 caught my eye because there were minimal pattern pieces and Kwik Sew patterns are generally straightforward. This pattern has 2 views, view A has a skirt attached and view B has pants attached. You can easily change the pants view to shorts if you are looking for a summer look.
This beautiful Robert Kaufman Union Stretch Chambray Denim Fabric in indigo was used to make the overalls. This fabric is a light weight denim composed of 97% cotton and 3% spandex. The flowy feel of the fabric made it perfect for this pattern. I didn’t want to use any fabric that was too heavy because I felt that it would change the look that I was going for. This fabric would also be perfect for view A the skirt, I can see it having an amazing twirl factor! Because the fabric is so light weight it can be worn in the Fall and Summer months.
Before treating the fabric, I serged the edges to ensure that they did not fray during the wash. I treated the fabric by using a small amount of detergent, a gentle cycle in the wash, and tumbled dry on low heat. You also want to serge your seams while sewing, if you do not have a serger then a zig zag stitch or pinking shears will help with fraying.
With any pattern that I sew, I use the finished garment measurements as a guide to cut out the pattern. Well that did not work out so well for me this time. Because my hips measure at 50 inches, according to the finished garment measurements, I should cut an XL, which was entirely too big for me. After all of the adjusting to the pattern, I should have cut a medium. I know that is a huge difference but I’m assuming that Kwik Sew patterns run big. My advice to you if you decide to make this pattern, sew a muslin first to test the fit. If you are like me and do not like to make muslins, sew the pattern using a basting stitch to test the fit. The only other adjustment for me would be to shorten the bib. I didn’t remember to do it after I made all of the other adjustments to the patterns. It’s all a learning process, right? The pattern instructions are easy to follow, I would definitely recommend this pattern to intermediate beginners.
I love the buttons with the flower pattern, I wish I can take credit for choosing them, but it was my mom that thought they would be perfect. I paired the overalls with a gray long sleeve shirt and my black and white converse all stars. You can dress the overalls up or down by simply changing your shirt and shoes. You should definitely give this pattern!
Thanks for reading,
Oh wow where did this year go……
I am once again very excited to be working with Minerva and their awesome fabric. The very moment I saw the Lady McElroy Puppy-Tooth Ponte Roma Fabric in the color Auburn, I knew I had to have it. I have prepared my fabric stash to sew for the upcoming Fall season and this was absolutely perfect to add to it. It has a brownish tone which is a perfect Fall season color and the heavyweight of the fabric makes it not only perfect for the Fall but can also be worn all Winter as well. And did I mention how much I love a houndstooth pattern? Yes, I do love this pattern. I love that they call it Puppy-tooth because, with its smaller hounds-tooth pattern, it’s not overbearing in its print.
This fabric was awesome to work with. I believe this would be a very good fabric for anyone who has stayed away from stretch fabrics purposely because of their fear of working with fabrics that stretch and move while sewing with them. It is perfect for the beginner because even thou it is a stretch fabric, the heavyweight of it allows for very minimal movement when sewing with it. It sewed up beautifully and it feels so soft to the touch and even softer once I put it on. While I love stretch fabric, I too don’t care much for the thinner more flimsy like knits.
I chose the Butterick 5926 jacket pattern in view “A” and I cut the size 18. I love this pattern because it is designed for stretch fabric versus so many jacket patterns that call for woven fabrics only. I omitted the buttons which I have been thinking rather I should add them on later or not because I feel that it looks good without them. I also omitted to trim the collar of the jacket in bias tape but I did trim the top of the pockets and the hem of the sleeves with bias tape. After learning a very useful technique giving by a fellow sew sister on Instagram, I used my blind-stitch foot to helps give me that close to the edge stitching when using not only bias tape but can be helpful whenever you have a need for close to the edge sewing.
I first said I would make a self-drafted pencil skirt to go with it but after seeing the amount of fabric leftover I decided to do a simple dress using my favorite go-to pattern McCalls 6886 in view “E” also cutting a size 18. I absolutely love the versatility of this outfit because I can wear this together as a nice dress suit, and just wear the dress alone with or without a belt or even wear this jacket with another dress or skirt. When building your very own wardrobe you really want to focus on making separate pieces that you can mix and match together.
As I already stated, this fabric is great to work with. The weight was just right for the Fall season months and the stretch of this fabric has excellent recovery (not flimsy at all). I will get so much use out of this make with its versatility and that’s really what I was aiming for in my decision when trying to decide what to create with this beautiful fabric.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my personal blog at Angie J Styles